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Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service has a rich history of journalistic professionalism and is a leader in the world of Catholic and religious media. With headquarters in Washington, offices in New York and Rome, and correspondents around the world, CNS provides the most comprehensive coverage of the church today. Website URL: http://www.catholicnews.com/

Bishop Coyne: Strong net neutrality protections critical to faith community

The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Communications has urged the Trump administration to keep current net neutrality rules in place because an open internet, he said, is critical to the nation's faith communities and how they interact with their members.
 
"Without open internet principles which prohibit paid prioritization, we might be forced to pay fees to ensure that our high-bandwidth content receives fair treatment on the internet," said Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne.
 
"Nonprofit communities, both religious and secular, cannot afford to pay to compete with profitable commercialized content," he said in a Nov. 28 statement.
 
The concept of an open internet has long been called "net neutrality," in which internet service providers neither favor nor discriminate against internet users or websites. Neutrality means, for example, providers cannot prioritize one type of content over another, nor can they speed up, slow down or block users’ access to online content and services.
 
On Nov. 21, the current chairman of the Federal Communications Commission announced his proposal to roll back rules on neutrality put in place in 2015 by the Obama administration.
 
Bishop Coyne urged that the current rules remain in place. "Strong net neutrality protections are critical to the faith community to function and connect with our members," he said.
 
These protections are "essential to protect and enhance the ability of vulnerable communities to use advanced technology and necessary for any organization that seeks to organize, advocate for justice or bear witness in the crowded and over-commercialized media environment," Bishop Coyne said.
 
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that under his plan, "the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices."
 
Bishop Coyne said: "Robust internet protections are vital to enable our archdioceses, dioceses and eparchies, our parishes, schools and other institutions to communicate with each other and our members, to share religious and spiritual teachings, to promote activities online, and to engage people -- particularly younger persons -- in our ministries."
 
The FCC is scheduled to vote on Pai's proposal at its monthly hearing Dec. 14. Observers predict the vote will fall along party lines. Chairman Pai is Republican as are Commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O'Rielly. Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel are Democrats.
 
 
  • Published in Nation

Prayers for peace in South Sudan, Congo

Although it was not possible to visit South Sudan as he had hoped, Pope Francis said that "prayer is more important, because it is more powerful. Prayer works by the power of God for whom nothing is impossible."
 
With hundreds of women and men from dozens of religious orders, with migrants from Africa and representatives from a number of Christian churches and a variety of religions, the pope presided thismonth over an evening prayer service for peace in South Sudan and Congo.
 
As the service began in St. Peter's Basilica, religious carried in procession large photographs of women and children from the two war-torn countries. The images were placed on easels at the foot of the sanctuary steps.
 
Flanking the photos were paintings of St. Josephine Bakhita from Sudan and Blessed Anuarite Nengapeta from Congo.
 
On the cross, Pope Francis said, Jesus "took upon himself all the evil of the world, including the sins that spawn and fuel wars: pride, greed, lust for power, lies."
 
The pope's brief reflection at the service ended with a series of prayers that began: "May the risen Lord break down the walls of hostility that today divide brothers and sisters, especially in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo."
 
Echoing the petitions read during the service, he prayed that God would "comfort those women who are the victims of violence in war zones and throughout the world."
 
"May he protect children who suffer from conflicts in which they have no part, but which rob them of their childhood and at times of life itself," he prayed. Then he added, "How hypocritical it is to deny the mass murder of women and children! Here war shows its most horrid face."
 
He also prayed that God would sustain those who work for peace and would "strengthen in government officials and all leaders a spirit which is noble, upright, steadfast and courageous in seeking peace through dialogue and negotiation."
 
The morning after the prayer service, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced Pope Francis was sending financial aid to dioceses in Congo's Kasai region, which has been particularly embroiled in violence. The dicastery said an estimated 3,400 people have been killed there in recent months.
 
An early November note from Caritas Internationalis, the confederation of Catholic charities, said that in addition to those killed in the fighting, "hundreds have been mutilated and raped. Villages have been sacked and burned, and homes, churches, schools and health centers destroyed. By July 2017, the United Nations had already documented 80 mass graves."
 
"An estimated 1.4 million people are internally displaced in the country," the report said. "The conflict has since degenerated into inter-ethnic fighting and the recruitment of children as soldiers by the militias is commonplace."
 
  • Published in World

Movie review: 'The Man Who Invented Christmas'

Its rather ill-chosen title notwithstanding, "The Man Who Invented Christmas" (Bleecker Street) involves no denial of the Nativity.
 
Instead, this charming fact-based historical drama tells the origin story of Victorian author Charles Dickens' beloved 1843 novella, "A Christmas Carol."
 
Dan Stevens brings brio to his portrayal of the complex writer, whose humanitarian instincts seem, initially, to benefit all but those closest to him. And the film as a whole shares much of the warmth of the slender volume whose creation it chronicles.
 
With his last three titles having failed to sell, Dickens fears falling into debt if his next production is equally unpopular. But, having struck on the idea of a holiday-themed narrative, he struggles with writer's block and with the endless distractions of his burgeoning family's domestic life.
 
A visit from his feckless father, John (Jonathan Pryce), whom Dickens blames for the sufferings of his childhood -- flashbacks show us his grim life as an apprentice in a shoe polish factory -- is a particular source of worry and conflict. Dickens, who fancifully summons up, and interacts with, his own characters, also spars with dour miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) who here serves as a naysaying critic of Dickens' work.
 
When his publishers, Chapman (Ian McNeice) and Hall (David McSavage), turn the prospective volume down, Dickens resolves to publish it himself, thus raising the financial stakes still further. He does at least enjoy the steady encouragement of his patient wife, Kate (Morfydd Clark), and of his friend and unpaid literary agent, John Forster (Justin Edwards).
 
The conversion story Dickens' eventually pens finds a real-life counterpart in the amendment of his own behavior. So director Bharat Nalluri's adaptation of Les Standiford's 2008 book has some positive moral lessons to convey about consideration and forgiveness.
 
Since it's also family-friendly in most respects -- a solitary instance of mild bedroom humor is based entirely on inference -- "The Man Who Invented Christmas" will likely prove a winner with a broad range of age groups.
 
The film contains a very vague sexual joke and a single mild oath. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
 
 
  • Published in Reviews

USCCB president condemns 'monstrous' attack on worshippers at mosque

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned the Nov. 24 bombing of a mosque in Egypt's North Sinai region, calling it a "monstrous terrorist attack on innocent people at prayer."
 
"Terrorist acts can never be justified in the name of God or any political ideology, and the fact this attack took place at a mosque, a place of worship, is especially offensive to God," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.
 
Reports indicate that militants killed more than 300 people at a mosque by detonating a bomb and gunning down worshippers. At least 128 others were injured in what is being described as the deadliest modern-day attack in Egypt's history.
 
"The Catholic Church in the United States mourns with the people of Egypt at this time of tragedy, and assures them of our prayerful solidarity," Cardinal DiNardo said in a statement.
 
"We join with all those of goodwill in prayer that these acts of terror and mass killings -- these acts of grave evil -- will end and will be replaced with genuine and mutual respect for the dignity of each and every person," he said.
 
The attack took place at the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El Arish, the main city in North Sinai.
 
Reuters reported that witnesses said that "worshippers were finishing Friday prayers at the mosque when a bomb exploded. … Around 40 gunmen set up positions outside the mosque with jeeps and opened fire from different directions as people tried to escape."
 
In a televised address, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said the attack was "an attempt to stop us from our efforts in the fight against terrorism, to destroy our efforts to stop the terrible criminal plan that aims to destroy what is left of our region."
 
 
  • Published in World
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