LISTENING ENCOURAGED--Pope Francis stands next to Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as he poses for a photo during a meeting with four imams from Britain at the Vatican April 5. The pope encouraged religious leaders to listen to one another and teach their followers to do the same. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano, handout)
Catholics to open climate march with Mass, prayer, Capitol Hill visitsWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholics participating in the Peoples Climate Movement march in the nation's capital will be able to pray at a Mass and visit their representatives on Capitol Hill as part of two days of activities. March organizers are expecting hundreds of thousands of people to travel to Washington April 29 in a broad showing of grassroots support for federal government action in addressing climate change and to oppose the rollback of environmental standards by the administration of President Donald Trump. Catholic organizations are planning to greet hundreds of Catholics as well. The Franciscan Action Network and Interfaith Power & Light of Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia are planning a Mass at 9 a.m. the day of the march at St. Dominic Church in Washington. Massgoers are to reconvene on the march route and walk together. Patrick Carolan, network executive director, has served on the march's steering committee. He said his organization has worked to ensure that the moral and spiritual values that encompass protecting God's creation are shared as widely as the political message marchers hope to send to Congress and the White House.
Pew study shows Christianity's growth will be in global SouthCAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Most of Christianity's future growth is likely to be in the global South, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the Christian population is relatively young, according to a new analysis from the U.S.-based Pew Research Center. And, while at last count more babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion, reflecting Christianity's status as the world's largest religious group, Muslim births will start to outnumber Christian births by 2035. The share of Christians worldwide who live in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase dramatically between 2015 and 2060, from 26 percent to 42 percent, due to high fertility in the region. At the same time, lower fertility and religion switching are among factors that will lead to a drop in numbers of Christians living in Europe and North America, according to Pew Research Center demographic estimates released April 5. The center said there are important regional differences in birth and death trends for some religious groups. It noted that among Christians, sub-Saharan Africa experienced the biggest natural increase between 2010 and 2015 -- with 64 million more births than deaths -- followed by smaller Christian increases in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and North America.
Catholic religious call on Congress to support refugee resettlementWASHINGTON (CNS) -- A group of more than 4,000 religious sisters and clergy, including priests, brothers and deacons, sent a letter to every U.S. senator, member of Congress and President Donald Trump voicing support for the refugee resettlement program. "Our nation has long prided itself on providing refugee families an opportunity to start a new life and the chance to contribute to the continued flourishing of our country. Now, when the need is so great, is not the time to waver in our commitment to this tradition of welcome," said the letter dated March 27 and released by the Franciscan Action Network in Washington. Through executive action, Trump has sought to suspend the refugee resettlement program as part of a temporary travel ban affecting some majority-Muslim countries. Different federal judges have temporarily halted the ban, even after revisions were made to it, and asked for an extension in March to keep it from going into effect saying that it discriminates based on religion. Even as the future of the executive order is decided, Catholic agencies and organizations that work with refugee resettlement or advocate for refugees, are bracing for what could happen should the ban be upheld. Quoting the Bible verse Matthew 25, and pointing to the teachings of Jesus, the letter cites the Catholic tradition of welcoming the stranger.
Priest will travel with St. Jude's relic to any parish requesting a visitGREEN BAY, Wis. (CNS) -- Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with one of the 12 Apostles? Well, all you have to do is ask and St. Jude -- or part of him anyway -- will come to you. That's exactly what St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Oshkosh did. They contacted the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus in Chicago, and the arm relic of St. Jude the Apostle came to them March 21, brought by Dominican Father Michail Ford, the shrine's director. Just as he did for Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison last July. "We heard about that (visit to Madison)," said Rob Saley, who handles adult faith formation at St. Jude Parish. "We were very interested, because St. Jude is our patron here. I got in touch with (Father Ford) at the shrine." And that's how the March 21 visit was arranged. There was an evening Mass along with St. Jude devotions and a special blessing with the oil of St. Jude. Since 1949, the St. Jude shrine at Chicago's St. Pius V Church has been the home of the relic of St. Jude, one of the 12 Apostles. It is believed to be the largest relic of St. Jude outside of Rome. The relic bone from the forearm of St. Jude, encased in a silver reliquary, was for centuries located in Armenia in the care of the Dominicans. As religious turmoil increased in the area, the Dominicans left the area, taking the relic with them, first to Turkey. Eventually, they ended up in Turin, Italy, in the 18th Century.
Peruvian court: Indigenous communities must be consulted before drillingLIMA, Peru (CNS) -- A Peruvian court has upheld the right of Awajun and Wampis indigenous communities to be consulted about oil drilling on their land, in a case supported by Catholic Church leaders. The court ordered the government to ensure that two oil companies, one French and one Canadian, suspend operations and withdraw from the lease known as Block 116, in Peru's northern Amazonas and Loreto regions, until a consultation is held. "The decision shows that life and health are more important than economic activities," said Zebelio Kayap Jempekit, an Awajun leader who is a plaintiff in the case. Just days before the March 28 ruling, Kayap testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, with indigenous leaders from other South American countries and representatives of the church's Pan-Amazonian Church Network, known by its Spanish acronym as REPAM. "The court decision requires the government to review the way it deals with indigenous peoples in cases involving large industrial projects (and) find a solution that allows it to promote investment while also respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and national and international environmental standards," said Ismael Vega Diaz, director of the Amazonian Center for Anthropology and Practical Application, founded by the Peruvian Catholic Church to advise the bishops on Amazonian issues.
Catholic approach to development looks at body and soul, pope saysVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Catholic approach to development aims at helping people achieve both physical and spiritual wellbeing and promotes both individual responsibility and community ties, Pope Francis said. A development that is "fully human" recognizes that being a person means being in relationship; it affirms "inclusion and not exclusion," upholds the dignity of the person against any form of exploitation and struggles for freedom, the pope said April 4 at a Vatican conference marking the 50th anniversary of Blessed Paul VI's encyclical on integral human development, "Populorum Progressio." Holistic or integral development, Pope Francis said, involves "integrating" all people into one human family, integrating individuals into communities, integrating the individual and communal dimensions of life and integrating body and soul. "The duty of solidarity obliges us to seek proper ways of sharing so that there is no longer that dramatic inequality between those who have too much and those who have nothing, between those who discard and those who are discarded," he said.
Love or Altruism?By Father Thomas Mattison, pastor of Christ our Savior Parish in Manchester Center and Arlington
If we must take care to distinguish love from altruism, we must certainly take care to distinguish love from appetite. This difference was brought home to me by the guy who confessed that he was not “in love” with the woman he was seeing, but “in lust.”
Appetite/lust looks at the world as a vast smorgasbord laid out for the looker to choose from or reject. Appetite that is deeply rooted in an individual’s being – physical or emotional – gives rise to real pain when its satisfaction is not at hand. The things that satisfy or anesthetize the pain quickly become obsessions or addictions. Less-deeply rooted appetites become “-aholicisms” – choc-, shop-, game-, etc.
One of the benefits of periodic selective “fasting” is that it allows us to discover and assess the depth of our appetites. This is critically important for learning to love. Appetite, you see, rejects the idea of continuing in pain; it sees the suffering self as somehow victimized or deprived of what he needs to thrive. Love, by contrast, sees even the sufferer as empowered and enriched – with patience, with mercy, with humility, hope, etc. Again, fasting allows the person who deprives himself of whatever, allows himself to discover his own richness, rather than his needs – or, better, to discover the richness of love that cannot be diminished by “going without” what satisfies appetite.
Dramatic fasting – like that of Jesus in the desert – teaches the faster the power of faith in God’s love to overcome even fast-induced weakness. This is not recommended for the faint of heart.
Here’s a thought: Widowhood and abandonment, like celibacy, allow one who has lost one love to find the power of love still at work in oneself, even as the heart breaks.
For more about Father Mattison’s parish, go to christoursaviorvt.com.