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The last diplomat from the Vatican leaves Nicaragua
Posted on 03/21/2023 00:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
ACI Prensa Staff, Mar 20, 2023 / 17:00 pm (CNA).
The Holy See reported on Saturday that the Vatican’s diplomatic headquarters in Nicaragua was forced to close.
“Yesterday, March 17, the chargé d’affaires of the apostolic nunciature in Nicaragua, Monsignor Marcel Diouf, left the country for Costa Rica. The closure of the diplomatic headquarters of the Holy See occurred as a result of a request from the Nicaraguan government on March 10, 2023,” Vatican News reported.
The Vatican news outlet indicated that “by virtue of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, custody of the apostolic nunciature and its assets was entrusted to the Italian Republic.”
“Before his departure, Diouf was greeted by diplomatic representatives accredited in Nicaragua from the European Union, Germany, France, and Italy,” it said.
Diouf was the last Vatican official in Nicaragua and assumed the role of business manager after the government of Daniel Ortega expelled the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, in March 2022.
On March 12, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that it was considering suspending diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
This occurred two days after an interview with Pope Francis was published in which he harshly criticized the Ortega regime — where the Catholic Church is persecuted — and compared it to “the communist dictatorship of 1917 or the Hitler dictatorship of 1935.”
He also mentioned the bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez, who was sentenced to 26 years in prison for his opinions against the regime. “A very serious man, very capable. He wanted to give his testimony and did not accept exile,” the Holy Father said.
Likewise, in reference to Ortega, the pope pointed out that “with great respect, I have no choice but to think there’s an imbalance in the person who leads” Nicaragua.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Maryland Senate passes bill to end statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits
Posted on 03/20/2023 23:30 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 16:30 pm (CNA).
Legislation that would end the statute of limitations for lawsuits against entities that are accused of negligence involving incidents of child sexual abuse overwhelmingly passed the Maryland Senate last week.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. William C. Smith, D-Montgomery, passed the Senate in a 42-5 vote. The proposed legislation was sent to the House of Delegates, where it has been referred to the Judiciary Committee. The House has already passed a version of the same bill.
The Maryland Catholic Conference criticized the bill for its unequal treatment of private groups, Crux reported. The legislation creates a different set of rules for public entities than it does for private entities.
The legislation would fully eliminate the statute of limitations for a victim to file a lawsuit related to child sexual abuse against private and public entities. The proposed bill would cap the amount of money that victims could receive but at different levels, depending on whether the lawsuit is filed against a private or a public entity.
A victim who sues a public entity, such as a public school, could be awarded up to $890,000, according to the proposed legislation. However, a victim who sues a private entity, such as a Catholic Church, could be awarded up to $1.5 million, which is nearly 70% more than public entities.
The legislation would also be retroactive, which means victims could file lawsuits against entities even if the current statute of limitations has already passed. The current statute of limitations for suing entities is seven years from the day before the victim’s 18th birthday. For lawsuits against direct offenders, the statute of limitations is 20 years after the person turns 18.
“These bills treat public and private institutions differently by setting a lower ceiling on how much a public school board, for example, could be sued compared to a private institution such as a parish or nonpublic school,” the Maryland Catholic Conference told Crux. “This creates two classes of survivors and greatly increases the financial harm to the Church and its ministries.”
In the email to the news outlet, the conference also criticized the unlimited window.
“The draconian provision of an unlimited window for currently time-barred civil cases to be filed, regardless of when they occurred, is nearly unprecedented among similar laws passed in other states,” the email read.
Similar rules in other states have financially damaged dioceses throughout the country over abuse allegations that span a half of a century or more. Last week, the Diocese of Albany filed for bankruptcy after settling more than 50 lawsuits, some of which date back to the 1970s. The Diocese of Oakland may need to declare bankruptcy for similar reasons.
And last week a Maryland judge approved the release of the attorney general’s sexual abuse investigation into the Diocese of Baltimore. This investigation spans 80 years.
U.S. bishops: Catholic health care providers shouldn’t perform ‘gender transition’ procedures
Posted on 03/20/2023 23:00 PM (CNA Daily News)
CNA Newsroom, Mar 20, 2023 / 16:00 pm (CNA).
The U.S. Catholic bishops released a statement Monday offering moral guidance for Catholic health care institutions, reiterating that “gender transition” interventions are not to be performed because they do not respect the fact that God has created each person as a unity of body and soul.
“The body is not an object, a mere tool at the disposal of the soul, one that each person may dispose of according to his or her own will, but it is a constitutive part of the human subject, a gift to be received, respected, and cared for as something intrinsic to the person,” the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine wrote.
“As the range of what we can do expands, we must ask what we should or should not do. An indispensable criterion in making such determinations is the fundamental order of the created world. Our use of technology must respect that order.”
To that end, the bishops wrote, “Catholic health care services must not perform interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex or take part in the development of such procedures.”
“They must employ all appropriate resources to mitigate the suffering of those who struggle with gender incongruence, but the means used must respect the fundamental order of the human body. Only by using morally appropriate means do health care providers show full respect for the dignity of each human person.”
The March 20 statement, titled “Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to Technological Manipulation of the Human Body,” is intended, the bishops say, to provide moral criteria for Catholic health care institutions for discerning which medical interventions promote the authentic good of the human person and which are injurious. The bishops said they developed the statement in consultation with medical ethicists, physicians, psychologists, and moral theologians.
The bishops note that modern technology offers chemical, surgical, and genetic interventions for the functioning of the human body as well as for modifying its appearance. There are two scenarios, they said, whereby “technological interventions” can be morally justified: when they are aimed at repairing a defect in the body or sacrificing a part of the body for the sake of the whole, such as with amputation. These kinds of interventions “respect the fundamental order and finality inherent in the human person.”
However, gender transition surgeries “regards this order as unsatisfactory in some way and proposes a more desirable order, a redesigned order,” and thus are not morally permissible.
“These technological interventions are not morally justified either as attempts to repair a defect in the body or as attempts to sacrifice a part of the body for the sake of the whole,” the bishops asserted.
The bishops said one of the reasons for this moral calculus is that the “transitioning” person’s organs, which undergo mutilation and reconstruction during the gender transition process, are not disordered but are healthy. Moreover, “when a part of the body is legitimately sacrificed for the sake of the whole body, whether by the entire removal or substantial reconfiguration of a bodily organ, the removal or reconfiguring of the bodily organ is reluctantly tolerated as the only way to address a serious threat to the body. Here, by contrast, the removal or reconfiguring is itself the desired result.”
Discussing the proliferation of “gender transition” medical interventions, the bishops noted that Catholic health care institutions are not to take part in these interventions because they do not respect the “fundamental order of the human body” as being “sexually differentiated.”
“Such interventions, thus, do not respect the fundamental order of the human person as an intrinsic unity of body and soul, with a body that is sexually differentiated,” the bishops continued.
“The soul does not come into existence on its own and somehow happen to be in this body, as if it could just as well be in a different body. A soul can never be in another body, much less be in the wrong body,” the bishops wrote.
“Because of this order and finality, neither patients nor physicians nor researchers nor any other persons have unlimited rights over the body; they must respect the order and finality inscribed in the embodied person.”
The bishops quoted Pope Francis, who wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si’: “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.”
Relying on medical interventions that do not respect the body-soul unity is a “mistake,” they wrote.
“An approach that does not respect the fundamental order will never truly solve the problem in view; in the end, it will only create further problems. The Hippocratic tradition in medicine calls upon all health care providers first and foremost to ‘do no harm.’ Any technological intervention that does not accord with the fundamental order of the human person as a unity of body and soul, including the sexual difference inscribed in the body, ultimately does not help but, rather, harms the human person.”
Encounter Jesus in the Mass this Easter with this 7-week series offered by the Eucharistic Revival
Posted on 03/20/2023 22:36 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 15:36 pm (CNA).
This Easter season the U.S. bishops are inviting old and new Catholics to discover the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Mass through a brand-new reflection series releasing every Thursday from Divine Mercy Sunday to Pentecost, April 13 through May 25.
Titled “Beautiful Light: A Paschal Mystagogy” and part of the bishop’s National Eucharistic Revival campaign, the series will feature powerful weekly reflections from some of the nation’s leading Catholic speakers and theologians on the divine mystery of the Mass.
“At every age and stage of life, Jesus invites us to discover the joy of friendship with him,” said National Eucharistic Revival spokesperson Sister Alicia Torres, FE, in a Monday press release. “For Catholics, this happens in a most special way during Mass — the source and summit of the Christian life.’”
“Many of us haven’t had the chance to really explore the beauty and mystery God invites us into at Mass. That is the goal of [this series], to give every Catholic a chance to go deeper this Easter season,” Torres said.
Over the seven weeks of the series, seven different Catholic thinkers will write reflections on different rites of the Mass:
Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis will kick off the series by writing on sacrifice.
Sister Maria Miguel Wright of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, will follow by reflecting on praise and thanksgiving.
Next, renowned biblical scholar Jeff Cavins will write on the universal call to holiness.
Archbishop James Peter Sartain of Seattle will reflect on Jesus as Lord and lover of souls.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops President Archbishop Timothy Broglio will write about the paschal mystery.
Theologian and podcaster Father Harrison Ayre will write on the communal character of the Church as the body of Christ.
Archdiocese of Washington adult formation and Hispanic catechesis coordinator Kately Javier will finish off the series by reflecting on the joy of trinitarian adoration.
“Whether you are just joining the Church at Easter Vigil this year or have been Catholic your entire life, this series is for you,” Torres said.
Torres told CNA that her “primary hope is that this series will help us open our hearts to a new and deeper encounter with Jesus in the Mass that impels us to go on mission with Jesus — especially in the ordinary, everyday moments of our lives.”
“What does it look like to go on mission with Jesus? Jesus told us to love one another as he has loved us (Jn 13:34). Loving this way — the way Jesus loves — this is what it means to go on mission with him. When we are on mission with Jesus, we are living eucharistic lives,” Torres said.
The paschal mystagogy theme calls for an Easter rediscovery of the Mass. The word “paschal” refers to the Easter season while mystagogy refers to “liturgical catechesis to initiate people in the mysteries of Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1075).
In a 2019 address, Pope Francis said “mystagogy means discovering the new life we have received in the people of God through the sacraments, and continually rediscovering the beauty of renewing it.”
To access the Easter reflections, subscribe here.
For more information on the National Eucharistic Revival, click here.
New York City’s Mayor Adams responds to critics of his faith-based comments
Posted on 03/20/2023 22:10 PM (CNA Daily News)
CNA Newsroom, Mar 20, 2023 / 15:10 pm (CNA).
New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday responded to critics of his recent statements on faith and spirituality.
In a March 19 appearance on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki,” when questioned about those who “shorthand” what he has said about religion, Adams responded: “You can allow the loudest to get in the way, and all of a sudden you’re responding to the loudest. So, if people who took my innocent words of saying spirituality is crucial, then let them be.”
Adams, a Democrat and former police officer who has been in office a little more than a year, in recent weeks has raised eyebrows by talking about God, prayer, and his ideas against the separation of church and state.
In the interview with Psaki, Adams said he is concerned about America and that the root of the country’s problems is a failure to embrace spirituality. He likened the current state of affairs in the United States to a frog placed in cool water.
“If you place a frog in hot water, it jumps out right away,” he said. “If you place it in cool water, turn up the temperature, it will stay there and boil itself to death. I think that our country, we are boiling ourselves to death, and that the root of that is our failure to embrace our spirituality.”
Adams’ comparison of the country to a frog in boiling water repeated comments he made at a mental health faith-based summit March 16 at Columbia University Teachers College. The event was co-sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships, created by Adams in February 2022.
“People wonder why I lean into my faith so much. If you only know how broken I have been as a child, and I am just a pure miracle of God. And every day, just to be able to just rejoice in the fullness of [the fact that] you can take a broken child and turn him into the mayor of the city of New York. God is real. God is real,” he told the summit, to applause from the crowd.
He went on to give his opinions on the state of society today.
“Our babies are waking up every day in the morning, on their way to school, stopping into stores and bodegas, buying gummy bears and Skittles laced with cannabis and sitting inside the classroom,” he said.
“People ask me over and over again, 'Why do you keep saying it’s time to pray, it’s time to pray?' We have moved our faith-based leaders outside of what we should be doing together," he said. "We must introduce faith and wellness back into our families. I’m baffled that you can talk about cannabis in schools but not faith.”
Adams then said the city’s Department of Education would roll out “mindfulness,” “breathing exercises,” and “internal care” for school children.
“How do we take a city that is the center of the power of America and turn it into a city, when you enter it, everyone sees faith and sees God?” Adams asked. “Our challenge is not economics. Our challenge is not finance. Our challenge is faith. People have lost their faith.”
At an interfaith breakfast on Feb. 28, Adams also made strong statements about the separation of church and state.
“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state,” he said. “State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies. I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official. When I walk, I walk with God. When I talk, I talk with God. When I put policies in place, I put them in with a God-like approach to them. That’s who I am.”
New York archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan on March 1 praised Adams’ comments about church and state. “Bravo, Mayor Adams. Bravo! Glad you said it,” Dolan said on WCBS 880 news radio.
Donna Lieberman, executive director of NYCLU (ACLU of New York), said the mayor’s comments “were playing with fire.”
“Adams’ team is now claiming that those New Yorkers expressing concern over his comments are distorting his meaning — that he was making a point about what animates his leadership,” she wrote on the NYCLU website March 2. “But, without even considering what goes on in theocracies around the world, our city’s history alone shows why Adams is playing a dangerous game by casually dismissing the well-established partition between religion and public policy.”
Adams, who identifies as a Christian, was raised in the Church of Christ but now attends mostly nondenominational services, Politico reported.
In January, Adams introduced the New York City’s Women’s Health Agenda, which includes “expanding access to medication abortion at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Clinics.”
The city said that and other initiatives “build off programs and services launched during Mayor Adams’ first year in office,” such as “a first-of-its-kind Abortion Access Hub that confidentially refers callers from across the country to abortion care providers in New York City, as well as connections to additional financial support, transportation, and lodging.”
Canon law copyright case: Priest’s website stays online thanks to new translation
Posted on 03/20/2023 20:42 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 13:42 pm (CNA).
Canon law enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief. A popular canon law website will continue to offer its content to the public despite fears that it would have to shut down because of a copyright dispute over its English translation of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law.
The website, CanonLaw.Ninja, owned by Father Paul Hedman, will be able to continue its operations with a different translation owned by the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland (CLSGBI).
As CNA reported last Thursday, Hedman shared the Canon Law Society of America’s Code of Canon Law on his website for years before receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the organization telling him to take that translation of the Code of Canon Law down by March 17. He was also instructed to destroy all copies on the website and all personal copies unless purchased from the CLSA.
Hedman told CNA that the British and Irish CLSGBI offered its translation free of charge, as long as their organization receives proper attribution.
As of this past weekend, the website continues to operate with the CLSGBI translation now in use.
“The Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland has graciously allowed me to use their translation of the Code of Canon Law,” Hedman said in a Tweet Saturday.
CanonLaw.Ninja, which describes itself as “a resource for both professional and armchair canonists,” includes up-to-date translations of the Code of Canon Law as well as other documents, such as the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It also offers an easy format and a tool that allows users to search for relevant canons. Hedman created the website as a seminarian because the only other online copy of the code, which was on the Vatican’s website, was not up to date and was not searchable.
Although Hedman initially took to Twitter to express his shock and disappointment over the copyright enforcement, he has since had an amicable discussion with CLSA. He issued a statement saying CLSA has clarified some of the reasons why it sent him the cease-and-desist letter and added that CLSA intends to work with CanonLaw.Ninja in the coming months.
“As it turns out, CLSA itself did not possess the right to publish digital copies online until recently (beginning with the upcoming fourth printing), which led to the desire to address potentially conflicting online versions as the society itself tries to make the code more accessible in digital form,” Hedman said in the statement.
“CLSA is trying to find a new way to work together with me to use and improve CanonLaw.Ninja, hopefully integrating the site with CLSA’s contributions,” the statement continued. “Based on the conversation, I am very hopeful that we will find a solution beneficial to everyone involved.”
Neither CLSA nor Hedman would comment further on the future collaboration when reached by CNA. Rather, they both referred CNA to Hedman’s statement and suggested that further announcements about the collaboration could come in the next few months.
The pro-life fight: What is happening in the states?
Posted on 03/20/2023 19:52 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Mar 20, 2023 / 12:52 pm (CNA).
Since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade in June 2022, the abortion battle has moved to the states.
Now that abortion is no longer considered a federally guaranteed constitutional right, individual states are allowed to determine their abortion policies. This means that each state legislature has a renewed importance when it comes to the abortion fight.
While 13 states have passed total abortion bans, many states have moved in the opposite direction, enshrining abortion as a state constitutional right.
Here is what is happening in the abortion battle right now.
Wyoming bans abortion pills
Republican Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming signed a bill banning abortion pills into law on Friday. The ban is set to take effect July 1 and makes it a felony to prescribe, sell, or use abortion drugs. The bill explicitly states that “a woman upon whom a chemical abortion is performed or attempted shall not be criminally prosecuted.”
Violations of the abortion pill are punishable by six months in prison and a $9,000 fine. This is the first law specifically banning chemical abortion in the U.S., though other states have restricted or banned the use of abortion pills as part of their abortion bans.
Additionally, Wyoming’s “Life is a Human Right Act” also took effect last week without the governor’s signature. This new law declares abortion the killing of a child and bans it except in cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormality, and the life of the mother. As another Wyoming total abortion ban remains blocked, it is uncertain whether this new law will be able to take effect.
Utah bans abortion clinics
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, signed a bill last week that prohibits abortions outside of hospitals and bans clinics that only offer abortion. The bill prohibits the licensing of abortion clinics after May 2, 2023, and makes it a criminal offense for out-of-state actors to prescribe abortion drugs to Utahns.
The law is set to take effect on May 3.
North Dakota abortion ban remains blocked
The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a state law banning abortion will remain blocked as it works its way through the state’s court system. This means that abortion remains legal through 22 weeks in North Dakota for the time being.
Minnesota considers offering legal protection to abortionists
Minnesota lawmakers introduced a bill today offering legal protection to abortionists who provide abortions to out-of-state women. The law would prevent state courts or officials from complying with extraditions, arrests, or subpoenas from other states over abortions provided within Minnesota. Democrats hold majorities in both houses of the Legislature as well as the governorship, making this bill likely to pass.
Arkansas authorizes ‘monument to the unborn’
Arkansas, which has banned abortion within the state, has now authorized the construction of a “monument to the unborn” on the state capitol grounds in Little Rock.
Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the law authorizing the monument last week. The monument, which will be privately funded, will mark the number of abortions that were committed in Arkansas before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
California proposes protecting doctors who mail abortion drugs
California lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to protect doctors from any legal repercussions for sending abortion drugs to women in states where the drugs are banned.
Texas judge considers halting abortion pill sales
Matthew Kascmaryk, a federal judge for the Northern District of Texas, is weighing whether to overturn the FDA’s approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. The judge heard arguments from the Alliance Defending Freedom and lawyers representing the FDA on Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, Kacsmaryk stated he would issue a ruling “as soon as possible.” This case has national implications as a pro-life ruling could potentially halt the distribution of the drug used in over half of the nation’s abortions.
NY pregnancy center that was set on fire is hit again with ‘Jane’s Revenge rhetoric’
Posted on 03/20/2023 19:35 PM (CNA Daily News)
Boston, Mass., Mar 20, 2023 / 12:35 pm (CNA).
A New York pro-life pregnancy center that was seriously damaged in an arson attack in June 2022 was vandalized again Thursday with pro-abortion graffiti.
The destruction of property at CompassCare Pregnancy Services in Amherst, New York, is the latest in a wave of attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers across the country, which began after a May 2022 leak from the Supreme Court indicating that the justices were poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Roe, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide, was overturned that June.
There have only been two reported arrests in the more than 60 acts of vandalism on pro-life pregnancy centers across the country. Amid heavy criticism from the pro-life community, the FBI announced in January a reward of up to $25,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the arsonists of CompassCare.
The word “liars” was spray-painted in red capital letters across the center’s sign at its 1230 Eggert Rd., Amherst, location.
Jim Harden, CEO of CompassCare, told CNA Monday that the graffiti is “consistent with Jane’s Revenge rhetoric.”
“Jane’s Revenge” became a calling card of sorts for dozens of pro-abortion vandals after the May leak from the Supreme Court.
Harden told CNA the suspect was caught on tape vandalizing the clinic. He said he presented the information collected to the FBI and local police.
The sign was taken down and will cost about $2,000 to repair, he said.
The FBI has released a video of the June 2022 attack on the upstate New York pro-life pregnancy center, CompassCare. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals. Credit: FBI Buffalo Office pic.twitter.com/1PDXobalAR— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) November 14, 2022
“This is a very dangerous moment in the history of our country,” Harden said, referring to the vandalism of centers across the country. He accused the Biden administration of weaponizing the federal government against its political opponents by failing to hold the vandals accountable.
“Why is the FBI not saying that it’s Jane’s Revenge or Antifa? Why is the FBI not engaging in any kind of manhunt?”
“The FBI needs to be defunded, dismantled, and rebuilt,” he said.
Harden has employed private investigators to track down those who committed the act of arson last May.
He said that the solution to attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and the weaponization of the government is for the media to cover it and for the “average citizen” to “be vigilant.”
“It’s been said that the only freedoms that we don’t have are the ones that we give up. And quite frankly, we’re giving up a lot of freedoms when we say nothing and do nothing,” he said.
“We have to keep standing strong, and not just for our rights. My personal rights are secondary to my duty to protect the rights of my fellow man. That’s exactly why pregnancy centers exist in the first place.”
Legionaries of Christ to ordain 32 new priests in 2023
Posted on 03/19/2023 15:00 PM (CNA Daily News)
ACI Prensa Staff, Mar 19, 2023 / 08:00 am (CNA).
In 2023 the Legionaries of Christ religious order will provide 32 new priests for service to the Church. Twenty-nine of them will be ordained in Rome in the papal basilica of St. Mary Major on April 29 by Cardinal Fernando Vérguez, president of the Governorate of the State of Vatican City.
The other three will receive priestly ordination at different times of the year.
The soon-to-be new priests of the Legionaries of Christ come from Germany, Colombia, Chile, South Korea, Canada, Brazil, El Salvador, Spain, the United States, Italy, Mexico, and Venezuela.
The April 29 ordination in Rome can be viewed live on the congregation's website at 10 a.m. Rome time.
Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Miguel Esponda Sada, a seminarian of the Legionaries of Christ who will be ordained a priest this year, said that “to be a priest is to be a sign and living presence of Jesus Christ among men; it makes the world see the incarnate love of God.”
A priest, he continued, is “taken from among men, is chosen and consecrated to be mediator and bridge between God the Father and men.”
“He knows well and makes people’s sufferings and hopes his own; he knows well the heart of God and makes it his own,” Esponda said.
In a testimony posted on the Legionaries of Christ website, Pablo Lorenzo-Penalva, another of the seminarians who will receive priestly ordination this year, asked Catholics to say a Hail Mary “for all priests, especially for those of us who are going to be ordained, so that we never forget that the most effective way to come to Jesus is through his mother, Mary.”
Seminarian Carlos Javier Ruiz commented: “My life was planned since I was little. But how great is God who saves us even from our plans. When he calls, if we respond to him, nothing is ever the same.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Pope Francis: The differences of others are an occasion to love better
Posted on 03/19/2023 14:51 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Mar 19, 2023 / 07:51 am (CNA).
We should treat the physical and social differences of others as a chance to love, not as an inconvenience, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address on Sunday.
The pope’s weekly message focused on the day’s Gospel reading, which recounts Jesus’ miraculous healing of the blind man.
Francis pointed out the reactions of the different characters in the story and invited people to reflect on how they might respond in a similar situation.
“How do we welcome the difficulties and differences of others? How do we welcome the people who have many limitations in life, either physical like this blind man or social like the beggars we find on the street?” he asked. “And do we welcome these people as inconveniences or as occasions to draw near to them with love?”
Pope Francis addressed approximately 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square on March 19. He also led everyone in praying the Angelus, a traditional Marian prayer, in Latin.
He encouraged everyone to read chapter 9 of the Gospel of John.
“Read about this miracle” of the healing of the blind man, he said. “It’s beautiful the way John recounts it.”
“You can read it in two minutes. But it shows how Jesus proceeds and how the human heart proceeds. The good human heart, the lukewarm human heart, the fearful human heart, the courageous human heart,” he continued.
The pope said the Gospel passage shows how each of the different characters react to Jesus’ healing of the man born blind.
Some are skeptics and some find it unacceptable, he said.
“In all these reactions, for various reasons, there emerge hearts closed in front of the sign of Jesus,” he said, “because they seek a culprit, because they do not know how to be surprised, because they do not want to change, because they are blocked by fear.”
This is similar to many situations today, he added. “When faced with something that is really a message of a person’s testimony, a message from Jesus, we fall into this: we look for another explanation, we don’t want to change, we look for a more elegant way out than accepting the truth.”
The blind man, instead, is the only person who accepts Jesus’ gift well, the pope explained. “Happy to see, [he] testifies what happened to him in the simplest way: ‘I was blind, now I see.’”
Pope Francis said the Gospel is asking us to imagine ourselves in the same scene, so that we might ask what our own reaction would be.
“What would we have said then? And above all, what would we do today? Like the blind man, do we know how to see the good and to be grateful for the gifts we receive?” he said.
He added: “Do we bear witness to Jesus, or do we spread criticism and suspicion instead? Are we free when faced with prejudices or do we associate ourselves with those who spread negativity and gossip? Are we happy to say that Jesus loves us and saves us, or, like the parents of the man born blind, do we allow ourselves to be caged in by the fear of what others will think?”
Or are we, he continued, “the lukewarm of heart who do not accept reality, and do not have the courage to say: ‘No, this is how it is.’”
After praying the Angelus, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Ecuador, who were hit by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake on Saturday.
Hundreds of people were hurt and at least 15 people killed in the quake, which mainly affected southern Ecuador and northern Peru, BBC News reported.
“I am close to the Ecuadorian people and I assure of my prayers for the deceased and all those who are suffering,” the pope said.
He also wished a happy Father’s Day to all the fathers.
In countries such as Italy, Portugal, Spain, Bolivia, Honduras, and several others, Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19, the Catholic feast of St. Joseph.
“Today we wish all fathers well. May they find in St. Joseph the model, the support, the comfort to live their fatherhood well,” Pope Francis said, inviting everyone to pray the Our Father for fathers.
In 2023, due to March 19 falling on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the liturgical feast of St. Joseph is moved to Monday, March 20.