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Free discussion of anything human or divine ~ Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality

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Wosbald
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+JMJ+
Слава Україні wrote:Did I miss some drama? Been a while since I posted and it looks like some interesting things happened.
Well, I'd say it's no flamewar. Just an adult disagreement.

But it's all right there, so you decide fer yerself if it clears your bar for "drama".

And while yer doin' that, grab a cup o' Christmas Blend, kick back and share the Joy of the Season!


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Skyweir
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lol :lol: wos you truly see the bright side of life, the universe and everything
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keep smiling 😊 :D 😊

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Fist and Faith wrote:I'm asking why Catholics venerate a hierarchy that does what this one does. Saying I am demanding Catholics justify their existence is as accurate as saying I'm demanding Catholics take down their space lasers. Both are dodges.
Of course they are; this has been his tactic since he arrived.

- Claim that there's no catholic organization when the existence of Vatican City is well-known.

- Claim that there's no catholic organization when the existence of the pope-laypeople hierarchy is well-known.

- Claim that there's no catholic organization when quoting members of that hierarchy, and using those members as an authority.

- Claim that there's no catholic organization when the catholic mass is the same in every church worldwide on every Sunday.

Now, this is a free country and people are free to believe whatever nonsense they like. But we're also free to ignore that nonsense in our lives. And when it comes to politics, our founding documents are pretty clear that we ignore mystics when it comes to making laws.

The catholic church is a criminal organization with crimes and atrocities stretching back to its foundation. It is, quite literally, rotten to the core.
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Wosbald wrote:+JMJ+
Fist and Faith wrote:What's easy?
That, regardless of whatever "hierarchy" may or may not exist in the Catholic Church, there is no overarching "THE Catholic Organization" writ-large.

Insisting that there is such a thing and demanding Catholics justify their existence thereby is an indefensible, bigoted slur. I.e. AntiCatholicism.

It's easy. So easy.


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Coming in at this juncture admittedly has its issues but sweeping generalisations are rarely astute nor do they advance understanding.

We need I think elemental granularity and data-detail that conveys accurate messaging and understanding.

I don’t think we’d be demanding a Jew represent the global Jewish paradigm which is as diverse in ideology and individual belief systems as the Christian protestantism reality.

I know no one is assigning all Catholics with either similar criminal tendencies/ or being complicit in condoning/supporting child abusers does the subject under scrutiny no service at all and is neither reasonable or fair.

According to various research bodies Catholic rapists/child abusers represent about 4% of the US Catholic clergy.
According to an extensive study produced by John Jay College for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, about 4 percent of priests in ministry from the study period (1950-2002) were accused of sexual abuse.
From legal firm promoting their services to victims
https://www.pintas.com/sexual-assault-l ... -of-abuse/

However, it’s not limited to Catholics but more accurately it’s related to a wide range of institutional organisations, including the Boy Scouts, orphanages, boarding schools, many many protestant religious organisations as well.

I have a client who is in his 30s now that was a victim of Catholic clergy abuse and it would seem young boys are a target demographic. However, such abuses carry with them the same issues that rape statistics share ~ and that is 1. social stigma and 2. underreporting.
The John Jay study found that 80% of abusive acts by Catholic clergy happened to boys.
It is irrefutable that the Catholic church attempted institutionalal cover ups and private settlements to prevent discovery.
It is not a secret that parts of the Catholic Church tried to cover up abuse cases.
There are systemic wrongs that the Catholic church is being forced to address.

https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021 ... lic-church

Catholic Conferences address child sec abuse and measures to mitigate abuses from occurring

https://www.usccb.org/sites/default/fil ... 0-2010.pdf

But as these abuses are not confined to Catholicism and even within US Catholicism seems it is perpetrated by a minority clergy ~ and rooting out those clergy and removing them from positions of trust and influence is reducing the incidence and impact of this egregious abuse of power.

I think using less sweeping generalisations ~ helps to better identify the core issues and more astutely unpack and address them.
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+JMJ+

Struggle against neoliberalism unites Catholic Church and organized labor [Analysis, Opinion]
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Los Angeles school workers protest in front of Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters during the first day of a walkout over contract negotiations that closed the country's second largest school system March 21, 2023. (OSV News/Reuters/Aude Guerrucci)

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which was the Catholic Church's answer to Marxism's anointing of May 1 as International Workers Day. Pope Pius XII placed the feast date on the universal calendar in 1955, the height of the Cold War. The decision was, in the strictest sense of the term, reactionary.

The relationship between the church and organized labor in this country was strong in the 1950s, and so far from being reactionary, it was even visionary. Labor leaders could quote Catholic social teaching chapter and verse. The relationship atrophied a bit during the '80s and '90s as the bishops' public witness increasingly focused on social issues, but in recent years, efforts were renewed to strengthen the alliance anew. For example, last year's May 1 Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C., honored the late AFL-CIO chaplain Msgr. George Higgins. Cardinal Wilton Gregory presided and then-Fr, now-Bishop Evelio Menjivar delivered the homily.

Damon Silvers, who is not Catholic, is a huge fan of Catholic social teaching and was a key player in the three "Erroneous Autonomy" conferences, co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO, where Silvers served as policy director, and the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, then headed by Stephen Schneck. Those conferences identified the ways neoliberalism, sometimes known as libertarianism, are a common threat to organized labor and to the principles of Catholic social thought.

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Damon Silvers on April 25 delivered the first lecture of a series called "Understanding Neoliberalism as a System of Power." (Courtesy of AFL-CIO)

Last week, Silvers began a lecture series entitled "Understanding Neoliberalism as a System of Power" at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London. Three more lectures will round out the series and I highly recommend anyone interested in Catholic social teaching sign up for them. You can sign up for the May 2 lecture here.

The year 1955, when Pius XII declared today the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, was not only the height of the Cold War and of Catholic resistance to communism. In the West, it was a time when Keynesianism was establishing solid economic growth and strengthening democracies. Unions not only represented factory workers, but were themselves factories of participatory democracy and social solidarity.

In Europe, postwar Christian democracies were led by Catholics steeped in Catholic social teaching, men like Konrad Adenauer in Germany, Robert Schuman in France and Alcide De Gasperi in Italy. They embraced Keynesian ideas and helped create the European Union. In America in the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower led a Republican Party that had largely reconciled itself to the New Deal and was unafraid to use government to achieve important societal goals such as the interstate highway system. Even right-wing governments demonstrated an authoritarian version of Keynesianism: In Brazil, governed by a military junta since 1964, union membership was mandatory.

In the 1970s, for a variety of complex and particular reasons, from Richard Nixon's decision to end the gold standard to rising oil prices, Keynesianism was challenged anew. A small group of intellectuals — Friedrich Hayek, William Buckley, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand — had long railed against the Keynesian commitment to state regulation of the market economy, and in 1973 they found a willing political partner in Chile's dictator, Gen. Augusto Pinochet. A powerpoint slide in Silvers' recent lecture featured a photograph of the Chilean dictator meeting with the economist Milton Friedman. Four years later, Angelo Sodano was consecrated an archbishop and named apostolic nuncio to Chile, where he would befriend Pinochet, too. Sodano would become Pope John Paul II's secretary of state and continue to cozy up to neoliberal thugs until Pope Benedict replaced him in 2006.

In his lecture, Silvers made the argument that for too long "too much attention has been paid to what neoliberals said they were doing and far too little to what they actually were doing.” They claimed to be unleashing freedom from the shackles of government. In fact, “they were weakening public power and suborning public power to private power.” Silvers said neoliberalism is “Janus-faced, showing freedom to some and coercion to others.”

Silvers argues that the neoliberal connection with a military thug like Pinochet was not accidental, still less an anomaly. For all its critique of state regulation, and the comprehensive hollowing out of the state's ability to address problems and, indeed, its self-confidence at governance, neoliberalism is all too often content to rely on violence. This same paradox is why libertarians are so comfortable with fascists.

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Msgr. George Higgins, second from right, supports striking mine workers in Kentucky's Harlan County in this 1974 file photo. Higgins, longtime chaplain to the AFL-CIO, died May 1, 2002. (CNS/file photo)

[…]

The rise of neoliberalism has not brought increased freedom. It has brought increased income inequality, the emergence of powerful global systems for exploiting labor and extracting natural resources, and the rise of tax havens. Most frighteningly, Silvers argued, neoliberalism results in "nominally democratic political systems taking on the characteristics of plutocracies," Silvers said.

The lecture was brilliant, and Catholic thinkers should pay attention. Groups like the Napa Institute have been eager to baptize neoliberalism, but it can't be done. Whether you are talking about economics or abortion or climate change, libertarian ideas are simply not Catholic ideas. Period.

"In these lectures I hope to contribute to a conversation about the global impact of neoliberalism, a conversation that in many ways has been shaped by Pope Francis," Silvers told me in an email. "The Holy Father's emphasis in Laudato Si' on the ways in which both the crisis of climate change and the crisis of global poverty arise out of an idolatry of markets is really a critique of neoliberalism as a global system. In these lectures I hope to expand on those points and also to explore the paradox of libertarianism — that it leads to and is intertwined with authoritarianism."

As Catholics and as Americans, we need to pay attention to that paradox and do everything we can to hasten the end of neoliberalism and restore the kind of postwar political economy that brought widespread prosperity and governments capable of addressing the problems and the challenges of our time. In most, but not all, areas of public policy, President Joe Biden has been restoring the values of solidarity, the common good and human dignity to our politics. Catholic social teaching and its secular sibling, Keynesianism, are not perfect, but they are the best forms of political economy we have ever seen in the West. Finding new, creative ways to strengthen public power can only help poorer countries in the Global South resist the power of multinational corporations that so often rape their economies.

There is much more to be said on this important topic. I look forward to learning more from Silver's lectures. You should, too.


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+JMJ+

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The Money-Quote:
Sister Maria Teresa de Llano and Sister Roseanna Mellert
Catholic Charities of Laredo - La Frontera
Laredo, Texas


Supporting asylum seekers and immigrants who “have been on a journey for miles and miles and days and days” is what gives Sister Maria Teresa de Llano hope and purpose.

“It’s what I live for,” she says.

Sister Roseanna Mellert agrees: “When you’re able to help someone suffering in mind and body, you help them.”

With other Ursuline Sisters, part of a religious order, Sister Maria Teresa and Sister Roseanna reside at a Catholic Charities welcome and respite center providing basic necessities to people after their journeys to safety. When someone arrives, their first priority is to “hydrate them, feed them, give them the clean clothes that they need to take a shower,” and provide anything else that their guests need to “at least feel human for a bit,” says Sister Maria Teresa.

To her, that’s the most important thing. It’s “being able to help other people who really need help. Not to rescue them, but to help them. To treat them with some dignity.”
--> --> Faces of compassion: 6 humanitarians helping asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border [Profile]


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+JMJ+

CLINIC marks 35 years of giving legal help to migrants, representing asylum-seekers at border
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Asylum-seeking migrants sit by concertina wire fence while waiting to be transported by U.S. law enforcement officers after crossing the Rio Grande river into the U.S. from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, July 24, 2023. On Aug. 18, Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., best known as CLINIC, celebrated its 35th anniversary of making a difference in advocating for migrants. (OSV News photo/Go Nakamura, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — The Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., founded by the U.S. Catholic bishops in 1988, marked 35 years of service Aug. 18.

In its mission to protect the legal rights of immigrants, CLINIC trains legal representatives who provide quality and affordable immigration legal services to low-income migrants, maintaining a network of nonprofit programs serving more than 500,000 immigrants every year.

The group said its work includes efforts to provide direct representation for asylum-seekers at the U.S.–Mexico border and educating them about their rights; reuniting formerly separated families; providing legal representation for those in removal proceedings and in detention; public education efforts on immigration law and policies; and advocating for fair and just immigration policies that acknowledge the inherent human dignity of migrants.

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“Our hearts are full of gratitude as we celebrate this day,” Anna Gallagher, CLINIC’s executive director, said in a statement.

[…]

The CLINIC network comprises over 450 organizations, the group said, and is now the largest nonprofit immigration law organization in the country. Amid complex legal and political debates over the issue of immigration, demand for CLINIC's legal services continues to grow, it said.

“At CLINIC, we always come back to the why behind our work,” Gallagher said. “CLINIC’s founders saw the dignity and worth of immigrants in the United States who needed legal support to build better futures, in the wake of the 1986 immigration reform bill. Today, CLINIC continues to protect the rights of immigrants that are enshrined in national and international law and to advocate for more just policy.”

The bipartisan Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 implemented a multipronged system that provided amnesty for established residents, increased border enforcement, enhanced requirements for employers to hire migrants, and expanded guest worker visa programs. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops established CLINIC as a legally distinct nonprofit organization soon after to support efforts to serve those migrants.

As it embarks on its 35th anniversary year, the organization said it has plans to "celebrate those who have shaped and driven CLINIC’s work and reflect on how we have and continue to pursue our mission to embrace the Gospel value of welcoming the stranger."


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+JMJ+

Celebrate migration as the ultimate free choice a human can make [Explainer]
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"Immigrants' Dining Room," A photo taken at Ellis Island, c. 1910, by an employee of the National Park Service. The World Day of Migrants and Refugees concludes National Migration Week on September 24, 2023. (OSV News photo/public domain)

OSV News — At the height of the great migration from Europe 109 years ago, the church universally established a Sunday on which we can celebrate the phenomenon of migration. But is migration something to celebrate or is it something to understand and commemorate?

The theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, chosen by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, is “Free to Choose Whether to Migrate or to Stay.” This theme shines a light on the root causes that drive migration and that need to be understood by conscientious Christians. Hopefully, this year’s celebration can help us understand why people migrate and how we can help them.

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This year, Sept. 24 is the Sunday chosen for this celebration as it ends National Migration Week. It is a time when we are asked to reflect not only on the spiritual, but also on the sociological phenomenon of migration.

(click for more)
Spoiler
[…]

Key to our understanding of migration is the freedom that is necessary for good human decisions. Hopefully, people will not be forced to leave their country of origin because of persecution, but rather that they are able to make a free decision to leave for better living conditions or for family reunification. If all things were equal in the world, most people would decide to stay in their country of their origin. Unfortunately, it is inequality that sometimes forces people to make difficult decisions.

This year, we also commemorate the 20th anniversary of a joint pastoral letter between the bishops of the United States and Mexico titled, “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.” I was chairman of the USCCB Migration Committee when we issued this statement, for which we had to obtain the permission of the Holy See, since it is rather rare that two bishops’ conferences would join in a pastoral letter.

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A boy dressed as St. Juan Diego is held aloft following a Spanish-language Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Staten Island, N.Y. Dec. 11, 2022. The parish serves a large population of immigrants from Mexico. The World Day of Migrants and Refugees concludes National Migration Week on September 24, 2023. (OSV News photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Certainly, it was clear in 2003 the majority of migration to the United States was coming from Mexico, with much of that migration being irregular, or undocumented. It was necessary for the bishops of both countries to join in solidarity to give a pastoral letter to our people. The letter is still very pertinent and accurate, since the migration between our nations has changed very little.

Why celebrate migration? We do so because it is one of the ultimate free choices that a human being can make. If Abraham had not migrated from Ur of the Chaldeans, a new faith in the one God would not have been established. If Jesus had not migrated to Egypt with Mary and Joseph, there would have been no redemption to be celebrated.

When we look to Matthew’s Gospel in Chapter 25, we find the Lord clearly giving definite criteria on which someday we will all be judged, especially when He asks us, Have you welcomed the stranger?

Every migrant is a stranger in a new land, and the degree of welcome we offer will be the degree on which we may be judged. We are encouraged to use this National Migration Week and the World Day of Migrants and Refugees as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the complex issues that drive forced migration, and to renew our commitment to building a more just and inclusive world.


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+JMJ+

Bishop tells Catholics they’re ‘compelled to respond with charity’ to migrants, refugees
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A Texas state trooper watches as young migrants walk along concertina wire on the banks of the Rio Grande as they try to enter the U.S. from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, Thursday, July 6, 2023. (Credit: Eric Gay/AP)

NEW YORK — Ahead of the U.S. Catholic Church’s observance of National Migration Week, the U.S. Bishops Conference Migration Chair is reminding Catholics that they are “compelled to respond with charity” to migrants and refugees forced to flee their homes.

“For millennia, people have been forced to flee their homelands, seeking safety and security, because of factors beyond their control,” Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, the USCCB Migration Chair, said in a September 15 statement.

“Through our belief in Jesus Christ, we are compelled to respond with charity toward those who must uproot their lives in search of refuge, but efforts to manage migration — even when predicated on the common good — require that we also address the coercive forces driving people to migrate,” he added.

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National Migration Week, from Sept. 18–24, comes as the nation grapples with a migration crisis that took off during the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Customs and Border Protection data for southwest land border encounters shows that beginning in March 2021 border patrol has encountered between 150,000-210,000 migrants a month, peaking at about 252,000 encounters in December 2022, a record.

(click for more)
Spoiler
[…]

National Migration Week is an annual observance that culminates with the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Established by the Holy See over 100 years ago, the day is commemorated by Catholics worldwide. Throughout this period, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, are called to reflect on the challenges migrants face, and how they are called to respond.

For this year’s theme, Pope Francis selected, “Free to choose whether to migrate or stay.”

[…]

Seitz echoed the importance of a collective effort to respond to the factors that force people to migrate.

“Only through collective efforts to alleviate these forces and by establishing the conditions required for integral human development can people truly avail themselves of the right to remain in their country of birth,” Seitz said. “May God, through the intersession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, sustain us in these pursuits and protect those whose lives depend upon their success.”


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Ahead of papal visit, Marseille cardinal stresses balance on immigration
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Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline of Marseille speaks to journalists Sept. 13, 2023, at the Spanish Center for Ecclesiastical Studies ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to the city. (Credit: Elise Ann Allen/Crux)

Rome — With European tensions on migration flaring up ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to Marseille for a summit on the Mediterranean region, the city’s cardinal has stressed the need for a balanced approach.

“From my view, it is necessary to avoid two obstacles that are two forms of speech: The first is irenic speech on welcome for everyone, without limits,” said Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline of Marseille during a recent media roundtable.

Such language is often used by “people … who don’t live in neighborhoods that have to sustain these populations and situations,” Aveline said, pointing to drug trafficking as an example.

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Yet the French cardinal also cautioned against “aggressive speech,” which, he said, “always pronounces the migrant as universally guilty for all of the country’s problems. It’s speech which in fact wants to sow war among the people” to garner political support, he said.

“But the people who have this type of speech don’t live in these neighborhoods, and don’t live the wars that are being sown,” Aveline said, insisting that the Church’s role in engaging the migration issue is “to avoid these two speeches and the very, very, very delicate line of balance on welcome and the problems.”

Pope Francis will travel to Marseille Sept. 22–23 for a third edition of the Rencontres Méditerranéennes, or “Mediterranean Meetings,” following similar gatherings of political and ecclesiastical leaders in Bari and Florence.

(click for more)
Spoiler
The summit is expected to draw 60 representatives of churches from the five shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and around 60 young people from the same areas to discuss the current political, economic, and environmental challenges of the Mediterranean region.

[…]

Of the various topics to be discussed, including the environment, poverty, and violent conflict, migration is expected to loom largest, with Pope Francis, who has made the issue of migration a cornerstone of his papacy, effectively saying so himself during his Sept. 17 Sunday Angelus address.

Speaking to faithful in St. Peter’s Square, the pope Sunday said he will go to the meeting in Marseille to “promote processes of peace, collaboration, and integration around the mare nostrum, with particular attention to the migratory phenomenon.”

“This represents a challenge that is not easy, as we also see from the news of recent days, but which must be faced together, as is essential for everyone’s future, which will only be prosperous if built on fraternity, putting human dignity, concrete people, in first place, above all the neediest,” he said.

[…]

In terms of the Church’s role, Aveline said it must be “prophetic” when it comes to migration, fostering closeness, fidelity and genuine reflection on how best to move forward.

He noted that each person, in addition to having the right to migrate, also has a right not to migrate, and said reflection is also needed on this point.

“Reflection on this right, not to migrate, can develop other attitudes,” he said. “We must reflect on how to change some attitudes which are truly politically aggressive, how to change many things to ensure this right not to migrate.”

Aveline also stressed the importance for the Church to remember the dignity of each person and of human life a central component of any strategic approach, saying, “Every person is a brother or sister for whom Christ died.”

He also said “the unity of the entire human family” is another factor that must be considered when debating the issue, and that while politics is unavoidable, “a political argument that’s non-partisan” is what is most useful.

[…]

In his Sunday Angelus remarks, Pope Francis asked faithful to pray for his visit to Marseille, and thanked the civil and ecclesial authorities who organized both the logistics, and the discussion.

Calling Marseille “a city rich in people, called to be a port of hope,” the pope offered his personal greeting to its inhabitants, saying he is eagerly waiting “to meet many dear brothers and sisters.”


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+JMJ+

Respect Life: Immigration
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(Credit: Diocese of Norwich)

〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Mt 25:35–36)

〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰

NORWICH, CT — Pope Francis, in his message for the 2023 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, writes, “These words are a constant admonition to see in the migrant not simply a brother or sister in difficulty, but Christ himself, who knocks at our door.”

The Church has celebrated World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Sept. 24 this year, since 1914. It’s an occasion to express concern for, and solidarity with, different vulnerable people on the move, to pray for them as they face many challenges and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.

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The day is observed on the last Sunday of September. As the title for his annual message, the Holy Father has selected “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay.”

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(Credit: Diocese of Norwich)

Many parishioners within the Diocese of Norwich have been faced with that choice. Those who have come to the diocese to live, work and worship have found not only a warm and spiritual welcome, but a network of social services, aid and most importantly, people on which they can rely.

“With Catholic Charities and the Hispanic Ministry leading the way, we are working hard to provide assistance and education to families living in fear,” Bishop Cote said in April 2017. “Many families are in crisis mode and need to know the Church is there for them — there to help them navigate the complexities of local, state and federal regulations.”

(click for more)
Spoiler
The Office of Hispanic Ministry’s support and advocacy for Hispanic immigrants is rooted in the Gospel and in the rich tradition of Catholic social teaching. It serves the Catholic Hispanic communities in Clinton, Middletown, New London, Norwich and Windham.

“When we began in ministry, in the 1980s in Willimantic it was predominantly Puerto Rican,” Sr. Mary Jude Lazarus, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, said.

[…]

“Needs for housing, needs for jobs,” Sr. Mary Jude said. “The concept of ministry is so much wider than preaching the Gospel. The Gospel is preached in many ways, more than just from the pulpit. It’s preached in all the social responses to their needs.”

The office is a resource to all parishes such as St. Mary, as they help immigrants navigate issues such as residency, health and childcare, food security and work status.

“The bottom line is always about strengthening the faith of the people, in their own language and culture,” Sr. Mary Jude said.

A church of immigrants needs some care

St. Mary Church, on Central Avenue in Norwich, is the second oldest parish in the Diocese of Norwich, and the oldest in the diocese east of the Connecticut River.

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(Credit: Diocese of Norwich)

The church building is 100 years old, but the parish dates to 1845. Irish, Italians, Poles and others have at various times formed the heart of the parish, each contributing in their own way. Cape Verdeans came in the 1920s and 30s. The 90 year-old St. Anthony Chapel celebrates the presence of Portuguese-speakers from Cape Verde. In the 1980s and 90s, waves of immigrants from Latin America and Haiti arrived.

Today, 400 families, most of them born in other countries, fill St. Mary’s handsome Gothic revival building that stands as a reminder that the Catholic Church cares for immigrants. Sunday Masses are in Spanish and Haitian Creole with a bilingual Sunday vigil Mass (in English and Spanish).

“It’s to me a very refreshing thing to work with people who are coming from a different historical experience and culture,” Fr. Washabaugh said. “It’s a different feel and a different embrace of the Church.”

In April of 2022, examination of the front façade and church tower at St. Mary revealed instability in the stonework so dangerous that closing the parish and demolishing the building seemed likely.

But the people of St. Mary and Bishop Cote share the same conviction: It is a landmark institution which must be kept at the service of Norwich’s new arrivals, many of whom are Catholic. They are pouring themselves into repairs through pledging, fundraising projects, raffles and neighborhood appeals.

“There is still a great deal to do to repair the church: the front facade, accessibility issues, efficient heating, windows,” Fr. Washabaugh said.

Contributions to St. Mary’s Restoration Fund are gratefully accepted at jnccfaith.org.


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Pope Francis: ‘The commitment to human rights is never ended.’
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Left: UDHR Booklet (75th Ann. Ed.) [Source: UN Shop) | Right: Pope Francis in a video message released by the Vatican on Dec. 7, 2023. (CNS photo/screen grab, Holy See Press Office)

Dec 10, 2023 — On the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Pope Francis greeted pilgrims today in St. Peter’s Square, saying that “the commitment to human rights is never ended!” In what appeared to be a reference to the Israeli–Hamas war in Gaza, he said, “in relation to human rights, let civilians, hospitals and places of worship be protected, let the hostages be released and let humanitarian aid be guaranteed.”

Following the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7 that killed some 1,200 Israelis and included the taking of 240 hostages (138 of whom are still being held captive in Gaza), Israeli bombing in the Gaza enclave has caused the death of more than 17,000 Palestinians, including over 7,000 children and 5,000 women. The bombing has also resulted in the destruction of more than 40 percent of buildings in the Gaza strip, including homes, schools, hospitals and places of Muslim and Christian worship. Israel has also forced some 1.9 million Palestinians to move into the southern area of Gaza, where fuel, food, water and medical supplies are scarce, and has allowed only a limited supply of humanitarian aid to enter the territory.

“Let us continue to pray for the peoples that suffer because of war,” Francis said, mentioning specifically the populations of “the martyred Ukraine, Palestine and Israel.”

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“We are going toward Christmas. Are we able, with the help of God,” he asked, “to take concrete steps to peace? We know it is not easy. Some conflicts have deep historic roots.” However, he said, “we have the witness of men and women who have worked with wisdom and patience for peaceful coexistence. Let their example be followed. Let every effort be made to face and remove the causes of the conflicts.”

“I am near all those who, without fanfare, in concrete daily life, fight and personally pay the price defending the rights of those who do not count,” the pope said.

[…]

Francis, who appears to have fully recovered from a bout of acute bronchitis that prevented him from taking part in the U.N.-sponsored COP28 climate conference in Dubai at the beginning of December, concluded his message to pilgrims today by reminding them that “In a few days, the work of the COP28 [conference] on climate in Dubai will finish.” He invited people “to pray so that it reaches good results for the care of our common home and the safeguarding of peoples.”


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As fighting rages in Ukraine and Gaza, Pope calls for recognition of war crimes
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Pope Francis attends an audience with the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings at the Sala Regia, at the Vatican, Jan. 7, 2019. (Credit: AP photo)

ROME — After a year that saw thousands of civilians die in violent conflicts such as wars in Gaza and in Ukraine, Pope Francis told diplomats accredited to the Holy See Monday that international war crimes must be recognized and prevented.

In his Jan. 8 address, the pope noted said that as the year 2024 opens the world is “increasingly lacerated” by conflict, and as “the distinction between military and civil objectives is no longer respected.”

“There is no conflict that does not end up in some way indiscriminately striking the civilian population,” he said, adding, “The events in Ukraine and Gaza are clear proof of this.”

In this regard, “We must not forget that grave violations of international humanitarian law are war crimes, and that it is not sufficient to point them out, but also necessary to prevent them,” Francis said.

“Consequently, there is a need for greater effort on the part of the international community to defend and implement humanitarian law, which seems to be the only way to ensure the defense of human dignity in situations of warfare,” he said.

Pope Francis spoke during his annual speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, who represent the 184 nations that currently have full diplomatic relations with the Holy See, as well as those with other forms of representation.

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He focused his speech on the topic of peace “at a moment in history when it is increasingly threatened, weakened and in part lost,” repeating his past affirmation that the world is experiencing “a third world war fought piecemeal” that is turning into “a genuine global conflict.”

In terms of current conflicts, the pope pointed specifically to the conflict raging between Israel and Palestine, voicing “shock” at Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and the torture, killing, and kidnapping of hundreds of innocent people.

To this end, he condemned the attack “and every instance of terrorism and extremism,” saying violence is never a way to resolve conflicts.

As proof of this, he noted that the attack provoked “a strong Israeli military response in Gaza that has led to the death of tens of thousands of Palestinians, mainly civilians … and has caused an exceptionally grave humanitarian crisis and inconceivable suffering.”

Francis repeated his call for a ceasefire “on every front, including Lebanon,” and he urged the immediate release of the Israeli hostages still being held in Gaza.

He also repeated his calls for a two-state solution, “one Israeli and one Palestinian, as well as an internationally guaranteed special status for the City of Jerusalem, so that Israelis and Palestinians may finally live in peace and security.”

Pope Francis also lamented the ongoing war “waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” saying, “One cannot allow the persistence of a conflict that continues to metastasize, to the detriment of millions of persons.”

“It is necessary to put an end to the present tragedy through negotiations, in respect for international law,” he said.

In his speech, Pope Francis said there is a need “to realize more clearly that civilian victims are not ‘collateral damage,’ ” but real people with names, faces and stories.

“Were we to be able to look each of them in the eye, call them by name, and learn something of their personal history, we would see war for what it is: Nothing other than an immense tragedy, a ‘useless slaughter,’ ” he said.

[…]

Pope Francis closed his speech noting that the Jubilee of Hope is set to begin at the end of this year, saying, “Today, perhaps more than ever, we need a Holy Year.”

Amid the various situations of hopelessness and suffering that countless people are living, “the Jubilee is a proclamation that God never abandons his people and constantly keeps open the doors to his Kingdom,” he said.

Noting that jubilee years are times of grace and repentance in the Judeo–Christian tradition, the pope said it is a time when “sins are forgiven, reconciliation prevails over injustice, and the earth can be at rest.”

“For everyone — Christians and non-Christians alike — the Jubilee can be a time when swords are beaten into ploughshares, a time when one nation will no longer lift up sword against another, nor learn war anymore,” he said, and wished the diplomats and their families blessings for the new year.


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Boston's first Brazilian Catholic bishop wants immigrants to 'feel at home'
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Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston gives Bishop-designate Cristiano Barbosa his pectoral cross at the Archdiocese of Boston's pastoral center in Braintree, Mass., on Dec. 9. Barbosa was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop in Boston on Feb. 3. (OSV News/The Pilot/Gregory Tracy)

Boston, Mass. — Boston's Fr. Cristiano Barbosa was consecrated on Feb. 3 as a new auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese. He is Boston's first Brazilian-born bishop and is the second Brazilian-born bishop in the United States.

Born and raised in Brazil, Barbosa was ordained for the Diocese of Bauru in 2007. He came to Boston in 2008 to study at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, where he earned a licentiate in theology and a doctorate in sacred theology. He has served the Brazilian and Portuguese-speaking communities of the archdiocese since his arrival, and was incardinated into the archdiocese in 2021.

Barbosa is currently the secretary for evangelization and discipleship as well as episcopal vicar for the central region of the Boston Archdiocese, roles in which he plans to continue as bishop. At 47, he is the second youngest U.S. bishop.

"I'm asking God for all the graces I need to serve, and to serve better, to be a good bishop," Barbosa said in a recent NCR interview. "People ask me my mission, and my mission is to support [Boston Cardinal Seán O'Malley] in his mission."

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Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston gives Bishop-designate Cristiano Barbosa his pectoral cross at the Archdiocese of Boston's pastoral center in Braintree, Mass., on Dec. 9. Barbosa was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop in Boston on Feb. 3. (OSV News/The Pilot/Gregory Tracy)

"I'm very pleased and encouraged by his appointment," Fr. Paul Soper, the archdiocese's secretary for ministerial personnel and director of clergy personnel, told NCR. "This has always been an immigrant diocese, is certainly an immigrant diocese right now, and our immigrant population is crucial to our future and increasingly a centerpoint in the life of our diocese."

The consecration ceremony reflected this diversity: The first reading was in Vietnamese, the psalm was in Spanish, and the second reading was in Haitian Creole, with the Gospel in English. Barbosa addressed the congregation afterward in Portuguese, English and Spanish. After the procession of clergy, a statue of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patroness of Brazil, was carried up to the chancel. Some congregants waved a Brazilian flag.

One challenge the diocese faces in serving the needs of immigrants is a lack of non-English speaking priests, both in general and in the specific communities where the newcomers are currently living.

"Parishes often reflect a different demographic and haven't caught up," Barbosa told NCR.

Immigrants often move from community to community as they seek new opportunities and become more prosperous, and the Masses offered in a particular language at one parish may not best serve today's population, Barbosa said.

It can be especially difficult to know where large communities of Brazilian immigrants live, as they often are designated as "white" or "Hispanic" in government data, he said.

He estimated 120,000 to 360,000 Brazilian immigrants live in the diocese.

The Archdiocese of Boston serves both Brazilian- and European-Portuguese speakers, as well as a large community of speakers of Cape Verdean Creole (a Portuguese-derived Creole language) and a smaller community of Portuguese speakers from Mozambique.

At St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts, separate Masses are offered for the Brazilian and the European Portuguese communities. "It's usually the same priest, but the music is very different," Barbosa said. European Portuguese immigrants usually prefer organ and Brazilians usually prefer piano and guitar, he said.

Portugal and Brazil also use different missals. "People need to feel they are at home," said the new auxiliary bishop.

Barbosa said he hopes that by talking more about vocations and the sacrifice of the Mass with young men from Brazilian (and Latino) immigrant parishes, they will be able to raise up more priests who can offer services in Portuguese and Spanish.

"The message doesn't always get to these communities," he said.


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