Category Archives: Church

Congo bishops fault politicians for failed mediation

NCR by Jonathan Luxmoore  |  Apr. 22, 2017

Three weeks after the Catholic Church gave up mediating in the conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, the country’s bishops are defending their record and blaming the impasse on politicians. However, attacks on clergy and parish buildings have also raised questions as to whether the church has come too close to politics in what’s widely considered Africa’s most Catholic country.

CNS-CONGO-BISHOPS-PEACE-ACCORD
Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa arrives with other bishops Dec. 21, 2016, to mediate talks between the opposition and the government of of President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. (CNS/Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

“The bishops’ conference mission has been interpreted by some as an attempt to distract attention from issues of the hour,” said Msgr. Jean-Marie Bomengola, secretary of the church’s Social Communications Commission.” But one shouldn’t miss the target when analyzing events here. The failure of negotiations should be blamed on the political and social actors who didn’t show a spirit of compromise. It’s to them that demands for an explanation should be addressed, and on whom pressure should now be exerted.”

Catholics in six archdioceses and 41 dioceses make up around two-thirds of the 67.5 million inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of Congo — according to the Vatican’s Annuario Pontificio yearbook, published this month — and runs an extensive network of hospitals, clinics and farms, as well as around half of all schools.

The country, formerly known as Zaire, has known little stability since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, and up to 6 million people died in a series of 1995-2003 wars, fought mainly over Congo’s rich natural resources.

Last summer, the bishops’ conference launched a mediation bid after opposition leaders accused President Joseph Kabila of seeking to cling to power by delaying autumn elections.

An initial settlement in October wasn’t accepted by some opposition groups. So the talks resumed before the Dec. 20 expiry of Kabila’s second and final term, and the outcome, in the final hours of 2016, was an accord witnessed by foreign diplomats.

This allowed the 45-year-old president to stay in power until elections in late 2017 alongside a government headed by an opposition-nominated prime minister, with a National Transition Council monitoring the electoral process under veteran opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi.

In a pastoral letter, the bishops said the accord reflected a “consensual and inclusive political compromise that sets out a realistic route,” and they warned that the whole Democratic Republic of Congo risked “plunging into uncontrollable disorder” if the accord failed.

However, negotiations to implement it have run into trouble.

Continue reading Congo bishops fault politicians for failed mediation

Archbishop of Detroit says special ‘Mass of Pardon’ for the sins of the diocese

The Tablet
usaArchbishop Vigneron said the purpose of the Mass was to receive pardon and prepare the Church for evangelisation

Archbishop of Detroit says special ‘Mass of Pardon’ for the sins of the diocese
A Mass for the sins and transgressions of the Archdiocese of Detroit was held last week, recalling instances in the Catholic Church’s history when it failed to live up to God’s calling, namely neglect of the poor, failing to protect children from abuse and failing to combat racism.

In attendance were Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron and Detroit Auxiliary Bishops Michael Byrnes, Arturo Cepeda and Donald Hanchon, who solemnly processed down the nave of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament while the congregation stood silent calling to mind their own part in the transgressions.
The four men lay prostrate before the altar, humbling themselves before God, and in view of the flock they are called to shepherd.

The “litany of pardon” included:
• “For ignoring the word of God, living and effective, and hiding behind policies and procedures.”
• “For our failures to take to heart the Lord’s condemnation of those who scandalise ‘the little ones,’ and for failing to protect children from sexual abuse.”
• “For all the times we have not welcomed others to our parishes, especially for the times we have refused to allow African-American Catholics into our parish communities.”

Each invocation was answered with “Kyrie eleison” — “Lord have mercy”.

The ‘Mass for Pardon’ on 7 October at the cathedral is a step on the archdiocese’s path to “unleash the Gospel”, Archbishop Vigneron explained, saying how the Mass was a necessary step on the road to becoming a “band of joyful missionary disciples”. “We have been summoned by Pope Francis to do what it takes to be a band of joyful missionary disciples,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “And that is what tonight is about. We have been summoned in a very particular way.”

Before a packed cathedral, Archbishop Vigneron addressed in his homily the necessity for the Mass for Pardon, linking repentance as an inseparable part of the Gospel message. “Repent and believe in the good news, this is an inseparable prayer”, Archbishop Vigneron said. “In this computer age, you may call it a binary prayer. The two is really one. As we share in the mission of Jesus Christ, we can never siphon these truths.

“We can never proclaim the good news without calling for repentance. And we can never call for repentance without the invitation of the good news. That’s what tonight is about.”
Archbishop Vigneron said the Mass wasn’t a time for Catholics to beat themselves up for past transgressions or forget that sin has occurred within the church.

Rather, the purpose of asking for and receiving pardon is to prepare the Church to become the group of evangelisers God is calling it to be.

“We’re repenting so that we can receive the good news and share the good news,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “To be a band of joyful missionary disciples, we must first be evangelized. And to be evangelized, we must first repent.”

During the buildup to the “Mass for Pardon,” Archbishop Vigneron related how a reporter asked him what he most anticipated. The archbishop admitted he was taken aback by the question at first, but then replied he most anticipated Jesus being present in the cathedral in the form of the Blessed Sacrament.

“I most anticipate what will happen when I receive your gifts of bread and wine and are prepared and placed on the altar, when the Holy Spirit comes down upon them and takes the form of the body and blood of Christ,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “I anticipate offering the Holy Sacrament, because here, through the Holy Spirit, our true high priest is present.
“Present in his body, present in his blood. Offered with the sins we have confessed and will still confess again. To offer our prayers, with His one self, to the Father,” he continued. “So I tell you, I know, I am certain, that our sins are expiated, because we have a high priest who has risen from the dead and pleads for us at the right hand of the Father.”

Archbishop Vigneron concluded his homily with a summart of what the Mass for Pardon — and indeed reconciliation itself — is all about: not an erasing or forgetting of sin, but the transformation that is offered through the healing power of faith in Jesus Christ.
“It’s about transforming those faults in our sins, the wounds we bear that bear death, and transforming those wounds into new sources of life,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “That’s what pardon is in the kingdom of God. It’s not about forgetting, it’s about transformation. Transforming our lives though Jesus Christ, now and forever.”

Vatican: Catholic-Muslim meeting highlights shared beliefs

Independent Catholic News
Catholic and Muslim experts in inter-religious dialogue have issued a joint statement stressing their shared beliefs as a basis for peaceful coexistence and cooperation for the common good. The statement includes eight points of convergence, including a call for basic human rights to be protected by law, a pledge of solidarity with all those in need, a rejection of all forms of proselytism and a focus on the right of young people to an education that is “respectful of diversity.” Continue reading Vatican: Catholic-Muslim meeting highlights shared beliefs

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Join Us In Prayer
image001.jpgThe Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International will convene an international conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence, to be held in Rome, Italy, 11-13 April, 2016. Please join us in prayer for the success of the convening!

In recognition of the Year of Mercy declared by the Holy Father, this carefully planned Catholic conference on nonviolence and just peace will take place in Rome — the invited participants represent a broad spectrum of Church experiences in peace-building and creative nonviolence in the face of violence and war. Read the concept note for the conference here. Continue reading

Controversial Swiss theologian pleads with Pope Francis to solve problem of infallibility

The Tablet

Hans Küng believes that the future well-being of the church is wrapped up in question of infallibility

by Hans Küng
kungEXCLUSIVE: Controversial Swiss theologian pleads with Pope Francis to solve problem of infallibility EXCLUSIVE: Controversial Swiss theologian pleads with Pope Francis to solve problem of infallibility.

Next week, Hans Küng, the Catholic priest and Swiss theologian, will celebrate his 88th birthday. The fifth volume of his complete works, titled Infallibility, has just become available from the German publishing house Herder & Herder. In connection with the release of Infallibility, Küng has written the following “urgent appeal to Pope Francis to permit an open and impartial discussion on infallibility of pope and bishops.” The text of this appeal is being release simultaneously by National Catholic Reporter and The Tablet. Continue reading Controversial Swiss theologian pleads with Pope Francis to solve problem of infallibility

Pope tells corrupt benefactors that church doesn’t need ‘dirty money’

Catholic News Service

By Carol Glatz

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Speaking out against exploitation and unfair wages for workers, Pope Francis told benefactors to forget about donating money to the church if their earnings came from mistreating others.

“Please, take your check back and burn it,” he said to applause.

“The people of God — that is, the church — don’t need dirty money. They need hearts that are open to God’s mercy,” the pope said March 2 during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
God wants people to turn away from evil and do what is just, not cover up their sins with gestures of sacrifice, he said. Continue reading Pope tells corrupt benefactors that church doesn’t need ‘dirty money’

Pope’s Via Crucis meditations will look at crosses humanity bears today

Catholic News Service

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VIA CRUCIS FOURTH STATION

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — By reflecting on the Passion of Christ, the author of the Way of the Cross meditations for Pope Francis’ Good Friday service said he will focus on the suffering unfolding in the world today and how “the martyrs of the 21st century are undoubtedly the apostles of today.”

Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve told Vatican Radio that his reflections on the traditional 14 stations will blend in “references to the present day, which unfortunately is not lacking in crosses” people are forced to bear. Continue reading Pope’s Via Crucis meditations will look at crosses humanity bears today