Washington D.C., May 26, 2016 / 03:07 pm (CNA).- Renewed immigration raids against women and children fail to recognize the severity of situations faced by migrants, who leave Central America to escape death, the U.S. bishops said. “Sending wome… Read more

Rome, Italy, May 26, 2016 / 11:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In breaking bread for his disciples Christ gave an example of what it means to allow oneself to be broken for the good of others, Pope Francis said on the feast of Corpus Christi, explaining that it is the Eucharist which gives us the strength to do this. “Jesus was broken; he is broken for us. And he asks us to give ourselves, to break ourselves, as it were, for others,” the Pope said May 26, during his homily for the Mass of the feast, said before the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome. Corpus Christi celebrates the institution of the Holy Eucharist and is marked by special displays of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, most notably Eucharistic processions. During his homily, Pope Francis pointed to the many mothers and fathers who, “together with the slices of bread they provide each day on the tables of their homes, have broken their hearts to let their children grow, and grow well!” Francis also noted how many Christians “as responsible citizens have broken their own lives to defend the dignity of all, especially the poorest, the marginalized and those discriminated against!” “Where do they find the strength to do this? It is in the Eucharist: in the power of the Risen Lord’s love, who today too breaks bread for us and repeats: ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’” The Pope recalled that the epistle for the Mass – St. Paul’s recounting of the institution of the Eucharist in First Corinthians – is “the oldest testimony we have to the words of Christ at the Last Supper.” By telling his disciples “do this,” Christ gives the command to repeat his own actions by which he gave us his own Body and Blood. “Jesus gives the command to repeat this action by which he instituted the memorial of his own Pasch, and in so doing gives us his Body and his Blood. This action reaches us today: it is the ‘doing’ of the Eucharist which always has Jesus as its subject, but which is made real through our poor hands anointed by the Holy Spirit.” Francis pointed to the day’s Gospel passage from John, which recounted the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish that fed a crowd of 5,000. When Christ tells his disciples to “give them something to eat yourselves,” he is indicating that while he is the one who blesses and breaks the bread, providing enough to feed the entire hungry crowd, it is the disciples who offer the loaves and fish. “Jesus wanted it this way: that, instead of sending the crowd away, the disciples would put at his disposal what little they had.” The Pope then pointed to how the pieces of bread, once broken “by the holy and venerable hands” of Jesus, were then placed into “the poor hands of the disciples,” who distributed them to the people. In distributing the bread to the hungry crowd, the disciples are able to share in Christ’s own action, giving the people something to eat. “Clearly this miracle was not intended merely to satisfy hunger for a day, but rather it signals what Christ wants to accomplish for the salvation of all mankind, giving his own flesh and blood. And yet this needs always to happen through those two small actions: offering the few loaves and fish we have; receiving the bread broken by the hands of Jesus and giving it to all.” The Pope said the breaking of the bread signifies another meaning of Christ’s command to “do this in remembrance of me” – allowing ourselves to make sacrifices and to be broken for the good of others. He noted how “breaking bread” became a sign for recognizing Christ and Christians, and pointed to several passages in scripture recounting how the disciples broke bread together. “From the outset it is the Eucharist which becomes the center and pattern of the life of the Church.” The Pope then pointed to the saints, both famous or anonymous, who have allowed themselves to be “broken” in order to “give something to eat” to their brethren. Pope Francis concluded his homily by praying that the Eucharistic procession after Mass would be a response to Christ’s command: “an action to commemorate him; an action to give food to the crowds of today; an act to break open our faith and our lives as a sign of Christ’s love for this city and for the whole world.” Read more

Rome, Italy, Oct 25, 2017 / 04:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- There’s a demon that specializes in attacking the family, said exorcist César Truqui, a priest who participated in a 2015 course on exorcism held in Rome. Fr. Truqui warned that everything that is harming the family, including divorce, pleases the devil. Speaking to the Italian weekly Tempi in 2015, the priest said that there is “a demon who specializes in the attack on the family, also cited in the story of Tobias, called ‘Asmodeus.’” In the Old Testament book, the demon is known to have killed seven of Sarah’s husbands and was chained in the desert by Saint Raphael. The demon “is present” in many exorcisms, Fr. Truqui said. The priest recalled encountering the demon “in exorcisms by Father Gabriele Amorth and Father Francisco Bamonte, whom I assisted.” The recently-deceased Fr. Amorth was a renowned exorcist in Rome who has performed an estimated 70,000 exorcisms over the course of 29 years. Carrying out an exorcism can require multiple sessions and each time the rite is administered it is counted as one instance. “I remember a young couple, very united, who wanted to get married, however, the woman had to undergo an exorcism to be set free,” Fr. Truqi said.   During the exorcism “the demon was furious and threatened Fr. Amorth in order to prevent the marriage, otherwise he would kill the young woman. Obviously, it was a threat from the Liar which in fact did not happen.” In that regard, the priest added that the devil also seeks to attack the family through ideologies and lifestyles, as well as individualistic thinking and the spread of divorce. “They think ‘if I don’t like my husband anymore, I would be better off divorcing’ but they forget about the consequences to the children and society,” he said. “This mentality that works against the family pleases the devil – he knows that a man who is alone without any points of reference is manipulable and unstable.”   “Even today, and I’m more than 50 years old, just thinking that my mother and father love each other forever, I find comfort and courage. In contrast, the children of separated parents are more fragile and wavering,” he said. In 2014, Pope Francis gave an address to the Charismatic Renewal, in which he pointed out that the devil seeks to destroy families because that is where Jesus grows, in the midst of the love of the spouses and in the lives of their children. “He grows in the love of the spouses, he grows in the lives of the children. And  that’s why the enemy attacks the family so much. The devil does not love the family. He seeks to destroy it, he wants to eliminate love there,” he warned at Rome’s Olympic stadium before 52,000 people. On that day Francis reminded that “families are these domestic churches. The spouses are sinners, like everyone, but they want to progress in the faith, in their fruitfulness, in the children and their children’s faith.” And so he asked the Lord to “bless the family, make it strong, in this crisis in which the devil wants to destroy it.”This article was originally published May 26, 2016. You may also like: What happens when an entire country becomes infested with demons? https://t.co/RyRTGkByRZ — Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) May 25, 2016 Read more

London, England, May 26, 2016 / 12:26 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic bishops of England and Wales are ready to support the government’s proposed prison reforms outlined in Queen Elizabeth II’s speech to Parliament. “The Church has a strong practical contribution to make. Our chaplains work in every prison throughout England and Wales, and are often at the forefront of supporting prisoners in their rehabilitation,” Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton said. “This is a remarkable opportunity to place reform and redemption at the heart of our prisons,” he added. “It is only through a properly resourced system focused on genuinely helping people to turn their lives around that we will create a safer and more civilized society.” Bishop Moth is the bishops’ liaison for prisons. He said recent conversations with the Minister for Prisons and his staff have been “extremely helpful.” The bishop’s comments were a response to the queen’s May 18 speech to Parliament which summarized the legislative agenda. “My government will legislate to reform prisons and courts to give individuals a second chance,” she said. “Prison governors will be given unprecedented freedom and they will be able to ensure prisoners receive better education,” she added. “Old and inefficient prisons will be closed and new institutions built where prisoners can be put more effectively to work.” She said there will be better mental health care for individuals in the criminal justice system. Prisons will be required to publish statistics on education, reoffending, and inmates’ employment when they are released, BBC News reports. There are pilot programs planned that will allow prisoners to become weekend inmates. The prisoners will spend weekdays at home and at work. Their movement will be monitored with GPS technology and satellite tracking tags. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, in his comments on the queen’s speech, said that institutions for young offenders have not been working. “They give the public the security of knowing that offenders are locked in but they’re not doing enough to turn around the lives of people who will one day be let out,” he said. He explained that prison reforms would draw on practices from other public service reforms like publishing results, giving proper control to administrators and “encouraging innovation, rewarding success and not tolerating persistent failure.” Green MP Caroline Lucas has criticized the reform proposals, saying progress would be undermined by big cuts to prison budgets and overcrowding. The queen’s speech also touched on anti-extremism measures. “Legislation will be introduced to prevent radicalization, tackle extremism in all its forms, and promote community integration,” she said. A spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said Parliament’s expected anti-extremism legislation must be produced “with diligence and careful consideration.” “It is vital that measures to keep the public safe do not inadvertently curtail free speech or alienate communities. The best way in which to undermine extremist beliefs will always be through the promotion of effective integration.” Some Catholics and other commentators have voiced concern that measures apparently meant to counter Islamist extremism, such as the government’s push to teach “British values” in schools, could harm sincere religious believers and burden Catholic schools. In 2014, government officials downgraded the high-performing St. Benedict’s Catholic School in Suffolk because its students allegedly were not aware of the dangers of extremism and were not prepared for contemporary British life. The school said parents complained that the inspectors asked children as young as 10 about homosexual acts and transsexualism. The Catholic Education Service demanded an apology for the action.   Read more

St. Paul, Minn., May 25, 2016 / 04:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis says his archdiocese has followed the law in its bankruptcy process, responding to claims by abuse victims that some assets were not made public. &ld… Read more

Mamfe, Cameroon, May 25, 2016 / 04:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Father William Cañón is a Colombian missionary in Cameroon who transforms into a soccer coach every Sunday, helping to bring joy to some 60 local children through sport and camaraderie. “After going to the Eucharist, we gather and provide a time of Christian formation; then, with my limited knowledge of sports, we play soccer,” Father Cañón told Pablo Romero of El Tiempo, a Colombian daily. The missionary is a fan of Independiente Santa Fe, the Bogota football team which won the Copa Sudamericana last year. He has been a missionary to Mamfe, in southwestern Cameroon, since 2014. Por intermedio del Padre William Cañón los niños de Fontem, Camerún aprenden a jugar al fútbol con la piel del León pic.twitter.com/KSA7uX94XI — Ind. Santa Fe (@SantaFe) April 4, 2016 When he arrived in Cameroon he was assigned to a parish where the first evangelization has yet to be done: he found a people who still have customs such as polygamy, and a culture of machismo. They face disease, a shortage of food, and a lack of electricity and safe water. But Father Cañón noticed the boys in Mamfe had a special love for soccer, and so he decided to take advantage of this opportunity to bring them closer to God. Every Sunday, he says Mass before roughtly 60 boys play soccer. Many of the children walk for up to three hours to get there, and the matches are held on a dirt  field with makeshift goals, and they always begin with a prayer. “Seeing them arrive is an unimaginable sight. Some come barefoot, but with great joy on their faces. Most of them are spontaneous and sincere boys. And, above all, they’re grateful, because it’s the only time they have to have fun and dream. Despite the circumstances and difficulties, they’re always there,” the priest told El Tiempo. “Here the children are happy with little, and with the lives they have,” he added. During the week, the priest says Mass every day at 6 am. Then he heads off to the local hospital where he spends almost the entire day as the chaplain. Independiente Santa Fe was moved hearing about  the missionary’s work. During a trip to Colombia, he asked for donations for his Cameroon team and they gave him soccer balls and Santa Fe uniforms for the boys. “I’m very grateful to God for this beautiful opportunity that he’s given me. And to Santa Fe, for the uniforms. From here, I continue to support my team,” he told El Tiempo. Read more

Vatican City, May 25, 2016 / 12:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- “The Gospel of family, joy for the world.” This is the theme for the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, and it is meant to emphasize the family’s role as a stabilizing force in society, said the local archbishop. “The family is not just the object of the attention of the Church,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told journalists at a Vatican press briefing Tuesday. Rather, he said, families have a “vital role” as “real protagonists of renewal and of the transmission of the faith to the coming generations.” This was stressed at the recent Synods of Bishops on the Family, the archbishop said. Families are “active participants in the ministry of the Church,” through “the authenticity of their daily life in the family and in the home.” He continued: “The World Meeting of Families must be an occasion to encourage and sustain families in this task.” “The theme chosen for the World Meeting of Families,” Archbishop Martin explained, “wishes to stress the role of the family within society and the contribution of families to the overall health and stability of society.” The theme for the 9th World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Dublin on August 22-26, 2018, was revealed by the Vatican at a May 24 press briefing. The Irish capital was announced as the site for the international gathering at the most recent World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia last September. Tuesday’s announcement comes less than a year after the October 2015 Synod on the Family, which had been preceded by an extraordinary synod a year earlier on the same topic. Archbishop Martin recounted to journalists what Pope Francis said to him as he entered the Synod Hall last October, on the first day of the gathering of bishops: “Remember, Dublin begins today.” The Irish prelate went on to observe the significance that both Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II chose the family as the topic for the first synods of their papacies, adding that he had attended both gatherings. The new methodology that Pope Francis introduced for the Synod, which involved consultation with families, is an “on-going” process, he remarked. Pope Francis does not consider the World Meeting of Families to be an “isolated event,” Archbishop Martin said, but rather “an event for the entire Church.” The gathering, he said, “belongs within a process of discernment and encouragement, of accompaniment and animation of families,” and “renewal of the Church’s pastoral concern and pastoral care for the family and for families.” The archbishop expressed his hope that the event would also be an “important milestone” in applying the “fruits of the Synodal process and of the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Letitia’.” Although an international event, he said, the World Meeting of Families will be important for the Irish Church and its “strong family culture,” which is nonetheless susceptible to “all the pressures of Western secular culture regarding marriage and the family.” He spoke of the challenges many Irish families face, including “precarious economic situations” and the housing crisis. Archbishop Martin said preparations for the Meeting will be made in Ireland through a “process of catechesis,” based on the Pope’s exhortation on the family, beginning 2017. “The Church’s catechetical programs regarding marriage and the family need a complete overhaul in line with what ‘Amoris Laetitia’ sets out,” he said. The 2018 World Meeting of Families will not be Dublin’s first international Catholic event in recent years. In 2012, the city was the site of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress. Cardinal Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, was also present at Tuesday’s press briefing. “To celebrate the family – which in Europe is suffering in a particularly acute way – is an extraordinary occasion, so that all realities – civil, social, religious, political, economic – can rediscover the centrality and the strength of being the first pillar of peaceful coexistence among diverse (people).” He told journalists that “Christian churches, the great world religions, civil and political society, can rediscover in the ‘familial spirit’ that common thread which permits them to confront that individualistic dimension which, unfortunately, is involving ever more the religious and civil realities in the world.”   Read more

Vatican City, May 25, 2016 / 06:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For Pope Francis, prayer is neither a “magic wand” used to get what we want nor something casual we do only when we feel like it, but is rather the strength that sustains our faith in … Read more

Lilongwe, Malawi, May 25, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid increased violence against albinos in the southeastern African nation of Malawi, the bishops’ justice and peace commission has condemned their killing, which is linked to the practice of witch doctors. “Albinos are being abducted and killed for ritual purposes. Graves have been exhumed and some people have been caught by the police with bones and other albino body parts,” Martin Chiphwanya, acting national coordinator of Malawi’s Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, said in a May 21 statement. Across Africa – from Malawi, Tanzania, and Burundi in the east, to Cameroon in the west – albinos are targeted because it is believed they have magical powers or bring good luck. They are killed, and their body parts sold to be used in potions made by witch doctors. Chiphwanya commented that Malawi needs a multi-faceted approach to the problem, involving police, government, religious, and traditional leaders. He recommended looking to Malawi’s neighbor Tanzania, which he said had dealt with is similar problem. The Malawian government has increased its efforts recently to combat albino killings. On its invitation,  an official from the United Nations Human Rights Commission visited Malawi last month. “Persons with albinism in Malawi are being attacked, abducted and killed. Even in death, they do not rest in peace as their remains are robbed from graveyards,” Ikponwosa Ero said in her report following her visit to Malawi. “These atrocities occur due to the misbelief that their body parts can grant benefits such as wealth and good luck when used in witchcraft.” It has been reported that a single limb from the body of an albino can fetch $2,000 on the black market, and an entire corpse as much as $75,000. According to Ero, women and children are targeted disproportionately in attacks on albinos. “Persons with albinism, and parents of children with albinism, constantly live in fear of attack. Many do not sleep peacefully and have deliberately restricted their movement to the necessary minimum, during daylight hours and when escorted by trustworthy persons.” She added that the precautions albinos in Malawi have to take mean that they cannot “attend to their crops or go to the market,” which “has driven families already living in poverty into dire straits.” Ero advised that the government response to the issue be undertaken with stronger leadership, that greater criminal penalties be imposed, and that police, prosecutors, and magistrates be trained in the relevant legislation. She noted that attacks on albinos are linked to the belief that their body parts, “when used in charms or potions can, for example, increase wealth, make businesses prosperous, or facilitate employment.” “It is fundamental to raise awareness on albinism to fight such rampant myths and resulting discrimination,” Ero stated. There are an estimated 10,000 albinos in Malawi, and since late 2014 there have been 65 reported cases of attacks, abductions, or murders of albinos. Albinism is a genetic condition which results in a lack of the pigment melanin in one’s skin, hair, and eyes. Albinos are particularly vulnerable to skin cancer – according to the United Nations, most albinos in Africa die from skin cancer by age 40. Education and employment are also challenging for albinos in Africa, because the lack of pigment in the eyes tends to result in problems with vision, and thus and reading. Read more

Charleston, S.C., May 25, 2016 / 12:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- South Carolina has moved closer to stronger legal restrictions against abortion, with a bill to ban most abortions after 19 weeks, due to evidence that unborn children can feel pain at that point. Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston said the passage of South Carolina’s latest pro-life bill marks “a truly great day… especially for the many children that will be saved by this important life-affirming legislation,” the Charleston diocese’s newspaper The Catholic Miscellany reports. “This act will support not only the moral law but also (the) proven scientific fact that unborn children feel pain by at least 20 weeks of development after fertilization,” he added. “As the Holy Father has said, ‘Let us say “yes” to life, and “no” to death’.”   Michael Acquilano, director of the South Carolina Catholic Conference, said that abortions have declined by 57 percent in South Carolina after the passage of 14 laws that protect life. The newest legislation would ban abortions after 19 weeks except for cases when a doctor determines the mother’s life is at risk or that the unborn baby cannot survive outside the womb. A doctor who violates the law would face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The South Carolina bill is named the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. It passed the House by a vote of 79-29 and the Senate by a vote of 36-9. Gov. Nikki Haley in March said she will almost certainly sign the bill. Similar laws have been passed in 17 states, though court challenges have blocked enforcement in three states. In Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin recently vetoed a bill to restrict abortion on the grounds of ambiguity, vagueness and inability to withstand a court challenge. The bill would have made performing abortion a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. Doctors who perform an abortion would lose their medical licenses. The bill allowed consideration for abortion in cases where a mother’s life was deemed to be in jeopardy. The legislation had passed the state senate by a 32-12 vote. Lawmakers can still attempt to override the bill, which was part of a strategy to challenge Roe v. Wade. Gov. Fallin has signed 18 pro-life bills, Fox News reports. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City did not comment on the specific legislation but voiced support for general pro-life efforts. “I appreciate our Oklahoma leaders’ recognition of the dignity and sanctity of every human life from conception to its natural end,” he told CNA May 23. “Every life is precious and has infinite value in the eyes of God who creates each of us out of love. We must reject the throw away mentality that values human beings merely on the basis of their usefulness, health, age or economic status,” Archbishop Coakley said. “We can offer a compassionate and understanding pathway toward this renewal of our culture.”Photo credit: djile via www.shutterstock.com. Read more

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