Vatican City, Jul 23, 2015 / 12:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At a meeting with U.S. mayors at the Vatican this week, Pope Francis hinted at themes he could discuss with the United Nations during his September visit to the states.   Among the most important was the issue of human trafficking, which he said can be a “rebound effect” of environmental degradation.   “I have high hopes, and believe that the United Nations must take a greater interest in this phenomenon, especially human trafficking caused by environmental issues, and the exploitation of people.”   Francis’ remarks followed a July 21 workshop in the Vatican entitled “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities,” during which dozens of mayors from around the world were invited to present on the theme of climate change and trafficking.   Many of the mayors present have a history of environmental awareness, including several from the United States.   The daylong workshop was part of a two-day symposium sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, titled “Prosperity, People and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities.”   The meeting comes ahead of several international events focused on the environment, including the U.N. General Assembly’s Sept. 25 summit on the adoption of sustainable development goals – which the Pope will address – followed by the climate summit in Paris.   In his address, Pope Francis spoke specifically of the Paris encounter in November, expressing his hope that the meeting “will lead to a basic agreement” on how to reduce the impact of climate change.   The gathering with mayors fell just over a month after the June 18 release of Pope Francis’ long-awaited encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, meaning “Praise be to You.”   While the 184-page encyclical wades into controversial topics such as climate change, the document also argues it is not possible to effectively care for the environment without first working to defend human life.   In his remarks to the mayors, Pope Francis spoke of his recent encyclical, explaining that one of his intentions in writing it was to emphasize that “caring for the environment means an attitude of human ecology.”   “In other words, we cannot say: the person and Creation, the environment, are two separate entities. Ecology is total, it is human…you cannot separate humanity from the rest; there is a relationship of mutual impact, and also the rebound effect when the environment is abused.”   For this reason the Pope said his encyclical shouldn’t be classified as a “green” document limited solely to environmental issues, but is rather “a social encyclical, because we cannot separate care for the environment from the social context. Care for the environment is a social attitude.”   One of the most evident signs of lack of care for the environment is the “unfettered growth” of cities, the Pope observed.   When cities become larger they often grow alongside increasing bands of poverty, he said, explaining that this increases migration, since people to move to the slums and shantytowns of large cities due to a lack of opportunity in the rural world.   Francis then pointed to the growing problem of “the idolatry of technocracy,” which he also touched on in Laudato Si.   An overemphasis on the use of technology “leads to the loss of work, it creates unemployment, which leads to migration and the need to seek new horizons,” he noted.   “The great number of unemployed is a warning – What prospects can the future offer to today’s unemployed youth? Addiction, boredom, not knowing what to do with life – a life without meaning, which is very tough – or indeed suicide.”   Statistics on youth suicide rates are not published in their entirety, he noted, and pointed to another temptation for youth, which is to seek new horizons in projects that present an ideal of life, even if it is a guerilla project.   Pope Francis then highlighted health risks linked to environmental issues, such as rare diseases that often turn up as a result of different elements used to fertilize fields.   He also indicated other problems linked to the environment, such as oxygen, water and the desertification of large areas of land due to deforestation.   “What happens when all these phenomena of excessive technification, of environmental neglect, as well as natural phenomena, affect migration?” he asked. “It leads to unemployment and human trafficking.”   “Illegal work, without contracts, is increasingly common…and means that people do not earn enough to live. This can give rise to criminal behavior and other problems,” the Pope observed, pointing specifically to the phenomena of human trafficking in the mining sector, which he has recently spoken out against.   “Slavery in mining remains a major issue…Everything has a rebound effect…This can include human trafficking for the purposes of slave labor or prostitution,” he said, and called on the United Nations to step up their efforts in eliminating such phenomena.   Touching on two forms of ignorance identified by philosopher and theologian Romano Guardini, the Pope noted that the first, which is the ignorance God gives us to be transformed into culture, to nurture and dominate the earth, is good.   However, the second, when man does not respect this relationship with the earth, can lead man to abuse creation.   Francis pointed to atomic energy as an example, saying that it “can be helpful, but up to a certain point.” Using the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as an example, Pope Francis said that “disaster and destruction can be caused. It is the second form of ignorance that destroys humanity.”   At the conclusion of his address the Pope explained that the PAS chose to hold a meeting with the world’s mayors because “they are aware of the reality of humanity.”   “The Holy See may make a good speech before the United Nations, but if the work does not come from the periphery to the center, it will have no effect; hence the responsibility of mayors and city governors.”   He thanked them for their work and prayed they would have the grace to be aware of “the problem of the destruction that we ourselves have wrought by failing to care for human ecology, so we might transform ignorance into culture, and not the contrary.”   Following his speech Pope Francis signed a joint-declaration of the mayors, which was then signed by all of the participants.   “We join together from many cultures and walks of life, reflecting humanity’s shared yearning for peace, happiness, prosperity, justice and environmental sustainability,” the joint agreement reads.   It continues: “As mayors we commit ourselves to building, in our cities and urban settlements, the resilience of the poor and those vulnerable situations and reducing their exposure to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, which foster human trafficking.” Read more

Los Angeles, Calif., Jul 22, 2015 / 04:27 pm (CNA).- A sharp eye would have noticed that L.A.’s three auxiliary bishops-elect were wearing identical pectoral crosses. The pectoral crosses are identical to another bishop’s — the Bishop of Rome. “They are Pope Francis bishops,” Archbishop José H. Gomez said in the sacristy of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels after the July 21 press conference. “They were a gift,” he added, explaining with a gesture that he’d given the pectoral crosses to the bishops-elect himself. In many ways, the new shepherds reflect the Holy Father’s papacy. Pope Francis has named Father Robert Barron, Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan and Msgr. David O’Connell as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The new auxiliary bishops will join Archbishop Gomez, other auxiliary bishops, priests and deacons in serving the faithful of the largest archdiocese in the United States. “I believe each of these new auxiliary bishops will help us in our mission here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — the beautiful mission we have of sharing the love of God and the message of Jesus Christ and promoting human dignity and mercy and justice in our society,” Archbishop Gomez said during the press conference. “I know all three of our new bishops and I could not be happier,” the archbishop said. Msgr. Brennan has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles since 2013. “He is my vicar general and moderator of the curia, which means he is kind of like a ‘CEO’ and ‘COO,’” the archbishop said. “It’s a big job and Msgr. Brennan handles it with grace and true concern for people’s needs. He is a good man and a thoughtful leader.” He also never aspired to be anything but a pastor. In an interview with The Tidings, Msgr. Brennan said that he’d hoped one day he could return to being a pastor at parish, but with this appointment, it seems unlikely. “In this position I’ve felt from the beginning that what I have — in fact all I have — to bring is the pastoral sense,” he said. “I don’t have the degrees, I don’t have the training. It’s pastoral experience that’s been the highlight of my life so far.” So too with Pope Francis — a pontiff who never aspired to be such and who’s message had renewed the call for priests “to be shepherds living with the smell of their sheep.” “Msgr. O’Connell is a native of Ireland and has served the inner city and South Central L.A.,” the archbishop explained. “He is also a dedicated pastor with a great concern for the spiritual life of the faithful.” Msgr. O’Connell is a leader on issues like immigration reform, education, unemployment, housing, violence and finding alternatives to gangs for young people, the archbishop said. Bishop-elect O’Connell’s emphasis on the poor is akin to Pope Francis’ — both as a priest and bishop in Argentina, but also now at the Vatican. Like Bishop-elect Brennan, O’Connell was perplexed by his appointment as auxiliary bishop. “Maybe Pope Francis was looking for a certain profile, and I guess I do have some of the characteristics of what he’s looking for,” he admitted. “From what he’s writing and what he’s doing and what he’s teaching us, I suppose I do have some of those characteristics, yeah.” As a member of the the Together in Mission Board as well as the Archdiocesan Finance Council, he insists on financial responsibility. And as a pastor, he made sure his parish held events like the Stations of the Cross and Las Posadas in the community, not on church grounds. Father Barron has served as rector of Mundelein Seminary and president of University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, since 2012. His “Catholicism” TV series and his Word on Fire media ministry are hallmarks of the New Evangelization. “He is also the author of many books and has an important online media ministry. He has even had a television series on PBS about the beauty of the Catholic faith and God’s plan for creation,” the archbishop said. “So I think God has sent him to the right place — the media capital of the world.” Father Barron is second only to Pope Francis as the most-followed Catholic leader on social media. “‘I very much identify with Pope Francis’ call for the New Evangelization, which is very much a continuation of the call that began with St. John Paul II and continued through Benedict,” Father Barron said. “For a long time, what I’ve tried to do in my own work is lead with the positive, lead with the joyful, lead with the articulation of the life,” he said. It is clear, the archbishop said, that Pope Francis understands the needs of the Church, both in Los Angeles and across the United States. “In the Catholic Church, we believe that every bishop is ordained to carry on the mission that Jesus gave to his apostles,” the archbishop said. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles comprises 8,762 square miles in Southern California. It has a total population of 11,518,233 people, of whom 4,362,469, or 38 percent, are Catholic. It is the largest diocese by Catholic population in the United States. The archdiocese has four other active auxiliary bishops and two other retired ones.   This story originally ran on L.A.’s Angelus News. Read more

Bismarck, N.D., Jul 22, 2015 / 03:49 pm (National Catholic Register).- With the façade of a fictitious biotechnology company, David Daleiden and his fellow investigators from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) infiltrated the bowels of the ab… Read more

Nairobi, Kenya, Jul 22, 2015 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- October’s synod of bishops on the family should take on a global perspective, rather than sticking to isolated issues found primarily in western society, African Church leaders have said. The chance that voices of the European Church could dominate synod discussion is “a danger of a Eurocentric Synod without strong input from Africa,” Fr. Joseph Healey of the Maryknoll Society told the Catholic News Agency for Africa (CANAA) in an article published July 16. African bishops and Church leaders recently gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for the final phase of three-year evaluation of the Catholic Church on the continent, during which discussion largely fell to topics surrounding the Oct. 4-25 gathering in Rome. The meeting, titled “The vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world,” is a follow-up of last year’s extraordinary synod on the family, which focused on the various challenges facing family life today. An unnamed participant in the colloquium sympathized with Fr. Healey’s concerns, pointing to what they saw as several gaps in last year’s synod discussion, particularly when it comes to issues surrounding the African Church.  In the concluding document of last year’s gathering no mention was made of “HIV and AIDs, not one reference. No mention to female genital mutilation. No mention of children-headed households,” the participant noted.  However, the participant observed that a reason Africa’s voice is seemingly missing from the discussion is that the continent’s bishops haven’t yet developed a strategy to clearly present these issues in Rome. “Unlike other continents, which plan together and then come with clear priorities, our African interventions are often scattered and not planned together.” The German bishops’ conference is known for its unified push to change Church doctrine when it comes to access to the sacraments for Catholic persons who have been divorced and civilly remarried. In late May the German bishops conference paid for the plane tickets and hotels of German journalists traveling from abroad to Rome to cover a closed-door “shadow council” set to coincide with the ordinary meeting of the Synod of Bishops,’ a source in a Vatican congregation revealed. While the Synod of Bishops met with Pope Francis, participants in the “shadow council” gathered to speak on the most contentious issues of the Synod on the Family, which include approval of gay unions and Communion for the divorced and remarried.  According to the German bishops’ conference, the largest part of comments dealt with the issues of the divorced and civilly remarried, cohabiting couples and same-sex unions. Last month Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, brought the topic of Africa’s disorganization up in a June 9 address to African Church leaders gathered in Accra, Ghana, for a consultative meeting ahead of the October synod. He encouraged Church leaders in Africa to speak “with one credible voice” on the family. Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, gave a presentation at the Kenya gathering, explaining that rather than focusing on mainly western issues, synod discussion should instead center on “hurting and struggling parents and families.”  He said discussion ought to address “all the systemic issues which threaten relationships between people in societies and make it so hard for parents today to nourish their relationship with their own children and so bring them up in wholesome and life-giving ways.” “Instead of individualism, anthropocentricism, and the capitalist concept of a development that cannot be sustained, Africa and other indigenous communities offer the world a more wholesome and holistic value,” he said.  The bishop identified the disconnect between religion and culture as a challenge the secularized western world is currently facing. Although the challenges to the Church in Africa are generally of a different nature, Bishop Dowling said Church leaders can’t pretend that the secularized world still won’t affect or have an impact on youth, families and African society as a whole.  “In some places, it is already having an impact,” the bishop remarked, and encouraged further reflection going into the future. Read more

Vatican City, Jul 22, 2015 / 03:31 am (CNA).- Pope Francis’ recent trip to Latin America has rekindled questions about whether he endorses socialism, or even communism. The gift of a “communist crucifix” from Bolivia’s president Evo Morales and uncertainty over the Pope’s response fueled controversy for several days, while Morales told the Associated Press after the visit that he thought that the Pope’s emphasis on a world without exclusion amounts to socialism. “I don’t know whether it’s communism, but it is socialism. He’s talking about community, about living in harmony,” Morales said July 10. He added: “I feel like now I have a Pope.” But is it true? What does Pope Francis really believe? A closer look at the Pope’s speeches and writings reveals an answer that is both complex and nuanced.   On one hand, the Pope has criticized greed and the idolatry of capital on numerous occasions, most recently in a lengthy, colorful July 10 address to the Second World Meeting of the Popular Movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The congress discussed challenges facing the poor and the marginalized. “An unfettered pursuit of money rules. The service of the common good is left behind,” the Pope lamented. He alluded to a remark of St. Basil of Caesarea, which described the unfettered pursuit of wealth as “the dung of the devil.” “Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home,” the Pope’s speech continued. Francis also raised eyebrows in his 2013 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” in which he criticized theories which assume that economic benefits for businesses and investors will “trickle down” the economic ladder to the poor and middle classes. Such views, the Pope said, express “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” Do these criticisms of unregulated capitalism and the idolatry of money amount to an endorsement of socialism? Not really, says Gregory Weeks, a Latin America specialist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Pope Francis is “not advocating for the government to take over everything,” Weeks told the Associated Press. He cautioned against conflating warnings on the harms of capitalism with a push for socialism. In fact, the Pope has directly rejected Marxism. He says that some of its tenets regarding the poor may sound similar to those of Christianity, but he firmly rejects attempts to equate the two. “The Marxist ideology is wrong,” he told Italian Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli in a late 2013 interview when questioned about his economic views. Francis has said that he finds it “strange” that people make these accusations against him. “If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily,” he said in an October 2014 interview. In an interview earlier that year with the Roman daily Il Messagero, he said that while concern for the poor is a mark of the Gospel and Church tradition, rather than an invention of communism.   “I must say that communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian,” he said, recalling the Beatitudes and the story of the Final Judgment in Matthew 25.  “Poverty is the center of the Gospel. The poor are at the center of the Gospel.” So if Francis has been open in criticizing aspects of both capitalism and socialism, what system does he espouse? The answer to that question is less clear. So far, he has not laid out a concrete or thorough vision of a detailed system that he supports. But one clue may be hiding in the Pope’s own experience of growing up in a lower middle class family in Argentina, a family that could afford very little luxury or extra spending, but where basic needs – such as housing, food and clothing – were met with dignity, and one parent – his mother – could stay at home and be “the heart” of the family. Viewing the Pope’s words through the lens of his personal history would suggest that he may be thinking not so much about a global economy, but a family economy. In this view, a just society is one that allows for the majority of people to enjoy the situation in which he grew up: In other words, a national economy that is focused on providing for basic needs, centered around the family. References to the family are common in Pope Francis’ addresses, and are often linked to his comments on the economy. “The family constitutes the best ‘social capital’,” the Pope said in Ecuador during his most recent trip. “It cannot be replaced by other institutions. It needs to be helped and strengthened, lest we lose our proper sense of the services which society as a whole provides.” “Those services which society offers to its citizens are not a type of alms, but rather a genuine ‘social debt’ with respect to the institution of the family, which is foundational and which contributes to the common good.” Whether this is the correct lens through which to understand the Pope remains to be seen. But the Pope may have a chance to directly address the matter when he visits the United States in September. The topic came up during the papal flight from Latin America back to Rome July 12. Journalist Anna Matranga, of the U.S.-based CBS News, asked the Pope about his message that the global economic system often imposes a profit mentality at any cost in a way that works to the detriment of the poor. “This is perceived by Americans as a direct criticism of their system and their way of life,” Matranga said. The Pope responded that his words criticizing the global economy are not new. “I heard that there were some criticisms from the United States,” he said. “I heard about it but I haven’t read about it, I haven’t had the time to study this well, because every criticism must be received, studied, and then dialogue must ensue. You ask me what I think. If I have not had a dialogue with those who criticize, I don’t have the right to state an opinion, isolated from dialogue, no?” “Yes, I must begin studying these criticisms, no? And then dialogue a bit with this,” he said. It is possible that the Pope could use his visit to the United States as an opportunity to clarify the various perceptions of him that still persist in the public narrative. But with a Pope as unpredictable as Francis, it’s anyone’s guess what he will say.   Read more

Vatican City, Jul 22, 2015 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Twelve prominent events, each with the participation of Pope Francis, have been scheduled in Rome for the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, and CNA was able to glance at details of their programs. The twelve big events of the Jubilee of Mercy will be: 24 hours for the Lord, a day-long period of Eucharistic adoration; To Dry the Tears, a prayer vigil; and jubilees centered on pilgrimage workers; the sick and disabled; catechists; deacons; teenagers; priests; volunteers of mercy; the Curia; Mary; and Divine Mercy spirituality. In addition to these events, a “Jubilee for Padre Pio’s prayer group” will take place Feb. 13, 2016, as the body of the Capuchin saint who bore stigmata for much of his life will be exposed in Saint Peter’s Basilica Feb. 8-14, at Pope Francis’ request. “The Holy Father expressed the wish that Padre Pio’s corpse be exposed in St. Peter’s Basilica on Ash Wednesday of the upcoming Extraordinary Holy Year, that is, the day when the Pope will send the missionaries of Mercy, giving them a special mandate to preach and hear confessions, so that they be a lively sign of how the Father welcomes those who seeks his pardon,” Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, wrote to Archbishop Michele Castoro of the Archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo. Here is a description of the full schedule of the meetings. The jubilee for pilgrimage workers will take place Jan. 19-21, 2016. It will start with an international gathering of pilgrimage workers together with priests, rectors, and staff of shrines. A Mass will be said Jan. 19 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The group will have a conference and catechesis the following day, with Eucharistic adoration and Confession, and a pilgrimage to the Holy Door. They will meet with Pope Francis Jan. 21 in Paul VI Hall. On the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Feb. 22, the Pope will also celebrate a special jubilee for the Roman Curia, the Vatican Governatorate, and the institutions linked to the Holy See. On Apr. 1-3 2016, during the Easter Octave, the jubilee of Divine Mercy spirituality will be celebrated. On April 1, some Roman parishes will  celebrate a penitential rite, and the following day Pope Francis will lead a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square. He will say Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday on April 3. The teenagers’ jubilee will begin with an April 23 evening festival at Rome’s Olympic Stadium, followed by a Mass said by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square the following day. The jubilee of deacons will take placy May 27-29, with conferences on their role as icons of mercy for the new evangelization in their families, parishes, and jobs. They will gather in Rome’s seven parishes named for St. Lawrence, and on May 28 will have Adoration, Confession, and pilgrimage to the Holy Door, then attend a Mass said by Pope Francis May 29. Priests will celebrate their jubilee June 1-3. The first day will be dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration, lectio divina, and confessions. The Holy Father will preach their spiritual retreat June 2, and June 3 will say Mass with them. The jubilee of the sick and disabled will occur June 10-12. The participants will gather in the jubilee churches, and from there they will go to the Holy Door. A celebration will be held in the gardens of Castel Sant’Angelo June 11, and a Mass in St. Peter’s Square with the Holy Father June 12. From Sept. 2-4 the volunteers of mercy will gather in Rome for catechesis and a Mass with Pope Francis. Catechists’ jubilee is scheduled Sept. 23-25. The first day, they will have the option of either visiting San Luigi dei Francesi to contemplate Caravaggio’s paintings of St. Matthew’s calling, inspiration, and martyrdom; or the Sistine Chapel to view salvation history through the ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The following day will see a catechesis on mercy in the jubilee churches and a prayer vigil at St. John Lateran, and Pope Francis will say Mass Sept. 25 in St. Peter’s Square. A Marian jubilee will be celebrated Oct. 7-9, which will gather delegates from Marian shrines across the world. Pope Francis will be present at the Oct. 8 prayer vigil, and say Mass Oct. 9. Added to these particular jubilees are two additional events: the 24 hours for the Lord, culminating March 4 with a penitential rite, and the “Vigil to Dry Tears,” scheduled May 5 and described as a vigil for all those who need consolation. Pope Francis will preside over both the vigils. The jubilee was announced by Pope Francis during a March 13 penitential service, the second anniversary of his election as Bishop of Rome. It will open Dec. 8 – the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – and will close Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King. Read more

Paris, France, Jul 21, 2015 / 03:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Thierry Scherrer of Laval, France, and the Bioethics Committee of his diocese are pleading with doctors at a hospital in Reims not to end the life of a young quadriplegic man. “Hu… Read more

Washington D.C., Jul 21, 2015 / 11:50 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Another undercover video released today allegedly shows a senior official at Planned Parenthood flippantly discussing monetary compensation for aborted baby organs, and the alteration of aborti… Read more

Los Angeles, Calif., Jul 21, 2015 / 07:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Known for his online videos which tackle everything from the saints, to the “new atheism,” to the latest blockbuster film, Fr. Robert Barron will have a new responsibility: auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, one of the cultural capitals of the world. “It was with enormous surprise that I heard the word of my appointment last week, but it is with a humble and joyful heart that I have accepted it,” said the Chicago-native in a July 21 statement. “I am grateful to Pope Francis for his confidence in me and to Archbishop Gomez for his willingness to allow me to minister in this beautiful, richly diverse, and spiritually vibrant Church.” A priest for the diocese of Chicago, the bishop-elect said he has visited California on various occasions for different speaking engagements.   “So although I cannot say that I know this Archdiocese well, I have indeed been able to taste and see some of its goodness.” Most of bishop-elect Barron’s priesthood has been served under the leadership of Cardinal Francis George, who passed away earlier this year after having been archbishop of Chicago from 1997 until 2014. Ordained to the priesthood in 1986 for the archdiocese of Chicago, Fr. Barron said it was his “mentor,” the late Cardinal George, who taught him “the central importance of evangelizing the culture, bringing the power of Christ to the arenas of politics, law, the arts, higher education, the media, and entertainment.” “This has been my preoccupation over the years, informing my work as teacher, writer, and evangelist,” he said, adding: “I cannot imagine a more exciting field for this sort of endeavor than Los Angeles, one of the great cultural capitals of the world.” Since 2012, Fr. Barron has served as the rector and president of the Chicago Archdiocese’s Mundelein seminary, the University of St. Mary of the Lake. However, he is perhaps best known as the founder of the online initiative Word On Fire Catholic Ministries, as well as the producer of the documentary series Catholicism. His latest series, Pivotal Players, is currently in production. The late Cardinal George’s successor, Archbishop Blaise Cupich, extended his congratulations Fr. Barron, saying the appointment as bishop in L.A. “brings honor to the Archdiocese of Chicago” as well as to Mundelein seminary. “He has been a singular blessing to our local Church and is recognized nationally for his great abilities and talents. We know that he will continue to make us proud as he begins his new ministry on the West Coast,” he said. The July 21 announcement named Fr. Barron as auxiliary bishop for the California archdiocese alongside two others, Msgr. David O’Connell and Msgr. Joseph Brennan, both already based in Los Angeles. The news coincided with the resignation of L.A. auxiliary bishop Gerald Wilkerson, who had reached the retirement age of 75. Native of County Cork, Ireland, bishop-elect O’Connell, ordained 1979, has worked to end inner-city violence in L.A., and is a member of the archdiocese’s pastoral committee on immigration. “The greatest joy of my life is being a pastor,” said the Irish-born bishop. “I think our parishes and schools are powerful instruments of transformation of people’s lives and of neighborhoods. I hope that as an auxiliary bishop I can continue to be a good pastor for the people.” Bishop-elect Brennan, ordained in 1980, has been serving as Moderator of the Curia for the L.A. archdiocese. “I am blessed to be able to continue to serve in such a beautiful community of faith deeply rooted in our Church’s mission of mercy and service,” he said, citing the “wonderful good works” helping those in need throughout the archdiocese. L.A. Archbishop Jose Gomez also praised the new appointments, who will help to oversee the the ministry of some 5 million members spread over 287 parishes in the archdiocese. “I think it is clear that in appointing these new auxiliary bishops, Pope Francis really understands what the Church needs – not just here in Los Angeles, but also in the United States and Across the Americas,” said Archbishop Gomez in a statement responding to the appointments. “I believe each of these new auxiliary bishops will help us in our mission here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles – the beautiful mission we have of sharing the love of God and the message of Jesus Christ and promoting human dignity and mercy and justice in our society.” Read more

Vatican City, Jul 21, 2015 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Although two of the three countries hardest hit by last year’s Ebola outbreak have been declared free of the virus, they aren’t out of the woods yet. Deaths related to the massive E… Read more

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