Vol. 17 No. 19
September 16 - 29, 2013
Pope praises newly beatied Argentine ‘cowboy priest’
On the occasion of the beatication of Fr. José Gabriel Brochero
of Cordoba, Argentina, known to locals as the “cowboy priest,”Pope Francis praised him for his open heart. “Brochero was anormal man, fragile, like any of us,” said Pope Francis. But hisgreatness came from the fact that, “he knew the love of Jesus.He let his heart be touched by the mercy of God.” Born in 1840and ordained to the priesthood at age 26, Fr. Brochero wasknown for traversing his mountainous parish by mule to bringthe gospel and sacraments to the people of Cordoba.
Vatican willing to hand over accused nuncio to civilauthorities
A Vatican spokesman has said that the Holy See is willing tohand over a former nuncio accused of sexual misconduct tocivil authorities in the Dominican Republic if requested to do
so. Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press ofce,
said that the Holy See continues to cooperate fully with ongo-ing investigations into Archbishop Józef Wesolowski, formerapostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic. Because there isno extradition treaty between the Vatican and the DominicanRepublic, the Holy See is not required to return the nuncio to
Dominican ofcials. In addition, the Vatican has a legal right to
invoke diplomatic immunity in protection of the nuncio.
Italian pastor donates used car to Pope Francis
An Italian pastor has donated a used Renault 4 with 186,000miles to Pope Francis, in response to the exhortation he madeto priests and seminarians in July to live simply and humbly.Father Renzo Roca, 69, who is pastor of St. Lucy Parish inPescantina, wrote to the Holy Father offering to donate hiscar, according to news reports out of the Vatican. The car wasdelivered to the Pontiff on Sept. 7 at St. Martha’s Residence,shortly before the beginning of the Vigil for Peace, which theHoly Father led in St. Peter’s Square that evening.
Pope Francis continues peace appeals on Twitter
After a global day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria andthroughout the world, Pope Francis is continuing his calls forpeace, hope and negotiations through messages on social me-dia. “Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hearwords of hope and peace!” he exclaimed on Twitter Sept. 9. “Iask each party to follow decisively and courageously the pathof encounter and negotiation,” he said, referring to potentialstrikes on Syria by Western nations. Both of these tweets werefollowed by the hashtag “#prayforpeace,” which the HolyFather has repeatedly used throughout the month.
Pope hears ofcials’ input on reforming Vatican
Pope Francis met with Vatican ofcials Sept. 10 to hear their
questions and suggestions about his ongoing reform of theVatican bureaucracy. The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit FatherFederico Lombardi, said the meeting lasted nearly three hoursand, except for a brief greeting by the pope, was devoted toremarks by the other participants. About 30 people attended,
almost all of them heads of the major Vatican ofces, joined
by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commissiongoverning Vatican City State, and Cardinal Agostino Vallini,vicar general of Rome. Also present was Archbishop LorenzoBaldisseri, secretary of the College of Cardinals.
Pope: Calling folks is no big deal, media reports just tipof iceberg
Picking up the telephone and calling people out of the blue is
no big deal for Pope Francis, according to a Vatican ofcial.
Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Center,said the pope told him that the many calls the journalists havebrought to light are just the tip of the iceberg: “Good thing theydon’t know about all the ones I have made!” the pope report-edly said. In an interview Sept. 13 with Famiglia Cristiana, anItalian Catholic magazine, Msgr. Vigano said that during arecent meeting with the pope, he asked the pontiff about themedia frenzy over reports of papal cold calls. The monsignorsaid the pope looked at him amazed and said, “Tell the jour-nalists that my calls are not news.”
UK Bishop laments decision toignore sex-selective abortions
LONDON, Sept. 11, 2013—Archbishop Peter Smith ofSouthwark joined his voice tothose expressing concern thatthe Crown Prosecution Servicedecided not to prosecute twodoctors who agreed to per-form abortions based on sexselection.In a statement Tuesday, thevice president of the bishops’conference of England andWales responded to the CPS de-cision, handed down last week.“Many people are rightlyvery concerned about the CPSdecision not to prosecute in thecase of the doctors who werewilling to conduct abortion as ameans of gender selection, andI welcome the intervention ofthe Health Secretary,” he said.The archbishop added thatabortion “is always an injusticeto the child who is unwanted,and sex selection through abor-tion is just one expression ofthat injustice.”It is illegal in Britain to per-form abortions for sex selec-tion.The Daily Telegraph last Feb-ruary published results of aninvestigation they did, whichincluded film of two doctorsagreeing to do abortions eventhough the mothers said theirreason for seeking the proce-dure was because of the sex oftheir children.The CPS said it found suffi-cient evidence to prosecute butthat a “public interest test” hadnot been met.Archbishop Smith calledfor more than just protectingBritish law: “The existing lawshould be enforced, but whatis needed above all is a soulsearching and honest debateabout how our culture andsociety needs to change if therights of unborn children areto be protected.”
Youth call education key in solving
WASHINGTON D.C., Sept. 12, 2013—Edu-cation and interpersonal interaction offer thebest hope for change in the situation betweenIsrael and Palestine despite challenges facingthose in the region, young students said ata recent panel.“When you live under occupation, youcome to accept things you shouldn’t ac-cept,” Lubna Alzaroo, a Muslim graduate ofBethlehem University and Fulbright scholarstudying at the University of Washington,said Sept. 9 at the D.C. event.“Education is our best way for liberation,”Alzaroo added, echoing her father’s part-ing words to her when she left to go to theUnited States.She noted, however, that even this hope isthreatened by the current political situation.Peace talks between Palestine and Israelwere put on hold in 2010 over the issue ofIsraeli settlements in the West Bank, whichare considered illegal under internationallaw. Dialogue resumed in late July of thisyear in D.C., but with signs of tension begin-ning to emerge over discussions involvingdecades-old border lines.Also speaking on the recent student panelwere Nagib Kasbary, a Christian and 2013graduate of Bethlehem University, and NaorBitton, a Jewish Israeli graduate of HebrewUniversity in Jerusalem and a FulbrightScholar at the University of Minnesota.
Bethlehem University is the rst univer
-sity founded in Palestine’s West Bank. Thecollege is run by the De La Salle ChristianBrothers, serving both Christian and MuslimStudents.The panelists spoke at a conference titled“Religious Freedom & Human Rights: Pathto Peace in the Holy Land—That All MayBe Free,” hosted by the Catholic Universityof America. The event was co-sponsored bythe university as well as the U.S. Confer-ence of Catholic Bishops and Catholic ReliefServices.Alzaroo explained that her education inPalestine was “uncertain,” because it was atthe mercy of violence and political situations:she had to pass through checkpoints to makeit to and from class.Passing through these checkpoints wasa process dictated by security threats, andincluded anything from simply walkingthrough to full-body searches. She explainedthat she nearly missed entrance exams at theuniversity because of a closed checkpoint.“We don’t have the freedom to moveabout as we want,” she explained, addingthat “a lot of people had to let go of their
dreams” because of the difculty of pursuing
an education.In addition, “teachers go on strike everyyear because they aren’t paid enough – or,in some cases, they aren’t paid at all,” Al-zaroo said.
Because of the difcult situation facing
education in Palestine, “we can’t get our owngraduates to come back and teach,” she said.Kasbary agreed with Alzaroo’s take, say-ing that the Palestinian people “don’t want toput up with this anymore,” and that “thosewho can leave do leave.”
He posited that the conict is not a reli
-gious one, but a political one, pointing tointerreligious cooperation throughout theWest Bank, particularly in Bethlehem Uni-versity. Kasbary said that “we are less thanone percent, but that doesn’t mean that weare a minority” among the Muslim-majorityterritory, though he noted that it was “veryimportant for the Catholic Church to keepsupporting” Christians in the Holy Land.Instead, he pointed to checkpoints, lawsrestricting access to holy sites, even for HolyDays, and the expansion of settlements intoPalestine as the root of the problem.Bitton agreed that settlements “are thebiggest obstacle to peace,” saying that theypromote “religion as extreme,” and encour-age extreme responses.
Still, even with these difculties, Bittonencouraged Palestinians to use ofcial av
-enues to gain access, because he said it wouldhelp moderate the perception of Palestiniansamong Israeli citizens.He also encouraged Israeli and Palestinianyoung leaders to reach out to one another toenact change.“I wish the Imam and the Cheif Rabbi of Jerusalem met when they were 25—not the
rst time they saw an Israeli soldier.” He
explained that if people met younger, theywould understand and work with each other
more efciently. Interpersonal change and
interaction “can lead to a push” for politicalaction.“This is the future: think about who hasthe most interest to change things wherethey live—the people who are going to stickaround for another 60 years.”
(L-R) Nagib Kasbary, Naor Bitton, and Lubna Alzaroo take part in the panel on ReligiousFreedom and Human Rights at CUA on Sept9, 2013.
Texas-Mexico border bishops planpastoral letter on family immigration
WASHINGTON DC, Sept. 13,2013—After a gut-wrenchingvisit with young children in theEl Paso, Texas, area who arein immigration detention, thebishops of the border region ofTexas and Mexico have decidedto write a joint pastoral letter onhow families are harmed by thecurrent immigration system.San Antonio Archbishop Gus-tavo Garcia-Siller told CatholicNews Service in a Sept. 12 phoneinterview that after visiting thechildren who were brought tomeet the bishops at an El Pasoparish and learning their stories,the bishops wanted to draw at-tention to the family effects ofthe broken immigration system.He told about meeting a girlof 6 who has been in detentionsince her parents were deportedfour years ago. Apparently bothher mother and father werekilled soon after they were re-turned to Mexico and theirdaughter has been a ward of theImmigration and Customs En-forcement agency ever since, as
ofcial systems of two countries
have slowly churned to placethe girl with another memberof her family. That girl and theother children in ICE custodyintensely long to be with theirfamilies, he said.“Here in this country are 11million undocumented people.How many of their childrenrisk losing a parent because theylack documents” and could bedeported, he asked. The pastoralletter to be issued in the nextmonth is intended to “bringsome sane, rational understand-ing” of the many ways familiesare broken apart by the currentimmigration system, Archbish-op Garcia-Siller said.
Vietnamese government and State TV launch fresh attacks on Bishop of Vinh
VINH, Vietnam, Sept. 16, 2013—Vietnameseauthorities, with the support of the media,have launched a new , violent attack againstthe Vinh diocese and Msgr . Paul NguyenThai Hop, “guilty” of asking for the releaseof two parishioners imprisoned for monthswithout motive. In a 10-minute reportbroadcast last night by state television harshaccusations were made against the prelate ,guilty of “lying , breaking the law on purposeand inciting to revolt “ against Hanoi.The Catholics are accused of having “art-fully fabricated” a legal issue—this is whatthe authorities say—to transform it into acase of “religious persecution.” And thesmear campaign was followed by threatsagainst the Catholic community of My Yenand Nghe An, with the promise of “new ar-rests” if the protests continued.“In an interview with foreign journalists—claimed the state television broadcast servicein Hanoi yesterday—Bishop Nguyen ThaiHop manipulated the truth, made false ac-cusations against the government of Vietnamin order to transform what is a normal pro-cedure into a case of persecution against theChurch. “The prelate also apparently “tookadvantage” of Catholics and their good faithto “foment riots.” The report ended with awarning, which sounded more like a threat:“no one is above the law” and there will be“more arrests” if the rebellion continues.Along with the bishop, the Vietnamese au-thorities have also targeted the website of thediocese of Vinh. Ngo Ba Hao, vice-presidentof the Committee for telecommunications,sent an urgent letter to Msgr. Paul sent anurgent letter to the prelate asking him to shutdown the Web site of the diocese or face legalactions as the Web site is operated without thegovernment permission. In fact, the govern-ment has never granted any such permissionto Church institutions. Due to pastoral needs,dioceses in Vietnam run their websites at therisk of being prosecuted at any time.The entire Vietnamese Catholic Church,both domestic and in diaspora, has shownfull support to the Diocese of Vinh in itsresponds to recent defamatory attack by gov-ernment media, defending the good name ofits bishop and community and reiteratingthe baseless accusations of the authorities.The dispute is really over events linked tothe parish in My yen, which is seeking therelease of two parishioners who have beenin jail since last June without even a formalaccusation being made against them.The diocese of Vinh and its bishop inter-vened in defense of the imprisoned parish-ioners, requesting the release, and the entirecommunity, legitimizing the protests. Thesupport of the diocesan Catholic leadershiphas sparked the reaction of the local and cen-tral authorities, who have launched a smearcampaign against Msgr. Paul Nguyen ThaiHop and threatened to intervene harshly toquell the protest.For some time now, the Vietnamese gov-ernment has been involved in a campaign ofrepression against bloggers, activists and dis-sidents seeking religious freedom, respect forcivil rights, or the end of the one-party state. Apetition has been launched for that purpose.In 2013 alone, Hanoi has arrested morethan 40 activists for crimes “against thestate”, a legal notion human rights groupsconsider too general and vague. TheCatholic Church has also been subjected toconstraints and restrictions; its members,victims of persecution. In one case back in January, a Vietnamese court sentenced 14people, including some Catholics, to prisonon charges of attempting to overthrow thegovernment, a ruling criticized forcefully byand human rights activists and movements.
(J.B. An Dang / AsiaNews)
Archbishop urges prayers for victims of widespread ooding in Colorado
DENVER, Sept. 12, 2013—Denver Archbishop Samuel J.Aquila said he is praying forall those affected by extensive
ooding in northern Colorado
and urged all people of goodwill "to join me in prayer.""This morning I heard withconcern about the floodingthat is hitting the Front Rangeand impacting people withinthe Archdiocese of Denver,"he said in a Sept. 12 state-ment. "According to the latestreports, three people havealready died in the flooding.I am praying for the souls ofthose victims, for their fami-lies and all people who are be-ing affected by the flooding."Archbishop Aquila said thearchdiocesan Catholic Chari-ties agency was prepared tohelp storm victims.Heavy rains caused severe
trafc delays during the morn
-ing rush hour, with the cities ofBoulder, Aurora and Thorntondeclaring accident alerts. The
widespread ooding destroyed
many homes and stalled carsthroughout the Colorado'snorthern counties, includingBoulder and Denver counties.Public officials closedschools, including the Uni-versity of Colorado in Boul-
der, because of the ooding,
and ordered evacuations froma number of communities.Rushing water made roadsthroughout the region impass-
able. Law enforcement ofcialsconrmed at least three peopledied in the ood waters.
More rain—from 6 to 10inches—was expected to fallthrough the weekend, accord-ing to a forecast by the NationalWeather Service. Residents ofcanyons in the foothills westof Denver were being warnedabout the risk of more flash
According to a USA Todaystory, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle described the situa-tion as no "ordinary disaster,"saying that "all the preparationin the world" could not getrescue workers into mountain
canyons to help ood victims
"while these walls of water arecoming down."
German diocese promises ‘transparency’after claims of extravagance
OXFORD, England, Sept. 13,2013—Germany's Limburg Dio-cese pledged "dialogue andtransparency" after a formerVatican nuncio was sent todefuse complaints of extrava-gance against Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. CardinalGiovanni Lajolo continued meet-ing with Bishop Tebartz-vanElst, cathedral staff, local clergyand religious order representa-tives Sept. 13.A diocesan spokesman, StephanSchnelle, acknowledged that me-
dia reports about the prelate's rst-class ights and his luxuriously
appointed new residence "has led
to difculties among priests and
people here.The bishop is aware of theirconcerns and wants to be in dia-logue. He knows the importanceof transparency in appeasinganxieties."In a Sept. 12 interview withCatholic News Service, Schnellesaid Cardinal Lajolo arrived Sept.9 in the diocese in the small west-ern German town to seek a "solu-tion in peace for all parties," butadded that local Catholics were"generally supporting" BishopTebartz-van Elst.The 53-year bishop attractedmedia attention after his No-vember 2008 appointment forcriticizing Islam and dismissinga local priest for blessing a same-sex union.
w w w . f i c k r . c o m w w w . c a t h o l i c n e w s a g e n c y . c o m w w w . a s i a n e w s . i t
Archbishop Peter Smith