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Nation and world briefs


Priest recovers from assault, asks for prayers for robber who harmed him

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — For his silver jubilee as a priest almost a decade ago, Franciscan Father Ed Mundwiller prayed for God to keep calling him beyond the boundaries of his own comfort zone, into places he never thought he would go. "The old 'normal' and the old certainties go away, and God fills in the void with a call to justice and decency," he said in a 2007 interview with The Catholic Missourian, newspaper of the Diocese of Jefferson City. Father Mundwiller, who goes by "Friar Ed," believes that is exactly what happened while he was walking in his St. Louis neighborhood the afternoon of Feb. 2. He spoke briefly with a teenager and gave him a dollar. The teen followed him into an alley and attacked him, breaking his leg while trying to get his billfold. Friar Ed was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was treated and released pending surgery to mend a fractured bone. As he recovers, he asked people to pray for his assailant and those like him, "the ones who for whatever reason fall through the cracks of our ministries and wind up feeling hopeless and invisible, those who need to have God's mercy shown to them."

Cdl. Burke: There is great need for Catholic health care

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As society has placed the dignity of human life under constant attack, there has never been a greater need for the Catholic approach to health care in response to the needs of the sick, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke told participants in a medical ethics conference in Columbus. "In a totally secularized society, there is more than ever a hunger for the witness to the meaning of human life and human suffering which Catholic health care gives," said Cardinal Burke, who lives in Rome, where he serves as patron of the Knights of Malta. "Our country suffers the scourge of an attack on the dignity of human life," Cardinal Burke said. Signs of that include "direct abortion on demand, the termination of the life of those who have special needs or are weakened because of illness or advanced years, and the pervasive view of the human body as a tool to be used for achieving maximum personal convenience and pleasure."


Diocesan phase of Fatima visionary's sainthood cause completed

VATICAN CITY — The Diocese of Coimbra concluded its phase of the sainthood cause of Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who saw Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. Bishop Virgilio Antunes of Coimbra formally closed the local phase of investigation into her life and holiness Feb. 13 in the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra, where she resided until her death in 2005 at the age of 97. The ceremony included the sealing of 50 volumes — 15,000 pages — of evidence and witness testimonies detailing the life of Sister Lucia. The documents sealed at the ceremony were to be shipped to the Congregation for Saints' Causes at the Vatican. After a thorough review of the materials and a judgment that Sister Lucia heroically lived the Christian virtues, her cause still would require the recognition of two miracles — one for beatification and another for canonization — attributed to her intercession. The Marian apparitions at Fatima began on May 13, 1917, when 10-year-old Lucia, along with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.

Pope praises abuse survivor for breaking silence

VATICAN CITY — The sexual abuse of children by those who have vowed to serve Christ and the Church is a horrendous monstrosity that represents "a diabolical sacrifice" of innocent, defenseless lives, Pope Francis said. The Church, which must protect the weakest, has a duty "to act with extreme severity with priests who betray their mission and with the hierarchy — bishops and cardinals — who protect them," the pope wrote in the preface to a new book written by a man raped as a child by a Capuchin priest. The book, "My Father, I Forgive You" ("Mon Pere, Je Vous Pardonne"), was written by Daniel Pittet, 57, in an effort to describe how he fell victim to a predator abuser when he was 8 years old growing up in Fribourg, Switzerland, and the challenges he faced when came forward two decades later with the accusations. The book, currently published only in French, was to be released Feb. 16. News outlets released the text of the pope's preface Feb. 13. Pittet — who had been a monk, but later married and had six children — had met the pope at the Vatican during the Year of Consecrated Life in 2015.

Pope names envoy to study pastoral care of faithful in Medjugorje

VATICAN CITY — Without commenting on the authenticity of alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pope Francis has appointed a Polish archbishop to study the pastoral needs of the townspeople and the thousands of pilgrims who flock to the town each year. The pope chose Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga as his special envoy to Medjugorje, the Vatican announced Feb. 11. "The mission has the aim of acquiring a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation there and, above all, of the needs of the faithful who go there in pilgrimage, and on the basis of this, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future," the Vatican announcement said. Archbishop Hoser's assignment has "an exclusively pastoral character," the Vatican said, making it clear his task is separate from the work of a commission set up in 2010 by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary had appeared to them daily beginning in 1981.

— Catholic News Service

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