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Nation and world briefs


New Jersey Catholic puts ‘Laudato Si” into action with recycling effort

CALIFON, N.J. — In 2013, when Swedish telecom equipment and software giant Ericcson decided to renovate its Piscataway campus, it forewarned employees to plan on working in a paperless office. In the process, the company was ridding the offices of file cabinets, whiteboards, file folders and related equipment. For longtime worker Laurene “Lari” O’Donnell, it led her to ask a colleague: “What are we going to do with all this stuff?” The co-worker assured O’Donnell that most everything would be recycled, but when O’Donnell saw dumpsters overflowing with books, papers and much, much more, the Hunterdon County woman led a recycling effort few workplaces match. Nearly five years later, more than 125 Ericcson employees have rescued, collected, cataloged and sent off more than 180 tons — or 360,000 pounds — and donated the items to nearly 250 nonprofits throughout much of New Jersey, two other states and three foreign countries. Some items have wound up at schools and offices in the Diocese of Metuchen.

Catholic teaching, pastoral response shows hope for those hurt by suicide

PHILADELPHIA — On a November morning in 2008, Father Marc Capizzi had his rosary in hand when he left the rectory at St. Albert the Great Parish in the Philadelphia suburb of Huntingdon Valley. Having received an anguished call from a parishioner, he set out to comfort a family that had just lost a son to suicide. His heartbreaking mission was not out of the ordinary. “It’s probably more common than you would think,” Father Capizzi said. “A number of priests have had this experience.” According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, that experience is becoming more common. From 1999 to 2016, suicide rates increased by more than 30 percent in half of the nation’s states. Almost 45,000 Americans die by suicide each year, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. The complexities of mental, emotional and physical health are recognized by the Catholic Church in its stance on suicide. “Suicide itself is a gravely disordered act, an evil one,” said Father Bernard Taglianetti, a professor of moral theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. “However, the Church also recognizes that strong emotional experiences — deep suffering, deep depression — can diminish one’s culpability.”

Cardinal and economist address faith’s role in economy

NEW YORK — The role of faith in the free market is to insist that a just economy is built on a moral framework that serves the common good, according to speakers at an event Sept. 5 at Jesuit-run Fordham University. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark and economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University, traced the history of the Catholic Church’s robust engagement with social issues and said Pope Francis is a prophetic voice for the marginalized in an age of global inequality. As a “son of the global south,” Pope Francis has extensive experience with the social dimension of economics and “has seen the game played for too long to sugarcoat it,” Cardinal Tobin said. The pope’s blunt, alarming statements are caricatured by some as clerical meddling in the scientific sphere, but he speaks from a conviction that the Christian faith has a dimension that includes witness in the public square and in the marketplace, the cardinal said. Catholic tradition reflects on the economy through the lens of faith because life in community is at the heart of society, and social virtues and attention to the common good are valued, Cardinal Tobin said.


Pope accepts resignation of Brazilian bishop

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a Brazilian bishop who was arrested and charged with embezzling thousands of dollars of diocesan funds. In March, Bishop Jose Ronaldo Ribeiro of Formosa was arrested and charged, along with four diocesan priests, with stealing about $606,000 of diocesan money. The Vatican also announced Sept. 12 that Archbishop Paulo Mendes Peixoto of Uberaba will continue to serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese. The archbishop was first named apostolic administrator by the pope March 21, two days after Bishop Ribeiro’s arrest. Prosecutors in the state of Goias allege Bishop Ribeiro and the four priests purchased a cattle ranch and a lottery store with the diverted money. The courts authorized prosecutors to wiretap the telephones of the accused. Officials also issued warrants and searched the bishop’s home where they found money hidden in a secret compartment in a closet. Prosecutors also were investigating allegations that priests paid Bishop Ribeiro monthly “allowances” so that they could be placed in more profitable parishes.

More Catholic institutions divest from fossil fuels

WASHINGTON — The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Caritas India are among 19 Catholic institutions that have decided to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The Global Catholic Climate Movement joined other organizations in announcing the latest group of dozens of institutions to divest Sept. 10, ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit Sept. 12-14 in San Francisco. Tomas Insua, GCCM executive director, said the expanding divestment movement comes as the world sees the impact of fossil fuel consumption on climate change and the resulting extreme weather. He cited the recent unprecedented floods in Kerala state in southwest India as a result of a warming planet and pointed to Caritas India’s decision to fully divest as “powerful testimony” to the pressing issues posed by climate change. In total, 122 Catholic entities have divested since the GCCM campaign began in 2016.

African bishops want action on priests who remain in Europe

OXFORD, England — Catholic bishops in Africa have voiced concern about a growing number of priests who fail to return home after training or ministering in Europe, in violation of Church norms. “Many priests respect agreements by coming back after working in Europe, but we’re concerned about those who don’t,” said Father Emmanuel Wohi Nin, general secretary of the bishops’ conference in Ivory Coast. “Some Western bishops, lacking priests of their own, are allowing this to happen and saying nothing when our clergy stay on. We need solutions on both sides,” the priest said Sept. 8. A firm agreement is needed among bishops’ conferences on rules and procedures for African priests in Europe, he said. The problem was raised by Bishop Ignace Bessi Dogbo of Katiola, president of the Ivory Coast bishops’ conference, at a July meeting with his French counterpart, Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseille, and is expected to be discussed again in an upcoming visit by a French delegation to Ivory Coast.

— Catholic News Service

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