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Nation and world briefs


Pittsburgh parishes asked to collect funds for Jewish congregations

PITTSBURGH — Parishes throughout the Diocese of Pittsburgh will take up a special collection for the three Jewish congregations that worship at the Tree of Life Synagogue, which was attacked by a gunman. Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik asked that the collection be taken at Masses the weekend of Nov. 10-11. “This collection is a gift of love and solidarity from one religious community to another, to say that the Catholic people of southwestern Pennsylvania suffer with you and we are here to support you,” Bishop Zubik wrote in a statement Nov. 2. “The congregations at Tree of Life are free to use these donations in whatever way they believe is right, to help their members recover and to restore their house of worship.” In announcing the collection, the diocese said families of the 11 people who died and two others who were injured faced expenses. The synagogue also sustained damage that will require repair and renovation. A 46-year-old Pittsburgh man, Robert Bowers, has been charged with dozens of counts in federal court in connection with the Oct. 27 incident. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance Nov. 1.

New York bishop removed from ministry pending review of abuse claim

WASHINGTON — A New York auxiliary bishop has been removed from public ministry pending a Vatican review of a decades-old accusation of sexual abuse against him, a claim he denies, the Archdiocese of New York stated in a letter released Oct. 31. The letter dated Oct. 29 was sent to parishioners of Our Lady of Refuge in the Bronx, where Auxiliary Bishop John J. Jenik was the pastor until late October. In a video made public via Twitter on Oct. 31, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said he had met with parishioners the day before to inform them of the developments, which included Bishop Jenik stepping way from public ministry. “This is sad for all of us, this is sad for the victim,” Cardinal Dolan said in the video. Its accompanying tweet references “an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.” The archdiocese also provided Catholic News Service an undated letter written by Bishop Jenik to his parish in which he denies the accusation. “I will ask the Vatican, which has ultimate jurisdiction over such cases, to review the matter, with the hope of ultimately proving my innocence,” the bishop wrote in the letter.


Pope focuses on ‘good politics’ for 2019 World Peace Day message

VATICAN CITY — The world will not have peace without people having mutual trust and respecting each other’s word, the Vatican said as it announced Pope Francis’ 2019 World Peace Day message would focus on “good politics. Good politics is at the service of peace” will be the theme for the Jan. 1 commemoration and for the message Pope Francis will write for the occasion, said a Vatican communique published Nov. 6, the day midterm elections were held in the United States to determine the political makeup of Congress for the next two years as well as a number of posts for state governors and city mayors. The pope’s full message for World Peace Day, traditionally released by the Vatican in mid-December, is sent, through Vatican diplomats, to the leaders of nations around the world.

Pope: All Souls feast is time to remember, to hope

ROME — The Mass for the feast of All Souls is “realistic, concrete” in calling Catholics to remember the people and events of their past, to consider how they live today and to hope for eternal life with God and their loved ones who preceded them, Pope Francis said. Celebrating an outdoor Mass Nov. 2, the feast of All Souls, in Rome’s Laurentino cemetery, the pope said remembering “those who walked before us” is not only about the beloved dead, but also about remembering that each person has a history, a family and is part of something larger than themselves. “Remembering is what strengthens a people because they feel rooted,” they have an identity and history, he said. “Memory reminds us that we are not alone. We are part of a people.” With hundreds of people gathered at the windy cemetery where their loved ones are buried, Pope Francis pointed to the tombstones and the mausoleum behind the crowd, noting that they represent “the many people who have shared part of our journey. It is not easy to remember,” the pope said. “Often we tire at the thought of looking back, of asking ‘What happened in my life, my family, my people,’ but today is a day for remembering.”

Brazil’s new Catholic president promises conservative moral agenda

SAO PAULO — Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, a Catholic who campaigned to rid the nation of corruption, will take office Jan. 1 with a conservative moral agenda. “I want to thank God for this mission, because Brazil is in a somewhat complicated situation, with an ethical, moral and economic crisis. I am sure that I am not the most qualified, but God enables the chosen ones,” Bolsonaro told the media after his late-October victory, with a statue of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil’s patron saint, behind him. Bolsonaro’s victory has been linked to the support of the evangelical community in Brazil. Although Brazil is the most populous Catholic country on earth, the number of evangelicals has been growing at a rapid pace in recent decades. Bolsonaro attracted these Christian devotees with his strong views on issues such as abortion, LGBT rights and traditional family values.

— Catholic News Service

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