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Nation and world briefs


‘Conquer bitterness with sacrificial love,’ bishop tells Virginians after shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond celebrated Masses at St. Gregory the Great and St. John the Apostle churches in Virginia Beach June 2, two days after 12 people were killed in the city’s Municipal Center. One victim, Kate Nixon, was a member of St. Gregory the Great; another, Mary Lou Gayle, was a member of St. John the Apostle. “After tragedy and sudden loss, we often have many unanswered, and even unanswerable questions,” the bishop said during his homily. “There is the mixture of emotion: grief, anger, anxiety or maybe even, understandably, bitterness and rage at the injustice of it.” He continued, “How could such horrific things keep happening? And why did it happen this way — why do the young and innocent so senselessly and shockingly have their lives taken from them?” The bishop said that, like the apostles, the faithful need to keep their feet on the ground, while keeping “their eyes fixed on heaven and the glory that awaits.” He added, “To me this is the best way to confront situations of tragic loss and evil violence. Don’t let it conquer us in bitterness and anger, but conquer it with self-giving, sacrificial love.”

Illinois Senate passage of abortion bill called ‘sad day in history of state’

CHICAGO — Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich June 1 said the Illinois Senate’s passage of a bill “eliminating even minimal limitations on abortions under previous law marks a sad moment in our history as a state. We have worked to make the case for a consistent approach to human dignity in Illinois and will continue to do so even as elected officials single out unborn persons for particular disregard,” he said in a statement. “It remains our hope that Illinois will eventually distinguish itself as a safe place that welcomes not only those seeking a new life or second chance, but also the most vulnerable among us who deserve a chance at life,” he added. Close to midnight May 31 in a 34-20 vote, the Senate passed the “misnamed ‘Reproductive Health Act,’” as the state’s Catholic bishops referred to it. The state House OK’d it May 28 in a 64-50 vote. The measure has now headed to the desk of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who pledged to sign it. Before and after the House vote and before the Senate vote, Cardinal Cupich, the bishops of Illinois’ five other dioceses and the Catholic Conference of Illinois decried the measure, calling it flawed and saying lawmakers rushed to get it passed before the end of the legislative session.

Syracuse bishop retires; Ogdensburg priest named successor

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse, N.Y., and has named as his successor Father Douglas J. Lucia, a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, N.Y., who is a pastor and diocesan director of vocations and seminarians. Bishop Cunningham has headed the Syracuse Diocese since 2009. He is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. He turns 76 June 18. Bishop-designate Lucia, 56, is a native of Plattsburgh, N.Y. He was ordained to the priesthood May 20, 1989. The changes were announced June 4 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States.


U.N. declares special day to remember victims of violence against religion

WASHINGTON — On May 28, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing Aug. 22 as the Day to Commemorate Victims of Violence Based on Religion. The resolution invites all member states, relevant organizations, civil society, individuals and the private sector to observe the international day and show appropriate support for victims of religiously motivated violence. In the wake of recent religiously motivated terrorist attacks, the resolution notes a serious concern for “continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including against persons belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world, and at the increasing number and intensity of such incidents.” Poland initiated work toward the commemorative day, but united with Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, and the United States to co-draft the resolution. Ultimately, 88 U.N. member states voted to co-sponsor the resolution.

Vatican names Filipino boy who died at 17 Servant of God

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino teenager who died could be on his way to sainthood after the Vatican declared him a Servant of God, the first step in the process toward sainthood. The Congregation for Saints’ Causes gave the Diocese of Cubao, Philippines, the green light to look into the life of Darwin Ramos who died in 2012 at the age 17. Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the congregation’s prefect, made the declaration in March, but it was only made public in Manila May 31, ucanews.com reported. “The Vatican has given us the go signal to go deeper into his life, how he lived his faith and how he gave witness to Jesus to whom he was very close,” Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao said. The bishop said the Vatican declaration reminded Catholics that “we are invited to give witness to our faith in concrete ways.”

— Catholic News Service

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