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Nation and world briefs


9/11 anniversary renews call of sainthood for Franciscan priest

WASHINGTON — The 20th anniversary remembrances of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States is renewing a canonization push for the first identified casualty: Franciscan Father Mychal Judge. Father Judge, a New York Fire Department chaplain, was at the World Trade Center site praying with and ministering to people when debris falling from the ruins of the twin towers struck and killed him. Even then, some Catholics were saying Father Judge should be considered for canonization. Twenty years later, there has been only a bit of movement toward advancing the priest’s sainthood cause. A representative of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes said Father Judge would be a good fit for sainthood as an “offerer” — based on Pope Francis’ 2017 motu proprio, “The Offerer of Life” — as “someone who offers his life for others,” according to Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry.

Pope: Bishops must handle Communion debate as shepherds

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SLOVAKIA — The debate about denying Communion to politicians who support abortion must be handled in a pastoral way, not by public condemnations that seek to “excommunicate” Catholics who are not in line with Church teaching, Pope Francis said. During his return flight from Bratislava, Slovakia, Sept. 15, the pope said that while there is no question that “abortion is homicide,” bishops must look take a pastoral approach rather than wade into the political sphere. “If we look at the history of the Church, we can see that every time the bishops did not act like shepherds when dealing with a problem, they aligned themselves with political life, on political problems,” he said. The pope told journalists that when defending a principle, some bishops act in a way “that is not pastoral” and “enter the political sphere. ... They must be a shepherd, in God’s style, which is closeness, compassion and tenderness.”

Texas bishops highlight state-funded program to help pregnant women

WASHINGTON — Amid heated discussion surrounding the new abortion law in Texas, which bans abortions from six weeks, Catholic bishops have emphasized the importance of a long-running state program to help pregnant women. “Texas has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in programs for pregnant moms and families,” said a statement issued by the Texas Catholic Conference, two days after the new law went into effect. The conference, which is the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops, was referring to the state-funded program Alternatives to Abortion, which started in 2005. The program provides funds for pregnancy centers that offer counseling services and resources to women in crisis pregnancies. “Hundreds of pregnancy and parenting support programs and adoption services in our state provide practical resources to women and families facing overwhelming circumstances,” the group’s Sept. 3 statement said.

Pope names U.S. professor to Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named Dominican Father Albino Barrera, an economist and theologian, as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Father Barrera, 65, is a professor of economics and theology at Providence College of Providence, Rhode Island, and he has a joint appointment with the theology department, where he teaches Christian social ethics. The priest, who has a doctorate in economics from Yale University, has been teaching and pursuing research in the fields of moral theology, economic ethics, economic development, international trade and the connection between economics and theology. The Vatican announced the appointment Sept. 14.


Polish cardinal, Franciscan nun beatified together

WARSAW, Poland — The archbishop who steered Poland’s Catholic Church through communist rule and a blind Franciscan nun who founded one of Europe’s foremost centers for the sight-impaired took a step closer to sainthood Sept. 12. Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes, said both “gave testimony of a life faithful to the Gospel at all costs — a model of service to a specific person in need, even when no one cares and indifference seems to prevail.” The Italian cardinal preached at the beatification Mass for Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, who died in 1981, and Mother Elisabeth Rosa Czacka, who died in 1961, at Warsaw’s Church of Divine Providence. Both of the newly beatified “knew how to fill each other with strength, endurance and courage,” said Cardinal Semeraro.

— Catholic News Service

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