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Nation and world briefs


U.S. Catholic Church to observe National Vocation Awareness Week Nov. 7-13

WASHINGTON — Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, is encouraging dioceses to use National Vocation Awareness Week, Nov. 7-13, as a time to foster vocations in their local faith communities. “Studies of those recently ordained and religiously professed consistently show that the encouragement of the parish priest is the most influential factor in vocational discernment,” Bishop Checchio said in an Oct. 20 statement about the upcoming weeklong observance. “But the accompaniment of the whole faith community is key for genuine vocational discernment — from one’s parents and family members, to the Catholic educators, as well as the vital role that youth ministers and fellow parishioners play as the early encounters for young people to the faith,” he added. National Vocation Awareness Week is an annual celebration of the U.S. Catholic Church dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and calling the faithful to pray for and support those who are considering such a vocation. Resources for dioceses to utilize during National Vocation Awareness Week are available online at www.bit.ly/3jCqTcS.

Bishops urge Senate to include pro-life provisions in appropriations bills

WASHINGTON — The chairmen of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life and religious liberty committees urged U.S. Senate leaders Oct. 22 to include the Hyde and Weldon amendments and “other long-standing, bipartisan pro-life provisions” in appropriations bills being advanced in the chamber. By eliminating these provisions, “the Senate is staking out an extreme position of forcing taxpayers to pay for the taking of innocent unborn human life and forcing health care providers to participate in this injustice” against their deeply-held beliefs, the prelates said in a joint statement. In addition, employers and insurers will be forced to cover and pay for abortion, they added. On Oct. 19, the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Appropriations released the text of several appropriations bills which, “like their House counterparts,” they said, currently exclude pro-life measures, such as the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment, which have long enjoyed bipartisan support. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued their statement in response to the Senate committee’s action. “We recognize and appreciate that these bills also include many life-affirming provisions that help vulnerable people, including pregnant moms, refugees, low-income families and the elderly,” they said.


Pope calls for an end to forcing migrants back to unsafe countries

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis denounced the “inhuman violence” waged against migrants, refugees and other displaced peoples in Libya, and called for an end to sending people back to unsafe countries. “Once again, I call on the international community to keep its promises to seek common, concrete and lasting solutions for the management of migratory flows in Libya and throughout the Mediterranean,” he said after praying the Angelus with visitors in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 24. “We must put an end to the return of migrants to unsafe countries and give priority to saving lives at sea, with rescue devices and predictable disembarkation, guaranteeing them decent living conditions, alternatives to detention, regular migration routes and access to asylum procedures,” he said. The pope said that when people are turned away and forced back to Libya, they face real suffering.

Pope may go to Canada as part of reconciliation process, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is willing to travel to Canada as part of “the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,” the Vatican press office said. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited the pope to visit the country, the press office said Oct. 27, although no date or time frame for the trip was mentioned. A delegation of Indigenous leaders, accompanied by several bishops, is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in December to listen to their experiences of how they and their people have been treated by Catholics in Canada, with special attention to the impact on the Indigenous communities of Canada’s residential schools, many of which were run by Catholic religious orders or dioceses. “Pope Francis will encounter and listen to the Indigenous participants, so as to discern how he can support our common desire to renew relationships and walk together along the path of hope in the coming years,” the bishops’ conference said in a statement after their September meeting.

Sudan bishop says military coup was predictable

NAIROBI, Kenya — The military coup in Sudan that sidetracked the country’s path toward democratic rule was predictable and not unexpected, said the president of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Bishop Yunan Andali of El Obeid, Sudan, told Catholic News Service hours after the coup began Oct. 25 that he believed recent events indicated it would only be a matter of time before the government takeover by the military. “We are back to zero where we started. I am not surprised or shocked. I was prepared to be disappointed,” Bishop Andali said, citing his experience in the country and highlighting the period in which the military had ruled Sudan for more than 60 years until a popular uprising in 2019 overthrew longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir. Sudan has experienced weeks of mounting tension between the military and the civilian component of the government. Disagreements flared over the timeline for transition to democracy. Soon after military forces arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials in the transitional government and took them to a military camp outside Khartoum, the capital, demonstrators took to the streets to protest the takeover. At least four people were killed and more than 80 wounded when security forces fired on protesters in Khartoum, the Sudan Doctors’ Committee reported.

Vatican conference convenes experts to study early Christian history

VATICAN CITY — A Vatican conference will gather both Christian and non-Christian historians and experts to delve deep into the history of the Church in the first centuries of Christianity. Speaking to journalists at the Vatican press office Oct. 26, Norbertine Father Bernard Ardura, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, said the conference program was inspired by Pope Francis, who urged him “to work with scholars from all scientific backgrounds, from the most varied cultural sensibilities and from the most diverse historiographical methods. Pope Francis insisted on the need for the committee to promote a fruitful collaboration in the scientific field, not only with Catholic academic institutions, but as well as with all historians and specialists in auxiliary sciences of history who are ready to work together in the search for the truth, taking into account only their scientific expertise,” Father Ardura said. The Oct. 27-29 conference is titled “Inquiry into the history of the first centuries of the Church.”

Vatican formalizes process for approving liturgical translations

VATICAN CITY — Four years after Pope Francis modified canon law to emphasize the responsibility of bishops’ conferences for judging the accuracy and suitability of liturgical translations and adaptations, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments published an executive decree formalizing the new process. “At the heart of this change is the desire to draw the people of God to the liturgy and the liturgy to the people of God,” Archbishop Arthur Roche, prefect of the congregation, told Vatican News Oct. 22. The goal, he said, is to promote the liturgical life of the Latin-rite Church “in a climate of collaboration and dialogue,” placing the congregation at the service of the bishops in fulfilling their responsibilities. Archbishop Roche was appointed prefect of the congregation in May, succeeding Cardinal Robert Sarah, who was head of the office in 2017 when Pope Francis promulgated “Magnum Principium” (“The Great Principle”), changing in canon law the process for approving liturgical texts. In general, translations adopted by a bishops’ conference now require “confirmation” by the congregation rather than the more rigorously studied “recognition.”

— Catholic News Service

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