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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Pew: Only 1 in 3 Catholic parents say it’s ‘very important’ children share parents’ religious beliefs

WASHINGTON — Catholic experts are expressing concern after a recent Pew Research Center survey found that only 35% of U.S. Catholic parents say that it is extremely or very important to them that their children grow up to hold similar religious beliefs. The survey also showed that 30% of Catholic parents say it is somewhat important to them, while 34% say it is not too important or not at all important. The numbers come as part of a larger survey of 3,757 U.S. parents with children younger than 18, conducted last fall. An analysis of that survey, published on Feb. 6, focused on religious and ethnic differences in parenting among Protestants and Catholics. (OSV News)

U.S. bishops’ collection for Eastern Europe’s Catholics crucial amid war

WASHINGTON — An annual collection for struggling Catholic churches in Eastern Europe has taken on new meaning as war rages in Ukraine. Now in its third decade, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe supports parishes in 28 nations rebuilding after longtime communist rule. As Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine reaches the one-year mark, that aid has become more crucial than ever, pastoral outreach workers told OSV News. In 2022, Caritas Ukraine provided some 3 million people with food, clothing, shelter and psychological support, while in neighboring Moldova — which has welcomed hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees — the collection is also supporting small and often endangered Catholic parishes. On Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, faithful across the U.S. country were asked to donate to the USCCB collection. Some dioceses will schedule the appeal on a different date. Catholics can donate online by visiting usccb.igivecatholictogether.org, and selecting the “Church in Central and Eastern Europe” collection. (OSV News)

WORLD

Pope clarifies rules limiting celebration of pre-Vatican II Mass

VATICAN CITY — Diocesan bishops must have Vatican authorization to allow the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Mass in a parish church, to establish a new “personal parish” for devotees of the old Mass or to allow its celebration by a priest ordained after July 2021 when Pope Francis issued rules restricting the celebration, he said. Any bishop who has granted a dispensation from those rules must inform the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, “which will assess the individual cases,” said a rescript approved by Pope Francis during a meeting Feb. 20 with Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the dicastery. The rescript, signed by Cardinal Roche, was released by the Vatican Feb. 21. In July 2021 Pope Francis promulgated his apostolic letter “Traditionis Custodes” (Guardians of the Tradition), declaring the liturgical books promulgated after the Second Vatican Council to be “the unique expression of the ‘lex orandi’ (law of worship) of the Roman Rite,” restoring the obligation of priests to have their bishops’ permission to celebrate according to the “extraordinary” or pre-Vatican II Mass and ordering bishops not to establish any new groups or parishes in their dioceses devoted to the old liturgy. At the time, Pope Francis said his decision was meant “to promote the concord and unity of the Church.” (CNS)

Compassion, communion resonate in Syria among Christians affected by earthquake

BEIRUT — After a devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria Feb. 6, many families, displaced from Syrian city of Aleppo, have sought refuge in Homs, some two hours away from their destroyed homes, despite transportation difficulties amid already-existing fuel shortages. “I am so touched by the generosity of the people of Homs, considered one of the poorest, most damaged” from the war, Jesuit Father Tony Homsy said. He added that the whole generation of young Syrians is now going through yet another catastrophe after 12 years of war. But this, he says, doesn’t stop them from being united in brotherhood. (OSV News)

Pope: Synodal and Lenten journeys require effort, sacrifice, focusing on God

VATICAN CITY — Tradition is a source of inspiration for seeking out new paths to take with Jesus and for avoiding the traps of stagnation or impromptu experimentation, Pope Francis said. “Jesus is Himself the way, and therefore, both in the liturgical journey (of Lent) and in the journey of the synod, the Church does nothing other than enter ever more deeply and fully into the mystery of Christ the savior,” the pope said in his message for Lent, which begins Feb. 22 for Latin-rite Catholics. Released by the Vatican Feb. 17, the text of the pope’s message focused on seeing Lenten penance and the synodal experience both as arduous journeys that lead to the wondrous experience of Christ’s divine light and splendor. “We need to set out on the journey, an uphill path that, like a mountain trek, requires effort, sacrifice and concentration,” he said. “These requisites are also important for the synodal journey which, as a Church, we are committed to making.” (CNS)

Pope names members of Dicastery for Culture and Education

VATICAN CITY — After uniting two offices in June to form the Dicastery for Culture and Education, Pope Francis named a full slate of 34 members and 40 consultants for the office, which promotes human values in culture and education and works with Catholic schools and universities around the world. The appointments were announced by the Vatican Feb. 18. The new members include 15 cardinals, 16 bishops and three laymen. U.S. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, N.J., was among the cardinals named members. (CNS)

The world often turns a deaf ear to God’s word, pope says

VATICAN CITY — Persecution has led to people spreading — not forgetting — the Gospel to the many places they go, Pope Francis said. “I think of so many Christians who, in our time, are forced to flee their land. Men and women who, like the first believers, flee, taking with them the word they have received,” Pope Francis said Feb. 16 during a meeting with a delegation representing the United Bible Societies. “They treasure their faith as the treasure that gives meaning to the difficult, sometimes terrible circumstances they must face; embracing the cross of Christ, they venerate the Word of God that endures forever,” he said. The ups and downs experienced by the early church are similar to what is happening today, Pope Francis said. “The word is proclaimed, heard and lived out in favorable and unfavorable circumstances, in different ways and with different expressions, facing severe difficulties and persecution in a world often deaf to the voice of God.” The Acts of the Apostles shows that the fledgling church “lives by the word, proclaims it and, persecuted, flees with it as her one piece of luggage,” he said. “Therefore, persecutions become opportunities to spread the word, never to forget it.” (CNS)

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