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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Bishops’ pastoral letter on racism on track for vote

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A planned pastoral letter addressing racism is on schedule for a November vote by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Sheldon J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, La., chairman of the bishop’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, said during the bishops’ spring general assembly June 14 that the document would reflect recommendations from the various audiences that have reviewed drafts of the document. The bishop said the document will focus on contemporary concerns affecting Native Americans and African-Americans and the “targeting” of Hispanics with racist language and actions. Among its components, he added, the document will: Reflect “grave concerns for the rise in racist expressions” in American society, public discourse and social media; and address ways racism affects institutions and public policy. Also at the assembly, the bishops approved changes to the language of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted a “pastoral response” for Asian and Pacific Island Catholics and announced videos and documents to supplement the bishops’ election-year document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”

Immigration is main topic at National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast

WASHINGTON — Four political leaders from both parties spoke at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and they each went in their own directions with their speeches. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Vice President Mike Pence all spoke at the June 14 prayer breakfast at the Grand Hyatt Washington. Esperanza, a national network of Hispanic evangelical leaders, hosted the three-day conference which culminated in the prayer breakfast. Ryan told the group the country has a commitment to “fixing this utterly broken immigration system, and we’re going to find a way to do that.”

WORLD

Young Catholics need Church that listens to them

VATICAN CITY — Young Catholics are looking for a Church that listens to their concerns, accompanies them in discerning their vocations and helps them confront the challenges they face, according to a working document for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on young people. The synod’s “instrumentum laboris” (working document), published by the Vatican June 19, stated that young people “want to see a Church that shares their situations of life in the light of Gospel rather than by preaching.” Quoting a presynod gathering of young people who met at the Vatican March 19-25, the working document said young Catholics “want an authentic Church. With this, we would like to express, particularly to the Church hierarchy, our request for a transparent, welcoming, honest, attractive, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community.” The working document is based mainly on comments solicited in a questionnaire last June from national bishops’ conferences around the world as well as the final document of the presynod gathering.

Dictatorships begin with taking over media to spread lies, pope says

VATICAN CITY — All dictatorships begin the same way: media outlets are put in the hands of “unscrupulous” people who spread lies and weaken democracy, Pope Francis said. Typical standards, norms and laws in regard to communications are first eliminated, the pope said in the homily June 18 in Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae. Then an entire media or communication outlet is handed over “to a firm, a business that slanders, tells lies, weakens democracy, and then the judges come to judge these weakened institutions, these destroyed, condemned people and a dictatorship makes progress this way,” he said. “All dictatorships, all of them, began like this, by adulterating communication, by putting communications in the hands of people without scruples, of governments without scruples,” he added.

— Catholic News Service

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