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Five keys to Catholic education, according to Cardinal Versaldi

Santiago, Chile, Oct 19, 2017 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, proposed last week five keys for pastoral education “to respond in depth to the current challenges of society.”

The cardinal participated in Chile's Sixth National Congress on Catholic Education, Oct. 12-13, organized by the Chilean bishops' conference and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

In his keynote address,  Cardinal Versaldi explained that education “must be careful to avoid  two  extreme and opposite dangers: that of an educational program imposed on the student without respecting his autonomy and requirements; and an educational program that simply goes along with whatever the  students ask for, or without any consideration for their personal growth.”

The cardinal then proposed five keys for education in Catholic schools:

Proclamation of the Christian life

“The Catholic school has both the right and duty to not only teach in consistency with its own values, but also to have an inner dynamic of  proclaiming and living the Christian life,” Cardinal Versaldi said.

“Such an educational program  becomes for believers in Christ an opportunity for  growth and the  integration of faith and reason and also for living out the life of the Church.”

For non-believers it is “an opportunity to better know the authentic Gospel message which their conscience has to then consider and  which they're always  free to accept or not,” he said.

“It would be unjust to ask, in the name of tolerance for Catholic schools to take a neutral approach  in what they teach  and to not to be able to foster a religious way of life, while still respecting  people's freedom, since the students  have decided to go to an  institution they already know is Catholic.”

The witness of charity

Cardinal Versaldi said a school community's  witness must be “obviously noted for” its charity, which makes “the values conveyed through its teaching credible and attractive.”

“A Christian school community imbued with this charity is in and of itself the best means of pastoral ministry.”

Ongoing formation of teachers

The ongoing formation of professors in teaching methods and especially in “their spiritual growth  and their truly living out their faith … is not a waste of  time or effort which takes way from their actual  teaching,” Cardinal Versaldi said.

Such formation can make both the faculty and the administration able to “credibly engage with and also to be a partner in dialogue with civil society and the state schools in order to create a Chilean society founded on the  shared values of respect for cultural and religious diversity.”

Working together with the Church

Cardinal Versaldi said the school's pastoral ministry must work side by side with the local Church and parishes so that they “mutually help each other out in their different  roles” without “imposing  on the school the responsibilities that mostly belong to the parish or vice versa.”

In addition “it is important to foster a consistent witness, including that of their lives outside the classroom, such that the Church community would think the school a living example of her realities.”

Providence as a guide

“Schools need to deepen their knowledge of what's going on in society in both its positive and negative aspects, discerning  the signs of the times, animated not by a paralyzing pessimism but rather with Christian hope founded on the faith that human history is always guided by Divine Providence despite people's free will,” the cardinal stated.

“It is important to maintain this faith and translate it into the work of education as an overriding way of acting in order to become protagonists in a true renewal of the social scene without letting oneself be manipulated by the various political factions.”

“Thus the Catholic school will always be on the forefront of dealing with the new challenges that the world must face such as care for the environment and immigration that politics in general tends to discount, marginalizing more people and creating dangers for future generations,” Cardinal Versaldi concluded.

Central Americans fleeing violence can't return home yet, bishops warn

Washington D.C., Oct 18, 2017 / 05:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As a temporary immigration permit program for families fleeing violence in Honduras and El Salvador is set to expire, the U.S. bishops warn that requiring immigrants to return to unsafe countries is unjust.

“There is ample evidence to suggest that current TPS recipients from Honduras and El Salvador cannot return safely to their home country at this time,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Migration.

He urged the faithful to keep the people of El Salvador and Honduras, including those with Temporary Protective Status “in your thoughts and prayers,” while introducing a report on the issue, released by the USCCB this week.

The bishop and the report expressed support for an extension of TPS – a kind of temporary immigration status– for people from Honduras and El Salvador, and called for a long-term legislative solution to the situation.

Temporary Protective Status allows people who are unable to safely return to their home nations because of armed conflict, other violence, natural disasters or other extraordinary and temporary circumstances to remain in the United States while the situation in their home country resolves.

In August, a group of researchers from the USCCB’s Office of Migration and Refugee Services traveled to Honduras and El Salvador to assess the circumstances TPS recipients returning to their home countries would face.

The trip was inspired by the upcoming expiration of TPS status for Salvadoran and Honduran nationals. The TPS designation for Honduras is set to expire on January 5, 2018, and El Salvador’s will end on March 9, 2018, unless the Department of Homeland Security authorizes an extension. If the designations expire, more than 200,000 people from El Salvador and 57,000 people from Honduras will need to return to their home countries. These temporary immigrants are parents to more than 270,000 children who are United States citizens.

In El Salvador, gang-related violence has led to widespread crime and extortion, the bishops’ report said. In addition, children and their families are targeted for gang recruitment. This has also led to the displacement of between 200,000 and 400,000 persons in El Salvador.

In Honduras, the bishops’ report said, high homicide rates and internal displacement of families has led to the designation of TPS status for some Honduran refugees. Currently, there are at least 174,000 people who are internally displaced within the country.

Many of the affected families sought TPS as part of the Central American Minors refugee program in order to protect their children from violence and gang recruitment.

The bishops observed that the security situations in both countries has not been fully resolved, and their report warned that the end of TPS might “negatively impact regional security, and have negative economic and humanitarian consequences” in El Salvador and Honduras, as well as in the United States. They also observed that neither country is prepared to receive and reintegrate the full population of citizens that would need to return.

The bishops warn that forcing families to return, including those families whose children are US citizens, would leave returned people at grave risk of violence and targeted gang action.

On top of the policy ramifications of the political situation in Honduras and El Salvador, the destabilization and insecurity in these two countries has made it more difficult for the Church to operate and adequately minister to those in need, the bishops’ conference reported.

The report quoted Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador: “It is truly unfortunate and painful that the Church cannot work because of this atmosphere of insecurity and anxiety that shakes our beloved country.”

The bishops offered a number of policy recommendations for the United States, as well as to the impacted countries and Church leaders. To the US government, they encouraged the extension of the TPS program for 18 months, and also backed efforts to ensure permanent lawful status for some, namely those who are parents of U.S. citizens or who have found employment in U.S. businesses.

The bishops also urged the U.S. to work with both Honduras and El Salvador to help the countries end the violence – particularly violence that targets youth – and form a solid plan to reintegrate families who will need to return. The U.S. government, they said, should “support anti-gang, anti-corruption and systematic integration efforts to ensure greater regional stability and human security.” They encouraged the Central American countries to improve job access and help ensure that Internally Displaced Persons can also return to their homes.

The bishops encouraged the Church and charitable organizations to help with humanitarian aid and supporting a solution to displacement – an issue which will be essential for “possible future TPS returnees.” They also encouraged Church-government partnerships to help people returning to their home countries, as well as any who might seek legal status in the United States and Canada.

“We look forward to working with Congress, the Administration and others in pursuing humane and just solutions for the long-term TPS beneficiaries currently residing in the United States,” the bishops concluded.

Assisted suicide legislation advances in Australia's Victoria state

Melbourne, Australia, Oct 18, 2017 / 04:41 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- American-inspired legislation to legalize assisted suicide has advanced in the Australian state of Victoria, leading critics to worry that it abandons the vulnerable.

On Oct. 18, Ministers of Parliament in Victoria voted to advance the bill by a 49-37 vote. It will face consideration by the full body before being advanced to the Legislative Council, the upper house.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill is based on similar laws in the U.S. It allows adults who are terminally ill and mentally competent to ask their doctor to prescribe a drug that will end their lives, the U.K.-based news site Politics Home reports. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had introduced the bill.

A parliamentary inquiry found that one terminally ill Victorian was taking his or her own life every week.

Critics of the bill questioned a lack of detail about what lethal drugs will be used. They said there is not a requirement for a psychological assessment to determine whether the patient suffers depression, the U.K. newspaper The Guardian reports. They also cited the risk that the elderly will be coerced into committing suicide.

Backers of the bill said it would only affect a small number of people who suffer terminal illnesses. They objected that palliative care cannot deal with all pain. They also claim the bill has among the most stringent safeguards in the world.

Catholics, including Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, and leaders from several Christian denominations joined together to sign a letter protesting the proposal, charging that euthanasia and assisted suicide “represent the abandonment of those who are in greatest need of our care and support.” The letter appeared July 31 in The Herald Sun newspaper.

In April, the local Catholic bishops said the proposal was based on “misplaced compassion.”

“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are the opposite of care and represent the abandonment of the sick and the suffering, of older and dying persons,” they said in a pastoral letter. They also invoked the commandment “You Shall Not Kill” and cited the situation in countries like Holland where there are pressures on the elderly to commit suicide.

The effort to legalize assisted suicide in Victoria has been debated for more than a year. In June 2016, a parliamentary committee recommended legalizing voluntary euthanasia.

At the time, some physicians criticized the move. They charged that some lawmakers had naïve expectations and overestimated the speed and painlessness of a euthanasia death.

They warned that the legalization risked diminishing palliative care, which they said was already underused and underfunded.

A proposal similar to the Victorian bill will be debated in New South Wales in November.

 

Philippines mourns Cardinal Vidal, who leaves a legacy of service

Cebu, Philippines, Oct 18, 2017 / 01:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, who was Archbishop of Cebu from 1982 to 2010 and a leading Catholic figure in the fall of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, died Wednesday at the age of 86.

Pope Francis praised the cardinal’s “untiring and devoted service to the Church” and his “constant advocacy of dialogue and peace for all the people in the Philippines.”

“I commend his soul to the infinite love and mercy of our heavenly Father,” he said in an Oct. 18 telegram, voicing condolences to Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu and the clergy, religious, and laity of the archdiocese.

In the early 1980s Vidal became vice-president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. He served as the conference’s president from 1985 to 1987. With Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila, he took a lead role in what has become known as the People’s Power Revolution.

He issued a famous letter denouncing the results of the country’s February 1986 snap elections that gave a slim victory to longtime ruler President Ferdinand Marcos over his challenger Corazon Aquino. The elections were denounced for widespread fraud. After widespread non-violent protests, Marcos would leave office to live in exile.

During another period of political tensions in 2001, Cardinal Vidal urged then-president Joseph Estrada to resign amid allegations of corruption, ABS-CBN News reports. The cardinal later convinced Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to pardon Estrada after he was convicted.

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato remembered Vidal as “a true servant-leader, rather than a ‘prince’.” He said the late cardinal left a legacy of outstanding character, CBCP News reports.

The cardinal showed humility and had a low-profile style, according to Quevedo. He was approachable and was able to listen to opposing views. He showed prudence in political issues, charity towards those considered “enemies,” and “courage” in presenting the Catholic bishops’ position ahead of the People Power Revolution.

The future cardinal was born Feb. 6, 1931 in Mogpoc, a city in the central island province of Marinduque. He studied for the priesthood at the minor seminary of the Most Holy Rosary, later named for Our Lady of Carmel. He also studied at the seminary of San Carlo.

Bishop Alfredo Maria Aranda Obviar of Lucena, who has been named a Servant of God, ordained him a priest in March 1956. Bishop Obviar named Vidal spiritual director of the local seminary of Mount Carmel, which the priest later served as superior.

In September 1971 he was named Coadjutor Bishop of Malolos, a diocese in the Central Luzon province of Bulacan. He did not succeed as ordinary of Malolos, however, as in August 1973 he was named Archbishop of Lipa in the province of Batangas. In April 1981 he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of Cebu, whose archbishop at the time was Cardinal Julio Rosales. He succeeded Cardinal Rosales in August 1982. He was named a cardinal by St. John Paul II in 1985.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, a spokesman for the Cebu archdiocese, said Vidal had become seriously ill and was admitted to hospital Oct. 11. He said the cause of death was infection leading to septic shock.

He asked for prayers for the cardinal’s soul.

A wake for the cardinal has begun at Cebu’s cathedral. On Oct. 21 his body will be brought to the St. Pedro Calungsod Shrine, inside the compound of the archbishop’s residence.

His funeral will take place Oct. 26 at 9 a.m. in the cathedral. He will be laid to rest in the mausoleum at the back of the cathedral’s sacristry.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Philippines bishops’ conference, praised the cardinal’s legacy.

“Cardinal Vidal cannot die,” Villegas said. “He who has always shared in the dying and rising of the Lord daily in his priestly life cannot die. He now joins the immortal ones who served the Lord faithfully here on earth. His wisdom and his humility, his love for priests and his devotion to the Virgin Mary must live on in us whom he has left behind.”

“Rest well Eminence,” said the archbishop. “Pray for us in the Father’s House.”

Kidnapped priest in Nigeria released, doing well

Benin City, Nigeria, Oct 18, 2017 / 10:54 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Fr. Maurizio Pallù, an Italian missionary who was kidnapped in southern Nigeria last week, was freed Tuesday.

He was freed late in the evening of Oct. 17, according to authorities, and is doing well.

“The devil is cowardly, he wants to make us afraid but he has chosen the wrong way because we are poor men, that have fear, but are sustained by the grace of God,” Fr. Pallù told Vatican Radio Oct. 18.

Noting that it was actually the second time he’s been kidnapped in Nigeria, Pallù said that it was more difficult this time, but he saw “the miracles that the Lord did, just great miracles that the Lord did to keep us alive.”

“It means that the Lord has a big plan in this country because the devil is attacking with great force to destroy the work of God in this nation.”

Pallù, 63, is a member of the Neocatechumenal Way. He has served as a missionary in Nigeria for three years. He and two companions were kidnapped Oct. 12 by armed men near Benin City.

According to Vatican Insider, the kidnapping was carried out by a group of criminals who robbed the priest and others while they were travelling from Calabar to Benin City by car.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano told Radio Capital Wednesday that Pallù had been freed and is doing well. “We await him in Italy soon,” he said according to Italian news agency ANSA.

They had the intercession of the saints and of the Blessed Virgin Mary over these last few days, Pallù said, pointing out that both times he’s been kidnapped, it has been on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.  

The first took place Oct. 13, 2016. He was released after only an hour and a half.

This time, he was taken captive on the eve of Oct. 13 and kept in the woods along with a Nigerian student and brother for five days.

According to Vatican Insider, Pallù had called his mother on Sunday night to tell her he was well and would be released soon. Pallù's mother, Laura Pallù, made the phone call public during a prayer vigil for her son's release in parish of Santa Lucia La Sala in northern Florence.

The priest said he has been asked to return to Italy for the time being, though he would like to stay in Nigeria if he can.

The devil “is keeping millions of people slaves here with lies, cowardice and corruption,” he said, “and when they allow me to return I will return here very happy and offer my poor person for the evangelization of Nigeria.”  

Fr. Pallù is a native of Florence. As a member of the Neocatechumenal Way, he was a lay missionary for 11 years in various countries. In 1998, he entered the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Rome.

After serving as a chaplain in two parishes in Rome, he was sent to Holland, where he was a pastor in the Diocese of Haarlem. From there, he was sent to the Archdiocese of Abuja.

Several other priests have recently been kidnapped from the Nigerian state of Edo, where Benin City is located, and one has been killed.

The message of Fatima: Live like saints

Plymouth — One hundred years ago, three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, encountered Mary, the Mother of God. It was from those blessed apparitions that a worldwide devotion to Our Lady of Fatima spread. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun,” which culminated the Virgin’s appearances when thousands of witnesses…

The post The message of Fatima: Live like saints appeared first on The Michigan Catholic.

Mercy-sponsored Sanctum House restores victims of human trafficking

Farmington Hills — Over the past few years, human trafficking in Michigan has been put in the spotlight. From symposiums to an attorney general’s task force to new laws protecting victims, the much-underreported crime is slowly entering into the public conscience. But after the investigations, the string operations and the arrests, what happens to the…

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Archbishop: Fr. Houbeck’s ordination ‘a sign of God’s love’ for Detroit

Novi — Fr. James Houbeck’s and his mother, Barb Houbeck’s, eyes may have been swelling up. But the newly ordained priest had an explanation. “Some of you may have noticed the church looks different with people doing renovations, so pardon the dust,” Fr. Houbeck told the congregation. “My allergies must be bothering me, and my…

The post Archbishop: Fr. Houbeck’s ordination ‘a sign of God’s love’ for Detroit appeared first on The Michigan Catholic.

Fr. Solanus: The glue that binds the Casey family together

Detroit — It’s a great excuse for a family reunion: The Caseys are coming to Detroit. More than 300 relatives of Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey will visit the Motor City from as far away as Oakland, Calif., and Ireland to see the man many know as “Uncle Barney” come one step closer to sainthood. “I’m…

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‘Pagan baby’-turned-priest inspired couple to start school in Uganda

Farmington Hills — When Nancy and Paul Berrigan walked into their church on an October Sunday in 2005, they had no idea their lives were about to take a dramatic turn. Their parish, St. Fabian in Farmington Hills, was hosting a mission appeal, and Msgr. John Kauta from Uganda had come to share stories about…

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