Pope talks up unions to Italian labor officials

In a speech June 28 to a delegation from the Italian Confederation of Union Workers, Pope Francis said, “There is no good society without a good union, and there is no good union that isn’t reborn every day in the peripheries, that doesn’t transform the rejected stones of the economy into corner stones.”

But he also warned that unions risk losing their “prophetic nature” when they mimic the very institutions they are called to challenge. “Unions over time have ended up resembling politicians too much, or rather political parties, their language, their style.”

Labor unions must guard and protect workers, but also defend the rights of those “outside the walls,” particularly those who are retired and the excluded who are “also excluded from rights and democracy,” he went on to say.

Turning to one of his frequently voiced concerns; the pope told the union leaders that a society that leaves young men and women without jobs is “foolish and shortsighted.”

For National Catholic Reporter Michael Sean Williams, Distinctly Catholic (July 6, 2017) column report, click here.

For the America magazine (June 28, 2017) report, click here.

Summary of the Convocation of Catholic Leaders

For a very fine summary of the July 1-4 Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America, held in Orlando, Florida, click here.

Interview with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark

Crux editor John Allen, Jr. and Vatican correspondent, Ines San Martin interviews Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark.

For the Crux (July 6, 2017) interview, click here.

Church, Faith, Future: What We Face, What We Can Do

In Church, Faith, Future: What We Face, What We Can Do, Father Louis J. Cameli lays out what he describes as urgent challenges in the life of the church at this time. In the Preface he states, “It is no exaggeration to say that we stand at a critical juncture that deeply challenges humanity, the church and faith itself.” It is a rather sobering picture. Drawing on philosophy, history, cultural analysis, and sociology, Fr. Cameli identifies several ways to cope with the situation. Using one example among others of a thriving parish he once pastored, but due to an aging population, changing demographics, faced a decline in members and income Fr. Cameli formulated steps that correspond to four questions, which form the chapters of the book:

Chapter 1. – What Can We Expect?
Chapter 2. – Is There Anything Unexpected That We Could Possibly Expect?
Chapter 3 – What Can We Do?
Chapter 4 – What Ought We Do?

A poignant Afterword by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich follows. Available for $19.95 Liturgical Press, 2950 St. John’s Rd., P.O. Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321. Tel: (800) 858-5450. Fax: (800) 445-5899. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site: www.litpress.org.

Conscience & Catholic Health Care: From Clinical Context to Government Mandates

Conscience & Catholic Health Care: From Clinical Context to Government Mandates, edited by David E. DeCosse and Thomas A. Nairn, OFM, is a collection of essays that provide a timely and up-to-date assessment of the Catholic understanding of conscience and how it relates to day-to-day issues in Catholic health care. The essays were drawn from a two-day symposium held in February 2016 at Santa Clara University. The contributors explore a wide range of topics, including end-of-life care, abortion and sterilization, and the role of Catholic ethics particularly in hospital settings. In addition to the editors, contributors include Ron Hamel, Anne E. Patrick, Roberto Dell’Oro, Lisa Fullam, Kristin E. Heyer, John J. Paris, M. Patrick Moore, Jr., Cathleen Kaveny, Lawrence J. Nelson, Kevin T. FitzGerald, SJ, Gerald Coleman, Margaret R. McLean, Shawnee M. Daniels-Sykes, and Carol Taylor. With insights from key figures this book will serve as a useful text and reference for medical students and practitioners as well as a resource for ethics boards and chaplains in Catholic hospitals, most especially those merging with secular health institutions. Available for $35.00 from Orbis Books, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545. Tel: (800) 258-5838. Fax: (914) 941-7005. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site: www.orbisbooks.com.

Former Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls dead at 80

Joaquin Navarro-Valls (right) with Pope St. John Paul II. Photo image courtesy of Greg Burke via Twitter

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, a Spanish layman, who as papal spokesman for 22 years beginning in 1984 died on July 5 of pancreatic cancer, according to the Catholic News Service (July 6, 2017).

In a statement to CNS, Greg Burke, the current head of the Vatican press office, said his predecessor “always behaved like a Christian gentleman — and those can be hard to find these days.”

“Joaquin Navarro embodied what Ernest Hemingway defined as courage: grace under pressure. I got to know Navarro when I was working for Time, and the magazine named John Paul II Man of the Year. I expected to find a man of faith, but I found a man of faith who was also a first-class professional.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who was Navarro-Valls immediate successor as Vatican press director beginning in 2006 remembered him as a “master in the way he carried out his service.”

He was a member of Opus Dei.

For the entire CNS report, click here.

For a National Catholic Register (July 7, 2017) summary, click here.

God bless our nation –

God source of all freedom, this day is bright with the memory of those who declared that life and liberty are your gift to every human bring.

Help us to continue a good work begun long ago.

Make our vision clear and our will strong: that only in human solidarity will we find liberty, and justice only in the honor that belongs to every life on earth.

Turn our hearts toward the family of nations: to understand the ways of others, to offer friendship, and to find safety only in the common good of all.

We ask this this through our Christ our Lord. Amen.

We wish our subscribers and readers a safe and restful 4th of July holiday!

Council Notes from Monterey (May 1, 2017)

The first item on the agenda for the May 1 of the Monterey Council meeting was the announcement of the new director of St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista.

– A lengthy discussion took place on the topic of sanctuary parishes. The consensus was that naming a sanctuary parish is mostly a symbolic act. Catholic Charities has been organizing forums where immigrants can receive information, talk to attorneys and receive practical assistance.

–  Members suggested that a study group be formed to make recommendations on where formation for the sacrament of Confirmation for young people should take place, either at a parish or in a Catholic high school.

–  Members discussed issues surrounding attendance at the National Association of Filipino Priests meeting later this year

– An extensive discussion took place on immigration issues. Minutes note Bishop Garcia sent the document titled “Preparing Your Family for Immigration Enforcement” in Spanish and English to all priests and deacons.  In addition, minutes note the resources of COPA (Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action) and Catholic Charities to assist refugees.

–  Four men will be ordained to the priesthood and four to the transitional diaconate.

–  The Pastoral Resource Day is being planned for August/September. It will likely be at five locations. Minutes note the goal is to develop a school of lay ministry.

– Bishop will join the newly formed Monterey County Sheriff’s Advisory Group.

– Bishop and the Chief Financial Officer will meet with the Latin Mass Community Minister.

– The hope is that the new youth minister can begin her new position in July or August.

–  Finally, minutes note planning taking place regarding the May 2018 Priests Summit. A number of suggestions were made on how to finance the summit including finding sponsors to cover some costs. Also mentioned were a combination of financing from parishes, the council, and priests themselves. The goal is to have as many priests as possible attend the summit and stay throughout the week.

Allentown priest named bishop

Bishop-elect Alfred A. Schlert. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Allentown

Pope Francis named Monsignor Alfred A. Schlert, as Bishop of Allentown. He succeeds Bishop John O. Barres who was transferred to the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Dec. 2016.

Bishop-elect Schlert, 55, a priest of the Diocese of Allentown is currently diocesan administrator. It is the first time a priest of the diocese has been named a bishop.

Ordained in 1987, he prepared for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary near Philadelphia and the Pontifical Roman Seminary and St. John Lateran University in Rome. He received a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University in 1992.

Bishop-elect Schlert has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative positions including, professor at his alma mater Notre Dame High School, and Catholic chaplain at Lehigh University. He was named Vice Chancellor and Secretary to the bishop in 1997; and was named vicar general of the diocese of Allentown in 1998. While still serving as Vicar General, he was still pastor of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church in Hellertown, 2008-2010, when he resumed full time service as vicar general.

In addition, Bishop-elect Schlert is Vice President of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and a member of its Administrative Board.  He also served on the diocesan Council of Priests, the diocesan Financial Council, and the diocesan College of Consultors. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for DeSales University.

His ordination and installation as bishop will take place at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena on Thursday, Aug. 31st.

For the USCCB News Release (June 27, 2017), click here.

For the Catholic News Agency (June 27, 2017) report, click here.