Browsing News Entries

Archdiocese confirms apparent murder of Mexican priest

Tijuana, Mexico, Oct 16, 2018 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- The Archdiocese of Tijuana in northern Mexico has confirmed the death of Fr. Ímar Arturo Orta, who was allegedly murdered on Oct. 12.

 

According to local press, the priest had been missing for three days when his body was found by authorities in an abandoned car with several bullet wounds.

 

An anonymous official from the state prosecutor's office who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident has said that the priest’s death is being investigated as a homicide, according to the Associated Press.

 

Fr. Arturo is one of at least 26 priests who have been killed in Mexico since 2012, when President Enrique Pena Nieto first took office, and the seventh priest killed this year, according to reports from the Catholic Multimedia Center. Two priests in Mexico are also currently reported missing.

 

Father Ícmar Arturo Orta was pastor of St. Louis King of France parish in Tijuana, Baja California state.

 

In a statement published on October 14, Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barrón of Tijuana expressed his "deep sorrow" over the death of the priest. He told Catholics that as soon as he had reliable information regarding the circumstances of Fr. Arturo’s death he would make it public, and he would also inform the faithful of the funeral arrangements once they were made.

 

The archbishop told the members of St. Louis King of France parish that "the death of Father Arturo is a great loss for our archdiocese, but above all it is a very great affliction for you in the parish community.” He said that he knew the parish community will keep the memory of their priest alive.

 

"You will keep him alive in your mind and in your heart," Moreno said.

 

"May the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Loreto, patron saint of our Archdiocese, accompany you in this painful moment, and may you also be assisted by the care and intercession of your patron, Saint Louis of France."

 

In an Oct. 15 statement, the Mexican bishops expressed their sorrow at the loss of Fr. Arturo and assured Catholics of their prayers and support for the investigation of his death.

"We ask our Father God for the eternal rest of Fr. Ícmar, and that the Lord grants his family and his parish community the strength and consolation of faith and hope," the bishops said.

 

"We trust that the competent authorities will clarify what happened to our brother priest, and act accordingly," they said.

 

 

 

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Brazilian bishop says basic synod theme is how to pass on the faith

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Brazilian Archbishop Jaime Spengler said Tuesday he believes the question at the foundation of the Synod of Bishops’ debates so far has been how to pass the Catholic faith on to young people, specifically in the face of the challenges posed by contemporary society.

 

“I think that the basic question, which passes through all the discussion both in the synod hall and in the smaller groups (the language circles) is a very simple question, that is: how to transmit the faith to the new generations,” the archbishop told journalists Oct. 16.

 

In a press briefing just past the halfway mark of the Synod of Bishops’ ordinary general assembly on young people, faith, and vocational discernment, the archbishop noted two “phenomena” which present challenges: the great scientific and technological change of this era, and globalization.

 

“What counts in this world is productivity, consumerism, and earnings,” he said. “This reality strikes at the most profound values of our culture. It takes the lives of our young people.”

 

“How can the Church, how can we pastors, respond to the necessity of young people that… live this reality daily?” the archbishop asked.

 

Spengler also noted that an issue of importance in Brazil is drug use, which he said affects many young people and families, and which he would like to see discussed more at the synod than it has been thus far.

 

Cardinal Peter Turkson, speaking during the same press briefing Oct. 16, said he would like to see the synod help young people develop a “manual of life.” Everyone needs guiding principles, he explained, but often these are dictated by modern society, not by the Church or by good families and teachers.

 

Cardinal Louis Sako I, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, said he has been keeping careful notes on the synod in Arabic to share with people in the Middle East, since for those who speak no other languages, it was their only means of following the synod’s progress.

 

He described the meetings as a miniature version of the universal Church and a school, saying everyone has “learned a lot from each other.”

 

The Chaldean patriarch noted this was his fourth synod, and said this one is very different, particularly “in the way in which we are reasoning and analyzing all the challenges that the young face.” Though he said he had hoped for a larger presence of youth, noting that there are just 34 young adult auditors and over 260 bishops.

 

He said in the synod hall and small groups they have discussed the hopes, dreams, and fears of young people and that he sees reasons to hope: “I think at the end of the tunnel there’s a great deal of light.”

 

Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, announced that the synod fathers will have the opportunity to take part in a short pilgrimage toward the end of the assembly.

 

Organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, it will take place on the morning of Oct. 25, and consist of prayer while walking around 3.7 miles along part of the “Via Francigena,” or “Way of St. Francis,” near Rome.

Saginaw bishop dies after battle with lung cancer

Saginaw, Mich., Oct 16, 2018 / 11:37 am (CNA).- Bishop Joseph Cistone died in his home Tuesday morning, the Diocese of Saginaw has reported.

Local officials told reporters they received a 911 call from the bishop’s home Tuesday morning, adding that first-responders found the bishop dead upon their arrival. The diocese said in a short statement that the bishop had died in his home during the night.

Cistone, 69, announced Feb. 1 that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, after undergoing tests for a persistent cough he’d experienced for months.

“The good news is that, since I have never been a smoker, it is a form of lung cancer which is treatable and potentially curable,” Cistone wrote in a February letter to his priests.

He announced at that time that he would undergo a treatment plan involving both chemotherapy and radiation. On Oct. 1 the diocese announced that the cancer had spread to other parts of Cistone's body, and that he had begun an aggressive course of chemotherapy.

Diocesan officials said that the bishop was scheduled to undergo a cancer-related medical procedure today.

Cistone was the sixth bishop of the Saginaw diocese, and was appointed there in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. Originally from Pennsylvania, Cistone was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1975, where he also served as auxiliary bishop from 2004-2009.

In March Cistone’s home was raided by police, along with the diocesan chancery and cathedral rectory. Saginaw County’s assistant prosecutor at the time criticized the diocese for failing to cooperate in police investigations.

Police said the raid was executing a search warrant believed to be related to allegations of sexual abuse made against two priests of the diocese. One of those priests, Fr. Robert DeLand, will face a criminal trial next year.

Cistone’s Funeral Mass will be celebrated Oct. 23 at Saginaw's Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption. Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit will preside. The homily will be given by Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington.

 

This story was updated Oct. 17 with funeral information.

 

 

A synod summary from the Polish synod fathers – Oct 16

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2018 / 11:30 am (CNA).- The synod of bishops on young people, the faith, and vocational discernment is being held at the Vatican Oct. 3-28.

CNA plans to provide a brief daily summary of the sessions, provided by the synodal fathers from Poland.

Please find below the Polish fathers' summary of the Oct. 16 session:

Education in values, the formation of young leaders, immigration, and the Christian ideal - these are some of the topics discussed during the morning session of the Synod of Bishops, on October 16th, and mentioned by Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki in his summary of the day.

During this morning’s session, the third part of the Instrumentum Laboris was discussed. After the introductory speech on the last part of the working document, the participants' reports on the topics addressed in this part were presented. The interventions highlighted the need for young leaders, the necessary formation of young animators, and drew attention to young people's’ political interests, which should also be taken into account.

Some interventions also addressed the issue of immigration. “Much has been said about being close to young people coming to our countries from Africa, so that the Church may welcome them with love, but also so that this may be an occasion to engage in dialogue with Muslims,” noted Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

During the session, some also spoke about the education of young people. “Not only in terms of the transmission of information but in the sense of an education in values. Attention was also paid to the value of catechesis in connection with Lectio Divina, with retreats for young people in the parishes,” said Archbishop Gądecki.

It was pointed out that the young themselves are the most effective witnesses for other young people. The important role of popular piety, which helps to experience religiosity, was recalled too. The question of volunteering, especially on the international level, was also raised.

Attention was drawn to the need for clarity in the transmission of the faith. “It was said that the Church should present the Christian ideal, and not just be immersed in difficulties. She should not renounce to the idealism of the young, because that is what attracts young people the most,” Archbishop Gądecki summed up.

Jesuit superior says pope is not the ‘chief’ of the Church- What did he mean?

Vatican City, Oct 16, 2018 / 11:00 am (CNA).- Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, superior general of the Jesuits, said in an interview Monday that Pope Francis consciously calls himself the Bishop of Rome, instead of using grander titles.

"Very frequently we forget that the pope is not the chief of the Church, he's the Bishop of Rome," Fr. Sosa told EWTN in an interview Oct. 15.

 

"As the bishop of Rome, he has another service to do to the Church, that is, to try to [bring about] the communion of the whole Church."

 

By convoking the youth synod, taking place in Rome Oct. 3-28, Francis is exercising his role as pope by bringing together a group “of his own peers” to make a “contribution to the communion of the whole Church,” Sosa said.

 

“Fr. Sosa is certainly correct to say that the pope is the Bishop of Rome, but it would be a mistake to infer from that title that the Holy Father is merely ‘first among equals,’” Chad Pecknold, Associate Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America, told CNA.

 

Pecknold told CNA that popes often and correctly speak of their “brother bishops,” but that the Petrine office is unique.

 

The pope “holds an office of supreme authority over every bishop in communion with him, and of course over the faithful too. It isn’t a charism of dominance but of paternal care - the popes traditionally use the title ‘servant of the servants of God.’”

 

Sosa said that because Pope Francis feels each bishop is responsible for his local church, this synod, in which Church leaders come together to discuss and decide church affairs, is an expression of dialogue and communion between all of the bishops.

 

Pecknold agreed that the world’s bishops are each truly invested with the authority to govern, teach, and minister to their own dioceses. But a bishop’s ministry must always be done in union with the pope, who, he said, “is the visible center of communion for the universal Church.”

 

“The worldwide college of bishops exists in what the Church calls ‘hierarchical communion’ with each other and with the head, the pope. When the we talk about authority of the college of bishops to teach or lead, the Church is always careful to emphasize that this is only possible in union with the pope, who is the head of the college,” Pecknold explained.

 

In his interview, Sosa also explained that the collaborative work of the synod is a work of discernment, something he said was very important to Pope Francis.  The Jesuit superior said that although the concept of discernment is a key feature of Jesuit spirituality, the act of listening to the Spirit has been a part of the Church’s for a long time.

 

“Discernment is the way that this communion [of the universal Church] can be made and how the Church will find the structure to reflect a Church that is open to that synodality,” Sosa continued.

 

“Because the Church is supposed to be governed not by men but by the Spirit. So [the Synod of Bishops] is not a kind of parliament, where you have to have a majority or minority, but we all together try to listen to the Spirit. And that's what discernment teaches us to do.”

 

In comments to journalists Oct. 16, Cardinal Louis Sako I, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, echoed this point: “The synod is not a political parliament, is a synod of fathers, teachers,” he said. “What can we give, what can we offer the young, the faithful?”  

 

The Synod of Bishops, which was established by Pope St. Paul VI following Vatican Council II, was created to continue the collaborative effects of the council fathers.

 

The Code of Canon Law defines it as a work of “collaborative assistance” to the pope’s ministry, and stresses that it exists to “foster unity” among the bishops, including with the pope. It also states that the synod is itself a creation of papal authority, deriving its legitimacy not from the bishops attending but from the pope who called them to the session. Whether a synod session’s conclusions are deliberative or consultative is explicitly up to the pope, who decides how much of his own authority to delegate to it.

 

In this sense, Pecknold told CNA, it functions nothing like a parliament.

 

“Parliaments are political, legislative bodies,” he said.

 

“The Synod of Bishops exists to foster unity and to give the pope the benefit of their counsel. In that sense, their job isn’t to pass this resolution or block that one - it is to work together to advise the pope as best they can, and that is a work of communion and service, not confrontation.”