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Posted on 09/18/2023 16:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
CNA Newsroom, Sep 18, 2023 / 12:15 pm (CNA).
After former ESPN “SportsCenter” co-host Sage Steele settled a lawsuit with the network over comments she made regarding its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, she announced her departure in August after 16 years at the network.
“Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my First Amendment rights more freely,” the former sports anchor wrote on her X account.
Steele sued the network and its parent company in 2022 for violating her free speech rights after she was taken off the air and several high-profile assignments for criticizing ESPN’s and Disney’s vaccine mandate, the Associated Press reported.
Although Steele complied with the mandate in order to keep her job, according to her lawsuit, she told former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler on his podcast that “while she ‘respect[ed] everyone’s decision’ to get vaccinated, she believed that a corporate mandate was ‘sick’ and ‘scary to me in many ways.’ She also indicated that she ‘didn’t want to’ get the vaccine but still complied in order to keep her job and support her family.”
Following these and other comments on Cutler’s September 2021 podcast, Steele was suspended from ESPN in October 2021 and forced to apologize for her remarks.
Steele recently opened up about the ordeal and about how her Catholic faith got her through it on “EWTN News Nightly,” hosted by Tracy Sabol.
“I’ve said this a lot recently — I wouldn’t be standing today without my faith, which has become stronger than ever before,” Steele, 50, began.
“This was a huge low point in my life when all of this happened,” she continued. “[The] last couple years I had just gotten divorced after marrying my college sweetheart — only boyfriend I ever had, married for 20 years, together for 27 years. … COVID hit like a couple months right after that was final.”
To add to the problems, many things were shut down due to the pandemic, and it was a difficult time for Steele and her three children.
“It was brutal,” Steele recalled. “And then I happened to speak up [about the vaccine mandate] and got crushed for it. [I] thought my career was over.”
To top it off, despite having received the vaccine, the single mother came down with severe COVID. “I was in trouble health-wise with it,” she told Sabol. “At that moment, I just prayed.”
One night during the illness her heart was racing so fast it woke her up. She was all alone — her kids were at their father’s house so they wouldn’t get sick. Her parents couldn’t help because her father was undergoing cancer treatments. She tried to get ready to drive herself to the hospital but fell over. She realized if she fell again and hit her head, no one would find her.
“That was such a scary moment,” she said. “I just got back in bed and prayed and prayed that I would wake up the next morning.”
She did wake up, but she was still alone, and it took her more than a week to finally start feeling better.
“All I had was God,” she recalled. “Fortunately, I knew that he had brought me through so much … what am I going to do, not trust him now? So I literally felt him pull me up and say, ‘You got this, girl.’”
When she was finally well enough to return to work, her father — a former football player — mother, and best friend were there with her.
“Right as I walk out the door to go to work for the first time after the apology and being suspended and embarrassed and vilified, my dad said, ‘We’re gonna say the St. Michael the Archangel [prayer] … you know, having God protect us from the wickedness and snares of the devil and rebuke them we humbly pray… that moment changed me and changed our family,” she said.
Now that Steele has left ESPN, Sabol asked what the future might hold for the broadcaster.
“I don’t know, but I’m having some really fun conversations right now with all kinds of different people that work in the industry in different ways,” she said. “I would love to interview some Hollywood celebrities, a lot of people who have been canceled and it’s like, ‘Oh wait we’re still here.’”
Steele said she hoped to announce more of her plans in the coming weeks.
“I’ve been so flattered by so many people reaching out, but it’s a blessing to be able to finally be me,” she said.
Watch the full “EWTN News Nightly” interview with Steele below. Watch part one of her interview with Sabol here.
Posted on 09/18/2023 15:30 PM (CNA Daily News)
ACI Prensa Staff, Sep 18, 2023 / 11:30 am (CNA).
The press and communications office of the Archdiocese of Piura in northern Peru called for “respect for sacred places” after an unidentified individual stole donations from a poor box in the local cathedral.
“Last weekend this absolutely reprehensible act occurred. As an archdiocese we strongly condemn these types of acts, which demonstrate an absolute lack of respect for sacred places,” said a statement from the archdiocese sent to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.
The theft took place Sept. 9 at about 3:20 p.m. Security cameras installed inside the church captured the presence of a man who entered the church like any other parishioner, apparently to pray.
However, once inside, the criminal used tools to break into the collection box and then grabbed all the money and put it in his backpack before stealthily leaving the church.
The archdiocesan press office stressed that “the alms that the faithful deposit in this type of box are intended for charitable works of the cathedral, such as helping Venezuelan migrants, people who are hungry, or for those who need urgent medical attention.”
“This theft not only constitutes a serious offense to God, for having been carried out within a sacred place, but also constitutes an absolute lack of charity towards the most needy, who are ultimately the direct beneficiaries,” the archdiocese pointed out.
According to information obtained, this would not be the first incident in which someone posing as a parishioner entered the church for criminal purposes.
The authorities are investigating the incident and working to identify and capture the criminal. In the meantime, the religious community hopes that justice will be served and measures will be taken to prevent future acts of vandalism.
“We as an archdiocese urge that sacred places be respected, we request more charity for the poor, and we ask that the cathedral be notified if someone manages to recognize the individual in question,” the statement said.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Posted on 09/17/2023 17:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Sep 17, 2023 / 13:15 pm (CNA).
The Synod on Synodality is set to launch the first of two assemblies on Oct. 4.
The global meetings in Rome are the culmination of two years of preparation, and during that time, much has been said about synodality, including by the pope.
In some of his more recent comments on synodality, Pope Francis said, “speaking of a ‘Synod on Synodality’ may seem something abstruse, self-referential, excessively technical, of little interest to the general public,” but it is “something truly important for the Church.”
“Precisely at this time, when there is much talk and little listening, and when the sense of the common good is in danger of weakening, the Church as a whole has embarked on a journey to rediscover the word together,” he said to media representatives on Aug. 26.
“Walk together. Question together. Take responsibility together for community discernment, which for us is prayer, as the first Apostles did: This is synodality, which we would like to make a daily habit in all its expressions,” he added.
Here are some of the other things Pope Francis has said about synodality during his papacy:
Oct. 17, 2015: Address marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Synod of Bishops
“The world in which we live, and which we are called to love and serve, even with its contradictions, demands that the Church strengthen cooperation in all areas of her mission. It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.
“Synodality, as a constitutive element of the Church, offers us the most appropriate interpretive framework for understanding the hierarchical ministry itself. If we understand, as St. John Chrysostom says, that ‘Church and Synod are synonymous,’ inasmuch as the Church is nothing other than the ‘journeying together’ of God’s flock along the paths of history towards the encounter with Christ the Lord, then we understand too that, within the Church, no one can be ‘raised up’ higher than others. On the contrary, in the Church, it is necessary that each person ‘lower’ himself or herself, so as to serve our brothers and sisters along the way.
“In a synodal Church, the Synod of Bishops is only the most evident manifestation of a dynamism of communion which inspires all ecclesial decisions.”
Nov. 29, 2019: Address to the International Theological Commission
“In the last five years you have produced two relevant texts. The first offers a theological clarification on synodality in the life and mission of the Church.
“You have shown how the practice of synodality, traditional but always to be renewed, is the implementation, in the history of the People of God on their journey, of the Church as a mystery of communion, in the image of Trinitarian communion. As you know, this theme is very close to my heart ...
“And for this I thank you for your document, because today one thinks that synodality is taking each other by the hand and setting out on a journey, celebrating with the young, or carrying out an opinion poll: ‘What do you think about the priesthood for women?’ That is mostly what is done, isn’t it? Synodality is an ecclesial journey that has a soul, which is the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit there is no synodality.”
Sept. 18, 2021: Address to the faithful of the Diocese of Rome
“Synodality is not a chapter in an ecclesiology textbook, much less a fad or a slogan to be bandied about in our meetings. Synodality is an expression of the Church’s nature, her form, style, and mission. We can talk about the Church as being ‘synodal,’ without reducing that word to yet another description or definition of the Church. I say this not as a theological opinion or even my own thinking, but based on what can be considered the first and most important ‘manual’ of ecclesiology: the Acts of the Apostles.”
Oct. 9, 2021: Address for the opening of the Synod on Synodality
“The synod, while offering a great opportunity for a pastoral conversion in terms of mission and ecumenism, is not exempt from certain risks. I will mention three of these.
“The first is formalism. The Synod could be reduced to an extraordinary event, but only externally; that would be like admiring the magnificent facade of a church without ever actually stepping inside. If we want to speak of a synodal Church, we cannot remain satisfied with appearances alone; we need content, means, and structures that can facilitate dialogue and interaction within the People of God, especially between priests and laity.
“A second risk is intellectualism. Reality turns into abstraction and we, with our reflections, end up going in the opposite direction. This would turn the synod into a kind of study group, offering learned but abstract approaches to the problems of the Church and the evils in our world. The usual people saying the usual things, without great depth or spiritual insight, and ending up along familiar and unfruitful ideological and partisan divides, far removed from the reality of the holy People of God and the concrete life of communities around the world.
“Finally, the temptation of complacency, the attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 33) and it is better not to change. That expression — ‘We have always done it that way’ — is poison for the life of the Church. Those who think this way, perhaps without even realizing it, make the mistake of not taking seriously the times in which we are living. The danger, in the end, is to apply old solutions to new problems.”
Sept. 4, 2023: Aboard the papal plane returning to Rome from Mongolia
“There is no place for ideology in the synod. It’s another dynamic. The synod is dialogue between baptized people in the name of the Church, on the life of the Church, on dialogue with the world, on the problems that affect humanity today. But when you think along an ideological path, the synod ends.
“There is one thing we must safeguard: the synodal climate. This is not a TV program where everything is talked about. There is a religious moment, there is a moment of religious exchange. Consider that in the synod sessions they speak for 3-4 minutes each, three [people], and then there are 3-4 minutes of silence for prayer ... Without this spirit of prayer there is no synodality, there is politics, there is parliamentarianism.
“In the synod, religiosity must be safeguarded and the integrity of the people who speak must be safeguarded.”
Posted on 09/17/2023 11:41 AM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Sep 17, 2023 / 07:41 am (CNA).
Think of someone who has hurt you and ask God for the strength to forgive that person, Pope Francis told the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.
Speaking from a window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Sept. 17, the pope underlined that forgiveness can heal “the poisons of resentment” and “restore peace to our hearts.”
In his Angelus message, the pope said that forgiving is “not a good deed that we can choose to do or not do” but “a fundamental condition for those who are Christians.”
“Every one of us, in fact, is ‘forgiven,’” he said. “God gave his life for us and in no way can we compensate for his mercy, which he never withdraws from his heart. However, by corresponding to his gratuitousness, that is, by forgiving one another, we can bear witness to him, sowing new life around us.”
“For outside of forgiveness, there is no hope; outside of forgiveness there is no peace.”
The pope compared forgiveness to “oxygen that purifies the air polluted by hatred” and heals the “many diseases of the heart that contaminate society.”
He reflected on Jesus’ response to Peter, who had asked: “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
“Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times (Mt 18:21-22).’”
Pope Francis added: “Jesus’ message is clear: God forgives incalculably, exceeding all measure. This is how he is; he acts out of love, and gratuitously. … We cannot repay him but, when we forgive a brother or a sister, we imitate him.”
“May Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us to receive the grace of God and to forgive each other,” he said.
After praying the Angelus prayer in Latin with the crowd, Pope Francis noted that he will travel to Marseille, France, on Friday to attend a meeting of bishops from the Mediterranean region that will have a special focus on the issue of migration.
He said that migration is a “challenge” that must be faced together, adding that the future will only be prosperous if “it is built on fraternity, putting human dignity first … especially for those most in need.”
Pope Francis said that Marseille is called to be “a port of hope” and asked people to pray for his upcoming journey to the French city Sept. 22–23.
Posted on 09/17/2023 11:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Jerusalem, Sep 17, 2023 / 07:00 am (CNA).
Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the holiest places in the world for Christians and an important pilgrimage site since the fourth century, is revealing more of its secrets. Ongoing archaeological investigations related to the restoration of the basilica’s floor are at a turning point, with many surprises coming to light.
The latest — and one of the most significant — findings emerged during the investigations conducted during the second half of June in the area in front of the edicule — the small shrine/temple that encloses the tomb of Jesus located in the center of the rotunda, under the big dome of the basilica.
The excavations have exposed the marble steps leading to the edicule and a coin deposit, which were most recently minted during the reign of Emperor Valens (364–378). This allows archeologists to accurately date the early Christian edicule to that period.
Located in the northwest quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Constantine the Great built the first church there, dedicated in about 336 A.D. His mother, St. Helena, was believed to have found a relic of the cross of Christ’s crucifixion on the site. Almost 300 years later, the Persians burned the church down, after which it was restored, destroyed again, and restored once more. The Crusaders in the 12th century undertook a rebuild of the site, which included a chapel in St. Helena’s honor. Since that time, frequent restorations and repairs have taken place.
Other discoveries that emerged during the first year of work involve the remains of the early Christian liturgical basilica — a construction site of the Constantinian age — and the foundations of the northern perimeter wall of the complex and the water drainage system in the northwestern area of the rotunda, next to the edicule.
Archeologists also discovered that the quarry in the southern part of the rotunda, an area outside the city walls, was used as a cave. The cave was dismantled in the first century B.C. and transformed into an agricultural and burial area.
“We are gaining an in-depth understanding of the entire stratigraphic sequence [the order and position of layers of archeological remains]: from the use of the quarry in pre-Constantinian times to the restoration work during the British Mandate [for Palestine],” Francesca Romana Stasolla, the leader of the team from the Department of Ancient Sciences at the University of Rome Sapienza responsible for the archaeological research, told CNA in an interview. Stasolla said her team can now trace “the entire material history of the religious complex.”
The recent plan to restore the Holy Sepulcher’s floor, along with concurrent archaeological, structural, and waterworks investigations, was determined by the three Christian churches responsible for the basilica: the Greek Orthodox, the Roman Catholic (Custody of the Holy Land), and the Armenian Apostolic churches. Operations are coordinated by the Common Technical Bureau, an office of experts representing the three communities.
The University of Rome Sapienza is responsible for the excavations. In addition to archaeologists from the Department of Ancient Sciences, the team also includes engineers, historians, philologists, geologists, paleobotanists, and archaeobotanists from the same university. The interdisciplinary team addresses, analyses, and interprets everything that emerges during the excavations.
Specialists from the Venaria Reale Conservation and Restoration Center are handling the restoration of the floor. Two engineering companies from Italy — Manens, based in Padua, and IG Ingegneria Geotecnica, based in Turin — are also involved in the project overseeing infrastructure and utilities such as the electrical and water systems.
A new chapter
The recent work officially began on March 14, 2022, with the removal of the first paving stone; preparatory phases were initiated as early as 2019 but were slowed down by the pandemic.
What has been uncovered so far will make it possible to write — and rewrite — some pages of the basilica’s history. For instance, before it was a church property, the land was used as a quarry and for farming.
“We have identified the presence of at least two definite species — olive and grapevine. This confirms what it says in some passages of the Gospels,” Stasolla told CNA.
“The various discoveries emerging as the work progresses will enable us to describe architecturally something that was not known before. They will also help us understand the intermediate periods — such as between the early Christian and medieval phases, and between the medieval and modern phases, about which we know very little,” said Stasolla, who explained that this is due to a lack of sources (especially during periods of reduced pilgrimages) or when accounts are less descriptive.
The edicule continues to amaze
From June 19–27, the area in front of the edicule and the edicule itself (the structure raised over the place of Christ’s tomb) was closed to allow the removal of the floor and archaeological investigations.
Seven days and nights of uninterrupted work revealed the funerary area in the same area of the edicule and, in particular, the first “monumentalization” of the edicule in the early Christian period. (“Monumentalizing” is a term used to describe commemorating or immortalizing something with a monument.)
In fact, according to Stasolla, what the team of archaeologists discovered was a “double monumentalization,” which they didn’t expect because it occurred at a very close temporal distance.
“We were able to document an initial phase of monumentalization from the beginning of the fourth century and a second phase from the end of the fourth century,” Stasolla said, which she explained was confirmed by the discovery of a coin deposit, with the last emissions being those of Emperor Valens.
“In the first phase, there were three marble steps leading to the venerated tomb, which we found. In the second phase, there were only two steps because the floor was partially raised,” she added.
These discoveries align with the oldest iconography from the fifth century and the description by the famous pilgrim Egeria, whose diary is one of the most important early sources on early Christianity. Egeria is believed to have arrived in Jerusalem a few years after the conclusion of the second phase of monumentalization, sometime between 381 and 384 A.D.
A statement from the Custody of the Holy Land said the restoration of the floor inside the edicule revealed “part of the bottom of a burial chamber similar to those found in the northern portion of the rotunda, filled in and arranged to encourage pilgrims to visit since the early Christian period.”
“In the edicule,” Stasolla specified, “the medieval floor covers a burial chamber. The monumentalization, already from the early Christian period, serves to monumentalize a tomb.”
In the antechamber, called the Chapel of the Angel, traces of the initial arrangement of the monument for liturgical purposes and remains of the sixth-century arrangement of the edicule were found, including inscriptions by pilgrims in Latin, Greek, and Armenian (18th century).
According to Stasolla, outside there was a large polished floor made from local stone and other materials, traces of which were found in the preparation mortar.
During the first year of work, some interesting archaeological elements were discovered and reported in periodic updates signed by Stasolla and distributed by the Custody of the Holy Land. For instance, a recent update on July 7 focused on information related to excavation work in the area in front of the edicule of the Holy Sepulcher.
Strasolla highlighted other interesting discoveries. In the northern area of the ambulatory, remains of the early Christian liturgical basilica were found, already known from historical sources, which contributed to completing the plan of the early Christian complex.
A small portion of the apse had already been discovered under the Greeks’ Catholicon (the name given to cathedrals and monastery churches by the Greek-Orthodox), and in the chapel of St. Vartan.
“In the coming months, we will continue archaeological investigations in that area to complete the excavation of the apse,” Stazolla said.
Additionally, in the northern nave of the basilica, the excavations revealed the construction site of the Constantinian age, and the foundations of the northern perimeter wall of the complex commissioned by the first Christian emperor.
According to a Custody of the Holy Land press release, in the northwestern area of the Rotunda, next to the edicule, “a tunnel has been intercepted, partly already highlighted in previous investigations, which descends vertically next to the edicule for a depth of 2.80 meters [9.18 feet] and then continues horizontally to the north.” This is an important element in the study of architectural aspects of the basilica, especially in relation to excavation stratigraphy and its connection to the entire water drainage system.
The excavation continues to proceed in a way that allows for the regular conduct of liturgical ceremonies and the flow of pilgrims.
“We have managed to close the northern half of the north nave, complete the entire rotunda, and half of the ambulatory,” Stasolla told CNA. “In these weeks, we are finishing the southeast area of the rotunda. We are adhering to the project timeline and expect to deliver the work on schedule.”
They hope to finish the work by the end of 2024.
The excavation work is conducted continuously, day and night, and the processing of the materials uncovered is conducted in real time between Jerusalem and Rome. All the data processed during the excavation are entered into a database specifically created for the project and linked to various historical and archival sources.
Posted on 09/17/2023 08:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Paris, France, Sep 17, 2023 / 04:00 am (CNA).
Twenty years ago, Claude and Marie-France Delpech launched a family business in France called “Les Jardins de Sainte-Hildegarde,” selling products inspired by the life of St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179), an abbess and mystic proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 7, 2012.
Since then, the Delpechs’ mission has grown steadily, contributing to the rediscovery of the 12th-century German nun, celebrated in the Church calendar on Sept. 17, and her health remedies — as well as her little-known or understood spirituality.
The Delpechs, who are in their 70s and have three daughters and 11 grandchildren, became acquainted with St. Hildegard during Christmas 1994, when their eldest daughter gave them a cookbook called “Les recettes de la joie” (“Recipes for joy”). Originally from the Périgord region of southwestern France, the Delpechs were lovers of good food, and they tried the recipes out of curiosity.
The beginnings were simple: Marie-France cooked mainly with spelt — the dominant grain in St. Hildegard’s diet — as well as with herbs such as pyrethrum (derived from plants in the aster family) and galanga (the citrusy cousin of ginger), also recommended by the nun. Marie-France obtained her supplies from a small company in the Pyrenees that specializes in products and ingredients Hildegard used.
In 1998, as Claude prepared to retire, the couple was looking for a meaningful activity. During a charismatic prayer service in the Emmanuel community, they asked God for “something useful to do.” Strangely enough, all they got when they opened up the Bible were words about... plants.
“I really couldn’t see what it was all about,” Marie-France said with a laugh as she shared her memories with CNA.
In the autumn of 1998, suffering from asthma, Marie-France went on a health retreat in the Pyrenees and took the opportunity to visit the business that sold products inspired by St. Hildegard. To her astonishment, the manager, who was about to close down the business, asked her to take over.
When she declined the offer because of her asthma, he advised her to try scolopendra wine (wine made from soaking a centipede in it) — in a preparation of St. Hildegard’s that included cinnamon, long pepper, and other spices. In the course of eight days, the asthma had stopped. The Delpechs asked themselves: “What if this is what the Lord wanted to show us?”
The more science progresses, the more we understand St. Hildegard
In December 1999, the couple set about researching the work of St. Hildegard, about whom they knew little. To do so, they traveled to the saint’s abbey in Ebingen, Germany. There they met a community of 60 nuns who were “extremely dynamic and full of ‘joie de vivre,’” they recalled.
“The road was opening up,” the couple said in an email. “We felt we’d discovered a treasure, and we wanted to share it.”
Claude and Marie-France now work with German naturopath Wighard Strehlow, the successor of German physician Gottfried Hertzka (1913–1997) — a Nazi resistance fighter who rediscovered St. Hildegard when he was in a concentration camp. Strehlow has devoted his life to transmitting Hildegard’s medieval remedies “in concrete, accessible terms” for today’s generations.
“The more science progresses, the more we understand what St. Hildegard meant,” the Delpechs said in an email. “One of the latest examples is violet balm. St. Hildegard recommends it against cysts and mastitis, saying that ‘if it’s cancer, it will die when it has tasted it.’ It’s a bold thing to say in the 12th century... but last year, an Australian study demonstrated that the leaves and flowers of violets are powerful anti-cancer agents.”
To date, only 400 of Hildegard’s 2,000 remedies have been tested.
Over the years, the Delpechs have collaborated with a group of French doctors and launched a summer university program. They combine dietary advice with a spiritual component, preached by theologian Father Pierre Dumoulin. At the request of the Catholic community Foyers de Charité, they also began offering a spiritual retreat with a fast based on spelt. The initiative has met with enormous success, with growing demand from people seeking deeper spiritual and physical well-being.
A message of personal unity
Today, the couple’s business, based in Coux and Bigaroque in the Périgord, employs about 15 people. They sell spelt-based products, plants and spices, essential oils, gemstones, flavored wines, cosmetics, and various books.
The community of disabled brothers of Notre Dame d’Espérance participates in the preparation of the elixirs.
Claude and Marie France remain as volunteers in their business, which they see as a mission of evangelization.
“We’re very concerned that the spiritual side should not be neglected, but rather brought to the fore,” they said. For them, St. Hildegard is “a way of getting people to go to retreats they would never otherwise have gone to, because not everyone is interested in the Lord, but everyone is interested in their health.”
During these retreats, people regain their shape and vigor, but something also happens “at the heart level,” they noted. “When you eat less, less fatty, less heavy things, something also happens on the mental level, and there’s a facilitation on the spiritual level, too.”
St. Hildegard’s work, argued the Delpechs, is “a message of personal unification. As the saint wrote: ‘When soul and body function in perfect harmony, they receive the supreme reward of health and joy.’ Joy is essential to Hildegarde.”
The Delpechs said their aim is to restore St. Hildegard to her rightful place within the Catholic Church.
“St. Hildegard was initially known in the New Age [movement], presented as a healer, as the first of the phytotherapists, as a magician, a miracle worker,” the couple said in an email. “But above all, she’s a Catholic saint with a unique charisma. The universe remains a great mystery, and for her, the Lord lifted the curtain. She was able to see the hidden subtleties of creation in the mineral, vegetable, and animal worlds. What a gift!”
Benedict XVI proclaimed St. Hildegard of Bingen a doctor of the Church not only for her spiritual work but also for “her holy medicine.”
“For us, St. Hildegard could be the patron saint of integral ecology,” the Delpechs said.
Posted on 09/16/2023 16:31 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Sep 16, 2023 / 12:31 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis on Saturday invited Catholics in Korea to emulate the zeal of their patron saint, St. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, as his statue was blessed at St. Peter’s Basilica.
“[St. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn’s] figure invites us to discover the vocation entrusted to the Korean Church, to all of you: You are called to a young faith, to a burning faith that, animated by love of God and neighbor, becomes a gift,” he said Sept. 16.
The pope met with a delegation of 300 members of the Catholic Church in Korea several hours before a permanent installation of a statue of Kim was unveiled in a niche on the outside of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Born in 1821, Kim was the first native Korean priest and one of the country’s earliest martyrs. He was tortured and beheaded by the Korean Joseon Dynasty at only 25 years old.
“With the prophecy of martyrdom, the Korean Church reminds us that we cannot follow Jesus without embracing his cross and that we cannot proclaim ourselves Christians without being willing to follow the way of love to the end,” Pope Francis said.
Looking at this saint, he continued, “how can we not feel exhorted to cultivate apostolic zeal in our hearts, to be a sign of a Church that goes out of itself to joyfully spread the seed of the Gospel, including through a life spent for others, in peace and with love?”
The blessing of the 6-ton, 12-foot-tall marble statue of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn took place on Sept. 16, the anniversary of his martyrdom.
The statue depicts the Korean martyr with his arms outstretched and wearing a traditional Korean dopo and a flat hat.
Korean Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-sik, prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy, celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the delegation before the statue was blessed by Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica.
“When I think of the intense life of this great saint, Jesus’ words come back to my heart, ‘If the grain of wheat, when it falls into the earth, does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,’” the pope said.
“These are words that help us to read with spiritual intelligence the beautiful story of your faith, of which St. Andrew Kim is a precious seed: he, Korea’s first martyr priest, killed at a young age shortly after receiving ordination.”
Pope Francis also pointed out the large number of priestly vocations in Korea and asked that some of them be “kicked out” of the country to be missionaries in other lands.
“I have had the experience of seeing them in Argentina and your missionaries do so much good,” he said.
He also invited Korean Catholics to be “apostles of peace” in every area of their life.
The pope recalled that World Youth Day 2027 will be in Seoul, South Korea, and asked that part of the preparations be a zealous devotion to spreading the Word of God.
“In particular, I would like to entrust the Korean Church specifically to the youth,” he said. “In spite of your wonderful history of faith and the great pastoral work you enthusiastically carry out, so many young people, even among you, are seduced by the false myths of efficiency and consumerism, and enthralled by the illusion of hedonism.”
“But the hearts of young people seek something else,” he continued. “They are made for much broader horizons: take care of them, seek them out, approach them, listen to them, proclaim to them the beauty of the Gospel so that, inwardly free, they may become joyful witnesses of truth and fraternity.”
Posted on 09/16/2023 15:20 PM (CNA Daily News)
Quebec City, Canada, Sep 16, 2023 / 11:20 am (CNA).
The appointment of a medical aid in dying (MAiD) provider as interim clinical director of palliative care at a Catholic hospital in Ontario has provoked renewed concern about the future of Catholic health care in Canada.
Dr. Danielle Kain is a palliative care specialist who is associate professor and division co-chair of palliative medicine at Queen’s University. She was appointed to the directorship of palliative care at Providence Hospital in Kingston, Ontario, July 1.
The Kingston hospital is one of 22 health care institutions in Ontario under the sponsorship of Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario (CHSO). The CHSO was formed in 1998 to assume responsibility for institutions formerly under the guidance and management of congregations of religious sisters.
Kain is both a staunch proponent and practitioner of euthanasia.
In a 2018 Canadian Medical Association Journal article, Kain and a colleague published a personal reflection on MAiD, citing two individual cases in which they were involved.
“At the ensuing team debrief,” Kain wrote, “I was struck by how rare it is for health care providers to be so deeply moved together; we realized that a medically assisted death could be both poignant and peaceful.”
On social media, Kain has argued that all publicly funded institutions, including Catholic hospitals, should be compelled to offer MAiD. She has also expressed support for the Effective Referral Policy: doctors who have conscientious objections to euthanasia must refer patients to MAiD-offering doctors. In a 2016 Twitter post, Kain wrote: “Making an effective referral is not an infringement of rights.”
In Catholic ethics, a MAiD referral would constitute a proximate material cooperation with an immoral act.
A variety of professional associations of Canadian Catholic health care providers, including the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians, have made appeals to both the CHSO and the local ordinary, Archbishop Michael Mulhall, to intervene.
According to the website, the CHSO “appoints the board members and CEO of each organization; provides CHSO member organizations with tools and guidelines to ensure a certain consistency in meeting sponsor expectations; approves any changes to member organization mission, values, or philosophy.”
Health care institutions under the CHSO umbrella are bound by the guidelines of the Health Ethics Guide, a 2012 publication of the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada.
Article 87 of the guide states that “treatment decisions for the person receiving care are never to include actions or omissions that intentionally cause death (euthanasia).”
Dr. Pascal Bastien is an internal medicine specialist in Ottawa. Along with 20 Catholic medical professionals, Bastien communicated his concern about Kain’s appointment to Mulhall in a June 29 letter.
The archbishop’s office did not respond before publication to a request for comment.
Bastien said he has been reassured that the boundaries provided by the Health Ethics Guide will protect the hospital in the case of internal or external pressure to provide MAID.
Bastien is not convinced.
“If we are hiring her, a public promoter of euthanasia, we are falling short in the promotion of Catholic values and the understanding of the human person,” he said. “We have already demonstrated in the hiring process that we are not following the Health Ethics Guide.”
One of the principal arguments the Canadian bishops have made in the end-of-life debates is that Canada needs a well-funded and regionally equitable palliative care system. Palliative care has been proposed as the antidote to the ever-expanding promotion and practice of euthanasia.
In a 2021 message to the faithful, the Canadian Catholic bishops stressed that “palliative care, and not euthanasia or assisted suicide, is the compassionate and supportive response to suffering and dying.”
The bishops and palliative care physicians like Kain have a fundamental disagreement about the definition of palliative care.
“Our Catholic hospitals are being usurped by people who are fundamental opponents of what Catholic faith is about,” Bastien said.
This article was previously published in The B.C. Catholic and is reprinted here with permission from Canadian Catholic News.
Posted on 09/16/2023 12:00 PM (CNA Daily News)
London, England, Sep 16, 2023 / 08:00 am (CNA).
A Catholic priest reputed for rescuing homeless and impoverished children on the streets of Omaha, Nebraska, is expected to soon be declared Venerable by the Vatican, placing him on the path to canonization.
Father Edward J. Flanagan, who died in 1948, was an Irish-born priest whose saintly life has been narrated in a recent documentary, “Heart of a Servant — the Father Flanagan Story.”
In a follow-up interview after the film’s premiere on July 26 in Sligo, Ireland, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, Ireland, told CNA that there is a good reason to hope that Flanagan will soon be declared Venerable by the Vatican.
In an email exchange on Sept. 5, he told CNA: “Father Flanagan is recognized as a Servant of God since his case was sent to Rome in 2015. Following the examination of the case by the various commissions involved with the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, there are grounds for hoping that he will soon be declared Venerable.”
Reflecting on the life of the heroic Catholic priest, Doran told CNA that Flanagan “rescued children from homelessness and poverty in Omaha and provided a place for them that they could call home.”
Doran explained how the children were not only provided with “all the practical and academic skills for daily life but also formed in faith and Christian living.”
He continued: “Father Flanagan is a saint, not just because he did these things but because he was motivated to do so by a deep personal relationship with God.
“Inspired by the same spirit of respect for others as the children of God, he opposed racism and sectarianism, even at great personal risk. He also reached out to refugees and especially children displaced by war. In truth, he ‘laid down his life’ in imitation of the Good Shepherd.”
When asked how quickly he thought the case of Flanagan would progress, Doran said these things were hard to predict. He continued: “An authenticated miracle is one of the requirements of beatification. This is taken as evidence that the Spirit of God is truly at work in the life of the one who is proposed for beatification. I am aware that a number of possible miracles have been and are being considered, but the criteria are very specific; generally relation to healing for which there is no medical or scientific explanation. This may take time. It is in the hands of God.”
When asked which causes Flanagan might become patron of should he eventually be canonized, Doran said there were several, in his opinion.
“Father Flanagan could be a patron saint under many headings,” he wrote. “Seminarians: because of the courage and faith he demonstrated in overcoming the obstacles he encountered on the way to priesthood; vulnerable children: because of the huge respect and love he had for children; ecumenism: because of his commitment to receiving any child who came to him, irrespective of religious denomination; migrants: because of his outreach to Japanese migrants interned in the U.S. during WW2; children displaced by war: because of his outreach to children in Japan, the Philippines, and Germany after WW2.”
Flanagan was born in County Galway in 1886 and moved to America in 1904. His journey through seminary was put on hold due to poor health, but he was eventually ordained in 1912.
Flanagan emigrated to the U.S. in 1904. Due to poor health, he was twice forced to postpone his seminary studies before he was eventually ordained in 1912.
Thanks to his incredible ministry toward young boys of Nebraska, he was invited in 1947 by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was leading the allied occupation of Japan, to review the child welfare conditions in Japan and Korea. He was also invited to do the same in Austria and Germany the following year.
While in Germany, Flanigan suffered a heart attack and died on May 15, 1948. His body rests at Dowd Memorial Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in Boys Town, Nebraska.
Posted on 09/16/2023 11:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 16, 2023 / 07:00 am (CNA).
Appaloosa Music Festival, a folk music festival in the Appalachian Mountains of Northern Virginia, offers Catholics a unique weekend of music, community, and the Eucharist.
This year Appaloosa, which took place Labor Day weekend, drew a record 9,000 attendees from states across the nation.
In the words of one attendee from the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Father Alex Brown, 26, the two-day experience is something of “an encounter with God.”
Though not explicitly a Catholic festival, Appaloosa is organized by the Irish folk band Scythian, which is headlined by Catholic brothers Dan and Alex Fedoryka.
The festival boasts multiple stages with a mix of folk, country, bluegrass, and Irish performances as well as food trucks, local vendors, and even a kids’ play zone.
Since starting in 2015, the festival has become known by attendees and musicians alike for its wholesome, family-friendly, and joyful atmosphere.
“There’s something different happening here,” Dan Fedoryka told CNA. “It’s contributing to a culture of life, but in the most organic way that I’ve experienced a culture of life.”
‘An encounter with God’
Catholics, especially young Catholic families, flock to the festival in Front Royal, Virginia, every Labor Day Weekend. Despite high temperatures, this year was no exception.
Attendees posted up in lawn chairs and tents or sat under large awnings, enjoying the performances with the stunning Appalachian Mountains as a backdrop. In the evenings, warm campfires dotted campsites and families socialized with one another underneath the Virginia stars.
While many music festivals are known for drug use and sexual immorality, Appaloosa focuses on music and bringing people together to enjoy the arts in God’s beautiful creation.
At the heart of the whole festival, Fedoryka said, is a genuine love of God.
He called the Mass, which is held outdoors on Sunday morning and is heavily attended by festival goers, the festival’s real “headliner.”
This year well over 700 attended the Mass, which had a string band and choir leading the worship. The Mass was celebrated by Brown and another young priest, Father Andrew Clark, 32, from the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia.
In his homily, Brown said the music experienced by the festival goers during the weekend calls them into the deeper joy of God.
“There’s something divine in music, something that reflects the great musician, God himself,” Brown said. “And that’s what we’re encountering this weekend.”
“It may be bold but not wrong to say that Appaloosa itself is an encounter with God, a glimpse into his sanctuary,” Brown added.
Building up strong Catholic communities
A Front Royal native, Clark said one of the root causes of society’s ills, such as record-high depression and suicide rates, is a general loss of identity and community rooted in God.
The reason Appaloosa is growing and resounding with so many people, Clark explained, is that it helps people truly experience the joy of being in a community built around God.
“One of the things that the world hungers for is what it means to live in a community where Christ is king,” Clark said.
“Sin alienates us,” he said. “We feel like we don’t belong.”
“Yet the experience of Christ, when he becomes our brother, our savior, our king, he tells us, you belong, you belong to me, and you belong to my family,” he went on. “Having that experience of belonging here at Appaloosa is why families love it so much.”
Newly ordained Fr. Andrew Clarke, 32, was the principal celebrant of this morning's Mass at @appaloosafest. Fr. Clarke said saying Mass at Appaloosa was "an experience of heaven." pic.twitter.com/dCrSZTPwz0— Peter Pinedo (@Pete_Pinedo) September 3, 2023
Replacing secular culture with ‘Catholic culture’
Twenty-eight different bands and performers performed during the festival.
Though the performances were not explicitly Christian, the event still helps to build something one performer, Ben-David Warner, called “Catholic culture.”
A North Virginia-based musician, Warner is the director of sacred liturgy and music at St. Charles Borromeo parish in Arlington, Virginia. He also leads the folk-acoustic group the Ben-David Warner Band.
Warner said that in America “we don’t have a Catholic culture” but instead “we have a very secular culture.”
For many Catholics, Warner pointed out, the only time they spend with other Catholics is once a week during Mass.
“It’s good to have events like this because it’s an opportunity for a lot of Catholics to come together and have something outside the liturgy,” Warner said.
Maura Butler, a Catholic mother who was attending her fifth Appaloosa Festival, told CNA that she loves taking her family to the festival because it allows her and her husband to explore their passion for music in a safe and family-friendly environment.
“When we were dating, and even when we didn’t know each other, we loved music,” Butler, who is from Virginia, said. “Our kids love it, and we love to bring them up loving music.”
“Our children can see and admire and think musicians are cool and then see them at Mass, and that makes a good impact,” Butler said, adding that “you can’t really do that with kids very easily anywhere else.”
Shaping the future through music
According to Fedoryka, music is crucial to culture, and it can be used for good or for evil.
“You just read Karl Marx — communists knew how to control the masses,” he said. “Music is the No. 1 way to get ideologies in there because it bypasses your intellect.”
This is further evidenced by today’s mainstream music industry, which Fedoryka believes is dominated by a culture of use and disregard for human dignity.
“You can really see how people are affected,” Fedoryka said, pointing to how many artists feel disillusioned and empty from their careers in mainstream music.
Through Appaloosa and his band, Scythian, Fedoryka is working to build something different.
Fedoryka and Appaloosa’s other organizers place a significant emphasis on developing the musical skills of children and young artists.
One of the festival’s staple acts is a band called Pickin’ Thistles that is made up of three Catholic siblings: Hayden, 17, Josephine, 15, and Rosemary, 13.
Though still very young, the siblings have been performing at Appaloosa for years. It’s something they said motivates them and that they look forward to every year.
Fedoryka said he has a special connection to the young Catholic artists. He believes Pickin’ Thistles and many of the other young musicians performing and attending Appaloosa will go on to make a “big impact.”
But he doesn’t want them to seek success the way that the mainstream music industry defines it. He wants them to be artists that create music for others.
“My mom always said that music is for others, it’s a gift,” he said. “Just focus on the people and that you’re bringing them joy, then you start to forget about yourself. And I think that is the antidote for depression.”
“Depression and suicide are at an all-time high. But my mom had the secret,” Fedoryka said. “If you’re depressed or you’re suicidal, start giving yourself to other people and, after a while, you start to forget about yourself because you start encountering other souls.”