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Catholic News

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York / Daniel Ibanez/CNANew York City, N.Y., Oct 19, 2021 / 17:09 pm (CNA).In an effort to explain Pope Francis' vision for the Synod on Synodality for his flock, Cardinal Timothy Dolan's homily Sunday offered seven "non-negotiables" that Jesus intended for the Church.The Synod on Synodality, initiated by Pope Francis earlier this month, is a two-year, worldwide undertaking during which Catholics will be encouraged to submit feedback to their local dioceses.A synod is a meeting of bishops gathered to discuss a topic of theological or pastoral significance, in order to prepare a document of advice or counsel to the pope."[Pope Francis] wants us to join him in praying, listening, discerning, examining ourselves personally, and the Church communally, to see if we're truly on the path Jesus has set for His beloved bride, His mystical body, the Church," Dolan said. "He has reminded us of certain clear essentials intended by Jesus, constant, although, at ...

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

New York City, N.Y., Oct 19, 2021 / 17:09 pm (CNA).

In an effort to explain Pope Francis' vision for the Synod on Synodality for his flock, Cardinal Timothy Dolan's homily Sunday offered seven "non-negotiables" that Jesus intended for the Church.

The Synod on Synodality, initiated by Pope Francis earlier this month, is a two-year, worldwide undertaking during which Catholics will be encouraged to submit feedback to their local dioceses.

A synod is a meeting of bishops gathered to discuss a topic of theological or pastoral significance, in order to prepare a document of advice or counsel to the pope.

"[Pope Francis] wants us to join him in praying, listening, discerning, examining ourselves personally, and the Church communally, to see if we're truly on the path Jesus has set for His beloved bride, His mystical body, the Church," Dolan said.

"He has reminded us of certain clear essentials intended by Jesus, constant, although, at times, we admit, clouded and dimmed, in the Church's amazing 2,000-year drama. Here are some of those non-negotiables." Dolan went on to outline the following points:

  1. Dolan said that "the energy and direction driving the Church comes from the Holy Spirit, not ourselves."

  2. "While in the world, we are not of the world, and thus our guiding principles come from the Gospel, revelation, and the patrimony of the Church's settled teaching," he said.

  3. Dolan said "that the principles of the innate dignity of every human person and the inherent sacredness of all human life are the towering moral lighthouses on our path."

  4. Dolan said that "our journey through this life back to our true and eternal home of heaven is most effectively accomplished precisely as a journey as we walk with and accompany each other, with Jesus as our guide, His Mother and the saints, and we sinners at each other's side."

  5. "On this journey we pay special attention to those at the side of the road, especially those who are sick, weak, poor, or unable to keep up with us," he said.

  6. "Our wealth only comes from faith, trust, prayer, the sacraments, and His grace," he said.

  7. Finally, Dolan said that "mercy, love, invitation, humility, joy, selfless generous service, and good example are our only tools, never harshness, condemnation, or pride."

Dolan said he sees these seven "non-negotiables" as "synodality in a nutshell."

He said that throughout its history, the Church has "expanded and developed its style of organization and authority."

After comparing and contrasting the different sufferings and triumphs the Church has experienced throughout its history, Dolan said that "now the successor of Saint Peter as bishop of Rome and pastor of the Church Universal, Pope Francis, has asked us all to commence an examination of conscience on how we as a Church are living up to the model of the Church given us by Jesus."

"We are loyal Catholics," Dolan added. "The Holy Father has asked us to help him keep the Church always under the direction Jesus, our good shepherd, intends."

The concept of "synodality" has been a topic of frequent discussion by Pope Francis, particularly during the previous ordinary Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith, and vocational discernment in October 2018.

Synodality, as defined by the International Theological Commission in 2018, is "the action of the Spirit in the communion of the Body of Christ and in the missionary journey of the People of God."

The term is generally understood to represent a process of discernment, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, involving bishops, priests, religious, and lay Catholics, each according to the gifts and charisms of their vocation.

Pope Francis told the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's theological commission in November 2019 that synodality will be key for the Church in the future.

The Vatican announced in May that the Synod on Synodality would open with a diocesan phase lasting from October 2021 to April 2022.

A second, continental phase will take place from September 2022 to March 2023. The third, universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme "For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission," at the Vatican in October 2023.

Dolan shared his homily on Monday after noting that "many have asked about the "'synod process' initiated by Pope Francis."

The Cardinal acknowledged in his homily that he himself has questions. "I don't know if I completely understand [Synodality]," Dolan said, adding that "the Holy Father is honest in admitting that neither does he have the full comprehension, which is precisely why he has summoned us to this endeavor."

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Benedict XVI. / Giulio Napolitano via Shutterstock.Wilhering, Austria, Oct 19, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said that he looks forward to joining his friends in heaven in a condolence message following the death of a Cistercian priest. In a letter dated Oct. 2 and released by Wilhering Abbey in Austria, the 94-year-old retired pope said that the death of Fr. Gerhard Winkler touched him profoundly, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA's German-language news partner. "The news of the passing of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Winkler O. Cist., which you have conveyed to me, has affected me deeply," wrote Benedict XVI, who was pope from 2005 to 2013."Among all colleagues and friends, he was the closest to me. His cheerfulness and deep faith always attracted me." "Now he has arrived in the next world, where I am sure many friends are already waiting for him. I hope that I can join them soon."Bernhard Winkler was born in Wilhering, Upper Austria, near the city of Linz, in 1931. He ent...

Benedict XVI. / Giulio Napolitano via Shutterstock.

Wilhering, Austria, Oct 19, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said that he looks forward to joining his friends in heaven in a condolence message following the death of a Cistercian priest.

In a letter dated Oct. 2 and released by Wilhering Abbey in Austria, the 94-year-old retired pope said that the death of Fr. Gerhard Winkler touched him profoundly, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA's German-language news partner.

"The news of the passing of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Winkler O. Cist., which you have conveyed to me, has affected me deeply," wrote Benedict XVI, who was pope from 2005 to 2013.

"Among all colleagues and friends, he was the closest to me. His cheerfulness and deep faith always attracted me."

"Now he has arrived in the next world, where I am sure many friends are already waiting for him. I hope that I can join them soon."

Bernhard Winkler was born in Wilhering, Upper Austria, near the city of Linz, in 1931. He entered the local Cistercian monastery in 1951, taking the religious name Gerhard. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1955, in Linz.

After gaining a doctorate in theology in Vienna in 1956, he taught German and English. He earned a master's degree in English from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

In 1969, he embarked on an academic career in Germany, teaching in Bochum and Freiburg.

He worked closely with Joseph Ratzinger, the future Benedict XVI, at the University of Regensburg, where he lectured in Medieval and Modern Church History from 1974 to 1983.

Ratzinger had joined the University of Regensburg in 1969 as a professor of dogmatic theology and the history of dogma. He served as the university's vice president until 1977, when he was named archbishop of Munich and Freising.

Winkler was a professor of Church history at the University of Salzburg, Austria, from 1983 until his retirement in 1999.

From 2018, he lived in a care home run by religious sisters in Linz.

"In the meantime," Benedict XVI concluded his condolence message, "I am joined up with him and the monastic community of Wilhering in prayer."

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Carfin Grotto, Scotland's national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, is cleaned after a suspected arson attack on Oct. 17, 2021. / Sancta Familia Media.Carfin, Scotland, Oct 19, 2021 / 04:20 am (CNA).Suspected arsonists targeted Scotland's national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes on Sunday night, in the latest in a series of incidents at Catholic sites.The fire on Oct. 17 caused damage to Carfin Grotto, located about 15 miles outside of Glasgow's city center, adding to the financial strain on the shrine that welcomed more than 70,000 pilgrims a year before the coronavirus crisis. John P. Mallon, the co-founder of Sancta Familia Media, which handles press inquiries on the shrine's behalf, told CNA on Oct. 19: "It has saddened us all at Carfin as we approach our centenary next year of the opening of the Grotto on Oct. 1, 2022.""COVID has reduced a lot of our annual intake by reducing pilgrimages so we are already on a tight budget before this attack.""The fire was quite fierce and set ...

Carfin Grotto, Scotland's national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, is cleaned after a suspected arson attack on Oct. 17, 2021. / Sancta Familia Media.

Carfin, Scotland, Oct 19, 2021 / 04:20 am (CNA).

Suspected arsonists targeted Scotland's national shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes on Sunday night, in the latest in a series of incidents at Catholic sites.

The fire on Oct. 17 caused damage to Carfin Grotto, located about 15 miles outside of Glasgow's city center, adding to the financial strain on the shrine that welcomed more than 70,000 pilgrims a year before the coronavirus crisis.

John P. Mallon, the co-founder of Sancta Familia Media, which handles press inquiries on the shrine's behalf, told CNA on Oct. 19: "It has saddened us all at Carfin as we approach our centenary next year of the opening of the Grotto on Oct. 1, 2022."

"COVID has reduced a lot of our annual intake by reducing pilgrimages so we are already on a tight budget before this attack."

"The fire was quite fierce and set deliberately by the piling of items together and setting them alight."

The Scottish Sun newspaper said that police had received a report relating to the fire and that inquiries were at an early stage.

Mallon explained that the fire damaged memorials to deceased relatives in the shrine's Lourdes memorial cave, dedicated in 2009 by Bishop Jacques Perrier of Tarbes and Lourdes,

Sancta Familia Media.
Sancta Familia Media.

"The iron candle stands have been completely melted and fire-damaged and are unusable and some of the plaques have damage to their letters," he said.

"We are waiting for further information from police and we will need to do more security checks and structural checks to the cave, including lights and cables."

Sancta Familia Media.
Sancta Familia Media.

The shrine, built by hand by local parishioners opposite St. Francis Xavier's church in Carfin, opened in 1922. It is accessible year-round, with daily Masses and confession, Eucharistic adoration, novenas, and processions.

Carfin Grotto has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of reparing the fire damage.

Catholics are a minority in Scotland, comprising just 16% of the total population of 5.5 million people.

But the Catholic Parliamentary Office of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland said in 2019 that Catholics were "disproportionately targeted in terms of religiously aggravated offending."

A Scottish government report found that Catholicism was "the religion that was most often the subject of reported abuse, with 319 charges for 2017-18," out of a total of 642 charges.

Another official study said that there were 660 religiously aggravated charges recorded in 2019-20 — 24% higher than in 2018-19.

A spate of recent incidents has alarmed Scotland's Catholics.

In July, a priest was attacked by a man wielding a glass bottle as he prayed at a Catholic cathedral in Edinburgh but escaped without injury.

In August, a man was arrested and charged in connection with a devastating fire at St. Simon's, Partick, a 163-year-old Catholic church in Glasgow.

Vandals struck at St. Patrick's Church in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, in the early hours of Oct. 18, damaging plant pots.

Mallon said: "We do not wish to close the current 24/7 access to the Grotto. It has been a place of prayer and solace for over 99 years, a welcome place to all."

"However, we need to tighten security as we hear almost daily attacks, vandalism, and damage to Catholic churches across Scotland. Catholics on the ground are concerned and believe more needs to be done at a national level."

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Hispanic pro-life advocate Mayra Rodriguez speaks to a crowd of over 300,000 during Mexico's "March for Women and Life," on Oct. 3 2021. / David Ramos/CNADenver Newsroom, Oct 19, 2021 / 00:00 am (CNA).Mayra Rodríguez worked for Planned Parenthood for 17 years and was in charge of three clinics. In 2016, the abortion provider recognized her as employee of the year. Shortly thereafter she would become one of the most outspoken pro-life advocates in the Hispanic community.During her tenure with Planned Parenthood, Rodríguez said she witnessed falsified abortion records, serious complications from abortions, and experienced intimidation based upon false accusations threatening her immigration status after Rodríguez indicated she would report a doctor at the clinic she directed who botched an abortion on a 19-year-old girl and then falsified the report. In an exclusive interview with CNA's sister news agency, ACI Prensa, Rodríguez recalled that the doctor "was referring to the head o...

Hispanic pro-life advocate Mayra Rodriguez speaks to a crowd of over 300,000 during Mexico's "March for Women and Life," on Oct. 3 2021. / David Ramos/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Oct 19, 2021 / 00:00 am (CNA).

Mayra Rodríguez worked for Planned Parenthood for 17 years and was in charge of three clinics.

In 2016, the abortion provider recognized her as employee of the year.

Shortly thereafter she would become one of the most outspoken pro-life advocates in the Hispanic community.

During her tenure with Planned Parenthood, Rodríguez said she witnessed falsified abortion records, serious complications from abortions, and experienced intimidation based upon false accusations threatening her immigration status after Rodríguez indicated she would report a doctor at the clinic she directed who botched an abortion on a 19-year-old girl and then falsified the report.

In an exclusive interview with CNA's sister news agency, ACI Prensa, Rodríguez recalled that the doctor "was referring to the head of a 14-week-old baby as if it was garbage, as if it were gauze or any instrument he was using."

The doctor had left the baby's head inside the womb after performing the abortion and then placed an intrauterine contraceptive device inside the girl before he discovered his mistake.

In the end, the Planned Parenthood worker "did not want to document it, and falsified the record," causing the now pro-life leader to challenge the doctor's actions with her supervisor.

"[N]o more, I'm not going with this anymore," she recalled saying, warning the supervisor that she would report the doctor.

Planned Parenthood responded by instead accusing Rodríguez of having narcotics in her office and pressured authorities to deport her from the United States.

"What followed was that they fired me," she recalled.

After years of legal battles, Mayra Rodríguez prevailed in 2019 in her wrongful termination lawsuit against Planned Parenthood and was awarded $3 million.

With her experience working in the shadow of the largest abortion company in the world, Rodríguez warns that while those who profit from these practices say that "it is easy, it is the best solution, when in reality it brings many [harmful] consequences" to women.

"Actually, abortion does not guarantee absolutely anything. No, it leaves (women) destroyed for life, and with scars on the uterus. And perhaps they do not lose their lives, but they do lose many more things, such as peace, emotional and mental health. Psychologically they are undone," she said.

"That is not something that the pro-life movement invented or that some psychologists invent, it is the reality of women who have aborted and who today are sorry," she said.

Originally, Rodríguez was hired in a clinic that did not perform abortions, a fact she used to justify her line of work. And Planned Parenthood did not care that she was in the United States on a tourist visa rather than a work visa.

Faced with the possibility of refusing to work in a place that directly performed abortions "they told me, 'If you don't accept the abortion clinic, very soon we will close the clinic that you have in north Phoenix and we do not guarantee that there will be work for you.'"

Eventually, however, when she was pushed to a clinic that did perform abortions, she said, she began to see that complications were not reported correctly, if at all.

"I began to see abortionists falsifying the records of what was happening in the room," she added.

"I began to see that it was a business," she said, and that "abortion was what mattered to them and abortion was their priority."

This realization, when combined with the pressures she experienced as a whistleblower, lead her to rethink the abortion industry and what abortion does to women.

"[W]e see all these women who said, 'My life was going to be better, I did want it [the baby] but my life was going to be better.' And at the end of the day they realize that their life is not better, and they regret having done it."

Rodríguez, a Mexican national, said she is hopeful that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, can be overturned by the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case pertaining to Mississippi's ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy because legal abortion "has never been good for Hispanic women."

The former Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year noted, "once you give women a true option, they will choose not to have an abortion."

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Toledo Cathedral in Toledo, Spain. / Nikthestunned via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)Toledo, Spain, Oct 18, 2021 / 16:19 pm (CNA).Archbishop Francisco Cerro Chaves of Toledo carried out a penitential act Sunday at the city's cathedral, after the filming of a music video which includes sensual dance scenes within the church.The penitential act took place in the Toledo Cathedral Oct. 17 at the beginning of the opening of the diocesan phase of the synodal assembly convened by Pope Francis. The  archbishop asked for forgiveness for "negligence in the care and respect for the church."Spanish rapper C. Tangana released a music video for his song "Ateo" (Atheist) Oct. 7, made with Argentine singer Nathy Peluso. In the video, both perform sensual and provocative dances inside the cathedral.Archbishop Cerro also referenced to "the abuse of vulnerable people" and "the sins against unity and communion in the Church, due to destructive, intentional or thoughtless and superficial criticism."I...

Toledo Cathedral in Toledo, Spain. / Nikthestunned via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Toledo, Spain, Oct 18, 2021 / 16:19 pm (CNA).

Archbishop Francisco Cerro Chaves of Toledo carried out a penitential act Sunday at the city's cathedral, after the filming of a music video which includes sensual dance scenes within the church.

The penitential act took place in the Toledo Cathedral Oct. 17 at the beginning of the opening of the diocesan phase of the synodal assembly convened by Pope Francis. The  archbishop asked for forgiveness for "negligence in the care and respect for the church."

Spanish rapper C. Tangana released a music video for his song "Ateo" (Atheist) Oct. 7, made with Argentine singer Nathy Peluso. In the video, both perform sensual and provocative dances inside the cathedral.

Archbishop Cerro also referenced to "the abuse of vulnerable people" and "the sins against unity and communion in the Church, due to destructive, intentional or thoughtless and superficial criticism."

In addition, the prelate asked forgiveness for "the immorality and corruption that condition and impel the individual into moral or physical degradation, dissolve family ties, and blur the true values of life."

Fr. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, dean of the Toledo Cathedral, resigned over the music video incident effective Oct. 16. 

"The Dean expresses his request for forgiveness from the institution, on his own behalf and on behalf of the various elements of the cathedral chapter, insofar as they have had responsibility, for all the errors and faults that may have been committed by word, deed and omission in the recent events," the Archdiocese of Toledo said Oct. 12.

The archdiocese also pointed out that "by internal regulations of the cathedral chapter, in effect for years, the money collected for extraordinary activities of the Cathedral is used for charitable works."

C. Tangana paid 15,000 euros ($17,000) for the use of the cathedral in the music video.

In a statement to the Spanish press reported by Europa Press Oct. 12, Fr. Ferrer said that "communication failures" complicated the case, and that he doesn't regret his first statement, in which he justified the recording of the music video.

What he said at that time "is true and I explained the reasons why permission was given,"  but he acknowledged that during the recording of the performance there were no representatives of the cathedral to realize "the things that later caused some people to be scandalized. That was a failure."

Fr. Ferrer also said that requests for permission for this type of recordings are not normally communicated to the archbishop, which "may be another failure that would have avoided some of the difficulty that we have experienced."

"I acknowledge all criticism and that I have been wrong, but when they correct me, I like it to be done with charity and respect," he said.

However, the priest said that for him this case is "water under the bridge, and what I want is for everyone to be serene and live in peace and that there not be any tension."

"I am convinced that the music of one kind of guy or another, from our faith, what we are looking for is to do good to people and I hope that after all this pain and this controversy we will all strive to do some good to one another," he said.

Fr. Ferrer had said Oct. 8 that  "the video presents the story of a conversion through human love. The lyrics of the song are precise: 'I was an atheist, but now I believe, because a miracle like you had to come down from heaven.'"

In addition, the dean criticized "certain attitudes of intolerance," to which, he said, "is opposed by the understanding and acceptance of the Church, as manifested in the final sequences of the video."

The Toledo archdiocese said Oct. 8 that the archbishop "was absolutely unaware of the existence of this project, its content and the final result," and that he "deeply regrets these events and disapproves of the images recorded" in the cathedral.

The Archbishop of Toledo asked "humbly and sincerely for forgiveness from all the lay faithful, consecrated people and priests, who have felt justly hurt by this misuse of a sacred place."

"From this moment, the archdiocese will work to review the procedure followed to prevent something similar from happening again," the statement added.

"To do this, a protocol for the recording of images for public broadcasting in any church in the archdiocese will be immediately drawn up."

About 30 people gathered outside the cathedral Oct. 10 to pray a reparative rosary.

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St. Jose Sanchez del Rio banner in St. Peter's Square, Oct. 16, 2016. / Martha Calderon / CNA.Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct 18, 2021 / 17:01 pm (CNA).At the dedication of the statue of Saint José Sánchez del Río at Guadalajara's Martyrs Shrine, the city's archbishop highlighted the saint's witness and encouraged young people to be inspired by his life.St. José Sánchez del Río was born in Sahuayo de Morelos, Mexico in 1913. He was a Cristero. At the age of 14 he was tortured and put to death by government officials when he refused to renounce the faith.A 5.5 foot statue of the saint, made by Carlos Espino, was dedicated at the shrine in Guadalajara during an Oct. 12 Mass.During the Mass, Jose Francisco Cardinal Robles Ortega, encouraged those who are younger to look to "the witness and example of Saint José Sánchez. Read his biography, meditate on it, share it, and see that despite his few years of experience, the full and total meaning of life can be found."The cardinal stressed...

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio banner in St. Peter's Square, Oct. 16, 2016. / Martha Calderon / CNA.

Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct 18, 2021 / 17:01 pm (CNA).

At the dedication of the statue of Saint José Sánchez del Río at Guadalajara's Martyrs Shrine, the city's archbishop highlighted the saint's witness and encouraged young people to be inspired by his life.

St. José Sánchez del Río was born in Sahuayo de Morelos, Mexico in 1913. He was a Cristero. At the age of 14 he was tortured and put to death by government officials when he refused to renounce the faith.

A 5.5 foot statue of the saint, made by Carlos Espino, was dedicated at the shrine in Guadalajara during an Oct. 12 Mass.

During the Mass, Jose Francisco Cardinal Robles Ortega, encouraged those who are younger to look to "the witness and example of Saint José Sánchez. Read his biography, meditate on it, share it, and see that despite his few years of experience, the full and total meaning of life can be found."

The cardinal stressed that "life has a meaning," while lamenting that "there are many young men and women who aren't finding what to do with their lives, they don't know what they are in this world for, they're not discovering what they came into this world for and live an existential void."

These young people, he continued, "seek many times to fill that existential void with things that apparently fill them, but the only thing they produce is a deeper void."

"And so dear young people, it is worthwhile to look at the testimony of a young man, born into an ordinary Christian family, but who had the courage to discover Christ and to be faithful to him."

Cardinal Robles encouraged Catholics to give "thanks to God for the witness of our Mexican martyrs to Christ the King."

"They gave their lives bearing witness to the faith," he said. Some of those who arrested them "told them what they had to shout in order to escape martyrdom (allegiance to the government) and instead of obeying that suggestion to escape martyrdom, they said with greater enthusiasm, 'Long live Christ the King and Holy Mary of Guadalupe.'"

"And for that they merited their martyrdom, and for that they merited that Christ testify before the Father, and that Christ continue to bear witness to their martyrdom before the community of his faithful," the cardinal said.

"Let's try to get to know them more, let's try to imitate them more, let's try to  take their testimony more into our personal lives, but especially in family life," he said.

The Archbishop of Guadalajara stressed that "the witness of the martyrs should not only amaze us, the testimony of the martyrs should move us, it should be an invitation to us."

"Perhaps because of the circumstances we live in, we're not going to reach that extreme of having to shed our blood or die for Christ," he said, but "every day, in every circumstance, in every moment, in every relationship, in everything we do, in all the areas in which we operate, we have the opportunity to be witnesses for Christ."

"Jesus will bear witness to us if we take up being his witnesses, the disciples who bear witness to him," he assured.

The cardinal stressed that "the testimony of the martyrs endures," while people do not necessarily remember "the names of the people who inflicted, who carried out the martyrdom." 

The testimony of the martyrs, however,  "is not extinguished" and "is not forgotten."

Saint José Sánchez del Río was born March 28, 1913 in Sahuayo, in Michoacán state.

In 1926 under the administration of Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles the "Calles Law" was enacted restricting Catholic worship, which began the religious persecution that triggered the Cristero War.

The laws banned religious orders, deprived the Church of property rights, and denied priests civil liberties, including the right to trial by jury and the right to vote. As the restrictions on religious liberty increased, Catholics could be fined or imprisoned for teaching Church doctrine, wearing clerical attire, meeting together after their convents were disbanded, promoting religious life, or holding religious services in non-church locations.

José Sánchez del Río asked his parents for permission to enlist with the Cristero troops, who were fighting for religious freedom in Mexico. When his mother tried to dissuade him because of the risk of being killed, he replied, "Mom, it has never been so easy to earn heaven as it is now, and I don't want to miss the chance."

After being captured by government troops, Sánchez was tortured Feb. 10, 1928, for refusing to renounce the faith.

The officers cut off the soles of his feet and made him walk towards what would become his grave. As he walked, Saint José Sánchez del Río prayed and shouted "Long live Christ the King and the Virgin of Guadalupe!" Once at the place of execution, the government troops hung him from a tree and stabbed him.

Shortly before he died, when one of his executioners took him down from the tree and asked him if he had a message for his parents, Saint Jose told him: "Long live Christ the King and that we will see each other in heaven." He was then shot twice in the head, laid in a small grave, and covered with dirt.

He was beatified in 2005, and canonized Oct. 16, 2016.

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Aug. 17 rally in support of the Hyde amendment in Raleigh, North Carolina / Erin Paré/TwitterWashington D.C., Oct 18, 2021 / 17:30 pm (CNA).A Senate committee introduced nine budget bills on Monday that would roll back several pro-life policies, allowing for domestic funding of abortions and funding of international pro-abortion groups.As part of the appropriations process for the 2022 fiscal year, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday released nine bills allocating funding to various federal agencies and programs. The proposals exclude or permanently repeal several pro-life policies, including the Hyde amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions in Medicaid.The amendment, first passed in 1976, has to be attached to appropriations bills each year to become law. Democratic leaders, including President Joe Biden, have targeted the policy for repeal this year, and House in July passed appropriations bills without the policy included.Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), s...

Aug. 17 rally in support of the Hyde amendment in Raleigh, North Carolina / Erin Paré/Twitter

Washington D.C., Oct 18, 2021 / 17:30 pm (CNA).

A Senate committee introduced nine budget bills on Monday that would roll back several pro-life policies, allowing for domestic funding of abortions and funding of international pro-abortion groups.

As part of the appropriations process for the 2022 fiscal year, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday released nine bills allocating funding to various federal agencies and programs. The proposals exclude or permanently repeal several pro-life policies, including the Hyde amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions in Medicaid.

The amendment, first passed in 1976, has to be attached to appropriations bills each year to become law. Democratic leaders, including President Joe Biden, have targeted the policy for repeal this year, and House in July passed appropriations bills without the policy included.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), seen as a key swing vote in the chamber, stated on Monday that he would not support relevant appropriations bills unless the Hyde amendment was included.

"As I have said numerous times before, I will not vote for legislation that does not include the Hyde Amendment and I fully expect the final spending bill to include that language," Manchin stated in a press release on Monday.

The policy was excluded from the appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies. The Weldon amendment, which blocks funding of state governments that discriminate against people or groups opposed to abortion, was also not included in the bill.

The two amendments "for too long have interfered with millions of peoples' ability to exercise their constitutional right to abortion," stated Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

According to appropriations committee vice chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the bills released on Monday targeted other pro-life policies as well; the appropriations bill for the State Department and Foreign Operations permanently repeals the "Mexico City Policy," which bars funding of international pro-abortion groups.

The Health and Human Services appropriations bill also requires that clinics receiving Title X family planning funding provide abortion drugs, abortion counseling, and abortion referrals. Recently, the Biden administration updated the requirements of the Title X program to allow recipients to provide abortion referrals, but the administration does not require clinics to provide them.

"Democrat senators are marching in lockstep with Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and the radical abortion lobby over the will of the American people and the lives of the vulnerable. Not only do they want to expand abortion on demand here at home, but they also want to make the United States the number one exporter of abortions overseas," stated Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.

Pro-abortion groups on Monday applauded the proposed removal of the pro-life policies.

The Twitter account for Planned Parenthood Action called the bills "historic," stating, "It's VERY exciting (a historic shift!) to see bills that end many abortion coverage bans and prioritize funding for family planning/sexual and reproductive health care programs and programs that address the maternal health crisis."

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null / Aozora21/Shutterstock.Denver Newsroom, Oct 18, 2021 / 18:00 pm (CNA).Under pressure from Chinese law, a digital Bible company has removed its app from Apple's app store offerings in China while Apple itself has removed a Quran app from its China store at the request of Chinese officials."Olive Tree Bible Software was informed during the App Store review process that we are required to provide a permit demonstrating our authorization to distribute an app with book or magazine content in mainland China," the company told BBC News."Since we did not have the permit and needed to get our app update approved and out to customers, we removed our Bible app from China's App Store," it said.Olive Tree Bible Software's work on digital versions of Bibles dates back decades. Its founder Drew Haninger developed Bible programs for the Palm Pilot and other early mobile devices in the late 1990s. It provides various translations of the Bible as well. The Spokane-based company's website li...

null / Aozora21/Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Oct 18, 2021 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Under pressure from Chinese law, a digital Bible company has removed its app from Apple's app store offerings in China while Apple itself has removed a Quran app from its China store at the request of Chinese officials.

"Olive Tree Bible Software was informed during the App Store review process that we are required to provide a permit demonstrating our authorization to distribute an app with book or magazine content in mainland China," the company told BBC News.

"Since we did not have the permit and needed to get our app update approved and out to customers, we removed our Bible app from China's App Store," it said.

Olive Tree Bible Software's work on digital versions of Bibles dates back decades. Its founder Drew Haninger developed Bible programs for the Palm Pilot and other early mobile devices in the late 1990s. It provides various translations of the Bible as well. The Spokane-based company's website lists several English-language Catholic editions of the Bible, though it says some versions are not available for purchase.

Similar app store difficulties afflicted a company that produces a digital version of the Quran.

Quran Majeed, produced by Pakistan Data Management Services, claims over 35 million users, and 1 million users in China. The company said that according to Apple, the app was removed from Apple's China app store "because it includes content that requires additional documentation from Chinese authorities." The company said it is working to contact the Cyberspace Administration of China and relevant Chinese officials to resolve the matter.

Apple declined to comment to the BBC, noting its human rights statement: "We're required to comply with local laws, and at times there are complex issues about which we may disagree with governments."

Permit requirements also tripped up Audible, an audiobook and podcast service owned by Amazon. Audible removed its app from the mainland China Apple store in September.

Microsoft recently announced that it would close its career-focused social network site LinkedIn in China because of the challenges of complying with Chinese rules. LinkedIn came under criticism for blocking profiles of some journalists.

Apps that are off-limits in China include those relating to Tiananmen Square protests, the religious movement Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama, and independence causes for Tibet and Taiwan, BBC News reports.

Religious organizations are strictly regulated under Chinese law and Christian clergy can face legal penalties if they do not register with the government or if they conduct unauthorized activities or act in ways that allegedly undermine national unity.

In 2018 the Holy See reached an agreement with the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops, and this agreement was renewed for two more years in October 2020. The terms of the agreement have never been fully revealed, but it reportedly allows China's state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association to select episcopal candidates, who would then be approved or vetoed by the Holy See.

However, administrative rules which took effect in May made no mention of the Vatican approval process, the magazine Bitter Winter reported earlier this year.

The treatment of some Muslim minorities has also drawn scrutiny. The United States has described as a "genocide" the Chinese Communist Party's treatment of the Uyghurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic group, and other minorities in the far western Xinjiang autonomous region.

China's government created a network of detention camps where more than 1 million Uyghurs and other minorities are estimated to have been detained. There have also been reports of forced labor, mass surveillance of Uyghurs, forced sterilizations of Uyghur women, and torture in the camps.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 100,000 Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities may be working in forced labor conditions, after having been imprisoned in the camps.

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Bishop Andrew Cozzens. / Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit.Vatican City, Oct 18, 2021 / 06:20 am (CNA).Pope Francis on Monday named the chair of the US bishops' evangelization committee as the new bishop of Crookston, Minnesota.The pope appointed Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, the 53-year-old auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, to the post that had remained vacant since Bishop Michael Hoeppner resigned on April 13.Hoeppner, who had led Crookston diocese since 2007, was the first U.S. bishop to be investigated under Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis' 2019 norms on investigating bishops accused of mishandling or obstructing allegations of clerical sexual abuse.Cozzens said: "I am humbled and honored to be asked by the Holy Father to be the next Shepherd of the Diocese of Crookston. I look forward to getting to know the priests, deacons, consecrated religious and many faithful laity of the diocese." "I pray that together we can grow to be Christ's faithful ...

Bishop Andrew Cozzens. / Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit.

Vatican City, Oct 18, 2021 / 06:20 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Monday named the chair of the US bishops' evangelization committee as the new bishop of Crookston, Minnesota.

The pope appointed Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, the 53-year-old auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, to the post that had remained vacant since Bishop Michael Hoeppner resigned on April 13.

Hoeppner, who had led Crookston diocese since 2007, was the first U.S. bishop to be investigated under Vos estis lux mundi, Pope Francis' 2019 norms on investigating bishops accused of mishandling or obstructing allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

Cozzens said: "I am humbled and honored to be asked by the Holy Father to be the next Shepherd of the Diocese of Crookston. I look forward to getting to know the priests, deacons, consecrated religious and many faithful laity of the diocese."

"I pray that together we can grow to be Christ's faithful disciples who make present his love in Northwestern Minnesota."

Andrew Harmon Cozzens was born in Denver, Colorado, on Aug. 3, 1968, the youngest of three children. He gained a bachelor's degree in English literature and philosophy at the Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he encountered the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

According to an official biography, he then traveled around the United States serving young people with NET Ministries, founded in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1981.

He joined the Companions of Christ, a fraternity of diocesan priests and seminarians in the archdiocese, and led college Bible studies for the Catholic movement Saint Paul's Outreach.

He was accepted into the Saint Paul Seminary and ordained a priest of the archdiocese on May 31, 1997.

He served as parish vicar of the Cathedral of Saint Paul from 1997 to 2000 and Faribault Catholic Community (now Divine Mercy) from 2000 to 2002.

After doctoral studies in Rome, he worked at the Saint Paul Seminary from 2006 to 2013.

Pope Francis named him as an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese on Oct. 11, 2013. His episcopal ordination took place on Dec. 9 that year at Saint Paul's Cathedral.

His appointment came shortly after a whistleblower accused Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis of misconduct and cover-up. Nienstedt ultimately resigned in 2015.

Cozzens told CNA in 2019 that he felt God had called him to be a bishop so that he could play a part in the healing process.

He was elected chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2019, succeeding Bishop Robert Barron, founder of the global media ministry Word on Fire.

In June this year, Cozzens presented a plan for a "Eucharistic revival" to his fellow bishops.

He told CNA that the initiative aimed to launch a "three-year period of revival" nationwide, with special attention to the local level, bringing the focus of Eucharistic revival to "any parish that desires it."

The Diocese of Crookston covers 17,210 square miles in the State of Minnesota, serving 34,875 Catholics out of a total population of 227,689 people.

Bishop Richard Edmund Pates has led the diocese as apostolic administrator since Hoeppner's resignation.

Hoeppner was accused of pressuring an alleged victim to drop his allegation of abuse against a priest, failing to follow mandatory reporting laws, and neglecting to follow protocols designed to monitor priests accused of misconduct.

A report on the Vos estis investigation of Hoeppner was sent to Rome in October 2019, and in February 2020, Crookston diocese announced that the Vatican had ordered an additional investigation into the bishop.

Both investigations were conducted by Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

"I apologize to you, as I have apologized to our Holy Father, for my failures in governing as bishop," Hoeppner wrote in an April 13 letter to the faithful of the Diocese of Crookston.

In an Oct. 18 statement, Pates said: "The Diocese of Crookston extends a heartfelt welcome to our new shepherd, Bishop Andrew Cozzens."

"He brings an engaging pastoral spirit, extensive experience, positive energy and will soon have the smell of the sheep of Northwest Minnesota on his person. May his days among us be especially blessed."

The installation Mass will take place on Dec. 6.

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Pope Francis greets members of the Biomedical University Foundation of the Biomedical Campus University, at the Vatican's Clementine Hall, Oct. 18, 2021. / Vatican Media.Vatican City, Oct 18, 2021 / 08:00 am (CNA).On the feast of the patron saint of doctors, Pope Francis said that Catholic healthcare is called to bear witness to human dignity amid a throwaway culture. "There are no lives that are unworthy or to be discarded because they do not respond to the criterion of utility or to the demands of profit," Pope Francis said on Oct. 18.Vatican Media."We are experiencing a true throwaway culture; this is a bit like the air we breathe and we must react against this throwaway culture."In an audience with medical professionals on the feast of St. Luke, the patron saint of physicians, the pope said that every healthcare facility, especially those with a Christian foundation, should be a place where it is possible to say: "Here you can experience the healing effects of human dignity....

Pope Francis greets members of the Biomedical University Foundation of the Biomedical Campus University, at the Vatican's Clementine Hall, Oct. 18, 2021. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Oct 18, 2021 / 08:00 am (CNA).

On the feast of the patron saint of doctors, Pope Francis said that Catholic healthcare is called to bear witness to human dignity amid a throwaway culture.

"There are no lives that are unworthy or to be discarded because they do not respond to the criterion of utility or to the demands of profit," Pope Francis said on Oct. 18.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

"We are experiencing a true throwaway culture; this is a bit like the air we breathe and we must react against this throwaway culture."

In an audience with medical professionals on the feast of St. Luke, the patron saint of physicians, the pope said that every healthcare facility, especially those with a Christian foundation, should be a place where it is possible to say: "Here you can experience the healing effects of human dignity."

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

Pope Francis met with the foundation that supports the Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital of Rome, a medical school hospital affiliated with the Catholic personal prelature Opus Dei.

Blessed Álvaro del Portillo, the successor of Opus Dei's founder St. Josemaría Escrivá, helped to establish the medical university in 1993.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

"It is nice to meet you in person on the very day we celebrate St. Luke, whom the Apostle Paul calls 'the beloved physician,'" Pope Francis said.

"Putting the patient before the disease is essential in every field of medicine; it is fundamental for a treatment that is truly comprehensive, truly human," he said.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

"Blessed Álvaro del Portillo encouraged you to do this: to place yourselves every day at the service of the human person in his or her entirety. I thank you for this, it is very pleasing to God."

Pope Francis praised a vision of medicine in which "the centrality of the person" forms the basis of patient care, teaching, and research.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

This vision, he said, "does not put ideas, techniques, and projects in first place, but the actual person, the patient, to be cared for by understanding his or her story and establishing friendly relationships that heal the heart."

"Love for the person, especially in his or her condition of fragility, in which the image of Jesus Crucified shines through, is specific to a Christian reality and must never be lost," the pope said.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household announced on Oct. 18 that Pope Francis would celebrate a Mass on Nov. 5 at the Rome campus of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart marking the 60th anniversary of the Faculty of Medicine's inauguration.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

In his address on Monday, Pope Francis said that the pandemic had revealed the importance of connecting and collaborating to solve common problems in medicine.

"Charity requires a gift: knowledge must be shared, competence must be shared, science must be shared," he said.

Vatican Media.
Vatican Media.

He added that countries with fewer resources should be helped with vaccines, for example, but not only with the motivation of satisfying wealthy nations' urgency to be safer faster.

"Remedies must be distributed with dignity, not as pitiful handouts," he said.

"Medicine is an art, an art that involves head and heart, which combines knowledge and compassion, professionalism and piety, competence and empathy," Pope Francis commented.

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