Nation/World news briefs: Oct. 3, 2022

Theme announced for World Communications Day

Pope Francis greets journalists aboard his flight from Rome to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Sept. 13, 2022. Pope Francis’ theme for the 2023 World Communication Day will be “Speak with the heart: ‘Veritatem facientes in caritate’ (‘Speaking truth in love’),” the Vatican announced Sept. 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis’ theme for the next World Communications Day is a call for a peaceful dialogue that allows for uncomfortable truths to be spoken of without resorting to contentious and hostile debate, the Vatican announced. Speaking the truth “means giving ‘a reason for your hope’ and doing so gently, using the gift of communication as a bridge and not as a wall,” the Vatican said Sept. 29 when it announced the theme of World Communications Day 2023. Each year, the Vatican and many dioceses mark World Communications Day on the Sunday before Pentecost; in 2023, it will be celebrated May 21. The pope’s choice for the theme is: “Speak with the heart: Veritatem facientes in caritate” (Speaking the truth in love). The Vatican publishes the pope’s full message for the occasion Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. Also Sept. 29, Pope Francis appointed new consultors for the Dicastery for Communication, including U.S. communications expert Helen Osman, president of Signis, the World Catholic Association for Communication, based in Brussels.

Pope names new members to commission for protection of minors

Pope Francis reconfirmed the leadership of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors Sept. 30 and expanded its membership from 17 to 20 people, naming 10 new members and reappointing 10 returning members. U.S. Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, president of the commission, said, “Coming from all over the world with varied backgrounds and a common passion for the well-being of children and vulnerable people, the members announced today include advocates and practitioners of prevention and protection to the many areas in which the church ministers to children.” Among the returning members is Teresa Kettelkamp, former executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection.

Pope joins sports summit in call for more inclusion, dignity for players

Nearly 250 people from about 40 countries attened the “Sport for All” summit at the Vatican Sept. 29-30. The international summit was co-sponsored by the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life and the Dicastery for Culture and Education to promote sports as a way to foster important values and spiritual growth, but with an added emphasis on inclusion. Summit participants signed and presented Pope Francis with a final written declaration Sept. 30, recognizing “the tremendous power that sport exerts in the modern world.” The document has been published at Meeting participants Sept. 30, Pope Francis urged athletes to fight against a throwaway culture that “treats men and women as products, to be used and then discarded.”

Vatican says it restricted archbishop after abuse allegations

After a Dutch newspaper published an investigation into abuse allegations against retired Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo of Dili, the Vatican said it had become aware of the allegations several years ago and placed restrictions on him. The newspaper De Groene Amsterdammer said it began its investigation in 2002. It used the first-person stories of two young men, then aged 14 and 16, who graphically detailed their interactions with Bishop Belo, claiming that he gave them money after certain physical encounters. Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, told reporters Sept. 29 that “the Congregation for the Doctrine of (the) Faith was first involved in this case in 2019, and in the light of the accusations it received concerning the bishop’s behavior, in September 2020 the congregation imposed certain disciplinary restrictions upon him. The restrictions included limitations to his movements and to the exercise of his ministry, the prohibition of voluntary contact with minors, of interviews and contacts with Timor Leste. In November 2021, these measures were modified and reinforced. On both occasions, the measures were formally accepted by the bishop.” Bishop Belo, now 74, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for nonviolent resistance to Indonesia’s 24-year occupation of his homeland; he shared the prize with current East Timor President José Ramos-Horta.

Catholics decry clemency denial, call for end to death penalty

Catholic leaders are speaking out about a Sept. 27 decision by Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board to deny clemency to Benjamin Cole, a 57-year-old man sentenced to die for killing his 9-month-old daughter in 2002. Sister Helen Prejean, a Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille, who is a longtime opponent of the death penalty, tweeted Sept. 28 that Cole “is the next person scheduled for execution in Oklahoma. He is a frail, 57-year-old man with a damaged brain. Cole suffers with progressive and severe mental illness. He is wheelchair bound and much of the time catatonic.” She also urged Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt to stop the execution, which is set for Oct. 20. In a Sept. 22 column in America, a Jesuit monthly magazine, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone stressed that it is “well past time that the death penalty be stricken from the books” and urged local Catholics to join with Pope Francis in his prayer intention for September seeking an end to the death penalty.

Resettlement agencies applaud U.S. goal to welcome 125,000 refugees 

A While House goal to welcome up to 125,000 refugees in fiscal year 2023 received support from two agencies working to resettle newcomers in the United States. Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Washington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, and Joan Rosenhauer, executive director of Jesuit Relief Service/USA, welcomed the Biden administration announcement in separate statements Sept 28. “This is an ambitious and worthwhile goal for our nation, which has benefited from many blessings throughout its history including the generations of refugees wo have already enriched American communities,” Bishop Dorsonville said.

Author: Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ news and information service.

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