Love, solidarity must be part of plan to end hunger, pope says
Success in eradicating hunger will require acts of love and solidarity, not just carefully planned and executed international programs, Pope Francis said in a message Oct. 14 to a ceremony in Rome ahead of the U.N. celebration of World Food Day Oct. 16. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s latest estimate puts the global hunger figure for 2021 at between 702 million and 828 million people. “These estimates imply that, since 2015, the increase in the number of undernourished people in the world has practically eroded all progress that had been made during the preceding decade, bringing the world back to hunger levels that prevailed in 2005,” the organization said. The theme chosen for the 2022 World Food Day was “Leave no one behind,” and official events looked at ways to ensure that by promoting “better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.”
After listening sessions, bishops write to young people
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral letter to young people Oct. 12, in honor of the anniversary of the death of Blessed Carlo Acutis. The letter addresses some of the “prominent concerns and struggles” facing young people and presents them with a vision of a church in which they can take ownership and find belonging, said Eleanor Wong, parish youth coordinator at St. Matthew’s in Surrey, British Columbia. The pastoral letter was released in written and video form and was the result of synodal conversations held with young people and teenagers in the fall of 2020 during the height of the COVID pandemic. The bishops said the letter can be used for individual reflection, as well as in group settings such as schools and parish or diocesan youth groups and can help with family faith formation. Find it at: https://bit.ly/3CXv4Jt.
Life without parole for school shooter called ‘severe and just punishment’
There is “no question” the actions of the Parkland, Florida, school shooter “were heinous,” but “a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole is a severe and just punishment,” said Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski. This sentence also will allow Nikolas Cruz, now 24, “to continue to reflect on the grave harm he caused,” the archbishop said in a statement Oct. 13. Earlier in the day, a jury at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, rejected the prosecution’s request for the death penalty in the case and instead recommended life with no chance for parole. On Feb. 14, 2018, a 19-year-old Cruz used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in Broward County. Fourteen others were wounded.
Bishops say ‘extreme’ ballot measure on abortion goes beyond Roe
The bishops of Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses are urging voters to reject Proposal 3, which they warn is “the most extreme proposal concerning abortion this state or country has ever seen.” Proposal 3, also known as the “Reproductive Freedom for All” amendment, would amend the state’s constitution to remove virtually all restrictions on abortion in the state and eliminate a host of other pro-life laws. “As citizens and pastors in Michigan, we call your attention to an immense threat to the dignity of human life on this November’s ballot,” the bishops said in a joint statement released through the Michigan Catholic Conference in Lansing and mailed Oct. 10 to approximately 236,000 Catholic households throughout the state.
Bishops urge ‘no’ vote on ballot measure to legalize marijuana
The Catholic bishops of Missouri are asking voters to vote “no” on Amendment 3, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana in the state. “We believe that marijuana legalization will negatively impact Missouri families, health outcomes, communities and workers,” the bishops said in a joint statement released by the Missouri Catholic Conference. According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, a “yes” vote on Amendment 3 “will amend the Missouri Constitution to remove state prohibitions on the purchase, possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacture and sale of marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of 21.”
Metuchen Diocese turns to renewable energy in response to encyclical
Solar panels and energy-efficient equipment have come to a school, parishes and even the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey. Immaculata High School in Somerville is the first in the diocese to use solar panels in an effort to align diocesan practice with Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si,’ on Care for Our Common Home,” said Msgr. Joseph Celano, diocesan episcopal vicar for administration and pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, which oversees the school. Work on the conversion to renewable energy sources is underway at the Pastoral Center in Piscataway, home to the diocesan offices, as well as at other schools and churches including St. Matthias Parish in Somerset, and St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Old Bridge.