Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Employment bill poses problems, bishops say

WASHINGTON -- In a letter to U.S. senators, the chairmen of three U.S. bishops' committees outlined their opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, emphasizing the bill to protect gay and lesbian workers goes beyond the scope of prohibiting unjust discrimination and "poses several problems." They said that although the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops continues to "promote the dignity of both work and marriage and to oppose unjust discrimination on any grounds," they "cannot support a bill, like ENDA, that does not justly advance the dignity of all workers and authentic non-discrimination." The letter, dated Oct. 31 and released Nov. 4, was signed by Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

WORLD

Vatican embassy in Syria damaged by mortar strike

VATICAN CITY -- A mortar round hit the apostolic nunciature in the Syrian capital, causing limited damage to the building and no casualties because of the early hour of the strike, said the Vatican ambassador to Syria. Archbishop Mario Zenari, the Vatican nuncio, told Vatican Radio Nov. 5 that if the rocket had been launched just a half-hour later, he would have been saying morning prayers on the terrace near where the mortar struck. "It's not the first time that these rockets, this mortar fire, have fallen near the nunciature," he said.

Pope says God expects a 'wholehearted' RSVP

VATICAN CITY -- Being on God's "guest list" is not enough for salvation; a person must respond to the offer of faith and actively participate in the life of the Church, Pope Francis said. Being a Christian means accepting God's invitation to believe in Jesus and to celebrate with the whole Church the joy of being saved, the pope said Nov. 5 during his early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives. The pope's homily, according to Vatican Radio, looked both at the parable in the Gospel of St. Luke about the man who invited friends to a banquet, but none of them showed up, as well as at the description in the Letter to the Romans about how members of the Church each have different gifts to use for the good of all.

At WCC assembly, delegates reaffirm mission, evangelism

BUSAN, South Korea -- A year after the Catholic Synod of Bishops met in Rome to reflect on the "new evangelization," the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches affirmed the same topic. Prepared by the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism in which the Catholic Church is a full participant, the document, "Together Toward Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes," was unanimously approved as an official statement of the WCC by the central committee at its meeting in Greece in September 2012. It represents a common understanding of and commitment to God's mission today and is provoking keen interest as a fresh vision of evangelization for a new era. The only other official WCC position statement on mission and evangelism was approved in 1982.

Secretary: John Paul II's meeting with Legionaries founder was a mistake

VATICAN CITY -- Blessed John Paul II's 2004 meeting with and praise of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ -- who later was banished to a life of penance because of sexual abuse -- was a mistake, said the late pope's longtime secretary. "The Holy Father should not have received that individual," said Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, who served as personal secretary to the pope for 39 years. Although rumors had been circulating for years that the Legionaries' founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, had sexually abused seminarians, Cardinal Dziwisz said, "When the Holy Father met him, he knew nothing, absolutely nothing. For him, he was still the founder of a great religious order and that's it."

Structures must change to end food insecurity, nuncio says

UNITED NATIONS -- No one-size-fits-all solution exists to end food insecurity around the globe, but world leaders must act beyond voicing their commitment to seeking food security for all, the Vatican nuncio told a U.N. gathering. "Hunger is not caused by the lack of sufficient food to feed every person on the planet" but by social structures and failure to prioritize basic human rights, Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt said in an Oct. 29 address to a session on agriculture development, food security and nutrition during a session of the U.N. General Assembly. He quoted Pope Francis extensively in his remarks. For example, he cited the pope's observation that "current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This ... is truly scandalous. A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being."

-- Catholic News Service

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