Nation & World briefs


Needs of poor raised up again in budget debates

WASHINGTON -- Fallout from the partial government shutdown in October and another looming round of automatic spending cuts in January kept congressional leaders busy at year's end to finalize a budget deal Republicans and Democrats could live with. Through a tumultuous 2013, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other Catholic advocates, including Catholic Charities USA, continued to press for a budget that does not adversely affect poor people. It's a message that Catholic leaders have consistently delivered in recent years under the banner of a "circle of protection" as concerns over growing federal debt led to proposals that discretionary spending on nonmilitary programs be cut in the face of the country's growing debt. Their concern centers on programs such as poverty-focused international assistance, affordable housing and community development, education, Head Start, workforce development and emergency unemployment compensation.


Pope Francis advances sainthood causes of 13

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of 13 candidates, including the "father of Puerto Rican public education" and the Canadian founder of a religious order dedicated to helping unwed mothers. During a meeting Dec. 9 meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the pope signed decrees recognizing that Rafael Cordero Molino and Mother Rosalie Cadron-Jette lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way and are venerable. Cordero, who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1790, and died there in 1868, founded and operated a free school for poor children of all races.

Ukraine protest is spiritual movement, bishop says

ROME -- When Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Borys Gudziak addressed the crowds in Kiev's Independence Square Dec. 8, he focused on the youth and told them they could change the country. The U.S.-born bishop and former rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv currently serves as the bishop for Ukrainian Catholics in France but was in Kiev for a meeting of the synod of bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Bishop Gudziak was not the only prelate at the large Dec. 8 demonstration. Retired Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the 80-year-old former head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, spoke from the main stage early in the morning. The protest area includes a tent chapel where liturgy is celebrated, Bishop Gudziak said, and Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant clergy have been assisting the demonstrators. "It's very much a spiritual movement, a movement of hearts and values," Bishop Gudziak said Dec. 9.

Vatican report on fighting financial crime accepted

VATICAN CITY -- A European body that investigates government efforts to combat financial crimes has confirmed the Vatican has made significant progress in reducing the risk that its institutions could be used for money laundering and financing terrorism. "Moneyval" -- the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism -- approved the Holy See-Vatican progress report at a meeting Dec. 9 in Strasbourg, France. The committee plans to publish the full report on its website Dec. 12. "The adoption of the progress report confirms the significant efforts undertaken by the Holy See and Vatican City State to strengthen its legal and institutional framework," said Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, undersecretary for relations with states and head of the Vatican's delegation to Moneyval.

-- Catholic News Service

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