Nation and world briefs


Bishops says time is now to address gun violence in 'comprehensive way'

WASHINGTON — The chairmen of two U.S. bishops' committees said it is long past time for the nation's leaders to come up with "common-sense gun measures as part of a comprehensive approach to the reduction of violence in society and the protection of life." U.S. Catholic bishops have advocated for such measures for decades and will continue to do so, said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education. In the aftermath of the attack Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., "this moment calls for an honest and practical dialogue around a series of concrete proposals — not partisanship and overheated rhetoric," they wrote in a joint statement March 5.

Catholics celebrate nation's newest cathedral, growth of Church in South

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Diocese of Knoxville dedicated the country's newest cathedral March 3 during a Mass in which prelates and parishioners celebrated the growth of the Catholic Church in this region of the United States. Bishop Richard F. Stika, formerly of St. Louis, greeted the gathering of more than 1,000 with a simple phrase after the three-year building project: "Well, we made it." Five cardinals, 21 bishops, more than 100 priests, 58 deacons, and 39 men and women religious took part in the three-hour dedication Mass. "In a few moments — depending on how long I preach — this building, this house, this combination of man-made materials and nature's creation, will be a church, a home, a cathedral," the Bishop Stika said. "Why? Because we dedicate, we consecrate, we set apart for God this space, this sacred space, dedicated under the title the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus."


Cape Town's poor see injustice in water limits

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — With severe restrictions on water usage in drought-stricken Cape Town, poor communities feel a strong sense of injustice, which needs to be addressed, said a parish priest in one of the city's oldest black townships. There is a "a lot of anger, with people in informal settlements saying, 'We grew up using small bowls of water to wash ourselves; this is nothing new,'" said Jesuit Father Rampe Hlobo of St. Mary's Church in Nyanga. Water restrictions in Cape Town, which is battling to keep its taps flowing following a three-year drought, make it compulsory for the city's 4 million residents to use no more than 50 liters — about 13 gallons — per person per day. City officials estimate that informal settlements use just 5 percent of the city's water. In the black townships and informal settlements, "there is a feeling that 'it is you rich people who have finished the water, and now you want us to share the consequences,'" Father Hlobo said.

Claims of heresy over 'Amoris Laetitia' are out of place, cardinal says

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis' exhortation on the family should prompt discussion and even debate, but accusing him and others of heresy is completely out of place, said German Cardinal Walter Kasper. "A heresy is a tenacious disagreement with formal dogma. The doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage has not been called into question on Pope Francis' part," the cardinal, a theologian, told Vatican News March 5. Cardinal Kasper was interviewed about his new book, "The Message of 'Amoris Laetitia': A Fraternal Discussion." In his book, Cardinal Kasper describes "Amoris Laetitia" as "a creative renewal of traditional teaching."

Pope adds feast of Mary, mother of the Church to universal calendar

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has decreed that Latin-rite Catholics around the world will mark the feast of "the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church" on the Monday after Pentecost each year. The Gospel reading for the feast, which technically is called a "memorial," is John 19:25-31, which recounts how from the cross Jesus entrusted Mary to His disciples as their mother and entrusted His disciples to Mary as her children. Pope Francis approved the decree after "having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety," the decree said.

— Catholic News Service 

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