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Pope Francis: True wealth is found in friendship, not things

Vatican City, Sep 22, 2019 / 05:13 am (CNA).- People and relationships are more valuable than things and the truly wealthy are those who are rich in friends, Pope Francis said during the Angelus Sunday.

“Wealth can encourage the erection of walls, create divisions and discrimination,” the pope said Sept. 22, adding that “Jesus, by contrast, invites his disciples to change course: ‘Make friends with riches.’”

“It is an invitation to know how to transform goods and riches into relationships, because people are worth more than things and count more than the wealth they possess,” he explained.

“In life, in fact,” he continued, “it is not those who have so many riches who bear fruit, but those who create and keep so many bonds, so many relationships, so many friendships through the different ‘riches,’ that is, the different gifts with which God has endowed them.”

In his message before the Angelus, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel passage from St. Luke, in which Jesus tells his disciples a parable about a rich man and his dishonest, but clever, steward.

The steward had been accused of squandering the assets of his master and was about to be fired. “In this difficult situation, he does not blame someone else, he does not seek justification or let himself be discouraged, but he devises a way out to ensure a peaceful future,” the pope said.

First, he has clarity in his own limits, recognizing that he cannot earn a living by being a manual laborer or begging, the pope said. “Then he acts with cunning, robbing his master for the last time” by calling the debtors and reducing their debts, which makes them want to, in turn, return the favor.

Pope Francis said this is friendship gained through corruption and an attitude sometimes seen today.

He explained that Jesus presents this example not to encourage dishonesty, but craftiness. As it says in the passage: “And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.”

The steward overcame a difficult situation with a mixture of intelligence and cunning, he said, and added that the key to understanding the parable comes at the end, when Jesus says: “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

“Seems a bit confusing, but it is not,” the pope assured, explaining that “The ‘dishonest wealth’ is money – also called ‘devil’s dung’ – and in general material goods.”

He said the “ultimate purpose of this exhortation” to make friends with “dishonest wealth” is to “welcome us into Paradise, if we are able to transform riches into instruments of fraternity and solidarity.”

Then, “there will be not only God, but also those with whom we have shared, administering well, what the Lord has put in our hands.”

Francis said this Gospel passage encourages Catholics to ask the same question the dishonest steward asked: “what will I do now?”

“Faced with our shortcomings and our failures, Jesus assures us that we are always in time to heal the evil done with good. he who has caused tears, make someone happy; he who has embezzled, [give] gifts to those in need.”

This is to act, he continued, with the wisdom of someone who knows his or her identity as a child of God.

Concluding, Francis prayed for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help people be “crafty” not in seeking worldly success, but in seeking eternal life, “so that at the time of the final judgment the needy persons we have helped may testify that we have seen and served the Lord in them.”

 

Clandestine medical abortions reportedly on the rise in the US

Washington D.C., Sep 21, 2019 / 04:01 pm (CNA).- While the number of in-clinic abortions in the United States is reportedly down, the sale of illicitly acquired abortion pills may be up, according to recent data from the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute.

According to data from Guttmacher, a total of 339,640 medication abortions occurred in 2017, making up about 39% of all abortions. But because of the “black market” abortion pills acquired online or otherwise surreptitiously, it is difficult to track exactly how many abortions are occurring this way. Researchers told the New York Times that they estimate that secret medical abortions are making up a growing and “irreversible” portion of abortions in the United States.

“This is happening,” said Jill E. Adams, executive director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, told the New York Times. “This is an irreversible part of abortion care here in the United States.”

According to Guttmacher’s data and analysis, in-clinic abortions were down by about 19% in 2017 when compared to data from 2011. Guttmacher estimated that the abortion decline could be related to a decrease in overall birthrates, as well as increased contraceptive use and “increases in the number of individuals relying on self-managed (i.e. medical) abortions outside of a clinical setting.”

Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said he welcomed the decline in overall abortions, but that he was concerned about the rise in clandestine medical abortions.

“There are several reasons for this positive news, including factors that Guttmacher does their best to ignore,” he said. “American mothers are increasingly choosing life for their children, as well as choosing to identify themselves with the pro-life cause and pro-life policies. This includes the broad protections for women and children being enacted at the state level such as strengthened health and safety standards for abortion facilities, limits on public funding of abortion, parental involvement laws, and increased informed consent.”

“The industry’s migration to chemical self-abortion is deeply disturbing as it carries with it the possibility of increasing the overall abortion rate over time and also carries with it a higher rate of injury, about which women are often under-informed or deceived,” he added.

A medical abortion, sometimes called a chemical abortion, is a two-step process that involves the ingestion of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone, effectively starves the unborn baby by blocking the effects of progesterone. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken up to two days later and induces labor.

Several pro-life clinics throughout the country provide abortion pill reversals, a protocol that involves giving pregnant women additional doses of progesterone to counteract the progesterone-blocking effects of mifepristone, if the woman regrets taking the pill and hopes to reverse the abortion.

Earlier this month, a European doctor filed a lawsuit against the United States Food and Drug Administration in order to continue selling medical abortion pills online. The FDA argued that Dr. Rebecca Gomperts and her group, Aid Access, were in violation of FDA regulations which state that abortion pills cannot be sold online, as part of an FDA risk mitigation program called REMS, which is used for all higher-risk medications.

The news of an increase in medical abortions also comes shortly after a North Dakota judge nixed part of a new law that would have required doctors to inform their patients about abortion pill reversal protocol, as well as after Planned Parenthood announced its plans to expand access to medical abortions through telemedicine.

In response to this increase in medical abortions, a new federal bill has been drafted which aims to preserve restrictions on abortion pills. The Support and Value Expectant Moms and Babies Act (SAVE) was introduced Thursday by pro-life congressional leaders, and was sponsored by Rep. Robert Latta (R-Ohio).

In a Sept. 18 article in the New York Times, Elizabeth Nash, senior state policy manager at the Guttmacher Institute, said that while abortions have decreased throughout the U.S., “there’s no clear pattern linking these declines to new restrictions.”

Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel for Americans United for Life, told the New York Times that the data and analysis from Guttmacher were “a patchwork put together to serve an agenda, and I don’t give any of it any credence whatsoever.”

He said that the Guttmacher Institute simply wants to present the message that “abortion is good, abortion should be legal and state laws that try to limit or regulate abortion are ineffective.”

“I’m sure that there are many factors that have contributed to the decline,” Forsythe told the New York Times. “Some state laws do contribute to a reduction in abortion.”

Several states have passed abortion restrictions in the past year, including Alabama, Arkansas, and Utah, which have passed laws that would ban abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. Other states, including Georgia, Kentucky, and Ohio, passed heartbeat bills that would restrict abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected, which typically occurs between six and eight weeks of pregnancy. A lengthy clinic licensure debate in Missouri could mean the closure of the last Planned Parenthood in the state. Most of these laws have yet to go into effect.

Theologian withdraws from German synodal path

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 03:08 pm (CNA).- A member of the International Theological Commission has announced that she is no longer available to participate in the “binding synodal path” undertaken by the bishops’ conference of Germany.

Marianne Schlosser, a member of the International Theological Commission, cited concerns over both the approach and methodology of the “synodal path” when she announced that she could no longer participate.

Schlosser, a professor of theology at the University of Vienna and the recipient of the 2018 Ratzinger Prize, was invited to take part in the Synodal Way’s forum “on women in ecclesial roles and offices” as an expert.

Saying she could not identify with the intermediate report of the preparatory group, Schlosser raised a number of issues, in particular identifying a “fixation on ordination” of women.

This “fixation” was neither theologically and historically nor pastorally and spiritually justified, she told news agency KNA. The Catholic Church teaches that it has no authority to admit women to priestly ordination.

Schlosser said the discussion about ordination had "been conducted for so long," all arguments had been exchanged and were on the table.

Since it was "not a disciplinary question," the topic "could not be negotiated in a synodal forum with mixed members", i.e. between bishops and laity, she said.

Schlosser had not been present for the two preparatory meetings held sofar.

The theologian also expressed the fear of a progressive polarization of the church in Germany.

On Sep 23, 2014, Pope Francis appointed  Schlosser as a member of the International Theological Commission. She was also appointed a member of the study commission investigating the female diaconate in 2016.

The Bavarian is also an advisor to the Faith Commission of the German bishops’ conference and since January 2018 a member of the Theological Commission of the Austrian bishops’ conference.

A version of this story was first published by CNA Deutsch.

Pope Francis: The Church is a home for the lost

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 10:59 am (CNA).- No one is lost to Jesus, neither should they be considered lost to the Church and her members, Pope Francis told Catholics in Albano Laziale Saturday.

The pope reflected on the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector, whom Jesus remembered, sought out, and invited to dine with him.

“If we avoid those who seem lost to us, we are not of Jesus,” he said Sept. 21. “We ask for the grace to meet everyone as a brother and not to see anyone as an enemy.”

“How wonderful it would be if our neighbors and acquaintances felt the Church is their home!” he added, speaking during Mass at the Cathedral of St. Pancras in Albano Laziale, a town just south of Rome on Lake Albano.

The pope visited the cathedral to mark its 159th anniversary of elevation to a minor basilica by Pope Pius IX in September 1865.

In his homily, Pope Francis said it is an easy temptation to close one’s circle, to become an elite group, “but there are so many brothers and sisters who are homesick, who do not have the courage to approach, perhaps because they have not felt welcomed.”

“The Lord wants his Church to be a home among houses, a hospitable tent where every man, a wayfarer of life, meets Him who has come to dwell among us,” he said.

“We give freely, we love the poor and those who cannot repay us,” Francis urged, then “we will be rich in the eyes of God.”

He explained that Zacchaeus was probably hated by the people, “in their eyes, Zacchaeus was the worst...” He added: “But not in the eyes of Jesus, who calls him by his own name, Zacchaeus, which means ‘God remembers.’ In the forgotten city, God remembers the greatest sinner.”

And “the Lord first of all remembers us,” the pope went on. “He does not forget us, he does not lose sight of us despite the obstacles that can keep us away from him. No obstacle makes Jesus forget the essential, the man to love and save.”

“Like Jesus, do not be afraid to ‘cross’ your city, to go to those who are most forgotten, to those who are hidden behind the branches of shame, of fear, of loneliness, to tell them: ‘God remembers you,’” he urged.

Pope Francis also emphasized that Jesus should be the priority. As the Church, he said, let us ask ourselves if Jesus or our own structures and agendas come first.

He advised that, “if like Zacchaeus you are looking for a meaning to life but, not finding it, [and] you are throwing yourself away with ‘surrogates of love,’ such as riches, career, pleasure, some addiction, let yourself be looked at by Jesus.”

 

Medical migrant ordered to leave gets hope of reprieve, highlights similar cases

Washington D.C., Sep 21, 2019 / 08:00 am (CNA).- An immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for more than 16 years while receiving life-saving medical treatments is hoping for a reprieve after being given weeks to leave the country. 

Maria Isabel Bueso, a 24 year-old immigrant from Guatemala, has lived in the U.S. without citizenship since 2003 through temporary extensions of “deferred action,” or delays of deportation, so that she can stay and receive treatment for her rare medical condition.

Bueso traveled from Guatemala to the U.S. with her family in 2003 to participate in clinical trials for her rare genetic disorder. After more than 16 years, she was notified in August that she would not be able to renew her status in the U.S. because the administration would stop considering non-military requests for deferred action. She was given 33 days to leave the country.

On Sept. 19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would resume granting non-military deferred action on a case-by-case basis, 

Bueso was “thrilled” by the news, her nurse, Wendy Bloom, told CNA, but remained only “cautiously optimistic” until she has full certainty of her status and hopes her case will draw attention to the plight of others like her.

“She’s really nervous until she actually gets an official letter that says ‘you are allowed to stay here,’ then she’ll be ready to have a party,” Bloom, a member of the California Nurses Association, told CNA.

Bueso has become an advocate for other patients with rare diseases—some of who needed to travel from outside the U.S. for treatment.

She has Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome (MPS-VI) which is a rare genetic disorder, and was invited to the U.S. at age seven to participate in clinical trials conducted by Dr. Paul Harmatz at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, California.

Bueso traveled to the U.S. on a B-2 visa with her family, and has since remained in the country for weekly treatments. Bloom says she has known Bueso for 13 years, and that Bueso has been coming to the hospital for almost 17 years.

After she initially participated in clinical trials for her condition, that program helped develop a commercial drug—Naglazyme—that is now used to treat patients with MPS-VI.

In 2009, Bueso applied for and was granted deferred action of deportation, with a renewal every two years.

Several weeks after her notice to leave the U.S., Bueso testified before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at a hearing held on September 11 on “The Administration’s Apparent Revocation of Medical Deferred Action for Critically Ill Children.”

“The medical treatment I need is not available in Guatemala. If I’m sent back, I will die,” she told members of the subcommittee. Bloom explained that the treatment is expensive and requires special skills to administer; Bueso would not be able to receive the necessary treatment in Guatemala.

On Sept. 2, DHS had announced that it would review the change in policy for “deferred action,” but Bueso’s status was still in limbo.

“It was incredibly stressful for the family, incredibly stressful, and for all of us that care for her and love her too, it was really heartbreaking,” Bloom said.

Then on Sept. 19, DHS informed the House Oversight Committee that it would once again consider deferred action on a case-by-case basis for non-military immigrants in the U.S.

In the statement, DHS said that USCIS would resume consideration of “non-military deferred action requests on a discretionary, case-by-case basis, except as otherwise required by an applicable statute, regulation, or court order.”

Oversight Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) stated in response that “it appears that the Trump Administration is reversing its inhumane and disastrous decision to deport critically ill children and their families who are receiving life-saving medical treatment in the United States.”

The decision draws attention to the importance of allowing immigrants like Bueso to come to the U.S. for treatment.

“Medical research needs to be ongoing, and if we can’t have the type of patients enrolling in these studies then we have a problem,” Bloom said.

Evangelization is about helping people know God's love, Pope Francis says

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 07:15 am (CNA).- Evangelization means first helping people to know God and to know his immense love for them, which is done in part through the witness of one’s life and joy, Pope Francis said Saturday.

“Proclaiming the Lord is witnessing the joy of knowing him, helping to live the beauty of meeting him,” the pope said Sept. 21. “God is not the answer to an intellectual curiosity or a task of the will, but an experience of love, called to become a story of love.”

“Because – it applies to us above all – once we have met the living God, we need to look for him again,” he stated. “The mystery of God is never exhausted, it is as immense as his love.”

Pope Francis reflected on the evangelization those who do not know God in a meeting with the participants of an event from the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, which took place Sept. 19-21, and was called “To meet God: Is it possible? Paths of the New Evangelization.”

In his message, the pope asked how many of one’s neighbors live as if they are slaves to the very objects which should serve them.

People forget the “flavor of life: the beauty of a large and generous family, which fills the day and the night but expands the heart; the brightness found in the eyes of children, which no smartphone can give; the joy of simple things; the serenity that prayer gives,” he said.

“What our brothers and sisters often ask us, perhaps without being able to ask the question, corresponds to the deepest needs: to love and to be loved, to be accepted for what we are, to find peace of heart and a longer lasting joy of entertainment.”

Those present have experienced this in one person, he said: Jesus. “We, who, though frail and sinful, have been flooded by the river in the fullness of God’s goodness, we have this mission: meet our contemporaries to let them know his love.”

Francis said that it is important, therefore, to face and be challenged by the questions of men and women, not pretending to have easy, ready-made answers.

Sharing God with others cannot just be speaking about him – even the devil knows God exists, the pope said – but must be the sharing of life-giving words which leave room for the work of the Holy Spirit.

God is close to everyone, he said, but oftentimes, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, people just do not recognize him.

Francis shared an anecdote: “It is said that once upon a time Pope John, meeting a journalist who told him he did not believe, answered him: ‘Don’t worry! You say that! God doesn’t know, and considers you a child to love just the same.’”

“‘God is love,’ as Scripture says,” Pope Francis pointed out. “God is like that, he does not vary depending on how we behave: he is unconditional love, he does not change.”

This is a beautiful thing to be able to announce to those who have grown lukewarm, who have lost their first enthusiasm for Jesus Christ, he said.

Explaining that because faith is born and reborn from encountering Jesus, he said whatever is an encounter with Christ helps grow faith.

“Draw closer to those in need, build bridges, serve those who suffer, take care of the poor, ‘anoint with patience’ those around us, comfort those who are discouraged, bless those who harm us...” he urged.

“Thus, we become living signs of the Love we proclaim.”

 

Cardinal O'Malley, Bishop McElroy named participants in Amazon synod

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 06:05 am (CNA).- Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego are among those chosen by Pope Francis as synod fathers in next month’s Amazon synod.

A full list of the 185 participants in the Special Assembly for the Pan-Amazonian Region was published by the Vatican Sept. 21. The synod is set to take place Oct. 6-27.

Among those taking part are 33 bishops nominated by Pope Francis, including O’Malley and McElroy, the only two United States’ bishops to be synod fathers in the Amazon synod.

The three president delegates of the synod are Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, apostolic administrator of Caracas and archbishop of Merida in Venezuela; Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, archbishop of Huancayo in Peru and vice president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM); and Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo in Brazil and president of REPAM is relator general.

The special secretaries are Cardinal-elect Michael Czerny, under-secretary of the Migrant and Refugees section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Bishop David Martinez De Aguirre Guinea, apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado in Peru.

Other pontifical nominations include heads of bishops’ conferences, commissions, or councils, such as Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna; Cardinal Bagnasco, archbishop of Genova and president of the Council of European bishops’ conferences; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising; Cardinal elect Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg and president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union; and Archbishop Marcel Madila Basanguka of Kananga, president of the Association of Bishops’ Conferences of Central Africa.

Others nominated include Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life; Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa; Cardinal John Ribat, archbishop of Port Moresby; and Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay.

There are four bishops coming from the Antilles, 12 from Bolivia, 58 from Brazil, 15 from Colombia, seven from Ecuador, 11 from Peru, and seven from Venezuela.

Non-bishops nominated include religious priests from Argentina, Peru, Angola, and Italy; Fr. Anthony Spadaro, director of La Civilta Cattolica; and Fr. Mauricio Garcia Duran, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

According to synod norms, there will also be in attendance 15 superior generals, chosen by the Union of Superior Generals (USG).

There will be 25 experts and 55 auditors, as well as six fraternal delegates from other Christian churches, who attend the synod but do not participate in final voting.

Pope Francis is president of the Synod of Bishops and Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri is secretary general.

 

This story was updated.

Married priests are a possible option for the Amazon, says Vatican spokesman

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 12:00 am (CNA).- Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Dicastery for Communications in the Vatican, said that married priests will be a subject of discussion during the upcoming synod of bishops on the Amazon, which will take place October 6-27 in Rome, but noted that the synod does not have the power to make decisions on the matter.

“The synod will discuss the possibility, for territories like the Amazon, to propose the ordination of married men. That is, the ordination of catechists, older persons who already have a role of responsibility in several communities. But it's not a decision already made, nor is it certain that they synod will arrive at that decision.” Tornielli said in an interview Sept. 19.

“In any case it would not be a decision of the synod but it would be a decision of the pope,” Tornielli said in the interview, which was published on the Facebook page of the Brazilian bishops’ conference.

Tornielli referred to the working document of the synod:

“Affirming that celibacy is a gift for the Church, it is asked, that for the most remote areas of the region, the possibility be studied of priestly ordination for older people, preferably indigenous, respected, and accepted by their community even though they still have a constituted and stable family, for the purpose  of ensuring  the sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life,” the working document says.

In the interview, Tornielli explained that “the synod does not approve anything because it is a consultative body, the one who decides is the pope. We know, because we have read it, the synod's Instrumentum laboris mentions the difficulties that communities in remote areas face in receiving the sacraments, and of having priests who can celebrate Mass.”

He also noted that “for many centuries in the Catholic Church there have been married priests. They are the priests of the Eastern Catholic Churches who have returned to full communion with Rome. But note, it's not that priests can marry but that persons already married are ordained, this is for the Easterners.”

“The same thing exists, and perhaps this will be a surprise for our listeners, in the Latin Rite Church, as an exception, from the time of Pius XII. Pope Pacelli received former Anglican priests who wanted to enter into communion with Rome and as they were married they were ordained priests and they support their families,” he continued.

Moreover, Tornielli then said, “Pope Benedict himself with the constitution Anglicanorum coetibus has established that this exception can continue in the case of the Anglicans. So there already are exceptions.”

In effect, in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI approved the creation of personal ordinariates, jurisdictions created to receive the Anglicans who request by the thousands to return to full communion with the Catholic Church. In that framework, married Anglican priests can be ordained as Catholic priests.

 

A version of this story was originally published by ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

 

Catholic hospital in Nova Scotia required to offer assisted suicide, euthanasia

Antigonish, Canada, Sep 20, 2019 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- A Catholic hospital in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia will now be required to offer assisted suicide and euthanasia on site, after an assisted suicide advocacy group threatened legal action in January.

The Canadian Senate legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia in June 2016. Both practices are fully funded in the Canadian healthcare system.

The Candian Press reports that St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish was formerly run by the Sisters of St. Martha, which signed an agreement in 1996 with the provincial health authority when it took control of the facility.

The agreement was meant to ensure the hospital’s Catholic identity and values would be preserved.

However, the Canadian Press reports, the Nova Scotia Health Authority last month “quietly instituted” a policy change to require St. Martha’s to offer assisted suicide.

“This approach respects the 1996 Mission Assurance Agreement with the Sisters of St. Martha that lays out the philosophy, mission and values of St. Martha’s in accordance with its faith-based identity, while also meeting the legislated obligation to ensure that [assisted suicide and euthanasia] is available in the Antigonish area for those who request and meet the criteria to access that service,” said Tim Guest, the health authority’s vice-president of health services, as quoted by the Canadian Press.

Dying With Dignity Canada, a group advocating for assisted suicide and euthanasia, said that many hospitals across Canada ban the practice on the premises, particularly in the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.

The group’s leadership has said that they hope the province’s proactive approach will be “used as a model in other jurisdictions across the country.”

Canadian lawmakers have raised concerns about the country’s assisted suicide legislation since its passage, over problems such as conscience protections and whether minors should be able to avail themselves of assisted suicide.

Some of these concerns were raised again in the recent case of a Canadian man, Roger Foley, who suffers from an incurable disease and claims that despite asking for home care, the medical team at an Ontario hospital would only offer him assisted suicide.

The bishops of Canada have recently reiterated their support for palliative care as a distinct form of care that attends to the needs and dignity of the whole person at the natural end of their life.

The bishops’ statement clarified that patients and doctors are not required to do everything possible to avoid death if a life has reached its natural conclusion and medical intervention would not be beneficial.

“So while life is a penultimate good, requiring us to take reasonable care of our lives, we are not morally obligated to seek or undergo burdensome therapies ‘at all costs’ that provide no benefit. Nor at the same time are clinicians morally obligated to ‘do everything possible’ if life has reached its natural conclusion and it is no longer medically appropriate. Such a stance is known as vitalism and is rejected by the Catholic moral tradition,” according to Covenant Health’s definition of palliative care included in the bishops’ statement.

A Catholic approach to palliative care is a “person-centered approach,” the bishops said, “which draws deeply from the scriptural understanding of healing, compassion and love.”

This approach takes account of a patient’s “body, mind and spirit” and tries to relieve human suffering while also attending to “the transcendent needs of the dying person and his/her loved ones, with special solicitude for the poor and disadvantaged.”

There also needs to be more and better information available about palliative care resources for patients and their families in Canada, the bishops said. They advocated for public awareness campaigns about palliative care implemented in the country’s health care systems, including resources that would take into account the needs of different cultures or of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

Msgr. Rossi takes leave of absence from CUA board of trustees

Washington D.C., Sep 20, 2019 / 03:12 pm (CNA).- Msgr. Walter Rossi has taken a leave of absence from the board of trustees at The Catholic University of America, while the priest is the subject of a canonical investigation for unspecified allegations of misconduct.

“Last month the chairman of the Board of Trustees approved Msgr. Rossi’s request to take a voluntary leave of absence pending the resolution of the investigation launched jointly by the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Scranton. During the leave of absence Msgr Rossi will not participate in any board activities,” Karna Lozoya, spokesperson for the university told CUA Sept. 20.

Lozoya told CNA that the university is “in contact with the Diocese of Scranton and the Archdiocese of Washington, who have jointly launched an investigation. We will cooperate with them as needed. We don’t have any information at this point to warrant our own investigation.”

In August, the Diocese of Scranton told CNA that it had commenced “the process of launching a full forensic investigation into the concerns that have been raised,” about Rossi, who is rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is adjacent to the campus of The Catholic University of America.

Rossi is a priest of the Diocese of Scranton.

“The Diocese of Scranton and Archdiocese of Washington will work jointly and cooperatively on undertaking a comprehensive investigation,” the diocese told CNA Aug. 14.

Concerns were raised about Rossi to Archbishop Gregory Aug. 13, during a question-and-answer session at a Theology on Tap, held at the Public Bar Live in the Dupont area of Washington. The event was broadcast live on Facebook.

During that session, Gregory called for an independent, forensic investigation of some allegations against Rossi.

Rossi has been accused of directing young men to Fr. Matthew Reidlinger, a priest friend of Rossi’s who is alleged to have sexually harassed them in phone calls and text messages. That accusation was made in 2013.

In August, Gregory said he was unfamiliar with the allegation.
 
“That’s news to me. And I am not doubting it, but I have not heard about [this situation].”
 
“I suspect – I hope – that there is a forensic investigation. But in today’s environment, even a forensic investigation that either proves or disproves, will not satisfy the people. But I would like to see that, I would like to see a forensic investigation of those allegations.”

Rossi “is not an employee of Catholic University, nor does he have regular duties or responsibilities to fulfill on our campus. We do have students who are active either as part-time employees or volunteers at the Shrine. We have not received any complaints from our students regarding Msgr. Rossi,” Lozoya told CNA Friday.

“The safety of our students is our first priority. If we ever have good reason to believe the safety of our students is in danger, we will take the necessary action,” she added.

While Rossi is the subject of a canonical investigation, he has not been removed from his post at the National Shrine, and neither the scope nor the timeline of the investigation have been delineated by the Archdiocese of Washington or the Diocese of Scranton.

“If anyone harms a student at The Catholic University of America, we want to know about it. If any member of our community has experienced sexual abuse or assault, or has first hand knowledge of an incident, please contact our Department of Public Safety, the Metropolitan Police Department, our Dean of Students, or our Title IX coordinator,” Lozoya told CNA.