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John Thavis in studio to discuss Amoris Laetitia and more

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Perspectives: The Weekly Edition
Catholic Update with John Thavis
Friday, May 6th at 7:00pmET

A month after the release of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (the Joy of Love), renowned Catholic journalist and author John Thavis is in studio to break down the contentious issues and discuss the implications of this new magisterial teaching.

Amoris Laetitia is the final product of a more than two-year synodal process initiated by Pope Francis in the fall of 2013.  Two synods of bishops were held in Rome in October 2014 and 2015 to discuss the pastoral challenges facing families around the world, in their particular cultural contexts.  Significant debate took place inside the Synod hall and publically in the media, as bishops tried to navigate the muddy waters of complex marital and familial situations while upholding the ideal of traditional marriage.

Two positions emerged clearly.  The majority of bishops, following the impulse of Pope Francis, pushed for a more pastoral, merciful approach in attitude and action when dealing with challenging situations.  The shift from the more traditional articulations of the Church’s teachings on marriage and family life typical of JPII and Benedict XVI was one of emphasis more than substance.  As Pope Francis stated clearly on the first Tuesday of the 2015 Synod, “Catholic teaching on marriage has not been put into question.”  At stake was the attitude with which the Church approaches and deals with people in their particular circumstances.

A minority of bishops pushed back against this development.  Their argument was essentially the “slippery slope” theory.  Present too much of a pastoral, merciful attitude to families in difficult situations and it will lead the Church down the dangerous path of relativizing the doctrine of marriage, giving the false impression that traditional marriage is an unattainable ideal.

The final document that emerged from the 2015 Synod was deemed unsatisfactory by the hardline minority bishops, in particular a few paragraphs that did not reaffirm the traditional teaching of JPII and Benedict that no divorced and remarried Catholics who have not obtained an annulment can receive Communion.  And yet, each paragraph of the final document received the necessary two-thirds majority vote to be considered “approved” by the synod and ready to hand over to Pope Francis.

Five months later Francis issued Amoris Laetitia, the authoritative teaching by the pope and the synod on the family.  Filled with so much of what the bishops discussed during those weeks in Rome last year, yet characteristically “Francis” in language and style, the document represents a new chapter in magisterial teaching and synodality in the Church.

Needless to say, we’re happy to welcome the former Rome Bureau Chief of Catholic News Service John Thavis to the S+L studios for Perspectives: The Weekly Edition, to analyze the synodal journey and the implications for the Church’s pastoral outreach.  In this episode we will also discuss Francis’ solidarity visit to the refugees in Lesbos, Greece, Bernie Sanders’ surprise invitation to the Vatican and possible implications of the US presidential campaign for the Church.

John Thavis is bestselling author of “The Vatican Diaries.”  His latest book, “The Vatican Prophecies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age,” will be featured on S+L’s new book show Subject Matters on Sunday, June 5 at 8:30pmET

Connect5: John Mulderig on bringing a Christian perspective to films

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CNS media reviewer and film critic John Mulderig discusses the importance of a “Catholic” review and why no film should be off limits.


How are you going to spend the next five minutes of your time?  You could browse social media or check your email, but how about meeting a fascinating person and learning something relevant that will broaden your perspective?  Sit down with host Sebastian Gomes and his various guests, and go straight to the heart of the matter.  It will be five minutes well spent…

Connect5 airs on our network every Friday at 8:25 pm ET, immediately following Vatican Connections. Catch a new episode of Connect5 online every Wednesday.

Connect5: Tony Spence on polarization in the church

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CNS Director and Editor-in-Chief Tony Spence looks at political polarization in the Church, plus the growing trend of Catholic news in the secular press.


How are you going to spend the next five minutes of your time?  You could browse social media or check your email, but how about meeting a fascinating person and learning something relevant that will broaden your perspective?  Sit down with host Sebastian Gomes and his various guests, and go straight to the heart of the matter.  It will be five minutes well spent…

Connect5 airs on our network every Friday at 8:25 pm ET, immediately following Vatican Connections. Catch a new episode of Connect5 online every Wednesday.

 

U.S Bishops respond to California’s Assisted Suicide Ruling – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, U.S. Bishops respond to California’s assisted suicide ruling and Sebastian Gomes continues his coverage of the Bishops’ Synod on the Family. Today he speaks with several of the Synod Fathers and delegates and we hear from Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Ghana and Syriac Patriarch Ignatius Joseph Younan of Antioch. He also shares part 2 of his conversation with Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service.

Behind Vatican Walls: Laudato Si’

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The pope’s ecology encyclical, Laudato Si, was finally, officially released this week. The label “ecology” does not fully capture the breadth and depth of what Pope Francis discusses in the document. He does outline the problems with our planet, but shows how climate issues cannot be disconnected from human issues like poverty, migration and quality of life. Then he leads readers to the roots of the problem: humans. Human activity and a disordered view of the role humans should play in relation to the creation lead to plundering of the earth’s resources, technological advancement at breakneck speed just to have power over everything and everyone else on the planet have – according to Pope Francis – got us into our present global situation.

Better than reading my one paragraph summary, here is the link to the full text of the encyclical in English. For other languages click on the the language of your choice in the upper right corner.

This papal letter was highly anticipated not just by Catholics but the world at large. Here is a collection of articles about Laudato Si and the key themes developed in it.

The New York Times had this assessment of Laudato Si, and the tradition of popes speaking out on global issues.

The Guardian provided comprehensive coverage of the encyclical, including this assessment.

While Canadian politicians did not acknowledge the encyclical (at least, none that got media coverage) The Globe and Mail did look at both the encyclical and its expected effects.

Catholic News Service, once again, has provided all the tools the average and not so average Catholic might need to fully digest this papal document (not that Pope Francis is difficult to understand.) First, a glossary of words and phrases that come up in the encyclical.

Then, a comprehensive list of the practical tips Pope Francis offers for saving our planet.

The Catholic Herald out of the UK offered this assessment of Laudato Si from a faith perspective, and it might scare those Catholics who would prefer their faith and their life be two separate things.

Watch this week’s Vatican Connections below.


 

Alicia

Every week brings new, exciting, and sometimes juicy headlines from behind Vatican walls and every week Alicia delves deeper into one of those headlines. For a full run down of what’s been happening behind Vatican walls, watch Vatican Connections. Already watch the program? Come back every Friday for an in-depth look at an issue, headline or person.

Catholicism and the Challenge of Ecology

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Prior to the release of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, experts reflect on the history and significance of the church’s role in promoting stewardship of creation.

Videos courtesy of Catholic News Service.

The Sistine Chapel opens to VIPs: Vatican Connections – March 27, 2015

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This week we focus on the details of the upcoming Holy Week liturgies. Catholic News Service has details on how Pope Francis and the Diocese of Rome are helping Christians in two areas where Christians have been hit hard with persecution: Iraq and Nigeria.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As Holy Week and Easter approached, Pope Francis wanted to show his ongoing concern for people persecuted and displaced by violence in Iraq and in northern Nigeria.

Although not specifying the amount, the Vatican press office said March 27 that the pope was sending aid money to people seeking shelter in Iraq’s Kurdistan region and to the Nigerian bishops’ conference to assist families in the northern part of the country where the terrorist group Boko Haram has been on a rampage.

In addition, the Vatican said, the people of the Diocese of Rome, “united with their bishop,” Pope Francis, held a special collection and will send “colomba” Easter cakes to the displaced in Iraq.

“In Holy Week,” the Vatican statement said, “these families share with Christ the experience of being unjustly subjected to violence and they participate in the suffering of Christ himself.”

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who visited refugees and displaced people in Iraqi Kurdistan last August, will return for Holy Week, the Vatican said. The cardinal is prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the former nuncio to Iraq.

“Pope Francis is constantly concerned about the situation of Christian families and other groups who have been the victims of being expelled from their homes and villages, particularly in the city of Mosul and on the Ninevah Plain,” the Vatican said. Terrorists from Islamic State have been active in the region.

“The pope prays for them and hopes that they soon can return and resume their lives on the land and in the places where, for hundreds of years, they lived and wove relationships of peaceful coexistence with all,” the Vatican statement said.

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope’s Weekly General Audience – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ weekly General Audience and Catholic News Service takes a look at the Church in Morocco.

Meet the Cardinals: Luigi De Magistris

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by Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The day Pope Francis announced he would be making Italian Archbishop Luigi De Magistris a cardinal, the archbishop was doing what he usually did in retirement on Sundays: He was administering the sacrament of confession in the cathedral of Cagliari, his hometown.

The cardinal-designate, who will celebrate his 89th birthday nine days after receiving his red hat Feb. 14, spent almost a quarter-century at the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican tribunal dealing with matters of conscience. The office also coordinates the work of the priests serving as confessors in St. Peter’s Basilica and the major basilicas of Rome and an annual course for priests and seminarians on administering the sacrament of penance.

In preparation for the Jubilee Year 2000, then-Msgr. De Magistris put out a general call for more priests to staff the confessionals of the Rome basilicas.

“The more there are, the better,” he said. “We will have to pray to the Lord to send many, many good priests” to administer the sacrament.

Pope Francis announced Jan. 4 the names of the 20 churchmen he had chosen to induct into the College of Cardinals. Archbishop De Magistris and four others are over the age of 80, so they will be ineligible to participate in a conclave to elect a new pope, but they are invited to take part in the meetings and discussions of the college, which advises the pope.

Born in Cagliari Feb. 23, 1926, he studied for the priesthood in Rome, earning degrees in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Lateran University, and was ordained in 1952. After six years of pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Cagliari, he was called back to the university, this time to serve as its secretary.

After a year, he was transferred to what is now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served under Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani during the Second Vatican Council. In 1969, he moved to the Vatican Secretariat of State where he worked for 10 years. Pope John Paul II named him regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary in 1979 and named him a bishop in 1996.

Solid rumors that he was about to be named a cardinal began in 2001 when Pope John Paul named him head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a position church rules reserve to a cardinal. But he was still an archbishop in 2003 when he retired at the age of 77.

He has served as a consultant to the congregations for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, for Saints’ Causes, the Evangelization of Peoples and Clergy, as well as for the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” which Pope John Paul established to assist Catholics attached to the pre-Vatican II liturgy.

Photo credit: Diocese of Cagliari

Meet the Cardinals: Julio Duarte Langa

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By Lise Alves Catholic News Service

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) — Cardinal-designate Julio Duarte Langa, retired bishop of Xai-Xai, Mozambique, is best known for staying close to his congregation and always looking out for the poorest in his community.

“He is a true pastor,” said Auxiliary Bishop Joao Hatoa Nunes of Maputo, Mozambique. “While others travel around the country and the world, he remains at his diocese, prioritizing the poorer population in his region.”

Cardinal-designate Langa, 87, is one five bishops over 80 who will be elevated to cardinal Feb. 14. Fifteen other new cardinals will be eligible to vote in a conclave, but church rules say Cardinal-designate Langa and others over 80 will not be allowed to vote for a new pope.

Pope Francis said he chose to honor these older bishops who are “distinguished for their pastoral charity in service to the Holy See and the church.”

The nomination of Cardinal-designate Langa has also been interpreted as a recognition by the pope of the work done by the church in this African nation.

“By nominating someone, as he once said of himself ‘from almost the end of the world,’ the pope reiterates his belief that the church should go out to the streets, to those most in need,” Archbishop Nunes, spokesman for the bishops’ conference in Mozambique, told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview.

He also described the nomination of the country’s second cardinal as a great honor for the relatively new independent country and church. Mozambique obtained its independence from Portugal in 1975.

“For such a new church to have already two cardinals is a feat and an honor,” added Archbishop Nunes. He said he believes that by nominating another cardinal from Mozambique, Pope Francis is recognizing the hard work of evangelization by the Catholic Church in the country.

Cardinal Alexandre Jose Maria dos Santos, retired archbishop of Maputo, is 90.

In a country where the biggest challenges of both church and state are poverty, minimal education and maintenance of the newly obtained democracy, the archbishop said the nomination also will put an “African face” to the church in the continent.

“Our presence will be stronger in Rome, even though Bishop Langa will not be a voting cardinal,” he said.

Julio Duarte Langa was born in Mangunze, Mozambique, in Oct. 27, 1927, and was ordained a priest in 1957. He was ordained a bishop by Blessed Paul VI in 1976 and named to head the Xai-Xai Diocese right after the country’s independence.

Archbishop Nunes said a man of God does not have to be well known outside his diocese to be a vital member of the church.

“It is those who remain anonymous, who do not stand out much, who do the most work and carry God’s words farther,” he said. “I believe that Pope Francis, with these nominations, has tried to remind the world that there are God’s children in places like this who have not been correctly represented.”