Emeritus pope denies
A pilgrim carrying a cross walks on his knees May 13 at the Marian shrine of Fatima in central Portugal.
Paulo Cunha/EPA, cns
Sixteen years after the Vatican released the text of the so-called Third Secret of Fatima, rumors cyclically arise claiming that the Vatican still is keeping part of Mary's message to three children in Fatima, Portugal, secret.
The Vatican press office May 21 took the unusual step of publishing a communique with reaction from retired Pope Benedict XVI, who — as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — oversaw the secret's publication in 2000 and personally wrote a commentary on it. He insisted at the time that the complete text had been published.
In mid-May, a blog published a story claiming a German priest, Father Ingo Dollinger, said that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had told him soon after the publication in 2000 that part of the message was still secret.
The Vatican communique said: "In this regard, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI declares 'never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger about Fatima,' clearly affirming that the remarks attributed to Professor Dollinger on the matter 'are pure inventions, absolutely untrue,' and he confirms decisively that 'the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete.'"
Tournament sets goals
Salvatore Ruiu and Davide Paulis carry a torch during the opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics.
ROME — When Emmanuele Trincas described Roman Cocco as a "bomber" on the soccer field, they both laughed, but it also gave Cocco the confidence he needed to talk about his experience as a Special Olympics athlete.
"I know it's not modest," Cocco said, but being chosen to play in an international soccer tournament May 20-22 in Rome "represents how hard I worked."
"I never thought I'd get this far," Cocco said. "We'll see what the future holds."
Trincas and Cocco trained together for two months for the "Project Unify" tournament in Rome, which was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Special Olympics Italia. Four teams from Italy took on teams from France, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland.
Project Unify brings together athletes with developmental disabilities and those without. The two learn to appreciate each other's talents, realize what they have in common, overcome preconceived ideas and form friendships.
Logan Ludwig, deputy supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, came to Rome for the tournament, which was played on the Knights' Pius XI Field. He took part in the opening ceremony, which included the parade of athletes and the lighting of an Olympic flame.
The Knights, he said, have been involved in the Special Olympics since the games began in the late 1960s.
Fathers Francis Orozco and Thomas Schaefgen, depicted in an illustration.
courtesy Southern Dominican Province/cns
NEW ORLEANS — The idea of making a walking pilgrimage in the United States took root about four years ago when Dominican Fathers Francis Orozco and Thomas Schaefgen were studying together for the priesthood.
They saw the movie, "The Way," featuring Martin Sheen, who portrayed a father honoring his late son's memory by completing the 450-mile Camino de Santiago, the "Way of St. James," a pilgrimage route across Spain taken for centuries by pilgrims.
From that seed sprouted "Friars on Foot," a 478-mile pilgrimage on foot from New Orleans to Memphis, Tennessee, which will begin after the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church in New Orleans May 29 and will arrive in Memphis June 29.
College to close
SPRINGFIELD, Ky. — Citing insurmountable challenges, including a decline in enrollment and high debt, St. Catharine College trustee John Turner announced June 1, that the Sringfield, Kentucky, school, founded in 1931, will close in late July. Summer classes and camps at the school will proceed as scheduled, according to the announcement, but classes will not resume in the fall.
'Amoris Laetitia' group
WASHINGTON — The chairmen of five USCCB committees have been appointed to an informal working group on the implementation of Pope Francis' recent apostolic exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love"). The hope is that the working group would have a fuller understanding of the range of activities to implement the document by mid-September, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, USCCB president, who announced the appointments June 1. Working group members include Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia agreed to coordinate the effort.
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis named two priests of the Boston archdiocese as auxiliary bishops June 3. Bishop-designate Mark O'Connell, 54, has been vice chancellor and judicial vicar of the Metropolitan Tribunal of the archdiocese since 2007. Bishop-designate Robert R. Reed, 56, has been archdiocesan secretary for Catholic media since last year and president of Catholic TV Network since 2005.
Abbey's legacy of faith
PORTLAND, Ore. — An out-of-the way hilltop in rural Oregon is home to one of the West's best collections of medieval and early Renaissance books. The ancient tomes — overflowing with calligraphy, color and shining illumination made by hand in a different era — are worth millions of dollars. The Benedictine monks at the Mount Angel Abbey, also home to a seminary used by the Oakland diocese, are not counting riches. What matters to the monks is a legacy of faith and culture.
$65 million offer
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Sixteen months after entering Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed a plan for reorganization May 26 as part of the bankruptcy process. The plan identifies more than $65 million in assets the archdiocese anticipates will be available to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse, with the potential for that amount to grow. The plan outlines specific sources for funds available for victim remuneration, including at least $8.7 million from the sale of archdiocesan properties, including three chancery buildings, as well as more than $33 million from insurance settlements.
Harry Connick Jr.
WASHINGTON — Speakers at commencement exercises at U.S. Catholic colleges and universities this year ranged from musician and composer Harry Connick Jr. and actor of stage and screen Mahershala Ali to cardinals and bishops and a former college president. As commencement speaker at Loyola University New Orleans May 20, Connick both regaled crowds and drew upon his multifaceted career and his Catholic upbringing as he shared advice for a meaningful and successful life beyond graduation.
Growing interest in the Bible
WASHINGTON — When Deacon Joseph Jensen entered Our Lady of Good Counsel Passionist Seminary in Warrenton, Missouri, in the late 1950s, he realized he was the only student in his class who had read the Bible.
Deacon Jensen, now a lecturer in biblical studies at Georgetown University in Washington, credited his Seventh-day Adventist grandfather with exposing him to Scripture. Largely though, he said, "I grew up with the idea that Catholics didn't read the Bible."
Such a common misconception could be changing.
A new State of the Bible Survey by the American Bible Society found that 77 percent of Catholics want to read the Bible more often. Although the percentage has fluctuated in recent years, it reflects an 8 percentage point increase since January 2013, just before Pope Francis' election.
"There's come, I think, some very encouraging data on Catholics" thanks to the so-called "Francis effect," Jason Malec, U.S. mission director for the society, said.
The American Bible Society has responded to Catholics' growing interest in Scripture with new resources such as digital "lectio divina," an online version of the traditional Catholic method of praying with Scripture. The society uses the survey results to develop techniques to increase engagement with the Bible.
The society's staffers also developed the Build Your Bible trivia app and a second app so that Catholics can follow along with World Youth Day, set for July 26-31 in Krakow, Poland.
"I think it's both looking forward and reaching back into the past to find new ways and rediscover ancient ways of engaging with the Scripture for an emerging generation," Malec said.
— Catholic News Service
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