||Sign of peace
Sister Loretta Theresa Richards smiles as she exchanges the sign of peace with other religious sisters during a Mass marking the close of the centennial year of the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Oct. 8 at St. Charles Borromeo Church in the Harlem section of New York City. The religious order, comprised mainly of women of African ancestry, was co-founded by Father Ignatius Lissner, a priest of the Society of African Missions, and Mother Theodore Williams in Savannah, Ga., in 1916 to educate black children and provide pastoral care to the state's black population.
Gregory A. Shemitz/cns
Georgetown's dark legacy
WASHINGTON — The wrong that came about when Jesuit priests from Georgetown University sold 272 women, children and men into slavery for financial gain in 1838 cannot be corrected, but there are ways to proceed after such revelations, said a panel of scholars Oct. 12 as they discussed "Georgetown, Slavery and Catholic Social Thought." "We cannot right the wrong that has been done, but we can do justice today," said James Benton, the slavery, memory and reconciliation fellow at Georgetown University, who is helping the leadership of the university respond to recommendations made earlier this year about what should be done today for what the university president called "Georgetown's participation in that disgrace." Jesuit Father Matthew Carnes, director of Georgetown's Center for Latin American Studies and member of a group that helped draft the recommendations, said it's important to first recognize the complicity of Jesuits who participated in the now infamous slave sale, but the process of how to go forward has never been about making amends. "I don't think there's ever a way that we can make amends, to have reparations for our slaveholding past," he said.
'Hostility' to Church
WASHINGTON — The chief liaison to Republican nominee Donald Trump for Catholic issues said that emails released Oct. 11 by WikiLeaks "reveal the depths of the hostility of Hillary Clinton and her campaign toward Catholics." The emails illustrate "the open anti-Catholic bigotry of her senior advisers, who attack the deeply held beliefs and theology of Catholics," said liaison Joseph Cella, who is the founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. On Oct. 12, Catholic News Service sent an email to the Clinton campaign seeking comment, but there was no immediate reply.
Divest from companies
WASHINGTON — Citing Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si'" on humanity's relationship with the earth and each other, seven Catholic institutions from around the world said they plan to divest from fossil fuel corporations. Joining the divestment movement were St. Louis-based SSM Health; Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada; Missionary Society of St. Columban, based in Hong Kong; Presentation Society of Australia and Papua New Guinea; Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesians) in Italy; Diocese of Umuarama, Brazil; and Federation of Christian Organizations for the International Voluntary Service in Italy.
WASHINGTON — A letter to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders asks them to "renounce publicly" a contentious sentence in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' report that equates religious freedom with discrimination. The letter, dated Oct. 7 and released Oct. 12, was signed by 17 religious leaders, including two U.S. Catholic bishops. The sentence was written by commission chairman Martin Castro and was incorporated into the 306-page report issued Sept. 8.
'Mass of Pardon'
DETROIT — As Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron and Detroit Auxiliary Bishops Michael J. Byrnes, Arturo Cepeda and Donald F. Hanchon solemnly processed down the nave of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the congregation stood silent. The four men lay prostrate before the altar, humbling themselves before God, and in view of the flock they are called to shepherd. Then the "litany of pardon" began, with the sins and transgressions of the Archdiocese of Detroit read aloud, recalling instances in the Catholic Church's history when it failed to live up to God's calling. All the while the clergy and laity remained kneeling, calling to mind their own part in the transgressions. The litany included: "For ignoring the word of God, living and effective, and hiding behind policies and procedures"; "For our failures to take to heart the Lord's condemnation of those who scandalize 'the little ones,' and for failing to protect children from sexual abuse"; and "For all the times we have not welcomed others to our parishes, especially for the times we have refused to allow African-American Catholics into our parish communities."
Oldest priest, dies
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Msgr. Vincent Topper, the oldest and longest-ordained diocesan priest in the country, died Oct. 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. He was 104. Remembered for his hard work and humility, Msgr. Topper died in his residence at St. Catherine Laboure Parish in Harrisburg, where he had been living since 1999.
New United Nations chief
The Portuguese Bishops Conference praised former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres for his "deep sense of humanity and faith" after he was nominated as United Nations secretary-general.
A member of Portugal's Socialist Party and a fervent Catholic, Guterres, 67, was one of the founders of the Franciscan-backed Grupo da Luz (Light Group) in the early 1970s while still a college student in Lisbon. The group worked with poor people living in Portugal's capital.
Among his colleagues within the group was Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Portugal's current president. He will succeed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of South Korea early next year.
— Catholic News Service
||Contraception coverage survey
Catholics responses on religious liberty vs. nondiscrimination issues are outlined in a new survey by Pew Research Center.
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