Family cannot be done away with, archbishop tells UN

The family has a “unique character” that makes it a “patrimony for all humanity,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, told the United Nations.

Despite a hostile culture, the archbishop said, “a clear majority of persons want a family at the center of their life, and it would be mistake to think the family can be done away with.”‚Ä®‚Ä®

“We have to be much more cautious than we have been about weakening this fundamental unity that is not only the bearing wall of social life but that can also help us avoid the inhuman consequences of a society that has become hyper-individualistic and hyper-technological.”‚Ä®‚Ä®

He called for a “renewal of family models” that foster a family that is more understanding of itself, more attentive to its internal relationships, and more able to live in harmony with other families with respect for its surroundings.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Archbishop Paglia, a native of Italy, spoke at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City on May 15, the International Day of Families. The event marks the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, established by the UN’s General Assembly to raise awareness about the importance of families and to respond to the challenges they face.

Rabbi relates roots of pope’s Holy Land visit in their friendship

Abraham Skorka, an Argentine rabbi who has long been a friend of Pope Francis, has told a Jesuit magazine of the background of their upcoming pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which will occur May 24-26.‚Ä®

“We dreamt of being together in front of the Western Wall of the Temple of Jerusalem and to embrace … and that I would accompany him to Bethlehem, to be on his side in such a meaningful moment for him,” Skorka told Fr. Antonio Spadaro, director of La Civilta Cattolica, in an interview published May 17.

Pope Francis will be joined in his Holy Land trip by Skorka as well as by Omar Abboud, a sheikh from Buenos Aires.‚Ä®‚Ä®Skorka and the Pope discussed the possibility of such a trip at their first lunch after Bergoglio’s election as Bishop of Rome.‚Ä®The two have wanted to underscore their special friendship as a sign that dialogue between religions is possible.‚Ä®‚Ä®

“When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope, it was clear to me that our friendship had to become public,” Skorka told La Civilta Cattolica. “It was needed, after centuries of discord between Jews and Christians, and because conflict too often wins out over dialogue.”

Before their June 13 lunch, Skorka and Pope Francis recorded a joint message for an Israeli TV broadcast.

“It was very short, but very meaningful,” Skorka recounted, saying that they expressed that their friendship and dialogue is a sign that Rome and Jerusalem can find peace with each other.‚Ä®‚Ä®Their joint message “considerably grabbed the attention of the Israeli population; particularly Jews,” the rabbi said.

Catholic Cemeteries hosts Memorial Day Masses

Priests and bishops will be celebrating 10 a.m. Memorial Day Masses at Catholic Cemeteries throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. All are welcome to attend.

“It is a time to honor those members of the military who have died in combat and to recognize our veterans and current service men and women who are currently serving our country,” said Brian McMahon, director of administration for Catholic Cemeteries.

“It is a meaningful way to remember and pray for those loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice and to recognize our active military who continue to fight for the sake of freedom,” he said.

Archbishop José H. Gomez will at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles; Bishop Oscar Solis will be at All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach; Bishop Edward Clark will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City; Bishop Joseph Sartoris will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Rowland Heights; Bishop Gerald Wilkerson will be at San Fernando Cemetery in Mission Hills; and Bishop Alexander Salazar will be at Resurrection Cemetery in Montebello.

Msgr. Richard Martini will be at Calvary Cemetery in Santa Barbara; Father Paul Hruby will be at Assumption Cemetery in Simi Valley; Father Leo Dechant will be at Good Shepherd Cemetery in Lancaster; Father Alberto Arreola will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Pomona; and Father Roberto Saldivar will be at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard.

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New pope saints credited with fostering theology of women

Women in the Church offered praise for the works of newly-canonized Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, saying that they set a foundation for an expanding theology of women.

Both Popes taught that “we’re only going to have peace in the world, we're only going to have true human progress, when the dignity of every human person is recognized,” said Dominican Sister Mary Madeline Todd, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecelia and a doctoral student the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.‚Ä®

Speaking to CNA, Sr. Todd explained that in the teachings of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, “we see a clear contextualization of the question of woman in the broader context of the question of human dignity.”‚Ä®‚Ä®

Both Sr. Todd and Melissa Moschella, assistant professor of philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., said that the two pontiffs helped to explain the Church’s respect for the dignity of women in a way that could be understood by a modern and changing world.

New appointment to CDF shows Vatican’s concern for clergy abuse

Pope Francis’ appointment Monday of Archbishop Jose Mollaghan of Rosario as a member of the Vatican’s doctrine office confirms the Holy See’s continuing response to the sexual abuse crisis.

On May 19 the Argentine bishop was appointed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he will be responsible for a commission, which is being set up, to examine appeals by clergy accused of “delicta graviora,” or “more grave crimes.”‚Ä®‚Ä®

“Delicta graviora” are the most serious crimes in the Church, and most notably include offenses against morality: the sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric, or the acquisition, possession, or distribution of child pornography by a cleric.‚Ä®‚Ä®Archbishop Mollaghan’s appointment signals Pope Francis’ commitment to continuing the response to sex abuse begun under Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II.

32 children in Colombian bus fire

Cardinal Ruben Salazar of Bogota, president of the Bishops' Conference of Colombia, offered his prayers and condolences for the families of 32 children who died in a bus that caught fire.

“The Church in Colombia is praying for the parents who are mourning the tragic deaths of their children,” Cardinal Salazar said via Twitter.‚Ä®‚Ä®

According to Colombian media, the 32 children were returning from a Pentecostal revival meeting on May 18, when the bus that was carrying them burst into flames near the town of Fundacion in northern Colombia.

Authorities are working to determine the cause of the fire.

The mayor of Fundacion, Luz Stella Duran, told Caracol Radio on May 19 that it could take coroners up to four days to identify the remains of each of the children.

She said the bodies of the children have been taken to Barranquilla to be identified and that the mayor's office is providing transportation to the city for their families.