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Catholic News

IMAGE: CNS photo/ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As it did prior to the Second World War, the rise of nationalism in the world poses a threat to peace and constructive dialogue among nations, Pope Francis said.During his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, the pope said that the establishment of the League of Nations nearly 100 years ago ushered a new era of multilateral diplomacy based on goodwill, readiness among nations to deal fairly and honestly with each other and openness to compromise.However, he warned in his speech Jan. 7 that the lack of one of those necessary elements results in nations searching "for unilateral solutions and, in the end, the domination of the powerful over the weak.""The League of Nations failed for these very reasons, and one notes with regret that the same attitudes are presently threatening the stability of the major international organizations," the pope said.Clearly, he added, "relati...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As it did prior to the Second World War, the rise of nationalism in the world poses a threat to peace and constructive dialogue among nations, Pope Francis said.

During his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, the pope said that the establishment of the League of Nations nearly 100 years ago ushered a new era of multilateral diplomacy based on goodwill, readiness among nations to deal fairly and honestly with each other and openness to compromise.

However, he warned in his speech Jan. 7 that the lack of one of those necessary elements results in nations searching "for unilateral solutions and, in the end, the domination of the powerful over the weak."

"The League of Nations failed for these very reasons, and one notes with regret that the same attitudes are presently threatening the stability of the major international organizations," the pope said.

Clearly, he added, "relationships within the international community, and the multilateral system as a whole, are experiencing a period of difficulty with the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies at odds with the vocation of the international organizations to be a setting for dialogue and encounter for all countries."

In his nearly one-hour speech to the diplomats, the pope warned that the re-emergence of populist and nationalist ideologies is "progressively weakening" multilateral institutions and subsequently creating a "general lack of trust, a crisis of credibility in international political life and a gradual marginalization of the most vulnerable members of the family of nations."

An essential aspect of good politics, he said, is the pursuit of the common good that would enable individuals and the international community as a whole to "achieve their proper material and spiritual well-being."

"Peace is never a partial good, but one that embraces the entire human race," he said.

Recalling the ongoing humanitarian crises in countries such as Ukraine and Syria, Pope Francis urged the international community to defend the most vulnerable in the world "and to give a voice to those who have none."

Among those most affected by instability, he noted are Christian communities in the Middle East where many people have been forced to flee from violence and persecution, particularly due to the resurgence of attempts "to foment hostility between Muslims and Christians."

The pope expressed his hope that his upcoming visits to the United Arab Emirates and to Morocco would provide an opportunity to "advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both religions."

Pope Francis also made an appeal for assistance to migrants who are forced to emigrate due to "the scourge of poverty and various forms of violence and persecution," as well as natural disasters and climate change.

"All human beings long for a better and more prosperous life, and the challenge of migration cannot be met with a mindset of violence and indifference, nor by offering merely partial solutions," he said.

Among the most vulnerable in today's world, the pope continued, are young people who face an "uncertain future" due to lack of employment.

Urging world leaders to take steps to ensure the physical, psychological and spiritual growth of children, Pope Francis acknowledged the church's failure to protect children.

Child sexual abuse, especially by members of the clergy, "is one of the plagues of our time," he said.

"The abuse of minors is one of the vilest and most heinous crimes conceivable," he said. "Such abuse inexorably sweeps away the best of what human life holds out for innocent children and causes irreparable and lifelong damage."

The church is committed to preventing clerical sex abuse and its concealment, he said, expressing hope that his Feb. 21-25 meeting with the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences will be "a further step in the church's efforts to shed full light on the facts and to alleviate the wounds caused by such crimes."

Pope Francis also urged the diplomatic community to continue to work toward building peace between nations divided by war.

While there have been significant strides in building peace in some places, such as the end of the decades-long conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and an easing of relations between North and South Korea, the pope called for peace in areas such as Venezuela and the Holy Land which are still affected by internal strife and divisions.

Citing St. Paul VI's 1965 speech to the United Nations, the pope said that peace is not built merely through politics and protecting interests but with "the mind, with ideas, with works of peace."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Marcos Brindicci, ReutersBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A bishop from Argentina who had been working in the Vatican's real estate administration office is the object of a preliminary diocesan investigation after accusations came to light of sexual abuse, abuse of power and mismanagement in his former Diocese of Oran.The interim director of the Vatican press office, Alessandro Gisotti, told reporters in a note Jan. 4 that accusations of sexual abuse against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, 54, emerged in the "autumn" of 2018."On the basis of these accusations and from news appearing recently in the media," Bishop Luis Antonio Scozzina of Oran "has already begun to collect some testimony which still needs to get to the Congregation for Bishops" at the Vatican, Gisotti wrote.The case will be handed over to a special commission for bishops if credible evidence is found, he added."During the preliminary investigation, (Bishop) Zanchetta ...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Marcos Brindicci, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A bishop from Argentina who had been working in the Vatican's real estate administration office is the object of a preliminary diocesan investigation after accusations came to light of sexual abuse, abuse of power and mismanagement in his former Diocese of Oran.

The interim director of the Vatican press office, Alessandro Gisotti, told reporters in a note Jan. 4 that accusations of sexual abuse against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, 54, emerged in the "autumn" of 2018.

"On the basis of these accusations and from news appearing recently in the media," Bishop Luis Antonio Scozzina of Oran "has already begun to collect some testimony which still needs to get to the Congregation for Bishops" at the Vatican, Gisotti wrote.

The case will be handed over to a special commission for bishops if credible evidence is found, he added.

"During the preliminary investigation, (Bishop) Zanchetta will abstain from working" at the Vatican office, Gisotti wrote.

Born in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, in 1964, Bishop Zanchetta was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Quilmes, near Buenos Aires, in 1991.

He was named by Pope Francis in July 2013 to lead the Diocese of Oran; however, he asked the pope to accept his resignation in 2017 for "reasons of health."

Four months after his resignation, Bishop Zanchetta was named by Pope Francis to a newly created role of "assessor" at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, commonly referred by its Italian acronym APSA. The office handles the Vatican's investment portfolio and its real estate holdings.

According to Gisotti, "no accusation of sexual abuse had emerged at the time of the nomination to assessor," specifying that those accusations had only come to light last fall.

He also underlined that the bishop had not been removed from the diocese in 2017, but that the bishop himself had requested to step down.

"The reason for him stepping down was tied to his difficulty in handling relationships with diocesan clergy and to very tense relationships with the priests of the diocese," Gisotti wrote.

"At the time of his resignation, there had been accusations against him of authoritarianism, but there were not any accusations against him of sexual abuse," he added. "The problem that emerged then was tied to an inability to govern the clergy."

Bishop Zanchetta, Gisotti said, was appointed to his position at APSA because of "his administrative management abilities."

According to reports in late December by the local Argentine media outlet, El Tribuno, three priests had gone to the papal nuncio, Congolese Archbishop Leon Kalenga Badikebele, with accusations against Bishop Zanchetta of sexual abuse. Another 10 priests reported abuses of power and financial mismanagement by the bishop at a diocesan major seminary he opened in 2016.

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Providence HeBy Katie ScottPORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- Wrangler doesn't have an MD and he can't write prescriptions, but he works hard to help children who are injured or ill and often scared.The Labrador is the first full-time facility dog at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Southwest Portland, and his task is to offer comfort to patients in the children's emergency room."Kids come into the ER because of something (their) mom and dad can't fix, and that's very scary," said child life specialist Teddie Garland, Wrangler's handler. "They're getting blood drawn, vitals taken, maybe they need stiches." They also may be in pain."It's a high-stress environment that kids don't have any control over," Garland said.Enter the calm, cream-colored pup who wears an official hospital ID badge, knows the command "snuggle" and loves children."Kids and teens are his favorite people," said Garland. "If he hears a ki...

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Providence He

By Katie Scott

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- Wrangler doesn't have an MD and he can't write prescriptions, but he works hard to help children who are injured or ill and often scared.

The Labrador is the first full-time facility dog at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Southwest Portland, and his task is to offer comfort to patients in the children's emergency room.

"Kids come into the ER because of something (their) mom and dad can't fix, and that's very scary," said child life specialist Teddie Garland, Wrangler's handler. "They're getting blood drawn, vitals taken, maybe they need stiches." They also may be in pain.

"It's a high-stress environment that kids don't have any control over," Garland said.

Enter the calm, cream-colored pup who wears an official hospital ID badge, knows the command "snuggle" and loves children.

"Kids and teens are his favorite people," said Garland. "If he hears a kid crying, he wants to go help."

One day a child with a laceration on his knee was having an especially hard time. Garland said to the patient, "I can tell you're really scared right now."

The boy replied, "I think I'm going to die."

Immediately, Wrangler leaned in toward the boy, gave him a nudge and looked up at him with his big brown eyes, as if to say, "You're going to be OK."

"There's no command for that," said Garland. "He reads a room and his intuition often trumps mine."

Studies and observation show the physical and psychological benefits of animals. In the presence of a dog such as Wrangler, blood pressure and heart rate can drop. "Within 12 minutes of petting a dog, the body releases oxytocin," said Garland. Sometimes called the "love hormone," oxytocin plays a role in bonding and people's sense of well-being.

Wrangler's presence also helps children feel less out of control.

Sitting in her office at St. Vincent, dog bed and water bowl nearby, Garland told the story of a 6-year-old boy who was recently admitted to the ER for a psychiatric issue.

"It was tough on him to be cooped up in a room and being told he couldn't leave," she recalled. Garland had the boy teach Wrangler a new command and take him for a walk around the room.

"Rather than feeling like everything was done to him, he got to feel like he was the expert at something," she said.

Children often open up to the mellow Labrador, telling him concerns they haven't shared with hospital staff.

"He does so many things that we human caregivers are not able to do," said Garland. "He's not judging them; he loves unconditionally."

Korina Jochim is the clinical manager at Northwest Catholic Counseling Center in Northeast Portland and works primarily with children. She said the overwhelming nature of an ER visit can create post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Experiencing things that are warm and familiar, such as dogs, during that time can make the difference as to whether children get traumatized or not," said Jochim.

Wrangler comes from 50 generations of service dogs and was bred and trained in Hawaii by the nonprofit Assistance Dogs Northwest. Training sessions begin when puppies are 8 weeks old.

Although some organizations use different definitions, "assistance dogs" generally is an umbrella term that includes service dogs and facility dogs, explained Stacy Goodfellow, Assistance Dogs Northwest program manager.

Service dogs are paired with one person and help him or her with daily tasks, for example opening doors or picking up items. Guide dogs also fit this category. Facility dogs such as Wrangler receive extensive specialized training from an accredited organization and learn specific skills.

There also are therapy dogs, who need to have a good temperament but can be someone's pet. They may, but don't always, go through a certification program. Many hospitals have therapy dog programs, including St. Vincent.

Wrangler was trained for 18 months and mastered 90 commands. Training includes generalized instruction and specialized commands, like "snuggle," based on where the dog will work.

"We are proud of Wrangler and all the work he's doing," said Goodfellow. "We hear so many wonderful stories about him."

The Lab has a 40-hour workweek, though he's been known to snooze on the job and receives more breaks than his two-legged co-workers. He lives at Garland's home, sleeps on her bed and spends a lot of time playing.

To keeps Wrangler's skills fresh, he receives mini training sessions every day; to keep him fresh, he receives weekly baths and daily teeth-brushings.

St. Vincent, founded by the Sisters of Providence in 1875, offers Wrangler trading cards and a stuffed animal in his honor. He also receives fan mail from grateful patients.

He has also made a calming impact on the staff, said Garland.

"He's been a part of staff debriefs, like after the loss of a child or a difficult, combative patient situation," she said. "I've had nurses sit under my desk with Wrangler and needing his love."

"He's so comforting after a stressful day; I love him," said Kasie Walker-Counts, a pediatric nurse who initially thought of Wrangler as just a cute mascot for the ER.

"Over the past year, I've seen him do some pretty incredible therapeutic things with kids who are really anxious," Walker-Counts said.

"Kids tend to be animal lovers, and they will be petting Wrangler and without realizing it they are being soothed," she said. "He's adorable, but he also adds so much in an often terrible situation."

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Scott is special projects reporter at the Catholic Sentinel, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland.

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Marcos Brindicci, ReutersBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A bishop from Argentina who had been working in the Vatican's real estate administration office is the object of a preliminary diocesan investigation after accusations came to light of sexual abuse, abuse of power and mismanagement in his former Diocese of Oran.The interim director of the Vatican press office, Alessandro Gisotto, told reporters in a note Jan. 4 that accusations of sexual abuse against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, 54, emerged in the "autumn" of 2018."On the basis of these accusations and from news appearing recently in the media," Bishop Luis Antonio Scozzina of Oran "has already begun to collect some testimony which still needs to get to the Congregation for Bishops" at the Vatican, Gisotti wrote.The case will be handed over to a special commission for bishops if credible evidence is found, he added."During the preliminary investigation, (Bishop) Zanchetta ...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Marcos Brindicci, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A bishop from Argentina who had been working in the Vatican's real estate administration office is the object of a preliminary diocesan investigation after accusations came to light of sexual abuse, abuse of power and mismanagement in his former Diocese of Oran.

The interim director of the Vatican press office, Alessandro Gisotto, told reporters in a note Jan. 4 that accusations of sexual abuse against Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, 54, emerged in the "autumn" of 2018.

"On the basis of these accusations and from news appearing recently in the media," Bishop Luis Antonio Scozzina of Oran "has already begun to collect some testimony which still needs to get to the Congregation for Bishops" at the Vatican, Gisotti wrote.

The case will be handed over to a special commission for bishops if credible evidence is found, he added.

"During the preliminary investigation, (Bishop) Zanchetta will abstain from working" at the Vatican office, Gisotti wrote.

Born in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, in 1964, Bishop Zanchetta was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Quilmes, near Buenos Aires, in 1991.

He was named by Pope Francis in July 2013 to lead the Diocese of Oran; however, he asked the pope to accept his resignation in 2017 for "reasons of health."

Four months after his resignation, Bishop Zanchetta was named by Pope Francis to a newly created role of "assessor" at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, commonly referred by its Italian acronym APSA. The office handles the Vatican's investment portfolio and its real estate holdings.

According to Gisotti, "no accusation of sexual abuse had emerged at the time of the nomination to assessor," specifying that those accusations had only come to light last fall.

He also underlined that the bishop had not been removed from the diocese in 2017, but that the bishop himself had requested to step down.

"The reason for him stepping down was tied to his difficulty in handling relationships with diocesan clergy and to very tense relationships with the priests of the diocese," Gisotti wrote.

"At the time of his resignation, there had been accusations against him of authoritarianism, but there were not any accusations against him of sexual abuse," he added. "The problem that emerged then was tied to an inability to govern the clergy."

Bishop Zanchetta, Gisotti said, was appointed to his position at APSA because of "his administrative management abilities."

According to reports in late December by the local Argentine media outlet, El Tribuno, three priests had gone to the papal nuncio, Congolese Archbishop Leon Kalenga Badikebele, with accusations against Bishop Zanchetta of sexual abuse. Another 10 priests reported abuses of power and financial mismanagement by the bishop at a diocesan major seminary he opened in 2016.

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: Karen Callaway/Chicago CatholicBy Joyce DurigaCHICAGO (CNS) -- To show support for the U.S. bishops as they gathered at the Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake near Chicago for a weeklong retreat in early January, members of lay ecclesial movements met at St. Mother Theodore Guerin Parish in Elmwood Park Jan. 3 to pray.More than 70 people attended Mass and adoration at the parish as part of a larger effort of the 21 lay movements active within the Archdiocese of Chicago to support the bishops. Each group is taking a day to have its members pray during the bishops Jan. 2-8 retreat."We want to show them that we support them, that they are not alone in this," said Renata Kaczor, co-chair of the archdiocesan committee for lay movements and a member of Domowy Kosciol ("Domestic Church"), dedicated to the sanctity of marriage. "We also want to ask God to help them, help us and everybody in the very difficult situation the church is ...

IMAGE: Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic

By Joyce Duriga

CHICAGO (CNS) -- To show support for the U.S. bishops as they gathered at the Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake near Chicago for a weeklong retreat in early January, members of lay ecclesial movements met at St. Mother Theodore Guerin Parish in Elmwood Park Jan. 3 to pray.

More than 70 people attended Mass and adoration at the parish as part of a larger effort of the 21 lay movements active within the Archdiocese of Chicago to support the bishops. Each group is taking a day to have its members pray during the bishops Jan. 2-8 retreat.

"We want to show them that we support them, that they are not alone in this," said Renata Kaczor, co-chair of the archdiocesan committee for lay movements and a member of Domowy Kosciol ("Domestic Church"), dedicated to the sanctity of marriage. "We also want to ask God to help them, help us and everybody in the very difficult situation the church is going through now."

Many lay ecclesial movements and associations have arisen within the Catholic Church, mostly in the 20th century. Movements active in the archdiocese include Focolare, Charismatic Renewal, Legion of Mary and Regnum Christi.

Talking about the bishops, Michael Sublewski, co-chair of the archdiocesan committee for lay movements and a member of Neocatechumenal Way, said: "I'm sure they feel very isolated and persecuted. We want them to know that we support them, and prayer is the best way to do that."

"There's nothing more diabolical" than the abuse of children by priests, said Lauretta Froelich of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, "and yet Jesus told us that not even the gates of hell are going to prevail against his church."

By praying for and supporting the church's leaders, the lay movements are fulfilling their mission, Sublewski told the Chicago Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

"The movements are a help to the church," he said. "Especially in this time where there's a scarcity of priests, we're here to help, to nourish, to look for the far away, the people who have left the church, the people who have no religion at all, the people who don't have an answer to their life and who are struggling."

Froelich said that what the lay movements are doing is akin to what Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household leading the bishops' retreat, did after Pope John Paul II was elected. He stood in St. Peter's Square beneath the windows of the papal apartment and cried out "Courage, John Paul! Courage!"

"I really think that's what the lay movements are doing now, tonight and every day in the life of the church. We're the ones who go out to the world and so we're crying out to the priests and the bishops, 'Courage!'" she said.

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Duriga is editor of the Chicago Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/ReutersBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Even though today's modern tools and technologies are hardly human, the Pontifical Academy for Life is zeroing in on the world of robots and machines powered by artificial intelligence.While the academy's focus is on the protection of human life and dignity, the rapidly shifting and radical capabilities of robotics are having an ever-increasing impact on human lives, people's relationships, communities and creation, said Jesuit Father Carlo Casalone, an academy member and consultant.The need to reflect on the effects, opportunities and risks posed by artificial intelligence and robotics has led the pro-life academy to launch a special look at this complex field, adding robotics to its list of specialized projects, which already include palliative care, neuroscience, bioethics and human genome editing.A major workshop on "Robo-ethics: Humans, Machines and Health" will be held at the Vatican Feb. 25-26 as part of t...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Even though today's modern tools and technologies are hardly human, the Pontifical Academy for Life is zeroing in on the world of robots and machines powered by artificial intelligence.

While the academy's focus is on the protection of human life and dignity, the rapidly shifting and radical capabilities of robotics are having an ever-increasing impact on human lives, people's relationships, communities and creation, said Jesuit Father Carlo Casalone, an academy member and consultant.

The need to reflect on the effects, opportunities and risks posed by artificial intelligence and robotics has led the pro-life academy to launch a special look at this complex field, adding robotics to its list of specialized projects, which already include palliative care, neuroscience, bioethics and human genome editing.

A major workshop on "Robo-ethics: Humans, Machines and Health" will be held at the Vatican Feb. 25-26 as part of this increased study; the workshop will focus on the use of robots and artificial intelligence, specifically in medicine and health care.

The use of industrial and personal-service robots is on the rise, according to industry reports. They are being used in manufacturing, housekeeping, assisting with surgery and even caring for the elderly. People with reduced mobility can be assisted with brain control technology, which converts brain waves into digital signals that can command or control external devices, such as artificial limbs or machines.

Father Casalone, who studied medicine and worked as a cardiologist before joining the Society of Jesus in 1984, helped organize the workshop. He became a member of the pontifical academy in 2017 and works in its scientific section.

He told Catholic News Service in December that the workshop will bring together ethicists, health care workers and researchers, including Hiroshi Ishiguro, a Japanese robotics engineer who creates humanoid robots and promotes discussion about the essence of being human. His lab has developed the interactive "Actroid," a lifelike humanoid robot that can operate autonomously or be teleoperated and created an uncanny replica of Ishiguro known as the "Geminoid."

Father Casalone said the academy wanted the workshop to include experts like Ishiguro who could explain "what sort of vision" guides their work and so that members could "truly listen to what is going on in today's world and to engage with this historic moment in time."

"We are seeking to be fully aware of what's happening so that we know what is possible" in the rapidly advancing world of "cognitive machines" and to highlight the ethical, social, cultural and economic impact these tools may have.

For example, cheaper automated machine labor may threaten emerging economies, and mineral-rich African nations often see their resources extracted and exported without receiving the benefits in what has become a new "robot divide," Father Casalone said.

Using robots for military applications can be "very dangerous and very deceptive" if nations use such machines to cover up their responsibility and destroy others "behind the scenes," he said. Automated systems also can lead to "a sort of gaming mentality" when soldiers can control weaponry remotely, far away from its effects.

Home automation or "domotics" -- such as security systems or robot vacuum cleaners -- also presents certain risks, he said, if "houses begin to be built in a way that makes them more robot-friendly, more suitable for machines than for humans."

And the use of robots in assisting the elderly or infirm, while it "could be of great help," could also "risk triggering an attitude of delegating" the care of the most fragile and vulnerable in society "as if it were a task to be entrusted to machines" and not to fellow human beings, he said.

Similar problems may "also apply to the natural world," he said, for example, when using robots for farming and livestock "changes our relationship with animals" and nature.

Father Casalone said the answer isn't a stance against technology but "guiding development so that it respects human dignity and the common good as much as possible."

"It is about becoming aware of and agreeing about regulating these radically new possibilities we have before us, which are able to increasingly and more deeply affect living beings and the human body," he said.

The two-day workshop in February will not be proposing specific guidelines, he said, but rather will lay the groundwork for drawing up "some criteria, given what is at play with the emergence of these cognitive systems in our lives."

The radical and pervasive impact today's new technologies will have on human beings and their relations "demands greater oversight," public discussion and concern not just among experts or special interest groups, but by everyone, he said.

Throughout history, science and technology have invented or developed new capabilities that have taken the world by surprise and "transformed our lives," Father Casalone said. "So, we have to expect something new" will always be around the corner and be ready to respond.

Current controls on "the atomic bomb and its destructive potential," he said, show how human beings are capable of not using every new technology, "which means there are options for guiding development" so that it can better respect human life.

"This, in every case, is what we are committed to," he said.

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Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob RollerBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The clerical abuse crisis and the "crisis of credibility" it created for the U.S. bishops have led to serious divisions within the U.S. church and to a temptation to look for administrative solutions to problems that go much deeper, Pope Francis told the U.S. bishops.Without a clear and decisive focus on spiritual conversion and Gospel-inspired ways of responding to victims and exercising ministry, "everything we do risks being tainted by self-referentiality, self-preservation and defensiveness, and thus doomed from the start," the pope wrote.In a letter distributed to the bishops at the beginning of their Jan. 2-8 retreat, Pope Francis said he was convinced their response to the "sins and crimes" of abuse and "the efforts made to deny or conceal them" must be found through "heartfelt, prayerful and collective listening to the word of God and to the pain of our people."...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The clerical abuse crisis and the "crisis of credibility" it created for the U.S. bishops have led to serious divisions within the U.S. church and to a temptation to look for administrative solutions to problems that go much deeper, Pope Francis told the U.S. bishops.

Without a clear and decisive focus on spiritual conversion and Gospel-inspired ways of responding to victims and exercising ministry, "everything we do risks being tainted by self-referentiality, self-preservation and defensiveness, and thus doomed from the start," the pope wrote.

In a letter distributed to the bishops at the beginning of their Jan. 2-8 retreat, Pope Francis said he was convinced their response to the "sins and crimes" of abuse and "the efforts made to deny or conceal them" must be found through "heartfelt, prayerful and collective listening to the word of God and to the pain of our people."

"As we know," he said, "the mentality that would cover things up, far from helping to resolve conflicts, enabled them to fester and cause even greater harm to the network of relationships that today we are called to heal and restore."

The "abuses of power and conscience and sexual abuse, and the poor way that they were handled" continue to harm the church and its mission, he said, but so does "the pain of seeing an episcopate lacking in unity and concentrated more on pointing fingers than on seeking paths of reconciliation."

Such a division, which goes well beyond a "healthy" diversity of opinions, is what caused him to recommend a retreat because, the pope said, "this situation forces us to look to what is essential and to rid ourselves of all that stands in the way of a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

The pope said he had hoped "to be physically present" with the bishops for the retreat, but since that was not possible, he was pleased they accepted his suggestion to have the gathering be led by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household.

Pope Francis originally had suggested the bishops make a retreat in November instead of holding their annual general meeting. But the scope of the abuse crisis and the intense pressure the bishops' felt to act led them to keep the November meeting and plan the retreat for January.

Plans for the November meeting and for the retreat came after a summer of shocking news: revelations of credible abuse accusations against Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington; the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report accusing more than 300 priests in six dioceses of abusing more than 1,000 children in a period spanning 70 years; and accusations published by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former apostolic nuncio to the United States, that Pope Francis had known about and ignored allegations that Archbishop McCarrick had sexually harassed seminarians.

In his letter to the bishops, Pope Francis said he suggested the retreat "as a necessary step toward responding in the spirit of the Gospel to the crisis of credibility that you are experiencing as a church."

"We know that, given the seriousness of the situation, no response or approach seems adequate," the pope wrote. Still, pastors must have the wisdom to offer a response based on listening to God in prayer and to the suffering of the victims.

Pope Francis said church leaders must "abandon a modus operandi of disparaging, discrediting, playing the victim or the scold in our relationships," and instead listen to the "gentle breeze" of the Gospel message.

Encouraging the bishops to continue taking steps "to combat the 'culture of abuse' and to deal with the crisis of credibility," he warned that credibility "cannot be regained by issuing stern decrees or by simply creating new committees or improving flow charts, as if we were in charge of a department of human resources. That kind of vision ends up reducing the mission of the bishop and that of the church to a mere administrative or organizational function in the 'evangelization business.'"

A restored credibility, he said, can only be "the fruit of a united body that, while acknowledging its sinfulness and limitations, is at the same time capable of preaching the need for conversion. For we do not want to preach ourselves but rather Christ who died for us."

"We want to testify that at the darkest moments of our history the Lord makes himself present, opens new paths and anoints our faltering faith, our wavering hope and our tepid charity," the pope said.

The bishops as a group, he said, must have a "collegial awareness of our being sinners in need of constant conversion, albeit deeply distressed and pained by all that that has happened."

Humility "will liberate us from the quest of false, facile and futile forms of triumphalism" and from anything that would "keep us from approaching and appreciating the extent and implications of what has happened."

"Affective communion with the feelings of our people, with their disheartenment, urges us to exercise a collegial spiritual fatherhood that does not offer banal responses or act defensively, but instead seeks to learn -- like the prophet Elijah amid his own troubles -- to listen to the voice of the Lord."

The bishops had planned to devote most of their November meeting to discussing and voting on several proposals to the abuse crisis, including the formulation of standards of episcopal conduct and the formation of a special commission for reviewing complaints against bishops for violations of the standards.

However, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, asked the bishops to delay their votes, citing the short amount of time the Vatican had to review the proposals, possible conflicts in them with church law and in view of the meeting Pope Francis has called for February with the presidents of all the world's bishops' conferences to discuss child protection and the abuse crisis.

 

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IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Gabrielle O'Gorman via Global Sisters ReportBy Sarah Mac DonaldDUBLIN (CNS) -- Women who worked in Ireland's "Magdalene laundries" but were denied compensation under the state's Magdalene Restorative Justice program have won their long-running battle to have their applications reassessed.New legislation will ensure that payments to the women, many now over age 70, will be fast-tracked by the Irish state in an effort to make amends for the delay over their disputed compensation for their time working in the laundries.The laundries were run by the Mercy Sisters, the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, and the Religious Sisters of Charity. The Magdalene redress program was originally established following the publication in February 2013 of the McAleese Report, an inquiry chaired by Sen. Martin McAleese.Women were sent to these laundries by the state or by their families, usually...

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Gabrielle O'Gorman via Global Sisters Report

By Sarah Mac Donald

DUBLIN (CNS) -- Women who worked in Ireland's "Magdalene laundries" but were denied compensation under the state's Magdalene Restorative Justice program have won their long-running battle to have their applications reassessed.

New legislation will ensure that payments to the women, many now over age 70, will be fast-tracked by the Irish state in an effort to make amends for the delay over their disputed compensation for their time working in the laundries.

The laundries were run by the Mercy Sisters, the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, and the Religious Sisters of Charity. The Magdalene redress program was originally established following the publication in February 2013 of the McAleese Report, an inquiry chaired by Sen. Martin McAleese.

Women were sent to these laundries by the state or by their families, usually for the "crime" of being pregnant outside marriage. Some were confined because they were unruly, orphaned or did not fit in. The laundries were part of Ireland's architecture of moral constraint, along with mother and baby homes, industrial schools and psychiatric hospitals.

The need to extend the government's redress program was highlighted in 2017 by Peter Tyndall, Irish ombudsman. In his report on the Magdalene Restorative Justice program, Tyndall highlighted that 15 of the complaints under investigation by his office concerned the Department of Justice's rejection of redress applications by women who had worked in one of the 12 institutions listed as Magdalene laundries in the McAleese Report. The complaints were rejected because the women had not lived in the laundry itself, but in a training center or industrial school in the same building or located on the same grounds as a Magdalene laundry.

Some of the women took their cases to the High Court to try to force the Department of Justice to recognize that they were entitled to be part of the redress program.

In 2018, the Irish government relented and took the ombudsman's recommendation and extended its Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme to include those women who worked in the laundries but resided in one of 14 adjoining institutions. Ireland's Department of Justice and Equality said that, by mid-December, 79 women had applied, including 52 whose earlier claims had been denied.

The Irish government, the congregations who ran the laundries and the women who worked in them are still reckoning with this painful part of the country's past. Measures include the compensation program; a reconciliation ceremony held in June; and plans for a memorial to honor the 10,012 known entries by women and girls to Magdalene laundries from 1922 until the closure of the last laundry in 1996.

By late 2018, the Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme has paid about $33 million to almost 700 women who worked and resided in 12 listed Magdalene Institutions.

Pope Francis' visit to Ireland in August placed the spotlight on Magdalene laundries once again following his meeting with representatives of clerical and institutional abuse. At the Aug. 25 meeting at the apostolic nunciature in Dublin, Paul Redmond, chairman of the Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors, gave Pope Francis a brief history of the Magdalene laundries. The pope told survivors that there was no parallel in Argentina for that sort of institution.

The congregations who ran the laundries have said that they were given charge of the women without any compensation from the state or families. The laundries, in which the sisters also worked, were not profitable but a means of support, they said, which the McAleese report also acknowledged.

None of the four congregations contacted for this article provided an interview, but several referred to their 2013 statements.

For instance, at that time, the Mercy Sisters said: "We acknowledge fully the limitations of the service we provided for these women when compared with today's standards and sincerely wish that it could have been different. We trust that the implications of the changed context are understood by the wider society."

None of the congregations have contributed to the restitution fund.

The Irish government's decision to overturn its exclusion of some women from the compensation program may ease some of the anger of the former Magdalene residents, said Katherine O'Donnell, spokeswoman for the Justice for Magdalenes research group. But the delay in compensating them left some wondering if the state was serious about righting the wrongs of the past, she said.

In an interview with Global Sisters Report, O'Donnell outlined several concerns with Department of Justice officials' administration of the compensation program. Women who formerly worked in the laundries, she explained, were not "given the full time allotted to them to recount their testimonies, and the word of a nun seemed to count for more," she said.

O'Donnell stressed that much more is needed to be done to bring closure to this painful part of the women's past.

"The Department of Justice was supposed to have a dedicated unit to help these women access all the kinds of services such as housing, health care, counselling, and they haven't done that. There is a myriad of ways in which they are reneging on the redress scheme," O'Donnell said.

The McAleese report was critical of the religious orders but also found evidence of substantial state involvement in the Magdalene system. This finding led then Prime Minister Enda Kenny to apologize in 2013 in the Irish Parliament on behalf of the state.

The report documented involuntary detention at the laundries and a failure to inform the women and girls why they were being detained or when they might be released. The median duration of stay according to the report was about seven months, but in many cases it was much longer. It noted that the women were stripped of their identities, unpaid and forced to work constantly. They were denied education and contact with the outside world, and some were subjected to humiliating and degrading punishments.

Yet the report also noted that "a large majority of the women who shared their stories with the committee said that they had neither experienced nor seen other girls or women suffer physical abuse."

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Mac Donald is a freelance journalist based in Dublin.

 

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By EAGLE RIVER, Alaska (CNS) -- St. Andrew Parish in Eagle River, 10 miles from the epicenter of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that shook the region Nov. 30, is facing steep repair bills as it suffered the greatest damage of any church in the Archdiocese of Anchorage.The cost to fully repair the building will exceed the parish's insurance deductible of about $650,000, according to Father Arthur Roraff, parochial administrator at St. Andrew, who noted that the repair bill could approach $1 million.The parish has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for the repair costs.Despite the damage, the situation could have been worse. The day the earthquake hit, Nov. 30, is also the feast of St. Andrew. Instead of having its usual 9 a.m. Mass, Father Roraff moved the Mass time to 7 p.m. to allow more people to attend. The quake struck at 8:29 a.m. "Many more people would have been in the church preparing, greatly increasing the possibility of injury or worse," Father Roraff...

By

EAGLE RIVER, Alaska (CNS) -- St. Andrew Parish in Eagle River, 10 miles from the epicenter of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that shook the region Nov. 30, is facing steep repair bills as it suffered the greatest damage of any church in the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

The cost to fully repair the building will exceed the parish's insurance deductible of about $650,000, according to Father Arthur Roraff, parochial administrator at St. Andrew, who noted that the repair bill could approach $1 million.

The parish has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for the repair costs.

Despite the damage, the situation could have been worse. The day the earthquake hit, Nov. 30, is also the feast of St. Andrew. Instead of having its usual 9 a.m. Mass, Father Roraff moved the Mass time to 7 p.m. to allow more people to attend. The quake struck at 8:29 a.m. "Many more people would have been in the church preparing, greatly increasing the possibility of injury or worse," Father Roraff wrote on the parish's GoFundMe page.

The damage was bad enough to the 12-year-old church as it was. Chandeliers crashed to the floor, statues were smashed to pieces, stained-glass art shattered, whole pieces of Sheetrock fell from high above the pews, and furnace boiler pipes separated, spewing compounds all over the floor. The roof drain also pulled away from the wall, causing rain and water to damage the office area, and a three-quarter-inch crack opened up the floor in front of the sanctuary, running across the entire nave of the church.

The parish still has $5 million to go before it pays off the construction debt on the church.

"Despite substantial damage to our beautiful church building, the church's structural engineer determined that the structure was still safe to occupy, so we continued with our St. Andrew's Day Mass that evening," Father Roraff wrote. Mass was celebrated in the church's narthex instead, but in candlelight and with worshippers wearing their winter coats because the electricity and heat were still out.

Electricity was restored before midnight Nov. 30, and the heat was back on before the regular weekend Mass schedule Dec. 1, Father Roraff reported.

More than 100 parishioners descended upon the church Dec. 1 to clear away the debris and make the church usable for weekend Masses, according to Father Roraff.

The GoFundMe campaign -- https://bit.ly/2RrAIh7 -- still has some ways to go. St. Andrew set the goal at $650,000 -- the cost of the deductible -- when the campaign page was launched Dec. 18. At midday Jan. 2, 41 donors had contributed $6,505.

 

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IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians are not better than other people, but they do know that God is their father and they are called "to reflect a ray of his goodness in this world thirsting for goodness, waiting for good news," Pope Francis said.Leading his first general audience of 2019, the pope continued a series of talks he has been giving about the Lord's Prayer. But he also welcomed artists from CirCuba, the national circus of Cuba, who were performing in Rome over the holidays.One of the performers even had a very willing pope help him with his act by balancing a spinning ball on his finger. At the end of the audience Jan. 2, the pope praised the performers for their hard work and for the way they lift people's spirits with their shows.In his main audience talk, Pope Francis explained how the Gospel of Matthew presents the Lord's Prayer as part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, which also includes the Eight Beatitudes.Proclaimin...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians are not better than other people, but they do know that God is their father and they are called "to reflect a ray of his goodness in this world thirsting for goodness, waiting for good news," Pope Francis said.

Leading his first general audience of 2019, the pope continued a series of talks he has been giving about the Lord's Prayer. But he also welcomed artists from CirCuba, the national circus of Cuba, who were performing in Rome over the holidays.

One of the performers even had a very willing pope help him with his act by balancing a spinning ball on his finger. At the end of the audience Jan. 2, the pope praised the performers for their hard work and for the way they lift people's spirits with their shows.

In his main audience talk, Pope Francis explained how the Gospel of Matthew presents the Lord's Prayer as part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, which also includes the Eight Beatitudes.

Proclaiming the beatitudes, the pope said, Jesus affirms the blessedness and happiness of "a series of categories of people, who -- in his time, but also in ours -- are not particularly esteemed. Blessed are the poor, the meek, the merciful, the humble of heart. This is the revolution of the Gospel! Where the Gospel is, there is revolution because the Gospel does not leave things as they were."

With the beatitudes, he said, Jesus is telling people that those "who carry in their hearts the mystery of a God who revealed his omnipotence in love and pardon" are those who come closest to understanding him.

The core of the Sermon on the Mount, he said, is: "You are sons and daughters of your Father who is in heaven," which is why Jesus then teaches the crowd to pray the Our Father.

Summarizing his talk in Spanish, Pope Francis said, "God does not want to be appeased with long streams of adulation, as the pagans did to win the benevolence of the deity; it is enough to talk to him like a father who knows what we need before we even tell him."

"The Christian is not someone who tries to be better than others, but one who knows he or she is a sinner," the pope said. A Christian knows how to stand before God with awe, to call upon him as Father and try to reflect his goodness in the world.

Jesus urges his followers not to be like the hypocrites who pray just to be seen, the pope said. "How often have we seen the scandal of those people who go to church, spend the whole day there or go every day and then they live hating others or speaking badly of others -- this is a scandal. It would be better not to go to church."

"If you go to church, live like a child (of God) and like a brother or sister" to others, Pope Francis said.

In teaching the Our Father, Jesus was helping his followers learn the essence of prayer and the importance of not thinking that using more words makes for a better prayer, he said. "The pagans thought that by speaking, speaking, speaking, they were praying."

Praying isn't like being "a parrot," who repeats an endless stream of words, the pope said. "No, praying comes from the heart, from inside."

"It even could be a silent prayer," he said. "Basically, it is enough to put yourself under God's gaze, recognize his fatherly love -- and that's enough to be heard."

"How beautiful it is to think that our God does not need sacrifices to win his favor. He needs nothing," the pope said. "He asks only that we keep open a channel of communication with him to discover continually that we are his beloved children."

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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