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Notre-Dame's first Mass since fire to be said Saturday

Paris, France, Jun 12, 2019 / 03:28 pm (CNA).- The first Mass in Notre-Dame de Paris since the cathedral's April fire will be said Saturday evening in a side chapel that houses the crown of thorns.

The June 15 Mass will be of the feast of the dedication of Notre-Dame, which is held June 16. It will be said by Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris.

“It is very important to be able to make the world aware that the role of the cathedral is to show the glory of God,” said Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, rector of the cathedral.

“Celebrating the Eucharist on that day, even in very small groups, will be the sign of this glory and grace,” he told La Croix International.

About 20 people will assist at the Mass, including canons of the cathedral and other priests. They will be expected to wear hard hats for safety.

Vespers may be held beforehand in the square in front of the cathedral, where a Marian shrine will soon be set up.

A fire broke out in the cathedral shortly before 7 pm April 15. The roof and the spire, which dated to the 19th century, were destroyed. Shortly after midnight April 16, firefighters announced that the cathedral's main structure had been preserved from collapse.

The major religious and artistic treasures of the cathedral were removed as the fire began, including a relic of the crown of thorns.

Originally built between the twelfth through fourteenth centuries, the landmark cathedral in the French capital is one of the most recognizable churches in the world, receiving more than 12 million visitors each year.

The cathedral was undergoing some restorative work at the time the fire broke out, though it is unknown if the fire originated in the area of the work.

Officials had been in the process of a massive fundraising effort to renovate the cathedral against centuries of decay, pollution, and an inundation of visitors. French conservationists and the archdiocese announced in 2017 that the renovations needed for the building’s structural integrity could cost as much as $112 million to complete.

Last month the French Senate passed a bill mandating that Notre-Dame be rebuilt as it was before the fire. President Emmanuel Macron had called for “an inventive reconstruction” of the cathedral.

Since the adoption of the 1905 law on separation of church and state, which formalized laïcité (a strict form of public secularism), religious buildings in France have been property of the state.

Nicaraguan cardinal withholds judgement on amnesty law

Managua, Nicaragua, Jun 12, 2019 / 02:13 pm (CNA).- The results of a Nicaraguan law granting amnesty to both anti-government activists and security forces will determine whether the legislation is good for the country, the Archbishop of Managua has said.

Nicaragua's unicameral National Assembly passed the amnesty law June 8. Though it has allowed the release of a group of political prisoners, the law has been criticized by the opposition over fears it will also give impunity to troops and paramilitaries responsible for crimes and arbitrary arrests that have taken place during the past 14 months of protests.

The law also requires those released to refrain from future protests.

Fifty-six activists were released June 11, and 50 protesters June 10. The government has detained more than 700 in connection with the protests.

Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano of Managua commented June 9: “I'm just thinking of a text in Saint Matthew and Saint Luke: 'By their fruits you will know them.' I think there have been a lot of amnesties that have been given in Nicaragua, and here we would have to evaluate what fruits they have borne.”

He added that it will be the implementation of the law that will end up vindicating the detractors or defenders of this legislation. However, he said that more time “ would have been helpful” to deliberate calmly “such an important law like amnesty.”

“That all the prisoners are getting out is a joy for the families because they're waiting for them to return. Now we're going to see how this law will be implemented and hopefully it won't be to their detriment, and that all detainees can live freely in their country,” Cardinal Brenes reflected.

Anti-government protests in Nicaragua began in April 2018. They have resulted in more than 320 deaths, and the country’s bishops mediated on-again, off-again peace talks until they broke down that June.

A new round of dialogue began in February, but the opposition has made the timely release of all protesters a condition of its resumption.

Nicaragua’s crisis began last year after president Daniel Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protestors were killed by security forces.

The pension reforms which triggered the unrest were modest, but protests quickly turned to Ortega’s authoritarian bent.

Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014.

The Church had suggested that elections, which are not scheduled until 2021, be held this year, but Ortega has ruled this out.

Ortega was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.

U.S. Catholic Bishops Approve in a Provisional Vote Strategic Priorities for the 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan. Bishops Also Approve the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Perm

BALTIMORE— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved several action items today at their Spring General Assembly taking place in Baltimore, June 11-13.

The full body of bishops approved in a provisional vote of 213 to 8 with 4 abstentions the proposed, provisional Strategic Priorities for the 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan.

The Bishops also approved the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, 2nd edition, for use in the dioceses of the United States by a vote of 217 to 5 with 2 abstentions; and a new translation of the ritual book used for the Ordination of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons for use in the dioceses of the United States of America. The Latin Church members of USCCB voted by the necessary two-thirds majority to approve the text.

The USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans (CPP), based on two recent consultations with the body of bishops and one with the National Advisory Council (NAC), developed the 2021-24 Strategic Priorities. These two consultations with the body of bishops consisted of Regional Meeting questions at the November 2018 General Meeting wherein regions provided inputs on the Strategic Priorities for the 2021-24 Strategic Plan; and a Strategic Priorities Survey in January 2019 asking all bishops to further refine and prioritize the November 2018 regional meeting inputs; the National Advisory Council (NAC) also provided their inputs in January 2019 through a similar Strategic Priorities survey. The development of supporting 2021-24 Operational Plans by USCCB Committees, Subcommittees and Departments, which together make up the proximate 2021-24 Strategic Plan, will commence in July 2019.

The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, 2nd edition, fulfills the prescriptions of canon 236 of the Code of Canon Law and n.15 of the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis diaconorum permanentium to ensure unity, earnestness, and completeness in the formation, life, and ministry of permanent deacons in the United States. In September 2017, the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) approved the National Directory, 2nd edition, and submitted it for review to the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance (CACG) and the Committee on Doctrine. In June 2018, after adopting the recommendations of the Doctrine and CACG Committees, the CCLV Committee approved the National Directory and recommended to present it to the body of bishops in the General Assembly session in November 2018, but the Administrative Committee decided to postpone the discussion and vote. This year 2019, the Administrative Committee approved the inclusion of the National Directory on the June 2019 General Assembly agenda for discussion and vote.

The Latin Church members of USCCB also voted today by the necessary two-thirds majority to approve the Ordination of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. It now requires a confirmation of the decision (confirmatio) by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments before it can be published and used in the liturgy. Since Bishops in English-speaking countries around the world have been using a variety of translations of this text for their celebrations of Ordination, the Holy See expressed a desire for greater worldwide unity in these important ceremonies.

This new translation was prepared by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) with input from the international community. While the new text is not drastically different from what is currently used in the U.S., it does update the book to some degree, and the positive vote of the Bishops indicates their desire for an up-to-date text and their support for the Holy See’s perspective on the value of worldwide consistency. The bishops of Canada have already approved the same text, and today’s vote of the U.S. body of bishops suggests that the hopes of the Holy See are already bearing fruit. Depending on the speed with which the confirmatio is received, the new book might be in print and available for use as early as 2020, though the approval and publication process could take more time.


Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Spring General Assembly, Baltimore, Strategic Priorities 2021-2024, Strategic Plan, Committee on Priorities and Plans, National Advisory Council, National Directory, Formation, Ministry, Life, Permanent Deacons, Clergy, Consecrated Life, Vocations, ICEL Gray Book, ordination, bishops, priests, deacons, Divine Worship, liturgy



Media Contact:

Judy Keane


U.S. Bishops Conduct Canonical Consultation on Cause for Canonization of the Servant of God Irving (a.k.a., Francis) C. Houle

BALTIMORE— At their annual spring Plenary Assembly in Baltimore, MD, the U.S Bishops participated in a consultation on the cause for canonization of the Servant of God Irving (a.k.a., Francis) C. Houle.
Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop John F. Doerfler, Bishop of Marquette, Michigan, facilitated the discussion. By a voice vote, the bishops indicated support for the advancement of the cause on the diocesan level.

Irving C. Houle was born December 27, 1925 at his family home in Wilson, Michigan. His parents were Peter and Lillian Houle. They were faithful Catholics who raised seven children, six boys and one girl. Irving was the sixth child. All of Irving’s siblings have also died.

As a young child Irving recalled his family praying the rosary together, especially during Lent. Even then he felt a calling to suffer for Jesus. He recalled that his family would remain after Mass to pray the Stations of the Cross. In addition to Mass, the Station of the Cross and the rosary, in later years the Divine Mercy Chaplet was part of his daily prayer.

At the age of 6, Irving was badly injured when he was thrown from the back of a galloping horse. He suffered a severe chest injury. He was taken to a hospital in Escanaba, Michigan, where x-rays revealed the broken ribs and punctured lung. In addition, he was hemorrhaging badly through the nose and mouth. A local newspaper clipping reported the injuries as believed to be fatal.

Irving had an aunt who was a Franciscan Sister by the name of Sister Speciosa. She and the Sisters at the convent prayed an all-night vigil for his recovery. The next morning the doctor at the hospital was amazed to find that Irving had improved significantly and was no longer struggling to breathe. Irving related to his mother and the doctor that a “beautiful man in a white bathrobe” had stood at the foot of his bed during the night and raised his hand over him. Later in life, Irving would tell those close to him that he knows it was Jesus.

He married his wife Gail on November 17, 1948, and they were married for 60 years. They raised five children.

On Good Friday, 1993, it is said that Irving received the stigmata, at which point his healing ministry began. The wounds first appeared on the palms of his hands and he began to experience physical sufferings. He suffered The Passion every night between midnight and 3:00a.m. for the rest of his earthly life. He understood that these particular hours of the day were times of great sins of the flesh. Irving heard the voice of Jesus asking Irving to heal “my children.” Irving spent the last 16 years of his life doing just that, praying over tens of thousands of people.

Many of the people he encountered have spoken of extraordinary physical and spiritual healings they experienced when Irving prayed over them. He always made it clear that the healing came from God. He would simply say, “I don’t heal anybody” and “Jesus is the one who heals.”

Irving died at Marquette General Hospital in Marquette, Michigan, on Saturday, January 3, 2009. He will be remembered for his love of God, his closeness to Jesus and the Blessed Mother, his love for the Eucharist, the Church, prayer, and his care and concern for others.

In the life of Irving Houle, we see the extraordinary grace of God at work in an ordinary, simple man who offered his life in love for the Lord and others. Over the years, Irving’s generous response to simple sufferings disposed his heart to make of his life a generous outpouring of love expressed in prayer and suffering for the conversion of others. In general, the effects of Irving’s ministry, clearly increased greatly the faith of the people with whom he came into contact, and devotion to him continues to grow more and more everyday throughout the Diocese of Marquette.  
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Irving (a.k.a., Francis) C. Houle, Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, Bishop John F. Doerfler, Diocese of Marquette, canonical consultation, canonization, Cause for Canonization

Media Contact:
Judy Keane


Mexican bishops concerned by US-Mexico immigration agreement

Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 11, 2019 / 03:03 pm (CNA).- The Mexican bishops' conference expressed its concern Monday about the immigration and tariffs agreement reached between the governments of the United States and Mexico.

Mexico has agreed to take measures to reduce the number of migrants to the US, in order to avoid tariffs being imposed.

Some 6,000 National Guard troops will be assigned to Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, and some asylum seekers in the US will be sent to Mexico to wait while their claims are processed.

The Mexican bishops' conference expressed “its concern for the lack of a truly humanitarian reception for our migrant brothers which reflects our convictions regarding the equal recognition and protection of the rights of all human beings” in a June 10 statement.

“Deploying 6,000 National Guard troops on the southern border is not a fundamental solution that addresses the true causes of the migration phenomenon. The fight against poverty and inequality in Mexico and Central America seems to be replaced by fear of the other, our brother,” the bishops said.

“If we as Mexicans have rejected the construction of a wall, we ourselves can't become that wall,” they added.

For the bishops' conference “it is completely legitimate and necessary to make courageous decisions to avoid the imposition of tariffs on Mexican products traded with the United States.” Nevertheless, the bishops said, “our migrant brothers must never be a bargaining chip.”

The Church will continue to be committed “without hesitation to provide migrants with the humanitarian aid they require in their transit through our national territory,” the said.

“And so we express our respect and gratitude to the thousands of men and women of the Catholic Church, other churches, and civil society, who for decades have defended, at the risk of their lives, the fundamental rights of migrants in Mexico, the United States, and Central America.”

Bishop Alfonso Gerardo Miranda Guardiola, auxiliary bishop of Monterrey and secretary general of the Mexican bishops' conference, told CNA that the Church's care for migrants continues “both in Tapachula, particularly at the entrance point into Mexico, and the country's north, as well as in all the migrant centers that we have, thanks be to God, provided throughout the national territory.”

“They remain full to the brim and the assistance continues day by day,” Bishop Miranda noted.

He lamented that “this feeling and this attitude of xenophobia, of rejection of the migrant, has arisen in many Mexicans.”

“An anti-immigrant climate or a climate of the criminalization of the migrant has arisen in many parts of Mexico, as if they all were thieves or evildoers.”

For the prelate, it is clear that out of a country “come all kinds of people, but there is a factor at the origin which has to do with violence, poverty and the lack of opportunities, on the levels of education and jobs and also driven by threats from criminal gangs.”

For the Church, he recalled, to assist migrants is to follow “the direct command of Jesus.”

“Even today, in today's Mass, there are the Beatitudes. That's our creed, that's our doctrine, by which we govern our actions: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, no matter if it's a migrant or a Mexican.”

“It is a person suffering need, so we extend a hand,” he said.

Bishop Miranda pointed out that the causes of migration and how governments address them “are not the Church's direct responsibility, that belongs to the governments, the international organizations.”

“The Church, Christians, when we see a brother suffering, who's hurting, we can't be indifferent, we can't deprive him of his rights.”

The bishop also emphasized that neither Mexico nor the United States are isolated from the migration problem, and he encouraged “a dialogue, negotiations, international agreements in which large scale solutions are sought.”

If they are not resolved on a global level, he said, “we're just going to patch up the problems but not provide fundamental solutions.”

As to what pertains to the Church, he added, “it will not cease to do its work on the individual level, the family level, on the level of persons. But politics, in the highest sense of the term, does not just look to the common good of the nation, but also the international, global common good.”

“Sooner or later the repercussions will be global and sooner or later any country that closes itself up is going to suffer the inescapable consequences, because we are all connected,”  he concluded.

Order of Malta leader restricts use of extraordinary form within order

Rome, Italy, Jun 11, 2019 / 09:01 am (CNA).- The recently installed head of the Knights of Malta directed Monday that all liturgical ceremonies within the community must use the ordinary, and not the extraordinary, form of the Roman rite.

“I have thus decided, as supreme guarantor of the cohesion and communion of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem of which Providence made me Grand Master, that henceforth all the liturgical ceremonies within our Order must be performed according to the ordinary rite of the Church (rite of St. Paul VI) and not the extraordinary rite (Tridentine rite),” Fra' Giacomo Dalla Torre wrote in a June 10 letter to the order.

“This decision applies to all the official liturgical celebrations such as investitures, masses [sic] during our pilgrimages, memorial masses, [sic] as well as the feasts and solemnities of the Order.”

Dalla Torre was elected grand master of the Knights of Malta in May 2018, after serving as interim leader for a little over a year.

His appointment as interim grand master was part of ongoing reform of leadership after the Knights’ former grand master, Matthew Festing, resigned at Pope Francis' request Jan. 24, 2017.

Festing’s resignation in early 2017 had marked the end of a month-long back and forth between the Order of Malta and the Holy See, beginning with the forced dismissal of Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager from both his position and his membership in the order in early December 2016. Boeselager, whose brother Georg von Boeselager was appointed a member of the Board of Superintendents of the IOR in 2016, was reinstated after Festing was pressured to resign.

Boeselager had been dismissed because of allegations that under his tenure the order's charity branch  had inadvertently been involved in distributing condoms in Burma to prevent the spread of HIV.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is a Catholic lay religious order originally founded as the Knights Hospitaller around 1099 in Jerusalem. Now based in Rome, it is present in 120 countries with over 2,000 projects in the medical-social field and more than 120,000 volunteers and medical staff.

Dalla Torre said that as religious superior, it is his duty to ensure that “the communion that unites all the members of our religious family” is “present in every aspect of our Order's life.”

“Among all the elements which constitute our spiritual life, the question of the liturgy to use in our celebrations has a particular significance.”

He wrote that “As you all know, Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificium, [sic] albeit leaving every priest the freedom to celebrate privately in an extraordinary form, nevertheless states that inside a religious institute the matter is to be decided by the Major Superior according to the norm of law and their particular statues (Summorum Pontificium, [sic] art. 3).”

Summorum Pontificum states that “If communities of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, whether of pontifical or diocesan right, wish to celebrate the conventual or community Mass in their own oratories according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, they are permitted to do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to have such celebrations frequently, habitually or permanently, the matter is to be decided by the Major Superiors according to the norm of law and their particular laws and statutes.”

Dalla Torre asked that all members of the Knights be informed of the decision, in particular the head chaplains, so that it may be respected.

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Activities Committee Applauds AMA’s Action Reaffirming Opposition to Physician-Assisted Suicide

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates voted by a 2 to 1 margin to affirm its longstanding opposition to physician-assisted suicide. Following the vote, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following statement:

“We strongly applaud today’s action by the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates to reaffirm its policy against physician-assisted suicide. The practice and promotion of assisted suicide poses grave consequences for our entire society but particularly for persons living with illness, disabilities, or socioeconomic disadvantages. The AMA was right to reaffirm its longstanding view that physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.”

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, American Medical Association, House of Delegates physician-assisted suicide, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities

Media Contact
Judy Keane


President of U.S. Bishops Conference Appoints Three New Members of National Review Board for the Chapter for Protection of Children and Young People

BALTIMORE— Three new members have been appointed to serve on the National Review Board (NRB) by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  

The NRB advises the bishops' committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, and the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at the USCCB. The NRB was established by the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, which the bishops adopted in 2002.

As Cardinal DiNardo said in a letter sent to all newly appointed members, "The bishops are very grateful to the Board for the work that it does and believe that it has been a tremendous help with the continued healing of the Church and protection efforts. The prudent counsel that the Board has provided has been beneficial to so many as we continue to establish cultures of protection and healing.”

The three new NRB members include those with expertise in law, victim advocacy and theology and they are as follows:

Elizabeth A. Hayden is a retired District Court Judge for the State of Minnesota. She is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict with a degree in Social Work. While working in that field, she held positions in a psychiatric hospital, county social services and the State Dept. of residential licensing. She received her law degree from Oklahoma City University. Subsequently, she served as a prosecutor in the office the Stearns County Attorney for six years before being appointed a District Court Judge. In her more than 23 years as a judge she presided over criminal, civil and family law cases and trials including many sexual abuse cases. She served as Chair of the MN Supreme Court Committee on the General Rules of Practice which led to a change in MN law to allow cameras in the courtroom. 

After being appointed by the MN Supreme Court, she served on a three-judge panel that presided over the U.S. Senate election contest of Norm Coleman vs. Al Franken. Judge Hayden was President of the Minnesota District Judges Association. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the College of St. Benedict and is currently a member of the Board of Governors of St. Thomas University School of Law. She is also a Trustee for St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud MN. Appointed by Bishop Donald Kettler she has been on the Diocesan Review Board for the Diocese of St. Cloud and is serving her second term as Chair of that Board. As a member of the CentraCare Health Foundation Board, she chairs the Grants Committee. Judge Hayden and her husband, retired Judge Charles A. Flinn live in St. Cloud MN. 
John N. Sheveland is Professor of Religious Studies and the current Flannery Chair of Catholic theology at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA., where he teaches courses on Christian theology, interreligious dialogue, and religion and violence. He holds a doctorate in systematic and comparative theology from Boston College, a master’s degree in Christian theology from Yale Divinity School, and a bachelor’s degree in history and theology from the University of Portland. His current areas of research and writing include theological reflection upon traumatic wounding and upon religious violence. At Gonzaga he organizes the annual lecture series called Being Religious Inter-religiously which advances the Jesuit commitment to interreligious dialogue.  

He received in 2013 a Faculty Diversity Leadership Award and in 2015 an Exemplary Faculty Award from Gonzaga University. He serves on the boards of the College Theology Society and the Society of Buddhist-Christian Studies, the steering committee of the Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, the advisory board of the Currents of Encounter monograph series with Brill and is a book review editor for Horizons. His research articles have appeared in a variety of academic journals and scholarly books, and he is the author of Piety and Responsibility (Ashgate/Routledge, 2011 (2017 2nd edition).

Belinda G. Taylor served as the first Victim Assistance Coordinator on contract for the Diocese of Amarillo for sixteen years and worked with three Bishops over the course of nineteen years. She served on the Bishop’s Advisory Committee and Review Board to address issues related to clergy misconduct and sexual abuse of minors by priests. Prior to retiring in 2018, Mrs. Taylor established and operated a private counseling practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor working with child and adult victims of sexual abuse, as well as providing individual, family, and play therapy. In 2003, Mrs. Taylor established an ongoing therapy support group for victims abused by clergy which allowed the group to create a training video for clergy on the effects of abuse. Through these efforts, victims were invited to participate in clergy trainings and reconnect with their church communities.  
As a Texas Registered Sex Offender Treatment Provider, Mrs. Taylor provided thirteen years of ongoing treatment services for registered adolescent and adult sex offenders on probation or parole. In addition, Mrs. Taylor served as the Executive Director for fifteen years at a local non-profit community center providing an array of social services from early childhood education, afterschool programs, counseling, a senior citizen center, and numerous youth programs serving predominately low-income residents struggling in poverty. In 2010, Mrs. Taylor was awarded the ‘Friend of the Child’ Mayor’s Service Award. Mrs. Taylor continues to volunteer as a Safe Environment Trainer and serves on the Amarillo Bi-City-County Public Health Board. Together, she and her husband Wayne have spent their married life farming and ranching in the Texas Panhandle. They have four adult children, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Review Board, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Charter for Protection of Children and Young People.

Media Contact:
Judy Keane


U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for Catholic Education Welcomes the Release of Male and Female He Created Them

WASHINGTON—The Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for Catholic Education says he welcomes the release of the document: Male and Female He Created Them: TOWARDS A PATH OF DIALOGUE ON THE QUESTION OF GENDER THEORY IN EDUCATION by the Holy See’s Congregation for Catholic education.

Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, of the diocese of Oakland, notes that “in a difficult and complex issue, the clarity of Church teaching, rooted in the equal dignity of men and women as created by God, provides the light of truth and compassion that is most needed in our world today”.

The document outlines both theological and scientific truths about the human person and will serve as a solid framework for those engaged in the ministry of Catholic education. It can be found here:

Keywords: Committee for Catholic Education Male and Female He Created Them: TOWARDS A PATH OF DIALOGUE ON THE QUESTION OF GENDER THEORY IN EDUCATION, Holy See, Congregation for Catholic education, Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, dignity of men, dignity of women, Catholic education, light, truth, compassion, human person

Media Contact:
Judy Keane


More than a century later, Sagrada Familia gets building permit

Barcelona, Spain, Jun 10, 2019 / 04:01 pm (CNA).- After 137 years of ongoing construction, Barcelona's Sagrada Familia received a building permit Friday.

Construction on the basilica is expected to be completed in 2026.

Architect Antoni Gaudí began his work on Sagrada Familia in 1883, and in 1914 stopped all other projects to work exclusively on  the basilica, to which he dedicated himself until his death in 1926.

"It was a historical anomaly that La Sagrada Familia did not have a license," said Janet Sanz, deputy mayor for Ecology, Urbanism and Mobility, according to NPR.

"They were working on the church in a very irregular way," she said. "And we were very clear that, like everyone else, La Sagrada Familia should comply with the law."

A permit had been applied for in 1885, but the city’s council never responded to the application. Three years ago, the authorities discovered that the building did not have the proper paperwork.

La Sagrada Familia foundation purchased the building permit and signed a contract with the city June 7. It is the most expensive building permit in the city’s history, at about $5.1 million dollars.

Per the agreement, the city will be involved with the preservation and completion of the basilica. The foundation will also be co-responsible for the revenue the building brings to the city.

Though unfinished, Sagrada Familia was consecrated in 2010 by Benedict XVI.

The church receives about 4 million visitors per year. Under the contract, the foundation will not seek to increase the amount of the visitors. A new metro station will also be built to provide visitors with direct access to the church and to help decrease traffic in the surrounding area.

A date for the project’s completion has been set for 2026, 100 years after Gaudí died in a car accident. Since his death, the progress has been based off the artist's plaster models and copies of his drawings, which had been partially destroyed in a fire set during the Spanish Civil War, and which were later reconstructed.

The architect was a devout Catholic and has numerous modernist architectural pieces throughout Barcelona. His cause for canonization was opened in Rome in 2003.

 In 2005, Sagrada Familia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.