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Encore: Catholic schools called 'essential, integral' to church's ministry

IMAGE: CNS photo/Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review

By Sydney Clark

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The mission and foundation of Catholic education are directly related to evangelization, said the head of the National Catholic Educational Association.

Catholic schools are obligated to evangelize simply because that is the core and mission of the Catholic Church, according to Thomas Burnford, president and CEO of the NCEA.

"The apostles told the good news of Jesus Christ, and Catholic schools are an essential and integral ministry of the Catholic Church," he told Catholic News Service.

Nationwide, 1.8 million students are enrolled in 6,300 Catholic schools, he noted. Additionally, 80% of students are Catholic, and the remaining 20% are non-Catholic.

Despite the percentage difference, the mission of Catholic education is the same for Catholic and non-Catholic students, Burnford explained.

"The teaching of the faith, the way we witness the Catholic faith fully to Catholic students is the same for all students. All students are invited and welcomed to participate fully in the whole culture of the school, the formation of the school and the life of the school," Burnford said.

Evangelization is present within schools because students are presented with a Catholic worldview that reveals the reality of God and the Gospel through the curriculum, he said.

"In that way, we are evangelizing students by giving them a real understanding of the world and society. Everyone in a Catholic school is being moved along in the process of evangelization and outreach," Burnford said.

Acknowledging the inherent relationship between Catholic education and evangelization in the presence of faith, community and identity, Pope Francis in a June 2018 address said: "Schools and universities need to be consistent and show continuity between their foundational mission and the church's mission of evangelization."

He delivered the address to members of the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation, which he established in October 2015 at the invitation of the Congregation for Catholic Education to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Christian Education.

In that same address, Pope Francis proposed a challenge to members of the foundation, which aims to renew the church's dedication to Catholic education, saying: "To fulfill your mission, therefore, you must lay its foundations in a way consistent with our Christian identity, establish means appropriate for the quality of study and research and pursue goals in harmony with service to the common good."

Elisabeth Sullivan, executive director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, identified roles within Catholic schools that help bring Catholic and non-Catholic students together. "I think Catholic schools have a unique opportunity to provide hope in a world that is increasingly beset by hopelessness. A world without God is a world without hope," Sullivan said.

Sullivan believes that Catholic education is uniquely distinct from other education systems due to its long tradition of conveying the inherent and inseparable relationship between faith and reason. Consequently, Catholic schools "restore what the industrialized model of education has stripped from the classroom -- an understanding of the meaning and purpose of things," she told CNS.

Catholic education asks the deeper questions, regarding the nature of something and its purpose, according to Sullivan. "Secular education can't offer that, can't decide on a meaning or a purpose, so it has to stay away, and therefore, it's incomplete," she explained.

Mary Pat Donoghue, executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, expressed a similar viewpoint regarding evangelization efforts within Catholic schools. Donoghue said because formation in a Catholic school is integral, students are not solely taught religious doctrine in a religion course.

"What we seek to do is bring forward the church's intellectual tradition and form their minds in all of the content and areas that they study. This is an excellent tool of evangelization because it exposes kids not just to Catholic practices, regarding prayer and liturgy, but also to a Catholic understanding of reality."

Donoghue is hopeful that Catholic schools will continue to fulfill their mission of bringing children and young adults into a relationship with Christ.

As populations shift, she said, many Catholic schools will be located in new areas, creating a changing landscape. However, Donoghue said that Catholic education in America has been around for centuries and "will renew itself by turning toward the church's own tradition and that can be the way forward in the future."

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Update: Retired pope wants his name removed as co-author of book on celibacy

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- At the request of retired Pope Benedict XVI, his name will be removed as co-author of a book defending priestly celibacy, said Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican official who coordinated work on the book.

"Considering the polemics provoked by the publication of the book, 'From the Depths of Our Hearts,' it has been decided that the author of the book for future editions will be Cardinal Sarah, with the contribution of Benedict XVI," Cardinal Sarah tweeted Jan. 14.

"However," he said, "the full text remains absolutely unchanged."

The tweeted announcement came only a few hours after Cardinal Sarah had issued a formal statement accusing people of slandering him by saying that while Pope Benedict may have contributed notes or an essay to the book, he was not co-author of it.

Archbishop Georg Ganswein, personal secretary to Pope Benedict, phoned several German news agencies and spoke with the Reuters news agency Jan. 14, saying the retired pope had requested that his name be removed as co-author of the book, its introduction and its conclusion. The archbishop confirmed that the book's first chapter, attributed to Pope Benedict, was the work of the retired pope.

Since marriage and priesthood both demand the total devotion and self-giving of a man to his vocation, "it does not seem possible to realize both vocations simultaneously," retired Pope Benedict wrote in his essay.

The French newspaper Le Figaro published excerpts of the book late Jan. 12 and, almost immediately, some people began questioning just how much of the work actually was written by the 92-year-old former pope.

The introduction and conclusion were attributed jointly to the retired pope and to Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; the book has two other chapters, one attributed to each of them alone.

The book was to be published in French Jan. 15 and in English Feb. 20 by Ignatius Press.

In a statement Jan. 14, Ignatius Press indicated its edition would still credit Pope Benedict as co-author.

The correspondence released by Cardinal Sarah indicate he and Pope Benedict "collaborated on this book for several months," the Ignatius Press statement said. "A joint work as defined by the Chicago Manual of Style is 'a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contribution be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole,'" therefore, "Ignatius Press considers this a coauthored publication."

Given Pope Benedict's declining health and energy, many questions were raised about just how much of what was attributed to him was written by him and about the decision to list "Benedict XVI" as co-author of the book, rather than "Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI," the form he used for his series of books on Jesus of Nazareth.

At the end of a day of questions and accusations posted on Twitter, Cardinal Sarah tweeted early Jan. 14: "Attacks seem to imply a lie on my part. These defamations are of exceptional gravity."

And, as "the first proofs of my close collaboration with Benedict XVI to write this text in favor of celibacy," he tweeted photographs of correspondence from the retired pontiff.

In the first letter, dated Sept. 20, Pope Benedict said that before receiving a letter from Cardinal Sarah dated Sept. 5, he already had "begun to write a reflection on priesthood. But while writing I increasingly felt my energies would no longer allow me to edit a theological text."

"Then your letter arrived with the unexpected request for a text precisely on priesthood with particular attention to celibacy," the retired pope continued. "So, I took up my work again and will send you the text when it is translated from German into Italian. I will leave it up to you to decide if these notes, whose inadequacy I strongly feel, can have some usefulness."

In a brief note posted by Cardinal Sarah and dated Oct. 12, Pope Benedict wrote that "finally I can send you my thoughts on the priesthood. I leave it up to you if you can find some usefulness in my poor thoughts."

In a formal statement released Jan. 14, Cardinal Sarah said that after meeting Pope Benedict Sept. 5, he wrote to the retired pope saying that with debate about mandatory priestly celibacy already begun before the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, he realized Pope Benedict might not think the timing was right for him to intervene on the subject because of "the polemics it could provoke in the newspapers."

Nevertheless, the cardinal said, he believed a contribution from Pope Benedict would be a gift to the whole church and "could be published at Christmas or at the beginning of 2020."

Cardinal Sarah said Pope Benedict gave him "a long text" on Oct. 12 and he realized that rather than publishing it in a journal or magazine, it would be more appropriate as part of a book.

"I immediately proposed to the pope emeritus integrating his own text and mine for the publication of a book that would be an immense good for the church," the cardinal said.

After several exchanges, he said, on Nov. 19 he sent "a complete manuscript to the pope emeritus comprising, as we had decided by mutual agreement, the cover, an introduction and a common conclusion, the text of Benedict XVI and my own text."

The cardinal tweeted a photo of a letter dated Nov. 25 in which Pope Benedict thanked him "for the text added to my contribution and for the whole elaboration you have done."

"For my part, the text can be published in the form you envisaged," Pope Benedict added.

The chapter attributed to Pope Benedict is about 25 pages long, including a six-page reprint of the homily he gave at the chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in March 2008 on the meaning of "being a priest of Jesus Christ," specifically in standing in the presence of God and serving him. The homily did not mention celibacy.

In a chapter originally attributed to both the retired pope and the cardinal, they said the book resulted from an exchange of "ideas and our concerns," particularly related to the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, which heard repeated calls for considering the ordination of married elders to serve far-flung communities and provide greater access to the Eucharist and other sacraments.

Pope Francis' response to the requests of the synod is expected early in the year. Observers noted how unusual it was for the retired pope to intervene publicly on an issue the reigning pope is considering.

Cardinal Sarah and Pope Benedict seemed to recognize how unusual the move was, but the introduction said, "'Silere non possum!' I cannot be silent!"

The introduction said the two offered their reflections "in a spirit of love for the unity of the church" and in "a spirit of filial obedience to Pope Francis."

In a separate interview with Le Figaro, Cardinal Sarah said: "If this book is a cry, it's a cry of love for the church, the pope, the priests and all Christians. We want this book to be read as widely as possible. The crisis facing the church is striking."

According to the published excerpts, the chapter signed by Pope Benedict noted how today many people assume the gradual adoption of the discipline of priestly celibacy was a result of "contempt for corporeality and sexuality." The error of that thinking, he said, is demonstrated by the church's high view of the sacrament of marriage.

And, while acknowledging that celibacy has not always been a requirement for priesthood, he said that married priests were expected to abstain from sexual relations with their wives.

Renouncing marriage "to place oneself totally at the disposition of the Lord became a criterion for priestly ministry," he said.

The published excerpts did not discuss the continuing practice of ordaining married men in the Eastern Catholic churches nor the exceptions granted by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict to married former ministers of the Anglican Communion and other Christian denominations who become Catholic.

Last January, speaking to reporters flying back from Panama with him, Pope Francis said, "Personally, I believe that celibacy is a gift to the church."

"I'm not in agreement with allowing optional celibacy," he said. "A phrase St. Paul VI said comes to mind: 'I would rather give my life than to change the law on celibacy.'"

However, he did say "there could be some possibility" of ordaining married men in very remote locations where there are Catholic communities that seldom have Mass because there are no priests. But, even for that situation, much study would need to be done.

Responding to journalists' questions Jan. 13, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said, "the position of the Holy Father on celibacy is known," and he quoted the pope's comments to journalists last January.

But Bruni also included Pope Francis' statement that "some possibility" could exist for exceptions in remote areas "when there is a pastoral necessity. There, the pastor must think of the faithful."

In addition, Bruni noted that when Pope Francis addressed members at the end of the synod in October, he said he was pleased that "we have not fallen prisoner to these selective groups that from the synod only want to see what was decided on one or another intra-ecclesial point" while ignoring all the work the synod did in analyzing the problems, challenges and hopes on the pastoral, cultural, social and ecological levels.

 

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Copyright © 2020 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 [email protected]

Archbishop Ganswein: Benedict XVI wrote text, but did not agree to be book's co-author

Vatican City, Jan 14, 2020 / 05:58 am (CNA).- Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the private secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, said Tuesday the former pontiff was not informed he would be presented as co-author of a new book on priestly celibacy and that Benedict has asked for his name and photo to be removed from the cover.

According to the German-language news agency KNA, Ganswein said Jan. 14 that he had called Cardinal Robert Sarah that morning, at Benedict’s request, to ask the book’s publisher to remove the signature of the pope emeritus from the introduction and conclusion, because he had not co-authored them.

Ganswein said that the chapter in the main part of the book is, however, “100 percent Benedict,” according to KNA. “It was a misunderstanding - without questioning Cardinal Sarah’s good intentions,” Ganswein said.

The book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” is to be released in the United States in February, and will consist of chapters written individually by Benedict and Sarah, as well as an introduction and conclusion reportedly credited jointly to them in the French edition, although the text has not yet been published. Its French release is scheduled for Jan. 15.

Ganswein said that Benedict wrote the text on priestly celibacy included in the book during the summer of 2019, that he freely gave it to Cardinal Sarah at his request, and that he knew it would appear in a book. He said the pope emeritus was not informed of the plan for the actual form and layout, according to KNA.

Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Vatican’s liturgy office, sent a tweet in the early afternoon in Rome Jan. 14 saying future editions of the book will list him alone as author with a contribution by Benedict XVI, “however, the full text remains absolutely unchanged.”

Approximately two hours prior, Sarah had tweeted a communique claiming Benedict was sent a “complete manuscript” of the book on November 19, comprised of the cover, the common introduction and conclusion, and their individual texts, which would seem to be at odds with Ganswein's statement.

In the same statement, Sarah said Benedict sent a message November 25 agreeing for the manuscript to be published in the form proposed.

Cardinal Sarah then retweeted the same communique later in the afternoon, stating that "This press release remains my one and only version of the development of the facts."

The previous day, on January 13, Sarah tweeted a series of letters from Benedict XVI, that seemed to affirm that the pope emeritus wrote the chapter attributed to him and authorized its publication. The letters also seemed to indicate that Sarah had edited the text provided by Benedict, with the pope emeritus’s full approval.

In the book, Benedict and Sarah argue that priestly celibacy is not merely an optional feature of Church life today, but an ontological necessity for the priesthood.

Benedict’s chapter in the book examines the history of the priesthood in the Old and New Testaments, saying that a proper understanding of the nature of the priesthood is crucial in answering contemporary questions about the priesthood.
 

Cardinal Sarah: Claim that Benedict did not co-author book on celibacy is 'defamation' of 'exceptional gravity'

Vatican City, Jan 13, 2020 / 02:56 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Robert Sarah said Monday that claims Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did not co-author with him a new book on priestly celibacy are “defamations of exceptional gravity.”

The publisher of the book told CNA that critics suggesting that the pope emeritus did not co-author the book, or authorize its publication, are wrong.

“Are these people really implying that Cardinal Sarah is involved in a conspiracy to distort the truth?” Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, editor-in-chief of Ignatius Press, asked Jan. 13.

“If Cardinal Sarah is telling [Ignatius Press] that the chapters from Pope Benedict are from Pope Benedict, we take his word for it,” Fessio said, adding that the publisher stands by its attribution of the book to both Sarah and Benedict.

The priest’s comments were a response to a tweet from Eva Fernandez, Vatican correspondent for COPE Radio, a radio station owned by the Spanish bishops’ conference.

 

Una fuente muy cercana a #BenedictoXVI asegura que él no ha escrito el libro “a 4 manos” junto al cardenal Sarah y que no ha dado su autorización a que se publicara.
Tan sólo le facilitó un escrito sobre el sacerdocio en el que estaba trabajando.
Lo contamos en @linternacope pic.twitter.com/lq1mPLow6g

— Eva Fernández (@evaenlaradio) January 13, 2020
Fernandez tweeted that “a source” close to Benedict XVI had told her that Benedict did not write the book with Sarah, or give authorization for its publication.

Fernandez said that Benedict “only made available a text about the priesthood on which he was working.”

Fessio, a long-time friend of the pope emeritus, told CNA that was untrue.

"Regarding Ignatius Press: we don't do ‘fake news’" he told CNA.

The book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” will consist of chapters written individually by Benedict and Sarah, as well as an introduction and conclusion reportedly credited jointly to them in the French edition, although the text has not yet been published.

On January 13, Sarah tweeted a series of letters from Benedict XVI, that seemed to affirm that the pope emeritus wrote the chapter attributed to him and authorized its publication. The letters also seemed to indicate that Sarah had edited the text provided by Benedict.

“Attacks seem to imply a lie on my part. These defamations are of exceptional gravity. I give this evening the first proofs of my close collaboration with Benedict XVI to write this text in favor of celibacy,” Sarah wrote.

Attacks seem to imply a lie on my part. These defamations are of exceptional gravity. I give this evening the first proofs of my close collaboration with Benedict XVI to write this text in favor of celibacy. I will speak tomorrow if necessary.+RS pic.twitter.com/EjD9K0Uc0D

— Cardinal R. Sarah (@Card_R_Sarah) January 13, 2020  

In the book, Benedict and Sarah argue that priestly celibacy is not merely an optional feature of Church life today, but an ontological necessity for the priesthood.

The introduction to the book says that it arose from a series of meetings in recent months between Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah, “while the world was echoing with the din created by a strange media synod that overrode the real Synod.”

Some voices at the October 2019 synod made a case for the priestly ordination of married men in the Amazon region, ostensibly as a response to a lack of vocations. But other synod participants said that the lack of priests in the Amazon region is not caused by the obligation of priestly celibacy, and that the Church must pray for vocations and strengthen priestly formation in the region.

Cardinal Sarah was among the synod participants opposed to the idea of relaxing ecclesial discipline on celibacy.

Priestly celibacy is also on the agenda of the “binding synodal process” undertaken by the Church in Germany.

Responding to this ongoing discussion, Benedict and Sarah are releasing “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” published in English by Ignatius Press. It can now be preordered, and is due to ship Feb. 20. It is due to be published in French this week.

In the book, Benedict examines the history of the priesthood in the Old and New Testaments, saying that a proper understanding of the nature of the priesthood is crucial in answering contemporary questions about the priesthood.

“At the foundation of the serious situation in which the priesthood finds itself today, we find a methodological flaw in the reception of Scripture as Word of God,” Benedict said.

Abandoning a Christological interpretation of the Old Testament has led to a “deficient theology of worship” among many modern scholars, who fail to recognize that Jesus fulfilled the worship owed to God, rather than abolishing it, he continued.

Looking at the history of the priesthood in the Old Testament, Benedict said that “the relation between sexual abstinence and divine worship was absolutely clear in the common awareness of Israel.”

He noted that the priests of Israel were required to observe sexual abstinence during their time that they spend leading worship, when they were “in contact with the divine mystery.”

“Given that the priests of the Old Testament had to dedicate themselves to worship only during set times, marriage and the priesthood were compatible,” he said. “But because of the regular and often even daily celebration of the Eucharist, the situation of the priests of the Church of Jesus Christ has changed radically.”

Since the entire life of the priest in the New Covenant is “in contact with the divine mystery,” he said, it demands “exclusivity with regard to God” and becomes incompatible with marriage, which also requires one’s whole life.

“From the daily celebration of the Eucharist, which implies a permanent state of service to God, was born spontaneously the impossibility of a matrimonial bond. We can say that the sexual abstinence that was functional was transformed automatically into an ontological abstinence. Thus its motivation and its significance were changed from within and profoundly.”

The pope emeritus rejected the idea that priestly celibacy is based on a contempt for human sexuality within the Church. He noted that this claim was also dismissed by the Church Fathers, and that the Church has always viewed marriage as a gift from God.

“However, the married state involves a man in his totality, and since serving the Lord likewise requires the total gift of a man, it does not seem possible to carry on the two vocations simultaneously,” he said. “Thus, the ability to renounce marriage so as to place oneself totally at the Lord’s disposition became a criterion for priestly ministry.”

Just as the priests from the Tribe of Levi renounced ownership of land, priests in the New Covenant renounce marriage and family, as a sign of their radical commitment to God, he said.

This is seen in the Psalm prayed when a man entered the clergy before the Second Vatican Council, he said: “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.”

Benedict’s theological reflection is followed in the book by a set of pastoral considerations from Sarah.

“My bishop’s heart is worried. I have met with many priests who are disoriented, disturbed and wounded in the very depths of their spiritual life by the violent challenges to the Church’s doctrine,” Sarah said.

“I speak up so that everywhere in the Church, in a spirit of true synodality, a calm, prayerful reflection on the spiritual reality of the sacrament of Holy Orders can commence and be renewed.”

The cardinal called priestly celibacy “the expression of the intention to place oneself at the disposal of the Lord and of men and women,” adding that “Priestly celibacy, far from being merely an ascetical discipline, is necessary to the identity of the Church.”

Ordaining married men would create a “pastoral catastrophe,” risking the Church’s understanding of both the priesthood and itself, Sarah warned. “If we reduce priestly celibacy to a question of discipline, of adaptation to customs and cultures, we isolate the priesthood from its foundation.”

“This total delivering of himself in Christ is the condition for a total gift of self to all men and women,” he said. “He who has not given himself totally to God is not given perfectly to his brethren.”

While some exceptions exist – such as when some married Protestant pastors become Catholic and are able to be ordained priests – the shortage of priests in isolated areas is not such an exception, he said.  Ordaining married men in these communities “would prevent them from giving rise to priestly vocations of celibate priests,” which would create “a permanent state detrimental to the correct understanding of the priesthood.”

Sarah questioned whether the call for married priests among “isolated, poorly evangelized populations” is intended “to prevent them from discovering the fullness of the Christian priesthood.”

The cardinal said that he has met with isolated communities who were living the faith through prayer and scripture without the support of priests and sacraments, similar to the situation faced by some communities in the Amazon. He recalled their “unimaginable joy” at being able to participate in a celebration of the Mass.

“Allow me to state forcefully and with certainty: I think that if they had ordained married men in each village, they would have extinguished the Eucharistic hunger of the faithful,” he said. Ordaining married men would prevent young Churches from the experience of seeing themselves as the Bride of Christ and encountering Christ as Bridegroom through the radical encounter of a celibate priest, he said.

Sarah added that he would not be a priest today if it were not for his encounter with celibate missionary priests in his youth, because it was the radical nature of their lives that impacted him.

The cardinal also argued that “[t]he Eastern married clergy is in crisis,” pointing to comments by some members of these Churches noting tension between the priestly and married states, as well as the problem of divorce by priests.

He also rejected calls for female ordination, while encouraging a deeper study of “the feminine charism,” in order to properly recognize the role and contributions of women in the Church.

Concluding their work, Benedict and Sarah encouraged the discussion surrounding celibacy in the Church to be carried out with a proper understanding of the nature of the priesthood.

“It is urgent and necessary for everyone—bishops, priests and lay people—to stop letting themselves be intimidated by the wrong-headed pleas, the theatrical productions, the diabolical lies and the fashionable errors that try to put down priestly celibacy,” they said.

They called for priestly celibacy to be examined through a “fresh look with the eyes of faith.”

“This fresh look will be the best rampart against the spirit of division, against the spirit of politics but also against the spirit of indifference and relativism,” they said.

On Jan. 13, Andrea Tornielli, editorial director for the Vatican's Dicastery for Communications, wrote an op-ed praising the book.

“Ratzinger and Sarah — who describe themselves as two Bishops ‘in filial obedience to Pope Francis’ who ‘are seeking the truth’ in ‘a spirit of love for the unity of the Church’ — defend the discipline of celibacy and put forth the reasons that they feel counsel against changing it,” Tornielli wrote.

 

This story is developing and will be updated.

 

 

Analysis: On celibacy, what Benedict cannot say and Francis mustn't hear

Washington D.C., Jan 13, 2020 / 02:10 pm (CNA).- This week, the pope emeritus and Cardinal Robert Sarah will publish a new book in defense of clerical celibacy. 

Reaction to the book has opened up a fault-line among Catholic commentators: some seem to oppose the existence of the book on principle, while others argue that the former pope and cardinal are offering support to Pope Francis’ own line of thinking.

Offered apparently as a direct riposte to the recommendation of the final document of the Synod on the Pan-Amazonian region, which called for the ordination of some married men for pastoral service in remote areas, the book has been furiously denounced by some commentators, seemingly before they could read it.

Modern historian and Villanova professor Massimo Faggioli typified a strand of response, suggesting that that for Benedict to co-author a book on an issue currently sitting on the pope’s desk “interferes with a synodal process that is still unfolding,” and “threatens to limit the freedom of the one pope.”

Alongside this and similar reactions, which paint the contribution by the former pope as an implicit subversion of the pope's authority, others have insisted that the pope emeritus is incapable of writing anything because of his age. 

Contrary to the consistent accounts of those who actually see him every day, commentators such as Austen Ivereigh have alleged that Benedict is “conscious for barely half an hour at a time,” and called the publication of the book with his name attached “elder abuse.”

Their intensity of response to the book’s very existence, even leaving its content aside, seems to suggest that anything offered by Benedict will be, de facto, considered by some to undermine his successor’s authority, and become, as Faggioli opines, an “illegitimate form of pressure” on Francis.

Other, more official papal commentators have offered a more catholic perspective on the issue.

Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni issued a statement Monday highlighting Pope Francis’s own thoughts on clerical celibacy, noting that the pope has called it “a gift to the Church,” and that he “does not agree with allowing optional celibacy.” 

Bruni also noted the pope has spoken of room to consider exceptions for married clergy in the Latin rite “when there is a pastoral necessity,” as suggested during the Amazonian synod, but also restated the pope’s commitment to clerical celibacy as the norm in the Latin Church.

Official papal p.r. man Andrea Tornielli made many of the same points in a Monday op-ed.

“Ratzinger and Sarah — who describe themselves as two Bishops ‘in filial obedience to Pope Francis’ who ‘are seeking the truth’ in ‘a spirit of love for the unity of the Church’ — defend the discipline of celibacy and put forth the reasons that they feel counsel against changing it,” Tornielli wrote.

There appears then, at least from the official channels, no indication of concern about a subversion of Francis’s authority – instead the book seems to have been welcomed for what the authors claim it is: merely a contribution to an ongoing debate in the Church.

Perhaps what the two reactions point to is a fault-line, not for or against Pope Francis, but about the actual terms of the debate he is now weighing.

The final document of the Synod on the Amazon – a text which has in itself no magisterial weight whatsoever – famously called for priestly ordination of proven permanent deacons for service in remote regions. There is a debate to be had on the prudence and effectiveness of such a pastoral exception for a region as sui generis as the Amazon. Those with a wider frame of reference would note that Benedict himself supported a relaxing of the discipline of celibacy in some narrowly drawn cases, like former Anglican clergy.

But could it be that the real substance of the opposition to Benedict and Sarah’s new book is aimed not at the exception but the rule itself?

Many in and around the Amazon synod have long signaled their desire to see a wholesale revisiting, if not abandonment, of the universal discipline of clerical celibacy in the Latin Church.

Ivereigh, for example, acknowledged in the run-up to the Amazonian synod that while a possible exception to clerical celibacy in the region could be important, “the bigger story is the ecclesiological reimagining that allows such a possibility to be considered.” He went on to note that papal approval of the idea would hinge on a lack of visible controversy in its presentation. 

“There is little doubt that if the synod reaches a calm consensus behind the proposal to ordain elders in order to promote regular access to the sacraments—which is very likely—Francis will not refuse,” Ivereigh wrote in June last year.

Ivereigh seemed to expect that changes at the synod could lead to changes everywhere. He wrote that “The synod will focus resolutely on the Amazon, but if its vision of reform does not have repercussions for the rest of the Church, then, says [REPAM’s executive secretary Mauricio] López, an important opportunity will have been wasted—an opportunity to show how the church’s peripheries can shape its center.”

“But,” Ivereigh noted, “it seems unlikely Pope Francis will let that happen.” 

Moreover, the matter of clerical celibacy is already being discussed during the “binding synodal path” of the Church in Germany, a process hailed by Faggioli as an important new phase in the Church’s post-conciliar development. 

And the desire in some quarters to use an Amazonian exception to end the universal norm on celibacy has been expressed publicly.

In 2018, before the Amazonian synod, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, vice-chairman of the German bishops’ conference, said that if the ordination of married men were authorized for the Amazon, German bishops would insist on the same authorization. Bode called the necessity of extending the same dispensation everywhere “obvious.”

Opposition to celibacy, and the desire to see it ended, has not been limited to practical or disciplinary arguments.

During the Amazonian synod itself, retired Bishop Erwin Krautler insisted that “indigenous people do not understand celibacy.” Krautler essentially argued that the Church’s discipline – which has for centuries been upheld as a witness to eternal life – has no evangelistic value and is something “they cannot understand.”

It is the multi-pronged attack on the Church’s universal discipline that prompted curial cardinals like Sarah, Ouellet, Filoni, and Turkson, all of whom are known for their intense personal loyalty to Pope Francis, to intervene in favor of the value of priestly celibacy at the time of the synod. 

Set within that context, the more outraged preemptive reactions to the Sarah and Benedict book begin to take a different shape. 

Calling into question the pope emeritus’ moral and physical ability to join a conversation in the Church is a marked departure from reaction to previous Benedict interventions. Last year, when the pope emeritus issued a lengthy letter on the sexual abuse crisis ahead of Pope Francis’s Feburary summit, Ivereigh called it  “a helpful contribution.”

“Both the pope and the pope emeritus are at one in defending the freedom of the Church to be redeemed by God’s mercy, and in opposing any attempt at neo-Donatist reform," he wrote for America magazine at the time.

“They are very different men, and very different popes. But on the fundamentals, there seems to be little distance between them.”

In this light, it seems probable that it is not really the idea of a filial contribution by Benedict to which they object on principle, but that they cannot abide him - or anyone - mounting a serious argument in favor of priestly celibacy on its own terms.

The desire, it seems, is not to protect Pope Francis’s freedom to make up his own mind, but to shield him from those who – like the pope emeritus – might help him resist having his mind made up for him.

The real attempt to limit the freedom of Pope Francis may actually come from those who would only allow him to hear one side of any argument.

 

Editor's note: This article was updated to correct the spelling of Austen Ivereigh. We regret the error.

Love of baking, culinary skills and prayer make religious brother a winner

IMAGE: CNS photo/Andrew Biraj, Catholic Standard

By Richard Szczepanowski

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The oven timer dings, alerting Capuchin Franciscan Brother Andrew Corriente the chocolate layer cake he is baking needs to be checked.

A quick test with a toothpick tells him the cake needs about five more minutes in the oven, more than enough time for him to soften the butter that will eventually become the buttercream icing that will top the confection.

The enticing aromas in the kitchen at Capuchin College in Washington signal that Brother Andrew is busy creating another treat for the men who call the friary home.

Brother Andrew knows his way around a kitchen. In fact, he was crowned this year's baking champion on ABC's "The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition." The program, which aired during the month of December and concluded Jan. 2, is an adaptation of the wildly popular "Great British Bake Off."

Brother Andrew said he wanted to participate in the program "because I love to bake, and I wanted to learn from the others" who were part of the production. "They were very good, incredible cooks," the brother said of his competition. Several of them have since become good friends of his.

"The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition," now in its fifth season, features 10 amateur bakers who compete in a series of challenges in which they must produce outstanding baked goods. Contestants are eliminated one by one until a champion is selected.

Brother Andrew emerged as the victor after he and the other two finalists were charged with making three individual party desserts of their choice. He earned the crown with chocolate cookies with lime cream and blackberry jam, sponge cakes with fresh cream and fruits, and a puff pastry.

Brother Andrew was given the nod to appear on the show last June, but he applied for the program in 2017.

"In 2018, they (producers of the show) called me, but I said no because I was taking my final vows," he told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington. "They called me again this year, and I did it."

He said he spent the month of July "recipe developing and recipe testing" before traveling to London in August, where the entire season was taped over the course of that month. "Filming sometimes took up to 14 hours a day," Brother Andrew said. "I had to stay focused so that I could get my prayers in, Mass in and meditation in."

Although it was very hot in the kitchen where the contestants competed, Brother Andrew chose to wear his distinctive brown Capuchin robes as he baked.

"I love my life so much, and I wanted people to see that," he said. "My ability to bake is so tied to my way of life. Everything I have is from God, and I wanted people to see how all of that is integrated."

The friary where Brother Andrew regularly creates his bakery masterpieces is part of the St. Augustine Province of the Order of Friars Minor. The 30 men who live at Capuchin College are either studying nearby at The Catholic University of America, preparing for the priesthood, serving in various ministries throughout the Archdiocese of Washington or are retired.

Capuchin Franciscan Father Paul Dressler, the province's guardian and director of formation at Capuchin College, called Brother Andrew's appearance on the program "part of the new evangelization."

"Brother Andrew wanted to be on the show as a witness. He went to evangelize and put before the world the Gospel and our order," Father Dressler said.

Capuchin Father Tom Betz, the provincial of the St. Augustine Province, gave the nod and Brother Andrew was on his way.

"Brother Andrew brought attention to the goodness of God and the goodness of religious life," Father Dressler said.

He added that it is not unusual for a religious to be familiar in the kitchen. "Religious life has long been a source of nourishment," Father Dressler said. He also pointed to the ancient tradition of monks brewing beer, making wine and even giving coffee lovers everywhere the eponymous cappuccino.

"It is connected to the fact that all good things come from God," Father Dressler said.

In episode four of "The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition," Brother Andrew struggled with the challenge of creating a cheesecake tower with at least three tiers, with two of one flavor and one of a different flavor. As he struggled to construct his tower, Brother Andrew stopped, lifted his hands in prayer and uttered the word, "surrender."

Brother Andrew is a third-year seminarian. After studying filmmaking in college, the now 31-year-old native of California, "had a desk job in the entertainment industry," working for a talent agent.

"I was searching for other jobs, but never thought about religious life," he said. "A friend of mine from college became a nun, and when I went to see her profess her vows, I met a Capuchin." That spurred Brother Andrew to give the order a try. "I met the guys, and the rest is history," he said.

Brother Andrew regularly bakes for the residents of the friary and one of his specialties is "kouign amann," a French pastry made with multiple layers of buttery croissant pastry caramelized with slightly burnt sugar.

Baking, he said, "is in a way eucharistic."

"Jesus gave us himself in the bread and wine," Brother Andrew said. "For me, I put myself out there with my cooking. It is kind of a sacrificial love."

His interest in baking, he added, was spurred during his postulancy.

Brother Andrew said he finds time for prayer as he cooks. For example, in preparing meringue -- a confection made of whipped egg whites and sugar -- he discovered "the best way to time my stirring is by praying the Hail Mary."

The "guys," as Brother Andrew calls his fellow Capuchins, sent their favorite baker off to compete in London with "a really nice blessing and prayer." Brother Andrew's family -- mother Elna, father Rodel and sister Theresa -- flew to London to watch the finale.

When he won, Brother Andrew was sworn to secrecy; for more than four months he was not allowed to tell others that he had won.

The residents of the friary would gather each week to watch the show together, cheering their brother on. Father Dressler said it was akin to watching the Super Bowl. The friary, he said, exploded with whoops and shouts and cheers when Brother Andrew was named the winner.

In addition to his baking, Brother Andrew uses his culinary skills to help the less fortunate and the working poor. He and a group of brothers and lay volunteers cook and serve dinner every Sunday for the day laborers who congregate at a local Home Depot looking for work.

After he is ordained to the priesthood in two years, Brother Andrew is unsure whether his priestly vocation will permit him as much time to pursue his baking avocation. "God has already zigzagged my life in so many ways that I am open to anywhere he leads me," he said.

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Szczepanowski is managing editor of the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.

 

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Bishops visiting Holy Land get look at complexities of Gaza Strip

IMAGE: CNS photo/Marcin Mazur, Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

By Judith Sudilovsky

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- In addition to a sense of isolation, young people in the Gaza Strip are experiencing an unemployment rate of 70 percent, and most see emigration as their only solution, said Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.

"This is a challenge for young people," he told Catholic News Service Jan. 13. "They are facing uncertainty and insecurity about their future."

Archbishop Broglio was one of 15 bishops -- mostly from Europe and North America -- taking part in the annual weeklong Holy Land Coordination visit to support the Holy Land's local Christian communities. Several talked to Catholic News Service after visiting Gaza.

"The future for the young people is very tenuous," Archbishop Broglio said. "Basically, the only solution they see is getting out. But that is very problematic, because once they do get out, there is no coming back (because of travel restrictions.) Leaving means an indefinite separation for families."

Basics such as water and electricity are interrupted daily, he said.

The Gaza Strip has been under an air, land and sea blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007, when Hamas took control of the Palestinian area from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. The 1.8 million Palestinian residents of the coastal Gaza Strip are cut off from the remainder of the Palestinian territory by the blockade, which also restricts their free travel access to the rest of the world.

The United States, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Egypt, Israel and other countries list Hamas as a terrorist organization, charging that it is funded by Iran.

The bishops began their visit in Gaza and celebrated Mass with members of Holy Family Catholic Parish there Jan. 12. They also met with local families and religious sisters working in Catholic charitable institutions and visited the Daughters of Charity, the Thomas Aquinas Training Center and the Caritas Medical Center.

With just over 1,000 people, the Christian community in the Gaza Strip is very tiny, but the educational, vocational and health services it provides to the general population are highly regarded.

Archbishop Broglio said that just over 10 percent of the 700 students attending Catholic school are Catholic; the majority of students are Muslim.

Irish Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor noted that while the Thomas Aquinas Training Center provides advanced training for young people, the availability of good jobs is so minimal that often thousands of applicants vie for one position.

"Opportunities are so limited ... the current situation is not sustainable," he said. "A solution must be found. Though the Catholic community is vibrant, the number of Catholics has gone down drastically ... and the fact so many people are leaving has an impact on the Christian population."

But finding a solution to the situation in Gaza is no easy task, said Canadian Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

"We need to try to educate people as to the situation here. It is a very complex issue, where you have the internal issue of Gaza and the approach and thinking by the current (Hamas) government, and there is a confrontational situation where there is tension between the Gaza territory and the government of Israel, and this also needs to be brought within context. It is very complicated."

Since 2001, thousands of missiles have been launched from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel border towns, sometimes resulting in Israeli retaliatory attacks that have caused overwhelming destruction in Gaza.

Still, despite the political complexity and economic difficulties people face in their daily lives in Gaza, Archbishop Gagnon said, he was struck by the real sense of joy and positivity he sensed within the Catholic community.

"They have a real sense of who they are and what their identity is," said Archbishop Gagnon. "They provide wonderful opportunities for people in Gaza, both Christians and non-Christians, through their schools and charitable organizations."

During their stay in the Holy Land the bishops will also meet with young Palestinians in East Jerusalem; visit Holy Family Parish in Ramallah, West Bank; visit a kindergarten run by the Comboni Sisters under the shadow of the Israeli separation wall in East Jerusalem; and tour the Jerusalem Old City Basin to review Israeli settler activity in the contested area.

 

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Vatican: Pope Francis not in favor of optional priestly celibacy

Vatican City, Jan 13, 2020 / 07:01 am (CNA).- A Vatican spokesman said Monday that Pope Francis’ position on priestly celibacy is “known,” quoting the pontiff’s remarks in a January 2019 press conference, in which he said he does not agree with making priestly celibacy “optional” in the Latin rite.

The statement by Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni was issued Jan. 13 and was said to be in response to questions from journalists “regarding a recent editorial initiative.”

The initiative referred to is a newly announced book on priestly celibacy and the crisis in the Church and priesthood, co-authored by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah, who is head of the pope’s liturgical office.

In his statement, Bruni quoted Pope Francis’ comments aboard the papal plane to Rome from Panama Jan. 28, 2019, in which he said “personally, I think that celibacy is a gift to the Church. I would say that I do not agree with allowing optional celibacy, no.”

The pope added at the time that he thinks there is room to consider some exceptions for married clergy in the Latin rite “when there is a pastoral necessity” in remote locations due to lack of priests, such as in the Pacific islands.

Bruni’s statement also noted Francis’ quotation of the words of St. Pope Paul VI: “I prefer to give my life before changing the law of celibacy.”

The book by Benedict and Cardinal Sarah, called “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” will be published in English by Ignatius Press. It can now be preordered, and it is due to ship Feb. 20.

The French edition, published by Fayard, releases Jan. 15.

The announcement of the book’s publication prompted reports that by arguing in favor of priestly celibacy, Benedict XVI has placed himself in opposition to Pope Francis, who is right now considering allowing an exception to priestly celibacy by the ordination of proven married men, so-called viri probati, in the Amazon region in response to severe priest shortages.

At the end of the Amazon synod, which took place in October, the final document of the synod fathers called for the ordination of married men as priests.

The 33-page concluding document, which does not have magisterial authority, was presented to Pope Francis following the three-week meeting of bishops and representatives from indigenous communities, religious orders, lay groups and charities.

The pope’s own document on the synod, called a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, is highly anticipated, primarily for how it will respond to that suggestion and others from the synod fathers.  

Bruni’s Jan. 13 statement also argued that on the topic of how priestly celibacy fits into the general work of the Amazon synod, Pope Francis is less interested in “this or that other intra-ecclesiastical point” as he is on the synod’s “diagnoses” of problems in the pastoral, cultural, social, and ecological dimensions.

At the final session of the Synod on the Pan-Amazonian region Oct. 26, 2019, Pope Francis said he was pleased “that we did not fall prisoners of these selective groups, who of the synod want to see only what has been decided on this or that other intra-ecclesiastical point.”

Update: Former cardinal moves from Kansas friary to new location

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal who was laicized by the Vatican in 2019 after numerous claims of abuse by him were substantiated, moved Jan. 3 from the Capuchin Franciscan friary in Kansas where he had been living since late 2018.

McCarrick made the move on his own accord, according to a spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan province that oversees the friary.

The former prelate had stayed a little over one year at St. Fidelis Friary, run by the Capuchin Franciscan order in Victoria, Kansas, in the Diocese of Salina in the northwestern part of the state.

While his new residence has not been publicly disclosed, one Florida diocese denied reports that McCarrick was within its territory.

"Rumors that the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved to Jacksonville and is staying at a priest retirement facility in the Diocese of St. Augustine are absolutely false. The diocese has made no arrangements for McCarrick to stay at any of its church-owned properties," said a Jan. 8 statement from Kathleen Bagg, diocesan communications director for the northeast Florida diocese.

"The diocese does not know the whereabouts of McCarrick, and it is not our responsibility to keep tabs on his movements," Bagg added. "It is important to note that McCarrick was laicized in February 2019, therefore like any person, he can travel where he wants without reporting his presence in a location within any diocese where he may visit."

The statement was in response to a posting by the website Church Militant that the diocese had arranged for McCarrick to move there.

The election of a new provincial for the Denver-based Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad had no influence on McCarrick's decision to leave, according to Capuchin Father Joseph Mary Elder, director of communications and vocations for the province, which also has a friary in San Antonio within its boundaries.

"There was nothing on our part" that suggested McCarrick leave, Father Elder said. "Our provincial was very clear with him."

Nor was space an issue. Fewer than 10 Capuchins live at St. Fidelis.

"It's a huge place. We have our meetings there and we have enough room for almost everybody," Father Elder said told CNS in a Jan. 10 telephone interview.

"There may have been concern on his part on the report coming from Rome" stemming from the allegations that first surfaced in 2018, Father Elder added. "But that is just conjecture on my part. He was free to stay as long as he wanted to."

McCarrick's life at the friary was uneventful, save for an interview in Slate.

But "he had to be supervised at all times," Father Elder told CNS. "The friary is a big building that adjoins a church," and behind the church was a school, he added.

Wherever McCarrick moved to, he kept his own counsel on the matter.

"The only knowledge we have is that he made plans to leave, and we were privy to his plans," Father Elder told CNS. "That was the first time I heard any plausible location to where he might be."

McCarrick had served as archbishop of Washington and archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and was founding bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey. He also was a New York archdiocesan priest and auxiliary bishop.

Media interest in McCarrick has followed him since he stepped away from all forms of ministry at the Vatican's request in the summer of 2018.

He was quickly and quietly moved to Kansas after a Washington Post reporter unsuccessfully tried to track him down in late 2018 at the priests' retirement community in the District of Columbia where McCarrick had lived.

That move took place before McCarrick, now 89, was removed from the clerical state.

Then, last summer, a reporter from the online journal Slate was able to conduct a brief interview with McCarrick inside St. Fidelis.

After a query from CNS, Paula Gwynn Grant, secretary of communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, said in an email: "We understand that Mr. Theodore McCarrick has moved. As he is now a layperson, he is responsible for his own actions."

 

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Residents fear what may come next after quakes, archbishop says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Hurricane Maria was a body blow to Puerto Rico in 2017, one from which it has yet to fully recover.

Then came the series of 5-magnitude-and-higher earthquakes that began Dec. 29 -- topped off by three such temblors in a 30-minute span Jan. 7 and followed by a magnitude 5.9 quake Jan. 11 -- that has resulted in only two confirmed deaths, but untold losses in property damage. And not only the earthquakes, but their many aftershocks.

Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves of San Juan lives on the northern part of the island, which was spared most of the worst effects of the quakes. But on a Jan. 10 visit to the island's southern region in the Diocese of Ponce -- what he could see of it -- the damage was much worse.

"I got around by car," Archbishop Gonzalez said. "But I wasn't able to go everywhere I wanted to because a bridge here or there collapsed."

Driving around Ponce, the archbishop told Catholic News Service in a Jan. 10 telephone interview from near San Juan, "I saw a number of people In Ponce now with their suitcases and looking for a place to find shelter."

"I can see lots of damage," he said.

Archbishop Gonzalez added, "I didn't see many buildings that had collapsed, but you see buildings with pieces of cement, pieces of the roof that have fallen off. It will take a while for structural engineers to make an assessment. The cathedral has bene quite damaged. I say it might take a year or two to fix the cathedral."

People are sleeping in tents and spending most of their waking hours outside, he noted, fearing an aftershock might cause more of their homes to crumble.

Complicating people's quest to find shelter is the weather. It has been raining on the island. Archbishop Gonzalez, during the interview, said it was raining heavily, and that the quake also has affected telephone and internet service on Puerto Rico.

Another fear is people not knowing where their next meal is coming from.

"There are many people without food," Archbishop Gonzalez told CNS. He mentioned one district where "there are at least 400 people homeless. Caritas has been doing their best to provide them with food. Yesterday (Jan. 9) we purchased $150,000 for our Catholic Charities for that group of 400 or so."

One difference Archbishop Gonzalez noted between a hurricane and an earthquake: "One can prepare for a hurricane -- 'there's a hurricane on its way' -- but you cannot prepare for an earthquake. It just happens."

"Every day there have been replicas" -- the archbishop's word for aftershocks. "Those replicas continue to affect the structure of buildings. In the building, it has a number of people. You come to this building, and it's traumatic. One becomes afraid -- what's going to happen next?"

Archbishop Gonzalez disclosed something that perhaps few non-Puerto Ricans know: "The island shakes every day. We're in a seismic area that's very active -- as active as California. but only shakes 2 points or 3 points (of magnitude), and you become accustomed to that and you don't feel it. I remember as a child there were maybe two or three significant quakes, but I'd never felt anything like this. It is quite a jolt. It affects everyone emotionally."

He recalled one morning receiving a call from a priest in Guanica, on the south side of the island. "I'm in the north, in San Juan, but they needed volunteers to organize the distribution of food from large trucks that had come from Caritas, from Catholic Charities. He asked if I would make calls to get volunteers. I spent an hour, an hour and a half, making calls. I had 100 volunteers going across the island to the town of Guanica to give help. It shows the spirit of solidarity, and the goodness among the people. It's very touching."

For people on the U.S. mainland, "first of all, we appreciate your spiritual solidarity and prayers, your awareness, your concern," Archbishop Gonzalez said. "Secondly, if you are able to make monetary donations to assist in the relief effort -- I'm speaking mainly of food and shelter -- that would be a big help."

Catholic Charities USA has established a Puerto Rico disaster relief fund that can accessed online at https://bit.ly/30hHwQd.

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Copyright © 2020 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 [email protected]