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Vatican condemns violence after attack on Trump

Facade of St. Peter's Basilica / Credit: Nils Huber / Unsplash

Rome Newsroom, Jul 14, 2024 / 08:49 am (CNA).

The Holy See has condemned acts of violence in the wake of the shooting that injured former U.S. President Donald Trump and others and left one dead at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on July 13.

A brief statement provided to CNA by Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni on July 14 said the Holy See expressed “concern about last night’s episode of violence, which wounds people and democracy, causing suffering and death.”

The comment also said the Holy See “is united to the prayer of the U.S. bishops for America, for the victims, and for peace in the country, that the motives of the violent may never prevail.”

Pope Francis did not comment on the incident during his weekly public appearance for the Angelus at noon on Sunday.

Political leaders from around the globe have spoken out against political violence and in support of democracy after the assassination attempt in Butler, Pennsylvania, Saturday evening. 

In a statement posted to Truth Social July 13, Trump said a bullet pierced the upper part of his right ear. After receiving treatment at a nearby hospital, the former president flew to New Jersey under Secret Service protection late Saturday night.

The FBI has identified the Trump rally shooter as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Crooks, who carried no ID and was identified with DNA analysis, was killed by a Secret Service sniper at the rally, according to officials.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Feast date: Jul 14

On July 14, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be canonized. Known as the "Lily of the Mohawks," Kateri lived a life of holiness and virtue, despite obstacles and opposition within her tribe.

Kateri was born in Auriesville, New York, in 1656 to a Christian Algonquin woman and a pagan Mohawk chief. When she was a child, a smallpox epidemic attacked her tribe and both her parents died. She was left with permanent scars on her face and impaired eyesight. Her uncle, who had now become chief of the tribe, adopted her and her aunts began planning her marriage while she was still very young.

When three Jesuit fathers were visiting the tribe in 1667 and staying in the tent of her uncle, they spoke to her of Christ, and though she did not ask to be baptized, she believed in Jesus with an incredible intensity. She also realized that she was called into an intimate union with God as a consecrated virgin.

Kateri had to struggle to maintain her faith amidst the opposition of her tribe who ridiculed her for it and ostracized her for refusing the marriage that had been planned for her. When she was 18, Fr. Jacques de Lamberville returned to the Mohawk village, and she asked to be baptized.

The life of the Mohawk village had become violent and debauchery was commonplace. Realizing that this was proving too dangerous to her life and her call to perpetual virginity, Kateri escaped to the town of Caughnawaga in Quebec, near Montreal, where she grew in holiness and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Kateri lived out the last years of her short life here, practicing austere penance and constant prayer. She was said to have reached the highest levels of mystical union with God, and many miracles were attributed to her while she was still alive.

She died on April 17, 1680 at the age of 24. Witnesses reported that within minutes of her death, the scars from smallpox completely vanished and her face shone with radiant beauty.

Devotion to Kateri began immediately after her death and her body, enshrined in Caughnawaga, is visited by many pilgrims each year. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980, and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012.

Pope Francis to attend ‘Miracle of the Snow’ commemoration in Rome

Rose petals fall in St. Mary Major Basilica Aug. 5, 2017 to commemorate the "miracle of the snow." / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 12, 2024 / 11:25 am (CNA).

Pope Francis will join Rome’s celebrations this year of the fourth-century Marian miracle that inspired the construction of St. Mary Major Basilica.

Each year white rose petals fall from the ceiling of the papal Marian basilica in commemoration of a miraculous snowfall in Rome on Aug. 5 in the year 358 A.D.

The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will witness this unique Roman tradition marking the anniversary of the “Miracle of the Snow” during vespers at St. Mary Major Basilica on the evening of Aug. 5.

According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to both a nobleman named John and to Pope Liberius (352–366) in a dream foretelling the August snow and asking for a church to be built in her honor on the site of the snowfall. The church was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III (432–440), after the Council of Ephesus in 431 declared Mary to be the mother of God.

The Basilica of St. Mary Major has a special significance for Pope Francis, who recently revealed that he wishes to be buried in this basilica and that a “place is already prepared.”

Pope Francis visited the Marian basilica on the first day of his pontificate to entrust his ministry to the Mother of God before the icon of Mary known as the “Salus Populi Romani,” or “Mary, Protector of the Roman People.”

The pope has returned to pray before the Marian icon each time he has departed for an international trip.

Among the four major papal basilicas in Rome, St. Mary Major is the only one that has maintained its original structure. Mosaics dating back to the fifth century can be seen in the central nave of the basilica, which also houses the relic of the holy crib from the birth of Christ.

Rome will prepare for the anniversary of its papal Marian basilica with a triduum of prayer Aug. 2–4.

Celebrations on Aug. 5 will begin with a Mass at 10 a.m. presided over by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, the archpriest of the St. Mary Major. Monsignor Emilio Nappa, the president of the Pontifical Mission Societies, will close the festivities with another Mass at 7 p.m. 

To attend the vespers with Pope Francis at the basilica at 5:30 p.m., free tickets from the Vatican will need to be reserved in advance.

Pope Francis meets Russian Orthodox Church’s ‘foreign minister’ at the Vatican

Pope Francis meets with Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk at the Vatican on Aug. 5, 2022. / Credit: Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jul 12, 2024 / 09:18 am (CNA).

Pope Francis received a top-ranking member of the Russian Orthodox Church for private discussions at the Vatican this week.

The Holy See Press Office confirmed on July 12 that the pope received Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, on Thursday afternoon.

Metropolitan Anthony is essentially the “foreign minister” of the Moscow Patriarchate and considered to be second only to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

The Vatican has yet to release any photos or details regarding the discussions between the pope and Russian metropolitan. 

The meeting took place two days after Pope Francis expressed his “great sorrow” over Russia’s attacks on two hospitals in Kiev, including Ukraine’s largest children’s medical center.

As the Russian Orthodox Church’s chief ecumenical officer, Anthony has met Pope Francis twice since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The pope kissed the Orthodox metropolitan’s pectoral cross during a brief encounter after a Wednesday general audience in May 2023 and had a “lengthy conversation” with Anthony shortly after he was appointed in 2022.

Pope Francis has wanted to meet with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine.

The two have not met since their historic first meeting in the Havana airport in February 2016 — the first meeting between a pope and a patriarch of Moscow.

A planned second meeting between the two leaders in Jerusalem in June 2022 was canceled following a video call between the pope and the Russian patriarch in March of that year.

The Russian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church with an estimated 150 million members, accounting for more than half of the world’s Orthodox Christians.

Faith in democracy: Participation in government long a papal priority

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than 2 billion people in over 50 countries were set to go to the polls in 2024, according to the Center for American Progress, but Pope Francis has said he is worried that people are more disconnected than ever from the governments that are meant to provide for their well-being.

Participating in a conference in Trieste, Italy, July 7, the pope discussed democracy at length. In preparation for that visit, the Vatican publishing house produced a booklet compiling papal speeches on democracy and featuring a new introduction to the text written by Pope Francis.

The booklet was published in Italian July 7 as an insert in Trieste's local newspaper, Il Piccolo.

In it, the pope wrote that while democracy has spread globally in recent decades, today it "seems to be suffering the consequences of a dangerous disease," that of "democratic skepticism."

People's distrust in democracy, which "sometimes seems to yield to the allure of populism," he wrote, ultimately stems from its perceived difficulty in addressing current challenges, such as, "issues related to unemployment or the overwhelming technocratic paradigm."

In his speech at the event July 7 during Italian Catholic Social Week, the pope underlined the need to train people in democratic participation from a young age and instill them with "a critical sense regarding ideological and populist temptations."

The four-day conference, organized every three to four years by the Italian bishops' conference to engage Catholics in social issues, chose as the theme for its 50th edition "At the Heart of Democracy."

True democracy, he added, does not entail merely voting, but creating the conditions and space for "everyone to express themselves and participate" in society.

That sentiment echoes a distinction made by Pope Pius XII in his radio message to the world Dec. 24, 1944. Still in the midst of World War II, the pope discussed the key difference that exists in a democratic system between "the people" and "the masses."

File photo of Pope Pius XII.
Pope Pius XII sits in front of a microphone prepared to give a radio address in this 1943 file photo. During World War II, the pontiff made many pleas for peace through Vatican Radio. (CNS photo)

A people, the pope said, "lives and moves by its own life energy" and is composed of individuals "conscious of (their) own responsibility and (their) own views."

"The masses, on the contrary, wait for the impulse from outside, an easy plaything in the hands of anyone who exploits their instincts and impressions; ready to follow in turn, today this flag, tomorrow another," he noted.

Whereas a people actively involved in democracy instills into a population "the consciousness of their own responsibility" and "the true instinct for the common good," Pope Pius issued a stark prediction for the fate of the disengaged masses: "in the ambitious hands of one or of several who have been artificially brought together for selfish aims, the state itself, with the support of the masses, reduced to the minimum status of a mere machine, can impose its whims on the better part of the real people."

As a result, "the common interest remains seriously, and for a long time, injured by this process, and the injury is very often hard to heal," Pope Pius said.

For Pope Francis, to counter the tendency to drift toward merely becoming "the masses" entails developing a sense of solidarity and togetherness, from which grows a will to participate in public life.

In authoritarian regimes, "no one participates; everyone watches passively," he wrote in his introduction to the booklet. "Democracy, on the other hand, demands participation, demands putting in one's own effort, risking confrontation, bringing one's own ideals, one's own reasons, into the question."

He added that "standing at the window, watching idly what is happening around us, is not only ethically unacceptable but also, even from a selfish perspective, neither wise nor convenient."

Or, put more succinctly, "indifference is a cancer of democracy," Pope Francis said during his July 7 speech.

Yet in his text the pope wrote that it is by leveraging democracy's greatest asset that society can overcome its sense of passivity.

"Democracy has in it a great and unquestionable value: that of being 'together,'" he wrote, praising the model for exercising government power "within the framework of a community that freely and secularly confronts each other in the art of the common good."

Togetherness, the pope added, fosters a "positive and almost concrete sense of solidarity, which comes from sharing and advancing, for example in the public arena, issues on which to find convergence."

The pope highlighted several pressing issues in society which require joint action and which people are called "to engage democratically": receiving migrants, falling fertility rates and the pursuit of peace through negotiation rather than increased firepower.

Particularly "in these times overshadowed by war," the pope prayed for a "more convinced commitment to a fully participatory democratic life aimed at the true common good."

Vatican reveals details about 1974 ruling on alleged ‘Lady of All Nations’ apparition

The Lady of All Nations painting. / Credit: Judgefloro (shifted, cropped & recoloured by Rabanus Flavus), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rome Newsroom, Jul 11, 2024 / 11:40 am (CNA).

The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Thursday released new information about its 1974 ruling on alleged apparitions in Amsterdam connected to the “Lady of All Nations” devotion.

The DDF said July 11 that due to “persistent doubts” about the alleged Dutch apparitions, which took place in the 1940s and 1950s, it was revealing that in 1974, the doctrinal office voted unanimously that they were not supernatural and would not be further investigated.

While the Vatican’s judgment on the non-supernatural nature of the apparitions has been known for 50 years, the DDF divulged for the first time that the decision involved a unanimous negative vote by the cardinals participating in the doctrine office’s ordinary session on March 27, 1974.

Both negative judgments — on the supernatural quality of the alleged apparitions and on whether to investigate them further — were approved by Pope Paul VI on April 5, 1974.

The dicastery’s press release noted that while in the past, “as a rule” it had not made public the details of decisions of this nature, it was now choosing to communicate the information “so that the holy people of God and its pastors may draw the appropriate conclusions.”

“The Lady of All Nations” is the Marian title given to alleged visions that Ida Peerdeman, a secretary living in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, claimed to have received between 1945 and 1959.

In 1956, Bishop Johannes Huibers of Haarlem declared that after an investigation he had “found no evidence of the supernatural nature of the apparitions.” 

The Holy Office, a forerunner of the DDF, approved the bishop’s verdict a year later. The DDF, then known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, confirmed the judgment in 1972 and 1974.

Peerdeman was born on Aug. 13, 1905, in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands. She claimed that on March 25, 1945, she saw her first apparition of a woman bathed in light who referred to herself as “the Lady” and “Mother.” 

In 1951, the woman reputedly told Peerdeman that she wished to be known as “The Lady of All Nations.” That year, the artist Heinrich Repke created a painting of “the Lady,” depicting her standing on top of a globe in front of a cross.

The series of 56 alleged visions concluded on May 31, 1959.

Bishop Johannes Hendriks of Haarlem-Amsterdam also issued a clarification about the alleged visions of “The Lady of All Nations” in December 2021 after consulting with the Vatican.

The bishop said that the Vatican regarded the title “Lady of All Nations” for Mary as “theologically acceptable,” but “the recognition of this title cannot be understood — not even implicitly — as the recognition of the supernaturality of some pheno­mena from which it seems to have come.”

Alongside the clarification, the bishop issued a further explanation that “devotion to Mary as the Lady and Mother of All Nations is good and valuable; it must, however, remain separate from the messages and the apparitions.”

In synod process, church is listening to God, not 'polls,' cardinal says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church can only teach the faithful if it is an institution that listens, but that does not mean it should take to heart every opinion uttered, according to the head of the church’s synod.

The church "is not interested in surveyed polls,” said Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops. "The church is always and only listening to the voice of God."

The cardinal presented the working document for the second assembly of the Synod of Bishops on synodality at a Vatican news conference July 9.

He explained that God speaks in many ways: through Sacred Scripture, for example, "but also through the sense of faith of the people of God, the voice of pastors and the charism of theologians," through which God's truth continues to be revealed.

The time between the two synodal assemblies, in which the Secretariat of the Synod again sought input from local churches in light of the findings from last year's synodal assembly, "has been always and only in order to seek, with the certainly perfectible tools we have at our disposal, what God wants to say to the Church in this hour of its journey," he said.

Cardinal Grech noted that 108 of 114 bishops' conferences submitted responses to questions from the synod secretariat to form the working document.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, relator general of the synod, told the news conference that reports from the bishops' conferences "unanimously testify, without hiding the struggles and difficulties of synodal conversion, also a feeling of joy and gratitude" for the synodal process.

The official logo for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
The official logo for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. (CNS photo/courtesy Synod of Bishops)

He said that local churches carried out the second consultation after the synod's first universal phase "with greater freedom and creativity in the way they took ownership of the process."

Yet the cardinal noted that the reports do contain a sense of "weariness and fatigue of a path of conversion" which is "not immediate."

The demand for more immediate action was reflected in questions put to the cardinals at the news conference, several of which focused on the issue of expanding the diaconate to include women.

In March, Cardinal Grech announced that Pope Francis had decided to establish 10 study groups dedicated to hot-button topics raised during the 2021-24 synod process and they are expected to explore the question of the women deacons.

The working document said that the question of admitting women to diaconal ministry "will not be the subject of the work of the Second (synod) Session" but affirmed that "theological reflection should continue" on the matter, noting that the body studying the question, study group five, will take into consideration that results of two theological study commissions created by Pope Francis in 2016 and 2020.

However, the document added that "theological and canonical questions concerning specific forms of ecclesial ministry -- in particular, the question of the necessary participation of women in the life and leadership of the Church -- have been entrusted to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith" which will be in dialogue with the synod secretariat. A list of study group members published by the Vatican did not list individual members of study group five but said that the doctrinal dicastery will publish a document on questions surrounding ministerial forms, which includes the question of women deacons.

Asked whether the topic of women deacons was still being considered after Pope Francis rejected the possibility of their ordination in a CBS interview aired May 20, Cardinal Grech said "according to the information that we have today, it is a no, but at the same time the Holy Father has said that reflection, deeper theological study, should continue."

"To me this is not a contradiction," he added.

Father Riccardo Battocchio, a theologian and special secretary to the synodal assembly, said that the document's language on the role of women "is not about changing the structure of the Catholic Church" but to ensure women may participate in decision-making by reconsidering "how a bishop or bishops come to make decisions."

Pope Francis tells AI leaders: No machine should ever choose to take human life

null / Credit: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

Rome Newsroom, Jul 10, 2024 / 10:33 am (CNA).

Pope Francis urged artificial intelligence leaders on Wednesday to “protect human dignity in this new era of machines.”

In a message to an AI ethics conference in Hiroshima, Japan, with leaders from Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, the United Nations, and representatives from all major world religions, the pope underlined that artificial intelligence has implications for the future of war and peace in our world.

The Holy Father called for a ban on lethal autonomous weapon systems — a class of weapons that use computer algorithms to independently target and employ weapons without manual human control of the system.

“No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being,” Francis said in the message published July 10.

The pope underscored the symbolic importance of discussing AI ethics at the atomic bombing site in Hiroshima, a place that serves as a reminder of the consequences that can arise from advancing technology without considering the full implications.

“It is crucial that, united as brothers and sisters, we remind the world that in light of the tragedy that is armed conflict, it is urgent to reconsider the development and use of devices like the so-called ‘lethal autonomous weapons’ and ultimately ban their use,” Francis said, renewing a call he made at the G7 summit in Italy in June.

“This starts from an effective and concrete commitment to introduce ever greater and proper human control.”

The two-day conference in Hiroshima brought together tech industry leaders with representatives of world religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Bahá’í, and other Eastern religions.

Brad Smith, the vice chair and president of Microsoft, said that Hiroshima, with its profound place in human history, has served as “a compelling backdrop to help ensure a technology created by humanity serves all of humanity and our common home.”

In one of the opening speeches for the conference, Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weisz said that “as individuals of faith, we carry a unique responsibility to infuse our pursuit of AI with moral clarity and ethical integrity.”

More than 150 participants from 13 countries took part in the event co-organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, Japan’s Religions for Peace Japan, the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Commission for Interreligious Relations.

Speakers included Amandeep Singh Gill, the U.N. secretary-general’s envoy on technology; Father Paolo Benanti, a professor of technology ethics at the Pontifical  Gregorian University in Rome; and a survivor of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

The Vatican has been heavily involved in the conversation on artificial intelligence ethics, hosting high-level discussions with scientists and tech executives on the ethics of artificial intelligence since 2016.

The pope has hosted IBM executive John Kelly III, Microsoft’s Smith, and Chuck Robbins, the chief executive of Cisco Systems, in Rome — each of whom has signed the Vatican’s artificial intelligence ethics pledge, the Rome Call for AI Ethics.

The Rome Call, a document by the Pontifical Academy for Life, underlines the need for the ethical use of AI according to the principles of transparency, inclusion, accountability, impartiality, reliability, security, and privacy.

Pope Francis chose artificial intelligence as the theme of his 2024 peace message, which recommended that global leaders adopt an international treaty to regulate the development and use of AI.

At the G7 summit in June, the pope stressed that human dignity requires that the decisions of artificial intelligence (AI) be under the control of human beings.

“We need to ensure and safeguard a space for proper human control over the choices made by artificial intelligence programs: Human dignity itself depends on it,” Pope Francis said at the summit.

Pope asks world's religions to push for ethical AI development

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called on representatives from the world's religions to unite behind the defense of human dignity in an age that will be defined by artificial intelligence.

"I ask you to show the world that we are united in asking for a proactive commitment to protect human dignity in this new era of machines," the pope wrote in a message to participants of a conference on AI ethics which hosted representatives from 11 world religions.

Religious leaders representing Eastern faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Bahá'í, among others, as well as leaders of the three Abrahamic religions gathered in Hiroshima, Japan, for the conference, titled "AI Ethics for Peace." They also signed the Rome Call for AI Ethics -- a document developed by the Pontifical Academy for Life which asks signatories to promote an ethical approach to AI development.

Participants at an AI conference post for a photo.
Participants of a conference on AI ethics, including several representatives of world religions, pose for a photo in Hiroshima, Japan, July 10, 2024. Standing front and center is Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. (CNS photo/Courtesy Holy See Press Office)

Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization and the innovation ministry of the Italian government have signed the document. A July 10 press release from the academy said Franciscan Father Paolo Benanti, an ethics professor at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, presented an addendum to the document in Hiroshima specifically focused on the ethical governance of generative AI -- which can process, interpret and produce human language. The addendum said generative AI requires sustained commitment to ensuring its use for humanity's good.

In his message to the conference published by the Vatican July 10, Pope Francis noted the "great symbolic importance" of the religious leaders' meeting in Hiroshima and noted the increasingly central role which artificially intelligent technology plays in society.

"As we look at the complexity of the issues before us, recognizing the contribution of the cultural riches of peoples and religions in the regulation of artificial intelligence is key to the success of your commitment to the wise management of technological innovation," he wrote.

Echoing his address on artificial intelligence to the G7 summit in June, the pope asked the participants to jointly push for the ban of lethal autonomous weapons, which "starts from an effective and concrete commitment to introduce ever greater and proper human control."

"No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being," he wrote.

Opening the conference July 9, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, academy president, said that artificial intelligence "must be guided so that its potential serves the good from the moment of its design."

"At Hiroshima, a place of the highest symbolic value, we strongly invoke peace, and we ask that technology be a driver of peace and reconciliation among peoples," he said. "We stand here, together, to say loudly that standing together and acting together is the only possible solution."

Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa Helps the Church Thrive Amidst Change

WASHINGTON - Across the continent of Africa, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa is supporting Catholic ministries in countries where the people are strong in faith and devotion, but lacking in resources due to poverty, political instability, and civil conflict.

The Fund was established by the bishops of the United States in the spirit of their 2001 statement, “A Call to Solidarity with Africa,” as a way to help the growing African Church thrive and adapt to the pastoral needs and challenges it faces. Catholics across the United States can answer this call to “Stand with Africa” by participating in their diocese’s annual collection for the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa.

“Globalization, climate change, and poverty deeply affect the lives of African men and women every day. But amidst rapid societal change, the Catholic Church remains constant, proclaiming the timeless and hopeful message of the Gospel,” said auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith of Portland in Oregon, and chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “The Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa enables the Church to support those who are in dire need of pastoral care and to inspire those whose faith and hope may be flagging.”

Catholics wishing to participate in this annual collection are invited to give through their parish collection or e-offertory program on the date scheduled by their diocese.  #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds for the Church in Africa program year-round.

The Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa awarded more than $2.1 million for 75 projects that were proposed by the bishops of Africa in 2023.

  • Grants are helping Kenyans and Ugandans recover spiritually from the COVID pandemic, which led to the disintegration of marriages and family violence.
  • In Cameroon, cited by human rights groups for appalling prison conditions, Catholic prison chaplains learned to document abuses and advocate for reform.
  • The sisters of the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa received theological and practical training to apply Catholic social teaching to a broad range of threats to human life, from human trafficking to environmental degradation.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the public sector is plagued by rampant financial corruption, diocesan and parish staff studied proper church administration and financial stewardship.
  • In South Africa and Namibia, ethnic groups received hymnals in the Xhosa and Rumanyo languages and a Bible in the language of the Rukwangali people.

“The Church helps people to praise God in their own language because God came to us speaking our languages,” said Bishop Smith. “He wants to walk with everyone through whatever hardships or heartaches we suffer. That is the purpose of the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. Gifts to this fund make God’s love tangible.”

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