CROMWELL –The executive director of Courage International, a Catholic apostolate for people with same-sex attraction, provided a foundation for the Church’s teaching on homosexuality at the 2013 Pope John Paul II lecture on bioethics on Nov. 6 at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.
Father Paul N. Check told an audience consisting mostly of seminarians that while the Church teaches that homosexual behavior is disordered, its way of reaching out to the individual homosexual person is with “pastoral charity.”
AVON – A full house of approximately 300 people filled the hall at the Church of St. Ann on Nov. 10 for “A Forum: The Catholic Church in the Public Square.” It was designed to discuss issues of religious freedom, rights of conscience and the First Amendment.
Written questions from the audience were posed to panelists Michael C. Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, and Jim Vicevich, a WTIC-AM radio talk show host, Roman Catholic and avowed Libertarian. Chris Keating, capitol bureau chief of the Hartford Courant, served as moderator.
SOUTHINGTON – Pope Francis is setting the standard for reimagining, rebuilding and repairing the Catholic Church as it enters the 21st century.
Jack Jezreel, founder and president of JustFaith Ministries of Louisville, Ky., said at the 45th annual Social Justice Award Dinner on Oct. 22 that Pope Francis is emulating his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, to whom Jesus said, “Francis, rebuild my Church.”
The keynote speaker said that Pope Francis, like Saint Francis, lives simply, loves creation and cares for those suffering in poverty or degradation.
“He wears no miter with gold and jewels, no ermine cape, no made-to-measure red shoes or head gear and [uses] no magnificent throne. The new pope deliberately abstains from solemn gestures and high-flown rhetoric. He speaks the language of the people and emphasizes his own humanity,” Mr. Jezreel said.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Dec. 2, and discussed prospects for peace in the Middle East and the pope's still-unscheduled trip to the Holy Land.
The two met privately for about 25 minutes in the pope's library.
A statement from the Vatican press office said the leaders discussed the "complex political and social situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to the resumption of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, hoping that a just and lasting solution may be found as soon as possible."
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – In his first extensive piece of writing as pope, Pope Francis lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelization in a positive key, with a focus on society's poorest and most vulnerable, including the aged and unborn.
"Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"), released by the Vatican Nov. 26, is an apostolic exhortation, one of the most authoritative categories of papal document. (Pope Francis' first encyclical, "Lumen Fidei," published in July, was mostly the work of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.)
The pope wrote the new document in response to the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization, but declined to work from a draft provided by synod officials.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis closed the Year of Faith by calling on people to keep Christ at the center of their lives, especially in times of trouble.
"When Jesus is at the center, light shines even the darkest moments of our lives; he gives us hope," he said in his homily Nov. 24, the feast of Christ the King.
The closing Mass in St. Peter's Square also saw, for the first time, the exposition for public veneration of bones believed to be those of St. Peter. The apostle is believed to have been martyred on a hill overlooking St. Peter's Square and buried a tomb now located two levels below the main altar of St. Peter's Basilica.
Eight bone fragments, each two to three centimeters long, were nestled in an open bronze reliquary displayed to the side of the altar.