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Update: Lebanon's Catholic leaders seek help; here's where you can donate

IMAGE: CNS photo/Aziz Taher, Reuters

By

BEIRUT (CNS) -- As Lebanon's Catholic leaders appealed for help for their country, international and U.S. organizations appealed for donations for Beirut, capital of a country already suffering from a severe economic downturn.

"The church, which has set up a relief network throughout Lebanese territory, now finds itself faced with a new great duty, which it is incapable of assuming on its own," said Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch. He called for a U.N.-controlled fund to be set up to manage aid for the reconstruction of Beirut and other international assistance to aid the stricken country.

In Lebanon, Maronite Catholics are the largest Christian group. In the United States, two Maronite bishops noted that the explosions, which left more than 130 people dead and more than 300,000 homeless, "turned Beirut into an apocalyptic city. Hospitals, schools, houses, businesses, and much more (are) destroyed, leaving people feeling hopeless and helpless."

"We ask for your support for our brothers and sisters at this difficult time and in response to this catastrophe," said the statement, signed by Bishops Gregory Mansour of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn and A. Elias Zaidan of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles.

"We urge you to pray for Lebanon, and we ask for your support for our brothers and sisters at this difficult time and in response to this catastrophe. We appeal to all nations, all people of goodwill, to stand in solidarity with the Lebanese. We hope and pray Lebanon will regain stability and initiate a path of recovery toward peace and justice for all."

In Beirut, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan appealed to all people of good will: "Here is Beirut, crying out for help!" He said all Syriac parishes would use everything at their disposal to help.

"We value all relief, aid and assistance provided to those affected, especially for Beirut residents and its suburbs," he said, also appealing for prayers and referring to the victims as martyrs.

In a statement from the Melkite Catholic Patriarchate in Damascus, Patriarch Joseph Absi also referred to those who died as martyrs.

"The time now is not for the sharing of responsibilities nor for disputes, but for the tireless work to reduce the repercussions of the national catastrophe and to ... reject differences and work together to avoid the worst," he said.

Here are some Catholic agencies where you can donate to help the citizens of Lebanon:

Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Vatican agency: https://cnewa.org/campaigns/lebanoncrisis/

Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organization for Catholic charitable agencies such as Catholic Relief Services, Development and Peace, CAFOD: www.caritas.org/2020/08/explosions-in-beirut/

Aid to the Church in Need, a pontifical foundation: https://bit.ly/3icyN9V

Malteser International, relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta: https://bit.ly/2DHPBX8

Jesuit Refugee Service: https://www.jrsusa.org?form=lebanonresponse

Missio, Pontifical Mission Societies, in English https://bit.ly/2DtbFoH and Spanish: https://bit.ly/2PvKkVs

AVSI, Catholic-based foundation: https://donorbox.org/lebanonemergencyrelief

 

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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]

Update: Lebanon's Catholic leaders seek help; here's where you can donate

IMAGE: CNS photo/Aziz Taher, Reuters

By

BEIRUT (CNS) -- As Lebanon's Catholic leaders appealed for help for their country, international and U.S. organizations appealed for donations for Beirut, capital of a country already suffering from a severe economic downturn.

"The church, which has set up a relief network throughout Lebanese territory, now finds itself faced with a new great duty, which it is incapable of assuming on its own," said Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch. He called for a U.N.-controlled fund to be set up to manage aid for the reconstruction of Beirut and other international assistance to aid the stricken country.

In Lebanon, Maronite Catholics are the largest Christian group. In the United States, two Maronite bishops noted that the explosions, which left more than 130 people dead and more than 300,000 homeless, "turned Beirut into an apocalyptic city. Hospitals, schools, houses, businesses, and much more (are) destroyed, leaving people feeling hopeless and helpless."

"We ask for your support for our brothers and sisters at this difficult time and in response to this catastrophe," said the statement, signed by Bishops Gregory Mansour of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn and A. Elias Zaidan of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles.

"We urge you to pray for Lebanon, and we ask for your support for our brothers and sisters at this difficult time and in response to this catastrophe. We appeal to all nations, all people of goodwill, to stand in solidarity with the Lebanese. We hope and pray Lebanon will regain stability and initiate a path of recovery toward peace and justice for all."

In Beirut, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan appealed to all people of good will: "Here is Beirut, crying out for help!" He said all Syriac parishes would use everything at their disposal to help.

"We value all relief, aid and assistance provided to those affected, especially for Beirut residents and its suburbs," he said, also appealing for prayers and referring to the victims as martyrs.

In a statement from the Melkite Catholic Patriarchate in Damascus, Patriarch Joseph Absi also referred to those who died as martyrs.

"The time now is not for the sharing of responsibilities nor for disputes, but for the tireless work to reduce the repercussions of the national catastrophe and to ... reject differences and work together to avoid the worst," he said.

Here are some Catholic agencies where you can donate to help the citizens of Lebanon:

Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Vatican agency: https://cnewa.org/campaigns/lebanoncrisis/

Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organization for Catholic charitable agencies such as Catholic Relief Services, Development and Peace, CAFOD: www.caritas.org/2020/08/explosions-in-beirut/

Aid to the Church in Need, a pontifical foundation: https://bit.ly/3icyN9V

Malteser International, relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta: https://bit.ly/2DHPBX8

Jesuit Refugee Service: https://www.jrsusa.org?form=lebanonresponse

Missio, Pontifical Mission Societies, in English https://bit.ly/2DtbFoH and Spanish: https://bit.ly/2PvKkVs

AVSI, Catholic-based foundation: https://donorbox.org/lebanonemergencyrelief

 

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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]

Priest's 100-mile bike ride raises COVID-19 aid for parish -- and hope

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Brooklyn

By Ian Alvano

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Father Christopher Heanue started his morning July 27 by celebrating Mass at 5 a.m. and then took off on a 100-mile bike ride.

It wasn't just any ride. Father Heanue called his journey "100 Miles of Hope," which was a fundraiser to help support his parish, Holy Child Jesus, in Richmond Hill, New York, in the Brooklyn Diocese. He is the administrator and a parochial vicar of the parish in the New York borough of Queens.

Holy Child Jesus has faced some challenging months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the food pantry and parish outreach programs in particular affected.

Joined by parishioners Paul Cerni and Tom Chiafolo, Father Heanue, 32, did the ride to provide hope and optimism in addition to raising money.

"I was very, very nervous entering into the ride. The week before, I read some articles about how to prepare for a century ride," as a 100-miler is called by cyclists, Father Heanue told Catholic News Service. "One of the main components that the writers kept saying was that you need to have a whole week of good rest."

Father Heanue wasn't sleeping well during the week leading up to the ride because he was so nervous. In fact, the best sleep he got was the night before the ride.

"I'll tell you all of the fears and all the nervousness and anxiety that I had entering into the ride seemed to dissipate once we began," said the priest, who was ordained in 2015 for the Brooklyn Diocese.

The ride took place on a very hot day, and Father Heanue said many people were praying for him and the other two riders. The trio left Queens around 5:45 a.m. and arrived at their destination, Most Holy Trinity Church in East Hampton on Long Island, around 4 p.m.

The total amount of bike time was around seven hours and 45 minutes, according to Father Heanue. The rest of the time was filled with stops for breakfast, lunch and water breaks.

Father Heanue said he has driven the same route to the Long Island church but on a bike everything was more eye-opening and gave him a new perspective. He mentioned the change of neighborhoods you see while biking -- and hoping for flat terrain and no hills to make the ride easier. He called the ride an "extraordinary experience."

One Bible verse accompanied Father Heanue along the way -- Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Father Heanue said he had never been on such a long bike, but he took up the challenge to not only ask for support and prayer but also to ask for donations for the parish and its outreach programs.

"We set up a GoFundMe page and I started with a goal of $1,000. That quickly was raised. I raised it and tried for $5,000 and in three days we hit $5,000. I tried for 10,000 and today we're at about $9,400," he said when he spoke to CNS July 28.

As of Aug. 6, he had raised over $20,000 with his GoFundMe page -- https://www.gofundme.com/f/100-miles-of-hope -- and through Facebook and GiveCentral.

As he was bicycling in the heat and humidity, "exhausted and sweaty," he said, he was thinking about the fundraiser, then got a text about a donation." "It was quite an inspiration for me, and I mentioned it to the guys that someone else just donated!"

When asked if he had ever done a long bike ride for a charity before, Father Heanue chuckled. "I've never ever done that. I wouldn't consider myself to be very athletic or sports driven. This was something I picked up more recently through the coronavirus pandemic. I almost found it to be more safe than walking on the street."

He got into biking because he enjoys the peace and tranquility it offers. He also described some of his training before his long journey.

"I started riding 10 miles or started bicycling to my parents' home, which was five miles, then five miles back again (to his parish). Then I tried to increase the distance and ride from my parish to our local beach, which is called Rockaway Beach, which is about 14 miles away. I would sit on the boardwalk for a bit and bicycle back. So that was 28 miles."

The farthest Father Heanue got in his training was a 52-mile round-trip ride. He admitted he felt awful afterward, which only added to his nervousness.

Father Heanue saw the 100-mile ride as a challenge and an accomplishment.

"Hopefully, it inspires people to challenge themselves but to realize they're not doing it alone. Through this pandemic we've felt very lonely, it's been very isolating and we've had to find new ways to create community," he said. "The church was closed so the priests went online. We took to Facebook and live streaming. We took to Zoom calls to keep a sense of community because we realized how much we need each other."

He added that he believes many times we are weak and fall into sin but by motivating and pushing ourselves, it'll bring us to fulfillment and a better spiritual life. And he hopes his journey encourages people in this way too.

At the end of the interview with CNS, Father Heanue gave a little insight about who he was biking and praying for. The priest had in his heart a young boy who had lost his father because of COVID-19, a couple who was having pregnancy issues, and a woman who had just lost her child through complications of her pregnancy.

So he rode 100 miles for hope, as he dubbed the journey from the get-go, raising funds for a worthy cause and generating prayers for those who needed them.

- - -

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]

Priest's 100-mile bike ride raises COVID-19 aid for parish -- and hope

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Brooklyn

By Ian Alvano

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Father Christopher Heanue started his morning July 27 by celebrating Mass at 5 a.m. and then took off on a 100-mile bike ride.

It wasn't just any ride. Father Heanue called his journey "100 Miles of Hope," which was a fundraiser to help support his parish, Holy Child Jesus, in Richmond Hill, New York, in the Brooklyn Diocese. He is the administrator and a parochial vicar of the parish in the New York borough of Queens.

Holy Child Jesus has faced some challenging months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the food pantry and parish outreach programs in particular affected.

Joined by parishioners Paul Cerni and Tom Chiafolo, Father Heanue, 32, did the ride to provide hope and optimism in addition to raising money.

"I was very, very nervous entering into the ride. The week before, I read some articles about how to prepare for a century ride," as a 100-miler is called by cyclists, Father Heanue told Catholic News Service. "One of the main components that the writers kept saying was that you need to have a whole week of good rest."

Father Heanue wasn't sleeping well during the week leading up to the ride because he was so nervous. In fact, the best sleep he got was the night before the ride.

"I'll tell you all of the fears and all the nervousness and anxiety that I had entering into the ride seemed to dissipate once we began," said the priest, who was ordained in 2015 for the Brooklyn Diocese.

The ride took place on a very hot day, and Father Heanue said many people were praying for him and the other two riders. The trio left Queens around 5:45 a.m. and arrived at their destination, Most Holy Trinity Church in East Hampton on Long Island, around 4 p.m.

The total amount of bike time was around seven hours and 45 minutes, according to Father Heanue. The rest of the time was filled with stops for breakfast, lunch and water breaks.

Father Heanue said he has driven the same route to the Long Island church but on a bike everything was more eye-opening and gave him a new perspective. He mentioned the change of neighborhoods you see while biking -- and hoping for flat terrain and no hills to make the ride easier. He called the ride an "extraordinary experience."

One Bible verse accompanied Father Heanue along the way -- Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Father Heanue said he had never been on such a long bike, but he took up the challenge to not only ask for support and prayer but also to ask for donations for the parish and its outreach programs.

"We set up a GoFundMe page and I started with a goal of $1,000. That quickly was raised. I raised it and tried for $5,000 and in three days we hit $5,000. I tried for 10,000 and today we're at about $9,400," he said when he spoke to CNS July 28.

As of Aug. 6, he had raised over $20,000 with his GoFundMe page -- https://www.gofundme.com/f/100-miles-of-hope -- and through Facebook and GiveCentral.

As he was bicycling in the heat and humidity, "exhausted and sweaty," he said, he was thinking about the fundraiser, then got a text about a donation." "It was quite an inspiration for me, and I mentioned it to the guys that someone else just donated!"

When asked if he had ever done a long bike ride for a charity before, Father Heanue chuckled. "I've never ever done that. I wouldn't consider myself to be very athletic or sports driven. This was something I picked up more recently through the coronavirus pandemic. I almost found it to be more safe than walking on the street."

He got into biking because he enjoys the peace and tranquility it offers. He also described some of his training before his long journey.

"I started riding 10 miles or started bicycling to my parents' home, which was five miles, then five miles back again (to his parish). Then I tried to increase the distance and ride from my parish to our local beach, which is called Rockaway Beach, which is about 14 miles away. I would sit on the boardwalk for a bit and bicycle back. So that was 28 miles."

The farthest Father Heanue got in his training was a 52-mile round-trip ride. He admitted he felt awful afterward, which only added to his nervousness.

Father Heanue saw the 100-mile ride as a challenge and an accomplishment.

"Hopefully, it inspires people to challenge themselves but to realize they're not doing it alone. Through this pandemic we've felt very lonely, it's been very isolating and we've had to find new ways to create community," he said. "The church was closed so the priests went online. We took to Facebook and live streaming. We took to Zoom calls to keep a sense of community because we realized how much we need each other."

He added that he believes many times we are weak and fall into sin but by motivating and pushing ourselves, it'll bring us to fulfillment and a better spiritual life. And he hopes his journey encourages people in this way too.

At the end of the interview with CNS, Father Heanue gave a little insight about who he was biking and praying for. The priest had in his heart a young boy who had lost his father because of COVID-19, a couple who was having pregnancy issues, and a woman who had just lost her child through complications of her pregnancy.

So he rode 100 miles for hope, as he dubbed the journey from the get-go, raising funds for a worthy cause and generating prayers for those who needed them.

- - -

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]

Weapons must be set aside for peace to flourish, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Yuriko Nakao, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For peace to flourish, weapons of war must be set aside, especially nuclear weapons that can obliterate entire cities and countries, Pope Francis said on the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.

"May the prophetic voices" of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki "continue to serve as a warning to us and for coming generations," he said in a written message sent Aug. 6 to Hidehiko Yuzaki, governor of the Hiroshima prefecture, who led a peace memorial ceremony.

The pope's message and others were published on the Hiroshima For Global Peace website: hiroshimaforpeace.com.

In 1945, during World War II, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima Aug. 6 and on Nagasaki Aug. 9 in an effort to get Japan to surrender. The cities were decimated and, by year's end, at least 200,000 people had died from the blasts or the aftereffects.

Those who survived, called hibakusha, were honored at the Aug. 6 ceremony, and the pope greeted them as well as the organizers and others taking part in the ceremony.

"I was privileged to be able to come in person to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during my apostolic visit in November last year, which allowed me to reflect at the peace memorial in Hiroshima and at Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki on the destruction of human life and property wrought in these two cities during those terrible days of war three-quarters of a century ago," the pope wrote.

"I continue to hold in my heart the longing of the peoples of our time, especially of young people, who thirst for peace and make sacrifices for peace. I carry, too, the cry of the poor, who are always among the first victims of violence and conflict," he said.

"It has never been clearer that, for peace to flourish, all people need to lay down the weapons of war, and especially the most powerful and destructive of weapons: nuclear arms that can cripple and destroy whole cities, whole countries," the pope said.

Reiterating what he said in Hiroshima in 2019, Pope Francis wrote that the use of atomic energy for war and the possession of nuclear weapons are both "immoral."

The pope ended his message with "abundant divine blessings" for all those commemorating on this "solemn anniversary."

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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]

Weapons must be set aside for peace to flourish, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Yuriko Nakao, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For peace to flourish, weapons of war must be set aside, especially nuclear weapons that can obliterate entire cities and countries, Pope Francis said on the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.

"May the prophetic voices" of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki "continue to serve as a warning to us and for coming generations," he said in a written message sent Aug. 6 to Hidehiko Yuzaki, governor of the Hiroshima prefecture, who led a peace memorial ceremony.

The pope's message and others were published on the Hiroshima For Global Peace website: hiroshimaforpeace.com.

In 1945, during World War II, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima Aug. 6 and on Nagasaki Aug. 9 in an effort to get Japan to surrender. The cities were decimated and, by year's end, at least 200,000 people had died from the blasts or the aftereffects.

Those who survived, called hibakusha, were honored at the Aug. 6 ceremony, and the pope greeted them as well as the organizers and others taking part in the ceremony.

"I was privileged to be able to come in person to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during my apostolic visit in November last year, which allowed me to reflect at the peace memorial in Hiroshima and at Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki on the destruction of human life and property wrought in these two cities during those terrible days of war three-quarters of a century ago," the pope wrote.

"I continue to hold in my heart the longing of the peoples of our time, especially of young people, who thirst for peace and make sacrifices for peace. I carry, too, the cry of the poor, who are always among the first victims of violence and conflict," he said.

"It has never been clearer that, for peace to flourish, all people need to lay down the weapons of war, and especially the most powerful and destructive of weapons: nuclear arms that can cripple and destroy whole cities, whole countries," the pope said.

Reiterating what he said in Hiroshima in 2019, Pope Francis wrote that the use of atomic energy for war and the possession of nuclear weapons are both "immoral."

The pope ended his message with "abundant divine blessings" for all those commemorating on this "solemn anniversary."

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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]

Vatican says baptisms that used a modified formula are not valid

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Changing the words of the formula for baptism render the sacrament invalid, said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Specifically, a baptism administered with the formula "We baptize you ..." instead of "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" is not valid because it is the person of Christ through the minister who is acting, not the assembly, the congregation said.

The doctrinal congregation's ruling was published Aug. 6 as a brief response to questions regarding the validity of baptisms using that modified formula.

The congregation was asked whether a baptism was valid if it had been performed with a formula that seeks to express the "communitarian significance" and participation of the family and those present during the celebration. 

For example, it said there have been celebrations administered with the words, "In the name of the father and of the mother, of the godfather and of the godmother, of the grandparents, of the family members, of the friends, in the name of the community we baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

A baptism administered with this kind of modified formula is not valid, the congregation said, and the baptisms would have to be redone for those individuals who had been baptized with the improvised wording.

The correct formula in the Rite of the Sacrament of Baptism spoken by the bishop, priest or deacon is: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

The doctrinal congregation said modifying "the form of the celebration of a sacrament does not constitute simply a liturgical abuse, like the transgression of a positive norm, but a 'vulnus' (wound) inflicted upon the ecclesial communion and the identifiability of Christ's action, and in the most grave cases rendering invalid the sacrament itself." 

The changes to the formula seem to have been made to emphasize the communal aspect of baptism and the participation of those present as well as "to avoid the idea of the concentration of a sacred power in the priest to the detriment of the parents and the community that the formula in the (Roman Rite) might seem to imply," it said.

Instead, such changes have "debatable pastoral motives" and the formula handed down by tradition remains fundamental because "the sacramental action may not be achieved in its own name, but in the person of Christ who acts in his church, and in the name of the church," it said. 

"Therefore, in the specific case of the sacrament of baptism, not only does the minister not have the authority to modify the sacramental formula to his own liking," it said, "but neither can he even declare that he is acting on behalf of the parents, godparents, relatives or friends, nor in the name of the assembly gathered for the celebration."

"When the minister says, 'I baptize you '' he does not speak as a functionary who carries out a role entrusted to him, but he enacts ministerially the sign-presence of Christ," it said.

It is really Christ himself who baptizes and has the principal role in the event being celebrated, it said.

The temptation to modify the sacramental formula "implies a lack of an understanding of the very nature of the ecclesial ministry that is always at the service of God and his people and not the exercise of a power that goes so far as to manipulate what has been entrusted to the church in an act that pertains to the tradition," it said.

The doctrinal statement was signed by Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, congregation prefect, and Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, congregation secretary. The congregation said Pope Francis "approved these responses" June 8 and ordered their publication.

---

Editors: Links to the doctrinal note can be found online in English: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/08/06/0406/00923.html#rispostein

In Spanish: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/08/06/0406/00923.html#rispostees

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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]

Vatican says baptisms that used a modified formula are not valid

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Changing the words of the formula for baptism render the sacrament invalid, said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Specifically, a baptism administered with the formula "We baptize you ..." instead of "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" is not valid because it is the person of Christ through the minister who is acting, not the assembly, the congregation said.

The doctrinal congregation's ruling was published Aug. 6 as a brief response to questions regarding the validity of baptisms using that modified formula.

The congregation was asked whether a baptism was valid if it had been performed with a formula that seeks to express the "communitarian significance" and participation of the family and those present during the celebration. 

For example, it said there have been celebrations administered with the words, "In the name of the father and of the mother, of the godfather and of the godmother, of the grandparents, of the family members, of the friends, in the name of the community we baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

A baptism administered with this kind of modified formula is not valid, the congregation said, and the baptisms would have to be redone for those individuals who had been baptized with the improvised wording.

The correct formula in the Rite of the Sacrament of Baptism spoken by the bishop, priest or deacon is: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

The doctrinal congregation said modifying "the form of the celebration of a sacrament does not constitute simply a liturgical abuse, like the transgression of a positive norm, but a 'vulnus' (wound) inflicted upon the ecclesial communion and the identifiability of Christ's action, and in the most grave cases rendering invalid the sacrament itself." 

The changes to the formula seem to have been made to emphasize the communal aspect of baptism and the participation of those present as well as "to avoid the idea of the concentration of a sacred power in the priest to the detriment of the parents and the community that the formula in the (Roman Rite) might seem to imply," it said.

Instead, such changes have "debatable pastoral motives" and the formula handed down by tradition remains fundamental because "the sacramental action may not be achieved in its own name, but in the person of Christ who acts in his church, and in the name of the church," it said. 

"Therefore, in the specific case of the sacrament of baptism, not only does the minister not have the authority to modify the sacramental formula to his own liking," it said, "but neither can he even declare that he is acting on behalf of the parents, godparents, relatives or friends, nor in the name of the assembly gathered for the celebration."

"When the minister says, 'I baptize you '' he does not speak as a functionary who carries out a role entrusted to him, but he enacts ministerially the sign-presence of Christ," it said.

It is really Christ himself who baptizes and has the principal role in the event being celebrated, it said.

The temptation to modify the sacramental formula "implies a lack of an understanding of the very nature of the ecclesial ministry that is always at the service of God and his people and not the exercise of a power that goes so far as to manipulate what has been entrusted to the church in an act that pertains to the tradition," it said.

The doctrinal statement was signed by Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, congregation prefect, and Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, congregation secretary. The congregation said Pope Francis "approved these responses" June 8 and ordered their publication.

---

Editors: Links to the doctrinal note can be found online in English: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/08/06/0406/00923.html#rispostein

In Spanish: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/08/06/0406/00923.html#rispostees

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Update: John Hume, who helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, dies at 83

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul McErlane, Reuters

By Michael Kelly

DUBLIN (CNS) -- Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland, has hailed political leader John Hume as a "paragon of peace" for his key role in bringing an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Hume, 83, died early Aug. 3, his family said in a statement.

As a young man Hume trained for the priesthood, before becoming a community activist and later a politician highlighting the plight of the Catholic community in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s, when discrimination in employment and housing was rife.

Pope Francis also expressed his condolences in a message read at Hume's funeral Aug. 5.

Saddened to learn of Hume's death, Pope Francis sent "the assurance of his prayers to his family and to all who mourn his loss," said the message, written on behalf of the pope by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

"Mindful of the Christian faith that inspired John Hume's untiring efforts to promote dialogue, reconciliation and peace among the people of Northern Ireland, His Holiness commends his noble soul to the loving mercy of almighty God," the cardinal wrote.

Archbishop Martin -- who, like Hume, was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, said, "A great sadness has descended on my home city of Derry today as we learn of the death of one of our greatest sons, Mr. John Hume.

"That sadness ripples out to every corner of Ireland and all around the world, where the mere mention of the name of John Hume evokes admiration, respect and thanksgiving for a life dedicated to peace and social justice.

"Today we are remembering a paragon of peace, a giant of a statesman whose legacy of unstinting service to the common good is internationally acclaimed, even though it is still perhaps only unfolding," the archbishop said.

Hume is credited with convincing the Provisional IRA to declare a cease-fire in their conflict with the British in 1994 and with being the key architect of the Good Friday peace agreement four years later.

Archbishop Martin said that "as a priest working in Derry, I came to know John as a man whose convictions were rooted in a deep faith, in prayer and practical Christianity."

Hume's commitment to peace building was recognized in 1998 when he received the Nobel Peace Prize along with David Trimble, then the most influential politician in the Protestant community in Northern Ireland. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI conferred Hume with papal knighthood.

Archbishop Martin said this honor was "in recognition of his commitment to peace, reconciliation, nonviolence and social justice."

"John put Catholic social teaching into practice -- sometimes at great personal cost and risk -- working ceaselessly for a process of reconciliation through which the dignity of every human person is recognized and upheld," he said.

Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry described Hume as "one of the greatest peacemakers and champions of social justice of our time."

"He dedicated his life to the welfare of this community, at no small cost to himself. His name became a byword for dedication to the cause of peace, whatever the obstacles or criticisms," Bishop McKeown said.

Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor also praised Hume.

"Motivated by a strong personal faith and responding to the needs of the community, John was a champion of human rights," said Bishop Treanor.

"John Hume uniquely shaped a new and prophetic political narrative which enabled the decommissioning and disarmament of weapons and generated an infrastructure for a peace process that led to the Good Friday Agreement, and the foundations of a new politics that is his lasting legacy," Bishop Treanor said.

Irish President Michael Higgins said, "All of those who sought and worked for peace on our island of Ireland, and in the hearts of all, will have been deeply saddened by the passing of 
John Hume, Nobel Peace laureate and statesman.

"Whatever the loss to all on this island, to his family his loss is greatest. To his wife Pat, his children, and all those who loved him, Sabina and I send our deepest sympathy," Higgins said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Hume "stood proudly in the tradition that was totally opposed to violence and committed to pursuing his objectives by exclusively peaceful and democratic means."

"With his passing we have lost a great man who did so much to help bring an end to the Troubles and build a better future for all," Johnson said.

Hume was buried Aug. 5 after a Mass in St. Eugene Cathedral in Londonderry. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the public were not permitted to attend, but the funeral was broadcast live by the national broadcaster RTE.

Archbishop Martin and Bishop McKeown presided over the funeral Mass, according to Vatican News Aug. 6. 

In his opening remarks, Bishop McKeown said Hume's vocation in life "was to be a peacemaker for the good of others. Because of his past we can face the future."

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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]

Update: John Hume, who helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, dies at 83

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul McErlane, Reuters

By Michael Kelly

DUBLIN (CNS) -- Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland, has hailed political leader John Hume as a "paragon of peace" for his key role in bringing an end to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Hume, 83, died early Aug. 3, his family said in a statement.

As a young man Hume trained for the priesthood, before becoming a community activist and later a politician highlighting the plight of the Catholic community in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s, when discrimination in employment and housing was rife.

Pope Francis also expressed his condolences in a message read at Hume's funeral Aug. 5.

Saddened to learn of Hume's death, Pope Francis sent "the assurance of his prayers to his family and to all who mourn his loss," said the message, written on behalf of the pope by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

"Mindful of the Christian faith that inspired John Hume's untiring efforts to promote dialogue, reconciliation and peace among the people of Northern Ireland, His Holiness commends his noble soul to the loving mercy of almighty God," the cardinal wrote.

Archbishop Martin -- who, like Hume, was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, said, "A great sadness has descended on my home city of Derry today as we learn of the death of one of our greatest sons, Mr. John Hume.

"That sadness ripples out to every corner of Ireland and all around the world, where the mere mention of the name of John Hume evokes admiration, respect and thanksgiving for a life dedicated to peace and social justice.

"Today we are remembering a paragon of peace, a giant of a statesman whose legacy of unstinting service to the common good is internationally acclaimed, even though it is still perhaps only unfolding," the archbishop said.

Hume is credited with convincing the Provisional IRA to declare a cease-fire in their conflict with the British in 1994 and with being the key architect of the Good Friday peace agreement four years later.

Archbishop Martin said that "as a priest working in Derry, I came to know John as a man whose convictions were rooted in a deep faith, in prayer and practical Christianity."

Hume's commitment to peace building was recognized in 1998 when he received the Nobel Peace Prize along with David Trimble, then the most influential politician in the Protestant community in Northern Ireland. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI conferred Hume with papal knighthood.

Archbishop Martin said this honor was "in recognition of his commitment to peace, reconciliation, nonviolence and social justice."

"John put Catholic social teaching into practice -- sometimes at great personal cost and risk -- working ceaselessly for a process of reconciliation through which the dignity of every human person is recognized and upheld," he said.

Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry described Hume as "one of the greatest peacemakers and champions of social justice of our time."

"He dedicated his life to the welfare of this community, at no small cost to himself. His name became a byword for dedication to the cause of peace, whatever the obstacles or criticisms," Bishop McKeown said.

Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor also praised Hume.

"Motivated by a strong personal faith and responding to the needs of the community, John was a champion of human rights," said Bishop Treanor.

"John Hume uniquely shaped a new and prophetic political narrative which enabled the decommissioning and disarmament of weapons and generated an infrastructure for a peace process that led to the Good Friday Agreement, and the foundations of a new politics that is his lasting legacy," Bishop Treanor said.

Irish President Michael Higgins said, "All of those who sought and worked for peace on our island of Ireland, and in the hearts of all, will have been deeply saddened by the passing of 
John Hume, Nobel Peace laureate and statesman.

"Whatever the loss to all on this island, to his family his loss is greatest. To his wife Pat, his children, and all those who loved him, Sabina and I send our deepest sympathy," Higgins said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Hume "stood proudly in the tradition that was totally opposed to violence and committed to pursuing his objectives by exclusively peaceful and democratic means."

"With his passing we have lost a great man who did so much to help bring an end to the Troubles and build a better future for all," Johnson said.

Hume was buried Aug. 5 after a Mass in St. Eugene Cathedral in Londonderry. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the public were not permitted to attend, but the funeral was broadcast live by the national broadcaster RTE.

Archbishop Martin and Bishop McKeown presided over the funeral Mass, according to Vatican News Aug. 6. 

In his opening remarks, Bishop McKeown said Hume's vocation in life "was to be a peacemaker for the good of others. Because of his past we can face the future."

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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]