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Vatican's top diplomat meets about Mideast with U.S., Israeli ambassadors

IMAGE: CNS photo/Mohammed Salem, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, met with the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors to the Vatican to express concern that "possible unilateral actions" on their part would further jeopardize peace in the region.

"The Holy See reiterates that the state of Israel and the state of Palestine have the right to exist and to live in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders," said a statement from the Vatican press office July 1.

"It thus appeals to the parties to do everything possible to reopen the process of direct negotiation, on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, and aided by measures that can reestablish reciprocal confidence," it said.

According to Reuters, Cardinal Parolin met separately with Callista Gingrich, U.S. ambassador, and Oren David, Israeli ambassador.

Though the Vatican did not specify which "unilateral actions" caused their concern, the Vatican recognizes the sovereignty of both the state of Israel and the state of Palestine and their rights to exist in peace and security.

Israel has said it plans to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank, which is part of Palestinian territory, as part of a peace plan put forward by the U.S. administration.

However, Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said June 29 that international law is very clear that "annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation. Whether it is 30% of the West Bank, or 5%."

It would have "a disastrous impact on human rights" throughout the Middle East, she added.

The Vatican statement quoted Pope Francis' 2014 plea for peace, saying it hoped the two sides would have the courage to sit down together and "say yes to encounter and no to conflict; yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity."

 

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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's top diplomat meets about Mideast with U.S., Israeli ambassadors

IMAGE: CNS photo/Mohammed Salem, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, met with the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors to the Vatican to express concern that "possible unilateral actions" on their part would further jeopardize peace in the region.

"The Holy See reiterates that the state of Israel and the state of Palestine have the right to exist and to live in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders," said a statement from the Vatican press office July 1.

"It thus appeals to the parties to do everything possible to reopen the process of direct negotiation, on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, and aided by measures that can reestablish reciprocal confidence," it said.

According to Reuters, Cardinal Parolin met separately with Callista Gingrich, U.S. ambassador, and Oren David, Israeli ambassador.

Though the Vatican did not specify which "unilateral actions" caused their concern, the Vatican recognizes the sovereignty of both the state of Israel and the state of Palestine and their rights to exist in peace and security.

Israel has said it plans to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank, which is part of Palestinian territory, as part of a peace plan put forward by the U.S. administration.

However, Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said June 29 that international law is very clear that "annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation. Whether it is 30% of the West Bank, or 5%."

It would have "a disastrous impact on human rights" throughout the Middle East, she added.

The Vatican statement quoted Pope Francis' 2014 plea for peace, saying it hoped the two sides would have the courage to sit down together and "say yes to encounter and no to conflict; yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity."

 

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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]

Father Val Peter, Boys Town's leader for 20 years, dies

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Boys Town

By

BOYS TOWN, Neb. (CNS) -- Father Val Peter, who was executive director of Boys Town from 1985 to 2005, died June 30 at age 85. No cause of death was given.

During his 20-year tenure leading Boys Town, Father Peter renovated much of the Boys Town campus, installed Boys Town campuses in major cities throughout the United States and increased the number of girls served by Boys Town.

He also utilized the latest research in child development to give the children under his care a better chance at a more productive future.

By 1994, Boys Town was caring for 20,000 boys and girls in 16 metropolitan areas. "We combine scientific technologies with enormous compassion," Father Peter said at the time. Rather than the dormitories and mess halls of old, for instance, Boys Town's children all lived with families.

A decade later, that number had more than doubled to 43,654 children at 19 sites in 15 states and in the District of Columbia. More than 500,000 children and families were helped through Boys Town's national hotline and nearly 1 million more were served through outreach and professional programs.

In a 1993 interview with the Clarion Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Father Peter said the nature of youth problems had changed since Boys Town's founding in 1917.

"The toughest children to help get better are Americans," he said. ''The evils are far more subtle, the drugs are far more seductive. There's too much of everything material and not enough of anything spiritual."

In the interview, Father Peter presaged Pope Francis by two decades when he said, "We're involved in a great war, and Boys Town is a field hospital in that struggle."

In 2002, he became an early clergy advocate for the defrocking of priests who abused minors and the resignation of superiors who covered up the abuse.

"Perpetrators must lose their license to practice. Negligent supervisors must remove themselves or be removed," he said. When children have been abused "the children come first," he added. "Not sometimes," he said, "not in some places, but always and everywhere."

In a 1992 column in the Catholic Voice, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Father Peter said safe sex was "the same thing" as "safe promiscuity." "What man, if his son asks him for bread, would give him a stone?" he asked, borrowing the biblical allegory. "The adults of America are being asked by their children for something that is nourishing and lasting and we are giving them condoms."

Civilization, Father Peter said, is "a very fragile and precious achievement" and democracy "even ... more fragile and precious." He added, "The rule or law 'sex belongs in marriage' is one of the building blocks of civilization. It is just as important, if not more so, than the rule 'thou shalt not steal.' Both rules make living together possible and worthwhile."

At a 1991 conference in Boys Town, Father Peter told participants that compassion is important but by itself isn't adequate.

"The world is filled with people who want to help our kids," Father Peter said, "and the kids get worse. What we need is competence. We need people who know what they're about. That takes discipline, sacrifice and learning. Compassion without this is sheer sentimentality."

A decade later, after a White House meeting with President George W. Bush about the administration's impending initiative to give faith-based organizations a better shot at federal funding, Father Peter said he felt his concerns about faith-based initiatives were heard and understood by the administration.

He added he went into the meeting wanting to be sure the initiative required quality programs, with good, demonstrable outcomes and accountability. "Otherwise, it's just a bunch of pious do-gooders," he said.

Born Valentine Peter in Omaha in 1934, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1959. Last year, he marked 60 years as a priest.

Father Peter's brother was Father Carl Peter, one of the leading U.S. post-Vatican II theologians, who spent 27 years teaching at The Catholic University of America, Washington, and died in 1991 at age 59. Father Carl Peter wrote some 125 scholarly monographs, articles and books.

In 2004, a year before Father Val Peter turned 70, the typical retirement age for priests in the archdiocese, Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss, then Omaha's archbishop, resigned as chairman of Boys Town's board of directors in an apparent dispute over bylaws changes governing the Boys Town board and executive director. The archbishop said he could not guarantee he would supply future priests to Boys Town. The executive director of Boys Town had always been an Omaha archdiocesan priest, including its founder, Father Edward Flanagan.

The dispute was resolved in 2005, when Father Peter retired and succeeded by another archdiocesan priest, Father Steven E. Boes, who continues to run Boys Town today. In retirement, Father Peter remained as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish on the Boys Town campus.

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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]

Father Val Peter, Boys Town's leader for 20 years, dies

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Boys Town

By

BOYS TOWN, Neb. (CNS) -- Father Val Peter, who was executive director of Boys Town from 1985 to 2005, died June 30 at age 85. No cause of death was given.

During his 20-year tenure leading Boys Town, Father Peter renovated much of the Boys Town campus, installed Boys Town campuses in major cities throughout the United States and increased the number of girls served by Boys Town.

He also utilized the latest research in child development to give the children under his care a better chance at a more productive future.

By 1994, Boys Town was caring for 20,000 boys and girls in 16 metropolitan areas. "We combine scientific technologies with enormous compassion," Father Peter said at the time. Rather than the dormitories and mess halls of old, for instance, Boys Town's children all lived with families.

A decade later, that number had more than doubled to 43,654 children at 19 sites in 15 states and in the District of Columbia. More than 500,000 children and families were helped through Boys Town's national hotline and nearly 1 million more were served through outreach and professional programs.

In a 1993 interview with the Clarion Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Father Peter said the nature of youth problems had changed since Boys Town's founding in 1917.

"The toughest children to help get better are Americans," he said. ''The evils are far more subtle, the drugs are far more seductive. There's too much of everything material and not enough of anything spiritual."

In the interview, Father Peter presaged Pope Francis by two decades when he said, "We're involved in a great war, and Boys Town is a field hospital in that struggle."

In 2002, he became an early clergy advocate for the defrocking of priests who abused minors and the resignation of superiors who covered up the abuse.

"Perpetrators must lose their license to practice. Negligent supervisors must remove themselves or be removed," he said. When children have been abused "the children come first," he added. "Not sometimes," he said, "not in some places, but always and everywhere."

In a 1992 column in the Catholic Voice, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Father Peter said safe sex was "the same thing" as "safe promiscuity." "What man, if his son asks him for bread, would give him a stone?" he asked, borrowing the biblical allegory. "The adults of America are being asked by their children for something that is nourishing and lasting and we are giving them condoms."

Civilization, Father Peter said, is "a very fragile and precious achievement" and democracy "even ... more fragile and precious." He added, "The rule or law 'sex belongs in marriage' is one of the building blocks of civilization. It is just as important, if not more so, than the rule 'thou shalt not steal.' Both rules make living together possible and worthwhile."

At a 1991 conference in Boys Town, Father Peter told participants that compassion is important but by itself isn't adequate.

"The world is filled with people who want to help our kids," Father Peter said, "and the kids get worse. What we need is competence. We need people who know what they're about. That takes discipline, sacrifice and learning. Compassion without this is sheer sentimentality."

A decade later, after a White House meeting with President George W. Bush about the administration's impending initiative to give faith-based organizations a better shot at federal funding, Father Peter said he felt his concerns about faith-based initiatives were heard and understood by the administration.

He added he went into the meeting wanting to be sure the initiative required quality programs, with good, demonstrable outcomes and accountability. "Otherwise, it's just a bunch of pious do-gooders," he said.

Born Valentine Peter in Omaha in 1934, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1959. Last year, he marked 60 years as a priest.

Father Peter's brother was Father Carl Peter, one of the leading U.S. post-Vatican II theologians, who spent 27 years teaching at The Catholic University of America, Washington, and died in 1991 at age 59. Father Carl Peter wrote some 125 scholarly monographs, articles and books.

In 2004, a year before Father Val Peter turned 70, the typical retirement age for priests in the archdiocese, Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss, then Omaha's archbishop, resigned as chairman of Boys Town's board of directors in an apparent dispute over bylaws changes governing the Boys Town board and executive director. The archbishop said he could not guarantee he would supply future priests to Boys Town. The executive director of Boys Town had always been an Omaha archdiocesan priest, including its founder, Father Edward Flanagan.

The dispute was resolved in 2005, when Father Peter retired and succeeded by another archdiocesan priest, Father Steven E. Boes, who continues to run Boys Town today. In retirement, Father Peter remained as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish on the Boys Town campus.

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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]

Chaz Muth, CNS multimedia editor, wins Cardinal John P. Foley Award

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy of Chaz Muth

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Chaz Muth, multimedia editor for Catholic News Service, received the 2020 Cardinal John P. Foley Award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

The award, named after the media savvy Philadelphia cardinal who died in 2011, recognizes excellence and innovation in Catholic storytelling in various media platforms such as video, podcasts, photo spreads, blogs or a combination of multimedia platforms. It is one of the top awards given by the CPA.

The winner was announced July 1 in a pre-recorded video released on social media during the 2020 Catholic Media Conference held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Anything with Cardinal Foley's name on it is more than an honor and it's incredibly humbling," said Muth in accepting the award. "He was a giant in the Catholic press, and wow, what an incredible innovator in everything that he touched."

Cardinal Foley, a longtime journalist, was head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications from 1984 to 2007. Before that, he served as assistant editor and editor of Philadelphia's archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard and Times, and he hosted and produced a radio program called "Philadelphia Catholic Hour." The cardinal also was known to many as the Vatican's "Voice of Christmas" in his role as English-language commentator for the pope's midnight Mass for 25 years.

Greg Erlandson, director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service -- who nominated Muth for the award -- described Cardinal Foley as an "indefatigable supporter of the Catholic press" who always "remained a journalist at heart" while believing strongly in the importance of this vocation for the life of the church.

In his nomination submission, Erlandson said there are many examples of Muth's 2019 work in photography, videography, animation and multimedia storytelling. He also pointed out that Muth developed several important series in the past year that combined solid news reporting with strong visual storytelling, including a comprehensive look at the seal of the confessional and a series on how the film industry was shaped by the Catholic Church, with corresponding documentary films that aired on Catholic television stations.

Finalists for the 2020 award were Dan Allen with FaithND; Amber Cerveny with the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts; Cassie Magnotta of Glenmary Challenge; David Naglieri with the Knights of Columbus; and Michael O'Loughlin from America Media.

Previous Cardinal Foley Award recipients were David Carollo from World Apostolate of Fatima /Soul Magazine in 2018 and Lisa Johnston from the St. Louis Review in 2017. The award was not presented last year.

J.D. Long-Garcia, senior editor of America magazine and CPA president, who presented Muth with the award, said: "Congratulations my friend, you set a high bar for all of us."

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

 

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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]

Chaz Muth, CNS multimedia editor, wins Cardinal John P. Foley Award

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy of Chaz Muth

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Chaz Muth, multimedia editor for Catholic News Service, received the 2020 Cardinal John P. Foley Award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

The award, named after the media savvy Philadelphia cardinal who died in 2011, recognizes excellence and innovation in Catholic storytelling in various media platforms such as video, podcasts, photo spreads, blogs or a combination of multimedia platforms. It is one of the top awards given by the CPA.

The winner was announced July 1 in a pre-recorded video released on social media during the 2020 Catholic Media Conference held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Anything with Cardinal Foley's name on it is more than an honor and it's incredibly humbling," said Muth in accepting the award. "He was a giant in the Catholic press, and wow, what an incredible innovator in everything that he touched."

Cardinal Foley, a longtime journalist, was head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications from 1984 to 2007. Before that, he served as assistant editor and editor of Philadelphia's archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard and Times, and he hosted and produced a radio program called "Philadelphia Catholic Hour." The cardinal also was known to many as the Vatican's "Voice of Christmas" in his role as English-language commentator for the pope's midnight Mass for 25 years.

Greg Erlandson, director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service -- who nominated Muth for the award -- described Cardinal Foley as an "indefatigable supporter of the Catholic press" who always "remained a journalist at heart" while believing strongly in the importance of this vocation for the life of the church.

In his nomination submission, Erlandson said there are many examples of Muth's 2019 work in photography, videography, animation and multimedia storytelling. He also pointed out that Muth developed several important series in the past year that combined solid news reporting with strong visual storytelling, including a comprehensive look at the seal of the confessional and a series on how the film industry was shaped by the Catholic Church, with corresponding documentary films that aired on Catholic television stations.

Finalists for the 2020 award were Dan Allen with FaithND; Amber Cerveny with the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts; Cassie Magnotta of Glenmary Challenge; David Naglieri with the Knights of Columbus; and Michael O'Loughlin from America Media.

Previous Cardinal Foley Award recipients were David Carollo from World Apostolate of Fatima /Soul Magazine in 2018 and Lisa Johnston from the St. Louis Review in 2017. The award was not presented last year.

J.D. Long-Garcia, senior editor of America magazine and CPA president, who presented Muth with the award, said: "Congratulations my friend, you set a high bar for all of us."

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

 

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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]

Cardinal Zen says he's prepared for arrest under Hong Kong security law

IMAGE: REUTERS

By

HONG KONG (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has said that while he will remain prudent, he is prepared to suffer arrest and trials under Hong Kong's sweeping new national security law.

"If right and proper words were considered against their law, I will endure all the suing, trials and arrests. Numerous predecessors have endured similarly," the 88-year-old cardinal said in a video posted on his Facebook page. His remarks were reported by ucanews.com.

"Perhaps they are truly insane. Who knows? Let them be then. Isn't there a saying, 'Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad'?"

The controversial law was rushed through the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress June 30, the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to Beijing.

Cardinal Zen's fears that the new laws could affect religious freedom in the city contradict the view of Hong Kong's apostolic administrator, Cardinal John Tong Hon, who in late June claimed the laws would have no effect on religious freedom.

But in a late-June statement, International Christian Concern said that under the new law, "vocal Hong Kong clergy who have been supportive of Hong Kong's democracy movement, such as Cardinal Joseph Zen and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, could be extradited to mainland China to be tried, since Beijing considers them to be threats to the regime."

Hong Kong Diocese's Justice and Peace Commission also signed an open letter with 85 other social justice organizations, decrying the law ahead of its implementation, ucanews.com.

International Christian Concern warned that Beijing considers the mass protests that began last June as terrorist acts and any calls for Hong Kong's independence from China as acts of sedition.

The group noted that China's notorious legal system and its lack of transparency "can easily criminalize anybody and place them in jail," adding that many Chinese pastors and Christians are now imprisoned on trumped-up charges such as subversion of state power, illegal border crossing and illegal business operation.

"Many fear with the passing of this legislation, Hong Kong will forever lose its 'one country, two systems' status and merely turn itself into an ordinary coastal city in China," it added.

Joshua Rosenzweig, Amnesty International's deputy regional director for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said the passing of the national security law "is a painful moment for the people of Hong Kong and represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city's recent history."

He added: "From now on, China will have the power to impose its own laws on any criminal suspect it chooses. The speed and secrecy with which China has pushed through this legislation intensifies the fear that Beijing has calculatingly created a weapon of repression to be used against government critics, including people who are merely expressing their views or protesting peacefully."

The new laws potentially target Catholic schools, charities and organizations through their focus on nongovernmental organizations. The Hong Kong church has scores of schools ranging from preschools through to high schools, educating mainly non-Catholics.

Ucanews.com reported the church also has a significant network of charities led by its umbrella charity organization, Caritas.

Article 9 of the legislation says the Hong Kong government will "take necessary measures to strengthen public communication, guidance, supervision and regulation" of schools, social organizations, the media and the internet.

The legislation, which took effect the evening of June 30, will apply to Hong Kong citizens and foreigners deemed to have broken laws both inside and outside the territory.

Even people transiting through Hong Kong are at risk of arrest.

Foreigners can be deported if authorities decide not to prosecute them to the full extent of the legislation, which has penalties as severe as life imprisonment.

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Editors: The original story can be found at www.ucanews.com/news/defiant-cardinal-zen-i-am-ready-to-be-arrested/88608

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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]

Cardinal Zen says he's prepared for arrest under Hong Kong security law

IMAGE: REUTERS

By

HONG KONG (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has said that while he will remain prudent, he is prepared to suffer arrest and trials under Hong Kong's sweeping new national security law.

"If right and proper words were considered against their law, I will endure all the suing, trials and arrests. Numerous predecessors have endured similarly," the 88-year-old cardinal said in a video posted on his Facebook page. His remarks were reported by ucanews.com.

"Perhaps they are truly insane. Who knows? Let them be then. Isn't there a saying, 'Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad'?"

The controversial law was rushed through the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress June 30, the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to Beijing.

Cardinal Zen's fears that the new laws could affect religious freedom in the city contradict the view of Hong Kong's apostolic administrator, Cardinal John Tong Hon, who in late June claimed the laws would have no effect on religious freedom.

But in a late-June statement, International Christian Concern said that under the new law, "vocal Hong Kong clergy who have been supportive of Hong Kong's democracy movement, such as Cardinal Joseph Zen and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, could be extradited to mainland China to be tried, since Beijing considers them to be threats to the regime."

Hong Kong Diocese's Justice and Peace Commission also signed an open letter with 85 other social justice organizations, decrying the law ahead of its implementation, ucanews.com.

International Christian Concern warned that Beijing considers the mass protests that began last June as terrorist acts and any calls for Hong Kong's independence from China as acts of sedition.

The group noted that China's notorious legal system and its lack of transparency "can easily criminalize anybody and place them in jail," adding that many Chinese pastors and Christians are now imprisoned on trumped-up charges such as subversion of state power, illegal border crossing and illegal business operation.

"Many fear with the passing of this legislation, Hong Kong will forever lose its 'one country, two systems' status and merely turn itself into an ordinary coastal city in China," it added.

Joshua Rosenzweig, Amnesty International's deputy regional director for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said the passing of the national security law "is a painful moment for the people of Hong Kong and represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city's recent history."

He added: "From now on, China will have the power to impose its own laws on any criminal suspect it chooses. The speed and secrecy with which China has pushed through this legislation intensifies the fear that Beijing has calculatingly created a weapon of repression to be used against government critics, including people who are merely expressing their views or protesting peacefully."

The new laws potentially target Catholic schools, charities and organizations through their focus on nongovernmental organizations. The Hong Kong church has scores of schools ranging from preschools through to high schools, educating mainly non-Catholics.

Ucanews.com reported the church also has a significant network of charities led by its umbrella charity organization, Caritas.

Article 9 of the legislation says the Hong Kong government will "take necessary measures to strengthen public communication, guidance, supervision and regulation" of schools, social organizations, the media and the internet.

The legislation, which took effect the evening of June 30, will apply to Hong Kong citizens and foreigners deemed to have broken laws both inside and outside the territory.

Even people transiting through Hong Kong are at risk of arrest.

Foreigners can be deported if authorities decide not to prosecute them to the full extent of the legislation, which has penalties as severe as life imprisonment.

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Editors: The original story can be found at www.ucanews.com/news/defiant-cardinal-zen-i-am-ready-to-be-arrested/88608

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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]

Msgr. Ratzinger, retired pope's brother, dies at 96

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tobias Schwarz, Reuters

By

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, a musician and retired Pope Benedict XVI's elder brother, died July 1 at the age of 96.

According to Vatican News, Msgr. Ratzinger died in Regensburg, Germany, where he had been hospitalized. Pope Benedict, 93, flew to Regensburg June 18 to be with his ailing brother.

When the retired pope arrived in Germany, the Diocese of Regensburg issued a statement asking the public to respect his privacy and that of his brother.

"It may be the last time that the two brothers, Georg and Joseph Ratzinger, see each other in this world," the diocesan statement said.

The two brothers attended the seminary together after World War II and were ordained to the priesthood together in 1951. Although priestly ministry took them in different directions, they continued to be close and to spend holidays and vacations together, including at the Vatican and the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Their sister, Maria, died in 1991.

In an interview in 2006, Msgr. Ratzinger said he and his brother entered the seminary to serve. "We were willing to serve in whatever manner, go wherever the bishop would send us, although we both had our preferences, of course. I was hoping for a calling related to my interest in music, and my brother had prepared himself from a theological-science point of view. But we were not in this to indulge in our personal hobbies. We said yes to priesthood to serve, in whatever way was needed, and it was a blessing we both got to follow church careers that were also in accordance with our secret wishes at the time."

Born at Pleiskirchen, Germany, in 1924, Msgr. Ratzinger already was a proficient organist and pianist by the time he entered the minor seminary in Traunstein in 1935. Forced to leave the seminary when war broke out, he was wounded while serving in Italy with Germany's armed forces in 1944 and later was held as a prisoner of war by U.S. forces.

When the war ended, he and his brother enrolled in 1946 in the seminary of the Munich and Freising Archdiocese and were ordained priests five years later. He directed the Regensburg boys' choir from 1964 to 1994, when he retired.

Six years after he retired, accusations were made that the head of the school the boys attended sexually abused some of them. Msgr. Ratzinger said he had no idea the abuse occurred, but nevertheless he apologized to the victims. He did say that he knew the boys were subjected to corporal punishment at the school, but he had not known "the exaggerated vehemence with which the director acted," he told the Bavarian newspaper, Neue Passauer Presse.

When Msgr. Ratzinger was named an honorary citizen of Castel Gandolfo in 2008, his younger brother, Pope Benedict, told the crowd, "From the beginning of my life, my brother was always not just a companion, but also a trustworthy guide."

At the time Pope Benedict was 81 and his brother was 84.

"The days left to live progressively decrease, but in this stage as well, my brother helps me to accept with serenity, humility and courage the weight of each day. I thank him," Pope Benedict said.

"For me, he has been a point of orientation and of reference with the clarity and determination of his decisions," the now-retired pope said. "He always has shown me the path to take, including in difficult situations."

The brothers were together in public again in January 2009 to celebrate Msgr. Ratzinger's 85th birthday with a special concert in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the site of the conclave that had elected Pope Benedict in 2005.

The Regensburg boys' choir, the Regensburg cathedral orchestra and guest soloists performed Mozart's "Mass in C Minor," a favorite of both brothers and one that carried strong memories. Pope Benedict told the guests in the Sistine Chapel that when he was 14, he and his brother went to Salzburg, Austria, to hear the Mozart Mass.

"It was music at prayer, the divine office, in which we almost could touch something of the magnificence and beauty of God himself, and we were touched," the pope said.

The pope ended his remarks praying that the Lord would "allow all of us one day to enter the heavenly concert to experience completely the joy of God."

 

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Msgr. Ratzinger, retired pope's brother, dies at 96

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tobias Schwarz, Reuters

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, a musician and retired Pope Benedict XVI's elder brother, died July 1 at the age of 96.

According to Vatican News, Msgr. Ratzinger died in Regensburg, Germany, where he had been hospitalized. Pope Benedict, 93, flew to Regensburg June 18 to be with his ailing brother.

When the retired pope arrived in Germany, the Diocese of Regensburg issued a statement asking the public to respect his privacy and that of his brother.

"It may be the last time that the two brothers, Georg and Joseph Ratzinger, see each other in this world," the diocesan statement said.

The two brothers attended the seminary together after World War II and were ordained to the priesthood together in 1951. Although priestly ministry took them in different directions, they continued to be close and to spend holidays and vacations together, including at the Vatican and the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Their sister, Maria, died in 1991.

In an interview in 2006, Msgr. Ratzinger said he and his brother entered the seminary to serve. "We were willing to serve in whatever manner, go wherever the bishop would send us, although we both had our preferences, of course. I was hoping for a calling related to my interest in music, and my brother had prepared himself from a theological-science point of view. But we were not in this to indulge in our personal hobbies. We said yes to priesthood to serve, in whatever way was needed, and it was a blessing we both got to follow church careers that were also in accordance with our secret wishes at the time."

Born at Pleiskirchen, Germany, in 1924, Msgr. Ratzinger already was a proficient organist and pianist by the time he entered the minor seminary in Traunstein in 1935. Forced to leave the seminary when war broke out, he was wounded while serving in Italy with Germany's armed forces in 1944 and later was held as a prisoner of war by U.S. forces.

When the war ended, he and his brother enrolled in 1946 in the seminary of the Munich and Freising Archdiocese and were ordained priests five years later. He directed the Regensburg boys' choir from 1964 to 1994, when he retired.

Six years after he retired, accusations were made that the head of the school the boys attended sexually abused some of them. Msgr. Ratzinger said he had no idea the abuse occurred, but nevertheless he apologized to the victims. He did say that he knew the boys were subjected to corporal punishment at the school, but he had not known "the exaggerated vehemence with which the director acted," he told the Bavarian newspaper, Neue Passauer Presse.

When Msgr. Ratzinger was named an honorary citizen of Castel Gandolfo in 2008, his younger brother, Pope Benedict, told the crowd, "From the beginning of my life, my brother was always not just a companion, but also a trustworthy guide."

At the time Pope Benedict was 81 and his brother was 84.

"The days left to live progressively decrease, but in this stage as well, my brother helps me to accept with serenity, humility and courage the weight of each day. I thank him," Pope Benedict said.

"For me, he has been a point of orientation and of reference with the clarity and determination of his decisions," the now-retired pope said. "He always has shown me the path to take, including in difficult situations."

The brothers were together in public again in January 2009 to celebrate Msgr. Ratzinger's 85th birthday with a special concert in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the site of the conclave that had elected Pope Benedict in 2005.

The Regensburg boys' choir, the Regensburg cathedral orchestra and guest soloists performed Mozart's "Mass in C Minor," a favorite of both brothers and one that carried strong memories. Pope Benedict told the guests in the Sistine Chapel that when he was 14, he and his brother went to Salzburg, Austria, to hear the Mozart Mass.

"It was music at prayer, the divine office, in which we almost could touch something of the magnificence and beauty of God himself, and we were touched," the pope said.

The pope ended his remarks praying that the Lord would "allow all of us one day to enter the heavenly concert to experience completely the joy of God."

 

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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]