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August 14, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Knights replace
traditional uniform

Members of the Knights of Columbus are seen in their new uniforms Aug. 1 during the international fraternal organization's 135th annual Supreme Convention in St. Louis. The new uniform is replacing the traditional swords, capes and chapeaus worn by fourth-degree Knights. In place of a tuxedo with a black bow tie, members will be wearing a blue blazer, an official Knights of Columbus tie and a beret, all with the fourth-degree emblem on them, along with a white shirt and dark gray slacks. There was no mention if the swords would remain part of the uniform.

Smithsonian exhibit
on religion

A visitor at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington looks at items in the exhibit "Religion in Early America" July 26. The exhibit will be on display until June 3, 2018, and celebrates the free exercise of religion and the religious diversity that define American faith life. The exhibit features artifacts from Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other major world religions.

The 'perfect' Catholics who despise others

VATICAN CITY — God did not choose perfect people to form his church, but rather sinners who have experienced his love and forgiveness, Pope Francis said.

The Gospel of Luke's account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how his actions went against the general mentality of his time, a way of thinking that saw a "clear separation" between the pure and impure, the pope said Aug. 9 during his weekly general audience.

"There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect," the pope said. "And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad."

Continuing his series of audience talks about Christian hope, the pope reflected on Jesus' "scandalous gesture" of forgiving the sinful woman.

The woman, he said, was one of many poor women who were visited secretly even by those who denounced them as sinful.

Although Jesus' love toward the sick and the marginalized "baffles his contemporaries," it reveals God's heart as the place where suffering men and women can find love, compassion and healing, Pope Francis said.

"How many people continue today in a wayward life because they find no one willing to look at them in a different way, with the eyes — or better yet — with the heart of God, meaning with hope," he said. But "Jesus sees the possibility of a resurrection even in those who have made so many wrong choices."

Oftentimes, the pope continued, Christians become accustomed to having their sins forgiven and receiving God's unconditional love while forgetting the heavy price Jesus paid by dying on the cross.

By forgiving sinners, Jesus doesn't seek to free them from a guilty conscience, but rather offers "people who have made mistakes the hope of a new life, a life marked by love," the pope said.

The church is a people formed "of sinners who have experienced the mercy and forgiveness of God," Pope Francis said. Christians are "all poor sinners" who need God's mercy, "which strengthens us and gives us hope."

Supported faith
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Though not a Catholic himself, legendary University of Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian had a notable respect for the school's Catholic faith as well as the Fighting Irish's gridiron tradition. "There was always an underlying spirituality to whatever happened at Notre Dame," Parseghian told the National Catholic Register in 2013. "That was one of the main reasons I enjoyed being there so much." Parseghian died Aug. 2 at age 94.

Ethical questions
WASHINGTON — Catholic observers and others are raising ethical questions about the work of an international team of scientists who report that they were able to edit the DNA in human embryos to correct a health disorder. The questions focus on two concerns: the creation of human embryos for scientific experimentation and then destruction, and the still-unknown effect that changing DNA will have on future generations because the changes could become a permanent part of a family's genetic line.

Transgender ban
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services offered support for President Donald Trump's reinstatement of a ban on transgender people serving in any branch of the military. In a July 28 statement, the archbishop said that "sexual orientation and gender identity issues reflect a rapidly increasing and incorrect societal attitude that individual behaviors in life should pursue immediate and personal choices rather than eternal truth." Archbishop Broglio said that Trump's emphasis on military readiness and the cost associated with gender reassignment surgeries and therapies as reasons for the ban failed "to address the essence of the issue — the dignity of the human person."

Classical approach
WASHINGTON — Each year on Nov. 1, the feast of All Saints, the classrooms at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School in Denver are not full of students, but of little saints. Dressing up as the saints is what the principal, Rosemary Anderson, describes as part of her students' "joyful witness of the faith," which serves as the foundation of Lourdes Classical. Students at Lourdes attend Mass four times a week, recite ancient poets, such as Ovid, and begin learning Latin in kindergarten. Lourdes Classical is part of a classical education approach to Catholic schooling, a movement gaining momentum in schools across the country. In 2012, the parish school at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Parish in Denver shifted from a traditional Catholic school, to a classical educational approach. At the time, they had fewer than 100 students. "The school had to do something to attract people, it was on the verge of closing," Anderson said.

Nun to officiate
OTTAWA, Ontario — When no priests were available, the bishop of the Quebec Diocese of Rouyn-Noranda sought and received Vatican permission for a local nun to officiate at a recent wedding. While the story has been portrayed around the world as a sign that Pope Francis is changing the role of women in the church, Bishop Dorylas Moreau said the wedding was carried out according to a long-established provision of canon law. It allows an exception for a layperson to be permitted to officiate at a wedding when a bishop, priest or deacon is unavailable.

Scout values needed
GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Scouting develops generosity, service and fraternity, which are all values "our world sorely needs," the papal nuncio told Catholic Scouts gathered for a July 23 Mass during the annual Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree. "These values are the antidote to the selfishness and individualism of our society," Archbishop Christophe Pierre said in his homily. "Scouting also encourages you to work together as a team, to share adventures, and to have a greater vision of life and creation."

Church hires
NEW YORK — A court ruling that the New York Archdiocese did not discriminate against a school principal when it did not renew her contract affirms "the freedom of a church to decide who will serve as its religious leaders," said the Alliance Defending Freedom. The nonprofit legal group, which supports religious freedom and other issues, made the comments about a unanimous decision July 14 by a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Fratello v. Archdiocese of New York.

Black Catholics' congress
ORLANDO, Fla. — United by the words of the prophet of social justice, Catholic Church leaders urged black Catholics to become active, just disciples of Christ. More than 2,000 converged on Orlando July 6-9 for the 12th National Black Catholic Congress where speakers — clergy, lay and religious — addressed a variety of topics and concerns facing black communities and families, while urging those present to take an active, enthusiastic role in living out the Gospel as just disciples of Christ.

Convocation 'a journey'
ORLANDO, Fla. — Theirs was a monumental responsibility: shepherding lay leaders, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, religious, deacons, musicians, event staff and a legion of volunteers at the historic "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" July 1-4 in Orlando. "This convocation is a journey, and there will be three of us here to guide you through the next four days," said Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas, one of the event's emcees. Sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the convocation brought together more than 3,100 lay and religious leaders from 160 dioceses and 185 national organizations. They gathered to explore the current challenges and strengths of the church and its evangelization efforts.

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