Daily Archives:April 20th, 2018

Abp Chaput thinks you should read this young Catholic father’s letter

Abp Chaput of Philadelphia speaks at the Vatican, 25 Mar 2014.  Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

PHILADELPHIA, Pa – In a time of cultural confusion and challenge, youth need clarity and guidance from the Church – and failure to give it could be disastrous, says a young father who wrote to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.

For Archbishop Chaput, who reproduced the letter April 18 at First Things, the man’s thoughts are worth considering as Catholics “seek a fuller understanding of the pastoral challenges facing young adults in a changing world.”

The Catholic Church will hold a Synod on Youth this October, and Archbishop Chaput is among the Church leaders preparing for it. He received the letter just after a pre-synod meeting in Rome where about 300 young adults gathered to discuss how they view the Church and the faith.

“We young people crave the truth and clarity of good teaching,” said the unnamed author, a self-described 26-year-old father of three. He suggested this craving is proved by the swift rise of Canadian professor and author Jordan Peterson, whose videos on YouTube have drawn a large following.

“We crave the truth, no matter how blunt or difficult it is for us to swallow or for the shepherds of our flock to teach,” the young father said.

“We urgently need the Church’s clarity and authoritative guidance on issues like abortion, homosexuality, gender dysphoria, the indissolubility of matrimony, the four last things, and the consequences of contraception (moral, anthropological, and abortifacient). My generation has never, or rarely, heard these truths winsomely taught in the parishes.”

The author claimed young Catholics hear most forcefully from the U.S. bishops’ conference and from dioceses about the federal budget, border policy, gun control, and the environment. Efforts to reach out effectively to those who don’t affiliate with a religion, colloquially known as the “nones,” may also be at risk.

“Though the Church’s growing focus on evangelization of the ‘Nones’ is encouraging, there have been recent discussions emanating from several prominent figures in Rome and throughout Church leadership regarding a so-called ‘paradigm shift’ relative to doctrine, the supremacy of individual conscience, and pastoral accommodation,” the man continued.

“My wife and I find these developments disturbing and potentially disastrous for the evangelization of the young and the fallen-away.”

“Our culture is roiled in confusion concerning the basic tenets of human nature,” the author continued, citing controversies over gender, masculinity, the family, and “propaganda” that “desecrates the nature of sex and its fruits, especially the unborn child.”

This letter prompted Archbishop Chaput to reflect: “The future of the Catholic faith belongs to those who create it with their fidelity, their self-sacrifice, their commitment to bringing new life into the world and raising their children in truth, and their determination to walk Christ’s ‘narrow way’ with joy.”

The archbishop prayed that God would grant the fathers of the 2018 Synod on Youth “the grace and courage to lead young people on that path.” – CNA/EWTN News, 19 Apr 2018

Catholic communicators urge greater respect in public discourse

Michael Warsaw at a Communication Seminar in Rome, Italy, 17-19 April 2018. Credit: Marina Testino/CNA

VATICAN CITY – This week, Catholic communicators gathered in Rome to discuss the need for more respectful dialogue in the public sphere, saying that fake news and polemics must be overcome with truth, mercy and openness.

When it comes to modern day public discourse, Irish Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “we have to be aware of our language, because nowadays people switch off, they don’t hear, and we cannot get the Gospel message out simply condemning everyone who lives their lives contrary to what we believe in.”

Now more than ever when emotions are high, polemics are strong, and digital communication is increasingly more impersonal, mutual respect is needed in order to effectively communicate with those we don’t agree with, both within the Church, and outside of it, he said.

This is also true “in the kind of culture wars which we are engaging in sometimes even within the Church; they simply drown out any opportunity for people to make that personal commitment to Christ, which is really what the Gospel is about.”

“This is a challenge for us within the Church, and it’s exemplified by blogs countering blogs, Twitter countering Twitter, where everyone is shouting and absolutely no one is hearing anything.”

The remedy, Martin said, is to focus, in every exchange, on communicating the fact that “God loves you, he loves you personally, he’s calling you to conversion in your own personal life story.”

Archbishop Martin spoke on the first day of an  17-19 April 2018 conference for Catholic communicators in Rome. Co-organised by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and EWTN, the three-day seminar was dedicated to the theme of “Dialogue, Respect and Freedom of Expression in the Public Arena.”

Speakers and panelists included media representatives and experts from around the world who touched on issues such as polarisation, fake news, defamation and how to promote values through the media.

Michael Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and CEO of EWTN Global Catholic Network, gave a keynote speech on fake news and the responsibility of journalists on the final day of the conference.

Warsaw pointed to a recent example of a fake story that gained a lot of steam during the US presidential election of 2016.

During the campaign season, a fake news site published an article titled “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement,” which gained more than 100,000 comments, shares, and reactions on Facebook alone, and nearly 1 million Facebook engagements, making it “the single biggest fake news hit of the US Election.”

Shortly after, another fake news article appeared saying Pope Francis had endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, he said, noting that it is thanks to articles like this that modern society has come to be known as the “post-truth” or “post-fact” world.

Warsaw cited various studies showing that consumers of fake news are no small minority, and, quoting the pope, said that because of this, journalists in particular are called to be “the protectors of news.”

“Pope Francis, in his 2018 message, rightly condemns that ‘spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions, and serve economic interests,’…But, the challenges facing journalism and the public at large today go deeper than the ‘fake news’ phenomenon,” he said.

Rather, the real crux of the matter is growing general distrust of media, as well as a loss of trust in data, analysis, and objective facts, he said.

Because of this, those who work in social communications must be offered ongoing formation, both spiritual and professional, so that both individual journalists and media outlets “become more trusted by the public, and are seen as objective and reliable.”

Quoting Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Social Communications, Warsaw said the most “radical antidote” to the phenomenon of fake news is “purification by the truth.”

“As Catholic communicators and media, we are called to do our part to be truth tellers,” he said, and “we must take heart in knowing that we are not the first Catholics to live in a ‘post truth’ era.”

In his comments to CNA, Archbishop Martin stressed the importance of fostering an environment where true and honest dialogue can take place, and where media can help “engage in a culture of encounter.”

“We meet people where they are at, some of whom are completely against what we stand for, others who are open to conversation,” he said, explaining that when things get heated, “pacifying” one’s tone is a good place to start in terms of having a fruitful exchange.

“I think this conference has courageously opened up a sort of middle-ground where we can engage in a type of court of the gentiles, where we enter that space in which there are some people who are diametrically opposed to what we stand for.”

And this, the archbishop said, can only happen “out of respect, and it can only happen when there is a culture of freedom to speak.”

For those involved in communication, “we c only hope that with the help of the Holy Spirit and by the grace of God, that we can invite people, that we can win them for Christ, by our witness, by our example, and by the strength and courage of our message.” – Elise Harrisan, CNA/EWTN News

SHC group leaders attend update on renovation works

A section of the attendees listening attentively to the presenter during the update given to group leaders of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish at the parish centre, 19 Apr 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – Over 60 group leaders and members of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here attended an update on renovation works and other matters at the parish centre on 19 Apr 2018.

Anthony Lim, chairman of the parish finance council, updated the audience on the renovation works carried out at the parish centre since 2016, using the proceeds from the bazaar that year.

Completed renovation works included electrical rewiring, replacement of faulty main pipe (2016), roofing and gutter system, construction of storage rooms and passageway, repainting, renovated meeting rooms on first floor, and installation of two giant fans in the hall (2017).

In early 2018, overhauling of PA system and video link upgrade between cathedral and hall were done and two LCD screens were installed in the hall.

The other works to be done in 2018 will be the PA system in the meeting rooms and hall as well as the external repainting of the hall.

Lim then appealed to the attendees for cooperation among their members in the use and maintenance of the parish centre facilities such as aircon units and motorised screens (F6, F7, F8), and to observe no-food-drink-rule inside meeting rooms, and other rules.

He also gave a brief update on the progress of the construction of the new Catholic Centre.  He said the earthworks have been completed.  Piling works are scheduled to begin at the end of May until the end of July.  The main building construction will then begin until November 2019.

However, he said, instead of RM1m quota, the quota has been raised to RM2.5m for the cathedral parish.  And that led to the upcoming fundraising bazaar on June 10 in aid of the building fund.

Anita Tunggolou, chairperson of the parish fundraising committee, announced the allocation of bazaar stalls to the different groups, communities, ministries based on the 2016 data.  The target is RM300,000.

In his closing remarks, Archbishop John Wong thanked everyone for their presence, gave a brief background on the decision to build the Catholic Centre, and urged everyone to play their part in the building of this landmark of the archdiocese.

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