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Life Amid War: Peace Comes in the Form of South Sudan’s Churches (2326)

The world’s newest nation is majority-Christian and fraught with violence — and the Church holds the keys to making peace a reality.

08/22/2016 Comments (4)
First photo courtesy of missionnewswire.org/salesianmissions. All other photos credited to Sara A. Fajardo/Catholic Relief Services.

Top to bottom: 1, Salesian priests and lay missionaries operate Don Bosco Gumbo which comprises a parish, secondary school and youth center; 2, CRS staff help with a food drop to internally displaced refugees; 3, South Sudanese dance commemorating the nation's independence on July 9, 2011; 4, Yar Wadok, mother of 5, with her youngest, 3 week-old Akou Marial.

– First photo courtesy of missionnewswire.org/salesianmissions. All other photos credited to Sara A. Fajardo/Catholic Relief Services.

JUBA, South Sudan — “If we die, we die with these people.”

Amid the screams and constant crackle of gunfire outside the Don Bosco compound in Gumbo, South Sudan, the priests, religious and lay staff made their decision: They would stay with the 20,000 people who had sought refuge behind their gates to the very end.

Father Shyjan Job and his fellow Salesian priests said their last prayers and prepared themselves to meet God. All that stood between them and death by the machete’s swing or the AK-47’s spray of bullets on the evening of July 10 was the chain-link fence and an iron gate encircling their church, their school and adjacent buildings.

“It was a real moment of grace,” said Father...READ MORE

Filed under christian outreach, peter jesserer smith, south sudan, violence, war

New Federal Rules Would Put Transgender Policy Over Privacy, Safety Concerns at Homeless Shelters (2688)

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference and Catholic Charities USA argue that the new HUD policy would increase the vulnerability of homeless persons, including those who identify as transgender.

08/22/2016 Comments (26)
Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock.

Women's homeless shelter.

– Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock.

WASHINGTON — According to proposed federal rules, homeless shelters partnering with the government might soon have to compromise the privacy and safety of their clients — and Catholics have voiced their concerns.

“No person should be denied a safe place to live,” legal counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stated in comments on the proposed rule made in January, in conjunction with other religious groups like the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC).

“While the regulations purport to protect health and safety, they fail to advance, and in fact positively undermine, these and other legitimate interests, including expectations of privacy,” they added.


Filed under catholic charities usa, hud, lgbtq, transgender, usccb

This Three-Time Olympian Wishes She Could Have Dinner With EWTN’s Mother Angelica (3402)

Dominique Dawes, the first African-American female gymnast to win an individual Olympic medal, said she deeply admired Mother Angelica’s resilience through life’s challenges.

08/22/2016 Comments (4)
EWTN; George Mason University via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Mother Angelica. Dominique Dawes.

– EWTN; George Mason University via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

NEW YORK — When The New York Times interviewed retired Olympian Dominique Dawes, she was asked a peculiar question: If you could have dinner with one person who is no longer living whose obituary was published in The New York Times, who would it be?

The three-time Olympian responded by saying, “I would choose to dine with Mother Angelica.”

“I’d invite Mother Angelica to my home and have her sit at the head of our table, alongside my husband and two baby girls,” Dawes told the Times in an Aug. 17 interview.

“I’d ask her to say the blessing, then proceed to ask her a few things about her life and about fortitude.”

Dawes, who made Olympic history by becoming the first African-American...READ MORE

Filed under dominique dawes, ewtn, mother angelica, olympian dominique dawes said she would dine with mother angelica if she could., rio olympics

Not ‘Born That Way’: New Scientific Analysis Questions ‘LGBT’ Orthodoxies (23331)

A comprehensive new survey about sexuality and gender, undertaken by leading medical experts, concludes that key theories are unsupported by scientific evidence.

08/22/2016 Comments (62)
Wikimedia Commons

'Sexuality and Gender,' a new report by Drs. Lawrence Mayer Paul McHugh, sheds light on key popular theories about this subject, including the belief that homosexual persons are 'born that way.'

– Wikimedia Commons

A new report that examines nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies on sexual orientation and gender identity concludes that science hasn’t confirmed key theories about these subjects, including the belief that homosexuals are “born that way.”

And it rejects surgical and hormonal interventions for children who identify as “transgender,” on the grounds that the large majority of such children outgrow identities that conflict with their biological sex.

“Examining research from the biological, psychological and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence,” reads an introductory note by Adam...READ MORE

Filed under gender vs. sex, joan frawley desmond, lawrence mayer, paul mchugh, sexual orientation

Olympic Gold Medalist Ryan Murphy: 'I Hope Always to Live Life Based on God's Will' (9720)

The swimming star has anchored his competitive career, along with the rest of life, firmly to his Catholic faith.

08/20/2016 Comments (10)

Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy receives his gold medal at the 100-meter backstroke ceremony on Aug. 8.

– YouTube

Twenty-one-year-old swimming star Ryan Murphy was born in the Chicago area, grew up in Florida, matriculated in California and competed in Rio de Janeiro this summer — winning three gold medals.

Along with his athletic prowess, one constant of Murphy’s life has been his family’s unswerving commitment to their Catholic faith. He was born on the South Side of Chicago, into a family strongly devoted to Catholic education.

Growing up in St. Gerald and St. Germaine parishes in Oak Lawn, Ill., Murphy’s parents received their respective educations at various Catholic institutions. His mother, Katy, attended St. Gerald and St. Germaine Catholic Schools and then Mother McAuley High School in...READ MORE

Filed under angelo stagnaro, catholic athletes, rio olympics, ryan murphy

Pope to Return to Assisi for Interreligious Summit for Peace (1666)

In September, Pope Francis will make his second visit to Assisi in just two months on the 30th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace that St. John Paul II convoked there in 1986.

08/19/2016 Comments (7)
Angelia Ambrogetti/CNA

Pope Francis visits the Porziuncola chapel inside the papal Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the 'Pardon of Assisi.'

– Angelia Ambrogetti/CNA

VATICAN CITY — In September, Pope Francis will make his second visit to Assisi in just two months — for an interreligious summit for peace, where he will pray and meet alongside major Islamic and Orthodox leaders.

The visit will take place Sept. 20, which marks the 30th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace that St. John Paul II convoked in Assisi in 1986.

St. John Paul II went back to Assisi for successive events in 1993 and 2002. The last day of prayer led by a pope was convoked by Benedict XVI in 2011, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first historic meeting in Assisi.

However, the Sant’Egidio community has organized an interreligious meeting every year since 1986,...READ MORE

Filed under assisi, elise harris, interreligious dialogue, pope francis

SDG Reviews ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (3884)

Beauty and wonder suffuse the latest stop-motion extravaganza from the makers of Coraline and The Boxtrolls, but one key misstep threatens to derail the film.

08/19/2016 Comments (10)

“If you must blink, do it now.” Kubo opens with a flourish of storytelling bravado: a pledge to the audience to expect something special and an exhortation to active engagement.

Not all storytellers could make good such a pledge, but young Kubo, a street performer whose act combines drama, music and a sort of magical puppetry, is one who can — and so are the makers of this mostly exhilarating movie. Kubo is so strange and constantly inventive that it demands your full attention. If you want mindless entertainment, try The Secret Life of Pets.

We learn early on, though, that Kubo’s stories tend to lack something: In the end, he often leaves his audience hanging, unsatisfied. Even Kubo...READ MORE

Filed under animation, family films, japan, sdg reviews

California’s Religious Colleges Get ‘Miracle’ Win for Religious Liberty (3978)

For Catholic and Christian colleges, the battle for religious freedom may depend on showing legislators how they serve vulnerable populations.

08/19/2016 Comments (5)

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif.

– ThomasAquinas.edu

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For three days in August, the entire community of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., prayed for St. Michael the Archangel to protect their religious liberty from new state legislation that seemed like a done deal.

S.B. 1146, sponsored by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, aimed to eliminate existing protections for religious colleges and universities that allow them to carry out their educational mission in line with their religious teachings on marriage and sexuality. Lara argued that the bill closed a “loophole” that allows religious-based institutions of higher learning to discriminate against homosexual and transgender students, thanks to existing...READ MORE

Filed under archbishop jose gomez, california, catholic colleges and universities, lgbt, peter jesserer smith, religious liberty, ricardo lara, sb 1146

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