Pope asks US donors to pray for religious freedom
VATICAN CITY — Meeting a group of major U.S. donors to Catholic charitable works, Pope Benedict XVI asked them to pray "for the freedom of Christians to proclaim the Gospel and bring its light to the urgent moral issues of our time."
The pope met April 21 with about 80 members of the Papal Foundation, who presented him with an $8.5-million donation that will be used to fund scholarships and 105 Catholic projects in close to 50 countries.
The projects include the construction of five schools in Egypt, where Christian leaders and human rights activists have been concerned about ensuring religious freedom as the country transitions to a democratic government.
Pictured: Pope Benedict XVI meets with donors of the Papal Foundation at the Vatican April 21. The U.S. donors presented an $8.5 million donation that will be used to fund scholarships and 105 Catholic projects in nearly 50 countries. Also pictured are Cardinal Do nald W. Wuerl of Washington, left, and Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va, right. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
While the pope did not refer to any specific conflicts involving religious freedom, his remarks to the American group also may have alluded to current tensions in the United States over the right of Catholic bishops and institutions to act according to Catholic teaching in matters of adoption and health insurance coverage.
Pope Benedict also paid tribute to the "historic role played by women in building up the church in America," as exemplified by Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Marianne Cope, two North Americans who will be canonized in October.
The pope spoke just three days after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced that it had ordered the reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the main U.S. organization of heads of religious congregations. In the announcement, the congregation said, "the Holy See acknowledges with gratitude the great contributions of women religious to the church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by religious over the years."
Pope Benedict thanked members of the Papal Foundation for their support for the church's work in evangelization, education and development.
Bishop Joseph A. Pepe of Las Vegas, secretary of the foundation's executive board, told Catholic News Service that the idea behind the foundation, which was established in 1988, was to help the pope in his support of Catholics in poor countries. "Every year the pope gives a list of what he'd be interested in" and the foundation evaluates requests it receives in accordance with that list.
Most of the foundation members are "leaders in their communities," and give generously to their parishes and dioceses, but they also want to assist with the universal work of the church, he said.
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas, a member of the board of trustees, said the foundation's Stewards of St. Peter each pledge $1 million to the foundation and promise to pay it within 10 years.
"It is admirable to see how many people are involved in this, helping the church promote programs of evangelization all over the world. I do believe it is one of the great unwritten stories of charity in our day, especially in the United States," Bishop Farrell said.
— Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
Father Patrick Winslow: What can we learn from Pope Francis?It appears as if popes have something on their mind when first elected. One might call it a diagnosis and a proposed remedy for current ails. With Pope John Paul II, it was a message of hope to a world filled with fear. One can still hear him...
David Hains: Close that unhealthy health centerThe Gosnell abortion mill in Philadelphia and A Preferred Woman's Health Center in Charlotte have something in common: little regard for human life. It should come as no surprise that women are being mistreated in these facilities since...
Peggy Bowes: Honor thy mother: Devotions to Mary"We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor His Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor Him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son." — St. Louis de Montfort,...
Father Shawn O'Neal: In this debate, remember Church teaching on human rightsAs a means to develop a comprehensive plan to reform our nation's current immigration system, a group of senators has introduced legislation formally called the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013."...
Father Matthew Buettner: Radical ChristianityRecently, the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt end when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Three young people died in the explosion, including an 8-year-old boy who received his first Holy Communion just 11 months ago. Along with these...
The Poor Clares: Joy and sacrificeSt. Paul was a man passionate with zeal and consumed by love for God and desire for the salvation of souls. His actions and words were geared toward one purpose: the claiming of souls from the dominion of the devil, and the deceit used by him...
Brian Williams:The honest 411 on Vatican III recently had the opportunity to take a class about the Second Vatican Council offered through a diocesan adult education program. While much was covered within a relatively short span of four classes, one subject occupied much of our time...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Vatican II called for post-conciliar liturgical adaptationsThe April 26 Catholic News Herald commentary entitled "The Honest 411 on Vatican II" discussed a participant's experience at an adult education series in the diocese. The course, "The 411 on...
Warrior saints are found throughout historyRegarding the April 26 letter criticizing St. Nicholas of Flue, I am disgusted that an American would insinuate that a soldier who distinguishes himself or herself in combat is not following...
Who would be worthy?In a letter in the April 26 Catholic News Herald, St. Nicholas of Flue was referred to as someone who "did not follow those teachings" of Christ because he defended the faith with his sword and...
MOST POPULAR STORIES
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy