Archive of February 21, 2013

Pope praised for trailblazing unity with Anglicans

London, England, Feb 21, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict's move allowing Anglican converts to enter the Catholic Church as a group makes him “the Pope of Christian Unity,” says the head of the United Kingdom's structure for these communities.

“I think it just shows his fatherly care to open his arms to those who came from different traditions, but shared a common faith,” Monsignor Keith Newton told CNA Feb. 13.

Msgr. Newton leads the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – an ecclesial structure in the U.K. for Anglicans who enter the Catholic Church in groups and who wish to maintain elements of their spiritual and liturgical heritage.

“I'm more than happy to call him the Pope of Christian Unity, because for me that's exactly what he's been, and for those who entered the Catholic Church through that provision.”

On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict XVI announced that effective Feb. 28, he would be stepping down from his position as Pope, due to advanced age and declining strength. After the Pope leaves office, Cardinals from around the world will meet in Rome to elect a new Pope in a special closed meeting called a conclave. A papal resignation has not occurred in nearly 600 years.  

Pope Benedict in known for achieving an ecumenism victory in his 2009 apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum coetibus” which provided for ordinariates, or Anglican communities wishing to enter into the Catholic Church. In addition to that of Our Lady of Walsingham, there are also Ordinariates in North America and in Australia.

“I think it was unique and I think it showed his fatherly care; it was a response to requests that were made to him through Vatican channels over a number of years,” Msgr. Newton expressed.

“It seems to me that the Holy Father's done something, rather than just talk about things...the ordinariates are a small experiment, but are actually doing something about seeing how receptive ecumenism could work.”

The monsignor continued, “You can spend your time talking about these things and nothing happens, and that's the been the sad result of a lot of ecumenical dialogue over the years, and it seems to me that the ordinariates were both a result of the ecumenical dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics, I don't think it would have happened” without the first two rounds of Catholic-Anglican dialogue.

Anglican ordinariates, he said, show that “the universal Church of Jesus Christ does not have to be monochrome, it can represent lots of diverse traditions, provided that they're all in communion with one another, and they all share a common faith.”

Pope Benedict's offer of ordinariates was for Msgr. Newton an “incredible gift.”

“The fact we're all in communion with each other...I think it's all because of the Petrine office, which holds the communion together, and that's an incredible gift. Personally, its made me feel much more spiritually content and happy.”

On the impact of the ordinariates for Pope Benedict's legacy, Msgr. Newton said that in “looking back from some years ahead, that you'll be able to see that this was, as he described it himself, 'a prophetic gesture'. Now prophetic gestures, I don't think you see the realization of them in short-term time.”

“So I think it will be something we look back on, and I think it has been an ecumenical gesture. And it will be very interesting to see whether a similar provision could be made for other tradition...Lutherans for instance, whether that grows from it.”

Msgr. Newton said he had been speaking recently with members of the Walsingham ordinariate who said “how thankful they were” for Pope Benedict “because they probably wouldn't have made that step” of converting from Anglicanism, “except they did it together with a group of like-minded people.”

The head of the North American ordinariate echoed the words of Msgr. Newton.

“One of Pope Benedict XVI’s greatest legacies will be the largest reconciliation of Anglican groups with the Catholic Church in 500 years,” Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson wrote Feb. 11.

“The members of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter will be forever grateful to Pope Benedict for his pastoral concern and vision for Catholic unity. In a very personal and significant manner, he has changed our lives as he has welcomed us and our Anglican patrimony into the Catholic faith this past year.”

Msgr. Steenson converted to the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict's papacy, and said he and the members of the American ordinariate have a deep joy “knowing that we are the fruit of his vision for Catholic unity.”

Pope Benedict, he said, “laid a permanent foundation for the Ordinariate to be the means to reconcile Anglican groups to the Catholic Church and that the Anglican patrimony might be shared with the Catholic Church.”

“For this, we say thank you, thank you for giving us this beautiful gift of communion.”

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Benedict XVI's travels as pontiff spanned globe

Vatican City, Feb 21, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI's papacy continued his predecessor's worldwide travels, crisscrossing Italy and spending 100 days abroad to encourage the Catholic faithful and evangelize for Jesus Christ.

For the English-speaking world, the highlights of his travels included a visit to the United States from April 15-20.

“Christ is the way that leads to the Father, the truth which gives meaning to human existence, and the source of that life which is eternal joy with all the saints in his heavenly Kingdom,” he told 60,000 people gathered for Mass at New York City’s Yankee Stadium.

The Pope met with then-President George W. Bush and addressed the United Nations. He addressed the heads of over 200 U.S. Catholic colleges and universities and 195 Catholic dioceses' superintendents at the Catholic University of America on the topic of Catholic identity in education.

He also prayed at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City and met with victims of sexually abusive priests.

Pope Benedict’s apostolic visit to the U.K. from Sept. 16-19 2010 was the first time a Pope visited Britain as a head of state. His Mass celebrating the beatification of Bl. John Henry Newman drew 55,000 people, while Mass in Glasgow, Scotland’s Bellahouston Park drew 71,000 people.

The Pope visited British leaders like Queen Elizabeth II and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

His 24 apostolic visits outside Italy included three visits to his native Germany and three World Youth Days.

The pontiff's Cologne, Germany visit for World Youth Day lasted from Aug. 18-21, 2005. The event drew 405,000 registered pilgrims and an estimated one million people attended the Pope’s concluding Mass.

Pope Benedict’s visit to Sydney, Australia for World Youth Day from July 12-21, 2008 drew 500,000 people to the event’s closing Mass, one of the largest gatherings in Australian history.

At World Youth Day 2011, held in Madrid, Spain from Aug. 18-21 that year, the Pope’s presence helped draw as many as 2 million people to the closing Mass.

Outreach to the Muslim world also featured highly in some of his travels, like his visit to Turkey from Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 2006. He met with Orthodox Christian leaders and attended a Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I.

The Pope’s Holy Land visit from May 8-15, 2009 included a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Jesus’ body was buried and where he rose from the dead. He visited Eastern Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders and celebrated Mass at the foot of the Mount of Olives with Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Pope Benedict's visits to Latin America included his May 9-14 2007 visit to Brazil for the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean bishops. He held an apostolic visit to Mexico and Cuba from March 23-29, 2012.

His visit to communist-run Cuba was noteworthy for his well-attended Masses. About 250,000 attended his March 26 Mass in Santiago, Cuba. An estimated 700,000 people attended the March 28 Mass at Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, during which the Pope praised Cuba’s progress towards religious freedom.

Shortly after that visit, the Pope decided to step down from the papacy, Vatican communications advisor Greg Burke said Feb. 12.

The Pope visited several other European countries. He went to France in September 2008 for the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Papal travels also took Pope Benedict to Africa. He visited Benin from Nov. 18-20, 2011 and Cameroon and Angola from March 17-23, 2009.

Asia was the only inhabitable continent Pope Benedict XVI did not visit.

His final trip as Pope was to Lebanon from Sept. 14-16, 2012. He celebrated Mass in Beirut for over 350,000 people, whom he urged to be peacemakers in a troubled region.

Pope Benedict’s foreign travels totaled about 100 days of his papacy, out of a total of over 2,800 days as Pope.

The Pope, who also serves as Bishop of Rome, also visited many parts of Italy. His 30 pastoral visits within the country included two visits to regions that had been hit by earthquakes and a visit to the Archdiocese of Milan for the Seventh World Meeting of Families in 2012. On June 17, 2007, he visited Assisi on the 800th anniversary of the conversion of St. Francis.

Before his death in 2005, Pope John Paul II’s 26-year pontificate included visits to 129 countries and helped define the papacy as a global institution at the end of the 20th century.

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Controversial priest's lawsuit against LifeSiteNews advances

Montreal, Canada, Feb 21, 2013 (CNA) - A libel and defamation lawsuit against, filed by Canadian priest Father Raymond Gravel who describes himself as “pro-choice,” will go to trial.

Fr. Gravel claims that LifeSiteNews' depiction of him in the agency's news articles as “pro-abortion” is libelous, because he says he is “pro-choice” but does not support abortion per se.

“This case represents a danger to free speech of pro-life Canadians in terms of their being able to refer to stances embracing 'choice' as 'pro-abortion' rather than the nomenclature of their opposition,” LifeSiteNews editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen told CNA Feb. 21.

Western said the suit is a “very significant attack” on religious freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.

“It is being argued that we are not media, and should that argument be accepted in court, would that not challenge all the other new online media outlets, even those of the left?”

Fr. Gravel served as a Member of Parliament in Canada from 2006 to 2008, after reportedly being granted “special permission by the Vatican to run for federal office,” according to the CBC.

While serving as a member of parliament, Fr. Gravel supported the nomination of an abortionist who was once detained in Dachau to the Order of Canada and opposed a bill which would have acknowledged injury of a fetus during commission of a crime as a separate offense from injury to the child's mother.

“I've never gone against the church doctrine,” he told the CBC in 2008.

In 2008, the Vatican “forced him to choose between Parliament and the Catholic Church,” the CBC reported. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had received complaints from Catholics who noticed his positions as a parliamentarian that were at odds with the faith.

Fr. Gravel claims that LifeSiteNews' reporting about him ruined his reputation as a politician and priest. He seeks damages of 500,000 Canadian dollars, or about $492,000, as well as costs.

On Jan. 11 a Quebec judge ruled that the lawsuit can advance to trial, dismissing the claims of LifeSiteNews that Fr. Gravel is merely intending to gag them.

The damages sought by Fr. Gravel are identical to a full year's budget for the site, according to its editors. It has already spent some $170,000 on the suit.

The Diocese of Joliette, to which Fr. Gravel belongs, did not reply to press inquiries in time for publication.

The site has run some 41 articles about Fr. Gravel in 11 years, and maintains that it merely reported his public statements and media commentaries airing his disagreement with Church doctrine and the teaching authority of Canadian prelates.

“In our reporting on Gravel, we were very careful only to repeat exactly what he said. There was no animosity toward him; in fact, we stated our concern for the Church, but also for Fr. Gravel himself,” Weston told The Wanderer.

“If this case were outside the issues of abortion and homosexuality and were just about a politician upset that a media organization pointed out his radical views to a wider audience, it would be laughed out of court. But because it is dealing with issues deemed sacred in the new morality, it is being given credence,” he added.

“This is about our freedom as a news service to report news on controversial subjects. We are defending this case to ensure those rights.”

Updated at on Feb. 21, 2013 at 4:28 p.m., MST: new, exclusive commentary to CNA from John-Henry Westen added to article.

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New Pope will handle Pius X Society decision

Vatican City, Feb 21, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The effort to reach an agreement between the Church and the Society of St. Pius X will be passed on to the next Pope, Father Federico Lombardi said.

“An important point is that these days people have spoken about a deadline for Pius X priests and a conclusion to the situation. The Pope is confiding the decision to the next Pope, and no conclusion will be made on this date,” said Fr. Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office.

Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, the head of the Vatican doctrine office, originally set Feb. 22 as a deadline for the Society of St. Pius X to reach a decision about accepting a doctrinal preamble that was sent to the society.

“The purpose of dialogue is to overcome difficulties in the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council,” Archbishop Muller told CNA July 20, “but we cannot negotiate on revealed faith, that is impossible. An Ecumenical Council, according to the Catholic faith, is always the supreme teaching authority of the Church.”

The document contains a set of doctrinal statements that the breakaway group would have had to accept to establish a framework for full reconciliation.

All indications seemed to be pointing toward the Pius X Society rejecting the agreement.
The society has had a strained relationship with the Vatican since its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, consecrated four bishops against the orders of Pope John Paul II in 1988.

Archbishop Lefebvre founded the society in 1970 as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council.

In 2009, Pope Benedict remitted the excommunications of the Society’s bishops and set talks in motion aimed at restoring “full communion.”

In May 2012 the Vatican began discussions with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the society, and said that it would establish separate talks with the other three bishops.

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Vatican official: prepare for resignation with spiritual growth, not division

Vatican City, Feb 21, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - At a press briefing to preview the Pope’s final events, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said now is a time to grow spiritually and not fabricate stories on possible Vatican division.

“We’re in a deep spiritual time and we should be preparing ourselves for the ‘sede vacante’ and the new Pope,” said Fr. Lombardi, the Holy See press office director.

“Now is a time for seeking the spiritual well-being of everyone within the Church. And I personally invite you to prepare yourself spiritually for this,” he said at a Feb. 21 press briefing.

He told journalists “it is natural that there are comments these days that tend to incite talk about conflict and organized groups within the Church.”

“It was foreseeable that this would happen in a situation like this, but it is not what the Holy Father and the Church invite us to do,” said Fr. Lombardi.

After offering these thoughts, he made two corrections to a story that ran in an Italian newspaper today.

Fr. Lombardi also detailed the Pope’s events over the last seven days of his pontificate.

The Holy Father is currently attending the annual Lenten spiritual exercises, which will end on Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. He will deliver a short speech of thanks to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi for preaching the meditations and a greeting to the Curia members that participated in the week long retreat.

Pope Benedict will then meet privately with Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano, and his delegation at 11:30 a.m.

Sunday, the 24th of February, will be the last Angelus gathering presided over by Benedict XVI.

The final public event for Pope Benedict will be his Feb. 27 general audience, during which he will travel around St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile to greet the public.

“It’s an audience that we will live with great emotions, but the structure will not change,” Fr. Lombardi commented.

The Pope will then meet with all the cardinals who are in Rome on Feb. 28, including those who will have travelled from abroad.

Each cardinal will have a chance to greet him personally in the Clementine Hall during the 11:00 a.m. meeting.

Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the Vatican’s Secretary of State at 5:00 p.m. and will travel by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, where he will greet locals at the square and be received by the town’s mayor and the parish priest.

The Vatican’s television channel, CTV, will begin live broadcast a few minutes prior to his departure from the Vatican.

On the possibility of changing the conclave to an earlier date, Fr. Lombardi noted “there is no possibility of giving a date before the decision is made by the congregation of the cardinals during the sede vacante.”

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God will help choose next Pope, cardinal stresses

Lima, Peru, Feb 21, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima, Peru, discouraged a spirit of intrigue surrounding the upcoming conclave and said the new Pope will be chosen with God’s help, regardless of nationality.

“I think that geography has nothing to do with it,” the cardinal said on Feb. 16. “The right person needs to be sought out with the help of God, regardless of where he is from.” 

Responding to media questions about whether the new Pope should be from Latin America, he explained that “geographical or political considerations are not going to be part of the conclave.”

While he said that it is “understandable that there are people who think this way,” he warned that it is not good for the media to promote this understanding or to make bets or create “intrigue.”

The action of the Holy Spirit will help the cardinals “to be men who listen to God,” he emphasized. “If not, we serve for nothing.”

Expressing faith and acceptance at the news of the Holy Father’s upcoming resignation due to old age and declining strength, he voiced hope that “we cardinals now can respond to God as well, whom we ask to enlighten us to know which way we have to go.”

Cardinal Cipriani said that he personally would not like to be Pope. 

“I think it’s really tough and requires a lot of preparation,” he observed. “And I think there are others who are better prepared.”

He went on to tell reporters that one of the challenges facing the Church is today is that “the world does not believe.”

“There is too much self-sufficiency, too much ‘I don’t need God, I’m not interested,’” he said, adding that those in power “have structured society in such a way as to make it very difficult to live humanely, let alone in a Christian way.”

“We need to recover the human dimension: the respect for life, the respect for the family and the respect for the truth,” the cardinal continued. “An attitude has set in that is excessively contrary to the human being, despite all the talk about human rights.”

Today’s society faces a “crisis of faith” that can only be solved by responding to the personal call to conversion, he said.

“The great missionary figures who have kept the Church going are saints.”

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Over 100,000 march to defend marriage in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Feb 21, 2013 (CNA) - More than 100,000 people gathered outside the Puerto Rican capitol in San Juan on Feb. 18 to support the defense of marriage and family against proposed legislation on gay unions.
Puerto Rico for the Family organized the march, which brought together Christians of various denominations, as well as members of religiously unaffiliated pro-life and pro-family groups.

Media reports estimated a turnout of between 100,000 and 200,000, which is a record for Puerto Rico, an island with a population of only 3.6 million.

The president of the United Ministry for the Family, Dr. Cesar Vasquez Muniz, said the demonstration came about “in response to threats against marriage and the family.”

The march “is an act to defend our rights and protect children,” he said.

Bishop Daniel Fernandez Torres of Arecibo, who took part in the pro-family march, said that when a society dismantles the traditional family, it is destined for ruin and destruction.

A parallel march organized by gay advocates attracted just hundreds of attendees, according to local media reports.

Puerto Rico’s Senate and House of Representatives are currently debating measures that would legalize gay unions, allow same-sex couples to adopt and change the curriculum relating to gender that is taught in schools.

Organizers of the march said the proposals constitute “a legislative attack against our freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and of religion.” 

The passage of these measures would lay the foundation for legal discrimination against the Church and Christians, they said, and would lead to the marginalization of Christian values from the laws that govern the island.

Seventy percent of Puerto Ricans identify as Catholic, while the other 30 percent primarily belong to various Protestant denominations.

According to the latest polls, 52 percent of Puerto Ricans attend church at least once per week, which makes the island among the seven most religious countries in the world.

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Cardinal Dolan summons prayer for Pope Benedict

New York City, N.Y., Feb 21, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is calling on his archdiocese to pray in a particular way for Pope Benedict on Feb. 22, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter.

“I have...asked that tomorrow, February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, we remember Pope Benedict in a special way with special Masses and Eucharistic adoration,” Cardinal Dolan wrote today in his column for “Catholic New York.”

“In these days of novelty and uncertainty, when many may be anxious and nervous, we need more than ever to return to the Lord, as individuals and together as the Church.”

On Feb. 11, Pope Benedict announced his intention to resign the office of the papacy, which will be effective on Feb. 28. It marks the first time a pope has abdicated since Gregory XII in 1415.

Cardinal Dolan has also instituted a novena in the New York archdiocese lasting from Feb. 20 to 28 to pray in thanksgiving for Pope Benedict, for his health, and for “guidance as awe await his successor.”

The Chair of Peter is an important feast for the papacy, Cardinal Dolan explained, because it marks the authority and mission of the pope for the universal Church and reminds us of the history of the office, stretching back to Christ's appointment of Saint Peter as “universal pastor.”

“We need Peter among us. Without the charism of Peter in the Church, we would be tossed about by every gust of wind, every false doctrine, every silly trend,” reflected Cardinal Dolan.

“Peter is the gift of Jesus to the Church, a teacher to hand on the deposit of the faith, and to be a sign of unity.”

Cardinal Dolan reflected that in the modern age in which the pope is “immediately present” to Catholics throughout the world, Pope Benedict's abdication left some feeling adrift or abandoned.

“To them I would like to address a few words,” he said. “Benedict himself reminded us this week that it is Christ Jesus who remains always the Supreme Pastor of the Church. Popes, bishops, parish priests – yes, even cardinals – all come and go; Jesus alone remains.”

“Peter is the rock to be sure, but it is the Lord Jesus who is the cornerstone and the sure foundation of the Church. The news of this past week should be a reminder of that.”

Marking the contrast between Pope Benedict's decision, and the decision of John Paul II to remain in office until his death, Cardinal Dolan reminded us that “holiness is not uniformity.” Their differing decisions can both be admired, and manifest the harmonious diversity which reflects the grandeur of God.

New York's archbishop re-assured the faithful that Pope Benedict's decision was the fruit of prayer, of dialogue and friendship with Christ. The pope realized that another must take up the task of strengthening the brethren.

Cardinal Dolan exhorted prayers for the future pontiff, saying that “in these Lenten days we need to pray and offer penance for the man who will be the new successor of Peter among us.”

He also sought prayers for himself, as he prepares to travel to Rome for the conclave.

“When I was created a cardinal, I knew in theory that one day a conclave would come. Now it is a reality, and I ask your prayers for me as your archbishop that I might be an instrument of the Lord’s grace and providence in the days ahead.”

St. Peter's response to Christ when many followers deserted him – Lord, to whom shall we go? – must be at the forefront of the cardinal-electors' minds, reflected the head of the New York archdiocese.

“I ask you to pray for me that, in the midst of all the conflicting voices, I go to the Lord Himself, ascending those steps in a way that will be pleasing to Him on the day of my death and judgment.”

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Spending cuts will harm poor, warns Catholic agency

Washington D.C., Feb 21, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - If members of Congress do not come to an agreement on a debt reduction proposal, the resulting spending cuts may threaten the lives of those in poverty, cautioned Catholic Relief Services.

Members of Catholics Confront Global Poverty, an initiative of Catholic Relief Services, agreed with conclusions by several U.S. bishops that while “Congress has a responsibility to reduce federal deficits and improve our fiscal health,” it should “do so in ways that give moral priority to programs that help people living in poverty, both at home and abroad.”

The organization warned that there is an “urgent need to protect human life and dignity around the world” that current economic proposals neglect.

In a Feb. 15 web chat, the group’s members observed that current proposed budget cuts threaten the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, both in the United States and around the world.

If Congress does not pass a deficit-reduction plan by the end of the month, a “sequester,” or package of automatic cuts to government spending, will be triggered.
Kathy Saile, director of domestic social development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, explained that when these budget cuts were proposed in 2011, they were designed “to be very bad” and harsh so that the government would be “forced to come to a decision” and compromise on the budget.

While social security and “safety net programs” are exempt from the sequestration, many other government programs, including those that provide a ‘circle of protection’ around domestic antipoverty and international aid efforts, are at risk, said members of Catholic Relief Services during their presentation. 

The organization explained that across-the-board cuts would take money from programs that help people meet their basic needs, potentially endangering lives.

According to Catholic Relief Services, the total amount of food provided by charities throughout the U.S. amounts to only six percent of the food that poor people receive from federal programs.

To contextualize the scope of the budget cuts, Saile estimated that 11,700 individuals in New Jersey and 20,700 people in Georgia alone could lose benefits from the federally-sponsored Women, Infants and Children program.

Myron Meche, director of Catholic Relief Services’ legislative affairs office, confirmed the potentially dire consequences of the cuts.

“Without government programs,” he said, “nearly twice as many US citizens would have been living in poverty” in 2010. 

Meche explained that the proposed budget cuts would jeopardize the Church’s mission of “serving the poorest of the poor” abroad as well. He explained that while “just over one-half percent of the federal budget” is spent on “poverty focused international assistance,” this funding is very effective in reducing poverty around the globe.

Government funds, he explained, have helped to cut childhood deaths by one-third in the last 20 years, and government-sponsored programs have halved the number of people “living on less than $1.25 a day” in the past 25 years.

In addition, such programs have fed 5 million school children, and over 3 million individuals have been “saved thanks to immunization programs” sponsored with U.S. government funding.
Meche said that Catholics ought to aim for “giving priority to programs that serve the poorest people in the poorest places on earth” and added that the “federal government is a vital partner in that work, and the federal budget is an important tool.”

Catholics Confronting Global Poverty suggested that Catholics approach their members of Congress and ask them to “replace sequestration with a balanced and thoughtful alternative that eliminates unnecessary spending, addresses the long-term costs of health care, and raises adequate revenues.”

They also cautioned against inserting partisan politics, particularly those surrounding same-sex partnership, into the budget discussions, advocating the use of “current family-based” wording on immigration and other reforms.  

Fr. Tim Graffe of the Newark Diocese’s office of human concerns explained that Catholics have a unique ability to speak to Congress and others on this issue because “our advocacy comes out of our faith and our care for the poor.”

“We’re able to be the voice of the poor,” Fr. Graffe explained, “and others who may not have another voice but our own.”

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