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Conference in Rome highlights Pacific islands’ climate peril and calls for global action

A flooded road is seen in the village of Tintenbar after heavy rain on April 5, 2024, in Ballina, Australia. / Credit: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Rome, Italy, Jun 26, 2024 / 14:15 pm (CNA).

The effect of climate change on vulnerable populations among the Pacific Island nations was the subject of “Oceania Speaks,” a conference held in Rome this week attended by the Holy See diplomatic corps, religious communities, and charitable organizations.

Organized by the Australian Embassy to the Holy See, the June 23 event aimed at raising awareness of the impacts of climate change in the Asia Pacific, already affecting the countries of Tuvalu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and New Zealand.

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva, Fiji, in a video message insisted “the world has yet to really listen deeply to the voices, particularly to the ‘tagi’ [cries] of Oceania people,” who are vulnerable to the immediate and enduring impacts of climate change. 

“We have to educate, empower, and allow the regional voices of peoples of the Pacific to be heard, and not to be dominated and framed by politicians and funders who dominate these climate narratives,” he stated.

According to a United Nations Development Programme report, approximately 75% of the population of Pacific island nations are affected by natural disasters. The report also states that the impact of climate change in the region is “largely overlooked” and poses a serious threat, particularly to young people and future generations who face the potential loss of their homelands, cultural identity, and work opportunities resulting from rising sea levels. The report estimates that sea levels will rise between about 10 inches to 23 inches by 2050.

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has been outspoken on the need for the care of creation as well as the “integral human development” of all people, particularly the poor and vulnerable. In addition to his encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015) and apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum (2023), the Holy Father has addressed the issue of climate change and its rising human cost to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in 2015 as well at COP, the annual U.N. climate change conference.      

At “Oceania Speaks,” Vatican Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations Archbishop Paul Gallagher echoed Pope Francis’ concern for people facing hunger, exploitation, and poverty due to climate change and emphasized the “urgent need for a unified global response” to the crisis. 

“In the context of Oceania, the impending threat posed by rising sea levels to many small Pacific islands states is deeply alarming, reaching beyond mere geographical boundaries,” Gallagher said at the gathering. “Entire villages [are] on the brink of destruction, forcing local communities — particularly families — into perpetual displacement that erode their distinct identities and cultural heritage. We should also take into consideration the risk of degrading their natural heritage.”  

Sister Philomena Waira of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea also shared her testimony at “Oceania Speaks” and highlighted the ecological and social impacts of foreign mining and logging in Papua New Guinea. 

“In the past, people had no problem with food and water. [People] were able to grow crops without fertilizers,” Waira said. “As the years went by the governments are allowing foreign investors into our countries. After the mining is done, it has affected climate change, peoples’ fishing, and animals have also run away.”  

This week, Pope Francis is expected to release his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation based on the theme to “hope and act with creation.” 

Globally, the month of June marks World Environment Day (June 5), World Oceans Day (June 8), and the World Day Against Desertification and Drought (June 17).

Former Anglican priest ordained a Catholic bishop

Father David Waller will become the first bishop ordinary of the Walsingham Ordinariate. / Credit: Photo courtesy of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 25, 2024 / 17:45 pm (CNA).

In a first, a former Anglican priest has been consecrated as a bishop in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Located in Great Britain, the ordinariate was created to give Anglicans a pathway to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Bishop David Waller received his episcopal ordination in Westminster Cathedral in London on June 22, which is the feast day of the English saints John Fisher and Thomas More.

Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, imparted the episcopal blessing. Also presiding over the Mass was Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Bishops Stephen Lopes and Anthony Randazzo, heads of the Anglican-Catholic ordinariates in the U.S.-Canada and Pacific-Australia. 

During the Mass Fernandez spoke on the “treasure” of the Church’s apostolic succession, beginning with St. Peter and the apostles and continuing to this day, saying: “What I have received from the Church, I now pass onto you.”

As bishop, Waller will lead the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which has parishes throughout England, Scotland, and Wales.

Members of the ordinariate participate in a Mass and liturgical tradition that is rooted in Anglican patrimony while still being in total union with the pope and the Catholic Church.

Along with its sister ordinariates in the U.S.-Canada and Pacific-Australia, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 through his apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. Though open to Catholics of all backgrounds, the ordinariate primarily exists as a way for former Anglicans to be received into the Catholic Church while still retaining many of their English traditions and practices.

While the ordinariates in the U.S. and Australia have their own bishops, neither of whom were former Anglicans, Waller is the first bishop to lead the ordinariate in the U.K. Previously the Walsingham Ordinariate had been led by Monsignor Keith Newton, a former Anglican who was ordained a priest in the Catholic Church but could not be ordained a bishop due to being married. Newton, who is 72, is retiring.

The Vatican’s decision to make the head of the ordinariate in Britain a bishop has widely been seen as a signal of support and confidence from Rome.

In an interview with OSV News, Waller said that though there have been rumors that “Rome was going to put an end to our ordinariate,” he said that “this was never the attitude of the Holy See, which has always been supportive and caring.”

Following Saturday’s ordination, the Walsingham Ordinariate said in a statement on its website that “it is a great honor that Pope Francis has appointed one of our own priests to be the second ordinary and shows his commitment to the ordinariates established under Anglicanorum Coetibus by his predecessor.”

From Anglican priest to Catholic bishop

Waller, 63, joined the Anglican priesthood in 1992, converted to the Catholic Church in 2011, and became a priest that same year. Before being appointed to lead the Walsingham Ordinariate he served as its vicar general.

After receiving three recommendations from the ordinariate’s governing council, Pope Francis announced he was appointing Waller as the new head of the ordinariate on April 29.

The Walsingham Ordinariate was the first of three in the world to have had an influence in choosing its leader. In April, Newton told the National Catholic Register, CNA’s sister news partner, that he believed allowing this faculty, one that is usually left to the apostolic nuncio, “showed the Holy See’s confidence in the ordinariate in the U.K.” 

Father Mark Elliott Smith, rector of the ordinariate’s central church, Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory at Warwick Street in London, told CNA that he believes the new bishop’s ordination is “immensely good news for the ordinariate here in the U.K.”

“Not only is Bishop David our first bishop ordinary, he is a priest originally incardinated in the ordinariate, ordained in 2011 alongside all those who first gratefully accepted the invitation of Anglicanorum Coetibus,” he explained. “To my mind it demonstrates that Rome has confidence in the way the ordinariate has progressed in the 13 years since it was established and trusts in its ability to discern how it is to be led, and identify the qualities needed in its leader.”

Smith said that Waller’s elevation “is also a clear signal that it [the Vatican] believes that the ordinariate’s distinctive liturgical heritage has the power and the beauty to draw people to Christ and his Church” and that “it will give renewed energy and purpose to the ordinariate as it begins a new phase of its life.”

In a statement shortly after his announcement, Waller said it was “both humbling and a great honor” to have been appointed and added that “the past 13 years have been a time of grace and blessing as small and vulnerable communities have grown in confidence, rejoicing to be a full yet distinct part of the Catholic Church.”

This story was updated on June 26, 2024, at 10:27 a.m. ET with the comments from Father Mark Elliott Smith.

Catholic authorities in Spain excommunicate, expel renegade nuns

The decision was announced by Mario Iceta, archbishop of Burgos. / Credit: Archdiocese of Burgos, Spain

ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 24, 2024 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

The Catholic Church in Spain has decreed the excommunication and expulsion from consecrated life of the Poor Clare nuns of Belorado for committing the crime of schism.

Canon 751 of the Code of Canon Law states that schism is “the refusal of submission to the supreme pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” The penalty for this crime is excommunication.

In a June 22 press release, the Archdiocese of Burgos “has communicated the decree of declaration of excommunication and declaration of ‘ipso facto’ [immediate] expulsion from consecrated life of each and every one of the 10 sisters who have incurred schism.”

The decision was announced by Mario Iceta, the archbishop of Burgos, who is also the pontifical commissioner and legal representative of the monasteries of Belorado, Orduña, and Derio in Spain.

The statement also points out that these “are the same sisters who have presented their free and personal decision to leave the Catholic Church. Given this decision, it is necessary to remember that the declaration of excommunication is a legal action considered by the Church as a medicinal measure, which prompts reflection and personal conversion.”

“The Church always shows her profound compassion and, as a mother, is ready to welcome her children who, like the prodigal son, trust in God’s mercy and begin the journey back to the Father’s house,” the statement explained. 

In addition, the Archdiocese of Burgos indicated that “there continues to be a monastic community made up of the sisters who have not incurred excommunication, as they have not supported the schism: They are the five older sisters and three other sisters who, although at this time are not at the monastery, they belong to the community by being incardinated in it.”

Finally, the archdiocesan statement noted that “the older sisters continue to be a priority in our concerns. The Federation of Poor Clares of Our Lady of Aránzazu has planned a way to immediately care for these sisters in the Belorado Monastery itself, moving some sisters from other monasteries of the federation to live in the monastery.”

The Poor Clares decision

On May 13, the community of Poor Clare sisters of the monasteries of Belorado and Orduña, located respectively in the Archdiocese of Burgos and the Diocese of Vitoria in Spain, made public a manifesto and a letter in which they announced that they were leaving the Catholic Church and placed themselves under the tutelage of the excommunicated false bishop Pablo de Rojas. The nuns claimed they were leaving “the Conciliar Church [i.e., post-Vatican II] to which it belonged to become part of the Catholic Church.” 

At the end of May, the Vatican appointed Iceta as pontifical commissioner with full powers. When he began to take measures, the nuns filed a complaint with the National Police, alleging “abuse of power” by Iceta.

At the beginning of June, the Archdiocese of Burgos formally informed the nuns that they had to appear before the ecclesiastical court of Burgos to answer for the crime of schism defined in Canon 751 of the Code of Canon Law, punishable by the penalty of excommunication. The deadline expired on Friday, June 21, with the nuns failing to appear.

What is excommunication?

Briefly, excommunication can be defined as the most serious penalty a baptized person can incur, which consists of being placed outside the communion of the faithful of the Catholic Church and denied access to the sacraments.

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, major penitentiary emeritus of the Church, once explained that the purpose of excommunication is to bring “the guilty to repentance and conversion.”

“With the penalty of excommunication the Church is not trying in some way to restrict the extent of mercy but is simply making evident the seriousness of the crime,” he noted.

Why is a person excommunicated?

Excommunication is not only a punishment and goes beyond restricting access to holy Communion.

According to Canon 1339 § 2, along with excommunication “in the case of behavior which gives rise to scandal or serious disturbance of public order, the ordinary can also correct the person, in a way appropriate to the particular conditions of the person and of what has been done.”

What happens next?

Since the nuns have declared themselves no longer members of the Catholic Church, by remaining in the monastery they find themselves occupying the property of the Church to which they do not belong and have no legal right to stay there.

The archbishop has told them that they need to vacate the premises as a consequence of their actions but is taking a patient approach, hoping they will do so of their own accord by early July without having to be forcibly evicted. 

The archbishop pointed out that although the nuns do not recognize his jurisdiction nor that canon law applies to them in this case, as established in Article 1.4 of the accord between Spain and the Holy See, Spain’s civil law recognizes the Church’s Code of Canon Law as governing in these matters such that “civil law abides by what canon law says in ecclesiastical entities,” just as the Spanish state recognizes the validity of a marriage officiated by a Catholic priest.

Regarding the false bishop Rojas and the false priest Ceacero, Iceta explained that “it’s been almost four weeks since they were told that they should not be in the monastery and in a steadfast and contumacious way they persist in being there,” so the legal authorities will act against them, probably more quickly than with the excommunicated women.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA, along with related ACI Prensa content from here.

Irish bishops decry assisted suicide proposal as ‘a failure of hope’

Christ Church Cathedral (Holy Trinity) in Dublin, Ireland. / Credit: Bas van den Heuvel/Shutterstock

CNA Staff, Jun 24, 2024 / 14:40 pm (CNA).

The Catholic bishops of Ireland on Monday issued a statement laying out the Church’s teaching on end-of-life issues and advocating for palliative care amid a push by Irish politicians to introduce legislation to legalize assisted suicide. 

“We believe that every person who is seriously ill, together with all those who are concerned with his or her care, however difficult the circumstances, is held in the unconditional love of God,” the bishops noted.

“By legislating for assisted suicide or euthanasia, the State would contribute to undermining the confidence of people who are terminally ill, who want to be cared for and want to live life as fully as possible until death naturally comes.”

The Catholic Church has long supported, in the face of terminal illness, palliative care, which involves the holistic management of a person’s suffering. Assisted suicide and euthanasia — which both involve the intentional taking of life — are never permissible under Catholic teaching, though the withholding “extraordinary means” of medical treatment and allowing death to occur naturally can be morally permissible.

Noting that patient “autonomy” is often cited as a reason to pass assisted suicide legislation, the Irish bishops said taking a patient’s life also takes away their autonomy and “cuts off any prospect of growth or healing and represents a failure of hope.” Instead of assisted suicide, palliative care services need to be made more widely available in hospitals and hospices and in the community, the bishops recommended.

A March 2024 report produced by a committee of the Oireachtas, or Irish Parliament, recommended that the government introduce legislation to legalize assisted suicide “in certain restricted circumstances” and with safeguards in place to avoid coercion. Under the recommendations, adults suffering with an “incurable and irreversible” condition with between six and 12 months to live could request assisted suicide, which would be done in the presence of a medical professional. 

In response to the report, the country’s bishops reiterated that “whatever the circumstances, the deliberate taking of human life, especially by those whose vocation is to care for it, undermines a fundamental principle of civilized society, namely that no person can lawfully take the life of another.” 

In addition, the intellectually disabled would be particularly vulnerable under such a law, the bishops warned, pointing to countries such as Canada where serious efforts are being made to expand the provision of assisted suicide to those who are mentally ill. 

Asking medical professionals to oversee assisted suicides would “radically undermine the ethos of health care.”

“Whenever we place health care professionals under pressure to participate, either directly or by referral, in an act that they themselves believe to be fundamentally immoral, we treat them as mindless functionaries. This does untold damage to the integrity of health care in Ireland and removes the human person as its primary focus,” the bishops concluded. 

“In our culture, we rightly hold doctors and nurses in high esteem because they are presumed always to be at the service of life, for as long as their patient lives. We call on Catholics to stand firmly in support of nurses and doctors who stand for life. One day it may be your life.”

Pope Francis has said that “authentic palliative care is radically different from euthanasia, which is never a source of hope or genuine concern for the sick and dying.”

Assisted suicide and euthanasia have been legalized in recent decades countries such as Canada, Australia, Spain, Belgium, and in multiple U.S. states, permitting patients to take their own lives or allowing doctors to kill them outright. In some of those countries, patients can request assisted suicide even if they are not suffering from a fatal affliction.

Ireland’s bishops have spoken out against assisted suicide proposals before. In 2021, they described a proposal to legalize assisted suicide, the Dying with Dignity Bill, as being “at odds with the common good” and “fundamentally flawed.”

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland — the largest doctor’s group in the country — in 2023 also came out against assisted suicide, with a group representative saying the practice was “contrary to best medical practice” and that “the potential harms outweigh the arguments that can be made in favor” of it.

In the nearby U.K., proposals to legalize assisted suicide in recent years have been consistently rejected by lawmakers. The practice is illegal in England and Wales, and doctors who assist a suicide can be jailed up to 14 years under the Suicide Act 1961.

In October 2022 a bill to legalize assisted suicide in England and Wales was ultimately not taken to a vote after seven hours of debate and impassioned opposition in the House of Lords.

PHOTOS: Thousands take part in Italy’s pro-life march

Thousands of people from across Italy braved the summer heat to join the national Demonstration for Life in Rome on the afternoon of June 22, 2024. / Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Rome, Italy, Jun 22, 2024 / 16:35 pm (CNA).

Thousands of people from across Italy braved the summer heat to join the national Demonstration for Life in Rome on the afternoon of June 22.

“Let’s Choose Life” was the motto of the annual procession, which began at 2 p.m. in Rome’s Piazza della Repubblica, close to the city’s main Termini train station.

"Life begins at conception" reads a sign at Rome's pro-life march June 22, 2024. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA
"Life begins at conception" reads a sign at Rome's pro-life march June 22, 2024. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

The slow march continued almost one mile down the Via Nazionale before reaching the area of the ancient Imperial Forum, where a rally with speeches and musical performances was held.

“There is no compromise on human life!” Pope Francis said in a message sent to organizers ahead of the march.

He thanked participants for their “commitment and public witness in defense of human life from conception to natural death” and urged them to “go forward with courage despite every adversity.”

“The stakes, namely the absolute dignity of human life, the gift of God the Creator, are too high to be the object of compromise or mediation,” Francis wrote.

The march for life makes its way through Rome's city streets. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA
The march for life makes its way through Rome's city streets. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

The pope also invited families to bear witness to “the beauty of life and of the family that welcomes it” in order to build “a society that rejects the culture of waste at every stage of existence: from the most fragile unborn child to the suffering elderly, passing through the victims of trafficking, slavery, and every war.”

Rome's pro-life march drew people from all across Italy. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA
Rome's pro-life march drew people from all across Italy. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Massimo Gandolfini, one of the spokespersons for the annual protest against abortion, said earlier this year that the organization is calling on Italy’s political leaders to create “structural public reforms to encourage the marriage of young couples, incentivize the birth rate and support parenting by mothers and fathers by reshaping taxation and social services to be family-friendly.”

Priests and religious were among the marchers. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA
Priests and religious were among the marchers. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA
The march arrives at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and of the Martyrs in Rome. Credit: The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and of the Martyrs
The march arrives at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and of the Martyrs in Rome. Credit: The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and of the Martyrs
Many young families joined the march for life in Rome. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA
Many young families joined the march for life in Rome. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

The Catholic Church in France will have 105 new priests in 2024

Priests concelebrate a Mass in Rome. / Credit: Martha Calderón/ACI Prensa

ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 22, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

The French Bishops’ Conference (CEF) reported that, in 2024, 105 new priests will be ordained, 17 more priests than in 2023, when 88 new priests were ordained in the European country.

An article published on the CEF website said the vast majority of priestly ordinations are celebrated during the month of June, particularly on the Sunday before the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, which the Catholic Church celebrates every year on June 29.

Of the 105 new priests, 73 are diocesan, 16 belong to religious orders, 10 are members of communities, two belong to societies of apostolic life, while the remaining four “were ordained in the institutes under the former Ecclesia Dei commission, celebrating according to the Roman Missal of 1962 [before the reform of Vatican II].”

At a press conference, Bertrand Lacombe, the archbishop of Auch and a member of the council for ordained ministers and laypeople in ecclesial mission, highlighted two aspects to be considered regarding the new priests: “the essential mission of the priest in the Church and the meaning of this mission today within an increasingly secularized French society” and “the ongoing reflections of the bishops as well as the initiatives launched in the dioceses to raise up vocations.”

The French prelate wished a “beautiful ministry to the priests who are responding to the spiritual expectations of our time: The adventure is worth the effort and gives light to the world!”

The CEF article also noted that according to its 2024 Catéchuménat survey, every year there are more young people and not so young people who want to receive baptism, the Eucharist, and confirmation. 

The archbishop told the new priests that this new generation of young people drawn to the Church is also their generation that “they grew up with and matured” in and that in administering the sacraments to them they both will be nourished.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More: following God’s law above all else

Details from St John Fisher by Jacobus Houbraken (c. 1760), and St Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger (1527). / Credit: Public domain

London, England, Jun 22, 2024 / 04:00 am (CNA).

The feast of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More is observed as an optional memorial June 22. So that readers don’t have to fish for more information (pun intended), CNA has compiled a question-and-answer lowdown on their lives and legacies:

Who was St. Thomas More?

St. Thomas More (1478–1535) was a humanist and intellectual — he worked as a lawyer and explored theology through his written works, many of which were defenses of the Catholic faith against heresy. He studied at Oxford and briefly considered religious life, but he eventually followed a vocation to marriage and fatherhood.

More was appointed by King Henry VIII to be Lord Chancellor of England in 1529.

What does “lord chancellor” mean?

The “lord chancellor” was the highest-ranking member of the king’s cabinet. This role was commonly filled by a clergyman. Historically, the role entailed great judicial responsibility — its influence has evolved to scale back on this particular front.

How did he manage to get on Henry VIII’s bad side?

St. Thomas More stood firmly in his Catholic faith when Henry VIII began to pull away from the Church.

The king wanted a declaration of nullity for his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, but the Church, upon examination, could not find his marriage to Catherine invalid. More refused in 1530 to sign a letter asking the pope to declare the marriage null, and he would not sign an oath acknowledging the monarch as the supreme head of the Church in England.

In May 1532, Henry pressured the English synod, the Convocation of Canterbury, to submit the clergy’s authority to his own. The day after the convocation agreed to Henry’s terms, More resigned as lord chancellor.

More wished to retire from public life, but when he refused to assent to the Act of Supremacy 1534, which repudiated the pope’s authority over the Church in England, he was imprisoned on charges of treason.

He was sentenced to execution, which took place July 6, 1535.

Why is he a saint?

More’s persistence to remain with the Church rather than the king, ending in martyrdom, was a testament to his tireless devotion to God’s law. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935 and was named patron of statesmen and politicians by Pope John Paul II.

I’ve heard something about his beard…?

Yes. You’re not imagining things, don’t worry.

The story with St. Thomas More’s beard is that he laid his beard outside of the execution blade’s path in one final, humorous gesture.

His last words were, “This hath not offended the king,” implying that while his head had angered Henry VIII, his beard was innocent and did not deserve to be severed.

Who was St. John Fisher?

St. John Fisher (1469–1535) was ordained a priest when he was about 22 and was appointed bishop of Rochester in 1504. He lived an intentionally simple lifestyle and was an intellectual. He studied theology at Cambridge, where he became chancellor. Among his writings is a commentary on the seven penitential psalms.

His mission as a bishop was to perfect how the Church’s teachings were conveyed by his diocese. Fisher spent much of his time traveling to parishes with the mission of theologically correcting and realigning clergy. He also wrote various apologetic defenses in response to Martin Luther.

What did he have to do with the whole Henry VIII situation?

St. John Fisher studied Henry’s request for a declaration of nullity but could not find grounds for such a declaration.

He refused to assent to the Succession to the Crown Act 1533, which recognized the king’s supremacy over the Church in England, and declared the daughter of Catherine of Aragon illegitimate and was imprisoned for treason in April 1534.

Fisher was jailed, starved, and deprived of all sacraments, but he didn’t budge on his position.

Fisher was made a cardinal in May 1535 in the hopes that Henry would not dare execute a prince of the Church.

Please don’t tell me it ended like More’s story…

It didn’t. There was no beard on the line.

However, Fisher was executed, head on the chopping block and all. He removed his hair shirt and said the Te Deum and Psalm 31 right before giving his life for the kingdom of God and the honor of the Church, June 22, 1535. He is the only cardinal to have been martyred.

Why is Fisher a saint?

Same deal as More — he stuck to what he knew to be the truth and died for it. He was canonized with More in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.

But he’s not nearly as well known as St. Thomas More.

No, he’s not. St. John Fisher’s grave, which also contains the bones of More, doesn’t even bear his name. But he did it for the glory of God.

This article was first published on June 22, 2018, and has been updated.

Is there a satanic element in rock music? An expert explains

null / Credit: NOVODIASTOCK/Shuterstock

ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 21, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

Claudia Caneva, an Italian professor at the Roma Tre University, gave a presentation recently on “Music and Satanism” in the course “Exorcism and Deliverance Prayer” that was held in the Italian capital and sponsored by the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and the Italian Socioreligious Research and Information Group.

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Caneva warned about the influence that rock music and other subgenres such as heavy metal, death metal, or death rock have on the behavior of youth, mere “victims” of a cultural industry produced by the “adult world.”

Caneva, who is also a professor at the Institute of Sciences of the Pontifical Lateran University and the Salesian University of Rome, has been studying for years how artistic products influence the behavior of young people.

An author of books on the incitement of the contemporary imagination or on the relationship between music and philosophy, Caneva asserted that this type of music is harmful and can even “physiologically alter adolescents.”

“Demonic influence through music, a choice vehicle of dissemination, is a phenomenon to which we must be very attentive,” she warned.

The professor also stated that heavy metal, “which has a very piercing sound that envelops young people,” has become an object of study and is a topic “that is currently of interest to experts and researchers.”

In this regard, she recalled the case of the Italian Davide Canotti, a former follower of Marco Dimitri’s Satanic sect known as “Satan’s Children,” which was founded in 1982 in Bologna, Italy.

Canotti, Caneva noted, was interrogated by the police after he had desecrated several ossuaries in cemeteries in Italy and stolen bones of buried children.

“In his response to the authorities, he said that he had never taken drugs and that his only drug was music,” the expert pointed out. The man claimed that he listened to black metal groups in whose songs they even invited people to “destroy the tombstones and break the crosses.”

Young people, the main victims

According to Caneva, this is just one example of how Satanism is present in this type of music, which from the beginning stirs up a certain type of behavior and “induces certain emotions” in a person.

She also pointed out that music albums include subliminal invocations to Satan, although she clarified that “if you listen to it, it’s not an inevitable result that the devil is inside you.”

However, the professor noted that many exorcisms that are carried out are due to the victims listening to these types of songs.

“I believe that young people are victims of this situation, and I always ask myself: Who produces these things? Who controls them? Why are certain things allowed?” she lamented.

Along these lines, Caneva made reference to the phenomenon called “mirror neurons,” a relevant discovery of neuroscience used in the educational field that explains how neurons have a behavior similar to that of a mirror.

This dynamic shows “that the action we observe in another individual is reflected in our brain, making neurons play a decisive role in our behaviors.”

Consequently, she warned that “music is not just music, music is a show, it’s a performance,” and young people are “victims of those who produce it.”

The fundamental role of parents

Caneva stressed to ACI Prensa the importance that parents play in this area and in their role in forming their children. “Parents are educators and must be attentive, initiate a conversation with young people, fostering maturity.”

“Young people are very sensitive to neuroendocrine dynamics, and especially in adolescence, where they experience a hormonal explosion, loaded with aggressiveness and emotional affectivity,” she said.

She also reiterated that prohibiting this type of music “is of no use,” but rather it’s a process requiring a serious effort and working on awareness to make young people see that this type of music “can have very negative consequences.”

Caneva also cited the musical subgenre of Trap and other sectors of the industry such as video games or television series, which lead to “negative emotions, aggressiveness, and restlessness.”

The purpose? Hopeless and manipulable youth

Regarding the purpose pursued by a large part of the current industry, the Italian expert said that they seek “a lack of hope that destroys young people, to make them insecure and to be able to manipulate them.”

“In television series they propose ‘antiheroes’ as role models. Young people are the future and Satanism is not only found in music, those who engender war or who exploit the poor at work are also Satanic,” she emphasized.

Finally, Caneva noted that if you look at the album covers or posters of this type of musical group, Satanism “is easily identifiable.”

“But remember that Lucifer was the most beautiful of the angels on the throne of ice, and ice means indifference, something that this industry also aims to do, to make young people become cold and indifferent people,” she concluded.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Culture of death advances in Spain with two new developments

null / Credit: Josh Applegate/Unsplash

ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 19, 2024 / 17:30 pm (CNA).

The culture of life suffered two setbacks as the culture of death advanced again in Spain: The government is proposing to extend euthanasia to people with mental illness, while the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of abortion for minors 16 and over without parental knowledge.

According to the Diario Médico journal, the Spanish government’s Ministry of Health is going to modify the “Manual of Good Practices for Euthanasia” to include mental illnesses.

The draft of the planned change states that the Organic Law for the Regulation of Euthanasia “does not exclude mental illness, allowing people with an unbearable suffering due to the presence of a mental illness to request PAM [aid in dying] on ​​equal terms with those whose suffering comes from a bodily illness.”

Consequently, the government would apparently allow euthanasia for people with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, or those who are bipolar.

In addition, the Constitutional Court upheld a provision in a recently passed law that allows minors 16 years of age and older to abort their baby without the knowledge and permission of their parents.

The VOX political party had filed a challenge to the constitutionality of the latest changes to the abortion law made in February 2023.

This change in the law, in addition to allowing minors to make a decision of this magnitude without the involvement of their parents or legal guardians, establishes other anti-life measures.

Eliminated from the provisions of the previous law were the three-day waiting period after the initial appointment for an abortion and the practitioner’s obligation to provide complete information, which could include ultrasounds, alternatives to abortion, and the methods and risks involved in abortion.

Furthermore, the changes to the law now upheld by the Constitutional Court mandate that abortion be deleted from the patient’s medical history after five years.

VOX told Spanish media that the court’s ruling affects “millions of young women who are left helpless at a time when they are most vulnerable.” According to the political party, it is “a decision against the value of human life” that creates “the configuration of a society without a culture of life and that represents another attack on the family, parental authority, and the duty and right of parents to ensure the well-being of their children.”

Also in February 2023, the Constitutional Court dismissed an appeal against the abortion law passed in 2010. This was a decision surrounded by controversy due to accusations of lack of impartiality on the part of the judges since at least four of them had been involved in the legislative process for the law under appeal.

In response the Christian Lawyers Foundation filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights for prevarication against the president of the Constitutional Court, Cándido Conde-Pumpido.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Holy See convenes UN panel urging global abolition of surrogacy

Panelists speak at the event "Towards the Abolition of Surrogacy: Preventing the Exploitation and Commodification of Women and Children,” held by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. / Credit: Permanent Mission of the Holy See

CNA Staff, Jun 19, 2024 / 12:30 pm (CNA).

The Holy See this week hosted a panel at the United Nations at which advocates highlighted the “exploitation and commodification” inherent in the surrogacy industry and stressed the need to regulate and eventually abolish surrogacy around the world.

The participants “highlighted the need for a universal ban to protect against exploitation and commodification,” the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations said, with the panelists calling for “increased awareness and concrete steps at the U.N. level to abolish surrogacy and uphold human dignity.”

The event, titled “At What Price? Towards the Abolition of Surrogacy: Preventing the Exploitation and Commodification of Women and Children,” was held at the Palais des Nations at the U.N.’s Geneva headquarters.

The side event, held at the 56th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, was organized by the Holy See mission and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Italy to the United Nations and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Pope Francis earlier this year called surrogacy “deplorable” and called for a global ban on the exploitative practice of “so-called surrogate motherhood” in a speech to all of the world’s ambassadors.

“The path to peace calls for respect for life, for every human life, starting with the life of the unborn child in the mother’s womb, which cannot be suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking,” the pope said in January. 

A press release from the Holy See mission said the panel this week brought together “a wide range of participants” to discuss surrogacy, including a woman born through surrogacy who has since become a child rights activist, as well as an Italian government minister and other advocates.

It was moderated by Gabriella Gambino, the undersecretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.

Attendees listen to panelists at the event "Towards the Abolition of Surrogacy: Preventing the Exploitation and Commodification of Women and Children,” hosted by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See in Geneva on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Credit: Permanent Mission of the Holy See
Attendees listen to panelists at the event "Towards the Abolition of Surrogacy: Preventing the Exploitation and Commodification of Women and Children,” hosted by the Permanent Mission of the Holy See in Geneva on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Credit: Permanent Mission of the Holy See

Olivia Maurel, who was born in America through surrogacy and raised in France, told participants at the panel of the “severe emotional and psychological toll it took on her life,” according to the mission. 

She argued that surrogacy “commodifies children and exploits women, violating international laws and children’s rights,” the release said. 

Gambino, meanwhile, argued that surrogacy has resulted in “procreative tourism” around the globe. Italian Minister for Family, Natality, and Equal Opportunities Eugenia Roccella also argued that surrogacy regulations often fail to capture the complex ethical concerns regarding the exploitation of women and children. 

This has resulted in “a vast international movement of individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds advocating for a global ban on surrogacy,” the Holy See mission said. 

The mission held a similar event earlier this year at the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. 

At that event Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, apostolic nuncio and permanent observer of the Holy See Mission to the U.N., argued that “children have rights and interests which must be respected, starting with the moral right to be created in an act of love.”

The archbishop at the time called for “an international prohibition on this abusive practice.”