Hungarian government urges defense of persecuted Christians

Washington D.C., Feb 6, 2020 / 02:49 pm (CNA).- The world must raise their voices and stand up for persecuted Christians, Hungarian State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians Tristan Azbej said Thursday.

Azbej was one of eight speakers at a Feb. 6 side-event of the National Prayer Breakfast that was sponsored by the organization Save the Persecuted Christians.

“All of humanity should stand up and come to the aid of persecuted Christians,” said Azbej.

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Death of indigenous Argentine children prompts plea against indifference

Salta, Argentina, Feb 6, 2020 / 02:27 pm (CNA).- The head of an indigenous ministry team in Argentina has called on Catholics not to be indifferent to the plight of suffering indigenous people, but to make an effort at outreach, encounter, and prayer.

“The indigenous reality is alien and distant, especially for those who live in the big cities, due to the great diversity and expanse of the national territory,” said Deacon Eduardo Bertea, a member of the indigenous pastoral team for the Diocese of Orán in Salta, Argentina.

Bertea spoke to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, after local media outlet Infobae reported last week the deaths of six children from the Wichí ethnic community due to poverty and malnutrition. The Wichí are an indigenous group in the Salta province in the country’s north.

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Bishops Policing Catholic Media: Bad Idea, Won’t Work

On January 24, the National Catholic Register published an article titled “Catholics Reflect on 10 Years of the Good, Bad, and Ugly of Social Media.” Within the article were a number of quotes from Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary of Los Angeles. Bishop Barron, who interacts with online ministry and social media extensively through the Word on Fire apostolate, decried the “vitriol, character assassination and just plain hatred that one comes across every day on the social media” and said “there are, to be blunt, a disconcerting number of such people on social media who are trading in hateful, divisive speech, often deeply at odds with the theology of the Church and who are, sadly, having a powerful impact on the people of God.” To remedy this, he suggests that it may be proper for the bishops to “introduce something like a mandatum for those who claim to teach the Catholic faith online, whereby a bishop affirms that the person is teaching within the full communion of the Church.”

On February 3, writing for First Things, Gladden Pappin and Gregory Caridi argued for the introduction of “yellow checks” (presumably a play on Twitter’s “blue checks”). These checks would be conferred on a Catholic writer and media figure upon request by his local ordinary, if the ordinary feels that the producer is sound and agrees to follow certain rules. As the authors explain, “[m]uch like the system of imprimaturs, a system of ecclesiastical verification would impart ‘yellow checks’ to Catholic writers and media figures who agree to abide by a basic set of norms. Participants in online discourse could simply contact local ordinaries to request this verification, as they already do when seeking imprimaturs or mandata.”

While I admit that as a writer for an online Catholic publication, I have a stake in this and am therefore not strictly objective, I can think of a number of problems with these propositions. Not only would such measures not resolve the problems identified in both articles, but they would likely make things worse.

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Syro-Malabar archdiocese opens sainthood cause of Vincentian founder

Kochi, India, Feb 6, 2020 / 01:59 pm (CNA).- The cause for beatification of Father Varkey Kattarath, founder of the Vincentian Congregation, was opened Wednesday at a ceremony in India.

Fr. Kattarath founded the congregation, modeled on St. Vincent de Paul’s Congregation of the Mission, in 1904. The community’s charism is evangelization, particularly of the poor.

He was declared a Servant of God Feb. 5 at the headquarters of the Vincentian Congregation in Kochi. The cause was requested by the congregation, which is based in the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly.

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