Why I Have Hope…

2020 has brought so much unrest and raised the temperature among so many people who were already restless for one reason or another. Frightened by the pandemic, worried about financial collapse, divided over politics, rioting in the streets and turmoil in the markets–all of these have raised stress levels and sharpened already anxious lives.

It is not surprising, therefore, to find the unrest in society mirrored in the Church. We Christians are humans too. We also have anxieties, fears, resentment and bitterness in our hearts. In my book Immortal Combat  I analyzed the “Sin of the World” — showing how the roots of pride well up into an instinct to blame others, lapse into rivalry and competition which engenders resentment and rage, and how this roils and boils in our lives and our society and our church too–and eventually erupts in virulent, snarling anger and violence.

One of the symptoms of this terror is that the rage is irrational and values are reversed. Those who are caught up in the cycle of resentment, rivalry and revenge call good evil and evil good. Rioters burn down buildings, loot and pillage and go home believing they’ve done a good night’s work. Learned people “cancel” brilliant writers, artists and noteworthy people and pull down the statues of noble, good and courageous men and women for some fault in their culture long ago claiming that these good people were bad. Religious people say a good and pious man’s work is bad while they praise others who are cynical, unscrupulous, greedy and proud. Good Christians acclaim politicians who are clearly bad men and women–overlooking their wickedness to confirm their own bias.

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Bishops Petition US Congress for Emergency Aid for Catholic Schools

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM, Cap. of Boston, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R. of Newark and Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education cosigned a letter requesting that emergency aid to Catholic schools be included in the next federal COVID emergency relief package.

“The economic devastation that has hit so many of America’s families has made it impossible for many struggling families to continue paying tuition,” the bishops wrote. “As a result, already 140 Catholic schools have permanently closed their doors, and hundreds more are in danger of being unable to open in the fall. The closure of schools that serve urban areas are disproportionately harmful to low-income and black children served by these schools.”

They continued, “Not only is this devastating to each of those school communities, their staff and business partners, but it has a detrimental impact on local taxpayers. For every student educated in a Catholic or non-public school, taxpayers save thousands of dollars. Nationwide, Catholic schools save state and local governments more than $20 billion annually.”

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US Bishops Express Solidarity With Those Suffering in Lebanon

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement in solidarity with Lebanon after the explosion in the Port of Beirut:

“The world watched with shock and horror the catastrophic explosion in the Port of Beirut Tuesday. Over 135 have died, thousands are injured, and the suffering has only begun to be told.

“Lebanon was already reeling from economic and government corruption along with the novel coronavirus pandemic. The plight of the Lebanese people is now even more dire. We received Lebanon’s patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai’s Appeal to the Nations of the World with fraternal love and solidarity. We encourage Catholics and all people of good will to pray for the afflicted and give generously to Catholic Relief Services’ Lebanon disaster response at www.crs.org. In addition, we call on the U.S. government to accelerate any and all humanitarian assistance to Lebanon in this hour of critical need.

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Polish bishops recall service of priests, nuns during Warsaw Uprising

CNA Staff, Aug 7, 2020 / 05:37 pm (CNA).- Commemorating the 76th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis, the Catholic bishops of Poland released a reflection on the priests and nuns who ministered to the needs of the Polish people during the historic event.

“During the sixty-three days of the Warsaw Uprising, which was the biggest revolt of the population against the Nazi occupants during World War II, about 150 diocesan priests and many nuns provided the insurgents and civilians with pastoral and medical care, and shelter,” the Polish bishops’ conference said in an August 7 statement.

The Warsaw Uprising took place in the summer of 1944, as Polish resistance forces attempted to free Warsaw from Nazi occupation. For two months, the resistance forces fought against the Germans, who sent in air and artillery reinforcements. They were ultimately unsuccessful, and the Nazis destroyed the city in retaliation for the insurrection.

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