Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

In last Mass as Philly archbishop, Chaput retires with gratitude

Philadelphia, Pa., Feb 17, 2020 / 04:45 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Charles Chaput has been a diocesan bishop for 31 years. For most of that time, his people have known where to find him on Sunday afternoon or evening: hearing confessions and offering Mass in his cathedral.

Chaput celebrated this weekend his last Sunday Mass as a diocesan bishop.

At the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, Chaput told his parishioners he is grateful to them, and pointed following Jesus Christ as the pathway to truth and happiness.

“I’ll still be around, I’m not dying, I’m just retiring,” Chaput said Feb. 16, just days before the Tuesday installation of his successor, Archbishop-designate Nelson Perez.
In a homily that stayed tied to the Mass readings, characteristic of Chaput’s preaching style, the archbishop cited the second reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, saying it captures his experience of ministry to the Church in Philadelphia.
“What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart: what God has prepared for those who love him,” St. Paul wrote. “This, God has revealed to us, through the Spirit.”
Chaput thanked the congregation for “the gift of your presence in my life.”
“God bless you,” he concluded.
The archbishop described his successor Perez, until recently the Bishop of Cleveland, as “a very good man” who “will serve you well as archbishop.”
“I am very grateful to those who have supported me at this Mass,” he said, thanking the choir, cathedral rector Father Gerald Gill, and the cathedral community.
“Some of you are regular Mass attenders at this Sunday night Mass,” he said. “I’m very grateful for your presence. It really is the highlight of my week.”
“It’s hard for you to believe, isn’t it? Looking at you is the highlight of my week. I must have a very bad week,” he joked, before turning serious. “It’s been a very important part of my life, I’m very grateful to you.”
In his homily, Chaput reflected on divine law and God’s revelation.
“One of the problems with the commandments is we think of them as laws or rules. What they really are is a pattern of life,” Chaput said. “They’re not there to test us to see if we’re good, because we know we’re not, right? The commandments are there to show us how to be good.”
“God is telling us if you want to be happy, then don’t steal. If you want to be successful, you won’t bear false witness. If you want to have successful marriages, you won’t commit adultery,” the archbishop explained.
“We have freedom to choose whether or not to be good,” he said. At the same time, he emphasized that Christians can’t keep the commandments on their own, but must depend on God’s grace. Some struggle and sin again and again, “sometimes because we depend on ourselves rather than God.”
“Think about the most difficult (sins) for you: gossip, adultery, not to kill, not to anger,” Chaput said, stressing the importance of the commandments.
“What’s at stake here is our salvation, our eternal life, or our eternal damnation,” he added. stressing the importance of the commandments.  “You and I determine our future by what we choose: life--following the commandments—or death. Good or evil.”
On Sunday’s gospel, the archbishop warned of the “danger of scandal.”
“One of the biggest sins that you and I can commit is leading someone else into sin,” he said. “It’s bad enough we lead ourselves into sin. But it’s much worse if we lead ourselves into sin, and through that lead someone else into sin.”
Chaput said he couldn’t state it any clearer than Jesus himself in the Gospel of Matthew: “Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do so, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Archbishop Chaput asked the congregation: “When’s the last time you led somebody into sin by your sin?”

As an example, he mentioned the sexual temptations facing young people who are dating, temptations through which they can lead one another into serious sin.
“It’s really awful because they’re leading somebody they love into serious sin, as well as committing it themselves,” he said. Others teach children to use foul language by their example, or lead people into “patterns of selfishness” shown by their own lives.
Not following the commandments has an impact on the lives of people who are very important to us, and can lead them away from God.
The reading from Gospel of Matthew also teaches us how Jesus sees himself, Chaput said. While the law given to Moses stresses “you shall not kill,” Jesus elevates this to say that whoever is angry with his brother will also be under God’s judgment.
“Jesus is telling us that he has authority over the commandments, and that he calls us to a greater level of obeying them than Moses called the Jewish people to,” Chaput said.

“That’s what he means when he says your righteousness must surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees. Because he calls us not only to follow the commandments literally but to apply them across the board in our lives.”
“Even though most of us don’t kill other people, all of us here are angry with others. And we can’t curse them, or say, ‘go to hell,’ and really mean it,” the archbishop said. “Jesus ratchets it up and calls us to a greater intensity in following (the commandments).”
When Jesus says a man looking at a woman with lust commits adultery, Chaput said the conclusion “isn’t that we shouldn’t go ‘that far,’ we shouldn’t go down that path at all.”
Jesus’ use of exaggerated language, such as recommending someone cut off his hand rather than sin, makes the point of the seriousness of the matter.
“It would be better for us, really, that we don’t have a hand than that we sin,” said Chaput. “And we take sin so casually in our life.”
“Does Jesus really mean we can’t divorce and remarry? Is it all that bad?” he asked, referring to Jesus’ own teaching that remarriage after divorce is adultery.
“Jesus’ words are very clear and it really seems that he doesn’t allow exceptions for any of us,” said Chaput.
Jesus does not only reject false oaths, but his call to “let your ‘yes’ mean yes” is something that “calls us to integrity and truth in our ordinary relationships, and not just when we make vows and solemn promises.”
“Jesus was very serious about the Ten Commandments and invites us to do the same,” said Chaput. “We ask the Lord to give us a love for the commandments. We don’t see them as a burden, but as a pathway to joy and peace and great happiness in our lives.”
Pope Francis accepted Chaput’s retirement and appointed his months after the archbishop turned 75, when bishops customarily submit letters of resignation to the pope.


New Hong Kong bishop to be announced within weeks

Hong Kong, China, Feb 17, 2020 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Priests in the Diocese of Hong Kong are expecting the announcement of their new bishop within the next two weeks. 

“We have been told to expect an announcement within the next ten days or so,” a senior priest in Hong Kong told CNA Feb. 15. The priest confirmed that Rev. Peter Choy Wai-man is the expected appointee. 

“I think by the end of the month we should see something official,” the priest added.

The Hong Kong diocese has been without a permanent leader since the death of Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung in January 2019.

On Jan. 17, CNA reported that the Vatican had selected Rev. Peter Choy Wai-man as Hong Kong’s new bishop but had decided to delay the announcement of Choy’s appointment indefinitely. 

The delay was reportedly because of local and Vatican concerns that Choy is seen as sympathetic with the mainland Chinese government, while many Catholics in Hong Kong are supportive or engaged in pro-democracy protests taking place in the region.

Echoing those concerns, one Hong Kong priest described Choy to CNA as a “pro-Beijing hawk.”

A second senior cleric in the diocese told CNA that despite those concerns, Vatican and Chinese authorities have agreed to Choy’s appointment, and concerns over a backlash among local Catholics have apparently subsided.  

“I think the coronavirus business has had at least something to do with it,” he told CNA. “It is not as simple as cause and effect, but it has contributed. Initially, the worry was it might feature in the street protests and [the announcement] was delayed at least until after the [Chinese] New Year [Jan. 25], which was very heavily restrained this year.”

“Now, with schools closed and public demonstrations much less on the agenda, there is a sense that the time is right.”

Fr. Choy was born in Hong Kong in 1959, and ordained a priest in 1986. Since Oct. 2017, he has served as one of four vicars general of the Diocese of Hong Kong, appointed with responsibility for the bishop’s office, the ongoing formation for both clergy and laity, and leading ecumenical and interreligious dialogue for the diocese. Choy also serves as the dean of Hong Kong’s seminary.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun SDB, who led the Diocese of Hong Kong from 2002-2009 and is a critic of the Vatican’s relationship to the Chinese government in Beijing, talked with CNA on Friday about the appointment. 

Zen said that Choy’s nomination could widen a growing divide among Chinese Catholics. 

“There is a group of young Catholics [in Hong Kong] who are very strongly against this nomination” he said. The cardinal added that they hoped the Vatican might revisit the decision before it was publicly announced.

“The Catholic establishment [in Hong Kong] is divided,” Zen said. “They say that the future bishop needs the blessing of Beijing.”

The cardinal mentioned broad support among local Catholics for Hong Kong auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, who is associated with the protestors on the island, and has appeared at several demonstrations.

Last month, CNA reported that Bishop Ha had been initially selected by the Vatican to lead the Hong Kong diocese, but the decision was reversed after Ha was pictured at the front of a pro-democracy street demonstration.

“We have an auxiliary bishop, Bishop Ha, [who is] very good, and really a wise leader of the community during these last months,” Zen said. 

“But I know that the actual pontifical delegate, Cardinal Tong, he receives instructions from the Vatican and must follow those instructions – I suppose they are always on the line of compromise.”

CNA reported last month that Cardinal Tong had recommended against an announcement of Fr. Choy’s appointment until the political situation on the island had stabilized.

On Jan. 16, CNA asked Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See Secretary of State, about the selection of Fr. Choy to lead the Hong Kong diocese, and about the decision of the Vatican’s decision to delay announcing the appointment.

On Feb. 15, a spokesman for Cardinal Parolin told CNA that the cardinal had no comments on Fr. Choy’s reported selection or on the timing of any announcement of a new Bishop of Hong Kong.


Priest with brain tumor 'embraces it willingly' for victims of clergy abuse

Indianapolis, Ind., Feb 17, 2020 / 03:41 pm (CNA).- When Fr. John Hollowell went to Mayo Clinic for brain scans after what doctors thought was a stroke, he received a shocking diagnosis. The scans revealed that instead of stroke, he had a brain tumor.

While it is a serious diagnosis, Hollowell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said he believes the tumor was an answer to prayer.

“When the scandals of 2018 broke out, most of you know that they have affected me deeply, as they have most of the Church,” he wrote in his blog, On This Rock.

“I prayed in 2018 that if there was some suffering I could undertake on behalf of all the victims, some cross I could carry, I would welcome that. I feel like this is that cross, and I embrace it willingly.”

Hollowell was ordained in 2009 and serves as pastor of St. Paul the Apostle parish in Greencastle as well as pastor of Annunciation parish in Brazil, Indiana. He is also the Catholic chaplain at DePauw University and Putnamville Correctional Facility.

The plan for Hollowell’s treatment involves the removal of the tumor via brain surgery, and then both radiation and chemotherapy.

Hollowell said that while his treatments will not be as harsh as those for some other kinds of cancer, he still wants to offer up each day of his recovery, chemotherapy, and radiation for victims of clergy abuse.
“I would love to have a list of victims of priestly abuse that I could pray for each day. I would like to dedicate each day of this recovery/chemo/radiation to 5-10 victims, and I would like, if possible, to even write them a note letting them know of my prayers for them,” he said.

He encouraged victims, or those who know of a victim, to write to him with the victim’s name (with their permission) and with an address where he could send them a note when he prays for them.

He added that he would like to include in his prayers those victims who have been helped by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and asked that SNAP send him names of victims for whom he can pray.

Hollowell said he was grateful for his many “wonderful” doctors at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere who have been part of his care thus far.

“Each person has played a key role in this process, and I am very thankful and amazed by the state of medicine in the US in 2020,” he said.

Ultimately, the priest said he was “very much at peace.”

“Other than time in the hospital, the only effects of this tumor that I have had are 5 episodes of spasm/seizure that have each lasted 90 seconds. I also realize I am blessed to have uncovered it through this process vs. finding out about the tumor down the road after it had grown more in size,” he wrote.

“You all will be in my prayers, as I pray daily for the salvation of all the souls of those who live and study within my parish boundaries,” he added. “May Our Lady of Lourdes watch over and intercede for all those who are sick or suffering in any way!”

Leak from Xinjiang shows some Uyghurs are detained for family size

Urumqi, China, Feb 17, 2020 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- A leaked document from a county in China's northwest details the personal information of some 3,000 Uyghurs. It gives violation of birth control policies as the most common reason for their “re-education”, often alongside other reasons.

The “Karakax List” is a 137-page spreadsheet from the government in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where an estimated 1 million Uyghurs, members of a Muslim ethnoreligious group, have been detained in re-education camps. Inside the camps they are reportedly subjected to forced labor, torture, and political indoctrination. Outside the camps, Uyghurs are monitored by pervasive police forces and facial recognition technology.

The document, believed to have been prepared in May or June 2019, was recently shown to several news outlets, including the BBC and the Wall Street Journal.

The Karakax List contains information regarding some 3,000 Uyghurs in Karakax County, about 800 miles southwest of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.

It shows that 484 persons were interned for re-education, only 12 of whom had no recorded reason for their detention. There were eight categories of the reasons for internment.

“No single coding category was dominant, even though violations of birth control policies constituted the most commonly cited reason for re-education, often along with other (typically religion-related) reasons,” Adrian Zenz, a Xinjiang researcher and senior fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, wrote in a recent paper analyzing the document.

Of the 484 detained persons, 149 had violated birth control policies.

From the late 1970s until 2015, China allowed most couples to have only one child. Since 2015, most couples have been permitted two children.

The Washington Post reported in October 2019 that women in Kazakhstan who say they had been detained in Xinjiang said they were forced to have abortions, had contraceptive devices implanted involuntarily, or were raped.

Other commonly cited reasons for internment in the document were that the persons were untrustworthy (116 persons), religion-related (101), and that they had overseas links (94).

Only 24 had committed a formal crime.

According to Zenz, “based on the principles of presumed guilt (rather than innocence) and assigning guilt through association, the state has developed a highly fine-tuned yet also very labor-intensive governance system whereby entire family circles are held hostage to their behavioral performance – jointly and as individuals.”

“Ongoing mechanisms of appraisal and evaluation ensure high levels of acquiescence even when most detainees have been released from the camps,” he added.

The researcher said that “driven by a deeply religio-phobic worldview … the state has established a system of governance that fully substitutes trust with control.”

Among the data recorded in the Karakaz List are whether an individual has worn an Islamic veil; whether they have a beard; how often they pray; how their family members act; whether they have applied for a passport; and whom they contact.

The Chinese government has defended its policy of mass detention and re-education as an appropriate measure against terrorism.

The government at one time denied the camps even existed, but has since shifted to defending its actions as a reasonable response to a national security threat.

Government officials from the region said in July 2019 that the area's re-education camps for Muslims have been successful, with most of those held having been reintegrated into Chinese society.

Uyghurs can be arrested and detained under vague anti-terrorism laws. Violence in the region escalated in the 1990s and again in 2008.

The US Commerce Department in October 2019 added 28 Chinese organizations to a blacklist barring them from buying products from US companies, saying they cooperate in the detention and repression of the Uyghurs.

McCarrick gave $1 million to scandal-hit religious order

Washington D.C., Feb 17, 2020 / 01:40 pm (CNA).- Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was a major donor to a religious community whose founder was found guilty of sexual misconduct.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that McCarrick gave nearly $1 million to the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) from 2004-2017. The religious community was founded in 1984 in Argentina by Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela, who retired in 2010 and was found guilty of sexual misconduct with seminarians by the Vatican in 2016.  

According to previous CNA reports, McCarrick used his status as a senior archbishop and cardinal to support the community and defend it against critics within the Church, including then-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, before his election as pope. 

McCarrick was laicized by Pope Francis in February of 2019, after a Vatican canonical process found him guilty of sexual abuse of minors and misconduct with adults. He previously served as bishop of the diocese of Metuchen, Archbishop of Newark, and Archbishop of Washington, D.C., before his retirement in 2006.

According to the Post’s report, McCarrick donated funds to the institute through the Archbishop’s Fund, a charitable account under the oversight of the Archdiocese of Washington through which he also sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to charities and senior Vatican officials over the years. 

After his retirement as Archbishop of Washington, McCarrick resided at a house adjacent to the IVE’s Ven. Fulton Sheen Seminary, in Chillum, Maryland, from 2011 until late 2016 or early 2017.

Priests and seminarians of the community were assigned as staff to McCarrick while the cardinal lived there and after he moved out; those positions were funded by the Washington archdiocese.

The Post also reported Monday that McCarrick granted control of a church-owned property in Maryland to the institute for a seminary that opened in 2005. The website of the Venerable Fulton Sheen Seminary says it was opened in September 1998, two years before McCarrick was appointed to Washington. 

The archdiocesan Redemptoris Mater seminary, also located in Chillum, was opened in 2005, but that seminary is not connected to the IVE.

McCarrick took up residence near the IVE seminary after sanctions were reportedly placed on him by Pope Benedict XVI and he was ordered to move out of the Redemptoris Mater seminary where he had been living in a self-contained apartment.

In 2018, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, alleged that canonical sanctions were placed on McCarrick in 2009 or 2010, and that he had warned Vatican superiors of McCarrick’s history of sexual misconduct with seminarians and priests as early as 2006. McCarrick’s successor in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, was first informed of an abuse allegation against McCarrick in 2004 while he was Bishop of Pittsburgh. 

In 2018, the Washington archdiocese repeatedly told CNA that McCarrick made his own living arrangements in his retirement, but sources at the IVE told CNA that Wuerl intervened to have McCarrick moved from his residence near the seminary.

While residing near the institute’s seminary, McCarrick would join the community for meals, and had a priest and seminarians from the institute assigned to him as his personal staff. The IVE property also includes St. John Baptist de la Salle parish, staffed by the institute, as well as the headquarters of its Province of the Immaculate Conception.

McCarrick’s presence was reportedly a source of tension within the community and formators warned students to avoid McCarrick’s “worldly” lifestyle. CNA has previously reported that McCarrick insisted on a special food menu, and that he made seminarians assigned to him accompany him to a casino and on trips to a beach house. McCarrick’s conduct triggered complaints by formators to the order’s leadership in Rome. 

McCarrick last ordained priests for the institute in 2017.

Priest arrested in Turkey for giving bread and water to Kurdish separatists

Ankara, Turkey, Feb 17, 2020 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Turkish authorities have arrested a Syriac Orthodox priest on terrorism charges after the cleric provided bread and water to members of an illegal Kurdish seperatist group. 

Fr. Sefer Bileçen of St. Jacob’s Monastery in Nusaybin was first detained along with other local Christians on January 9, before being released on January 14 without charge. He was then re-arrested and indicted on January 16, and accused of being a member of a terrorist group. Information about the indictment was released on February 8.

Fr. Bileçen was arrested after an informant testified that he provided bread and water to Kurdish separatists at the monastery in 2018, actions that the Turkish authorities have said constitute “helping and abetting” terrorists. According to a 2018 police report, members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) visited the monastery on several occasions. 

The PKK is a Marxist group dedicated to the creation of an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. Decades of fighting between PKK separatists and Turkish forces have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives and the group is designated as a terrorist organization in the European Union, though not by the United Nations. The leader of the party has been in a Turkish prison since 1999. 

In addition to the accusation of providing food and water to the PKK members, Bileçen is also accused of failing to report their identities to the authorities, even though he was aware they were members of the banned group. 

Nusaybin, where the monastery is located, is predominantly Kurdish. 

Bileçen does not deny providing food and water to the PKK members, but he told authorities that his actions had no political motivation and were not a demonstration of either support or sympathy for the PKK. The priest said offering food and water to those in need was a requirement of his Christian faith, and that he never left the monastery grounds.

“I give food to whoever comes to my door. I need to do so as per my religion and philosophy,” Bileçen said through a lawyer on January 13.

“And since I am a priest, I cannot lie. I am not doing this in the name of helping an organization, but instead as per my belief. Philosophically, I cannot also denounce someone. This is also the case in terms of religion. I do not step outside the monastery anway,” he said in January. 

Bileçen is due in court on March 19. 

Jon Koriel, chairman of the Assyrian Policy Institute, told Asia News that he was “deeply concerned” about the charges, and that the indictment sends “damaging messages” to the Christian community in Turkey, Koriel said.

“We call on Turkish authorities to drop all charges against him without precondition,” he added. 

If convicted, the charges filed against Fr. Bileçen carry a minimum sentence of seven and a half years in prison.

500 years later, Raphael tapestries rehung in Sistine Chapel

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2020 / 11:07 am (CNA).- Five hundred years after the death of Renaissance artist Raphael, the Vatican Museums has returned the tapestries he designed to their original place in the Sistine Chapel for just one week.

“The value of these tapestries is above all the fact that they complete the religious message of the [Sistine] Chapel,” Alessandra Rodolfo, the exhibit’s curator, told CNA Feb. 17.

The ten tapestries, which show scenes from the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, were commissioned by Leo X in 1515. Raphael made full-size sketches for their design.

The hangings themselves were completed by an influential Flemish tapestry weaver, Pieter van Aelst, in his studio in Brussels.  

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Spent part of the early morning in the Sistine Chapel seeing these Raphael-designed tapestries from the 1500s. <br><br>They tell the stories of Sts. Peter &amp; Paul and were commissioned by Pope Leo X to hang beneath Michelangelo&#39;s masterpiece.<br><br>They&#39;ll be displayed here just one week. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Hannah Brockhaus (@HannahBrockhaus) <a href="">February 17, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

The works will be displayed in the Sistine Chapel Feb. 17-23, after which they will return to the Raphael Room of the Vatican Museums’ Pinacoteca area, where they have hung since 1932, Rodolfo said.

The tapestries were made to accompany Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which were finished in 1512, as well as the slightly earlier Renaissance frescoes depicting the life of Moses and the life of Christ on the walls of the chapel.

They hang on the lower part of the walls, which are painted to look like curtains.

The tapestries arrived at the Vatican between 1519 and 1521. Raphael himself, who died in 1520, did not live to see them all completed.

“Raphael, together with Leo X, conceived the iconographic project of the tapestries,” Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums, said.

She told CNA the works are about the apostles bringing the Gospel to the world.

“So, in this place that is a universal place of art and faith, we have, incredibly, also the Gospel given to the people. Thanks to Raphael, thanks to Leo X,” she said.

“Raphael represents in some way the highest example of Renaissance art,” Jatta explained. “Through Raphael we want to share the values, not only of art, but also of faith” that his art represents, especially in his Sistine Chapel tapestries.

The ten tapestries were taken during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Those which were not burned ended up scattered throughout Europe.

The tapestries, some of which are early copies made from the first set, eventually were brought back to Rome and the Vatican.

At around 120 pounds, and covering together a length of over 100 feet, it took “a great effort” to hang the tapestries, Rodolfo said.

The exhibition of the tapestries in the Sistine Chapel is one of several exhibitions happening in Rome in 2020 for the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death.

Catholic business leaders respond to 'no breaks' Bloomberg video

Washington D.C., Feb 17, 2020 / 09:00 am (CNA).- Catholic business leaders have said a work-life balance is critical for success after a video of presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg advising workers to avoid taking breaks went viral last week.

In a video clip of a 2011 interview with TechCrunch, Bloomberg—billionaire founder of the news and financial services company Bloomberg L.P., and former mayor of New York City—gave his recipe for workplace success. He advised employees against taking lunch breaks and even suggesting they should avoid going to the bathroom. The video was repeatedly shared on social media last week and viewed thousands of times.

 “I’m not smarter than anybody else, but I can outwork you,” Bloomberg said of his work ethic.

“My key to success—for you or for anybody else—is make sure you’re the first one in there every day, and the last one to leave. Don’t ever take a lunch break or go to the bathroom, you keep working. You never know when that opportunity is going to come along,” he said.

In 2013 on his radio show, Bloomberg gave similar advice in telling workers to “take the fewest vacations and the least time away from the desk to go to the bathroom or have lunch.”

On Feb 14., leaders at a Catholic business school responded that prayerful prudence is key to achieving a proper work-life balance, which is necessary to workplace success.

“I hope that when he said that, Bloomberg was exaggerating for effect,” Professor Andrew Abela, founding dean of the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America, told CNA on Friday.

“Hard work is necessary, but time for prayer, family, friends, community are absolutely necessary too, not just for a life well lived, but for a successful career as well,” Abela said.

Professor Maximilian B. Torres, J.D., who teaches business ethics and organizational behavior at the Busch School, said that as a father of eight with a spouse of 30 years, he believed a work-life “balance” can be fluid and depended upon the situations at work and at home.

“There are times when it would be criminal not to exert extra effort at work.  There are other times when it would be criminal not to make time for a late-night, father-son conversation, or a family dinner,” Torres said, adding that no boss or spouse should “demand 24/7/365 obsession.”

“Ultimately, balance lies in the counsels of prudence, and results from prayer,” Torres said.

In the 2011 TechCrunch interview, Bloomberg did go on to say that success is not all about money.

“We measure success by, ‘how much money do you have?’ That’s not the only measure of success. I know some very successful people who measure it by how many lives they’ve saved, or how many kids they’ve helped in the classroom, or how well they’ve brought up their children,” Bloomberg said.

He said of his time in “public service” as mayor of New York City that he hoped he could one day tell his grandchildren, “I’ve left you a better world.”

Employee perks offered by Bloomberg News might also contradict the billionaire’s advice on taking breaks, noted Paul Radich, assistant professor of practice, marketing, and social thought at the Busch School.

The company’s building in midtown Manhattan offers free pantry food and free soup at lunchtime to employees in a central location, he noted—although the motive is unclear whether such policies were instituted to take care of employees or to maximize worker productivity.

Bloomberg, L.P. has also drawn criticism from former female employees who have alleged a hostile workplace culture.

In 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a discrimination lawsuit against Bloomberg L.P., saying pregnant female employees who took maternity leave received demotions or pay cuts, or were replaced.

Ultimately, 65 women were claimants in the lawsuit which was dismissed by a federal judge in 2011. The judge concluded there was a lack of evidence that the company engaged in a “pattern” of discrimination.

The New York Post reported in December 2019 that Bloomberg, L.P., had been the subject of nearly 40 discrimination and harassment lawsuits by 64 former employees.

According to a November report by the New York Times, one of the lawsuits alleged that Bloomberg told a pregnant employee “kill it,” referring to her baby, and complained about the number of pregnant women at the company. That lawsuit was settled without an admission of guilt.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that a former Bloomberg technology writer said he witnessed the conversation where Bloomberg allegedly told the pregnant employee to “kill” her baby.

Other lawsuits alleged that Bloomberg made disparaging remarks about pregnant employees.

Pope Francis requires year of missionary work for future Vatican diplomat priests

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2020 / 05:09 am (CNA).- Pope Francis has requested that priests in formation for the Holy See’s diplomatic service be required to spend one year in missionary work, the Vatican announced Monday.

The pope has asked the change to go into effect for the 2020/2021 academic year. He called for the curriculum update in a letter to the president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Bishop Joseph Marino.

In order to face “growing challenges for the Church and for the world, future diplomats of the Holy See must acquire, in addition to solid priestly and pastoral formation, and the specific one offered by this Academy, also a personal mission experience outside their own Diocese of origin,” Francis wrote.

It is an opportunity for the priests to share “with the missionary churches a period of journey together with their community, participating in their daily evangelizing activity,” he added.

The pope noted in his letter, signed Feb. 11, that he had first expressed the desire for the formation of priest-diplomats to include a missionary year at the end of the Amazon synod in 2019.

“I am convinced that such an experience will be useful to all young people who prepare or begin priestly service,” he said, “but in particular to those who in the future will be called to collaborate with the Pontifical Representatives and, subsequently, may in turn become Envoys of the Holy See to the nations and particular churches.”

The Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy is a training academy for priests from around the world who may be asked to enter the diplomatic corps of the Holy See.

In addition to studying theology and canon law at pontifical universities in Rome, the students learn topics and skills relevant to diplomatic work, such as languages, international diplomacy, and diplomatic history.

American Bishop Joseph Marino has been president since October 2019. He has been in the diplomatic service of the Holy See since 1988.

The pope said implementation of the missionary year will require cooperation with the Secretariat of State, especially with the section for diplomatic personnel.

He added that, “having overcome the initial concerns that could arise,” he is sure the experience “will be useful not only to young academics, but also to individual churches with whom they will collaborate.”

Francis also said he hopes it will inspire other priests to volunteer to serve as a missionary outside his own diocese for a period.  


Virgil Dechant, long-serving KofC Supreme Knight, dies at 89

Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2020 / 06:55 pm (CNA).- The longest serving Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus died Saturday at 89.

Virgil Dechant was Supreme Knight from 1977 to 2000. He died in his sleep Feb. 15.

“God has called home a good man and one of the Knights’ great leaders,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a Feb. 16 statement.

“Virgil Dechant used to say that his goal was to leave the Knights better than he found it, and in myriad ways, he accomplished that. He leaves a lasting legacy and an excellent example of what it means to be a Knight and a fraternalist,” Anderson added.

The Knights of Columbus say Dechant was instrumental in helping to grow the Knights of Columbus, and fostering the organization’s collaboration with the Vatican during the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II.

Dechant “forged a close relationship with the Vatican during the pontificate of St. John Paul II, leading the Order to sponsor numerous renovation projects – including of the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, and working with the pope to promote the faith in Eastern Europe, which was then behind the iron curtain,” the Knights of Columbus said in a press release.

He also “oversaw tremendous growth in the Order’s membership as well as in its assets and insurance business, while also opening the Order to greater involvement by the wives and families of its members,” according to the statement.

Dechant was a Kansas native who farmed, sold farm equipment, and owned a car dealership before he began working for the Knights of Columbus as Supreme Secretary in 1967. He became Supreme Knight ten years later.

In recognition of his committment to the pro-life movement, Dechant received the National Right to Life Award in 1998. He was also the recipient of several Vatican honors,

In 2005, he escorted President George W. Bush to the funeral of Pope St. John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. 

In 2012, Anderson said that his predecessor “was the model of Catholic fraternalism for an entire generation."

Dechant is survived by his wife Ann, four children, and the couple's grandchildren and great-grandchildren.