The National Catholic Review


October 2016

  • Oct 21 2016 - 11:24am

    The Rev. Martin Banni, a Chaldean Catholic priest, grabbed the Eucharist, the church’s official documents and a few personal items ahead of the Islamic State fighters’ assault on Karemlash, a town 18 miles southeast of Mosul, two years ago.

    More than 100,000 Christians from the area had already left. The archbishop of Mosul begged them to flee, too.

    “They (Kurdish fighters) left us alone, and we were few in number with no weapons, and we could do nothing to face the Islamic...

  • Oct 20 2016 - 3:31pm

    After chaos broke out in a Catholic church as it hosted a meeting to resolve a university crisis, South Africa's Jesuits said the church would no longer be open for these talks.

    The "safe and neutral space" of Holy Trinity Church in Johannesburg "has been violated by those who declared God's house to be exclusively theirs," Father David Rowan, regional superior of the Jesuits in South Africa, said in an Oct. 20 statement.

    Adam Habib, vice chancellor and principal of the...

  • Oct 20 2016 - 3:26pm

    Heavy damage was reported to homes and farm land in the northern Philippines on Oct. 20 after the strongest storm in three years struck overnight.

    Typhoon Haima barreled into northern Cagayan and Isabella provinces, ripping the roofs off homes and flattening crops.

    Nearly every building in the city of Tuguegarao was damaged, Philippine media quoted officials as saying. The city's communication links were down, and phone calls to the archdiocesan office in Tuguegarao did not...

  • Oct 18 2016 - 4:06pm

    Iraqi Christians are cautiously welcoming the start of the battle for Mosul and the Ninevah Plain, their ancestral homeland of the past 14 centuries from which they were brutally driven out by the Islamic State group more than two years ago.

    "They've been waiting for this day after being forced out in the summer of 2014, and many Christians have been living in very miserable conditions since. A number are eager to go back," Father Emanuel Youkhana told the Catholic News Service. The...

  • Oct 14 2016 - 4:29pm

    Too much of the political discourse during this election year "has demeaned women and marginalized people of faith," the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said on Oct. 14.

    "This must change," said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky. "True to the best hopes of our Founding Fathers, we are confident that we can and will do better as a nation."

    "Politicians, their staffs and volunteers should reflect our best aspirations as citizens," he said...

  • Oct 14 2016 - 4:24pm

    Three Catholic leaders welcomed the release of some of the girls kidnapped in 2014 from a school in Chibok and urged the Nigerian government to prioritize the release of the remaining girls.

    Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, retired archbishop of Lagos, said he had mixed feelings when he heard the news of the release of 21 of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, because he felt like they should have been released before now. Two-hundred-seventy-six girls were kidnapped from the...

  • Oct 14 2016 - 4:18pm

    Hours earlier, he was a happy 4-year-old who loved Ironman and the Hulk and all the Avengers. Now, as Bryson Mees-Hernandez approached death in a Houston hospital room, his brain swelling through the bullet hole in his face, his mother assured the boy it was OK to die.

    "When you are on the other side," his mother, Crystal Mees, recalls telling him, "you are going to see Mommy cry a lot. It's not because she's mad. It's because she misses you."

    And this: "It's not your fault...

  • Oct 12 2016 - 11:30am

    In the wake of intensified attacks in Syria, Pope Francis called for an immediate cease-fire—even if temporary—so that civilians, especially children, could be rescued from the ruins.

    Emphasizing that his thoughts and prayers are with "all victims of the inhumane conflict in Syria," the pope said it was with "a sense of urgency that I renew my appeal, imploring—with all my strength—those responsible so that an immediate cease-fire be arranged."

    He asked the cease-fire be "...

  • Oct 12 2016 - 11:18am

    The Portuguese politician nominated to be the next U.N. secretary-general is a deeply committed Catholic with an anti-abortion record and an involvement in charity work that dates back to his years as a university student.

    Former Socialist Prime Minister António Guterres is known as a consensus seeker, but one who draws the line when it comes to his own conscience.

    “People ask us all the time how we can reconcile being Catholic and Socialist,” said Claudio Anaia, who led the...

  • Oct 11 2016 - 1:58pm

    Catholic Charities agencies joined emergency response efforts in coastal communities in four Southeastern states as residents and parish staffers began returning to assess the damage Hurricane Matthew left behind.

    Some evacuation orders remained in effect in South Carolina, where the storm came ashore on Oct. 7, dumping up to 18 inches of rain in communities near Charleston. High water blocked some roads, preventing people from returning to their homes in South Carolina and North...

  • Oct 11 2016 - 1:52pm

    The story of how an Albanian priest endured decades of imprisonment, torture and forced labor during his country's communist crackdown against the church brought Pope Francis to tears.

    During the pope's 2014 visit to Tirana, Cardinal-designate Ernest Simoni moved many listeners when he described the brutality a militant atheist regime wielded against people of every faith, and paid tribute to God's infinite goodness, grace and love for allowing him to survive.

    Dedicating his...

  • Oct 7 2016 - 2:44pm

    Even though the people of Colombia rejected the terms of a peace accord ending more than 50 years of civil war, the Nobel committee chose Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as winner of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

    "The fact that a majority of the voters said no to the peace accord does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead," the committee said, announcing the prize on Oct. 7.

    The referendum on Oct. 2 "was not a vote for or against peace," the prize...

  • Oct 7 2016 - 2:32pm

    Her new three-bedroom apartment in a new Catholic Charities-sponsored building, may not be a mansion, but for Sandra it feels that way.

    Faced with being homeless last spring as a deadline for her family's stay at a transitional housing apartment neared, Sandra was scrambling to find a place she and her three sons, 22, 15 and 4, could afford in the high-cost housing market of San Jose, California.

    That's when she learned about Kings Crossing Apartments, one of nearly 20...

  • Oct 6 2016 - 1:54pm

    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York said on Oct. 6 that it has created a compensation program for people who were sexually abused by priests or deacons and are willing to forego lawsuits in exchange for an award to be determined by an independent mediator.

    Some advocates for sex abuse victims immediately assailed the program as an attempt to squash cases quickly, before New York's legislature acts on a proposal to make it easier for victims to sue over abuse that happened...

  • Oct 6 2016 - 9:15am

    Haitian first responders and nongovernmental aid workers were assessing the damage from Hurricane Matthew even as they scrambled to deliver food, water and shelter materials to communities isolated by washed-out bridges and blocked roads.

    The storm left southwestern Haiti in shambles after slamming into the country's Caribbean coast on Oct. 4. The cities of Les Cayes, on the southwest coast, and Jeremie, in the northwest, were said to be particularly hit hard by the strongest storm...

  • Oct 6 2016 - 9:11am

    Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury together charged 19 pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops to return to their home countries and work together to promote joint prayer, joint proclamation of the Gospel and, especially, joint works of charity and justice.

    "Today we rejoice to commission them and send them forth in pairs as the Lord sent out the 72 disciples," the pope and archbishop said in a common declaration signed on Oct. 5 at the end of an evening...

  • Oct 6 2016 - 9:06am

    In the first week of its new term, the Supreme Court reviewed the extent that racial bias might have played in a 1995 death penalty sentence.

    The case, Buck v. Stephens, hinges on the "claim of ineffective assistance" given to a convicted Texas murderer, Duane Buck, who was sentenced to die after an expert witness for the defense testified that Buck was more likely to commit violent crimes in the future because he is black.

    Christina Swarns, litigation director for the NAACP...

  • Oct 6 2016 - 9:01am

    Polish lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to reject a proposal by an anti-abortion group that would have imposed a total ban on abortion, caving in to massive outrage by women who have been dressing in black and waging street protests across the country.

    The mostly Catholic nation already has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, with abortion only allowed in rare cases—rape or incest, when the mother's life is in danger or the fetus is badly damaged.


  • Oct 5 2016 - 5:17pm

    Citing Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si'" on humanity's relationship with the earth and each other, seven Catholic institutions from around the world said they plan to divest from fossil fuel corporations.

    Joining the divestment movement were St. Louis-based SSM Health; Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada; Missionary Society of St. Columban, based in Hong Kong; Presentation Society of Australia and Papua New Guinea; Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesians) in Italy; Diocese of...

  • Oct 5 2016 - 10:43am

    Wind-whipped rains from Hurricane Matthew shattered Haiti's southwest peninsula, downing trees, ripping open makeshift wooden homes and causing widespread flooding on Oct. 4 as aid workers waited for the storm to subside before mobilizing.

    The city of Les Cayes and coastal towns and villages in South Department were experiencing the most destruction as the storm made landfall at dawn with 145-mile-an-hour winds.

    Forecasters expected Matthew to dump up to 30 inches of rain in...

  • Oct 5 2016 - 10:00am

    Christians are called to follow the example of St. Therese of Lisieux, who helped draw people to Jesus by way of attraction, not by proselytizing, Pope Francis said.

    She was a reminder that an authentic witness is proclaimed through a union with Christ "in prayer, adoration and in concrete charity, which is serving Jesus, who is present in the least of our brothers and sisters," he said on Oct. 5 during his weekly general audience.

    Among the estimated 25,000 in St. Peter's...

  • Oct 4 2016 - 9:26am

    A Catholic-founded human rights group that for decades has sought the closing of a U.S. military training school in Georgia has moved its main protest to the U.S.-Mexico border.

    School of the Americas Watch supporters will gather on Oct. 7-10 in Nogales, straddling the border between Arizona and Sonora to demonstrate against "militarization" of the border region and the "criminalization" of refugees and migrants, said SOA Watch national organizer Hendrik Voss.

    "While we are...

  • Oct 4 2016 - 9:19am

    Even in a rural Mexican community that has grown accustomed to the news of brutal killings, the abduction and murder of a popular Catholic priest has triggered profound shock and outrage.

    The bullet-ridden body of the Rev. Jose Lopez Guillen was found on Sept. 24 on the highway outside Puruandiro in the western state of Michoacan, a region plagued by violent conflict. The 43-year-old cleric had been abducted from his home in nearby Janamuato five days earlier.

    “He was an...

  • Oct 3 2016 - 9:21am

    The West Nickel Mines School is long gone. Two of the survivors are now married. Several of the couples who lost their daughters have had more children.

    The shooting 10 years ago in a placid Lancaster County hamlet made headlines across the world as the Amish rushed to forgive the shooter. But the grief and pain live on.

    On Oct. 2, 2006, a heavily armed milk truck driver, Charles Carl Roberts IV, burst into the West Nickel Mines School shortly after recess. By the time...

  • Oct 3 2016 - 9:17am

    In the basement of Hoboken Gospel Chapel three blocks from the train terminal, about a dozen church members sat at bingo tables, eyes closed, heads bowed, hands folded over their open Bibles, giving thanks to God and praying for the victims of Thursday’s (Sept. 29) commuter rail crash.

    “We know that even when there are tragedies, there is always good. And even when there are accidents, there are always things to be thankful for,” prayed church elder Brian Hoffert hours after the...

  • Oct 3 2016 - 9:12am

    Witnesses said violent unrest continued Monday in Ethiopia, a day after 52 people were crushed to death during an anti-government protest at a massive religious festival. One witness said bodies were still being pulled from ditches where people fell while trying to flee in a stampede from tear gas and bullets.

    Clashes between security forces and protesters erupted Sunday evening and continued through Monday morning in the towns of Bishoftu and Ambo in the restive Oromia region, an...

  • Oct 3 2016 - 9:07am

    A stunning referendum defeat for a peace deal with leftist rebels leaves Colombians with no Plan B to save an accord that sought to bring an end to a half century of hostilities.

    Instead of winning by an almost two-to-one margin on Sunday as pre-election polls had predicted, those favoring the accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia lost by a razor-thin margin, 49.8 percent to 50.2 percent for those against the deal.

    Both President Juan Manuel Santos and...

  • Oct 2 2016 - 7:26pm

    Catholics who are homosexual, confused about their sexuality or convinced they were born in the wrong body deserve the same attentive pastoral care as anyone else, Pope Francis said.

    Flying back to Rome on Oct. 2 after a visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, the pope was asked, given his criticism on Oct. 1 of "gender theory" and of what he describes as "ideological colonization," how he would provide pastoral care to a person who felt his or her sexuality did not correspond to his or her...

  • Oct 1 2016 - 3:59pm

    Paying honor to the steadfast faith of Orthodox Christians in Georgia, Pope Francis nevertheless urged them to draw closer to other Christians and work together to share the Gospel.

    Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II, who recently has been cautious in his relations with leaders of other churches, greeted Pope Francis when he arrived at the Tbilisi airport Sept. 30, welcomed him to the patriarchal palace that evening and hosted him again Oct. 1 at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta...