Friday, February 28, 2020

Saint February 29 : Saint Oswald the Saint of the Leap Year and Archbishop of Canterbury


February 29.—ST. OSWALD, Bishop. OSWALD was of a noble Saxon family, He was brought up by his uncle, St. Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury,Archbishop of York, d. on 29 February, 992. Of Danish parentage, Oswald was brought up by his uncle Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, and instructed by Fridegode. For some time he was dean of the house of the secular canons at Winchester, but led by the desire of a stricter life he entered the Benedictine Monastery of Fleury, where Odo himself had received the monastic habit. He was ordained there and in 959 returned to England betaking himself to his kinsman Oskytel, then Archbishop of York. He took an active part in ecclesiastical affairs at York until St. Dunstan procured his appointment to the See of Worcester. He was consecrated by St. Dunstan in 962. Oswald was an ardent supporter of Dunstan in his efforts to purify the Church from abuses, and aided by King Edgar he carried out his policy of replacing by communities the canons who held monastic possessions. Edgar gave the monasteries of St. Albans, Ely, and Benfleet to Oswald, who established monks at Westbury (983), Pershore (984), at Winchelcumbe (985), and at Worcester, and re-established Ripon. But his most famous foundation was that of Ramsey in Huntingdonshire, the church of which was dedicated in 974, and again after an accident in 991. In 972 by the joint action of St. Dunstan and Edgar, Oswald was made Archbishop of York, and journeyed to Rome to receive the pallium from John XIII. He retained, however, with the sanction of the pope, jurisdiction over the diocese of Worcester where he frequently resided in order to foster his monastic reforms (Eadmer, 203). On Edgar's death in 975, his work, hitherto so successful, received a severe check at the hands of Elfhere, King of Mercia, who broke up many communities. Ramsey, however, was spared, owing to the powerful patronage of Ethelwin, Earl of East Anglia. Whilst Archbishop of York, Oswald collected from the ruins of Ripon the relics of the saints, some of which were conveyed to Worcester. He died in the act of washing the feet of the poor, as was his daily custom during Lent, and was buried in the Church of St. Mary at Worcester. Oswald used a gentler policy than his colleague Ethelwold and always refrained from violent measures. He greatly valued and promoted learning amongst the clergy and induced many scholars to come from Fleury. He wrote two treatises and some synodal decrees. Shared from Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis' message to Artificial Intelligence Workshop - Microsoft, IBM, UN-FAO and Vatican sign Call for Ethics in AI - Full Text



Pope Francis sent a message (full text below) to participants in a workshop titled, "The 'Good' Algorithm? Artificial Intelligence: Ethics, Law, Health", organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life in the Vatican, February, 26-28. The Holy Father was scheduled to address the group but because of a “slight indisposition”, he postponed all of Friday’s official audiences outside Casa Santa Marta, where he resides. At the conclusion of the Vatican workshop, the Pontifical Academy for Life, Microsoft, IBM, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Italian government signed the “Call for an AI Ethics”, a document developed to support an ethical approach to Artificial Intelligence and promote a sense of responsibility among organizations, governments and institutions with the aim to create a future in which digital innovation and technological progress serve human genius and creativity and not their gradual replacement. (VaticanNews.va)
FULL TEXT Message of Pope Francis to Workshop on Artificial Intelligence:
Distinguished Authorities,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I offer you a cordial greeting on the occasion of the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life. I thank Archbishop Paglia for his kind words. I am grateful too for the presence of the President of the European Parliament, the FAO Director-General and the other authorities and leaders in field of information technology. I also greet those who join us from the Conciliazione Auditorium. And I am heartened by the numerous presence of young people: I see this as a sign of hope.

The issues you have addressed in these days concern one of the most important changes affecting today’s world. Indeed, we could say that the digital galaxy, and specifically artificial intelligence, is at the very heart of the epochal change we are experiencing. Digital innovation touches every aspect of our lives, both personal and social. It affects our way of understanding the world and ourselves. It is increasingly present in human activity and even in human decisions, and is thus altering the way we think and act. Decisions, even the most important decisions, as for example in the medical, economic or social fields, are now the result of human will and a series of algorithmic inputs. A personal act is now the point of convergence between an input that is truly human and an automatic calculus, with the result that it becomes increasingly complicated to understand its object, foresee its effects and define the contribution of each factor.

To be sure, humanity has already experienced profound upheavals in its history: for example, the introduction of the steam engine, or electricity, or the invention of printing which revolutionized the way we store and transmit information. At present, the convergence between different scientific and technological fields of knowledge is expanding and allows for interventions on phenomena of infinitesimal magnitude and planetary scope, to the point of blurring boundaries that hitherto were considered clearly distinguishable: for example, between inorganic and organic matter, between the real and the virtual, between stable identities and events in constant interconnection.

On the personal level, the digital age is changing our perception of space, of time and of the body. It is instilling a sense of unlimited possibilities, even as standardization is becoming more and more the main criterion of aggregation. It has become increasingly difficult to recognize and appreciate differences. On the socio-economic level, users are often reduced to “consumers”, prey to private interests concentrated in the hands of a few. From digital traces scattered on the internet, algorithms now extract data that enable mental and relational habits to be controlled, for commercial or political ends, frequently without our knowledge. This asymmetry, by which a select few know everything about us while we know nothing about them, dulls critical thought and the conscious exercise of freedom. Inequalities expand enormously; knowledge and wealth accumulate in a few hands with grave risks for democratic societies. Yet these dangers must not detract from the immense potential that new technologies offer. We find ourselves before a gift from God, a resource that can bear good fruits.

The issues with which your Academy has been concerned since its inception present themselves today in a new way. The biological sciences are increasingly employing devices provided by artificial intelligence. This development has led to profound changes in our way of understanding and managing living beings and the distinctive features of human life, which we are committed to safeguarding and promoting, not only in its constitutive biological dimension, but also in its irreducible biographical aspect. The correlation and integration between life that is “lived” and life that is “experienced” cannot be dismissed in favour of a simple ideological calculation of functional performance and sustainable costs. The ethical problems that emerge from the ways that these new devices can regulate the birth and destiny of individuals call for a renewed commitment to preserve the human quality of our shared history.

For this reason, I am grateful to the Pontifical Academy for Life for its efforts to develop a serious reflection that has fostered dialogue between the different scientific disciplines indispensable for addressing these complex phenomena.

I am pleased that this year’s meeting includes individuals with various important roles of responsibility internationally in the areas of science, industry and political life. I am gratified by this and I thank you. As believers, we have no ready-made ideas about how to respond to the unforeseen questions that history sets before us today. Our task is rather one of walking alongside others, listening attentively and seeking to link experience and reflection. As believers, we ought to allow ourselves to be challenged, so that the word of God and our faith tradition can help us interpret the phenomena of our world and identify paths of humanization, and thus of loving evangelization, that we can travel together. In this way we will be able to dialogue fruitfully with all those committed to human development, while keeping at the centre of knowledge and social praxis the human person in all his or her dimensions, including the spiritual. We are faced with a task involving the human family as a whole.

In light of this, mere training in the correct use of new technologies will not prove sufficient. As instruments or tools, these are not “neutral”, for, as we have seen, they shape the world and engage consciences on the level of values. We need a broader educational effort. Solid reasons need to be developed to promote perseverance in the pursuit of the common good, even when no immediate advantage is apparent. There is a political dimension to the production and use of artificial intelligence, which has to do with more than the expanding of its individual and purely functional benefits. In other words, it is not enough simply to trust in the moral sense of researchers and developers of devices and algorithms. There is a need to create intermediate social bodies that can incorporate and express the ethical sensibilities of users and educators.

There are many disciplines involved in the process of developing technological equipment (one thinks of research, planning, production, distribution, individual and collective use…), and each entails a specific area of responsibility. We are beginning to glimpse a new discipline that we might call “the ethical development of algorithms” or more simply “algor-ethics” (cf. Address to Participants in the Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World, 14 November 2019). This would have as its aim ensuring a competent and shared review of the processes by which we integrate relationships between human beings and today’s technology. In our common pursuit of these goals, a critical contribution can be made by the principles of the Church’s social teaching: the dignity of the person, justice, subsidiarity and solidarity. These are expressions of our commitment to be at the service of every individual in his or her integrity and of all people, without discrimination or exclusion. The complexity of the technological world demands of us an increasingly clear ethical framework, so as to make this commitment truly effective.

The ethical development of algorithms – algor-ethics – can be a bridge enabling those principles to enter concretely into digital technologies through an effective cross-disciplinary dialogue. Moreover, in the encounter between different visions of the world, human rights represent an important point of convergence in the search for common ground. At present, there would seem to be a need for renewed reflection on rights and duties in this area. The scope and acceleration of the transformations of the digital era have in fact raised unforeseen problems and situations that challenge our individual and collective ethos. To be sure, the Call that you have signed today is an important step in this direction, with its three fundamental coordinates along which to journey: ethics, education and law.

Dear friends, I express my support for the generosity and energy with which you have committed yourselves to launching this courageous and challenging process of reassessment. I invite you to continue with boldness and discernment, as you seek ways to increase the involvement of all those who have the good of the human family at heart. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s blessings, so that your journey can continue with serenity and peace, in a spirit of cooperation. May the Blessed Virgin assist you. I accompany you with my blessing. And I ask you please to remember me in your prayers. Thank you.

[00291-EN.01] [Original text: Italian] Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation

Bishops appeal for Aid to Feed Starving population of Millions including Children due to Severe Drought


Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops appeal for aid to feed starving population.
 Catholic Church News Zimbabwe February 27, 2020
By Br. Alfonce Kugwa


Archbishop Robert Ndlovu flanked by Bishops Rudolf Nyandoro and Paul Horan, delivers the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’s Conference message on the need for food aid.
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) has buttressed the government’s call by appealing for food aid citing that half of the country’s population may face starvation in the year 2020.

Addressing a Press Conference held at the Church’s headquarters in Harare on 27 February 2020, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu, said the Church’s appeal and response was on behalf of the people of every race, culture, gender and religion in Zimbabwe who are and who will soon be in dire need of food.

“We therefore join the voices of all those who have seen and are responding to this unfolding catastrophic and devastating situation which will affect millions of lives,” Archbishop Ndlovu said.

 The Archbishop stated that, through Caritas, the Church’s developmental agency, food aid will be distributed to all those in need without discrimination or favour.

He said: “Our target is to reach out to as many victims of the drought as possible. Our goal is to mobilize sufficient food aid in order for us to make a difference to the lives of the many millions who face starvation, including children, women and those living with HIV/AIDS.”

Archbishop Ndlovu reiterated that all donations will be handled transparently and that distribution will be closely monitored. Caritas Zimbabwe has launched an Emergency Appeal which already raised US$200 000. 00 but Archbishop Ndlovu said this was far below the expected amount meant to feed millions of starving people.

The Zimbabwe drought appeal message in detail:

Southern Africa is experiencing a severe drought, with up to 45 million people expected to suffer from food shortages.[1]  The World Food Programme (WFP) in Zimbabwe has reported that in 2020, more than 7.7 million people in Zimbabwe will face food insecurity.  This means that half the population of Zimbabwe in 2020 will not have enough food. The rains have been poor, but one also acknowledges that Zimbabwe is a low income country with an economy which has been underperforming.  There is already a food deficit in Zimbabwe. This food insecurity will affect urban and rural communities.  Millions of school going children, refugees, and the poor, will suffer from the severe effects of this drought.[2]  The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has categorised this as a ‘Phase 3’ food crisis, which will affect most of the country.  This is just two stages before a fully blown famine.[3]  We are experiencing the effects of the El Nino induced drought which affected the 2019 harvest and which will now have a severe impact on the 2020 harvest as the rains have come late.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops are aware of the terrible situation that lies ahead of us.  The World Food Programme and other International Organizations have already raised alarm and have started to respond to the situation which is unfolding.  The government of Zimbabwe has already announced that the stocks of grain are low and so those who can, are being encouraged to import grain and other basic commodities.

Our appeal and response is on behalf of the people of every race, culture, gender, and religion in Zimbabwe who are and will soon be in dire need.  We will endeavour to reach out to the most vulnerable.  We therefore join the voices of all those who have seen and are responding to this unfolding catastrophic and devastating situation which will affect millions of lives.  We acknowledge our moral duty to respond to this situation and to ensure that distribution of drought relief is open to all, in spite of religion, political affiliation or culture.

Following the teaching of the Gospel: ‘I was hungry and you gave me food to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me water to drink…’ (Mt 25:35), we invite all Zimbabweans, locally based and those abroad, and all people of good will throughout the whole world, to join hands in responding to this catastrophic and devastating situation which is unfolding.

Caritas Zimbabwe has launched an Emergency Appeal. At the same time, as Catholic Bishops, we have agreed that each diocese will set up fundraising structures in order to mobilize food aid in cash and in kind.  Our target is to reach out to as many victims of the drought as possible.  Our goal is to mobilize sufficient food aid in order for us to make a difference to the lives of the many millions who face starvation, including, children, women and those living with HIV/AIDS.  All donations will be handled in a transparent manner and all distribution will be monitored closely so that there will be transparency and fairness.

Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me…(Mt 25:40).  We the Catholic Bishops of Zimbabwe cannot over emphasize how dire this situation is; we therefore urgently plead with the whole world for help on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe.
FULL TEXT SOURCE: https://catholicchurchnewszimbabwe.wordpress.com/ - Image Source: Google Images Zimbabwe-today.com

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-africa-hunger-idUSKBN1XA25G

[2] https://www.wfp.org/countries/zimbabwe

[3] https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimbabwe-drought-food-crisis-likely-to-run-into-2020-warns-famine-systems-network/

For the 2nd consecutive day Pope Francis avoids most Public meetings due to “slight indisposition” but still celebrates Mass


Pope postpones official audiences but continues meetings at Santa Marta
The schedule of Pope Francis has been modified for the second day, Friday, the Vatican Press Office said.
Vatican News

“The Holy Father celebrated Mass this morning and at the end, as usual, greeted the participants, but decided to postpone today's official audiences,” the Director of the Holy See Press office, Matteo Bruni, said on Friday.  “The meetings on the agenda at Casa Santa Marta continue regularly ", he told journalists.

The previous day, Thursday, Pope Francis had skipped a scheduled penitential service with the clergy of Rome at Saint John Lateran, letting his speech be read by the Vicar of Rome Diocese, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis.


Pope to priests: Turn bitterness into fresh water for the people
Bruni explained to journalists that because of “a slight indisposition” the Pope "preferred to stay inside Santa Marta,” where the pontiff lives.  “All other commitments will go ahead regularly,” he said.

In fact, Thursday morning, the Pope celebrated Mass at Santa Marta and later met a delegation of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, an organization that collaborates with the Church for greater protection of the environment, in line with the Holy Father’s encyclical, “Laudato si’. 
Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chair to Government "Americans should be outraged that our U.S. Congress cannot pass a law to ensure that newborn babies are not vulnerable to infanticide." Full Text



U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Reacts to House Rejection of Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act 
WASHINGTON–Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. A procedural vote to amend another piece of legislation (H.R. 2339, Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019) to include the Born Alive Abortion Survivors’ Protection Act failed by a vote of 187 to 220. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response: “Just three days ago, the U.S. Senate tragically failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives shamefully followed suit. The Born-Alive bill simply and rightly provides additional protections to ensure that newborn babies who survive an abortion attempt are given the same care as any other baby and are not left to die or directly killed. Americans should be outraged that our U.S. Congress cannot pass a law to ensure that newborn babies are not vulnerable to infanticide. We will not and cannot stop pressing Congress to do the right thing and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”
Previous Statement from Feb. 25:
U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Reacts to Senate Rejection of Pro-Life Bills

February 25, 2020
WASHINGTON – Earlier today, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 3275) and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311). In the Senate, 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster and advance a bill to a vote on passage. The Pain-Capable bill would protect unborn children from late-term abortions. It failed to advance by a vote of 53 to 44. The Born-Alive bill would prohibit infanticide by ensuring that a child born alive following an abortion would receive the same degree of care to preserve her life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. It failed to advance by a vote of 56 to 41.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:

“Today, the United States Senate failed to advance two critical human rights reforms that most Americans strongly support. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization when a child can certainly feel pain and has a reasonable chance of survival. And the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act helps ensure that Roe v. Wade’s license to kill unborn children does not extend to killing the newborn babies who survive abortion. It is appalling that even one senator, let alone more than 40, voted to continue the brutal dismemberment of nearly full-grown infants, and voted against protecting babies who survive abortion. Our nation is better than this, and the majority of Americans who support these bills must make their voices heard.”
Full Text Source: USCCB

Canadian Catholic Bishops Statement to Government on Assisted Suicide Legislation "It is very troubling.." and based on a "..biased and rushed online survey" Full Text


Response by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to the tabling
of Bill C-7: “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying)”
The Catholic Bishops of Canada wish to express the greatest concern and dismay in regards to
the tabling of Bill C-7 which seeks to expand the eligibility criteria for euthanasia and assisted
suicide by removing the “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” criterion currently in the
Criminal Code. The bill would also loosen some of the existing “safeguards” and would even
allow patients whose death is “reasonably foreseeable” to waive final consent to receiving
euthanasia by making an advance directive. This means that those who change their minds at a
later date, but whose ability to communicate has since been impaired, would be left to express
their refusal in potentially vague “words, sounds, and gestures” (Bill C-7, 3.2.c), making it
immensely difficult and highly subjective for medical practitioners and lawyers to decipher
whether or not the patient still wishes to consent to the lethal procedure.
Discounting the open letter from over sixty-five of Canada’s leading disability advocate
organizations, and ignoring the stark apprehensions expressed in the End of Mission Statement
by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities concerning
the implementation of “Medical Assistance in Dying” in Canada from a disability perspective,
the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada regrettably chose not to appeal the
Quebec Superior Court decision (Truchon v. Procureur général du Canada) and is now
imprudently moving forward to amend the Criminal Code to accommodate the Superior Court’s
ruling.
It is very troubling that the introduction of Bill C-7 was justified on the basis of a highly
questionable, biased and rushed online survey, which took place over just two weeks between
13 and 27 January 2020. First, the questions in this survey were framed in a manner which
presupposed agreement with euthanasia and assisted suicide, including its broadening, without
giving Canadians who are opposed an equal voice. Second, while garnering close to
300,000 responses (less than 1% of the population), it regrettably did not ask for detailed and
essential demographic data from participants (age, gender, ethnicity, disability, etc.), hence, the
online survey cannot purport to represent a “wide spectrum” of the Canadian population, as has
been claimed. Third, the online survey excluded households which cannot afford the internet,
and made it ever more difficult for those people living in remote northern communities, the
elderly, as well as individuals with visual, cognitive, and mobility impairments to participate.
Such a flawed survey cannot be used realistically to justify Bill C-7. Furthermore, the
“roundtable consultations” conducted by the Government this past January and February, clearly
excluded at least a number of major stakeholders, and thus fell short in engaging the public in a
comprehensive democratic process.
- 2 -
With Bill C-7, the Government has effectively short-circuited the mandatory assessment of
euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada as provided in the original Act of 17 June 2016 to
amend the Criminal Code, which specifically called for “a parliamentary review of [the Act’s]
provisions and of the state of palliative care in Canada to commence at the start of the fifth year
following the day on which [the Act] receives Royal Assent.”
The Catholic Bishops of Canada with Catholic faithful as well as innumerable other Canadians –
religious or otherwise – remain opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide in any form because
of their interest in protecting and promoting human life, because it is always wrong to take the
life of an innocent person, and because medical science and compassionate care have provided
effective ways of easing pain and suffering without having to resort to direct killing. It would be
beneficial to recall once again the World Medical Association’s stance reaffirming its longstanding policy of opposition to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.
As episcopal Catholic leadership in Canada, the Bishops further wish to impress upon the
Government: first, given the lamentable legislative aim, that every opportunity for due diligence
be taken during the parliamentary process; second, that every effort be made to understand more
fully the grave implications of what is being contemplated by way of Bill C-7, including the
unavoidable, negative and detrimental dangers facing those who are most vulnerable in society.
For these reasons, the Bishops sincerely hope and earnestly request that the House of Commons
exercises its ability to refer Bill C-7 to a committee for detailed examination before Second
Reading, as is permitted according to the Standing Orders (Ch. 9 § 73), in order to allow input
from expert witnesses in a manner which is fully public, transparent, and open to a wide range of
voices – religious and non-religious alike – as well as in full and prudent consideration of
inviolable moral and ethical principles, the common good, and concern for future generations.
The Catholic Bishops of Canada are strongly opposed to this proposed legislation and will
monitor the parliamentary process closely. They call upon all Canadians to make their voices
heard; they strongly urge members of Parliament to acknowledge the giftedness of life as an
inalienable right not to be taken away by others, the importance of compassion for the ill and the
dying, as well as our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us.
26 February 2020
Source: https://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/CCCB_response_to_Bill_C-7_-_EN.pdf

Pope Francis forms Child Protection Task Force to assist Episcopal Conferences


Pope Francis forms Child Protection Task Force
Following up on a plan announced at last year’s Meeting for the Protection of Minors in the Church, Pope Francis has launched a task force to help Bishops’ Conferences prepare and update child protection guidelines.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis has established a task force “in order to assist the Episcopal Conferences in the preparation and updating of guidelines for the protection of minors”. The intention to form such a group had already been announced by the Pope at last year’s Meeting for the Protection of Minors in the Church, which ran from 21-24 February 2019. One year later, after the details of the project had been worked out, Pope Francis has made the plan a reality.

Supervising committee
In a statement released on Friday, the Holy See Press Office explained that the task force will be supervised by Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, together with the  members of the organizing Committee for last year’s Meeting: Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay; Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago; Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta and Deputy Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Father Hans Zollner, SJ, Dean of the Institute of Psychology of the Pontifical Gregorian University and member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Membership of the task force
The task force itself is composed of a Coordinator, Dr Andrew Azzopardi, head of the Safeguarding Commission of the Maltese Bishops (established by the Archdiocese of Malta, the Diocese of Gozo, and the Conference of Religious Major Superiors);  and a number of canon law experts of different nationalities. The Coordinator will report quarterly to the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State on the work undertaken by the task force.

Providing assistance to Episcopal Conferences
According to communiqué, the task force will assist Episcopal Conferences, as well as Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, in preparing and updating guidelines for the protection of minors, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and current canonical legislation, especially the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi.

The task force’s mandate will last for two years, beginning 24 February 2020. It will be supported by a special fund established by benefactors.

Episcopal Conferences, Institutes of Religious, and Societies of Apostolic Life can request assistance at the following email address: taskforce@org.va.

Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, February 28, 2020 - #Eucharist


Friday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 221

Reading 1IS 58:1-9A

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”
Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm51:3-4, 5-6AB, 18-19

R.    (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Verse Before The GospelAM 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.

GospelMT 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”