Saturday, November 7, 2020

US Bishops' President Election Statement Acknowledges Biden and Prays for Defense of Life - Full Text

President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Issues Statement on 2020 Presidential Election 
NOVEMBER 7, 2020 WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement on the 2020 presidential election: 
 We thank God for the blessings of liberty. The American people have spoken in this election. Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good. As Catholics and Americans, our priorities and mission are clear. We are here to follow Jesus Christ, to bear witness to His love in our lives, and to build His Kingdom on earth. I believe that at this moment in American history, Catholics have a special duty to be peacemakers, to promote fraternity and mutual trust, and to pray for a renewed spirit of true patriotism in our country. Democracy requires that all of us conduct ourselves as people of virtue and self-discipline. It requires that we respect the free expression of opinions and that we treat one another with charity and civility, even as we might disagree deeply in our debates on matters of law and public policy. As we do this, we recognize that Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has received enough votes to be elected the 46th President of the United States. We congratulate Mr. Biden and acknowledge that he joins the late President John F. Kennedy as the second United States president to profess the Catholic faith. We also congratulate Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, who becomes the first woman ever elected as vice president. We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of this great nation, to intercede for us. May she help us to work together to fulfill the beautiful vision of America’s missionaries and founders — one nation under God, where the sanctity of every human life is defended and freedom of conscience and religion are guaranteed.
Source: USCCB 

World Leaders Congratulate Joe Biden as Winning the US Election as Trump Challenges the Results

Democrat and former Vice President, Joe Biden has claimed victory in the US election.   Biden has won enough electoral votes to win the US presidential election, according to polls. Incumbent President Donald Trump disputes the results. (Update: Please note that this post is not a declaration of the winner only a report of what the world leaders wrote; as of yet the official winner is still disputed by the incumbent President)
World leaders have been congratulating, Joe Biden who seems to have secured a win in the US presidential race.

Emmanuel Macron, President of France wrote:

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau Tweeted: 

 If the results are confirmed, Biden will become the 46th President of the United States of America.
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom wrote:

"Congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States and to Kamala Harris on her historic achievement."

"The US is our important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security." 

The media polls on Saturday, November 7, 2020, showed Biden surpassing 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania, with victories in swing states Michigan and Wisconsin. The election results counting has been going on for over three days. Election results also show Biden won the national popular vote. Incumbent President Donald Trump has vowed to challenge the election results in court, saying “this election is far from over."  The official counting of votes is still continuing. Joe Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and raised in Delaware. He was Barack Obama’s vice president in 2008.

Bishops Call for Dialogue for Peace in Ethiopia after Armed Attackers Kill at least 15 people in an Assault

AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Threat of civil war, the appeal of Catholic Bishops: "Conflict must be resolved peacefully" Friday, 6 November 2020 
 Addis Abeba (Agenzia Fides) - 
"We urge parties to resolve their differences amicably, in a spirit of respect, understanding", is the appeal launched by the Catholic Bishops of Ethiopia in a statement following the tensions in the country.
 The Ethiopian government on November 4 declared a state of emergency in Tigray State, ordering a military offensive, after an army base was taken over by forces loyal to the regional government of Tigray. The Bishops hope and pray "for the people to live together in respect, concertation, and dialogue and to work together for the prosperity of their common country". "Efforts by religious leaders, elders, and other stakeholders to defuse the ongoing conflict between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray Regional State have resulted in escalating tensions", reads the statement. 
The Catholic Bishops caution against violence saying, "If brotherly people kill each other, Ethiopia will gain nothing. Instead, it is an act that will turn our whole country into a failure and not benefit anyone" and call on "Ethiopians not to take the conflict lightly", adding that "all should take it seriously and contribute to the cause of reconciliation, strengthening public unity, and ensuring peace and security". On September 26, armed attackers killed at least 15 people in a pre-dawn assault in Benishangul-Gumuz region’s Metekel Zone, western Ethiopia. At least two instances of violence in early September in the same region bordering Sudan resulted in the killing of civilians and forced at least 300 people from their homes. The Ethiopian Catholic Church strongly condemns the ongoing displacement and killing of innocent people in various parts of the country: "The horrific massacre of our innocent brothers and sisters has left our church deeply saddened". The Bishops conclude by urging "all Catholics in Ethiopia and around the world to take a closer look at the current situation in our country and pray for peace and reconciliation". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 6/11/2020)

Quote to SHARE by St. Mother Teresa "No color, no religion, no nationality should come between us, we are all children of God"

"No color, no religion, no nationality should come between us, we are all children of God."
Mother Teresa

Polish Cardinal (Age 97) Found Guilty of Abuse After Vatican Investigation and is Given Severe Disciplinary Penalty by the Holy See

Vatican imposes severe disciplinary punishment on Polish Cardinal , 97-year-old loses the right to use the bishop's insignia and to be buried in Wrocław Cathedral, is no longer allowed to celebrate public services. Polish Archbishop Emeritus Hendryk Cardinal Gulbinowicz. He is no longer allowed to appear in public and no longer celebrate public services. This is announced by the Apostolic Nunciature in Warsaw in a communiqué. 
 The cardinal must make an "appropriate contribution" to the St. Józef Foundation, which was "established by the Polish Bishops' Conference to support the activities of the Church in favor of victims of sexual abuse" , The Holy See, after having carried out an investigation, has imposed disciplinary sanctions on Polish Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz for abuse of minors and other crimes. 
Vatican News reported that, in a statement issued at 12 noon on Friday, the Apostolic Nunciature in Poland announced that Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz, one of the oldest cardinals in the country, has been subjected to penal measures on account of abuse of minors. The Archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Wrocław has been accused of harassment, homosexual acts, and collaboration with the security service of the time. Penalties imposed The statement issued by the Nunciature says that “following the investigation into the accusations made against Cardinal Henryk Gulbinowicz, and after analysing other accusations concerning the Cardinal’s past, the Holy See has taken the following disciplinary decisions against him: [the Cardinal] is forbidden from participating in any public celebration or meeting; forbidden from using episcopal insignia; and prohibited from the funeral service and burial in the cathedral.” Also, Cardinal Gulbinowicz will be required to pay “an adequate sum of money in the form of a donation for the activities of the St Joseph Foundation, established by the Polish Bishops’ Conference for victims of sexual abuse, their psychological assistance, prevention [of abuse] and the education of those responsible for the protection of minors." 

 The Archdiocese of Wrocław responded in a statement with clear words. The Archdiocese literally writes: “The announcement of the Apostolic Nunciature in relation to Father Henryk Cardinal Gulbinowicz is painful for us as a Church in Wroclaw, as it shows that in the past some people were seriously injured by the clergyman who ran our diocese. These people deserve the words "I'm sorry". We express our respect for them and declare our readiness for support and help. 

Religious Leaders in the UK Write Letter to Government Calling for Freedom to Worship - Saying Public Worship is COVID Secure - FULL TEXT

CBCEW Release: 

Public Worship is Covid-19 secure, say faith leaders ahead of four-week lockdown in

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has joined UK faith leaders in writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to express the view that there is no scientific justification for the wholesale suspension of public worship from Thursday, 5 November.

The letter has been sent ahead of a four-week national lockdown in England to address the spread of COVID-19.

The faith leaders also highlight the contribution made by the UK’s faith communities in responding to the pandemic:

“Much has been made of the adverse impact on mental health of volunteer and paid carers during this pandemic. Common Worship is an important way of sustaining the wellbeing, and ability to serve, of people of faith who volunteer. The benefits of public worship are scientifically well attested.

“For this reason alone, given the size and duration of the contribution of faith communities to the pandemic response, and the importance of sustaining their commitment and wellbeing, public worship is essential, should be classed by government as necessary and supported to continue.

“It enables and sustains people of faith in contributing to the service and health of our nation.”

Full Text

Rt Hon Boris Johnson, PC, MP
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 0AA


Rt Hon Robert Jenrick, MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Lord Stephen Greenhalgh
Minister of State

Dear Prime Minister

We write as leaders of faith communities represented on the government Places of Worship Taskforce to raise our profound concerns at the forthcoming restriction measures to be introduced in England on Thursday, 5 November 2020.

Since the Covid-19 virus first emerged, faith communities across the country have been acutely aware of the tragic consequences for people everywhere and of the intractable dilemmas which the government has had to negotiate. Our thoughts and prayers have been with the Cabinet, Parliament and all who advise them, and above all with those who have died or are bereaved, unemployed or unbearably stressed by the virus and its consequences.

Public Worship is Covid-19 secure

In the last six months we have collaborated closely with Ministers and officials to keep people safe.  We worked together to establish two principles of co-operation:

  1. Ensuring a balance between the government providing health and safety requirements, and faith communities subsequently determining theological aspects of what forms of worship/activity could be accommodated within this. Many of us have gone above and beyond the former and safely implemented the latter. In this way, the fine and desired balance has been maintained.
  2. The importance of proceeding on the basis of good quality scientific and medical evidence, but also that the language of the guidance was both specific enough to ensure safety, but non-specific enough to allow accommodation of different faiths without implicit bias towards one group or another.

We have demonstrated, by our action, that places of worship and public worship can be made safe from Covid transmission. Given the significant work we have already done, we consider there to be, now, no scientific justification for the wholesale suspension of public worship.

We understand entirely that the country faces significant challenges and the reasons behind the Government’s decision to bring in new measures. But we strongly disagree with the decision to suspend public worship during this time. We have had reaffirmed, through the bitter experience of the last six months, the critical role that faith plays in moments of tremendous crisis, and we believe public worship is essential. We set out below why we believe it is essential, and we ask you to allow public worship, when fully compliant with the existing covid-19 secure guidance, to continue.

Public Worship is Essential to sustain our service

Faith communities have been central to the pandemic response, and we will continue to be so.

During the first period of restrictions, we ceased public worship in our buildings. We moved much online, and we have provided significant resource to support our communities and our nation, from practical support such as foodbanks and volunteering, to promoting social cohesion, mental health and coping during these months.

But common worship is constitutive of our identity, and essential for our self-understanding.  Without the worshipping community, our social action and support cannot be energised and sustained indefinitely. Our commitment to care for others comes directly from our faith, which must be sustained and strengthened by our meeting together in common worship. Worshipping together is core to our identity and an essential aspect of sustaining our mission and our activity. 

Common worship is also necessary to sustain the health and wellbeing of faith community members engaged in caring for others whether paid or voluntary[1]

Much has been made of the adverse impact on mental health of volunteer and paid carers during this pandemic. Common Worship is an important way of sustaining the wellbeing, and ability to serve, of people of faith who volunteer. The benefits of public worship are scientifically well attested[2].

For this reason alone, given the size and duration of the contribution of faith communities to the pandemic response, and the importance of sustaining their commitment and wellbeing, public worship is essential, should be classed by government as necessary and supported to continue.  It enables and sustains people of faith in contributing to the service and health of our nation.

Public Worship is necessary for social cohesion and connectedness

Increasing social scientific evidence makes clear that social connectedness, solidarity and social cohesion are key to both enabling people to stay resilient throughout restrictions due to Covid-19 and central to compliance with the behaviours we need them to adopt to reduce transmission.  This has been attested to in papers from Government’s own Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies. We also know that faith communities are creators of such connectedness and cohesion and their public presence and witness helps engender this.  Given the importance of solidarity and connectedness, and the importance of public presence, we believe public worship should be classed as essential, and supported to continue.

Public Worship is important for the Mental Health of our nation

The health benefits of attending worship are well known, and the burden of psychological and physical ill-health from isolation and during the pandemic are increasingly well understood.  This is especially so for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people.  Public Health England’s own review found that faith communities were an important connect for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people during this period.

Moreover, it is a well-known and well-studied phenomenon that people turn to faith communities as a way of coping with trauma and grief[3]

This is the common experience of faith communities in England during COVID and especially since communal worship restarted.  People are turning to faith communities, not just in our social care services but during public worship, as a way of coping with their sense of trauma, grief and loss.  The public mental health impact of this has been significant, and it provides an important way of supporting the nation without overburdening NHS and other mental health services.  Public Worship provides an important sign that faith communities are there for people. We believe this must be regarded by government as essential.

Public Worship is an essential sign of hope

The psychological impact of uncertainty, restriction and the impact of the infection is increasingly well studied.  We know that people seek signs of normality to help them make sense of restrictions and major change and disruption to their lives.  We also know that where people see others act with hope and purpose that we will recover from disasters and traumas; this gives them hope and encouragement too. From a social psychological perspective, faith communities who consistently embody behaviours and attitudes that are covid-19 safe and hopeful provide encouragement to others through modelling these behaviours and attitudes. They are part of the journey to recovery. Public worship is therefore an essential sign that we can find new ways of living with Covid-19 until the vaccine is found, and part of the psychological and social cohesion needed to exit restriction measures. Public worship should therefore be supported to continue.

In summary, the scientific evidence shows that social solidarity and connectedness are key to people maintaining motivation to comply with COVID secure measures and to maintain good mental health. And there is good scientific evidence of the importance of faith and faith communities for positive mental health and coping, especially for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people.

We have already said there is no scientific rationale for suspension of Public Worship where it is compliant with the guidance that we have worked jointly with government to establish.  We believe government, and Public Health England, accept this.

Government is making decisions about what aspects of our life during this period of restrictions are essential. We believe we have demonstrated that continuation of public worship is essential, for all the reasons we have set out above.

We call on government to recognise and support this, and enable us to continue to worship safely, as part of the essential fabric of the nation.

Yours sincerely,

+ Justin Cantaur
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury

+Vincent Cardinal Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

+Stephen Ebor
The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell
Archbishop of York

+Sarah Londin
The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Sarah Mullally
Bishop of London
with the support of the members of the House of Bishops of the Church of England 

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth

Gurmail Singh Malhi
President, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall

Shaykh Dr Asim Yusuf
Chair, The British Board of Scholars and Imams

Sayed Yousif Al-Khoei
Al-Khoei Foundation

Agu Irukwu
Senior Pastor, Jesus House for all Nations

Rajnish Kashyap MCICM
General Secretary/Director, Hindu Council UK (HCUK)

[1] Koenig HG. Research on religion, spirituality, and mental health: A review. Can J Psychiatry. 2009;54:283–91

[2] Bruce MA, Martins D, Duru K, Beech BM, Sims M, Harawa N, et al. (2017) Church attendance, allostatic load and mortality in middle aged adults. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177618.

[3] Park, C. L., Holt, C. L., Le, D., Christie, J., & Williams, B. R., Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2017. Positive and negative religious coping styles as prospective predictors of well-being in African Americans


Vatican to Release Report about Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick on November 10 Before US Bishops' Meeting

Authorities at the Vatican  announced Nov. 6 that the Holy See will release Nov. 10 the report on the investigation about former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.

The report's release will be before the U.S. bishops gather (online) Nov. 16 and 17 for their annual meeting.

"On Tuesday, 10th November 2020, at 2 p.m. (Rome time), the Holy See will publish the report on the Holy See's institutional knowledge and decision-making process related to former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (from 1930 to 2017), prepared by the Secretariat of State by mandate of the Pope," Vatican officials said.

It also stated: "The same day, an hour before publication, a section of the document will be provided in advance to accredited journalists."

In digital update to the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan explained:

"We are also still waiting for the release of the so-called 'McCarrick Report' by the Holy See, detailing the damning story of former-cardinal Theodore McCarrick," Cardinal Dolan wrote in a Nov. 5 email addressed to Catholics in the archdiocese. "That could be another black-eye for the church."

But he said it was necessary to confront the truth.

"Better that the story come out, in all its awful detail, to both bring some measure of peace to the victim-survivors, as well as serve as a lesson on how to prevent a similar recurrence in the future," Cardinal Dolan wrote. "We can thank Pope Francis for keeping his promise to undertake and release this report."

McCarrick was dismissed by the Vatican from the clerical state in February 2019 following an investigation of accusations that he had abused children early on in his career of more than 60 years as a cleric, and that he also had abused seminarians as a bishop.

The Vatican said it would launch an investigation.

At the 2019 U.S. bishops meeting in Baltimore, the last time U.S. prelates gathered physically as a group before the pandemic, Cardinal O'Malley said that "we made it clear to Cardinal (Pietro) Parolin at the leadership of the Curia that the priests and the people of our country are anxious to receive the Holy See's explanation of this tragic situation, how he could become an archbishop and cardinal, who knew what and when."

Cardinal Parolin said the Vatican's intention had been to publish the report before the bishops' November 2019 meeting, Cardinal O'Malley reported, "but the investigation has involved various dioceses in the United States as well as many offices" at the Vatican and a much larger than expected "corpus" of information than anticipated. 

Edited from CNS and Catholic Register