Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Five Things to Know July 31

1. During the summer recess, justice folks are promoting action to urge Representative and Senators to support SNAP (food stamps), pass bi-partisan immigration reform, and support a budget that helps people struggling in this economy.

2. Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Frank Caggiano was named bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He succeeds Archbishop Willim Lori of Baltimore, who was named to the Baltimore archdiocese in March 2012.

3. Pope Francis today announced the first World Day of Peace message of his pontificate: "Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace."

4. Catholic News Service film reviewer John Mulderig offers a list of ten films that provide insight into faith. They include "Andrei Rublev," "Babette's Feast," "Brother Orchid," "The Fugitive, "Henry Poole Is Here,""Lilies of the Field," "The Miracle of Marcelino," "Ordet," "Three Godfathers," and "Wise Blood" 

5. God Loves you.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Five Things to Remember July 30

1. Pope Francis drew page one headlines today in newspapers nationwide, including The New York Times and Washington Post, for his comments on gay priests. He reiterated Church teaching but conveyed it with a pastoral tone. With simple phrases, it was like theology for dummies and many heard the message as if for the first time.

2. Metaphors make for memorable homilies, notes Sister Mary Ann Walsh on the USCCB blog.

3. The need for comprehensive immigration reform is before us. Information  on the need for such reform now can be found at

4. Get ready for tomorrow’s feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, whose members are known as Jesuits. Their contribution to U.S. education is remarkable – name your favorite school – Georgetown University, Boston College, Holy Cross, University of Detroit-Mercy, Loyola-Marymount? Someone noted that several members of Congress are Jesuit alumni. (I can hear some Jesuit wags calling: “Don’t blame us.”)

5. God loves you.

(CNS Photo/Paul Haring)

Smell Like the Sheep; Make God Your Escape Key

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh

Pope Francis has a knack for metaphorical speech. So far his best may be noting that shepherds should get so close to the ewes and rams that they “smell like the sheep.” One archbishop told me he was trying to work that into advice for new priests in his homily at their ordinations but hadn’t figured out how. Maybe he worried that the pungent image wouldn’t fit at an illustrious ritual or might draw laughs, but it certainly was worth consideration.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York at World Youth Day used metaphor as he spoke about how God moves people. He told the crowd, "We want a microwave, but God works like a crock pot." That message sticks with you, like dog hair on a couch in the den.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley used metaphor and simile. In a Q&A session at World Youth Day he quipped that witnessing to your faith in a secular society isn’t easy. “Being Catholic in Boston is a contact sport,” he said. That’s not only memorable; its incongruity makes it funny. On the Eucharist, he said, not going to Mass is like being a branch cut off from the vine. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see what that branch eventually becomes.

Scripture relies on such literary devices: God’s love is like a mother’s love from Isaiah 49:15, and our relationship with Jesus is like the branches to the vine, John 15.  One image gives us comfort; the other says gently hold on.

Word pictures that make for memorable homilies do not come easy. Reflection on God present in today’s world might help us develop some modern ones.

When I am in pain can I ask God to be like the computer escape key: take it all away?

Should I consider God to be like the Wi-Fi that I search for:  unseen but there?

Is God like my mobile device, always with me?

Is a favorite prayer is like a favorite cookie, a source of comfort.

One goal of the U.S. bishops this year is to improve homilies at Mass. Homilies and music are integral to helping people experience God’s presence. A priest once told me that if I want to introduce someone to the Catholic Church I should look for a parish with good preaching, good music and well-read Scripture, in that order. Reaching people through their senses comes first. There is much to be said for ambiance, why Catholicism uses smells and bells to lift us to God.

Some years ago a young priest asked me to critique his weekend homilies. With opinions about much, I agreed quickly. I couldn’t do it however. I didn’t know what to say because I couldn’t figure out how I’d do better. I gained a new appreciation of the preacher’s challenge. Since then I’ve heard some really good homilies and recognize that solid metaphors enhance them. But I’d sure hate to be a homilist coming up with one every day or even every week. It would be like finding a literary image in a haystack of words or an oasis in a desert mind. It might have to come from the sounds of silence.

(CNS Photo/Paul Haring)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Five Things to Remember July 29

1. Archbishop William Lori chair, USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Bishop Denis J. Madden, chair, USCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs wrote Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) July 29 to support the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013, S. 1274. The act would ensure the fair and equal treatment for houses of worship damaged in a natural disaster. “Your legislation is consistent with Supreme Court jurisprudence, which recognizes the right of religious institutions to receive public financial aid in the context of a broad program administered on the basis of religion-neutral criteria,” they said. “In the aftermath of a natural disaster houses of worship often play an irreplaceable role in the recovery of a community.”

2. In a July 26 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, 30 Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, including three Catholic bishops, voiced “strong support for his determined initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace.” In letters to the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the leaders called on Congress “to support Secretary Kerry’s continuing urgent efforts for peace.”  Signers included Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington and a founding member of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East; Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace; and Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. “We know the path to peace is complex and challenging,” the leaders said, “but peace is possible.”

3. The USCCB asked Jesuit Father James Martin, editor-at-large of America magazine, to provide four videos for World Youth Day. You can find them here: 1. Jesuit Pope - 2. Prayer - 3. Lectio Divina -
4. Vocation

4. Pope Francis shook things up on the papal plane when he spoke of women, divorce and gay priests.

5. God loves you.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five Things to Remember July 26

1. Today is the Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here are the readings of the day.

2. Pope Francis is the most influential world leader on Twitter, with the highest number of retweets worldwide. On Twitter, he also is the second most-followed leader of the world, behind U.S. President Barack Obama. The rankings came July 24 in a study titled "Twiplomacy," on the use of Twitter by world leaders. The study compiled data from the Twitter accounts of 505 heads of state, foreign ministers and governments from 153 countries during July. It was conducted by the communications firm Burson-Marsteller and published on Despite President Obama's strong following on Twitter, Pope Francis is the most influential world leader with the highest number of retweets, the report said.

3. Watching World Youth Day live is terrific. Check in a to catch events.

4. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston spoke with young people at World Youth Day on the challenges of witnessing to their faith in contemporary society. Best line: “Being Catholic in Boston is a contact sport!” Q&A with youth touched on everything from infertility to atheism. On infertility, he urged promotion of adoption. For atheists, he noted, “God is the anonymous donor.”

5. God loves you.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Five Things to Remember July 25

1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is enjoying World Youth Day in Rio. It’s evident in the video interview of him about the importance of World Youth Day by Catholic News Service’s Rome bureau chief Frank Rocca.

2. Youth who couldn’t make it to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day can still enjoy the event with celebrations at home. A list of diocesan celebrations can be found online.

3. Today is the feast of St. James the Apostle and a day of mourning in Spain where a train wreck near Santiago de Compostela, a pilgrim site in honor of St. James, left more than 70 people dead yesterday. St. James is the patron of Spain. Pope Francis sent his condolences from Rio.

4. Catholic and Pentecostals leaders met July 14-19 in Baltimore, Catholic News Service reports.  Healing was the topic of this year's discussion. Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, chair of the Catholic-Pentecostal dialogue, said the groups focused on “how the charism of healing is understood, expressed and celebrated in our churches and faith communities."

5. God loves you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Five Things to Remember on July 24

1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, drew a standing ovation after speaking with young people at a catechetical session at World Youth Day July 24. Speaking about being patient with the time it takes to discern God’s will, Cardinal Dolan noted: "We like a microwave, God prefers a crockpot."

2. For World Youth Day, all Catholic News Service stories, videos and photos — quite good — are available online. The full texts  of Pope Francis’s  remarks — and eventually of all his talks — can be found on the Vatican website.

3. Some church collections suggest an improved economy and continuously generous Catholics. A look at the 2012 numbers, for example, show they were up from the previous year for the following collections: Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Church in Latin America, Church in Central and Eastern Europe, Catholic Home Missions, and Solidarity Fund for Church in Africa.

4. As it highlights its annual report, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) reports that donors provided a total of $196 million in private contributions. Carolyn Woo, CRS president, said “this allowed CRS to feed, care for, shelter, empower and protect poor children, women and men in 91 countries.” CRS’s interactive annual report can be found online.

5. God loves you.

(USCCB Photo/Matt Palmer)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Five Things to Remember on July 23

1. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on immigration reform to find a way to resolve the status of undocumented children. Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles asked the committee to support the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) to make an expedited path to citizenship available after five years to those who entered the United States before the age of 16, graduated from high school (or received a GED) in the U.S., and attended at least 2 years of college or 4 years in the military. Youth who would be helped by the DREAM Act “want to work hard and pay their way through college or serve in our military and defend American ideals. Giving them a chance for citizenship would reward their hard work, good moral character, education, and service to this country – all American ideals which these youth embody,” he said.

2. iPhones have become prayer books for some people, notes Sister Mary Ann Walsh in a blog post today.

3. Catholic News Service photographer Paul Haring on July 22 got some nice pix of Pope Francis on the plane flying from Rome to Rio for World Youth Day.

4. Pope Francis’s travel plans in Brazil include a visit July 24 to the world’s largest Marian Shrine, Our Lady of Aparecida.

5. God loves you.

When Your Phone Becomes Your Prayer Book

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh

Many media snickered when the Vatican announced that people who followed the World Youth Day pilgrimage via social media could derive the same spiritual benefits earned by those present in Rio de Janeiro for the international church event. Were they worried that it made a spiritual effort too easy?

Certainly tuning in on social media is a far stretch from the work of Chaucer’s pilgrims of the Canterbury Tales. But from the church’s standpoint, social media allows World Youth Day to include those who could not travel to walk alongside the youth on pilgrimage.

Going social media follows the church’s tradition of keeping up with the communications arts. No surprise here. In the mid-eighties, the Vatican announced people could receive the pope’s Urbi et Orbi (To the city and to the world) apostolic blessing on Christmas and Easter via TV without standing in St. Peter’s Square. Earlier in that century the church moved into the then new medium, radio. Guglielmo Marconi considered the inventor of the new medium, launched Vatican Radio in 1931. The worldwide service now airs in 47 languages. Voice of America went on the air in 1942.

To bring the Gospel into people’s lives, the Church has no choice but to engage with contemporary media. Given what some consider the usual glacial movement of the Holy See – when you’re 2,000 years old, why hurry? – the Church has entered social media with lightning speed. After all, the World Wide Web only took off in the mid-nineties. Facebook was born in 2004; Twitter in 2006.

The church searches for ways to use media for its mission. For those who want a few moments with Scripture, for example, the U.S. bishops accommodate them with daily readings and a meditation on them via For those who want to spend more time with daily prayer the Irish Jesuits have Sacred Space at Such media aids have replaced the prayer books of a generation or more ago. For many, iphones have become prayer books. One may not find the same religious sensory appeal in holding an iPad as in holding a Bible, but that downside may be offset by the accessibility to Scripture found on the Web.

Church entrepreneurs have developed apps for everything from the rosary to the Divine Office. (Caution: Don’t judge someone looking at his phone before Mass – he may be praying the Liturgy of the Hours, as the Office is called.)

Pope Francis tweets virtually every day with challenging and inspiring messages. USCCB shares them via USCCB Facebook and Twitter accounts. It’s a spiritual boost from the man who is charm the world with his down-to-earth spirituality. It’s also a connection with the Vicar of Christ.

Believers accept the fact that God is everywhere. It shouldn’t surprise us when God shows up in social media.

(CNS Photo/Gretchen Crowe)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Five Things to Remember July 22, 2013

1. The need to reweave the Circle of Protection that has been called for by religious leaders was highlighted yesterday, Sunday, July 21, in an op-ed in The Hill blog by Kathy Saile, director of the bishops’ Office for Domestic Social Development, and Galen Carey, vice president for government relations of the National Association of Evangelicals.

2. Web users can follow Pope Francis' trip to Rio.

3. Catholic college presidents called for Congress to move on immigration. Say church education leaders to Congress: “Together we represent universities that educate more than 290,000 students. Leaders on Catholic campuses advocated for the DREAM Act, and we stand with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in urging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a road to earned citizenship. Our broken immigration system, which tears parents from children, traps aspiring Americans in the shadows, and undermines the best values of this nation, is morally indefensible.

4. Number of permanent deacons is on the increase in the United States. The USCCB will soon issue a report on the deacons and their ministry of liturgy, the Word, and service.

5. God loves you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Five Things To Remember On July 17

1. All life has "inestimable value," was the message Pope Francis shared with European countries recently.

2. Rio is ready to host Pope Francis next week for World Youth Day, which will be his first international trip since he was elected pontiff in March.

3. In case you missed it, the USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Africa approved 39 grants of more than $1 million to assist the Church in the continent.

4. Some of our USCCB team will be arriving in Rio this week and early next week. Make sure you follow WYD USA's Twitter. for news, photos and much more. 

5. God loves you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Five Things To Remember On July 16

1. Hundreds of thousands of youth and young adults world will gather for World Youth Day in Brazil next week. You can track breaking news at World Youth Day USA's Twitter page.

2. Catholic News Service has a great breakdown of the numbers involved with every aspect of World Youth Day.

3. Catholics are being encouraged to ask Congress to protect conscience rights. You can find out more at

4. Pope Francis tweeted today, "Prayer, humility, and charity toward all are essential in the Christian life: they are the way to holiness."

5. God loves you.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Radical Vision of Jesus: How Pope Francis Lives His First Encyclical

By Bishop John Wester

One of the numerous surprising moments of Pope Francis' young pontificate was the announcement that on Holy Thursday, March 28, he would celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper at Rome's Casa Del Marmo Youth Detention Centre. There, in an unforgettable moment, he washed the feet of 12 young inmates. In anticipation of the pope's visit, one of them said, "At last I shall get to meet someone who says he is my father!"

This observation captures the power of the pope's gesture. "True power is service," Pope Francis said in his inaugural homily and later on Twitter. And the power of this particular act of service is that it cast a light where there was darkness, a light that allowed a young person the world had forgotten to experience a father's love for the first time.

In Pope Francis' first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith), published July 5, the pope says that faith is a light that comes directly from an encounter with God. "The light of faith is unique," the pope writes, "since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence."

This includes the past and all the people who have walked the path of faith before us, but also the promises for the future that God makes and keeps because he is faithful. And of course it includes Jesus, the embodiment of God's fulfilled promises.

"Faith does not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with his own eyes," Pope Francis writes. Christ's way of seeing the world "enables us to grasp reality's deepest meaning" and constantly guides us toward God. It is through this experience of Christ that our lives become "radically open to a love that precedes us, and love that transforms us from within, acting in us and through us in radical, often surprising ways."

It's not a stretch to think that Pope Francis washed the feet of the young inmates because he sees the world with the radical vision of Jesus, who sees that God loves these inmates as much as he love any other person. It also reflects the call of Jesus to serve those at the margins.

Like a light shining forth, faith makes a person go forth into the world. A person of faith must be ready "to come out of himself and find the God of perpetual surprises," Pope Francis writes. Even the Ten Commandments, he writes, aren't about rule keeping so much as "concrete directions for emerging from the desert of the selfish and self-enclosed ego in order to enter into dialogue with God, to be embraced by his mercy and then to bring that mercy to others."

Those who believe in the light of faith, he says, come to see themselves as members of a body, in an essential relationship with others. This relationship goes beyond powerful symbolic gestures like washing feet and applies the same love to big-picture issues like just economic systems, care for creation and forgiving one another. But little gestures are vital, because they allow the light of faith to spread, even reaching places it hasn't been for a long time or maybe has never been before.

Whether it's his Holy Thursday Mass in prison or the July 8 Mass for migrants on Lamedusa Island, how many people have responded to the gestures of Pope Francis with surprise, followed by an enthusiasm for faith and even an openness to Christ and his Church that wasn't there before? What a perfect example for the Church during the Year of Faith. The light of faith is powerful enough to help the whole world to see like Jesus.

Bishop Wester is bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City and chairman of the Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

(CNS Photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Pope's Instructions for Building a City of Love

By Jill Rauh

Pope Francis, as pontifex maximus, is called to be a bridge builder. But his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith) suggests he's a city planner too. Faith, the pope says, compels us to build a city that is rooted in relationship with God and one another.

Faith is not about a "completely private relationship" between the individual believer and God, he says. It is instead about "we" as a Church community called to be together in relationship with God, one another, and the world around us.

The Church celebrates the sacraments as a living community whose faith is communicated across generations of witnesses. At baptism, we become a member of this community, embracing a new way of living and acting. We celebrate the Eucharist together and encounter Christ's self-giving, which we strive to imitate. We recite the Creed as a united body, and then we go out to live God's commandments of love as set forth in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) -- in which Jesus calls the poor, meek and merciful blessed, and in which all are called to be salt and light to the world.

Pope Francis reminds us: faith doesn't "draw us away from the world or prove irrelevant to the concrete concerns" facing humanity. Rather, it calls us to follow the example of St. Francis of Assisi and Blessed Mother Teresa who drew near to those who suffer.

What does this mean for us during the Year of Faith, a year in which we are called to faith, worship and witness?

It means allowing the power of God's love to "penetrate to the core of our human experience." It means celebrating the sacraments -- and then living sacramentally by being people who are poor, merciful, seekers of peace and righteousness, and salt and light to the world. The USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development has new resources that can help us do so.

It means, again, being attentive to human suffering and responding in the model of St. Francis, Mother Teresa and so many other saints.

It means working to care for creation, and striving for development that prioritizes human dignity and care for creation above "utility and profit." It means ensuring that government serves the common good.

As Pope Francis says, the light of faith "does not simply brighten the interior of the Church, nor does it serve solely to build an eternal city in the hereafter." It challenges us to build societies now that reflect God's vision of justice. Let's begin now!

Rauh is assistant director of education and outreach for the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

(CNS Photo/Paul Haring)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

John XXIII and John Paul II: New Models for Holiness

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh

Friday morning’s stories about Lumen Fidei, the first encyclical from Pope Francis, quickly yielded top news report to the Vatican announcement that Pope Francis will declare Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II saints. The Vatican spokesman suggests it could happen within the year.

Saints show us how to live. Making it to the papacy is less a criterion for sainthood than leading a life of holiness that others can imitate. The holiness of Angelo Roncalli and Karol Wojtyla started way before their papacies.

Angelo Roncalli, as Pope John XXIII, had vision that showed in calling the world’s bishops together for the Second Vatican Council, 1962-1965. Vatican bureaucrats couldn’t believe the man who was elected pope when he was 77 was serious – they figured him for a do-nothing interim leader. (Worth pondering: Pope Francis was elected at 76. What will he do?) John XXIII didn’t see the Council conclude, but he still launched one of the most important modern-day events. Vatican II urged the Church to see it had a role in society, not apart from it. It prompted Catholics to move from spectators to participants in the Church. But the pope’s greatness showed even earlier.

Archbishop Roncalli had represented the pope as nuncio to Istanbul and later to Paris. In Turkey he worked closely with the Muslim and Jewish communities, forging bonds that have continued to develop ever since. In Paris, he strengthened bonds with the Jewish community. As nuncio first in Istanbul, then in Paris during World War II he worked to save many Jews from extermination. If we achieve peace in our troubled world now it will be because of religious groups working together. The possibility for such began decades ago and included the work of this saint-to-be.

Blessed John XXIII came from a peasant family but had the courage of his convictions and the simple faith to see that God’s love did, and his love should, extend to all, whatever their religious persuasion.

Blessed John Paul II stunned the world when the Pole became the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. He was a young pope by papal standards when he was elected in 1978 at age 58. He had a vision too, one which stunned Vatican aides. He wanted to spread the Gospel through media and mobility. He met resistance when he said he would travel the world. It just wasn’t done, but he became the frequent-flyer pope on a Gospel tour. He visited people, especially poor people, all around the world. He traveled to Latin America, Africa, India, the Philippines, the Holy Land – and brought his press entourage with him – and via media, the pope highlighted poverty for the entire TV viewing world to see.

Yet his greatness also began before his election as pope. As a young man in World War II Poland, Karol Wojtyla dared to take risks – he studied for the seminary in the underground. As an archbishop in Poland, he faced down communism. He remained its fierce opponent as pope. In war-torn Poland, he formed friendships with his Jewish friends which laid the roots for him to make the first papal visit to a synagogue.

As pope, John Paul showed people how to live. When after Mehmet Ali Agca nearly killed him in an assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square, the pope visited him in jail and forgave him. Years later, Pope John Paul showed people how to die when he let the world witness the intimate moments of his passing away. The millions at his funeral chanted “sainthood now,” dismissing protocols for any waiting period.

Soon two modern figures will be declared saints. Both were popes, but the seeds of saintliness showed long before their elections.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When Nations Get Together on Child Sexual Abuse

By Bishop R. Daniel Conlon

Sexual abuse of children by clerics stands as an international problem and the church is just beginning to approach it that way. Last year the Vatican backed an international symposium on the problem at the Gregorian University. This year, the U.S. and Sri Lankan bishops jointly sponsored what’s known as the Anglophone Conference.

Since 2000 the English-speaking Catholic episcopal conferences have met annually to help each other effectively respond to the sexual abuse. Held in Rome, this year’s conference, for the first time, was co-hosted by one episcopal conference from the developed world (USA) and one from the developing world (Sri Lanka). The partnership was successful and enriching. This year’s theme, “Youth Protection Going Global” was inspired by the Gregorian Symposium last February.

A record number of episcopal conferences were represented, thanks in part to a generous anonymous donor. Participation included 20 episcopal conferences, represented by 56 delegates, including 15 bishops. A major interest was in how episcopal conferences around the world have responded to the Circular Letter of May 2011 from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The letter asked all episcopal conferences to develop guidelines for child abuse and protection. Father Robert Oliver, the new Promoter of Justice at CDF reported that more than 80 percent of the conferences have submitted guidelines.

Father Oliver spent time with the group and left us encouraged when he repeated Pope Francis’s comments that the church needs to take decisive action. He reminded us to put children first and said their protection is among the most important things to be addressed.

Participants found a contrast between episcopal conferences with highly developed protocols and those just beginning to develop them. Some conferences have provided services for many years. Some are just beginning to write policies. We noted common challenges and a desire to cooperate. One representative from Africa said that every culture seems to have tribes that are sure it is the other tribes that are doing this horrible thing.

Not surprisingly, the issue of child protection is different in many developing countries, as Bishop Vianney Fernando from Sri Lanka reminded us. Many conferences see child protection as encompassing the whole wellbeing of their children. Neglect as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse are taken into consideration. Several countries struggle with their children sold into the sex trafficking trade or conscripted into war.

Participants noted that technology needs to be reckoned with worldwide, for it can both do good and cause harm. It has brought pornography production into all countries. It leaves children the victims of those willing to exploit the vulnerable. All episcopal conferences are dealing with the use of pornography; some have to deal directly with preventing its children from being used in this crime.

Participants shared information on how to develop safety plans for priest-offenders who have been assigned to a life of payer and penance. Everyone recognized the practical challenges of such plans, especially for diocesan priests.

As the meeting proceeded, consensus grew that that dioceses worldwide need to be in relationship with each other no matter how near or far they are, no matter how different the culture may be. Strong relationships between episcopal conferences can only make children safer around the world. This year’s Anglophone conference succeeded in bringing 20 conferences together. That stands as progress in the unending quest to address what is perhaps the most difficult problem the church has had to face in the modern world.

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet, Illinois chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.