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Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Justice of San Francisco

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop William J. Justice as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Bishop Justice's resignation was accepted upon reaching the retirement age of 75. 

Bishop Justice's retirement was publicized in Washington, November 16, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

William Justice was born May 8, 1942 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and moved to San Mateo, California in 1946. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Joseph College in Philosophy in 1962 and a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Saint Patrick College in 1964. He graduated from St. Patrick Seminary in 1968 with a Master of Divinity Degree.

On May 17, 1968 he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken.

Assignments after ordination to the priesthood include: parochial vicar, Saint John the Evangelist, San Francisco, 1968-1970; parochial vicar, All Souls Church, San Francisco, 1970-1976; parochial vicar, Saint Paul Church, San Francisco, 1976-1979; parochial vicar, Saint Timothy Church, San Francisco, 1979-1982; director, Permanent Diaconate, Pastoral Center, San Francisco, 1979-1981; secretary, Office of Pastoral Ministry, Pastoral Center, San Francisco, 1981-1982; in residence, Saint Kevin Church, San Francisco, 1982-1985; pastor, Saint Peter Church, 1985-1991; sabbatical, 1989-1990; parochial vicar, All Souls Church, San Francisco, 1991-2003; pastor, Mission Dolores Basilica, San Francisco, 2003-2008; vicar for clergy, Archdiocese of San Francisco, 2006-2008.

On April 10, 2008, he was named an auxiliary bishop by Pope Benedict XVI.  On May 28, 2008, he was ordained a bishop at St. Mary's Cathedral by Archbishop George H. Niederauer.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco comprises 1,016 square miles. It has a total population of 1,776,095 people of which 441,736 or 25 percent, are Catholic. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is the current Archbishop of San Francisco.

Keywords: Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Auxiliary Bishop William Justice, retirement, Diocese of San Francisco, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop George H. Niederauer, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone


Media Contact:
Judy Keane

Pope Francis got a Lamborghini, and he's auctioning it for charity

Vatican City, Nov 15, 2017 / 05:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday, Pope Francis became the new owner of a papal-themed Lamborghini Huracán, which was given to him by company executives at the Vatican and will be auctioned off for charity.

The sleek white Huracán with gold lines running along the hood and angles of the car's body was presented to Francis in front of his residence at the Vatican's Saint Martha Guesthouse Nov. 15. He blessed and autographed it in the presence of top executives from the luxury Italian sports car brand.

WATCH: Here's a closer look at @Pontifex's new #Lamborghini! Read the full story here:

— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) November 15, 2017 The car will be auctioned at Sotheby's in London, and the Pope has decided to give the proceeds to three different charitable causes: the restoration of villages on the Nineveh Plain in Iraq, assisting victims of human trafficking, and missionary work in Africa.

At a base cost of roughly $250,000, the Huracán made its debut at the March 2014 Geneva Auto show, and was released in the second quarter of the year, quickly becoming Lamborghini's most popular and best-selling car.

The name, which is Spanish for “hurricane,” is reminiscent of the fighting bull “Huracán” that fought in the late 1800s and was known for its courage. The choice of the car's name follows suit with Lamborghini's style, which often uses historic Spanish fighting bulls as a scheme for naming vehicles.

It was designed based on the hexagonal form of the carbon atom, and has 610 metric horsepower and 4 wheel drive, as well as a naturally aspirated V10 engine and a full-LED lighting system. In 2014, the Huracán was named “Supercar of the Year” by car magazine Top Gear.

With six different models of the Huracán on the market, the papal-version marks a special 7th edition created specifically for Pope Francis.

Funds raised by the car's auction will go in part toward initiatives led by papal charity Aid to the Church in Need to rebuild properties that were destroyed by ISIS in Iraq.

One of their projects, titled “Iraq, return to the roots,” was presented at the Vatican in September. From 2014-2017, the project has financed various programs for Christians in Iraq, amounting to an approximate total of $35 million.

Among the structures destroyed or damaged since the ISIS invasion of the Nineveh Plains in 2014, it is estimated that some 13,000 homes, schools, hospitals and religious buildings were completely or partially destroyed. The project, with a total estimated cost of $250 million, aims to continue providing a concrete response to Christians from the Nineveh Plains who want to return to their homes.

Proceeds from the auction will also directly benefit the Pope John XXIII Community, which assists women who have been victims of human trafficking and prostitution. Pope Francis has met members of the community at the Vatican on several occasions, and he visited them in August 2016 as one of his “Mercy Friday” outings during the Jubilee of Mercy.

Funds from the auction will also support two Italian associations that carry out missionary work in Africa, one being the “GICAM” project of hand surgeon Professor Marco Lanzetta, and the other being the “Friends of Central Africa” organization, which for two years has led projects dedicated primarily to care for women and children.

Francis has done similar auctions for high-end gifts in the past, with each item going for well beyond its market sale price.

In 2013, he was given a Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide, which was sold to a private buyer for roughly $327,000, far exceeding the $16-22,000 pre-sale estimate.

After his September 2015 visit to the United States, during which FIAT Chrysler made a pair of FIAT 500Ls available for the Pope to use during his time in Philadelphia, both of the cars were auctioned off to support local charity.

Similarly, in April 2016 a white skullcap – known as a “zucchetto” and worn by prelates in the Catholic Church – was sold for around $18,000, after the owner had bought it and exchanged it with the Pope during a general audience. At least part of the funds went to support a children's charity.

#PopeFrancis received a @Lamborghini this morning! He's going to have it auctioned off at Sotheby's. Learn more here:
Photo Credit: © L'Osservatore Romano

— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) November 15, 2017  

Correction: This article originally said the Lamborghini will be raffled. It will be auctioned.

Pope Francis: The Mass needs silence, not 'chit-chat'

Vatican City, Nov 15, 2017 / 03:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday, Pope Francis called out the common habit of chatting with people around you before Mass, stressing that this is a time for silent prayer, when we prepare our hearts for an encounter with the Lord.

“When we go to Mass, maybe we arrive five minutes before, and we start to chit-chat with those in front of us,” the Pope said Nov. 15. However, “it is not a moment for chit-chat.”

“It is a moment of silence for preparing ourselves for dialogue, a time for the heart to collect itself in order to prepare for the encounter with Jesus,” he said, adding that “silence is so important.”

Continuing his new catechesis on the Eucharist, the Pope recalled his message the week prior, that the Mass is not a show, but a place where we encounter the Lord. In this encounter, he said, silence is what “prepares us and accompanies us.”

But to really understand this, first we have to answer a question, he said. And that is: What is prayer?

Prayer is, “first and foremost dialogue, personal relationship with God,” he said. And in prayer, just like in any dialogue, it needs moments of silence “together with Jesus.” This, he said, is because it is only in the “mysterious silence of God” that his Word can resound in our heart.

Francis explained that to pray is not difficult, and is something that Jesus himself taught us to do first of all by example, when in the Gospels he withdraws to a secluded place to pray. And second, he teaches us again when he tells his disciples that the first word in knowing how to pray is “Father.”

This is “so simple,” the Pope said. “So we have to learn, ‘Father.’” Then, we must take on the attitude of a small child before his or her parents. One full of trust and confidence, knowing that God “remembers you and takes care of you,” he said.

The second attitude we should take is one of childlike surprise and wonder. The child, he said, “always asks a thousand questions because he wants to discover the world; in our relationship with the Lord, in prayer, wonder,” he said, telling pilgrims to “open the heart to wonder.”

When it comes to prayer, he noted that often we are busy with many different activities or projects and say we don’t have time. “We lose sight of what is fundamental: our life of the heart, our spiritual life, our life of prayer with the Lord.”

However, Jesus surprises us in truth by loving us and calling us even in our weaknesses, he said, adding that just as Christ called his disciples, he also calls us to him at each Mass.

“This is therefore the greatest grace: to be able to experience the Mass, the Eucharist. It is the privileged moment to be with Jesus, and through Him with God and his brothers.”

At General Assembly, Bishops Approve 2018 Budget, Diocesan Assessment Increase, Order of Baptism for Children; Elect CRS Board

BALTIMORE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved today their 2018 budget and a three percent increase in the diocesan assessment for 2019 during their annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore.

The 2018 budget was approved with 125 votes in favor, 4 against, and 3 abstentions. The vote required a majority of the members present to pass.

The three percent increase in the diocesan assessment for 2019 was approved with 136 votes in favor, 31 against, and 5 abstentions. This vote required approval by two-thirds of diocesan and eparchial bishops.

The bishops also approved the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Order of Baptism of Children for use in the dioceses of the United States of America with 200 voting in favor, 23 against, and 3 abstaining. The vote required affirmation by two-thirds of the Latin Church members and is subject to confirmatio by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In other actions, the bishops approved:

  • Development of a formal statement that would offer a renewed pastoral plan for marriage and family life ministry and advocacy in light of Amoris Laetitia under the lead of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (223-Yes, 12-No, 2-Abstain).

  • The addition of one staff position in service to the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, contingent upon funding through external grants (177-Yes, 22-No, 2-Abstain).

The bishops also elected the following members to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Board of Directors:

Bishop Edward J. Burns, Diocese of Dallas; Bishop Felipe J. Estévez, Diocese of St. Augustine; Bishop Shelton J.  Fabre, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux; Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend; and Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, Archdiocese of Miami.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, General Assembly, 2018 Budget, Diocesan Assessment, Order of Baptism, Catholic Relief Services, Amoris Laetitia, Ad Hoc Committee against Racism, elections, votes.


Media Contact:
Judy Keane

U. S. Bishops Vote for Conference Secretary, Chairman and Chairmen-Elect of Six Committees at Fall General Assembly in Baltimore

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gathering in Baltimore for today's 2017 General Assembly have elected a new conference secretary-elect along with a new chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty and chairmen-elect of five additional standing committees.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Archdiocese of Detroit has been elected as secretary-elect for the USCCB on the ballot with 96 votes over Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City who received 88 votes.

Additionally, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archdiocese of Louisville, has been elected as chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty in a 113 to 86 vote over Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The five chairmen-elect are:

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, as chairman-elect of the Committee on Communications in a 116 to 70 vote over Bishop John O. Barres, Diocese of Rockville Centre. 

Bishop Nelson J. Pérez, Diocese of Cleveland, as chairman-elect of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church in a 102 to 77 vote over Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend as chairman-elect of the Committee on Doctrine in a 110 to 95 vote over Bishop Daniel E. Thomas, Diocese of Toledo.

Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, Diocese of Saginaw as chairman-elect of the Committee on National Collections in a 124 to 65 vote over Archbishop Michael O. Jackels, Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, as chairman-elect of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities in a 96 to 82 vote over Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archdiocese of Chicago.

The secretary-elect and the five committee chairmen-elect will serve one year before beginning three-year terms at the conclusion of the bishops' 2018 Fall General Assembly.   

Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, November meeting, fall General Assembly, Baltimore, committees, elections, conference secretary, chairmen-elect


Media Contact:
Judy Keane


Bishops Approve Canonical Step for Sainthood Cause for Lakota Catechist

BALTIMORE—The U.S. Bishops have approved by voice vote the canonical consultation of canonization for a Lakota Catechist at their annual fall General Assembly in Baltimore. Sought by Bishop Robert D. Gruss of Rapid City, South Dakota, the voice vote is in keeping with the Episcopal consultation process as a step in the Catholic Church's process toward declaring a person a saint.

Nicholas W. Black Elk, Sr., was born into the Oglala Lakota Tribe in 1863 in Wyoming. The fourth generation to be named Black Elk, he was third in succeeding his father and grandfather as a prominent medicine man. In 1885, he learned about St. Kateri Tekakwitha and signed the petition supporting the cause of her canonization. In 1904, he met a Jesuit priest who invited him to study Christianity at Holy Rosary Mission near Pine Ridge, SD. On December 6, on the Feast of St. Nicholas, he was baptized Nicolas William. In 1907, the Jesuits appointed him a catechist because of his love for Christ, his enthusiasm and his excellent memory for learning scripture and Church teachings. During the second half of his life, he traveled widely to various reservations, preaching, sharing stories, and teaching the Catholic faith.  He is attributed to having 400 Native American people baptized.

On March 14, 2016, a petition with over 1,600 signatures to begin the cause for canonization was presented to Bishop Gruss by the Nicholas Black Elk family.

More information on the sainthood process is available at:


Keywords:  U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Robert D. Gruss, canonical consultation, canonization, Nicolas Black Elk, Sr., Kateri Tekakwitha, Holy Rosary Mission, catechist, Native People, Black Hills, Cause for Canonization. 


Media Contact:
Judy Keane


Pope prays for victims of massive earthquake on Iran-Iraq border

Vatican City, Nov 13, 2017 / 06:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After an earthquake along the Iraq-Iran border left some 340 people dead and another 4,000 injured, Pope Francis voiced his sorrow for the loss of life and offered prayer for the dead and for rescue efforts.

In a telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and sent to leaders in both Iran and Iraq, Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened” by news of the quake, and assured all those affected of his “prayerful solidarity.”

Voicing sorrow to the families of the victims, the Pope offered prayer for the deceased and entrusted them to God's mercy. He also prayed for the injured and the emergency personnel and civil authorities engaged in rescue efforts.

He closed the telegram asking God for the “divine blessings of consolation and strength.”

The Pope's telegram came one day after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iran and Iraq, with aftershocks felt in Pakistan, Lebanon, Kuwait and Turkey.

According to CNN, most of the deaths were in Iran. The agency reports that so far 336 deaths have been confirmed in Iran, with another 3,950 injured, while in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq seven deaths have been reported along with 300 injuries.

Rescue operations are underway in both countries, and Iran has declared a 3-day period of mourning.

The quake is the strongest to hit the region in recent years, though not the most deadly. Iran, which sits along a major fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, has experienced a number of earthquakes, with the most deadly being a 6.6 quake in 2003 that struck the city of Bam and killed some 26,000 people.

A decade earlier, in June 1990, roughly 37,000 people were killed in a major quake that leveled the cities of Rudbar, Manjil and Lushan.

Join us in praying for Iran & Iraq after deadly earthquake. #PrayforIran #PrayforIraq

— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) November 13, 2017

If you died today, would you be ready? Pope Francis asks

Vatican City, Nov 12, 2017 / 05:36 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Pope Francis encouraged people not to wait to reflect on their lives, but to ask themselves: If this was my last day on earth, am I prepared? Am I cooperating with God’s grace?

“It would be nice to think a little bit: one day will be the last. If it was today, am I prepared?” he asked Nov. 12. “Here, therefore, is the meaning of being wise and prudent: it is not to wait for the last moment of our life to cooperate with the grace of God, but to do it already, from now.”

The basis of the Pope's Angelus reflection on preparing for the Kingdom of Heaven was the day's Gospel passage of the parable of the ten virgins: five wise and five foolish.

In the parable, which he said, "tells us the condition to enter the Kingdom of Heaven," we hear the story of five virgins who are wise and prudent, bringing oil for their lamps while they wait for the bridegroom. The other five, however, are foolish and are not prepared with oil.

Therefore, when the arrival of the bridegroom is announced the five foolish virgins realize, too late, that they are not prepared. Thus, the wise virgins enter into the banquet hall with the bridegroom and the door is closed on the foolish.

"What does Jesus want to teach us with this parable?" Francis asked. He reminds us to be prepared to meet the Lord, which means not only having faith, but also living a Christian life, “full of love, charity, for our neighbor.”

In the parable, the oil is a symbol for charity, he explained, which acts as a light for our faith, making it shine and become fruitful. On the other hand, if we live a life based on self-centeredness and our own interests, then our lives are made sterile and our faith “extinguished.”

"If, however, we are vigilant and try to do good, with gestures of love, sharing, service to our neighbor in difficulty, we can remain calm while we wait for the bridegroom's coming,” he reassured.

Though “the Lord may come at any time,” he continued, “even the sleep of death does not scare us because we have the oil reserve accumulated with the good works of every day.”

Look to the Virgin Mary, he said, who inspires us, through charity, to be active in our faith, “so that our lamp may shine here, on the earthly path, and then forever, at the wedding feast in paradise.”

Following the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about Vicente Queralt Lloret and 20 companions and José María Fernández Sánchez and 38 companions, who were beatified in Madrid on Nov. 11.

Some were members of the Congregation of the Mission: priests, brothers and novices, he said. And others were laity who belonged to the Miraculous Medal Association. They were all martyred during the religious persecution of the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1937.

“We give thanks to God for the great gift of these exemplary witnesses of Christ and the Gospel,” he said.

Francis then concluded by greeting different pilgrim groups, including groups from Washington, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and New York. When he did, a group broke out in song for a moment, which the Pope paused to listen to. He then thanked them for the song before asking for prayers and wishing everyone a good lunch.

Pope Francis: The future of the world depends on the family

Vatican City, Nov 11, 2017 / 11:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The future of the Church and the world is dependent on the good of the family, said Pope Francis in a video message Saturday.

“The love between a man and woman is one of the most generative human experiences, it is the ferment of the culture of encounter and brings to the present world an injection of sociality,” the Pope said.

“The family born of marriage creates fruitful bonds, which reveal themselves to be the most effective antidote against the individualism that currently runs rampant.”

Quoting his 2016 apostolic exhortation, Amoris laetitia, he emphasized, “Indeed the good of the family is decisive for the future of the world and of the Church.”

The Pope sent a video message to participants in the third international symposium on Amoris laetitia, organized by the Italian bishops’ conference. Taking place in Rome Nov. 11, the theme of the meeting was: “The Gospel of love between conscience and norm.”

Speaking about the role of the properly formed conscience, Francis warned against the temptation to turn to a sort of egoism or “cult of self.”

“The contemporary world risks confusing the primacy of conscience, which is always to be respected, with the exclusive autonomy of the individual in relation to the relationships he lives,” he said.

This is why, he said, there is a need to form consciences – not substitute them – and to accompany spouses and parents in learning to “apply the Gospel to the concreteness of life.”

In the reality of the family and of marital love, there may come situations which require “arduous choices,” he continued, and these should be made “with righteousness.” Therefore, divine grace, “which illuminates and strengthens married love and parental mission,” is absolutely necessary for spouses and the family.

Pope Francis’ video message echoed his recent keynote address to a major conference on the future of the European Union, in which he spoke out against abortion and said the Christian understanding of the family can serve as a model on which the European continent can base its identity as it faces a changing and uncertain future.

In the family, “diversity is valued and at the same time brought into unity,” Francis said Oct. 28, explaining that the family “is the harmonious union of the differences between man and woman, which becomes stronger and more authentic to the extent that it is fruitful, capable of opening itself to life and to others.”



Time Needed to Review Impact of Tax Plans, Says U.S. Bishops Chairman

WASHINGTON— As the U.S. Senate unveiled details of its tax reform proposal, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called for prudence and adequate time for Americans to understand the impacts of the bill. 

The full statement follows:

"Less than one week after the release of the U.S. House of Representatives' 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,' the U.S. Senate released a summary of its tax reform proposal. A mark-up of the language is apparently set for Monday, November 13, 2017. The USCCB released its fuller analysis of the House bill Thursday, and will review the Senate proposal carefully to provide a more detailed analysis of that bill as well.

However, Congress and the nation must have adequate time to understand these bills, as the financial wellbeing of every household and our society at large are at stake. Marking up a comprehensive revision to the tax code on the next business day from when initial language is released does not allow time for careful consideration of the effects of the proposals.   

It remains imperative that lawmakers examine the tax bill in light of the moral principles outlined in our letter of two weeks ago (

  • Caring for the poor;

  • Strengthening families;

  • Maintaining progressivity of the tax code;

  • Raising adequate revenue for the common good;

  • Avoiding cuts to poverty programs to finance tax reform; and

  • Incentivizing charitable giving and development.

Knowledge takes time, and running feet miss the mark (cf. Prov. 19:2). Getting tax policy right is imperative for the sake of families, and particularly the poor, of our nation."    

The November 9 USCCB letter analyzing the House of Representatives tax reform bill can be found at:

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, U.S. House of Representatives, tax reform proposal, comprehensive revision, tax code, moral principles, tax policy.


Media Contact:
Judy Keane