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Longtime Chicago barber made Cardinal George laugh and look good

Mourners file past the casket of Cardinal Francis E. George at the April 22 visitation at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Cardinal George, who retired as archbishop of Chicago in 2014, died April 17 after a long battle with cancer. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

By Joyce Duriga Catholic News Service
CHICAGO — Alfredo Fricano is probably one of the only people who could get away with telling Cardinal Francis E. George he looked like a “bum.”

Once the cardinal’s longtime barber — who his clients just call Alfredo — saw him on TV and noticed he needed a haircut so he called the residence.

“I said, ‘Your eminence, you look like a bum.’ He said, ‘Who is this?’ And I said, ‘Your hairstylist.’ I said, ‘Your hair, you need a haircut. You want to ruin my business?’” Alfredo recalled in his Italian accent, gesturing with his hands.

The cardinal laughed and the next day he was in for a haircut. The two men often joked with each other.

Alfredo said the cardinal was a good man with a great sense of humor who patronized his shop at State and Chicago avenues for 15 years. Continue reading

Two American bishops retire, successors named by Pope

Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt, at right, is pictured with Pope Benedict XVI during an ad limina visit. Bishop Brandt's resignation was recently accepted by Pope Francis. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

By Catholic News Service 

WASHINGTON— Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and appointed as his successor Father Edward C. Malesic, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Just one day prior, the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop David E. Fellhauer of Victoria, Texas, and named Father Brendan Cahill, a priest of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, to succeed him.

Bishop Brandt, who has headed the Greensburg Diocese since 2004, is 76, one year past the age that bishops are required by canon law to turn in their resignation to the pope. Bishop-designate Malesic, 54, has been judicial vicar and secretary of canonical services in Harrisburg since 2006. Continue reading

CRS deliberating over vice president in same-sex civil marriage


A communications official with Catholic Relief Services said that the organization is aware that one of their vice presidential employees is in a same-sex civil marriage, and is in deliberations about it.

“Rick Estridge has served CRS for 16 years and currently holds the position as our vice president of overseas finance. Rick is in a same sex civil marriage,” said CRS senior manager for communications Tom Price. Continue reading

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop Finn

Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., arrives in procession for the ordination of deacons from the Pontifical North American College during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this Oct. 2 file photo. Bishop Finn was convicted in 2012 of one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, who was convicted in 2012 on one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse.

The Vatican announced the bishop’s resignation April 21, specifying it was under the terms of the Code of Canon Law, which says, “A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.” Continue reading

New San Diego bishop: Don’t remove Junipero Serra from US Capitol

A statue of Blessed Junipero Serra is seen in 2012 outside Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Pope Francis has announced that the friar will be canonized this year. (CNS photo/Bob Mullen)


Bishop Robert McElroy, the new head of the San Diego diocese, has criticized a proposal to remove the statue of pioneering California missionary and soon-to-be saint Father Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol. Continue reading

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago dies at 78

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago died Friday, April 17. The cardinal visited the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in April of 2013, when he delivered the Gardner Lecture on Moral Theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)


Cardinal Francis George, the Emeritus Archbishop of Chicago, passed away Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The 78-year-old cardinal was first diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and underwent a five-hour surgery to remove his bladder and other parts of his body affected by cancer. In 2012, his doctors discovered that the cancer had returned, this time to his kidney and liver. Continue reading

Vatican, LCWR announce successful conclusion of process to reform group

Pope Francis meets with representatives of the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious in his library in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican April 16. The same day the Vatican announced the conclusion of a seven-year process of investigation and dialogue with the group to ensure fidelity to church teachings. The outcome resulted in revised statues approved by the Vatican. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican approved new statutes and bylaws for the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious, ending a seven-year process of investigating the group and engaging in dialogue with its officers to ensure greater harmony with church teaching. Continue reading

Don’t thwart nuclear agreement with Iran, bishop warns Congress

Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., gives the homily at a Feb. 9 Mass he celebrated in Washington during the the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. Bishop Cantu is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Matt Hadro

The head of the U.S. Bishops‘ international peace committee supports the new framework for Iran’s nuclear program and is asking the U.S. Congress not to “undermine” the deal.

“We welcome the most recent step the United States and its international partners have taken with Iran and encourage our nation to continue down this path,” said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces. N.M. Continue reading

US sees increase in priestly ordination numbers this year

Men being ordained priests lie prostrate during their ordination Mass at St. Dominic's Church in Washington May 23, 2014. New statistics show more men being ordained priests this year. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)


The numbers are in: almost 600 Catholic men will be ordained priests for the U.S. in 2015, an increase of more than 100 from last year.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, N.C. said April 7 that the increase in ordination numbers is “encouraging.” The bishop, who heads the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, noted that those to be ordained cited positive influences like “very high” support from their family, parish priests and Catholic schools. Continue reading

Bishops object to death penalty as punishment in Boston bomber case

A courtroom sketch shows accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during closing arguments April 6 in his trial at the federal courthouse in Boston. The bishops of Massachusetts urged against a death sentence for the bombing defendant, reiterating Catholic teaching that says cases where capital punishment is acceptable are practically nonexistent. (CNS illustration/Jane Flavell Collins via Reuters)

By Christopher S. Pineo
& Gregory L. Tracy
Catholic News Service

BOSTON — As the trial of Boston Marathon bombing defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went to the jury April 6, the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts released a statement reiterating the church’s teaching on the death penalty.

The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty except “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor,” but such cases “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

In Tsarnaev’s case, the Massachusetts bishops said, the defendant “has been neutralized and will never again have the ability to cause harm. Because of this, we … believe that society can do better than the death penalty.” Continue reading