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Catholic 101: Church Teaching and the Anti-Racism Movement

What does the Church teach about racism? What about "implicit bias," "systemic racism," and reparations? Our latest addition to the Catholic 101 series answers these questions and more.

Parishes are not 'businesses' that can be led by anyone, cardinal says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Thomas Mukoya, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The recent Vatican instruction on pastoral care clarifies the responsibility of every member of the church community to work together in the shared mission of evangelization and warns against turning the parish into a mere provider of services, said Cardinal Beniamino Stella.

The document included "a warning signal" against notions of the parish "as a 'business' that provides different kinds of services -- sacramental, social, charitable -- and not as a missionary community, a family," in which everyone contributes his and her part according to their vocation, availability and abilities, said the cardinal, who is prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, which released the document July 20.

"Seen in this light, the priest would have to be assisted precisely in not getting lost in administration and bureaucracy, but rather to be focused on the priorities of his ministry -- the Eucharist, proclamation of the Word, spiritual direction, confession, the promotion of charity, being close to the faithful, especially those most in need -- and be accompanied with the assistance of and encouraged by the example of other members of the community," he said.

The cardinal made his comments in an interview with Vatican Insider July 28. It came after a number of news articles and criticisms claimed that the congregation's 22-page instruction somehow gave new and unprecedented powers to the laity or that its insistence a parish must be led by a priest was unsustainable or outdated.

The document, titled "The pastoral conversion of the parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the church," did not introduce new legislation on pastoral care, but rather it was a guide detailing the role of lay men and women in the church's mission of evangelization and offered guidance in parish reforms and restructuring. It also clarified the role of deacons, consecrated men and women, as well as the laity, in dioceses where there is a shortage or lack of priests.

Every Catholic needs to feel they have an active role and responsibility in the church's mission, Cardinal Stella said.

However, there are some who are engaged in what he called a "'vocation' of the spectator," fostering controversy and criticism regarding other people's efforts.

This kind of "vocation," he said, "does not come from God and does not contribute to evangelization."

The parish is meant to be a place to encounter the Lord, of welcoming and of experiencing faith lived in everyday life and as a community, he said.

The "subdivision" of many different duties and ministries within the church community is seen as part of the whole church's call to mission and to evangelize "so that the parish is not working only for its own 'survival,' perhaps pining for 'the good old days,' but that (the parish) be enlivened in each member," who proclaims and bears witness to Christ, especially to those who have become distant from the church or have never encountered Christ before, he said.

One point of debate in the media was on the responsibility of the priest in parish leadership.

The instruction reiterates that bishops must not designate deacons, consecrated and lay men and women who are given responsibilities in a priestless parish as "pastor, co-pastor, chaplain, moderator, coordinator, parish manager," which are typically reserved for priests "as they have a direct correlation to the ministerial profile of priests." Instead, those with responsibilities should be designated as "deacon cooperator, coordinator, pastoral cooperator or pastoral associate or assistant," it said.

When asked about this unique role of the priest, Cardinal Stella said it is important to underline the "specificity of the parish priest as a 'shepherd' of that community, reaffirming the centrality of the Eucharist as the source and summit of the life and mission of the church."

A priest is called to "make Christ sacramentally present, in a special way in the Eucharist and in (the sacrament of) reconciliation," he said.

The priest lives out his "spiritual paternity" in the pastoral care of the people, in the "total giving of himself as a father to the church and his community," he added.

"This doesn't mean that the parish priest has to do everything by himself, without listening to others or without leaving room for them" to be creative and responsible, he said.

"But it is necessary to be careful not to reduce the parish to the rank of a 'branch' of a 'business,' in this case, the diocese, with the consequence of it being able to 'be managed' by anybody," even by groups of administrators or professionals with different skill sets, he said.

 

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U.S. data group: China hacked computers of Vatican, other church entities

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By

China has been accused of hacking Vatican computers as well as those in the Diocese of Hong Kong and other Catholic organizations in May.

The hacking appears to be an attempt to gain an advantage in talks between the Vatican and China, due to resume as early as this week, about a fresh deal on the appointment of bishops.

U.S. data monitoring group Recorded Future and its Insikt Group used sophisticated data analysis tools to uncover the cyber espionage, reported ucanews.com.

"From early May 2020, the Vatican and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong were among several Catholic Church-related organizations that were targeted by RedDelta, a Chinese-state sponsored threat activity group tracked by Insikt Group," the Recorded Future report stated.

"This series of suspected network intrusions also targeted the Hong Kong study mission to China and the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), Italy. These organizations have not been publicly reported as targets of Chinese threat activity groups prior to this campaign."

A landmark provisional Vatican-China agreement was signed in September 2018, the culmination of efforts by Pope Francis and his predecessors, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, aimed at normalizing the appointment of bishops and bringing the entire Catholic Church in China into communion with Rome.

While the details of the agreement remain secret, it is widely thought that the pope has the final say over bishop candidates presented by Beijing. Ahead of the candidate's nomination, informal talks are understood to be held between the two sides, as has happened on and off in recent decades.

Talks on a new deal have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The last talks were in November 2019 before they were halted by Beijing, reports have said.

The same reports said face-to-face discussions were set to resume before the end of July in Rome, ucanews.com reported.

In a recent interview with an Italian television program, the Vatican's lead negotiator, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, confirmed that the Holy See "wants to continue with this step, it wants to go forward."

China's alleged actions would appear to fit in with Beijing's program of hacking the communications devices of governments, businesses, charities and individuals around the world in recent years. China has consistently -- and usually vehemently -- denied all accusations of computer hacking, but investigations by data experts and journalists continue to turn up evidence of Beijing's programs.

It is the first time the Vatican has been identified as a target of Chinese hackers.

"The suspected intrusion into the Vatican would offer RedDelta insight into the negotiating position of the Holy See ahead of the deal's September 2020 renewal," the report said.

It added that targeting of the Hong Kong study mission and its Catholic diocese could also "provide a valuable intelligence source for both monitoring the diocese's relations with the Vatican and its position on Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement amidst widespread protests and the recent sweeping Hong Kong national security law."

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Editors: The original story can be found at www.ucanews.com/news/vatican-hong-kong-diocese-hacked-by-china-ahead-of-talks/88962.

 

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

One Moment for One Thing: Take a Moment to Breathe

Awareness drives Ignatian Spirituality. Breathing is the fire that maintains the engagement of awareness in action. One needs God’s grace to learn how to breathe. In our next installment of “One Moment for One Thing,” Patrick Saint-Jean invites us to say nothing in our prayer except only to breath and listen.

Caritas warns of rise in human trafficking amid pandemic

IMAGE: CNS photo/Alkis Konstantinidis, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As governments and world leaders struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic, they must also work harder to protect victims of human trafficking, said the Vatican-based international network of Catholic charities.

Insufficient attention "was paid on the collateral damage of the ongoing pandemic, especially on migrants and informal workers, who are now more exposed to trafficking and exploitation," Caritas Internationalis said in a July 28 joint statement with COATNET, a network of 46 Christian organizations engaged in fighting human trafficking.

The statement was made ahead of the July 30 commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

"Caritas Internationalis and COATNET also call for urgent and targeted measures to support workers in informal sectors such as domestic work, agricultural and construction work, where most vulnerable workers (i.e. undocumented migrants) can be found," it said.

Citing statistics released by the International Labor Organization, Caritas said currently there are "40 million people in our world today" who are victims of human trafficking.

The current health crisis, it added, has only exacerbated the problem "due to lack of housing and job security resulting from government measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

"Lack of freedom of movement caused by lockdown and travel restrictions means that human trafficking victims in many countries have less chance of escaping and finding help when they are held in situations against their will," Caritas said.

"Among them, there are many victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. Domestic workers face increased risks economically, and also physically and psychologically, as they are even more cut off from society during the pandemic," it said.

Caritas also said restrictive measures have made it difficult for associations and local authorities to identify cases of trafficking as well as an increase in violence against children, particularly online exploitation in homes "with little parental supervision."

"At one point during lockdown in India, for example, 92,000 cases of child abuse were reported to authorities over the course of just 11 days. Children from economically vulnerable families may be also forced on the streets to beg, facing high risk of exploitation," Caritas said.

Aloysius John, Caritas Internationalis' secretary general, said "focused attention must not prevent us from taking care of the people most vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation."

"At this moment of COVID-19, we denounce a preoccupying reality for vulnerable people and increase in risk of trafficking," John said.

The secretary general of Caritas said victims of human trafficking and exploitation "need immediate attention" and called on governments "to provide them with access to justice and to basic services, in particular shelters and hotlines, and also to put in place urgent and targeted measures to support workers in informal sectors."

"We also call institutions and civil society organizations to protect children from abuse and exploitation, also through internet and new media, and we ask all people to be vigilant and to denounce cases of human trafficking and exploitation," John said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Italy: Controversial verdict may force legalization of assisted suicide

IMAGE: CNS photo/Norbert Fellechner, www.imago via Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

ROME (CNS) -- The acquittal of two "right-to-die" activists who aided in the suicide of a person suffering from multiple sclerosis may force the Italian government to legalize assisted suicide in the country.

A court in the Tuscan province of Massa-Carrara ruled July 27 to acquit Mina Welby and Marco Cappato for helping Davide Trentini commit suicide in April 2017 at Dignitas, a physician-assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.

The court judged that no crime was committed by Welby and Cappato because they did not "instigate" Trentini's suicide.

The day after helping Trentini commit suicide, Welby and Cappato turned themselves over to Italian authorities in a strategic move that seeks to challenge Italy's penal code which prohibits euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide.

According to Article 580 of the Italian penal code, assisting or convincing someone to commit suicide "is punishable with a sentence between five and 12 years if the suicide occurs, or between one to five years if it does not occur but results in serious or very serious personal injury."

In December, the Italian Constitutional Court delayed a decision that would determine the constitutionality of Article 580. Euthanasia advocates believe that the recent acquittal will help push the court to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the country.

The acquittal mirrors a similar ruling in 2019 involving Cappato after he was acquitted in the assisted suicide of av Italian DJ at the same facility in Switzerland.

In that case, the judge ruled that assisted suicide cannot be punished if the patient requesting to die is kept alive by life support, suffering from an irreversible pathology that causes physical and mental suffering, is receiving palliative care and is still able to make a free and informed decision.

Both Cappato and Welby are members of the Luca Coscioni Association, an organization that advocates the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Italy. According to Italian news agency ANSA, the Coscioni Association helped an estimated 268 people commit suicide and has accompanied three people to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has denounced euthanasia, including at a meeting with doctors and dental surgeons in September.

The pope urged medical professionals to "reject the temptation -- also induced by legislative changes -- to use medicine to support a possible willingness to die of the patient, providing assistance to suicide or directly causing death by euthanasia."

"These are hasty ways of dealing with choices that are not, as they might seem, an expression of the person's freedom, when they include discarding of the patient as a possibility, or a false compassion in the face of a request to be helped to cause death," he said.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, euthanasia "constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his creator."

"The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded," the catechism states.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

Taylor Swift’s “folklore” Made Me Feel All the Things, and it’s Just What I Needed

Taylor Swift’s folklore is a welcome surprise during a long, overwhelming summer. It’s different from her other efforts, but it’s more than an indie album. Rather, it’s an invitation to see the evolution of an artist and feel something deeply.

Regis Philbin dies; Catholic TV host logged 17,000-plus hours on tube

IMAGE: CNS photo/Mario Anzuoni, Reuters

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Regis Philbin, the Catholic talk- and game-show host whose career in television spanned six decades, died July 24 at age 88 of cardiovascular disease at a hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he lived.

Philbin is credited by Guinness World Records as having been on air more than anyone else on TV, putting the figure at more than 17,000 hours.

Philbin was a 1953 graduate of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and an avid supporter of his alma mater. He also graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in New York, and was a generous benefactor there as well.

"Regis regaled millions on air through the years, oftentimes sharing a passionate love for his alma mater with viewers," said Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, in a July 25 statement.

"He will be remembered at Notre Dame for his unfailing support for the university and its mission, including the Philbin Studio Theater in our performing arts center. He likewise was generous with his time and talent in support of South Bend's Center for the Homeless and other worthy causes. Our prayers are with his wife, Joy, and their daughters and Notre Dame alumnae Joanna and J.J."

In 2002, Philbin had given $2.75 million for the construction of the Regis Philbin Studio Theater on the campus. It is home for lab and performance art productions in Notre Dame's department of film, television and theater. The 100-seat facility was designed for maximum technical and seating flexibility.

Philbin first came to national attention as the announcer and sidekick to Joey Bishop on Bishop's mid-1960s late-night talk show on ABC, which was seeking to siphon viewers from Johnny Carson and "The Tonight Show." It didn't work.

Undaunted, Philbin carved out a career, making a niche for himself in morning TV. From 1975 to 1981, he co-hosted "A.M. Los Angeles," first with Sarah Purcell and then with Cyndy Garvey, then-wife of Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey.

In 1983, Philbin and Garvey reunited in New York on "The Morning Show," replicating their successful formula in the Big Apple. In 1985, Garvey was replaced by Kathie Lee Gifford, wife of New York Giants football star and "Monday Night Football" broadcaster Frank Gifford.

In 1988, what was "The Morning Show" went into syndication as "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee." The show became an instant success.

Philbin and Gifford teamed up for a dozen years, until 2000. After Gifford left, Philbin took over the reins with a rotating cast of would-be co-hosts auditioning to be her successor. In 2001, Kelly Ripa was chosen, and she and Philbin continued dominating the ratings for a decade until Philbin stepped down from his co-hosting duties in 2011.

But Philbin's greatest success may have been hosting the U.S. version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" for ABC for three years. Upon its debut, it became a phenomenon, lifting ABC to first place in the ratings race -- and the Walt Disney Co.'s stock price in the process. "Millionaire," while a game show, also is credited with spawning the "reality TV" genre that continues on network TV.

Philbin co-wrote two books with Gifford during their time together on "Live!" and later penned three memoirs: "I'm Only One Man!" (1995), "Who Wants to Be Me?" (2000), and "How I Got This Way" (2011).

To help St. Mark Parish in Richmond, Kentucky, pare down a million-dollar debt, he came to the parish in 2005 to be the first special guest of the parish's "An Evening Among Friends" fundraiser.

In 2007, Philbin won $175,000 on the Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" and announced on the air that he would donate his winnings to Cardinal Hayes High School. The year before, he gave the school his $50,000 prize from winning "Celebrity Jeopardy" on another special episode for celebrities to win cash for their favorite charities.

Philbin also led capital campaigns for Cardinal Hayes in 1995 and '99 that raised $7 million for the school, then donated $500,000 in 2000 to renovate the school's auditorium.

"I think everything I am is the result of 16 years of Catholic education," Philbin said in a 1996 interview. "The values that you learn as a kid stay with you the rest of your life. Certainly, those nuns and brothers and priests drummed enough of those values into us that it helped us tremendously."

Funeral plans were not announced, but in the same interview, Philbin addressed rumors that he wanted his ashes to be scattered over the Notre Dame campus when he dies. "That's right," he said. "I want to be there forever."

 

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Head of Network remembers Lewis as 'determined, forceful, thoughtful'

IMAGE: CNS photo/Christopher Aluka Berry, Reuters

By Betty Araya

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic social justice lobby Network, began reflecting on her fondest memories of the late Congressman John Lewis, she could recall one instance in which his body language showed something different than the soft-spoken, yet passionate man she knew.

"The last time we really worked with him on something was back in '17," Sister Campbell said in a July 22 interview with Catholic News Service.

She remembered the Democrat's anger over efforts by Republicans and the Trump administration to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

"The new administration had done nothing about ... getting people to enroll in the ACA, because they thought they were going to repeal it and they didn't want to support it," said Sister Campbell, a Sister of Social Service. "So, what became clear was (that) everybody that cared about the ACA had to work together to get people enrolled and to make sure they knew about what the limits were."

So, in response to the Health Care Repeal Act introduced by House Republicans in March 2017 to repeal and replace the ACA, Sister Campbell and Lewis organized a faith-based event at the United Methodist Building in Washington. Using his quiet thoughtfulness, she said, Lewis managed to get members of Congress to leave the Capitol and join the event.

"He was just livid because of what the Republicans were trying to demand because the poor health insurance industry was going to suffer so much," said Sister Campbell, who during the Zoom interview with CNS clenched her fists to demonstrate the frustration in Lewis' body language as his face got tight and "he explained, 'They don't understand the needs of the people.'"

Though his demeanor was out of the ordinary, she said, his intent was consistent with his life's work.

The bill ultimately failed to advance.

Lewis, who was an icon of the civil rights movement and a colleague of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died July 17 after a six-month battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Lewis represented Georgia's 5th Congressional District from 1987 until his death.

On July 26, his casket was taken by horse-drawn caisson through several blocks of downtown Selma, Alabama, and then over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where he helped lead the 1965 march for voting rights. Afterward, his body lay in state in the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery.

In Washington an invitation-only afternoon ceremony was planned July 27 to welcome Lewis' body to the Capitol Rotunda. His body was then to lie in state on the East Front Steps of the Capitol for a public viewing through July 28. His family said his body will then lie in state in Atlanta July 29.

"Not only was he connected with the people, but he knew his job could make their lives better. And I think just because he worked on civil rights, he knew what a difference he could make. He embodied that piece about caring for everyone, including those who opposed him," Sister Campbell told CNS.

"He started these trips down to Selma to go through the history (of civil rights), and he would bring Republicans and Democrats," she explained. "He tried to bring people along to see another point of view. And those trips, (as) I've heard from Republicans, were life transforming for them because they never knew (the issues) from his point of view."

His connection to and deep care for the people is how Lewis' character will be remembered but championing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting, will be his legislative legacy, according to Sister Campbell.

"He was a child of the '60s. He knew the oppression that people were going through; He himself experienced it, being beaten for peaceful demonstration on the Pettus Bridge," she said.

"Determined, forceful, thoughtful," she said, are the attributes that led to Lewis being a distinguished man in history. "He persevered his entire life for justice. From the time he was a college kid. And that perseverance paid off for the benefit of people," said Sister Campbell."

Pope Francis said perseverance and meekness are signs of holiness in the 21st century. What the pope means by "meekness," she said, "is a willingness to learn, which for me is about listening."

Despite the importance of his work, Lewis also had a great sense of humor, Sister Campbell added. And that humor, she said, "made a whole bunch of things more bearable."

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

Update: Show grandparents, the elderly that you care, pope tells young people

IMAGE: CNS photo/Martin Rickett, PA Images via Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called on young people to reach out to their grandparents or the elderly who may be lonely or on their own.

"Do not leave them by themselves," he said after praying the Angelus with visitors in St. Peter's Square July 26.

"Use the inventiveness of love, make phone calls, video calls, send messages, listen to them and, where possible, in compliance with health care regulations, go to visit them, too. Send them a hug," he said before leading visitors in giving a big round of applause for all grandparents.

The pope made his remarks on the memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne -- Mary's parents, Jesus' grandparents and the patron saints of grandparents.

Pope Francis said he wanted to mark the day by inviting all young people to make a concrete "gesture of tenderness toward the elderly, especially the loneliest, in their homes and residences, those who have not seen their loved ones for many months" because of rules in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In part, because of such regulations in place, he asked young people to be creative and inventive in finding ways to show they care while respecting current directives.

Grandparents and the elderly are "your roots" and having a strong bond or connection with one's roots is important, he said, because "an uprooted tree cannot grow, it does not blossom or bear fruit."

Because the pandemic has affected older people especially hard, the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life launched a campaign July 27 after being inspired by Pope Francis' invitation to reach out safely and creatively to the elderly.

"It is possible to reduce the isolation felt by elderly people while also strictly observing health guidelines for COVID-19," it said in a statement, adding that "respecting social distancing rules does not mean accepting a destiny of loneliness and abandonment."

Inspired by the pope's words after the Angelus, the dicastery decided "to launch a campaign called, 'The elderly are your grandparents,'" which encourages young people around the world "to do something that shows kindness and affection for older people who may feel lonely."

It said it has been hearing about the many ways people have been finding creative ways to draw the church community closer to those who are older and lonely, including serenading residents in retirement homes.

It asked people continue to share their efforts and ideas on social media with the hashtag #sendyourhug and the dicastery would repost some of them on their platforms @laityfamilylife.

"Our invitation to young people is to reach out to the loneliest elderly people in their neighborhood or parish and send them a hug, according to the request of the pope, by means of a phone call, a video call or by sending an image. Wherever possible or whenever the health emergency will allow it, we invite young people to make the embrace even more concrete by visiting the elderly in person," it said.

 

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]