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Should the Church do away with priestly celibacy? Should priests be able to marry? What is Chastity and why does it matter? Fr. Tim Grumbach and Timmerie Millington discuss how important Catholic Church teaching is; and, the ideal that young people crave. They also discuss what would happen if men had something like an IUD; and, why Nepal banned pornography.




Originally broadcast on 11/04/18


Seldom has an entire nation suffered so much from the effects of a single earthquake as much as Nepal.

The 7.8 magnitude temblor that struck the country on April 25, and the aftershocks that followed—including a second 7.3 magnitude quake on May 12—killed more than 8,600 people and injured more than 19,000. Entire villages were devastated and hundreds of thousands of people were instantly homeless. The most severely affected were those living in poor communities.

More than a month after the quake, many areas in Nepal continue to be scenes of devastation. In some areas, 90 percent of the structures have been destroyed, including hospitals and health centers, leaving many with no access to even the most basic health care. Many structures that were damaged in the first earthquake were flattened by the second. And in a few weeks the monsoon season will begin, making it impossible for people to live outdoors.

In a report titled “Devastated but not Defeated,” Father Prakash Louis, S.J., writing from the capital of Kathmandu, offers a statistical snapshot of the current situation in slowly recovering Nepal:

General Facts

Size of population: 26.7 million (as of 2011)
Major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism
Life expectancy: 67 years (men), 69 years (women)
Main exports: Carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Occupations: Agriculture (81 percent), Industry (3 percent), Service (11 percent), Other (5 percent)
U.N. estimate of people living below poverty: 40 percent

Effects of April 25 Earthquake

Dead: More than 8,600
Injured: More than 19,000
Home destroyed: More than 1.6 million
Homes partially damaged: More than 1.4 million
Offices and schools destroyed: More than 10,400
Offices and schools partially damaged: More than 14,200
Value of crops and livestock destroyed: $3.58 billion

Major Challenges

Health care services. Complications during and after childbirth are among the main causes of mortality and disability for women.

Debris management. Required to enable continued search and rescue and humanitarian relief operations. Restoring community infrastructure to deliver public services also is essential.

Transportation and communication. Main roads are open, but landslides have affected relief efforts in some areas. Many villages are without road access at all.

Government. Many local government personnel have not reported for duty.

Key Priority

Shelter. The number of displaced people continues to increase. Most are living next to their damaged houses.

Catholic Relief Efforts

Catholic Relief Services has committed a minimum of $10 million to Nepal and plans to reach 15,000 families (75,000 people) with emergency relief in the next few weeks and continue for years in assisting rebuilding efforts.

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NAMJUNG, Nepal (CNS) — As the magnitude-7.3 quake hit, screaming and shouting filled the mountain village of Namjung, where approximately 600 people had gathered to collect relief material being distributed by Catholic Relief Services.

When the quake ended May 12, the people were anxiously looking at dust rising from the nearby villages, with the collapse of houses and other buildings.

“We don’t know what is happening. It has become too frequent,” said Bishnu Kapri, a schoolteacher whose cracked house was being used by CRS as a storehouse.

Jennifer Hardy, CRS communications officer who was in Namjung when the quake struck, said she was at a relief distribution site in a mango grove.

“Looked like it was snowing mango tree leaves. Surreal,” she said in a tweet.

She also tweeted: “Heartbreaking to see ppl frantically call loved ones after today’s #earthquake, but have no connection for hours. Emergency comms critical.”

Relief officials said more than 57 people died in the May 12 quake, one of the many temblors that followed a magnitude 7.8-quake that hit April 25 and left more than 8,000 people dead.

Namjung is more than 70 miles from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, and on the six-hour drive back to the city, people could be seen putting up tents on the roadsides to sleep during the night in the open.

“We are worried,” said Yamen Kayastha, a Catholic with his wife and three children who has taken shelter in the Assumption Catholic Church compound in Kathmandu.

Kayastha, a musician and member of Focolare movement from Nepal, told CNS that he fractured his finger and had to rush to the hospital after he fell down the steps while running out of his flat during the May 12 quake.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in Nepal announced that the May 14-16 visit of apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, had been postponed.


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis offered his prayers to all those affected by a deadly earthquake in Nepal and encouraged rescue and emergency workers in their efforts.

More than 3,600 people were known to have been killed and more than 6,500 others injured after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit a mountainous region near Kathmandu April 25. The devastation included not just buildings collapsing from the tremors, but also people and villages being buried by landslides and avalanches triggered by the quake and aftershocks. The number of casualties was expected to be much higher as rescue teams tried to make their way into more remote areas.

“I pray for the victims, those wounded and for all those who suffer because of this calamity,” Pope Francis said after reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square April 26.

Before leading people in praying the Hail Mary together, he expressed his hope that those affected by the disaster would “have the support of fraternal solidarity.”

“Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the earthquake” and the damage it caused, said a telegram sent April 25 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, to Bishop Paul Simick, apostolic vicar of Nepal.

The pope expressed his prayers and solidarity, and “he offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they continue their rescue efforts and assistance to those touched by this tragedy,” the telegram said.

Huge “tent cities” have sprung up in Kathmandu to shelter those whose homes have collapsed or been damaged and those who dare not return as strong aftershocks continue, Caritas Internationalis reported in press release April 27.

“We hope to go back to our house soon, but are hesitating because of the aftershocks,” said Renuka Magdalene Thakuri, 54, who sought shelter with other families in Assumption Church in Kathmandu.

Jesuit Father Pius Perumana, head of Caritas Nepal, said the Catholic charity has been supplying tarps, tents and food, and was trying to help protect people from the rain and cold.

“People are still trapped in buildings and we don’t know whether they are dead or alive,” Father Perumana told Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based umbrella organization for more than 150 Catholic relief and development organizations around the world.

It said Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. Caritas partner, was sending relief materials from north India and working with Caritas Nepal to procure additional relief materials locally and in India.

“What the people need immediately is shelter. Temperatures are dropping at night and there is also rain. Children are sleeping outside at night. It is really traumatic for them,” Father Perumana said.

Immediate shelter as well as water and sanitation were among the top priorities, Caritas Internationalis said.

Santosh Kumar Magar, 29, said he was attending the ordination of a new priest in Okhaldhunga, a remote part of eastern Nepal, when the earthquake hit.

“I came out of the room, and saw two, three houses falling down around me. Some of the animals died around the same time. The people were saved because all the villagers were gathered for the ordination,” he told Caritas.

A boy, identified as Ahmed, who was staying at the Assumption Church in Kathmandu with his family, said he “felt as if I was flying because my elder brother dragged (me) from the house to the street.”

“We came to the church because we know a lot of people here so we can be together and coordinate and help each other out. Now later I feel everything is going to be all right,” he told Caritas.