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Assisted suicide, abortion, school aid among issues tackled by states

April 6th, 2018 Posted in National News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Assisted suicide, abortion restrictions, health insurance coverage of abortion, financial aid for nonpublic schools and some tax relief for low-income families are among the issues being tackled by state legislatures across the country.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 state legislatures have adjourned, 31 state legislatures are still in session and four others have not yet convened their session. Read more »

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Cardinal Dolan: Democratic Party abandons Catholics, favors abortion agenda

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NEW YORK — The once “big tent” of the Democratic Party “now seems a pup tent” as a party that Catholics once embraced has abandoned so many issues Catholics cherish, such as the sanctity of human life and religious education, said New York’s cardinal.

He pointed to the party favoring a radical abortion agenda over protecting the human rights of unborn children and all-out efforts to block education credits to help poor and low-income families access Catholic and other nonpublic schools.

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Supreme Court examines freedom of speech at crisis pregnancy centers

March 21st, 2018 Posted in Featured, National News Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON — In oral arguments before the Supreme Court March 20, justices seemed skeptical about a California law that requires pro-life pregnancy centers in the state to visibly display information about abortions to their clients that the centers say violates their right to free speech.

A few of the justices asked about the state’s motivation to put the law in place, wondering if it was more about educating women about state-provided services or if it was meant to specifically target centers offering pregnancy-related services that clients might assume are medical facilities.

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Cardinal Dolan hopes Supreme Court will uphold free speech

March 20th, 2018 Posted in National News Tags: ,

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WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities said March 20 that he prayed the Supreme Court would “do the right thing and uphold our fundamental right to free speech” when it decides a case examining freedom of speech at crisis pregnancy centers.

“Pro-life pregnancy care centers embody everything that is right and good in our nation: generosity, compassion and love that is offered to support both mother and child,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York in a statement issued the same day the high court heard oral arguments in NIFLA v. Becerra.

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Son’s meeting with birth mother who nearly aborted him made into film

March 5th, 2018 Posted in National News Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — David Scotton knew he had been adopted, but he didn’t really know the circumstances behind it until his birth mother made contact with him.

“I didn’t ask about it for a solid 16-17 years. But when my birth mother reached out to me, it set everything in motion,” Scotton said.

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Abortion, assisted suicide are pro-life focus, says cardinal

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Catholic News Service

 

BALTIMORE — Assisted suicide and abortion remain the focus of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, according to Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, the committee chairman.

One of those issues was being taken up by the American Medical Association House of Delegates as the U.S. bishops held their fall general assembly in Baltimore Nov. 13-14. Read more »

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Civility must guide debate on social challenges, USCCB president says

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Catholic News Service

 

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Acknowledging wide divisions in the country over issues such as health care, immigration reform, taxes and abortion, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for civility to return to the public debate.

Contemporary challenges are great, but that they can be addressed without anger and with love Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said in his first address as USCCB president during the bishops’ fall general assembly. Read more »

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In new book, pope discusses traditional marriage, sins of the flesh, psychoanalysis

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — By virtue of its very definition, marriage can only be between a man and a woman, Pope Francis said in a new book-length interview.

“We cannot change it. This is the nature of things,” not just in the church, but in human history, he said in a series of interviews with Dominique Wolton, a 70-year-old French sociologist and expert in media and political communication.

Pope Francis (CNS file/Max Rossi, Reuters)

Published in French, the 417-page book, “Politique et Societe” (“Politics and Society”) was to be released Sept. 6. Catholic News Service obtained an advance copy, and excerpts appeared online.

When it comes to the true nature of marriage as well as gender, there is “critical confusion at the moment,” the pope said.

When asked about marriage for same-sex couples, the pope said, “Let’s call this ‘civil unions.’ We do not joke around with truth.”

Teaching children that they can choose their gender, he said, also plays a part in fostering such mistakes about the truth or facts of nature.

The pope said he wondered whether these new ideas about gender and marriage were somehow based on a fear of differences, and he encouraged researchers to study the subject.

Absolution after abortion

Pope Francis also said his decision to give all priests permanent permission to grant absolution to those who confess to having procured an abortion was not mean to trivialize this serious and grave sin.

Abortion continues to be “murder of an innocent person. But if there is sin, forgiveness must be facilitated,” he said. So often a woman who never forgets her aborted child “cries for years without having the courage to go see a priest.”

“Do you have any idea the number of people who can finally breathe?” he asked, adding how important it was these women can find the Lord’s forgiveness and never commit this sin again.

Pope Francis said the biggest threat in the world is money. In St. Matthew’s Gospel, when Jesus talked about people’s love and loyalty being torn between two things, he didn’t say it was between “your wife or God,” it was choosing between God or money.

“It’s clear. They are two things opposed to each other,” he said.

When asked why people do not listen to this message even though it has been clearly condemned by the church since the time of the Gospels, the pope said it is because some people prefer to speak only about morality.

“There is a great danger for preachers, lecturers, to fall into mediocrity,” which is condemning only those forms of immorality that fall “below the belt,” he said.

Sins of the flesh

“But the other sins that are the most serious: hatred, envy, pride, vanity, killing another, taking away a life … these are really not talked about that much,” he said.

“The most minor sins are the sins of the flesh,” he said, because the flesh is weak. “The most dangerous sins are those of the mind,” and confessors should spend more time asking if a person prays, reads the Gospel and seeks the Lord.

One temptation the church has always been vulnerable to, the pope said, is being defensive because it is scared.

“Where in the Gospels does the Lord say that we need to seek security? Instead he said, ‘Risk, go ahead, forgive and evangelize.’”

Another temptation, he said, is to seek uniformity with rules, for example, in the debate concerning his apostolic exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia.”

“When I talk about families in difficulty, I say, ‘Welcome, accompany, discern, integrate …’ and then everyone will see the doors open. In reality, what happens is you hear people say, ‘They cannot receive Communion.’ ‘They cannot do this and that.’”

That temptation of the church to emphasize “no, no and no” and what is prohibited is the same “drama Jesus (experienced) with the Pharisees.”

‘Fundamentalist mindset’

This closed, fundamentalist mindset like Jesus faced is “the battle I lead today with the exhortation.”

Jesus followed “another logic” that went beyond prohibitions as he did not adhere to customs, like not touching lepers and stoning adulterers, that had become like commandments, he said.

Church leaders are used to “frozen norms” and “fixed standards,” but when they ask, ‘“Can we give Communion to divorcees?’ I reply, ‘Speak with the divorced man and woman, welcome, accompany, integrate and discern,’ which opens a path and a way of communication to lead people to Christ.”

Encountering Christ is what leads people onto a path of living a moral life, he said.

When asked about the church’s “just-war” theory, the pope said the issue should be looked into because “no war is just. The only just thing is peace.”

Concerning the persecution of Christians, particularly in the East, and the question of why God would allow such tragedy, the pope said, “I do not know where God is, but I know where man is in this situation. Men make weapons and sell them.”

It is easy for people to question God, he said, but “it is we who commit all this” and allow it to happen; “our humanity is corrupted.”

Speaking about women, the pope said they have an important role in society because they help unify and reconcile people.

Some people mistake women’s demands to be represented and heard in the world with a kind of “machoism in a skirt,” but machoism is a form of “brutality” and does not represent what women should be.

He said with the reform of the Roman Curia, “there will be many women who will have decision-making power,” not just roles as advisers.

While he said he believes he will succeed in opening up more positions to women in the curia, it will be difficult and there will be problems, not because of misogyny, but because of “the problem of power.”

Psychoanalysis

When Pope Francis and the French interviewer talked about differences between the Argentines and the French, the pope said, “Argentines are quite fond of psychoanalysis.”

The pope praised those psychoanalysts who are able to be “open to humanism and to dialogue with other sciences,” particularly medicine and homeopathy.

“Those whom I have known have helped me a lot at one point in my life when I needed consultation,” he said, describing how met with a Jewish psychoanalyst once a week for six months when he was 42 “to clear up certain things.

“She was very good. Very professional as a doctor and psychoanalyst” and “she helped me so much.”

Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.

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Pope, Trudeau discuss reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous people

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he asked Pope Francis to help Canadians “move forward on a real reconciliation” with the country’s indigenous people “by issuing an apology” on behalf of the Catholic Church for its role in harming their communities.

Pope Francis meets Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a private audience at the Vatican May 29. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Pope Francis meets Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a private audience at the Vatican May 29. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

The prime minister spoke to a handful of reporters in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park May 29 after having had a 36-minute private meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

“He reminded me that his entire life has been dedicated to supporting marginalized people in the world, fighting for them,” the prime minister said, adding the pope said that “he looked forward to working with me and with the Canadian bishops to figure out a path forward together.”

The 2015 report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which focused on past treatment of the indigenous communities and concrete steps for a future of greater inclusion, included a recommendation that the pope come to Canada to apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church for its participation in the residential schools for indigenous children.

While the idea behind the schools was to promote the greater integration of indigenous communities into modern Canadian life, the schools, many run by Catholic religious orders, led to a situation in which many children were torn from their families, lost their native language and cultures and often suffered abuse.

Trudeau told reporters he invited the pope to go to Canada “in the coming years,” but added no further details about such a trip.

The Vatican meeting, Trudeau said, was an opportunity to have “a deeply personal and wide-ranging, thoughtful conversation with the leader of my own faith.”

For its part, the Vatican issued a statement saying that the prime minister’s meetings with the pope and with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, included “the themes of integration and reconciliation, as well as religious freedom and current ethical issues.”

Trudeau, who is Catholic, and the bishops of Canada work closely on fighting climate change and on welcoming and assisting refugees, especially from Syria. However, the bishops have sharp differences with the prime minister over a variety of issues related to the sanctity of human life and the family.

In early March Trudeau’s government announced it would “invest” $650 million (US$483 million) over three years to provide abortion and other services in the developing world. The president of the bishops’ conference, Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, Ontario, reacted by calling the policy “a reprehensible example of Western cultural imperialism.”

The bishops also have been working diligently to promote palliative care and a recognition of the sacredness of life of those who are dying as well as the right of medical personnel to conscientiously object to participating in practices they oppose on religious grounds. The Canadian Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 2015 that people who are “grievously and irremediably ill” have a right to medical assistance in dying.

After the closed-door meeting, Trudeau introduced his wife, Sophie Gregoire, and his delegation to the pope before exchanging gifts with him.

Trudeau gave the pope an edition of the six-volume “Relations des Jesuites de la Nouvelle-France,” a collection of 17th-century reports from Jesuit missionaries in what is now Canada. Trudeau told the Jesuit pope the volumes are an “essential tool for historians” in understanding the early history of the country. He also gave the pope framed samples of a Jesuit’s dictionary of Montagnais Innu, the language of an indigenous community in Canada.

Pope Francis, appreciating the gift, told the prime minister, “it was a custom of the Jesuits” to compile such dictionaries when they began missions in new lands.

The pope gave Trudeau the gold medallion minted for the fourth year of his pontificate (2016-17), which features an “embrace” as “a symbol of forgiveness, joy and mutual acceptance,” according to the Vatican’s description. It also refers to the passage from Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Pope Francis is aware of the current situation in Canada and the concerns of the bishops on all the issues mentioned by Trudeau to the press and in the Vatican communique. From March to May Pope Francis spent hours listening to the bishops, who made their ad limina visits to the Vatican in four groups.

While all the bishops of Canada have not formally invited the pope to Canada, during the visits several of the groups explained the situation of Canada’s indigenous peoples, the history of the residential schools and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Some of the bishops said they were told Pope Francis would consider a trip in 2018 or 2019. A final decision would require input from the whole Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in dialogue with the Vatican.

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Viewpoint: Deny Dover’s death-dealing bills

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Spring, nature’s season of rebirth and growth, has taken on a deadly aspect in Dover’s Legislative Hall with the introduction of three bills this session that focus on ending lives in Delaware.

One bill, Senate Bill 5, would officially make the Federal legalization of abortion part of the Delaware code of laws. The move might seem redundant, but the bill is intended to create back-up law for the First State to invoke, should the Supreme Court ever reverse its 44 years of rulings regarding Roe v. Wade.

Bishop Malooly, in a statement on SB5, has reiterated in his opposition to the measure. He stated on May 1 that the right to life is the first and most fundamental human right, that abortion denies God’s gift of life and dignity to the most vulnerable, and that “the life and dignity of every person must be respected and protected at every stage and every condition. This applies to the unborn as well as the sick, the elderly and those on death row.” Read more »

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