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Archbishop Vigneron elected next USCCB secretary beginning fall 2018

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Catholic News Service

 

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit will be the next secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, taking office next November.

Bishops voted 96-88 to elect Archbishop Vigneron Nov. 14 during their fall general assembly. Read more »

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Federal authorities investigating shooting of congressman, others

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Federal authorities are investigating a shooting that resulted in injuries for Catholic congressman and Republican Steve Scalise and others when a gunman opened fire on him and the others during a June 14 practice for an annual congressional baseball game. 

Scalise’s injuries are not life-threatening, authorities said. The suspected gunman was identified as James Hodgkinson of Illinois, and President Donald Trump said in a briefing that the shooter was dead.

First responders are seen early June 14 after U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot while practicing baseball, according to news reports. Multiple reports said two U.S. Capitol Police officers who were part of the Catholic congressman's protective detail also were shot. (CNS photo/Shawn Thew, EPA)

First responders are seen early June 14 after U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot while practicing baseball, according to news reports. Multiple reports said two U.S. Capitol Police officers who were part of the Catholic congressman’s protective detail also were shot. (CNS photo/Shawn Thew, EPA)

Five people were medically transported from the scene at Simpson Park in Alexandria, shortly after the 7 a.m. shooting, said Michael Brown, police chief for the city of Alexandria, in a press briefing. He would not say whether the gunman was one of those transported.

Scalise is the U.S. House Majority Whip and represents Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District. He and his wife, Jennifer, belong to St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. The couple’s children attend the parish school.

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond said in a statement: “We are saddened by this act of violence. Our prayers are with Congressman Scalise, for his healing, his wife, Jennifer, and their children, and for all involved in this shooting.”

“Our prayers go out for @SteveScalise, the Capitol Police and others wounded or affected by this morning’s attack,” said Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl via Twitter.

Multiple news reports said two U.S. Capitol Police officers who were part of the Catholic congressman’s protective detail also were shot, as well as an aide to Texas Congressman Roger Williams.

U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., seen speaking in early January, was shot early June 14 in Alexandria, Va., while practicing baseball, according to news reports. Multiple reports said two U.S. Capitol Police officers who were part of the Catholic congressman's protective detail also were shot. (CNS photo/Shawn Thew, EPA)

U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., seen speaking in early January, was shot early June 14 in Alexandria, Va., while practicing baseball, according to news reports. Multiple reports said two U.S. Capitol Police officers who were part of the Catholic congressman’s protective detail also were shot. (CNS photo/Shawn Thew, EPA)

Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said in a statement he was “profoundly saddened” by the events and offered prayers for those wounded in “this senseless attack.”

Scalise, who suffered a hip injury and is expected to recover, was with a group of House members and staff at a baseball practice to prepare for the 56th annual Congressional Baseball Game, played each summer by members of Congress, when the shots rang out.

Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama was on third base during the practice when the shooting occurred.

“All of a sudden I notice a guy’s got a rifle and he’s shooting at us,” he told a news station.

Brooks said the weapon looked to be a semi-automatic. During a break in the gunfire, he said he ran for cover and went to render help to those injured. While he was helping, he said he heard security detail open fire on the shooter.

“On days like today, there are no Democrats or Republicans, only Americans united in our thoughts for the wounded,” tweeted Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic and Democrat representing California.

Scalise was first elected to the U.S. House in 2008. He represents Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District. Before that, he was a member of the Louisiana House and the Louisiana Senate, serving from 1996 to 2008.

“Prior to entering surgery, (Scalise) was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone. He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues,” said a statement released by the congressman’s staff. “We ask that you keep the Whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers.”

Schools in the area near the shooting were immediately put on lockdown and bomb-sniffing dogs monitored the grounds of the U.S. Capitol at mid-morning. Federal authorities in a press conference said it was too early to tell anything about the incident, whether it was terrorism, targeted toward Congress or Scalise, or what exactly motivated it.  

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Cardinal Dolan: If sanctuary of the womb is violated, no one is safe

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York warned that if the sanctuary of the womb is violated, then other sanctuaries are at risk.

“Can any of us be safe, can any of us claim a sanctuary anywhere when the first and most significant sanctuary of them all, the mother’s womb protecting a tiny life, can be raided and ravaged?” he asked in his homily during the Jan. 26 opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The vigil always precedes the annual March for Life, which takes place on the National Mall.

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, waves as he arrives to concelebrate the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Jan. 26. The all-night vigil is held before the annual March for Life, which this year marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the nation. (CNS/Bob Roller)

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, waves as he arrives to concelebrate the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Jan. 26. The all-night vigil is held before the annual March for Life, which this year marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the nation. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called the womb “a sanctuary which beckons us, where we are safe and secure in our mother’s tender yet strong embrace, where the Creator himself assures us of protection and life itself, a sanctuary God has designed for us to protect our lives now and in eternity.”

He summoned up a montage of sanctuaries throughout human history, including those used by the Israelites, the sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem where Mary and Joseph took Jesus each year, the use of cathedrals and churches as sanctuaries from violence, and the United States, first as a sanctuary for the Pilgrims fleeing religious violence in England, later for Catholics with little to their name but “clinging within to that pearl of great price, their faith,” and today’s immigrants and refugees.

When life in the womb is threatened, “should it shock us” that “such a society would begin to treat the sanctuary of the earth’s environment as a toxic waste dump; would begin to consider homes and neighborhoods as dangerous instead of as sanctuaries where families are protected and fostered; would commence to approach the poor as bothersome instead of brothers?” Cardinal Dolan asked.

Shrine officials estimated that 12,000 attended the Jan. 26 Mass, which was shown on three cable channels and broadcast on two radio networks. Among the faithful were 545 seminarians, 90 deacons, 320 priests, 40 bishops and five cardinals in a 20-minute entrance procession.

The faithful were squeezed more tightly than usual as pews in the left transept were blocked off so work crews could continue work on the shrine’s Trinity Dome, which should be completed by next year’s March for Life. The blockage resulted in the loss of “several hundred” seats, according to shrine spokeswoman Jacqueline Hayes.

Auxiliary Bishop Barry R. Knestout of Washington received applause when he announced near the end of the Mass that the starting times for three pre-March for Life Masses elsewhere in Washington the next morning would be moved up an hour to allow for longer lines in security checkpoints at the pre-march rally, as among those speaking at it now included “senior White House officials and a special guest.” No name was mentioned, but earlier in the day it was announced Vice President Mike Pence would address the March for Life rally in person. After a lineup of speakers, rally participants then march from the National Mall to Constitution Avenue, then up the avenue to the Supreme Court.

The weather changed overnight from the low 50s at the start of the Jan. 26 Mass to a more typical near-freezing temperature with stiff winds before a Jan. 27 morning Mass at the shrine celebrated by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, USCCB secretary.

Archbishop Aymond’s homily sounded a similar theme to Cardinal Dolan’s in terms how acceptance of abortion is “used to justify” other disrespect for life at various stages, citing assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty and the rejection of immigrants. Quoting from that day’s Gospel, Archbishop Aymond said, “Jesus says, ‘Let them come to me, let them come to me.’”

He received applause from a Mass attendance estimated at 3,500 when he cited the results of a recent study that showed “the abortion rate in the United States has hit a historic low since Roe v. Wade.” Archbishop Aymond said the study speculated on various reasons for the decline, but one was not mentioned.

That reason was “the witness of so many people for life,” he said. “Youth and young adults are strongly pro-life in our world and in our church,” he added to applause. “You are making a difference in the United States. You are changing our culture from a culture of death into a culture of life,” the archbishop said to more applause.

During the March for Life, and afterward in the marchers’ parishes and neighborhoods, Archbishop Aymond said, “we will continue to witness, and with God’s help, we will continue to be strong voices for the respect and the dignity of human life.”

 

Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.

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