Archive for the ‘Catholic US News’ Category

Church response to refugees is part of pro-life call, bishop says

Pittsburgh, Pa., Jul 23, 2014 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Answering the needs of refugee migrants is one component of a truly pro-life view, said a U.S. bishop, announcing a new initiative to aid children who have fled Central America for the United S…

Religious liberty ‘fundamental’ to human dignity, bishops affirm

Baltimore, Md., Jul 22, 2014 / 04:55 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a recent interview with CNA, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore reaffirmed religious liberty as a priority for the U.S. bishops, emphasizing its relation to personal dignity and evangelization.

“Let me just say that religious liberty is so fundamental to the dignity of the human person,” Archbishop Lori stated, continuing that “anyone who is an impartial observer of the culture would say that in recent times, the challenges to religious liberty have accelerated.

Because of these situation, the archbishop said that the American bishops have dedicated themselves to upholding religious freedom, and will continue to discuss the “multifaceted challenges” faced by the Church.

Archbishop Lori noted that the right to religious liberty “is very much related to truth,” and “does not just depend on (the content of one’s) belief.”

“God gave us the gift of religious liberty so that we could sincerely seek the truth, and embrace it once we have found it.”

He added that “to attenuate religious liberty is to attenuate the search for truth. So that is the fundamental level at which we are committed to religious liberty.”

Archbishop Lori also discussed the “linguistic and philosophical gulfs between the teaching of the Church, and the culture,” because “there are those who think religious liberty is really a guise for some right to discriminate, that the Church or others are seeking. So, we have to break those things down, in our catechesis and our evangelization.”

The vast differences in philosophical outlook and in use of language, between the Church and the mainstream culture, are important for Church leaders to take into account, he said.

“For those who preach and teach, it’s important that we break down the language that we use into terms that are, in fact, preachable and teachable.”

Archbishop Lori reflected on the U.S. bishops’ decision last month to renew for another three years its ad hoc committee, which he chairs, on religious liberty.

“I’m happy that they reaffirmed religious liberty as a priority for the work of the conference.”

This committee deals with affronts to religious liberty coming from such things as international persecution of minority religions; the re-definition of marriage; and challenges to religious practice and speech on university campuses.

“In setting up the ad hoc committee, the conference heard from bishops all around the country who have faced these kinds of challenges at the very local level, and now we’re seeing them at the federal level.”

Echoing the Baltimore prelate’s sentiments, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville said to CNA that he had heard from bishops that “not only has this been worthwhile on a national level in helping us to craft approaches to public policy, but it’s been helpful to people in our parishes, and  to bishops in their dioceses.”

Archbishop Kurtz also reflected how the ad hoc nature of the committee means precisely that the U.S. bishops will have to continue discussing the committee’s ambit: “we’re not where we were three years ago, so are there new things that need to be done in composition, as well as the scope.”

“I heard Archbishop Lori say they are already anticipating, the existing committee is already recommending things, and they probably see the horizon better than any of us. And so I am sure we will be focused very much on the horizon, and the observations that the present committee has, as we move forward.”

Archbishop Lori concluded that the bishops’ affirmation of the religious liberty committee indicates the episcopate continues to experience challenges to the exercise of religious freedom, “and that this is not at all a narrow focus.”

“This is a very fundamental focus on the life and dignity of the human person, and the ability of the Church to contribute to the common good.”

Lives of the saints model Catholic social teaching in new book

Huntington, Ind., Jul 22, 2014 / 11:59 am (CNA).- Dignity of the human person, solidarity and care for creation are just a few topics author Brandon Vogt discusses in his new book, “Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World.”…

Neb. priest contributes to medical article linking contraception, breast cancer

Lincoln, Neb., Jul 21, 2014 / 12:07 pm (CNA).- In an upcoming issue of The Linacre Quarterly, the official journal of the Catholic Medical Association, an article entitled, “The Breast Cancer Epidemic: 10 Facts,” will explore the scientific…

World leaders offer prayers in wake of MH17 crash

Washington D.C., Jul 18, 2014 / 01:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Following Wednesday’s crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, both religious and political leaders from around the world are offering up prayers, and searching for answers about the tragedy.

“Our entire Church prays for the eternal repose of the souls of the innocently killed,” Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Kyiv-Halyc said in a July 18 statement.

The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church stated that the “tragedy has revealed that evil… is a real threat to peace and security of the whole world,” and prayed for peace and consolation both for “Ukraine and for the entire world.”

“We remain united in our prayers with the families of the deceased and with all those suffering due to this tragedy,” he stressed.

On July 17, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian-Ukrainian border. The have been no signs of survivors of the flight, which was carrying 298 people, among the wreckage.
 
An estimated 100 victims were HIV/AIDS delegates, including prominent AIDS researcher Joep Lange, on their way to a conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Also among the dead was Sister Philomene Tiernan, an Australian member of the Religious Sisters of the Sacred Heart and a teacher at Kincoppal-Rose Bay Catholic School.

The plane was flying over Ukraine’s Donetsk region when it was shot down, and crashed. The region is home to the pro-Russian separatist organization the Donetsk People’s Republic, which is rebelling against the Ukrainian government and army in the wake of earlier unrest in the region.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko called the crash an act of “terrorism” and pledged that those responsible for the attack “will be held responsible.”

The Ukrainian government also released a statement saying that the plane was shut down by Soviet-era “Russian air defence systems” used by pro-Russian separatists. Ukrainian intelligence also have intercepted a phone call allegedly between a separatist leader and a Russian security officer, though the veracity of the call has not yet been verified.

Russian president Vladimir Putin offered his “condolences to the bereaved families” and the home countries of the victims of what he called a “terrible tragedy,” but blamed Ukraine for the event, saying the country “over whose territory it happened is responsible”.

He acknowledged that “renewed hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine” were responsible for the event, and that “this tragedy would not have happened if there was peace on this earth.” Putin stated that the Russian government would support investigations into the crash.

U.S. vice president Joe Biden said in a July 17 statement that the crash was “not an accident,” as the plane was “blown out of the sky” by a surface-to-air missile, according to U.S. intelligence, though officials have yet to conclusively identify the source.

U.S president Barack Obama echoed Biden’s observations, saying their “thoughts and prayers are with all of the families of the passengers, wherever they may call home.”

On July 18, during a news conference on the topic, the president added that the crash is a “wake-up call for Europe,” saying that “outrageous event underscores it’s time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine.”

Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong Lai called the attack an “outrage against human decency.” Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak pledged that a Malaysian disaster assistance team would be dispatched to the area and that “no stone will be left unturned” in bringing those responsible to justice.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those on board the flight,” Razak concluded. “I cannot imagine what they must be going through at this painful time.”

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands commented that he was “deeply saddened by this horrible news” and that his country’s “thoughts go to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims.”

Bishop Jozef Point of Haarlem-Amsterdam expressed the diocese’s prayers and condolences to the families of the victims, and invited “all believers to pray for the victims and their families,” particularly at a Mass Sunday at the Cathedral to be held in honor of the victims.

Cardinal Willem Eijk of Utrecht also assured families that his archdioceses was praying “for the repose of the people involved in this tragedy,” saying that for loved ones of the deceased “a time of great uncertainty and mourning has come.”

Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas tweeted July 18 asking his followers to “Please keep in your prayers those affected by the tragedy of the Malaysia Airlines plane disaster. Have mercy on them, Lord.”

The Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur expressed their sorrow over the crash in a blog post asking mourners to turn to God rather than revenge, anger, or blame.

The diocese prayed that those responsible may gain a “profound understanding for the evil of their actions,” and seek forgiveness from God, that God may give the families of victims “consolation in their mourning,” and that the victims themselves may find eternal rest and peace in God.

Natural women’s health center hailed for affirming life, dignity

Denver, Colo., Jul 18, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Colorado women’s health clinic seeking to offer natural care that respects human dignity has drawn praise for helping to build up a culture of life.

Authentic women’s care &ldquo…

Blogger recounts motherhood as spark that led to conversion

Denver, Colo., Jul 18, 2014 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The conversion from atheism to Catholicism was a rewarding journey full of triumph and trial for Jennifer Fulwiler, as outlined in her recent book, “Something Other Than God.”

Fulw…

Women speak out against ‘extreme’ abortion bill

Washington D.C., Jul 16, 2014 / 05:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A federal bill to remove almost all abortion regulations is drawing strong opposition from critics who say that it would be devastating to health and safety of both women and their children.

Senate rejects bill to end employer conscience protections

Washington D.C., Jul 16, 2014 / 03:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that opponents warned would have stripped conscience protections for businesses, drawing a response of cautious relief.

“While the outcome …

North Carolina lawmakers stand by ‘Choose Life’ plates

Washington D.C., Jul 16, 2014 / 02:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Several lawmakers in North Carolina have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review a censorship case related to pro-life specialty license plates in the state.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed the appeal on Friday on behalf of Thom Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and Phil Berger, president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate.

“State governments have a right to advance messages consistent with their public policies,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox in a recent statement.

“The Supreme Court has already affirmed that right. North Carolinians support protecting life and helping pregnant women in need; the First Amendment does not require the state to bow to demands that it censor the ‘Choose Life’ message.”

The North Carolina General Assembly authorized the specialty license plates featuring the phrase “Choose Life” in 2011. The plates would have been available for an additional $25 fee, $15 of which would support the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, which serves pregnant women in North Carolina.

The state offers more than 100 other special-interest license plates, ranging from the Knights of Columbus to more than a dozen NASCAR options. All specialty plates fund causes that benefit the state and are consistent with its public policies.  

Before the state could begin issuing the plates for hundreds of interested citizens, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on First Amendment grounds. The ACLU argued that the “Choose Life” plates must be censored because North Carolina did not also issue a specialty place encouraging abortion.  

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled in favor of the ACLU, barring North Carolina from distributing the “Choose Life” plates. In February, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision.

“The 4th Circuit’s decision is at odds with other circuits that have upheld the rights of states to issue such plates,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman.

“As the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed as recently as 2009, the government ‘has the right to speak for itself…and to select the views that it wants to express.’”

Specialty license plates expressing a pro-life message are available in 29 states.

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