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U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman on Passage of House Bill Imposing “Abortion on Demand” Nationwide

WASHINGTON - Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, H.R. 8296, by a vote of 219 to 210. This bill would impose abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy and would eliminate pro-life laws at every level of government -- including parental notification for minor girls, informed consent, and health and safety protections specific to abortion facilities. H.R. 8296 also would compel all Americans to support abortions here and abroad with their tax dollars and would likely force health care providers and professionals to perform, assist in, and/or refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as force employers and insurers to cover or pay for abortion.  

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement: 

“The majority in the House of Representatives voted last Friday to pass the most unjust and extreme abortion on demand bill our nation has ever seen. Answering the needs of women by promoting taxpayer-funded elective abortion, as this bill would do, is a grave evil and a failure to love and serve women. Offering free or low-cost abortions, instead of increasing the resources women need to care for themselves and their children, is not ‘choice’ but coercion and callous abandonment. Simply repeating the mantra that abortion is healthcare doesn’t make it so. Deliberately ending the lives of defenseless and voiceless human beings is the antithesis of healthcare.   

“We implore those who see abortion as a legitimate ‘solution’ to the needs of women to abandon this path of death and despair. Instead, we invite all to join us in pursuing a vision we presented in Standing with Moms in Need, a vision that upholds the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable—a society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children. We exhort our nation to prioritize the well-being of women, children, and families with both material resources and personal accompaniment so that no woman ever feels forced to choose between her future and the life of her child.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Gifts to the Solidarity Fund Strengthen Church’s Pastoral Capacity Across Africa

WASHINGTON - In August, many Catholic dioceses in the United States will take up a collection in their parishes for the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa, a program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that works in partnership with the Catholic Church in Africa to strengthen pastoral capacity, nurture relationships, and encourage accountability and good stewardship of resources.

Parishioners can give to the annual collection through the offering basket at Mass or parish e-giving platforms. The website #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts donations for the Solidarity Fund.

“Your gift will change lives,” said Bishop Peter L. Smith, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Portland, and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “While the Church in Africa is the fastest growing part of the Universal Church, it is also the most economically impoverished part of the family of faith. Despite the poverty and conflict that many African Catholics endure, their hope and faith moves them to pour their energy into serving Jesus.”

“Grants from the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa reflect support for pastoral projects and initiatives that demonstrate a truly Catholic approach to promoting pastoral care, peace, and well-being, as it addresses the interwoven demands of Christian faith and social justice. And it is evident from the way the gifts are received that they truly make a difference in the lives of many.”

Grants funded by the collection for the Solidarity Fund support pastoral projects of episcopal conferences and dioceses in Africa. African Church leadership identify their own needs and priorities, design and implement the projects, and are accountable for the transparent use of all funds. Four of the 85 projects from 2021 show the diversity of the pastoral projects assisted by these grants:

  • In Kenya, Catholic youth ministry leaders nationwide learned new ways to teach and evangelize during the COVID-19 pandemic, participating in workshops on topics such as the use of digital tools, responding to people in emotional distress, and best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • In Ethiopia, where civil war rages in part of the country, 95 teachers from 45 Catholic schools will be trained on a newly developed peace education curriculum and new textbooks will be printed and distributed so they can provide peace and moral education for over 31,000 students.
  • In the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, diocesan and parish leaders teach the spirituality of creation care that Pope Francis summarized in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato si’, mobilizing parish projects such as conserving water and reducing the use of plastics.
  • In Burundi, bishops and lay leaders are learning how to prevent child sexual abuse and respond justly and compassionately to reports of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

“These examples show how the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa helps Catholics to apply the Gospel to every level of human life: caring for individual souls, caring for communities and caring for humanity’s relationship with God’s creation,” Bishop Smith said.

More information on the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa and how a diocese or parish can get involved: https://www.usccb.org/committees/church-africa.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Ukrainian Catholic bishops pray for victims of missile strike in Vinnytsia

Among the victims of the Russian missile attack was a four-year-old girl with Down syndrome named Liza. / null

Rome Newsroom, Jul 16, 2022 / 07:30 am (CNA).

Ukrainian Catholic bishops gathered in prayer together for the victims of a Russian missile strike on the city of Vinnytsia, which killed at least 23 people and wounded more than 200.

Spain ombudsman 'concerned' that most doctors refuse to perform abortions

Spanish Ombudsman Ángel Gabilondo “warned” that in Madrid abortions are not performed in public hospitals, a situation that “should be subject to analysis.” / Credit: Congress of Deputies (Spain)

Denver Newsroom, Jul 14, 2022 / 20:00 pm (CNA).

In a letter leaked to a Spanish newspaper July 12, Ángel Gabilondo said the situation “should be subject to assessment and analysis.”

Leading laywoman and Co-President of German 'Synodal Way' calls for 'nationwide provision of abortion'

Irme Stetter-Karp, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics. / zdk.de.

Berlin, Germany, Jul 14, 2022 / 03:31 am (CNA).

A leading laywoman and co-president of the German "Synodal Way" has demanded that "abortion be made available nationwide".

Why the heritage listing of this 'radical' English cathedral might signal a change in attitude

The Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Helen in the Diocese of Brentwood, Essex (UK). / Historic England Archive

Brentwood, England, Jul 14, 2022 / 02:11 am (CNA).

The first classical cathedral to be built in England since St. Paul’s Cathedral has achieved a coveted recognition that shows a changing attittude to "serious classical architecture", according to its architect.

Fire destroys half of the Chapels of Light at Lourdes shrine

A panoramic view of the burned area and an image of Our Lady affected by a fire at the Lourdes shrine in France, July 11, 2022. / Credit: Sanctuary of Lourdes

Denver Newsroom, Jul 12, 2022 / 16:19 pm (CNA).

The shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France estimated damages to be a little more than $1.5 million.

Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Chad Zielinski as Bishop of New Ulm

WASHINGTON - Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Chad W. Zielinski of Fairbanks, as Bishop of New Ulm. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 12, 2022, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The biography for Bishop Zielinski may be found here.

The Diocese of New Ulm is comprised of 9,863 square miles in the State of Minnesota and has a total population of 279,681 of which 49,530 are Catholic.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection Releases Annual Report

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released their 2021 Annual Report. The report is based on the audit findings of StoneBridge Business Partners, a specialty consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, New York, which provides forensic, internal, and compliance audit services to leading organizations nationwide. A survey on allegations conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is also included as a part of the report.

This is the nineteenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. bishops established and adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and made a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.

The 2021 report for audit year July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021, states that 2,930 victim survivors came forward with 3,103 allegations. The number of allegations is 1,149 less than that reported in 2020. This decrease is due in large part to the resolution of allegations received as a result of lawsuits, compensation programs, and bankruptcies. Of the allegations received, 2,284 (74%) were first brought to the attention of the diocesan/eparchial representative by an attorney.

During this audit year, 30 allegations were made by current minors, six of which were substantiated, nine are still under investigation, nine were unsubstantiated, five were unable to be proven, and one was referred to the provincial of a religious order.

During the audit period, dioceses and eparchies provided outreach and support to 285 victim survivors and their families who reported during the audit period. Continued support was provided to 1,737 victim survivors who had reported in prior audit periods.

The report notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2021, the church conducted 1,964,656 background checks on clergy, employees, and volunteers. In addition, in 2021, over 2 million adults and over 2.4 million children and youth were trained in how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.

Despite restrictions experienced due to the pandemic, elements included in the Charter audit process conducted by Stonebridge Business Partners, were not altered:

  • 70 dioceses/eparchies were visited either in-person or via remote technology and data collected from 122 others.
  • There were four instances of non-compliance: the Diocese of Corpus Christi, the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana, the Diocese of New Ulm, and the Eparchy of Newton were found non-compliant with Article 2 of the Charter due to inactivity of their Review Boards. Subsequent convening of the respective Review Boards brought each into compliance with Article 2 of the Charter.
  • Three eparchies and one diocese did not participate in the audit: the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle, the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy, and the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

The USCCB’s Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and the National Review Board continue to emphasize that the audit and continued application of zero-tolerance policies are two important tools in the Church’s broader program of creating a culture of protection and healing that exceeds the requirements of the Charter.

The full annual report, and all previously published annual reports, may be found on the secretariat’s website, along with the full text of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, along with additional information and resources on diocesan requirements for the protection of children and young people.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Pope Francis jokes about upcoming Canada trip: 'They say it's not easy, I think it is'

Pope Francis prays the Angelus from the window of the Apostolic Palace, July 3, 2022. / Vatican Media/CNA

Rome, Italy, Jul 11, 2022 / 15:31 pm (CNA).

After visiting a community of Jesuits in Rome this weekend, Pope Francis joked about his upcoming trip to Canada, from July 24-30.