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US:     With Roe v Wade a dead letter, Biden rallies governors to promote abortion access

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House, Sept. 9, 2021 / WhiteHouse.gov

Denver Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 17:11 pm (CNA).

In the wake of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden met with a group of Democratic governors on Friday to discuss how to increase access to abortion and to codify abortion rights at the federal level. 

Various governors backed pro-abortion amendments to state constitutions, state funding for abortion, and using federal facilities and supportive Native American lands as possible venues for providing abortions.

Biden himself called the 6-3 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision a “terrible,  extreme decision” and a “tragic reversal” of Roe v. Wade.  It would upend lives and impact “the health and safety of millions of women,” he said to the portion of a July 1 videoconference open to the press.

“I share the public outrage that this extremist court is committed to moving America backwards, with fewer rights, less autonomy and politicians invading the most personal decisions not only of women, but, you’ll find, if they expand on this decision, men as well.” said Biden. “This is not over.”

Biden now backs abortion despite being a professed Catholic. He is the second Catholic to become U.S. president.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the Dobbs decision.

“America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” conference president Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles and pro-life committee chair Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said in a joint statement. 

After the U.S. Supreme Court mandated legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, more than 60 million abortions took place. 

Nine Democratic governors joined President Biden for the videoconference: Kathy Hochul of New York, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Jared Polis of Colorado, Ned Lamont of Massachusetts, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Jay Inslee of Washington, Kate Brown of Oregon, and Dan McKee of Rhode Island.

Biden recounted his administration’s actions last week. The administration would seek to protect women traveling interstate to seek an abortion if state governments intervene, though no legislatures have passed such laws. The Biden administration will also intervene if FDA-approved medication is blocked at the state level. He also called for more funding for family planning, clarifying, “not for abortion but family planning.”

The president said he believes states which restrict abortion are preparing “unlawful actions.”

Though Biden backs what he says is a “codification” of the Roe v. Wade decision by Congress, he noted there are not enough votes to change the filibuster rules. Abortion backers need “two more votes” in the Senate, he said, claiming that Republicans will “try to ban abortions nationwide” if they take control of Congress in November.

Hochul told the conference that she is seeing “a lot of fear and anxiety” from women who support abortion.

“This is frightening time for women all across our nation, a lot of fear and anxiety out there,” she said. In her view, abortion access is “a matter of life and death” for women, saying that illegal abortions are “unsafe.”

The New York governor said she has expanded an extraordinary session of the state legislature from its focus on gun legislation. It will now add what Hochul characterized as “further protections for women in our state,” including an “equality agenda” that bars discrimination “on pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes.”

She also aims to “enshrine abortion rights in our constitution” and to establish New York as a “safe harbor” for abortion seekers.

Hochul called on Biden to use federal facilities to help provide abortions in states “hostile to abortion rights.” She suggested using veterans hospitals, military facilities, and other places under control of the federal government. 

It is unclear whether such federal assistance would be legal. The Hyde Amendment bars most federal funding for abortion. 

Hochul also said the federal government should try to protect abortion seekers and doctors from “vigilante justice” and “private rights of action.” 

A Texas law allowed private lawsuits against those who perform or help procure illegal abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectible. Lawmakers added this ability in part because local pro-abortion authorities might decline to enforce the law. The Texas law explicitly bars lawsuits against a pregnant woman seeking an abortion.  

Cooper, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, characterized governors as the “last line of defense” for legal abortion. He said Planned Parenthood officials in North Carolina have told him they expect about 10,000 women seeking abortions from out of state in the next year.

“We are not backing down. We are ready to do what is needed to protect women’s health,” he said, using a common euphemism for abortion.

Lujan Grisham of New Mexico cited the state legislature’s recent repeal of a law criminalizing abortion. The state has also increased funding for family planning and “abortion care services.” Her executive order will reject any cooperation with states investigating violations of their abortion laws, including investigations or extraditions. 

She suggested that Native American lands could be venues for abortion clinics. 

“Our Indian Health Service clinics could be another effective vehicle” for providing abortions, she said, referring to a service under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The governor said that she has received outreach from “sovereign nations” which she thinks would be “very supportive and interested.”

President Biden said his administration is “looking at all alternatives, including the sovereign nation question.”

He also suggested Americans will back legal abortion, saying, “I think the American people are with us.”

Surveys about abortion give different answers depending on what is asked. Earlier this year, amid controversy over the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision draft leak, self-described pro-life survey respondents dipped to about 40%, according to Gallup. Other surveys indicate that while respondents say they support Roe v. Wade, they also support abortion restrictions which that precedent had barred, and even support returning questions about legal abortion to the state level. 

“I think people are going to be shocked when the first state that tries to arrest a woman for crossing a state line to get health services,” Biden said Friday, adding that such a move would show that ending Roe “affects all your basic rights.”

He told the governors that the Dobbs decision means “if you’ve got an 11-year-old child who’s a victim of incest who finds herself pregnant, she can’t get a choice. Her health can’t be protected if you’re raped and there’s no exceptions,” he said. He argued many people haven’t focused on these details beyond “the fundamental right of a women to be able to choose.”

The most recent proposal promising to codify Roe goes far beyond the original decision. The Women’s Health Protection Act, defeated in May by a 49-51 U.S. Senate vote, is an expansive abortion bill that would declare abortion a human right, undercut existing state pro-life laws, and force objecting doctors to perform abortions.

Biden had a record sceptical of legal abortion before becoming a strong backer of abortion causes.

Soon after Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, Biden said he thought the decision went “too far.” In his early career as a U.S. Senator from Delaware he voted for restrictions on federal funding for abortion. In a 1982 committee vote he supported a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade.


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US:     Sister Simone Campbell to be among Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
Sister Simone Campbell. / Bruce Cooper (edit) Thomas Good (photo)/wikimedia. CC BY SA 4.0

Denver Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 16:45 pm (CNA).

Sister Simone Campbell, former executive director of the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom July 7 at the White House.

The White House announced 17 recipients of the United States’ highest civilian honor on July 1.

“President Biden has long said that America can be defined by one word: possibilities. These seventeen Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith,” read a statement from the White House.

“They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is “presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors,” the statement said.

Campbell is a member, and former general director, of the Sisters of Social Service. She has been a leading figure within the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

The White House described her as “a prominent advocate for economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare policy.”

She received a law degree from the University of California-Davis School of Law in 1977.

Campbell was a prominent advocate for the Affordable Care Act.

During a January 2021 panel discussion hosted by the National Catholic Reporter, Campbell said that Biden “has a very developed approach” to abortion. “And for him, it hinges on religious liberty, and that he will not force his religious belief on the whole nation.”

Biden, the second Catholic president, has had unwavering support for abortion rights as president, and has refused to say if he supports any restrictions on the procedure.

Campbell offered a prayer at the Democratic National Convention in 2020. Asked by CNA that August whether the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice opposes legal abortion, Campbell replied, “That is not our issue. That is not it. It is above my pay grade.” 

“It’s not the issue that we work on. I’m a lawyer. I would have to study it more intensely than I have,” Campbell said.

"Our agenda is the economic justice issues," she told CNA at the time. "As the issues of economic justice mean, as Pope Francis talks about so often, the capacity for families to be able to support themselves, to be able to have a roof on their head."

"We don't focus on reproductive rights, we focus on trying to ensure life for everyone. As Pope Francis says 'equally sacred is the care for the born'," Campbell said.

Campbell was referring to Pope Francis' 2018 apostolic exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, in which the pope stated: "Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development."

The pope added that the lives of the poor, the destitute, the abandoned, the infirm, the elderly, and others are "equally sacred."

According to CNA's review of foundation grants to Network Lobby, a review which had not accounted for a majority of the group's funds, the organization had taken grants from major funders who also focus on abortion rights.

Campbell told CNA in 2020 that it is not Network Lobby's mission to be "in the fight for Roe v. Wade," the Supreme Court decision that mandated legal abortion nationwide. While she agreed that the dignity of life is inviolable from conception, she added, "I'm so tired. How long have we fought over Roe v. Wade?"

Roe was overturned last week by a 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Campbell told CNA in August 2020, "Our economic agenda is to ensure that everyone can flourish, that all life can flourish, and that we can care for our earth. Our niche is economic justice."

Campbell rejected any suggestion her approach might undermine efforts to secure legal protections for the unborn.

"We work for the Pregnant Women Support Act, funding for prenatal care, women's infants and children funding, making sure pregnant women get the care that they need," she said. She said there is crossover in ensuring health care for pregnant women, adequate nutrition, and adequate housing capacity "to carry the fetus to term."

She said Network Lobby cannot expand its work on abortion "because it doesn't fit in economic justice, which is our mission."

"The thing that's so painful for me is the view that only one issue, as important as it is, defines all of Catholicity," she said.

During a 2016 interview with Democracy Now, Campbell had said that "From my perspective, I don't think it's a good policy to outlaw abortion."

Among the the recipients next week of the Presidential Medal of Honor are also Father Alexander Karloutsos, a former vicar general of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Khzir Khan, a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from  August 2021 until May 2022; Megan Rapinoe, a soccer player and LGBTQI+ rights advocate; Alan Simpson, a former U.S. Senator from Wyoming and an advocate for same-sex marriage and abortion rights; Simone Biles; Gabrielle Giffords; Steve Jobs; John McCain; and Denzel Washington.


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US:     Suspected arson causes $1M in damage to Catholic school in Ohio
Fire rips through a building containing the cafeteria and gymnasium of St. Anthony of Padua School in Lorain, Ohio, on June 30, 2022. An arson investigation is underway. / Screenshot from Ohio Commerce Department YouTube video

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 16:38 pm (CNA).

A building on the grounds of a Catholic school in northern Ohio sustained an estimated $1 million in damage from a fire Thursday. An arson investigation is underway, authorities said.

The fire, which started outside the building, caused heavy smoke and structural damage to the cafeteria and gymnasium of St. Anthony of Padua School in Lorain, a community on the coast of Lake Erie, Jeff Fenn, assistant chief at the Lorain Fire Department, told CNA Friday. 

Fenn estimated the damage at $1 million. He said the nearby parish church was not damaged.

Heat from the fire caused windows to “pop” which allowed smoke to fill the whole gymnasium and cafeteria, Fenn said. The fire caused smoke and structural damage, he said.

Fenn told CNA he was baptized and received First Holy Communion at the parish.

“It’s close to my heart,” he said.

A tweet from the Ohio Department of Commerce says that “A $5,000 reward is available for information leading to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for this arson fire at St. Anthony of Padua School in Lorain.” 

Anyone with information about the arson is directed to call the Ohio Fire Marshall’s tip line at 800-589-2728.

A Facebook post from St. Anthony of Padua parish Catholic school and pre-school said, “There was a fire on campus very early this morning. Thankfully no one was hurt! It was an outside fire to the Social Hall & Gym. The fire was put out by the quick action of the Lorain Fire Department. An investigation is underway. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!”

A follow-up post Thursday asked for continued prayers. 

It’s not clear if the fire is connected to pro-abortion violence directed at Catholic churches and pro-life organizations across the U.S.


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US:     U.S. bishops disappointed by Supreme Court's climate regulation ruling
Kodda / Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 14:45 pm (CNA).

The U.S. bishops said Friday they are disappointed by a Supreme Court ruling which limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

“The Catholic bishops of the United States have long-supported the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in order to address climate change,” read a July 1 statement from Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chair of the U.S. bishops’ domestic justice committee.

“We are, therefore, disappointed today that following the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act the EPA will have significantly restricted authority to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants.”

In its 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA on June 30, the court ruled that the Clean Air Act does not explicitly give the EPA wide-ranging power to regulate the entire energy industry.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. 

The EPA’s regulations, he said, were an example of “agencies asserting highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted.”

Coakley wrote that “both reasonable regulation and legislation are critical for addressing the threat and challenges of climate change. We call upon Congress to give the EPA the necessary authority to meaningfully regulate greenhouse gases.”

He quoted a 2018 memo from the U.S. bishops’ office of general counsel to the administrator of the EPA urging that the agency has “both the statutory authority and responsibility to take regulatory action… It is hard to foresee a scenario, under current economic and technological conditions, in which the EPA faithfully carries out its mandate to protect the public health from greenhouse gases without significantly affecting political and economic realities.”

Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on care for our common home, covered a wide range of topics in relation to the environment – from climate change, species extinction, and resource depletion, to waste, economic structures, and global inequality.

The encyclical praised St. Francis of Assisi for living out an "integral ecology" with joy and authenticity.


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Americas:     Peruvian same-sex-attracted man defies gay 'pride' by promising to be chaste
null / Unsplash

Lima, Peru, Jul 1, 2022 / 14:40 pm (CNA).

Gerson Gonzales Granados is a young, same-sex-attracted Catholic man from Peru who didn’t celebrate gay “pride” on June 28 but instead has promised to be chaste and to defend what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality.

In an interview with Spanish EWTN News, Gonzales, a photographer, shared his life’s journey and about the promise he made during a Mass at Holy Family Retreat House in the Diocese of Lurín, Peru.

Asked why he promised to live a chaste life when many are encouraged to “come out” by celebrating their homosexuality, the young Peruvian said that perhaps “since we have suffered so much in life we tend to present ourselves as winners or that we have overcome things. And we tend to present these fears as a reason for pride and happiness.”

Gonzales explained that, in reality, “homosexual practice harms us, it harms the heart.” It’s also even harmful “if it’s loving, respectful, or faithful,” he said, and therefore advocated “not practicing homosexual acts.”

The young man explained that by giving up homosexual practices, he can “give a big yes to the Lord, to the Church” and assured that “living in chastity is the best way to live homosexuality.”

After commenting that he has sometimes received criticism from “within the Church” for his position, Gonzales said that one of his promises has been to “always accept, welcome, and preach the teaching of the Catholic Church and defend its doctrine, especially what’s related to homosexuality and chastity.”

The Church’s teaching on homosexuality is summarized in Nos. 2357, 2358, and 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which explain that homosexuals must always be welcomed, that homosexuality is a disordered tendency, and that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and therefore cannot be approved of.

His personal story

Gonzales told EWTN News that he was aware of his same-sex attraction at age 12. He initially considered himself bisexual, and over time he turned to pornography, masturbation, and finally to homosexual practice.

The young man shared that what affected him a lot was the poor relationship he had with his father, which “was very empty emotionally. He’s a dad who unfortunately at the time didn’t know how to say I love you or I cherish you; he didn’t know how to give a real hug. I think that may have created an emotional deficit.”

That relationship in addition to his mother’s volatile character and the fact that he was groped at age 8 by a 14-year-old boy, he explained, “could have caused wounded self-esteem, homosexual affectivity; this could have caused my tendency.”

All this and conversations he had with others led him to think that his homosexuality was a result of fear and wounded affections.

“I firmly believe that homosexuality is a kind of fear, of personal dissatisfaction, a kind of unresolved emotional issue, and for that reason I understand very well why the Church says that homosexuality is a disordered tendency, and of course I understand that homosexual practice is inherently disordered,” he told EWTN News.

“If homosexuality is what I’m telling you — fear and personal dissatisfaction — when you practice it you end up locking yourself into your homosexuality, making the wounds worse, becoming more insecure and dependent, perhaps more obsessive. So I understand that the Church isn’t wrong with her teaching,” he stressed.

Living the faith as same-sex attracted

Gonzales said that on Holy Thursday 2013 he felt the personal call of Jesus to change his life.

Since then, he has been able to move forward with “friendships with members of the Church, with people who experience the same thing I do. What I manage to do is make friends with people who also come around seeking to be consoled. Thus I find joy in this apostolate, which helps me to live my faith.”

In addition, he stressed, “I’m a man of Mass and daily Communion.”

Gonzales shared that at Mass, “I encounter Jesus in a very special way. I can listen to him in the Gospel, see him in the Consecration, and touch him when I receive Communion.”

“I don’t neglect prayer, I try to always stay in relationship with him, especially eucharistic adoration,” he added.

“I have a priest who accompanies me spiritually. Thanks to him, I can say that the Church has never abandoned me,” Gonzales said.

Message to those with homosexual tendencies

Asked about the message he could give to people with homosexual tendencies, Gonzales said: “There’s no reason to be sad. Don’t feel unworthy; the Lord loves you madly and has your names written in heaven. Let’s carry our cross with peace and joy, moving forward.”

“Don’t be afraid but trust in [the Lord]; nothing is beyond him,” he added.

The young Peruvian photographer also emphasized that “Jesus comes to heal everything — he’s the one most interested in our happiness. It’s possible to experience homosexual tendencies and be saints. [Jesus] calls us to that.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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US:     NY AG asks Google to remove pregnancy centers from ‘abortion’ search results
New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks to the media on May 26, 2022, in New York City. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 12:58 pm (CNA).

New York’s attorney general office sent Google a letter Tuesday requesting that the company remove pro-life pregnancy centers from search results for abortion services.

“A search through Google Maps seeking ‘abortion’ and a location will provide a local listing of both those health care providers who offer abortion services and organizations that do not provide abortion care,” wrote Darsana Srinivasan, chief of the health care bureau in the attorney general's office.

Nearly 3,000 U.S. pregnancy centers provide “​​essential medical, education and support services” to millions every year at little to no cost, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the research arm of SBA Pro-Life America. Thousands of licensed medical workers serve these centers, according to CLI.

But in her letter, Srinivasan maintained that crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are not health care providers and will not help women with abortion.

“CPCs exist solely to intercept and dissuade pregnant people from making fully informed decisions about their healthcare such as the choice to obtain an abortion,” she claimed. “Including these organizations in a list for an individual seeking abortion services is dangerous and misleading.” 

Abortion activists have targeted many of these centers in anticipation of and following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

Srinivasan complained that a Google Maps search for “abortion Binghamton, NY” lists pregnancy centers such as Life Choices Center and Women’s Life Services “along with legitimate health care providers who offer abortion and abortion counseling.” 

She concluded: “With the expectation that New York will be seeing an increasing number of pregnant people from out of state seeking abortion services in our state—often traveling here at great financial cost and inconvenience — it is imperative that pregnant people are receiving accurate information.”

New York’s Democratic attorney general, Letitia James, added to the letter in a Wednesday release.

“New Yorkers, and others traveling to the state, should trust that Google Maps will provide accurate information and direct them to real and safe care,” she said. “My office will do whatever is necessary to work with Google to make these changes and ensure that people can locate the reproductive health care facilities that they need.”

Google, Life Choices Center, and Women’s Life Services did not respond to requests for comment by time of publication.


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US:     Nashville pregnancy center attacked, FBI joins investigation
null / Carl Ballou / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 12:30 pm (CNA).

The FBI and Metropolitan Nashville Police are investigating an attempted arson of a pro-life pregnancy center in Nashville, Tennessee, that was attacked and had the words “Janes Revenge” written on the side at around 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning. 

Nashville Police said that Midtown Hills Precinct officers discovered a smashed window with “an unignited Molotov cocktail-type device” inside the building when they arrived at the scene at Hope Clinic for Women around 1:40 a.m. The device is being analyzed in a lab, police said.

Police said the attack on the center is the first vandalism in Nashville related to the June 24 U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Police said they are working with the clinic to heighten security measures.

Kailey Cornett, executive director and CEO of Hope Clinic for Women, told CNA Friday that the window has been replaced and the graffiti cleaned off. 

“We’re all back in shape,” she said. 

Cornett said her team is resilient and very grateful for an influx of prayers and support after the news of the vandalism. 

“We are here to do what we’re called to do and that's to serve women,” she said. “We were able to rally around each other and support each other yesterday but I think that we're ready to get back to providing care today."

The incident is part of a surge of attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and Catholic churches reported since the court’s decision returned abortion regulation to the states. CNA is tracking the incidents using the interactive map below.

The FBI said in June that it is investigating the series of attacks and threats against pro-life pregnancy centers and faith-based organizations across the nation.

Graffiti spelling out “Jane's Revenge” is commonly used in these vandalism incidents. It remains unclear if Jane’s Revenge is an organized group or merely a slogan. 


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US:     FBI probe could help prosecute Louisiana priests accused of inter-state sex abuse
St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. / travelview/Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 12:04 pm (CNA).

Federal authorities are investigating alleged sex abuse of minors by New Orleans-area Catholic clergy, sometimes going back decades, on the grounds that the accused men could have violated a federal anti-sex trafficking law by crossing state lines. The investigation could provide another means for abuse victims to make their case against their abusers, and possibly file sex abuse lawsuits against Catholic dioceses and other organizations.

The FBI is probing whether accused priests can be prosecuted under various charges including the Mann Act, which bars taking anyone across state lines for illicit sex. Though some criminal claims may date back to the 1970s, the Mann Act has no statute of limitations. The Louisiana State Police is aiding the inquiry.

Federal prosecutors have used the Mann Act to help convict Ghislaine Maxwell, a leading figure in the Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse ring, and music star R. Kelly. In 2013, a Baptist pastor was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for taking a 16-year-old girl across state lines for illicit purposes.

Federal authorities have interviewed more than a dozen alleged victims this year, the Associated Press reports. Some of the victims allege they were abused by a New Orleans-based priest on trips to Mississippi camps or Texas and Florida amusement parks. 

A former altar boy told the AP his abuse began in the 1970s when his accuser allegedly sexually abused him on trips to Colorado and Florida. 

The probe also involves allegations against former New Orleans priest Lawrence Hecker, now 90. Hecker was removed from ministry in 2002 after alleged abuse ranging in nature from fondling to rape. He allegedly abused children decades ago on out-of-state trips. He was dismissed from the clerical state in 2018. 

Richard Trahant, an attorney for Hecker’s alleged victims, in a court filing alleged that the records under the confidentiality order will reveal that the last four archbishops of New Orleans knew Hecker was a serial sexual abuser of children. 

The archdiocese list, however, said it first received an allegation against Hecker in 1996. Though attorneys have claimed that Archbishop Philip Hannan was aware of Hecker’s abuse, Hannan left office in 1988, NOLA.com reported in 2020.

The federal probe could pave the way for further revelations and further lawsuits against the New Orleans archdiocese.

In May 2020, the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced that it was filing for bankruptcy. Survivors who filed claims against the archdiocese in bankruptcy courts by the March 1, 2021 deadline would not be able to sue in state courts. The archdiocese faced about 400 sex abuse claims in bankruptcy court and these were a major motive for the bankruptcy effort. 

Victims could still sue their alleged abusers who operated in religious orders or lay ministries, the New Orleans Advocate reported.

Bankruptcy proceedings have sealed Church documents that were produced by lawsuits with a confidentiality order. Critics say the records document years of abuse claims, interviews with clergy accused of abuse, and a pattern of Church leaders reassigning accused clergy without reporting their alleged crimes to law enforcement.

The archdiocese in 2018 published a list naming 57 “credibly accused” clergy. Six more names were later added to the list. An Associated Press analysis faulted the initial list, arguing that it undercounted by at least 20.

Peter G. Strasser, a former U.S. attorney in New Orleans, declined to bring charges. He told the Associated Press he had “naively” thought federal charges could be possible but faced many obstacles, including the complexities of “putting the church on trial” for conspiracy and other charges.

“The issue has always been determining what is the federal crime,” he said.

Revelations of the extent of clergy sex abuse began in 2002, causing much scandal and pain but also efforts to strengthen support for victims, child protection programs, abuse reporting methods, and disciplinary action against abusive clergy and their superiors.

The U.S. bishops’ annual report on Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, released in November 2021, said there were fewer than 24 new allegations of recent abuse by clergy.

However, over 4,200 new allegations of historic abuse were reported in the report’s one-year coverage period. 

Statistical graphs of the dates of reported abuse incidents continue to show that the numbers of alleged clergy abuse incidents peaked in the 1970s. Lawsuits from historic abuse have cost the Catholic Church in the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars.

In 2021, the Louisiana legislature passed a law creating a three-year “lookback” window for survivors of child sex abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged abuser, even when the statute of limitations would normally impede such lawsuits.

At the time, the victim’s 28th birthday was the deadline for child sex abuse lawsuits

The archdiocese told CNA in October 2020 that it had been seeking to dismiss from the clerical state priests who had been removed from ministry over accusations of child sex abuse, in the wake of the 2018 report. Under canon law, dioceses are obligated to provide for the needs of priests removed from ministry, such as for housing and health care. They are not obliged to provide for the needs of priests who have been dismissed from the clerical state.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis: 'I believe it is time to rethink the concept of a just war'
Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, June 25, 2022 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Jul 1, 2022 / 10:26 am (CNA).

In an interview published Friday, Pope Francis said that he believes it is time to rethink the concept of “just war.”

“I believe it is time to rethink the concept of a ‘just war.’ A war may be just, there is the right to defend oneself. But we need to rethink the way that the concept is used nowadays,” Pope Francis said.

“I have said that the use and possession of nuclear weapons are immoral. Resolving conflicts through war is saying no to verbal reasoning, to being constructive. … War is essentially a lack of dialogue.”

The pope spoke in an interview that was conducted on June 20 by Télam, Argentina’s national news agency. A 1-hour video of the interview was published on July 1. 

In response to a question about how the lack of dialogue is an aggravating factor in the current state of world affairs, the pope said that there is “an entire infrastructure of arms sales” that supports war today.

“A person who knew about statistics told me, I don't remember the numbers well, that if weapons were not manufactured for a year, there would be no hunger in the world,” he said.

Pope Francis described how he cried during visits to war cemeteries in Europe, including the Redipuglia World War I memorial and Anzio World War II cemetery in Italy.

“And when the anniversary of the landing in Normandy was commemorated, I thought of the 30,000 boys who were left dead on the beach. They opened the boats and said, ‘get off, get off,’ they were ordered while the Nazis waited for them. Is that justified? Visiting military cemeteries in Europe helps one realize this,” he said.

The pope also said that the situation in Europe today shows that the United Nations “has no power” to stop a war.

“After World War II, trust was placed in the United Nations. It is not my intention to offend anybody, I know there are very good people working there, but at this point, the UN has no power to assert,” he said.

“It does help to avoid wars — and I am thinking of Cyprus, where there are Argentine troops. But to stop a war, to solve a conflict situation like the one we are living today in Europe, or like the ones lived in other parts of the world, it has no power.”

Church teaching on the morality of war is based on a theory expounded by St. Augustine in the 4th century known as just war theory and recognizes a potentially just reason to engage in war under certain conditions.

Theologians told CNA in 2019 that applying this theory to modern warfare, which often involves missile and air strikes rather than pitched battles between troops, is more complicated, yet normative.

The papal interview touched on a number of themes, including the Covid-19 pandemic, intergenerational dialogue, and climate change.

“You can rest assured that God always forgives, and we, men, forgive every now and then. But nature never forgives. It pays us back. If we use nature for our profit, it will bear down on us. A warmed-up world prevents the construction of a fraternal and just society,” the pope said.

When asked about the Catholic Church in Latin America, the pope said that it has a long history of being “close to the people.”

Pope Francis said: “In a way, this is the experience of the Latin American Church, although there have been attempts of ideologization, such as the use of Marxist concepts in the analysis of reality by Liberation Theology. That was an ideological exploitation …”

“There is a difference between the people and populisms,” he added.


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Vatican:     Vatican confirms sale of London property at heart of finance trial
Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, pictured in 2016. / Alexey Gotovsky/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 1, 2022 / 09:49 am (CNA).

The Vatican has confirmed the sale of the luxury London property at the center of a financial corruption trial.

A July 1 statement from the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) reported that the Vatican sold the building on 60 Sloane Avenue in London to Bain Capital for £186 million ($223.6 million).

“The losses incurred with respect to what was spent on the purchase of the property were conferred to the reserve of the Secretariat of State, without in any way in this circumstance touching Peter’s Pence or the donations of the faithful,” it said.

The Secretariat of State began to purchase the building eight years ago as an investment property intended for development into luxury apartments. The Vatican spent about 350 million euros ($364 million) on the investment for a building that its previous owner had purchased for £129 million ($155 million), according to the Associated Press.

The circumstances surrounding the property’s purchase are the focus of an ongoing trial in the Vatican courts with accusations of fraud and embezzlement against 10 people.

Pope Francis ordered the removal of responsibility for financial funds and real estate assets, including the London building, from the Secretariat of State in November 2020.

In an August 2020 letter, the pope asked for “particular attention” to be paid to two specific financial matters: “investments made in London” and the Centurion Global investment fund. Pope Francis requested that the Vatican “exit as soon as possible” from the investments, or “at least dispose of them in such a way as to eliminate all reputational risks.”

Control of the secretariat’s real estate assets and investment funds was given to APSA. APSA received 16 initial offers to purchase the London property in September 2021.

In its most recent statement, APSA said that it worked with the real estate broker Savills in the sale “to ensure the transparency and the independence of the evaluation process” and that the Secretariat for the Economy followed every step of the process.


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Middle East - Africa:     Nigerian archbishop cries at gravesite of slain priest as Catholics protest violence
Priests protest at the funeral of Father Vitus Borogo in the archdiocese of Kaduna on June 30, 2022. / Photos courtesy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna

Rome Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 07:00 am (CNA).

Hundreds of Catholics protested violence against Christians in Nigeria at a funeral for a slain priest on Thursday.

“We have buried a number of priests back to back. People are tired, people are frustrated, people are depressed,” Father Daniel Kyom, a priest of the Archdiocese of Kaduna, told CNA on July 1.

“People are tired of the killing. A lot of people have died as a result of this terrorism, and a good part of those who have died are priests,” he said.

Kyom said that shortly before the funeral Mass on June 30 some priests decided to print out signs to carry in protest of the violence against Christians in northern Nigeria, where two churches were attacked last week.

More than 700 people, including about 100 priests, were present at the funeral where the priests protested, according to the archdiocese.

“It is because we feel helpless that we reacted the way that we did yesterday. We wanted the world to know. We wanted to cry to the world for help,” Kyom said.

“People are suffering, especially Christians are suffering in the northern part of Nigeria, particularly Kaduna state.”

Archbishop Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso of Kaduna broke into tears as he buried Father Vitus Borogo, a 50-year-old priest of the diocese who was killed along Kaduna-Kachia Road on June 25.

“Yesterday, the emotion got to a boiling point,” Kyom said.

“The bishop was so moved with emotion that he cried at the gravesite of the priest. This is something that I have never seen before. … It was such an overwhelming emotion yesterday for everybody.”

More Christians are killed for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country worldwide — at least 4,650 in 2021, and nearly 900 in the first three months of 2022 alone, according to Open Doors.

Nigeria’s Kaduna state, in particular, has been described as “an epicenter of kidnapping and violence by non-state actors” in Nigeria by the UK-based human rights foundation Christian Solidarity Worldwide. A 2022 report by the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom cites six attacks against churches in Kaduna State in 2021.

Kyom, who formerly served as the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Kaduna, said Christians are frustrated by the local government’s lack of response to the violence.

“The persecution is so much that we feel the government is complicit,” he said.

“If we had a governor that is a Christian in Kaduna state, I’m very sure that the reaction to the killings would have been different. I don’t think that a Christian governor would sit back and allow these terrorists to kill people.”

“A lot of communities that have been destroyed are Christian communities and the people destroying them are Muslims,” he added.

The European Union Agency for Asylum reports that the main violent actors in Kaduna state are Fulani ethnic militias and unidentified armed groups. It notes that Boko Haram has also reportedly conducted attacks in the region and that farmer-herder conflicts have intensified during the COVID-19 lockdown period in the North-West of Nigeria.

The Nigerian priest noted that it would mean a lot to Christians in Nigeria to hear more from Pope Francis on the issue.

“I think that the attention of the hierarchy should be drawn to Nigeria, to Kaduna state in particular … [because] Kaduna state is strategic to peace in Nigeria,” he said.

Kyom said that sometimes it feels like the international community does not believe that people are really dying in Nigeria.

“But this is the reality for some of us who are here … We need help in whatever way, shape, or form. That’s the reality,” he said. “Now the government does not seem to have any solution, any deliberate measures to tackle the situation. There is nothing visible for us to see to be hopeful in this situation.”


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Americas:     Guatemalan president demands commission desist from abortion activism
President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, in protocolary session of the Permanent Council of the OAS. / Credit: Juan Manuel Herrera/OAS (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Washington D.C., Jun 30, 2022 / 19:00 pm (CNA).

In a June 28 protocol session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei demanded that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) “respect the sovereignty and freedom of each state” and stop being an “activist” for abortion.

Giammattei criticized the 2021 annual report of the IACHR, which calls out Guatemala in Chapter IV.b. 

The commission noted that Guatemala joined “the ‘Geneva Consensus to Promote Women’s Health and the Promotion of the Family,’” which “expressly excludes abortion as an integral part of women’s right to sexual and reproductive health” and affirms “there is no international obligation of the states to guarantee or facilitate its access.”

In addition, the IACHR criticized Guatemala for “absolutely” prohibiting abortion “except when there is danger to the life of the woman.”

The IACHR demanded that Guatemala adopt “the legislative measures, public policies, and any other measure that may be necessary … to guarantee women’s access to sexual and reproductive health goods and services without any discrimination, including access to the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in cases of danger to life or health, as well as in cases of rape and incest.”

According to its website, the IACHR presents itself as “a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere.” 

For the president of Guatemala, the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights shows a “methodological error that makes evident an agenda in favor of abortion that exceeds its powers, because the IACHR should not be an activist on these issues, but rather respect the sovereignty and freedom of each state to decide on these issues.”

As an example, Giammattei pointed to “the recent ruling that we saw here in the United States regarding this,” referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which declared there is no constitutional “right” to abortion. 

The president of Guatemala noted that his country “has complied with its human rights commitments at all times and has provided the commission with all the information it has requested.”

In addition, he stressed that “it’s necessary that we work together to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System, because the illegality and disrespect for [the country’s] regulations that are perpetrated today against Guatemala may tomorrow occur against any other country that is a member of the organization.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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Americas:     Bishop walks on his knees to bid farewell to Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos in Mexico
A procession of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos in Mexico. / Credit: Courtesy of the Historical Archive of the Cathedral of San Juan de los Lagos

Mexico City Newsroom, Jun 30, 2022 / 18:40 pm (CNA).

In a farewell gesture to Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos and his now former diocese, Bishop Jorge Alberto Cavazos Arizpe on June 28 walked on his knees from the back of the diocesan basilica to the altar where her miraculous image is kept.

Cavazos headed the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos for six years and was recently appointed Archbishop of San Luis Potosí, succeeding Archbishop Jesús Carlos Cabrero Romero, who last year turned 75, the age at which all bishops must submit their resignation to the Holy Father.

Cavazos will be installed as the Archbishop of San Luis Potosí July 1. 

The miraculous image of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos is kept in the cathedral basilica of San Juan de los Lagos, the second most visited Marian shrine in Mexico.

According to local accounts, Our Lady, as represented by the image, has worked several miracles over the centuries. 

The first miracle occurred in 1623 when the statue was brought out from the sacristy, where it had been stored away for 80 years due to its poor condition, and placed on the chest of a young girl who had been killed during an acrobatic performance. The girl came back to life, unharmed.

The YouTube channel Médico Historiador (Doctor Historian) by Dr. Everardo López Padilla, who is in charge of the cathedral’s Historical Archive, said Cavazos, “when bidding farewell to Our Blessed Mother of San Juan, wanted to do it like the pilgrims: on his knees.”

“He entered at the cathedral’s front [doors], and covered almost 60 meters (195 feet) on his knees with his eyes fixed on the beloved Virgin of San Juan, ‘la Cihualpilli,’” meaning “the Great Lady” in the local language.

When visiting San Juan de los Lagos on May 8, 1990, Pope John Paul II called the image the “one who was brought back to life (from oblivion in the sacristy) and who brought back life,” (“la resucitada y resucitadora” or “the resurrected and resurrecting”).

Among other important decisions he made during his tenure as bishop in San Juan de los Lagos, Cavazos determined that the Day for the Respect, Promotion, and Care of Life be celebrated on the 25th of each month.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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US:     Attacks on churches, pro-life pregnancy centers continue 
Grafitti on a sign for All Saints Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon, June 25, 2022. / All Saints Catholic Church

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 30, 2022 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision on Friday, attacks on Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers have been reported in West Virginia, Washington, Virginia, Louisiana, Colorado, California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Indiana. 

Below are the latest recorded attacks since the decision.

St. Patrick Catholic Church in Philadelphia was defaced with pro-abortion spray paint June 25.

Father Hyacinth Cordell, O.P., pastor of the church, told CNA that the graffiti, which said "Abort the church," was on a corner on the outside of the church. It is cleaned off, he said.

Vandalism at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Philadelphia, June 25, 2022. Fr. Hyacinth Cordell, OP
Vandalism at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Philadelphia, June 25, 2022. Fr. Hyacinth Cordell, OP

A pro-life sign at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Hutchinson, Kansas, about 50 miles northwest of Wichita, was vandalized over the weekend.

The sign which shows a mother holding a baby says “Vote Yes August 2nd” and “ValueThemBoth.com” below. The sign is encouraging people to vote yes on an amendment to the state constitution that would allow regulations on abortion. 

Matt Vainer, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Wichita, said that the perpetrator was followed by a witness who called the police. The perpetrator was arrested, he said. 

The pastor of St. Teresa of Avila, Fr. Aaron Spexarth, placed the sign underneath a crucifix in the church, as he believed it was most appropriate to place it at Christ’s feet, Vainer confirmed to CNA.

All Saints Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon had its sign defaced with pro-abortion graffiti June 25.

A photo of the vandalism shows the words “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you! -XOXO Jane.” The FBI is investigating, Barbara Custer, a parish secretary at the church, told CNA.

A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic in Yuba City, California was vandalized June 27.

The clinic had one of its windows smashed by what seems to be one perpetrator according to video footage, the clinic’s executive director Kristen Bird told CNA. 

Video shows the perpetrator throwing three rocks at the window until it broke. Repairs will cost anywhere between $700 and $900. The FBI is investigating, Bird said. 

A window was smashed with a rock at A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic in Yuba City, California, June 27, 2022. A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic
A window was smashed with a rock at A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic in Yuba City, California, June 27, 2022. A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic

The mobile clinic of Options Health, a pregnancy center in Concord, California, was vandalized June 25, Blayne Wittig, the clinic’s Executive Director told CNA.

The Pregnancy Resource Center of Salt Lake City was vandalized June 24, within hours of the release of the Dobbs decision.

A receptionist at the clinic told CNA June 30 that a sign was taped to the front door that read “If abortions aren’t safe neither are you,” and on the backside, “Women are fragile, not like a flower, but more like a bomb.”

Stickers were left on the building, one of which that said “Jesus loves abortion” with a heart shape replacing the word “love.” Stickers were placed around that one which said “abortion forever” and “abortion is healthcare.”


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US:     Catholic Charities San Antonio aiding survivors and their families after Texas migrant deaths
Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities San Antonio, aids a migrant following the death of dozens of people abandoned in a truck. / Tara Ford

Denver Newsroom, Jun 30, 2022 / 17:11 pm (CNA).

Following the discovery of the bodies of more than 50 migrants who died in an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, the local Catholic Charities organization is offering support to the 12 surviving migrants and their families. 

Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities San Antonio, told CNA that they are requesting prayers as they offer shelter and basic necessities to the families of the deceased and surviving migrants. Many of the survivors remain hospitalized and “their health is very weak,” Fernandez said. 

The June 27 incident is thought to be the largest en masse death of migrants from the southern border in modern history, but the manner of their deaths is not without precedent. In 2017, San Antonio was the site of a similar incident in which 10 migrants died in a tractor trailer baking in a hot Wal-Mart parking lot. 

“We deal with immigrants every day, thousands of people every week. This is the fourth truck incident where people have lost their lives,” Fernandez lamented.

The migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer baking in extreme heat in San Antonio, Texas on the evening of June 27. The official death toll has risen to 53, NPR reported, and the dead include 22 Mexicans, 7 Guatemalans, and 2 Hondurans, with the others not yet having been publicly identified.

Fernandez said Catholic Charities has been in touch with the consulates in the countries of origin of the deceased migrants, and hopes to be able to pay for travel expenses for the surviving migrants and for their families. 

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio, and Auxiliary Bishops Michael Boulette and Gary Janak will preside at a memorial Mass for the migrants June 30, the archdiocese told CNA, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of San Fernando. The liturgy will include a procession from the cathedral’s Main Plaza, a special cross, and candles and flags representing the countries of the deceased as well as the survivors, spokesman Jordan McMorrough said. 

According to experts cited by NPR, it is likely that the people who were in the trailer had crossed the border on foot, before gathering in Laredo to be loaded into a truck. The truck driver as well as three other people involved in smuggling the migrants are reportedly detained. 

Rebecca Solloa, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Laredo, told CNA that the border crossing at Laredo sees the most traffic when other nearby border crossings are overcrowded. She said the migrant shelter that they operate in Laredo has seen increases in the number of migrants needing assistance in the past week, up from around 50 to now as many as 150 a day. 

Solloa said they provide basic necessities to prepare the migrants for travel to their families in other areas of the U.S. interior. Migrants will stay usually between 8-24 hours at their shelter, and the most of the migrants they are serving currently are from Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Venezuela. 

She said their biggest priorities currently are ensuring they have enough food and clothing to give to the migrants, as well as having enough water to provide for them in the sweltering heat. 

Solloa, too, urged prayers for the deceased migrants, many of whom likely had families depending on them in their home countries. She said in her view, the incident is indicative that Title 42 — which during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many migrants being turned away — has caused desperation among migrants, leading them to attempt riskier crossings. 

Although Title 42 remains in place, the Supreme Court ruled June 30 that the Biden administration can end the Trump-era policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols or “Remain in Mexico” policy, which since its 2019 implementation has required asylum seekers to wait in dangerous conditions in Mexico as their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) had filed an amicus curiae brief in Biden v. Texas, supporting the administration’s decision to terminate the program. Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on migration, welcomed the ruling in a statement Thursday. 

“Today’s decision recognizes and preserves the executive branch’s ability to reverse untenable, illegal, and immoral policies, regardless of who is in office. The implementation of [Migrant Protection Protocols] has obstructed due process and subjected people to the very dangers that forced them to seek refuge in the United States in the first place. With this ruling, we welcome the end of MPP,” Dorsonville wrote. 

 

“Ours is both a nation of laws and a beacon of hope for many throughout the world. This should inspire us to work toward just and humane responses to forced migration, not embrace failed policies of the past. As Pope Francis has warned, we cannot limit ourselves to building ‘walls of fear’ and supporting ‘vetoes dictated by nationalist interests’ if we are to achieve meaningful progress in addressing these challenges.”

 

“While this ruling helps pave the way forward, it does not resolve the ongoing challenges at our country’s southwest border. We remain committed to supporting immigration policies that produce more sustainable solutions, respect the God-given dignity of migrants, and better reflect Christ’s call to welcome the stranger.”


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US:     California abortion amendment deserves 'vigorous opposition', bishops say
The California capitol. / Willem van Bergen (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Denver Newsroom, Jun 30, 2022 / 16:47 pm (CNA).

California voters will have the opportunity to approve or reject a strongly pro-abortion amendment to the state constitution in November. The state’s Catholic bishops said the proposal gives a “boundless scope” to ending the lives of the unborn when human lives should instead be protected “at every age in every stage.”

The proposed amendment “looks to enshrine the most extreme forms of abortion into the California Constitution,” the California Catholic Conference warned in a statement signed by the 12 archbishops and bishops leading the state’s 12 dioceses and archdiocese.

“This constitutional amendment, as written, will legalize and protect abortion up to the point just prior to delivery,” the conference said. “It is distressing that so many California legislators would sign their names to legislation that allows the taking of a human life moments before birth.”

The State Assembly voted for the legislation, known as Senate Constitutional Amendment 10, on June 27 by a margin of 58-16. The Senate passed the amendment bill on June 20 by a 29-7 vote. It does not need the governor’s approval. Voters may approve or reject the amendment on the Nov. 8 state ballot.

The proposed amendment reads: “The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.”

The California Catholic Conference was strongly critical.

“We believe in protecting life at every age in every stage,” the bishops’ statement said. “We are extremely troubled by the language in Senate Constitutional Amendment 10, which is so broad and unrestrictive that it would encourage and protect even late-term abortions, which most Californians oppose. We also fear the boundless scope of this proposed amendment, which asserts a new constitutional right to ‘reproductive freedom’ but does not define what that means.”

The Catholic conference said it “vehemently opposes” the amendment. It will be “actively engaged” in opposing the ballot initiative and in “asking the state’s 12 million Catholics to work to raise awareness and vigorous opposition in our dioceses, parishes, and communities.”

Though abortion is a procedure that ends a human life, Roe v. Wade and related Supreme Court precedents required states to legalize abortion. The Dobbs v. Women’s Health decision of 2022 overturned these decisions, allowing individual states to regulate or ban abortion.

California leaders, including Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, have sought to make California a “sanctuary state” for legal abortion. 

The proposed California amendment would modify Article I of the California Constitution. Article I presently contains more than 30 sections dealing with individual rights, often restating or implementing freedoms found in the U.S. Constitution

The proposal was introduced after the leak of a draft Supreme Court decision in May.

California Senate President pro tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon were among the joint co-authors of the bill, which was sponsored by abortion provider Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, among others.

“Abortion is health care, and should be a private discussion between a patient and their health care provider,” Atkins said, according to National Public Radio. “When politicians and judges force themselves into that room, safety goes out the window.”

Republican Assembly Leader James Gallagher, a father of four whose twin children were born 10 weeks early, objected that the bill does not restrict late term abortions and would have ignored the unborn twins’ human rights.

“They were alive and they … are people — and our law needs to begin to recognize that,” Gallagher said, according to the Washington Post. 

Backers of the proposed amendment say it does not change current state law on fetal viability. 

A new budget agreement sets aside more than $200 million in funding for reproductive health services. Newsom signed legislation to eliminate copays for abortions and to broaden abortion access.

The California Catholic Conference lamented the abortion push.

“The sad reality is that California already has some of the most accommodating abortion laws and services in the nation,” the Catholic conference said. “And by providing extensive funding for abortion services without any corresponding equitable funding for pregnant women and mothers, the state exercises a destructive, coercive power in favor of ending innocent lives. Enshrining this amendment’s language into the constitution will extend the danger of coercive abortion to babies with unquestioned viability.” 

The California Catholic Conference has put forward on its website a plan for a “Post-Roe” California to oppose abortion and build a “culture that supports and defends every human life.” Its plan, called “We Were Born Ready,” includes advocacy, education, service, and prayer.

The state is already a leading location for abortions. In 2017, about 862,320 abortions were performed in the U.S. as a whole, including 132,680 abortions in California alone, according to the pro-abortion research group the Guttmacher Institute.


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Vatican:     This is Pope Francis' prayer intention for July 2022
Pope Francis visits the San Raffaele Borona assisted living home in Rieti, Italy, Oct. 4, 2016. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 30, 2022 / 11:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has asked the Catholic Church to pray in a special way for the elderly during the month of July.

The prayer intention follows requests to pray for families in June and for young people in May, and coincides with the celebration of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on July 24.

“We cannot speak about family without talking about the importance of the elderly among us,” Pope Francis said in a video message released June 30.

‘We elderly people often have a special sensitivity for care, for reflection, and affection,” he noted. “We are, or we can become, teachers of tenderness.”

The video is part of a series created by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network in collaboration with the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. 

“We pray for the elderly, who represent the roots and memory of a people, that their experience and wisdom will help those who are younger to look to the future with hope and responsibility,” the pope said.

The video shows images of an elderly man and woman baking a cake together, which they then share with their grandchildren.

“In this world accustomed to war, we need a true revolution of tenderness,” he said. “We have a great responsibility towards new generations about this.”

Pope Francis said: “let us remember: grandparents and the elderly are the bread that nourishes our lives, the hidden wisdom of a people. That is why we must celebrate them, and I have established a day dedicated to them.”

“Let us pray for the elderly, that they may become teachers of tenderness so that their experience and wisdom may help young people to look towards the future with hope and responsibility,” he said. 

In a June 30 press release from the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, Ciro Intino, director of the Alberto Sordi Foundation, commented on the pope’s July prayer intention.

“Our society is getting older and older, and yet it tends to exclude and isolate elderly people, putting their identity and social role in crisis, especially regarding their relations with younger generations,” he said.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “there is a lack of adequate responses to elderly people’s care requirements and existential needs. There is still a long road ahead in terms of social and sociomedical policies aimed at senior citizens, with the goal of limiting the condition of isolation which constrains too many elderly people today.”

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, said, “the Holy Father invites us to become aware of the relevance of the elderly in the life of society and of our communities, and to do so not sporadically, but structurally, with a regular pastoral outreach.”

“That is to say, it’s not about rushing to deal with an emergency, but laying the foundations for long-term pastoral work that will require our involvement for decades to come. Beyond reaffirming the importance of fighting the throwaway culture, the Pope also seems to want to offer reference points for those who are experiencing the bewilderment of finding themselves getting along in years,” he said.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis misses meeting with Jewish delegation due to knee pain
Pope Francis delivers a homily from a wheelchair on June 5, 2022. 2 / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 30, 2022 / 10:30 am (CNA).

Pope Francis missed a meeting with a Jewish delegation on Thursday morning after experiencing a flare-up of knee pain, according to the Vatican.

“Pope Francis was unable to meet this morning on account of aggravated knee pain,” a bulletin from the Holy See Press Office said on June 30.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, represented the pope at the interreligious meeting at the Vatican. Koch delivered a speech that the pope had prepared in advance for the audience with the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.

Pope Francis’ canceled appearance comes after he had recently shown some improvement in his mobility, walking with a cane at the Mass for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on June 29.

The pope opted to walk with a cane during several of his public appearances this week, after primarily using a wheelchair for nearly two months due to the knee injury.

Pope Francis was back in a wheelchair on June 30 and received an Eastern Orthodox delegation at his residence in Casa Santa Marta rather than in the usual Apostolic Palace.

In the pope’s prepared speech for the interreligious meeting, he stressed that “hatred and violence are incompatible with our faith in the God who is ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and faithfulness.’”

“In our turbulent times, it is critical that Jews and Christians encounter one another more frequently and work together in an effort to counter certain negative trends found in our western societies: idolatry of self and of money, extreme individualism and the culture of indifference and of waste,” he said.

“We are called to bear witness together to the God of mercy and justice, who loves and cares for all persons. We can do this by drawing upon the spiritual patrimony that we in part share, a patrimony that we are responsible for preserving and understanding ever more profoundly.”

Pope Francis reiterated the Catholic Church’s commitment to oppose every form of antisemitism and support for preventative action through education within families, parishes, and schools.

The International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations represents 11 major Jewish organizations in dialogue with the Vatican, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the World Council of Churches. Rabbi David Sandmel currently serves as the chair of its board of governors.

“By strengthening dialogue, we can resist the extremism that, sadly, is a pathology that can appear also in religions. Let us pray that the Lord will continue to guide us on this path of dialogue and fraternity,” Pope Francis said.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis: Catholic-Eastern Orthodox dialogue can promote world peace
Pope Francis meets with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the Vatican's Santa Marta guesthouse, June 30, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 30, 2022 / 09:23 am (CNA).

“Seeking Christian unity is not merely a question internal to the Churches,” he said June 30. “It is an essential condition for the realization of an authentic universal fraternity, manifested in justice and solidarity towards all.”

The pope spoke about the role of ecumenical dialogue in peace-building during a meeting with an Eastern Orthodox delegation at the Vatican.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity, also took part in the meeting, which was held in the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse, where Pope Francis lives.

The delegation was sent to Rome by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, and also participated in the pope’s Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, praying with Pope Francis at the tomb of St. Peter.

Pope Francis and the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople pray before St. Peter’s tomb, June 29, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis and the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople pray before St. Peter’s tomb, June 29, 2022. Vatican Media

During the June 30 encounter, the pope emphasized that Christ is the source of peace in the world.

“Christ is our peace,” he said. “By his incarnation, death and resurrection for all, he has torn down the walls of enmity and division between people.”

“Let us start anew from him,” he continued, “and recognize that it is no longer the time to order our ecclesial agendas in accordance with the world’s standards of power and expediency, but in accordance with the Gospel’s bold prophetic message of peace.”

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church with about 5.3 million members, most of whom are in Greece. Under Bartholomew I’s leadership, which began in 1991, the Church has emphasized ecumenical initiatives and dialogue between Christians.

Francis said “reconciliation among separated Christians, as a means of contributing to peace between peoples in conflict, is a most timely consideration these days, as our world is disrupted by a cruel and senseless war of aggression in which many, many Christians are fighting one another.”

This moment calls for serious reflection, he said, asking, “what kind of world do we want to emerge in the wake of this terrible outbreak of hostilities and conflict? And what contribution are we prepared to make even now towards a more fraternal humanity?”

“As believers, we must necessarily find the answers to these questions in the Gospel: in Jesus, who calls us to be merciful and never violent, to be perfect as the Father is perfect, and not be conformed to the world,” the pope said.

He said Christians should help each other “not to yield to the temptation to muffle the explosive newness of the Gospel with the seductions of this world.”

“Before the scandal of war, in the first place, our concern must not be for talking and discussing, but for weeping, for helping others and for experiencing conversion ourselves,” he said. “We need to weep for the victims and the overwhelming bloodshed, the deaths of so many innocent people, the trauma inflicted on families, cities and an entire people.”

Pope Francis also noted that Christians are obliged to exercise charity toward Christ present in the poor, wounded, and displaced.

“But we also need to experience conversion, and to recognize that armed conquest, expansionism and imperialism have nothing to do with the Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed,” he said.

The pope said it is his hope that theological dialogue between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox “will progress by promoting a new mentality that, conscious of the errors of the past, can help us to look together to the present and future.”

“Let us not be content with an ‘ecclesiastical diplomacy’ that would allow us to politely maintain our own points of view, but instead journey together as brothers,” he added.


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Americas:     Pope Francis encourages reconciliation in Colombia at Truth Commission presentation
Pope Francis called on Colombians to “to continue along paths of reconciliation" in his June 28, 2022, message read at the Truth Commission final report in Bogotá. / Polifoto via Shutterstock. Colombia flag. Credit: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr (CC BY NC 2.0).

Denver Newsroom, Jun 29, 2022 / 19:00 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis called on Colombia to follow the path of reconciliation in a message read June 28 during the presentation of the final report of the Truth Commission, created in 2016 following the Peace Accord signed between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group.

Since 1964, as many as 260,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in Colombia’s civil war. Pope Francis has voiced his support for an end to the violence in the country on several occasions.

The presentation of the report took place at the Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Theater in Bogotá and was attended by the president-elect of Colombia, Gustavo Petro; his vice president-elect, Francia Márquez; and Minister of the Interior Daniel Palacios, who represented Colombian President Iván Duque, who excused himself because of an international trip.

Pope Francis’ message was read at the start of the event followed by a video address by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

The pope encouraged the members of the commission and the national and international authorities who received the report “to continue along paths of reconciliation that help strengthen fraternity, to be artisans of peace, to create processes of re-encounter, and to work together, with boldness, in the search for the good of all.”

“May Jesus bless you and Our Lady of Chiquinquirá accompany you,” the pope said. “And please, I ask you to pray for me.”

The Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition came out of the Havana Peace Accord, signed between the Colombian government and FARC in 2016, in order to determine what took place during 50 years of armed conflict.

The commission has 11 members and is chaired by Jesuit Father Francisco de Roux. It began its work in 2018 and over a four-year period interviewed 27,000 people, including victims, former members of FARC, military personnel, and former Colombian presidents. Twenty-nine centers were also set up throughout the country to collect and disseminate information.

The 2016 Peace Agreement stated that the Truth Commission is “a temporary and extrajudicial body, which seeks to know the truth of what happened and contribute to the clarification of violations and infractions and offer a wide-ranging explanation to the entire society of the complexity of the conflict; promote recognition of the victims and of the responsibilities of those who participated directly and indirectly in the armed conflict; and promote coexistence in the territories to guarantee non-repetition.”

The results of the commission’s work were presented June 28, but only the first of the 10 chapters, which deals with the findings and recommendations, has been published. Over the next two months the rest of the 24 volumes, which contain approximately 8,000 pages, will be made available.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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US:     VIDEO: Watch violent vandalism attack on Catholic church in Washington state
Windows were smashed at St. Louise Catholic Church in Bellevue, Washington, on June 28, 2022. / Courtesy of Bellevue Police

Mansfield, Mass., Jun 29, 2022 / 18:53 pm (CNA).

A woman was praying alone in the perpetual adoration chapel early Tuesday morning when the wave of anti-Catholic vandalism and violence sweeping the U.S. struck St. Louise Catholic Church in Bellevue, Washington.

Hearing a commotion outside, the woman ventured into the hallway. There, she confronted a masked intruder standing outside the parish center, smashing the glass front door.

The person screamed profanities at the woman, who ran back into the chapel. Terrified, she locked the door behind her and called the pastor, Father Gary Zender, while hiding behind a piano.

“She called me on my office number just pleading for help to come and get her and rescue her,” Zender told CNA. “She was scared to death.”

A surveillance camera captured the frightening incident on video.

The footage shows a masked person with long hair striding up to the door carrying a large rock and pink backpack. The person hurls the rock at the front door, three times, then kicks the door four times, shattering the glass.

The person then removes a can of black spray paint from the backpack and begins to write graffiti on the building’s exterior. Next, the assailant makes obscene gestures toward the door, smashes the glass again with the can of spray paint and pushes the door. Then the person appears to scream at someone inside the building before continuing to spray-paint the building’s exterior and sidewalk.

Graffiti legible in photos provided by the police reads “woman haters,” “groomers rapists,” and “the church is child abuse,” among other words. You can watch the surveillance footage in the video below.

The attacker, who entered the church property around 9:30 a.m., also smashed a different glass door at the parish hall and defaced a statue of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, Zender said. He estimated the damage at $10,000.

Zender said that the assailant spray-painted the parish administrator, Jonathan Taasan, on his right cheek and “quite a bit” into his ear. He is not injured, Zender said. 

The Bellevue Police Department tweeted Tuesday that they had arrested a 31-year-old Bellevue resident on suspicion of a hate crime and assault. Police said the suspect was arrested “without incident.” Police called the graffiti “anti-Catholic.”

A police spokesperson declined to provide the suspect’s name, referring a CNA reporter to the Kings County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor’s office did not respond to CNA’s request for information about the incident before publication time.

Zender led a procession to the vandalized places and blessed them as part of the Tuesday night Mass. The parish also prayed for the person responsible for the vandalism. While the parish was attacked with a rock “Christ is a rock for us," Zender noted.

“I think it comes up as a bit of a shock that it would happen here. I think there's the reality that, you know, things have changed,” he said. “We're not quite as safe as we once thought we were and we have to take more precautions."


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Europe:     English courts to reconsider life support for Archie Battersbee, severely brain-injured boy
The Court of Appeal is based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. / Anthony M. from Rome, Italy - Flickr via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0).

Denver Newsroom, Jun 29, 2022 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

England’s High Court must hold another hearing to determine whether ending the life support of a severely injured 12-year-old boy, Archie Battersbee, is indeed in the boy’s best interest, an appeals court has said.

“The ruling shows the critical importance of never giving up,” Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said June 29. “In these difficult moments, nerves and principles are important. This judgment upholds life and will protect many more people from a slippery slope in which the legal definition of death is expanded.”

"Where there's life, there's hope. We keep praying that Archie will be able to recover, given more time," Williams said June 29, according to the London-based public engagement group Christian Concern.

The Christian Legal Centre, a specialist ministry of Christian Concern, has been supporting the Battersbee family.

Archie has not been conscious since he was injured in April at his Essex home in what is believed to have been an accident. The boy’s parents found him unconscious with a ligature around his neck. His mother has said the boy might have been imitating an online social media “challenge,” BBC News reports. 

His parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, have asked hospital leaders and the courts for more time and more medical tests to assess whether their son’s condition improves. They note that Archie’s heart continues to beat.

However, doctors at the Royal London Hospital have argued that it is “highly likely” he is medically brain dead. They asked the Family Division of the High Court to rule it is in Archie’s best interests to die by the removal of life support.

The High Court ruled that on the balance of probabilities, the boy had already died and his life support should be removed. 

The parents’ attorneys argued that the High Court judge had made errors and had not given enough weight to the family and to Archie’s beliefs.

Lawyers for Barts Health Trust, which owns the hospital, had argued that previous hearings and the judge’s ruling had addressed whether removing life support is in Archie’s best interest.

Alan Shewmon, a pediatric neurologist, spoke against this argument. He told a court hearing that there is “absolutely not” enough evidence to diagnose death in the case of Archie. Shewmon cited many cases where people diagnosed as brain dead went on to recover, Christian Concern reports. 

The three judges on the appeals court sided with the family. They set the next hearing for July 11, and said they would give reasons for their decisions at a later date, BBC News reports. 

Edward Devereux, who is leading the parents’ legal team, told appellate court judges it would be “unconscionable” not to use a standard of certainty beyond a reasonable doubt in “matters of life and death.”

“Medical practitioners, when certifying death, do not do so on the balance of probabilities,” he said, according to the U.K. newspaper The Independent. He also argued that the High Court judge had not made a “comprehensive” analysis of evidence concerning whether life support should continue.

Bruno Quintavalle, who had filed a submission while acting on behalf of the boy’s parents, said the circumstances of the case had never been considered by an English court. 

Quintavalle said it is “extremely serious” that the court “should declare, in the absence of any certainty, that death has occurred.”

"If he is declared dead but actually isn't dead, the consequences couldn't be more grave,” he said, according to Christian Concern.

To declare death without a brain stem test to confirm the claim would expand the legal definition of death and trespass on the authority of Parliament, he said. Quintavalle said the criminal standard of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, is a better standard for such cases.

Archie’s sister Lauren has created an Instagram page under the name “SpreadThePurpleWave” to follow his situation. Over 89,000 people have signed a petition in support of giving him more time in medical care, and supporters have given over $24,000 in donations which could be used to help fund any treatment abroad.  

Before his injury, Archie was a boxer and gymnast. Celebrity boxers and gymnast gold medalists have sent him videos of support.


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Americas:     Ortega government orders dissolution of Missionaries of Charity in Nicaragua
Missionaries of Charity / Credit: Willuconquer (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Denver Newsroom, Jun 29, 2022 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Interior has ordered the closure of 101 nongovernmental organizations, including the Missionaries of Charity, the congregation founded by St. Teresa of Calcutta that is dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor.

The order to shut down the 101 NGOs was requested by Sandinista legislator Filiberto Rodríguez in a June 22 letter presented to the National Assembly, the country’s legislature.

The document submitted by Rodríguez and released by the Nicaraguan media outlet Confidencial is titled “The Legislative Decree Initiative for the Cancellation of the Legal Personality of Various Associations/Foundations, requested by the National Directorate of Registration and Control of Non-Profit Organizations following due process of law.”

The text, which could be debated by the National Assembly in the coming days, states that the Missionaries of Charity “has failed to comply with its obligations” according to the law that regulates nonprofit organizations, the money-laundering law, the financing of terrorism, and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

According to the government of Daniel Ortega, the missionaries are not accredited “by the Ministry for the Family to function as a nursery-center for childhood development, home for girls, and home for the elderly,” nor “do they have an operating permit from the Ministry of Education to provide remedial education for students” and their “financial statements reported to the Ministry of the Interior don’t agree” with other documents presented for review.

The list of organizations the government has ordered to shut down also includes the Catholic Foundation for Human Development Assistance for Nicaraguans, the Spirituality Foundation for Children of Nicaragua, the My Childhood Mothers Foundation, and the Diriomito Children’s Care Home Association, among others.

According to the EFE news agency, the Missionaries of Charity Association was created Aug. 16, 1988, and opened following the visit Mother Teresa made to Nicaragua during the first term of Daniel Ortega (1985–1990). The Sandinista regime had already been in power since 1979 when President Anastasio Somoza was overthrown.

The Missionaries of Charity run the Immaculate Heart of Mary Home in the city of Granada, where they take in abandoned adolescents or victims of abuse.

In addition to spiritual and psychological help, minors receive regular classes in music, theater, sewing, beauty, and other trades.

In the capital, Managua, the nuns run a nursing home, which provides the elderly with food, clothing, and other care.

The Missionaries of Charity also provide remedial education for minors at risk and run a nursery for poor children, mostly children of single mothers and street vendors.

The National Assembly still has to approve the order. However, President Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front political party holds 75 out of the 90 seats, so it is expected to be approved.

Managua Auxiliary Bishop Silvio José Báez, who has been living in exile at the request of Pope Francis since April 2019 due to numerous death threats, deplored the decision of the Ortega government to expel the Missionaries of Charity from the country.

Bishop Báez wrote on Twitter from Miami: “It makes me very sad that the dictatorship has forced the Missionaries of Charity of Teresa of Calcutta to leave the country. Nothing justifies depriving the poor of charitable care.”

In fewer than four years, the Catholic Church in Nicaragua has been the target of 190 attacks and desecrations, including a fire in the Managua Cathedral, as well as police harassment and persecution of bishops and priests under the Ortega government.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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US:     TRACKER: Check the status of abortion trigger laws across the U.S.
The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case on June 24, 2022. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jun 29, 2022 / 16:25 pm (CNA).

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning the regulation of abortion to the states.

More than a dozen states had passed "trigger laws" intended to outlaw abortion as soon as the federal right to abortion that Roe established was struck down.

Some of those laws took effect immediately after the ruling, with no further action needed. In several states, however, the trigger law required certification by the state attorney general, governor, or legislature. 

A few trigger laws — so far in Louisiana, Texas, and Utah — have been temporarily blocked in court and will now be subject to judicial review. 

Take a look at the interactive map below to see how this process is unfolding.


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US:     San Antonio archbishop to preside at memorial Mass after Texas migrant deaths
In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas. According to reports, at least 46 people, who are believed migrant workers from Mexico, were found dead in an abandoned tractor trailer. Over a dozen victims were found alive, suffering from heat stroke and taken to local hospitals. / Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

Denver Newsroom, Jun 29, 2022 / 15:15 pm (CNA).

Following the discovery of dozens of migrants who died in an abandoned tractor-trailer in Texas — thought to be the largest en masse death of migrants from the southern border in modern history — the Archbishop of San Antonio is set to hold a memorial Mass on Thursday. 

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, and Auxiliary Bishops Michael Boulette and Gary Janak will preside at a memorial Mass for the migrants June 30, the archdiocese told CNA, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of San Fernando. The liturgy will include a procession from the cathedral’s Main Plaza, a special cross, and candles and flags representing the countries of the deceased as well as the survivors, spokesman Jordan McMorrough said. 

García-Siller said in a tweet that he had met with a young girl named Serenidad who was in the trailer and had survived. He urged prayers for the survivors and urged leaders to take action on immigration reform. 

“Our people inside the truck are innocent. They were the result of corruption in their place of origin as well as in the Unites States. May we take [steps] to change and experience conversion for the better of the human person. Pray about it!” he wrote June 28. 

The migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer baking in extreme heat in San Antonio, Texas on the evening of June 27. The official death toll has risen to 53, NPR reported, and the dead include 22 Mexicans, 7 Guatemalans, and 2 Hondurans, with the others not yet having been identified.

San Antonio, about 150 miles from the national border at Laredo, is a regional hub for transportation, as well as for human trafficking and smuggling. San Antonio was also the site of a similar incident in 2017 in which 10 migrants died in a tractor trailer. 

According to experts cited by NPR, it is likely that the people who were in the trailer had crossed the border on foot, before gathering in Laredo to be loaded into a truck. The truck driver is reportedly detained. 

Marie Kenyon, who leads the Justice and Peace commission at the Archdiocese of St. Louis, told CNA that she was in Laredo last week with a volunteer group assisting at a Catholic Charities migrant shelter. She said as a mission diocese, Laredo’s migrant shelter does not receive as much attention or donations as some others along the U.S.-Mexico border, such as Brownsville and El Paso. 

She shuddered at the thought that her volunteer group may have unwittingly passed the truck full of migrants going the opposite way on the highway from San Antonio to Laredo. 

“On Saturday in Laredo it was 107 degrees,” she noted. “So even if you’re in that trailer for 3-4 hours, that’s the end of you.” 

Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on migration, lamented the deaths in a June 29 statement and called the incident a “harrowing depiction of the extreme risks assumed by migrants out of sheer desperation.”

“Unfortunately, this disregard for the sanctity of human life is all too common in the context of migration,” Dorsonville wrote. 

“As a Church called to build a culture of life, we cannot tolerate this injustice. Instead, we must recognize that we are brothers and sisters, each imbued with God-given dignity. To prevent further loss of life, we urge governments and civil society to promote access to protection, including asylum, develop new pathways for those compelled to migrate, and combat human trafficking in all its forms.”

Pope Francis has also urged prayers for the migrants. 

“I sorrowfully heard the news of the tragedy of the #migrants in Texas and #Melilla,” the pope said in a social media post on June 28.

“Let us #PrayTogether for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life; and for ourselves, may the Lord might open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again.”


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Asia - Pacific:     Amid Burma conflict, diocese bans two priests from political involvement
A protest of the coup d'etat in Hpa-An, the capital of Karen State, Burma, on Feb. 9, 2021. Credit: Ninjastrikers (CC BY-SA 4.0). / null

Denver Newsroom, Jun 29, 2022 / 11:26 am (CNA).

A Catholic diocese in Burma has ordered two priests to stop participating in politics and posting on social media against the country’s power structure and Church officials. The priests are staunch critics of the junta whose 2021 coup launched an insurgency that the Catholic bishops hope to end. 

Father Dominic Wun Kyaw Htwe and Father Clement Angelo Ate both faced rebukes from the Diocese of Kengtung for openly opposing the junta. The two priests are living in exiled communities across the border with Thailand.

“Your active involvement in politics and your posts on social media not only cause great perplexity,” said a June 22 letter to Htwe, charging that his actions divide “public opinion and our Christian community itself.”

The June 22 letter to Htwe from Father Peter Anwe, administrator of the Diocese of Kengtung, cited his active participation in politics through being present at protest movements and through social media posts against political authorities and Church leaders “despite several warnings.”

The Kengtung diocese is in the Shan state of Burma, also known as Myanmar, and is heavily affected by the ongoing civil war, Asia News reports.  A junta overthrew the country’s government on Feb. 1, 2021. Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's elected civilian leader, was detained along with the country’s President, Win Myint. Many supporters of the government took to the streets in protest, and some took up arms and formed rebel groups.

Htwe responded to the diocese’s letter, saying, “This situation has been thought of since the beginning of the revolution. You can kick me out at once.” He said he is “proud of being far… from a society that is dominated by fear and enjoys the pursuit of financial riches rather than justice and truth.”

“I have a very strong love of my mother religion,” the priest said, saying the present is a time “when there is a clear distinction between right and wrong.” The warning to him has strengthened his resolve to “fight harder” 

Ate, the other priest rebuked by his diocese, said he would continue “fighting and standing with our suffering people” and “do as much as I can for them.”

Some Church leaders have been outspoken. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon has strongly objected to the military’s death sentences for some activists.

“As cardinal of Myanmar I plead — from the very depths of my heart — with the junta, not to hang these men, and I appeal to the world to act,” he said at an international conference last Monday. “If the regime goes through with this, it marks a new low for this already brutal, barbaric, inhumane and criminal junta.”

In January, Bo told Vatican Radio his country suffers from “spiraling chaos, confusion, conflict, and human agony.” The country’s bishops are trying to accompany the people, advocate for humanitarian access, and urge all parties in the conflict to make peace.

Catholics make up only 1% of the country’s population, which is majority Buddhist.

Some 1,900 people have died and another 1 million have been displaced under the junta's repressive control of the country, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier this month. Thousands more have been arrested, she said, and an estimated 14 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

In the Diocese of Loikaw in eastern Burma, almost half of the parishes have been abandoned because of intense fighting. At least nine churches in the diocese have been hit by government military shelling and airstrikes, according to the report.

Htwe, 34, joined the protests immediately after the coup. After receiving warnings from backers of the coup, he was warned he would be arrested. He fled his parish of St. Anthony of Padua in February 2021 and hid in a border town for six months before crossing into Thailand, disguised as a plantation coffee worker, according to Asia News.

He began to help a Thai priest at a parish in the Diocese of Chiang Rai that mainly serves Akha people, the same ethnicity as Htwe. He ministered the sacraments and gave catechism lessons, but also collected donations of money, food, and clothing for refugees from Burma.

“Our dreams, our hopes and our future have been taken away from us. Our lives were destroyed by terrorist and murderous soldiers,” he told AsiaNews in April. 

He denounced the Burmese army and said people in Burma are “tortured, raped and burned alive.” 

“We want to see at least the right to life as human beings recognized. Myanmar's should not only be an internal problem, it should be an international issue because these are crimes against humanity,” he said.

The priest accused the Chinese government of backing the junta in Burma over the democratically elected government.

In an April letter on Holy Thursday 2022, Htwe called for “concrete actions” from the international community.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis on the feast of Peter and Paul: Care for the vulnerable
Pope Francis at a Mass for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Basilica, June 29, 2022. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Vatican City, Jun 29, 2022 / 10:17 am (CNA).

Pope Francis called Wednesday for Catholics not to retreat into their own groups, but to open the church doors and work together to care for the vulnerable in the world.

“What can we do together, as Church, to make the world in which we live more humane, just and solidarity, more open to God and to fraternity among men? Surely we must not retreat into our ecclesial circles and remain pinned to some of our fruitless debates,” he said at Mass on June 29 for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

“Together we can and must continue to care for human life, the protection of creation, the dignity of work, the problems of families, the treatment of the elderly and all those who are abandoned, rejected or treated with contempt,” he said. “In a word, we are called to be a Church that promotes the culture of care, tenderness and compassion towards the vulnerable.”

During the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis also blessed the pallia for the metropolitan archbishops appointed in the last year. 

Pallia are white woolen vestments adorned with six black silk crosses given to metropolitan archbishops. They symbolize the metropolitan’s authority and unity with the Holy See.

The title of “metropolitan archbishop” refers to the archbishop of a metropolis, which is the primary city of an ecclesiastical province or region.

There were 32 metropolitan archbishops from 24 countries present in Rome to receive their blessed pallium from Pope Francis on June 29.

“In communion with Peter, [the metropolitan archbishops] are called to ‘get up quickly,’ not to sleep, and to serve as vigilant sentinels over the flock,” Francis said. “To get up and ‘fight the good fight,’ never alone, but together with all the holy and faithful people of God.”

Formerly, the new metropolitans would be invested with the pallia by the pope at the same June 29 Mass in which they were blessed, but in 2015 Francis changed this policy to have the bishops be invested with the pallia in their diocese by the local apostolic nuncio.

At the end of Mass on Wednesday, Pope Francis handed each archbishop his pallium in a small box tied with a brown ribbon.

Pope Francis presided over the opening rites of the Mass, with the blessing of the pallia and the Liturgy of the Word. He also delivered the homily and received the offertory gifts. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated the second half of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

In his homily, Pope Francis spoke about the Catholic Church’s ongoing synodal path, which is leading up to the Synod on Synodality, which will take place in October 2023.

“The Synod that we are now celebrating calls us to become a Church that gets up, one that is not turned in on itself, but capable of pressing forward, leaving behind its own prisons and setting out to meet the world, with the courage to open doors,” he said. “Let us open the door. The Lord calls.”

The pope said sometimes the Church has open doors, but only to condemn people and send them away. 

“A Church that does not linger in its sacred precincts, but is driven by enthusiasm for the preaching of the Gospel and the desire to encounter and accept everyone. Let us not forget that word: everyone,” he said.

“Go to crossroads and bring everyone, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the sick, the righteous and the sinner: everyone,” he continued. “This word of the Lord should continue to echo in our hearts and minds: in the Church there is a place for everyone.”

Pope Francis condemned an attitude of laziness in the Church.

“Often we are like Peter in chains, imprisoned by our habits, fearful of change and bound to the chains of our routine. This leads quietly to spiritual mediocrity: we run the risk of ‘taking it easy’ and ‘getting by,’ also in our pastoral work,” he said.

“Our enthusiasm for mission wanes,” Francis added, “and instead of being a sign of vitality and creativity, ends up appearing tepid and listless.”

The pope referenced The Drama of Atheist Humanism by 20th century theologian Henri de Lubac.

“Then, the great current of newness and life that is the Gospel becomes in our hands — to use the words of Father de Lubac — a faith that ‘falls into formalism and habit…, a religion of ceremonies and devotions, of ornaments and vulgar consolations… a Christianity that is clerical, formalistic, anemic and callous,’” he said.

At the end of Mass, the Patriarchal Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir of Tbilisi, an Orthodox choir from the country of Georgia, chanted “Ave Maria” by Ilia II. 

The Tbilisi choir also gave a two-hour performance in the Sistine Chapel on June 26.

A delegation from the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople attended the Mass for Saints Peter and Paul.

Pope Francis and the delegation prayed together before the tomb of St. Peter after Mass.


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Vatican:     Faith ‘is never a walk in the park,’ Pope Francis says on Peter and Paul feast
Pope Francis during his appearance for the Angelus in St. Peter's Square on June 29, 2022, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 29, 2022 / 08:40 am (CNA).

The journey of faith is never easy for anyone, not even for the Apostles Peter and Paul, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address on Wednesday.

“The journey of faith is not a walk in the park, but is instead demanding, sometimes arduous,” he said on June 29.

The pope prayed a mid-week Angelus to mark the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the city of Rome.

In his message before the Marian prayer, he reflected on a passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew, when Peter says to Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

“It is a profession of faith, which Peter pronounces not on the basis of his human understanding, but because God the Father inspired it in him,” he said.

When Jesus then reveals to his disciples that he will suffer, die, and on the third day be raised, Peter rebukes him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”

Pope Francis recalled that Jesus’ response to Peter was: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a scandal to me, because you do not think according to God, but according to men!” 

“Does not the same thing happen to us?” the pope said. “We repeat the Creed, we say it with faith, but when faced with the harsh trials of life, everything seems to falter.”

“We are inclined to protest to the Lord,” Francis added, “telling him that it is not right, that there must be other, more direct, less strenuous ways.”

St. Peter needed time to mature, moving from first horror at the cross to a courageous embrace of his own death, he said, noting that “the Apostle Paul also had his own path, and he too passed through a slow maturation of faith, experiencing moments of uncertainty and doubt.”

“The journey of faith is never a walk in the park, for anyone, not for Peter nor for Paul, not for any Christian,” he said. 

The pope concluded his message with two questions for reflection.

“In the light of this experience of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, each of us can ask ourselves: When I profess my faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, do I do so with the awareness that I must always be learning, or do I assume that I ‘already have it all figured out’?” he said.

“And again,” he continued, “in difficulties and trials do I become discouraged, do I complain, or do I learn to make them an opportunity to grow in trust in the Lord? For he, in fact — as Paul writes to Timothy — delivers us from all evil and brings us safely to heaven.”

The pope addressed an estimated 15,000 people from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, according to the Vatican. During the Angelus and his remarks afterward, he sometimes placed his right hand on the windowsill and leaned his weight on his right arm.

The 85-year-old pope, who has an injury in his right knee, has used a wheelchair for many of his public audiences for almost two months. He has recently walked short distances with the support of a cane.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis condemns ‘barbaric attack’ on Ukraine mall
A photograph taken on June 28, 2022 shows charred goods in a grocery store of the destroyed Amstor mall in Kremenchuk, one day after it was hit by a Russian missile strike according to Ukrainian authorities. / Photo by Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images

Vatican City, Jun 29, 2022 / 08:20 am (CNA).

Pope Francis condemned an attack on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, as “barbaric,” during a public address on Wednesday.

“I carry in my heart every day the dear and tormented Ukraine, which continues to be plagued by barbaric attacks, such as the one that struck the Kremenchuk shopping center,” the pope said on June 29.

A Russian missile strike hit a shopping mall in Kremenchuk on June 27. Ukrainian authorities said the next day that at least 18 people were killed in the attack and another 36 were missing.

“I pray that this foolish war may soon see an end, and I renew the invitation to persevere, without tiring, in the prayer for peace: may the Lord open those paths of dialogue that men are unwilling or unable to find,” he said. “And let us not neglect to come to the aid of the Ukrainian people, who are suffering so much.”

Francis spoke about Ukraine after praying the Angelus in honor of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.  

Pope Francis during his appearance for the Angelus in Rome on June 29, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis during his appearance for the Angelus in Rome on June 29, 2022. Vatican Media

The pope addressed an estimated 15,000 people from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, according to the Vatican. During the Angelus and his remarks afterward, he sometimes placed his right hand on the windowsill and leaned his weight on his right arm.

The 85-year-old pope, who has an injury in his right knee, has used a wheelchair for many of his public audiences for almost two months. He has recently walked short distances with the support of a cane.

Pope Francis extended his best wishes to Romans and those staying in Rome on the feast of Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the capital city of Italy. He said he hopes “that all may find in [Rome] a decent welcome worthy of its beauty.”

He also lamented the recent outbreak of fires in Rome, affected by record-high temperatures and drought across Italy.

“All this should make us reflect on the protection of creation, which is our responsibility,” he said. “It is not a fad, it is a responsibility: the future of the earth is in our hands and with our decisions.”

Temperatures reached over 104 degrees Fahrenheit across most of Italy on June 28, and Rome tied its highest heat on record.


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Vatican:     Nancy Pelosi reportedly receives Communion at papal Mass
Pope Francis greets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi in St. Peter's Basilica after Mass on June 29, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 29, 2022 / 05:00 am (CNA).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly received Holy Communion at a Mass with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Pelosi took Communion, according to sources present at the Mass, Crux reported on June 29.

The Associated Press, citing two witnesses, reported that Pelosi was seated in the section reserved for diplomats, and received Communion with the other attendees.

Pelosi was banned from receiving Holy Communion in her home diocese, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, in May.

A screen capture of the Vatican Media livestream showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on June 29, 2022.
A screen capture of the Vatican Media livestream showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on June 29, 2022.

San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said Pelosi should not be admitted to Communion, nor should she present herself to receive the Eucharist, until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion.

Pelosi, who is in Rome on a family vacation, attended Pope Francis' Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Basilica.

Pope Francis speaks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi after Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on June 29, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis speaks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi after Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on June 29, 2022. Vatican Media

Cordileone said on May 20 that the step to bar Pelosi from Communion was “purely pastoral, not political” and came after Pelosi, D-Calif., who has described herself as a “devout Catholic,” repeatedly rebuffed his efforts to reach out to her to discuss her abortion advocacy.

Pope Francis met with Pelosi at the Vatican in October last year.

This story was updated with information from the AP report.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis pens letter on liturgy after Traditionis custodes
Canonization Mass on May 15, 2022 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Jun 29, 2022 / 04:05 am (CNA).

Pope Francis published a letter on the liturgy Wednesday, nearly one year after he issued the motu proprio Traditionis custodes, restricting the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass.

In the 15-page apostolic letter, Desiderio Desideravi, the pope said he wanted “to invite the whole Church to rediscover, to safeguard, and to live the truth and power of the Christian celebration.”

“I want the beauty of the Christian celebration and its necessary consequences for the life of the Church not to be spoiled by a superficial and foreshortened understanding of its value or, worse yet, by its being exploited in service of some ideological vision, no matter what the hue,” he said in the document, published on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

The title of the letter is taken from the Latin text of Luke 22:15: “Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum, antequam patiar” — In English, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”

Pope Francis said, after writing a letter to bishops to accompany Traditionis custodes, he wished to address all Catholics with some reflections on liturgical formation, the theological importance of the Mass, and acceptance of the liturgical documents of the Second Vatican Council.

“We owe to the Council — and to the liturgical movement that preceded it — the rediscovery of a theological understanding of the Liturgy and of its importance in the life of the Church,” Francis said.

“Let us abandon our polemics to listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Let us safeguard our communion. Let us continue to be astonished at the beauty of the Liturgy,” he urged.

He said the principles stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatican II’s constitution on the sacred liturgy, have been fundamental for the reform of the liturgy and continue to be fundamental for the promotion of its “full, conscious, active, and fruitful celebration.”

“The non-acceptance of the liturgical reform, as also a superficial understanding of it, distracts us from the obligation of finding responses to the question that I come back to repeating: how can we grow in our capacity to live in full the liturgical action? How do we continue to let ourselves be amazed at what happens in the celebration under our very eyes?” he said.

“We are in need of a serious and dynamic liturgical formation,” he underlined, noting that “it would be trivial to read the tensions, unfortunately present around the celebration, as a simple divergence between different tastes concerning a particular ritual form.”

The problem, the pope said, is primarily ecclesiological: “I do not see how it is possible to say that one recognizes the validity of the Council — though it amazes me that a Catholic might presume not to do so — and at the same time not accept the liturgical reform born out of Sacrosanctum Concilium.”

This is why he felt the need to issue Traditionis custodes, to affirm the liturgical books promulgated by popes Paul VI and John Paul II after the Second Vatican Council as “the unique expression of the lex orandi [the law of prayer] of the Roman Rite,” he said.

In the letter, Pope Francis called for liturgical formation beyond the academic environment to be accessible to all Catholics, in order to revive a sense of wonder at the mystery of the sacrifice of the Mass.

“The full extent of our formation is our conformation to Christ,” he explained. “I repeat: it does not have to do with an abstract mental process, but with becoming Him. This is the purpose for which the Spirit is given, whose action is always and only to confect the Body of Christ.”

The pope also spoke about the importance of an ars celebrandi, the “art of celebrating” the Mass.

“Let us be clear here: every aspect of the celebration must be carefully tended to (space, time,

gestures, words, objects, vestments, song, music…) and every rubric must be observed,” he said. “Such attention would be enough to prevent robbing from the assembly what is owed to it; namely, the paschal mystery celebrated according to the ritual that the Church sets down.”

“But,” he continued, “even if the quality and the proper action of the celebration were guaranteed, that would not be enough to make our participation full.”

Liturgical formation must teach people how to read and understand symbols, he said, referencing the writing of Romano Guardini, a 20th century German Catholic priest and intellectual.

“The task is not easy because modern man has become illiterate, no longer able to read symbols; it is almost as if their existence is not even suspected,” Francis said.

Francis said he has noticed that a Catholic community’s manner of living the celebration of the Mass is conditioned by the way the pastor celebrates it, and when the manner of celebration is inadequate, the “common root” is “a heightened personalism of the celebrating style which at times expresses a poorly concealed mania to be the center of attention.”

“Often this becomes more evident when our celebrations are transmitted over the air or online, something not always opportune and that needs further reflection,” he noted. “Be sure you understand me: these are not the most widespread behaviors, but still, not infrequently assemblies suffer from being thus abused.”

“The action of the celebration” of the Mass, he said, “is the place in which, by means of memorial, the Paschal Mystery is made present so that the baptized, through their participation, can experience it in their own lives.”

“Without this understanding, the celebration easily falls into a preoccupation with the exterior (more or less refined) or into a concern only for rubrics (more or less rigid),” he said.

“Christian faith is either an encounter with Him alive, or it does not exist,” he said. “Liturgy guarantees for us the possibility of such an encounter. For us a vague memory of the Last Supper would do no good. We need to be present at that Supper, to be able to hear his voice, to eat his Body and to drink his Blood. We need Him.”


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US:     More Catholic churches, pregnancy centers, and a pro-life memorial vandalized
LifeChoice Pregnancy Center in Winter Haven, Florida was defaced with pro-abortion graffiti June 25, 2022. / LifeChoice Pregnancy Center

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 28, 2022 / 19:20 pm (CNA).

More vandalism of Catholic churches, pro-life pregnancy centers, and a pro-life memorial have been reported since Roe v. Wade was overturned on Friday. 

LifeChoice pregnancy center in Winter Haven, Florida was defaced with pro-abortion graffiti June 25.

Director of Development for LifeChoices Lyndsy Flanagan told CNA Tuesday that the clinic was alerted by a local pastor who saw the damage on Sunday morning. A local church community, Winter Haven Worship Center, volunteered to repaint the whole building on Monday, Flanagan said.

The vandals also painted over security cameras and the clinic’s sign, she said. A pressure washer could not clean it and the clinic now needs a new sign, she said. 

Photos of the graffiti show the words “Janes revenge,” “Jane was here” “Abortion 4 all,” “Your time is up,” “We’re coming for you,” “We are everywhere,” some flowers, and anarchist symbols.

Being in a smaller community, Flanagan said she was surprised at the vandalism, despite the heated political climate.

The damage is estimated between $3,000 and $4,000 she said. The vandals were caught on video.

When CNA asked how many perpetrators were in the video, Flanagan said the FBI told her not to give any details until they finish the investigation. "They asked us not to speak on any of the details involved in the video footage until the investigation is complete, " she said.

"Because it's a national group that they believe could be involved in this, they are asking us to tread very lightly with all details concerning what we have knowledge of based on the video footage so that we can continue the investigation," she said.

Pro-abortion graffiti was discovered June 27 on the doors of the The Church of the Ascension in Manhattan. 

A purported photo of the vandalism on the church doors shows the words “If abortion isn’t safe, neither are you!” 

Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, said that “Any act of vandalism or violence against any house of worship should be condemned, particularly when such vandalism is a result of hatred of that religion.”

“Fortunately, thanks to the good work of the NYPD and local police departments, and the security measures the archdiocese encouraged the parishes to take, it appears that this is the only act of vandalism against a church in the archdiocese in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision,” he said.

St. Anthony Catholic Church in Renton, Washington had its windows smashed and was defaced with pro-abortion slogans in the early hours of June 25.

Dean Savelli, the church’s facilities manager, told CNA that three vandals defaced the front of the church with graffiti that said “Abortions save lives,” in two places. He said the vandals destroyed three of the five locks in the church.

The vandals smashed seven stained glass windows, Savelli said. The vandals, who were caught on camera, also broke some of the tops to collection boxes. The damage will amount to between $25,000 and $30,000 he said. 

Richard Garnett of South Bend, Indiana, told CNA that he drives by a memorial cross for aborted unborn babies almost every day and noticed June 25 that it was vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti. 

The white cross which says “In memory of aborted children” with a red heart, had yellow graffiti that crossed out the pro-life message and wrote pro-choice down the horizontal stretch of the cross, a photo of the vandalism shows.

According to a Saint Joseph County Police Department incident summary, an employee of St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church reported to the police June 27 that the sign was vandalized.

Karissa Lundstrom, who leads the Heart to Heart Pregnancy Center in Cortez, Colorado told CNA that her clinic was defaced with pro-abortion graffiti sometime between Saturday night and Sunday evening. 

She would not share a photo of the vandalism nor say what the graffiti said, because she does not want the vandalism to be the center of attention. The graffiti was partly on the sidewalk and partly on the building, she said, and it was cleaned up easily.


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US:     Judges temporarily block abortion bans in Louisiana, Utah, Texas
The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case, June 24, 2022. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 28, 2022 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Judges in Louisiana, Utah, and Texas have temporarily blocked the enforcement of those states’ laws banning abortion, after the Supreme Court returned the regulation of abortion to the states.

On June 24, the court voted 6-3 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to uphold a Mississippi law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks. At the same time, justices voted 5-4, to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Robin Giarrusso issued a temporary block June 27 on a 2006 Louisiana law banning abortion in the state in the case of Roe’s overturn, in response to a lawsuit filed by abortion providers. 

“Abortion groups, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, argue the abortion restrictions violate providers' due process rights and ‘lack constitutionally required safeguards to prevent arbitrary enforcement,’” Fox News reported about Louisiana.

In the coming weeks Giarrusso will rule whether the law may be enforced on a permanent basis. A hearing is set for July 8.

The Democratic Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, even said that he is "unabashedly pro-life and opposed to abortion,” yet he is aware that not everyone feels the same, according to the BBC.

In Utah, Third District Judge Andrew Stone issued a 14-day block June 27 on the state’s trigger law in response to a lawsuit brought by the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. NBC says that Stone claims women are “deprived of safe, local medical treatments to terminate pregnancies."

Utah State Senator Daniel McCay, sponsor of the state’s trigger law, said, “I'm confident that Utah’s abortion ban will be upheld, and we can work to support life." 

A hearing in the matter will be held July 11.

In Texas, Judge Christine Weems in Harris County granted a temporary restraining order June 28 against the enforcement of a 1925 law banning abortion.

Marc Hearron, a lawyer for the abortion providers in the Texas lawsuit, said, according to Reuters, "Every hour that abortion is accessible in Texas is a victory." 

The state’s law banning abortion from about six weeks into pregnancy is still being enforced.

The Texas attorney general has said he will appeal Weems’ decision; a hearing is scheduled July 12.

Challenges to abortion bans in several other states are focused on state constitutions in which rights to privacy are included. These include Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Washington. 

Reuters reported that abortion providers in Kentucky, Idaho, and Mississippi are suing to block enforcement of trigger laws in those states.


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Americas:     Hundreds of men gather to pray the rosary in Mexico City
Hundreds of men pray in Santo Domingo Plaza on June 25 at the first-ever Men's Rosary in Mexico City. / Photo courtesy of Martín Orive

Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 28, 2022 / 17:39 pm (CNA).

On the feast day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, June 25, hundreds of men took part in the first-ever Men’s Rosary in Mexico City, loudly proclaiming “Long live Christ the King!” 

The men first attended Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral and then headed out in procession to the atrium of Santo Domingo church, located in the central district of the Mexican capital.

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency, Leonardo Brown, the coordinator of the event, said “it was a unique, and I would say historical, experience.”

“The contingent set out singing songs to Christ the King and to the Virgin” and processed to Santo Domingo Plaza for the prayers “with everyone facing the images of the Virgin and the patron St. Joseph,” he said.

About 700 or 800 men prayed the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Brown added.

For Brown, “the most exciting experience was that many people spontaneously joined the procession, as well as witnessing so many men on their knees in front of the Virgin of Guadalupe.”

In addition, Brown said one could see “not a few who were shaken with emotion by the songs to Christ the King to the point of shedding tears.”

Among the testimonies shared at the event was that of a man who went to Confession after 13 years of being away from the sacrament.

The Men’s Rosary is an international prayer movement that began in Poland. The movement has especially taken off in Latin America, with Men’s Rosary events in Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Paraguay. Other countries where Men’s Rosary events have taken place include Germany, Ukraine, the Netherlands, England, the United States, Lithuania, and Spain.

On their website, the initiators of the Men’s Rosary in Poland explain that their goal is to fulfill the desire of the Virgin Mary, which is to do the will of her Son, Jesus Christ.

They also note that “the role of men in God’s plan is to protect all those whom God has given us here on earth, for eternal life.”

“Just as St. Joseph was the earthly protector of the Holy Family, we also have the task of defending the sanctity of our families and loved ones,” they say on the website. “We want to do it together, in a community of men. In this unity, we strengthen our masculine identity and masculine virtues.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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Americas:     Cardinal reveals he was detained by drug traffickers in Mexico
Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega / Credit: Archbishopric of Guadalajara Press

Guadalajara, Mexico, Jun 28, 2022 / 16:25 pm (CNA).

Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, the archbishop of Guadalajara, revealed that last week he was stopped and questioned at a checkpoint manned by drug traffickers during a visit to the northern part of Mexico's Jalisco state.

ArquiMedios, a weekly publication of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, reported the cardinal made the statement at a June 26 press conference.

The cardinal lamented the current climate of violence in Mexico, including the recent killing of two Jesuit priests and another man in a church in the state of Chihuahua. 

The priests were trying to protect the man, who had fled inside the church as he was being pursued by an armed assailant who then shot him and the two priests, killing all three.

At the press conference, the archbishop explained that he was “stopped at two checkpoints, obviously belonging to organized crime, and they demand that you tell them where you’re coming from, what’s your purpose, what you’re doing there.”

“I mean, that’s like the most normal, the most natural thing, but why?” the cardinal asked during the press conference.

“This is due to the deterioration of values, respect for life, respect for institutions,” so it is important to assume an attitude of individual responsibility in the current situation, he said.

The cardinal said that “we must all be aware that, if we do not propose each one in his field, in his place, in his relationships, to be builders of peace, of understanding, of reconciliation, we will end up destroying each other.”

The archbishop of Guadalajara asked the authorities to do their job and guarantee security for all citizens.

“We’re not asking that someone be shot to death, we’re just asking that they enforce the law,” he said.

In other recent incidents of violence in the country, 13 people, including four police officers, were killed in El Salto, Jalisco state, in a shootout between law enforcement and drug traffickers, and the Bishop of Zacatecas, Sigifredo Noriega Barceló, was stopped and questioned by organized crime members.

Mexico is experiencing a dramatic escalation in violence. Between 2018 and 2021, the country recorded the highest number of homicides in its history. The period includes the last year of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term and the first three years of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Mexican presidents hold office for six years.

From Jan. 1 to June 26 of this year, according to official figures, more than 12,847 homicides have occurred in Mexico.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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Americas:     Latin American pro-life leaders celebrate overturning of Roe v. Wade
null / Rena Schild via Shutterstock.

Lima, Peru, Jun 28, 2022 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

Pro-life leaders from all over Latin America expressed their joy as they celebrated the June 24 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the United States 49 years ago.

Latin American leaders described the ruling as “historic,” “momentous,” “a new legal precedent,” “similar to the end of slavery,” a “light in the midst of darkness,” and a “miracle” that took place on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

El Salvador

Sara Larín, president of the VIDA SV Foundation in El Salvador, shared her feelings with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency: “We’re super happy! It’s the beginning of the end of abortion in the world,” she said. “This is the ruling that officially abolished the practice of abortion as a supposed constitutional right: it’s historic, just as much as the abolition of slavery.”

“Now each state will have the freedom to decide whether to prohibit or restrict abortion,” she continued. “In addition, that would impact federal policy decisions to prevent abortion from being financed as part of U.S. cooperative aid to other countries in the region. The decision of the Supreme Court will undoubtedly have a positive impact on Latin America.”

Larín said that the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization “will mark a legal precedent that will be a point of reference for all experts in constitutional law around the world and will serve as a tool for justice for the protection of children's rights from the moment of conception.”

Ecuador

“We have seen light in the midst of darkness! We have seen a great defeat of a giant,” said Martha Villafuerte, the national director of Familia Ecuador, in an interview with ACI Prensa.

“This couldn’t be a more perfect moment … that strengthens the entire pro-life community in the world, where many countries have recently had unconstitutional attacks, unjust laws, and despite everything, today the United States gives us a wake-up call that rouses our convictions more than ever,” she said.

Villafuerte said that in Ecuador, “we couldn’t be happier.”

“We have a recent abortion law that’s a knife in the heart, but today we have received the perfect cure, the hope to rise up, fight harder, and achieve the victory of life,” she said.

Mexico

Speaking with ACI Prensa, Marcial Padilla, the director of ConParticipación, described the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court as a “historic event” that will have a great “cultural” impact.

“This gives a clear and firm signal that the correct path based on science and ethics is to recognize and protect with equal dignity the mother and her unborn child. Thus, it’s a reminder that there’s a right to life, not the right to take life,” he said.

To Padilla, this ruling sends a clear signal to Latin America: “It’s possible to reverse the trend toward abortion in the laws and courts” and so “we must participate in the elections for government officials and the appointment of judges who respect human life at all times.” 

The president of the National Front for the Family, Rodrigo Iván Cortés, also shared his joy with ACI Prensa and noted that now various U.S. states “will be able to protect life and limit abortion.”

“Today is a day of profound joy, proof that human life can be defended in the law,” he said.

Pilar Rebollo, director of Steps for Life in Mexico, said her organization is “full of hope” to see “how persevering work bears fruit.”

“It’s possible to overturn what seems written in stone,” she said. “The truth came down on it with its own weight and in Mexico we can’t give up, because no effort is in vain, especially since we are on the side of life and truth.”

Colombia

Jesús Magaña, president of United for Life, told ACI Prensa that the news was received in Colombia “with great joy.”

“We salute the Supreme Court of the United States with great admiration, respect, and affection. We wholeheartedly support these six brave judges who made it possible to win this nearly 50-year fight to restore the right to life of unborn babies,” he commented.

Magaña believes the ruling will have a “convincing effect on the entire region and especially in Colombia, because the decisions on abortion — C-355 in 2006 and C-051 by our Constitutional Court — have a substantial foundation in Roe v. Wade.”

“Now it will be possible to call into question this jurisprudence that has become a sort of ‘copy and paste’ of the 1973 pro-death ruling in the U.S.,” he said.

Peru

The director of the Origin Association, Giuliana Caccia, told ACI Prensa that with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, “human rights will really begin to be defended” and, therefore, “it’s a day that’s a cause for pride and that’s worth celebrating.”

She also said the decision is like “pulling the rug out from under” all those bills that “base their arguments on this ruling.”

“What has happened today is the beginning of the end of abortion in the United States and in the world,” she said.

Bolivia

Elisa Lanza Sevilla, president of the Bolivian Platform for Life and Family and a director of Project Rachel, said that “there are no words to express so much emotion, so much joy, so much gratitude.”

“As a person working to defend life, I am thrilled to know that all over the world in pro-life groups, right now they are celebrating that a ruling that led to the death of millions of innocent children for 49 long years has come to an end,” she told ACI Prensa.

Lanza affirmed that “the expansion of the legalization of abortion in the world will be stopped” and this “silent holocaust” will end.

Finally, she thanked the “brave justices of the Supreme Court who brought the truth to light and fought for life to the end, regardless of putting their own lives at risk.”

Argentina

The director of CitizenGO campaigns in Argentina, Silvina Spataro, told ACI Prensa that “for those of us who defend life and family, this is the most important news in recent times.”

“It’s a historic ruling, and as such I believe that at this time we cannot fully assess the great importance it has and the scope that this measure will have,” she said.

Spataro recognized the “important role of Donald Trump” as president of the United States from 2017–2021, “since the votes of the three judges he appointed were essential.”

“I also want to highlight the strength of the civic-social participation of the pro-life movement in the United States, which remains strong, and the pressure from citizens that can be applied when we work in an organized manner,” she added.

Spataro said that “celebrating this great achievement has to strengthen us in standing firm in the defense of life from conception.”

“Just as slavery was reversed when it seemed impossible, it has to happen the same way to abortion; we have to continue working until it’s unthinkable for a mother to kill her child in her womb,” she concluded.

Dr. María José Mancino, founder and president of Doctors for Life in Argentina, also shared with ACI Prensa her happiness and said her organization is “united, happy, encouraged, and strengthened.”

“It is a victory, totally! Everyone from their place in life, we all gave everything, the call, our time, our resources, our sorrows and joys for this day,” she said. “It’s not just another day for any of the pro-life movements.”

Mancino said this “is the best news of the year and the best gift we can receive on the feast days of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. John the Baptist.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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US:     Biden official promises 5 actions to protect abortion after Roe
Xavier Becerra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. / vasilis asvestas/Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 28, 2022 / 14:25 pm (CNA).

The Biden administration is taking five steps to protect access to abortion, according to Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Those steps, Becerra said on Tuesday, include increasing access to medication abortion and training health workers following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

Becerra condemned what he called the court’s “despicable” decision that leaves abortion policy up to each individual state.

“There is no magic bullet. But if there is something we can do, we will find it and we will do it at HHS,” Becerra said June 28, referring to instructions that he received from President Joe Biden.

Becerra stressed that HHS would support Biden as he works to make available abortion pills and to enable women to travel for out-of-state abortions.

Both Biden and Becerra, who are Catholic, support abortion, in contrast with the Catholic Church’s teaching that “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.”

Following the overturning of Roe, Becerra would not say Monday if he thought fewer abortions would be a good thing in America.

“I think if we leave things in the hands of a woman to make decisions for her own body, we’re going to have the best decisions made,” Becerra told EWTN correspondent Owen Jensen.

At the Tuesday news conference, Becerra outlined the HHS’ five steps to protect abortion. He began with abortion pills, which allow women to perform early abortions without leaving their homes.

The HHS, Becerra said, “will take steps to increase access” by ensuring that federally-supported programs and services provide these pills in cases of rape, incest, or to save the woman’s life, in compliance with federal law.

The department is also looking into protecting patient and provider privacy, supporting doctors’ “clinical judgment” when treating pregnant women in emergencies, and training providers on family planning and “helping patients navigate this new reality,” he continued.

Becerra added that he is directing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to also protect “family planning care,” including contraception.

When asked about the possibility of placing abortion clinics on federal land to bypass state laws or helping women travel to different states to obtain abortion, Becerra responded that “every option is on the table.”

Of all the steps, Becerra emphasized increasing access to abortion pills, calling it a “national imperative.” That included, he said, working “to ensure that states may not ban medication abortion, based on a disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about the drug’s safety and efficacy.”

Pro-life research organizations, such as the Charlotte Lozier Institute, have expressed concern about the safety of this type of abortion for women.

“How we respond will speak to how we view the rights, the dignity and the wellbeing of women everywhere,” Becerra said. “All options are on the table. We will do everything within our legal limit of the law to reach patients and support providers.”

Immediately before his remarks, HHS launched a website claiming to inform Americans about their “rights” to “reproductive health care,” including abortion. Among other things, it recommends abortion funds “if you need help paying for an abortion.”

Following Becerra’s remarks, Senator Steve Daines, founder and chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, issued a statement responding to the Biden administration’s plans regarding abortion. 

“The Biden administration will stop at nothing, not even a Supreme Court ruling, to force their radical, pro-abortion agenda on all Americans,” the Republican from Montana said. “Instead of allowing Americans’ voices to be heard when it comes to abortion, President Biden wants to force states to allow dangerous DIY abortion pills and is considering plans to use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion tourism across state lines and even set up abortion clinics in our national parks.”

He added: “This is outrageous. Our fight is long from over—I will continue to stand up for all life, no matter how small.”


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US:     These U.S. companies will pay staff abortion travel expenses
Starbucks coffee shop. / AKS.9955/wikimedia. CC BY SA 4.0

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 28, 2022 / 13:54 pm (CNA).

As some states ban or regulate abortion following the Dobbs decision, numerous companies have announced they will provide financial assistance to employees traveling for abortions.

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court ruled June 24 that the right to an abortion is not protected under the U.S. Constitution; states are thus now able to ban abortion.  

Many states already have enacted trigger laws to ban abortion immediately, while the practice remains legal in others. 

Some prominent corporations have announced they will support employees in states where they cannot procure abortion by covering travel costs associated with the procedure through their health insurance.

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced June 24 that it will provide up to $4,000 in travel reimbursements to any employee, spouse, or dependent enrolled in its medical plan seeking an abortion in states where it is illegal. 

“We recognize people feel passionately about this topic– and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision,” the company said. The statement also noted that it believes these decisions are “deeply personal.”

Some companies, including Starbucks and Levi Strauss and Co., will fully reimburse expenses for women seeking legal access to abortion. A Starbucks statement says, “We will provide partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare plan a medical travel reimbursement benefit to access an abortion.”

Other companies making similar offers, The Hill reported, include Amazon, Yelp, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix, Tesla, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Mastercard, Lyft, Disney, Meta, Comcast, Airbnb, Patagonia, DoorDash, PayPal, Reddit, Meta, Zillow, and Uber.

Some of the firms had announced travel assistance for abortion before the Dobbs ruling was released, in reaction either to the May 2 leak of a draft of the decision, or the Texas law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.


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Vatican:     Winning 2025 Jubilee Year logo unveiled after global competition
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, presents the logo for the 2025 Jubilee Year, June 28, 2022. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Jun 28, 2022 / 10:40 am (CNA).

The Vatican evangelization chief unveiled on Tuesday the winning logo of the 2025 Jubilee Year, chosen after a worldwide competition.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, presented the logo and the preparations for the Catholic Church’s next holy year at a June 28 press conference.

A jubilee is a Holy Year of grace and pilgrimage in the Catholic Church, which typically takes place every 25 years. The motto of the 2025 Jubilee is “Pilgrims of Hope” — “Peregrinantes in Spem” in Latin.

The logo of the 2025 Jubilee Year, with the motto in English. Courtesy of the Dicastery for Evangelization
The logo of the 2025 Jubilee Year, with the motto in English. Courtesy of the Dicastery for Evangelization

Fisichella said there were 294 entries from 48 countries entered in the logo competition. Participants ranged in age from six to 83 years old.

“In fact, many were hand-made drawings by children from all over the world, and it was truly moving to review these drawings that were the fruit of imagination and simple faith,” the archbishop said.

A panel narrowed the selection to three projects, which were presented to Pope Francis, who chose the logo designed by Italian Giacomo Travisani.

A Vatican press release described the logo as “four stylized figures to indicate all of humanity from the four corners of the earth.”

“They are each embracing another, indicating the solidarity and brotherhood that must unite peoples,” it continued. “It should be noted that the first figure is clinging to the cross. The underlying waves are choppy to indicate that the pilgrimage of life is not always on calm waters.”

“Oftentimes personal circumstances and world events call for a greater sense of hope. This is why the lower part of the cross is elongated, turning into an anchor, which dominates the movement of the waves. As is well known, the anchor has often been used as a metaphor for hope,” it said.

The logo may be freely used by bishops’ conferences and Catholic communities for pastoral reasons, Fisichella said, while noting that commercial use is prohibited by a copyright maintained and managed by the Dicastery for Evangelization.

Fisichella said the official website of the 2025 Jubilee Year will launch after the summer.

The Catholic Church’s last Great Jubilee was held in 2000 with the motto “Christ Yesterday, Today, Forever.”

In 2015, Pope Francis called for an extraordinary Jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy.

Archbishop Fisichella said the year before the Jubilee, 2024, will be dedicated to prayer in preparation of the Holy Year, while 2023 will be focused on promoting the major documents of the Second Vatican Council.

“The year 2023 will be devoted to revisiting the fundamental topics of the four Council Constitutions so that the Church can breathe anew the profound and timely teaching produced by Vatican II, whose 60th anniversary will be celebrated on October 11,” the evangelization chief said.

“For this reason,” he added, “a series of user-friendly resources, written in appealing language, are being produced to arouse curiosity in those who have no memory of the event and to help them enter into the essence of the Council in order to discover the innovative longing that enabled the Church to consciously enter the third millennium of its history.”


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Vatican:     Vatican debuts monthly street newspaper
The front page of the new L’Osservatore di Strada, which will be available June 30. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Jun 28, 2022 / 09:44 am (CNA).

The Vatican-owned L’Osservatore Romano debuted on Tuesday a street newspaper aiming “to give voice to the voiceless.”

L’Osservatore di Strada — in English “The Street Observer”  — “is above all a newspaper with the poor,” according to a June 28 press release.

“Even those who have a cardboard box for a house have something to say and teach,” it said.

The monthly newspaper will be available both online and in print, which can be procured on Sunday mornings in St. Peter’s Square for a free-will offering.

All proceeds will go toward the poor and homeless assisting with the production of the paper.

Each edition of the street paper will be organized around a theme, and include editorials by people living on the streets, joint articles by both famous writers and marginalized people, reports on Pope Francis, and a section with artistic contributions by the poor, including drawings, stories, songs, and poems.

L’Osservatore Romano, online and in print, is now subscription-based after more than 135 years as the pope’s newspaper.

The newspaper was first launched in 1861 to defend the Papal States against the Italian political revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi in his bid to subsume the pope’s territories into a newly unified Italy.

The paper’s ownership was independent of the Church until 1885, when it was acquired by the Vatican during the reign of Leo XIII.

The daily edition of the newspaper is in Italian.

In 1968, a weekly edition in English was started. There are also weekly editions in Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese. The publication also has a monthly edition in Polish.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis: ‘I have been able to walk for three days’
Pope Francis walks with a cane at the beginning of a meeting with Brazilian bishops on June 27, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 28, 2022 / 07:30 am (CNA).

The Vatican has released a video of Pope Francis telling a group of bishops from Brazil this week that his mobility has improved.

“I have been able to walk for three days,” the pope said with a wave on June 27 as he walked with the help of a cane across the library of the Apostolic Palace.

Pope Francis’ wheelchair could be seen in the back of the room as he greeted the Brazilian bishops. The pope has used a wheelchair for many of his public audiences for nearly two months.

The 85-year-old pope's comment comes after he used a cane to walk a short distance during the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families on June 25 and across the stage of Paul VI Hall in an audience with Neocatechumenal Way members on June 27.

Pope Francis has said that he began medical treatment for a knee injury the first week of May. He has postponed two international trips to Lebanon and South Sudan due to his health.

In Pope Francis’ meeting with the delegation of Brazilian bishops, he encouraged them to talk with him for as long as they wanted and to speak “without censorship.”

The meeting lasted for three hours as Brazilian bishops spoke of their concerns about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest with the pope, according to Vatican News’ Portuguese language service.

During the discussion about the Amazon, Archbishop Evaristo Pascoal Spengler of Marajo said that Pope Francis “closed his eyes in an expression of pain and suffering and then asked: ‘What can we do?’”

“He is very sensitive to this reality of destruction in the Amazon,” said Spengler, who serves as the president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (Repam).

Multiple delegations of bishops from Brazil have been meeting with the pope in May and June during their ad limina visit to Rome.

An "ad limina apostolorum" visit is a papal meeting required for every diocesan bishop in the world to provide an update on the state of one's diocese. The trip to Rome, usually made together with all the bishops from a country or region, also serves as a pilgrimage to "the threshold of the apostles," giving the bishops, who are the successors of the apostles, the opportunity to pray at the tomb of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Ad limina visits typically take place every five years, as the world's more than 5,300 bishops rotate through Rome. The last ad limina visit for U.S. bishops was in November 2019.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis asks for prayers after 46 migrants found dead in Texas trailer truck
Pope Francis at a general audience in Rome in June 2018. / CNA file photo

Vatican City, Jun 28, 2022 / 05:55 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has asked people to pray after 46 migrants were found dead in a Texas trailer truck on Monday.

“I sorrowfully heard the news of the tragedy of the #migrants in Texas and #Melilla,” the pope said in a social media post on June 28.

“Let us #PrayTogether for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life; and for ourselves, may the Lord might open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again.”

The migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas on the evening of June 27. Sixteen other people were hospitalized, including four children, according to the Associated Press.

The pope also asked for prayers for migrants who died last week attempting to cross the border between Morocco and Spain.

Moroccan authorities have reported that 23 people died on June 24 in a stampede as migrants attempted to breach a fence into the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla.

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) also issued a statement in response to the migrant deaths in Melilla.

"The EU and its member states’ management of migration cannot consist in giving a blank check to neighboring countries that don’t respect the inalienable dignity of migrants and refugees," it said.

"COMECE also condemns the use of violence by people trying to cross borders and calls for a proportionate use of force by law enforcement agents and the absolute respect of the human dignity and the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees, as well as the facilitation of an appropriate screening of persons that are legitimate asylum seekers.”


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Vatican:     Pope Francis to teens: Use the summer break well
Pope Francis with teens at the opening ceremony of World Youth Day 2019 in Panama. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 28, 2022 / 04:05 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Tuesday encouraged young people to spend their summer break from school in a good way, such as by spending time in rest, prayer, service, and helping their families.

“I encourage you to use well and responsibly the time that is available to you: it is in this way that one grows and prepares oneself to take on more demanding tasks,” the pope said in a June 28 video message.

“Besides recreation and rest, I know that some of you use this time to offer help voluntarily in solidarity initiatives; others devote themselves to small jobs to lend a hand to their family or to support their studies; others carve out days of silence and prayer to be with God and to receive light on their path,” he said.

The video was sent to 130 youth, ages 12-18, taking part in a week-long Global Youth Tourism Summit in Sorrento, Italy.

Teenagers from 60 countries, including the United States, Ukraine, Italy, Sudan, Yemen, Armenia, and Kazakhstan, will take classes on different aspects of the tourism industry from June 27-July 3.

“For those of you who are still students, tourism coincides with the time of the school holidays,” Pope Francis said. “The experiences one can have in this period will remain in your memory.”

“I hope you will be messengers of hope and rebirth for the future,” he concluded. “I send you my blessing and my greeting.”


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US:     'The Little Catholic Church on Irish Mountain' stood in West Virginia for 150 years before it burned
St. Colman Chapel and cemetery. / Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

Denver Newsroom, Jun 27, 2022 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Nestled in the thick woods atop Irish Mountain in West Virginia, a small, whitewashed wooden church stood resolute for nearly a century and a half — until this morning. 

Irish Mountain is aptly named — its bright green foliage would not be out of place on the Emerald Isle. But the name of the place goes deeper than appearances. St. Colman Chapel, which was discovered burned to the ground the morning of June 27, was the last surviving remnant of a once-thriving Irish immigrant community in the area, and its adjacent cemetery marks the final resting place of many of those Irish Catholics. 

The chapel burned under suspicious circumstances the night of June 26-27 and is being investigated as arson, according to the local volunteer fire department.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston told CNA it "is saddened to hear of the devastating fire at the historic St. Colman Catholic Church near Shady Spring, WV. Thankfully, no one was inside the building when the fire occurred and the structure is a total loss. The church, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places since it was built in 1877 was not regularly used. The Diocese is truly grateful for the response of so many fire departments in the area, but the little church burned quickly and nothing can be saved. The cemetery behind the church will continue to be maintained."

St. Colman Catholic Church and Cemetery in Raleigh County, West Virginia, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church is known as "The Little Church on Irish Mountain.". National Register of Historic Places photo
St. Colman Catholic Church and Cemetery in Raleigh County, West Virginia, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church is known as "The Little Church on Irish Mountain.". National Register of Historic Places photo

According to the nomination form for its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Colman’s was founded around 1877 to serve the burgeoning Irish immigrant population. It gained the moniker of “The Little Catholic Church on Irish Mountain.”

The Irish were some of the earliest European settlers in West Virginia, arriving in the mid-19th century. On Irish Mountain, the populace had grown to more than a half-dozen families after the first Irishman to settle in the area, Maurice Sullivan, purchased a large tract of land in 1855. 

The area is marked by stunning natural beauty; Irish Mountain is a relative stone’s throw from New River Gorge, the newest U.S. national park.

But in the late 19th century, the verdant wilderness represented a foreboding obstacle. 

“Located in an extremely isolated area, this community of Irish farmers became virtually self-sufficient and formed a distinctive ethnic group,” the nomination reads.

“The one aspect of their lives, however, in which they did not feel self-sufficient was their lack of a place of spiritual solace. The closest Roman Catholic church was St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hinton, founded in 1872, which was nearly fifteen miles away over torturous mountains and through rugged terrain.”

New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. Jonah McKeown/CNA
New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. Jonah McKeown/CNA

So, in 1876, Sullivan — the landowner — deeded one acre of his land to the Diocese of Wheeling (today the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston) for the establishment of a mission church and cemetery, with construction commencing the next year. 

The boxy, simple building was originally constructed of hewn logs, and many years later, in 1928, the log structure was covered with clapboard wood siding painted white. The church was dubbed St. Colman.

A large, unadorned wooden cross rose above the roof level at the chapel’s front. Inside, the white altar and some of the benches for the congregation were constructed in 1904 by Father J. J. Swint, who was a carpenter as well as priest, and later became Bishop of Wheeling.

Outside, the chapel’s cemetery contains the graves of several dozen of the area’s Irish residents, marked with granite and marble upright gravestones. It also has what is known as a "Lost Corner,” located in the cemetery’s rear, which is a small plot of unconsecrated ground where the unbaptized were buried. One gravestone bears the epitaph:"Remember kind friends as you pass by. As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you must be. Prepare for death, and follow me."

Despite the area losing some of its population as a result of some of its men leaving to work on the railroad, the community at Irish Mountain continued to thrive into the 20th century, with an average of 15 to 20 families occupying the area, the nomination says. But the mission church was never given its own priest, instead always relying on the Hinton parish, St. Patrick. 

At the time the Historic Places register nomination was written — 1984 — the author of the form described the worshipers there as “occasional."

Kelli Thompson Harrison, 50, from Crab Orchard, West Virginia, told CNA that her ancestors were Irish Catholic immigrants who worshipped at St. Colman Catholic Church.

“It's just truly heartbreaking because there's so much history there,” she said. The church was a place of meaning and purpose for the immigrant community, Harrison said, and it saddens her to see it destroyed.

The chapel had attracted attention in recent years for reasons other than its Catholic history — it was visited by ghosthunters, who claim to have experienced “cold spots” and the presence of ghosts at the site. In particular, the presence of the cemetery’s “Lost Corner” appears to have captured the imagination of believers in the paranormal. 

Ghosts or not, the attention given to the chapel by ghosthunters has caused it demonstrable harm. In 2012, the “windows, pews and the altar were broken and destroyed” by vandals, according to a report from the Beckley Register-Herald. The assailants also reportedly spray painted a message on the chapel’s interior: “This s*** is not haunted.” 

It is unclear whether the suspected arson attack that destroyed the church this week is related to its phantasmal reputation, or to the spate of arson attacks against Catholics that have plagued the nation as a whole in recent months.

In particular, Catholic churches, crisis pregnancy centers, and other pro-life groups have been on heightened alert in response to threats of retaliatory attacks by pro-abortion activists in the wake of the landmark abortion ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24.


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US:     Vandalism of Catholic churches, pregnancy centers continues after Dobbs decision
Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia had its windows smashed and was defaced with graffiti the night of June 24-25. / null

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 27, 2022 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

In the wake of Friday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Catholic churches, crisis pregnancy centers, and other pro-life groups have been on heightened alert in response to threats of retaliatory attacks by pro-abortion activists.

Several such locations have suffered vandalism since the June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

In Reston, Virginia, about 16 miles northwest of Arlington, police and fire rescue arrived at St. John Neumann Catholic Church responding to a call for smoldering mulch June 26. 

Authorities at the scene determined that an accelerant was likely used in the fire, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. Photos of the graffiti show the words “This won’t stop” written on the church’s sign, and an illegible statement written on the wall of the church. 

Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center in Lynchburg, Virginia had its windows smashed and was defaced with graffiti the night of June 24-25, Lynchburg police say. Authorities responded to a call of property damage just before 11 a.m. June 25, and upon arrival discovered the spray paint and broken windows, police say. 

Photos of the graffiti shows the words “Jane’s Revenge,” “If abortion aint safe you aint safe,” and another illegible statement. 

Police say that security footage shows four masked individuals vandalizing the building. The investigation is ongoing. Police are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Dubie at (434) 941-9937 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 798-5900. Anonymous tips can be left online at http://p3tips.com or on the P3 app on a mobile device. 

At Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in New Orleans, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a memorial stone for aborted unborn babies was defaced with red paint, Fox 8 reported June 25. 

Life Choices, a pro-life pregnancy center in Longmont, Colorado sustained fire and heavy smoke damage Saturday. The FBI and local police are investigating the fire as suspected arson. Pro-abortion slogans, including the words, "If abortions aren't safe neither are you," were written on the building in black graffiti.

Tree of Life Pregnancy Support Center in Paso Robles, California had its windows broken and was defaced with anarchist symbols and the initials “JR” according to calcoastnews.com. The news outlet reported that “JR” stands for Jane’s Revenge.

Paso Robles police said that the pregnancy center received a letter from Jane's Revenge, according to KSBY. It is unclear whether the letter was received before or after the vandalism. The vandalism is being investigated through surveillance tapes from surrounding businesses according to KSBY.

St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Harlingen, Texas had three of its statues vandalized over the weekend, according to valleycentral.com. Photos of the vandalism show a statue of what appears to be the Blessed Virgin Mary toppled over and beheaded. The church said that two statues of angels were stolen, according to the outlet.


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Europe:     More than 100,000 march for life in Spain
More than 100,000 people attended a march for life in Madrid, Spain, on June 26, 2022. / Credit: Courtesy of NEOS Comunicación

Madrid, Spain, Jun 27, 2022 / 16:45 pm (CNA).

More than 100,000 people turned out June 26 for Spain's march for life in Madrid and to protest proposed changes to the country’s abortion law and other bills that violate human dignity.

The pro-life institutions NEOS; the Assembly of Associations for Life, Liberty, and Dignity; and the Every Life Matters Platform organized the march, which included more than 200 civil society organizations.

The march started at the Bilbao roundabout and ended at Plaza Colón. Jaime Mayor Oreja, a member of NEOS, said during a presentation at the march that “the repeal of abortion in the United States shows us that the debate on the culture of life is by no means over. We are going to be more present, united, and active than ever.”

“It’s essential to mobilize and defend the Christian foundations of our society in the face of relentless social disorder. We’re not here today in a debate about the past but to raise awareness and prepare for the debate of the future,” he added.

Josep Miró, coordinator of the Assembly of Associations for Life, Freedom, and Dignity, said that this march serves "to build the society of life and a new future where we join forces for the purpose of acting together.”

Regarding the changes to the abortion law approved by the government’s executive branch, Carmen Fernández de la Cigoña, director of the Center for University Studies’ Institute for Family Studies, lamented that the authorities “want to make us see it as moral that 16-year-old girls can go get an abortion without their families knowing about it, the people who love them the most and care about them the most.”

The reform of the abortion law was approved on May 17 by Spain’s Council of Ministers. Among other things, the bill would allow girls ages 16 and 17 to get an abortion without parental consent.

The bill goes next to the Congress of Deputies (lower house) for debate and a vote, and then on to the Senate.

Fernández de la Cigoña said the government wants to change reality and say that "killing is good and compassionate" while "caring, praying, helping those who need a helping hand is instead bad."

“You cannot decide who lives and who dies or push society to do so. Because every life matters,” she said.

Nayeli Rodríguez, national coordinator of the 40 Days for Life campaign in Spain — representing the more than 200 organizations that joined together for the march — noted that more than 2.5 million abortions have been performed in Spain since the abortion law went into effect in 1985.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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US:     Investigation underway of major fire at Catholic bookstore in Houston
Damage to the San Jacinto location of the Sacco Company Catholic Store in Houston after a fire on June 25, 2022. / Brent Haynes

Denver Newsroom, Jun 27, 2022 / 15:40 pm (CNA).

A Saturday evening fire caused major damage to the Sacco Company Catholic Store in downtown Houston. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

A fire started about 8 p.m. June 25 at the store, which is more than 6,000 square feet in area. The building is on San Jacinto Street five blocks south of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. 

The store’s owners say they are still open for business online and at their other Houston location.

“We did suffer a fire on Saturday evening. It did destroy most of our store,” Andrew Sacco, the store’s owner, told CNA June 27. “It’s a pretty big blow. It’s a family-owned business. We’ve been in that location for over 30 years. It’s a significant blow to us.”

Sacco said he did not know of any signs of vandalism, arson, or threats

“We don’t have any information on that at this time. The fire is still being investigated,” he told CNA. “We’re waiting on insurance adjustors and inspectors. There’s been no determination on the cause of the fire.”

Arson investigators were on the scene of the fire, KPRC 2 News reports.

A Houston Fire Department spokesperson told CNA on Monday that the incident investigation is still considered open and active. 

The fire comes amid concerns about arson and vandalism at churches, pregnancy centers, and other institutions which oppose abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision last week.

The store which suffered the fire was the Sacco Company’s main location and had all of its main inventory.

“We’re going to have to be rebuilding our inventory back up. We are working with our vendors,” Sacco said. “Any necessary orders can be fulfilled.”

The San Jacinto Street location is temporarily closed. The company’s other location, Veritas Catholic Bookstore, is still open on the 2900 block of Chimney Rock Road in west Houston.

“We are working out of our sister store, Veritas Catholic Bookstore,“ Sacco said. “We’re still operational, we’re just working to get things back up and running … We’re still taking church goods orders. We can ship directly from our manufacturers.”


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US:     What the U.S. bishops have said about Dobbs
The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case on June 24, 2022. Pro-abortion demonstrators gradually made up a decided majority of the crowd as the day wore on. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 27, 2022 / 14:36 pm (CNA).

The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision, bringing an end to nearly a half-century of nationwide legalized abortion in the U.S. 

The June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was welcomed by Catholic bishops across the country. 

Below is a compilation of responses to the decision from the local Churches and bishops of the U.S., arranged by state. Some local Churches do not have individual statements, but are represented by those of the state Catholic conference.

Alabama

Archdiocese of Mobile

Archbishop Thomas Rodi: “I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which from the beginning was objectionable for both Constitutional and moral reasons. However, this is not the end of our efforts to call our country back to a respect for life. This issue now returns to the Democratic process in state legislatures. We need to increase our efforts to share with others that the preborn baby is a human being so that our laws may reflect this. In calling our country back to a respect for life, we also need to do what we can to support mothers and their children.”

Diocese of Birmingham

Bishop Steven Raica: “Today’s decision marks a major step forward in constructing a culture of life. Over time, a culture of life becomes a culture of hope that honors and respects all.” Read full statement here

Alaska

Alaska Catholic Conference of Bishops: "We recognize that abortion remains legal here in our State and to that end, we will continue to work to uphold the life and dignity of the human person created in Gods image, from conception until natural death ... The Church will never cease to do what it has always done, to pray, work, and serve until the day when every human life is protected in law, and welcomed in love. Until that day comes, in every way possible, we will continue to care for women and children in need, so that every family has the support to joyfully choose life." Read full statement here.

Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau

Diocese of Fairbanks

Arizona

Ruthenian Eparchy of Holy Protection of Mary of Phoenix

Diocese of Phoenix

Apostolic Administrator Bishop Thomas Olmsted and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares: “Let today’s decision be a turning point for our nation—the day we renew our commitment to uphold the inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence and build a culture of life and civilization of love. Let us redouble our efforts to accompany mothers in need, act as peacemakers with all our fellow citizens, strengthen laws that protect innocent life, and proclaim the dignity of every human person, each of whom is made in the image of our loving God.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Tuscon

Diocesan spokesperson, Ana Sanguineti: “The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson is gratified with the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and correct the previous injustice of denying preborn children their legal and human rights.”  Read full statement here

Arkansas

Diocese of Little Rock

California

California Catholic Conference: “Today is a day to give thanks and celebrate. The California Catholic Conference of Bishops profoundly welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobb’s v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which has affirmed our dearly held belief that life is precious, valuable, and should be protected, and that states have a compelling interest to protect the unborn and limit abortion. This has been our prayer, the Church’s prayer, for the last 50 years.” Read full statement here. 

Armenian Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg in Glendale

Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle of San Diego

Archdiocese of Los Angeles

In his role as chairman of the U.S. Bishops, Archbishop Jose Gomez released a joint statement with the bishop’s pro-life chairman, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori: “America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This truth was grievously denied by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized and normalized the taking of innocent human life. We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of San Francisco

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone:  “This historic Supreme Court decision would not have happened without fifty years of patient, loving, hard work by people of all faiths and none, in diverse fields including social service, religion, law, medicine, culture, education, policy and politics.  But our work has just begun.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Fresno

Diocese of Monterey

Diocese of Oakland

“Bishop Barber joins in giving thanks and celebrating today’s ruling by SCOTUS, and notes there is much more to do.” 

Diocese of Orange

Bishop Kevin Vann: “Roe might be overturned, but abortion will continue to be widely available in California. As bishops, we have been awed by the response of our Catholic community to reject the violence of abortion and to embrace the call to love and serve our sisters and families struggling with challenging pregnancies. Now is the time for us to continue to work together as a Church to build a civilization of love and reject a throwaway culture.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Sacramento

Bishop Jaime Soto: “Now is a critical time for people of faith to become even more involved in assisting women, children and families in California needing help during an unexpected pregnancy and beyond. Our support will make the difference so that all families can flourish. Find out more at WeWereBornReady.com.” Read full statement here

Diocese of San Bernardino 

Diocese of San Diego

Bishop Robert McElroy: “While we celebrate this decision — the culmination of prayer and decades of legislative advocacy, life-affirming events, committing time and resources to pregnancy centers, and walking with families facing an unplanned pregnancy— in many ways, our work has just begun. We must work to ensure that California law protects the rights of the unborn.  And we must emphasize that being pro-life demands more than opposition to abortion.“It demands we do everything we can to support families, to provide access to quality healthcare, affordable housing, good jobs and decent housing.” Read full statement here

Diocese of San Jose

Bishop Oscar Cantú: “As we seek to contain the expansion of abortion in California and work to defeat the efforts of state leaders to enshrine abortion into the state constitution permanently, my brother bishops and I ask that all Catholics throughout the state meet this moment and actively engage through the California Catholic Conference, in their dioceses and parishes, and in their communities to help women, children, and families. It is not enough to claim we are for life; we must be the hands and feet of Christ working to make it a reality. And while the Supreme Court’s decision will save the countless lives, we look to increase our work to support California’s women, children, and families and protect the sanctity of every human life.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Santa Rosa 

Diocese of Stockton

Colorado

Colorado Catholic Conference: “All Americans who value the sanctity of human life should celebrate the end of nearly half a century of extreme judicial overreach on abortion, which cost the lives of millions of preborn children. Today, we celebrate our country embarking on a path toward embracing life at every stage and condition!” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Denver

Archbishop Samuel Aquila: “This is a remarkable moment, and I want to personally thank everyone who has fervently prayed and worked that we might see this day. Our prayers have truly been answered! With that said, we acknowledge that the work continues, especially here in Colorado.” Read full statement here.

Diocese of Colorado Springs

Diocese of Pueblo

Connecticut

Connecticut Catholic bishops: “Throughout this struggle to protect life, we have heard many voices cry out for the innocent lives of the unborn, and we are grateful for their witness and renewed commitment. This is a most hopeful and encouraging moment, but there is a need for renewed vigilance ahead as we work and pray to become a nation that values all human life, beginning with the unborn and extending to children in our schools and to all people who are vulnerable and at risk of violence.” Read full statement here.

Archdiocese of Hartford

Ukrainian Eparchy of Stamford

Diocese of Bridgeport

Diocese of Norwich

Delaware

Diocese of Wilmington

Bishop William Koenig: "We continue to pray for and support all mothers, fathers, and their children. We remain committed to the church’s teaching on the sanctity, value and dignity of human life from conception through natural death.”

Florida

Florida Catholic bishops: “The Dobbs case marks a new era for the work of the Church and all those who strive to protect children in the womb. We remain committed to ministries of service that accompany expectant mothers facing difficult or unintended pregnancies. We strive to continue to build a society that empowers women so that mothers are truly supported throughout pregnancy and beyond.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Miami

Archbishop Thomas Wenski: “Abortion too often is seen as the solution to an unforeseen problem, a fall back position if contraception failed or was not used. But abortion is no solution — and it is no right. It is a wrong, a grievous wrong that has prematurely ended the lives of more than 60 million souls in this country alone since 1973.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Palm Beach

Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Bishop William Wack: "While this decision is what we have been praying for, we know that the issue of abortion will not simply go away. Our ministry to assist women and families will continue. More than ever, we must be attentive to the needs of women facing unplanned and crisis pregnancies — to help them choose life for their child.” Read full statement here

Diocese of St. Augustine

Diocese of St. Petersburg

Diocese of Venice

“This ruling now undoes the grave injustice of 1973, when Roe v. Wade decided that an entire class of human beings, the preborn, were outside the protection of the law. Now the states will once again have the opportunity to protect the lives of preborn children and in doing so, also protect millions of women from the tragic consequences of abortion. Of course, legal protection must be accompanied by more care for mothers and their children. The Catholic Church, and the Diocese of Venice, stand ready to help mothers in need. Pregnant women are not alone.” Read full statement here

Georgia

Archdiocese of Atlanta

Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer: “We rejoice today that the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health will uphold some protection for unborn babies, their vulnerable mothers and fathers and the communities where abortion tears families apart, however, there is still work to be done. I applaud today’s ruling and urge further action to promote pro-life causes.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Savannah

Bishop Stephen Parkes: “I am grateful today for the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States giving each state the ability to legislate the availability of abortion services. As Catholics, we honor and celebrate that every human person is made in the image and likeness of God.” Read full statement here

Hawaii

Diocese of Honolulu

Bishop Larry Silva: "Although the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade would have been welcome any day, it is significant that it occurred on this day on which we honor the ardent love of Jesus for all his people. For fifty years, we have been living with a legal decision based on a manufactured right that was never in the United States Constitution, and we thank God that the truth that the Constitution grants no such right has finally been affirmed ... I thank God for all the women and men who worked so hard and so patiently these past fifty years to bring the matter to the legal resolution announced today. I am particularly grateful to all the people in our own diocese and state who have never given up hope that this day would come. I invite all to praise God for bringing this landmark decision to fruition!" Read full statement here.

Idaho

Diocese of Boise City

Bishop Peter Christensen: "These past five decades, U.S. citizens have lived with an unjust law that permitted some to decide whether or not others can live. As a result, generations of preborn children have been denied the right to life. From here forward, June 24th can now be celebrated as a birthday of sorts for our nation; as a day that recognizes the value of God’s gift of life for all ... We must remind ourselves that although the Supreme Court’s decision offers a greater respect for life by returning this issue to the states, it increases the opportunity for all of us to be made even more ready and willing to offer Christian charity to all expectant mothers and their children who live in vulnerable, challenging situations." Read full statement here.

Illinois

Ukrainian Eparchy of St. Nicholas of Chicago

Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Chicago

Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal Blase Cupich: “Make no mistake, because this ruling regrettably will have little impact on abortion in Illinois, as there are virtually no restrictions here, we will continue to advocate strongly for legal protections for unborn children. And we will redouble our efforts to work with all to build a culture that values the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. This ruling is not the end of a journey, but rather a fresh start. It underscores the need to  understand those who disagree with us, and to inculcate an ethic of dialogue and cooperation. Let us begin by examining our national conscience, taking stock of those dark places in our society and in our hearts that turn to violence and deny the humanity of our brothers and sisters, and get to work building up the common good by choosing life.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Belleville 

Bishop Michael McGovern: "The decision by the Supreme Court today gives fresh hope to Americans who wish to work to create a compassionate culture where every human being is welcomed in life, cherished in the community, and protected by law. Because abortion law in Illinois continues to be among the most extreme in the nation, all Illinoisans must strive to assist women who are pregnant to welcome their children, even in the most difficult circumstances. By providing material, emotional and spiritual support, the Catholic Community in southern Illinois is committed to providing pregnant mothers with real choices, building bridges that will help women in crisis pregnancies reach a secure future for themselves and their children."

Diocese of Peoria

Bishop Louisa Tylka: “Today’s decision is not the last word in this matter. It is, however, a significant moment in the efforts to work toward a greater respect for life and it is a reason to give thanks to God. May the Holy Spirit instill in all of us an ever-greater respect for the sanctity of every human life, especially the lives of unborn children.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Springfield in Illinois

Bishop Thomas Paprocki: “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States marks an important moment for our nation, lifting a cloud that has hung over our country for nearly a half century. There is no way to undo the tragedy of tens of millions of innocent lives lost or the decades of division sown by the Roe v. Wade decision. But, for the sake of future generations, we can now move forward with a more honest debate and efforts to advance policies and support programs that protect innocent life and promote stability and security for vulnerable mothers.”

Diocese of Rockford

"Roe v. Wade has caused a collective loss of recognition and love for them as human beings and for their right to life enshrined in our Constitution and our national purpose. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court does not end our national debate about protection for the right to life of the preborn ... We need to ask for God’s grace for a renewed commitment to the beauty of God’s gift of life and for all the joys and sacrifices to serve that life as we build up the human family at every moment from conception to natural death." Read full statement here.

Indiana

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Archbishop Charles Thompson: “We pray that Indiana’s General Assembly will move quickly to pass legislation to protect the God-given dignity and humanity of all unborn babies and their mothers in our state, and we support all efforts to legally protect human life from the moment of conception until natural death.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Evansville

Bishop Joseph Siegal: “To be clear, the Dobbs decision and subsequent overturning of Roe v. Wade states that there is no constitutional right to abortion, and issues such as these should be decided by the people at the state level. It does not end abortion in this country as many suggest. Therefore, we should recognize this decision as one more step in our defense of human life. We now need to turn our attention to our state legislators to urge them to protect in law the rights of the unborn.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Bishop Kevin Rhoades: “Today is a historic day for our nation as the Supreme Court overturned the tragic Roe v. Wade decision which denied the child in the womb the right to life and led to the deaths of millions of unborn children in our nation.  The gravely immoral and unjust decision in 1973 has finally been reversed, after so many years of prayer and sacrifices, advocacy and peaceful witness for the protection of the lives of the innocent unborn.” Read full statement here.

Diocese of Gary

Bishop Robert McClory: “The ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a landmark decision, answering many prayers in the ongoing effort to protect the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. We are very encouraged by the decision, as it moves us forward in building a culture that respects and values all life.”

Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana

“The states are now left to legislate for or against procuring abortion. Some have already done so. While the Supreme Court’s decision offers an important moment for us to bolster life protections for the unborn, it does not end the public debate. We now need to turn our attention to our Indiana state legislators to urge them to enact or preserve sustainable laws to protect the rights of the unborn.” Read full statement here.

Iowa

Iowa bishops: “Here in Iowa, abortion is still legal. The Iowa Catholic Conference is advocating for the ‘Protect Life Amendment,’ which would allow Iowans to pass laws protecting preborn children. A recent Iowa Supreme Court decision has left the state constitutional right to an abortion in doubt.” Read full statement here.

Archdiocese of Dubuque

Diocese of Davenport

Diocese of Des Moines

“The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization corrects the grave injustice introduced in 1973 by Roe v Wade, when we, as a country, denied the right of the preborn to exist. Now, the legality of abortion rests with the states. The Catholic Church teaches that all human life possesses inherent dignity from the moment of conception to natural death and beyond.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Sioux City

Bishop R. Walker Nickless: “Deliberately taking the life of an innocent person, as is always done in abortion, is gravely contrary to both the natural law and the divine law.  A just civil law must protect the sanctity of human life. Let us pray for our nation and continue to respect the right to life.” Read full statement here

Kansas

Kansas Catholic bishops: “‘Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord.’ Isaiah 1: 18. Today the United States Supreme Court issued its widely anticipated ruling in the case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning the infamous Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout America.”

Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas

Archbishop Joseph Naumann: “I’m overjoyed that the American people can determine what the public policy on abortion will be . . . I’m glad we’re back to where we were pre-1973. But the battle is not over. This is a significant victory, but now each state will have to determine what will be the public policy on abortion.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Dodge City

Diocese of Salina

Diocese of Wichita

Kentucky

Kentucky Catholic bishops: “We believe that the deliberate decision to end a life in the womb is not the answer for women, children or families. As Pope Francis states, ‘Yet this defense of unborn human life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems...It is not progressive to try to resolve problems by ending a human life’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 213-214).” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Louisville

Diocese of Lexington

Diocese of Owensboro

Diocese of Covington

Louisiana

Archdiocese of New Orleans

Archbishop Gregory Aymond: “We give thanks to God that the injustice of abortion on demand has come to an end, and that we as a society will have the opportunity to save more innocent unborn lives. The people of God in the Archdiocese of New Orleans must stand ready to support mothers in need and their babies. We must do what we can to advocate for medical care and resources for mothers and their families.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Alexandria 

Diocese of Baton Rouge

Randall Waguespack, director of the Office of Life, Peace and Justice: “We should look at the Supreme Court's reversing of Roe v. Wade as a significant accomplishment in the war against abortion, but it is also crucial that we remember that the fight is not over.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

Diocese of Lafayette-Louisiana

Diocese of Lake Charles

Bishop Glen Provost: “On this historic day, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we offer thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for the Supreme Court’s decision in support of human life, consistent with the Constitution of this nation.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Shreveport

Maine

Diocese of Portland

Bishop Robert Deeley: “Today’s decision reaffirms the truth that every life is sacred, and it promotes protection for women and children from the grave injustice of abortion. We welcome the possibility of saving the lives of countless unborn children as well as sparing many women and families from pain.” Read full statement here

Maryland

Archdiocese of Baltimore 

Archbishop William Lori:  “I think it is good news for the cause of life. And I also think it is a moment for us as Catholics, as believers, as people of goodwill, now to redouble our efforts to surround women in difficult pregnancies with love and care and services. So it is both a victory but also a day of challenge.” Read full comments here

Massachusetts

Archdiocese of Boston

Cardinal Sean O’Malley: “For all of us who have spoken, written, worked, marched, and prayed to reverse Roe v. Wade, today's Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson is deeply significant and encouraging. This decision will create the possibility of protecting human life from conception; it calls us to recognize the unique burden faced by women in pregnancy; and it challenges us as a nation to work together to build up more communities of support -- and available access to them -- for all women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Fall River

Bishop Edgar da Cunha: “Today’s Supreme Court decision will save the lives of millions of children who otherwise would never see the light of day or experience the warmth of a loving family.” Read full statement here.

Melkite Eparchy of Newton

Diocese of Worcester

Bishop Robert McManus: "Our prayers must continue in earnest for a greater respect for all human life. As Christians we must respond with charity in support of the life of the child in the womb whose dignity deserves our respect and legal protection, to the mother who is afraid, alone or whose life may be in jeopardy, and with respect for all citizens who struggle with this most divisive issue in our country and our world ... Only the virtue of charity can vanquish evil." Read full statement here.

Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts 

Bishop William Byrne: “I affirm today’s Supreme Court decision, upholding each state’s right to defend life. Here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts we still have much work to do so that all citizens recognize the sanctity of all human life. We continue to work, advocate and pray that our brothers and sisters will recognize the right to life of the most vulnerable among us.” Read full statement here

Michigan

Michigan Catholic bishops: “Nearly fifty years after the unjust decision in Roe v. Wade, our country draws closer to a society that recognizes the God-given right of life for all persons, at any stage or in any condition. While today’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturns Roe is a cause for joy, we must remember that life is and always will be a gift from our Creator; it cannot be given or taken by governmental structures, judges, or elected officials.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Detroit  

Archbishop Allen Vigneron: “While the decision announced today by the U.S. Supreme Court is a cause for praise and thanks to God, it does not mean our work is over. I join my brother bishops in Michigan in affirming that the Church must redouble her efforts to ensure every woman, child, and family has the support necessary to thrive in pregnancy, early childhood, and beyond.” Read full statement here

Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit

Bishop Francis Kalabat: With gratitude and joy we give glory to God for the news on Roe v. Wade as we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Since 1973 we have been strongly praying to God in addition to holding protests and rallies at home an in Washington D.C.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Gaylord 

Bishop Jeffrey Walsh: “In God’s Providence, the Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson case was issued on the same day our Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today’s scripture passage read at Mass, from Ezekiel 34:11-16, prophetically reveals the love of God in stating: ‘I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.’” Read full statement here

Diocese of Grand Rapids 

Bishop David Walkowiak: “The United States Supreme Court’s decision moves America one step closer to protecting human life from its earliest stages of existence. The Catholic Church remains committed to helping women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies. For every pregnant woman who may be unsure of what is next, the Catholic Church is here. We will continue to accompany and care for women in need of emotional, spiritual, or physical support and their child(ren), born and unborn. Support is available through Catholic Churches as well as other local organizations.” Read full statement here.

Diocese of Kalamazoo

Bishop Paul Bradley: “Today’s historic Supreme Court decision overturning the unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 is a reason for all who value human life to rejoice. In union with my brother bishops in Michigan, I call upon all Catholics, along with all people who value human life, to prayerfully reflect on the significance of this decision. Let us ask God, the Source of all Life, for the grace to help us continue restoring a Culture of Life, and refusing to promote death for those who are the most innocent and vulnerable among us.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Lansing

Diocese of Marquette 

Diocese of Saginaw

Bishop Robert Gruss: "Please continue to pray for hearts to be softened as we commit and recommit ourselves to doing all we can to support and accompany women in unplanned pregnancies as well as their unborn and infant children. We all must ask ourselves what more we can do to walk with moms in need, so that no woman finds herself alone or believes abortion is her best option.”

Minnesota

Minnesota bishops: For almost 50 years, Roe grievously denied one of America’s founding principles: that all men and women — irrespective of their stage of development — are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Forgetting this self-evident truth has resulted in the death of over 60 million preborn children and the wounding of millions of mothers and fathers.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Archbishop Bernard Hebda: "The Supreme Court's decision to allow states to determine abortion laws fills my heart with a combination of sadness and gratitude. In 2022 with all of our scientific advancements that prove beyond any doubt that the child inside a mother's womb is human, it troubles me that in a moment of extreme vulnerability for both the woman and the baby that the violence of abortion is even discussed and debated as a possible good. How did our hearts become so hardened?" Watch full statement here

Diocese of Crookston

Diocese of Duluth

Diocese of New Ulm

Diocese of St. Cloud

Bishop Donald Kettler: “Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is good news for the protection and sacred dignity of human life. The right to life is one of our nation’s founding principles. It also is the first principle of Catholic social teaching. Every person is created in the image and likeness of God, and God loves every single human life.”

Diocese of Winona-Rochester

Bishop Robert Barron: “Friends, today is a time to rejoice as we celebrate the Supreme Court's decision to overturn 'Roe v. Wade,' a deeply unjust law that has resulted in over 60 million lost lives.”

Mississippi

Bishops of Mississippi: “Today, Lady Justice has turned her attention to the cry of the unborn child hidden in the refuge of his or her mother’s womb. Today, justice has not abandoned that unborn child and his or her capacity to feel pain, but there is still more work to be done. Together with many throughout our country, we join in prayer that states are now able to protect women and children from the injustice of abortion. The Catholic Church has had a vested interest in this matter – the dignity and sanctity of all human life.”

Diocese of Biloxi

Diocese of Jackson

Missouri

Missouri Catholic bishops: “The Missouri Catholic Conference welcomes the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The MCC has worked and prayed with other pro-life organizations for this day since the Court issued the Roe decision in 1973. With the return of the issue to the states, we know our work is not done.” Read full statement here

Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles

Archdiocese of St. Louis

Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski: “Here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we will continue providing resources for women facing unexpected and difficult pregnancies, cherishing and protecting women and their children, so that they may both develop their full potential in this world and be happy with God forever in the next.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Jefferson City 

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight: “I welcome the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade, ending 50 years of our federal government defending the killing of the unborn. As I wrote recently, whenever we disregard the dignity of any class of human beings, we impoverish our own dignity and the bonds that hold our nation together suffer.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph 

Bishop James Johnston: “While we welcome this week’s good news for the value of human life, it is important to remember that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health does not put a universal end to abortion. Decisions about access to abortion now reside with our state governments. This Supreme Court decision does not change abortion access in the State of Missouri. The diocese stands ready to meet the increased demand for resources that may result with an renewed focus on alternatives to abortion.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau

Bishop Edward Rice: With the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v Wade and the return of the issue to the states, The Catholic Church stands ready to continue providing spiritual and material support to expectant mothers and their families through our parishes and ministries, and to advocate on their behalf and on behalf of their unborn children at the state and federal level. Read full statement here

Montana

Montana Catholic bishops: “Today’s decision is the result of prayers, sacrifices and advocacy of countless Americans from every walk of life. We join with them in gratitude for this moment and for their tireless work and witness over these past five decades.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

Diocese of Helena

Nebraska

Marion Miner, Associate Director of Pro-Life & Family Policy for the the Nebraska Bishops Conference: “We are overcome with joy at the arrival of this day, for which we have waited, worked, and prayed for 50 years.  Nebraska is once again free to protect preborn babies from the lethal violence of the abortion industry.  This is cause for rejoicing and is also a mandate to act.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Omaha

Archbishop George Lucas: “The Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case is a major victory for unborn children, for their mothers and for the cause of justice in our country. Citizens and their elected representatives in each state will now have the opportunity to guarantee the right to life for the child in the womb.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Grand Island

Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt: “Today there is new hope for the unborn in this country. There is new hope for their mothers and fathers, that they might accept the amazing gift of life they have created. Today there is new hope for humanity, that each unborn person may be given the chance to enrich our lives with their unique gifts. Today the Supreme Court has taken an important step in bringing respect for all human life back to this country.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Lincoln

Bishop James Conley: “The fact that this decision was released on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is no coincidence. Our Lord has given us a great gift from the love of His most sacred heart. We now have to reach out to women and families who find themselves in difficult situations and love them with the heart of Jesus. We need to accompany them with our love and care, welcome them, walk with them and show them that life is good and they are not alone. Praised be Jesus Christ.” Read full statement here

Nevada

Diocese of Las Vegas

Diocese of Reno 

Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg: “Due to laws codified after Roe, abortion remains legal in the State of Nevada. Regardless of the legal status of abortion, the Church’s call to respect life remains unchanged. We must continue not only to speak out against abortion, but also to care for mothers who face unplanned or challenging pregnancies.” Read full statement here

New Hampshire

Diocese of Manchester

Bishop Peter Libasci: This historic decision comes down against the backdrop of extraordinary conflict and division in our nation and in our world. The Dobbs decision is the latest occasion that demands of us how we as Catholics, as Americans, and as human beings, will respond to the challenges of the present day. In times of great consequence, when decisions that are made carry with them the opportunity for some to assume victory and some to assume defeat, the mark of an evolved society will be the extent to which Prudence is invited, no, invoked and embraced to lead its citizens to the higher ground on which all are called to stand. As the scriptures remind us, ‘pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall.’ (Prv 16:18)” Read full statement here

New Jersey

New Jersey Catholic bishops: “We the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey express our deepest gratitude for the United States Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health. This decision ends a very dark chapter in American history and now is the time for our nation to move forward to heal wounds and social divisions.” Read full statement here

Ruthenian Eparchy of Passaic

Syrian Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance in the United States 

Archdiocese of Newark

Cardinal Joseph Tobin: “The United States Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide recognizes that even the most helpless and dependent human beings have a right to life and possess inherent dignity and worth.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Camden

Diocese of Metuchen

Bishop James Checchio: “As Catholics who believe in the intrinsic dignity of life from conception to natural death regardless of race, creed, or socioeconomic status, we welcome the United States Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Paterson 

Bishop Kevin Sweeney: “That the Supreme Court has recognized that life begins at conception is an answer to prayer and is the beginning of a process of reclaiming our society’s respect for the fundamental dignity of every human person.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Trenton

Bishop David O’Connell: “For almost 50 years, pro-life Catholics and people of good will in the United States have prayed fervently, lobbied hard, participated in marches and raised their voices consistently that the fateful 1973 decision of the Supreme Court “Roe v. Wade” would be overturned.  Given the strident and unrelenting advocacy of those who have supported abortion over the years, it seemed an almost unreachable goal.  Today, that goal has been achieved.” Full statement here

New Mexico

Archdiocese of Santa Fe 

Archbishop John Wester: “​​This decision is the culmination of prayer and decades of legislative advocacy, life-affirming events, and walking with families facing an unplanned pregnancy. In New Mexico, we have worked hard to expand prenatal services through home visiting, secure access to universal pre-K, an increase in SNAP benefits (food stamps), and to advocate for the family tax credit. These policies help to support women and families in life-affirming ways. Yet, there are many more ways we as Catholics must support and walk with women and families in need.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Gallup

Bishop James Wall: “Today is a historic day in the history of our country.  The Supreme Court of the United States has correctly ruled in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which will in effect save countless babies in the wombs.  We have been praying for this wonderful news for a long time, and today our prayers have been answered.  Praise God!” Read full statement here

Diocese of Las Cruces

New York

New York bishops: “On this historic day, our gratitude extends to the millions of heroic Americans who have worked tirelessly toward this outcome for nearly a half-century. Women and men, children and adults, believers and non-believers, people of every culture and background have advocated for life. They have been a charitable and compelling voice for the voiceless, and today, their voice has been heard.” Read full statement here

Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn  

Syro-Malankara Eparchy of Saint Mary, Queen of Peace

Archdiocese of New York

Diocese of Albany

Diocese of Brooklyn

Bishop Robert Brennan: “Well, I think what [the Dobb's decision] does is it at least now allows us to have a conversation. So in a sense, at least in public debate, we were always shut down with 'this is decided' using the term 'abortion is a right'... had a lot of consequences. It also gave governments the ability to intrude into people who were pro-life; to force people to providing for things that their conscience they knew that were wrong. So this at least gives us the ability to talk about it. For the pro-life movement, we have a long way to go to change hearts and minds." Watch full interview here

Diocese of Buffalo

Diocese of Ogdensburg

Diocese of Rochester

Bishop Salvatore Matano: “By God’s Providence, as the United States Supreme Court today released their decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, I was with the Sisters of Life at their Motherhouse in New York preparing to celebrate Holy Mass for them for the Renewal of Vows of ten sisters; tomorrow I will celebrate Holy Mass for the First Procession of seven Sisters of Life.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Bishop John Barres: “The overturning of Roe v. Wade rectifies a grave injustice that has resulted in the taking of more than sixty million preborn, innocent lives and caused an avalanche of devastation to families, the dignity of women, and our culture. However, this decision does not automatically set everything right—it returns to each state the opportunity to protect the lives of those not yet born.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Syracuse

North Carolina

Diocese of Charlotte

Bishop Peter Jugis: “Today’s Supreme Court ruling means the lives of countless unborn children will be saved from abortion, and for that we are profoundly thankful. The Catholic Church has always professed that every human life is a gift from God and holds inestimable value, and even with this step forward, our work to protect the dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death, continues.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Raleigh

Bishop Rafael Zarama: “The Supreme Court ruling on the Dobbs case is a testament to the patience and perseverance of so many who have lifted their voices and prayers to protect the lives of the unborn. But our work is not done. Respect for life is not created only through laws, but through love.” Read full statement here

North Dakota

North Dakota bishops: “The North Dakota Catholic Conference rejoices that the United State Supreme Court has remedied a grave injustice that for too long prevented states from becoming sanctuaries for life.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Bismarck

Diocese of Fargo

Ohio

Ohio bishops: “The Catholic Bishops of Ohio are encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This is a positive step toward a desperately needed conversion to a culture of life in our country, one that respects the inherent dignity and sacredness of every human being from conception to natural death.” Read full statement here

Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma

Romanian Eparchy of St. George's in Canton

Ukrainian Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma

Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr: “Today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reverses the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, is a welcome and potential watershed moment in the history of the United States. This decision means that states, including Ohio, now have the option to legally protect the most vulnerable of all human beings: babies in the womb.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Cleveland

Bishop Edward Malesic: “​​I wholeheartedly applaud today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which reverses the grave injustice of 1973, when Roe v. Wade decided that a whole class of human beings, the preborn, are outside the protection of the law and had no constitutional right to life. Since that decision, more than 60 million innocent lives have been sadly ended. Now that Roe is overturned, states will again be able to protect the lives of preborn children and in doing so, also protect millions of women from the tragic consequences of abortion.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Columbus

Bishop Earl Fernandes: “We in the Diocese of Columbus are thankful for the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Healthcare Organization.” Watch full statement here

Diocese of Steubenville

Bishop Jeffrey Monforton: “This decision has been sorely needed for several decades. Finally, respect due to expectant mothers has been affirmed. Continued prayer for progress for human dignity in our country is crucial.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Toledo

Bishop Daniel Thomas: “This historic moment moves us a step closer to establishing a culture of life where every life is valued, where the dignity of every person born and pre-born is respected, and where each human person is treasured as created in the image and likeness of God.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Youngstown

Bishop David Bonnar: “The dignity of the human person is the foundation of Catholic Social Teaching and as Catholics we are called to consistently protect and defend life. Today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization is an opportunity to further a culture of life in our country.” Read full statement here

Oklahoma

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Archbishop Paul Coakley: “This is an historic day in the pro-life movement. The overturning of Roe v. Wade is a defining moment in our lifetime that fixes a legal and moral mistake, which led to decades of emotional distress, tremendous guilt, physical harm and infertility for women, and the unnecessary and cruel deaths of more than 63 million unborn babies who were denied their God-given potential because of poverty, fear or convenience. Women and children deserve better.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Tulsa

Bishop David Konderla: “Today is a momentous day to thank God for the gift of human life and for helping us to correct the errors that were made in the Roe v. Wade decision almost 50 years ago.” Read full statement here

Oregon

Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon

Archbishop Alexander Sample: “Our goal has never been simply to make abortion illegal. Our goal is to make it unthinkable. Our battle to protect the most fragile and vulnerable of all human life, namely the unborn child, continues on the state level, including here in Oregon.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Baker

Bishop Liam Cary: "This extraordinary victory at the Supreme Court should spark even greater efforts to accompany women who bear the weight of difficult pregnancy with the compassionate care they deserve ... in Oregon Roe still rules, its spirit entrenched in legislation and administration, its strategically well-placed supporters determined to keep the deadly status quo in place." Read full statement here.

Pennsylvania

Ruthenian Archeparchy of Pittsburgh

Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Archbishop Nelson Perez: “I am grateful to the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States for their willingness to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and for their opinion, which affirms the deep value inherent to every human life.­” Read full statement here

Diocese of Allentown

Bishop Alfred Schlert: “The past half century has consisted of dark days of human and judicial error that manipulated the Constitution to allow humans to play the role of the Creator and the arbiter of who deserves to live. I commend the justices for their courageous willingness to reexamine the right to terminate a life.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown

Bishop Mark Bartchak: “The decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health has not settled the national debate over the issue of abortion. Catholic teaching is clear when it comes to upholding the sanctity of every life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death. The Church always stands in defense of the unborn, but our pro-life commitment does not end there.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Erie

Bishop Lawrence Persico: “The Catholic Church has long emphasized its commitment to respecting life from conception through natural death. While Dobbs v. Jackson is an important ruling, we acknowledge there are many complexities involved with unexpected pregnancies and recognize this is a challenging moment for all Americans. It is our hope we can play a role in healing and unity.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Greensburg

Bishop Larry Kulick: “By now, you have heard that a decision has been rendered by the United States Supreme Court on the Dobbs v. Jackson Health case, on a six to three vote, overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which allowed abortions without restriction. For nearly 50 years, parishioners from our Diocese, joining with the faithful all across the country, have prayed, marched for life in Washington, DC and in Harrisburg, and have used their voices to defend the rights of the unborn. As Catholics, we can rejoice that our prayers have been answered with this decision.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Harrisburg

Bishop Ronald Gainer: “Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is an important step in furthering the protection of the most vulnerable, infants in the womb. As a pro-life Church, not only do we support parents facing an unplanned or difficult pregnancy, we also continue our efforts to support the needs of the elderly, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the refugee and immigrant, and those who have been marginalized.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Bishop David Zubik: “Those of us who have worked and prayed to protect unborn children are profoundly grateful that the Supreme Court of the United States has determined that there is not a constitutional right for abortion. In response, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will continue to support and encourage legislation that protects unborn children.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Scranton

Bishop Joseph Bambera: “One of the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church is that all human life is sacred – from the moment of conception until natural death – and it must be respected and protected. In its opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, issued on Friday, June 24, 2022, I am thankful that the majority of Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have recognized and upheld the sanctity of human life.” Read full statement here

Rhode Island

Diocese of Providence

Bishop Thomas Tobin: “The Supreme Court decision means that individual states will now have the responsibility of addressing abortion in their own jurisdictions. Sadly, Rhode Island has adopted one of the most liberal abortion laws in the nation, a disgraceful law that permits abortion even until the moment of birth. Some consider this to be “settled law,” but a law that permits the termination of children, including viable infants, should not be settled at all. I plead with political leaders in Rhode Island to do the right thing – to revisit our abortion laws in a way that safeguards the sanctity of human life and eliminates the enormous harm caused by abortion – to unborn infants, to vulnerable women, to the minority community, and to the dignity and quality of life in our state.” Read full statement here

South Carolina

Diocese of Charleston

South Dakota

South Dakota bishops: “During nearly half a century of legalized abortion, approximately 64 million preborn girls and boys have perished in the United States, a number that should disturb the conscience of us as citizens of our beloved nation and as individuals. These brand-new lives, known and loved by God from the moment of their creation, were denied their right to life. But today we have taken a giant leap forward toward the ultimate goal of protecting each and every life from the beginning of its existence.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Rapid City

Bishop Peter Muhich: “Our work is not over. As those decisions flow back to our states and elected representatives, we must continue to labor for life. I am confident that this important step towards building a civilization of life will be followed up with our continued commitment to support mothers in need, their children, and the least among us. The enemy of the world will not be joyful about this. Do not be afraid of the noise that will ensue because of this decision but draw your hearts toward the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Sioux Falls

Tennessee

Tennessee bishops: “Together as the bishops of Tennessee, we thank the United States Supreme Court for its careful consideration of the constitutional issues surrounding abortion and express our encouragement that it has ruled in favor of the right to life for the unborn.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Knoxville

Diocese of Memphis

Diocese of Nashville

Texas

Texas bishops: “We celebrate with grateful hearts the historic decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe v. Wade. The state of Texas will again have the ability to protect and defend children in the womb at all stages. We are grateful the Texas Legislature and Governor Greg Abbott have already passed a law prohibiting elective abortion, which will become effective 30 days after the final ruling is issued.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo: “Today’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is a welcome and positive step toward creating a life-affirming society. It is a necessary step. Abortion is too often viewed as a positive good and a practice necessary to ensure women’s liberty.  Although this perspective is deeply flawed, it is a widespread belief which will take time and patience to overcome.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of San Antonio

Diocese of Amarillo

Diocese of Austin

Bishop Joe Vásquez: “While this decision places the issue of whether to permit elective abortions before each state legislature and does not prohibit abortion across the country, it is a major step in helping to save lives by protecting children in the womb.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Beaumont

Diocese of Brownsville 

Bishop Daniel Flores: “The Supreme Court’s decision reversing Roe v. Wade is a welcome step forward toward building a society that truly values and honors human life. Since 1973 the Catholic Church in the United States, together with many other religious and non-religious communities, has publicly expressed its opposition to the Roe v Wade decision. That decision was gravely unjust, and an unprecedented aggression against the life and dignity of the unborn child. It was sweeping in its effects, stripping away all previous legal protections for human life in the womb.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Corpus Christi

Diocese of Dallas

Bishop Edward Burns: “Recognizing both the laws of nature and God’s divine plan, we acknowledge that life begins at the moment of conception. At that moment of conception, the child has the right to be born, the child has the right to life. Since 1973, we have prayed and marched for the right to life. We are grateful that this day has come and give thanks to God for the gift of life. Let us continue to pray that all will come to acknowledge this sacred right to life.” Read full statement here

Diocese of El Paso

Bishop Mark Seitz: “Today’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade comes as a relief for many who are committed to the defense of all human life. Abortion is never the solution. Make no mistake, any time we can advance the defense of human dignity in our laws, we are making progress.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Fort Worth

Bishop Michael Olson: “While the Catholic Church in the United States, the faithful of the Diocese of Fort Worth, other men and women of good will, and I have prayed and worked diligently for this day to arrive, we must thank God and acknowledge that this decision does not end our work for unborn children and their mothers and fathers. We must be mindful that at the heart of our prayers and labor is not the changing of law but the conversion of hearts — including our own — towards greater gratitude, respect, and love for each human person.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Laredo

Bishop James Tamayo: “I am grateful that this decision has finally come and I call on all people who respect human life to join with us in working toward a world where each unborn child is safe from harm. We are all called to cherish and defend life as it is growing in the womb of the mother. We must protect life from the moment of conception to natural death.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Lubbock 

Diocese of San Angelo

Bishop Michael Sis: “From the moment of conception, a human being has the right to life. Therefore, I give thanks to God for the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe V. Wade.” Read full statement here

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

Diocese of Tyler

Bishop Joseph Strickland: “It is with great joy that we receive the news of the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The overturn of Roe v. Wade is a tremendous step in the direction of upholding the dignity of the human person. We are grateful for all those who worked so diligently to make this a reality.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Victoria

Utah

Diocese of Salt Lake City

“The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City welcomes efforts to protect the dignity and sanctity of every life from conception to natural death.  We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes the human within in the womb, but we also recognize it is the responses of communities to women in need before, during and after pregnancy and the birth of a child that are the most important to building a culture of life.” Read full statement here

Vermont

Diocese of Burlington

Bishop Christopher Coyne: “I believe it is helpful for us as Catholics to ponder the mystery of Christ’s love in light of today’s ruling of the US Supreme Court which overturns Roe vs. Wade and to use that image as a means of forming our response amongst ourselves and in the greater community. While we can rightly applaud the decision of the Court, we must also be vigilant to avoid any language that will further inflame the present public response.” Read full statement here

Virginia

Diocese of Arlington

Bishop Michael Burbridge: “We thank God for this welcome decision. At the same time, we also know that the work of protecting unborn children and their parents from the tragedy of abortion is far from finished. This is one, key moment in what I pray will be a long line of subsequent life-affirming victories. There is much work to do to create laws and policies in Virginia and beyond that recognize the sanctity of every human life and that provide women and their babies the protection, care and resources necessary to flourish.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Richmond

Bishop Barry Knestout: “Today, I am gratified that our nation’s highest court has overturned the fundamentally unjust Roe v. Wade decision and restored to states the ability to protect the dignity and rights of the human person from the moment of conception. Every life – both mother and children – is sacred and immeasurably loved and valued by God. I pray that throughout our nation – including here in Virginia – lawmakers will open their hearts to the opportunities before them to protect unborn children, support women in crisis pregnancies and promote life-affirming alternatives to abortion.” Read full statement here

Washington

Washington bishops: ​​”We commend the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and give individual states the opportunity to enact laws that respect life. We welcome this opportunity to reduce the number of abortions in the United States and build a culture of life.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Seattle

Diocese of Spokane

Diocese of Yakima

West Virginia

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

Bishop Mark Brennan: “The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston applauds the Supreme Court’s decision today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. While this decision will offer greater protection for the unborn in some parts of the country, we call upon Catholics throughout the diocese to continue to foster a genuine respect for all human life throughout our country.” Read full statement here

Wisconsin

Wisconsin bishops: “Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This decision corrects a tragic wrong in our federal jurisprudence that has permitted the killing of millions of innocent human beings. In Wisconsin alone, approximately 600,000 unique lives were taken, each created in God’s image and loved for all eternity. While relieved that an inhumane and unjust right to abortion has been struck down, we know well that many of Wisconsin’s pregnant and parenting women face grave challenges. It is for this reason that our prayers and our work to protect every human life must increase.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Archbishop Jerome Listecki: “As a Church that advances the Culture of Life and as members of a civil society, we welcome the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs case. While no doubt we all feel a renewed hope for the future, let us also remember that our struggle to preserve the sanctity of human life is only just beginning. Abortion laws now return to the individual states.  Our challenge is to continue to promote that human life begins at conception and needs to be protected at all times.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Green Bay

Bishop David Ricken: “While the announcement by the Supreme Court, is met with gratitude from all of us who have been dedicated to protecting the lives of children in the womb, we know that there is still much work to be done, so that all life, in every stage, might be reverenced and protected.” Read full statement here

Diocese of La Crosse

Bishop William Callahan: “We welcome today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, as we continue to proclaim a vision for our society that upholds the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable—a society in which the legal protection of human life is joined to profound care for mothers and their children.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Madison

Bishop Donald Hying: “After nearly half a century of federal legalized abortion, more than 65 million precious lives lost, and countless others enduring profound pain and suffering in the aftermath, today’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision effectively returns the question of abortion to the states, and is a long-awaited answer to decades of prayer and sacrifice by millions in our country. It offers us great hope for a deeper flourishing of human dignity. Many fewer lives will be lost to the grave injustice of abortion, which is the deliberate and direct killing of a human being, and a culture of life can begin to take root where it was previously not possible.” Read full statement here

Diocese of Superior

Wyoming

Diocese of Cheyenne

Bishop Steven Biegler: "The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, which overturns Roe v. Wade, a law that has been in place for nearly fifty years, places the legality of abortion in the hands of each state. Wyoming is among 13 states with trigger bans in place ... The Supreme Court ruling is bound to stir the emotions and fears of many people—whether pro- life or pro-abortion, but now is the time for all people of good will to engage in reasonable discourse and decision making. We also must encourage all people, including our state legislators, to advocate for services that will support families and accompany women experiencing unplanned pregnancies by providing resources and assistance so that children will be welcomed into the world with love and provided essential care that all human persons deserve." Read full statement here.

District of Columbia

Archdiocese of Washington

Cardinal Wilton Gregory: “We rejoice in this latest step in our journey, but our work is not done. Locally and nationally, we still have more to do to advance the dignity of human life and to make sure that the full range of life issues are adequately addressed. This includes supporting pregnant women in making life-affirming choices, providing better availability of prenatal and postnatal care for children and their mothers, advocating for affordable child care and safe schools, and advancing policies that support mothers in school and in the workforce. We must also recognize that a life-affirming ethic should also draw attention to a host of other areas that should be of great concern to humanity. This includes revoking the death penalty and caring for the imprisoned; addressing all forms of injustice, including racism; caring for the poor, the sick, elderly, and vulnerable; and advancing a greater recognition of our calling in the entire spectrum of human relationships to be brothers and sisters to one another.” Read full statement here

Archdiocese for the Military Services U.S.A.


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Vatican:     After canceling trip, Pope Francis sending Cardinal Parolin to visit Africa
Cardinal Pietro Parolin. / Claude Truong-Ngoc via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 27, 2022 / 12:57 pm (CNA).

After reluctantly bowing out of his own scheduled trip to Africa in July, Pope Francis has decided to send the Vatican's second-highest-ranking official in his place.

“Following the postponement of his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to South Sudan, His Holiness Pope Francis has decided to send the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Kinshasa and Juba in order to show his closeness to the beloved peoples of the Congo and South Sudan,” the Holy See’s press office announced Monday. 

Parolin’s visit will take place July 1-8.

The Vatican first announced June 10 that Pope Francis’ July trip would be postponed for health reasons, particularly his knee. The following Sunday, the pontiff apologized for postponing his trip because of his knee pain and vowed to reschedule it “as soon as possible.” In his recent public appearances this month, he has either used a wheelchair or relied on a cane.


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Vatican:     Pope Francis blesses Neocatechumenal Way missionaries
Pope Francis greets Kiko Argüello during a meeting with the Neocatechumenal Way in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, June 27, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Jun 27, 2022 / 10:30 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Monday met and ratified the assignments of families, priests, and seminarians of the Neocatechumenal Way preparing to become missionaries in foreign countries.

“Do not forget the gaze of Jesus, who sent each of you to preach and obey the Church,” Pope Francis said on June 27.

“We have heard Jesus’ mission, ‘Go, bear witness, preach the Gospel,’” he said. “And from that day the Apostles, the disciples, the people all went forth with the same strength as Jesus had given them: it is the strength that comes from the Spirit: ‘Go and preach, baptize.’” 

The pope’s brief remarks were made during the Neocatechumenal Way missionary confirmation and sending, a meeting which included prayer and song, in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

The Neocatechumenal Way is an ecclesial movement which draws its inspiration from the practices of the early Church, providing post-baptismal Christian formation in some 40,000 small, parish-based communities.

The movement is present all over the world, and says it has an estimated membership of more than 1 million people. It was founded by Kiko Argüello and Carmen Hernández in Spain in 1964.

Argüello introduced the gathering and announced that the first stage of the cause of beatification of Hernández, who died in 2016 at the age of 85, will soon be opened.

The 83-year-old movement leader also listed the missionary families’ countries of destination, which spanned Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas.

Several students of Neocatechumenal Way seminaries will be doing missionary work in China, Argüello said.

Pope Francis encouraged the new missionaries to let a Christian community grow “in its own ways, in its own culture.”

“This is the story of evangelization,” he continued. “All are equal in terms of faith: I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Son who became incarnate, died and rose again for us, the Spirit who helps us and makes us grow: the same faith. But all with the mode of their own culture or the culture of the place where the faith was preached.”

He said the multi-cultural richness of the Gospel is the story of the Church: “So many cultures but the same Gospel. So many peoples, the same Jesus Christ.”

The pope thanked the families for their willingness to share the Gospel as missionaries, and encouraged them to be docile to the Holy Spirit and obedient to Christ and his Church through the local bishop.

“This is the spirituality that must accompany us always: to preach Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit in the Church and with the Church,” Francis said.


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