Who’s in Charge of the Archdiocese of Atlanta? (Tue, 21 May 2019)
One of the frequent questions we get asked is, “Who is going to replace Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory?” That’s quickly followed by the second question, “What happens until then?” After all,
Archbishop Gregory is to be installed May 21 as the new spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Washington, in the nation’s capital. The faithful […] Full Story
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German cardinal visits Atlanta as part of U.S. visit (Tue, 21 May 2019)
With no fanfare, one of the advisors to Pope Francis stopped in Atlanta during a week visit to the United States. He celebrated Mass at three Atlanta parishes: the Cathedral of Christ the King,
the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and St. Anthony of Padua Church. He said he was visiting Atlanta to speak with […] Full Story
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Father Luke Ballman named to USCCB position (Fri, 17 May 2019)
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory shared news with the Archdiocese of Atlanta regarding the appointment of Father Luke Ballman to a leadership post with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
The post Father Luke Ballman named to USCCB position appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Puerto Rico: ‘An unprecedented level of need’ (Mon, 06 Nov 2017)
Catholic News Service was the first major Catholic news organization to send a photographer and a reporter to tour the island and document the efforts of the church and other organizations to help
many of the people far from the capital of San Juan. Continue reading → >> Read more
Historic Tomb of Michelangelo and altarpiece in dire need of repairs (Wed, 11 Oct 2017)
By Matthew Fowler ROME (CNS) — The historic tomb of Michelangelo and the Buonarroti family altarpiece in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence are in dire need of cleaning and restoration due to
sustained damage over the past 50 … Continue reading → >> Read more
A look back at the Legion of Decency (Thu, 17 Aug 2017)
By Mark Pattison and Julie Asher WASHINGTON (CNS) — It’s summertime and the movies are plentiful. As everyone knows the summer movie season is a big one for Hollywood, and when it comes to a close,
it is followed closely … Continue reading → >> Read more
Jamboree called ‘life-changing event’ for youths, adults (Fri, 28 Jul 2017)
Here’s a dispatch from Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia sent earlier this week by Msgr. John B. Brady from the national Scout jamboree, which closed today. A retired
priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, he became … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 23, 2017 (Fri, 21 Jul 2017)
July 23, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16
2) Romans 8:26-27 Gospel: Matthew 13:24-33 By Sharon K. Perkins Catholic News … Continue reading → >> Read more
John C. Quinn tended to the ‘least of these’ in U.S. newsrooms (Fri, 14 Jul 2017)
WASHINGTON (CNS) – I’m convinced that around the country, and perhaps the world, there are many letters similar to the one I received in the mail some 18 years ago. It was written by hand and it
ended with a … Continue reading → >> Read more
Some cheese with your ‘whine’: Pope ‘establishes’ complaint-free zone (Fri, 14 Jul 2017)
By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis left a not-so-subtle message outside his office in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence: anyone who is thinking of
making a fuss, leave your whining at the door. … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 16, 2017 (Thu, 13 Jul 2017)
July 16, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) Isaiah 55:10-11 Psalm 65:10-14
2) Romans 8:18-23 Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23 By Jeff Hedglen Catholic News Service It seems as though every time … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 9, 2017 (Fri, 07 Jul 2017)
The Scriptures this weekend contain a familiar, but difficult text. “Take my yoke upon you,” Jesus says. “For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 2, 2017 (Fri, 30 Jun 2017)
July 2, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a Psalm 89:2-3,
16-19 2) Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42 By Beverly Corzine Catholic News Service One winter morning I awoke …
Continue reading → >> Read more
'No words to express our shame': Polish bishops apologize for abuse (Wed, 22 May 2019)
Polish Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno speaks during a news conference in Warsaw May 22, 2019, after bishops
met to discuss steps the Catholic Church will take to tackle the problem of clergy sex abuse. (CNS/Agencja Gazeta, Slawomir Kaminski via Reuters)
The Polish bishops' administrative council met in emergency session May 22 and later admitted the church failed to act against clerical sexual abuse.
The meeting came amid outrage over a two-hour documentary, "Just Don't Tell Anyone," that included drastic accounts of cover-up of clerical sex abuse in Poland. The film had more than 19 million
views within six days of its May 11 YouTube posting.
"The whole church community in Poland has been shaken by the latest painful information — these crimes have caused deep suffering for harmed people," the bishops said in a pastoral letter to be
read in parishes nationwide May 26.
"There are no words to express our shame at the sexual scandals clergy have participated in. They are a source of great evil and demand total condemnation, as well as severe consequences for the
criminals and for those who concealed such acts."
The bishops said they had been "deeply affected" by "shocking testimonies" in the film, as well as by its portrayal of a "lack of sympathy, sinful neglect and myopia" shown toward abuse
It added that Catholic clergy and laity now had to act together in support of victims and to "rebuild trust in priests and bishops" in Poland.
"Everyone with any sensitivity, hearing of the fate of these harmed people, will feel pain, emotion and sadness toward their suffering, and we thank all those who have had the courage to speak
about it," the bishops said.
"We admit that, as pastors of the church, we did not do everything to prevent this hurt. For many faithful, especially young people sincerely seeking God, sexual scandals involving clergy have
been a heavy challenge to faith and a cause of terrible outrage."
The two-hour film, made with internet fundraising by investigative journalist Tomasz Sekielski, was the first that graphically detailed the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Polish church and
follows a cinema drama on church corruption, "Kler" (Clergy), which broke box-office records last fall.
Besides alleging prevalent child sexual abuse, it shows the evasive behavior of perpetrators when confronted by victims and links abuse with secretive church structures and procedures.
The film, which makes accusations against Fr. Franciszek Cybula, personal chaplain to former President Lech Walesa, also accuses several bishops and archbishops of concealing abusive clergy from
law enforcement and says priests continued working with children and celebrating Mass despite being sentenced for abuse and defrocked by the church.
Speaking in mid-May, Sekielski said he was negotiating with Netflix to distribute the film, which has since been broadcast on two Polish TV channels. He also said he was considering a whole
Several dioceses and religious orders also issued statements in response to the film's claims.
Archbishop Slawoj Glodz of Gdansk, who was accused in the film of concealing abuse, apologized May 15 but faced resignation calls from local clergy after telling a TV journalist he had "other
things to do than watch such garbage."
In a May 20 statement, the bishops' conference rejected demands from some politicians for criminal investigations against church leaders for withholding information from prosecutors.
However, calls for implicated bishops to step down have come from prominent clergy, including Msgr. Andrzej Szostek, former rector of the Catholic University of Lublin, who told the TVN channel
the whole bishops' conference should offer its resignation to the pope, in line with the example of Chile's bishops in May 2018. Some Catholics said they would boycott Masses by prelates implicated
in the documentary.
On May 21, the Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported police had intervened to prevent the film being screened by protesters on the wall of Krakow's Wawel Cathedral.
The Vatican's nuncio to Poland, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, said May 17 Pope Francis, who met Polish abuse victims in Rome Feb. 20, had pledged his "closeness and solidarity" after being
informed about the film.
Earlier, Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno, the Polish bishops' first child protection delegate, said he hoped a June visit by Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's principal child
protection specialist, would help make Polish bishops and church officials aware of the need to "react immediately and fully" to all abuse complaints.
All 43 Polish dioceses currently have child protection officers, with more than 3,000 clergy trained in prevention and help for victims.
In March, the bishops' conference published its first report on offenses, listing accusations against 382 priests, involving 625 minors, between 1990 and 2018.
The report said 44 percent had been investigated by state prosecutors, with around half resulting in convictions, although only a quarter of cases had resulted in the defrocking of perpetrators
and only a small fraction in damages for victims.
However, in a February report, the "Do Not Be Afraid" victims foundation accused 24 serving and retired bishops and archbishops of covering up crimes and allowing convicted priests to continue
parish work. The report listed 85 convicted priests in a "map of clerical abuse," and said Poland's bishops had violated secular regulations and canon law in handling abuse and denying help to
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Bishops from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia call for disarmament of herders (Wed, 22 May 2019)
A Turkana warrior patrols with his gun to protect cattle from Dassenach warriors near Todonyang, Kenya, March 21,
2019. Kenyan, Ugandan and Ethiopian bishops are calling for coordinated and peaceful disarmament in a common border region, where an estimated 8 million illegal small and light weapons can be found
among the herder communities. (CNS/Goran Tomasevic, Reuters)
Catholic leaders in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia are calling for coordinated and peaceful disarmament in a common border region, where an estimated 8 million illegal small and light weapons can be
found among the herder communities.
The border triangle is the homeland of the Turkana and the Pokot of Kenya, the Karamoja of Uganda, Daasanach of Ethiopia and Toposa of South Sudan, who have for many centuries raided each other's
cattle as part of an age-old tradition.
At the same time, the region hosts the highest number of refugees in Africa and contributes to the international forced migration, according to Catholic Church officials.
But the cattle raiding in the recent past has turned deadly partly due to its commercialization and politicization.
This has spurred a demand for AK-47s and other small and light weapons, with the communities racing to arm themselves with a disastrous effect, said Bishop Dominic Kimengich of Lodwar, Kenya.
"Everyone in this region has a gun, but we are telling them that they don't need all these weapons," said Kimengich in an interview.
He said the cycle of revenge — cattle raids and counter-raids — have created a cycle of insecurity in the area, where a rifle costs about $200-$300 or one or two cows. The guns have been easy to
get, according to the bishop, since the area is surrounded by countries in conflict.
"One of the sources of the guns is South Sudan, where the local communities sell their guns to buy food," said Kimengich.
In mid-May, the leaders converged at the St. Teresa Pastoral Center in Lodwar for the interdiocesan conference on cross-border peace and evangelization. This is a Catholic Church initiative
launched in 2011.
"We will no longer remain silent. We will no longer remain indecisive, and we will no longer be fearful. We are committed to highlighting the suffering which small arms have caused in the daily
lives of our people," said the church leaders.
"Disarmament has to begin now," they said. "Peaceful disarmament begins with the transformation of the individual and disarming the mind and the heart. It can be done in an environment of trust,
collaboration and commitment," the leaders said in a statement released after the conference.
They said the proliferation of the arms has caused thousands of deaths and injuries, displacement and forced migration of people; it has hampered development, heightened insecurity and caused the
loss of livestock.
The leaders proposed that the regional governments launch a simultaneous disarmament process using an "integrated peaceful disarmament approach." The approach focuses on prevention and control of
the small arms and light weapons proliferation, seeks to address reasons creating the demand and seeks to transform all sectors of the community. It also suggests a synchronized disarmament action in
the three countries.
"Simultaneous disarmament is critical. When the communities learn it is occurring one area, they hide their weapons in the area where it's not occurring. Uganda, for example, has disarmed its
Karamoja, and they are now seeing the Pokot of Kenya as a threat to their security," said Kimengich.
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Indian court to check if Mumbai prelates failed to take action on abuse (Wed, 22 May 2019)
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, attends a Vatican news conference in this Oct. 26, 2015, file photo. A
court in western India has initiated an investigation into whether Gracias and two of his auxiliary bishops failed to take action over the alleged sexual abuse of a minor. (CNS/Paul Haring)
A court in western India has initiated an investigation into whether Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai and two of his auxiliary bishops failed to take action over the alleged sexual abuse of a
There has been a claim that the trio did not implement disciplinary measures or report the crime to police, reported ucanews.com.
On May 21, a special court dealing with such cases asked police to investigate the role of the cardinal and his auxiliaries, Bishops Dominic Savio Fernandes and John Rodrigues.
"We welcome the police probe," said Fr. Nigel Barrett, archdiocesan spokesperson. "We have nothing to hide."
He said church authorities had been intending to report the matter to police but the victim's parents did so first.
After a complaint from the victim's parents, police arrested Fr. Lawrence Johnson, 55, Dec. 2, 2015, and charged him with engaging in "sexual activities against the order of nature" with a
13-year-old boy. Police also charged him with violating several sections of the country's Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act.
The priest remains in custody while the cases against him are heard.
The incident occurred Nov. 27, 2015; medical examination of the boy four days later confirmed injuries to his private parts, court records show.
The child's father alleged that church authorities, despite having knowledge of the crime, concealed it and did not act against the accused.
A section of the POCSO Act provides for a maximum jail term of one year for any person in charge of an institution who fails to report to police an alleged sexual offense by a subordinate against
The archdiocesan spokesperson, in a detailed note, said the cardinal removed the priest from office Nov. 30, 2015, as soon as he came to know about the complaint, and initiated a church
"The cardinal tried to console the parents," Barrett said.
The cardinal was to leave for Rome that same night, so he asked Rodrigues to deal with the matter. Barrett said the cardinal called his auxiliary from Rome as soon as he landed to inquire about
informing the police.
At that time, Rodrigues told the cardinal that the police had been informed by the family the previous night, Barrett stated.
A senior priest of the archdiocese along with an animator from the parish met the father of the boy at their home in a bid to ascertain how they could be of help to him or the child, but were
purportedly told there was no need.
Church people also offered medical help and counseling, but the victim's father was said to have thanked them and declined the offer.
"Many other attempts were made to reach out to the victim, but the family declined any help," Barrett said.
He told ucanews.com that archdiocesan lawyers are studying how "suddenly a new angle is given to the already 4-year-old-case."
According to the lawyers, there has been no direct court order against the cardinal or the other bishops, only a direction to the police to look into the father's allegations.
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Prayer not possible without Holy Spirit, pope says at audience (Wed, 22 May 2019)
Pope Francis is pictured while greeting the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
May 22, 2019. (CNS/Paul Haring)
The Holy Spirit gives Christians the courage and the strength needed to engage in a loving dialogue with God that is like the dialogue of a child with his or her father, Pope Francis said.
"Do not forget this: The protagonist of all Christian prayer is the Holy Spirit. We can never pray without the strength of the Holy Spirit; it is he who moves us to pray well," the pope said May
22 during his weekly general audience.
Greeting an estimated 20,000 pilgrims as he toured St. Peter's Square in the popemobile, Pope Francis occasionally stopped to kiss children's foreheads and drink mate tea offered to him.
Alessandro Gisotti, interim Vatican spokesman, said in a tweet published after the audience that the pope also greeted Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
in 2018 for his efforts to end the use of sexual violence against women in war and armed conflict.
In his main audience talk, the pope concluded his series of talks on the Lord's Prayer, meditating on the theme, "Wherever you are, invoke the Father."
Christian prayer, he said, "is born from the audacity of calling God by the name 'Father.' "
"This is the root of Christian prayer: to call God 'Father.' But this requires courage. It is not so much a formula as it is a filial intimacy into which we are introduced by grace," he said.
"Jesus is the one who reveals the Father and gives us familiarity with him."
The "filial trust" that Jesus' exhibited toward God, especially in times of trial, is a call for Christians to embrace a "spirit of prayer" that "must be insistent and, above all, it must bear the
memory of our brothers and sisters, especially when we have difficult relationships with them."
Recalling Christ's prayer of "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" as he was crucified on the cross, the pope said that even in that moment of abandonment, Jesus still remembered his
"In that 'my God,' one can find the nucleus of the relationship with the Father, there the nucleus of faith and prayer can be found," Pope Francis said.
For this reason, he added, "a Christian can pray in every situation" for themselves and for others.
"Let us never cease to tell the Father about our brothers and sisters in humanity, so that none of them, especially the poor, may remain without a consolation and a portion of love," the pope
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Gang murder or environmental crime in killing of Salvadoran priest? (Wed, 22 May 2019)
Priests pray over the casket of Fr. Cecilio Perez Cruz during his funeral Mass in Sonzacate, El Salvador, May 20,
2019. Parishioners found Perez dead in his residence in Juayua early May 18 with a note nearby that said he had not paid "rent," a euphemism for extortion money. (CNS/Reuters/Jose Cabezas)
Many took to social media to denounce the May 18 killing of a Salvadoran priest while urging authorities to look at the crime as a possible retaliation for Fr. Cecilio Perez Cruz's criticism of
the cutting of trees near the western town of Juayua.
Initially, many characterized the crime as a gang killing because of a reported note found near the body of the 35-year-old priest. The note allegedly said he had not paid "rent," a euphemism for
extortion of money. Members of San Jose La Majada parish, where he was the pastor, reportedly found the priest dead at his residence.
But on Twitter, Fr. Antonio Rodriguez, known as Padre Tono, a Spanish priest who lives in El Salvador, said he believed that the assassination was a crime perpetrated by those who "traffic"
"There is a lot of fear, silence and suffering" among defenders of the environment and human rights, Rodriguez tweeted in Spanish May 21. "Like the murdered priest, there are many who defend
creation and denounce predators who are protected by politicians and greedy and evil entrepreneurs."
Those perpetrators likely left the note behind to make it look like a gang killing, he suggested in a tweet.
On May 19, Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador said he did not believe the note that spoke of the priest not paying "rent" existed, but did not say why he believed that. However, he
agreed that church officials did not believe the killing was related to gangs.
"We believe it's not true, about that note" found near the body, the archbishop said the day after the killing, according to reports from several Salvadoran media organizations. He also said the
priest had never paid extortion money before, nor had been threatened, which typically happens before someone is assassinated by gangs.
In recent times, the Catholic Church in El Salvador has been actively opposing exploitation of natural resources, saying it harms the environment and ultimately affects the health and well-being
of the poor. Catholic leaders and large-scale public pressure from members of the church in El Salvador were instrumental in passing a law banning metal mining in 2017, making the small Central
American country the first in the world to outlaw the industry.
The local church opposed metal mining because of the potential to harm El Salvador's dwindling supply of clean water, and the Archdiocese of San Salvador is now fighting against the privatization
of water, saying it will only harm the poor. Escobar has been actively taking part in public marches against the privatization of water.
Many priests also have been outspoken against deforestation near their parishes, and Fr. Edwin Banos, a priest from the Diocese of Santa Ana, El Salvador, who was a friend of the assassinated
priest, told Catholic News Service May 20 that Perez was one of them. Perez recently "strongly denounced" the cutting of trees near his parish, and that touched the financial interests of
high-ranking business leaders, Father Banos told CNS.
Fr. Estefan Turcios, head of the human rights office for the Archdiocese of San Salvador, told CNS May 21 that it was too early to tell what happened but there is a suspicion among clergy in El
Salvador that the priest's killing is an environmental crime. However, he warned, "it's only a hypothesis, and there are many."
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'Abortion saves lives'? Catholic doctor responds to NYT op-ed (Wed, 22 May 2019)
New York City, N.Y., May 22, 2019 / 04:51 pm (CNA).- Following an op-ed in the New York Times claiming that all pregnancies are
life-threatening, a Catholic doctor emphasized that pregnancy is a natural and healthy condition, and that complications which may arise can be treated without abortion.
“[Pregnancy] is not a serious health risk to the vast majority of women in this country. And unless these women have some underlying medical problems to begin with, most pregnancies are perfectly
normal by any means,” said Dr. Mary Jo O’Sullivan, a high-risk obstetrician and Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami.
“There are pregnancies that are complicated by diabetes, hypertension, previous Caesarean sections, some of those things that he mentioned. But they are uncommon, and with good medical care there is
no reason why a woman who is desirous of continuing her pregnancy cannot do so,” she told CNA.
In an op-ed published Tuesday in the New York Times, a Colorado-based late-term abortion doctor argued that because women are more likely to die in childbirth than from complications related to an
abortion, “pregnancy is dangerous; abortion can be lifesaving.”
“Pregnancy is a life-threatening condition. Women die from being pregnant. We have known that for thousands of years,” abortion doctor Warren Hern wrote May 21.
Hern wrote the piece in response to recent developments related to abortion in Alabama, where the governor recently signed a near-total abortion ban into law. In Alabama last year, nearly six out of
every 100,000 white women who gave birth died as a result of their pregnancy. Among black women, it was 27.6, he said.
Hern claimed from this data that a ban on abortion would disproportionately harm black women, citing data suggesting an abortion procedure is much less risky than giving birth. He offered a list of
potential complications that can result from pregnancy, as well as risk factors that can make pregnancy, in his view, especially dangerous.
O’Sullivan argued, however, that the op-ed was “bombastic” and employed scare tactics. She reiterated that although any pregnancy carries some risk, it is not a “serious” threat to a woman’s health,
especially in the United States. The United States has a higher maternal death rate than Europe, for example, but maternal deaths are still very rare, even in rural areas.
“She doesn't have a 50/50 chance of dying, unless she has some very serious cardiac problems. So I really think that this is scare tactics to prevent women from getting pregnant at all.”
O’Sullivan acknowledged that maternal death rates are higher in black women, especially those of lower socioeconomic status. She pointed out that these women also have a higher risk of hypertension,
obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition, and previous Caesarean sections, all of which are risk factors for maternal death.
Better medical care to address these issues is what is needed, she said, especially for women who are at risk for conditions like hypertension, who should seek medical care earlier rather than later
in their pregnancy.
For the United States overall, the maternal mortality ratio was 20.7 in 2018, meaning that about 20 mothers die for every 100,000 live births. The rate of death for mothers in Sierra Leone, with the
highest maternal mortality ratio in the world, is seventy times that.
In his piece, Hern argued, “Pregnancy itself poses a ‘serious health risk’ — including the risk of dying and losing all bodily functions.” He said that “A woman’s life and health are at risk from the
moment that a pregnancy exists in her body, whether she wants to be pregnant or not.”
O’Sullivan expressed doubt that the statistics Hern quotes were entirely accurate.
“There are still issues with proper recording of maternal deaths,” she said. “We're getting better, but we're very poor at that in the United States. And also, what we call a 'maternal death' might
be a different definition than other countries may use. So we have to be careful with that too.”
In addition, the statistics Hern used to demonstrate the “safety” of abortion procedures did not include adequate follow-ups on the women it studied, she added, meaning there may have been deaths or
complications later on that the study missed.
O'Sullivan pointed out that throughout her medical career, she has aided women through many difficult pregnancies, and had never once had to perform an abortion.
“Abortion is not absolutely indicated under any circumstances,” she said.
There are occasions, she clarified, when a lifesaving procedure for a mother may indirectly result in a child’s death, but this is not the same as an abortion. An example, she said, could be the
situation of a severe hemorrhage in a mother’s placenta, known as Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).
“In that case, we have to deliver the placenta,” she explained.
“The secondary thing that's going to happen is that that baby is not going to survive...the intent is not to kill the baby, but the intention is to remove the placenta. So in that case, yes, if you
do not deliver her, [the mother] could well die.”
Even a situation like DIC is extremely rare, she reiterated.
“The most important thing is that pregnancy is generally followed by a very good, healthy outcome for both mother and baby,” she concluded. “And with good medical care, even better.”
Users who left comments on the New York Times website argued that all successful abortion procedures, even if they may be “safer” for the mother, result in the death of the unborn child.
“Every child has a right to life. Every child,” O’Sullivan said.
>> Read more
These Franciscan University alumni expect 'great things' from new president (Wed, 22 May 2019)
Steubenville, Ohio, May 22, 2019 / 04:40 pm (CNA).- Franciscan University of Steubenville announced Wednesday the appointment of Fr.
David Pivonka, TOR, as the university’s seventh president. Several prominent Catholic alumni of Franciscan said Pinvonka’s appointment is positive news for the university.
Pivonka is the first alumnus of Franciscan University to be named to its top post. The
priest, who graduated from the school in 1989, will begin presidential duties immediately and be formally installed in a ceremony later this year. He has served previously as a vice president at the
university, and in other administrative and teaching roles.
Curtis Martin is a 1993 master’s graduate of the university, and was given an honorary doctorate by the university at its commencement ceremony this month.
Martin is the founder of national campus ministry apostolate FOCUS. He told CNA that Pivonka’s appointment is “great news for Franciscan University!”
“In each of my encounters with Fr. Dave, I have been impressed by his commitment to Christ and the new evangelization. He is the perfect choice to keep Franciscan University as the leading force for
equipping young leaders for a lifetime of dynamic, Christ-centered renewal.”
Lay evangelist Chris Stefanick, founder of Real Life Catholic, is also a graduate of the university.
Stefanick said he expects “great things” from Pivonka’s leadership.
“Franciscan University has remained the hub for dynamically orthodox Catholicism under the two presidents since Fr. Mike [Scanlan]. That said, get ready for a renewal like the university hasn’t seen
since Fr. Mike took the helm in 1974.”
Stefanick referred to the renewal of Catholic identity the university experienced under the leadership of Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR. Scanlan led the university from 1974 to 2000. When he took the
helm, the school was a failing regional college on the verge of financial collapse. By the time Scanlan retired, the university had gained a global reputation for “dynamically orthodox” Catholicism,
and for graduates reaching leadership roles across the Catholic Church.
Dr. Timothy Gray, president of the Augustine Institute, a Colorado-based graduate school offering degrees in theology, is one such graduate.
Gray told CNA that “Fr Pivonka brings tremendous faith and passion to the leadership of Franciscan University and he will continue its amazing service to the Church in the new evangelization. I can
think of no one better to continue Franciscan’s spiritual leadership than Fr David Pivonka. This is good news indeed!”
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry earned a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University in 1996. Fortenberry told CNA that Pivonka is “faithful, sacrificial, and approachable.”
“America has been devastated by corruption and loss of once-great Catholic institutions— Franciscan must remain strong in a world screaming for meaning,” Fortenberry added.
National Catholic Register editor-in-chief Jeanette DeMelo is a 1998 graduate of the university, and received an honorary doctorate from the school in 2018.
DeMelo told CNA that “I have no doubt that Fr. Dave understands what makes Franciscan unique. He experienced it himself as a student and, in a way ever since then, has carried that experience to
others through his pastoral ministry.”
“I remember Fr. Dave from my days as a student, when he had recently returned from his graduate studies and became a faculty member. Students loved him. He is energetic, vibrant and a convincing
preacher much like Fr. Mike [Scanlan] was.”
Pivonka “will build well on the foundation built by his predecessors, especially the recent work of [outgoing president] Fr. Sean [Sheridan], who has led at a time of intense growth as well as
pivotal moment in the wider culture,” DeMelo added.
Alumni of the university are not the only ones to praise Pivonka’s appointment.
The Diocese of Steubenville told CNA that Bishop Jeffrey Montforton sent a letter to Pivonka, congratulating the priest on his new role.
“I look forward to our collaboration along the lines of Franciscan University these coming years. I also look forward to our ministerial relationship and sharing our Lord Jesus Christ with our
brothers and sisters throughout the region,” Montforton wrote.
“I have every confidence you will be a great blessing to everyone at Franciscan, a university I hold in high regard.”
>> Read more
'Lust is a monster': Gay porn star quits industry, joins fight against porn (Wed, 22 May 2019)
Salt Lake City, Utah, May 22, 2019 / 03:35 pm (CNA).- An actor who has been featured in dozens of homosexual pornographic films has
announced his exit from the industry and his entrance into the anti-porn movement.
Markie More, a porn star of six years, disclosed on Monday that he is now working with Fight the New Drug - an organization that educates about the dangers of pornography addiction.
“I’ve decided that I’m officially done with the adult industry,” said More on Twitter.
“If you’re wondering, I’ve quit because I can no longer promote lustful and deviant behavior. Lust is a monster, and the more you feed it, the hungrier it becomes,” he added.
The 26-year-old’s former employer, Next Door Studios, still has some already-created pornographic content that may be released in the future, but More says he is not looking back as he exits the
He said he is not out to spread hate but to show an accurate depiction of how pornography harms people.
“I’ve witnessed porn destroy numerous people, friendships, relationships, families, etc. It does far more harm than good for people,” he tweeted on May 18.
QueerTY reported that More’s resignation comes five months after he accused the vice president of production at Next Door Studios, Rocco Fallon, of making violent threats. Porn Star Paul Canon said
he left for similar reasons.
According to Towle Road, More had previously decided to exit the industry in 2017, but later changed his mind, stating that the porn industry had helped him in self-discovery.
However, recently on Twitter, he said his actions in the porn industry were not always a true representation of himself.
“Unfortunately, telling people you fantasize real love isn’t something a studio wants you to say. So, instead I told lies, not even good ones either. I sincerely apologize for misleading you. I will
only speak truths from this point forward,” he said.
More said he is now recovering from spending the last six years in the porn industry. In his Twitter bio, he directed those suffering from porn addiction to a link for Fight the New Drug.
Founded by Clay Olsen and Jason Carroll, Fight the New Drug has released numerous reports on the correlation between pornography addiction and various negative effects, including increases in
violence toward women, distorted sexual tastes, and damaged relationships.
The group describes itself as “a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising
awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.”
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Biden backs federal abortion protections 'if necessary' (Wed, 22 May 2019)
Washington D.C., May 22, 2019 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- Joe Biden would support federal laws protecting abortion rights, “should it become
necessary.” The former vice president is the current frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination often references his Catholic faith in political speeches, publicly making the
sign of the cross as a punch-line to jokes and displaying a rosary worn on his wrist.
Biden’s position was announced by campaign staff on May 21 in response to questions from the Associated Press. His staff further clarified that he would support immediate efforts to enshrine the
Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade in Federal law.
The announcement marks the latest evolution in Biden’s views on abortion policy over a 50-year career in politics. Earlier on Tuesday he released a video criticizing recent state-level pro-life laws
as “pernicious” and “wrong.”
Shortly after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision found a legal right to an abortion throughout a pregnancy, Biden said in a profile interview with the magazine “Washingtonian” that he did not
agree with the court’s conclusion.
“But when it comes to issues like abortion, amnesty, and acid, I’m about as liberal as your grandmother,” said Biden. “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I
don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”
By 2007, his last year in the Senate prior to becoming vice president, Biden had been given a zero rating by the National Right to Life Committee. The last time Biden received a score above zero from
the National Right to Life Committee was in 2003-2004.
Biden received a 75% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America during his last year in the Senate, having received perfect 100% ratings from the organization in 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2006.
Previously, Biden had been in favor of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions in the United States. In 1994, he reassured one of his constituents in a letter that he was
guided by the principle that “those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” and that he had voted more than 50 times against the federal funding of
Twelve years ago, in his 2007 book “Promises to Keep,” he described his position on abortion as “middle-of-the-road,” and he reiterated his opposition to both federal funding of abortions and
On May 4, he was asked by a volunteer with the American Civil Liberties Union if he supported “abolishing” Hyde, and he quickly answered “Yes.”
In the 2012 vice presidential debate against Rep. Paul Ryan, Biden described himself as agreeing with the Church’s view on abortion but that he “refuse(s) to impose that on others, unlike my friend
here,” referring to Ryan.
“I do not believe we have a right to tell women that they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor,” Biden said.
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Pivonka appointed Franciscan University president (Wed, 22 May 2019)
Steubenville, Ohio, May 22, 2019 / 09:58 am (CNA).- Franciscan University of Steubenville announced that Fr. David Pivonka, TOR, has
been appointed the university’s seventh president.
“It’s both humbling and an honor to be chosen to lead Franciscan University of Steubenville,” Pivonka said in a May 22 statement.
“Over 30 years ago, I first arrived at Franciscan as an undergrad and received an outstanding education as well as life-changing spiritual formation as part of a dynamic, Catholic intellectual and
faith community,” he added.
Pivonka will assume presidential duties immediately, and be formally installed as president at a date not yet determined.
A 1989 graduate of the university, the priest has a long affiliation with the school. He served in 1998 and 1999 as assistant to Fr. Michael Scanlan, and is closely associated with Scanlan’s tenure
at the university.
Scanlan is the long-time university president who is credited with imbuing a failing regional college with a sense of “dynamic orthodoxy,” introducing the charismatic renewal to its campus,
stabilizing the college financially, and attracting faculty and students from across the country.
Pivonka played a key role in one of Scanlan’s major initiatives: the university's “household” system. Households, small single-gender, dorm-based faith communities, were among the aspects of
university life Scanlan introduced in order to support the faith formation of students. Pivonka served as director of household support from 1996 to 1998.
The priest has also served as director of the university’s well-known youth conferences, a professor of theology, director of the school’s Austria program, and as vice president for mission and
planning from 2003 to 2005.
In recent years, the priest has led Franciscan Pathways, an evangelistic initiative of his Francscan province, focused on conversion,
spiritual formation, and the Holy Spirit in the lives of Catholics. In that role, he produced “The Wild Goose” video series on the Holy
Spirit, as well as other documentaries and pastoral videos.
Pivonka “brings a unique array of perspective, experience, and qualifications to this role. His work as a nationally known preacher and evangelist combined with prior senior-level administrative
experience at Franciscan will serve the University well,” the university’s board chairman, Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, TOR, said in a March 22 statement.
In addition to an undergraduate degree from Franciscan University, Pivonka has an MA in theology from Washington Theological Union, a doctorate in education from the Graduate Theological
The priest’s appointment follows the tenure of Fr. Sean Sheridan, TOR, who announced last month that he would resign after nearly six years in the role.
David DeWolf, vice chair of the university’s board of trustees, said that after Sheridan’s resignation, the university board searched for “ a president who was led by the Holy Spirit, a champion for
dynamic orthodoxy, and an exceptionally strong executive who understands and values the unique culture and demands of academia and the importance of strong collaboration between the president and the
“After significant prayer and a robust interview process, it quickly became clear that Father Dave Pivonka possesses all of these qualities,” DeWolf said.
Pivonka takes the reins after the university has faced questions about the handling of historical sexual harassment cases, and its manner of addressing sexual assault claims made by students.
Scanlan, in particular, has been criticized for his apparent response to allegations of sexual misconduct made against a fellow Franciscan priest.
In his last year as president, Sheridan also faced criticism from some faculty members and internet-based groups and blogs, who questioned his commitment to ensuring a faithfully Catholic approach to
university education, especially following a January incident in which a professor was found to have used a text with inflammatory passages – termed "blasphemous" and "obscene" by critics – for an
advanced reading course.
Sheridan apologized to those disturbed by the text’s use, and highlighted the importance of forming students “to do battle against the blasphemy and heresy rife in our culture today.”
Pivonka said May 22 that he is eager to being his new appointment.
“A lot has changed in our culture in the last 30 years, but Franciscan University continues its mission to provide a superior education in a vibrant faith community where students and parents alike
can be confident in their choice of Franciscan University.”
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