Knights of Columbus Pope John Paul II Council 13808 Greensboro, GA
Knights of ColumbusPope John Paul II Council 13808Greensboro, GA
Following St. Joseph in the new year (Tue, 12 Jan 2021)
So often today, the role models offered to children and teens consist of sports idols and rock stars. The post Following St. Joseph in the new year appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Pope amends canon law so women can be installed as lectors, acolytes (Mon, 11 Jan 2021)
Recognizing “the gifts of each baptized person”–women and men–Pope Francis ordered a change to canon law and liturgical norms so that women could be formally installed as lectors and acolytes. The post Pope amends canon law so women can be installed as lectors, acolytes appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Archbishop Hartmayer’s statement on violence at nation’s Capitol (Fri, 08 Jan 2021)
Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., released a statement on Friday, Jan. 8 in the wake of this week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol building. In his message, he urges prayer for a peaceful transfer of power. The post Archbishop Hartmayer’s statement on violence at nation’s Capitol appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Sister Nora Ryan, OP, dies December 22 (Thu, 07 Jan 2021)
Sister Nora Ryan, OP, died on December 22 at St. Dominic Villa, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. She was 87 years old. She served in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for many years. The post Sister Nora Ryan, OP, dies December 22 appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Pastor of Christ our Hope Church dies December 25 (Thu, 07 Jan 2021)
Father John-Paul Ezeonyido, pastor of Christ our Hope Church in Lithonia, died Dec. 25 after a long illness. He served as chaplain to the Nigerian Igbo Catholic community for 17 years. The post Pastor of Christ our Hope Church dies December 25 appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Now is time to build new world without inequality, injustice, pope says (Sun, 19 Apr 2020)
By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service ROME (CNS) — As the world slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a risk it will be struck by an even worse virus — that of selfish indifference, Pope Francis said. This … Continue reading →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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'Words can be kisses,' but also 'swords,' pope writes in new book (Fri, 15 Jan 2021)
Vatican City 20210115T0930-POPE-BOOK-SILENCE-594530.JPG Capuchin Fr. Emiliano Antenucci presents an image of Our Lady of Silence to Pope Francis at the Vatican March 22, 2019. Silence, like words, can be a language of love, Pope Francis wrote in the introduction to a new book by in Italian by Father Antenucci. (CNS photo/courtesy Fr. Emiliano Antenucci) Silence, like words, can be a love language, Pope Francis wrote in a very short introduction to a new book in Italian. "Silence is one of God's languages and it also is a language of love," the pope wrote in the book, "Don't Speak Ill of Others," by Capuchin Fr. Emiliano Antenucci. The Italian priest, encouraged by Pope Francis, promotes devotion to Mary under the title "Our Lady of Silence." In the new book, Pope Francis quoted St. Augustine: "If you keep silent, keep silent by love; if you speak, speak by love." Not speaking ill of others is not "just a moral act," he said. "When we speak ill of others, we sully the image of God that is in each person." "The correct use of words is important," Pope Francis wrote. "Words can be kisses, caresses, medicine, but they also can be knives, swords or bullets." Words, he said, can be used to bless or to curse, "they can be closed walls or open windows." Repeating what he has said on many occasions, Pope Francis said compared people who throw "the bombs" of gossip and slander to "terrorists" sowing destruction. The pope also quoted St. Teresa of Kolkata's familiar phrase as a lesson in holiness accessible to every Christian: "The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace." "One begins with silence and arrives at charity toward others," he said. The pope's brief introduction ended with a prayer: "May Our Lady of Silence teach us the correct use of our tongues and give us the strength to bless everyone, peace of heart and joy in living." // Advertisement Advertisement Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. Email address
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CRS official opposes Trump's action to seek foreign spending cuts (Fri, 15 Jan 2021)
Cleveland 20200724T1621-CRS-HUNGER-COVID-797466.JPG A Catholic Relief Services staff member in Cambodia explains the latest COVID-19 information to a small group of community leaders. (CNS/CRS/Jennifer Hardy) President Donald Trump's decision to ask Congress to rescind billions of dollars in foreign aid spending is "extremely ill-advised," said a senior Catholic Relief Services official. Bill O'Keefe, the agency's executive vice president for mission, mobilization and advocacy, said cuts the president seeks in food aid, health care and vaccinations for the coronavirus would harm children and vulnerable people around the world. "We've got throughout East Africa a locust infestation. Drought in some places and floods in others. Plus there's endemic climate change-induced problems and the COVID pandemic. So this is not the time to be cutting," O'Keefe told Catholic News Service. Trump in a Jan. 14 letter to congressional leaders explained that he is seeking to rescind $27.4 billion in spending that already had been approved for 73 programs. The action came six days before Trump was to leave office. While the president can propose the cuts, Congress has the final authority to act on the request. Congress is not scheduled to return to work until Jan. 19 and it is expected his request will be ignored. The cuts most troublesome to CRS, O'Keefe said, come in programs administered by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. They include cutting $1.5 billion from Food for Peace, $5.1 billion from global health programs, $2.1 billion from AIDS relief and over $1 billion from assistance to refugees and victims of conflict worldwide. Cuts in domestic spending outlined by the White House include $430 million for cultural exchange programs; $181 million for climate research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; $13 million for the National Institutes of Health; $12.3 million for research on firearm mortality and injury prevention; and hundreds of millions in federal student aid. "We expect that the incoming administration and the Congress will reject these rescissions as they have in the past," O'Keefe said. "However, it adds needless delay and bureaucratic hurdles in front of the race to help people who need help now." Trump signaled he would seek cuts on what he considered "wasteful items" as he signed the $1.4 trillion fiscal 2021 spending package Dec. 27 after criticizing it publicly. // Advertisement Advertisement Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. Email address
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Catholic leader sees growing support for ending death penalty in Virginia (Fri, 15 Jan 2021)
Richmond, Va. 20201216T0915-DEATH-PENALTY-REPORT-1011130.JPG Demonstrators are seen near the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., showing their opposition to the death penalty July 13, 2020. (CNS/Reuters/Bryan Woolston) The executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state's bishops, said he was pleased bipartisan support is growing for ending Virginia's death penalty. "With our modern and advanced criminal justice system, we have other ways to provide punishment and protect society, without resorting to executions," Jeff Caruso, the conference's executive director, said in a Jan. 14 statement. "We hope this will be the year to enact death penalty abolition here." A day earlier in his annual "State of the Commonwealth" address, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he would support a bill just introduced in the General Assembly to abolish the death penalty, including for those persons currently under a death sentence. The measure would remove the penalty of death for Class 1 felonies and change the sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Under Virginia law, the most serious felonies are Class 1 felonies, punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. The current law says if the defendant was over 18 at the time of the offense and not mentally impaired, Class 1 felonies also may be punishable by death. Examples of crimes classified as Class 1 felonies are capital and first-degree murder. Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice is a group of the state's attorneys general, said in a Jan. 4 letter to General Assembly leaders urged legislators to abolish the death penalty. "The death penalty is unjust, racially biased and ineffective at deterring crime," the group said. "We have more equitable and effective means of keeping our communities safe and addressing society's most heinous crimes. It is past time for Virginia to end this antiquated practice." The organization also called for other criminal justice reforms, including ending cash bail, mandatory minimum sentences and the "three strikes" felony enhancement for petty larceny offenses. Northam in his address likewise cited racial injustices in the criminal justice system as a reason to end executions. In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, he said he is personally opposed to the death penalty and also is motivated to see it end in the state because of the rash of federal executions carried out in recent months. According to the state's Department of Corrections, two people in Virginia are currently on death-row. The last individual to enter death row was received in September 2011. No one new has been put on death row since October 2011. - - - Contributing to this story was Brian Olszewski, editor The Catholic Virginian, newspaper of the Diocese of Richmond. // Advertisement Advertisement Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. Email address
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Facebook removes video commentary by Mexican cardinal (Thu, 14 Jan 2021)
MONTERREY, Mexico 20210114T1245-FACEBOOK-SANDOVAL-1012631.JPG Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, retired archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, is pictured in a March 4, 2013, photo. Facebook has removed a video column by Cardinal Sandoval in which he spreads conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and Bill Gates. (CNS photo/Reuters/Max Rossi) Facebook removed a video commentary from Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez of Guadalajara, saying it spread false information about COVID-19. Semanario Arquidiocesano Guadalajara — an information service operated by the Archdiocese of Guadalajara — posted a screenshot from the video on its Facebook page Jan. 13, along with the text, "Cardinal Juan Sandoval denounced the imposition of a new world order, hours later his video was censored." It also posted the video on its regular website, along with a story on its removal. The screenshot of the inaccessible video prominently announced, "False information," and explained, "This publication repeats information about COVID-19, which independent fact checkers indicated is false." In the video — titled "Plot of a new world order" — Sandoval started by saying, "This will go for a long time." He continued, "This pandemic won't end in a month or two months, perhaps not this year, perhaps not in three, four, five, six years. That's what these men want." The cardinal mentioned conspiratorially Microsoft founder and health philanthropist Bill Gates and alleged a U.S. laboratory had a strain of another virus ready. He then started speaking of one world government. Sandoval, 87, has detoured into conspiracies throughout the pandemic and publicly questioned health precautions such as closing businesses and canceling services. He has also minimized the impact of the illness and dispensed erroneous medical advice. He is currently retired archbishop of Guadalajara — where he was leader for 17 years until his retirement in 2011. Fr. Antonio Gutiérrez Montaño, archdiocesan spokesman, said Sandoval has no official responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara and his opinions are his own. // Advertisement Advertisement "We're not going to censor him or block him or anything like that," Gutiérrez said. "He doesn't speak in the name of the archdiocese. But the archdiocese is not going to censor him." The archdiocese reposted Sandoval's commentary to the website of its newspaper Semanario. Throughout the pandemic, dioceses across Mexico have closed churches at times, celebrated Mass with limited occupancy and canceled pilgrimages and feast days, including the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at her namesake shrine. Controversy over the cardinal's comments came as parts of Mexico experienced a worsening of the pandemic, with hospital beds becoming scarce and daily death tolls regularly topping more than 1,000, in a country with very little testing. COVID-19 has claimed the lives of clergy, too. Gutiérrez said 120 priests — roughly 10% of clergy in the archdiocese — had contracted COVID-19, and eight priests had died of the disease. Bishop José María de la Torre Martín of Aguascalientes died of COVID-19 Dec. 14. Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. Email address
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Papal trip to Argentina, Uruguay still on the table, pope tells ambassador (Thu, 14 Jan 2021)
Vatican City 20210114T0845-POPE-CARRIQUIRY-1012629.JPG Guzman Carriquiry, the new Uruguayan ambassador to the Holy See, presented his letters of credential to Pope Francis Jan. 9, 2021, during a meeting in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) Pope Francis told Uruguay's new ambassador to the Holy See that a future visit to the country as well as to his native Argentina is still very much on the table. In an interview with Catholic News Service Jan. 13, Guzman Carriquiry, who prior to his appointment as Uruguay's ambassador served as secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, said he decided to ask the pope about the long-awaited visit when he presented his letters of credential Jan. 9. After years of doubt as to whether Pope Francis will ever make the long-awaited visit to Uruguay and Argentina, Carriquiry said he mustered up "the courage to ask the pope, 'Is a trip out of the question?'" "In no way is it out of the question!" the pope exclaimed, according to Carriquiry. "I have the desire and the intention to travel to Rio de la Plata — to Uruguay and to my country." The Rio del la Plata forms part of the border between the two South American countries. The pope made similar remarks in a November 2019 interview with the Argentine news agency Telam, in which he said that he was "eager to go" visit his homeland. Carriquiry told CNS that Pope Francis said he originally planned a visit to Uruguay, Argentina and Chile in October 2017. "But then, the Chileans warned me that October was too close to the Chilean presidential election and wanted the visit to be moved in January," the pope told the Uruguayan ambassador. The pope explained that if he had gone, "I wouldn't have found anyone in Uruguay and Argentina because in the month of January, everybody goes to the beach; the cities are empty," Carriquiry recalled. "Now I must wait for the pandemic to end and for favorable conditions to happen in general so that I make the trip when providence allows it," the pope said, according to the ambassador. // Advertisement Advertisement Carriquiry is no stranger to the Vatican. He was named bureau chief of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in 1977 by St. Paul VI. In 1991, St. John Paul II named him undersecretary of the same pontifical council, a position he held until 2011 when Pope Benedict XVI appointed him secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. Carriquiry told CNS that upon his arrival at the Vatican, Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, regent of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, told him, "You already know things here, you are already home." The Uruguayan government did not see his faith nor his nearly 50 years of service at the Vatican as a conflict of interest, he said, but as an asset to foster ties with the Vatican. "President (Luis) Lacalle chose me as an ambassador knowing my Catholic convictions perfectly well," he said. "But at the same time, I must respect what has been established and what has been indicated by the public authorities of the nation." The concept of separation of church and state, he added, "is a very strong tradition in Uruguay, which I must respect and represent." However, it does not imply that the government does not appreciate "the important contribution that churches, within the broad framework of religious freedom, can offer for the common good of the Uruguayan people." Regarding his meeting with Pope Francis, Carriquiry told CNS that the pope welcomed him, his wife, children and grandchildren "very happily" and that the meeting was "full of affection and joy." Having known the ambassador since his days as archbishop of Buenos Aires, the pope shares a close friendship with Carriquiry. In June 2019, the pope presided over a Mass to celebrate Carriquiry and his wife's 50th wedding anniversary. "The first thing the pope told me when I presented my letters of credential was that it was 'the irony of destiny that we now meet as different representatives,'" Carriquiry recalled. Pope Francis "was very moved when he said goodbye," Carriquiry said. "I'm not saying this to boast, but he told me, 'This is a memorable day.'" Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. Email address
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CNA Daily News - US

Open letter calls for investigation into mistreatment of Uyghurs (Sat, 16 Jan 2021)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 16, 2021 / 03:01 pm (CNA).- Fifty human rights professionals and organizations have signed an open letter calling for an investigation into crimes against humanity and potential genocide of the Uyghur people in China. The letter, published Jan. 14, was spearheaded by the Uyghur Human Rights Project. “The international community has the responsibility to respond to these crimes and protect Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples through diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means,” said the letter. “The atrocities being perpetrated are no less egregious if they are found to constitute one international crime or another.” The letter claims that the Chinese government, using programs they say are for the prevention of religious and political extremism, has “intensified widespread and systematic policies to repress Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples on the basis of their religious and ethnic identities.” Over 1 million people have been in “arbitrary detention” in camps due to their religion or ethnicity, says the letter, along with being subjected to “a widespread program of political indoctrination, enforced disappearances, destruction of cultural sites, forced labour, disproportionate rates of prison incarceration, and coercive birth prevention campaigns and policies.” Since 2017, says the letter, about 80,000 Uyghur people have been in “conditions that strongly indicate forced labour.” The letter also points to evidence that the Chinese government is taking steps to reduce birth rates among Uyghur women, including the use of forced abortions and sterilizations. Despite being less than 2% of China’s population, 80% of IUD placements in 2018 were in Uyghur women. “These measures meet the threshold of acts constitutive of genocide, core international crimes under the Genocide Convention, which prohibits ‘imposing measures intended to prevent births’ among an ethnic or religious group,” said the letter. “We also believe that the Chinese government may be perpetrating the following acts prohibited under the Genocide Convention: causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” There have been many reports of Uyghur children being removed from their families, the letter states. The 50 signatories of the letter are encouraging countries to “convene a special session at the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations taking place in the Uyghur Region and develop strategies to end these violations”’; implement new diplomatic and bilateral efforts to prevent further genocidal activity; and “independently investigate and make appropriate legal determinations regarding the treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim-majority peoples in China.” “It is our collective responsibility to protect populations from mass atrocities, including crimes against humanity and genocide,” says the letter. “We must act now to prevent further atrocities against this long-persecuted group.”
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How do you foster Catholic community in quarantine? (Sat, 16 Jan 2021)
Denver Newsroom, Jan 16, 2021 / 02:00 am (CNA).- Like many in 2020, Catholic author Leah Libresco Sargeant found much solace in the past year in spiritual reading— as well as in copious amounts of baking.  “The big thing this year, especially with the new baby, is making large batches of cookies and then freezing a bunch of the dough so that there could always be fresh cookies, even if it's a very busy day and it's not plausible to make any. It's great,” she laughed.  Leah is a convert from atheism, and writes and thinks a lot about ways to build up strong Christian communities. In fact, she wrote a book about it a couple of years ago, called “Building the Benedict Option,” in which she encourages Catholics to create opportunities in their lives to interact more with their faith community. These additional, intentional interactions can include taking the initiative to host people more often for dinner or events at your home, especially on feast days. Her book offers tips on how to make these interactions more successful in building tight-knit Christian communities.  Although many of the suggestions in Leah’s book are predicated on face-to-face interactions, she said she has found ways to adapt her community-building practices during coronavirus times.  “I think one of the hard things is just having a routine shattered; some of the connections you have with other people vanishing. And it takes a bit of work, then, to build up from scratch what you otherwise could rely on from other people,” she noted.  For example, she’s taken the initiative to maintain several penpals, keeping friendships alive by conversing via snail mail. A habit Leah practiced even before the pandemic was sending things to people that she found spiritually enriching— such as book passages, or information about interesting saints— in the hopes that they would find it spiritually enriching too.  Most dioceses in the United States, save for a few in the West, have reopened almost all their churches for Mass with continued precautions such as social distancing and mask wearing. Catholic churches in Princeton, New Jersey where the Sargeants live have generally been accessible since the summer of 2020, but Leah says there have been times when the Sergeants have had to miss in-person Mass and instead participate from home via livestream.  “We try and make that an opportunity to pray for people who are in more remote places, who have a traveling priest who doesn't come every week, even in normal times— or people who are living under persecution,” Leah told CNA.  “To try and take this unexpected and unwanted fast from the Mass as an opportunity to pray for people for whom [access to the sacraments] is an ongoing struggle, pandemic or no.” Part of the key to making it through “unexpected fasts” from the sacraments is to reach out to others and offer to walk through it with them, she said.  “If you can't go to Mass, or can't go to Mass as often as you used to, part of the question might be: do you have a friend who is also in this position?” she said, adding that you could call that person on the phone and offer to pray with them.  “Is there a way that this can become something you share with others, rather than just a time of isolation? Adding that she does not want to “sugarcoat” the difficulties in keeping a sense of community alive during the pandemic, Sergeant said restrictions on public gatherings, including Mass, have made spontaneous, organic interactions with her neighbors more difficult.  “I think in some ways what the pandemic has done is strengthened some of my ties with people who I've fallen out of touch with a little, and who don't live nearby, and weakened them a bit with my actual neighbors,” she said.  On the other hand, Sergeant said she has found that the extra time spent at home during the pandemic has helped her and her family to pray more in their home.  Leah and her husband Alexi welcomed their first child in January 2020, so a lot of their domestic church traditions in the past year have been shaped by that joyful fact. For example, the Sargeants decided against putting out a physical Advent wreath in 2020.  “A lot of our traditions have to be things that are less tangible, because literally everything in the house goes into [the baby’s] mouth,” she laughed.  One “intangible” habit that Leah and her husband have gotten into is doing spiritual reading every Sunday, out loud, to each other. They’ve made their way through works such as the biblical poetry of Gregory of Nazianzus and “The Day is Now Far Spent” by Robert Cardinal Sarah.  Leah has also continued her habit of blogging, attracting several hundred followers to an email newsletter in which she writes on topics such as motherhood, the benefits she has found from working from home, and a variety of others from a Catholic feminist perspective.  One of the keys to a healthy spiritual life is silence, and cultivating periods of silence every day for prayer and peacefulness. Leah says she’s been working on this for a while, and added that the birth of her first child has, perhaps paradoxically, helped her to find quieter moments than she had before.  “For me, a baby is sometimes an excuse not to find those periods of silence. But...a baby forces you to be fully present in the moment, to put aside some of your own goals or own plans for the day,” she explained.   “And if she falls asleep on top of you after what's been a rough afternoon, suddenly it is enforced silence...and if you weren't planning to have any silent prayer too bad, now is the time!” The human toll of the pandemic has a lot of people thinking about death— not only the deaths of others, but their inevitable own. Leah says for Catholics, who believe in resurrection, thinking about death is not necessarily a bad thing.  “The Church has always told us to meditate on our own death, and to make that part of our spiritual practice,” she pointed out. “[God] defeated death and freed us from fear of it, but that doesn't make it easy. That's why we talk about this as a spiritual practice, something we have to do deliberately again and again, to build up that trust in God and that knowledge of who He is. And so I think the pandemic is really forcing that good spiritual practice on us in a much more stressful and frightening way than if we'd chosen it ourselves.” This meditation on what it means to die, and for things to end, applies not just to individuals, but to the Church as a whole. Even in non-pandemic times, there are always going to be people at Mass who are journeying through grief and suffering, and pastors shouldn’t shy away from addressing that, Sergeant said, seeking to assure people that experiencing spiritual aridity and grief does not make them “bad Christians.” “There's always someone in your neighborhood, in your parish, who's going through a time that's just as hard as it is now [in the pandemic], but it isn't shared,” she said.   “So part of the question is: Whatever's going on now that's helping us take care of each other, how do we continue that when there isn't the shock of a pandemic to remind us that people around us are suffering?” The pandemic hasn’t only brought challenges, however. There have also been some fun opportunities for enhancing the Sargeant’s family life— several of which involve baking. Leah recommends seeking out a sourdough starter, as it makes for a fun baking activity as well as a potential gift to pass on to others.  “If you're only feeding one thing in your house, it should be the baby, not the sourdough starter,” she laughed.  This interview originally aired on Catholic News Agency’s podcast, CNA Newsroom. It has been adapted for print. Listen to the interview below, beginning at 9:40.  CNA Newsroom · Ep. 89: Taking Back the Year  
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US bishops applaud Supreme Court ruling in favor of FDA abortion pill regulations (Sat, 16 Jan 2021)
CNA Staff, Jan 15, 2021 / 10:06 pm (CNA).- The U.S. bishops’ pro-life chair on Friday praised a Supreme Court decision allowing federal regulations of the abortion pill to stand during the pandemic. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision reversed a federal judge’s injunction on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) safety regulations of the abortion pill. The ruling allowed the FDA to use its authority as requested and continue to prohibit remote prescriptions and dispensing of the abortion pill during the pandemic. “We welcome the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of the FDA’s ability to enforce important and long-standing health and safety requirements related to chemical abortion drugs,” stated Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, chair of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee. In Tuesday’s 6-3 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the federal district court did not have sufficient authority to mandate regulatory changes to the FDA’s public health standards, due to the pandemic. Since 2000, the FDA had placed the abortion pill regimen on its REMS list, reserved for higher-risk drugs and procedures. This listing meant that the abortion pill could only be prescribed in a health clinic setting, in-person, by a certified prescriber. Pro-abortion groups sued, however, claiming that the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic warranted that women be able to obtain the abortion pill via mail without having to make a visit in-person to a health clinic. Judge Theodore Chuang of the Maryland district in July ruled in their favor and placed an injunction on the FDA regulations during the pandemic. Roberts on Tuesday wrote that “courts owe significant deference to the politically accountable entities with the ‘background, competence, and expertise to assess public health.’” “In light of those considerations, I do not see a sufficient basis here for the District Court to compel the FDA to alter the regimen for medical abortion,” he wrote. On Friday, Archbishop Naumann said that the FDA is right to regulate chemical abortions, which if prescribed and dispensed remotely could carry special health risks for women. “Mail order mifepristone compounds the risks and trauma of abortion by encouraging women to end the lives of their children in their own bathrooms, often without any medical attention or follow-up care,” he said. “This dangerous, painful, and emotionally bleak process results in the death of innocent unborn lives and often has lasting negative impacts on women,” he said. “The inalienable dignity of women and their unborn children deserves so much more.” After Chuang’s initial decision, Justice Department attorneys appealed the case to the Supreme Court; the court sent the case back for reconsideration, instructing that the administration be able to present new evidence. In a Dec. 9 decision, Chuang did not lift the injunction, saying that the challenges of the pandemic had not changed. The administration then appealed its case again to the Supreme Court.  
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Becerra, Biden’s HHS pick, has shown ‘hostility to nonprofit institutions’, scholars argue (Fri, 15 Jan 2021)
CNA Staff, Jan 15, 2021 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- Conservative scholars argued this week that Xavier Becerra, president-elect Joe Biden’s pick for HHS secretary, has a history of “hostility to nonprofit institutions and the donors who support them,” particularly religious nonprofits. In a Jan. 13 opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer Riley wrote that Becerra, currently serving as California’s attorney general, has a history of supporting initiatives aiming to “use the tax code to redirect charitable giving toward causes [he] finds worthwhile.” Notably, they say, Becerra has taken steps to attempt to force organizations such as pro-life pregnancy centers and religious foster-care agencies to violate their principles. “Religious organizations run many of America’s hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, foster and adoption agencies, after-school programs and hospices. Mr. Becerra seems to want the power to cast their principles aside in favor of his own ideological mission,” the authors assert. “He holds many views of this kind, well outside the American mainstream, and would have broad discretion to act on them as health and human services secretary.” As California attorney general, Becerra has frequently taken legal action against pro-life organizations and other religous groups. The authors of the op-ed expressed worry that in his likely new position as head of HHS, Becerra will use his influence to pressure such groups. The HHS has authority over a broad range of concerns, including federally-funded adoption agencies, regulation of the abortion pill, refugee resettlement, anti-human trafficking efforts, global health, and family planning. HHS works with many nonprofit organizations, the authors asserted. Becerra has said in the past that tax exemptions for charitable foundations lead to “disproportionate giving...skewed against people of color,” and that the government has an obligation to ensure that the tax exemptions enjoyed by charities serve a public good. The IRS lists 29 types of organizations that qualify as tax-exempt charitable organizations. These include 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes most religious nonprofits and churches. “Many foundations fund medical research, schools and religious organizations that benefit people of all races...Foundation money is private money and foundation leaders have a moral and even legal obligation to disperse it in the way donors have directed,” the authors asserted. Becerra’s predecessor as California attorney general, Kamala Harris, prosecuted journalist David Daleiden for his undercover videos claiming that Planned Parenthood unlawfully profited from the trade in fetal tissue of aborted babies. Becerra continued that fight in court. Becerra also defended a 2014 state mandate that employers cover abortions in health plans, despite religious communities such as the Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit not being exempted from the mandate. Becerra had defended the state’s Reproductive FACT Act, a law passed in 2015 before his tenure as attorney general, which required pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortions. Pro-life groups claimed the state actively worked with the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) to craft the legislation. During January 2020, the HHS Office for Civil Rights concluded that California had violated the Weldon Amendment—which bars federal funding of health care groups that force the provision or coverage of abortions— and gave the state 30 days to comply with the law. Becerra refused to comply with the HHS demand, saying that the state “has the sovereign right to protect women’s reproductive rights.”
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Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a message of faith, hope and love, niece tells EWTN (Fri, 15 Jan 2021)
Washington D.C., Jan 15, 2021 / 05:23 pm (CNA).- In an interview with EWTN News Nightly (ENN), the niece of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Alveda King, highlighted that her famous uncle was a man of faith, who always looked for "nonviolent and Bible-based" solutions to the challenges of his time.   ENN's host Tracy Sabol opened the interview, on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Jan. 15, highlighting that "honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. still give us as a nation an opportunity to pay tribute to his enduring legacy," before asking King, director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life, about the civil rights icon's place in history. "When I remember my uncle during the Martin Luther King holiday week, I think about his messages of faith, hope and love,” she said, adding that in "all of his life, he exemplified solutions that were nonviolent and Bible-based.” King remembered that her uncle used to say that faith is "like climbing a staircase; you take one step at a time and the faith builds. And so he was very sure that if he continued to trust in the Lord and to have faith and hope and love, then he could carry a message that God had given him to carry." "My uncle was a nonviolent man. He believed that we were one human race … God made all people to live together on the face of the earth. And as one human race, we really could learn to live together as brothers and sisters and not perish together as fools. All of his sermons and his messages led us to understand that our answers would come from God and that we must unite and learn to get along,” King also said. She also recalled that Martin Luther King Jr. "decided to stick with love."  "Hate is too difficult a burden to bear. And then we bear each other's burdens and concerns, seeing each other as human beings, regardless of skin color. We could see skin color, of course, we really are not colorblind. We could see, but we should see ethnicity as something to be celebrated, not to be fought over,” she said. "Martin Luther King Jr. lived a life of service and love," said his niece in closing.  "If he were here today, he would be praying for us and with us and encouraging us to set aside strife and to come together in love. And as we do that, we can surely be blessed, and 2021 will be a very different year than 2020 turned out to be." Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday of January each year. The holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 but was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.  
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