Monsters prowling through our lives (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
I will never forget the first time I went to see a scary movie. I was nine, and my mother let me tag along with my older sister to see “Frankenstein,” which would be considered tame by today’s
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Deacon Thomas McGrane dies October 15 (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
Deacon Thomas J. McGrane, retired deacon at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee died Oct. 15. He was 89 years old. Deacon McGrane had previously served at Holy Cross
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Thomas Merton’s ‘Day of a Stranger’ (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” As the months of the pandemic grind on, it becomes more difficult to embrace that essence of Psalm 118.
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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 → >> Read more
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
General audience closes to public after positive case of COVID-19 (Thu, 29 Oct 2020) 20201029T1115-COVID-AUDIENCE-BROADCAST-1008109.JPG
Pope Francis leads his weekly general audience via livestream from the library of the Apostolic Palace at the
Vatican June 10, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The weekly papal audiences will return to being livestreamed without the presence of the faithful in November after a person attending the Oct. 21
audience tested positive for COVID-19. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
After someone attending Pope Francis' weekly general tested positive for COVID-19, the Vatican announced the audiences would return to being livestreamed without the presence of pilgrims and
In a statement published Oct. 29, the Vatican said that beginning Nov. 4, the general audiences will be "broadcast from the library of the Apostolic Palace" to prevent "any possible future risks
to the health of the participants."
The person who tested positive attended the audience Oct. 21 in the Vatican's Paul VI hall.
The announcement comes nearly two months after the weekly audience was reopened to the public; because of the pandemic and lockdowns meant to prevent its spread, the pope had moved the audience to
an online-only event from the library.
Once the audiences resumed, the pope did not wear a mask, even when personally greeting visiting clerics, which drew concerns and criticism that he was not observing safety protocols.
Father Augusto Zampini, adjunct secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and member of the COVID-19 Vatican Commission, which makes recommendations to the pope and
others, spoke with reporters Oct. 27 about the commission's work.
When asked about the pope habitually not using a mask, Father Zampini said people have been trying to convince him to wear one.
With cases surging in Italy, new restrictions have been implemented across the country. On Oct. 28, the Italian Health Ministry reported 24,991 new positive cases and 205 deaths in the previous 24
Police in riot gear dispersed demonstrators and sprayed them with a water cannon as they gathered in Rome's Piazza del Popolo Oct. 27 to protest new restrictive measures they said would cause
further economic woes to the country's struggling restaurant and tourism industry.
According to an Oct. 29 report by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, government officials were considering a partial lockdown beginning early November if cases continue to rise. Italian
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has stated on numerous occasions that restrictive measures were designed to avoid a second national lockdown.
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Salvadoran diocese calls for dialogue in increased border militarization (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
CNS-1115 el salvador border c.JPG
Members of the Diocese of Chalatenango, El Salvador, gather at a news conference Oct. 26, to speak in favor of
farmers and families affected by increased government militarization in their region, which borders with Honduras. The diocese is asking the government for dialogue, particularly because the harvest
of various crops is about to hit peak season, and it will hurt people already adversely affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic. (CNS/Courtesy of the Diocese of Chalatenango)
Catholic leaders in northern El Salvador are speaking against the effects of increased government military presence along the country's northern border with Honduras because of how it is affecting
the free movement and livelihood of rural communities.
Soldiers along El Salvador's region of Chalatenango, which borders Honduras, have been there since the time of a border dispute settled by an international court in The Hague in 1992, said Fr.
Manuel Acosta, a professor at Central American University in San Salvador. Acosta is a priest for the Chalatenango Diocese, the region affected.
"That presence was minor, but it doubled during the pandemic in March," Acosta said in a WhatsApp message to Catholic News Service Oct. 27. "But around Oct. 20 (the military presence) became
exaggerated, and they won't let anyone through."
In March, the Central American country closed its borders, including its airport, saying it was doing so to prevent those possibly infected with the coronavirus from entering through "blind spots"
in the mountainous landscape of Chalatenango, which is about two hours north of the capital, San Salvador.
In September, the airport reopened, and so did official land border crossings, but soldiers have not left the "blind spots" in the area. Instead, their numbers have increased, and now the
government is saying they will stay there to prevent narcotrafficking.
Local governments, many from political parties that oppose Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, protested the move. The president, in turn, said the mayors involved were protecting "not only gangs
but drug traffickers."
The Central American University, in an Oct. 23 op-ed on its website, said the president was "unashamedly exhibiting, once again, an ignorance of reality and the history of the country."
Because of the ruling from The Hague, a group of Salvadorans suddenly found the land where their homes were located technically in Honduras, while the lands where their crops were located and
where they worked remained on the Salvadoran side.
"The same happened with Honduran citizens, whose houses were left on the Salvadoran side. Both (populations) live and work in the so-called 'pockets,' " the editorial said. "They move between the
two countries following the rhythm they have always had. They are communities characterized by government neglect. Only some institutions, including churches, and local government have tried to meet
Because the increased militarization and new measures that came with it won't let anyone through, the people who live in the "pockets" haven't been able to tend to their crops or to see their
families at home, the university said, and some of those crops that help them subsist, such as coffee, are about to hit peak harvest.
Without anyone to work the land, the crops could rot, which also could affect the rest of the population's access to food, a priest from the Chalatenango Diocese said during an Oct. 26 news
conference. Farmers, the bishop and priests from the several of the municipalities affected also participated.
Bishop Oswaldo Escobar Aguilar of Chalatenango called on the government to engage in dialogue for a peaceful solution, saying the increased militarization is adversely affecting the poor. The
president has the power to safeguard national territory, said Escobar, but the government shouldn't "stigmatize all" who live in that area as being drug dealers, or in favor of them, particularly the
agricultural workers trying to subsist.
"As a diocese, we're not opposed to military presence in those spots along the border ... as long as the constitution is respected and as long as the rights of others are respected, including
being able to move about freely," particularly to tend to crops, check their cattle, work in the fields, visit family across the border and attend church services closest to them, the bishop
The loss of crops because of tropical storms and now the increased militarization are dealing a hard blow to poor families who already were struggling because of the pandemic. The diocese said it
was not taking political sides, defending drug dealers or anyone involved in contraband or illicit activities, which are not as rampant in Chalatenango as in the rest of the country, but its interest
was the well-being of agricultural workers and families of their region.
The diocese asked that the government look into issuing permits or other "binational documentation" that would allow those who have long peacefully worked and lived there to continue doing so.
In the United States, U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities, a grassroots network of committees in dozens of U.S. cities that partners
with communities in El Salvador, also issued a statement calling on the government to withdraw the extra soldiers, reestablish conditions "to guarantee the economic and social rights of the families
affected by the territorial dispute between Honduras and El Salvador" and to end "the smear campaign directed from the presidency to the mayors of the area."
The U.S. group also mentions how the region of Chalatenango suffered during the country's 1980-1992 civil war, as it was the setting of constant government bombardment, massacres and
disappearances of civilians during that time.
"We remind the president that these areas were the most affected by the civil war of the 1980s, where thousands of civilians were killed by the military. To date, the victims of the war and the
families affected live in search of truth, reparation, justice and healing due to the trauma caused by the human rights violations perpetrated by the military forces," said a statement released by
the organization Oct. 26.
"We hold President Nayib Bukele and Minister of Defense René Merino Monroy directly responsible for the human rights violations in the area and for the psychological, physical and moral damage
that they cause to the population."
In early September, The Associated Press reported that a senior U.S. official had warned the country's
government that certain anti-poverty aid from the U.S. depended on "strict adherence to the rule of law and the protection of fundamental freedoms," which some see as being at-risk given
Bukele's defiant stance against other branches of power in El Salvador.
In early February, Bukele sent heavily armed soldiers to the country's legislative hall as they were arguing over the allocation of money for a project to better equip forces to fight the
country's gang problem.
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French bishops order 'death knell' after three killed in Nice basilica (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
Police stand near Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France, Oct. 29, 2020, after three people were killed in a series
of stabbings before Mass. France raised its alert level to maximum after the attack. (CNS photo/pool via Reuters/Eric Gaillard)
French bishops ordered a "death knell" to ring from every church of their country Oct. 29 after three people were hacked to death in a basilica in the southern Mediterranean city of Nice.
Churches were asked to chime their bells at 3 p.m. in an act of mourning for three people who were killed in Nice's Notre Dame Basilica while preparing for morning Mass.
Pope Francis sent a tweet expressing closeness to the people of Nice. "I pray for the victims, for their families and for the beloved French people, that they may respond to evil with good," it
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, sent a similar message from Pope Francis in a telegram to Bishop André Marceau of Nice. "Entrusting France to the protection of Our Lady," Pope
Francis "wholeheartedly gives his apostolic blessing to all those affected by this tragedy," the telegram added.
The French Council of Muslim Worship condemned the killings and asked Muslims to express their "mourning and solidarity with the victims and their relatives” by canceling all celebrations of the
birthday of Muhammad, which this year is marked by Sunni Muslims Oct. 29.
According to French media, the victims included a 70-year-old woman whose body was found by police "almost beheaded" beside a holy water font.
A 45-year-old sacristan identified only as Vincent L. also was found dead in the basilica, with unconfirmed reports saying his throat was cut.
A second woman, described as African in origin and in her 30s, fled the church after she was stabbed, but died in the nearby cafe where she had sought refuge.
Police shot and wounded a man in his 20s who was suspected of the attack, and he was arrested and taken to hospital for treatment.
According to Le Figaro, a French newspaper, the man declared his name to be "Brahim" and told officers that he had acted alone. His fingerprints were taken to help detectives to confirm his
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker "kept shouting Allahu akbar (Arabic for God is great) even after being medicated." The mayor said "the meaning of his gesture is not in doubt."
"Enough is enough," he told journalists. "It's time now for France to exonerate itself from the laws of peace in order to definitively wipe out Islamo-fascism from our territory."
French police have confirmed they are treating the killings as a terrorist incident.
French President Emmanuel Macron talks with first responders outside Notre Dame Basilica in Nice Oct. 29, 2020,
after at least three people were killed in a series of stabbings before Mass. (CNS photo/pool via Reuters/Eric Gaillard)
It comes amid mounting anger of Muslims at President Emmanuel Macron's defense of satirical cartoons of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
Two hours after the attack, police shot dead a man who was brandishing a handgun and shouting "Allahu akbar" in the southern city of Avignon. The same day, a guard at the French consulate in
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was stabbed by a 40-year-old attacker, who was then apprehended.
The French bishops said in a statement they had been plunged into "immense sadness."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the injured, their families and loved ones," the statement said. "It was because they were in the basilica that these people were attacked,
murdered. They represented a symbol to be destroyed."
The bishops said the attack reminded them of "the martyrdom" of Fr. Jacques Hamel, a priest hacked to death in his Normandy church by Islamic militants in 2016.
"Through these horrific acts, our entire country is affected," they said in the statement. "This terrorism aims to instill anxiety throughout our society. It is urgent that this gangrene be
stopped, as it is urgent that we find the indispensable fraternity which will hold us all upright in the face of these threats.
"Despite the pain gripping them, Catholics refuse to give in to fear and, with the whole nation, want to face this treacherous and blind threat," the bishops added.
Bishop Marceau responded to the attack by ordering the instant closure of all of the churches in the city and declaring them to be under police protection.
"All my prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones, the law enforcement agencies on the front lines of this tragedy, priests and faithful wounded in their faith and hope," said Marceau. "May
Christ's spirit of forgiveness prevail in the face of these barbaric acts."
He said the dead were "victims of a heinous terrorist act" that followed "the savage murder of Professor Samuel Paty," a Paris teacher who was beheaded Oct. 16 by a Muslim migrant after he showed
satirical cartoons of Muhammad to school children in a lesson about free speech.
The cartoons were first published in 2012 in Charlie Hebdo, a magazine that has since been the target of three terrorist attacks, one of which in 2015 claimed the lives of 12 staff members.
At the Vatican, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, tweeted in solidarity with the French church, saying extremism "must be fought
with strength and determination."
He said persecuted African Christians understood "too well" that violent Islamists would not give up their struggle.
The attack in Nice took place less than half a mile from the scene of the July 14 Bastille Day massacre of 2016, when a man plowed a truck into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais, killing 86
people and injuring more than 400.
French politicians held a minute's silence ahead of a debate on new coronavirus restrictions, and Macron presided over an emergency Cabinet meeting about the attacks before leaving for Nice.
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Working through pandemic, young adults expand gathering on economy (Wed, 28 Oct 2020)
This screen capture of the Vatican News YouTube channel shows participants at a Oct. 27, 2020 online news
conference about the Economy of Francesco forum set for Nov. 19-21. Young economists and entrepreneurs plan to meet online to discuss making the global economy more inclusive. (CNS/Vatican
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of an international meeting of young economists and entrepreneurs with Pope Francis in Assisi, Italy, the young people went online.
They invited more of their friends to participate and, instead of brainstorming for three days in March, they have spent the past seven months working with older experts to take a deep dive into
topics like: management and relationships; finance and the common good; work and caring for others and the earth; energy and poverty; women and economic sustainability.
The "Economy of Francesco" project is inspired by St. Francis of Assisi and his love for the poor and encouraged by Pope Francis and his conviction that the modern global economy is harming people
and the environment.
The canceled March meeting has turned into a much larger online forum Nov. 19-21 that will include a video message from Pope Francis, moments of prayer and reflection from Franciscan sites in
Assisi and a 24-hour marathon of presentations from young leaders in 20 countries around the globe.
Salesian Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, an economist and member of the project's scientific committee, told reporters Oct. 27 that when the COVID-19 pandemic flared in February, it seemed like the whole
project would have to wait.
"But from the very beginning, it became clear that the young people were not going to just sit by and watch," she said. "They were the ones who decided to keep working and to include this
'variable' in their reasoning," looking at how the pandemic highlighted inequalities in the labor market and in access to health care, education and technology.
"Perhaps it is older people who have a harder time understanding that 'no one is saved alone,'" as the pope has said, because the young people are looking for "a collective response to this
collective threat," she said.
The young adults also have begun to discuss the pope's new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship, and its many passages calling for new models of caring,
inclusion and, particularly, business practices focused on job creation and environmental protection.
Francesca Di Maolo, president of the Istituto Serafico in Assisi, a center offering services to people with severe disabilities, said she joined the organizing committee convinced that young
professionals can help realize "the dream of a future without war, where no one is abandoned and, especially, of a new economy that is inclusive and enables everyone to participate."
The idea, she said, is to tell the world that progress and development are real only when they benefit everyone and that the world can no longer afford "an economy that chooses which lives are
worthy of being saved and which are not."
The "economy of Francesco" obviously is an economy concerned about the environment, said Luigino Bruni, a professor of economic policy and another of the "seniors" facilitating the young people's
work. But "a 'green economy' is not enough to qualify as an economy of Francis. The inclusion of the poor, the commitment of the young and the cultivation of an interior life are all necessary."
The current predominant economic model, he said, is "all external, it's all based on exterior goods and, as such, has ignored too many invisible goods such as relationships and morals. Spiritual
capital is the first asset many businesses are lacking, and we've seen and will continue to see the effects."
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Fr. McBride, nationally known as leader in education, catechetics, dies (Tue, 27 Oct 2020)
De Pere, Wis.
Fr. Alfred McBride, a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey, is pictured in this 2011 file
photo. McBride died Oct. 23, 2020. He was 91. (CNS photo/The Compass/Sam Lucero)
Norbertine Fr. Alfred Aloysius McBride, who was nationally known as a leader in education and catechetics, died Oct. 23 at age 91. He was a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey
in De Pere.
After his death, the Norbertine Community thanked the nurses at the abbey "and everyone at Unity Hospice who cared for Father McBride."
In a 2014 interview with The Compass, newspaper of the Diocese of Green Bay, which includes De Pere, McBride said he was able to both look back over many changes in the church and forward to the
The secret, he said, in reflecting on his 60th jubilee in 2013, was love: "I was attracted to the teaching of Jesus that I should not just love him, but accept the love he offers me. ... The
people who gathered round me at my jubilee came with the affection of years. ... That is the beauty of the Christian contract. Such love is free and never taxed."
McBride was born in Philadelphia Dec. 12, 1928, to the late Charles and Mary (Shannon) McBride and raised by his aunt, Mary Courtney, whom he regarded as his mother. He felt a call to the
priesthood early in his life at his home parish of St. Patrick in central Philadelphia.
He entered the Norbertine Order and was vested as a novice Aug. 28, 1946. Two years later, he professed simple vows and began teaching English and Latin at St. Norbert High School in De Pere. In
1950, he received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. Norbert College.
McBride professed solemn vows Aug. 28, 1951, and was ordained to the priesthood June 20, 1953. He was appointed associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in De Pere while continuing to teach at the
high school. In 1958, he was asked to be celebrant of the Mass on WBAY-AM/FM radio, which he did for seven years.
When the new St. Norbert Abbey was built in 1959, McBride became the first novice master. He was sent to Brussels, Belgium, in June 1963 and obtained a diploma in catechetics from the Lumen Vitae
Institute. He earned a doctorate in religious education from The Catholic University of America in Washington in 1972.
McBride was the founder and executive director of the department of religious education at the National Catholic Educational Association from 1972 to 1979. He received the NCEA Board Award for
In 1983, McBride traveled to New Mexico and at the invitation of the archbishop of Santa Fe became the president of the University of Albuquerque, a small Catholic institution founded in 1950 by
the Franciscan Sisters of Colorado Springs, Colorado. After his fourth year there, the decision was made to close the school, because of its financial woes.
Upon receiving an invitation to Washington from the U.S. Catholic bishops, he was appointed to write the catechesis in preparation for the second pastoral visit to the United States of St. John
Paul II in 1987 and also to be a special representative to the media during that visit.
McBride later served as consultant to the Archdiocese of Boston for the implementation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and was a professor of homiletics and catechetics for nine years at
Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts.
In 1992, McBride became the spiritual director for the U.S. branch of Aid to the Church in Need, which was founded by Norbertine Fr. Werenfried Van Straaten after World War II to provide food,
clothing and the sacraments for the thousands of refugees who fled west from the countries behind the Iron Curtain.
McBride celebrated his golden jubilee as a priest in 1983 and decided to return home to De Pere, which is in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
In 2015 and 2016, McBride was a columnist for The Compass, Green Bay's diocesan newspaper. He lectured and wrote dozens of articles and 68 books.
His book "All I Own I Owe," takes readers on a journey from his birth to Irish immigrant parents and his childhood in the Irish community of Philadelphia's Center City District, to his education
and early vocation as a seminarian, through the changes of the Second Vatican Council and the church's increased focus on religious education for both children and adults.
Also among his books were several volumes of meditation and commentary on various books of the Gospel that were published by Our Sunday Visitor in Huntington, Indiana. His 1994 book "Essentials of
the Faith: A Guide to the Catechism of the Catholic Church" and 1996's "Father McBride's Teen Catechism" also were published by OSV.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate by both St. Norbert College in De Pere and Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina.
McBride is survived by the Norbertine Community, cousins Edward Dougherty and Therese Dougherty and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents and aunt, Mary Courtney. The Norbertine
Community will privately celebrate a funeral Mass.
>> Read more
‘Go fix those problems’: Why four Catholics are willing to serve in local public office (Fri, 30 Oct 2020)
Denver Newsroom, Oct 30, 2020 / 04:00 am (CNA).-
For 26 years, Kimberly Hahn homeschooled her six children. But once her youngest reached high school, he said he did not want to be home without peers and lonely.
And so, just two weeks before the homeschool year would have started, Kimberly and her husband Scott found themselves driving their last child to a Catholic boarding school in Pennsylvania.
“When we dropped him off and got home, I said to my husband: ‘Two weeks earlier I thought I was schooling for the year...what do I do now?’”
“And all he said was, ‘Maybe it's time for politics?’”
The Catholic faith of newly-confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has been under intense scrutiny in the weeks leading up to her nomination, and even in years prior. In 2017, during her
nomination hearing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett was told by Senator Dianne Feinstein that “the dogma lives loudly” within her, “and that’s of
But devout Catholic politicians exist at all levels of government, not just at the Supreme Court or in Congress.
CNA spoke with four Catholic politicians at the state or local level about why they chose to run, and how their faith has influenced their political careers.
Politics was a long-time interest of Hahn’s, one that was first piqued when she was 12 and served as an honorary page to her grandmother, who was a state representative in the state of
“I saw my grandmother in action. It was very inspiring,” she said. Hahn, a Catholic, is now serving her fifth year and second term as Councilwoman at Large for the city of Steubenville, Ohio, which
her family has called home for 30 years. Hahn is the only council member elected by the city, while the other six members are elected by their ward.
“When it comes to Steubenville, I feel like there's only so many times you can say, ‘Well, why doesn't somebody do something about X, Y, or Z?’ Then I realized if I ran for council, I could do
something about that.”
Steubenville is a small, rustbelt city with a population of roughly 18,000, located 33 miles south of Pittsburgh on the banks of the Ohio River. The city is home to Franciscan University of
Steubenville, which tends to draw many faithful Catholic students. Hahn said she is hoping her work on the city council will convince more faithful Catholic families to stay in Steubenville.
“I really want to help build up our community in very practical ways, so that more faith filled people want to move there and build up the community of faith,” she said.
And to do that, she added, “you need good housing, you need good roads, you need reasonable bills for water and sewer. You need a good police force. You need an active firefighting force, an
ambulance service, good schools so that everybody has the option. Public, Catholic, Christian, homeschooling - all of those are great options in Steubenville.”
The hours a Steubenville city council member puts in during any given week vary incredibly - Hahn said she works anywhere between 10-50 hours per week, depending on what is happening in the city. She
gets $100 a week as a stipend; it is not otherwise a paid position.
The flexibility suits Hahn, who is also an author, speaker, podcaster, mother to six and grandmother to 19.
As she spoke with CNA, she was on her way to help care for one of her newborn grandchildren. In a way, she said, she sees her role as a councilwoman as an extension of her motherhood.
“It's all about public service. It is not about fame and it's not about money,” she said.
“Really, for me, it's an extension of my motherhood, not in the sense of coddling, not in the sense of taking people's responsibility on myself, but in how I communicate the love of Christ in a
practical way by helping people with their water bills and their sewer bills and having their streets be cleaner and that kind of thing.”
During her campaign, she knocked on 7,000 doors. She talked to everyone she could across the aisle. “And some people said ‘Well, I’m a lifelong Democrat.’ And I said, ‘That's okay, because if I get
elected, I'm still going to represent you. What are your concerns?’”
One of the primary functions of a city council is to manage the city’s finances.
“Two years ago, for the first time in probably more than 20 years, we balanced the budget in the black,” Hahn said. They balanced in the black last year as well, and seem to be on track to do so this
year, “even with all the COVID stress.”
“I love it,” she said of serving on the city council. “I find all of it fascinating. I really do. Reading about cathodic systems, about how often you should paint the inside of your water towers and
what it takes to clean a digester or a plant - I actually find all of it fascinating.”
Kevin Duffy is a Catholic husband, father and freelance writer running for reelection for a second four-year term as a trustee of the Williamstown Township in Williamstown, Michigan.
“We're the legislative arm of the townships. We don't have day-to-day responsibilities, in terms of operation of township government, but we serve as a voice for constituents and a representative of
the constituents. It's like a smaller version of state legislature or Congress,” he told CNA.
The duties of a township trustee are not too time-consuming, he said. “It's one or two meetings a month, depending on what time of year it is,” he said. Sometimes it’s more, like during budget
review. He receives a yearly stipend of about $5,000 for the position.
Before he ran for a township position, Duffy served in an appointed position on his county Parks and Recreation commission.
After an upbringing that “wasn’t great,” Duffy said he wanted to live a life of fulfillment and purpose for himself and for his family. His job pays the bills, he said, but he finds meaning and
purpose in life outside of work - in spending time with his wife and children, in service to the Church, and in serving his community.
“It was...a desire to have an impact in my community. Your local government structure, like your school board or your city council, or in my case, our township board, has more of an impact on what
happens in your everyday life than anything that happens beyond that,” he said.
A stark example of that in American life right now has been how each state has responded differently to the coronavirus pandemic, he noted.
“The decisions of our state government have a huge impact, at least here in Michigan, on how our everyday life is during this pandemic.”
Duffy said he is proud that as a township trustee, he helped bring back bus services to Northeast Ingham County.
“(O)ur local public transportation authority decided to cut service to those of us here (in) Northeast Ingham County,” he said.
“But there were people that did depend on it. There were folks that needed that to get downtown for jobs, or they needed that to get to their doctor's appointments or whatever it may be,” he
“So, I wrote an op-ed and submitted to the Lansing State Journal and it got published.”
Within four or five months, transportation authorities had restored at least some of the bus services to the area.
“That was something I was proud of,” he said. “That was the one spot where I was able to help out a little bit.”
When it comes to Catholics being involved in civic life, Duffy said he would point them to Pope St. John Paul II’s oft-repeated phrase, “Be not afraid.”
“It can be a little scary, but we have a responsibility, and we as Catholics understand the idea of the common good, the need to serve everybody,” he said.
“We're not called to be Republicans. We're not called to be Democrats. We're not called to be Libertarian. We're called to be Christian, and we're called to be servants of our fellow man, and to
perpetuate the common good. I think that's something that we need to get back to.”
Carlos Santamaria is a lifelong Catholic who is running for a state senate position for California's 3rd district.
Santamaria had previously served as the vice chair for the Napa County Republican Party, but he said he felt called to do more after attending a leadership conference in Jerusalem last
“I spent over a week in the Holy City. And if that isn’t life changing, I don’t know what is,” he told CNA.
He decided to run for state senate, “especially when I came back and I found there were seven Democrats (in the state legislature) that were running unopposed.”
“I just wanted to represent my district. It was a calling. And I see so many anti-religious, anti-Catholic, anti-life (politicians),” he said, that he wanted to help bring about change.
One particular area of focus for Santamaria’s campaign is helping the homeless population. He plans “to use workforce development and career technical education to provide lifelong jobs and permanent
housing” to people experiencing homelessness, and “to reintroduce these individuals into society before they go off the cliff into extreme, episodic homelessness, or chronic homelessness,” he
He also wants to bolster small businesses, particularly those that are experiencing significant losses due to coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions.
“The current unnecessary Lock Down of our economy and small businesses has devastated many businesses and the lives of families in California,” Santamaria’s website says. “We need leadership that
understands and supports small business rather than destroy them.”
Santamaria said he is strongly pro-life and pro-family, and that he plans on standing up for those issues, should he be elected.
“God put me here for a reason. If I can't express my feelings about life and about the sanctity and the value of life, then I'm not using my talents and this platform the way I should,” he
Senator Susan Wagle has been president of the Kansas State Senate for the past eight years, and she was the first woman to hold the post. She has served in positions in both the state house and
senate for the past 30 years.
A Catholic convert, Wagle joined the Catholic Church the same year she was first elected to the Kansas House - in 1991.
Wagle said she had been a teacher and a business owner who had not considered running for political office, but both her business colleagues and her husband kept telling her that she would make a
There were important issues at the time, Wagle said, including rapidly increasing property taxes. She said she actually tried to convince other people she knew to run for office at the time, but
nobody wanted to sacrifice the time.
The thing that kept Wagle up at night was not property taxes, but the late-term abortion clinic in her hometown of Wichita.
“When I'd lay my head down on that pillow at night, I could actually hear those babies cry from the Tiller clinic down the street,” she said.
“I could just hear the slaughter down the street in my mind, and I thought, ‘that has to stop.’”
George Tiller was the abortion doctor at the clinic, and it was one of the only clinics in the world at the time that was performing third trimester, post-viability abortions.
Wagle said she had unwittingly walked into the clinic years prior, earlier in her marriage when she thought she was pregnant. The clinic advertised free pregnancy tests, and these were the days
before over-the-counter tests.
As she waited for her test results, she was counseled to get an abortion. Wagle said she noticed a world map on the wall that had yellow pins all over it. When she asked what the pins were for, she
was told that they represented the women from all over the world that the clinic had come to the clinic.
“And as years later, I learned that the reason people were traveling here from around the world was because other countries didn't allow third trimester abortion,” Wagle said.
Wagle was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1991. By 1997, Wagle had helped to pass the Women’s Right to Know Act, which was the first law regulating abortion in the state.
“I carried it. We had a pro-choice house and pro-choice Senate. So I was able to advocate that we need informed consent for a late term abortion, that women should be informed about fetal
development, about the procedure. And so I passed the first pro-life bill in the state of Kansas,” she said.
“And since then, we've passed more regulations. But when I went into the legislature, the money from the abortion industry financed most of the legislators. So it was a challenge.”
Looking back on her years of service, Wagle said she believes it was a calling from God, and that she has learned much about how to get along with many different people of all backgrounds.
“I've learned our faith is based on our relationship with God, and then we bring it to those who surround us,” she said.
“I've learned how to work with people who are very different than me, who have different experiences, different perspectives. And you learn how to be very relational and very kind and very optimistic
about the founding principles that we’re based on and combined with the faith that we are a people created by God,” she said.
“And there's no better founding documents in all the world that have allowed the progress and the development of the human spirit than America,” she added.
Wagle, like Justice Barrett, is the mother of seven children - four of her own, and three of her husbands from a previous marriage. She said she sees Barrett as a woman of faith who is living up to
her full potential.
“Amy is reaching her full potential. She's a mom, she's adopted children, she's pursued a career, and she has made it very clear that she will interpret the law and not write new laws. And she's the
perfect advocate and voice for this moment in history,” she said, “...and we've seen where her faith is not a conflict, but that her faith makes her a very strong, successful woman.”
Wagle said she continuously relied on her own faith throughout her time in office. She said while she set aside specific times for prayer, she would also pray silently during meetings or legislative
sessions. Prayers like “Lord, I need you right now” or “Please speak through me” or “Please help me to articulate this thought.”
“It was a constant reaching out for assistance,” she said.
Wagle encouraged Catholics who feel called to serve in public office to pursue that path, if they see changes that need to be made and if the right doors are being opened.
“Don't hide from public office. We need people who have our values in public office as our advocates. So I would say pursue the path and listen to that still, small voice that says, ‘Go fix those
>> Read more
US bishops join Pope Francis in prayer and mourning after Nice attack (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
CNA Staff, Oct 29, 2020 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- U.S. Catholic bishops joined Pope Francis in mourning a deadly attack at a basilica in
Nice on Thursday.
“We join our prayers with Pope Francis and pray for the Catholic community in Nice, especially the families of those who have lost loved ones,” the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) stated
on Thursday via Twitter. “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.”
On Thursday morning, an attacker with a knife killed three people in the Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice, France.
We join our prayers with #PopeFrancis and pray for the Catholic community in #Nice, especially the families of those who have lost loved ones. "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual
light shine upon them." #NiceAttackhttps://t.co/gLnlJFi80C
— U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (@USCCB) October 29, 2020
According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, an elderly woman, a sacristan, and another woman were killed in the attack; the elderly woman was found inside the church “nearly beheaded,” while the
other woman died of stabbing wounds after fleeing the attack to a nearby café.
The mayor of Nice said that the perpetrator had shouted “Allahu Akbar” during and after the attack, and was subsequently shot, injured, and arrested by police.
A Vatican spokesman on Thursday said that Pope Francis was mourning the victims and praying for them and their loved ones.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron, the USCCB vice president, tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” by the attack.
“We Catholics in southeast Michigan hold in prayer our brothers and sisters in faith and all the people of France touched by this tragedy, and first and foremost the victims and their families,”
“We especially ask Our Lady of Sorrows to obtain for them the grace of uniting their sufferings to the Cross of Christ, so that even in this hour of darkness the light of his Easter victory will
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia also offered his prayers for the victims and their families.
“In union with people of goodwill throughout the Diocese of Arlington, the people of France and around the world, I express my deep sorrow and offer fervent prayers for those impacted by the terror
attack at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France, this morning,” Burbidge said Thursday.
“While violence in any form, carried out in any location, is abhorrent, we are particularly struck when attacks happen in sacred places, as sacred spaces offer refuge for the weary and serve as
symbols of peace in a torn and broken world. May people of all faiths continue their call for peace as we intensify our prayers for an end to all forms of violence.”
In response to the attack, Bishop André Marceau of Nice said that all churches in Nice would be closed out of precaution. He noted that the “heinous terrorist act" occurred just weeks after a Paris
school teacher was beheaded on Oct. 16. The teacher was killed reportedly after he had showed his students a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, Vatican prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, stated on Twitter in response to Thursday’s attack that “Islamism is a monstrous fanaticism which must be fought with
force and determination.”
At least two other incidents were reported in France on Thursday, in Lyon and near Avignon. A man waving a handgun, who also made threats and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” was reportedly shot dead by
police in Montfavet near Avignon. Another man armed with a long knife was reportedly arrested while trying to board a train in Lyon, according to Al Jazeera; the man had already been flagged as a
threat by French intelligence.
Other U.S. leaders condemned Thursday’s attack in Nice. President Trump tweeted that “Our hearts are with the people
Rev. Johnnie Moore, a commissioner at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, tweeted on Thursday that “No one should ever fear walking into a place of worship, ANYWHERE of ANY
He tweeted a video of Muslims around the world mourning the attack, noting that “The 1st people I heard from were Muslim friends who find it painful & heretical when terrorists defame God by
killing in His name.”
Ashley McGuire, senior fellow for The Catholic Association, said that attacks “are a terrifying reminder that radicalism remains a grave threat to global religious liberty.”
>> Read more
Pompeo: China is world's 'gravest threat' to religious freedom (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
CNA Staff, Oct 29, 2020 / 11:30 am (CNA).- The U.S. Secretary of State on Thursday called out the Chinese Communist Party as the
world’s most serious threat to religious freedom.
In a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 29, Mike Pompeo said that “the gravest threat to the future of religious freedom is the Chinese Communist Party’s war against the people of all faiths—Muslims,
Buddhists, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners alike.”
Pompeo said that he recently exhorted Vatican leaders to support religious freedom in China and elsewhere. On Thursday, he asked the leaders of the overwhelmingly-Muslim Indonesia to do the
“And today I want to urge you,” he said, “I want you to urge the same actions I asked the Catholic Church’s leaders to do in the Vatican—we need more religious leaders to speak out on behalf of
people of all faiths wherever their rights are being violated.”
Pompeo met with Indonesian leaders on the fifth day of his official trip to South Asian countries from Oct. 25-30. The secretary first visited India for a ministerial dialogue, before traveling to
Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia. He will conclude his trip in Hanoi, Vietnam.
His remarks came one week after the Vatican and China renewed their provisional agreement on the ordination of bishops. The two-year agreement, first signed in September, 2018, was renewed for
another two years on Oct. 22.
The deal was signed as a means of unifying the underground Church in China with the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. However, there have been continued reports of underground
Christians facing harassment and detention for refusing to register with the state-sanctioned Church, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
Defenders of the agreement say that conditions for underground Catholics could be far worse if no deal had been struck.
Critics of the agreement, including the former Bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, have said that it forced the Vatican into a damaging diplomatic silence on human rights abuses, including the
detention of more than one million Uyghurs in concentration camps in the province of Xinjiang.
Pope Francis has notably not made public statements on Xinjiang, amid widespread reports of mass detention camps, forced sterilizations, forced labor, and other abuses committed against Uyghurs and
other ethnic Turkic Muslims in China’s northwestern province.
“The resounding [Vatican] silence will damage the work of evangelization,” Cardinal Zen told CNA in September.
Secretary Pompeo told CNA ahead of his Vatican trip that he hoped the Church would use its “enormous amount of moral authority” to push for protection of “believers of all faiths inside of
On Thursday, Pompeo pleaded with Indonesian leaders to speak out on behalf of fellow Muslims in Xinjiang.
“I know that the Chinese Communist Party has tried to convince Indonesians to look away, to look away from the torments your fellow Muslims are suffering,” Pompeo said. He said the CCP has defended
its treatment of Uyghurs as part of counterterrorism or poverty alleviation efforts.
Pompeo cited credible reports of forced sterilizations, separation of families, and Muslims forced to eat pork during Ramadan. He emphasized that “there is no counterterrorism justification” for such
In Hong Kong, authorities have cracked down on pro-democracy protesters in recent months. Pompeo condemned on Thursday
morning the arrest of three pro-democracy student activists by Hong Kong police.
>> Read more
End of Catholic Charities program reflects challenges in international adoption (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
Denver Newsroom, Oct 29, 2020 / 03:41 am (CNA).- After decades of helping place children overseas with adoptive families in the
United States, Catholic Charities of Baltimore has ended its international adoption program.
Ellen Warnock, adoption program coordinator at Catholic Charities of Baltimore, told CNA this month that multiple factors have contributed to the decision to end the program.
“It’s the capacity of the countries [to provide required documentation] on the one hand, and the willingness of our country on the other hand to believe the documentation from the sending country
about the child’s orphan status,” she said.
Catholic Charities of Baltimore has facilitated adoptions for 75 years, including international adoptions for more than 40 years. During that time, it has helped nearly 3,500 children from other
countries be united with families in the United States.
But international adoptions have plummeted in recent years. In the mid-2000s, about 24,000 foreign-born children were adopted each year into families in the United States. By last year, that number
had dropped to below 3,000.
In some cases, this is because of internal decisions within foreign countries. Russian President Vladamir Putin signed a law in 2012 banning U.S. citizens from adopting children from Russia.
Ethiopia, which once accounted for 20% of foreign adoptions by U.S. families, banned international adoptions in 2018.
But increased scrutiny from U.S. authorities has also played a role, Warnock said. She cited a shift in recent years in how the government views international adoption, although she said that the
changes have not been partisan in nature.
Warnock said especially that a concern that adoption will be used for human trafficking has changed the process and requirements of international adoptions.
“The Department of State does not trust the documentation that is coming from certain countries. So they are making it very difficult to adopt from those countries,” she said.
Many children in overseas orphanages were abandoned in public places, such as train stations. Police officers take such children to orphanages, but usually without birth certificates or identifying
documentation, Warnock said. The United States will not allow children to be adopted without evidence of birth that includes a birth mother’s name.
“There are countries that simply don’t have a sophisticated child welfare infrastructure,” she said. “There might be millions of children within that country who need homes, but the resources within
that country to provide the appropriate documentation that our country needs before a child can immigrate, those resources are very limited.”
Many adoption advocates point to the 2014 appointment of Trish Maskew as the head of the Adoption Division in the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues as a key turning point in the
government’s stance on international adoption.
Maskew had testified before Congress that she believed insufficient regulations in the field of international adoptions had led to a climate where illegal and unethical activity was far too
She cited the situation in Cambodia in 2001, when officials said they had found evidence of child trafficking, with corrupt middlemen profiting from the adoption of children whose parents had not
consented to them being adopted. In some cases, the birth parents had left the children at an orphanage temporarily with plans to recover them when their financial situation improved, while the
adoptive families were unaware that the children were not actually orphans.
Advocates of reform say the Cambodia crisis shows a need for greater regulation of the international adoption process, while many adoption advocates say there is no evidence that trafficking is
widespread, and existing international standards are sufficient to prevent potential abuse. They also warn that children living in orphanages face significant risks of trafficking and abuse in their
Under Maskew’s leadership, the State Department proposed new regulations, including a new “country-specific authorization,” increased training requirements for adoptive parents, and additional
oversight of adoption agencies and the service providers they work with during the adoption process.
In late 2017, the Council on Accreditation announced that it was withdrawing from its role as the sole U.S. international adoption accrediting entity. The council cited new requirements at the State
Department which it saw as being “inconsistent with [its] philosophy and mission.”
A new accrediting organization was created – the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) – which began implementing new regulations and fees.
IAAME maintains that ensuring compliance with federal regulations is necessary to ensure that adoptions are conducted ethically.
“There have been instances of trafficking of children within intercountry adoptions,” IAAME Executive Director Kim Loughe told CNA.
“With the safety of children, adoptive families, and biological parents as our top priority, IAAME works with adoption service providers to ensure intercountry adoptions take place in the best
interest of children,” she said.
“In doing so we work to prevent the abduction, exploitation, sale, or trafficking of children.”
However, critics argue that the regulations are so strict that they impose unrealistic burdens on other countries, and fail to accommodate for their lack of resources to meet these
In some countries, such as Nigeria, birth certificates are not created until they are needed for legal purposes. A Nigerian birth certificate, not registered at the time of birth, is disallowed by
U.S. regulations, despite the explanation given for discrepancy, Warnock said.
“They’re imposing U.S. standards on countries that don’t have those kinds of practices in place. How can families meet that requirement? They can’t. And then they’re stuck,” she said.
Warnock acknowledged that there could be better educational outreach for some facilities that do not have a good record-keeping system.
“We would hope that record-keeping would be better [in some of the international orphanages], but there is still no evidence that, despite certain gaps in the record-keeping, that children are being
trafficked,” she said.
“I also know that these orphanages are just struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “And for them to hire the administrative or social work staff to meet the enormous amount of bureaucratic
requirements, it would be impossible.”
A State Department official told CNA that intercountry adoption is a high priority for the department, but preventing harm and corruption is an essential part of working to support adoption.
The official noted that the department’s Office of Children’s Issues created a bilateral engagement division earlier this year to focus on relationships with foreign partner nations and expanding
intercountry adoption opportunities. In July, the department announced that it had begun discussions with Vietnam on a plan to expand adoptions by U.S. families, which are currently only permitted
for children with special needs, children over age 5, and sibling groups.
For Warnock, the bottom line is that children’s needs are going unmet.
“The real struggle for Catholic Charities and for the agencies that are left is that the children we are placing are really children who desperately need homes...kids with significant issues,
children who are coming from really challenging backgrounds, and more and more agencies are being closed.”
Catholic Charities of Baltimore nearly ended its program several years ago, after years of watching international adoptions drop, Warnock said.
But then Nigerian-American families began to contact them and ask for help adopting. The families – U.S. citizens who had immigrated from Nigeria – were hoping to adopt from their home country.
“We stepped up to that challenge,” Warnock said. Catholic Charities hosted conferences in Nigeria, and met with government ministries, American embassy personnel, judges and orphanage directors. It
became one of the few agencies that worked with Nigerian-American families in the United States. Over the course of four years, it helped place hundreds of children with adoptive families.
As the agency’s Nigerian adoption program got underway, an uptick in visa approvals attracted the attention of IAAME and the State Department, which determined they could not rely on the accuracy of
documents from Nigeria, Warnock said. Families started getting denied at the embassy level, after having completed the adoption process and receiving U.S. immigration approval. Then in April the
State Department and IAAME contacted Catholic Charities of Baltimore and instructed the agency to cease its work in Nigeria.
“That has had a domino effect on our other programs,” Warnock said. “Because even though we didn’t get any complaints about any of our other programs, those other programs were so small – the
Philippines and Colombia – that they could not sustain our work. There’s a certain level of work that you have to do to be financially sustainable and the work that we’re doing in Colombia and the
Philippines now is a victim of the action the IAAME took against us about Nigeria.”
For families whose adoptions were already well underway, the news that their adopted children cannot enter the United States is crushing, Warnock said.
About 30 families working with Catholic Charities of Baltimore have already finalized the adoption process and were waiting on the immigration paperwork to be approved by the embassy so their
children could enter the United States.
In many cases, the children had already left the orphanages where they were staying and were expected to join their families in the United states. To be denied by the embassy in the very final stages
of the long and exhausting process is devastating, Warnock said. Some families are now hiring lawyers or contacting their lawmakers as they desperately attempt to be united with their children.
“Those families are a wreck,” she said. “The parents are hysterical - this is their daughter, this is their son.”
As Catholic Charities of Baltimore ends its international adoption program – the domestic adoption program was shut down several years ago due to decreasing numbers of adoptions – Warnock will
now oversee a small amount of post-adoptive work for the agency.
This includes help connecting adoptees – both foreign-born and domestic – with their birth parents, and referrals for counseling or other services, sometimes decades after an adoption takes
Warnock said she is grateful that Catholic Charities will be continuing to offer these limited services, despite the fact that they do not bring money into the agency. She said the post-adoptive work
is a way for the agency to show that it is still committed to the work that it began 75 years ago.
“We can’t walk away from that legacy,” she said.
>> Read more
Citing pope's warnings about drugs, Catholic bishops speak on ballot proposals (Thu, 29 Oct 2020)
CNA Staff, Oct 29, 2020 / 12:07 am (CNA).- This Election Day, voters in multiple U.S. states will consider several proposals to
legalize drugs, ranging from medical and recreational marijuana to harder drugs. Catholic bishops in several states have said voters should look to Pope Francis' warnings that legalization is 'highly
questionable,' as it becomes a compromise with drug addiction.
The Oregon Catholic Conference “strongly opposes” Ballot Measure 110, which would decriminalize the possession and use of small amounts of controlled substances including heroin, cocaine and
methamphetamines. It would reduce penalties for possession of large amounts of such controlled substances.
“The Oregon Catholic Conference firmly supports treatment and rehabilitation for all those suffering from addictions. We encourage you to get behind solid programs and not accept an initiative that
promotes the use of illegal drugs,” the bishops said.
“Pope Francis has unequivocally stated that drug use is incompatible with human life,” the conference said in a flier. It cited the pope's 2014 address to the International Drug Enforcement
Conference in Rome.
“Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise,” the pope said.
“To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem. Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called ‘recreational drugs’, are not only
highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.”
According to the Oregon Catholic Conference, local communities and treatment groups have expressed reservations about how the program will be applied under Ballot Measure 110. Other critics have said
decriminalization of the drugs would cause more addiction by making drugs easier to acquire and by removing law enforcement and the courts from drug regulation, the New York Times reports.
“The treatment options the measure provides will be primarily funded by diverting marijuana tax revenues away from education, alcohol/drug abuse prevention and law enforcement,” said the Catholic
conference, citing the Oregon Secretary of State's financial impact evaluation of the measure.
Major backers of the measure include the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which previously backed the successful 2014 Oregon ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Mark Zuckerberg,
the founder of social media giant Facebook, and his wife Priscilla Chan have backed the measure through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.
The text of the proposed act cites poor access to drug addiction treatment compared to other states. Backers of the measure argue that reduced arrests and incarceration will provide savings that can
be used to make addiction treatment more widely available and free of charge. They also say drug crimes are disproportionately enforced against racial minorities.
Oregon has already legalized marijuana, which is a talking point in the proposed act.
“Oregon now receives more than $100 million in marijuana tax revenue a year,” it says. “The amount of marijuana revenue is expected to grow by more than $20 million per year.”
Oregon voters will also consider ballot Measure 109, which would legalize psilocybin, a psychoactive compound found in some mushrooms, for mental health treatment. Though the FDA has deemed
psilocybin a potential breakthrough therapy for major depression, studies are inconclusive. The American Psychiatric Association and the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association both oppose the
measure, saying proponents overstate the drug's usefulness in treating many phenomena including anxiety and addiction, according to the New York Times.
In South Dakota, voters will consider Amendment A, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana for those 21 years and older. It would legalize possession or distribution of up to one ounce of
the drug. It would require the state legislature to pass laws providing for a medical marijuana program and the sale of hemp.
Like the bishops of Oregon, the South Dakota Catholic Conference cited Pope Francis' June 2014 remarks to drug enforcement agencies. The conference also noted the Catechism of the Catholic Church's
paragraph 2291, which teaches that drug use “inflicts very grave damage on human health and life.”
The conference said on its website that marijuana use overstimulates the nervous system while also decreasing high-functioning rational thought.
“Often these effects are accompanied by others, including distorted sensory perception or hallucinations, irrational anxiety or panic, diminished motor control and slowed reactions, and reduced
learning and memory,” South Dakota's bishops said. “Studies have shown that impaired cognitive function continues into the workweek even after a person no longer feels intoxicated, and that regular
users are at approximately twice the risk of developing psychosis as non-users.”
“Human beings are endowed by God with the gift of reason. Reason aids us in differentiating between right and wrong and is foundational for human freedom and personal responsibility,” the bishops
continued. “Thus, we can understand that to directly intend to suppress our God-given rational faculties is gravely wrong.”
They warned that in Seattle and Denver, where marijuana businesses are legal, they are disproportionately located in poorer neighborhoods. According to another analysis, every dollar raised in
marijuana sales costs $4.50 in unwanted effects, primarily in healthcare and reduced workforce readiness.
In Arizona, the bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference criticized Proposition 207, called the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, which would both allow persons 21 and older to possess one ounce of
marijuana and provide for the legal sale of the drug.
“It is anticipated that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona will lead to more abuse by teens, increase child fatalities, and result in more societal costs,” the Arizona bishops
said in a Sept. 23 statement.
Legalization would send the message to children that “drug use is socially and morally acceptable,” they warned. Marijuana use is 25% higher among teens in states with legalized recreational
marijuana, they said.
Self-reported use of Arizona middle- and high-schoolers has already increased because fewer youth believe it is risky, said the bishops. Marijuana is a direct or contributing factor in almost as many
child deaths as alcohol, according to the state's most recent child fatality report.
“As people of faith, we must speak out against this effort and the damaging effects its passage would have on children and families,” the Arizona bishops said.
They cited the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area's September 2019 report on the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado under a November 2012 ballot measure. That report found
that Colorado traffic deaths, crime, emergency room visits, and youth usage of marijuana increased significantly in the period of 2013 to 2015, the first two years following the legalization of
In Mississippi, Initiative 65 would license and regulate marijuana dispensaries and allow a patient to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana to treat any of 22 conditions.
The American Medical Association said there is a “lack of rigorous medical evidence to support cannabis as a medical treatment” that is a good alternative to FDA-approved drugs. The Mississippi
proposal would require state health officials to create “new complex agriculture and revenue programs” that divert resources from its public health focus, the association said.
“Amending a state constitution to legalize an unproven drug is the wrong approach,” Susan R. Bailey, MD, president of the American Medical Association, said Oct. 8. “Early data from jurisdictions
that have legalized cannabis are concerning, particularly around unintentional pediatric exposures that have resulted in increased calls to poison control centers and emergency department visits, as
well as an increase in traffic deaths due to cannabis-related impaired driving.”
The Mississippi State Medical Association also opposes the measure.
If approved by voters, fees on dispensaries would fund only the medical marijuana oversight program. The language prohibits revenue from going into the state's general fund.
Critics say the fees are extremely low and the amendment fails to restrict the number of marijuana businesses. They also argue the amendment could trump local zoning laws. Pot dispensaries are barred
within 500 feet of a school, church or child care center, but the language says zoning ordinances on dispensaries must be no more restrictive than they are on pharmacies and “shall not impair the
availability of and reasonable access to medical marijuana.”
Some law enforcement leaders say the amount of legal purchase allowed is enough that patients would be able to re-sell marijuana on the streets.
Since marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law, banks tend to avoid handling money linked to marijuana businesses and insurance companies also avoid involvement, Mississippi Today
Over 228,000 Mississippi voters signed a petition to place Ballot Measure 65 the ballot. The legislature responded by approving its own ballot measure 65A, which would allow lawmakers to regulate
medical marijuana. Some thirty-four states have already legalized medical marijuana, with a great diversity of regulations and programs, Mississippi Today said.
In New Jersey, where medical marijuana use is already allowed, the state legislature has introduced Public Question 1, a ballot proposal to legalize recreational marijuana.
Legalized drug sales are being touted as a way to boost revenue and employment, save money and redirect police resources.
New Jersey borders Pennsylvania and New York, which have not legalized the drug. Medical marijuana presently sells for about $400 to $500 per ounce in the state, the New York Times reports. The state
legislature's research arm has estimated that a developed recreational marijuana industry would generate about $126 million in tax revenue a year. Municipalities may charge their own 2% tax under the
Backers of the New Jersey measure also point to the disproportionate criminal charges against Black Americans for marijuana possession, even though they use the drug at similar rates to white
Catholic News Agency sought comment from the New Jersey Catholic Conference and the Mississippi dioceses of Jackson and Biloxi but did not receive a response by deadline.
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