Briefs

NATION
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholic immigration advocates are emphasizing that the Oct. 5 ruling by a federal appeals court – finding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is unlawful – sends another signal that permanent legislation is needed to protect young immigrants from deportation and put them on a path to U.S. citizenship. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed a lower court’s ruling last year that said the Obama administration did not have the legal authority in 2012 to create DACA in the first place. This appeals court decision, similar to the ruling last summer from a federal judge in Texas, prevents the Biden administration from enrolling new participants in the program. The new court decision continues to leave DACA in limbo. It did not say the program had to completely shut down or stop processing renewal applications, but it leaves in place last year’s order from U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen that said DACA could continue only for current recipients with no new participants. The 5th Circuit also returned the case to the lower court asking the judge to review new DACA regulations the Biden administration announced in August and set to go into effect Oct. 31. “DACA, like asylum, the border – immigration policy writ large – doesn’t belong in the courts,” Dylan Corbett, executive director of Hope Border Institute, tweeted after the ruling was announced. “Congress and the White House need to pass legislation that honors our values, the rights and dignity of those who migrate, and the contributions of those who make America home.”

WASHINGTON (CNS) – A federal court in Indiana sided with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and one of its Catholic high schools in a lawsuit filed by a former guidance counselor who said her contract was not renewed because of her same-sex union. The Sept. 30 ruling in Fitzgerald v. Roncalli High School and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, relied on previous Supreme Court rulings that have emphasized a ministerial exception protecting a religious school’s hiring and firing practices from government intrusion. The recent decision echoes a nearly identical ruling from a year ago based on a lawsuit filed against the same school and archdiocese from another school counselor whose contract was similarly not extended due to her same-sex union. The decisions in both cases were issued by U.S. District Judge Richard Young for the Southern District of Indiana. Young said the Indianapolis Archdiocese and its schools can select, retain or dismiss faculty according to their religious standards, something he also stressed a year ago. The current case involved Shelly Fitzgerald, former co-director of guidance at Roncalli High School for 15 years. Her employment was terminated in 2018 after she confirmed to the school that she was in a same-sex union and the school declined to renew her contract for the following year. School officials said her conduct was prohibited by the agreement she signed with the school.

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The refusal to help desperate migrants “is revolting, it’s sinful, it’s criminal,” Pope Francis said as he canonized a bishop dedicated to assisting migrants and a Salesian brother who had immigrated with his family to Argentina. “The exclusion of migrants is criminal. It makes them die in front of us,” the pope said Oct. 9, referring to the deaths of migrants and refugees crossing dangerous seas in search of freedom and a dignified life. At the beginning of the liturgy in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis formally recognized the holiness of St. Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, an Italian who founded the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo to care for migrants, and St. Artemide Zatti, an Italian immigrant in Argentina who became a Salesian brother, pharmacist and nurse. The prayers at the Mass included one for “those forced to leave their homeland,” and asking God to teach people to share “his welcoming gaze toward all people” and “heal the throwaway culture of indifference.” Pope Francis focused much of his homily on the day’s Gospel reading about the 10 lepers healed by Jesus and, therefore, allowed back into society. “When we are honest with ourselves, we realize that we are all sick at heart, all sinners in need of the Father’s mercy,” the pope said. “Then we stop creating divisions on the basis of merit, social position or some other superficial criterion; our interior barriers and prejudices likewise fall. In the end, we realize once more that we are brothers and sisters.” Pope Francis asked the estimated 50,000 people at the Mass to think about whether in their families, at work and in their parishes, they are willing to walk with others and listen to them, “resisting the temptation to lock ourselves up in self-absorption and to think only of our own needs.”

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As thousands of people sat in the dark in St. Peter’s Square, they watched fish jump from the facade of the basilica, saw the word “no” form and dissolve three times and heard an actor reciting the part of St. Peter speak about the overwhelming love and mercy of Jesus. They also heard tenor Andrea Bocelli sing four songs, including “The First Noel” from the soon-to-be released Christmas album he made with his children Matteo and Virginia. The nighttime event Oct. 2 was the premiere of “Follow Me,” an eight-minute film about the life and faith of St. Peter. Using “video mapping,” images of St. Peter from the basilica’s collection and that of the Vatican Museums were turned into 3D video clips and projected onto the facade of the basilica, which is built over the presumed tomb of the apostle. The film was to be shown every 15 minutes between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. until Oct. 16.

Projected images detailing the life of St. Peter the Apostle are seen on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 2, 2022. Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sang for thousands in St. Peter’s Square as the Vatican inaugurated a two-week showing of a short film about the life of St. Peter. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

WORLD
FULDA, Germany (CNS) – The president of the German bishops’ conference demanded an apology from a Swiss cardinal at the Vatican over comments that brought up Germany’s Nazi past. Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, demanded an apology from Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, who seemed to compare what is underlying the German bishops’ Synodal Path process with a mistaken Christian ideology that underpinned the rise of Nazism. Cardinal Koch said he had been misunderstood. At the end of the German bishops’ plenary assembly Sept. 29, Bishop Bätzing said that, with his remarks, Cardinal Koch had “disqualified himself from the theological debate” about the Synodal Path. “If a public apology does not happen immediately, I will file an official complaint with the Holy Father,” Bishop Bätzing said. Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch apologized for offending people and said he never intended to imply that supporters of the German church’s Synodal Path were doing something similar to what a group of Christian supporters of the Nazis did in the 1930s. At a meeting Oct. 4 in Rome with Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, “Cardinal Koch expressly emphasized that it was completely far from him to want to impute the terrible ideology of the 1930s to the Synodal Path,” said a statement published the next day by the bishops’ conference. “Cardinal Koch asks for forgiveness from all those who feel hurt by the comparison he made,” the statement continued.

MEXICO CITY (CNS) – Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega blasted Catholic leaders as a “gang of murderers,” in comments amping up persecution of the church and scorning Pope Francis’ call for dialogue in the Central American country. In a fiery address, Ortega took aim at Nicaragua’s Catholic bishops for promoting democracy as an exit from the country’s political crisis, alleging without proof that they called on protesters to kill him during the 2018 protests – which his regime violently repressed. He called the bishops and Pope Francis “the perfect dictatorship,” then asked, accusatorially, “Who elected the bishops, the pope, the cardinals?” He continued in the Sept. 28 speech marking the 43rd anniversary of the National Police: “With what moral authority do they speak of democracy? Let them start with the Catholic vote. … Everything is imposed. It’s a dictatorship, the perfect dictatorship. It’s a tyranny, the perfect tyranny.” Catholic clergy in Nicaragua have remained mostly silent as Ortega – who won elections in 2021 after disqualifying and imprisoning opposition candidates – has persecuted priests and bishops speaking out on issues of human rights and democratic deterioration. The government also has closed church-run charitable and education initiatives, along with Catholic radio stations, and expelled priests and nuns, including the Missionaries of Charity. Ortega claimed in his comments that he was Catholic, but did not feel “represented,” partly because, “We hear talk of democracy, and they don’t practice democracy.”

Briefs

NATION
WASHINGTON (CNS) – House sponsors of a new bill to protect pregnancy centers said the measure would require the Biden administration to publicly disclose how it is handling the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of violent attacks on pregnancy resource centers around the country. “My goal is to foster an environment where no woman feels like their only option is abortion, and I am committed to supporting women and children at every stage of life,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. “The violent attacks on pregnancy centers in Washington state and across the country are reprehensible and only endanger and intimidate the women who depend on them for critical medical care, education and other resources,” Rodgers said in a statement Sept. 20, the day she and Smith introduced the bill. The Protect Pregnancy Care Centers Act of 2022 quickly garnered 28 co-sponsors. “I believe all extreme and hateful acts of violence should be condemned, which is why I’m helping lead this legislation to hold President (Joe) Biden accountable for his failure to respond to this threat with the urgency it deserves,” Rodgers said. Nearly 70 acts of violence against such centers have been recorded since May, when a draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case was leaked.

NEW YORK (CNS) – “Little Amal,” a giant puppet that is on a worldwide pilgrimage to raise awareness about the plight of unaccompanied refugee minors, made a stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Sept. 18. The 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl met migrant families who recently arrived in New York City from Ecuador, Afghanistan and Myanmar; Father Enrique Salvo, the cathedral’s rector; and representatives from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. “For immigrants and refugees around the world, New York is seen as a place of opportunity and promise – but there’s a tension running through U.S. history that suggests not everyone is welcome here,” said playwright/director Amir Nizar Zuabi, the artistic director of this “public art project” called “The Walk” and starring Amal, whose name means “hope.” “Amal will experience the wonder of New York and also the apprehension of arriving in a strange new place,” Zuabi said in a statement issued in advance of several New York events featuring the puppet. “This is a crucial moment to explore these themes. How will she be welcomed here? Who will do the welcoming?” The cathedral stop was one of 55 New York events welcoming the puppet over a three-week period that began Sept. 14 and ends Oct. 2 and is titled “Little Amal Walks NYC.”

“Little Amal,” a 12-foot-tall puppet of a young Syrian refugee girl, greets migrant families who have recently arrived in New York City from Ecuador, Afghanistan and Burma at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York Sept. 18, 2022. “Little Amal” has become a globally recognized symbol of human rights, especially for immigrants, refugees and other marginalized people. (CNS photo/courtesy DKC)

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As the October deadline approaches for the extension of the Vatican’s agreement with the Chinese government, the newly appointed editor of the news agency of the Dicastery for Evangelization said the deal has been instrumental in allowing Catholics to practice their faith openly and in communion with the church. In an editorial published Sept. 22, Gianni Valente, who was appointed earlier in the month as editor of Fides news agency, also said recent statements by Pope Francis and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, “hinted at a positive intention on the part of the Holy See to continue the process of negotiation.” The agreement, he wrote, has allowed for Chinese Catholics to “experience the adventure of confession of faith in Christ in today’s China as it is, without privileges, without being pointed at and perceived as a foreign body, as exotic guests or representatives of distant cultures.” First signed in Beijing Sept. 22, 2018, the Vatican and the Chinese government agreed in 2020 “to extend the experimental implementation phase of the provisional agreement for another two years.” The provisional agreement, the text of which has never been made public, outlines procedures for ensuring Catholic bishops are elected by the Catholic community in China and approved by the pope before their ordinations and installations, according to news reports at the time.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Marking World Alzheimer’s Day Sept. 21, Pope Francis asked people to pray for all those affected by the illness, including families and caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease “affects so many people, who are often pushed to the margins of society because of this condition,” the pope said at the end of his general audience talk in St. Peter’s Square Sept. 21. “Let us pray for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, for their families, and for those who lovingly care for them, that they may be increasingly supported and helped,” he said. He also asked that people pray for men and women facing hemodialysis, dialysis or an organ transplant. September is also World Alzheimer’s Month, which is an initiative by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) to raise awareness, challenge the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia, and garner more support for those affected. Dementia is a general term for a group of symptoms that negatively impact memory, and Alzheimer’s is a specific disease that is the most common cause of dementia.

WORLD
DUBLIN (CNS) – More people in Northern Ireland now identify as Catholic than Protestant for the first time in the history of the jurisdiction, new census figures reveal. The data has led to calls for a referendum for voters to decide whether to remain part of Britain or join with the rest of Ireland and form a new country. It comes 101 years after Northern Ireland was established in the six northeastern counties on the island of Ireland, remaining part of Britain when the 26 southern counties won independence from British rule. The founders of Northern Ireland drew the boundaries of the state along lines that they hoped would guarantee a permanent Protestant majority. Traditionally, Protestants have supported being part of Britain, whereas the Catholic community has traditionally supported unity with the rest of the island to form a single independent Ireland. The first prime minister of Northern Ireland, Sir James Craig, famously addressed the legislature describing it as a “Protestant parliament for a Protestant people,” and the Catholic minority complained of discrimination in terms of jobs, housing and voting rights. The proportion of the resident population that is either Catholic or brought up Catholic is 45.7%, compared to 43.5% Protestant.

MOSCOW (CNS) – A senior Russian priest dismissed President Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear war as “just words,” but said many young Catholics now fear being forcibly conscripted with their priests to join the war against Ukraine. “Although I’m not a military person, I don’t think the Russian army could even use nuclear weapons – and if it did, this would be much more dangerous for Russia itself than anyone else,” said the priest, who asked not to be named. “People are certainly frightened here, particularly since Catholic parishioners and clergy could now be called up, beginning with those who’ve done military service. But I don’t think there’s much to fear from Putin, who’s just coming out with words.” Street protests erupted in Russia after Putin’s Sept. 21 order for a nationwide call-up of 300,000 reservists after setbacks in the Ukraine war. The priest told Catholic News Service Sept. 21 students and young people had “reacted very emotionally” to the mobilization order, with many debating its practical consequences. He added that there had been “no consultation” with Russia’s minority churches and said he had consulted lawyers about the order’s implications for church personnel. “Some young Catholics have already left the country, and more are doing so now,” the priest told CNS.

U.S. synod report finds participants share common hopes, lingering pain

By Dennis Sadowski
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholics across the country continue to feel wounded by the clergy abuse crisis, seek a more welcoming church in which their “lived reality” is prioritized over rules and regulations, and desire lifelong spiritual, pastoral and catechetical formation as disciples, according to a report synthesizing the 10-month synodal process in dioceses.

Participants in the process also expressed concern that the U.S. Catholic Church is deeply divided and that a lack of unity exists among the bishops, spoke of a desire to “accompany with authenticity” LGBTQ+ individuals and their families, and voiced hope that laypeople’s gifts would be more widely utilized in a spirit of collaboration throughout the church, the report said.

Released Sept. 19 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the report summarizes the concerns, hopes, pains and desires voiced by an estimated 700,000 participants who joined thousands of listening sessions and other events during the diocesan phase in the lead-up to the Synod of Bishops on synodality in October 2023.

There are roughly 66.8 million Catholics in the U.S., according to the report, meaning more than 1% of Catholics participated in the listening sessions.
“The listening is an opening movement toward a wise discernment locally, regionally and nationally about what our deepest concerns, our deepest hopes are right now at this moment in time,” Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, who is overseeing the U.S. involvement in the synodal process, told Catholic News Service.

Bishop Flores, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, said the process that has unfolded since October – and led to the 16-page synthesis report sent to the Vatican – enabled people to respectfully listen to each other and develop a new understanding of what life in the church can be.

Titled “National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Diocesan Phase of the 2021-2023 Synod,” the report was prepared in advance of the Synod of Bishops called by Pope Francis.

The synod’s theme is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” The report is the synthesis of 290 documents received by the USCCB from various contributors. The report said the documents “represent over 22,000 reports from individual parishes and other groups” that emerged from more than 30,000 opportunities to join the synodal process.

The national synthesis report draws from the 14 intermediate syntheses submitted by teams from each of the geographic regions of the U.S. church. All 178 Latin dioceses and archdioceses submitted syntheses that were incorporated into the regional reports.
For the process, the USCCB created a 16th “region” for the numerous Catholic national ministries, universities, associations and organizations working throughout the country. Those organizations submitted 112 summary reports.

In a letter introducing the report, Bishop Flores described the document as “an attempt to synthesize and contextualize the common joys, hopes and wounds called forth with the help of the Holy Spirit in the unfolding of the synod.”

“While not a complete articulation of the many topics and perspectives shared in the listening process, this synthesis is an attempt to express the broader themes that seemed most prevalent in the dioceses and regions of our country,” he wrote.

The report is divided into four themes: “Enduring Wounds,” “Enhancing Communion and Participation,” “Ongoing Formation for Mission” and “Engaging Discernment.” Each section summarizes common observations raised in the listening sessions.

It includes directly quoted descriptions of common concerns, hopes and desires from individual regional reports raised in the local listening sessions.

The report cites several “enduring wounds” expressed during the sessions. In addition to the still unfolding effects of the sexual abuse crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exact a toll on the sense of community people felt before the virus swept around the world in 2020.

“The pandemic itself ‘has led to the fraying of our communities in some ways, accelerating a trend toward disengagement and intensifying the isolation and loneliness of many, youth and elderly in particular. A large number of faithful have not yet returned to worship,’” the report said, quoting the Region 12 submission from Northwestern states.

Divisiveness and polarization in the church was a concern expressed in multiple regional reports. The Region 9 report covering four Midwestern states said division over the celebration of the Eucharist is disconcerting, particularly when it comes to the pre-Vatican II Mass.

“The limited access to the 1962 missal was lamented; many felt that the difference over how to celebrate the liturgy ‘sometimes reach the level of animosity. People on each side of the issue reported feeling judged by those who differ from them,’” the national synthesis report said quoting the Region 9 submission.

Other concerns were expressed by people who feel marginalized. The report said marginalized people fall into two broad groups.

One made up of those who are vulnerable by their lack of social or economic power, including those with disabilities, the mentally ill, immigrants, ethnic minorities, people in the U.S. without documents, the unborn and their mothers, and those living in poverty, who are homeless, are incarcerated or living with an addiction.

The second group includes women, “whose voices are frequently marginalized in the decision-making processes of the church,” the report said. Others in the group include those who are marginalized “because circumstances in their own lives are experienced as impediments to full participation in the life of the church” including members of the LGBTQ+ community and people who are divorced and may have remarried, and those civilly married.

“The synodal consultations around the enduring wounds caused by the clergy sexual abuse scandal, the pandemic, polarization and marginalization have exposed a deep hunger for healing and the strong desire for communion, community, and a sense of belonging and being united,” the national synthesis report said.

Under the theme of “Enhancing Communion and Participation,” the sacramental life of the church and the spirit of welcome within the church were addressed. The report found that the wounds expressed among participants in listening sessions could be addressed by the church being more welcoming to those not in the mainstream.

Quoting the Region 13 report from Southwestern states, the synthesis report said participants were concerned with “obstacles to community within their parishes, partly due to the divisive political climate and resulting polarization within the country.”

People in the region also identified the centrality of the Eucharist as a “source of hope for greater unity.” They said in addition that “receiving Eucharist does bring them more closely in solidarity with the poor,” according to the synthesis report.

Concerns about racism within the church and the lack of welcome to diverse cultural and ethnic communities emerged in listening sessions. The elderly, the report said, were particularly hurt by the departure of young people from church life.

“Young people themselves voiced a feeling of exclusion and desired to participate more fully as members of the parish community,” the synthesis report said.

The synthesis report also included the observation that “nearly all synodal consultations shared a deep appreciation for the powerful impact of women religious who have consistently led the way in carrying out the mission of the church.”

Participants in listening sessions expressed a “desire for stronger leadership, discernment and decision-making roles for women – both lay and religious – in their parishes and communities.”

The synthesis report said a common hope that emerged nationwide was the “desire for lifelong spiritual, pastoral and catechetical formation as disciples.” Discussions in the sessions “made clear the importance of evangelization as we continue to live out the church’s mission, which requires stronger formation.”
Steps would include accompaniment with families in their formation as people long for a closer encounter with Jesus.

Suggestions also emerged on the need to “journey together” in the formation of clergy. The Region 5 intermediate report from Southern states suggested such formation was needed to better understand human and pastoral needs, cultural sensitivity, stronger emphasis on social justice, how to include laypeople in decision-making and “learning to speak with empathy, creativity and compassion.”

Laypeople, the synthesis report said, also expressed hope that a genuine appreciation for their gifts and talents would grow into a “relationship of collaboration” with pastors.

The final theme, “Engaging Discernment,” concluded that the diocesan phase of the synodal process was the first step in a church rooted in synodality, or walking together.

The synthesis report said the process enabled thousands of people to reengage “in the simple practice of gathering, praying together and listening to one another.”

It invited people to commit to “ongoing attentive listening, respectful encounter and prayerful discernment.”

Going forward, the report called for continued engagement with communities that did not participate broadly in the listening sessions particularly Indigenous people, ethnic communities and immigrants.
“Engaging and discerning with our sisters and brothers who experience the woundedness of marginalization, as well as those whose voice were underrepresented within the synodal process, will be essential for the unfolding of the synodal journey in our dioceses and in our country,” the report said.

The next phase in preparation for the Synod of Bishops is being called the continental phase. It will find teams gathering by continent to synthesize the reports submitted to the Vatican thus far. Synod officials will prepare the “instrumentum laboris,” or working document, to guide continental or regional ecclesial assemblies that will take place by March.

The North American report will be submitted by the U.S. and Canada. Bishop Flores said some preliminary outreach has already occurred among the teams from the two nations. Other continental reports will involve significantly larger gatherings of teams from individual ecclesial assemblies.

Those assemblies will produce another set of documents that will help in the drafting of a second working document for the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

The synod is expected to produce a final document on how synodality can be practiced throughout the church.

El Mundo en Fotos

ITALIA – Una niña lanza flores mientras una procesión eucarística pasa por la calle durante el Congreso Eucarístico Nacional de Italia en Matera, Italia, el 24 de septiembre de 2022. (Foto CNS/Paul Haring)
CANADA – Casas destruidas a lo largo de la costa en Port Aux Basques, Terranova y el corte del suministro eléctrico son productos de la devastación de Fiona, que azotó las provincias atlánticas del país como una tormenta postropical, el 25 de septiembre de 2022, (Foto del CNS/John Morris, Reuters)
FILIPINAS – Una mujer vadea a través de las inundaciones hasta el pecho, el 26 de septiembre de 2022, después que el tifón Noru azotara Bulakan, Filipinas. Noru dejó un rastro de destrucción en las provincias del norte de Filipinas y se dirigía hacia Vietnam. (Foto del CNS/Eloisa López, Reuters)
NEW YORK – La “pequeña Amal”, una marioneta de 12 pies de altura de una joven refugiada siria, saluda a las familias migrantes que llegaron recientemente a la ciudad de Nueva York desde Ecuador, Afganistán y Birmania, en la Catedral de San Patricio en Nueva York el 18 de septiembre de 2022. La “pequeña Amal” se ha convertido en un símbolo mundialmente reconocido de los derechos humanos, especialmente para inmigrantes, refugiados y otras personas marginadas. (Foto de CNS/cortesía de DKC)
PAKISTAN – Las personas desplazadas debido a las inundaciones se reúnen para recibir alimentos en un campamento en Sehwan, Pakistán, el 20 de septiembre de 2022. (Foto del CNS/Reuters)

New film on Mother Teresa seeks to put 20th-century saint back in spotlight

By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – With St. Teresa of Kolkata’s death 25 years ago, there is an entire generation of young men and women who did not see much about her life and legacy, serving “the poorest of the poor.”

That meant it was time to put her back in the spotlight, said a panel of those who were promoting a new documentary about the life of this saint, known popularly as Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity.

At her beatification in 2003, St. John Paul II called her a “courageous woman whom I have always felt beside me.”

Filmmaker David Naglieri talks with a Missionaries of Charity nun after a private screening of the documentary film, “Mother Teresa: No Greater Love,” at the Knights of Columbus’ Campo Pio XI in Rome Sept. 1, 2022. Produced by the Knights of Columbus, the film will be released in more than 900 theaters Oct. 3 and 4. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Mother Teresa was “an icon of the good Samaritan” who went “everywhere to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. Not even conflict and war could stand in her way,” the late pope said.

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly said at a news conference hosted at Vatican Radio Aug. 31 that the Knights made this film “to reach a new generation with the witness and example of Mother Teresa” and to inspire them.

Produced by the Knights of Columbus, “Mother Teresa: No Greater Love,” had its Vatican premiere Aug. 31, ahead of its release to more than 900 theaters Oct. 3 and 4.

“Thank you for all the efforts made to capture the life of this saint, whose life and testimony have borne much fruit,” wrote Pope Francis, who canonized her at the Vatican in 2016.

“Thank you for promoting this type of initiative that helps, in a creative manner, to make accessible the zeal for evangelization, especially for the young generations promoting the desire to follow the Lord who loved us first,” the pope said in an Aug. 25 letter written to Kelly, replying to news of the Vatican premiere.
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Ganxhe Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in Skopje, now capital of North Macedonia, on Aug. 26, 1910. On Sept. 5, 1997, she died of cardiac arrest at the motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India.

The documentary, by Emmy award-winning filmmaker, David Naglieri, features archival footage and interviews with dozens of commentators who knew Mother Teresa personally. It was filmed on five continents, providing interviews with many Missionaries of Charity and offering on-the-ground images of their work following in Mother Teresa’s footsteps.

The documentary shows the work Mother Teresa inspired and, “when she was feeding the hungry or holding the hands of someone as they lay dying, she was treating them as she would the most important person in her life, Jesus Christ himself,” Kelly said in a media release.

“She was teaching us to have a heart that sees, and if we can learn to see as she did, the world would be a radically different and, I would say, better place,” he said.

British Catholics, Pope Francis pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

By Simon Caldwell
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) – Catholics in the U.K. paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II following her death Sept. 8 and the end of a reign that lasted more than 70 years.

Pope Francis sent a telegram addressed “To His Majesty the King, Charles III,” her son who immediately ascended to the throne.

“I willingly join all who mourn her loss in praying for the late queen’s eternal rest  and in paying tribute to her life of unstinting service to the good of the nation and the Commonwealth, her example of devotion to duty, her steadfast witness of faith in Jesus Christ and her firm hope in his promises,” Pope Francis said.
The British sovereign died “peacefully” at Balmoral, the royal residence in Scotland, surrounded by members of her family. She was 96.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, paid tribute using many of the queen’s own words.

“On 21 April 1947, on her 21st birthday, Princess Elizabeth said, ‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,’” Cardinal Nichols said. “Now, 75 years later, we are heartbroken in our loss at her death and so full of admiration for the unfailing way in which she fulfilled that declaration.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II talks with Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican in this April 3, 2014, file photo. Queen Elizabeth died Sept. 8, 2022, at the age of 96. (CNS photo/Maria Grazia Picciarella, pool)

“Even in my sorrow, shared with so many around the world, I am filled with an immense sense of gratitude for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II,” he said. “At this time, we pray for the repose of the soul of Her Majesty. We do so with confidence, because the Christian faith marked every day of her life and activity.”

The cardinal quoted Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message from 2000, in which she said the teachings of Christ and her own “personal accountability before God” gave her a framework of how to live, and that Christ’s words and example offered her “great comfort in difficult times.”

Cardinal Nichols said: “This faith, so often and so eloquently proclaimed in her public messages, has been an inspiration to me, and I am sure to many. The wisdom, stability and service which she consistently embodied, often in circumstances of extreme difficulty, are a shining legacy and testament to her faith.”
He also offered prayers “for His Majesty the King, as he assumes his new office, even as he mourns his mother. God save the king.”

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, praised Queen Elizabeth for her life of “outstanding and dedicated public service.”

“Her determination to remain active to the end of her long life has been an example of Christian leadership, which demonstrated her great stoicism and commitment to duty and was undoubtedly a source of stability and continuity in times of great change,” he said. “Scotland’s Catholic bishops will remember her in our prayers and pray for all those who mourn her loss.”

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said: “As we grieve together, we know that, in losing our beloved queen, we have lost the person whose steadfast loyalty, service and humility has helped us make sense of who we are through decades of extraordinary change in our world, nation and society.”

Queen Elizabeth died 17 months after the death of her husband, Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99. Her 73-year marriage to Philip was the longest of any British sovereign.

The U.K. has entered a 10-day period of mourning.

Elizabeth was born on April 26, 1926, to Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
She acceded to the throne Feb. 6, 1952, and during her coronation in Westminster Abbey June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth was open about her Christian faith.

“When I spoke to you last, at Christmas, I asked you all, whatever your religion, to pray for me on the day of my coronation to pray that God would give me wisdom and strength to carry out the promises that I should then be making,” the queen said in her address. “Throughout this memorable day, I have been uplifted and sustained by the knowledge that your thoughts and prayers were with me.”

The accession of 1952 made 2022 the year when the world’s oldest monarch and the longest-serving monarch in British history celebrated the platinum jubilee of her reign – the point when Elizabeth had sat on the British throne for 70 years.

The queen was able to witness the celebrations in her honor but handed over all of her public duties to her nearest relatives. Her final act of office was to receive Prime Minister Liz Truss in Scotland Sept. 6, when she was also last photographed.

Fourteen prime ministers served during her reign, beginning with Sir Winston Churchill. Truss was the 15th to greet her in that office.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth met with four popes — Francis, Benedict, John Paul II and John XXIII, and as princess she met Pope Pius XII.

The queen sometimes joked about her longevity, once quoting Groucho Marx, saying: “Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.”

Mundo en Fotos

Este es un póster promocional oficial del documental “Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood”. El documental se transmitirá en las estaciones de ABC de todo el país a partir del 2 de octubre de 2022. (Foto de CNS/cortesía de NewGroup Media)
La hermana Anna Bakutara riega su brassica en el invernadero de la granja de St. Mary’s Abbey, una orden cerrada de cistercienses, en Glencairn, Irlanda, el 30 de agosto de 2022. El monasterio utiliza energía verde y agricultura sostenible para tratar de hacerse auto- suficiente para calefacción y comida. (Foto del CNS/Clodagh Kilcoyne, Reuters)
El cardenal Adalberto Martínez Flores de Asunción, Paraguay, saluda a un hombre durante la ceremonia de bienvenida frente a la Catedral Metropolitana de Asunción, el 1 de septiembre de 2019. 1 de enero de 2022. El cardenal Martínez se convirtió en el primer cardenal del mundo. 27 consistorio. (Foto del CNS/César Olmedo, Reuters)
Un hombre camina por una carretera a lo largo de la costa dañada por el tifón Hinnamnor en Ulsan, Corea del Sur, el 6 de septiembre de 2022. Corea del Sur fue azotada por fuertes lluvias y fuertes vientos, pero evitó la extensa destrucción que muchos temían cuando el tifón Hinnamnor, uno de los las tormentas más fuertes que jamás hayan llegado a sus costas, se abrieron paso hacia el mar más rápido de lo que esperaban los meteorólogos. (Foto del CNS/Agencia de Noticias Yonhap vía Reuters)
Los pakistaníes buscan ayuda alimentaria luego de las fuertes lluvias durante la temporada del monzón en Sehwan, Pakistán, el 1 de septiembre de 2022. Catholic Relief Services está trabajando con socios para distribuir ayuda a miles de personas afectadas por las inundaciones que han devastado la región. (Foto CNS/Yasir Rajput, Reuters)
Un hombre sostiene una foto del Papa Juan Pablo I antes de la celebración por el Papa Francisco de la beatificación del Papa Juan Pablo I en la Plaza de San Pedro en el Vaticano el 4 de septiembre de 2022. (Foto de CNS/Paul Haring)
Mujeres jóvenes a favor de la vida aparecen en una foto de archivo durante una protesta contra un proyecto de ley sobre el aborto en Madrid. La Conferencia Episcopal Española criticó un proyecto de ley respaldado por el gobierno que permitiría a mujeres de 16 años o más abortar sin el conocimiento o consentimiento de los padres e impondría multas e inhabilitaciones por objetar al personal médico. (CNS photo/Dani Cardona, Reuters)
Los nuevos cardenales salen en procesión después de la Misa del Papa Francisco con los nuevos cardenales en la Basílica de San Pedro en el Vaticano el 30 de agosto de 2022. En la foto de izquierda a derecha están el cardenal Leonardo Ulrich Steiner de Manaus, Brasil, el cardenal estadounidense Robert W. McElroy de San Diego, el cardenal italiano Oscar Cantoni de Como y el cardenal brasileño Paulo Cezar Costa de Brasilia. (Foto del SNC/Paul Haring)
Los partidarios de la opción “Rechazo” reaccionan a los resultados del referéndum sobre una nueva constitución chilena en Concepción el 4 de septiembre de 2022. Los obispos chilenos piden un nuevo acuerdo inclusivo luego de que se rechazara la constitución propuesta. (Foto del CNS/Rodrigo Garrido, Reuters)
La ventana trasera de un taxi con la imagen de la reina Isabel II se estaciona cerca del Palacio de Buckingham en Londres el 8 de septiembre de 2022, mientras la gente se reúne después del anuncio de que la monarca con el reinado más largo de Gran Bretaña y la figura decorativa de la nación durante siete décadas murió a la edad de 96 años. (Foto CNS/Peter Nicholls, Reuters)

Briefs

NATION
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Decrying President Joe Biden’s new executive order on abortion, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee said Aug. 5 that “continued promotion of abortion takes lives and irreparably harms vulnerable pregnant mothers, their families and society. Even preceding the Dobbs decision, my brother bishops and I have implored the nation to stand with moms in need, and work together to protect and support women and children,” Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said in a statement. “It is the wrong direction to take at a moment when we should be working to support women and to build up a culture of life,” added the prelate, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-life Activities. On Aug. 3, Biden signed an executive order instructing the Department of Health and Human Services “to advance access to reproductive health care services, including, to the extent permitted by federal law, through Medicaid for patients traveling across state lines for medical care.” In his statement, Archbishop Lori said: “I continue to call on the president and all our elected officials to increase support and care to mothers and babies, rather than facilitate the destruction of defenseless, voiceless human beings,” he said.

LAFAYETTE, La. (CNS) – The annual Fête-Dieu du Têche in the Diocese of Lafayette took place on the feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15, and this year’s 40-mile eucharistic procession by boat down the Bayou Têche coincides with the U.S. Catholic Church’s three-year National Eucharistic Revival now underway. “In an effort to cultivate a deeper devotion to Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, boaters will be able to choose a patron from a list of 50 eucharistic witnesses – saints and blesseds “who exemplified a life totally dedicated to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist,” according to a news release about this year’s event. Saints known for their love of the Eucharist were highlighted, including St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Jean Vianney, St. Katharine Drexel, St. Teresa of Kolkata, as well as Blessed Carlo Acutis. “The intention for the all-day spiritual and cultural celebration will be for a ‘Renaissance Eucharistique’ in Acadiana and beyond,” the release said. Acadiana refers to the French Louisiana region – composed of 22 parishes – that is home to the Cajun people. Cajuns are descendants of the Acadians, a people exiled from present-day Nova Scotia by the British during the French and Indian War. They settled along the bayous and prairies of southwest Louisiana.

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis plans to make his long-awaited visit to Ukraine before his trip to Kazakhstan in September, said Andrii Yurash, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See. In a series of tweets posted Aug. 6 after meeting with the pope, Yurash said the people of Ukraine “have been waiting for the pope” since the start of the war and will “be happy to greet him before his trip to Kazakhstan.” “I am very close to Ukraine and want to express this closeness (through) my visit to Ukraine,” the pope said, according to the Ukrainian ambassador. “Moments of communication with (the) Holy Father are always inspirational,” he said in a follow-up tweet. “Especially when there is a chance to discuss and promote subjects that are ‘on the table’ for a long time, like the pope’s visit to Ukraine.” The pope expressed on several occasions his desire to not only visit Ukraine, but also Russia to plead for an end to the conflict. In an interview with Catholic News Service July 18, Yurash said that while Ukraine was ready for a papal visit, he doubted the pope would be able to visit Moscow.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of Hungarian Father Péter Oros, who was killed at the height of the Cold War by Soviets in Ukraine. During a meeting Aug. 5 with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, the pope also signed decrees advancing the sainthood causes of four other men and one woman. According to the dicastery’s website, Father Oros was born in Biri, present-day Hungary, in 1917 and was ordained a priest for the Ruthenian Eparchy of Mukachevo in 1942. Some records indicate a Byzantine bishop born in the same year with a similar name. Although the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints states Father Oros was an Eastern-rite Catholic priest, it was not unusual at the time for an auxiliary bishop to be named clandestinely. After the annexation of the Transcarpathian territory in present-day Ukraine, the suppression of Eastern Catholic churches forced Father Oros into hiding. After a warrant for his arrest was issued in 1953, he was shot and killed by a police officer at a train station in Siltse, Ukraine, while attempting to flee.

WORLD
LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) – Nigerian officials identified six suspects arrested in connection with the June 5 attack that killed 40 people at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo. Maj. Gen. Jimmy Akpor, defense department spokesman, said all were linked to the Islamic State West Africa Province group. He said the arrests were made through a joint effort of military and defense officials. Akpor said a preliminary investigation showed that “Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza was the mastermind of the terror attack on the Catholic Church in Owo as well as the attack on a police station” in Kogi state June 23. In the second attack, a police officer was killed and weapons were stolen. Omeiza is sometimes known as Bin Malik. Police also arrested Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi for the Owo attack, in which attackers sneaked into a Pentecost Mass with explosives. Akpor confirmed Aug. 10 that the four were arrested Aug. 1. On Aug. 11, Akpor said officials had arrested two more suspects: Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris. Officials did not release a motive for the attack.

AACHEN, Germany (CNS) – Missio, one of Germany’s Pontifical Mission Societies, marked the third World Day Against Witch Hunts Aug. 10 by warning that the phenomenon is on the increase worldwide. The German Catholic news agency KNA said that in at least 43 countries, women, but also men and children, are in mortal danger because they are being persecuted as alleged witches, according to the 2022 World Map of Witch Hunts published by missio Aachen. Missio said it had added Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe to the map since last year. Most of the countries affected are in Africa, but the phenomenon also exists in Southeast Asia as well as Mexico, Bolivia, Guatemala and Haiti. The current missio world map is based on conservative estimates. Other lists put the number of affected countries near 60, KNA reported. Experts said more people had been killed as alleged witches and sorcerers worldwide in the past 60 years than in the 350 years of European witch hunts. The accusation of witchcraft often is triggered by sudden and inexplicable deaths or illnesses, but also by weather phenomena, Swiss Franciscan Sister Lorena Jenal said in a recent interview with KNA.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Cuban bishops and Pope Francis asked for prayers as a major fire has caused at least one death, more than 100 injuries and left 17 firefighters missing in Cuba. The fire initially began with a lightning strike that hit a tank at an oil facility Aug. 5 and has since spread along the port city of Matanzas. Thousands were evacuated from the region as the fire spread from one tank to three. Some feared wind was spreading the contamination to other parts of the island, including to the capital, Havana, about 60 miles away. Pope Francis, in a telegram sent to the Cuban bishops via Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said he was following news about the “unfortunate accident. May the Lord grant you strength in this moment of pain and sustain the work of extinction (of flames) and (of) search and rescue,” the telegram said.

Mundo en Fotos

Esta vista aérea muestra una parte deforestada de la selva amazónica en Manaus, estado de Amazonas, Brasil, el 8 de julio de 2022. El papa Francisco emitió un mensaje para el Día Mundial de Oración por el Cuidado de la Creación, el 1 de septiembre, pidiendo “un pacto entre los seres humanos y el medio ambiente” para luchar contra el cambio climático. (Foto CNS/Bruno Kelly)

Ola de calor en Maryland. La gente se refresca en el agua durante una ola de calor a lo largo de la Bahía Chesapeake de Maryland en North Beach, Maryland, el 21 de julio de 2022. Alrededor de 110 millones de personas están bajo alertas de calor en más de dos docenas de estados desde California hasta Nueva Inglaterra, y muchas áreas. registrando altas temperaturas en los años 90 o tres dígitos. (Foto del CNS/Tony O’Brien, Reuters)

Un arco iris se ve contra las nubes de lluvia sobre la basílica del Sacré-Coeur del siglo XIX en Montmartre en París el 23 de febrero de 2015. Un informe del Senado francés advierte que los consejos con problemas de liquidez podrían verse obligados a demoler iglesias históricas. (Foto del CNS/Christian Hartmann, Reuters)

El papa Francisco visita el lago mientras participa en la peregrinación de Ana y la Liturgia de la Palabra en el Lago Santa Ana en Alberta, Canadá el 26 de julio de 2022. (Foto CNS/Paul Haring)
Una columna de humo oscurece el cielo en Matanzas, Cuba el 8 de agosto de 2022 tras una serie de explosiones que comenzó cuando un relámpago generó un incendio en un almacenamiento de crudo. El incendio amenaza con hundir a la isla en una crisis más profunda, ya que obligó a las autoridades a cerrar una planta termoeléctrica. (Foto CNS/Alexandre Meneghini, Reuters)
Bishop Rolando José Álvarez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, is pictured in a screenshot from video at his residence in Matagalpa as riot police block the door. The bishop said the police were preventing him, six priests and six laypeople from leaving the local diocesan offices. (CNS screenshot/YouTube)

Un barco participa en la Fête-Dieu du Têche anual en la Diócesis de Lafayette, Luisiana, el 15 de agosto de 2021. La procesión eucarística de 40 millas en barco y a pie a lo largo del Bayou Têche se lleva a cabo en la fiesta de la Asunción de María. La procesión de 2022 se produce unos dos meses después del lanzamiento del Avivamiento Eucarístico Nacional de tres años de la Iglesia Católica de EE. UU. (Foto de CNS/cortesía del padre Michael Champagne)

Girl Texas

Un estudiante visto en Uvalde, Texas, 15 de agosto de 2022. Catholic Extension, una sociedad misionera papal con sede en Chicago, anunció ese mismo día que otorgó 30 becas completas a sobrevivientes del tiroteo masivo en la Escuela Primaria Robb que desean transferirse a la escuela local. Escuela católica en Uvalde, Texas. Catholic Extension recauda fondos para ayudar a construir comunidades de fe y construir iglesias en las diócesis misioneras de los EE. UU. (Foto de CNS/cortesía de Extensión Católica)

Court overturns Roe – ongoing efforts to ‘uphold sanctity of life’ continue

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – On the evening of July 6, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization closed its doors for the final time, making it the first time in 49 years that the state of Mississippi has no operating abortion clinic. This coming after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its nearly five decades old decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion.

The Court’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization handed down on Friday, June 24 held that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion, with the authority to regulate abortion returned to the states.

JACKSON – Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the last abortion facility in the state – closed permanently on July 7 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)

The Dobbs case centered around Mississippi legislation that was passed in 2018 called the Gestational Age Act, that sought to prohibit abortions after 15 weeks gestation. The Jackson abortion clinic and one of its doctors sued Mississippi officials in federal court, saying that the law was unconstitutional.

The federal district court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, both ruled in favor of the clinic, blocking enactment of the law.

In May 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would take up Dobbs, marking the first time since Roe that it would take up a pre-viability ban.
More than 140 amici curiae briefs were filed with the Supreme Court on the Dobbs case, the very first being from the Dioceses of Jackson and Biloxi, stating that “the church has a vested interest in this matter – the dignity and sanctity of all human life.”

While originally asking the Court to hear arguments on a viability question – whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional – Mississippi changed course and argued before the Supreme Court on Dec. 1, 2021 that Roe should be completely overturned and the authority to regulate abortions be returned to the states.

With Associate Justice Samuel Alito writing for a 5-4 majority he states that “we hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. … The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”

Alito’s opinion closely mirrored a leaked initial draft majority opinion, shared on May 2 by Politico.

Alito was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts concurred with the majority but in a separate opinion wrote that he would have taken “a more measured course” by “rejecting the misguided viability line” by Roe and Casey, but not overturning Roe completely.

The Supreme Court has six Catholics on the bench – Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, Thomas, Coney Barrett, Roberts and Sonja Sotomayor, with the latter joining Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan in dissent of the majority.

“One result of today’s decision is certain,” wrote the dissenting justices,” the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”

Of major concern of the dissenting justices was the discarding of the viability balance afforded by Roe and Casey.

“Today, the Court discards that balance. It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of,” the justices wrote, mentioning that some state’s already passed “trigger” laws contingent on the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Mississippi’s trigger law passed in 2007, only allowing abortion if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy is caused by a rape reported to law enforcement. Twelve other states also have trigger laws.
On Monday, June 27, after Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch certified that Roe had been overturned, the clock began to tick on the trigger law which was set to take effect 10 days post determination on July 7.

After the Dobbs decision was released, many statements were released in celebration and some in outrage.

JACKSON – Officers were present to keep the peace and direct traffic in and out of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Saturday, July 2, days before the clinic closed. (Photo by Joanna King)

Bishops Joseph R. Kopacz and Louis F. Kihnemann released a joint statement commending the decision and recognizing much needs to be done to assist mothers and families.

“The church will continue to accompany women and couples who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies and during the early years of parenthood, through initiatives such as Walking with Moms in Need,” stated the bishops in their June 24 statement.

“Our respective dioceses will continue to collaborate with organizations such as Her Plan, Pro-Life Mississippi and many others to bring vital services to support mothers and the unborn.”

Catholic leader, Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann stated that Mississippi is a leader on protecting the unborn with a law in place that prohibits abortion.

“I am pro-life,” stated Hosemann. “I am also pro-child. In addition to protecting the unborn, we must also focus on other ways to support women, children and families.”

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who led efforts to overturn Roe, also released a statement after the decision stating, “Now, our work to empower women and promote life truly begins. The Court has let loose its hold on abortion policy making and given it back to the people.”

The USCCB also released a statement by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Today’s decision is also the fruit of prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless ordinary Americans from every walk of life. Over these long years, millions of our fellow citizens have worked together peacefully to educate and persuade their neighbors about the injustice of abortion, to offer care and counseling to women, and to work for alternatives to abortion.”

The environment outside of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization – also known as the “Pink House” due to the bright pink hue it was painted in January 2013 – was anything but peaceful in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision. Until the clinic closed for good on the evening of July 6, pro-life and pro-choice voices clashed amid national and local news reporters from near and far.

As an effort to keep providing services, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization requested a temporary restraining order to block the trigger law from taking effect but it was denied by chancery judge, Debbra K. Halford on Tuesday, July 5, reasoning that the state Supreme Court would reverse the 1998 Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice ruling that relied on the Mississippi Constitution for a right to privacy.

Abortion demonstrators are seen near the Supreme Court in Washington June 24, 2022, as the court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision in its ruling in the Dobbs case on a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

The abortion clinic filed a petition to the Mississippi Supreme Court allow it to reopen, citing Fordice where the court stated it did not “interpret our Constitution as recognizing an explicit right to an abortion, we believe that autonomous bodily integrity is protected under the right to privacy as stated in In re Brown.” On July 11, the court rejected the clinic’s plea to stop the abortion ban. The court will wait for arguments from Attorney General Fitch to be submitted before ruling on the petition.

Nationally, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday, July 8, aiming to protect access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe. The order attempts to protect access to medication abortion, access to contraception and to guarantee a patient’s right to emergency medical services.

Speaking from the White House on July 8, President Biden urged women to “head to the ballot box” to “reclaim the right taken from them by the court.” He stated that “the fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law, codifying Roe.”

In response, the USCCB released a statement from Archbishop Lori stating, “I implore the president to abandon this path that leads to death and destruction and to choose life. As always, the Catholic Church stands ready to work with this Administration and all elected officials to protect the right to life of every human being and to ensure that pregnant and parenting mothers are fully supported in the care of their children before and after birth.”

Bishops Kopacz and Kihnemann remain “grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision but are also mindful that the battle to uphold the sanctity of life is an ongoing effort.”

“Let us pray and continue to raise our voices both in our churches and in our communities in defense of human dignity and justice.”

Statement from Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz and Bishop Louis F. Kihneman on Supreme Court’s Ruling in Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Today, Lady Justice has turned her attention to the cry of the unborn child hidden in the refuge of his or her mother’s womb. Today, justice has not abandoned that unborn child and his or her capacity to feel pain, but there is still more work to be done.

Together with many throughout our country, we join in prayer that states are now able to protect women and children from the injustice of abortion. The Catholic Church has had a vested interest in this matter – the dignity and sanctity of all human life.

The church has a long history of service to those who are most vulnerable and remains the largest private provider of social services in the United States. Through its charity agencies, and the independent efforts of its members, the Catholic Church is supporting all women in addition to the child in the womb.

The church will continue to accompany women and couples who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies and during the early years of parenthood, through initiatives such as Walking with Moms in Need.
With our brother bishops, we renew our commitment to preserving the dignity and sanctity of all human life by:

• Ensuring our Catholic parishes are places of welcome for women facing challenging pregnancies or who find it difficult to care for their children after birth, so that any mother needing assistance will receive life-affirming support and be connected to appropriate programs and resources where she can get help.

• Helping fellow Catholics recognize the needs of pregnant and parenting moms in their communities, enabling parishioners to know these mothers, to listen to them and to help them obtain the necessities of life for their families.

• Being witnesses of love and life by expanding and improving the extensive network of comprehensive care including pregnancy help centers, and Catholic health care and social service agencies.

• Increasing our advocacy for laws that ensure the right to life for the unborn and that no mother or family lacks the basic resources needed to care for their children, regardless of race, age, immigration status or any other factor.

• Continuing to support and advocate for public policies and programs directed toward building up the common good and fostering integral human development, with a special concern for the needs of low-income families and immigrants.

In all of these ways and more, the Catholic Church witnesses to the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death, and continues to work to build a culture of life in our nation.

Our respective dioceses continue to collaborate with organizations such as Her Plan, Pro-Life Mississippi and many others to bring vital services to support mothers and the unborn.

The community can immediately accompany women and couples who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies through the Walking with Moms in Need initiative in the Diocese of Jackson. For more information on how to get involved or offer support to women in need, please contact the Office of Family Ministry coordinator in the Diocese of Jackson at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org. In the Diocese of Biloxi, contact Deacon Jim Gunkel, director of the Office of Family Ministry and Family Life at jgunkel@biloxidiocese.org or Margaret Miller, coordinator of Walking with Moms at mrmiller@biloxidiocese.org.

Additionally, there are Catholic Charities Community Outreach Centers located in the Diocese of Biloxi in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Waveland and Pascagoula. These centers provide confidential pregnancy testing; Medicaid pregnancy confirmations; life-affirming options counseling; case management (including budgeting and goal setting); basic needs assistance; car seats and safe sleeping spaces for infants; diapers formula, clothing, blankets, socks, etc.; and representative payee services. The Diocese of Biloxi is also sharing the pro-life message through its Pro-Life Billboard initiative.

The Diocese of Biloxi will also be resuming adoptions and foster parenting services in the near future, complementing existing programs in the Diocese of Jackson that have provided those services through Catholic Charities, Inc. for over a half century.

Again, we are grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision but are also mindful that the battle to uphold the sanctity of life is an ongoing effort. Let us pray and continue to raise our voices both in our churches and in our communities in defense of human dignity and justice.