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¿Un católico debe creer en las “buenas vibras” y la “energía”?

, 25 Mar. 19 (ACI Prensa).- Con la llegada del equinoccio de primavera, ocasión del año en que la duración del día es igual a la de la noche en toda la Tierra, en países como México se realizan diversos rituales paganos en busca de “buenas vibras” y “energía”. ¿Los católicos debemos creer en este tipo de ritos?

Recuerdan a familia “héroe” que salvó a judíos del Holocausto hace 75 años

, 25 Mar. 19 (ACI Prensa).- La Iglesia en Polonia recordó este 24 de marzo a la familia Ulma, asesinada hace 75 años por haber escondido a un grupo de judíos durante la ocupación del país por parte de los nazis.

Obispos de México alientan “compromiso más decidido y eficaz” en defensa de la vida

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO, 25 Mar. 19 (ACI Prensa).- En el marco de la celebración de la Solemnidad de la Anunciación –en que la Iglesia celebra la encarnación de Jesús–, y del Día del Niño por Nacer, la Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano (CEM) aseguró que “hoy más que nunca” el país necesita “un compromiso más decidido y eficaz en la defensa de la vida humana”.

Vintage-style procession photo a snapshot of renewal in Detroit, priest says

Detroit, Mich., Mar 25, 2019 / 04:07 pm (CNA).- Maybe it was the classic sunglasses, the skinny jeans or the flocculent mustache. Maybe it was the vintage-style religious art, the men in embellished uniforms, or what looks like incense rising from the streets.

Whatever it was, a photo of a religious procession with a circa-1940’s aesthetic recently fascinated Catholics, who shared it on social media and other places around the internet.

Except the photo of a St. Joseph’s procession on the streets of Detroit wasn't taken in 1945. It was taken last week.  

“I guess what really makes it ‘epic’ in today’s terms is the steam from the city that...looks like holy incense,” said Canon Michael Stein, ICRSS, rector of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Detroit, which sponsored the procession.  

“We dubbed it ‘city incense,’” he said of steam that can be seen rising up from the street in the already-iconic photo.

Canon Stein is a member of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a Roman Catholic society of apostolic life with an emphasis on the traditional Latin Mass. The Institute was invited to St. Joseph’s Church in Detroit in 2016 to revive what was then a struggling Church community.

(What is a “canon,” you ask? “In layman's terms, if you take a monk on the one hand, and a diocesan priest on the other, and smoosh them together, you get a canon,” Canon Stein said.)

“When there was every material reason to shut it down (not enough funds, not enough faithful, a crumbling building), we’re very grateful that Archbishop Vigneron had a much grander vision (for the parish),” Stein told CNA.

“He created a win-win situation by unmerging St. Joseph’s (from a cluster of three parishes), making it its own parish within the archdiocese, and then inviting the Institute of Christ the King to come live here and breathe daily parish life back into it from scratch, and that’s exactly what we’ve done for the past two years,” he said.

One very visible sign of that new life in the parish is the beautiful St. Joseph’s procession, which the Institute has organized since 2017.

The appeal of the photo, and of the procession (which this year included 500 people), goes deeper than aesthetics, Stein said.

“I think it’s safe to say there’s a profound theological and spiritual reason why that photo resonates so much with our hearts,” he said.

“We are the religion of the Incarnation. God became man, the invisible God became visible, he sanctified the material world and elevated these visible, tangible signs to communicate invisible graces and to convey eternal truths.”

“This is my parish; this is what we do,” said Daniel Egan told The Detroit Catholic about the procession.

“This is a perennial St. Joseph Day tradition. St. Joseph Parish has been here for almost 150 years, so this isn’t new to this area. Maybe it fell out of practice for the last 30, 40 years, but we are showing we are Catholic, as we are called to,” he said.

“As Catholics, we’re told to live our faith in season and out of season, in the public square and in private, and that includes the city streets. If we’re not Catholic out there, we are truly failing to be authentically Christian.”

The photo of the procession includes the Knights of St. John in full uniform (a Catholic charitable organization with a very long history), as well as parish vicar Canon Adrian Sequeira, ICRSS, leading the procession in full choir habit, which is used when the order chants the Liturgy of the Hours together. The spots of blue throughout the photo symbolize the order’s total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Stein said.

St. Joseph speaks to the hearts of today as a gentle and loving man and father and worker, Stein told CNA.

Part of the homily from the feast day, he said, explained that God sends saints for the times - either holy people of the time who are witnessing to the Gospel, or saints of old who are re-presented and raised up as intercessors for the times.

“It only takes a quick glance around the world to see a fatherless society, and to see either a slothful or workaholic society, or a lack of an appropriate understanding of manliness,” Stein said.

“It’s neither brute nor effeminate, it’s faithful, it’s steadfast, it’s courageous and gentle. And we find all those things in St. Joseph, so I think that’s another part of the power of that picture.”

The procession, which traveled for less than a mile, stopped rush-hour traffic in the city, with the collaboration of Detroit police. It travelled to the Eastern Market, an iconic makers market in Detroit that has remained in the city since the 1800s, where workers can sell their wares and fathers can support their families - two things of which St. Joseph is the patron, Stein noted.

“So all the workers got to see their patron processing through the streets, whether they knew it or not,” he said.

The procession was part of numerous events celebrating St. Joseph that took place in both St. Joseph’s parish and throughout the archdiocese. In addition to the procession, St. Joseph’s parish had three Masses, an Italian dinner, and a running litany of other activities and devotions throughout the day.

Other Detroit parishes had St. Joseph’s Masses and dinners, including San Francesco Parish, which held a Mass, Italian dinner and St. Joseph’s play, and Holy Family Parish, which held an Italian-language Mass.

Beyond being a photogenic opportunity, Stein noted, the procession and all of the festivities on the feast of St. Joseph are the fruit of a lively spiritual and liturgical life.

“It shows that we’re alive,” Stein said. “These things are the fruit of a daily sacramental life, these things are the fruit of a reverent liturgy, and the fruit of a solid catechesis. They’re the fruit of our young adults being committed...Detroit as a city is coming back, and a lot of millennials are staying after college to get their first career jobs here.”

To fill the needs of an increasing number of young people, St. Joseph’s offers teenage catechesis and young adult groups, Stein said. The parish also has daily Mass and confession, a schola choir, and active volunteer groups, among other ministries.   Within just two years, it’s become a hub for millennials in the Archdiocese, he noted.

“We are predominantly young,” Stein said, and young people are hungry for an incarnational faith.

“We are body and soul, all these spiritual truths are meant to be communicated through our senses. We get to see our faith, hear our faith, taste our faith, etc., and that just appeals to us so much,” he said.

“Truth needs to shine in beauty...we’re not angels, we’re not just pure intelligences, we need to see, touch, hear; and that’s something the traditional liturgy has always done. That’s something that a reverent Mass or procession can do, these visible signs that the Church has used throughout her history to excite devotion and promote devotion.”

 

 

Perú: Arzobispado de Lima posterga la Marcha Por la Vida

REDACCIÓN CENTRAL, 25 Mar. 19 (ACI Prensa).- El Arzobispado de Lima (Perú) anunció la postergación de la Marcha por la Vida 2019 para el mes de agosto.

Michigan AG: no funds for Catholic adoption agencies if LGBT non-compliant

Lansing, Mich., Mar 25, 2019 / 03:01 pm (CNA).- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has barred state funds from adoption agencies that won't place children with same-sex couples, after reaching a settlement with the ACLU and same-sex couples who approached a Catholic agency and another Christian agency.

The settlement is despite a state law protecting the religious freedom and funding of adoption agencies.
 
“This settlement does nothing to protect the thousands of children in foster care looking for loving homes,” the Michigan Catholic Conference objected in a March 22 Facebook post. These children are “the very people our state is charged with protecting.”

It is “highly unlikely” the settlement is “the last chapter of the story,” the conference added in a March 22 Twitter post.

The settlement means the state must enforce non-discrimination provisions in contracts. Agencies may not turn away otherwise qualified LGBT individuals and must provide orientation or training, process applications, and perform a home study, the Associated Press said.

As of February, Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services had helped oversee 1,600 of the state’s 13,000 foster care and adoption cases, state spokesman Bob Wheaton said, the AP reports. Neither agency places children with same-sex couples.

The State of Michigan contracts with 59 private adoption and foster care agencies. Twenty are affiliated with religious organizations, though state officials were not able to say how many follow similar policies, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Lori Windham, senior counsel at the religious freedom legal group Becket, said the attorney general and the ACLU are “trying to stop the state from working with faith-based adoption agencies.”

“The result of that will be tragic. Thousands of children will be kept from finding the loving homes they deserve,” Windham said March 22. “This settlement violates the state law protecting religious adoption agencies. This harms children and families waiting for forever homes and limits access for couples who chose to partner with those agencies.”

Becket is representing the Catholic adoption agency affected by the case.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit in 2017 on behalf of two same-sex couples and a woman who was in foster care in her teens after the previous attorney general, Bill Schuette, declined to speak to the legal group.
The couples had approached St. Vincent Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services to adopt children referred to the agencies through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Nessel justified the settlement on Friday.

“Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no matter the rationale,” said Nessel. “Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home not only goes against the state’s goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child-placing agency enters into with the state.”

Nessel is the first self-identified lesbian elected to statewide office in Michigan and made LGBT advocacy a major part of her campaign, the Detroit Free Press said. She represented a same-sex couple in a case that led to the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating legal recognition of same-sex unions as civil marriages.

The ACLU characterized the settlement as a victory for the 12,000 children in Michigan foster care.

“Our children need every family that is willing and able to provide them with a loving home,” said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. She said agencies that choose to accept taxpayer dollars “must put the needs of the children first.”

A 2015 law, passed with the backing of the Michigan Catholic Conference, prevents state-funded adoption and foster agencies from being forced to place children in violation of their beliefs. The law protects them from civil action and from threats to their public funding, while requiring agencies that decline to place children with same-sex couples to refer the couples to other providers.

When the law was passed, about 25 percent of Michigan’s adoption and foster agencies were faith-based.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Republican, criticized the settlement and said faith-based adoption agencies will have to close because of a lack of taxpayer-funded support.

“Dana Nessel has shown us that she cares little for the Constitution and even less for the vulnerable population of children in need of forever homes,” Shirkey charged. “Nessel’s actions make it clear that she sought the office of attorney general to further her own personal political agenda.”

State Rep. James Lower, R-Cedar Lake, wasn’t in the legislature when its 2015 bill passed but said he would have backed it, the Detroit Free Press said.

For Lower, the law made sense because “the situation puts these agencies in a tough situation because they have been able to refer couples to another agency that is willing to work with same-sex couples.”

“But now, they'll have to choose to either not to help the kids or violate their religious beliefs,” he added.

In 2017, the Michigan Catholic Conference described the lawsuit as “mean-spirited, divisive and intolerant,” and “yet another egregious attack on religious faith in public life.” The 2015 law was needed to “promote diversity in child placement” and to maintain a public-private partnership to stabilize adoption and foster care, the conference said.

A 2017 court filing from St. Vincent Catholic Charities said it recruited more new families than seven of eight adoption agencies in the capital region. It would be unable to continue its programs without the contract.

In 2018 Becket said St. Vincent Catholic Charities found more new foster families than almost 90 percent of other agencies within its service district, with particular success in finding homes for hard-to-place children such as those with special needs, larger sibling groups, or older children.

A 2003 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considered the proposed legal recognition of same-sex unions rejected the placement of children with same-sex couples. That document cited the need for a child to grow up with both a mother and a father and said placing a child with a same-sex couple would “place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development,” something that is “gravely immoral” and in violation of the child’s best interest.

Laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or barring state funding from adoption agencies considered discriminatory have shut down Catholic adoption agencies in Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and Illinois, among others.

While religious freedom was long an assumption of American political and legal life, recent decades have produced an increased push against religious freedom protections. The proposed federal Equality Act explicitly bars appeals to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense in cases of alleged discrimination.

CNA investigations have found close to $10 million in grants earmarked to restricting religious freedom in cases impacting LGBT causes and “reproductive rights.” The New York-based Arcus Foundation and the Massachusetts-based Proteus Fund’s Rights, Faith & Democracy Collaborative play leading roles, and both were leaders in pushing for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The national ACLU and some state affiliates are among this funding network’s grantees.

While Christian teaching has rejected same-sex sexual behavior as sinful since the origins of Christianity, in recent decades some American Christian denominations and American jurisprudence as a whole have come to categorize such views as erroneous, discriminatory, and opposed to equality. Sometimes these changes followed significant organizing and lobbying by LGBT advocates.

Catholic hospital group sued for refusing transgender hysterectomy

San Francisco, Calif., Mar 25, 2019 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- A group of five Catholic hospitals in California is being sued by a woman who identifies as a transgender man after one of its locations, St. Joseph Hospital, Eureka, refused to perform a hysterectomy.

 

Oliver Knight is suing St. Joseph Health of Northern California, alleging that she was refused the surgery because of her “gender orientation.”

 

The suit was filed in the Humboldt County Superior Court on Thursday, March 21. In the lawsuit, Knight says that workers at the hospital canceled the surgery because she identifies as transgender. Knight had identified herself as “male” for a period of four years before the surgery, which was initially scheduled for Aug. 30, 2017.

 

Prior to the scheduled hysterectomy, Knight had begun cross-sex hormone therapy and undergone a mastectomy.

 

After the surgery at St. Joseph was denied, Knight underwent a hysterectomy at a hospital unaffiliated with the St. Joseph Health of Northern California system, 30 minutes away.

 

Knight’s lawsuit suit claims that by denying the surgery St. Joseph Health caused “severe anxiety and emotional turmoil.”

 

Knight’s doctor prescribed the hysterectomy as treatment for gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a condition in which a person believes themselves to have been “misassigned” their gender at birth.

 

St. Joseph Health said in a statement reported March 25 that hysterectomies are only performed at their facilities when they have been deemed “medically necessary,” and not for purposes of sterilization. The teaching of the Catholic Church recognizes such procedure as licit when there is a grave and present danger to the life or health of the mother, and when the intention of the procedure is not to prevent the possibility of conception.

 

In January 2019, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an authoritative response which explained the circumstances under which a hysterectomy could be morally licit.

 

A 2016 letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services signed by the general counsel for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, together with other groups, affirmed that the denial of surgery to someone seeking to change their gender would not be discriminatory, noting that in such cases there would be nothing medically wrong with otherwise healthy organs to be removed.

 

“It is not ‘discrimination’ when a hospital provides care it considers appropriate, declines to perform procedures destructive to patients’ welfare and well-being, or declines to take actions that undermine the health, safety, and privacy of other patients,” the letter said.

 

“A hospital does not engage in “discrimination” when, for example, it performs a mastectomy or hysterectomy on a woman with breast or uterine cancer, respectively, but declines to perform such a procedure on a woman with perfectly healthy breasts or uterus who is seeking to have the appearance of a man.”

 

Knight is being represented in part by the ACLU. The suit requests unspecified damages. She also claims to have been repeatedly “mis-gendered” by workers at St. Joseph Hospital, and was allegedly given a pink hospital gown to wear instead of a blue one.

 

In California, “gender identity” based discrimination is illegal, but the application of the statute in cases invovling religious organizations remains disputed.

 

In 2017, a woman sued California’s largest chain of hospitals, Dignity Health, after doctors declined to perform a scheduled hysterectomy at Mercy San Juan Medical Center. The defendant in that case also claimed that she was denied the procedure due to gender identity.

 

The case Minton v. Dignity Health was decided in favor of Dignity Health, but an appeal has been filed.

California AG files to block Title X abortion 'gag rule'

San Francisco, Calif., Mar 25, 2019 / 11:42 am (CNA).- California’s attorney general on Friday asked a federal judge to block a new Trump administration rule designed to strip abortion clinics of federal funds distributed through the Title X program.

In a March 22 announcement, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the Protect Life Rule “reckless and illegal” and “a dangerous political ploy to sabotage women’s reproductive healthcare.”  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized the “Protect Life Rule” in late February, by which abortion clinics will be ineligible to receive Title X Program funding. The rule also prohibits clinics receiving funds from referring patients to other doctors for abortions, and bars funded clinics from sharing space with abortion clinics.

The California attorney general’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the rule argues that the rule “undermines clinically established standards of care, interferes with the patient-provider relationship, and contradicts core tenets of the Title X program.”

Dr. Tanya Spirtos of the California Medical Association wrote in a declaration filed with the attorney general’s motion that the Protect Life Rule "restricts physicians from speaking freely with their patients, violates core ethical standards, and undermines the physician-patient relationship."

Title X is a federal program created in 1965 that subsidizes family-planning and preventative health services, including contraception, for low-income families. It has been frequently updated and subject to new regulations.  California has the largest Title X program in the country, serving nearly a quarter of all Title X patients nationwide, according to the attorney general’s office.

Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions, is expected to lose about $60 million in federal funds under the new federal rule, which is set to go into effect during April.

Last year, Planned Parenthood received over $500 million in federal funds, about 10% of which came from the Title X program. The abortion chain is still eligible for federal funds that are not part of Title X.

Nearly two dozen states, led by Oregon and including California, are already suing the administration over the Protect Life Rule.

Becerra filed California’s lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services on March 4 in the Northern District Court of California in San Francisco.

The preliminary injunction, if granted, would block the rule’s implementation while the court reviews the state’s lawsuit.

The District Court is set to hear arguments on the preliminary injunction April 18.

Among other provisions, the Protect Life Rule requires that there be a physical and financial separation between recipients of Title X funds and facilities that perform abortions. Clinics that provide “nondirective counseling” about abortion can still receive funds.  

Previous regulations, written during Bill Clinton’s presidency, not only allowed for health clinics that were co-located with abortion clinics to receive funds, but also required that Title X recipients refer patients for abortions.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said the new rules move Title X closer to “its originally intended purpose—the provision of family planning services, not abortions.”

Pro-life advocates have welcomed the HHS rule change. Marjorie Dannefelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, praised the move, saying that it was targeted at abortion provision alone and would not reduce other family planning services by “a single dime.”

“The Title X program was not intended to be a slush fund for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which violently ends the lives of more than 332,000 unborn babies a year and receives almost $60 million a year in Title X taxpayer dollars,” she said in a Feb. 22 statement.

Cardenal sugiere hacerse esta pregunta esencial en Cuaresma [VIDEO]

REDACCIÓN CENTRAL, 25 Mar. 19 (ACI Prensa).- El Arzobispo de Bogotá (Colombia), Cardenal Rubén Salazar, sugirió a los católicos hacerse una importante pregunta en este tiempo de Cuaresma: ¿Qué tanto escucho yo la Palabra de Dios?

Administrador Apostólico de Santiago de Chile encomienda su labor a la Virgen del Carmen

, 25 Mar. 19 (ACI Prensa).- El 24 de marzo el Administrador Apostólico de Santiago de Chile, Mons. Celestino Aós, visitó el Santuario Nacional de Maipú para orar y encomendar su trabajo pastoral a la Virgen del Carmen, Reina y Patrona de Chile.