Browsing News Entries
Posted on 01/22/2019 23:18 PM (Noticias de ACI Prensa - América)
Posted on 01/22/2019 22:53 PM (Noticias de ACI Prensa - América)
Posted on 01/22/2019 22:26 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2019 / 02:26 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The US Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender persons serving in the military to go into effect, while the issue continues to be adjudicated in lower courts.
The Supreme Court’s five conservative members voted Jan. 22 to lift nationwide injunctions that had blocked the ban from going into effect. However, the policy is being appealed in lower courts, and those appeals will still be going forward despite the ruling.
In July 2017 Trump announced on Twitter that anyone identifying or presenting as a sex different from their biological sex would be prohibited from military service, with extremely limited exceptions. The policy was formally issued in 2018 by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Previously, under President Barack Obama’s administration, military policies were changed to allow people who do not identify themselves according to their biological sex, or who were seeking surgical “gender transition”, to join the military.
Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Carla Anderson insisted that the policy is in fact not a ban on transgender troops, but rather is a “personnel policy” that is “necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.”
Slightly under 1,000 people in the military have undergone a gender transition. In 2016, the government estimated that there were about 9,000 transgender troops in the U.S. military. Including reservists, there are about 2.1 million people in the military.
When Trump announced the policy in July 2017, a theology professor at the Catholic University of America said it was the “right decision.”
Those who identify as transgender are “people made in God's image, and they deserve our compassion, and they deserve to be treated with dignity, but that doesn't mean that they are fit for combat in the defense of a nation,” Dr. Chad Pecknold told CNA.
“Pope Francis is famous for his stress upon dialogue, and his non-judgmental approach with respect to the dignity of every person,” he said. “But the Holy Father has also been crystal clear that ‘gender theory’ represents a burning threat to humanity, starkly describing it as a ‘global ideological war on marriage’.”
Also on Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to act regarding Trump’s plan to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This means that DACA will stay in place for the time being.
The USCCB has said in previous statements that they are in favor of a “permanent legislative solution” for DACA recipients as well as those under temporary protective status. This solution is “vital,” said the bishops.
Posted on 01/22/2019 22:13 PM (Noticias de ACI Prensa - América)
Posted on 01/22/2019 21:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Baltimore, Md., Jan 22, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Archbishop William Lori has issued a major pastoral reflection on the subject of racism in American society and the Church in the U.S.
Entitled “The Journey to Racial Justice - Repentance, Healing and Action,” Lori’s reflection was released to coincide with the commemoration of Martin Luther King Day. In the Jan. 21 document, the Archbishop of Baltimore wrote of his concern at renewed racial tensions in the country.
“Even as we Americans celebrate Dr. King’s inspiring example, we feel the shame of witnessing public demonstrations of racial and ethnic violence and hatred such as we have not seen in decades,” Lori wrote.
Recent reports have indicated a rise in hate crimes across the country, while major incidents like the 2017 racial demonstrations and conflicts in Charlottesville, VA, have highlighted growing concerns about a resurgence in overtly racist attitudes in sections of American society.
In a searching reflection on the evil of racism in American, Lori wrote that institutional and personal complicity by the Church needs to be frankly understood, acknowledged, and atoned for.
“No doubt, in looking back at the history not only of our Church, but also of our nation, one may justly say that racism is the original sin of our country, our state, and our local dioceses, and its deep roots continue to plague us,” said Lori.
“As we are so painfully aware in the midst of the current crisis in the Church, without acknowledging the sins of the past, we cannot hope to understand and heal the wounds of the present.”
The archbishop’s reflection laid out an unsparing resume of his earliest predecessors, saying that “no credible treatment of the history of the establishment of the Catholic Church in the United States can be told without also acknowledging the reality of the early Church’s direct involvement in slavery.”
Noting his own previous pastoral statement on Dr. King’s teaching on non-violence, Lori acknowledged that the Church had fallen short of the demands of the Gospel in the era of so-called Jim Crow laws and beyond, allowing de facto segregation between and even within parishes and other institutions.
While efforts by Church leaders to support and champion the civil rights movement offered examples of “efforts, sacrifices, and achievements” by Catholic leaders, priests, religious, and lay people, Lori warned there is still more to be done.
“Without a doubt, many members of the Catholic Church today have continued to devote themselves to addressing racial injustice in our Church and society,” the archbishop said.
“These efforts, encouraging as they may be, cannot by themselves end racial injustice, nor can they be causes of complacency,” he said, while asking “if we can still easily identify the ‘black’ and ‘white’ parishes of our archdiocese, have we truly accomplished the goal of racial equity we claim to embrace?”
In November, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released the pastoral letter “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” also on the subject of racism in America.
Lori made frequent reference to this document, which warned against a “neglect of history” among many in the Church with regard to racism and a lack of awareness of “the connection between institutional racism and the continued erosion of the sanctity of life.”
The U.S. bishops wrote that neither the Church or society could “look upon the progress against racism in recent decades and conclude that our current situation meets the standard of justice.”
“God demands more of us,” the bishops said.
In response to this demand, and to other recent scandals, Lori wrote that he felt a renewed call to be present to the witness of human suffering.
“I have come to realize in a new and clearer way an important truth: wherever the people of God are suffering is where I belong, at their side, listening, sharing compassion, and discerning how the Holy Spirit is calling me to take action.”
To this end, Lori used his pastoral reflection to commit to renewed action in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, pledging more training within the archdiocese to address the problem of racism, and to conduct a review of the diversity of Church institutions, including archdiocesan leadership, seminaries, clergy, parishes, schools and social service programs.
“In a spirit of repentance and prayer, we seek healing as we turn to the redeeming and reconciling love of Jesus with the hope of building a Church that is journeying toward a better future as we work side by side with those who are victims of racism today.”
Posted on 01/22/2019 20:38 PM (Noticias de ACI Prensa - América)
Posted on 01/22/2019 17:44 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Vatican City, Jan 22, 2019 / 09:44 am (CNA).- Pope Francis appointed Tuesday two Navy chaplains, Fr. Joseph Coffey and Fr. William Muhm, as auxiliary bishops for the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.
As bishops for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, Coffey and Muhm will serve the spiritual needs of personnel in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, as well as the Department for Veterans Affairs and those in government service outside of the U.S.
Coffey and Muhm’s past deployments include Afghanistan and Iraq respectively.
Coffey, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is a Navy captain and past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Military Chaplains Association.
During his 18 years of service as a Navy chaplain, Coffey’s assignments has served the Marines in Okinawa, Japan, the Coast Guard training facility in Cape May, NJ, and as a Naval chaplain recruiter.
Born in 1960, Coffey is the fifth of nine children of a Catholic family in Philadelphia. He has an M.A. in Moral Theology and a Master of Divinity from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia. Between university and seminary, he worked for one year as an auto dealer in Europe, selling cars to American serviceman in Germany and Belgium.
Muhm is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, a U.S. Navy Chaplain and captain since 1998. He was ordained by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1995 after serving in the Navy prior to entering the seminary.
He was deployed with the 1st Marine Regiment in Iraq from 2008 to 2009, and then was assigned as the chaplain for the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. He holds an STB and Master of Divinity from St. Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, NY. Most recently Muhm was a parish administrator for the Most Precious Blood parish in Walden, New York.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services is responsible for more than 1.8 million men, women, and children across 29 countries worldwide.
Posted on 01/22/2019 11:30 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2019 / 03:30 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Planned Parenthood, the largest performer of abortions in the U.S., has released its annual report, and its critics object to the organization’s increase in abortions and financial profits even as its number of adoption referrals has fallen.
“The big business of abortion is evident in this report, as Planned Parenthood turned a profit of nearly $250 million, a 150 percent increase, according to its own accounts. What a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said Jan. 21.
“While Planned Parenthood pushes talking points about healthcare, the fact remains that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s number one abortion vendor, profiting by violently ending life,” Hawkins charged. “But pregnancy is not a disease cured by abortion. Women deserve real, life-affirming care, and taxpayers deserve a return on their investment that helps women and their children, born and preborn.”
The Planned Parenthood annual report, covering the 2017-2018 fiscal year, was published over the weekend of Jan. 19-20.
The number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood rose to 332,757, an increase of over three percent. Adoption referrals dropped by over 25 percent to 2,831. The abortion provider makes one adoption referral for every 117 abortions.
Hawkins backed the idea of defunding Planned Parenthood “to invest in life-saving care.”
Millennials and young adults prefer that tax money go to federally qualified health centers instead of Planned Parenthood, Hawkins said. She cited a Students for Life poll of 18- to 34-year-olds, conducted in January, whose respondents showed a 3-to-1 preference against tax dollars for Planned Parenthood.
Students for Life of America trains and organizes students for campus outreach to young mothers and to fellow students, with the goal of ending abortion. Since 2006 it has helped establish or build over 1,200 pro-life student chapters and has trained over 55,000 students.
While federal funds for abortion are limited, the abortion provider Planned Parenthood receives over $500 million in federal funding for programs involving contraception provision and other services.
It is also in the public eye for possible involvement in illegal sale of fetal tissue from aborted babies’ remains, after a series of videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress alleged that Planned Parenthood was involved in the sale of aborted fetal parts for profit.
The Department of Justice is currently investigating Planned Parenthood due to these videos. Congress has launched several investigations.
In 2018 Dr. Leana Wen became the new president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
“Planned Parenthood services — from birth control to cancer screenings to abortion — are standard medical care,” Wen said in the report. “Reproductive health care is health care. Women’s health care is health care. And health care is a fundamental human right.”
The report claims 12 million supporters and claims its contraceptive services averted about 400,000 pregnancies.
Posted on 01/22/2019 08:16 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Harare, Zimbabwe, Jan 22, 2019 / 12:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As political protests in Zimbabwe have turned violent and even fatal, reportedly leaving at least 12 people dead, the bishops of the country have called for peaceful resolutions to the crisis.
“Zimbabwe is burning; its economy is hurting; its people are suffering. Many ordinary Zimbabweans express disappointment that hoped-for changes are yet to be felt, in access to employment, cash and broad stakeholder consultations. Our quasi currency, operating with multiple exchange rates, is fueling a national crisis,” the bishops said in a Jan. 17 letter.
“We call upon [the] Government and the Opposition to put their differences aside and work together to free Zimbabwe from economic shackles and international ostracisation.”
Last week, a sharp spike in fuel prices in Zimbabwe sparked violent protests from members of groups who oppose the current government.
According to the BBC, Presidential spokesman George Charamba told local journalists that the opposition group Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was responsible for the violence.
“The MDC leadership has been consistently pushing out the message that they will use violent street action to overturn the results of (last year's) ballot,” Caramba said.
However, the United Nations called on the Zimbabwe government to stop using “excessive” force to cull the protests, after reports surfaced that the government was conducting door-to-door searches and beating, torturing and using live ammunition on the protestors.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that he would be returning early from a foreign tour in order to help address the situation.
The clashes took place largely in the capital city, Harare, and the southern city of Bulawayo, where looting and riots have been reported and all schools have been forced to close. Reuters reported that more than 60 people were treated for gunshot wounds, following the government’s alleged use of live ammunition on the protestors.
News of the protests came despite government blocks on Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter messaging apps. The government said the blocks were part of an attempt to quell the violence, while human rights groups have said they were attempting to mask human rights violations.
The protests come after a long period of political and economic instability, from “the military-assisted political change that took place in November 2017 to the total shutdown of Zimbabwe's major cities and rural trading centres that began on Monday, 14 January 2019,” the bishops said.
They said that while they had hoped for good change after November 2017, they have “witnessed with sadness and concern [the] Government's piecemeal and knee-jerk reaction to the worsening economic situation, exemplified by the unilateral imposition of 2 percent tax on the country's major money-transfer and payment system and by the hefty increase in fuel prices on 12 January 2019, the immediate cause of the violent demonstrations and riots that brought Zimbabwe's major cities and rural trading centres into complete lockdown.”
The bishops said that they are “saddened and concerned” by the government’s failure to stabilize the economy, which has put the livelihood of many Zimbabweans in jeopardy, as well as by the violent riots and demonstrations, the disruption of essential services, and by the government’s intolerance for people expressing opposing views, leading to their torture and even death.
“We are writing at a time when our country is going through one of the most trying periods in its history. Once more the resilience and resolve of Zimbabweans is being put to test. We thank the many Zimbabweans who continue to pray ceaselessly for our Country. We, your Shepherds, write to you at this time to help rebuild hope, trust, confidence and stability in Zimbabwe,” the bishops said.
They encouraged the government and all citizens of Zimbabwe to help build a free country, with free elections and strong, politically inclusive institutions.
“We do not need a strong man or woman but strong institutions. We need to develop a new and challenging kind of politics, a new cooperation and harmony based on reasoned argument, generous compromise and respectful toleration,” they said.
“Zimbabwe is faced with a crisis that is not just political and economic but moral and spiritual. A new Zimbabwean politics needs to be more collaborative, inclusive and based not on one or two leaders, however effective and charismatic, but rather on strong democratic institutions that embody and secure the values of our democracy, regulate our politics, build trust and administer peace, truth and justice to all.”
The bishops urged the government to work to ease the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe rather than contribute to it, and they urged all citizens towards tolerance and peaceful, nonviolent protests that are within their constitutional rights.
“We believe in a God of second chances, who is always offering us new opportunities. Even in the midst of current tensions and disturbances there are new opportunities to rebuild hope, trust, confidence and stability in our country,” they said.
“The task at hand requires our collective responsibility in upholding everything that is good and right, to promote unity, reconciliation, and national cohesion. We wish to state our firm belief that Zimbabwe would easily become one of the best countries to live in on earth if only all of us, its people, committed to living and working with each other in harmony, tolerance and peace, putting the interests of the country before selfish and political party interests.”
Posted on 01/22/2019 02:01 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
South Bend, Ind., Jan 21, 2019 / 06:01 pm (CNA).- A series of murals depicting Christopher Columbus' life and exploration displayed at the University of Notre Dame will be covered up, the university's president announced Sunday.
“Painted in 1882-84 … they reflect the attitudes of the time and were intended as a didactic presentation, responding to cultural challenges for the school’s largely immigrant, Catholic population,” Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C., wrote in his Jan. 20 letter announcing the decision.
“In recent years, however, many have come to see the murals as at best blind to the consequences of Columbus’s voyage for the indigenous peoples who inhabited this 'new' world and at worst demeaning toward them.”
The murals, painted by Luigi Gregori, are located in Notre Dame's Main Building. Gregori served for a time as artist in residence at the Vatican, before becoming a professor and artist in residence at the Indiana university.
Gregori was commissioned to produce a series of murals of Columbus by Fr. Edward Sorin, the founder and first president of the University of Notre Dame. One of the murals was the model for the first series of commemorative stamps issued by the U.S., in 1893.
Jenkins said that he has heard in recent years “from students, alumni, faculty, staff, representatives of the Native American community, and others on this complex topic,” and that his decision was made after consulting with the Board of Fellows.
Though a brochure to explain the murals' context has been provided since the 1990s, “because the second-floor hall of the Main Building is a busy throughway for visitors and members of the University community, it is not well suited for a thoughtful consideration of these paintings and the context of their composition,” Jenkins wrote.
The brochure was created after a group of Native American students called for the murals' removal in 1995.
The priest said that there will be “a permanent display for high-quality, high-resolution images of the murals in a campus setting to be determined that will be conducive to such an informed and careful consideration.”
The murals themselves will “be covered by woven material consistent with the décor of the space, though it will be possible to display the murals on occasion.”
The university president announced that a committee will be formed “to decide on the place to display the images of the murals and the appropriate communication around the display.”
“The murals present us with several narratives not easily reconciled, and the tensions among them are especially perplexing for us because of Notre Dame’s distinctive history and Catholic mission,” the priest explained.
“The murals were not intended to slight indigenous peoples, but to encourage another marginalized group,” he said, noting that when they were made, the immigrant-dominated population of Notre Dame “encountered significant anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant attitudes in American public life.”
Moreover, Columbus was at the time “hailed by Americans generally as an intrepid explorer.”
“Gregori’s murals focused on the popular image of Columbus as an American hero, who was also an immigrant and a devout Catholic,” Jenkins wrote. “The message to the Notre Dame community was that they too, though largely immigrants and Catholics, could be fully and proudly American.”
The priest then declared that for natives of the Americas “Columbus’s arrival was nothing short of a catastrophe.”
“Whatever else Columbus’s arrival brought, for these peoples it led to exploitation, expropriation of land, repression of vibrant cultures, enslavement, and new diseases causing epidemics that killed millions.”
Jenkins quoted a 1987 meeting of St. John Paul II with the native peoples of the Americas, in which the pope said the encounter “was a harsh and painful reality for your peoples. The cultural oppression, the injustices, the disruption of your way of life and of your traditional societies must be acknowledged.”
The pope continued, in remarks not quoted by Jenkins’ letter: “At the same time, in order to be objective, history must record the deeply positive aspects of your people’s encounter with the culture that came from Europe.”
According to the Jenkins, “the murals’ depiction of Columbus as beneficent explorer and friend of the native peoples hides from view the darker side of this story, a side we must acknowledge.”
Carol Delaney, an emerita professor of anthropology at Stanford University and author of “Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem,” told CNA in 2017 that a popular current narrative around Columbus is tarred by bad history.
“They’re blaming Columbus for the things he didn’t do. It was mostly the people who came after, the settlers,” Delaney said. “He’s been terribly maligned.”
She said Columbus initially had a favorable impression of many of the Native Americans he met and instructed the men under his command not to abuse them but to trade with them; he also punished some of his own men who committed crimes against the natives.
Delaney acknowledged that some Native Americans were sent to Spain as slaves or conscripted into hard labor at the time Columbus had responsibility for the region, but she attributed this mistreatment to his substitutes acting in his absence.
And the Knights of Columbus have said that their namesake “has frequently been falsely blamed for the actions of those who came after him and is the victim of horrific slanders concerning his conduct.”
Leo XIII wrote an encyclical marking the Columbian quadricentennial in 1892, reflecting on Columbus’ desire to spread the faith. In Quarto abeunte saeculo, the pope wrote that Columbus “resolved to go before and prepare the ways for the Gospel” by his exploration.
“When [Columbus] learned from the lessons of astronomy and the record of the ancients, that there were great tracts of land lying towards the West … he saw in spirit a mighty multitude, cloaked in miserable darkness, given over to evil rites, and the superstitious worship of vain gods. Miserable it is to live in a barbarous state and with savage manners: but more miserable to lack the knowledge of that which is highest, and to dwell in ignorance of the one true God. Considering these things, therefore, in his mind, he sought first of all to extend the Christian name and the benefits of Christian charity to the West,” Leo declared.
Jenkins claimed that the goal of covering up the murals is to respect both them “and the reality and experience of Native Americans in the aftermath of Columbus’s arrival.”
“We wish to preserve artistic works originally intended to celebrate immigrant Catholics who were marginalized at the time in society, but do so in a way that avoids unintentionally marginalizing others. The course described above, we believe, honors the University’s heritage, of which we are justly proud, and better respects the heritage of native peoples, who have known great adversity since the arrival of Europeans.”
Jenkins opened his letter saying the announcement was timed to coincide with the feast of Bl. Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and “Walk the Walk Week,” a series of events, begun in 2016, at the University of Notre Dame “to help us consider how we – both individually and collectively – might take an active role in making Notre Dame even more welcoming and inclusive.”
The priest concluded his letter saying, “Remembering the legacy of Dr. King and asking in prayer for the intercession of Fr. Moreau, let us renew in our minds and hearts our commitment to respect the dignity of all individuals, their communities, and their cultures, with particular concern for the most vulnerable.”
Eugene F. Rivers, III, founder of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, wrote in a 2016 column at CNA that proposals to end Columbus Day are divisive, and based on stereotypes. While there were deplorable consequences of colonization, attacks on Columbus “were created in the 1920s by the Ku Klux Klan as part of a targeted assault on Italians, Catholics, and the Catholic charitable group the Knights of Columbus,” he wrote.
A little more than a year ago, in December 2017, university spokesman Dennis Brown said that the murals “are of historic and artistic value, and the University has no plans to remove them.”
The head of the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame welcomed Jenkins' decision, and wrote to the South Bend Tribune expressing hope that the administration “will continue to prioritize Native issues on our campus in the coming weeks and months as there is still work to be done.”