Browsing News Entries
Posted on 04/25/2018 00:03 AM (CNA Daily News)
Saginaw, Mich., Apr 24, 2018 / 05:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A retired judge who will be overseeing the internal investigation of the sex abuse scandal in the Diocese of Saginaw said he is committed to reporting abuse allegations to the proper authorities.
Earlier this month, Bishop Joseph Cistone of Saginaw announced the appointment of Judge Michael Talbot as an independent delegate appointed to oversee the internal investigation of the diocese, following numerous allegations against priests in the diocese, including one who has been criminally charged.
In March, police raided the home of Bishop Cistone, as well as the chancery and its cathedral rectory, citing a lack of cooperation on the part of the diocese in the ongoing clerical sex abuse investigation.
Talbot said in a statement released by the diocese that he will adhere to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a set of policies and procedures for handling instances of sexual abuse approved by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002.
"As delegate, I intend to comply with the mandatory requirements of The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the Catholic bishops of the United States," he said. "As soon as the Diocese of Saginaw receives such a complaint it will be reported to the county prosecutor where the abuse is alleged to have occurred."
Talbot, a Catholic, currently serves in the Archdiocese of Detroit on the Board of Trustees of Sacred Heart Major Seminary and is the Chair of the Board of Madonna University.
He was also a founding chairperson of the Detroit Archdiocesan Review Board in 2002, and assisted in writing the first Victim’s Rights Law for the State of Michigan, which he was responsible for implementing in Wayne County courts.
“On the occasion a person contacts the Diocese Victim Assistance Coordinator to make a complaint of sexual abuse of minors by clergy or other diocesan representative, that person will be told about the diocesan reporting obligation and also will be encouraged to directly report the allegation to civil authorities,” Talbot said in the statement.
“I also intend to seek formal reporting agreements with the 11 County Prosecutors in the Diocese of Saginaw. Beyond the legalities involved, it has been my experience that communication and full cooperation with local law enforcement serves this process well,” he added.
At a press conference following his appointment, Talbot asked that anyone with accusations of sexual abuse against diocesan authorities to come forward.
However, law enforcement involved in the investigation said afterward in a statement that people should report sexual abuse and misconduct directly to police, and not to the diocese.
According to police involved in the investigation, the diocese "cannot and should not be used as a clearing house for the reporting of crimes by victims."
"That is the function of law enforcement. Any victims of abuse or other crimes should report their allegations directly to law enforcement as opposed to the Diocese or Judge Talbot, its independent delegate."
Two priests have been placed on leave from their duties after a recent wave of accusations of sexual abuse against priests in the Saginaw diocese.
In February, Fr. Robert DeLand, pastor of St. Agnes parish in Freeland, was charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of gross indecency between male persons, and one count of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct/personal injury, following the accusations of a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old high school student.
In early April, DeLand was charged with two additional counts of felony sexual misconduct against a minor, as well as one count of possessing a controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol for a minor, according to local media.
On March 8, the diocese released a statement clarifying that further review of records determined that the diocese had been informed of rumors about DeLand in 1992, and that in 2005 a woman contacted the diocese about the possibility that DeLand might have sexually abused her brother, who since had died, in the 1970s.
The diocese said it had contracted an investigator to assess the matter, and that “the independent Diocesan Review Board, Bishop Robert Carlson, who was Bishop of Saginaw at the time, as well as the family agreed that the suspicion against Father DeLand was unfounded.”
DeLand, who also served as judicial vicar for the Diocese of Saginaw, has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation. He is also banned from school properties and from presenting himself as a priest.
The second priest to be placed on leave in the recent investigation is Father Ronald J. Dombrowski, following an accusation that he sexually assaulted a minor. According to the diocese, the alleged victim first brought the complaint to the diocese, which contacted the authorities.
While Dombrowski has not been criminally charged, he has also been banned from school properties and from presenting himself as a priest during the investigation.
In 2012, Cistone was accused of misleading a grand jury about his compliance in the destruction of documents containing the names of priests suspected of child molestation in 1994, while he was a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Cistone was not criminally charged in the incident.
Posted on 04/24/2018 23:33 PM (CNA Daily News)
Munich, Germany, Apr 24, 2018 / 04:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The government of Bavaria has decided to instruct all state administrative buildings in the German state to display a cross in their public entrances by June 1.
The move intends to “express the historical and cultural character of Bavaria” and present “a visible commitment to the core values of the legal and social order in Bavaria and Germany”, the office of Markus Söder, Bavaria’s premier, announced April 24.
The Bavarian Interior Minister, Joachim Herrmann, hailed the decision as a “clear signal for Christian tradition”. Söder was quick to put his cabinet's decree into action, personally hanging up a cross on the wall of the State Chancellery, and tweeting that this constitutes a commitment to Bavarian identity and Christian values.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="de" dir="ltr">Klares Bekenntnis zu unserer bayerischen Identität und christlichen Werten. Haben heute im Kabinett beschlossen, dass in jeder staatlichen Behörde ab dem 1. Juni ein Kreuz hängen soll. Habe direkt nach der Sitzung ein Kreuz im Eingangsbereich der Staatskanzlei aufgehängt. <a href="https://t.co/o99M0dV4Uy">pic.twitter.com/o99M0dV4Uy</a></p>— Markus Söder (@Markus_Soeder) <a href="https://twitter.com/Markus_Soeder/status/988768341820170240?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 24, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Municipal and regional district buildings are not compelled, but encouraged to do likewise. Classrooms and courtrooms in traditionally Catholic Bavaria are already required to display a cross.
As some observers were quick to point out, the decision to display the crosses in the entranceways and not the actual government office rooms may be aimed at avoiding the controversy the display of the Christian symbol in classrooms and courtrooms has caused in the past.
Opposition party members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Greens criticised the move as an election campaign tactic. Meanwhile, the elected representative of the famous village of Oberammergau, whilst denouncing any political instrumentalization of the cross, also welcomed the potential for his electorate’s artisanal woodcarvers.
Bavarian voters will go the polls Oct 14 to elect a new government – and will likely return the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) government. The conservative CSU is the Bavarian sister party to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union of Germany. It has dominated Bavarian politics – and provided the State Premier – since 1957.
Posted on 04/24/2018 21:59 PM (CNA Daily News)
London, England, Apr 24, 2018 / 02:59 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Ailing toddler Alfie Evans will not be permitted to fly to Rome for additional treatment, a judge ruled on Tuesday during an emergency hearing.
The emergency hearing came the day after Evans’ life support machine was removed, then oxygen and hydration were readminsitered when the boy survived for several hours, contrary to the prediction of doctors.
Judge Anthony Hayden of the High Court said that this will be the “final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy.”
New: Alfie Evans family has lost its legal challenge to fly him to Italy for treatment in what judge calls the “final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy”
— Josh Halliday (@JoshHalliday) April 24, 2018 Earlier this week, Evans had been granted Italian citizenship in hopes that this would convince the court to allow him to be sent to Rome to be treated at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital. The judge, however, ruled that this would not be within his best interest and he would not be allowed to travel to Rome or Munich, where another hospital had offered to treat him. An air ambulance had been at the ready to quickly transport Evans to Italy had the judge approved the transfer.
Instead, Evans will remain at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, or may eventually be permitted to return home with his parents.
Evans is a 23-month-old toddler who is in what physicians have described as a “semi-vegetative state” due to a mysterious degenerative neurological condition that doctors at Alder Hey Hospital have not been able to properly diagnose. He has been hospitalized since December of 2016.
In March, London’s Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s decision to end life support for Evans. Judge Hayden of the High Court ruled that “continued ventilator support is no longer in Alfie’s interests.”
Evans’ parents, Kate James and Tom Evans, had repeatedly made requests to transfer him to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome, for further diagnosis and treatment.
They said that Evans had recently grown “stronger and more responsive,” noting that he could take a few breaths on his own and was stretching, coughing, swallowing, and yawning. However, Alder Hey Hospital repeatedly refused the transfer, deeming it “futile.”
Until Monday, doctors did not believe that he was capable of breathing on his own, but he surprised his doctors by surviving the night breathing unaided after the removal of his ventilator. According to his father, doctors eventually gave Evans water and supplemental oxygen, but the child has not been given nutrition for nearly a day.
“Coming up to 24 hours (without breathing assistance) and he’s fighting,” said his father, Tom Evans. “Gorgeous features, pink lips, handsome grown up face, an odd cheeky smile now and again.”
Evans’ father traveled to Rome to meet with Pope Francis on April 18. He pled for asylum for his family in Italy, so that his son could be moved.
Pope Francis had offered prayers for Evans and his family several times, including at a general audience and in several Twitter posts.
“Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted,” he said on Twitter Monday.
Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 23, 2018 On April 23, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti granted citizenship to the toddler, in hopes that being an Italian citizen would allow the child to be transferred to Italy immediately.
Evans’ supporters--who include bishops, members of parliament, and other prominent figures--have dubbed themselves “Alfie’s Army” to spread awareness and to provide encouragement for the family.
In recent days, protesters numbering in the hundreds had swarmed around Alder Hey Hospital, calling on the institution to respect the rights of Evans’ parents and allow him to be transferred.
Friends, let's join with the Holy Father in praying for this poor boy and his family. May God bless them! https://t.co/bN4yllRNKk
— Bishop Robert Barron (@BishopBarron) April 24, 2018
A UK hospital is holding an Italian citizen hostage and intends to deprive him of life-giving treatment against the wishes of his parents. @BorisJohnson & @foreignoffice must act quickly to let Alfie live. https://t.co/rJtMBGXhzs @ItalyinUK #AlfieEvans #AlfiesArmy
— Sir Edward Leigh MP (@EdwardLeighMP) April 23, 2018
Let’s offer heartfelt prayers today for little Alfie Evans - now an Italian citizen - and his courageous parents. If there is anything at all that can be done, may the Lord enable us by His love and grace to effect it.
— Bishop Philip Egan (@BishopEgan) April 23, 2018
Posted on 04/24/2018 20:08 PM (CNA Daily News)
Managua, Nicaragua, Apr 24, 2018 / 01:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As violent clashes continue between security forces and anti-government protestors in Nicaragua, an eye witness has said the country's underlying problem is the president's authoritarian bent.
Nicaraguans began protesting in the streets of Managua April 18 following the government’s announcement of reforms to the country’s social security system. The army has been deployed and as many as 27 people have been killed.
The social security reforms were abandoned April 22 by president Daniel Ortega, but protests have increased over what is seen as an overly harsh response to protesting pensioners.
Nicaragua “is living under a dictatorship with the facade of democracy,” a priest working in the country told CNA.
“We could see a transition to peaceful negotiation in the coming days and an end to protests on the street and violent repression. Or we could see an accelerated effort to amplify the protests and fight for a complete take down of the Ortega regime.”
The priest spoke on condition of anonymity due to the unpredictability of the situation.
“The continued aggression and violence on the part of the government continues to incite people to protest. One step forward followed by two steps back,” he said.
A reporter was killed during a broadcast covering the protests over the weekend, and the priest believes that the government’s strong reaction against protestors, and in particular students – including the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by riot police – motivated the latest round of protests Monday.
Nicaragua's social security system has needed an overhaul due to poor management of funds and a lack of transparency from officials, the priest said.
However, the reforms proposed last week would make Nicaraguans pay for these errors: “it was a trigger for massive protests,” he said, pointing out that though social security reforms lit the fire, the conversation surrounding the protests has changed.
The plan would have required retirees to pay 5 percent of their pension into a medical expenses fund, the social security withdrawal from employees' salaries would have increased from 6.25 to 7 percent, and employers would have had to increase contributions as well.
Though the reform was tossed out, larger-scale protests and looting broke out April 23, including demands for Ortega to resign and resulting in further violent clashes with police.
The priest said he believes older Nicaraguans had been reluctant to protest corruption because they feared violence, having lived through the Nicaraguan Revolution throughout the 1960s, '70s, and '80s.
Young people, on the other hand, “feel like it is their turn, to take up the mantle of their parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, to fight for a better future for Nicaragua.”
Bishop Silvio José Baez Ortega, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, thanked a group of some 2,000 students gathered in the Managua cathedral April 21 for being “the moral reservoir” of the Church and assured them of the Church’s support for their cause. “You have woken the nation up,” he said.
Fr. Víctor Rivas Bustamante, from the Nicaragua bishops’ conference, told Vatican News that the local bishops are “working to recover the concerns and demands of young people and of different social sectors, to lay out to the government what is being demanded so that the government can act and change its position.”
The problem is no longer just welfare reform, but “other issues: there is talk of democracy, freedom of expression, and many other things,” Bustamante said.
Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014. His wife, Rosario Murillo, is also his vice president.
He was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1985 as coordinator of the Junta of National Reconstruction, and from 1985 to 1990 as president.
Posted on 04/24/2018 19:57 PM (CNA Daily News)
Toronto, Canada, Apr 24, 2018 / 12:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto offered prayers this week for the victims of a van attack that left 10 people dead and over a dozen injured on Monday.
“I invite the Catholic community across the Archdiocese of Toronto to join me in offering our prayers for all those who were killed and injured in the violence incident earlier today,” said Cardinal Collins in an April 23 statement.
“I will be asking all 225 Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Toronto to offer special prayer intentions this week for all those who have suffered. Let us all unite in our efforts to bring comfort and care to those who are hurting today,” he continued.
On April 23, a white van was driven down a busy street north of midtown Toronto, swerving in and out of traffic along the sidewalks and leaving a trail of destruction almost a mile long. One witness, Diego DeMatos, said the scene was like “a war zone,” according to reports from CNN.
“Based on witness accounts, we have a vehicle that started north on Yonge Street from Finch [Avenue] and drove southbound at some point in times on sidewalks, at some point in times driving southbound in northbound lanes,” said Mark Saunders, the Toronto police chief, according to CNN.
Although authorities have not labeled the incident as an act of terrorism at this time, and are still investigating the motive behind it, Saunders did note that the “actions definitely look deliberate.”
Police arrested 25-year-old suspect Alek Minassian several blocks from the scene of the attack, less than 30 minutes after authorities had received a 911 call.
Minassian was charged on Tuesday in a Toronto court with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder, the BBC reported. Minassian’s bail hearing will be held on May 10.
Toronto officials said Minassian, who is from the northern Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, had not previously been on their radar. However, a U.S. law enforcement agent said that the suspect had been known to them.
The death toll from the incident currently stands at 10, while 15 others have been injured, including at least five who are in critical condition, according to reports. Mourners have set up a makeshift memorial on Yonge Street where part of the attack took place.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences to the victims and their families, and applauded the first responders for their quick and life-saving efforts.
“We should all feel safe walking in our cities,” Trudeau said.
“We are monitoring this situation closely, and will continue working with our law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.”
Posted on 04/24/2018 18:12 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome, Italy, Apr 24, 2018 / 11:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At the age of 16, Deborah Kloos was a distraught young woman who turned to the Church in hopes of finding solace, peace, and a reprieve from a “dysfunctional” and complicated family life.
She attended Mass often and sought comfort in the Eucharist. But she was sexually abused by a parish priest in Ontario.
After years of living with anger, sadness, and guilt, Kloos made her way back to the Church and was able to find healing through the sacraments. Now, she wants the Church to make praying for abuse survivors a priority.
She believes the Church has made progress on the abuse front, and has said that for real healing to happen, learning to forgive is key, as is keeping a positive attitude about the concrete efforts the Church is making.
“If we want to heal and make progress in healing we have to open up our hearts, pray together, communicate with one another, forgive one another, focus on the small changes in progress because they all count,” Kloos told CNA.
The Church “has made a lot of progress on the issue of clerical sexual abuse,” she said. “I know people are hurting deeply for this irreparable damage done as a result of clergy abuse and I know how painful it is as an abuse survivor.”
“When an infected wound like clergy abuse is covered up, it will fester and eventually will explode,” she said. “Only until the pus and ugliness is out of the wound, can it begin a healing process. It takes time, but we have to pray together and talk about it.”
Everyone deals with the trauma differently, she said, noting that in many cases people affected by abuse will likely never come back to the Catholic Church or bring their families to Mass.
“It is such a huge wound that only God can help with healing,” Kloos said, explaining that it is important for people to look at the progress that has been made and to “respect one another, because we are all human beings who are not perfect. We need God.”
Kloos, who lives in Canada with her husband, stopped attending Mass after she was sexually abused by a 63-year-old priest at her parish.
After the abuse happened, Kloos said she felt “sad and frustrated,” and was estranged from the Church for 20 years before eventually coming back when she enrolled her son in Catholic school.
“I carried a lot of guilt for years,” she said, but explained that she wanted her son to learn about God, so she put her son in Catholic school and started attending the school Masses. Eventually she began attending Mass everyday, and joined her parish choir.
The whole process “was emotionally hard for me, because I still carried so much anger and sadness, but I kept attending Mass,” she said, explaining that “the times I felt saddest and angry, I would feel this warm, supernatural light around me like a spiritual hug, like the Lord was hugging me and asking me to stay in the Church and not give up.”
However, Kloos said that after coming back to the Church, it was still hard for her to feel fully welcomed, because those wounded by abuse were not yet prayed for during Mass.
She began sending letters to her bishop in the Diocese of London, asking him to offer a Mass for victims of clerical abuse. For seven years she wrote with the same request, and she also made rosaries which she sent to clergy asking them to pray for those who have been wounded by abuse and who are far away from the Church.
She spoke of the importance of receiving the Eucharist, and lamented the fact that there are “thousands of people wounded by clergy and generations of people who may never enter a church again because of the irreparable damage caused by abuse that separated them from the Eucharist.”
There are many people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, who struggle with mental health problems, families have broken up and there have been suicides, “all caused by abuse,” she said, stressing that this is why prayer is so necessary, yet often times the issue is still too taboo to talk about publicly in the Church.
“People just did not know how to deal with this,” she said.
“It is uncomfortable. I understand this. It hurts to acknowledge and talk about sin and abuse in the Church, but only when we pray together and bring the darkness into the Light, by asking God to help us, can communication, forgiveness, and healing occur.”
When the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was established in March 2014, Kloos began writing to members voicing her desire for a day of prayer for abuse survivors. She also sent them artwork she had made as a way to heal and show how she found hope.
In 2016 the commission recommended that a day of prayer for abuse survivors be established, and Pope Francis accepted the proposal, asking that it be organized at a local level.
In the London diocese, the day of prayer was held on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, and “it was beautiful.” Kloos voiced her gratitude to the clerics of her diocese for organizing the now-annual Mass, saying she believes they are doing their best, and are trying to move in the right direction.
“They are good people in my diocese and I care about them,” she said. “We have really dedicated clergy in the diocese. I feel it is important to focus on the positives and when people change for the better, then we should encourage them because a change of attitude and behavior takes time.”
Kloos has maintained close correspondence with members of the pontifical commission, including Fr. Hans Zollner SJ, head of the Center for Child Protection.
Commission members “need encouragement and positive support from people, especially clergy abuse survivors,” she explained. The members “work hard and need lots of prayer and support. I want to give them this support as a clergy abuse survivor and thank them.”
Kloos said she believes that while there is still more that needs to be done to prevent abuse and help survivors heal, the Church has made progress.
Citing guidelines and safety policies that have been put into place as well as suggestions for tougher screenings for Church employees and free counseling for clergy abuse survivors, Kloos said these are “huge changes” that she appreciates.
She also pointed to a course organized by the Center for Child Protection on the dangers of abuse in the digital world, and the degrees in child safety being offered by the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Kloos voiced appreciation for Pope Francis' recent apology for having made “serious mistakes” in the Chilean sexual abuse case.
Francis “had the courage to admit what he said was wrong to the Chilean abuse survivors and is meeting them now to apologize personally.”
She voiced her hope that the Church will continue to pray more intentionally for abuse survivors, especially during Mass.
Prayer “changes hearts to enable forgiveness and healing to occur, it opens up communication between people and asks God for help for the irreparable damage of clergy abuse that people feel uncomfortable talking about.”
“I understand that clergy abuse is something very painful for everyone, especially clergy, so they need lots of prayers and support too,” Kloos said.
In terms of learning how to talk about the issue more and make it less of a taboo subject, Kloos said she knows it will take time, because people “feel uncomfortable, threatened, afraid, and it is just human nature.”
“All that matters is that the right thing is done and that people work together for healing to make our Church better.”
Posted on 04/24/2018 10:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
New York City, N.Y., Apr 24, 2018 / 03:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Disability rights activists are speaking out in opposition to a proposal in New York that would legalize physician assisted suicide.
The Medical Aid in Dying Act, or bill A.2383-A, would amend the current public health law to legalize assisted suicide for mentally competent, terminally ill patients in the state of New York. The bill was heard in the New York Assembly Health Committee on Monday, where a number of opposing groups testified against it.
“The mere suggestion that disability acquired as the result of illness is cause enough to end one’s life is a devaluation of disabled peoples’ lives, and it’s offensive,” said Kathryn Carroll, an attorney and policy analyst with the Center for Disability Rights, who was invited to testify at Monday’s hearing.
“Our focus should be on expanding access to services and supports that allow people to live with dignity, rather than assisting their suicide,” Carroll continued.
She warned of the danger posed by economic incentives for insurance companies and caregivers to push assisted suicide on the terminally ill as the cheaper option, instead of longer term end-of-life care.
“As long as these external influences exist, the promise of a choice to end one’s life is a lie,” Carroll said.
Carroll was joined by other disability advocates, including Mel Tanzman, the executive director of Westchester Disabled on the Move and the chair of the health committee at the New York Association on Independent Living.
Tanzman gave his testimony on Monday on behalf of over 40 organizations who serve individuals with disabilities in the state of New York.
“Fears of becoming disabled and facing functional loss, whether the cause is injury or illness, are often reported by doctors as reasons patients request assisted suicide in states where it is legal,” Tanzman said.
“The disability community strongly opposes the belief that requiring the assistance of another individual for activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing and toileting, is undignified or a legitimate reason for New York State to legalize physician assisted suicide,” he continued.
Tanzman additionally pointed to the possibility of “coercion and abuse” in such legislation, noting reports that similar assisted suicide measures in other states have experienced “ineffectual safeguards” against abuses for the terminally ill or disabled.
The bill’s New York City hearing is scheduled to take place on May 3, where Not Dead Yet, a disability rights activist group, will be testifying.
The Medical Aid in Dying Act is not the first attempt to legalize physician assisted suicide within New York. Last fall, an appeals court in the state ruled against a lawsuit which stated that citizens have a right to choose doctor-assisted suicide.
The lawsuit claimed that the state’s law against helping another individual commit suicide does not apply to doctor-assisted death, arguing that the ban on physician assisted suicide is unconstitutional because it denies patients the right to self-determination.
However, seven judges of the New York Court of Appeals unanimously shut down the case, saying the current law against assisting with suicide did not make exceptions for doctors. The judges also said the measure would induce undue pressure on terminal patients to end their lives.
Physician assisted suicide is now legal in a handful of states, including California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
Posted on 04/24/2018 02:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Apr 23, 2018 / 07:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis' commission for the protection of minors met in Rome last week to listen to survivors of clerical sexual abuse, and to discuss abuse prevention education and policy, and ways the Church might work more closely with abuse survivors.
According to an April 22 communique from the commission, the first day of their plenary was dedicated to hearing thoughts and testimonies from survivors of clerical sexual abuse, many of them members of the Survivor Advisory Panel (SAP) of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission of England and Wales.
Those who attended voiced appreciation for being listened to, and described the encounter as “empowering.”
One of the survivors, according to the communique, voiced hope that their visit would help the commission “develop a wider network of survivors who are willing to advise and support” the commission's work in a similar manner.
The commission expressed gratitude to the SAP group for offering their “expertise and experiences” during the plenary, saying their contribution will help the commission “to develop effective ways to integrate the voice of survivors into the life and ministry of the Church.”
In comments made in a video statement uploaded by the Center for Child Protection (CCP) April 14, clerical abuse survivor Deborah Kloos, who is not a member of the SAP but met with commission members during the plenary, said the Church needs to pray regularly for victims of clerical sexual abuse.
“It is something very important to me that our Catholic Church prays together for people wounded by abuse, because so many were wounded under the roof of the Church,” she said, asking the pope to lead the Church in praying for those who have been abused.
The wound of abuse, she said, affects survivors “their entire life and it separates them from the Eucharist.”
Kloos, who is originally from Canada, has long lobbied for a day of prayer for the victims of clerical sexual abuse, which Pope Francis has asked bishops' conferences to organize at a local level.
After her abuse more than three decades ago, Kloos left the Catholic Church for a period, but eventually came back, and sings in her parish choir.
“I feel very connected,” she said in the video, but lamented that “the only thing missing is that I don't hear the Church praying in the prayers of the faithful for those who have been wounded by abuse.”
“It's very important and I ask everyone to remember, because if we don't remember and we don't bring it out, then there's no way that healing can occur,” Kloos said. “You don't see the people separated from the Church, but there are thousands of people who don't come to Mass anymore because someone was wounded under the roof of this Church.”
During their meeting, the commission also heard presentations on the outcome of the Australian Royal Commission's inquiry into institutional responses to sexual abuse, as well as the role that faith communities play in helping to overcome trauma.
On Saturday, April 21, members met with Pope Francis in a private audience. During the encounter, the pope said he intended to confirm the commission's statutes, which had been approved for an experimental period of three years when the commission was established in 2015.
Commission members also outlined to the pope their priorities moving forward, which they said can clearly be seen through three specific working groups: working with survivors, education and formation, and prevention guidelines and norms.
After meeting Pope Francis on Saturday, the commission closed their plenary Sunday, April 22. No date has yet been announced for their next gathering.
The commission was established by Pope Francis in March 2014, and is headed by Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.
The commission's initial mandate ended in December 2017, and in February of this year the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had reconfirmed some members of the commission, including O'Malley as its president, and that he had also appointed several new members.
New members who joined are Benyam Dawit Mezmur from Ethiopia; Sr. Arina Gonsalves, RJM from India; Neville Owen from Australia; Sinalelea Fe’ao from Tonga; Myriam Wijlens from the Netherlands; Ernesto Caffo from Italy; Sr. Jane Bertelsen, FMDM from the U.K.; Teresa Kettelkamp from the U.S.; and Nelson Giovanelli Rosendo Dos Santos from Brazil.
The returning commission members are Dr. Gabriel Dy-Liacco from the Philippines; Bishop Luis Manuel Alí Herrera from Colombia; Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ from Germany; Hannah Suchocka from Poland; Sr. Kayula Lesa, RSC from Zambia; Sr. Hermenegild Makoro, CPS from South Africa; and Mons. Robert Oliver from the U.S.
Survivors of clerical sexual abuse are among commission members, however, the names of the survivors have not been made public, leaving it up to them whether they to disclose their experiences.
Posted on 04/23/2018 22:30 PM (CNA Daily News)
Guadalajara, Mexico, Apr 23, 2018 / 03:30 pm (ACI Prensa).- The reported murder of a priest in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Friday marks the second killing of a priest in less than a week in the country.
Fr. Juan Miguel Contreras Garcia, 33, was shot to death the afternoon of April 20 inside Saint Pio of Pietrelcina church, in Guadalajara, Jalisco State, authorities reported.
The murder of Fr. Contreras Garcia makes the second murder of a priest in Mexico in less than a week, following the killing of Fr. Rubén Alcántara Díaz, the vicar general of the Diocese of Cuautitlán Izcalli, on April 18.
According to the Catholic Multimedia Center, this makes a total of 23 priests murdered in the country in the last six years.
The Attorney General's Office of Jalisco State reported that Fr. Contreras Garcia was believed to have been attacked by two men from the Hacienda Santa Fe neighborhood in the town of Tlajomulco, in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.
The attorney general's office indicated the killers “entered the sacristy of the parish and straight away attacked the victim, fleeing afterwards in a compact vehicle.”
“The victim was found in the church with several gunshot wounds,” the office said.
In a message released by the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, his auxiliary bishops, the clergy and the faithful expressed “our deepest grief.”
The Archdiocese of Guadalajara urged “the state and municipal authorities to investigate and determine the facts of this deplorable incident.”
In addition, they called on “those that commit these atrocities against people's lives to reconsider the damage they do to society and the climate of anguish they bring upon the citizens, so that their minds and hearts be moved to repent of their actions.”
“We unite in prayer so that this climate of violence that afflicts our state of Jalisco would come to an end.”
The bishops of Mexico also released a statement voicing “sadness and grief over the murder of another priest in just a few days.”
“We make an urgent call to build a culture of peace and reconciliation. These deplorable incidents call all of us to a much deeper and sincere conversion. It is time to look honestly at our culture and society, to ask ourselves why we have lost respect for life and the sacred.”
“We ask the Catholic faithful to accompany their priests with prayer, especially in the pastoral service of the communities that have been entrusted to them.”
The bishops also exhorted “those who despise and take away life for any cause, to let the kindly face up God look upon you to not only lay down your weapons but also hatred, resentment, vengeance and every destructive sentiment.”
“To our competent authorities we strongly request, once again, to exhaustively investigate and determine the facts in order to act in conformity with justice and not allow this crime or the other crimes in our nation to go unpunished.”
The Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice warned that within Mexico, “the increase in violence is undeniable.”
On the council’s most recent annual list of the 50 most violent cities in the world, 12 are in Mexico.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Posted on 04/23/2018 22:00 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Apr 23, 2018 / 03:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The keynote speaker at the 2018 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast will be Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, incoming chairman of the US bishops’ pro-life committee.
The breakfast will be held May 24 in Washington, DC.
Naumann became the 11th bishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City on January 15, 2005. He was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Kansas City in 2004.
Last November, he was elected chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and will begin a three-year term in that position in November 2018. He is a member of the USCCB Administrative Committee, the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the USCCB Religious Liberty Committee, the USCCB Communications Committee, and the bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The archbishop has drawn attention for bold statements on cultural issues. Naumann has spearheaded efforts to restrict abortion in Kansas, and is well-known for challenging Catholic politicians espousing pro-choice positions.
Last year, he cut ties with the Girl Scouts, saying that the organization was “no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel.” Parishes were instead encouraged to start troops of American Heritage Girls, an alternative scouting organization.
The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast began in 2004, “in response to St. John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization.” The event is officially nonpartisan and people of all faiths are invited to attend. Past keynote speakers include Cardinal Robert Sarah and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.