Browsing News Entries

Abortion opponents consider how far to press after end of Roe v. Wade (Wall Street Journal)

“Some powerful voices in the movement urge a measured approach guided by political realities post-Roe, seeking to ban the procedure after the first trimester in more moderate states and maintaining meaningful exceptions for rape and incest,” the report notes. “Others view this as a once-in-a-generation moment and moral imperative to push for a complete end to abortion.”

Vatican releases English translation of curial-reform constitution (Vatican News)

The Vatican has finally made public an English translation of Praedicate Evangelium, the apostolic constitution that restructures the offices of the Roman Curia.

The long-awaited document, the product of a 9-year effort to reform the administration of the Vatican, was released in March. But although the final draft had reportedly been completed months earlier, translations of the document were not available at that time; the document was made available only in Italian.

Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service observed on her Twitter account that the English translation had appeared online, without announcement, this week.

The Latin translation, which will become the definitive form of the apostolic constitution, is not yet available.

New papal document defends Vatican II liturgical changes (Vatican Press Office)

Pope Francis has issued a new apostolic letter, Desiderio desideravi, calling for “the rediscovery of a theological understanding of the liturgy and its importance in the life of the Church.”

In the new document, released on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Pope calls for unity in the Church, saying that this unity in turn requires the acceptance of changes mandated by Vatican II. “Let us abandon our polemics and listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church,” he writes. “Let us safeguard our communion.”

The apostolic letter, consisting of 65 paragraphs and about 11,000 words, calls for “a serious and vital liturgical formation” for all Catholics. The Pope opens with a series of theological reflections on the fundamental importance of the Eucharistic liturgy, then goes on to laud the directives of Vatican II as a means of invigorating the spiritual life of the Church.

[See Phil Lawler’s analysis of the papal document..]

Killing of Jesuit priests in Mexico shakes nation afflicted by violence (Wall Street Journal)

Pope Francis decried violence in Mexico following the June 20 murder of two Jesuits: Father Joaquín Mora, 80, and Father Javier Campos, 79.

“Crime has spread everywhere,” the nation’s bishops said in a statement. ”It manifests itself with levels of inhuman cruelty, in executions and massacres that have turned our country into one of the most insecure places on earth.”

In Nicaragua, the Ortega regime steps up efforts to silence civil society—especially the Catholic Church (America)

Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Marxist Sandinistas who overthrew the authoritarian regime of Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, ruled Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista takeover until his loss in the 1990 presidential election. He returned to power in 2007.

According to the report, there have been “190 attacks and desecrations against church sites since 2018, including a fire in the cathedral of Managua, as well as police harassment and persecution of bishops and priests by the Nicaraguan government.”

Abortion providers confront new landscape after Roe overturn (Wall Street Journal)

“Abortion providers in several states across the country halted services in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, while supporters and opponents began to shift their focus to pill-based abortions and how new restrictions would be enforced,” the report notes.

FBI investigating New Orleans archdiocese on abuse complaints (AP)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has opened a major investigation of the New Orleans archdiocese, centered on the handling of sex-abuse complaints.

While most criminal investigations of sex abuse by Catholic clerics has been conducted by local or state officials, the FBI has launched a wide-ranging federal probe, with a focus on possible violations of the Mann Act, which makes it a federal crime to transport people across state lines for illicit sexual purposes. Several priests are suspected of taking boys to neighboring states and molesting them.

The FBI investigation reportedly covers the archdiocesan handling of abuse complaints that date back several decades, and could prompt federal prosecutors demand the release of confidential archdiocesan records.

Both the FBI and the New Orleans archdiocese have declined to comment on the investigation.

Pelosi receives Communion at papal Mass (CNA)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi received Communion at a June Mass at the Vatican, at which Pope Francis presided.

Pope Francis was not the celebrant of the Mass, nor did he distribute Communion. The Speaker, who was vacationing in Rome, was one of many diplomats and political figures attending the Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. She received the Eucharist from a priest who may or may not have recognized her.

The feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is traditionally a celebration of the unity among the world’s bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff. Because of continued trouble with his painful knee condition, Pope Francis presided at the Eucharistic celebration but Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the dean of the College of Cardinals, was the celebrant.

Speaker Pelosi has been barred from receiving the Eucharist by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, her home diocese. But she has continued to attend Mass and receive Communion in other dioceses.

Vatican spokesman reacts to Dobbs decision, cautions against 'polarization,' 'extremisms' (Vatican News)

Reacting to the US Supreme Court decision on abortion, Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, emphasized that “Pope Francis has spoken out strongly and unequivocally” against abortion.

Tornielli’s editorial (“For Life, Always”) followed an earlier statement by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The ruling, said Tornielli, “could provide an opportunity to reflect on life, the protection of the defenseless and the discarded, women’s rights, and the protection of motherhood.”

“A serious and shared reflection on life and the protection of motherhood would require us to move away from the logic of opposing extremisms and the political polarization that often—unfortunately—accompanies discussion on this issue, preventing true dialogue,” he added.

“Being for life, always, for example, means being concerned if the mortality rates of women due to motherhood increase,” he continued, citing the increase in maternal mortality in the US between 2019 and 2020. (Tornielli did not mention that the increase was linked to Covid.)

“Being for life, always, means asking how to help women welcome new life,” he added. “In the United States, about 75% of women who have abortions live in poverty or have low wages. And only 16% of employees in private industry have access to paid parental leave ... Being for life, always, also means defending it against the threat of firearms.”

“We can hope, therefore, that the debate on the US Supreme Court ruling will not be reduced to an ideological confrontation, but will prompt all of us—on both sides of the ocean—to reflect on what it means to welcome life, to defend it, and to promote it with appropriate legislation,” Tornielli concluded.

Record number of German Catholics left Church in 2021 (Pillar)

While the German bishops advanced their “Synodal Path” as a means of renewing the Catholic Church, official statistics showed that a record 359,338 German Catholics formally removed themselves from parish registers last year.

That figure represents a major leap from the previous year’s number of 221,390 defections from the Catholic Church. Over the past decade, the average annual exodus has been slightly over 200,000, for a total of over 2 million.

The German bishops’ statistics showed fewer than 1 million Catholics attending Mass regularly. Thus the number of practicing Catholics is less than one-half of the number who have left the Church in the past ten years.

Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the German bishops’ conference, admitted that he was “deeply shaken” by the latest figures, which “show the profound crisis in which we find ourselves as the Catholic Church in Germany.” But he remains committed to the Synodal Path, pledging that the German hierarchy would “courageously continue on the path the Church has chosen.”