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Baja California legislature inserts same-sex marriage into state constitution

Sara Valenti/Shutterstock

Mexicali, Mexico, Jun 19, 2021 / 06:00 am (CNA).

The Baja California legislature amended the state constitution Wednesday to include same-sex marriage, which pro-life activists have called a "grave attack against Baja California families."

The Baja California legislature approved gay marriage by a vote of 18 to 4, with 1 abstention, on June 16.

El Universal reported that lawmakers amended Article 7 of the state constitution to recognize marriage as the union of two people, and no longer as the union of one man and one woman.

The National Front for the Family said that "marriage between a man and a woman is the institution that provides the conditions for the integral and full development of children."

The organization pointed out that with Baja California’s approval of gay marriage, "the term marriage is emptied of its content and it eliminates support in the law for the family."

The NFF charged that by voting for gay marriage, legislators belonging to the Morena party (National Regeneration Movement) of Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the "PT (Labor Party) and Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizens’ Movement) party seriously attacked Baja California families.”

The lawmakers "didn't listen to the voice of an entire society that made them see the real needs of the state" and "decided to vote in favor of the decomposition of the family and against the well-being of thousands of children."

The coordinator of the NFF in Baja California, Marcela Vaquera, charged that “the legislators who didn’t listen to the voice of the citizens of our state and who voted to amend our Constitution dealt a severe blow to the stability of the family.”

“As parents, we seek redress from the legislators because with the legalization of same-sex marriage, the door is opened to actions that we consider unjust to our children such as transgender bathrooms in schools, activist education on sexual diversity, transgender surgeries, without parents being able to intervene,” Vaquera said.

Rodrigo Iván Cortés, president of the NFF, said that it’s “lamentable that the Baja California legislators aren’t prioritizing the family and its needs regarding healthcare, the economy and security, and this proves to us that the legislators are obeying and kowtowing to ideologies that severely harm society and even more so our children."

"Nevertheless, the NFF will continue on the national level to promote the strengthening of the family and safeguarding the innocence of our children," Cortés said.

Sinaloa also legalized same-sex marriage, on June 15.

EU founding father Robert Schuman declared 'venerable' by Pope Francis

Robert Schuman in August 1949. Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-19000-2453 (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Vatican City, Jun 19, 2021 / 05:45 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has declared venerable the French statesman Robert Schuman, known as a key “founding father" of the European Union.

After a June 19 meeting with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the pope advanced the sainthood causes of Schuman and six others.

“Schuman dedicated his life to serving the common good, seeking peace and reconciliation with Germany to create a community of European states,” Fr. Bernard Ardura, an official in charge of proposed French canonizations, told AFP.

Schuman’s efforts were “the work of a Christian, which serves as an example,” said Fr. Ardura, even if the statesman “remained very discreet about his personal life and his faith.”

Robert Schuman was born in Luxembourg in 1886. He had family roots in Lorraine, contested territory lost by France to Germany in the Franco-Prussian War. After Lorraine returned to France, Schuman served as one of the region’s Members of Parliament, in the Christian Democrat political tradition.

At one point during the Second World War, he was arrested by the Gestapo and secretly imprisoned, according to his biography on the website of the Robert Schuman European Centre.

He was France’s Minister of Foreign Relations when he announced the forming of the European Steel and Coal Community on May 9, 1950. The move is considered a first step towards the creation of the European Union.

Schuman was also a key negotiator for the North Atlantic Treaty and the European Coal and Steel Community. He served as the first President of the European Parliament which named him “Father of Europe” when he left office.

Schuman died in the Diocese of Matz in 1963. His cause for sainthood began there over 30 years ago.

With the new decree, Pope Francis also recognized a miracle attributed to Venerable Johann Philipp Jeningen, a 17th century Jesuit priest from Bavaria, Germany, paving the way for his beatification.

Fr. Jeningen was known for his holiness, asceticism, and missionary efforts. He dreamed of being sent as a missionary to India in the footsteps of his hero St. Francis Xavier, but instead was called to create a Marian shrine in neighboring Ellwangen, Our Lady of Schönenberg, which drew many pilgrims.

Ten religious sisters martyred during the Soviet occupation in Poland will also be beatified with the papal authorization of the decree.

Sister M. Paschalis Jahn and nine companions of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth were killed by Red Army soldiers in 1945 as they served the sick and vulnerable. One of the martyred sisters, Sister Rosaria (Elfrieda) Schilling, was raped by about 30 Red Army soldiers before she was shot.

The sainthood causes of three other religious sisters also advanced with the decree. The pope recognized the heroic virtue of Aniela Róża Godecka (1861-1937), who founded the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Poland; Italian nun Orsola Donati (1849-1935) of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Mother of Sorrows; and Sister Maria Stella of Jesus (1899-1982) of the Congregation of the Religious of Mary Immaculate in Spain.

Servant of God Fr. Severino Fabriani (1792-1857), the founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Providence for the deaf in Italy, was also declared venerable.

Pope Francis spoke highly of Robert Schuman in a letter signed on Oct. 22, encouraging Europeans to “rediscover the path of fraternity that inspired and guided the founders of modern Europe, beginning precisely with Robert Schuman.”

St. John Paul II also praised Schuman in 2003 for spending his political life “in the service of the fundamental values of freedom and solidarity, understood fully in the light of the Gospel.”

Marian statue untouched by car bombing at army base in Colombia

A statue of the Virgin Mary was unharmed by an attack carried out against the 30th Brigade of Colombia’s National Army. / Eduardo Enrique Zapateiro Altamiranda

Cucuta, Colombia, Jun 19, 2021 / 05:19 am (CNA).

A statue of the Virgin Mary was unharmed by an attack carried out against the 30th Brigade of Colombia’s National Army on Wednesday.

A car bomb exploded June 16 at the military base in Cúcuta, injuring 36 people.

The Diocese for the Military of Colombia said on social media that he intact image serves to "maintain the faith among the soldiers,"  and that there’s a feeling of "a miracle, of life and faith." 

The military diocese pointed out that the "Virgin of Protection", which remained intact after the explosions, "was handmade by the soldiers who are stationed with the Land Operations Battalion No. 9, right where the truck with explosives was.”

"The history of this Virgin dates back to December 2020, when it was determined that it would be located in that place, which was declared holy ground," the diocese explained.

The wife of Brigadier General Oliverio Pérez Mahecha, Patricia Pérez, proposed the design for the image of the Virgin, which was made of recyclable material.

The commander of the Colombian National Army, General Eduardo Zapateiro Altamiranda, said on Twitter that "violence will never overcome divine protection."

"Close to the explosion generated by the terrorist action in the 30th Brigade, solidly in place and unsullied, the Virgin Mother of the country's soldiers protected us and will protect us," he added.

The commander of the Army's 2nd Division, General Marco Evangelista Pinto, confirmed to the Colombian news outlet Noticias Caracol that the explosions occurred inside the garrison, very close to the entrance, mainly affecting the barracks and offices.

In a statement to the press, Defense Minister Diego Molano "vehemently condemned this vile act that intended to inflict bodily harm on our soldiers." Molana said the initial hypothesis is that the National Liberation Army, a left-wing guerrilla group, “is behind this insane and vile act.”

"The involvement of dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is also a subject of the investigation," he added.

The Colombian bishops’ conference deplored the attack and expressed its "deep sorrow for the people who have been injured and for the damage caused."

“Nothing justifies these insane and blind acts, which deeply wound human dignity and constitute a very serious offense against the whole of humanity, as they are one of the most brutal forms of violence," the conference said.

The Colombian bishops assured their prayers for the "victims of this cruel attack" and their closeness and solidarity to the families and loved ones of those injured.

"We invite the Catholic community to continue praying so that all violence between us is ended and that the united Colombian people can overcome evil through the power of good," they said.

Bishop José Libardo Garcés Monsalve of Malaga-Soata, who is also serving as apostolic administrator of Cúcuta, said that the Cúcuta diocese "resolutely rejects all acts of violence" and that the attack causes "terror, pain, uncertainty and mistrust in the Colombian people."

"We convey our deepest and sincere feelings of solidarity and closeness to the families and victims of the attack, and we have already entrusted their care and speedy recovery to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the patriarch Saint Joseph," he added.

Bishop Garcés made "an urgent call to the perpetrators of these events" to not get carried away by the whirlwind of violence that "is stirred up with hatred and revenge, and rather with the participation of all, we may find a way out through dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation.”

May Cúcuta “continue to be the place where fraternity and charity, love and respect for life are our greatest bastions in the achievement of peace. and the progress of the communities present in this border region,” he prayed.

The bishop also invited all people of good will "to pray ever more earnestly and with perseverance," asking God to keep Colombia "in the heart of his Son, a place where you learn to love and forgive."

Car bombings were once not uncommon in the Colombian conflict, which has been ongoing among the government, right-wing paramilitaries, and left-wing guerrillas since 1964.

The conflict has abated since a 2016 peace deal between the government and the largest guerrilla group, the FARC.

In January 2019 a car bomb attack at a police academy in Bogota killed 21. A vehicle carrying 175 pounds of pentolite, a military-grade explosive, accelerated into the General Santander police academy after being stopped at a checkpoint. The pentolite detonated when the SUV struck a wall. The academy was holding a promotion ceremony for cadets.

The Colombian president has not taken up peace talks with the ELN.

Religious sisters in Illinois recovering after car crash

Chaikom/Shutterstock.

Springfield, Ill., Jun 18, 2021 / 21:01 pm (CNA).

Three Catholic sisters are on the mend following a multi-car crash in Springfield, Illinois that prompted an outpouring of prayers and support from the local community. 

The sisters of the order of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George - Sr. M. Magdalene, FSGM, Sister M. Clementia, FSGM, and Sister M. Michael, FSGM - were in a car that was struck from behind June 9 by another driver. The sisters’ car was propelled into another car and “became an accordion,” said Sr. Clementia.

As of June 15, Sr. Clementia and Sr. Magdalene had both been released from the hospital to recover at their motherhouse. Sr. Michael underwent hip reconstruction surgery at St. Louis University Hospital and is still hospitalized. 

“In God’s mercy and with all our prayers, our Sisters are now on the recovery path,” said Mother M. Mediatrix, FSGM, provincial superior of the community, to The Catholic Post. 

“We continue to pray for their full and complete healing and for anyone else that may have suffered injury in this multi-car accident,” said Mother Mediatrix, FSGM.  “We give God our gratitude and love.” 

Sr. Clementia suffered a broken left leg, ribs, and vertebrae, and will have to wear a back brace for the next 12 weeks. She told The Catholic Post, the newspaper of the Diocese of Peoria, that she was lucky she wasn’t killed in the crash. 


“We shouldn’t be here,” she said to The Catholic Post. “So many miraculous things happened.”

Sr. Clementia said that she escaped more serious injury when her legs somehow were pushed to the top of the car’s dashboard. 

“Had they not, I would have been crushed under the car,” she explained. 

In an unusual coincidence, some of the first responders to the crash scene were a bishop, a priest, and a seminarian. They were a few cars behind the sisters when the crash occurred, and immediately ran to the sisters. 

Sr. Clementia could not recall the name of the bishop, but thinks he was from Texas. 

“I looked at the bishop and at first I’m thinking, ‘Is that a bishop?’” she said to The Catholic Post. The mystery bishop “went right to work on anointing us and praying over us. It was incredible.”

In response to the crash, the diocese responded with an outpouring of prayers, including two prayer vigils, to support the sisters in their recovery. 

“That’s gotten us all through it,” said Sr. Clementia. “It amazes me. It’s so beautiful.”

Sr. Clementia said that the prayers are strengthening her to “fight for my recovery, and it shows me there really is beauty in suffering, joy in suffering.”

“I never understood that until now,” she said.

Biden doesn't expect not to be admitted to Holy Communion

President Biden addresses the 2021 National Prayer Breakfast / National Prayer Breakfast

Washington D.C., Jun 18, 2021 / 20:15 pm (CNA).

On Friday, US President Joe Biden was asked about a "resolution" of the U.S. bishops to deny him and other pro-abortion politicians Communion – even though their vote this week was on drafting the teaching document, not any national policy of denying Communion.

“That’s a private matter and I don’t think that is going to happen,” Biden said.

Te U.S. bishops held their annual spring general assembly this week. The bishops debated drafting a document on the Eucharist, which would include a sub-section on “Eucharistic coherence,” or worthiness to receive Communion.

In a proposed outline of the document, the bishops’ doctrine committee cited the special need for Catholic public officials to uphold Church teaching in public life.

Biden, who is the second Catholic US president, has pushed for taxpayer-funded abortion while his administration seeks to deregulate medical abortions and to fund international pro-abortion groups.

On the 48th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement supporting Roe and stating their intent to codify it in law.

Biden repealed the Mexico City Policy, an executive policy that bars U.S. funding of foreign NGOs that provide or promote abortions. 

In domestic abortion policy, Biden moved to allow for federal funding of elective abortions by introducing his budget request for the 2022 fiscal year without the Hyde amendment. That policy, enacted in law since 1976 as a rider to budget bills, prohibited federal funding of most elective abortions in Medicaid.

Gaudium et spes, Vatican II’s 1965 constitution on the Church in the modern world, said that “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a doctrinal note in 2002 on participation of Catholics in political life. The document stressed the need for Catholics to adhere to Church teaching, especially on grave issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the CDF, cited the note in his letter to the U.S. bishops in May on the matter of Communion for Catholic public officials who support permissive legislation on grave evils.

In October 2019, while campaigning for president, Joe Biden was denied Communion at a parish in the Diocese of Charleston. A Charleston diocesan policy, which is also that of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Charlotte, states that “Catholic public officials who consistently support abortion on demand are cooperating with evil in a public manner. By supporting pro-abortion legislation they participate in manifest grave sin, a condition which excludes them from admission to Holy Communion as long as they persist in the pro-abortion stance.”

$50 million anonymous gift supports students at Los Angeles Catholic schools

Catholic school students. / cheapbooks/Shutterstock

Los Angeles, Calif., Jun 18, 2021 / 19:01 pm (CNA).

An anonymous donor has given more than $50 million to the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles for financial support for students at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Catholic elementary and high schools.

 

“The kindness and love reflected in this gift are beyond words,” Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said June 16. “This gift will change the lives of countless young men and women, for generations to come, opening up opportunities for the future they could never have dreamed of. On behalf of all these young people, their families, and the whole family of God, we thank God for this benefactor and this beautiful expression of love for the Church.”

 

The gift will be allocated over a five-year period for students at the 212 Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic schools in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles said in a statement.

 

Douglas Cooper, executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation, voiced “tremendous gratitude and appreciation” for the “transformative gift.” The tuition awards will help new enrollees but also students who left “but now will be able to return.”

 

“There is no greater gift than a Catholic education which teaches values of faith, family and service,” Cooper added. “We are beyond grateful to this anonymous donor for their kindness, leadership and generosity, and we look forward to welcoming these students and families into our family of Catholic schools.”

 

The foundation encouraged local families interested in information about Catholic schools and financial assistance to contact the Catholic schools office or visit its website.

 

“A gift of this magnitude will change the lives of thousands of students, particularly our most needy,” said Paul Escala, senior director and superintendent of schools for the archdiocese. “We are deeply grateful for the confidence and faith this gift reflects in our teachers, leaders and families.”

 

“This is a remarkable opportunity to welcome new and legacy families to our Catholic schools,” he said.

 

About 78% of students in archdiocesan Catholic schools come from an under-represented minority background and half of these schools are in inner city or urban areas.

The education foundation aims to provide tuition aid to “the most financially deserving students” at Catholic elementary and high schools in the Los Angeles archdiocese. In 2021 the foundation gave over $12 million in tuition assistance to more than 10,000 students. Over the last 34 years, it has given $225 million in aid to 202,000 students.

 

Catholic schools “rely on contributions and other support to maintain education that is affordable and accessible for all families,” the education foundation said, claiming that Catholic schools in California save the state more than $2 billion in educational funding each year.

 

All of the archdiocese’s schools will resume in-person learning when the school year begins in August.

 

The education foundation said students never stopped learning during the pandemic due to an immediate transition to distance learning. Some 96% of elementary and high schools reported regular attendance.

 

There are some 51,000 students at parish and diocesan elementary schools in the archdiocese, and about 14,000 high school students at parish and diocesan schools, according to the archdiocese’s website.

 

The U.S. is home to about 6,000 Catholic schools, down from some 11,000 in the 1970s. About 1,000 have closed since 2007. At least 100 Catholic elementary and high schools across the United States did not reopen for the fall semester last year, with many suffering from low enrollment and decreased donations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In April, the Los Angeles archdiocese announced the closure of six elementary schools and their consolidation with other schools. The schools had faced financial challenges long before the pandemic, officials said.

 

The archdiocese’s Catholic schools website said their schools “staved off catastrophic enrollment decline” during the pandemic. Though a 20% decline was forecast, elementary schools showed a 13% enrollment decline, and high schools a 6% decline.

 

The schools served over 2 million meals to high-need students and families at 40 schools through the National School Lunch Program. It helped supply personal protective equipment to all its schools and re-opened 100 schools with modified in-person instruction.

Sister Dale McDonald, public policy director of the National Catholic Educational Association, told CNA in June 2020 that about 80% of most Catholic schools’ operating budgets is based on tuition. Many Catholic schools hold major fundraisers in the spring, and many of these have had to be canceled, postponed, or significantly altered due to the pandemic.

'Eucharistic Revival' to begin in 2022: 'We want to start a fire, not a program'

Thoom/Shutterstock

Denver Newsroom, Jun 18, 2021 / 17:39 pm (CNA).

The bishops of the United States discussed on Friday a program of “Eucharistic Revival” which will aim to foster deeper devotion and knowledge about the Eucharist nationwide beginning next summer. 

Bishop Andrew Cozzens, an auxiliary bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and chair of the bishops’ evangelization committee, presented the plan to his fellow bishops during their virtual spring meeting June 18. He told CNA that the program aims to support and “start a fire” of devotion to the Eucharist with a particular focus on the local level— dioceses, parishes, and families. 

Cozzens said the initiative will aim to launch a “three year period of revival” nationwide, with a special focus on the local level, bringing the focus of Eucharistic revival to “any parish that desires it.”

Cozzens said the idea of a nationwide Eucharistic revival has been met with “incredible enthusiasm” already. He noted that many Catholic donors, media organizations, and volunteers across the country have pledged support. 

"One of the signs that the Holy Spirit is behind this is the incredible reception that so many different apostolates and movements have given to this idea," Cozzens told CNA. 

"Everybody wants to help, which is a sign to me that the Holy Spirit's really doing something."

The development of the plan was spurred by a 2019 Pew Research study, the results of which suggested that only about one-third of U.S. Catholics believe the Church’s teaching that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ. 

The pandemic delayed the plan, Cozzens said, but also made it “even more important” given the pandemic’s as-yet unknown long term impact on Mass attendance. 

The three-year Eucharistic Revival program will include three tiers: parish, diocesan, and nationwide. 

Beginning in July 2022, dioceses across the country will be encouraged to hold Eucharistic events and make the Eucharist a primary focus. The bishops aim to provide free teaching materials on the Eucharist, developed with the help of various catechetical partners, as soon as possible to assist dioceses in this, Cozzens said. 

Following that, in July 2023, parishes will be encouraged to do the same. Cozzens said they want to encourage “grassroots creativity” and embrace diverse Eucharistic traditions to help parishes foster a greater love for the Eucharist among their members. Parish level initiatives could include offering teaching Masses and small group formation. 

Throughout the presentation, Cozzens repeatedly emphasized the importance of spreading the practice of Eucharistic adoration, especially since he has seen the positive impact that adoration continues to have on young people. 

"There's a strong sense among those who work with young people that that encounter [with Jesus] happens profoundly through Eucharistic adoration," Cozzens said. 

“We want to encourage every parish to think about increasing Eucharistic adoration as part of the life of this revival,” he said. 

The revival would culminate in summer 2024 with a Eucharistic celebration event, held in a major city, that would serve as a pilgrimage site. Cozzens said they are eyeing the Midwest as a location because of its accessibility, as well as some cities in the South; final approval for such an event would come from the body of U.S. bishops in November.

Calling the plan a “once in a generation” opportunity to impact faith life, Cozzens said the plan aims to create “Eucharistic missionaries”— people who go out to spread devotion to the Eucharist to new places, what Pope Francis calls “the margins.”

Cozzens said the bishops plan to reach out to all of the country’s Catholic universities to invite them to participate. He said he suspects some colleges will decline, but he hopes many will take them up on the offer. 

"I want to have Eucharistic processions on every campus. And we have campus ministries that are ready to do that across the nation," he said. 

Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary of Los Angeles, asked Bishop Cozzens during the meeting whether he thought the timeline for the project could be sped up, in order to start the revival as soon as possible. 

Cozzens responded by noting that many dioceses, such as Atlanta and St. Augustine, are starting “Eucharistic revivals already, and they should continue to do so as soon as they would like to. The bishops’ plan is designed to support, not replace, efforts at Eucharistic revival at the local level”, he said. 

The plan for a Eucharistic Revival comes soon after the U.S. bishops on Thursday debated drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist, which would include a subsection on “Eucharistic coherence,” or worthiness to receive Communion.

In a proposed outline of the document, the bishops’ doctrine committee cited the special need for Catholic public officials to uphold Church teaching in public life, but stressed that they are not drafting any national policy of denying Communion.

Bishop announces launch of new catechetical institute 

Bishop Frank Caggiano / File Photo/CNA

Washington D.C., Jun 18, 2021 / 17:01 pm (CNA).

In a presentation to fellow U.S. bishops on Friday, Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport unveiled a proposal for a new institute on the Catechism. 

Bishop Caggiano said the institute would not be a physical building or a single event, but would be a “comprehensive initiative” to address recent challenges to the faith in the United States. He is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ subcommittee on the Catechism, which is sponsoring the initiative.

On Friday, the bishop cited a growing disaffiliation with the faith among youth, a need for catechesis to be “informational and formational,” the necessity of using technology to preach the Gospel, and a rise in the need for Catholic apologetics. All of these are reasons behind the institute’s creation, he said.

He also pointed out the need for “inculturated Hispanic catechesis.”

“It is important for us to recognize that as the growing number of Hispanic Catholics in our dioceses continues to increase, there is a profound need for us to have an inculturated catechesis that could not be addressed by our current review process,” he said. 

Bishop Caggiano addressed the U.S. bishops at their virtual general assembly held this week. The bishops debated and voted on several action items at their meeting, including the launch of a three-year Eucharistic Revival initiative, pastoral statements and frameworks on marriage, youth and young adult ministry, and on Native American ministry, a teaching document on the Eucharist, and approval of causes of canonization.

In his address on Friday, Caggiano explained the conference’s responsibility to start a national catechetical office to review the state of catechesis in the United States. The conference was charged with attending to the relationship between editors, authors and bishops to ensure faithfulness and authenticity of catechetical programs, he said. . 

Bishop Caggiano said the institute would seek to accompany publishers in the development of materials faithful to the Catechism. He also proposed a definition of “evangelizing catechesis.”

“Evangelizing catechesis” seeks to “deepen a personal encounter with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

Caggiano said that “evangelizing catechesis” would involve proclaiming the Gospel, accompanying people in conversion to Christ, and sending out missionary disciples who promote a vision of life, humanity, justice, and human fraternity. 

Diocesan and Catholic publishing house staff will be invited to “annual formational experiences” of the institute, he said. Caggiano envisioned an environment that is “prayerful, studious and communal to both inform and form” those attending.

The virtual launch of the initiative is scheduled for December 2021. Caggiano said his plan was to establish the first in-person gathering - for every bishop and his diocesan staff - in Baltimore in November 2022. 

The institute will serve its “key stakeholders” of bishops on the education, doctrine, and family life committees, as well as the bishops of the 21 dioceses with catechetical publishing houses, he said. 

Continue pressing for immigration reform, US bishops told

Bishop Mario Dorsonville.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 18, 2021 / 16:29 pm (CNA).

The Church must continue to push for immigration reform and to address the root causes that make people migrate to the United States, the head of the US bishops’ migration committee said Friday.

Bishop Mario Dorsonville, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, was presenting at the Virtual Assembly of the USCCB, in the final presentation of the June 18 public session. 

“The present administration has identified immigration reform as a priority, and we hope he fulfills that commitment through bipartisan Congressional engagement,” he said. 

Bishop Dorsonville noted that several bills have been passed since March, but that there was more work to be done. 

“As a Church we recognize the inherent God-given dignity of every human person, regardless of immigration status, therefore we will continue to call for comprehensive immigration reform, consistent with the common good that preserves family unity, honors due process, respects the rule of law, recognizes the contribution of foreign-born workers, defends the vulnerable, and addresses the root causes of migration,” he said. 

Bishop Dorsonville identified the root causes of migration as violence, corruption, a lack of opportunity, and climate change, among many other things. 

“After this pandemic, today, more than ever, the Church becomes a Church of mercy,” said Bishop Dorsonville. “Let us see how we are continue to move from indifference to solidarity, guided by the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis in Fratelli tutti, where he exhorts us to be brothers and sisters, who bring a sense of love, faith, and hope, especially the presence of Jesus Christ, in the lives of those who most need it.” 

He said that working alongside other organizations, including Catholic Charities and other nonprofits, would be able to make a “real immediate impact” in the United States. 

“As we welcome the immigrants, we become a country with borders that have to be open,” he said. But merely opening borders, he said, would not fix the problem, and he urged the United States to “become an example for others to follow.”



“The government, the civil society, the Church in developed countries have a major role to play in this process,” he said. 

“I know many of us have had the opportunity to see the suffering face of Jesus Christ in the life of the immigrants,” he said, noting that many of his brother bishops have visited detention centers and celebrated Masses for the detained immigrant population.

“We know that with the drama and the process they have to endure, and the heavy loads they have to carry out,” he said.

The Washington auxiliary bishop called for the other bishops to work harder to change immigration laws and policies. 

“With this, I exhort you to continue to call the people who have the power in your churches to change the law,” said Bishop Dorsonville. “To pray for them, and especially, to be available to them.” 

“I really think that this is a Christian initiative, where we have to continue to be open to respond to the human drama that is in front of each of us.”

Pro-abortion Catholic Democrats: Don’t deny us the Eucharist

Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 18, 2021 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

Dozens of Catholic members of Congress issued a statement on Friday claiming that denial of Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians is a “weaponization of the Eucharist.”

In a “statement of principles,” 60 House Democrats – led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) – claimed their Catholic faith influences their actions in Congress, and that denial of Communion for their support of legal abortion would be “contradictory.”

“We solemnly urge you to not move forward and deny this most holy of all sacraments, the source and the summit of the whole work of the gospel over one issue,” they stated, addressing the “Church” in their statement.

“The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory,” the lawmakers stated.

Rep. DeLauro, who led the letter, has supported taxpayer-funded of abortion through repealing the Hyde amendment. She chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

Among the other signers of the letter were Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) – a pro-abortion member who unseated pro-life Democrat Dan Lipinski in a primary last year – as well as Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), recognized as a member who sometimes votes for pro-life policies but who was not endorsed by Democrats for Life of America in 2020.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who helped lead efforts in Congress to recognize the genocide against Iraqi Christians in 2016, signed the statement, as well as Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), who hosted Bishop Robert Barron for a meeting with lawmakers at the Capitol in 2019.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who signed the statement, tweeted at the U.S. bishops on Friday that he supported contraception, abortion, “treatments for infertility,” “the right for people to get a divorce,” and “the right of same sex marriage.”

“Next time I go to Church, I dare you to deny me Communion,” he stated.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is Catholic and pro-abortion, did not sign the statement. Her local ordinary, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, publicly rebuked her support for abortion in January.

Archbishop Cordileone, in a May 1 pastoral letter on the Eucharist, called on Catholic public officials to oppose abortion.

“You are in a position to do something concrete and decisive to stop the killing,” he said. “Please stop the killing. And please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil – one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right – is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith. It is not. Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith.”

On Friday, Archbishop Cordileone stated, “Our God-given responsibility as bishops is to proclaim the truth as did St. Paul: the Eucharist is the real Body and Blood of Christ. We must confess our serious sins and seek reconciliation in the sacrament before presenting ourselves for Holy Communion.”

“I would exhort us all to remember the Eucharistic martyrs who died to protect the Most Blessed Sacrament from profanation,” he added.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2271 states, “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person.”

“Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense,” the catechism states.

Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in his 2004 letter to then-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, referred to a politician’s consistent “campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” as “formal cooperation” in the “grave sin” of abortion

The 60 members pointed to other “policies contrary to the Church teachings,” including support for the death penalty, separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, denial of asylum, and reducing food assistance to the poor.

“No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist” for supporting these policies, they stated.

“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents,” they said.

The members issued their statement as the U.S. bishops met virtually this week for their annual spring general assembly. At their meeting, the bishops debated drafting a document on the Eucharist, which would include a sub-section on “Eucharistic coherence,” or worthiness to receive Communion.

In a proposed outline of the document, the bishops’ doctrine committee cited the special need for Catholic public officials to uphold Church teaching in public life.

On Friday, President Joe Biden was asked about a "resolution" of the U.S. bishops to deny him and other pro-abortion politicians Communion – even though their vote this week was on drafting the teaching document, not any national policy of denying Communion.

“That’s a private matter and I don’t think that is going to happen,” Biden said.

Individual bishops have made statements recently that, according to canon law, Catholic public officials cannot present themselves for Communion when they publicly support permissive laws on grave evils such as abortion and euthanasia.

According to a 2004 instruction by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, pastors and bishops must speak to such public officials in their jurisdictions, informing them that their positions are contrary to Church teaching and instructing them that they are not to receive Communion.

If the officials persist in their positions, then the minister of Communion must not distribute it to them, he said. Cardinal Ratzinger’s memo was an implementation of canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.

The members, in Friday’s statement, stated that their faith informs their actions, through “helping the poor, disadvantaged, and the oppressed, protecting the least among us, and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country.”

“We believe the Church as a community is called to be in the vanguard of creating a more just America and world. And as such, we have a claim on the Church's bearing as it does on ours,” they stated.

Citing the Second Vatican Council’s “renewed emphasis on the Eucharist,” they stated, “To pursue a blanket denial of the Holy Eucharist to certain elected officials would indeed grieve the Holy Spirit and deny the evolution of that individual, a Christian person who is never perfect, but living in the struggle to get there.”

The Vatican council’s constitution on the Church in the modern world, Gaudium et spes, states, “Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.”

The constitution on sacred liturgy also states that Catholics “should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it [the Eucharist] in vain.”

Gaudium et spes also states, “To the extent that they [believers] neglect their own training in the faith, or teach erroneous doctrine, or are deficient in their religious, moral or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than reveal the authentic face of God and religion."

On the life issue, the members stated their support for promoting “alternatives to abortion.”

“Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term and provide resources to raise healthy and secure children,” they stated.

“We believe this includes promoting alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, improving access to children's healthcare and child care, and creating a child benefit through the expanded and improved Child Tax Credit.”

This article was updated on June 18 with new information.