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Group of Jewish parents sue state of California for equal access to special needs education
Posted on 03/15/2023 18:30 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 15, 2023 / 10:30 am (CNA).
A group of Jewish parents filed a lawsuit Monday against the California Department of Education, calling for the state to provide religious schools with equal access to special needs education funding for their students.
Under California law, federal and state special education funding is available to public schools and secular private schools. However, state law prohibits these funds from going to private religious schools, such as the Orthodox Jewish schools these California parents want their children to attend. The prohibition also applies to Catholic schools, Protestant Christian schools, Muslim schools, and any other religiously affiliated school.
“It takes a special kind of chutzpah to deny Jewish kids with disabilities equal access to special education benefits,” Eric Rassbach, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, said in a statement. Becket, which provides pro bono legal assistance to defend religious liberty, is representing the parents in this lawsuit.
“California politicians can end this unlawful discrimination the easy way or the hard way,” Rassbach continued. “Either they change the law that is hurting children with disabilities, or they can shamefully fight in court for the right to discriminate.”
The lawsuit represents three sets of Jewish parents whose children require special needs education. According to a news release from Becket, the parents desire that their children receive an education that allows them to reach their full potential and is centered on Jewish religious beliefs. The news release notes that both Shalhevet High School and Yavneh Hebrew Academy want the ability to provide this education to children with special needs but do not have any access to state or federal funding for those services.
“California’s elected officials should want to help the most vulnerable members of our society, not hurt them,” Rassbach said. “There is no reason to stand by this outmoded law instead of giving kids with disabilities equal access to benefits.”
The lawsuit claims that the current funding rules violate the parents’ civil rights under the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. According to the lawsuit, the policy violates the First Amendment in several different ways.
The lawsuit argues that the rule “categorically excludes religious schools” from a public benefit otherwise provided to members of the community “because of their religious exercise.” They argue further that the rule treats “secular activity more favorably than religious exercise” and that “religious schools must give up their religious identity” to access these funds. They also argue that the rule discriminates against the parents’ right to “direct the religious upbringing of their children.”
According to the lawsuit, the rule violates the Fourteenth Amendment because it denies the parents’ constitutional right to equal protection under the law and that the Department of Education does “not have a compelling interest in discriminating on the basis of religion.”
Laura Wolk Slavis, who serves as counsel at Becket, told CNA that the “[legal] precedent is absolutely on our side” given recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Once a state offers a public benefit, it can’t exclude otherwise qualified participants just because they’re religious,” Wolk Slavis said.
On June 21, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that a Maine law violated the First Amendment because it provided tuition assistance to private secular schools but categorically excluded religious schools from accessing the same funds. On June 17, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the City of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment by denying a contract with Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia because its foster care agency refused to place children with homosexual couples on religious grounds.
Wolk Slavis said the California policy is based on an “outdated reflection of the First Amendment and must be changed.” She said it’s not clear how many parents and students are affected by the law because it does not allow religious schools to even apply for the funding but estimates that it affects a few thousand students.
A spokesperson for the California Department of Education told CNA that the department has not been served with the lawsuit yet and cannot comment because it could not fully review the lawsuit.
Texas man sues ex-wife’s friends for facilitating unborn child’s abortion
Posted on 03/15/2023 16:25 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Denver, Colo., Mar 15, 2023 / 08:25 am (CNA).
A Texas man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of his aborted unborn child. The lawsuit seeks more than $1 million from each of the three women the man says helped his then-wife obtain abortion pills.
“Abortion harms not only the unborn children who are killed but also the fathers who have had their fatherhood stolen from them,” Peter Breen, executive vice president and head of litigation at the Thomas More Society, said March 11.
Breen’s Chicago-based public interest law firm is representing the father, Marcus A. Silva of Galveston County, Texas.
“We commend Mr. Silva for stepping forward, and we will help any father who seeks justice on behalf of his unborn child who is killed in an unlawful abortion,” Breen said.
Silva’s ex-wife is not a defendant in the lawsuit. She had filed for divorce in May 2022 and the couple divorced in February. They have two living daughters. According to the lawsuit, she learned she was pregnant in July 2022.
According to Silva’s lawsuit, she “concealed this pregnancy from her husband and decided to kill the unborn child without Marcus’ knowledge or consent.” The wife’s friends allegedly conspired with her “to murder her unborn child with illegally obtained abortion pills.”
“The wrongful-death statute allows surviving parents to sue those who cause the death of an unborn child by a wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default,” says the lawsuit, which refers to the unborn child as “baby Silva.”
“Jackie Noyola, Amy Carpenter, and Aracely Garcia each caused the death of baby Silva through their wrongful acts,” says the lawsuit, which expressly notes that Silva’s ex-wife is exempt from civil and criminal liability.
In July 2022 Silva’s then-wife sought assistance in obtaining abortion pills from Noyola and Carpenter, who live in Houston. They offered their homes as a place where the abortion could take place. Garcia, the third defendant, allegedly conspired with Noyola to obtain the abortion pills in Houston.
None of the defendants are physicians or health care providers and the abortion pills were not administered in accordance with the law, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit is more aggressive in choosing to allege wrongful death.
It does not take advantage of a 2021 Texas law that allows private citizens to sue anyone believed to be involved in helping a woman procure an illegal abortion in the state. The legal awards under this law are only in the tens of thousands of dollars, National Public Radio reported. One of Silva’s attorneys is Briscoe Cain, a state representative who helped design that legislation.
Damages for wrongful death are much more severe. The lawsuit cites a Texas law that dates back to 2003. That law states a person who assists a pregnant woman in obtaining a self-managed abortion has committed murder and can be sued for wrongful death.
“Anyone involved in distributing or manufacturing abortion pills will be sued into oblivion,” Cain said in a March 11 statement. “That includes CVS and Walgreens if their abortion pills find their way into our state.”
Breen, the Thomas More Law Center attorney, agreed.
“It’s well past time to hold accountable those who are involved in the distribution and manufacture of these murderous drugs,” he said.
The manufacturer of the abortion pill used by the pregnant woman is also liable for the baby’s death and will be added as a defendant once it is identified, the lawsuit says. Anyone else involved in the distribution of the abortion pills is also liable.
The lawsuit also seeks an injunction barring the defendants from distributing abortion pills.
The lead attorney in Silva’s lawsuit is Jonathan Mitchell, former solicitor general of Texas.
Joanna Grossman, a law professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, called the lawsuit “absurd and inflammatory.” In her view, there is no underlying cause of legal action for a self-managed abortion because the pregnant woman is protected from prosecution. She said the law will have a chilling effect on those who seek to help others procure an abortion.
“Who is going to want to help a friend find an abortion if there is some chance that their text messages are going to end up in the news? And maybe they’re going to get sued, and maybe they’re going to get arrested, and it’s going to get dropped eventually, but in the meantime, they will have been terrified,” Grossman told the Texas Tribune.
While Grossman doubted that the lawsuit would hold up in court, Charles Rhodes, a law professor at South Texas College of Law, told the Texas Tribune the lawsuit could have merit under Texas law.
National Catholic Prayer Breakfast speakers address attacks on human dignity
Posted on 03/14/2023 21:30 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 14, 2023 / 13:30 pm (CNA).
Ongoing attacks against human dignity were the focus of this year’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, which took place in Washington, D.C., Tuesday morning.
Addressing an audience of more than 1,000 people, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archbishop Borys Gudziak brought attention to the human toll of the continuing war in Ukraine.
“What is the worth of our dignity?” Gudziak asked during his keynote address. “Ukrainians are sacrificing their lives for the land, justice, truth, and dignity that God gives us.”
“In the 21st century … when truth is transactional, when media, politics, diplomacy, and popular culture are by a post-truth anti-ethic,” Gudziak said, “Ukrainians have been saying, ‘No, not so fast. There is good and there is evil. There is truth and there are lies.’ And they are doing it at the risk of their own lives.”
In a moving moment, Gudziak brought up to the stage a Ukrainian father whose son was killed while fighting against the Russian invasion in the Ukrainian armed forces.
“Last June his son … gave his life for human dignity,” Gudziak said. “Like the heavenly Father, he blessed his son on a mission that led to the sacrifice of his life.”
Gudziak thanked the American Church for its support and asked for continued prayers as Ukraine fights Russian aggression.
Speakers at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast also addressed violations of human dignity occurring within the United States.
Catholic bioethicist Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, spoke about the continued threat of abortion to the unborn and mothers.
Snead called for a compassionate Catholic response to attacks against human dignity through abortion, especially now in a post-Roe v. Wade world.
Abortion, Snead said, divides the world into “persons who bear human rights and nonpersons who live on the sufferance of others based on their interests and desires. And in doing so, isolating the woman in her moment of need and absolving us of our obligation to care for her and her child. ‘Her body, her choice, her problem.’”
“We are made for love and friendship,” Snead said. “We as Catholics are specially equipped and called upon and have a special obligation to build a culture of life and a civilization of love.”
“[Catholics must] respond with love — radical, unconditional, self-emptying love,” Snead added. “Love of neighbor, love of mothers, fathers, and their babies. Love of our enemies … locking arms to care for moms and babies and families, seeking to put women and children and families first as we rise to build a culture of life and civilization of love in a post-Roe world.”
Mary Rice Hasson, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, accepted the 2023 Christifideles Laici Award honoring the work of the laity. She is the co-founder and director of the Person and Identity Project. In her speech, Hasson brought attention to the increasing gender ideology indoctrination in public schools, yet another form of attack against human dignity facing children outside the womb.
According to Hassan, 80% of Catholic children attending non-Catholic schools are inundated by an LGBTQ+ ideology that is both antithetical to Catholic teaching and human dignity.
“It’s impossible for 40 hours a year of religious education to overcome 1,200 hours of being saturated in an anthropology that is false, that renders [children’s] hearts and minds inhospitable to the Gospel,” Hassan said. “Drawn in by this false anthropology, burdened with a false freedom to have to create themselves, young people don’t know who they are.”
“But there’s hope. Our hope is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This moment, where gender ideology is flooding our culture is a tremendous opportunity,” Hassan added. “Young people are seeking meaning; they want to know who they are. And we have an answer to give them: ‘You are a son or daughter of the Lord. You are loved incredibly. God has a plan for your life.’”
Since 2004, the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast has gathered politicians and Catholic leaders from across the country for a morning of prayer and fellowship.
Other key leaders in attendance this morning included Sen. Pete Ricketts, R-Nebraska; former U.S. Attorney General William Barr; and the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.
Citing abuse lawsuits, California’s smallest diocese files for bankruptcy
Posted on 03/14/2023 17:47 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Denver, Colo., Mar 14, 2023 / 09:47 am (CNA).
The Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa in northern California said on Monday that it will file for bankruptcy, citing the number of child sexual abuse lawsuits filed against it in the last three years. Many alleged abuse incidents are more than three decades old.
“While I have been anticipating this action for more than a full year, it is most distressing to have the duty of actually proceeding with this filing,” Bishop Robert F. Vasa said in a March 10 statement. “Nevertheless, I remain convinced that it is a necessary step for the diocese and the only way to resolve the claims which have been presented against it.”
In December 2022 the diocese announced plans to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy following “careful and prayerful consideration” and seeking the advice of priests, the diocesan finance council, and professional counsel. Santa Rosa serves about 180,000 Catholics among about 950,000 residents, according to figures on the diocesan website. By population, it is California’s smallest Catholic diocese, with 41 parishes and 22 missions.
The State of California passed legislation allowing a three-year exemption to the statute of limitations on sexual abuse lawsuits. The window began Jan. 1, 2020, and ended Jan. 2, 2023.
A similar legal window was opened in 2003, but it did not allow for retrospective lawsuits against hospitals and schools where abuse was alleged.
“These cases are too numerous to settle individually and so they have accumulated until the closing of the three-year window,” Vasa said. “Now that the window is closed, we have received notice of at least 160 claims and we have information that perhaps more than 200 claims have been filed in total against the diocese.”
More than 115 cases date back more than 30 years, Vasa said. According to a diocesan question-and-answer briefing paper, some of the lawsuits involve alleged incidents from more than 60 years ago.
The bishop emphasized Catholic child protection and safe environment efforts in the last 20 years have sought to prevent abuse. All employees and volunteers now face background screenings.
The bishop said it is the diocese’s prayer “that children are actually kept safer now than in the past and that all in our pews are more aware and vigilant about potential risks.”
“Nevertheless, we are deeply saddened that so many have endured abuse in the past and that the scourge of child sexual abuse is a part of our diocesan history. The present action of the diocese is necessary and through this process we hope to provide for those who have come forward and who are yet to come forward at least some compensation for the harms they have endured.”
The Santa Rosa Diocese has about 200,000 Catholics out of a population of close to 1 million.
In 2003, the Santa Rosa Diocese faced “similar circumstances” but “many fewer cases.”
The diocese sold property, borrowed money, and paid about $12 million in settlements, with another $19 million from insurance. Since 2003, it has spent another $4 million in individual settlements.
“Now, facing at least 160 new cases, with excess property depleted, with insurance for many of the years either nonexistent or exhausted it is impossible to see any way forward without recourse to the bankruptcy protections our country makes available.”
Filing for bankruptcy will provide “a process to carefully evaluate and compensate, as fairly as possible, those who have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse.” It will allow all parties to resolve their claims under the bankruptcy court’s supervision, and the diocese may deal with these issues collectively rather than one by one.
“At the same time, the process provides a way for the diocese to continue the various charitable ministries in which it is engaged,” he said.
Bishop Vasa said only the diocese’s “corporation sole” known as the Roman Catholic Bishop of Santa Rosa is filing for bankruptcy. Parishes and schools are separate civil corporations or ecclesial entities and “should not be parties to this filing.”
The bankruptcy proceedings will determine whether any parish and school entities will take part in the process, he said.
The diocese provided a question-and-answer briefing that addressed several questions, including whether parishes or schools will be forced to close because of the bankruptcy process. The diocese noted that creditors have challenged the separate corporate status of Catholic parishes or schools in other dioceses’ filings.
“That is why our pastors and other religious entities of the diocese have sought independent legal counsel to represent parish interests in this process.”
The diocese noted that the Legislature could again change the law to create more “look-back windows” for lawsuits or eliminate statutes of limitations entirely. The most recent changes now allow an abuse victim to sue by the age of 40 years or five years after they realized the abuse caused harm to them. Previously, the statute of limitations barred lawsuits after the victim turned 28 years old.
A bankruptcy reorganization protects against any lawsuits in the future, it said.
“It is the only way to get all of the claimants to the table at once and negotiate an agreement that works for all parties,” the diocese said.
“A thorough process is required, and will be undertaken, to notify the public of this action and to assure that any survivors of child sexual assault have an opportunity to file claims.”
In February, Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego announced that his diocese could have to resort to a declaration of bankruptcy in 2023 to manage the cost of hundreds of new abuse claims.
More than two dozen U.S. dioceses, including two in U.S. overseas territories, have entered into bankruptcy proceedings, the vast majority in the past decade. California’s Diocese of Stockton went through a three-year bankruptcy period from 2014 to 2017.
Biden calls bans on transgender treatments for children ‘close to sinful’
Posted on 03/14/2023 01:05 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 13, 2023 / 17:05 pm (CNA).
President Joe Biden criticized Florida’s regulation of transgender medical care for children and ban on gender ideology in the classroom, calling the measures “close to sinful.”
Biden said in an interview with Daily Show guest host Kal Penn: “What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful. I mean it’s just terrible what they’re doing.”
Although the president did not specify which laws he was referring to, Republican lawmakers in Florida and other states have introduced bills and regulations to protect children from transgender medical interventions and restrict classroom instruction in gender ideology.
During his interview, Biden added that federal legislation might be necessary to prevent states from adopting certain bills that affect transgender policies related to children.
“It’s not like, you know, a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I want to become a man or I want to become a woman,” the president said. “I mean, what are they thinking about here? They’re human beings, they love and have feelings. … It’s cruel. We [should] make sure we pass [federal] legislation like we passed on same-sex marriage. You mess with that, you’re breaking the law and you’re going to be held accountable.”
In Florida, a ban on transgender surgeries and medications for children, issued by the state’s Board of Medicine, goes into effect March 16. Lawmakers have also proposed legislation banning transgender medical procedures.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation that prevents schools from promoting gender ideology through discussions of transgenderism and sexual orientation to young children in kindergarten through third grade. The legislation requires such discussions in later grades to be age appropriate.
Other states, such as Mississippi, Utah, and South Dakota, have adopted similar legislation to ban sex change operations for children. Most states do not restrict sex change surgery for minors at this time.
Although Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, called the Florida bills “close to sinful,” his interpretation sets him on the opposite side of the issue from the Vatican and Pope Francis.
The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education on June 10, 2019, published a document titled “Male and Female He Created Them,” which rejects the idea that a person can choose his or her gender.
“There is a need to reaffirm the metaphysical roots of sexual difference, as an anthropological refutation of attempts to negate the male-female duality of human nature, from which the family is generated,” the 31-page document states.
“The denial of this duality not only erases the vision of human beings as the fruit of an act of creation but creates the idea of the human person as a sort of abstraction who ‘chooses for himself what his nature is to be,’” the document continues, citing Pope Benedict’s Dec. 21, 2012, address to the Roman Curia.
“Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him,” it continued.
Pope Francis has consistently voiced his opposition to what he calls gender ideology.
In an interview on March 10 with the Argentine daily newspaper La Nación, just three days before Biden’s interview aired, the pontiff referred to gender ideology as “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”
“Why is it dangerous?” Pope Francis said. “Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women. All humanity is the tension of differences. It is to grow through the tension of differences. The question of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all alike, and that is contrary to the human vocation.”
This is not the only issue on which Biden has strayed from the Catholic faith. During the president’s interview on the Daily Show, he reiterated his support for same-sex marriage and defended his support for the Respect for Marriage Act, which federally recognizes same-sex marriage. The president has also been a staunch supporter of abortion and urged Congress to codify the Roe v. Wade abortion rules into federal law.
Thousands turn out for pro-life march in Spain to oppose laws that threaten human life
Posted on 03/14/2023 00:00 AM (CNA Daily News - Europe)
ACI Prensa Staff, Mar 13, 2023 / 16:00 pm (CNA).
Thousands turned out for the Yes to Life march in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday, where the sponsoring organizations expressed their opposition to “all laws and practices that threaten life and human nature at any moment of its existence, as well as the businesses and ideologies that sustain them.”
The event was held this year somewhat ahead of the usual date of March 25, the International Day for Life, and was supported by more than 500 organizations that are part of the Yes to Life platform.
Various participants carried banners with messages such as “You can’t be a Catholic and support abortion,” “All life is a blessing from God,” “Live out your pregnancy, give life,” “Human rights begin in the womb,” “No mother regrets being one,” and “Abortion leaves women without options.”
The march ended with a rally held on Paseo de la Castellana, a major north-south thoroughfare in Madrid, and was led by influencers José Martín Aguado and Carla Restoy.
The event included the testimonies of two women who found help from pro-lifers when they were about to have an abortion.
Marita took to the mobile stage set up for the occasion with her son Santiago to tell how the father left her when he found out about the pregnancy. The social worker recommended an abortion, but Marita was fortunate to meet volunteers from 40 Days for Life.
“They helped me make the decision. I went over to them myself and asked them for help. I wanted to feel that I was not alone or abandoned and they made me feel that way, that I was safe. And I decided not to go [into the abortion clinic],” she recounted.
“Today I am here with my son, which is the best thing that could have happened to me,” she said to the enthusiastic response of those present.
Also giving her testimony was Melisa, a young woman pregnant with her fourth child. “The social worker [asked] me what am I going to do with so many children, where am I going; that [abortion] is the ideal thing to do,” she related.
However, Melisa left the abortion clinic and talked to the John Paul II Rescuers and More Future Foundation volunteers, who gave her the support she needed to continue with her pregnancy.
The manifesto for the march, which was read by different representatives of the sponsoring organizations, proclaimed that “human beings have the right to life and to be treated as their dignity deserves, from their conception to natural death and at all times and in all circumstances.”
The declaration also pointed to “the greatness of the culture of life and its fruits. A culture that is generous, welcoming, constructive, joyful, that heals wounds and doesn’t give up.”
The manifesto rejected “all laws and practices that threaten life and human nature at any moment of its existence, as well as the businesses and ideologies that sustain them.”
The representatives also demanded “that the biological truth of human life not be covered over” and that “what abortion, euthanasia, attacks on the embryo, [and] gender ideology are should not be lied about, nor should the cruelty, injustice, and pain inflicted by the culture of death be denied.”
The manifesto demanded “that health care be provided to everyone without exception” from the unborn to the sick of all kinds, and appreciation was expressed for the work of the different pro-life groups.
“We support and thank all the people and associations that in different fields of action work for all human life, despite the many difficulties and even persecution,” the proclamation said.
The organizers promised to work so that “no illegitimate and perverse law be in force in our legal system” advocating “that Spain must be an advanced nation, progressive in terms of true rights and conservative of objective and perennial values.”
The march ended with participants releasing balloons into the air following a minute of silence during which only the heartbeat of a baby obtained from a live ultrasound was heard.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Case that could stop half of U.S. abortions set for this Wednesday
Posted on 03/13/2023 22:50 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Mar 13, 2023 / 14:50 pm (CNA).
The first hearing in what could be the most consequential abortion case since the overturning of Roe v. Wade is set for this Wednesday, March 15.
The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM), along with several other medical organizations and doctors, is suing the Federal Drug Administration for its approval and expansion of the abortion drug mifepristone.
On Jan. 3, the FDA changed its policy to allow pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, to sell mifepristone. Previously, the FDA only allowed certified doctors, clinics, and some mail-order pharmacies to dispense the drug. After the FDA’s policy change, any patient with a prescription can obtain mifepristone from her local retail pharmacy.
Represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), AHM is alleging that the FDA has been recklessly endangering women and young girls for decades by ignoring its own research and testing standards and continuing to expand its mifepristone approval.
The case is being heard by U.S. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk for the Northern District of Texas, a Trump appointee.
The Wednesday court date was announced to lawyers involved with the case on Friday.
Kacsmaryk reportedly planned to not announce the hearing date to the public until Tuesday evening and urged attorneys to not disclose the information to avoid any disruptions to the proceedings.
According to the New York Times, Kacsmaryk said that court staff have “faced security issues, including death threats.”
A high-stakes case, if Kacsmaryk rules against the FDA, the administration could be forced to rescind its approval of the drug, bringing its legal distribution to a halt across the country, even in states where abortion remains legal.
Mifepristone is the first of two drugs used in chemical abortions, which account for 53% of all abortions in the country, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The drug works by cutting off nutrients necessary for a fetus to continue developing. A second drug, misoprostol, is then ingested 24 to 48 hours later and induces contractions that expel the dead unborn child.
Mifepristone was first approved in 2000 and is commonly used throughout the country today.
“The abortion industry loves the chemical abortion regimen because it has such low overhead costs; the mother is the abortionist. The supplier of the lethal chemicals still gets paid, but the mother ingests the pills, expels the baby, and disposes of the body on her own,” California Right to Life director Mary Rose Short told CNA.
According to Short, “the abortion pill regimen [in California] is considered such a basic staple that the Democratic Legislature mandated that all state universities provide abortions in their campus health centers.”
ADF argues that the FDA never conducted thorough tests on mifepristone’s effect on minors, directly harming young girls across the nation who use the drug to this day.
Dr. Ingrid Skop, an OB-GYN and director of medical affairs at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, told CNA in February that “chemical abortion pills are far more dangerous than surgical abortion. They are far more dangerous than the abortion industry has told the American public.”
This is a developing story.
Catholic universities should do more to respond to environmental issues, Vatican cardinal says
Posted on 03/13/2023 22:22 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
St. Louis, Mo., Mar 13, 2023 / 14:22 pm (CNA).
The cardinal who is seen as Pope Francis’ point man on the environment said in an address at Gonzaga University last week that universities, especially Catholic universities, have a major role to play in constructing a plan to “care for our common home.”
Canadian Jesuit Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, spoke at his alma mater in Spokane, Washington, on March 9. Noting that Catholics are called to celebrate nature as an “expression of the love of a personal God, who brought the universe into being,” Czerny said Pope Francis invites us to follow St. Francis of Assisi in “immersing ourselves in the wonder and awe of nature.”
He asserted that since the 2015 publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home), many people now accept that it is vital to recognize the interconnectedness of the world and the ways in which many of the actions of humans are harming the planet.
In Laudato Si’, Francis decried what he described as a “technocratic paradigm,” whereby humans use science and technology to use and exploit the natural world without a “development in human responsibility, values, and conscience.” He also spoke against a “throwaway culture” that does not take into account the connectedness of living things on earth.
“We exist only within a web of relationships,” Czerny said, with God, with our neighbor, and with the earth itself. In promoting concern for our neighbors, Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan provides a model for breaking out of tribal attitudes and seeking to help other people.
In his speech, Czerny quoted extensively from Pope Francis’ two encyclicals Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti, (On Fraternity and Social Friendship). “The poor” are mentioned 60 times in Laudato Si’, Czerny said. He called for universities to provide a “concrete, visionary, and courageous response” to the problem of environmental destruction, which he said disproportionately affects the poor.
“The problem now isn’t ignorance ... the real problem, instead, is indifference and despair,” Czerny said, saying that a spate of climate-related disasters in recent years such as wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and droughts have helped to open people’s eyes to the issues at hand.
“All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements, and talents,” Czerny said. “Dialogue and better politics ... are the only, only, only way out.”
He urged Catholic universities to take care to factor in concern for the poor in “research projects, educational curricula, public programming, institutional infrastructures, policies, and practices, and political and social involvements as colleges and universities.”
Czerny also promoted a publication on “Our Common Home” developed by the Vatican and the Stockholm Environment Institute, as well as the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, an initiative Pope Francis launched in 2021. The seven-year plan provides goals, projects, and ideas for implementing environmental sustainability in different sectors of the Church, from religious orders to Catholic schools and hospitals, as well as within individual families. More than 1,000 educational institutions have signed up for the plan, Czerny said.
Above all, he said, it is important for those working to combat environmental degradation to be able to say “our Church is with us.”
Police looking for man who vandalized Connecticut Catholic church
Posted on 03/13/2023 19:38 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Mar 13, 2023 / 11:38 am (CNA).
Police are searching for a man who burglarized and vandalized Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Gales Ferry, Connecticut, early Saturday.
The Ledyard Police Department reported that the man broke into the church, smashing windows and attempting to break into rooms using a crowbar. The police reported that the man further vandalized the church by painting “hateful” messages on the floor of the church meeting hall with black paint and more “hateful speech” on a wall that displayed a large crucifix.
Based on security camera footage from inside the church, police allege the man entered the building at about 1 a.m. Saturday, March 11, and stayed in the building for about two and a half hours. The police believe the man first tried to enter the building by throwing bricks at the front door but was unsuccessful. The police believe the man then walked around the outside of the building and broke windows with bricks, rocks, and religious items before breaking into a window on the north side of the building and entering the church.
Officers were dispatched to the scene at 7:35 on Saturday morning after the church reported the vandalism. The police department obtained images of the man through security camera video. The department has notified the FBI Civil Rights Unit, the Connecticut State Police Hate Crimes Unit, and the New London Judicial District Attorney’s Office, all of which are assisting the police with the investigation.
The police describe the suspect as a male in his mid- to late-20s with dark thinning hair and a distinctive beard with no mustache. The police said the man appeared to be wearing jeans, dark work boots, and a dark-colored winter jacket and was carrying a light-colored military-style backpack.
While police were on scene at Our Lady of Lourdes, at about 7:40 a.m. Ledyard Police Emergency Communications Center received a report that Seabury Anglican Church had a broken window next to the entrance of its church. The police do not believe that the Anglican church had been entered or subjected to any further damage. They suspect the same individual was involved in both incidents.
‘The Office’ star, reacting to cannibal pastor in ‘The Last of Us,’ blasts ‘anti-Christian bias’ in Hollywood
Posted on 03/13/2023 18:50 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Mar 13, 2023 / 10:50 am (CNA).
Actor Rainn Wilson, best known for his role as Dwight in the hit TV series “The Office,” criticized Hollywood’s “anti-Christian bias” in a tweet this weekend.
Wilson’s tweet responded to a depiction of a cannibalistic Christian preacher in a new episode of HBO’s popular zombie series “The Last of Us,” starring Pedro Pascal.
“I do think there is an anti-Christian bias in Hollywood,” Wilson said. “As soon as the David character in ‘The Last of Us’ started reading from the Bible I knew that he was going to be a horrific villain.”
“Could there be a Bible-reading preacher on a show who is actually loving and kind?” Wilson asked.
I do think there is an anti-Christian bias in Hollywood. As soon as the David character in “The Last of Us”— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) March 11, 2023
started reading from the Bible I knew that he was going to be a horrific villain. Could there be a Bible-reading preacher on a show who is actually loving and kind?
Based on an award-winning video game of the same name, “The Last of Us” depicts a post-apocalyptic world in which the main characters are constantly on the run from hordes of zombies and crazed villains.
In one of the latest episodes, a Christian cult led by a preacher named David quotes Scripture to justify their cannibalism.
David the preacher also attempts to rape the show’s main female character, Ellie, who is 14.
Other Twitter users commenting on Wilson’s tweet pointed out that the show changed the character of David from the video game, intentionally making him a preacher to bash Christianity.
“As SOON as the pastor started reading from the Bible I knew he was going to be awful. I was like ‘watch that guy be David the creepy cannibal from the video game.’ And then it was David. Shocked. Surprised. Never seen it before. He wasn’t a pastor in the video game,” one Twitter user responded.
A Twitter user replying to Wilson’s tweet attacked Catholic priests, saying, “Hey maybe they could do a show about Catholic priests and all their fine work with children. Oh wait…” In response to this tweet, Catholic podcaster Patrick Neve said: “You read ‘anti Christian bias’ and thought he was asking for a demonstration.”
As one of TV’s best-known actors, Wilson’s comments came as a surprise to many who are used to Hollywood’s attacks on Christianity. Wilson is a member of the Baha’i faith and describes himself as a “spiritual being.”
“Defamation of Christianity has become the most unoriginal and tired cliches in movie/TV series storylines. Its prevalence is much more than a bias against an entire people, it is meant to undermine faith and position the secular-minded as only ones with altruistic intentions,” another user responded to Wilson’s tweet.