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After ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is dismissed, USCCB urges acceptance of migrants

Members of the migrant caravan take temporary shelter in a stadium in Mexico City on their way to the United States border, Nov. 8, 2018. / David Ramos/CNA

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2021 / 13:30 pm (CNA).

The U.S. bishops’ conference on Thursday emphasized the need to welcome immigrants after the Supreme Court resolved a challenge to the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Going forward, we must work as a nation to welcome the newcomer and respond to those in need with Christ-like compassion,” stated Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chair of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee, on Thursday.

Bishop Dorsonville issued the statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Mayorkas v. Innovation Law Lab, a challenge to the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols.

The protocols required non-Mexican asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to remain in Mexico while their requests were adjudicated in immigration court. Advocates argued that the policy, termed the “Remain in Mexico” policy, subjected immigrants with legitimate asylum claims to long periods of waiting in poor conditions.

The Trump administration implemented the protocols in January 2019. While they first applied to asylum-seekers at the San Ysidro border crossing, the policy was since expanded to include entries across the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Asylum seekers would receive a notice to appear in immigration court and could re-enter the U.S. for that court date; to stay in the U.S., they had to prove a fear of persecution or torture in Mexico.

Unaccompanied child migrants and those with known physical or mental health problems were exempted from the policy, among others.

Both a federal district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Trump administration; the Ninth Circuit court held that the Department of Homeland Security drafted the rule “without notice-and-comment rulemaking.”

The Biden administration repealed the policy on June 1, 2021. Following that decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a lower court’s ruling in the case was “moot,” and dismissed the case.

“We welcome the final resolution of this case,” Bishop Dorsonville said, while adding that the ruling “should not be seen as legal vindication” of the Migrant Protection Protocols, “which remains contrary to our laws and morals.”

He also called for an end to “the misuse of Title 42 to turn away vulnerable asylum seekers,” as well as actions “addressing the root causes of migration, and reforming our bogged down immigration system.”

“It is possible to do these things while respecting the rule of law; we need only commit ourselves to the task,” he said.

The Biden administration has ordered a review of Title 42, the policy closing entry to asylum-seekers on the U.S.-Mexico border due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The administration has not ended the policy, however.

Axios has reported that the White House is considering lifting the policy at the end of July. On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “when it comes to Title 42, there's been no change.”

Jesuit priest responds to statement of pro-abortion Catholic members of Congress

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), one of the signers of the "Statement of Principles" of Catholic House Democrats / ev radin/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2021 / 12:40 pm (CNA).

A Jesuit priest and radio host on Thursday critiqued a recent statement by Catholic House Democrats, who had asked not to be denied Communion for their pro-abortion policy stances.

In a column published Thursday in the National Catholic Register, Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, host and producer of the radio show “The Catholic Current,” argued that appeals to “conscience” and the “common good” by pro-abortion Catholic members of Congress were faulty.

Key to this debate, he said, was a discussion of the U.S. bishops last week on “Eucharistic consistency,” the Church’s teaching on worthiness to receive Communion. At their annual spring meeting, held virtually this year, the bishops voted decisively to approve the drafting of a teaching document on the Eucharist.

Included in a proposed outline of the document was a subsection on Eucharistic consistency; the bishops’ doctrine committee, which proposed drafting the document, has said it would also include a “special call for those Catholics who are cultural, political, or parochial leaders to witness to the faith” and uphold Church teaching in public life.

“What the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops debated last week, and what the advocates of the Statement hold, touch upon human dignity and divine sovereignty.  There really is a truly Catholic way of getting this right, and no one can afford to get this wrong,” Fr. McTeigue wrote.

Fr. McTeigue is a priest in the Eastern Province of the Society of Jesus. His radio show airs through The Station of the Cross radio network and on the iCatholicRadio app. He is also a member of the National Ethics Board of the Catholic Medical Association.

Last week, 60 House Democrats published a “Statement of Principles” during the meeting of the U.S. bishops, asking not to be denied Communion because of their stances on abortion. While the bishops discussed worthiness to receive Communion at their meeting, they voted simply to begin drafting a document on the Eucharist that would include a subsection on Eucharistic consistency. They did not vote on any national policy of denying Communion.

The Catholic members last Friday stated their commitment to a “living Catholic tradition,” the common good, and the “primacy of conscience,” while asking that politicians not be denied Communion because of support for “a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion.”

Fr. McTeigue responded to their statement in his column.

Citing the members’ professed commitment to the “common good,” he warned against a “utilitarian” view of the common good, and said that abortion can never be a part of the common good.

“All of our striving — and all of our individual, communal, public and private actions — ought to facilitate virtue and holiness in this life so that we may enjoy beatitude in the next,” he wrote. “Properly understood, the common good cannot possibly tolerate, much less advocate abortion.”

He quoted the members’ appeal to conscience: “In all these issues, we seek the Church's guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience.” 

In response, Fr. McTeigue wrote, “A careful placing of the word ‘but’ in the statement above makes the loophole a six-lane highway aimed away from the Church. “

“The work of conscience is primarily the work of reason,” he said, and is supposed to operate prior to emotion and in accord with Church teaching.

“Reason (rightly exercised) and faith (rightly understood) do have primacy, inasmuch as one can’t do good and avoid evil consistently without them,” he wrote. “At the same time, right reason and true faith preclude the use of the word ‘but,’ when that word is used to separate the conscience from sacred Revelation entrusted by Christ to the Church he founded.”

Noting the members’ professed membership in the “living Catholic tradition,” Fr. McTeigue offered a critique of that phrase.

The phrase “connotes that we aren’t bound to honor or preserve tradition, but that we’ll do what we want while keeping only the name of the tradition,” he wrote. “The ‘living’ part is expedient change; the ‘tradition’ part is we’re keeping the brand name.”

He invited signers of the statement onto his radio show on Friday.

“Let’s talk about it.  In the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, write to [email protected] to set up an on-air conversation with me,” he wrote. “I promise to be fair, polite, and charitable.”

In their statement, the 60 Catholic House Democrats urged not to be denied Communion.

“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.

They said to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians amounted to a “weaponization of the Eucharist,” and said that to do so “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 members 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.” They added that “we have a claim on the Church's bearing as it does on ours.”

Individual bishops have spoken out recently about the issue of Communion for pro-abortion politicians.

Regarding claims that issuing a statement on worthiness to receive Communion might be controversial and imperil the unity of Catholics, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois said this week that “There should be no unity with iniquity.”  

Eucharistic consistency isn’t simply about “abortion and euthanasia,” he said, but the problem of grave sin “of any kind.”

“It has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for the past two thousand years that those persons conscious of grave sin must first repent, confess their sins to a priest, and receive sacramental absolution before receiving holy Communion,” Paprocki said.

“This teaching is reflected in the Church’s canon law and sacramental discipline,” he noted.

Catholic columnist: ‘Brave new world’ of embryo experimentation could sharpen Communion debate

viewimage/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2021 / 11:00 am (CNA).

Recent developments regarding experimentation on human embryos could force a larger conflict between Catholic Democratic politicians and U.S. bishops on ethical issues, a New York Times columnist wrote on Tuesday.

In May, the influential International Society for Stem Cell Research relaxed its guidelines on human embryo experimentation. The society said it would be permissible to perform research and experiments on lab-grown embryos that are older than 14 days, provided certain conditions are met first. 

The society did not place a ceiling on when it would be inappropriate to research and experiment on embryos. 

“The issues raised by this shift could fill several bioethics journals, but for today I’m interested in a single political and religious question,” wrote columnist Ross Douthat of the New York Times on June 22. “Is there any scenario in which this kind of future would attract much opposition from Catholic politicians in the Democratic Party?”

“I think the answer is no: There is just too little daylight now between secular utilitarianism and liberal Catholicism in its political and partisan form,” he wrote. 

The International Society for Stem Cell Research set a previous limit on embryo experimentation at either 14 days or the formation of the first primitive streak, “whichever occurs first.” The new guidelines call for public conversations on not only the ethical concerns but also the “scientific significance” of the embryo experimentation. 

If local regulations and public opinion are in favor of experimentation past 14 days, “a specialized scientific and ethical oversight process could weigh whether the scientific objectives necessitate and justify the time in culture beyond 14 days,” the society said. 

Douthat’s column came several days after the U.S. bishops met virtually for their annual spring meeting. A key topic of discussion among bishops was over “Eucharistic coherence,” or worthiness to receive Communion; the bishops held the discussion as part of their vote to move ahead on a proposed teaching document on the Eucharist. 

President Joe Biden, only the second Catholic U.S. president, supports taxpayer-funded abortion. His administration has also moved to recognize sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in federal law, possibly setting up religious freedom conflicts with individuals and organizations that believe marriage to be between one man and one woman, and humans to be two sexes, male and female, from birth.

Individual bishops have recently brought up Eucharistic coherence with respect to Biden’s policies that contradict Church teaching. 

“Sadly, there are some bishops and cardinals of the Church who not only are willing to give holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, but who seek to block the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from addressing the question of Eucharistic coherence,” said Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, in May.

The matter of “Eucharistic coherence,” he said, “has taken on heightened urgency with the election of President Biden, a Catholic who promotes the evils of abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism.”

Last week, 60 Catholic House Democrats issued a statement professing their Catholic faith, and asking not to be denied Communion because of their support for legal abortion.

Douthat, in his column, compared the shift in bioethics to the present debate over admitting pro-abortion politicians to Communion. 

“The justification for withholding communion is straightforward, however clouded by ideological disagreements,” he said. He noted that while both of America’s political parties take policy positions against Catholic teaching, “no Republican failure to spend enough on health care of education” has the same “directly lethal consequence” as legal abortion, which has resulted in “tens of millions” of deaths.

“There are many good reasons to avoid a political confrontation over communion and abortion right now, many reasons to expect that any effort will backfire or just fail,” he noted. 

However, if a future conflict over embryo experimentation on a mass scale arises, Douthat argued that the bishops’ actions now on Communion for pro-abortion politicians could possibly have an effect on such a future conflict.

“But if, over the next few generations, we move into a world where the liberalism of Catholic politicians requires them to support not just abortion rights but a brave new world of human life manufactured, commodified, vivisected and casually snuffed out — well, then the bishops of tomorrow may look back on today and wish they’d found a way to say ‘enough,’” he wrote. 

Coalition of state attorneys general ask Congress to restore Hyde Amendment

Capitol / Lucky-photographer/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).

A coalition of 22 state attorneys general asked Congress this week to restore a prohibition on federal funding of abortions, after it was omitted from President Joe Biden’s budget request for the 2022 fiscal year.

The coalition, led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R), sent a June 21 letter to congressional leaders defending the pro-life Hyde Amendment. The policy prohibits federal funding of elective abortions in Medicaid.

Marshall told CNA in a phone interview on Wednesday that he and his colleagues want to show “a strong consensus of Republican attorneys general who not only believe this is incorrect fiscal policy for the country, this is a reversal of what was very much a bipartisan position.” 

“We are attempting to make a very strong stand on principle relating to the position of life,” he said.

Marshall argued that state attorneys general should work to protect a policy that offers conscience protections to taxpayers. “Taxpayers who fundamentally oppose abortion shouldn’t have their tax dollars pay for abortion on demand,” Marshall said. 

The Hyde Amendment, named for the late Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, is a federal policy first enacted in 1976, three years after the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision. It prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for elective abortions; exceptions were added in 1993 for cases involving rape, incest, or a maternal mortality risk. 

Since the amendment is not permanent law, it must be attached to individual appropriations bills each year as a funding condition, in order to take effect. 

As a candidate for president in 2020, Biden called for an end to the use of the Hyde Amendment, reversing his previous support of the policy that he had even outlined in a 1994 letter to a constituent.

In their letter this week, the attorneys general took aim at Biden’s reversal of support for Hyde, arguing that Congress “should not indulge it.”

“We were disappointed to find the conspicuous omission of the Hyde Amendment in the budget proposal that President Biden delivered to Congress earlier this month,” they wrote, adding that that they “have a unique interest in the Hyde Amendment as an important protection for the consciences of the millions of Americans who oppose public funding of abortion.”

Earlier this year, the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, the Democratic Women’s Caucus leaders, and some Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Biden calling on him to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and comparable policies, describing them as part of “long-standing structural racism and inequities in our health care system.” House Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a Catholic, has advocated for the repeal of the policy as well.

A Knights of Columbus/Marist poll released in January found most Americans oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for elective abortion procedures.

An effort to codify Hyde as permanent law failed on Wednesday, as House Democrats used a procedural maneuver to block a vote on H.R. 18, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2021, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.).

Louisiana governor vetoes women’s sports bill 

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 23, 2021 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have prohibited student athletes from competing in single-sex athletic events opposite their biological sex.

The state’s Senate Bill 156, the “Fairness in Women's Sports Act,” would have required publicly-funded schools to permit student athletes to compete only on teams corresponding with their biological sex, not their gender identity. Students identifying as transgender would have had to compete in the sport of their biological sex.

The governor, a Catholic, said in a statement that “discrimination is not a Louisiana value,” explaining his decision to veto the bill. The legislation, he said, was “a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana.” 

“Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue,” Gov. Edwards said of athletes identifying as transgender participating in sports opposite their birth sex.

He said the bill “would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health.” 

“We should be looking for more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens,” he said. “And while there is no issue to be solved by this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state. For these and for other reasons, I have vetoed the bill."

The bill passed by wide margins in the state legislature, by a vote of 29-6 in the state Senate and 78-19 in the state House. According to Baton Rouge’s The Advocate newspaper, those margins would be sufficient to override a governor's veto.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) on Wednesday called for a veto session by the legislature.

"The passage of the Fairness in Women's Sports Act (SB156) was a common-sense approach by the Legislature to protect women,” Landry said. “The Governor's disrespect for women by vetoing this bipartisan bill was both disappointing and irresponsible.”

In a statement, Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for the group Alliance Defending Freedom, said the group is “disappointed by Gov. Edwards’s decision to ignore the best interests of women and girls and veto the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.” 

Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting a state interscholastic athletics policy in Connecticut that allows athletes to compete in sports based on their gender identity. Four girls sued over the athletics policy, saying they were discriminated against in having to compete against biological males identifying as transgender females. 

“This legislation ensures that female athletes in Louisiana are able to compete on a level playing field,” Holcomb said of the Louisiana bill. “Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports is discriminatory and destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities.”

“We’ve seen increasing examples across the country of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions when competing as females, capturing championships and shattering long-standing female track records,” she said. In Connecticut, two biological male runners captured a combined 15 state track championship titles after the state’s policy went into effect in 2017.

“While we are disappointed by the governor’s veto, we are thankful to Sen. Beth Mizell for sponsoring this important legislation and to Louisiana legislators for taking a strong stand for female athletes,” Holcomb stated.

Opponents of the bill said it discriminated against transgender athletes. 

In a statement, Alphonso David, president of the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, called the legislation “nothing more than a politically motivated bill that seeks to dehumanize transgender children.” 

Holcomb added that she hopes the Louisiana legislature will override the veto and “join states like Florida, Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana, and Idaho that have codified protections for women’s sports into law.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 35 comparable bills have been introduced in 31 states this year, an increase from 29 such bills in 2020 and just two in 2019.

Portland archbishop welcomes ‘Eucharistic Revival,’ emphasizes worthy reception of Communion

Archbishop Alexander Sample during Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in Milwaukie, Oregon, in 2019. / Ed Langlois

Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2021 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon last week praised a new “Eucharistic Revival” initiative of the U.S.bishops that aims to foster deeper devotion to the Eucharist.

“It’s all intended to bring about a real revival in our faith, our love, our devotion and our living out of the Eucharistic mystery,” Archbishop Sample said Friday, as reported by The Catholic Sentinel. 

The U.S. bishops’ initiative, which will begin in the summer of 2022, aims to lead a “three year period of revival” nationwide, bringing the focus of Eucharistic revival to “any parish that desires it.” 

“I’m excited about this. I think it’s going to be great for the life of the church,” Archbishop Sample said last week.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens, an auxiliary bishop of Saint Paul-Minneapolis and chair of the U.S. bishops’ evangelization committee, presented the plan to his fellow bishops during their virtual spring meeting on June 18. 

Archbishop Sample noted the importance of receiving the Eucharist in a worthy manner, which he said serves as a call to all Catholics to constant conversion away from sin. 

The archbishop said that some Catholic public officials, by using ther office to advance abortion, are formally cooperating with grave evil, and thus could create public scandal by presenting themselves for Communion without first repenting of their position. 

He explained the need for Catholics to live their lives in conformity with Church teaching, to receive Communion.

“Our amen that we say before we receive the Eucharist is an amen not just to the fact that this is the body of Christ; rather, we are saying amen to all that that means,” Sample said. 

“That means our communion with the church, our communion with the faith, our belief in all that the church believes and professes, and that we live it in our own lives. We can’t live a life that is inconsistent. We can’t receive the Eucharist and then live in a way that is contrary to the faith,” he said. 

The bishops’ three-year Eucharistic Revival program will take place on three levels: 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. 

Following that period, in July 2023, parishes will be encouraged to do the same, expanding Eucharistic adoration and embracing diverse Eucharistic traditions to help foster a greater love for the Eucharist among their members. Parish level initiatives could include offering teaching Masses, and small group formation. 

The revival would culminate in summer 2024 with a Eucharistic celebration event, held in a major city, that would serve as a national pilgrimage site.

The planned revival was spurred by a 2019 study by the Pew Research center, which found that just 31% of U.S. Catholics believe in the Church’s teaching on transubstantiation, that the bread and wine offered at Mass become the body and blood of Jesus. 

More than two thirds of those surveyed, 69%, reported that they believe that the bread and wine at Mass “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” 

At the time, Sample addressed his flock regarding the results of the survey. “These results have to be a real wake up call for all of us,” he wrote on Aug. 30, 2019. He challenged archdiocesan Catholic schools, parish religious education programs, and adult faith formation programs to put a greater emphasis on the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.

“To simply shrug our shoulders at such disturbing news and move on with business as usual is simply not an option. We must do everything in our power to reverse this trend,” he wrote. 

“People will more easily grow lax in the practice of their faith, or drop out altogether, if they don’t understand and believe the mystery we celebrate in the Holy Eucharist and how that drives everything else we do in the ministry of the Church.”

The plan for a Eucharistic Revival comes after the U.S. bishops last week voted to draft 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 Paprocki: Regarding Communion debate “There should be no unity with iniquity”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki. / Courtesy Diocese of Springfield.

Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2021 / 16:56 pm (CNA).

In a statement published on Wednesday, June 23, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois lambasted recent media coverage of the USCCB vote to draft a document on the Eucharist.

Among the errors pointed out in the statement were claims by several media outlets that the “Vatican had warned the Catholic Bishops of the United States not to pass this proposal.”

Said Bishop Paprocki, “That is simply false.”

To clarify the issue, the bishop continued, “In fact, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, SJ, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had written to the president of the USCCB calling for ‘dialogue . . .  first among the bishops themselves, and then between bishops and Catholic pro-choice politicians within their jurisdictions.’ In fact, bishops and politicians have been dialoguing about this issue for many years.”

He argued that the draft document was “precisely” the impetus needed to give the dialogue form and substance. USCCB procedures will now allow for regional bishops’ meetings to discuss the document and a formal debate and vote on the document—with the ability to propose amendments—at the November meeting.

Additionally, he noted that one of the “misleading arguments” was voiced by bishops and cardinals inside the USCCB. These bishops and cardinals argued that “drafting this document …would be divisive and would harm the unity of the bishops’ conference,” according to the statement.

However, Bishop Paprocki countered that “There should be no unity with iniquity.”  

“Yes, we should strive for unity, but our unity should be based on the truths of our faith as found in Sacred Scripture and the constant Tradition of the Church. No one should want to be united on the path to perdition.”

The bishop stressed that other members of the hierarchy in Latin America united in the teaching on “Eucharistic coherence”— “including Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis).” The Latin American bishops were the first to use the term “eucharistic coherence,” though they were building off of the term “eucharistic consistency” used in Sacramentum Caritatis by Pope Benedict XVI. The term has been explosive in the American context, though it has been a feature of theological and papal thought with little controversy before immersion into its current context.

Addressing yet another inaccuracy, he asserted that Eucharistic consistency isn’t simply about “abortion and euthanasia,” but the problem of grave sin “of any kind.”

While mainstream reporting has often given the impression that the bishops recently decided only one sin will prevent someone from reception of the Eucharist, “It has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for the past two thousand years that those persons conscious of grave sin must first repent, confess their sins to a priest, and receive sacramental absolution before receiving holy Communion,” said the bishop.

“This teaching is reflected in the Church’s canon law and sacramental discipline,” he noted.

Finally, Bishop Paprocki concluded with a description of the oath taken by a bishop at his ordination and an exhortation to his brother bishops to “have the courage to fulfill their solemn oath.”  

The oath reads: “In fulfilling the charge entrusted to me in the name of the Church, I shall hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety; I shall faithfully hand it on and explain it, and I shall avoid any teachings contrary to it. I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.”

USCCB Pro-Life Secretariat: Congress must prevent taxpayer-funded abortion

Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 23, 2021 / 16:35 pm (CNA).

The House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected an opportunity to vote on a prohibition of taxpayer-funded abortion.

On Tuesday evening, House Republican leadership and the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus co-chairs filed a motion to force debate and a full House vote on H.R. 18, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). The members asked for a unanimous consent request to discharge the bill from committee and hold debate and a vote by the full chamber.

On Wednesday, House Democratic leadership blocked the motion to hold a vote on H.R. 18, through a “previous question” procedural maneuver. The vote to kill the maneuver – and hold a vote on the abortion funding prohibition – failed by nine votes, 218-209. Every House Democrat voted in favor of the maneuver, with the exception of Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) who did not vote.

“It is gravely wrong to force all Americans to pay for the killing of innocent babies with their tax dollars,” said Kat Talalas with the U.S. bishops’ conference Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“Most Americans oppose using their tax dollars to pay for elective abortions, and the failure of the House of Representatives to pass H.R. 18 is unjustifiable,” Talalas said. “Congress must act to protect millions of babies and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion and protect American taxpayers from paying for the destruction of innocent human life.” 

Smith on Tuesday evening spoke on the House floor in favor of his bill. Smith is the founder and one of the four co-chairs of the House Congressional Pro-Life Caucus; the other co-chairs are Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), and new co-chairs Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), and Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.).

“By reason of their age, dependency, immaturity, inconvenience, fragility and/or unwantedness, unborn children have been denied justice—and the most fundamental of all human rights, the right to life. The right to life is for everyone not just the planned, the privileged or the perfect,” Smith said.

“With deep respect for my colleagues, I believe unborn children need the President of the United States and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to be their friends and advocates—not powerful adversaries,” he said.

Republicans plan to use the “unanimous consent” procedure in the future to request a vote on H.R. 18. House Republicans used the same procedure to request a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in 2019 and 2020, but were denied a vote on the pro-life bill dozens of times.

The failure of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act comes after President Biden’s budget request to Congress excluded the Hyde Amendment – a long-standing federal policy that prohibits federal funding of elective abortions in Medicaid. The policy has become law each year by being attached to appropriations bills as a budget rider.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton submitted a budget request that excluded the Hyde amendment, but an amended version of the policy was later included and signed into law as part of the appropriations legislation.

House Democrats have promised to repeal the Hyde amendment in 2021, passing appropriations bills for the 2022 fiscal year that do not include the measure.

“We’re going to fight with everything we have to preserve Hyde protections,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on June 16.

Smith said that, according to studies, Hyde has prevented millions of abortions.

“More than twenty peer-reviewed studies show that more than 2.4 million people are alive today in the United States because of the Hyde Amendment—with about 60,000 babies spared death by abortion every year,” Smith said on Tuesday evening.

“Years ago, then-Senator Biden wrote to constituents explaining his support for the Hyde amendment and said it would ‘protect both the woman and her unborn child,’” Smith said, quoting from a 1994 letter by then-Senator Joe Biden to a constituent.

Biden, in his letter, said he voted 50 times in favor of the Hyde amendment, and told constituents that “those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them.”

“I absolutely agree—those of us opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” Smith said.

Other pro-life policies could be at risk in the 2022 fiscal year budget process. The House Appropriations Finance Committee is advancing a funding bill for the District of Columbia and various government offices, but without the Smith Amendment, which prohibits funding of abortion coverage in the federal employees health benefits program. It also would exclude the Dornan amendment, which blocks federal funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.

Priest ordained in Spanish diocese after almost 11 years without vocations

Priestly ordination / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

On June 20, Bishop César Franco of the Diocese of Segovia, Spain, ordained Álvaro Marín Molinera to the priesthood - almost 11 years after the last priest was ordained for the small diocese.

Family, friends and a broad representation of the priests and deacons of the province also attended the ordination ceremony in the cathedral.

Marín, 27, was ordained a deacon in October 2020, and received formation at the University of Ávila and the Pontifical University of Salamanca.

The last ordination of diocesan priests in the diocese was on July 4, 2010. Franco also ordained a young Claretian religious to the priesthood on June 5.

According to the newspaper El Adelantado de Segovia, the new diocesan priest chose as his motto, “I can do all things in the One who strengthens me.”

During his homily at the ordination Mass, Bishop Franco said that “the priesthood gives you the authority to confront evil, but to do this you have to imitate in your life the mystery of the cross.” 

The bishop stressed that to exercise the ministry, “you can’t be a coward, not trust in Christ or live the faith in a mediocre way,” and so he encouraged Marín to put all his strength in Jesus Christ.

The newly-ordained priest quoted St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars: “I prostrated myself conscious of my nothingness and arose a priest forever.”

Why a bishop in Taiwan resigned only six months after installation

Daniel Ibanez/CNA

LiCAS News/CNA, Jun 23, 2021 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

The Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Tainan in Taiwan resigned six months after his ordination and installation on Jan. 1, 2021, citing physical and mental problems.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop John Lee Juo-Wang on June 19, said a report from Agenzia Fides. Bishop Lee, the first native of Taiwan to be consecrated a bishop in 30 years, cited “serious psychological and physical problems” as reasons for his resignation.

“After long prayers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I humbly accept that I have a serious health problem,” he said in a letter to the faithful of his diocese.

He said he chose to resign “for the good of the diocese” and asked for prayers from the faithful.

“Through prayer and reading, I better understand what Saint Paul says in his Letter to the Romans (12:2): ‘Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect,” wrote the bishop.

“May the Lord bless you. May He carry you through the pandemic, give salvation to the dead, health to the sick, work for everyone,” he said.

“I also pray for priests who are victims of pressure,” added the bishop, as he urged the faithful to have “the courage to face, with the commitment of all,” the challenges of evangelization.

Bishop Lee was born on Nov. 2, 1966, in Tainan city, Taiwan, to parents who arrived as refugees from mainland China. 

One of nine siblings, he was given up for adoption. The first family that adopted him had financial problems, and he was then adopted a second time by a family that raised him as a Catholic.

He attended a Salesian school in Tainan and entered the minor seminary at the age of 12. He studied philosophy and theology at St. Pius X Seminary in Tainan.

He was ordained priest on Jan. 1, 1993, and was assigned as assistant pastor at the cathedral parish. He later became parish priest of the Holy Name of Jesus parish until 1999.

He earned a licentiate degree in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. He was president of the Commission for the Promotion of Vocations, and later became chancellor of the diocese in 2017, and then its vicar general in 2019.

Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Tainan on Nov. 14, 2020, and he was consecrated bishop on January 1, 2021. 

The Diocese of Tainan has a population of about two million people, 7,500 of whom are Catholics. The pope has appointed Bishop Bosco Lin Chi-nan, bishop emeritus of Tainan, as apostolic administrator of the diocese.