Norma McCorvey, plaintiff in Roe ruling who later became pro-life, dies
KATY, Texas — Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff "Jane Roe" in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand, died Feb. 18 at an assisted-living facility in Katy. She was 69. The cause of death was heart failure. Her funeral will be private, family members said. McCorvey became a pro-life supporter in 1995 after spending years as a proponent of legal abortion. She also became a born-again Christian. A couple of years later, she said she felt called to join the Catholic Church of her youth. Her mother was Catholic and her father was a Jehovah's Witness. After instruction in the faith, she was accepted into the Church in 1998. In a statement from McCorvey's family released by Priests for Life, the family thanked the "many people across America and around the world who, in these days, are expressing their condolences, their prayers, and their gratitude for the example Mom gave them in standing up for life and truth. Though she was the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, she worked hard for the day when that decision would be reversed."
Administration urged to do all it can to 'care for creation'
WASHINGTON — Quoting Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si'," three Catholic leaders wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Feb. 17 urging the Trump administration to do all it can to care for creation both domestically and globally. "The Judeo-Christian tradition has always understood the environment to be a gift from God, and we are all called 'to protect our one common home,'" the leaders told Tillerson in a joint letter. It was signed by Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Domestic and Human Development; Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., who is chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace; and Sean L. Callahan, who is president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency based in Baltimore. The letter emphasizes the importance of adaptation policies and specifically calls for continued U.S. support of the Paris climate agreement as well as the Green Climate Fund, which provides poorer nations with resources to adapt to and mitigate changing climate realities.
Cdl. Burke interviews Guam abuse case witnesses
AGANA, Guam — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, accompanied by an official from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and three canon lawyers, spent two days in Guam interviewing witnesses and alleged victims in a clerical sexual abuse case against Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana. The Archdiocese of Agana, in a statement Feb. 18, said the cardinal and officials had left the island that morning after hearing testimony Feb. 16-17 "as part of the canonical penal trial" involving accusations against the archbishop. "They conveyed their appreciation to all individuals whom they interviewed during their work here and encouraged all of Guam's faithful to remain grounded in Christ," the archdiocese said. The Vatican press office had confirmed that Cardinal Burke was named presiding judge in the trial of the archbishop by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which investigates and processes abuse claims against Catholic clergy.
Pope: embrace the meek with simplicity, not royalty
VATICAN CITY— Christians embrace the lowliest and those most in need, treasuring and living out the simplicity of faith received from mothers and grandmothers, Pope Francis said. "From the simplicity of mothers, of grandmothers, this is the cornerstone. We are not princes, sons of princes or counts or barons, we are simple people, of common folk," he told the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception on Feb. 18 at the Vatican. "And this is why we draw near with this simplicity to those who are simple, to those who suffer the most: the sick, children, the abandoned elderly, the poor, everyone," he said.
South African justice commission urges restraint after xenophobic attacks
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — After an outburst of attacks on property owned by foreign nationals in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, and neighboring Johannesburg, the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference justice and peace commission called for restraint. "No grievance justifies the violence against foreign nationals," Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley, who chairs the commission, stated Feb. 21. More effective ways should be found to "detect and counter xenophobic violence before it flares up," he said. More than 30 shops belonging to immigrants were looted Feb. 20 in two neighborhoods in Pretoria, police said. This followed similar attacks in the city since mid-February, as well as the burning of houses and other property belonging to Nigerians in Johannesburg, by about 500 residents.
— Catholic News Service