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Sunday, 04/28/2024 at 1:00 PM

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Sunday, 05/05/2024 at 1:00 PM

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Monday, 05/13/2024 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Nation and world briefs


National shrine of a beloved Philadelphia saint vandalized

PHILADELPHIA — The shrine of a beloved Philadelphia saint sustained an estimated $20,000 dollars’ worth of damage in an apparent act of vandalism. Panels of three stained-glass windows were shattered at the National Shrine of St. John Neumann in Philadelphia in the early morning hours of Feb. 19. The windows, depicting scenes from the 19th-century Redemptorist’s life, are located in the lower church of the shrine, which is housed at St. Peter the Apostle Church. The saint’s remains — covered by a wax mask and vestments, and encased in glass beneath the altar of the lower church — were unaffected by the attack. Staff at the shrine “discovered that someone had thrown a brick and stones” through the three windows, said Kenneth A. Gavin, chief communications officer of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in an emailed statement. Detectives are investigating, and the incident may be related to similar vandalism that took place during the same time period at a historic African Methodist Episcopal church, a theater company and a law firm. (OSV News)

Minnesota doctors, people with disabilities, pro-life leaders oppose assisted suicide bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota lawmakers in the state’s House and Senate are considering a bill that would allow people to request medical aid in dying under certain circumstances. The Minnesota Catholic Conference, which represents the public policy interests of the state’s bishops, said in a recent action alert the bill is “one of the most aggressive physician-assisted suicide bills in the country” and violates the teaching of the Catholic Church. “As Catholics, we are called to uphold human dignity,” the conference wrote. “Legalization of assisted suicide works against this principle because death is hastened when it is thought that a person’s life no longer has meaning or purpose.” Under the measure, to be eligible for physician-assisted suicide, one must be 18 or older, be diagnosed with a terminal illness and a prognosis of six months or less to live and be mentally capable of making an informed health care decision. Committees in the Senate and the House must act favorably toward the bill by a March 22 deadline to keep the legislation in play. The House Health and Finance Policy Committee passed the bill Jan. 25. The bill will have to clear other committees before a full vote on the House floor. (OSV News)


Pope praises those helping victims, clearing anti-personnel minefields

VATICAN CITY — Anti-personnel mines are “devious” weapons that continue to kill innocent civilians and children long after a conflict has ended, Pope Francis said. “I thank all those who offer their help to assist victims and clean up contaminated areas,” he said at the end of his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall Feb. 28. “Their work is a concrete response to the universal call to be peacemakers, taking care of our brothers and sisters,” he said. The pope, who was still dealing with a cold, read aloud his remarks about landmines after having aides read his lengthier catechesis and greetings during the audience. March 1 marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Ottawa Convention, which prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and mandates assisting victims, clearing minefields and destroying stockpiles. Anti-personnel mines, the pope said, “continue to target innocent civilians, particularly children, even many years after the end of hostilities.” “I express my closeness to the many victims of these devious devices, which remind us of the dramatic cruelty of war and the price civilian populations are forced to pay,” he said. (CNS)

Priest, 6 religious brothers, lay teacher kidnapped in Haiti in another wave of violence

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — As the wave of violence torments gang-decimated Haiti, six male religious, a lay teacher and a priest were kidnapped in two separate incidents Feb. 23 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The six members of the Congregation of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart were abducted on their way to the John XXIII School, which is run by the order. A teacher who was with them was also taken, the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need confirmed. “In view of this painful event, the John XXIII institution is closing its doors until further notice. The other institutions of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart throughout the country will continue the work of raising awareness among the new generation of the values of living together in harmony, with a view to the emergence of a new society that is more humane, more caring, and more united,” the congregation said in a statement. Only a few hours later, a priest was also kidnapped in Port-au-Prince. He was taken from his parish church, alongside some of the faithful, soon after celebrating morning Mass. Despite the tireless work of the Church, clergy and religious have not been spared the violence of armed gangs. The latest kidnappings took place five weeks after a group of six religious sisters were abducted, only to be released the following week. (OSV News)

After meeting with Masons, bishop reaffirms Catholics cannot join

VATICAN CITY — After participating in a seminar on the Catholic Church and the Freemasons, an Italian bishop reaffirmed that Catholics who belong to Masonic lodges are in a “serious state of sin” and cannot receive Communion. Bishop Antonio Staglianò, president of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, spoke to Vatican News Feb. 24 after participating in the seminar Feb. 16 with the leaders of Italy’s three main Masonic lodges, Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan and Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. The seminar was sponsored by GRIS, an Italian Catholic research group founded in the 1980s to promote research about cults and religious sects. News that the seminar was taking place — behind closed doors — made headlines across Italy, particularly because in November the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed Church teaching that membership in Freemasonry is incompatible with being Catholic. “Active membership in Freemasonry by a member of the faithful is forbidden because of the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry,” the doctrinal office said, pointing to the longstanding Church position, explained in detail in the office’s “Declaration on Masonic Associations” in 1983. (CNS)

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