Advocates oppose Homeland Security's TPS decisions
WASHINGTON — Immigration advocates decried a Department of Homeland Security decision to end Temporary Protected Status for 2,500 Nicaraguans who have been living in the United States for nearly 20 years. They also lamented during a call with reporters Nov. 7 that Elaine Duke, acting secretary of Homeland Security, put off a decision on TPS for 57,000 Hondurans for six months, saying more time was needed to determine if they could remain in the U.S. because of adverse social and economic conditions in their homeland. Randolph P. McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Legal Services in the Archdiocese of Miami, said U.S. law is meant to be implemented "with a certain degree of kindness and compassion," and that sending people to countries that are ill-prepared to welcome them would do far more harm than good.
Catholics at 'fever pitch' over beatification of Father Casey
DETROIT — For decades during the Great Depression and afterward, Capuchin Franciscan Father Solanus Casey was the "go-to" guy for those who were sick, poor, afflicted or discouraged in their faith. Standing at the doors of St. Bonaventure Monastery on Detroit's east side, the holy friar would welcome dozens — if not hundreds — of visitors per day: families with an ill child, destitute fathers desperate to make ends meet, loved ones distraught over a relative's drifting from the faith. And no matter the situation — whether a healing was imminent or not — he would tell them the same thing: "Thank God ahead of time." Now that Father Solanus is set to be beatified Nov. 18 at Detroit's Ford Field, home to the NFL's Detroit Lions, the entire city is heeding his advice. "I think excitement is at a fever pitch. Everybody is so enthused about it. I get people asking me about the occasion all the time," said Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron in an interview with The Michigan Catholic, the archdiocesan newspaper.
Bishop calls on Congress to review, consider tax cut bill
WASHINGTON — Thoughtful deliberation rather than hurried action is required on the tax bill introduced by Republicans in the House of Representatives, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., also called for prudence on the part of Congress and the American public so that all the provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are fully understood. "The changes proposed in this bill are significant and complex, affecting the entire nation," Bishop Dewane stated Nov. 3, the day after the bill was unveiled. "Current information indicates the House is planning to move this bill through the legislative process. However, prudence requires that members of Congress and the people of the country have adequate time to fully understand and debate the consequences of any tax bill so that decisions serve the dignity of the human person and the common good."
After Harvey, faith fuels fans; Houston wins World Series
HOUSTON — Baseball bats and rosary beads were the only thing on Tonya Killian's mind as she walked toward Minute Maid Park for Game 3 of the 2017 World Series. A longtime Houston Astros fan and parishioner at Mary Queen Catholic Church in Friendswood, Killian was on a mission to buy rosaries custom made for the World Series by members of Annunciation Catholic Church. Her Hail Mary attempt was a success: She bought the last two handmade rosaries for sale that day, and maybe even an Astros World Series victory. Tradition holds that if the parish — which sits a home run away from the ballpark across the street — sells out of its rosaries on game day, the Astros will win. It is doubtful Killian's purchase guaranteed the Astros' 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers that Friday night, Oct. 27. With the series tied 3-3, Game 7 was in Los Angeles Nov. 1. The Astros beat the Dodgers 5-1 to clinch the first World Series championship in the franchise's history.
Philippine bishops begin prayer vigil to protest deaths in war on drugs
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine bishops' conference started a prayer vigil to protest thousands of killings in the government drive to eradicate drug abuse and drug dealing. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, outgoing president of the conference, led the "Lord, Heal Our Land" Mass Nov. 5. He called for repentance and an end to the killings and warned that "the journey of healing for the values of our nation turned upside down will be a long journey still." In his message at the Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace on EDSA, the avenue where the 1986 peaceful overthrow of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos took place, Archbishop Villegas said clergy, politicians and security forces needed to repent for complacency, ambition for power and instilling fear rather than respect. "Peace to you in the armed forces and police," he said in his homily. "Stop the violence and uphold the law." Archbishop Villegas called on the faithful to pray the Rosary daily until Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Many churches across the country have been winding down the exercise of tolling bells nightly to remember those killed.
Pope names women as undersecretaries of office for laity, family, life
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named a bioethics expert and a seasoned canon lawyer, both women, as undersecretaries of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life. The appointments of Gabriella Gambino, a bioethics professor at Rome's Tor Vergata University, and Linda Ghisoni, a judge on the regional tribunal of the Diocese of Rome, were announced Nov. 7 at the Vatican. Gambino was appointed undersecretary of the dicastery's section for life, while Ghisoni was named to the section for the laity, the Vatican said. Born in Milan in 1968, Gambino obtained her doctorate in bioethics at Rome's University of the Sacred Heart. She was named in 2002 as a scientific expert for the Italian National Committee for Bioethics. From 2013 to 2016, Gambino was also a featured speaker at various meetings sponsored by the former Pontifical Council for Laity and the Pontifical Academy for Life.
'Victims' charter' is next step in fighting trafficking, academy says
VATICAN CITY — After 7-year-old Rani Hong was stolen from her mother in a small village in India and sold into slavery, her captors kept her in a cage to teach her to submit completely to her "master." "This is what the industry of human trafficking does," she said; it is an industry of buying and selling human beings for forced labor, prostitution, exploitation and even harvesting organs. The International Labor Organization estimates human trafficking grosses $150 billion a year and is rapidly growing, with profits beginning to match those made in the illegal drug and arms trades. Human beings are highly lucrative, Hong said, because a drug sold on the street can only be used once, while a person can be used and sold over and over again. One human rights group estimates traffickers can make $100,000 a year for each woman working as a sex slave, representing a return on investment of up to 1,000 percent. Hong and others spoke to reporters at the Vatican Nov. 6 during a conference on ways to better assist victims of trafficking in terms of legal assistance, compensation and resettlement.
— Catholic News Service