Vetoed bill on reproductive health called 'massive overreach by NARAL'
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Religious freedom advocates and pro-life leaders praised California Gov. Jerry Brown for vetoing a bill called the Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act that targeted religious employers and their faith-based codes of conduct for employees. Assembly Bill 569 would have made it illegal for a California employer to discipline or fire employees for "reproductive health decisions, including, but not limited to, the timing thereof, or the use of any drug, device or medical service." Alliance Defending Freedom stated the bill would have prohibited churches, religious colleges, religious nonprofit organizations and pro-life pregnancy care centers "from having faith-based codes of conduct with regard to abortion and sexual behavior."
Texas bishops criticize ACLU's support for teen immigrant's abortion
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas bishops criticized the American Civil Liberties Union for backing an abortion for a teen immigrant in the country illegally and also praised government officials for their defense of the unborn. On Oct. 24, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a 6-3 vote cleared the way for the pregnant 17-year-old to obtain an abortion, overruling an Oct. 20 decision by a three-judge panel of the court that blocked it at least until the Department of Health and Human Services found a sponsor by Oct. 31 to take custody of the teenager The teen obtained the abortion Oct. 25. The case reached the circuit court when the Trump administration appealed a ruling by a federal judge that the teenager had the right to get an abortion. The administration had argued that the government isn't obligated to facilitate an abortion for someone in the country without legal documents. Attorneys general from nine states, including Texas, Missouri and Ohio, backed federal government in that appeal, stating in a court filing: there is no "constitutional right to abortion on demand."
Mideast Church leaders look to U.S., but want voice in own destiny
WASHINGTON — Two prominent Mideast Church leaders told a U.S. audience that they were looking to the United States for leadership to obtain peace in the Middle East. "We look to America to lead the international community in so many ways," said Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch. At a media conference Oct. 24 kicking off the In Defense of Christians Summit in Washington, the cardinal and Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X of Antioch and all the East told a crowded room at the National Press Club that Middle East residents were looking for the United States to push for peace, especially in their region. The summit centered on the theme of "American Leadership and Securing the Future of Christians in the Middle East." Cardinal Rai said people in the Middle East were looking to America to help solve the humanitarian crisis. Yet he and Patriarch John insisted that Middle Eastern nations must be involved in coming up with a solution.
USCCB publishes official English-language translation of exorcism rite
WASHINGTON — The first official English-language translation of the ritual book "Exorcisms and Related Supplications" is available from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Distribution of "Exorcisms and Related Supplications" is limited to bishops, though exorcists, other clergy, scholars and seminary professors also can obtain a copy with the permission of a bishop. Having it available now in English "should make it easier for a bishop to find a priest who can help him with this ministry," said Father Andrew Menke, executive director of the USCCB's Secretariat of Divine Worship. The translation is from the rite that was revised following the Second Vatican Council and promulgated in Latin in 1999. The revised text draws from rituals used for centuries. The book also contains an appendix of prayers that anyone can use, offering familiar as well as little-known prayers, invocations and litanies. It has been published as a separate booklet, "Prayers Against the Powers of Darkness," by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' publishing arm.
Supreme Court lets stand ruling preventing Ten Commandments display
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal about an order to remove a Ten Commandments display outside City Hall in Bloomfield, N.M. The refusal to hear the case, announced Oct. 16, lets the lower court ruling stand. In 2014, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Bloomfield City Hall must remove the outdoor display because it violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The Alliance Defending Freedom, representing the city of Bloomfield, said the Supreme Court's dismissal of the case gives "anti-religion advocates a license to challenge any monument that they see and offends them. Just because we disagree with what something says, does not mean we can ban it from the public square," the group stated Oct. 16.
Refugees fearful as India plans to deport Rohingya
NEW DELHI — Fear gripped Muslim Rohingya refugees in India following a hardening of New Delhi's insistence that Myanmar take them back. While the majority of 600,000 Rohingya fleeing a military crackdown in Myanmar over the past two months have gone to Bangladesh, some have traveled to countries such as India and Nepal, reported ucanews.com. Earlier waves of Rohingya refugees ended up in India. "Nothing has changed in Myanmar, so how can we go back?" asked Mohammad Hanif, who three years ago came to the capital, New Delhi, following attacks on his community in Myanmar's Rakhine state. The concerns of Hanif and his Rohingya companions living in shanties in the Madanpur Khandar area, on the capital's outskirts, have deepened since India pushed Myanmar to take back Rohinghya refugees from Bangladesh. The call dovetailed with New Delhi's determination to deport many of the 40,000 Rohingya refugees dispersed in several Indian cities. The Indian government recognizes fewer than 14,000 as refugees and categorizes the rest as illegal migrants deserving of deportation.
Holy Land Christians must work together, pope says
VATICAN CITY — As minorities living in a troubled land, Christians in the Holy Land must forgive each other for past mistakes and work together for the future of their communities, Pope Francis told the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem. Patriarch Theophilos III made an official visit to the Vatican in late October, meeting Pope Francis Oct. 23 and praying with him for peace. "How good it would be to say of Catholics and Orthodox living in Jerusalem what the Evangelist Luke said of the first Christian community: 'All who believed were together ... one heart and soul,'" the pope told the patriarch. Better cooperation is especially needed "in supporting Christian families and young people, so that they will not be forced to leave their land," the pope said. "By working together in this delicate area, the faithful of different confessions will also be able to grow in mutual knowledge and fraternal relations."
— Catholic News Service