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Nation and world briefs


Federal judge orders restoration of DACA

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Washington Aug. 3 ordered the Trump administration to restore a program that helped young adults brought into the country illegally as minors, saying reasons calling for its demise were not justified. The latest order says the program must be made whole again, and that includes taking new applications. U.S. District Judge John Bates said the administration must fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, often referred to as DACA. In September 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration was ending the program through executive action. While the program does not provide legal status for the young adults, DACA provides a work permit, reprieve from deportation and other temporary relief to those who qualify. Since Sessions’ call to rescind it, the decision to end DACA has itself faced a number of legal challenges. The latest order from Bates stated government officials failed to adequately explain the rationale for ending the program.

Knights’ donations, volunteer hours and members keep growing

BALTIMORE — In an opening address Aug. 7 at the 136th annual Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention, the organization’s CEO, Carl Anderson, spoke of the charitable works of the Knights, their ongoing pro-life commitment and pledge to support persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria. Anderson pointed out that the Aug. 7-9 convention in Baltimore was in the birthplace of the Catholic Church in the United States. “The Catholicism first nourished here in Baltimore contributed to the American experience through other commitments as well — commitments that could be summarized in this simple, but powerful Gospel insight: The person in need that we encounter is not a stranger but a brother or a sister,” he said. The Knights today hold the same view in their charitable giving and volunteering. He said the Knights gave more than $185 million to charity last year, an $8 million increase from the previous year and one of the largest yearly increases in the organization’s history. The Knights also donated more than 75.6 million volunteer hours.

Pittsburgh bishop says report will be ‘sad, tragic description’ of events

PITTSBURGH — Once it is released, a grand jury report on a months-long investigation into abuse claims in six Pennsylvania dioceses covering a 70-year span “will be a sad and tragic description of events that occurred within the Church,” Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik said Aug. 4. “Permit me the opportunity to prepare you for the public release of this report and also to put it into some context,” he said in a letter to Catholics in the diocese. “I want you to know that our diocese has cooperated with the Attorney General’s Office and the grand jury. We have not attempted to block the report.” Nearly 90 percent of all reported incidents of abuse in the Pittsburgh diocese covered by the report occurred before 1990, Bishop Zubik said, but he added: “Every act of child sexual abuse is horrific, no matter how long ago it occurred.” In the diocese today, he said, “I can assure you that there is no priest or deacon in public ministry against whom a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse has been made.” He added, “We respond to allegations today very differently than decades ago.”

Church leaders urge lay inquiry into abuse claims against archbishop

WASHINGTON — U.S. Catholic Church leaders have been calling for an internal investigation into the handling of allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct against Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick and urging such an inquiry be spearheaded by laypeople. “I think we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer. To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised,” stated Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y. In an Aug. 6 statement, he stated he was “heartened by my brother bishops proposing ways for our Church to take action in light of recent revelations” and he agreed “a national panel should be commissioned, duly approved by the Holy See.” But he emphasized the laity have a crucial role to play. Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl told the National Catholic Reporter Aug. 5 the U.S. bishops’ conference should create a new panel to receive and evaluate any allegations or rumors of sexual misconduct by a member bishop, adding that the Vatican could designate one of its offices to act on the proposed panel’s findings.


Catholic hospitals help Indonesia quake victims

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Catholic hospitals in Indonesia have sent medical teams to treat hundreds of people injured by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck the tourist island of Lombok near Bali Aug. 5. The death toll stood at 105 by mid-afternoon Aug. 7 with 236 injured, ucanews.com reported. Officials expected the death toll to rise as people were yet to be pulled from a mosque that collapsed while they were praying inside. Officials said most of the casualties were caused by falling rubble as buildings collapsed. There were no reported foreigners among the dead, but some media reports claimed several fatalities in the neighboring Gili Islands. “Medical workers are really needed right now to treat the victims,” said Sister Paulina, a member of the Congregation of Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit and spokeswoman of St. Anthony Catholic Hospital in the provincial capital of Mataram. She said the hospital had treated more than a dozen victims. The Aug. 5 temblor was the second major earthquake to shake Lombok in a week. A July 29 quake caused 14 deaths and dozens of injuries.

Vatican: Use internet to promote tourism that respects environment

VATICAN CITY — With more and more people planning their vacations online and sharing their experiences digitally, the tourism industry and tourists themselves should pay more attention to using online forums to encourage respect for the locales visited and for the communities that live there, the Vatican said. In a message for the Sept. 27 celebration of World Tourism Day, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said the “digital transformation” of tourism has the potential for promoting happier and healthier vacations that do more to protect the natural environment and promote authentic encounters between people. Digital innovation, he wrote, should have the aim of “promoting inclusiveness, increasing the engagement of people and local communities and achieving an intelligent and equitable management of resources.” The Vatican’s hope, he added, is that “tourism will contribute to glorifying God, and to increasingly validating human dignity, mutual knowledge, spiritual brotherhood, refreshment of body and soul.”

— Catholic News Service

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