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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Bishop prays for refugees ‘left in harm’s way’ with cap on admissions

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s cap of 30,000 refugees to be admitted to the United States for fiscal year 2019 will leave thousands more “in harm’s way,” said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration. He said the bishops were saddened by the low number but pledged to work with the administration to reach that goal while they continue to call for a higher number of refugees to be admitted during the next fiscal year. A “Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions” was issued Oct. 4 as a memorandum to the U.S. State Department confirming the number of 30,000, which was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Sept. 17. The figure is less than last year’s 45,000, which had been the lowest number on record.

WORLD

S. Korean president will pass along invitation for pope to visit North Korea

VATICAN CITY — The South Korean president’s office said that when the president meets Pope Francis Oct. 18, he will pass on an invitation for the pope to visit North Korea. The Vatican confirmed Oct. 9 that South Korean President Moon Jae-in would meet the pope Oct. 18 at the Vatican. The evening before the meeting, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, will celebrate a Mass for peace on the Korean peninsula in St. Peter’s Basilica, and Moon will attend. Moon’s office told reporters that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, said his country would offer a “fervent welcome” to Pope Francis if he accepted an invitation to visit.

Toronto doctors lay out procedures for euthanasia for children

TORONTO — In a prestigious medical journal, doctors from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children have laid out policies and procedures for administering medically assisted death to children, including scenarios where the parents would not be informed until after the child dies. The article appears just three months before the Canadian Council of Academies is due to report to Parliament on the medical consensus about extending voluntary euthanasia in circumstances currently forbidden by law. The Canadian Council of Academies is specifically looking at extending so-called assisted dying to patients under 18, psychiatric patients and patients who have expressed a preference for euthanasia before they were rendered incapable by disease. The Sept. 21 paper written by Sick Kids doctors, administrators and ethicists was published in the British Medical Journal’s J Med Ethics and backed by the University of Toronto’s Joint Centre for Bioethics. In a flowchart that outlines how a medically induced death would occur at Sick Kids, authors Carey DeMichelis, Randi Zlotnik Shaul and Adam Rapoport do not mention conversation with family or parents about how the child dies until after the death occurs. Patient confidentiality governs the decision about whether or not to include parents in a decision about an assisted death, the authors said. If capable minors under the age of 18 stipulate they don’t want their parents involved, doctors and nurses must respect the patients’ wishes.

Vatican investigates former Chilean archbishop

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is investigating an accusation of abuse against a Chilean archbishop, the Schonstatt Fathers confirmed. In a statement released Oct. 6, Schonstatt Father Fernando Baeza, the order’s provincial superior in Santiago, Chile, said an accusation of abuse that occurred in Germany in 2004 against retired Archbishop Francisco Jose Cox was reported in 2017. “Once the complaint was received, a canonical trial was opened in Germany and was sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the congregation that is responsible for receiving and resolving complaints made against clergy and who should resolve the canonical consequences of this complaint,” Father Baeza said.

Pope names members for office for laity, family, life

VATICAN CITY — Less than five months after updating the statutes of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, Pope Francis named a new slate of members of the Vatican office, including U.S. law professor Helen Alvare, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta and Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec. The Vatican announced the new members and a large group of consultants Oct. 6. Among the new dicastery members are three married couples; they come from Poland, Singapore and Germany. The new consultants to the office include: U.S. Father Robert W. Oliver, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; and Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, founder and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb.

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