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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Law pumps $430 million into anti-trafficking efforts

WASHINGTON — Nationwide efforts to confront human trafficking received a boost in the new year as President Donald Trump signed a bill reauthorizing federal expenditures for prevention and assistance programs across the federal government. The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act allows $430 million in federal funds for trafficking prevention and education, victim protection and stronger government prosecution of traffickers through 2022. The president of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking welcomed the Jan. 8 signing of the law, for which it had advocated with members of Congress. “This comprehensive bill allocates funding for a number of projects that address the acute need for increasing awareness across a variety of sectors, prevention efforts and services for victims of both commercial sex and forced labor trafficking,” Sister Anne Victory, a member of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, said. The newly signed U.S. law also authorizes $315 million to the Department of State for an array of prevention efforts internationally.

WORLD

‘Nationalistic tendencies’ threaten world peace, pope tells diplomats

VATICAN CITY — As it did prior to the Second World War, the rise of nationalism in the world poses a threat to peace and constructive dialogue among nations, Pope Francis said. During his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, the pope said that the establishment of the League of Nations nearly 100 years ago ushered a new era of multilateral diplomacy based on goodwill, readiness among nations to deal fairly and honestly with each other and openness to compromise. However, he warned in his speech Jan. 7 that the lack of one of those necessary elements results in nations searching “for unilateral solutions and, in the end, the domination of the powerful over the weak. ... One notes with regret that the same attitudes are presently threatening the stability of the major international organizations,” the pope said. Clearly, he added, “relationships within the international community, and the multilateral system as a whole, are experiencing a period of difficulty with the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies at odds with the vocation of the international organizations to be a setting for dialogue and encounter for all countries.”

Hysterectomy can be morally licit in limited situations, Vatican states

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization is morally unacceptable, but a hysterectomy could be morally acceptable if the uterus could not sustain a pregnancy, according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Affirming past indications as to when a hysterectomy would be morally acceptable, the doctrinal congregation, in a note published Jan. 3, stated that “when the uterus is found to be irreversibly in such a state that it is no longer suitable for procreation and medical experts have reached the certainty that an eventual pregnancy will bring about a spontaneous abortion before the fetus is able to arrive at a viable state,” it would be licit to remove the uterus with a hysterectomy. “Removing a reproductive organ incapable of bringing a pregnancy to term should not therefore be qualified as direct sterilization, which is and remains intrinsically illicit as an end and as a means,” it stated. The response and accompanying note by the congregation was dated Dec. 10 and signed by its prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, and secretary, Archbishop Giacomo Morandi. Pope Francis approved the congregation’s response.

— Catholic News Service

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