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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

USCCB domestic policy chair sees hope in carbon pricing bill

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development said a new carbon pricing bill introduced Jan. 24 in Congress is a “hopeful sign” that “climate change is beginning to be seen as a crucial moral issue, one that concerns all people.” Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., added in a Jan. 24 statement: “At a time when the dangerous effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, the need for legislative solutions like this is more urgent than ever.” The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 is based on a bill introduced in November during the lame-duck session of Congress. Under the bill, a fee is put on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. The fee is small at first and grows over time. According to the Citizens Climate Lobby, which backs the bill, it would reduce carbon pollution because energy companies, industries and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options.

CLINIC, other groups join in lawsuit over detention of immigrant youth

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Catholic Legal Immigration Network and other organizations have joined in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the more than 10,000 children currently being held by the Trump administration in detention centers across the country. The suit, originally filed last August in federal court on behalf of a group of youth being held in Virginia and their sponsors, claims that an “alarming number of children continue be held for long periods of time” and the situation is now at a crisis level, according to a news release from CLINIC. The suit charges that the situation is primarily the result of “a deliberate policy to deter Central Americans from traveling to the U.S. and an ongoing partnership between the Office of Refugee Resettlement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” A request for comment sent by Catholic News Service to ORR was not immediately answered.

Freedom of Religion Act seeks to ban immigration discrimination

WASHINGTON — The Freedom of Religion Act, introduced Jan. 16 in the House of Representatives, would ban religious discrimination in the U.S. immigration system. The bill was introduced with 124 co-sponsors. Its general provision says, “Notwithstanding any other provision of the immigration laws, an alien may not be denied entry, re-entry or admission to the United States, or any other immigration benefit, because of the alien’s religion or lack of religious beliefs.” Exceptions may be granted “when exercised on a case-by-case basis,” the bill says, “with respect to an individual who a consular officer, an immigration officer, the attorney general, the secretary of state, the secretary of Homeland Security, or the president determines may pose a threat to United States national security interests.”

WORLD

Church leaders call church attack in Philippines ‘heinous and evil’ terrorism

MANILA, Philippines — Church leaders condemned bomb explosions that killed at least 20 people and injured about 100 others inside a Catholic church in the southern Philippines Jan. 27. They called the attack a “heinous and evil” act of terrorism. Ucanews.com reported the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the bombing, which occurred during Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the city of Jolo. Islamic State, which often claims responsibility for acts of terrorism, issued a statement claiming two suicide bombers detonated explosive belts inside the church and near its entrance. A second explosion near the entrance shortly after killed at least five soldiers trying to help the wounded. The attack, one of the deadliest in recent years in Mindanao, occurred less than a week after a plebiscite was held on expanding and strengthening an existing Muslim autonomous region in the area.

Vatican doctrinal official steps down amid investigation of solicitation

VATICAN CITY — An Austrian priest under canonical investigation stepped down as an official at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in an effort “to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community,” the doctrinal office said. The priest, Father Hermann Geissler, “affirms that the accusation made against him is untrue and asks that the canonical process already initiated continue. He also reserves the right for possible civil legal action,” the office stated Jan. 29. The 53-year-old theologian, who is a member of a community called The Spiritual Family The Work, submitted his resignation Jan. 28 to the prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, who then granted his request. Doris Wagner-Reisinger, a German theologian, told the National Catholic Reporter Jan. 21 that, with the help of a canon lawyer, she reported to doctrinal congregation officials in 2014 that the priest had propositioned her in 2009 during confession — a serious crime reserved to the doctrinal congregation for judgment.

— Catholic News Service

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