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Nation and world briefs


Poll: Big majorities of Democrats, young people reject late-term abortion

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Americans have shifted toward a pro-life stance in recent weeks during a period when some states are considering legislation that would legalize abortion up until birth, according to a new poll. The Marist Poll at Marist College conducted in mid-February found that equal numbers of Americans — 47 percent — identified themselves as pro-life and as those who support abortion. The findings reflect a dramatic shift from a similar poll in early January that found respondents supporting abortion by 55 percent to 38 percent. “Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced, and very measurable, way,” Barbara Carvalho, poll director, stated in media release from the Knight of Columbus, the poll sponsor.

Supreme Court’s look at Peace Cross could clarify Church-state stance

BLADENSBURG, Md. — The day before the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments about a concrete memorial cross in a grassy median strip in an intersection of a Washington suburb, there was no fanfare at the cross itself. Only by dodging traffic and approaching the monument by foot would one see the names of the 49 local soldiers who died in battle during World War I — which is why the monument exists. Mothers of the fallen soldiers came up with the idea in 1919, and it was completed by the American Legion six years later. Today it is owned by a Maryland parks commission. The Supreme Court will now have to consider if the memorial — in the shape of a Latin cross symbolic of the markers on graves of soldiers killed overseas during World War I — endorses religion or is simply a secular monument. The monument located in Bladensburg is near a larger park honoring veterans with memorials to the War of 1812, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and the 9/11 attacks.


Tensions grow along Venezuelan borders

SAO PAULO — Tensions were high along Venezuela’s borders after clashes protesting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s decision not to allow humanitarian aid into the country for millions of vulnerable citizens. The situation was complicated by politics: Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president and has the backing of 50 governments around the world, has been supporting the influx of aid, including aid staged at the Colombia-Venezuela border by the United States. At the border crossing in Pacaraima, Brazil, two trucks carrying humanitarian aid crossed into Venezuela Feb. 23, but were stopped by the Venezuelan military. At least two indigenous Venezuelans were killed by Venezuelan security forces along the border with Brazil. Along the border with Colombia, two people were killed, and Colombia’s foreign minister said 285 people were injured and 37 hospitalized on the Colombian side of the border after clashes between Guaido supporters and Venezuelan military blocking aid Feb. 23.

In Morocco, pope will visit migrants, school for imams

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will travel to Morocco March 30-31 as a “servant of hope” to encourage the country’s small Catholic community, the migrants hosted there and all people of goodwill, said Archbishop Cristobal Lopez Romero of Rabat, the nation’s capital. “He comes to fill us with hope, to give us strength, to help us get up again after being disappointed, to fill us with enthusiasm,” the archbishop told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The Vatican Feb. 26 released the full, detailed schedule for the pope’s trip, which will include a visit to a school training an international group of Muslim prayer leaders and preachers, including women. He also will visit a Caritas center assisting migrants and a social service center run by the Missionaries of Charity. The visit to Morocco, where more than 99 percent of the population is Muslim, will give Pope Francis an opportunity to continue the reflections on Christian-Muslim relations he began in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in February.

— Catholic News Service

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