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Nation and world briefs

Pro-life Mexico City Policy to be tightened

WASHINGTON — Historically, it is a policy that is completely at the mercy of whichever party currently controls the White House. But for pro-life advocates, the fact that the “Mexico City Policy” is being bolstered is a win nonetheless. During a March 26 news conference, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that under the Trump administration, the policy would be supplemented with new restrictions to prevent backdoor funding of abortions. President Donald Trump reinstated the basic policy with an executive order Jan. 23, 2017. The Mexico City Policy had its first origins under the Reagan administration, and since then it has been alternately backed under Republican presidents or removed under Democratic presidents. It was last valid during George W. Bush’s presidency. According to Pompeo, the Mexico City Policy “ensures U.S. taxpayer dollars aren’t used to support foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.”

Trump calls on colleges to protect ‘free, open debate’ on campuses

WASHINGTON — Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, praised President Donald Trump March 21 for taking seriously the assaults she said conservative groups are facing on campuses around the country. “No one needs this more than the pro-life generation,” she said about Trump’s executive order to bar federal research grants to institutions that violate students’ free speech on campus and “stifle competing perspectives.” Hawkins was among about 100 conservative activists at the White House for the signing of the order. Ahead of the event, she told Catholic News Service that violence against conservative groups “absolutely happens on campuses all the time.” In his executive order, Trump said: “My administration seeks to promote free and open debate on college and university campuses. Free inquiry is an essential feature of our nation’s democracy, and it promotes learning, scientific discovery and economic prosperity.”

Cdl. DiNardo released from hospital after stroke

HOUSTON — After being hospitalized after suffering a stroke while praying the Stations of the Cross March 15, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was discharged March 20 from St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston and was transferred to a nearby rehabilitation program. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, according to a statement from the archdiocese released that day. “I could not be more grateful to the truly wonderful doctors and nurses at St. Joseph’s for their expert care and compassion, which has helped hasten my way down the road to a full recovery,” Cardinal DiNardo wrote in the statement.

WORLD

Pope accepts resignation of embattled Chilean cardinal

VATICAN CITY— Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Chilean cardinal who has faced widespread criticism for his handling of cases of clerical sexual abuse in the country. The pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, the Vatican announced March 23; the Vatican did not give a reason for the cardinal stepping down. All bishops are required to offer their resignations when they turn 75; Cardinal Ezzati is 77. The cardinal’s is the eighth resignation Pope Francis accepted after almost every bishop in Chile offered to step down in May 2018 after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal. In each case where he accepted a resignation, the pope named an apostolic administrator to lead the diocese temporarily. For the administrator of Santiago, the pope chose Bishop Celestino Aos Braco of Copiapo, who will turn 74 April 6.

Pope amends canon law on religious who abandon their community

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has made it easier for a religious order to dismiss a member who leaves the community without permission, stays away and does not communicate with his or her superior. In a document titled “Communis Vita” (Community Life), the pope amended the Code of Canon Law to include an almost automatic dismissal of religious who are absent without authorization from their community for at least 12 months. The change was to go into effect April 10 and is not retroactive, said Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The archbishop’s explanatory article was published March 26 along with the text of Pope Francis’ document. Canon 694 of the Code of Canon Law currently states that “a member must be held as ipso facto dismissed from an institute” if they have “defected notoriously from the Catholic faith” or have married or attempted to marry. Pope Francis added a new clause adding the dismissal of a member of an order who is “illegitimately absent” from the community for 12 uninterrupted months and is unreachable.

— Catholic News Service

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