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Nation and world briefs


Catholic schools diverge over status of teachers in same-sex unions

WASHINGTON — Two Catholic high schools in the Indianapolis Archdiocese took different actions in late June over employees who are in same-sex marriages. Cathedral Catholic High School announced June 24 that it was firing a teacher in a same-sex marriage to avoid “forfeiting” its Catholic identity just three days after the Indianapolis archbishop announced “with great sadness” that Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School was no longer recognized as a Catholic institution because of its refusal to dismiss an employee in a same-sex marriage. Officials at Cathedral High School, which is affiliated with but not sponsored by the Holy Cross Brothers, explained in a letter to the school community on the school’s website June 24 that it had made the “agonizing decision” to follow the direct guidance they had been given by Indianapolis Archbishop Charles C. Thompson and “separate from the teacher” after 22 months of “earnest discussion and extensive dialogue with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis about Cathedral’s continued Catholic identity.”

U.S. State Department honors nun as anti-trafficking ‘hero’

WASHINGTON — Honored as one of the U.S. State Department’s “heroes” in combating human trafficking, Comboni Sister Gabriella Bottani urged action to fight the situations that make people, especially women and children, vulnerable to trafficking. Sister Bottani, international coordinator of the Talitha Kum anti-trafficking network of Catholic women’s and men’s religious orders, was honored June 20 as one of the State Department’s 2019 TIP Report Heroes. She spoke at an event that included the release of the State Department’s annual report on trafficking in persons. Callista Gingrich, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, nominated Sister Bottani for the award and spoke at the ceremony, saying the Comboni sister deserved to be among the heroes who are “recognized for their tireless efforts — despite resistance, opposition and even threats to their lives — to protect victims, punish offenders and raise awareness of ongoing criminal practices in their countries and abroad.”


British court ruling allows mentally disabled woman to continue pregnancy

LONDON — English bishops welcomed a Court of Appeal ruling that a pregnant mentally disabled woman did not need to have an abortion. On June 24, the court overturned an earlier Court of Protection ruling that the Nigerian Catholic woman in her 20s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, must undergo the abortion because it was in her “best interests.” The woman has the mental age of between 6 and 9 years and is about 22 weeks pregnant. “It is both astonishing and shocking” that England’s National Health Service “should seek to end a healthy pregnancy against the wishes of the pregnant woman, her mother, and her social worker,” said Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster, who takes the lead on life issues for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. “Forcing a woman to have an abortion against her will, and that of her close family, would have infringed her human rights and the right of her unborn child to life in a family that has committed to caring for this child” he said.

East African bishops condemn Eritrea seizure of Church health centers

NAIROBI, Kenya — Members of bishops’ conferences in East Africa condemned the Eritrea government’s seizure of health facilities belonging to the Catholic Church. They also assured Eritrean bishops and Catholics of their solidarity after the seizure. The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa told the bishops it hoped God would “nurture you with the hope and give you the necessary courage and stamina to stand strong in defense of the rights of the church and God’s people.” In mid-June, the Eritrean government confiscated all church-run clinics and health centers. Government security officers are said to have removed the staff from the health centers and closed them. Patients were ordered to go home and soldiers were deployed to guard the centers, the bishops said in a June 13 letter to the ministry of health.

Pope names administrator for Lyon as cardinal appeals conviction

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named a retired bishop to serve as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Lyon, France, three months after refusing to accept the resignation of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin. In early March, a French court gave the 68-year-old cardinal a six-month suspended sentence after finding him guilty of covering up sexual abuse by a priest. The Vatican announced June 24 that Pope Francis had appointed retired Bishop Michel Dubost of Evry-Corbeil-Essonnes, France, to serve as apostolic administrator “sede plena,” meaning Bishop Dubost will be in charge of the archdiocese while Cardinal Barbarin retains the title of archbishop. Although Cardinal Barbarin’s lawyers had announced almost immediately that their client would appeal his conviction, the cardinal came to Rome in March and personally asked Pope Francis to accept his resignation.

— Catholic News Service

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