Appeals court says Title X rule can take effect
while suits proceed
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced July 15 it would begin implementing the Trump administration’s “Protect Life Rule” to bar Title X funds from being used for promoting or providing abortion as family planning. On July 11, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 7-4 decision said that even as court cases challenging it proceed, the rule can take effect. The ruling of the San Francisco-based court let stand its June 20 decision lifting injunctions blocking enforcement of the rule. An emergency stay had been sought by some abortion rights advocates, including Planned Parenthood, and by 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
African American Catholics’ gifts to liturgy, ministry
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The annual Archbishop Lyke Conference, held July 2-6 this year, seeks to enrich liturgies and ministries and promote evangelization at parishes serving Black Catholics. Archbishop James P. Lyke, who was a Franciscan, served as a parish priest in Memphis, Tenn., as an auxiliary bishop in Cleveland and as the archbishop of Atlanta before he died of cancer in 1992. Eight years earlier, he had coordinated the writing of “What We Have Seen and Heard,” a pastoral letter of the nation’s black bishops, and he also coordinated the African American Catholic hymnal “Lead Me, Guide Me,” published in 1987. The Archbishop Lyke Conference began in 2004. This year’s conference was held July 2-6 near Washington, in National Harbor. Workshops tied that theme into a variety of topics, including black spirituality and Negro spirituals. Some programs were offered for young adults, music ministers and liturgical dancers.
Report on religion
restrictions gives U.S.
bad marks in key areas
WASHINGTON — The Pew Research Center’s annual report on restrictions on religion worldwide showed the United States had the worst scores in the Americas in three of the eight categories Pew surveyed. The U.S. scores in five of the eight categories examined by Pew were worse than they were in 2007, the first year Pew started researching the subject. On a scale where 0 is best and 10 is worst, the U.S. score on individual and social group hostilities soared from 3.3 in 2007 to 8.4 in 2017 — the most recent year studied — which qualified as the highest in the region. Also ranked as worst in the Americas were the U.S. scores on limits on religious activity, which jumped in the decade from 1.9 to 6.7, and hostilities by organized groups, which rose from 2.8 to 5.8. The full report can be found online at www.pewrsr.ch/2JI6AIv.
51-year-old Filipino as
BIEN HOA, Vietnam — Members of the Dominican general chapter elected 51-year-old Father Gerard Francisco Timoner to be the master general of the worldwide religious order. Father Timoner, a native of the Philippines, is the 88th superior of the Order of Preachers, founded by St. Dominic Guzman, and the first Asian to lead the order. Elected July 13 during the order’s general chapter in Bien Hoa, Father Timoner told his Dominican brothers that he initially did not want to accept the election, but he was encouraged by the others, who reminded him the vote was proceeded by the invocation of the Holy Spirit, according to an article on the Dominican’s chapter website.
Cardinal calls for parish teams of risk-takers
ROME — The papal vicar for Rome has asked every pastor in the diocese to form a “pastoral team” of about a dozen “courageous explorers” to help launch a new neighborhood missionary outreach. “Don’t go looking for those who have shown they are prudent, measured and detail-oriented,” Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the papal vicar, wrote in a letter to pastors July 11. Instead, he said, the team should be made up of “people who draw outside the lines, people whom the Holy Spirit has made passionate about imperfection.” The diocese’s 2019-20 pastoral year is focused on “listening to the cry of the city” and responding with stronger parish communities, a greater focus on Sunday Mass, visiting the poor and lonely, providing concrete assistance to those in need and reaching out to young people and families. “We do not need competent and qualified professionals as much as Christians who apparently are like everyone else but, in reality, are able to dream, to infect others with their dreams and want to experience something new,” the cardinal wrote.
— Catholic News Service