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Nation and world briefs


March for Life theme pays tribute to pro-life view of early feminists

WASHINGTON — Organizers of the March for Life have chosen “Life Empowered: Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman” for the 2020 rally and march in Washington. In embracing the theme, Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education Fund, cited the coming centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and the views of early suffragists, including the best-known figure of the movement, Susan B. Anthony. “The present moment is marked by a profound confusion of what it means to be pro-woman,” Mancini said at a U.S. Capitol panel discussion Oct. 15. “We’ve come a long way from ‘Safe, legal and rare’ to ‘Shout your abortion.’” Next year’s march and rally, always held near the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, which legalized most forms of abortion on demand, will be Jan. 24. The event in recent years has drawn more than 100,000 marchers.

USCCB assembly to review third-party reporting system, elect new officers

WASHINGTON— An update to the Program on Priestly Formation, a progress report on the establishment of a nationwide, third-party reporting system for abuse or misconduct by bishops, and a vote on new leadership for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are on the agenda for the bishops’ fall general assembly. Gathering in Baltimore Nov. 11-13, the bishops also will review and vote to approve a short letter and five short video scripts to supplement “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the bishops’ quadrennial teaching document for the faithful on the political responsibility of Catholics. At their June assembly, the bishops overwhelmingly voted to authorize the implementation of a third-party system that would allow people to make confidential reports of abuse complaints against bishops through a toll-free telephone number and online. This new national reporting system would not replace systems already in place in every diocese for the reporting of abuse by priests.

Vatican confirms election of Msgr. Peter Vaccari to be president of CNEWA

NEW YORK — Msgr. Peter Vaccari, currently rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York, has been elected to succeed Msgr. John E. Kozar as president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association/Pontifical Mission for Palestine. New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chair and treasurer of the board of trustees of CNEWA/PMP, announced Oct. 22 that the Vatican approved the nomination and election of Msgr. Vaccari, who will assume his responsibilities in the near future. He will initiate the transition process as vice president Jan. 1 and succeed Msgr Kozar when he retires at a date yet to be determined. A priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, Msgr. Vaccari, 67, will conclude his term as Dunwoodie’s rector Dec. 31.


Humanitarian groups scramble to help people fleeing northeast Syria

AMMAN, Jordan — Humanitarian concerns are growing as people caught in the crosshairs of the Turkish incursion into northeastern Syria try to flee for safety, and groups are scrambling to aid them. “There are big concerns about what is going on in northeastern Syria with the Turkish military aerial assaults and ground operations,” Father Emanuel Youkhana told Catholic News Service by phone from northern Iraq, bordering the area. Father Youkhana, a priest, or archimandrite, of the Assyrian Church of the East, runs Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq (CAPNI), a Christian program for displaced Iraqis around the city of Dahuk. The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, has reported that so far 1,000 Syrians have fled over the border into northern Iraq. “The numbers are increasing,” Father Youkhana said. Karl Schembri, a spokesman for the Norwegian Refugee Council, described the situation: “The situation for many of the people is utter chaos: fear gripping the entire area, not know what is going to happen next, where the next attacks will be. A lot of … displacement happening, the latest figures speak of around 200,000 people because of the fighting.”

Bishops: Chileans must address roots of protests

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chileans must work together to address the causes of violent protests, which were followed by a police crackdown and have left at least 11 people dead in Santiago, the country’s bishops said. The demonstrations came after the government announced a 10% increase in electricity rates and a transit fare hike equivalent to about $0.04. Though apparently small, the fare increase triggered a reaction to growing inequality, analysts said. Students first began to jump over turnstiles in defiance of the measure. The protests turned more violent Oct. 17, with rioters burning subway stations, ransacking stores and attacking public buildings. The “traumatic” events are an “imperious call to continue creating a culture of understanding,” in which people can “empathize with the everyday suffering and ills of Chilean society,” the bishops wrote Oct. 19.

Hong Kong withdraws extradition bill that sparked protests

HONG KONG — A controversial extradition bill that sparked months of protest has been formally withdrawn by Hong Kong’s government, reported ucanews.org. The bill, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, prompted mass protests when it was introduced in April. The bill was formally withdrawn by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Oct. 23, Channel News Asia reported. Critics of the planned law had feared extradition to mainland China could subject people to arbitrary detention and unfair trials. The initial protests about the bill morphed into larger democracy protests. The legislation’s formal withdrawal meets only one of five key demands made by protesters, ucanews.org reported. The other demands are for the protests not to be characterized as riots, an amnesty for arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality and implementation of universal suffrage.

— Catholic News Service

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