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Nation and world briefs


Archbishop Naumann calls Senate rejection of pro-life bills ‘appalling’

WASHINGTON — By blocking two pro-life bills from going to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote, senators “failed to advance two critical human rights reforms that most Americans strongly support,” the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee said late Feb. 25. Earlier that day, the Senate voted on motions to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, S. 3275, sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, S. 311, sponsored Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska. Neither measure received the 60 votes needed in the Senate to overcome a filibuster and advance to a vote on passage. The pain-capable bill failed to advance by a vote of 53 to 44. The born-alive bill failed to advance by a vote of 56 to 41. “It is appalling that even one senator, let alone more than 40, voted to continue the brutal dismemberment of nearly full-grown infants, and voted against protecting babies who survive abortion,” stated Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Buffalo Diocese files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Facing dozens of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by clergy, the Diocese of Buffalo has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The diocese announced the action in a news release as attorneys filed the case Feb. 28 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York. “We have no more urgent work than to bring about justice and healing for those harmed by the scourge of sexual abuse. The intense emotional, mental and physical pain inflicted on these innocent victim-survivors is a heavy burden they are forced to carry throughout their lives,” Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany, New York, apostolic administrator of the Buffalo Diocese, said in a statement. The filing comes as the diocese faces about 260 lawsuits that have been filed under New York’s Child Victims Act, which suspended the statute of limitations for abuse claims for one year beginning last August. The diocese also reported a $5 million loss for fiscal year 2019, which it attributed to consequences of the abuse scandal. Bishop Scharfenberger was scheduled to meet with reporters later in the day to discuss the action.

Pope names auxiliaries for San Diego, Newark and Rockville Center

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Father Ramon Bejarano, a priest of the Diocese of Stockton, California, to be an auxiliary bishop of San Diego. He also has named three New Jersey priests — Msgr. Gregory J. Studerus, Benedictine Father Elias R. Lorenzo and Father Michael A. Saporito — to be auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. Father Luis M. Romero Fernandez was appointed to be an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. The appointments in San Diego and Newark were announced in Washington Feb. 27 and the appointment in Rockville Center was made March 3 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop-designate Bejarano, 50, has been pastor of St. Stanislaus Church in Modesto, California, since 2008. He was ordained a priest for the Stockton Diocese Aug. 15, 1998. In New Jersey, Bishop-designate Studerus, 71, and Bishop-designate Saporito, 57, are priests of the Newark Archdiocese. Bishop-designate Lorenzo, 59, is a monk of St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey, in the Paterson Diocese. He also is abbot president of the American Cassinese Benedictine Congregation, an association of Benedictine monasteries in the United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Taiwan. Bishop-designate Romero, 65, was recently appointed as vicar of Hispanic ministry and evangelization for the diocese and also is pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Hempstead, New York. He is a member of the Institute of Christ the Redeemer.


Vatican sends abuse experts to Mexico to help Church in safeguarding

VATICAN CITY — After receiving a request from Mexico’s bishops for assistance in handling cases of the abuse of minors, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is sending its top abuse investigator to Mexico. Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the doctrinal congregation, will be accompanied by Spanish Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, a congregation official, on a visit to Mexico City March 20-27 to help Church leaders with safeguarding and to listen to victims. Pope Francis had sent Archbishop Scicluna and Father Bertomeu to Chile in 2018 to listen to survivors and investigate charges of abuse and its subsequent cover-up. The March visit to Mexico City was not being described as a Vatican-led investigation, but rather a “mission” to offer “technical advice, fraternal assistance, dialogue that helps the church in Mexico” take “the right direction in the needed response to victims of sexual abuse of minors by clergy,” Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said March 2, according to Vatican News.

English Catholics to rededicate nation as ‘Mary’s Dowry’

MANCHESTER, England — Catholics are preparing for the historic rededication of England as “Mary’s Dowry” in the hope that it will spur the re-evangelization of their country. The English bishops decided to rededicate the country at a meeting in November 2017 and are now encouraging Catholics to pray the Angelus daily ahead of the March 29 National Day of Rededication. The event involves English Catholics making a personal “Angelus promise” to God in union with the “yes” of Mary at the Annunciation. The original dedication of England was carried out in 1381 by Richard II. With the title of “Mary’s Dowry,” the intention of Richard was that England and her people would be set aside for the special guidance and protection of Mary. At noon March 29, communal acts of entrustment will be made in cathedrals, renewing the vows of dedication made by King Richard. Schools are invited to join the rededication March 30.

— Catholic News Service

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