In confirmation hearings, Barrett stresses
commitment to ‘rule of law’
WASHINGTON — On Oct. 13, the second day of confirmation hearings on her Supreme Court nomination, Judge Amy Coney Barrett made a clear distinction between policy preferences and legal precedents in responding to questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “My policy preferences are irrelevant,” she said when asked if she had intended to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and she reiterated this same view when asked about abortion and same-sex marriage. On the opening day of the hearings, Republican senators had adamantly emphasized that Barrett’s Catholic faith should not be a factor in questioning, and on the start of the first day of this inquiry, it clearly wasn’t a topic, although it was mentioned, even in opening remarks by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, committee chairman. He asked if Barrett would be able to set aside her religious beliefs to fairly decide legal cases, which she said she could. “I can. I have done that in my time on the 7th Circuit,” she said. “If I stay on the 7th Circuit, I’ll continue to do that. If I’m confirmed to the Supreme Court, I will do that.”
Supreme Court does not reinstate abortion drug restrictions
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court is temporarily allowing drugs used to medically induce abortions to be mailed or delivered without requiring the recipient to make a doctor’s visit during the coronavirus pandemic. In an unsigned order Oct. 8, the nation’s high court rejected an emergency appeal from the Trump administration to reinstate a U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule requiring in-person visits to a hospital or clinic to pick up these pills. The requirements were suspended by a federal district court judge this summer due to the pandemic. The high court ordered that the federal judge in Maryland who made the ruling on the drug’s distribution to “promptly consider” within 40 days whether this ruling should be withdrawn or amended. The drug in question, Mifeprex, is the brand name for mifepristone, also called RU-486, which is used to end pregnancies during the first 10 weeks.
Encuentro called a ‘gift’
to help Church address challenges ‘of our time’
WASHINGTON — Hispanic ministry leaders from dioceses across the United States addressed the future of Hispanic ministry and the crises generated by the pandemic and racial tensions among other issues during a V Encuentro virtual gathering Oct. 9-10. In his welcoming remarks, Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda of Detroit, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs, stressed that this step opens the implementation phase of the V Encuentro for the next two years. He also invited participants to continue their work despite the challenges generated by the pandemic. “The landscape has changed, and there is an urgent need to be even more creative and resourceful as we adapt our pastoral responses generated by the V Encuentro process to this new reality,” said Bishop Cepeda.
reconsecrates church, altar; calls priest’s acts ‘demonic’
PEARL RIVER, La. — In an act of solidarity with the 350 parishioners of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Pearl River, a visibly upset New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond celebrated Mass Oct. 10 for a second consecutive week for the parish and reconsecrated its church and its new altar. The parish had learned a week before that its pastor appointed in July 2019, Father Travis Clark, was arrested Sept. 30 for alleged obscenity with two women in their church. Before he celebrated Mass Oct. 10, Archbishop Aymond reiterated to those present his shock and anger over what happened — calling Father Clark’s behavior inside the church obscene. He said he knew the Sts. Peter and Paul parishioners were shocked and angry, too. “The desecration of this church and altar is demonic, demonic,” he said. “Let me be clear, there is no excuse for what took place here. It is sinful, and it is totally unacceptable. Travis has been unfaithful to his vocation; he’s violated his commitment to celibacy; and also, he was using that which was holy to do demonic things.”
Priest named to head
Diocese of Springfield, Mass.
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Father William D. Byrne, a pastor in the Archdiocese of Washington, to head the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts. He succeeds Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, who was installed Aug. 25 to head the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Then-Bishop Rozanski headed the Springfield Diocese from 2014 until June when the pope named him to St. Louis. Bishop-designate Byrne, 56, has been pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Potomac, Maryland, since 2015. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington June 25, 1994. His appointment was announced in Washington Oct. 14 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Vatican nuncio to the United States.
New U.N. nuncio addresses economic inequities made worse by COVID-19
UNITED NATIONS — In an Oct. 7 address to the United Nations’ Economic and Financial Committee, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Vatican’s newly appointed nuncio, took note of the many economic inequities made worse by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “From states to families and individuals, almost no one has escaped the economic hardship due to the consequences of the virus and these will stay with us for years to come. Although the pandemic has affected us all, the impact on some people and some countries are much more notable, both in the short and long term,” Archbishop Caccia said in his remarks.
Finance measures meant
to expel ‘merchants’ from the temple, pope says
VATICAN CITY — The latest financial transparency measures enacted at the Vatican are meant to restore order, ensuring money serves its purpose and does not become an object of idolatry, Pope Francis told European finance experts. “Jesus drove merchants from the temple precincts and stated: ‘You cannot serve both God and money,’” Pope Francis said. “Once the economy loses its human face, then we are no longer served by money, but ourselves become servants of money.” The pope made the comments Oct. 8 when he met with experts from Moneyval — the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism. The experts began a two-week onsite inspection of the Holy See and Vatican City State in late September; the visit originally was scheduled for April but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
— Catholic News Service