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Nation and world briefs


Ecumenical service remembers victims of Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921

TULSA, Okla. — Ahead of a May 30 ecumenical prayer service to recall the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, Bishop David A. Konderla said it was important “to pause and reflect on how such an unspeakable horror could take place so that we can avoid any such evil in our own day. It is hard to believe that 100 years ago people could think and act in such a way. It is unthinkable. Still, it happened,” he said. The Tulsa bishop led the service at Holy Family Cathedral with the Rev. Robert Turner of the Historic Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church. Bishop Konderla said the service was “a time to acknowledge a grave evil that took place and mourn the lives lost and destroyed as well as a time to celebrate the courage of those people who served as shining lights in that dark time to help the victims.” The Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the most severe incidents of racial violence in U.S. history, began May 31, 1921, and lasted for two days. It left somewhere between 30 and 300 people dead, mostly African Americans, and destroyed over 1,400 homes and businesses.

Ending limit on culturing human embryos called ‘affront’ to value of life

WASHINGTON — Lifting a long-standing prohibition on the ability of scientists to culture human embryos in the lab past 14 days shows “an utter disregard” for the value of human life and is “an affront to the sanctity of human life,” said two Catholic members of Congress, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind. The International Society for Stem Cell Research said May 26 that what’s known as “the 14-day” rule, in place for 40 years, should be lifted and that regulatory bodies in each country that conduct this type of research should decide what research will be permitted and how. ISSCR’s guidelines previously put the culturing of human embryos beyond 14 days postfertilization in its most restrictive category three: “prohibited research activities.” The new guidelines, drafted by a task force of scientists and ethicists, omit longer embryo culture from this category and encourage a public discussion about allowing it. Smith said in a May 27 statement that the previous 14-day rule “was already unethical and morally repugnant, but the ISSCR has now removed all restraint, allowing unborn humans at any stage of development to be experimented on, manipulated and destroyed.”

Catholic leaders: Budget aims to help vulnerable but excludes unborn

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee called on Congress May 28 to preserve the Hyde Amendment in any federal budget proposal and “to work toward a budget that truly builds up the common good of all.” The head of the Catholic Health Association of the United States likewise called on Congress to support “the long-standing prohibition of federal funding for abortion and maintain the Hyde Amendment.” Earlier the same day, President Joe Biden unveiled his proposed budget of $6 trillion for fiscal year 2022 that would include spending to improve and modernize the nation’s infrastructure, provide free pre-K and community college, and increase domestic programs. His plan does not include the Hyde Amendment, which has been included in spending bills since 1976 to prohibit federal tax dollars from directly funding abortion except in certain cases.

Pope names Las Vegas vicar general as auxiliary bishop for Nevada diocese

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Gregory W. Gordon, vicar general of the Las Vegas Diocese since 2020, to be an auxiliary bishop of the Nevada diocese. Bishop-designate Gordon, 60, also has been diocesan chancellor and moderator of the diocese since 2020. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Nevada, he was ordained a priest for Las Vegas Jan. 16, 1988. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, announced the appointment in Washington May 28. The Diocese of Las Vegas, headed by Bishop George L. Thomas, covers over 39,000 square miles and has 620,000 Catholics out of a total population of about 2.3 million.


Canadian Catholic leaders express sorrow over deaths of Indigenous children

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver said he was “filled with deep sadness” after learning of the discovery of the bodies of more than 200 children buried on the site of what was once Canada’s large Indigenous residential school. The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation May 30 reported an “unthinkable loss” that was “never documented” at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia. “We had a knowing in our community,” Chief Rosanne Casimir said of the discovery, which was verified with ground penetrating radar. Casimir said in a statement that some of the 215 children were as young as 3 years old. In a statement, Archbishop Miller called the news “troubling. The pain that such news causes reminds us of our ongoing need to bring light to every tragic situation that occurred in residential schools run by the Church. The passage of time does not erase the suffering that touches the Indigenous communities affected, and we pledge to do whatever we can to heal that suffering,” he said.

Pope orders visitation of Archdiocese of Cologne

COLOGNE, Germany — Pope Francis has ordered an apostolic visitation “to obtain a comprehensive picture of the complex pastoral situation” in the Archdiocese of Cologne and to investigate how accusations of clerical sexual abuse were handled, the Vatican nuncio to Germany announced. The pope asked Swedish Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Dutch Bishop Johannes van den Hende of Rotterdam to carry out the visitation, which include onsite visits in the first half of June, the note said. In a short statement posted on the archdiocesan website, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, head of the archdiocese, said there were tensions in the archdiocese over both the handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the diocese and the cardinal’s decision not to publish a report from a Munich law firm about how accusations were dealt with.

English archbishop to lead worship congregation

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named English Archbishop Arthur Roche to lead the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the Vatican said. The 71-year-old archbishop succeeds Cardinal Robert Sarah, 75, who led the congregation from 2014 until his Feb. 20 resignation. The Vatican announced the appointment May 27. The congregation is charged with promoting the celebration of the Mass and the sacraments and fostering their correct celebration, including by overseeing the approval of the translations of liturgical books and texts. Born in Yorkshire in 1950, the new prefect led the Diocese of Leeds until his appointment as secretary of the congregation in 2012.

Virtual rally decries rise in antisemitism attacks in U.S., around world

WASHINGTON — During a “Day of Action Against Antisemitism” virtual rally May 27, government officials, leaders from the Jewish community and civil rights organizations, among others, spoke out against a surge of antisemitism in the United States and around the world. Recent incidents include Jews being beaten in New York and Los Angeles “and their religious institutions threatened and vandalized,” said a statement from the sponsors of the rally. “Targeting Jews for being Jewish is not activism or a foreign policy debate — it’s antisemitism. We condemn anti-Jewish hate, violence against Jews, and antisemitism in all spaces — no caveats and no qualifiers,” they said.

Holy See receives permanent observer status at the WHO

VATICAN CITY — The World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to formalize the participation of the Holy See in the World Health Organization as a nonmember state observer. The annual assembly, which is the decision-making body of WHO, held its sessions online and at its headquarters in Geneva May 24-31. The assembly adopted “by consensus” May 31 a resolution presented by Italy that “formalizes the participation of the Holy See in the work of the World Health Organization as a nonmember state observer,” the Vatican said in a communique June 1. The resolution confers on the Holy See the right to participate in the general debate of the health assembly and other meetings, make interventions and reply as well as co-sponsor draft resolutions and decisions that make reference to the Holy See, among other rights. However, the Holy See does not have the right to vote or to put forward candidates for office.

— Catholic News Service

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