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Nation and world briefs


Poll: Majority of likely voters support limits on abortion after 15 weeks

WASHINGTON — A nationwide poll of 1,200 likely voters in a general election found that a majority oppose unrestricted abortion on demand throughout pregnancy and support limits on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life group, commissioned OnMessage Inc. to conduct the survey shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 17 order announcing it will hear oral arguments during its next term on a 2018 Mississippi abortion law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The survey asked respondents if they would support a Republican candidate who backs limiting abortion after 15 weeks — with exceptions for the life and physical health of the mother or severe abnormality of the unborn baby — or would support a Democratic candidate who backs abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Fifty-three percent said they would support the GOP candidate’s abortion position, while 28% said they would support the Democratic candidate. Nineteen percent said, “Don’t know.”

National Right to Life decries new bill aimed at codifying Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON — The Women’s Health Protection Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House June 8 “would invalidate nearly all existing state limitations on abortion,” said Jennifer Popik, director of federal legislation for National Right to Life. “This legislation would also prohibit states from adopting new protective laws in the future, including various types of laws specifically upheld as constitutionally permissible by the U.S. Supreme Court,” she said in a statement June 9. The measure was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and in the House by Reps. Judy Chu, D-Calif., Lois Frankel, D-Fla., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. Blumenthal first introduced the measure in 2013 and has reintroduced it off and on over the years. The current measure has 48 Democrats as co-sponsors in the Senate; Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., are not co-sponsoring it. In the House, there are 176 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats. Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said the measure “would essentially remove all legal protections for unborn children on the federal and state level. The Women’s Health Protection Act is, in effect, a no-limits-on-abortion-until-birth bill.”


Pope names South Korea bishop prefect for clergy

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has appointed South Korean Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of Daejeon as the new prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy. The Vatican made the announcement June 11, adding that the outgoing prefect, Italian Cardinal Beniamino Stella, 79, would remain at the congregation until the new prefect could assume his role. The new prefect has also been made an archbishop, the Vatican added. Born Nov. 17, 1951, in Nonsan, Archbishop You studied in Seoul and in Rome, where he received his doctorate in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Lateran University. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1979 and served in a variety of positions in the Diocese of Daejeon, including spiritual director, professor and finally president of the Catholic University of Daejeon. St. John Paul II named him coadjutor bishop of Daejeon in 2003 and he became head of the diocese in 2005.

Eritrean Catholic bishops angry over government’s latest school seizures

NAIROBI, Kenya — Catholic bishops in Eritrea have expressed anger at the forced takeover of Church-run institutions as the government moved to confiscate or close more schools. The latest seizure targeted early childhood and intermediate primary schools throughout the country. The schools were the last remaining Catholic Church-owned and operated educational institutions following an earlier seizure in 2018. “We … are deeply saddened and intimately hurt by the measures that the government is adopting by force or has already done so, taking away from us educational and health institutions that legitimately belong to us,” the bishops said in a May 26 letter to Eritrea’s education minister, Semere Re’esom. “These measures, we hereby formally denounce and firmly reject,” the bishops wrote.

Vatican orders term limits for leaders of lay movements

VATICAN CITY — In an ongoing effort to promote Catholic lay movements and associations and protect their members from possible abuse by the groups’ leaders, the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life has imposed term limits on leadership and ordered the groups to ensure all members have a voice in choosing their leaders. “Not infrequently, for those called to govern, the absence of limits in terms of office favors forms of appropriation of the charism, personalization, centralization and expressions of self-referentiality, which can easily cause serious violations of personal dignity and freedom, and even real abuses,” said the dicastery’s explanatory note, which was published June 11 along with the new norms. Under the new norms, those who hold offices in the central leadership of international Catholic lay movements and associations may serve a maximum of two five-year terms. The dicastery will consider granting an exemption for the founder of a movement or an association to lead a group longer “if a dispensation corresponds to the clear will of the central governing body,” the note said. The norms take effect in September and were approved by Pope Francis, said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the dicastery.

Priest killed in crossfire in north-central Mexico

MEXICO CITY — A Franciscan priest was killed by gunfire on his way to celebrate Mass and provide sacraments in a rural Mexican village known for drug cartel conflicts. Father Juan Antonio Orozco, 33, was struck June 12 in the late morning as he drove in a rural region of western Durango state, where “he entered the crossfire of two groups fighting” over the Durango to Zacatecas highway,” Bishop Luis Flores Calzada of Tepic said in a brief social media post. The bishop included a photo of the victim, lying in front of a red pickup that identified the Franciscans’ parish ministry. The truck had several bullet holes. Franciscan Father Gilberto Hernández, spokesman for the Order of Friars Minor, said the slain priest had traveled to celebrate Mass in a rural village. Father Orozco was one of three Franciscan priests serving the Santa Lucía de la Sierra parish in a rugged and isolated part of Zacatecas state.

Pope Francis calls for embrace of displaced people of Central America

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis said the COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that “human beings are like dust, but valuable dust in God’s eyes,” and it’s important to keep that in mind when dealing with those fleeing from various crises in Central America. Previous months have laid bare the problems Central America faces, including “the deterioration of social conditions that were already precarious and complex due to an unjust economic system,” the pope said in a statement in Spanish and Italian published June 10 on the Vatican’s communication’s page. The statement’s release was intended for the 30th anniversary of the Central American Integration System, known as SICA for its acronym in Spanish. SICA is a regional body that promotes Central American cooperation. “Despite the innate sense of hospitality inherent in the people of Central America, sanitary restrictions have influenced the closure of many borders. Many were left halfway, unable to advance or retreat” in a journey seeking distance from the unjust economic system that forces them to flee their home countries or localities, the pope said.

— Catholic News Service

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