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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Migration center’s report shows ‘U.S. undocumented population is shrinking’

NEW YORK — Even as some figures show arrivals at the border are breaking records, a New York-based immigration think tank said the country’s “undocumented population is shrinking” according to census figures. According to figures in a report by the Center for Migration Studies in New York showed a 12% decline between 2010 and 2019. In 2010, the population of those in the United States illegally was at an estimated 11.73 million and dropped to 10.35 million by 2019, the report said. Much of it comes from a drop in Mexican nationals who have voluntarily left, but the country has seen an increase in migrants from Central America and Asia who are living in the country without legal permission. The organization’s report cited data collected in the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019, the most recent year available.

Ruling blocking HHS ‘transgender mandate’ called ‘victory for conscience’

WASHINGTON — A U.S. District Court judge’s Aug. 9 ruling to block the Biden administration’s mandate that doctors and hospitals perform gender-transition procedures despite their own moral or medical objections is “a victory for common sense, conscience and sound medicine,” said Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, based in Washington. He is the lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the case. “Today’s ruling protects patients, aligns with current medical research, and ensures doctors aren’t forced to violate their religious beliefs and medical judgment,” he said about the ruling in Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra. On Aug. 9, Judge Reed O’Connor of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Wichita Falls blocked the HHS regulation — in its current form as proscribed by the Biden administration. It requires doctors to perform gender-transition procedures in children and adults or be held liable for discrimination.

Nuncio urges young people in vocational discernment to realize their gifts

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — At a vocational discernment gathering of the Neocatechumenal Way in the U.S. this summer, more than 10,000 participants were encouraged to realize that they have “something to do so that the Church may become the Church.” That message was from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., who also told the young people that what they experienced at the gathering is “what the Church is all about.” “God has called us to become, as the Church, the living sign of His presence in the world,” he told them at the July 25 event at the Historic Daniel Lady Farm in Gettysburg, part of the town’s vast Civil War battlefield. Most of the participants arrived in buses from different parts of the country after over a week of being on pilgrimage, stopping at sites linked to the lives of U.S. saints, including Sts. Kateri Tekakwitha, Frances Cabrini and Junipero Serra. an those on the road to canonization, such as Blessed Solanus Casey in Michigan and Jesuit Father Eusebio Kino, who has the title “Venerable,” in Arizona.

WORLD

Spiritual abuse occurs more frequently than believed, Vatican official says

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is investigating about a dozen founders of congregations of consecrated or religious life, and the most common allegations involve abuse of power or conscience, financial corruption or problems associated with “affectivity,” said a top official. Spanish Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, spoke about his office’s work overseeing religious congregations in an interview July 30 with “Vida Nueva,” a Spanish weekly magazine on religion. He said the Church has very “clear and precise criteria” when it comes to discerning the authenticity of a religious charism when determining whether to approve a new congregation or religious order. Among these criteria, he underlined: “communion with the Church; the presence of spiritual fruits; the social dimension of evangelization; high regard for other forms of consecrated life in the Church; and the profession of the Catholic faith,” referring to the doctrinal congregation’s 2016 letter “Iuvenescit Ecclesia” to the world’s bishops regarding charismatic gifts in the life and the mission of the Church.

Vatican: ‘Killer robots’ pose threat to innocent civilians

VATICAN CITY — The use of “killer robots” and other lethal autonomous weapons systems violate international treaties because innocent civilians could be erroneously targeted, the Vatican said during a U.N. meeting in Geneva. The potential of having “swarms of ‘kamikaze’ mini drones” and other advanced weaponry using artificial intelligence raises “serious implications for peace and security,” the Vatican permanent observer mission to U.N. agencies in Geneva said in a statement Aug. 3 to the 2021 Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS). “If functioning without any direct human supervision, such systems could make mistakes in identifying the intended targets due to some unidentified ‘bias’ induced by their ‘self-learning capabilities’ developed from a limited set of data sample,” the group stated. For years the Vatican, particularly the observer mission in Geneva, has warned against the use and development of LAWS or, so-called killer robots, which include military drones, unmanned vehicles and tanks and artificially intelligent missiles.

Musicologist hopes to reconstruct 12-century organ brought to Bethlehem

JERUSALEM — Frozen in time, like a “musical Pompeii,” the 221 remaining original organ pipes from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem may fill a gap of knowledge of more than three centuries in the history of the organ and its cultural context, medieval church culture, music and technology. “This organ dates from the 12th century and is a unique specimen in the world,” said musicologist and historian David Catalunya, a research fellow at the University of Oxford. Catalunya was in Jerusalem this summer to conduct a preliminary study on the pipes. The next phases of the research will involve a larger team performing the scientific study of the pipes. One aim of the project is to replicate the original pipes and reconstruct the organ’s missing parts, so that its sound can be heard again after 800 years. The organ pipes were discovered, along with bells and other liturgical ornaments, in an archaeological excavation at the Franciscan monastery of the Church of the Nativity in 1906 and were brought to Jerusalem under the care of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

Missionary says prayer, action needed to confront terror in Mozambique

VATICAN CITY — The suffering of hundreds of thousands of people in Mozambique fleeing war and persecution requires a commitment by the international community, not only to safeguard the country’s present, but also to ensure its future, an Italian missionary said. Italian Father Giorgio Ferretti, one of the leaders of the Community of Sant’Egidio in the country, said that while food and aid are crucial in confronting the worsening humanitarian crisis, authentic Christian witness is just as important. “This is just my experience, but I can say personally and with the Community of Sant’Egidio, we try to live in a simple way, witnessing the Lord in our peaceful life, trying to build some links of peace wherever we are because, as Christians, we must give witness with our smile, with our words, with our kindness, with our tenderness, as Pope Francis says,” Father Ferretti said. Since 2017, Mozambique has been ravaged by terrorist attacks by al-Shabab militants linked to the Islamic State in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. According to an Aug. 3 report by the Financial Times, the attacks have claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people and displaced more than 800,000 men, women and children.

— Catholic News Service

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