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Nation and world briefs


Judge rules administration must reinstate ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

AMARILLO, Texas — U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in a ruling late Aug. 13 blocked Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of the Department of Homeland Security from implementing a June 1 memo in which he formally ended the Trump administration’s Migration Protection Protocols, known as MPP or the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Kacsmaryk, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, whose jurisdiction is the Amarillo division, stayed his decision for seven days to allow the Biden administration to file an appeal. His 53-page ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Texas and Missouri. In it the judge said that in terminating the policy, the Biden administration had violated the Administrative Procedure Act, a law that dictates what procedures agencies must go through to implement certain policies. President Joe Biden had called a halt to the Migration Protection Protocols Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. The Mayorkas June memo formally ended the policy and allowed applicants with open cases to enter the United States.

Walk in Syracuse, N.Y., honors victims, survivors of residential schools

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Over 100 people walked about six miles from the Onondaga Nation to Columbus Circle in downtown Syracuse to honor victims and survivors of residential schools for Indigenous children. Many marchers, including Onondaga leaders, wore orange shirts declaring “They Were Children” and “Every Child Matters.” Participants also carried signs, flowers, stuffed animals, and children’s shoes, which they placed around the base of the Columbus Monument across from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. A child-sized wooden coffin, marked with painted handprints and filled with orange flowers, stood in front of the speaker’s platform. Nearby, a sign marked E. Onondaga Street, a reminder that the city of Syracuse and the cathedral stand on the ancestral lands of the Onondaga Nation. “I have personally been suffering great sorrow for many years, hearing these tales that were told by the people that are survivors. Very sad, heart-wrenching stories,” said Jeanne Shenandoah, a member of the Onondaga Nation, at the rally following the July 31 walk.

Federal judge sides with Catholic school over guidance counselor’s firing

WASHINGTON — A federal judge sided with an Indianapolis archdiocesan high school and the Indianapolis Archdiocese in a lawsuit filed against them by a former guidance counselor whose contract was not renewed because of her same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Richard Young for the Southern District of Indiana said complaints by Lynn Starkey, the longtime employee of Roncalli High School, did not stand up to the principle of ministerial exception that protects a religious school’s hiring and firing practices from government intrusion. “When the state interferes with these types of employment decisions, it violates both the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment,” the judge wrote. He also noted in the 20-page opinion that “ministerial exception is not limited to claims of religious discrimination; it bars all claims of discrimination under Title VII, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” The judge said Starkey’s role at the school was not limited to her position as guidance counselor but that she also helped plan school liturgies, delivered the morning prayer on a few occasions and more.

Justice Department drops conscience case; move called ‘dereliction’ of duty

WASHINGTON — The chairmen of the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty and pro-life committees said Aug. 12 that the U.S. Department of Justice “is acting in dereliction of its duty to enforce the plain meaning of federal law” by voluntarily dismissing a civil lawsuit against a hospital that forced nurses to assist in elective abortions against their religious beliefs. “It is hard to imagine a more horrific civil rights violation than being forced to take an innocent human life,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “This is not only deeply wrong, but a violation of federal law,” they said. The Justice Department said it was dropping a case against the University of Vermont Medical Center that the department had brought in December 2020, under the Trump administration, after the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that the medical center forced a nurse to participate in an elective abortion.


As COVID-19 spreads, Tokyo Archdiocese suspends public Masses

TOKYO — The Tokyo Archdiocese suspended public Masses until Sept. 12 as COVID-19 cases continue to spread in Japan, especially in the capital and adjacent areas. Archbishop Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo announced the new measures Aug. 14; they took effect Aug. 16, reported ucanews.com. During the four-week period, all public Masses are suspended. Masses in convents and religious houses are allowed provided there is no participation by those who are not members of the community, the prelate announced. In the case of funerals, the announcement suggests that “after discussing with the bereaved family, they may proceed with cremation first and have the funeral Mass at a later date.” Similar to last year, during the period of suspension of public Masses, the archbishop’s Sunday Masses will be livestreamed through the YouTube channel of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Tokyo. Weekday Masses will also be broadcast from the channel, ucanews.com reported.

Cardinal Parolin: Church proud of Chinese Catholics’ ‘witness of faith’

VATICAN CITY — While the Holy See continues to dialogue with the Chinese government, the Church is proud of Catholics who have held on to their faith in the country, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. The Church “accompanies them with so many prayers,” Cardinal Parolin said in an interview published Aug. 12 with the Italian news site La Voce del Nordest. “We are proud of the witness of faith they give. We hope that they may always be good citizens and good Catholics. That is, that they may express this dual dimension, especially in their concrete lives,” he said. Asked about the current status of diplomatic relations with China, the Italian cardinal, who was on vacation in the northern Italian province of Trentino, said that “now we are always in a phase of dialogue.” In October, the Vatican and the Chinese government extended an agreement signed in 2018 regarding the appointment of bishops.

— Catholic News Service

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