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Nation and world briefs


Abp. Coakley: SNAP increase helps people meet ‘essential human needs’

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recalculation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and a major increase in the benefit for those in need “will be a meaningful improvement in the lives of millions of people who rely on SNAP for basic nutrition,” Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City said Aug. 21. He issued the statement as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “The U.S. bishops have repeatedly called for strengthening and improving SNAP so that it provides an adequate level of support that doesn’t leave families hungry at the end of the month,” Archbishop Coakley said. His statement came in reaction to the USDA’s Aug. 16 release of a reevaluation of its Thrifty Food Plan, used to calculate benefit amounts provided to needy families through SNAP. The report prompted the Biden administration to permanently raise this benefit by over 25%, the largest single increase in the program’s history, according to news reports.

Bishop: Church has ‘sacred duty’ to speak truth about human person, gender

ARLINGTON, Va. — The topic of transgenderism is discussed routinely in the news, on television shows and in schools. This prevailing ideology — that a person can change his or her gender — is impacting Catholic families, too, said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington. After consultating with experts in theology, bioethics, clinical counseling, civil and canonical law, as well as with priests, Bishop Burbidge issued “A Catechesis on the Human Person and Gender Ideology” Aug. 12. He also released policies to be followed in Catholic schools and faith formation and youth ministry programs. The Catholic Church has “a sacred duty and obligation — out of our love for our young people and God’s family — to speak the truth,” said Bishop Burbidge. “Not only to speak the truth but to explain why we believe what we do and to give Catholics the language they need to explain this to others.” The catechetical resource begins by explaining the Catholic understanding of the nature of human beings.

Court ruling upholding Texas abortion law called ‘long-awaited victory’

HOUSTON — A spokeswoman with Texas Right to Life said a federal appeals court ruling upholding the Texas Dismemberment Abortion Ban is a “long-awaited victory” Texans are celebrating. “Anyone can see the cruelty of dismemberment abortions, ripping a child’s body apart while her heart is still beating,” said Kimberlyn Schwartz, the organization’s Director of Media and Communication. “We’re grateful the judges recognized this horror.” The Aug. 18 ruling from the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, upheld the state’s 2017 law, reversing previous court rulings that blocked it. The case is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Pope accepts resignation of bishop of Phoenix-based Byzantine eparchy

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop John S. Pazak of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy, which is based in Phoenix. On Aug. 13, Bishop Pazak turned 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. The pope appointed Latin-rite Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix as apostolic administrator of the eparchy. The changes were announced in Washington Aug. 23 by Msgr. Seamus Horgan, charge d’ affaires at the apostolic nunciature in the temporary absence of Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.


Pope sends aid to those hit by disasters in Haiti, Bangladesh, Vietnam

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will be sending nearly a quarter of a million dollars to help people in Haiti, who are struggling in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake during a global pandemic. The Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development said in a communique released Aug. 24 that the pope had decided to send “an initial contribution” of $235,000 (200,000 euros) to assist the earthquake victims during this “emergency phase,” following the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Haiti Aug. 14.

Vatican orders retired Polish archbishop to life of prayer, penance

VATICAN CITY — A retired Polish archbishop has been ordered to lead a life of prayer and penance, which includes a ban on taking part in any public celebrations — both secular and religious, according to Vatican News and international media. The sanctions against Archbishop Marian Golebiewski, 83, the retired archbishop of Wroclaw and a former bishop of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, came after a Vatican investigation looked into alleged negligence in handling allegations of abuse against minors by priests under his authority. The official announcement was published on the archdiocese’s website Aug. 21.

— Catholic News Service

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