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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

In Washington, ‘saints’ join a crowd marching for immigration reform

WASHINGTON — Mario Ramirez of Milwaukee helped carry part of a homemade statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe that bobbed in the massive crowd headed toward the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building Sept. 21. Though the Guatemalan immigrant is a permanent resident of the United States, he went out to march for immigration reform along with those who descended on Washington for a “Welcome Back Congress” rally seeking to bring issues of social justice, including climate change, to the attention of lawmakers. But the issue that drew the largest crowd was immigration. Thousands took to the streets of Washington, making a stop at an ICE facility before heading to the U.S. Capitol, urging that Congress and the president take action on immigration reform.

Bishops reject abortion funding in budget bill’s health care provisions

WASHINGTON — Two Catholic archbishops Sept. 17 objected to House committees advancing portions of the $3.5 trillion budget bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, with language that funds abortions added to wording they support to improve access to affordable health care for all. The funding of abortion, “the deliberate destruction of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters — those in the womb — cannot be included,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “Congress can, and must, turn back from including taxpayer funding of abortion, in the Build Back Better Act,” they said.

Pro-lifers gather for Virginia March for Life to show support for unborn

RICHMOND, Va. — Around 1,500 pro-lifers from around the state gathered at the Capitol in Richmond for the annual Virginia March for Life Sept. 17. Attendees sported pro-life T-shirts and carried homemade signs proclaiming the goodness of life and urging the protection of the unborn. The crowd listened to speakers before marching through the streets of the capital.

WORLD

Armenian Catholic bishops try again to elect patriarch

ROME — A dozen bishops of the Armenian Catholic Church prayed for the assistance of the Holy Spirit as they met in Rome to begin their second attempt at electing a patriarch for their Church. The bishops had met in Lebanon for two weeks beginning June 22, but no candidate had garnered the two-thirds vote necessary to succeed Patriarch Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan, who died in Beirut May 25. In accordance with Church law, after the unsuccessful election, the bishops turned to Pope Francis. He asked them to gather in Rome and begin the electoral process again Sept. 22 after two days of prayer and reflection.

Judge OKs class action suit against congregation for ‘spiritual abuse’

SHERBROOKE, Quebec — A Quebec Superior Court judge authorized a class action against a Catholic religious group once heralded for its ability to foster vocations, opening the way for people who claim to have been physically, spiritually, or psychologically abused within the organization to join the legal case. Judge Alicia Soldevila decided in favor of class action involving Famille Marie-Jeunesse, (Family of Mary’s Youth), which was founded in the 1980s. Pascal Perron, a member of the group for 17 years, will represent those who join the class action. He left the religious community in 2014, at age 36. Perron blames the group and its leaders for putting in place rules that were “so strict and rigorous” that they had the effect of “destroying the identity of the individuals who were part of it,” preventing their development, and making “their reintegration into civil society extremely difficult.” He also claimed to be a victim of spiritual abuse.

Vatican to require vaccination proof or negative COVID-19 test

VATICAN CITY — Visitors, tourists and employees who want to enter Vatican territory will be required beginning Oct. 1 to show proof of vaccination, recovery from the coronavirus or a negative COVID-19 test. The anti-COVID ordinance, which was approved by Pope Francis and signed by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission in charge of Vatican City State, was released by the Vatican press office Sept. 20. The only exemption in the order is for people entering Vatican territory for the sole purpose of attending a liturgical celebration; in that case, they will have access only “for the time strictly necessary” for the liturgy and if they follow the health measures already in force: mandatory masking, temperature checks and social distancing. — Catholic News Service

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