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Nation and world briefs


Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion law

WASHINGTON — The Texas abortion law — banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — continues to have the Supreme Court’s attention more than a month after the nation’s high court ruled against blocking the law. In the most recent development, the Justice Department filed a brief Oct. 18 asking the court to block enforcement of the state’s abortion law by reinstating a decision by a federal District Court judge in early October who called the law unconstitutional and temporarily blocked it. The Oct. 18 brief, filed by Acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher, asked the justices to treat this petition as one that would need full review by the court, not something to be determined in what has been described as the shadow docket for emergency requests. He stressed the current Texas law has “successfully nullified” Supreme Court decisions about abortion “within its borders” since the court has previously ruled that states cannot restrict abortion before viability, or 24 weeks of pregnancy. In December, the court will take up a Mississippi ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

November Gold Masses celebrate ‘unity between science and religion’

BISMARCK, N.D. — A Gold Mass celebrating the “unity between science and religion” will bring scientists and science students together in prayer and fellowship Nov. 3 at the University of Mary. Bismarck Bishop David D. Kagan will preside at the 10 a.m. liturgy at Our Lady of the Annunciation Chapel on campus. “We are excited to host this Gold Mass. It is a wonderful way of connecting those who practice or teach science, at the university or in the community, and witnessing to the harmony of faith and reason,” Jack Boyle, assistant professor of biology, said in a news release from the school. The Mass has been celebrated at the school since 2018. It is one of several around the country arranged in collaboration with the Society of Catholic Scientists. Founded in 2016, the society is an international organization of scientists and undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students who are pursuing research in natural science. Gold was chosen for such liturgies because it is the color worn on the hood of those receiving a doctoral degree in science.

After court order, DHS officials aim to resume ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

WASHINGTON — Officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in an Oct. 14 court filing they were ready to begin implementing once again a Trump-era immigration policy with which they disagree — the Migrant Protection Protocols, also called “Remain in Mexico” or MPP policy. The officials said it could be reinstated as early as November, pending negotiations with the Mexican government, which needs to approve the terms. The MPP policy forced migrants looking for asylum in the United States to stay on the Mexico side of the U.S. southern border until their cases could be adjudicated in U.S. immigration courts. As soon as he became president in January, Joe Biden paused the policy, formally seeking its end in June. But in August, a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas told administration officials to continue complying with the Trump-era policy, saying they had not ended it properly. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the judge’s ruling.

Speaker: Multifaceted approach needed to combat, end sex trafficking

WASHINGTON — Joyce McCauley-Benner said when she was growing up, she had “no notions or dreams” that one day she would become an advocate for victims of sex trafficking. Nor did she ever dream she would manage a domestic violence shelter or a utility assistance program or the many other things she has done for 20-plus years as an advocate for vulnerable populations, including domestic violence victims and low-income families. Her “why” for doing this — as she was once asked to explain — comes from her own trauma of being raped years ago and from the stories of victim-survivors of sex trafficking she has met and helped in her work, she told an audience at The Catholic University of America in an address the evening of Oct. 13. Her appearance was sponsored by Cardinals for Life, the campus pro-life group. McCauley-Benner, a speaker with Feminists for Life, told the audience that “there isn’t one magical solution” to end sex trafficking. “It will take a multifaceted approach. We have to address the drug epidemic that often causes broken homes. We have to end the over-sexualization of our children, teen’s and women’s bodies,” she said. “We must address why the demand is so high — and realize that this may implicate those in power who we seemingly want to trust but equally implicates loved ones we may actually know. This is a hard pill to swallow.”

Pope appoints new bishop of Crookston, Minn.

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Auxiliary Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of St. Paul and Minneapolis to head the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota. He has been an auxiliary bishop for the Minnesota archdiocese since 2013. A native of Denver, he was ordained a priest for St. Paul and Minneapolis in in 1997. His appointment to Crookston was announced in Washington Oct. 18 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop Cozzens succeeds Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner, whose resignation was accepted April 13 by Pope Francis. As requested by the pope, Bishop Hoeppner, 71, resigned following a 20-month investigation into allegations that he mishandled claims of clergy sexual abuse. The pope had appointed retired Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, to serve as apostolic administrator of the Crookston Diocese until the appointment of a new bishop.


Myanmar military arrests seven Caritas workers

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s military has arrested seven workers from the Catholic Church’s social arm who were on a mission to provide aid for internally displaced persons in conflict-stricken Kayah state. A senior official from Loikaw Diocese, which covers Kayah state, said the soldiers made the arrests of workers from Caritas (Karuna) in Loikaw, the state’s capital, as the social workers carried food and medicine Oct. 18. “We have been providing humanitarian assistance for the IDPs who are in dire need of food, shelter and medicines amid tight restrictions on providing aid,” the source told ucanews.com. He said Church officials have been following up on the arrest of the charity workers and trying to gain their release. It’s not uncommon in the region for the military to burn civilians’ homes, kill civilians and make arbitrary arrests in the predominantly Christian region, according to Church sources. The Church has played a major role in providing humanitarian assistance to those displaced within the country who have taken refuge in churches, convents and makeshift camps since fighting flared up in May.

— Catholic News Service

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