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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Clergy comfort students, community after high school shooting

LAKE ORION, Mich. — Many were not Catholic, but they arrived at St. Joseph Catholic Church the night of Nov. 30 nonetheless. Hugs were exchanged and cathartic tears were shed. Earlier in the day, a gunman — alleged by authorities to be a 15-year-old Oxford High sophomore — took the lives of four Oxford students and wounded seven other people. At St. Joseph in Lake Orion, the closest Catholic parish to Oxford, the parish’s regularly scheduled Tuesday evening liturgy became an impromptu occasion of healing for a community that will need plenty of it in the coming weeks and months. “This is truly what a strong community does. We come forth. We bond together. We hug one another,” Father Jim Kean, pastor of St. Joseph, told the nearly 1,000 parents, students, parishioners and community members who gathered for the Mass.

Congress urged to pass Conscience Protection Act for health care workers

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., has urged Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act. It would amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit government discrimination against health care providers who, on serious moral or religious grounds, strongly object to participating in medical procedures, namely abortion. Harris, a Catholic physician, reintroduced the measure Nov. 19. Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, endorsed the measure. Harris said the bill is needed because of various actions by the Biden administration, including its dismissal earlier this year of a government suit against a Vermont hospital for violating nurses’ objections, on morals ground, to participating in abortion.

Archbishop: Arbery verdict does not bring him back, but advances justice

ATLANTA — Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer said the the verdict convicting three white men for the 2020 murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery “does not bring him back. It does not bridge the racial divide in our community. It does not bring to an end the sin of racism, but it does advance the work toward justice. Let us use this moment to rededicate ourselves to the intentional, difficult and uncomfortable work of naming and eradicating systemic racism,” the Atlanta archbishop said in a statement Nov. 24, shortly after a jury found Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. guilty on multiple counts of murder. “We continue to lift up the Arbery family in prayer as we join with countless others in grieving Ahmaud Arbery’s death. The violent loss of life is a wound in our community — one that does not heal easily,” the archbishop said. “We still have plenty of work to do in America to live up to the ideals of justice and equality that we say we represent,” he added. Archbishop Hartmayer said people must see everyone as a child of God.

WORLD

Pope advances sainthood causes, including Dutch priest murdered at Dachau

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Titus Brandsma, clearing the way for the canonization of the 20th-century martyr murdered at the Dachau concentration camp. The Dutch Carmelite friar was sent to Dachau for treason — after defending Jews and press freedom — and was killed with a lethal injection. The Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision in his case and a number of other sainthood causes Nov. 25. Blessed Brandsma was sent to Dachau after urging editors of the Dutch Catholic press to violate a new law of the Third Reich and not print any Nazi propaganda. Pope Francis also recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Carolina Santocanale, also known as Blessed Mary of Jesus, an Italian nun born in 1852, who founded the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes. The Vatican did not announce dates for the canonization ceremonies

Pope: Discrimination against people with disabilities must end

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church must be a home for all, especially for people with disabilities who continue to face discrimination in the world and in the Church, Pope Francis said. In a message for the Dec. 3 celebration of the U.N.’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the pope said that although Church teaching is clear, too many men, women and children with disabilities lack spiritual care, which is “the worst form of discrimination.” “Discrimination continues to be all too present at various levels of society; it feeds on prejudice, ignorance and a culture that finds it hard to appreciate the inestimable value of each person,” he wrote in the message, which was published Nov. 25. Nevertheless, he said, baptism makes all men and women “full-fledged” members of the Church “so that all of us, without exclusion or discrimination, can say: ‘I am the Church!’” he wrote. “The Church is truly your home,” the pope told people with disabilities. The U.N. theme for the 2021 celebration of the international day is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”

Catholic church burned in Myanmar military assault

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s military continues to target churches in predominantly Christian regions in the Buddhist-majority country, ignoring appeals by the Catholic Church and world leaders, reported ucanews.com. The latest military assault on Christians in Myanmar’s ethnic regions is not the first time the minority has been attacked and targeted. Ucanews.com reported Christians have borne the brunt of the decades-old civil war and faced persecution at the hands of the military, which ruled for more than five decades. The latest attacks have accelerated since the February military coup. St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the deserted town of Thantlang in Myanmar’s Chin state was burned by the military Nov. 27, local media reports said. Ucanews.com reported the Chin Human Rights Organization said the junta set fire to houses in Thantlang Nov. 26, with fires burning for three straight days as soldiers continued arson attacks.

Bishop calls for end to bombings in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

NAIROBI, Kenya — Bishop Tesfaselassie Medhin of Adigrat called for an immediate end to aerial bombardment in Tigray, the Ethiopian region where a deadly conflict has unfolded since last November. In a recorded video statement, the bishop said the bombardment was destroying lives, property, civilians and institutions, in a government war of ethnic cleansing in the region. “The people of Tigray are condemned to be cleansed by desolation, bullets and famine,” said Bishop Medhin, who for many months had been cut off from the rest of the nation’s bishops. He said the Catholic Church has constantly called for a peaceful end to the war, which began in November 2020, but added the government has stepped up its action, fueling the destruction. Ethiopia has deprived Tigray of its budget, denied humanitarian food aid access and cut all services, including electricity, telephone, medicine, internet, air and transportation.

— Catholic News Service

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