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Nation and world briefs


Supreme Court rejects request from Texas abortion providers

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court Jan. 20 rejected a request from Texas abortion providers to immediately send their challenge of the state’s abortion law to a federal District Court, where a judge had previously blocked the law. The high court’s action — in its one-sentence order — means the state law that bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy will remain in effect. The Supreme Court’s refusal to grant the providers’ request was not unanimous. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said they would have granted the request. On Jan. 17, the abortion providers’ challenge to the state’s law that had been before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was sent to the Texas Supreme Court.

Donnelly confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican

WASHINGTON — Catholic lawyer Joe Donnelly of Indiana is the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. The U.S. Senate confirmed Donnelly, a former member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, in a voice vote Jan. 20. “Joe is a person of deep Catholic faith and commitment to public service, and I am confident that he will serve in this important new role with vision and integrity,” said Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, Donnelly’s alma mater. Donnelly, 66, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013, representing Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, and was a U.S. senator from 2013 to 2019. A Democrat, he ran for reelection to the Senate in 2018, but he lost.

Pope names two pastors as auxiliary bishops of N.Y. Archdiocese

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named two pastors in the New York Archdiocese to be auxiliary bishops of their archdiocese, Father John S. Bonnici and Father Joseph A. Espaillat. Bishop-designate Bonnici, 56, is currently pastor of St. Augustine Parish and Sts. John & Paul Parish, both in Larchmont, New York. Bishop-designate Espaillat, 45, is pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Bronx, New York, and director of the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal. Bishop-designate Bonnici was ordained June 22, 1991, and Bishop-designate Espaillat was ordained May 17, 2003. The appointments were announced in Washington Jan. 25 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.


Vandalism at Holy Land abbey caused by small minority, monk says

JERUSALEM — A Benedictine priest told a Jewish delegation visiting his monastery that the monks know the perpetrators of vandalism represented a small minority of radicalized Jews. Father Nikodemus Schnabel of the Benedictine Dormition Abbey told a delegation of 12 Jews from the anti-racism group Tag Meir Jan. 23 that an incident in an abbey courtyard was isolated but could have injured monks and students who regularly socialize there. A bag of construction rubble was heaved over a stone wall separating the monastery from a public garden, breaking a tin roof and smashing plastic furniture Jan. 16, he said. “I refuse to refer to these people as ‘the Jews attacking the Christians,’” the priest said. “This is not the case. We are speaking of a tiny hateful minority.”

Peru bishop warns of harm to environment, livelihoods from oil spill

LIMA, Peru — After an oil spill fouled nearly 100 miles of shoreline north of Peru’s capital city, the bishop of Callao, the seaport where the accident occurred, called for officials to repair the damage and care for “our common home.” In a Jan. 23 message, Bishop Luis Barrera Pacheco called for those involved to “assume their responsibilities and commit to the immediate solution of this huge environmental damage that puts life in danger.” The spill, which occurred Jan. 15 as a tanker was offloading oil at a refinery, has left a tarry slick on beaches and wildlife.

At trial, Vatican prosecutors reindict defendants

VATICAN CITY — In the ongoing Vatican trial sparked by a disastrous multimillion-dollar property deal in London, Vatican prosecutors handed over new indictments for four individuals on charges involving financial malfeasance and corruption. At the sixth session of the Vatican trial Jan. 25, Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the Vatican City State criminal court, apologized for starting two hours late, but said the presiding judges were poring over documents handed over by prosecutors earlier in the day, including the new indictments. The four defendants included in those indictments were London-based Italian financier Raffaele Mincione, the owner of the property in London’s Chelsea district; Fabrizio Tirabassi, a former official at the Secretariat of State; Nicola Squillace, a Milan-based lawyer who helped broker the London property deal; and Msgr. Mauro Carlino, Cardinal Angelo Becciu’s former secretary. The Vatican court originally charged and brought to trial 10 individuals, including the four men reindicted and Cardinal Becciu, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, as well as four companies.

Pope says news reporting requires better listening, more objectivity

VATICAN CITY — Listening to others is the first essential ingredient of good communication and a condition of genuine dialogue, Pope Francis said. “Communication does not take place if listening has not taken place, and there is no good journalism without the ability to listen,” he said in his message for World Communications Day. “In order to provide solid, balanced and complete information, it is necessary to listen for a long time,” he said. “To recount an event or describe an experience in news reporting, it is essential to know how to listen, to be ready to change one’s mind, to modify one’s initial assumptions. Listening with the ear of the heart” is the theme of this year’s World Communications Day, which most dioceses will mark May 29, the Sunday before Pentecost. The message was released Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists.

Pope declares St. Irenaeus a doctor of the Church

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis officially has declared St. Irenaeus of Lyon a doctor of the Church. In a decree released by the Vatican Jan. 21, the pope ordered that the second-century theologian be given the title of “doctor of unity” and said St. Irenaeus’ life and teachings served as “a spiritual and theological bridge between Eastern and Western Christians. May the doctrine of such a great teacher increasingly encourage the journey of all the Lord’s disciples toward full communion,” the pope said. St. Irenaeus is the second doctor of the Church named by Pope Francis after St. Gregory of Narek, who was given the designation in 2015. He brings the total number of doctors of the church to 37. Born in Smyrna, Asia Minor — now modern-day Turkey — St. Irenaeus was known as a staunch defender of the faith.

— Catholic News Service

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