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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

House OKs anti-trafficking bill to ‘protect the most vulnerable among us’

WASHINGTON — “Critical” anti-trafficking legislation overwhelmingly approved by the House in a bipartisan vote July 26 “will go a long way toward protecting so many vulnerable people from exploitation while providing tremendous support and resources to victims,” said one of it is sponsors, Rep. Chris Smith, N.J. Smith and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., wrote the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022, which House members passed in a 401-20 vote. The House vote came four days ahead of the U.N. World Day Against Trafficking in Persons July 30. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass in a bipartisan vote. “The enormous support in the House for this critical human rights and law enforcement legislation is a testament to a widespread consensus and underscores the absolute urgency for securing the funds needed to protect victims, prosecute perpetrators and prevent trafficking from occurring in the first place,” Smith said.

Pro-lifers rally inside Indiana Statehouse for unborn babies and mothers

INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Fichter, president of Indiana Right to Life, stood before 1,200 pro-life Hoosiers packed in an atrium of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis and on two balconies rising above him July 26. They were all there to advocate for legislation that would ban most abortions in the state. “Are you ready to make history in protecting life in Indiana?” Fichter asked rally attendees. “You are here representing all parts of Indiana to affirm that we value all life, including unborn children, and to affirm the pro-life movement’s love and support for pregnant mothers. That’s why the theme of this rally is ‘Love Them Both,’” he said. The replying cheers of attendees, most of them wearing blue T-shirts emblazoned with the message “Love Them Both,” echoed through the Statehouse halls. The rally took place during a special session of the Indiana General Assembly and within earshot of a state Senate committee meeting on S.B.1, which would extend legal protection to most unborn babies in the state. The Indiana General Assembly is the only state legislature that has convened in a special session to consider abortion legislation.

Bishops say HHS proposal violates religious freedom, ‘is bad medicine’

WASHINGTON — The chairmen of four U.S. bishops committees said July 27 that proposed regulations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on abortion, transgender services and other procedures threaten the Catholic Church’s ability “to carry out our healing ministries” and others’ ability “to practice medicine.” They called the proposed regulations — a 308-page document released July 25 by HHS — “a violation of religious freedom and bad medicine.” “They mandate health care workers to perform life-altering surgeries to remove perfectly healthy body parts,” the bishops said. “Assurances that HHS will honor religious freedom laws offer little comfort when HHS is actively fighting court rulings that declared HHS violated religious freedom laws the last time they tried to impose such a mandate.” The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the joint statement from Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman, Committee for Religious Liberty.

WORLD

Vatican: Pope to visit Kazakhstan in September

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Kazakhstan in September and attend an interreligious meeting in the capital city, Nur-Sultan. “Accepting the invitation of the civil and ecclesial authorities, Pope Francis will make the announced apostolic journey to Kazakhstan from September 13-15 this year, visiting the city of Nur-Sultan on the occasion of the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions,” the Vatican said Aug. 1. Kazakh authorities had already confirmed the pope’s participation at the congress during a Zoom meeting in April with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The pope said he plans to meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who is expected to attend the interreligious meeting.

Catholic radio stations ordered closed, parish raided in Nicaragua

Members of a traditional dance group perform outside Santa Ana Ixtlahuatzingo Catholic Church in Tenancingo, Mexico, July 26 during a celebration on the feast of the church’s patron saint, St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus. More than a million flowers were used in the arrangements at the church. Several hundred volunteers worked for three weeks to prepare lattices and designs; flowers were placed in the final three days before the celebration. Arrangements included animal forms, rosaries and passages from the Bible.
Photo Credits: David Maung | Catholic News Service
MEXICO CITY — Nicaraguan authorities have ordered the closure of Catholic media outlets and raided a parish in the Diocese of Matagalpa, the latest attack on the Catholic Church by the Sandinista regime. Police entered the Infant of Prague chapel in the community of Sébaco Aug. 1 to seize radio equipment, prompting parishioners to protest outside. Police rebuffed the protests and fired gunshots in the air as church bells rang, according to video posted to social media by the Divine Word parish. The parish also posted a video showing police taking away “young people from our Catholic groups. We call on the national police to abandon our installations, which belong to the Catholic people,” the parish said in a Facebook message at 6 a.m. Aug. 2. Father Uriel Vallejos, pastor, posted photos of the police entering the chapel — breaking locks to do so. He also posted a letter from the authorities saying Radio Católica de Sébaco was operating without a valid license and “therefore operating illegally.”

— Catholic News Service

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