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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Florida continues with rescue efforts after Hurricane Ian

WASHINGTON — As authorities in Florida continued rescue efforts, Catholic parishes and dioceses in the U.S. moved rapidly to collect aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, and U.S. President Joe Biden said it could take years to rebuild what was destroyed. Though Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm after wrecking swaths of Florida, it regained strength and regrouped as a hurricane before heading toward South Carolina. Biden approved an emergency declaration to send federal help before it made landfall in Charleston Sept. 30. Residents in Florida and the Carolinas face a recovery estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars. As of Oct. 2, at least 80 people were confirmed dead, and more than 1,600 people had been rescued in parts of southwest and central Florida. The Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, will hold a special collection at its parishes in October to help with the damage, including in the neighboring Diocese of Venice and is asking for others to help at www.dosp.org/disasterrelief.

HHS urged to ‘reconsider misguided mandate’ on transgender procedures

NEW YORK — Catholic hospitals and their workers “must not be coerced by the government to violate their consciences” by being forced to perform “gender transition procedures” against their religious beliefs, said two U.S. cardinals writing in America magazine. In a Sept. 26 article in the national weekly Jesuit publication based in New York, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York addressed a proposed revision to the Affordable Health Care law drafted by the civil rights office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The HHS proposal, or “proposed rule” as it is called, would apply to implementation of an ACA provision, Section 1557, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex — including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity — in covered health programs or activities. This provision “rightly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in health care. We wholeheartedly support all efforts to ensure that everyone, without exception, receives the best health care that is their due,” Cardinals Cupich and Dolan wrote. “However, if health care facilities are to be places where the twin pillars of faith and science stand together, then these facilities and their workers must not be coerced by the government to violate their consciences,” they said.

WORLD

Ethiopian bishop urges action to save millions in renewed war in Tigray

NAIROBI, Kenya — On the date marking 700 days of war in Ethiopia’s region of Tigray, Bishop Tesfasellassie Medhin of Adigrat restated his call to the local and international community to act to save millions of people. People must “exercise their moral duty (to) be a voice of the voiceless and enforce international treaties to save more than 7 million lives from vanishing,” Bishop Medhin said in a statement Oct. 4. Fighting began again Aug. 24, shattering a five-month humanitarian truce the government announced in May to allow aid to reach millions of needy people. During the period some food, medicines and other basic needs reached the region. Bishop Medhin said the Catholic Church in Tigray was urging all the Catholic networks, partners, national and international religious leaders, U.N. agencies and the international community, among others, to condemn the war and move to help the suffering populations.

Pope names new members to commission for protection of minors

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis reconfirmed the leadership of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and expanded its membership from 17 to 20 people, naming 10 new members and reappointing 10 returning members. U.S. Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the commission, said, “Coming from all over the world with varied backgrounds and a common passion for the well-being of children and vulnerable people, the members announced today include advocates and practitioners of prevention and protection to the many areas in which the Church ministers to children.” The members include “representatives from canon law, social work, the medical and psychological professions, law enforcement and the judiciary as well as pastoral experts who currently work in dioceses and religious congregations,” he said in a statement Sept. 30, the day the appointments were announced. The commission’s 20 members include 10 women and 10 men and includes 12 laypeople.

— Catholic News Service

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