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Nation and world briefs


Federal court says Catholic school has right to employ teachers who uphold Church teaching

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court May 8 ruled in favor of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, protecting religious schools’ freedom to hire teachers who will uphold their religious beliefs. In Billard v. Diocese of Charlotte, a former substitute teacher sued Charlotte Catholic High School and the diocese for not calling him back to work as a substitute teacher after he entered a same-sex union and posted about it on Facebook. That contradicted Catholic teachings about marriage and violated the diocese’s employment policy, disqualifying him to assist the school in fulfilling its mission, the school and diocese argued. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, overturned a lower court ruling and reaffirmed the school’s freedom to employ teachers who will uphold the faith. (OSV News)

Proposed abortion ballot measures in several states move closer to qualifying for November

WASHINGTON — Abortion advocates in at least 15 states are seeking to qualify ballot measures for November that would enshrine abortion protections in law or their state constitutions, and some efforts recently got a step closer. Maryland and Florida will have efforts to enshrine abortion protections in their state constitutions on the ballot. A comparable effort in New York was tossed off the ballot — for now — when it was blocked May 7 by a judge who found that state lawmakers failed to follow procedural rules for passing constitutional amendments. Supporters plan to appeal. Abortion is legal in the Empire State through 24 weeks but with broad exceptions after that point. Efforts for similar amendments to qualify for the ballot are still underway in several states including Arizona and Montana. In Missouri, supporters of such a ballot measure said May 3 they turned in more than 380,000 voter signatures — more than double the 171,000 required to qualify for the ballot. (OSV News)

Louisiana first Communion Mass disrupted by gunman

ABBEVILLE, Louisiana — A first Communion Mass at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Abbeville, Louisiana, was disrupted May 11 after a teenager attempted to enter the church with a rifle. Parishioners prevented the young man from entering the parish where 60 children were preparing to receive their first Communion. Police took the suspect into custody, and moments of chaos were caught on the church’s livestream as they swept the premises to see if other threats were present. Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette commented on the incident, saying, “we are thankful to God that a tragedy was avoided at the First Communion Mass for the children of St. Mary Magdalen in Abbeville.” (OSV News)


Pope: Ascension shows that no one is left behind en route to heaven

VATICAN CITY — Jesus’ ascension shows that, despite the difficulties in peoples’ lives, they are all made for heaven, Pope Francis said. Reflecting May 12 on the Gospel reading from St. Mark, which recounts how Jesus “was taken up into heaven,” the pope said that Jesus’ ascension into heaven does not represent a detachment from humanity but rather precedes its ultimate destination: heaven. Pope Francis compared Jesus’ resurrection to the point when, during a difficult climb, one turns a corner and sees the destination in the distance, giving the body the energy and encouragement needed to reach the peak. “We, the Church, are precisely that body that Jesus, having ascended to heaven, pulls along with Him,” he said. “It is He who awakens us and communicates to us, with His word and with the grace of the sacraments, the beauty of the homeland toward which we are headed.” (CNS)

Thousands rally at Canada’s March for Life amid calls to act with courage, compassion

OTTAWA, Ontario— Thousands of pro-life advocates packed onto Parliament Hill and spilled out onto Wellington Street May 9 for Canada’s 27th annual National March for Life. The diverse crowd gathered on the Hill at noon with its members bearing both homemade and professionally crafted signs pledging them to stand fast for unborn children and other vulnerable persons. The March’s theme of “I will never forget you” was taken from God’s poignant question to the people of Israel in Isaiah 49, emphasizing his enduring relationship with them: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?” Speakers included high-profile U.S. pro-life speaker and author Abby Johnson; President of 40 Days for Life Shawn Carney; and Campaign Life Coalition Vice-Chair Jeff Gunnarson. (OSV News)

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