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Nation and world briefs


Abuse allegations down, but safe environment ‘fatigue’ a risk, warns annual bishops’ report

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Catholic bishops’ latest annual report on child and youth protection shows abuse allegations are down, while safe environment protocols have taken root in the Church — but guarding against complacency about abuse prevention is critical, as is providing ongoing support for survivors. On May 28, the bishops released their “2023 Annual Report — Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” For the period from July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023, the report found a more than 51% drop in historical allegations from those reported in the same period last year, from 2,704 in 2022 to 1,308 in 2023. The decrease was partly due to the resolution of allegations received as a result of lawsuits, said the report. Another milestone was the full participation of all 196 dioceses and eparchies in the Charter audit, a 100% response rate that was unprecedented. But the report found that over the past 10 years, the Catholic dioceses and eparchies in the U.S. alone have paid more than $2 billion in costs regarding abuse allegations. Total abuse allegation-related costs in fiscal year 2023 were up 99% over the previous year at more than $260.5 million. Suzanne Healy, chairwoman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, emphasized in the report that as the church moves forward, it cannot risk “fatigue or complacency. We must remain vigilant.” (OSV News)

Biden signs executive order temporarily shutting down asylum requests

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on June 4 signed an executive order aimed at reducing unauthorized border crossings by asylum-seekers. The move was expected and comes as Biden faces increasing political pressure on the issue of migration in the midst of his reelection bid. Catholic immigration advocates expressed concern about the impact the order could have on asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. J. Kevin Appleby, senior fellow for policy at the Center for Migration Studies of New York and former director of migration policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the action “will drive desperate asylum seekers to more remote areas of the border, leading to the loss of life, and strengthen smuggling networks, who will charge enormous sums to get people across the border undetected.” In its announcement, the White House said the order would “bar migrants who cross our Southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum.” The order would temporarily shut down asylum requests once the seven-day average number of daily encounters with noncitizens between official ports of entry is over 2,500. Asylum requests would be reopened once daily encounters dropped below 1,500 — something that has not taken place since July 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order, however, excludes “unaccompanied children … from non-contiguous countries” in calculating the number of encounters. (OSV News)


Pope to hold consistory July 1 on canonization of Carlo Acutis, others

VATICAN CITY — Although Pope Francis usually takes the month of July off, he will hold a consistory with cardinals in Rome July 1 for the final approval of the canonization of several sainthood candidates, according to the master of papal liturgical ceremonies. In late May, the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints said Pope Francis would be convoking the meeting of cardinals to vote on approving the canonizations of Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teen and computer whiz; Blessed Giuseppe Allamano, founder of the Consolata Missionaries; eight Franciscan friars and three Maronite laymen who were martyred in Syria in 1860; Canada-born Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis, founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family; and Blessed Elena Guerra, an Italian nun who founded the Oblates of the Holy Spirit. The date or dates for the canonizations could be announced during the ceremony. (CNS)

U.S. ambassador to Holy See to step down in July

VATICAN CITY — U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly will leave his post in July, the embassy announced. The ambassador will step down from his role and return to his native Indiana on July 8, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See said in a post on X published May 30. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my country in this unique way,” Donnelly was quoted as saying in the post. The former Indiana senator assumed his role in Rome in April 2022 when he presented his letters of credential to Pope Francis. In a March interview with Catholic News Service, Donnelly said that when interacting with Vatican officials his job was “to try to make sure that where the United States stands, it’s understood.” (CNS)

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