April 13, 2023 // National

News Briefs: April 16, 2023

House Committee Subpoenas FBI for Documents Regarding Withdrawn Memo on ‘Radical Traditionalist’ Catholics

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) — Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, issued new subpoenas to the FBI on April 10 for documents as House Republicans investigate a leaked and withdrawn memo from the bureau’s Richmond field office about political extremism in some Catholic groups. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jordan alleged that the FBI “relied on at least one undercover agent to produce its analysis, and that the FBI proposed that its agents engage in outreach to Catholic parishes to develop sources among the clergy and church leadership to inform on Americans practicing their faith.” Jordan further alleged the FBI suggested that “certain kinds of Catholic Americans may be domestic terrorists.” Jordan said the FBI has provided “limited information” in a probe conducted by a subcommittee investigating the alleged political “weaponization” of the federal government. The FBI is facing congressional scrutiny after a leaked memo dated Jan. 23, suggested some “radical traditionalist” Catholics pose threats of racial or ethnically motivated violence. The memo however distinguished “radical traditionalists” from Catholics who “simply prefer the Traditional Latin Mass and pre-Vatican II teachings.” A spokesperson for the FBI acknowledged receipt of the subpoena, telling OSV News that the bureau “recognizes the importance of congressional oversight and remains fully committed to cooperating with Congress’s oversight requests consistent with its constitutional and statutory responsibilities.”

As Trump Pleads Not Guilty, Catholic Experts Weigh in on Impact of Indictment on 2024 Campaign

NEW YORK (OSV News) — Former President Donald Trump was arraigned on April 4, pleading not guilty to 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records associated with his alleged role in paying hush money to an adult film actress in the closing days of the 2016 campaign, among other alleged misconduct. Trump, who is in the midst of his third bid for the White House and is currently leading polls for the 2024 GOP presidential primary, appeared in a courtroom in Lower Manhattan where he was accused under state law of a criminal cover-up of efforts to illegally influence the 2016 election. He is charged with falsifying records of payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels with the intent to silence claims from Daniels that could have harmed his candidacy. Daniels has said she had an extramarital sexual encounter with Trump, which he has denied. Robert Schmuhl, Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame who critically observes the modern American presidency, told OSV News that “the word ‘unprecedented’ is becoming the most common word associated with Donald Trump and his political career.” Schmuhl said any or all of the investigations could complicate Trump’s attempt to return to the White House, noting he is “being investigated for other illegal activities” outside New York. “At a certain point, all of these potential criminal proceedings will impede him from actively campaigning,” Schmuhl said. “That could be critical to his winning the Republican nomination.”

Archbishop, Governor Call for Prayer as Louisville Mourns Mass Shooting ‘In the Shadow of The Cross’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (OSV News) — Amid calls for prayer and praise for first responders, officials confirmed that five people were killed in an April 10 mass shooting, Easter Monday morning, at a downtown bank in Louisville, Kentucky. According to the Louisville Metro Police Department, at least nine people were injured, including two LMPD officers, during the shooting at the Old National Bank. The shooter also died at the scene. “My heart is heavy as we learn about another mass shooting, now in our own Louisville community,” Louisville Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre said in a statement provided to The Record, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville, reminding the faithful that amid Easter joy, the cross remains. “Even with our Easter hope so recently renewed, we have been quickly reminded that we still live in the shadow of the cross, the cross of senseless violence.” He said, “For now, please join with me in praying for those who have died and for those who have been injured and for their families.” Prayer also headlined comments made by Mayor Craig Greenberg and Gov. Andy Beshear, who appeared at a news conference near the scene soon after the incident. “This is awful. I have a very close friend that didn’t make it today and another at the hospital,” Gov. Beshear said. “When we talk about praying, I hope that we will.”

Holy Land Spirals into Violence Amid Celebrations of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan

JERUSALEM (OSV News) — A British-Israeli mother and her two daughters were killed in a drive-by-shooting terrorist attack in the Jordan valley on April 7, during a week that, instead of seeing the holidays of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan celebrated in parallel peacefully, spiraled the region into violence. Rina Dee, 15, and Maia Dee, 20, died at the scene of the attack while their mother Lucy, 48, died of her wounds on April 10. Following the Jordan valley attack, an Italian tourist identified as Alessandro Parini, 36 — in Israel for the Easter holiday — was killed in what Israeli police have said was a car-ramming terrorist attack on a beach promenade in Tel Aviv which left one other Italian and three British nationals among the injured. The attacks were spurred on by an Israeli police raid into Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque compound in the early morning of April 5, and is on a site known to Jews as the “Temple Mount.” Israel police also issued a statement saying they had completed their “extensive … work” in preparation for the Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony on April 15, following coordination meetings with heads of churches. The fire hazard security regulations imposed by Israeli police on the ceremony, and the way in which it is enforced, is always a point of contention. It imposes restrictions on the number of faithful who can attend the ceremony, which sees the holy fire brought forth from the traditional tomb of Jesus inside Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Two Catholic Relief Services Workers Slain in Ethiopia Amid Easter Sunday Unrest

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (OSV News) — Two Catholic Relief Services staff members were shot and killed on Easter Sunday, in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, the U.S. bishops’ international aid agency revealed on April 10. Details of the murders are still unknown, CRS representatives said, but the incident comes amid several days of unrest and protests in the region after Ethiopia’s federal government moved to dissolve paramilitary forces. CRS officials said in the April 10 statement that two of its staff in Ethiopia, Chuol Tongyik, a security manager, and Amare Kindeya, a driver, were murdered. The statement said both aid workers were shot and killed in a CRS vehicle in the Amhara region “as they were returning to Addis Ababa from an assignment.” “The depth of our shock and sorrow is difficult to measure and we are saddened over this senseless violence,” Zemede Zewdie, CRS Country Representative in Ethiopia, said in a statement. “CRS is a humanitarian agency dedicated to serving the most vulnerable people in Ethiopia.” Kim Pozniak, Senior Director of Global Communications for Catholic Relief Services told OSV News in an email that much of the charity’s work in Ethiopia centers around food security, comprising both short-term emergency assistance and long-term development work. “We also do a lot of peacebuilding work and both staff supported this work in their respective positions,” she said.

Philadelphia Father Makes a Kneeling Pilgrimage in Thanksgiving for Son’s Death-Defying Recovery from Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (OSV News) — When his critically ill son Adrian, 7, went into cardiac arrest in October of 2022, Arek Szura made a promise to God: “If you let him walk out of this hospital, I will walk from our house on my hands and knees to church to thank you.” Adrian, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, had been given less than a 10 percent chance to live after his heart stopped and his body swelled with fluid. But Arek Szura, his wife Izabela, their daughter Alexandra, and an army of prayer warriors refused to give up hope; 46 days after his cardiac arrest, Adrian returned home. Now “running around like a crazy kid” as he finishes his final rounds of chemotherapy, Adrian cried as his father completed a 10-block, 40-minute pilgrimage of thanksgiving on April 8, shuffling on his hands and knees from the family’s Philadelphia home to St. Adalbert Church, part of St. John Paul II Parish, where its patronal saint had visited in 1976. Venerating the crucifix, Arek Szusa turned to Father Jan Palkowski — St. Adalbert’s Pastor Emeritus and Director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Polish Apostolate — and said, “It was hard, but I kept my promise.”

People gather for a Good Friday procession outside the Metropolitan Cathedral as the government banned Holy Week street processions this year due to unspecified security concerns, in Managua, Nicaragua, April 7, 2023. Parishes in Nicaragua conducted traditional Viacrucis processions on church grounds or inside churches. (OSV News photo/Reuters)

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