March 28, 2023 // National

News Briefs: April 2, 2023

Iowa Governor Signs Bill Banning Some Transgender Surgeries or Hormonal Interventions for Minors

DES MOINES, Iowa (OSV News) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed two bills into law on March 22 that impact minors who identify as transgender, including a bill banning some surgeries or hormonal interventions for those minors. The other bill requires students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their biological sex rather than their self-perceived gender identities. The new laws are part of a broader effort to pass such bills across the country. Other states — Mississippi, Utah, South Dakota, and Tennessee — have also moved to restrict surgical and hormonal interventions this year. Legislators in Nebraska recently advanced a comparable effort. In guidance on health care policy and practices released on March 20, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ doctrine committee opposed “interventions which involve the use of surgical or chemical techniques that aim to exchange the sex characteristics of a patient’s body for those of the opposite sex or for simulations thereof.”

Colombian Bishops Ask Vatican to Consider Creation of Amazonian Rite

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Indigenous communities in Colombia are calling for a new liturgical rite that reflects their varied spiritualities and lifestyles, Colombia’s bishops said. About half of the country’s bishops met with Pope Francis on March 24 at the end of their “ad limina” visit to the Vatican, the first for Colombia’s bishops since 2012. Bishop Omar Mejía Giraldo of Florencia, whose diocese sits along the border of the Amazon rainforest, told journalists that the pope is encouraging Colombia’s bishops to continue researching an Amazonian rite and remain close to the region’s Indigenous communities. In this moment the Church is asking CEAMA, the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon Region, to reflect deeply and thoroughly to see how we can make inroads toward an Amazonian rite,” he said. The bishop said Pope Francis told them the Vatican would not “shut down” the development of an Amazonian rite and that “there will arrive a moment when (the Church) will discern it thoroughly.”

Sport Governing Body Bars ‘Male-to-Female Transgender Athletes’ from Female Competition

ROME (OSV News) — The World Athletics Council, the international sports governing body, announced new rules that prohibit the participation of “male-to-female transgender athletes” from female competitions. In a statement published on March 23, officials with the association said they agreed “to exclude male-to-female transgender athletes who have been through male puberty from female World Rankings competition” effective March 31. Sebastian Coe, the President of World Athletics, said that while such decisions involving “conflicting needs and rights between different groups” are always difficult, the sport governing body must nevertheless “continue to take the view that we must maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations.” “We will be guided in this by the science around physical performance and male advantage which will inevitably develop over the coming years. As more evidence becomes available, we will review our position, but we believe the integrity of the female category in athletics is paramount,” Coe said. The decision drew mixed reactions, with some LGBT activist organizations criticizing the decision as exclusionary. Others, including Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, thanked World Athletics for “standing up for female athletes across the world who are worthy of fair sport.”

St. John Paul II, Cardinal Wyszynski, and Reagan Would Resist Putin, New ‘Hydra’ of Old Communism, Says Poland’s Ambassador

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to cast Russia as a haven of Christianity and traditional values amid his regime’s invasion of Ukraine, but nothing could be further from the truth, Marek Magierowski, Polish Ambassador to the U.S., said on March 23 during the Victims of Communism Museum’s annual Polish Studies Conference. Panelists at the conference explored the legacies of three individuals they dubbed “Knights of Liberty:” Blessed Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, St. John Paul II, and U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Were the late trio still pushing back against communism today, Magierowski said, they would have staunchly opposed Putin’s efforts. “Over the years, we’ve defeated evil, but it’s proved staggeringly resilient,” Magierowski said. “Distinguished guests, nowadays, Putin’s Russia appears to be another head of the same Hydra. We need to hope and have courage.” The Victims of Communism Foundation’s Museum in Washington, D.C. is located near the White House and opened to the public in June of 2022.

Human Composting, Alkaline Hydrolysis Not Acceptable for Burial, Say U.S. Bishops

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) — Two new alternatives to burial and cremation fail to comply with the Catholic Church’s teaching on respect for the bodies of the dead, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine said. In a March 23 statement, the committee said it had evaluated human composting and alkaline hydrolysis, and concluded that both “fail to satisfy the Church’s requirements for proper respect for the bodies of the dead.” The methods, which rapidly accelerate decomposition, have gained support in recent years as “eco-friendly” forms of treating human remains. Currently, six U.S. states — California, Colorado, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington — permit human composting. However, both techniques — unlike flame-based cremation — do not yield remains that can be interred in a sacred place. Church teaching requires proper care of the human body in death as recognition of the human person’s unity of soul and body, and the hope of the resurrection when Jesus Christ returns in glory.

Jeremiah Stapleton, 18, climbs into the window of his grandfather’s destroyed home in Rolling Fork, Miss., March 26, 2023, after a tornado swept through the town. At least 25 people were killed and dozens of others were injured in Mississippi as the massive storm ripped through more than a half-dozen towns late March 24. (OSV News photo/Cheney Orr, Reuters)

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