July 10, 2024 // National

News Briefs: July 14, 2024

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Condemns Israeli Army Attack on Catholic School

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (OSV News) – Officials with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued a strong condemnation after the Israeli military targeted a Catholic school in Gaza that killed four people, including a senior Hamas official. The statement published on Sunday, July 7, said they were monitoring reports of a strike on Holy Family School, which “has, since the beginning of the war, been a place of refuge for hundreds of civilians.” “The Latin Patriarchate condemns, in the strongest terms, the targeting of civilians or any belligerent actions that fall short of ensuring that civilians remain outside the combat scene,” the statement read. The patriarchate called for a cease-fire agreement “that would put an immediate end to the horrifying bloodbath and humanitarian catastrophe in the region.” According to multiple news reports, including by The Associated Press, Israeli airstrikes took place overnight July 6-7 in Gaza, killing 13 Palestinians. The strike against Holy Family School, which was operating as a shelter, claimed the lives of four people, including Ihab al-Ghussein, Hamas’ undersecretary of labor. Israeli military officials justified the attack on the school, arguing that the bombing struck a Hamas military building and a weapons-making facility “in the area of a school building.”

Vatican Excommunicates Archbishop Viganò, Found Guilty of Schism

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former nuncio to the United States, has been excommunicated after being found guilty of schism, Vatican officials said. Members of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith met on Thursday, July 4, to complete an extrajudicial penal process against Archbishop Viganò, who was accused of “the reserved delict of schism,” dicastery officials announced in a news release on Friday, July 5. “His public statements manifesting his refusal to recognize and submit to the Supreme Pontiff, his rejection of communion with the members of the Church subject to him, and of the legitimacy and magisterial authority of the Second Vatican Council are well known,” dicastery representatives wrote. “At the conclusion of the penal process, the Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò was found guilty of the reserved delict of schism,” it said. Dicastery officials thereby declared the archbishop automatically excommunicated in accordance with canon law. “This decision was communicated to the Most Reverend Viganò on 5 July 2024,” it said. “The lifting of the censure in these cases is reserved to the Apostolic See,” it added.

Pro-Lifers Ask Delegates Not To Change Republican Platform on Abortion

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – Amid reports that members of the Republican National Committee are poised to change its written stance on abortion at the direction of former President Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, pro-life activists have asked delegates not to remove opposition to abortion from the party’s platform, which is being revised behind closed doors. The RNC is widely expected to consider moderating its stance, removing language that states the Republican Party supports “a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the (14th) Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth” and remove a call on Congress to pass a 20-week federal ban on abortion. Politico reported on Tuesday, July 2, that “two hardline anti-abortion delegates” were stripped of their positions on the platform committee in favor of Trump campaign loyalists. Trump has said abortion legislation should be left to the states following the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. In a letter led by Advancing American Freedom, pro-life activists asked RNC delegates “to support pro-life planks and vote down any platform that weakens the party’s commitment to the cause of life.”

CRS Criticizes House Version of Foreign Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – Officials with Catholic Relief Services, the international relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in the U.S., criticized funding legislation recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives as “inconsistent with American values and interests” regarding cuts to humanitarian funding. The legislation – the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2025 – which funds some of the U.S. priorities abroad, was approved by the House in a 212-200 vote on Friday, June 28, and reflects Republicans’ pledge to cut funds for the overall legislation, representing about $7.6 billion less than the previous version. Bill O’Keefe, Executive Vice President for Mission, Mobilization, and Advocacy at CRS, said in a statement on Monday, July 1: “We were disappointed in the disproportionately low allocation provided to the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee for Fiscal Year 2025. We are further alarmed by the steep cuts to life-saving foreign assistance in the House-passed bill. The substantial reductions to critical humanitarian and development accounts, in some cases by roughly 25 percent, would have dire consequences for millions of families facing hunger, humanitarian crises, and infectious diseases.”

Lourdes Bishop: Rupnik Mosaics ‘Need to be Removed’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The mosaics prominently featured in the Marian sanctuary in Lourdes, France, created by Father Marko Rupnik, who is accused of abusing dozens of women throughout his decades of ministry, must eventually be removed from the basilica where they are currently displayed, the bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes said. “My deep, formed, intimate conviction is that they will one day need to be removed,” Bishop Jean-Marc Micas of Tarbes and Lourdes said in an interview with French newspaper La Croix published on Tuesday, July 2, noting that the mosaics in the sanctuary “prevent Lourdes from reaching all the people for whom the sanctuary’s message is intended.” The bishop launched a reflection group from May to October of 2023 composed of victims, sacred art experts, and lawyers, among others, to assist in deciding the future of the mosaics featured on the facade of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Lourdes. But Bishop Micas said he has decided “not to remove them immediately, given the passions and violence the subject incites,” noting that he wants to work with victims to gather broader support for their removal in order to avoid “tearing the Church further apart.” Still, as a “first step,” the bishop said the mosaics will no longer be lit up during the evening Marian procession that pilgrims to Lourdes attend each night.

With Church’s Help, Afghan’s First Female Fighter Pilot Settling into New Life in U.S.

OWENSBORO, Ky. (OSV News) – At age 33, Hasina Omari has survived familial disapproval of her career choices (becoming Afghanistan’s first female fighter pilot), nearly 370 flight hours of night and weekend missions, and expecting a baby while escaping the Taliban’s takeover of her home country. Today she is happy to live with her family in Owensboro, where they have been assisted by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Owensboro while resettling in the United States, safely out of danger. Her hard-fought dream of becoming a fighter pilot in her country was realized after she convinced her parents and a brother this was her wish and after months and months of training. Before too long, Afghanistan’s first female fighter pilot was doing “day and night missions, weekend missions; I worked hard,” she said. She got married, and despite calls by some of the couple’s family members for her to quit her job and become a housewife, Omari pressed on with her professional calling with her husband’s support. The couple began receiving threats from the Taliban, which they ignored at first but eventually had to take seriously. They were evacuated with other U.S.-supported Afghan pilots and their personnel. Not long after, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. The couple’s odyssey took them to Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, Virginia, Indiana, and finally to Kentucky. The couple, who now have two children, were granted asylum in the U.S. in December of 2022.

Rescuers work at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital that was damaged during Russian missile strikes, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 8, 2024. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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