May 28, 2024 // National

News Briefs: June 2, 2024

In CBS Interview, Pope Addresses Women Deacons, War, Hope

VATICAN CITY (OSV News) – Pope Francis said he is not open to the possibility of ordaining women as deacons, weeks after authorizing several Vatican study groups to look into that issue and others as part of the Synod on Synodality – although “women have always had … the function of deaconesses without being deacons,” and that “making space in the Church for women does not mean giving them a ministry.” The pope shared his thoughts during a wide-ranging interview with CBS news anchor Norah O’Donnell, his first sit-down interview with a U.S. broadcast network. Throughout the special, which aired on Monday, May 20, O’Donnell asked Pope Francis about key issues that have dominated his 11-year papacy: migration, climate change, clerical sexual abuse, the role of women in the Church, ministry to persons who identify as LGBTQ+, and outreach to children and youth who have been profoundly impacted by rapidly evolving and increasingly toxic social media platforms. In addition, Pope Francis said his health is “fine” and that “it has never occurred” to him to retire. He also said that along with his planned trips this year to the Far East and Belgium, there is a “possibility” he may travel to the U.S. to speak at the United Nations about peace.

U.S. Bishops to Discuss Opening Cause for Wisconsin Marian Visionary

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (OSV News) – The U.S. bishops will soon hold a consultation on a petition to open the cause for canonization of Adele Brise, to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared in northeast Wisconsin in 1859. Green Bay Bishop David L. Ricken, who declared in 2010 that the apparitions to Brise were worthy of belief, will present the proposal during a consultation at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Spring Plenary Assembly, which will be held June 12-14 in Louisville, Kentucky. Brise, a Belgian immigrant, was 28 when the apparitions occurred some 18 miles northeast of Green Bay. According to Bishop Ricken, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion is serving as petitioner for Brise’s cause. A postulator, who has yet to be identified, also has been selected to work with the diocese and to assemble a formal petition. Bishop Ricken said, “Once opened, there will be years of investigation and inquiry into the life of Adele, her virtue, and her reputation for holiness.”

Cardinal Tagle to Join U.S. Gathering in July

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – A Manila-born cardinal will be the special guest at a national gathering of Asian and Pacific Island Catholics in July, ahead of his participation in the National Eucharistic Congress. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, an official within the Vatican Dicastery for Evangelization, will attend the Asian and Pacific Island Catholics National Encounter taking place July 15-17 in Indianapolis. Bishop Larry Silva, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs, revealed the news in a May 20 announcement. On May 18, Pope Francis announced that he would send Cardinal Tagle as his special envoy to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress, which is being held July 17-21 in Indianapolis, with the cardinal to celebrate the congress’s closing Mass. The Asian and Pacific Island Catholics National Encounter will gather pastoral leaders, young adults, religious, and clergy from around the country for a celebration of faith and culture, focusing on the theme “Radiant Faith: The Witness of Asian and Pacific Islander Catholics.”

South Carolina Bans Most Gender Procedures for Minors

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (OSV News) – Republican South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law a bill on Tuesday, May 21, banning the provision or performance of gender transition procedures on minors by medical professionals with some exceptions. House Bill 4624, sometimes called the “Help Not Harm” bill, prohibits health care providers in the state from performing certain types of hormonal or surgical gender reassignments on persons younger than 18. The bill does include an exemption for providing minors “appropriate medical service” unrelated to gender transition, such as prescribing puberty blockers or hormone therapy for other conditions including precocious puberty, certain types of cancers, endometriosis, or sexual development issues. According to the Associated Press, the state becomes the 25th to enact such legislation and leaves Virginia as the only state in the South that has not. In guidance on health care policy and practices released in March of 2023, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine opposed interventions that “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.”

Louisiana Reclassifies Abortion Pills as Controlled Dangerous Substances

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (OSV News) – Louisiana lawmakers enacted legislation on Thursday, May 23, that would classify drugs used for both early abortion and miscarriage as controlled dangerous substances, and would criminalize improperly possessing the pills, such as lacking a valid prescription or their use outside the context of a professional medical practice. Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed the first-of-its-kind legislation into law hours after it arrived on his desk on May 23. The legislation classifies mifepristone and misoprostol – the combination of drugs used in a chemical or medication abortion – as controlled dangerous substances, a category also including medications that can be abused, including narcotics. The same pill combination also has been prescribed to women who experience early pregnancy miscarriage to expel any fetal remains and residual pregnancy tissue from the womb. Louisiana prohibits abortion unless a woman’s life is at risk or a pregnancy is deemed “medically futile.”

New York Diocese to Appeal to Supreme Court After Abortion Coverage Ruling

ALBANY, New York (OSV News) – Officials with the Diocese of Albany said on Tuesday, May 21, they plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after New York’s highest court ruled the Empire State can continue to require companies with health insurance plans to cover what it called medically necessary abortions. The Diocese of Albany, alongside other religious groups, challenged the regulation, arguing its exemption for religious employers was too narrow and could force some employers to violate their religious beliefs. “While we respect the decision issued today by the New York State Court of Appeals, we will again seek review by the United States Supreme Court of this critical challenge to religious freedom by filing a timely petition for a writ of certiorari,” a statement from diocesan officials said. The challengers argued that the original regulation was intended to exempt employers with religious objections; however, it was later narrowed to cover religious groups that primarily teach religion and mostly serve and hire only those who share their faith. In effect, groups such as Catholic Charities, which seek to serve those in need regardless of their faith, wouldn’t qualify.

Pope Francis shakes hands and greets a group of children after Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 26, 2024, wrapping up the first World Children’s Day held May 25-26. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

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