May 25, 2023 // National

News Briefs: May 28, 2023

AI Topic Draws Record Number of Participants to Media Ethics Conference at Pontifical University in Krakow

KRAKOW, Poland (OSV News) — For 17 years, the media ethics conference at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland, has gathered media researchers from all over the country. This year it attracted a record number of academics. The reason? The main topic was the ethics of using AI in the media space. “The theme is gaining momentum,” Father Michal Drozdz, Dean of the Social Sciences Department, told OSV News. “So far, we’re in the stage of having fun with ChatGPT, we’re treating it as an adventure. But we see more and more that this is an issue of human ethical security, and we start our reflections from this point at the conference,” he said. What is at stake, Father Drozdz said, is a threat of the objectification of man and empowerment of machines. Meanwhile, tech giants’ executives are calling for regulation of AI. On May 16, the Chief Executive of the California start-up OpenAI, Sam Altman, urged government to regulate the increasingly powerful technology in testimony before members of a Senate subcommittee. Many participants agreed that regulation is one challenge; the other is education of society. “We can’t stop technology, but we have to educate,” Natalia Hatalaska, Author of “The Age of Paradoxes. Is Technology Going to Save Us?” said at the panel closing the conference. “When we build a hotel, it’s clear and regulated where the plugs are going to be located.” But all the regulations are useless, she argued, if “I don’t teach my child that putting his fingers inside a plug or using a hair dryer in the bathtub is dangerous.” 

Nebraska Senators Pass Bill Protecting Children from Abortion, Gender-Altering Procedures 

LINCOLN, Nebraska (OSV News) — Nebraska lawmakers passed a measure on May 19 prohibiting abortion at 12 weeks’ gestation and banning gender-altering surgeries for minors. The Let Them Grow Act, LB574, overcame a continued filibuster effort by abortion  rights and transgender ideology advocates and was sent to the desk of Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, who was expected to sign it. The act marks the first restriction on abortion in Nebraska since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer and the most significant step to protect the unborn in the state since 2010 when lawmakers outlawed abortion at 20 weeks. It also represents the first state effort to govern gender-altering procedures for children. 

Los Angeles Dodgers Cancel Plans to Honor Group Criticized as Anti-Catholic 

LOS ANGELES (OSV News) — After criticism from Catholic groups and local fans, the Los Angeles Dodgers removed a self-described“leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns” from its list of honorees at its annual Pride Night celebration in June. The California-based Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, founded in 1979, were set to receive the Dodgers’ Community Hero Award for their work organizing community service events, including drag displays and LGBTQ-themed comedy shows. Their motto, displayed on their website and in marketing materials, is “Go forth and sin some more!” “Given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year’s group of honorees,” read a May 17 statement from the Dodgers. The group was scheduled to receive the award at the team’s 10th annual “LGBTQ+ Pride Night” celebration during a June 16 home game against the San Francisco Giants. 

Bishops from U.S., Japan Call on G7 Leaders to Take “Concrete Steps” in Eliminating Nuclear Weapons 

SEATTLE (OSV News) — Two U.S. and two Japanese bishops have issued a joint letter to leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations, calling on them to take “concrete steps” toward ending the use of nuclear weapons. The G7 leaders — representing the U.S., Japan, Germany, the U.K., France, Canada, and Italy — met May 19-21 in Hiroshima, Japan, which along with the city of Nagasaki, saw hundreds of thousands killed by two U.S. atomic bombs during World War II. “We strongly urge world leaders at the G7 Summit to show by example how international leadership is ready, willing, and able to work with nuclear weapons and non-nuclear weapons states to ensure no country or city ever suffers the horrors of nuclear war again,” said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle; Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Archbishop Peter Michiaki Nakamura of Nagasaki, Japan; and Bishop Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima in a May 15 letter. With the G7 talks focusing heavily on Russia’s war on Ukraine, during which Russia has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons, the bishops told G7 leaders they view the war as a “clear demonstration of the absolute need” for nuclear disarmament. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, expected to address the G7 in person, has also called for nuclear safety in his 10-point peace plan. The bishops additionally stressed the need for dialogue between the U.S. and Russia to restore the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, Russia’s participation in which was suspended by its president, Vladimir Putin, in February. 

Pope Francis Adds Fátima Visit to World Youth Day Trip 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima during his trip to Portugal for World Youth Day 2023, Vatican officials said. In a statement on May 22, Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, confirmed that the pope will travel to Lisbon Aug. 2-6 and will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima on Aug. 5. The Marian shrine at Fátima is connected to Pope Francis’ public prayer appeals for an end to the war in Ukraine. In March of 2022, just more than one month after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the pope consecrated both countries to Mary’s immaculate heart, praying before a statue of Our Lady of Fátima in St. Peter’s Basilica. Before her death, Sister Lúcia dos Santos, one of the three Portuguese children who claimed to see apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima in 1917, had said Mary requested that Russia be consecrated to her immaculate heart by a reigning pope to bring peace to the world. Previous popes had consecrated Russia to Mary’s immaculate heart in various forms but had never mentioned the country by name as Pope Francis did in 2022. 

Man Who Forcibly Entered Vatican Sent to Psychiatric Ward 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The man who drove past two security checkpoints to enter a Vatican courtyard on May 18 was taken to the psychiatric ward of a hospital for “obligatory” treatment after he was questioned by Vatican judicial authorities, Vatican officials said in a statement on May 19. An approximately 40-year-old man forced his way past Swiss Guards and Vatican gendarmes at the Sant’Anna entrance to Vatican City State in a vehicle shortly after 8 p.m. on May 18. A Vatican police officer shot at the speeding car’s front tires, hitting its fender, yet the man was able to reach the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace where he exited the vehicle and was arrested. He did not get near Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse where Pope Francis lives. Spanish-language newspapers La Nación and ABC reported that after his arrest the man claimed to have forced his way into the Vatican because he’d had visions of the devil and wanted to tell Pope Francis about them. 

Bishop James R. Golka of Colorado Springs, Colo., administers the sacrament of baptism to an inmate at the Limon Correctional Facility in Colorado March 25, 2023. Deacon candidates in the diocese are creating two weekend retreats to be offered in June and July to inmates in two Colorado state prisons for men to provide them an opportunity to share in the love and joy of knowing God and Catholicism. (OSV News photo/courtesy Deacon Cliff Donnelly)

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