November 21, 2023 // National

News Briefs: November 26, 2023

March for Life Announces 2024 Theme

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – The March for Life’s theme for its 2024 event will be “Pro-Life: With Every Woman, For Every Child,” the group’s president announced on Tuesday, November 14. Pro-life advocates have gathered in Washington every year since 1974 to protest the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, with a smaller-in-scale event during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. After the high court reversed Roe in 2022, marchers still gathered to protest abortion. Each year, the group selects a theme that it says fits the cultural moment. Jeanne Mancini, March for Life President, said that following the court’s ruling in Dobbs, she wanted to highlight the work the pro-life movement does to support women facing difficult or unplanned pregnancies. At an event in Washington, Mancini said the theme was selected due to what she called “the false narrative around abortion, whether it’s through mainstream media or the entertainment industry or academia, is that abortion is empowering and necessary” because women who are facing unexpected pregnancies “are ill-equipped to handle motherhood.” But Mancini said this “is just not true.” It’s not easy, she added, but “it is right to choose life, and we hold that choosing life is empowering, and that love saves lives.”

After Baby’s Death, U.K. Bishops Call on Society to Protect Its ‘Most Vulnerable’

NOTTINGHAM, England (OSV News) – British bishops expressed their condolences to Dean and Claire Gregory, parents of 8-month-old Indi, who died on Monday, November 13, after neither a court battle nor Italian citizenship granted to the infant prevented the British courts from halting her life-support. Following the death of Indi, Bishop Patrick McKinney of Nottingham and Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues and Auxiliary of Westminster, wrote in a statement that they learned about the death of the child with “deep sadness,” assuring the parents “of our prayers and those of all the Catholic Community, including Pope Francis, at this sad time.” The continued: “As a baptized child of God, we believe that she will now share in the joy of heaven after her short life which brought deep joy to her parents who loved and protected her as a precious gift of God,” the bishops said. The father of the girl said earlier that he was not religious, but he had chosen to have his child baptized on September 23 after feeling the “pull of hell” in their court battle to extend her life.

Vatican: Catholics Must Not Join Masonic Groups

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Catholics are still forbidden from joining Masonic organizations and, with an increasing number of Catholics joining Masonic lodges in the Philippines, the Vatican has urged the nation’s bishops to find a way to make clear the Church’s continued opposition to Freemasonry. “Membership in Freemasonry is very significant in the Philippines,” said a note from Cardinal Víctor Fernández, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and approved by Pope Francis. “It involves not only those who are formally enrolled in Masonic Lodges but, more generally, a large number of sympathizers and associates who are personally convinced that there is no opposition between membership in the Catholic Church and in Masonic Lodges.” The dicastery’s note, dated Monday, November 13, and made public on Wednesday, November 15, was a response to a request from Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete, Philippines, “regarding the best pastoral approach to membership in Freemasonry by the Catholic faithful.” The dicastery wrote “that active membership in Freemasonry by a member of the faithful is forbidden because of the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry.”

Church Leaders Urge Holy Land’s Christians to ‘Stand Strong’

JERUSALEM (OSV News) – In a message for Christmas and Advent released on Friday, November 10, the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem said Christmas in Bethlehem and the Holy Land this year will be one of solemnity, prayer, and fasting as the region continues to feel the effects of the Hamas-Israel war. In their statement, the Church leaders said that though the sacred Advent season is normally one of joy and anticipation in preparation for the celebration of Christmas, but that “these are not normal times.” The leaders “encourage our priests and the faithful to focus more on the spiritual meaning of Christmas in their pastoral activities and liturgical celebrations during this period, with all the focus directed at holding in our thoughts our brothers and sisters affected by this war and its consequences, and with fervent prayers for a just and lasting peace for our beloved Holy Land.”

Vatican Aims for Net-Zero-Emissions Fleet by 2030

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As part of a plan to reduce its CO2 footprint, Vatican City State has launched a program to replace its existing vehicle fleet with electric vehicles. The city state’s “Ecological Conversion 2030” program includes making all its vehicles CO2-neutral by 2030, according to a November 15 news release from officials within the Vatican City State governor’s office. “Vatican City State has been dedicated for many years to promoting sustainable development through environmental policies that safeguard the environment and provide strategies for saving energy,” it said. In an effort to have a net-zero-emissions fleet of vehicles by 2030, the Vatican has signed an agreement with Volkswagen to supply “just under 40 fully electric models” starting at the beginning of 2024.

As Floods Strike Africa, Church Leaders Hope for Climate Actions

NAIROBI, Kenya (OSV News) – Ahead of COP28, the U.N. climate change conference, Catholic leaders in Africa called for decisive action against climate change as churches and agencies moved quickly to aid people affected by floods. The flooding – linked to the El Niño phenomenon caused by warming of the ocean surface – has killed dozens of people and displaced thousands in eastern Africa. Months ago, these zones were the scenes of a severe drought, which the United Nations described as the worst in 40 years. “Things are not good. Many areas are now flooded, and families are trying to move to higher grounds. The roads have either been swept away or were impassable,” Father Fredrick Wafula, a priest in the Diocese of Garissa in Kenya’s northeastern region, told OSV News. Jesuit Father Charles Chilufya, Director of the Justice and Ecology Office at the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar, said the continent’s plea was a collaboration to make financial and debt justice the cornerstones for climate justice. “As we look towards COP28, let this be more than a rallying cry … [but] a catalyst for transformative action,” the priest told OSV News.

Pope Francis eats lunch with his guests in the Vatican audience hall Nov. 19, 2023, the World Day of the Poor. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.