November 5, 2023 // National

News Briefs: November 5, 2023

Ohio Voters to Decide Future of Abortion Access in State

COLUMBUS, Ohio (OSV News) – Ohio voters will consider Issue 1 in November, a measure that would codify abortion access in the state’s constitution through fetal viability, typically understood to be 24 weeks gestation. The measure, advanced by the Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights and Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom, will be on the state’s ballot on Tuesday, November 7, and, if passed, would legalize abortion up to the point of viability and beyond, if a physician decided an abortion was necessary for the sake of the mother’s life or health. Although Ohio lawmakers enacted a six-week abortion ban, that measure is tied up in state court, meaning abortions are currently legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. Supporters of the measure argue it would return the state to the legal standard set while Roe v. Wade was in place. Opponents argue the measure would go further than that through its definition of fetal viability, which states viability would be determined on “a case-by-case basis.” An October 17 Baldwin Wallace University of Ohio Pulse Poll found that 58 percent of likely Ohio voters support passage of Issue 1. “If we lose that initiative, it means that there will be no ability for citizens of Ohio to speak to their own views and have them be reflected in the law,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of SBA Pro-Life America.

As Wars Rage, Catholics in U.S. Pray, Fast for Peace

PHILADELPHIA (OSV News) – With close to 30 major wars and conflicts raging throughout the world – among them, the Israel-Hamas war and Russia’s war on Ukraine – Catholics across the United States gathered on Friday, October 27, in response to Pope Francis’ call for a worldwide day of prayer for peace. In the Holy Land to date, some 1,400 in Israel, including at least 30 U.S. citizens, and, according to Hamas officials, some 7,000 in Gaza, have been killed. Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia, speaking at a Mass for the Preservation of Peace and Justice, offered an apology to young people for the violence and division present in the world. Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, released a message on October 27 renewing his call for peace in the Holy Land. He wrote: “We continue to pray for the victims caught in this cycle of violence as well as the regional and international actors who are being drawn into the conflict. We must not grow weary of offering our prayers and support for peace and justice for all concerned. A lasting solution respecting the rights, needs, and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians remains essential to these ends.”

Pope Calls for Formal Investigation into Father Rupnik

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has lifted the statute of limitations on abuse accusations against Father Marko Rupnik to allow for a formal investigation of the case by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. “In September, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors brought to the pope’s attention that there were serious problems in the handling of the Father Marko Rupnik case and lack of outreach to victims,” officials in the Vatican Press Office said in an October 27 statement. “Consequently, the Holy Father asked the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to review the case and decided to lift the statute of limitations to allow a process to take place.” The officials continued: “The pope is firmly convinced that if there is one thing the Church must learn from the synod, it is to listen attentively and compassionately to those who are suffering, especially those who feel marginalized from the Church.” Father Rupnik, whose mosaics decorate churches and chapels at the Vatican and around the world, has been accused of sexually, spiritually, or psychologically abusing more than 20 women and at least one man in a 40-year period. The pope’s statement came days after it was announced that Father Rupnik, who was expelled by the Society of Jesus in June, had been accepted into the Diocese of Koper, Slovenia, the diocese where he was ordained a priest in 1985.

Canonization Announced for Argentinian Woman

BUENOS AIRES (OSV News) – Argentina will get its first home-grown female saint in early 2024 with the canonization of Blessed María Antonia de San José. Vatican officials announced on Tuesday, October 24, that San José, born as María Antonia de Paz Figueroa but known throughout Argentina simply as Mama Antula, would be canonized as the pope authorized the promulgation of the decree on the miracle attributed to her intercession. She will be the fifth saint associated with Argentina – four of whom were elevated to sainthood by Pope Francis. “Mama Antula is considered the mother of the nation. She was a strong, brave woman who believed in Argentina. She was committed to the country and that knowing Christ would transform society,” Bishop Santiago Olivera told OSV News. When the Jesuits were expelled from Spain and its colonies in the Americas in 1767, Bishop Olivera said that Mama Antula kept the Jesuits’ work going, and she continued to work with the Jesuits until the end of her life.

Mexican Bishops Call for Solidarity after Hurricane Otis

(OSV News) – Mexico’s bishops expressed “closeness” with the country’s affected populations and urged generosity after a monster Category 5 hurricane tore through Acapulco, leaving 27 dead and four people missing. Caritas Mexico, meanwhile, mobilized a response to Hurricane Otis, which battered Acapulco around midnight on Wednesday, October 25, as the strongest hurricane to ever hit Mexico’s Pacific Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center, causing widespread property damage and flooding. “In these difficult times, we call for unity and fraternity among Mexicans. We urge the provision of generous assistance for those affected, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. May no one remain indifferent to the suffering of others,” officials with the Mexican bishops’ conference said in an October 25 statement.

Georgia Court Temporarily Allows ‘Heartbeat’ Ban to Stand

ATLANTA (OSV News) – The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday, October 24, rejected a lower court’s ruling allowing a state law restricting abortion after six weeks gestation to remain in effect amid ongoing legal challenges. The law, a so-called “heartbeat” ban, called the LIFE Act, prohibits with some exceptions abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney called the law “unequivocally unconstitutional” last year because it was enacted in 2019 while Roe v. Wade was still in place. But the Georgia Supreme Court rejected McBurney’s ruling in a 6-1 decision. “When the United States Supreme Court overrules its own precedent interpreting the United States Constitution, we are then obligated to apply the court’s new interpretation of the Constitution’s meaning on matters of federal constitutional law,” Justice Verda Colvin wrote in a majority opinion.

Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda of Detroit, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, gestures during a small group discussion at the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry’s annual conference in Houston Oct. 11, 2023. Bishop Cepeda was one of several keynote speakers at the event. (OSV News photo/James Ramos, Texas Catholic Herald)

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