October 11, 2022 // National

News Briefs: October 16, 2022

USCCB, Military Archdiocese Oppose VA’s Proposed Abortion Services Rule 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNS) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese for the Military Services have filed a joint statement objecting to a rule proposed by the Biden administration to allow abortions to be performed on demand in health programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. “The interim final rule allows abortions, including elective abortions, in VA programs through nine months of pregnancy,” said the statement, dated Sept. 21. “That abortion is permitted through all nine months of pregnancy can be inferred from the rule’s failure to place any gestational limit on the availability of abortion in VA programs,” it added. On Sept. 1, the VA submitted to the Federal Register an interim final rule allowing the VA to provide access to abortion counseling and – in certain cases – abortions to pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries, according to a Sept. 2 news release from the VA. “In our view, there are at least three problems with the interim final rule,” the USCCB and military archdiocese said in their statement. “First, the department has no statutory authority to adopt it,” the statement said. “Second, the rule represents a violation of conditions Congress has placed on the availability of taxpayer funds and government facilities for abortions. Third, the rule will facilitate the taxpayer-funded destruction of innocent human lives and harm the women it is intended to benefit.”

Thailand Day Care Massacre an Act Of ‘Unspeakable Violence,’ Pope Says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened” after hearing the news of one of the world’s worst mass shootings at a day care center in northeast Thailand. In a message sent on Oct. 7 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, the pope offered prayers for the victims “of the horrific attack” that claimed the lives of 36 people, including at least 24 children, on Oct. 6. The pope “offers his heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this act of unspeakable violence against innocent children,” the cardinal wrote. According to an AP report from Oct. 7, Panya Kamrap, a former policeman, went to the day care, where his child was enrolled but had been absent for the past month, before going on a shooting and stabbing rampage. He then went home where he shot and killed his wife and child before turning the gun on himself. Authorities said Kamrap was dismissed from the police force earlier this year after a drug charge against him and that he was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 7 to face that charge, Reuters reported.

Pope Appoints New Cardinals as Members Of Dicasteries

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis appointed several recently created cardinals to be members of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the Vatican announced. Among the new appointments announced by the Vatican on Oct. 7 was Cardinal Robert W. McElroy of San Diego, who will serve as a member of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, as well as the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Cardinal McElroy was among the 20 prelates welcomed into the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis on Aug. 27. English Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was named a member of the dicasteries for Evangelization, for Bishops, and for Culture and Education. The pope named Korean Cardinal Lazarus You Heung-sik, prefect of the Dicastery for Clergy, as a member of the dicasteries for Evangelization, for Bishops, and for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Man Arrested for Allegedly Attacking Tulsa, Okla., Cathedral, Employee

TULSA, Okla. (CNS) – Tulsa police arrested a suspect who allegedly injured an employee at Holy Family Cathedral’s school in downtown Tulsa with a sword late on Oct. 5, and the next day identified him as Daniel Edwards. Police said Edwards also threw two objects he had set on fire against the side of Holy Family Cathedral, causing damage to some south-facing windows. News Channel 8, Tulsa’s ABC TV affiliate, reported that Edwards was being held in the Tulsa County jail and likely will face charges for assault and battery with a deadly weapon with intent to do bodily harm, possession of an unregistered destructive device, “among other charges.” “Yesterday, our parish and school community was targeted by an individual who intended to spread fear and harm,” Father Gary D. Kastl, Vicar General of the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma, wrote in an Oct. 6 open letter to the faithful of the diocese. The priest is also rector of Holy Family Cathedral and Classical School. “A man carrying an ice chest approached the front of the cathedral and attempted to enter,” Father Kastl said. “Finding the doors locked, he proceeded down the alley between the school and the cathedral. During this time, students were on the front steps of the cathedral taking school pictures. We express our gratitude and appreciation for the faculty and staff who reacted quickly and immediately moved the students inside the school,” the priest said. “The whole school was immediately placed on lockdown and remained so until cleared by local law enforcement.”

French Jesuit, South African Jewish Scholar Win Ratzinger Prize

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has selected a French Jesuit theologian and a Jewish law professor as winners of the Ratzinger Prize. The winners for 2022, announced by the Vatican on Oct. 7, are: Jesuit Father Michel Fédou, Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Patristics at the Centre Sèvres of Paris and Dean of the Faculty of Theology. He is a member of several theological organizations and commissions involved in ecumenical dialogue with Lutherans and Orthodox Christians; and Joseph H. H. Weiler, a Professor of Law at New York University School of Law where he also serves as European Union Jean Monnet Chair and Co-Director of the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard Law School. Born in South Africa, he has dual U.S. and Italian citizenship. He served as President of the European University Institute of Florence, Italy, from 2013 to 2016 and received an honorary doctorate in theology from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. The Ratzinger Prize, a sort of “Nobel Prize in Theology,” is given to two scholars each year who stand out for their scientific research in the field of theology, regardless of their religious faith.

Parish, Catholic Charities Supply Water, Food to Florida Migrants after Ian

FORT MYERS, Fla. (CNS) – Father Patrick O’Connor, Pastor of Jesús Obrero (Jesus the Worker) Parish, northwest of downtown Fort Myers, orchestrated a familiar operation on Oct. 4 as he shuffled about his parish hall stacked high with clothing. An efficient food and water distribution line was in full swing to serve an estimated several thousand members of the mostly farmworker and Hispanic community who arrived on what was the busiest day of emergency supply distribution since Ian landed, according to Father O’Connor. Volunteers from a Spanish-language radio station in West Palm Beach had just finished unloading a delivery of donated supplies when Father O’Connor came over to offer hugs and a blessing, along with the obligatory group photo with the radio station staff. “They put out the word for us and brought in five trucks for us full of water, food, and clothes and baby items, diapers, and feminine products and all sorts of things that people need right now – especially in East Fort Meyers that got hit so hard,” Father O’Connor said of the radio station delivery. This was a function the same priest and same parish food pantry played out following 2017’s Hurricane Irma and now they were at it again following the even more devastating Category 4 Hurricane Ian that swept through southwest Florida after making landfall a week earlier on the state’s west coast. “This is a very poor community in this part of Fort Meyers, and they can’t really get out of here like other people can – so they are kind of stuck,” said the priest, who is an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales.

Images of Blessed Artemide Zatti are seen as Pope Francis speaks during an audience with Salesians gathered for Blessed Zatti’s canonization, at the Vatican Oct. 8, 2022. The pope celebrated the canonization Mass of new St. Zatti and St. Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, the founder of the Scalabrinians, at the Vatican Oct. 9. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

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