A religious institute which has practised round-the-clock Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will reduce its adoration from 24 hours to 16.
The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse were founded in 1878, and had continued the practice ever since. But the order’s president, Sister Eileen McKenzie (pictured), said that they had “a growing understanding of a modern way to live in adoration through our prayer lives and actions, no matter where we are”.
In recent years, the number of Sisters has declined, and in 1997 they asked members of the local community to volunteer to fill some of the hours.
Pro-life Democrat quits party
The philosopher Charles Camosy, a prominent pro-life Democrat activist, has left the party over what he calls its “extremism” on abortion.
Writing in the New York Post, Camosy said that he had until recently “spent much of my time working hard to elect Democrats to public office”, but his meetings with the party’s leadership had convinced him that he could not stay.
Camosy said that his group, Democrats for Life of America, had been “ignored” by the party elite – and dismissed when they spoke personally. “When we showed them that pro-life Democrats would beat Republicans in certain districts, it didn’t matter.” He said that he felt unable to support the Republicans, and so has “decided to play the long game by joining the American Solidarity Party”.
Trump rebukes enemies at Prayer Breakfast
President Donald Trump has criticised “some very dishonest and corrupt people” in his appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast, an event which brings together political, business and religious leaders.
Trump, who had recently survived an attempt at impeachment, said that he had been through a “terrible ordeal”.
Another speaker, Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, spoke before Trump. Brooks said that America was suffering from a “crisis of contempt and polarisation”. Civility and tolerance were not enough, he said. Jesus, he observed, “didn’t say ‘tolerate your enemies,’ ” but rather “love your enemies”. Trump began his speech by admitting: “I don’t know if Arthur’s going to like what I’m going to say.”
Alliance to defend religious freedom
Twenty-seven countries have signed up to a new organisation, the International Religious Freedom Alliance.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) said that the alliance was based on the conviction that “freedom of religion or belief is not a Western ideal, but truly the bedrock of societies”.
The members include Britain, the Netherlands, Brazil and Poland. Africa has three representatives – the Gambia, Togo and Senegal – but there are none from Asia or Australasia. The members pledged to work together against blasphemy laws, attempts to register religious believers, and religious violence.
Migrants murdered after being sent back
At least 138 Salvadorans have been murdered after being sent back from the US, according to a report from Human Rights Watch, the Catholic News Service reports.
Rick Jones, an adviser on migration for Catholic Relief Services in the country, said: “We know this is very real, and I knew of cases.” Jones said that gangs, who run extortion rackets, have nationwide networks able to track down people not paying. This makes it almost impossible to relocate internally, forcing people to flee the country.
Bishops campaign against abortion bill
Argentina’s bishops have announced a campaign in support of mothers and unborn children, as the Argentine government prepares a bill to liberalise the country’s abortion laws.
The bishops’ campaign, “Yes to women, yes to life”, will have as its centrepiece a Mass on March 8, International Women’s Day.
Crux reported that the Mass will take place at the national shrine of Our Lady of Luján, patroness of Argentina, in Buenos Aires. It will be celebrated for the intention of “the protection of human life until natural death”.
In 2018, a similar bill was narrowly rejected.
Rally for Life ahead of referendum
Pro-life Gibraltarians have attended a rally ahead of next month’s referendum, which could overturn Europe’s strictest abortion laws.
Under the 2011 Crimes Act, abortion is punishable with life imprisonment – though no prosecutions have been carried out in modern times. But last year, the parliament voted to allow abortions up to 12 weeks when the mother’s mental or physical health is at risk, and beyond then if the child is disabled. In response, 6,000 of the territory’s residents – almost a fifth of the population – signed a petition asking for a public vote. Parliament agreed to hold one.
Parliamentarian Stefanie Yeo told the rally: “We are here because we believe in a Gibraltar that protects our unborn children and supports our mothers into the future.”
Pope has ‘final word’ on McCarrick report, says Parolin
The Vatican’s Secretary of State has said that the report on disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick will be published “soon”, but the date will depend on Pope Francis.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin (right) told the Catholic News Agency that the report on McCarrick, who was reduced to the lay state after multiple allegations of abuse were reported, would come out “in the near future”. Parolin added: “The work that is done is done, but the Pope must give the final word.”
Divorce bill advances
A spokesman for the bishops’ conference has said he was “surprised” after a bill to legalise divorce quickly advanced through the committee stage.
Fr Jerome Secillano said he had expected “exhaustive deliberations” over the bill, which now faces a vote in Congress.
Bishops may ‘use pulpits’ against anti-democratic parties
Ghana’s bishops have said they are prepared to preach against any party which does not commit itself to preventing political violence.
Fr Lazarus Anondee, secretary general of the National Catholic Secretariat, said in comments reported by ACI Africa: “If any party does not demonstrate commitment to ending vigilantism, we may have no choice but to use our pulpits to campaign against such parties because if we condone this then we are not encouraging democracy.” The bishops fear that December’s elections will see a return of intimidation tactics against voters.
Catholic charity official appeals for coronavirus help
As deaths continue to rise from the coronavirus epidemic, China faces a severe shortage of medical supplies, according to the only Catholic charity in the communist nation, the Catholic News Service reports.
Jinde Charities, a government-registered charity, appealed to the universal Church for help in procuring medical supplies such as face masks, surgical masks, goggles and eye masks, reported ucanews.com. “Medical supplies are not just lacking but dangerously lacking,” said a message from Jinde official Zhang Shijiang.
The Vatican has already sent up to 700,000 protective masks.