Little Sisters appeal against contraceptive mandate
The Little Sisters of the Poor have filed a petition with the Supreme Court, asking yet again to be protected from the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which requires them to include coverage of contraceptives in their employee health plans or pay hefty fines.
In 2016 the Supreme Court granted them a religious exemption, and a year later President Trump issued an executive order to the Department of Health and Human Services to write a comprehensive exemption. Several states, however, challenged it. Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial (pictured), said she hoped the order “will soon be able to keep our focus on the elderly poor”.
Cardinal says two new bishops are ‘a great joy’
Pope Francis has appointed Mgr Edmund Whalen, vicar for clergy for the Archdiocese of New York, and Mgr Gerardo J Colacicco, a parish pastor in Millbrook, New York, as auxiliary bishops for the New York archdiocese, the Catholic News Service reports.
Pope Francis also accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik, who is 75 – the age at which canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the pope. Bishop Jenik was removed from ministry last year after an accusation of sexual abuse, which he denies.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan said the new appointments were “a great joy for us in the Archdiocese of New York, as Pope Francis gave us two auxiliary bishops”.
Turkey pull-out may damage Trump’s Christian support
President Trump’s support from Christians may be dwindling following his decision to stand down US forces in northern Syria, the Guardian has reported.
Evangelical leaders are warning that Turkey’s invasion of the region threatens America’s longstanding Kurdish allies and vulnerable Christian communities. “I believe … the President is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen,” said Pat Robertson. Tony Perkins, a Trump adviser, warned of “a grave threat to the region’s Kurds and Christians”.
According to Robert Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, white Evangelicals made up 26 per cent of voters in the last election, and four-fifths voted for Mr Trump.
Columbus Knights give $250,000 to aid migrants
The Knights of Columbus in Mexico and Texas have joined forces to help migrants south of the US border. This decision came following an August announcement from the Knights to commit at least $250,000 (£198,000) to aid migrants at the US-Mexico border. The Knights have also recently made gifts of humanitarian aid to the dioceses of El Paso and Laredo.
“This is not a political statement,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (pictured). “This is a statement of principle. This is about helping people who need our help right now. And it is a natural and necessary extension of our support for refugees across the world.”
Bishops call on president to quit after social unrest
The Haitian bishops’ justice and peace commission has called on President Jovenel Moïse to step down after three weeks of unrest in the capital Port-au-Prince.
The commission said: “A change in head of state is crucial, as is a change in the way the authorities govern the country.” They described leaders as ‘indifferent to the situation of misery [many people] live in.’
Corruption allegations and rocketing inflation have led to popular insurrection to oust the president.
Brazil’s first female saint steals headlines
The canonisation of the first Brazilian-born female saint has made headlines across the country, putting its political and economic difficulties on the backburner, the Catholic News Service reports.
The canonisation of Maria Rita Lopes Pontes, known as Sister Dulce, which took place on Sunday alongside that of Cardinal Newman, even delayed approval of the government’s most important congressional bill, the social security reform, because some senators wanted to be in Rome for the occasion.
Disabled Catholic forced to wear contraceptive device
A disabled woman who escaped a forced abortion will have to wear a contraceptive device, the Court of Protection has ruled.
The woman, who has a severe learning disorder which means her mental age is between six and nine, was ordered to undergo an abortion in June. But the Court of Appeal overturned the decision before it could be carried out. Now, the Court of Protection has ruled that the woman must be prevented from getting pregnant again, once her baby has been delivered – although the woman’s mother and lawyer said that this was unjustified, and that it was highly unlikely that she would get pregnant again.
The woman, who cannot be named, is like her mother a Catholic and a member of the Nigerian Igbo community.
Police chief resigns following Vatican leaks
The chief of the Vatican police has resigned over leaks of information about an investigation into possible financial wrongdoing.
Domenico Giani, 57, a former member of the Italian secret services, resigned after revelations that his police forces had conducted a surprise raid on the offices of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and the Vatican’s financial watchdog authority. Giani, who had held the role since 2006, said he resigned “out of love for the church.”
‘Sham’ drug war
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, an auxiliary in Manila Diocese, has spoken out against corruption, saying that the violent crackdown on drug dealers is a “sham”. Many in law enforcement are “the ones tolerating and even profiting from it,” the bishop said.
Central African Republic
Trauma workshops for post-war healing
Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic are gathering in community halls to talk about their traumas and find ways of healing after civil war, the Catholic News Service reports. With thousands of people killed and almost a million of the country’s 4.6 million people displaced in the past six years, trauma is rampant throughout the former French colony, said Samuel Phelps of Catholic Relief Services, which is organising workshops for victims of attacks or people who have witnessed atrocities. A peace deal has been signed, but the violence has not ended.
Parliament blocks bill to allow non-Muslim leaders
The National Assembly of Pakistan has blocked a proposal to allow non-Muslims to hold the highest offices of state.
A Christian politician, Naveed Aamir Jeeva, put forward a bill to repeal Articles 41 and 91 of the constitution, which bar non-Muslims from becoming prime minister or president.
The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs opposed the bill on the grounds that Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, while Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, from the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, said, according to a paraphrase in Asia News, that “no law against Islamic values and teachings can be passed, introduced or even debated in parliament”.