'buffer zones' illegal
In a June 26 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that 35-foot buffer zones around abortion clinics — meant to keep demonstrators away — violate First Amendment rights. The decision, a victory for pro-life groups, reversed an appellate court decision upholding a 2007 Massachusetts law that made it a crime for anyone other than clinic workers to stand within the yellow semicircular lines painted 35 feet from entrances of Planned Parenthood clinics in Boston, Springfield and Worcester. Above, pro-life demonstrators sing outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington awaiting the court's ruling.
Jim Bourg/Reuters, cns
When Pope Francis goes to South Korea in August, he will put 124 martyrs on the path to sainthood. Many in this group established the Catholic Church in that East Asian country. "They are ... the fathers, of the (103) Korean martyrs, who really founded the Catholic Church with their blood, with their faith, compassion ... their blood shed for Christ," said Legion of Christ Father Simon Chung of Seoul. The painting depicts 103 Korean martyrs canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1984, and Father Chung said many were the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the 124 up for beatification in August.
Archdiocese of Seoul/cns
Sisters renew fight
against strip club
Sister Alma Huerta, a member of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, addresses the media in front of a strip club in Stone Park, Illinois, to protest its proximity to their convent June 18. Attorneys, residents and community activists joined the women religious that same day for a procession to the strip club. Club Allure, located in Stone Park, backs up to the sisters' property. The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court by the Thomas More Society, claims that the club violates an Illinois state law requiring a 1,000-foot buffer zone between adult entertainment venues and places of worship and schools, among other uses.
Catholic New World,cns
to embrace civil rights
On Oct. 24, 1963 — a little more than eight months before President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act into law — Bishop Robert E. Tracy of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, urged the Second Vatican Council to take a tough line against racism. Speaking for the American bishops, he said doing that would "greatly help the bishops to teach their people." The bishops of the U.S. really did need all the help they could get back home. While the hierarchy in recent years had become increasingly outspoken on the subject of race, many American Catholics remained unpersuaded. Above, then-Archbishop Patrick A. O'Boyle of Washington walks with President Lyndon B. Johnson after a 1968 Mass in Washington. The archbishop, who was later named a cardinal, was a vocal supporter of the Civil Rights Act, signed into law by Johnson July 2, 1964. He also integrated Catholic schools in the Washington archdiocese 16 years before the Civil Rights Act.
Archdiocese of Seoul/cns
SEATTLE — Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said June 24 that he hopes the settlement of 30 claims of sexual abuse will bring victims "closure and allow them to continue the process of healing." The Seattle archdiocese settled cases involving abuse that the victims said was carried out by members of the Irish Christian Brothers at two institutions managed by the order in western Washington. The most recent cases in question were nearly 30 years old and some dated back almost 60 years, according to an archdiocesan press release announcing the settlement, which totaled $12.1 million. Legal claims arising from sexual abuse allegations at institutions throughout the U.S. forced the North American province of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, or Irish Christian Brothers as they are also known, to file for bankruptcy in April 2011.
Court declines cases
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court declined June 23 to get involved in a case over a Wisconsin law that requires abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The act leaves in place a lower court injunction that blocks the law from being implemented while it is being challenged in court. In another case, the court declined to consider whether its 2012 ruling that stopped the practice of sentencing juveniles to life in prison without chance of parole could be retroactively applied.
WASHINGTON — Father Rick Kosisko found a lot to be thankful for during the March for Marriage. Joined by hundreds of supporters of traditional marriage at the U.S. Capitol June 19, the pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, said he was pleased to know that others felt it was important to show up in Washington to share their views about the sacredness of the bond between one man and one woman. "We feel called to be here," he said.
One last try in Boston
WASHINGTON — Parishioners who have occupied a closed Massachusetts Catholic church for nearly a decade said they plan one final petition to Pope Francis to prevent the building from being sold by the Boston archdiocese. Jon Rogers, a member of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in Scituate, said petitioning the pope was a last resort measure. Despite the step, he said he was not sure it would succeed. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini parishioners have kept an around-the-clock presence in the church since October 2004 in the hope that various appeals based on canon law would be successful. The parish was one of 70 that closed beginning in 2004 in a downsizing plan carried out under Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley. The parishioners involved in the occupation announced June 21 that the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican's highest court, denied their final appeal.
Priest pilots celebrate
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — With the 50th anniversary of the National Association of Priest Pilots just around the corner, Father Mel Hemann of Cedar Falls and Father Phil Schmitt of Mt. Vernon, two charter members, reflected on the unique role they and other Iowans have played in the history of "aviation evangelization. It came to be a great fraternity," said Father Hemann, a retired Dubuque archdiocesan priest, who still serves as a flight instructor. About 100 priest pilots are NAPP members, including two bishops, plus about 30 lay associate members in the United States.
LIGUORI, Mo. — Liguori Publications, a leading Catholic publisher operated by the Redemptorist order, has purchased "Catholic Update" and many other parish resources from Franciscan Media. The purchase is part of a collaborative agreement that "enables both companies to use their strengths to better serve Catholic parishes and individuals," according to a June 12 press release.
Twins in India
THRISSUR, India — More than 500 sets of twins — as young as 54 days and as old as 87 years — participated in a unique celebration for the feast of the twin saints, Gervasis and Prothasus. Some came as far as 250 miles from across India's Kerala state for the June 19 celebration at the Syro-Malabar Catholic parish named for the saints, in Kothanalloor.
— Catholic News Service
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