||Long walk for
World Youth Days
Members of Poland's 6th Airborne Brigade based in Krakow, Poland, search an area with metal detectors July 1 where the main celebrations of the World Youth Days will be held near Wieliczka. Young people attending World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, will have to walk 18 miles to and from one of the key sites, event organizers said. "They'll have to be ready for a long foot journey of several hours, but this has always been a feature of World Youth Days," said Anna Chmura, WYD's communications coordinator. The event, which runs July 26-31, is expected to bring 2 million people from 187 countries to the southern Polish city.
Nole German prays as his daughter Ella, 9, and Peggy Imholte view the relics of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher June 27 at the St. Mary's Cathedral in St. Cloud, Minn. The relics of the two saints are on a national tour that was part of the broader Fortnight for Freedom, a call to 14 days of prayer, education and action for religious freedom in the United States and abroad. Los Angeles was the only West Coast city on the tour.
Dianne Towalski/The Visitor/cns
Philippine president sworn in
President Rodrigo Duterte, a controversial town mayor dubbed "Dirty Harry" and "The Punisher" for his tough stance on crime, takes the oath as his daughter Veronica holds the Bible during his presidential inauguration at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines. Duterte was sworn in as the 16th president of the Philippines.
RNS PHOTO/REUTERS/Aladin Abdel Naby
Miss Germany 2016 Lena Broeder smiles during the presentation of her autobiography June 22 in Rust, Germany. The 26-year-old Catholic religion and home economics specialist from Nordwalde is the first teacher to win in the 89-year history of the competition.
Winfried Rothermel/EPA, cns
SF teacher shortage
SAN FRANCISCO — A long-predicted California teacher shortage is now hitting Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, with many parish schools still looking to fill one or more positions at a time when principals usually have next year's staff roster wrapped up. "We do have a tremendous shortage," said Maureen Grazioli, principal of St. Charles School in San Carlos. "The shortage exists not just in the Catholic schools but in the public schools." A scan of the San Mateo public school job postings showed about 200 vacancies listed online, she said. Four years ago, the spring archdiocesan teachers' fair drew "an amazing selection" of teacher candidates, Grazioli told Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocesan newspaper.
Texas decision impact
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court's June 27 decision to strike down restrictions on Texas abortion clinics is having ripple effects on legislation across the country and it also has galvanized those on both sides of the abortion issue. The impact of the ruling — which said Texas abortion clinics do not have to comply with standards of ambulatory surgical centers and their doctors are not required to have admitting privileges at local hospitals — was felt almost immediately. Support for the Supreme Court's decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt — the court's first ruling on abortion in several years — predicted a swift wave of changes striking down similar restrictions on abortion clinics across the country.
'Punitive treatment' rising
WASHINGTON — The author of a new book on religious liberty issues said at a June 28 lecture in Washington that "the Western world today is home to a secularist faith." Modern-day religion is becoming stifled in the secular age, said Mary Eberstadt, author of "It's Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies." "A new chapter has opened in American history, in which people of faith are on the receiving end of an ascendant secularism, as they have not been before," she said at the Heritage Foundation. "The punitive treatment of today's religious believers is unjust and violates traditional American understandings of fair play and open debate."
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Father John Stack, a priest of the Davenport diocese, celebrated his reinstatement to active ministry with his first public Mass in 38 months on Father's Day, June 19, at the Clinton nursing home where his late father once resided. A church trial outside the diocese found that accusations of clergy sexual abuse against Father Stack were not proved. The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith concurred with the trial judges' finding and Davenport Bishop Martin J. Amos announced Father Stack's reinstatement June 15."
Conflict with chaplains
BROCKTON, Mass. — The military chaplaincy is overwhelmingly popular within the ranks of the U.S. armed forces, but some Catholic peace advocates see a theological conflict with regard to priests serving as commissioned officers. Melkite Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy of Brockton sees a conflict of interest for a priest to serve in, and be paid by, any branch of the armed forces, which sanctions the killing of other humans in combat situations. Father McCarthy is a co-founder of the Catholic peace organization Pax Christi USA, along with Catholic icon Dorothy Day, whose popularity diminished among the Catholic elite when she protested U.S. involvement in World War II.
Bishops against weapons
WASHINGTON — Two U.S. church leaders called for a ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons, saying they have no place in the hands of civilians. Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas issued their appeals in response to recent incidents in which people have been killed by attackers armed with semi-automatic rifles. "There's no reason in the world why these guns are available. There's no logic," Bishop Farrell told Catholic News Service June 22. The bishops' stance puts them in opposition to gun rights advocates, who say that any effort to limit the sale and acquisition of firearms would violate the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was weighing a statement June 23 as the national debate on the need for action on gun control rose in intensity.
California health rule
WASHINGTON — A federal agency has determined that California can continue to demand that all health plans under the jurisdiction of the state's Department of Managed Health Care — "even those purchased by churches and other religious organizations" — cover elective abortions for any reason. The coverage includes late-term abortions and "those performed for reasons of 'sex selection.'" The chairmen of two U.S. Catholic bishops' committees June 22 said the administrative ruling issued a day earlier by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services fails to respect the right to life and religious freedom. "It is shocking that HHS has allowed the state of California to force all employers — even churches — to fund and facilitate elective abortions in their health insurance plans," said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore.
Church to be heard
WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church's teachings on morals and social justice not only have a right to be heard in the public square, but add to creating a better society for all, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said during an address at the American Enterprise Institute. "There are fundamental truths against which our judgments and our legislative decisions should be measured, and to which we are all called to conform," Cardinal Wuerl said.
'Religion of the future'
DUBLIN — One of Pope Francis' top advisers said during a visit to Ireland that he believes the Christian faith is "the religion of the future" as he mapped out a role for the church in increasingly complex pluralist societies. Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich-Freising, Germany, a member of the pope's Council of Cardinals and president of German bishops' conference, told a packed lecture hall that the Christian faith is not a religion dealing in "magic" things, referring to a 2000 speech by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI. "It is an instrument for a better world and that must be shown, and so it is very important that the church has a positive view of the modern world," he said during an international conference.
— Catholic News Service
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