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February 6, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Bernard Quinn sainthood
Father Alonzo Cox, left, Msgr. Paul Jervis and Father Daniel Kingsley pray during a Jan. 15 prayer service marking the birthday of sainthood candidate Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn at St. Peter Claver Church in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, N.Y. Msgr. Quinn, who was born in 1888 and died in 1940, was the founding pastor of the parish. He devoted his ministry to serving black Catholics in the Diocese of Brooklyn and vigorously defended the civil rights of all African-Americans. The U.S. bishops in November approved his cause for canonization.

Family members embrace in El Paso, Texas, during a massive reunion called "Abrazos, No Muros," (Hugs, Not Walls) Jan. 28. Approximately 375 families separated by immigration issues were allowed to meet for several minutes in the riverbed of the Rio Grande, which makes up part of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Refugee ban: Firestorm and support

WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum intended to restrict the entry of terrorists coming to the United States in the guise of refugees, the action brought quick response from Catholic and other religious leaders. The largest response came from more than 2,000 religious leaders representing the Interfaith Immigration Coalition who objected to the action in a letter to the president and members of Congress.

The heads of Catholic charitable agencies, organizations working with immigrants and Catholic education leaders also decried the president's action.

The action also drew supporters, with organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and some church leaders saying it was necessary to protect the country's security.

Trump signed the memorandum, titled "The Protection of the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States," during a Jan. 27 ceremony at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes as new Secretary of Defense James Mattis was sworn in. The president also signed a second executive action designed to build the strength of the U.S. military.

Trump's action banning refugees brings outcry from U.S. church leaders

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president, said in a joint statement, "The church will not waiver in her defense of our sisters and brothers of all faiths who suffer at the hands of merciless persecutors," they said. Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez said the U.S. should be vigilant in screening out "infiltrators, but "must always be equally vigilant in our welcome of friends."

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence kisses his wife, Karen, during a rally at the annual March for Life in Washington Jan. 27.

Pence: Life is winning again

WASHINGTON — The leaders of the pro-life movement are used to having the ear of the president, as they had with Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. During their respective administrations, they addressed the March for Life via telephone, but this year the event marking the Roe v. Wade anniversary had the highest-ranking government official ever to address the crowd in person. "Life is winning again in America, and today is a celebration of that progress," the official, Vice President Mike Pence, told the March for Life rally on the National Mall Jan. 27. "More than 240 years ago, our founders declared these truths to be self-evident — that we are, all of us, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he said. "Forty-four years ago, our Supreme Court turned away from the first of these timeless ideals, but today, generations hence — because of all of you and the many thousands who stand with us in marches across this nation — life is winning again in America." Other speakers included: New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee; Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager and now special adviser to the president; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and Reps. Mia Love, R-Utah, and Chris Smith, R-New Jersey.

Prayer vigils, special Masses and rallies across the country marked the 44th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Meanwhile, the U.S. abortion rate is down to its lowest level since the Supreme Court made abortion legal virtually on demand in 1973, and the rate is half of its early-1980s peak. According to a study issued Jan. 17 by the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate for U.S. women ages 15-44 is 14.6 per 1,000 in 2014, the last year for which statistics are available. The figure represents a 14 percent decline from the 2011 numbers, and less than half of the 1981 rate of 29.4 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age.

And, a few days before the annual March for Life, a new national poll indicated shifting public attitudes, crossing party labels, in favor of increased restrictions on abortion. "When you ask Americans what they think of abortion ... you get very, very strong numbers in favor of restrictions," said Andrew T. Walther, vice president of communications of the Knights of Columbus, during a Jan. 23 news conference livestreamed to reporters. The Marist survey of 2,729 adults was conducted in December and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. It contains breakdowns by political affiliations and ethnicity but not religious beliefs, so there was no information on how many respondents were Catholics. Fifty-two percent of the respondents indicated that they thought of themselves as "pro-choice," while 42 percent self-identified as pro-life. But when the questions became more detailed on abortion policies, the numbers shifted.

President Donald J. Trump issued an executive memorandum Jan. 23 reinstating the "Mexico City Policy," which bans all foreign non-governmental organizations receiving U.S. funds from performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning in other countries.

Bishop punched

IRVINGTON, N.J. — Auxiliary Bishop Manuel A. Cruz of Newark told a congregation he was fine Jan. 29, the day after he had been punched in the mouth by an assailant. The Cuban-born Bishop Cruz, a Newark auxiliary since 2008, was at a Jan. 28 event for baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente when he was attacked while celebrating a special Mass for the late player at the Basilica Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark. Charles Miller was arrested by the Essex County Sheriff's Office and charged with aggravated assault. No motive was given for the attack. Bishop Cruz was taken to a hospital afterward with injuries that were not serious.

Catholic News Service


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