Tue. Jun 15th, 2021

Ethiopians who have just crossed a river from Ethiopia to Sudan to flee from the Tigray region walk towards the Hamdeyat refugees transit camp, which houses refugees fleeing the fighting, on the border in Sudan, December 1, 2020. (Baz Ratner/Reuters)

(1) Washington Post: 1-year-old Carmelo Duncan is the latest victim of gun violence in D.C. as homicides hit a 15-year high

Dozens of mourners gathered Thursday night in the block where Carmelo was killed. They offered prayers for his family and for other families that have lost loved ones to gun violence, the coronavirus and social ills. They also demanded an end to such violent attacks and called for witnesses to come forward to bring justice for Carmelo’s death.

“Somebody knows something! Somebody knows something!” the crowd shouted as they began a march along Southern Avenue.

(2) Crux: Catholic agencies say ‘major humanitarian crisis’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

The United Nations on Wednesday said it and the Ethiopian government have signed a deal to allow “unimpeded” humanitarian access, at least for areas under federal government control after the prime minister’s declaration of victory over the weekend

More than 1 million people in Tigray are now thought to be displaced, including over 45,000 who have fled into a remote area of neighboring Sudan. Humanitarians have struggled to feed them as they set up a crisis response from scratch.

(3) Crux: Should Hong Kong crackdowns count as ‘anti-Christian persecution’?

Three of the four dissidents either jailed or arrested this week are committed Christians, and two of the three are actually Catholic.

Indeed, Christian energy permeates the protest movement in Hong Kong, even if just 12 percent of the territory’s population is Christian. As pro-democracy crowds surged last year, the hymn “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” became their rallying cry. Granted, that was to some extent a tactical move, since under Hong Kong ordinances religious gatherings often are permitted when political protests aren’t, but it also reflected the genuine convictions of many of the activists.

Forget what’s driving the jailers. What are Chow, Wong and the rest doing in jail in the first place, and what does one suppose is sustaining them while there?

If the answer to those questions is, at least in part, about Christianity, then perhaps this ought to count as “anti-Christian persecution” after all.

(4) Peggy Noonan: Who’ll be 2020’s Margaret Chase Smith?

When history hands you a McCarthy—reckless, heedlessly manipulating his followers—be a Margaret Chase Smith. If your McCarthy is saying a whole national election was rigged, an entire system corrupted, you’d recognize such baseless charges damage democracy itself. You wouldn’t let election officials be smeared. You’d stand against a growing hysteria in the base.



(6). Lawyers say Trump administration has handed over data that will help reunite separated migrant families

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered last year that a steering committee of legal groups and nonprofits find missing families after the Trump administration separated parents and children crossing the border illegally in 2017 and 2018 but failed to keep track of the families it had separated.

NBC News reported last month that the parents of 666 migrant children had yet to be found by pro bono lawyers, making the path to reunification difficult for many. The filing Wednesday said some families have been identified since then, bringing the number of parents whose whereabouts are still unknown to 628.

(7) Polish Catholic leader to European Parliament: There can be no compromise on the right to life

The archbishop was responding to a resolution adopted by the European Parliament Nov. 26 condemning Poland’s “de facto ban on the right to abortion.” 

The European Parliament, the European Union’s law-making body, passed the resolution by 455 votes to 145 after Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled Oct. 22 that a law permitting abortion for fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional.

Gądecki, the vice president of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE), noted that the resolution repeatedly referred to the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, pointing out that the charter declares that “Everyone has the right to life.”

The archbishop of Poznan argued that the title of the resolution was itself misleading as there is no “right to abortion” either from an ethical standpoint or in international law.

(8) Catholic News Agency: Supreme Court vacates ruling on California church closures

Harvest Rock alleged that Newsom has applied a double-standard during the nine months of the pandemic, curbing religious services while allowing comparable non-religious gatherings and mass protests to continue “without numerical restriction.”

“Despite his nine-month reign of executive edicts subjugating Californians to restrictions unknown to constitutional law, the Governor continues to impose draconian and unconscionable prohibitions on the daily life of all Californians that even the Governor disregards at his own whim,” the church said in its appeal.

Harvest Rock said that following Newsom’s order, local officials began sending letters “threatening up to 1 year in prison, daily criminal charges and $1,000 fines against the pastors, church, governing board, staff, and parishioners” if they did not comply with the restrictions.

(9) Daily Caller: Supreme Court Ruling Sends a Message Churches Can’t Be Treated Like ‘Second Class’ Citizens, Legal Experts Say

Becket counsel Joe Davis noted to the DCNF that the ruling was important not only in regards to coronavirus restrictions on religious freedom, but also for religious freedom more broadly.

“This is really the court laying down a marker that the First Amendment does not go away even in the circumstances of this pandemic,” Davis told the DCNF, noting that this is something that has been questioned in legal rulings since March.

“You can’t tell people they have to stay home from church but they can shop,” Davis said.

(10) Gerald Russello: Almost Abducted

In my current job, I spend much of my time exploring people’s memories. I listen to people tell me about events that happened weeks, months, or even years before. In most of the stories I hear, something bad happened and most people don’t want to take the blame. So they construct memories of what happened—out of embarrassment, to protect themselves or others, or to avoid getting involved. Or maybe infant amnesia never really goes away. We all perform hundreds of individual tasks, hundreds of actions every day; how could one remember them all? Even events in the relatively recent past can be forgotten, and memories one does not think especially important disappear. My job is to go over the memories of many different people to try to find a reasonable facsimile of what really occurred. Sometimes one detail sticks out that makes the rest of the story make sense and helps you separate what likely happened from what likely didn’t. But sometimes you never really know.

(11) Catholic bishops welcome ‘realistic’ new measures for public Masses in France

Gérald Darmanin, French Minister of the Interior, announced Dec. 2 a change to a previously proposed 30-person limit on attendance of public Masses after France’s highest administrative court overturned the restriction in response to a legal appeal by the Catholic bishops’ conference.

Under the revised measures, people will be required to leave two free seats between each person or family and to only occupy every other pew.

The French bishops’ conference issued a statement Dec. 2 calling the new measure “more realistic”  as it is proportionate to each church’s  building capacity. 

(12) ‘Set Your Captives Free’: A Report on Christians unjustly detained for their Faith

(13) Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.: Mr. Biden and the Matter Of Scandal

When bishops publicly announce their willingness to give Communion to Mr. Biden, without clearly teaching the gravity of his facilitating the evil of abortion (and his approval of same-sex relationships), they do a serious disservice to their brother bishops and their people. The reason is obvious. By his actions during the course of his public life, Mr. Biden has demonstrated that he is not in full communion with the Catholic Church. To his credit, he has championed many causes and issues that do serve the common good. However, many of his actions and words have also supported or smoothed the way for grave moral evils in our public life that have resulted in the destruction of millions of innocent lives. Mr. Biden has said that he will continue to advance those same policies as president, and thus should not receive Holy Communion. His stated intention requires a strong and consistent response from Church leaders and faithful.  

This is not a “political” matter, and those who would describe it as such are either ignorant or willfully confusing the issue. This is a matter of bishops’ unique responsibility before the Lord for the integrity of the sacraments. 

(14) No sex, no marriage: why Japan has so many sex-free marriages and why a rising number of people want to stay single

“About 25 per cent of today’s youth in Japan will probably remain single and unmarried for their entire lives,” says Masahiro Yamada a professor from Chuo University, who once coined the term “parasite singles” to describe grown Japanese adults who remain unmarried and live rent-free with their parents. The number of single people in the entire population had dramatically grown in the last three decades.

Many young Japanese people aspire to fulfil traditional gender roles, where the man is the breadwinner and the woman takes care of the house and children. In the boom years of the early ’90s, it was easier for young women to find a man with a well-paying job. These days, in light of Japan’s tough economic situation – not so much.

(15) U.S. Catholic: A 92-year-old stained glass artist blends reverence and play

Nicolas’ drawings, mosaics, sculptures, and stained glass show a deep respect for religious, architectural, and artistic tradition but also reveal a playfulness, a kind of “reverence and irreverence,” she explains, that speaks of her desire to “express humanity.” Her figures’ faces can be amused, puzzled, annoyed, awed, even angry and despairing. Their bodies can be fat and jolly, austere and sublime. She has even done costume design. When Nicolas was 12, she wanted to be a ballerina. She eventually went on to study in Paris, where she fell in love with designing sets and costumes.

Her Catholic faith is not worn on her sleeve but shines through in why she works, what she says, and how she acts. When she talks about the figures she depicts, she sounds as if she is describing old friends. It wouldn’t surprise her much if her saints pulled up a chair to her table or workbench.


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