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ACI Prensa's latest initiative is the Catholic News Agency (CNA), aimed at serving the English-speaking Catholic audience. ACI Prensa (www.aciprensa.com) is currently the largest provider of Catholic news in Spanish and Portuguese.
Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago

In wealthy San Francisco, treatment of homeless draws UN condemnation

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 02:52

San Francisco, Calif., Nov 6, 2018 / 12:52 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As San Francisco prepares to consider a ballot measure to boost taxes for services to aid the homeless, a U.N. investigator has classed the treatment of the homeless in San Francisco and the Bay Area as a human rights violation.

Leilani Farha, the United Nations special rapporteur on adequate housing, visited the Bay Area and spoke with about 50 homeless people in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland.

She said she “can’t help but be completely shocked” by the treatment of the homeless.

“Every single person, whether it was in passing or in a long conversation, said they just want to be treated like a human being,” said Farha, a lawyer who lives in Canada. “What does that say? That is bleak.”

“I’m sorry, California is a rich state, by any measures, the United States is a rich country, and to see these deplorable conditions that the government is allowing, by international human rights standards, it’s unacceptable. I’m guided by human rights law,” she said, according to the news site SFGate.

The last count of homeless people in San Francisco alone estimated 7,500 people, though some believe they number between 10,000 and 12,000.

The city now spends $300 million annually on homelessness. In August 2016 it launched a unified Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. The department has said its new counseling centers that aim to move people into permanent housing, known as Navigation Centers, have helped move over 1,500 very vulnerable people out of homelessness.

The median cost of a house in the city is $1.7 million, with an average salary for a tech worker $142,000, The Atlantic reports.

On Election Day 2018, San Francisco voters were set to decide on a ballot measure, Proposition C, which would fund homeless services by raising taxes on the largest companies to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in funding.

Due to complexities of San Francisco payroll tax, the ballot measure would mean higher taxes for bigger businesses with a high concentration of employees or revenue in San Francisco.

The measure has drawn opposition from several influential technology leaders, such as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, but has the support of Mark Beinoff, CEO of Salesforce. The two have argued about the proposition on Twitter, with Dorsey saying the proposition could cost his payment processing company Square $20 million in taxes in 2019.

San Francisco mayor London Breed is worried the tax will cause companies with headquarters in the city to move elsewhere and take jobs with them. While saying its supporters are “well-intentioned,” the predicted long-term impacts on the city made him decide to oppose the measure.

A September poll showed 56 percent of voters backing the measure, though support dropped almost 10 points when pollsters told respondents how much it would cost in taxes, according to The Atlantic.

Farha’s report from the U.N. General Assembly, dated Sept. 29, is titled “On Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living.”

It addresses the Bay Area homeless situation in one section.

“Attempting to discourage residents from remaining in informal settlements or encampments by denying access to water, sanitation and health services and other basic necessities, as has been witnessed by the Special Rapporteur in San Francisco and Oakland, California, United States of America, constitutes cruel and inhuman treatment and is a violation of multiple human rights, including the rights to life, housing, health and water and sanitation,” the report said.

“Such punitive policies must be prohibited in law and immediately ceased,” it added.

The report said that after the U.N. Human Rights Committee voiced concern, the U.S. government introduced funding initiatives for municipalities to rescind laws that “criminalize homelessness.” However, the report advocated “more robust measures.”

Among those Farha spoke with were people living in an encampment before city officials ordered them to move during a “tent sweep.”

Such actions have negative consequences for people suffering homelessness, Farha said.

“It’s damaging because they always have to move,” she told SFGate. “They’re treated like nonentities.”

While officials sometimes say their confiscated belongings are put in storage, “more often they’ll dump everyone’s possessions into one dumpster.”

Farha said that in other countries of the world, such as the global south, there is a struggle to legalize encampments.

“Here, the struggle is simply to be able to create an encampment. In the south, there’s sort of a blind eye that has turned. Once an informal settlement is created, it’s established. Whereas here, they can’t create them.”

Resident complaints about tent encampments, needles and human feces topped 22,000 in 2016, five times the number reported the previous year.

Some tourism leaders in the city have said the homeless population and hygiene problems are causing a significant slow-down in tourism.

A 2016 count from the Department of Housing and Urban Development found almost 550,000 people to be homeless on a single night in January 2016. About 65 percent were individuals, while 35 percent were homeless as a family. About 40,000 were veterans.

California had about 22 percent of the total homeless population in the U.S., followed by New York with 16 percent and Florida with 6 percent.

The U.N. report criticized laws in rich countries that prevent the construction of rudimentary shelters by the homeless and criminalizes them even for eating and sleeping. States must help implement the right to basic housing as soon as possible, it said.

States must ensure that discrimination, harassment or criminalization on the basis of housing status are prohibited, the report continued. Informal settlements’ rights must be protected, and there must be rigorous action against forced eviction. The report said the judicial system should hear “systemic claims” related to inadequate budget allocations, failure to comply with homelessness response timelines and goals, and inadequate community engagement or collaboration.

The report was critical of police and security forces’ treatment of residents of informal settlements. In one instance cited, Canadian authorities spread chicken manure and fish fertilizer on an encampment to enforce a prohibition on overnight shelters in parks. After residents protested, a court ruled this prohibition a violation of constitutional rights.

Those who resist forced eviction and claim their right to housing must be treated as “human rights defenders” by authorities and security forces, said the U.N. report. The international community “should respond accordingly when their rights are violated.”
 

 

Buffalo diocese expands list of credibly accused clerics

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 19:32

Buffalo, N.Y., Nov 5, 2018 / 05:32 pm (CNA).- The Diocese of Buffalo is adding to their public list of clergy with credible allegations of sexual abuse against a minor.

Diocesan officials, including Bishop Richard Malone, held a press conference Nov. 5 during which they fielded questions from reporters about the investigation process for allegations of sexual abuse. Malone held a meeting with priests from across western New York earlier that day to discuss the current situation.

The new list contains an additional 20 names of clergy with “substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor,” as well as 16 names of clergy who were or are members of religious orders and had served in Buffalo.

The original list, published in March, included 42 names of accused priests. Leaked diocesan documents suggested that the diocese had received complaints against more than 100 priests when the list was created. Siobhan O’Connor, a former executive assistant to Malone, leaked the documents to a local television station.

Following O’Connor’s disclosure, Bishop Malone and diocesan officials are facing accusations that they culled a list of accused clergy in order to produce a “much lower number for the public to digest,” according to the investigative report from WKBW Channel 7.

Diocesan lawyer Lowler Quinlan stated at the press conference that the diocese had received 191 complaints of sexual abuse during 2018 alone; usually the diocese received an average of 11 complaints per year. This influx of cases meant the diocese had to take on additional staff, Quinlan said.

Bishop Malone admitted last week that he made mistakes in dealing with sexual abuse cases where adults were involved, but maintains that he has not mishandled allegations involving children. He also reiterated his decision not to resign.

The diocese has not released a list of clergy accused of sexual misconduct involving adults.

Sister Regina Murphy, chancellor of the diocese, is responsible for the files on accused priests. She told the press conference that she did an inventory in April of all the files in the diocese’ possession, and that they are “much better organized now.” She stated that there are no priests ordained in the last 20 years with an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor in the diocese.

Of the 132 clerics the diocese said its investigators had looked into so far, a total of 62 have now been publicly listed, and 45 are still living.

The list does not include the names of 48 deceased priests and 18 religious order priests with a single allegation against them; nor does it include 18 priests removed from ministry but whose cases have not yet been resolved. In some cases, abuse by a religious order priest did not occur within the Buffalo diocese, so their names also were not included.

In response to questions about why religious order priests were left off the original list, Quinlan said it was because the Diocese of Buffalo did not have the authority to discipline them. Regarding deceased priests with one allegation against them, Quinlan said that it would be unfair to the priest’s family to put them on the list since they would be unable to do anything to defend their own reputation. Beyond a single allegation, however, Quinlan said the bishop “made the call” and decided that it would be reasonable to include those names.

The list also does not include the names of four clerics whom the Diocesan Review Board cleared of sexual abuse charges.

Texas Senate race sparks debate in pro-life community  

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 18:11

Austin, Texas, Nov 5, 2018 / 04:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a pro-life leader said she is voting for a pro-choice Senate candidate because she believes he will best advance the cause of life, another pro-life advocate rejected this approach to fighting abortion.

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, founder of New Wave Feminists, said in an Oct. 31 column for the Dallas Morning News that she is voting this year for Democrat Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging incumbent Republican Ted Cruz for his seat in the Senate. O’Rourke has gained traction in the normally red state, and polls show a tight race ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Currently a U.S. Representative, O’Rourke has said that he opposes efforts to limit abortion access. He is endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America, which gave him a “100% pro-choice” rating last year, noting his opposition to more than a dozen pro-life measures during that time.

Herndon-De La Rosa said that despite his voting record, she believes O’Rourke’s cooperative approach in seeking common-ground solutions will do the most to advance the pro-life cause.

She described O’Rourke as a “different” kind of candidate who “talked about working with Republicans and independents alike.”

Dr. Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, said that he believes this line of thinking is “deeply flawed and very unfortunate.”

He told CNA that it is a “fallacy” to believe that voting for candidates who favor legal abortion will bring about an end to abortions.

In her Dallas Morning News column, Herndon-De La Rosa explained that she had long accepted the belief that being pro-life meant voting Republican.

“[F]or years I reluctantly supported candidates who talked about making the sand glow in other countries with bombs and who advocated taking children away from their mothers, simply because unlike us, they hadn't won the geographic lottery,” she said.

These votes often felt difficult for her as an independent who does not completely agree with either major political party, and as a “consistent life ethicist,” who opposes “all forms of violence against other human beings, including war, torture, the death penalty and abortion.” But she believed that compromise was necessary, because the right to life was so foundational.

However, Herndon-De La Rosa said the 2016 presidential election was eye-opening for her, showing her “just how deep the GOP had its hooks in the pro-life movement.” She stressed that “while I am 100 percent pro-life, I'm also 100 percent feminist, and I saw the way Trump treated women as an absolute deal-breaker.”

“I saw the way these politicians used unborn children's lives to get out the vote but then oftentimes forgot about those lives soon after,” she said. “I saw the way pro-lifers compromised so many of their own upstanding ethics and morals to elect a man thrice married, who bragged about his infidelities and predatory behavior. And why? So they could get their Supreme Court seats.”

She said the final straw was watching Republican Senator Susan Collins agree to vote in favor of confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh only when he said that Roe v. Wade was “settled law.”

This convinced Herndon-De La Rosa that abortion must be eradicated on a cultural, rather than legal, level – “by creating a post-Roe culture while Roe still stands.”

O’Rourke’s proposed policies and willingness to work across party lines, she said, will help address the factors that lead women to feel that they must choose abortion.

“Abortion becomes unnecessary when women have so much support from within their community that the one violent choice never even becomes an option in their minds,” Herndon-De La Rosa said. “Abortion becomes unthinkable when women of color realize that having their children will not cost them their own lives because we have men like O'Rourke actually addressing the disproportionate number of minorities and children dying during childbirth.”

However, Pojman countered that Texas already “provides a tremendous amount of help for pregnant women” and does much to offer alternatives to abortion.

The state has more than 200 pregnancy resource centers that offer free to help to women in need, he said, and some half of these centers receive state funding. In addition, the state’s social service network provides health care for more than half of the minors in Texas, and the majority of childbirths in Texas are funded by Medicaid.

Rather than advancing the pro-life movement, Pojman argued, “O’Rourke would be a disaster.”

“He has shown himself to be entirely hostile to protecting unborn children from abortion. He has voted to allow late abortions, he has voted to support tax funding for abortions. If he became senator and had his way, he would eliminate the Hyde Amendment, which has been demonstrated to have saved some 2 million babies from abortion since it was first implemented in the ‘70s.”

Texas Alliance for Life has enthusiastically endorsed Ted Cruz for Senate. Pojman pointed to Cruz’s consistent record of voting for pro-life measures, including a ban on late-term abortions and an end to federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

The U.S. bishops’ guide to political engagement, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, stresses the importance of examining issues rather than voting automatically for any political party. The bishops emphasize the right to life as a foundational human right in evaluating candidates and issues.

“As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate's position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter's support,” the document says. “Yet if a candidate's position on a single issue promotes an intrinsically evil act, such as legal abortion, redefining marriage in a way that denies its essential meaning, or racist behavior, a voter may legitimately disqualify a candidate from receiving support.”
 

 

U.S. will remain committed to protecting the unborn at the U.N., Haley says

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 18:00

New York City, N.Y., Nov 5, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- As negotiations begin on the annual United Nations humanitarian assistance omnibus resolution, the United States will remain committed to protecting the fundamental right to life for the unborn, a spokesperson for U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told CNA.

 

Each year, the United Nations drafts a resolution that outlines various priorities they would like to see member states promote or protect regarding humanitarian aid and human rights. Since 2015, this resolution has encouraged member states to ensure that women and girls had access to “sexual and reproductive health-care services.”

 

Included among the United Nations’ definition of “reproductive health-care services” are the promotion of safe abortions and access to contraceptives, which sit alongside treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, access to pre- and post-natal care, and the prevention of female genital mutilation.

 

These resolutions are not binding in international law, but do reflect internal United Nations priorities and policies. The repeated inclusion of “sexual and reproductive health” in resolutions could result, over a period of time, in the United Nations adopting abortion as a human right.

 

Some have speculated that Haley could move to strike the phrase from the resolution, which currently appears twice in draft copies.

 

When reached for comment, Haley’s press officer Andrea Stanford declined to comment on specific actions that the ambassador may take regarding the language of the resolution, citing the recent start of negotiations.

 

However, she told CNA that “in general the United States is a world leader in advancing the cause of human rights, the first and most fundamental of which is life.”

 

Stanford said that the United States would be “committed to advancing policies that protect the lives of the unborn,” in “all multilateral forums, including the United Nations” in which it is a member.

 

Haley, who served as United Nations ambassador since the beginning of the Trump presidency, announced in October that she will be stepping down from her position at the end of this year. During her resignation announcement, she denied rumors that she was considering a presidential run. President Trump praised the ambassador’s service, and said Haley was welcome back in his administration at any time.

 

Trump indicated on Monday that he is planning on announcing his new pick for U.N. ambassador at the end of this week.

Buffalo whisteblower says she leaked abuse documents 'out of love'

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 16:42

Buffalo, N.Y., Nov 5, 2018 / 02:42 pm (CNA).- The former Diocese of Buffalo employee who leaked internal diocesan documents to the press wrote in an op-ed Sunday that she shared the documents “out of love for the survivors, my diocese, my community and my Church.”

“What I was witnessing boggled my mind, broke my heart and burdened my soul. My conscience felt as though it were in a vise that was tightening at an alarming rate,” Siobhan O’Connor wrote Nov. 4th in the Buffalo News.

O’Connor wrote that while she was executive assistant to Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone, she would often field calls from survivors of sexual abuse.

“After hearing survivors’ accounts of the abuse they suffered and the trauma they are still enduring, I was overcome with the desire to assist them with more than a sympathetic ear and the promise of prayer.”
 
Some of the documents O’Connor leaked suggest that Malone worked with diocesan lawyers to avoid releasing publicly the names of some diocesan priests accused of misconduct.

Ultimately the diocese culled down a list of over one hundred clergy accused of “criminal, abusive or inappropriate behavior” to a final, publicly released list of just 42, the documents show.

O’Connor wrote that she was approached in late July by local reporter Charlie Specht from WKBW Channel 7. The local news station published an exhaustive investigative report Aug. 22-23, citing documents leaked by O’Connor indicating that Malone allowed priests to stay in ministry, despite multiple allegations against them.

O’Connor revealed her identity in the week leading up to her Oct. 28 interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” She said in her op-ed that she loved working for the diocese, and previously held the bishop “in the highest esteem,” as emails released by the diocese Oct. 30 showed.

“As I have stated publicly, I bear no ill will toward Bishop Malone...Indeed, I still care about him and pray for him with a sincere heart,” she wrote.

Malone said in a Nov. 2 interview on local radio station WBEN that he believed no laws were broken when the documents were leaked, and that he trusted O’Connor followed her conscience in doing what she did.

O’Connor thanked the diocese’ “many wonderful priests and deacons, who have suffered deeply throughout these long months...for their faithful fortitude” and expressed her wish to work with them to “rebuild our local church with courage and charity.”

She concluded by imploring Malone to live out his episcopal motto, “Live the Truth in Love;” while she reiterated her call for his resignation.

“Be truthful with us, Bishop Malone. Put an end to this toxic secrecy and painful silence,” she wrote.

“And, if you love us, begin the process of allowing new episcopal leadership to come to our diocese.”

Though Malone apologized to victims in his Nov. 3 radio interview, but said he does not plan to resign. He stated that while he admits he mishandled allegations of sexual abuse involving adults, he maintains that his “record handling misconduct allegations with children is good.”

Also on Nov. 3, the diocese placed two more priests, Msgr. Frederick R. Leising and Father Ronald P. Sajdak, on administrative leave after receiving abuse complaints against them. The investigation is ongoing, and the diocese did not specify whether the alleged abuse involved children.

‘Incredibles 2’ designer says God’s creation is his inspiration

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 15:30

Oakland, Calif., Nov 5, 2018 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- A Catholic designer has spoken about how God and his faith inform his work. As a visual set designer at Pixar Animation Studios, Philip Metschan helped create the environment of “Incredibles 2,” most notably, the superhero Parr family’s new home.

 

Metschan told CNA that one of his favorite parts of being an environment builder is getting to take inspiration from the real world, filtering it through his own experience “to produce a world that’s never existed – fantastic things that no one has ever seen before.”

 

“I am definitely someone who likes to be out in nature and out in the world and experiencing it, because I think there are strong narratives that are created just from the existence of these places,” he said, adding that for him it is not possible to separate creation from the Creator.

 

“In a sense, I feel like whenever I’m using [real-world environments] as inspiration, I’m using [God] as inspiration,” he explained.

 

“Incredibles 2,” a sequel to the 2004 “Incredibles” movie, follows the adventures of a family of superheroes living in a world which is losing faith in people with incredible abilities.

 

A feature he appreciates about the stories told by Pixar, he said, is the importance placed on very universal themes, such as family, friendship, and other core principles. “Though we use these fantastic characters to do it, universal emotions are all very central,” he stated.

 

Though the stories are secular, Metschan also said he thinks each person can bring his or her own faith background to the viewing and find something to take away.

 

In “Incredibles 2,” for example, the goal of the movie’s villain is to “get rid of superheroes, because of her notion that having special people among us makes us weak, that we rely on these people instead of relying on ourselves,” Metschan said.

 

“As it relates to our Catholic faith, I would say that [the world’s] current heroes are not made of the stuff we would want them to be made of,” he said. “They’re not heroes for the reasons that I think we as Catholics look to our ‘heroes’ for, and the reason we venerate them.”

 

Thankfully, “I think we still have the choice to choose our heroes,” he said.

 

As an artist, too, Metschen said it is easy to be aware of the existence of divine inspiration, and that this insight comes with a responsibility to create something which serves others.

 

As an artist, “you feel like you’ve been given some kind of special skill, or a special view of how to execute these new things and you also feel a responsibility that these things you create will be positive and enlightening.”

Peace Cross case headed to Supreme Court

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 14:00

Washington D.C., Nov 5, 2018 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- The Supreme Court will once again consider the legality of religious monuments on public land during the current session.

The Court announced November 2 that it had granted certiorari to Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission v. American Humanist Association.

The case concerns the so-called “Peace Cross” in Prince George’s County, Maryland, erected in honor of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. In 2014, the American Humanist Association, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that promotes “secular humanist” beliefs, filed suit against the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission because of the shape of the monument.

The monument was erected in 1925, and was paid for by mothers of soldiers killed in the war. It lists the names of 49 members of the local community who died in service, as well as the seal of the American Legion and the words “valor,” “endurance,” “courage,” and “devotion” on the four branches.

The American Legion regularly hosts secular, patriotic events around the monument, and there has not been any sort of religious ceremony involving the cross in 87 years.

The American Humanist Association, along with a few local residents who joined the suit, argue that the cross-monument is an endorsement of Christianity on public land, and thus a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from establishing a state religion or giving preference to one religious belief over another.  

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has performed regular maintenance around the monument since 1961, as it is located on a median in the middle of a public road. This, the American Humanist Association has argued, is entangling government unnecessarily with religion.

The American Humanist Association had also sued the American Legion regarding the cross, but the cases were consolidated into one when they were granted certiorari.

The lawsuit was originally brought in 2014 and rejected by the District Court, which held that it was “uncontroverted” that the maintenance and display of the memorial was not “driven by a religious purpose whatsoever.”

In 2017, after the District Court initially rejected the case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the monument was, in fact, unconstitutional. This ruling was then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The upcoming decision would impact not only the “Peace Cross,” but also other religious-themed monuments on public land, including Arlington National Cemetery. Currently, the law is unclear as to what exactly constitutes a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment when it concerns religious-themed monuments.

The last time the Supreme Court was presented with controversy over a religious monument on public grounds was in 2005, when they ruled that a 10 Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol did not violate the Establishment Clause. Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote the plurality opinion.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer argued that while the 10 Commandments certainly has a religious connection, the context and location of that specific monument played a role in its constitutionality. These factors, as well as the fact that in its 40-year history no one had complained about it until the plaintiff brought suit, it was part of the “broader moral and historical message reflective of a cultural heritage” on display at the Capitol.

Man issued trespassing warning after disturbance at EWTN Mass

Sun, 11/04/2018 - 18:12

Irondale, Ala., Nov 4, 2018 / 04:12 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- EWTN Global Catholic Network has called for prayers for a man who caused a disturbance during the network’s televised Mass Nov. 4.

“We ask that our EWTN family keep this individual in their prayers,” said EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw in a Nov. 4 statement. 

The man reportedly caused a disturbance and attempted to approach the altar during the 7:00 a.m. live televised Mass on EWTN.

EWTN security personnel promptly removed the man from the chapel. Local police detained the man and issued him a warning for trespassing. 

No one was injured in the incident and the Mass continued without issue, said Warsaw. 

EWTN Global Catholic Network was launched in 1981 by Mother Angelica of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. The largest religious media network in the world, it reaches more than 275 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories.

In addition to 11 television channels in multiple languages, EWTN platforms include radio services through shortwave and satellite radio, SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 AM & FM affiliates. EWTN publishes the National Catholic Register, operates a religious goods catalogue, and in 2015 formed EWTN Publishing in a joint venture with Sophia Institute Press. Catholic News Agency is also part of the EWTN family.

Trump declares National Adoption Month, says ‘every child is wanted’

Sun, 11/04/2018 - 15:30

Washington D.C., Nov 4, 2018 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- President Donald Trump issued a presidential proclamation Oct. 31 declaring November 2018 to be “National Adoption Month.”

 

The president called adoption a “life-changing act” and a “blessing for all involved.”

 

In addition to assisting families who seek to adopt, Trump said, “we must also encourage all Americans to recognize that adoption is a powerful way to show women they are not alone in an unexpected pregnancy.”

 

“Adoption affirms the inherent value of human life and signals that every child ‑‑ born or unborn ‑‑ is wanted and loved,” read Trump’s proclamation.

 

“Children, regardless of race, sex, age, or disability, deserve a loving embrace into families they can call their own.”

 

National Adoption Month will honor the thousands of families in this country who chose to adopt, said Trump.

 

Trump also highlighted the plight of the nation’s growing foster-care system, and said that he appealed to “families, communities, and houses of worship across our great Nation to help these children find a permanent home.”

 

The president said it was “unfortunate” that many children in the foster system reach the age of 18 without being adopted, and that “these children deserve a permanent family” that will provide them with love and stability.

 

Trump’s inclusion of “houses of worship” was noteworthy. Currently, there are several cases ongoing in which faith-based foster agencies are suing localities after being denied contracts, or shut out entirely, from the foster-care process due to their religious beliefs.

 

This is the second year Trump has recognized National Adoption Month. The tradition of presidents promoting adoption began in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan declared one week in November to be “National Adoption Week.” In 1995, President Bill Clinton expanded the awareness campaign into a month.

 

National Adoption Day, a separate event first observed in 2000, is celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving. On this day, thousands of children throughout the country who are being adopted from foster care have their adoptions finalized. National Adoption Day also seeks to raise awareness of the more than 100,0000 American children living in the foster care system who are eligible for adoption.

 

In the United States, the average foster child waits for three years before being adopted. Each year, about 2,000 children age out of the system without being placed in a permanent home.

USCCB General Assembly: Committee elections preview

Sat, 11/03/2018 - 16:00

Washington D.C., Nov 3, 2018 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- When the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop convenes next week, much of the attention with focus on how the bishops will address the recent clerical abuse scandals. But the bishops will also be electing new leadership for six of the conference committees.

 

The USCCB will gather in Baltimore for its general assembly Nov. 12-14. On the ballot will be candidates for the chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education Committee, as well as the chairmen-elect of five other committees: Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations; Divine Worship; Domestic Justice and Human Development; Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth; and Migration.

 

The chairman-elect serves for one year shadowing the current chairman before assuming the role for a three-year term of office.

 

Conference members will also vote for a treasurer-elect for the USCCB. The office of treasurer manages the conference’s funds and sits as vice-chairman on the Committee on Priorities and Plans.

 

The current treasurer is Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati. Candidates to succeed him are Bishop Gregory Parkes of St. Petersburg, Florida, who worked in the banking industry for several years before entering the seminary and being ordained, and Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis, who holds a bachelor's degree in accounting.

 

The current chairman for the Committee on Catholic Education is Bishop John Quinn of Winona. The committee seeks to guide the educational mission of the Catholic Church and advocates for public policies aligned with Catholic values.

 

The bishops nominated to follow him are Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, who has served as the Director of the School of Pastoral Leadership in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, who has degrees in biology, theology, and canon law.

 

The Committee on Clergy is currently headed by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark and produces and coordinates documents and resources for vocational promotion and discernment. The potential chairmen-elect are Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen, and Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth.

 

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta is entering his final year as the head of the Committee for Divine Worship, which is responsible for matters related to Latin rite liturgy in the U.S. The candidates for chairman-elect are Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, who has served on several conference committees, including those on evangelization and doctrine, and Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, who is a member of the Bishops’ Advisory Council for the Institute for Priestly Formation.

 

The Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, now led by Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, advises the U.S. bishops on national issues relating to human dignity, development, and poverty.

 

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City and Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe have been nominated to succeed him. Wester has previously served as a member on the bishops’ committee on migration.

 

Archbishop Charles Chaput is now in the final year of his term as chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, he will be replaced by either Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco or Bishop John Doerfler of Marquette.

 

Cordileone has served on the Governing Board of the International Theological Institute, while Doerfler has previously led the Marriage Research Committee of the Canon Law Society of America.

 

The Committee on Migration is currently chaired by Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin. The committee seeks to provide awareness of and responses to the plight of immigrants, human trafficking, and refugees.

 

Washington, D.C. auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville-Rodriguez of Washington, who has served as the director of the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, and Bishop John Stowe of Lexington are the candidates to succeed him.

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