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Pope Francis encourages us to continue on ‘Synodal Way,’ says German bishops’ leader after audience

Bishop Georg Bätzing, chairman of the German bishops’ conference, meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican, June 24, 2021. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Jun 24, 2021 / 06:50 am (CNA).

Pope Francis encouraged the German Catholic Church to continue on its controversial “Synodal Way,” Bishop Georg Bätzing said Thursday after a private audience at the Vatican.

Bätzing, the chairman of the German bishops’ conference, said June 24 that he assured the pope that “rumors” that the German Church was seeking to diverge from the worldwide Church were untrue, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

“I informed the pope in detail about the status of the Synodal Way and made it clear that the rumors that the Church in Germany wants to go its own way are not true,” he said in a statement on the German bishops’ conference website.

“Pope Francis encouraged us to continue on the Synodal Way, to discuss the questions at hand openly and honestly, and to come up with recommendations for a change in the way the Church acts.”

“At the same time, he called for the Church in Germany to help shape the path of synodality he proclaimed toward the Synod of Bishops in 2023.”

According to the Holy See press office, Bätzing saw the pope after Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which recently intervened in Germany over a proposal for intercommunion between Catholics and Protestants.

The German bishops’ conference posted a photograph of Bätzing, the bishop of Limburg, walking up a flight of stairs to his audience with the pope.

A photograph of the audience showed Bätzing greeting the pope with his head bowed and his zucchetto, or skullcap, in his hand.

The meeting came at a time of considerable upheaval in the German Church, after the influential Cardinal Reinhard Marx tendered his resignation to the pope, saying that the Church had reached a “dead end.”

The pope declined the offer, but acknowledged that the abuse scandal had plunged the Church into crisis.

In his statement on Thursday, Bätzing recalled his first private audience with the pope after his election as chairman of the German bishops’ conference, which took place in June 2020.

He said: “After my inaugural visit to Pope Francis as president of the German bishops’ conference a year ago, I was able to meet the Holy Father again today -- after the long pandemic.”

“Our conversation focused first on the situation of the Church in Germany in view of the processing of the sexual abuse cases and the difficult situation in several dioceses. Pope Francis is well aware of the situation of the Church in Germany. He hopes that tensions can be overcome.”

 / Vatican Media.
/ Vatican Media.

German Church leaders and Vatican officials have clashed repeatedly over the Synodal Way, a process bringing together German bishops and lay people to discuss four main topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.

The German bishops initially said that the process would end with a series of “binding” votes -- raising concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge the Church’s teaching and discipline.

The Vatican sent a letter to the German bishops declaring that the plans were “not ecclesiologically valid.”

After a back and forth between the bishops’ conference and Vatican officials, the Synodal Way began on Dec. 1, 2019. It is expected to end in February 2022.

A number of senior Church figures outside Germany have voiced fears that the Synodal Way will lead to a breach between German Catholics in Rome.

Three Catholics from the German Diocese of Essen have submitted a “dubium” to the Vatican asking if the Church in Germany is in schism.

Bätzing has insisted that the country’s Catholics are not “schismatics.”

CNA Deutsch reported that the theologian Katharina Westerhorstmann, a Synodal Way participant, recently suggested that the process should be suspended in light of plans to involve the worldwide Church in preparations for the 2023 synod on synodality in Rome.

 / Vatican Media.
/ Vatican Media.

In his statement, Bätzing said that he had informed the pope about the recent Ecumenical Church Congress in Frankfurt.

The Vatican had expressed concern in the run-up to the event that it would promote intercommunion between Catholics and Protestants despite significant theological obstacles.

The event culminated with the Catholic and Protestant leaders of the initiative publicly receiving communion in each others’ churches.

Concluding his statement, Bätzing said: “As I did a year ago, I feel strengthened by Pope Francis in my office as bishop of Limburg and in my task as chairman of the German bishops’ conference.”

“I am impressed by the balanced knowledge with which he perceives the situation of the Church in Germany and puts the problems into words. Pope Francis will accompany the Church in our country on the way out of the crisis.”

Adoration is like radiotherapy for our sinfulness, says Vatican’s new liturgy chief

Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament. / Sidney de Almeida/Shutterstock

Vatican City, Jun 24, 2021 / 06:17 am (CNA).

The Vatican’s new liturgy chief has recommended the practice of adoration to help increase awareness of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.

In an interview with EWTN News, Archbishop Arthur Roche, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that he was not pessimistic about the prospect of people returning to Mass after pandemic lockdown restrictions.

“People’s longing, people’s thirst, [and] absolute hunger for God has increased in this desert experience, which we’ve all experienced,” Roche said June 22.

The archbishop said that it was “important to recognize the presence of the Lord in the Eucharistic presence of the Lord and to develop that within your own life.”

One way he recommended to “develop a sense of the presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament” is the practice of Eucharistic adoration.

He said: “One of the great theologians of the modern world used to say: when I’m sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, it’s almost as if I’m sitting in front of a presence that’s somehow, rather like radiotherapy. Somehow it radiates my life in such a way that my sinfulness becomes less. That my capacity to sin becomes less, that my will not to sin becomes less.”

“And I think it’s a wonderful image of the presence of Christ irradiating our lives, even when we sit there perhaps with no words, with little to say to Our Lord,” Roche commented.

“We’re there with Him because in one sense, the only thing we can give God is our time and the way that we use our time, and to be there voluntarily in front of the Lord … letting Him come into our lives and change us.”

Archbishop Arthur Roche at the Vatican press office on Feb. 10, 2015. / Bohumil Petrik/CNA.
Archbishop Arthur Roche at the Vatican press office on Feb. 10, 2015. / Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

Roche recently succeeded Cardinal Robert Sarah as the head of the Vatican’s liturgy office. Pope Francis appointed him prefect on May 27. Roche had worked in the congregation since 2012.

The new prefect said that even the name of his congregation has something to teach Catholics.

“When we come to Mass, when we come to any liturgy of the Church, the focus is always God. We come there to worship Him,” he said.

“That’s why the Church would be very wise in retaining in the title of this congregation, Divine Worship -- not just simply liturgy -- Divine Worship. Making it very clear that the focus is God. And we come to God to worship Him.”

The 71-year-old archbishop said that each pope since the Second Vatican Council had “brought to life, as it were, a characteristic that already exists within the Roman Rite.”

“Pope Benedict, whose reign was very short, was concerned with the beauty of the liturgy and presenting that in a way that also appreciated the culture of the day and brought into effect within the liturgy the culture of the day,” he said.

“Pope Francis, as we know, is a very pastoral man. And I think you will see him celebrate the Mass with immense attentiveness. Many say, and I think this is true, that he has a mystical character in the way that he celebrates Mass. He’s very, very focused. He’s very, very attentive to the words. He’s very, very attentive to his preaching also.”

The archbishop also said that it was necessary to keep in mind that liturgical prayer is a communal experience.

“It’s never simply the prayer of the individual. And if you don’t have an appreciation for what the Church is, the pilgrim people on a journey to the Lord, then you don’t quite sort of get the implications that are there within the liturgy that this isn’t just a private act,” he said.

“This is the prayer of the Church. And what is the Church? The Church is the Body of Christ. It is the Son of God in those who are baptized giving praise and worship to our heavenly Father.”

Kidnappers free Catholic priest and four others in Mali

The flag of Mali. / Railway fx via Shutterstock.

Bamako, Mali, Jun 24, 2021 / 05:00 am (CNA).

Kidnappers freed a Catholic priest and four other people on Wednesday in the West African nation of Mali.

Gunmen released Fr. Léon Douyon on June 23, 72 hours after seizing him, reported the French public radio service RFI.

The five kidnap victims were dropped off at the roadside between Bankass and Bandiagara, in the village of Parou within the Diocese of Mopti.

All five are said to be in good health, reported ACI Africa, CNA’s African news partner.

Major Abass Dembélé, the governor of the Mopti region, central Mali, said that the five were freed after the kidnappers’ vehicle broke down not far from Mali’s border with Burkina Faso.

“The kidnappers therefore decided to abandon the vehicle somewhere in the bush and, thanks to the mediation of local Dogon and Fulani notables, they agreed to free their five hostages, who had become very cumbersome,” he was quoted as saying.

Douyon, a priest of the Diocese of Mopti, was abducted by gunmen on June 21.

Fr. Alexis Dembélé, a Malian priest, said June 22 that “the group disappeared on Monday while traveling from Ségué in the center of the country, to the funeral of Fr. Oscar Thera in the town of San.”

He continued: “The poor road network requires one to go up north and then back down to the south to the town of San.”

The group was seized about 20 miles north of Ségué, in the vicinity of Ouo.

“The group was made up of Fr. Léon Douyon, the parish priest of Ségué, Thimothé Somboro, the village chief of Ségué, Pascal Somboro, deputy mayor, and two other members of the community, Emmanuel Somboro and Boutié Tolofoudié,” Dembélé said.

Mali, a country with a population of 19.66 million people has experienced a surge in violence involving both civilians and the military since 2012.

Kidnappings have become common, with militants seeking either to obtain ransom money or exert political pressure.

The country has seen clashes between the Malian army and a group fighting for independence, as well as jihadist insurgencies led by groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Mali has also suffered inter-communal violence. The fighting has left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The violence has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Sr. Gloria Cecilia Narváez Argoti, a member of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate who was kidnapped in southern Mali in 2017, is believed to be in the hands of jihadists linked to al-Qaeda.

Mali is currently under the leadership of Colonel Assimi Goïta who has led two coups in a span of nine months, first ousting the country’s elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta last August and, in May, the interim leaders who were to head the country’s transitional government.

Following the May 24 coup, Mali’s constitutional court named Goïta as transitional president until the country holds elections.

The move has attracted criticism, with Catholic leaders calling it a “seizure of power outside the legal process.”

A version of this story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA's African news partner, written by Jude Atemanke. It has been adapted by CNA.

Pope Francis Receives Bishop Bätzing, Reportedly Encourages German Synodal Path

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Louisiana governor vetoes women’s sports bill 

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 23, 2021 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have prohibited student athletes from competing in single-sex athletic events opposite their biological sex.

The state’s Senate Bill 156, the “Fairness in Women's Sports Act,” would have required publicly-funded schools to permit student athletes to compete only on teams corresponding with their biological sex, not their gender identity. Students identifying as transgender would have had to compete in the sport of their biological sex.

The governor, a Catholic, said in a statement that “discrimination is not a Louisiana value,” explaining his decision to veto the bill. The legislation, he said, was “a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana.” 

“Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue,” Gov. Edwards said of athletes identifying as transgender participating in sports opposite their birth sex.

He said the bill “would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health.” 

“We should be looking for more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens,” he said. “And while there is no issue to be solved by this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state. For these and for other reasons, I have vetoed the bill."

The bill passed by wide margins in the state legislature, by a vote of 29-6 in the state Senate and 78-19 in the state House. According to Baton Rouge’s The Advocate newspaper, those margins would be sufficient to override a governor's veto.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) on Wednesday called for a veto session by the legislature.

"The passage of the Fairness in Women's Sports Act (SB156) was a common-sense approach by the Legislature to protect women,” Landry said. “The Governor's disrespect for women by vetoing this bipartisan bill was both disappointing and irresponsible.”

In a statement, Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for the group Alliance Defending Freedom, said the group is “disappointed by Gov. Edwards’s decision to ignore the best interests of women and girls and veto the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.” 

Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting a state interscholastic athletics policy in Connecticut that allows athletes to compete in sports based on their gender identity. Four girls sued over the athletics policy, saying they were discriminated against in having to compete against biological males identifying as transgender females. 

“This legislation ensures that female athletes in Louisiana are able to compete on a level playing field,” Holcomb said of the Louisiana bill. “Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports is discriminatory and destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities.”

“We’ve seen increasing examples across the country of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions when competing as females, capturing championships and shattering long-standing female track records,” she said. In Connecticut, two biological male runners captured a combined 15 state track championship titles after the state’s policy went into effect in 2017.

“While we are disappointed by the governor’s veto, we are thankful to Sen. Beth Mizell for sponsoring this important legislation and to Louisiana legislators for taking a strong stand for female athletes,” Holcomb stated.

Opponents of the bill said it discriminated against transgender athletes. 

In a statement, Alphonso David, president of the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, called the legislation “nothing more than a politically motivated bill that seeks to dehumanize transgender children.” 

Holcomb added that she hopes the Louisiana legislature will override the veto and “join states like Florida, Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana, and Idaho that have codified protections for women’s sports into law.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 35 comparable bills have been introduced in 31 states this year, an increase from 29 such bills in 2020 and just two in 2019.

Portland archbishop welcomes ‘Eucharistic Revival,’ emphasizes worthy reception of Communion

Archbishop Alexander Sample during Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in Milwaukie, Oregon, in 2019. / Ed Langlois

Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2021 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon last week praised a new “Eucharistic Revival” initiative of the U.S.bishops that aims to foster deeper devotion to the Eucharist.

“It’s all intended to bring about a real revival in our faith, our love, our devotion and our living out of the Eucharistic mystery,” Archbishop Sample said Friday, as reported by The Catholic Sentinel. 

The U.S. bishops’ initiative, which will begin in the summer of 2022, aims to lead a “three year period of revival” nationwide, bringing the focus of Eucharistic revival to “any parish that desires it.” 

“I’m excited about this. I think it’s going to be great for the life of the church,” Archbishop Sample said last week.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens, an auxiliary bishop of Saint Paul-Minneapolis and chair of the U.S. bishops’ evangelization committee, presented the plan to his fellow bishops during their virtual spring meeting on June 18. 

Archbishop Sample noted the importance of receiving the Eucharist in a worthy manner, which he said serves as a call to all Catholics to constant conversion away from sin. 

The archbishop said that some Catholic public officials, by using ther office to advance abortion, are formally cooperating with grave evil, and thus could create public scandal by presenting themselves for Communion without first repenting of their position. 

He explained the need for Catholics to live their lives in conformity with Church teaching, to receive Communion.

“Our amen that we say before we receive the Eucharist is an amen not just to the fact that this is the body of Christ; rather, we are saying amen to all that that means,” Sample said. 

“That means our communion with the church, our communion with the faith, our belief in all that the church believes and professes, and that we live it in our own lives. We can’t live a life that is inconsistent. We can’t receive the Eucharist and then live in a way that is contrary to the faith,” he said. 

The bishops’ three-year Eucharistic Revival program will take place on three levels: parish, diocesan, and nationwide. 

Beginning in July 2022, dioceses across the country will be encouraged to hold Eucharistic events and make the Eucharist a primary focus. The bishops aim to provide free teaching materials on the Eucharist, developed with the help of various catechetical partners. 

Following that period, in July 2023, parishes will be encouraged to do the same, expanding Eucharistic adoration and embracing diverse Eucharistic traditions to help foster a greater love for the Eucharist among their members. Parish level initiatives could include offering teaching Masses, and small group formation. 

The revival would culminate in summer 2024 with a Eucharistic celebration event, held in a major city, that would serve as a national pilgrimage site.

The planned revival was spurred by a 2019 study by the Pew Research center, which found that just 31% of U.S. Catholics believe in the Church’s teaching on transubstantiation, that the bread and wine offered at Mass become the body and blood of Jesus. 

More than two thirds of those surveyed, 69%, reported that they believe that the bread and wine at Mass “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” 

At the time, Sample addressed his flock regarding the results of the survey. “These results have to be a real wake up call for all of us,” he wrote on Aug. 30, 2019. He challenged archdiocesan Catholic schools, parish religious education programs, and adult faith formation programs to put a greater emphasis on the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.

“To simply shrug our shoulders at such disturbing news and move on with business as usual is simply not an option. We must do everything in our power to reverse this trend,” he wrote. 

“People will more easily grow lax in the practice of their faith, or drop out altogether, if they don’t understand and believe the mystery we celebrate in the Holy Eucharist and how that drives everything else we do in the ministry of the Church.”

The plan for a Eucharistic Revival comes after the U.S. bishops last week voted to draft a teaching document on the Eucharist, which would include a subsection on “Eucharistic coherence,” or worthiness to receive Communion.

In a proposed outline of the document, the bishops’ doctrine committee cited the special need for Catholic public officials to uphold Church teaching in public life, but stressed that they are not drafting any national policy of denying Communion.

Bishop Paprocki: Regarding Communion debate “There should be no unity with iniquity”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki. / Courtesy Diocese of Springfield.

Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2021 / 16:56 pm (CNA).

In a statement published on Wednesday, June 23, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois lambasted recent media coverage of the USCCB vote to draft a document on the Eucharist.

Among the errors pointed out in the statement were claims by several media outlets that the “Vatican had warned the Catholic Bishops of the United States not to pass this proposal.”

Said Bishop Paprocki, “That is simply false.”

To clarify the issue, the bishop continued, “In fact, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, SJ, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had written to the president of the USCCB calling for ‘dialogue . . .  first among the bishops themselves, and then between bishops and Catholic pro-choice politicians within their jurisdictions.’ In fact, bishops and politicians have been dialoguing about this issue for many years.”

He argued that the draft document was “precisely” the impetus needed to give the dialogue form and substance. USCCB procedures will now allow for regional bishops’ meetings to discuss the document and a formal debate and vote on the document—with the ability to propose amendments—at the November meeting.

Additionally, he noted that one of the “misleading arguments” was voiced by bishops and cardinals inside the USCCB. These bishops and cardinals argued that “drafting this document …would be divisive and would harm the unity of the bishops’ conference,” according to the statement.

However, Bishop Paprocki countered that “There should be no unity with iniquity.”  

“Yes, we should strive for unity, but our unity should be based on the truths of our faith as found in Sacred Scripture and the constant Tradition of the Church. No one should want to be united on the path to perdition.”

The bishop stressed that other members of the hierarchy in Latin America united in the teaching on “Eucharistic coherence”— “including Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis).” The Latin American bishops were the first to use the term “eucharistic coherence,” though they were building off of the term “eucharistic consistency” used in Sacramentum Caritatis by Pope Benedict XVI. The term has been explosive in the American context, though it has been a feature of theological and papal thought with little controversy before immersion into its current context.

Addressing yet another inaccuracy, he asserted that Eucharistic consistency isn’t simply about “abortion and euthanasia,” but the problem of grave sin “of any kind.”

While mainstream reporting has often given the impression that the bishops recently decided only one sin will prevent someone from reception of the Eucharist, “It has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for the past two thousand years that those persons conscious of grave sin must first repent, confess their sins to a priest, and receive sacramental absolution before receiving holy Communion,” said the bishop.

“This teaching is reflected in the Church’s canon law and sacramental discipline,” he noted.

Finally, Bishop Paprocki concluded with a description of the oath taken by a bishop at his ordination and an exhortation to his brother bishops to “have the courage to fulfill their solemn oath.”  

The oath reads: “In fulfilling the charge entrusted to me in the name of the Church, I shall hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety; I shall faithfully hand it on and explain it, and I shall avoid any teachings contrary to it. I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.”

USCCB Pro-Life Secretariat: Congress must prevent taxpayer-funded abortion

Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jun 23, 2021 / 16:35 pm (CNA).

The House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected an opportunity to vote on a prohibition of taxpayer-funded abortion.

On Tuesday evening, House Republican leadership and the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus co-chairs filed a motion to force debate and a full House vote on H.R. 18, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). The members asked for a unanimous consent request to discharge the bill from committee and hold debate and a vote by the full chamber.

On Wednesday, House Democratic leadership blocked the motion to hold a vote on H.R. 18, through a “previous question” procedural maneuver. The vote to kill the maneuver – and hold a vote on the abortion funding prohibition – failed by nine votes, 218-209. Every House Democrat voted in favor of the maneuver, with the exception of Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) who did not vote.

“It is gravely wrong to force all Americans to pay for the killing of innocent babies with their tax dollars,” said Kat Talalas with the U.S. bishops’ conference Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“Most Americans oppose using their tax dollars to pay for elective abortions, and the failure of the House of Representatives to pass H.R. 18 is unjustifiable,” Talalas said. “Congress must act to protect millions of babies and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion and protect American taxpayers from paying for the destruction of innocent human life.” 

Smith on Tuesday evening spoke on the House floor in favor of his bill. Smith is the founder and one of the four co-chairs of the House Congressional Pro-Life Caucus; the other co-chairs are Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), and new co-chairs Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), and Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.).

“By reason of their age, dependency, immaturity, inconvenience, fragility and/or unwantedness, unborn children have been denied justice—and the most fundamental of all human rights, the right to life. The right to life is for everyone not just the planned, the privileged or the perfect,” Smith said.

“With deep respect for my colleagues, I believe unborn children need the President of the United States and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to be their friends and advocates—not powerful adversaries,” he said.

Republicans plan to use the “unanimous consent” procedure in the future to request a vote on H.R. 18. House Republicans used the same procedure to request a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in 2019 and 2020, but were denied a vote on the pro-life bill dozens of times.

The failure of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act comes after President Biden’s budget request to Congress excluded the Hyde Amendment – a long-standing federal policy that prohibits federal funding of elective abortions in Medicaid. The policy has become law each year by being attached to appropriations bills as a budget rider.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton submitted a budget request that excluded the Hyde amendment, but an amended version of the policy was later included and signed into law as part of the appropriations legislation.

House Democrats have promised to repeal the Hyde amendment in 2021, passing appropriations bills for the 2022 fiscal year that do not include the measure.

“We’re going to fight with everything we have to preserve Hyde protections,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on June 16.

Smith said that, according to studies, Hyde has prevented millions of abortions.

“More than twenty peer-reviewed studies show that more than 2.4 million people are alive today in the United States because of the Hyde Amendment—with about 60,000 babies spared death by abortion every year,” Smith said on Tuesday evening.

“Years ago, then-Senator Biden wrote to constituents explaining his support for the Hyde amendment and said it would ‘protect both the woman and her unborn child,’” Smith said, quoting from a 1994 letter by then-Senator Joe Biden to a constituent.

Biden, in his letter, said he voted 50 times in favor of the Hyde amendment, and told constituents that “those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them.”

“I absolutely agree—those of us opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” Smith said.

Other pro-life policies could be at risk in the 2022 fiscal year budget process. The House Appropriations Finance Committee is advancing a funding bill for the District of Columbia and various government offices, but without the Smith Amendment, which prohibits funding of abortion coverage in the federal employees health benefits program. It also would exclude the Dornan amendment, which blocks federal funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.

Louisiana Governor Vetoes Women’s Sports Bill

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Priest ordained in Spanish diocese after almost 11 years without vocations

Priestly ordination / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2021 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

On June 20, Bishop César Franco of the Diocese of Segovia, Spain, ordained Álvaro Marín Molinera to the priesthood - almost 11 years after the last priest was ordained for the small diocese.

Family, friends and a broad representation of the priests and deacons of the province also attended the ordination ceremony in the cathedral.

Marín, 27, was ordained a deacon in October 2020, and received formation at the University of Ávila and the Pontifical University of Salamanca.

The last ordination of diocesan priests in the diocese was on July 4, 2010. Franco also ordained a young Claretian religious to the priesthood on June 5.

According to the newspaper El Adelantado de Segovia, the new diocesan priest chose as his motto, “I can do all things in the One who strengthens me.”

During his homily at the ordination Mass, Bishop Franco said that “the priesthood gives you the authority to confront evil, but to do this you have to imitate in your life the mystery of the cross.” 

The bishop stressed that to exercise the ministry, “you can’t be a coward, not trust in Christ or live the faith in a mediocre way,” and so he encouraged Marín to put all his strength in Jesus Christ.

The newly-ordained priest quoted St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars: “I prostrated myself conscious of my nothingness and arose a priest forever.”