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Posted on 03/20/2018 20:30 PM (CNA Daily News)
Jackson, Miss., Mar 20, 2018 / 12:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order Tuesday against a Mississippi law which bans most abortions after 15 weeks into pregnancy.
It is the most restrictive abortion law in the US.
US District Judge Carlton Reeves temporarily blocked the Gestational Age Act March 20, one day after it was signed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.
I was proud to sign House Bill 1510 this afternoon. I am committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child, and this bill will help us achieve that goal. pic.twitter.com/O0O4QeILLx
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) March 19, 2018
A suit was filed against the law within hours of its signing by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The center argues that a “state may not ban abortion before viability.” Viability is currently typically placed at around 24 weeks.
Dr. Sacheen Carr-Ellis of the Jackson Women's Health Organization, the state's only abortion clinic, saying a woman at least 15 weeks pregnant was scheduled to have an abortion Tuesday afternoon.
The state argued that it has an interest in protecting the life of the unborn, as well as maternal health.
The law was passed by the state legislature earlier in the month. It permits abortion past 15 weeks when the mother's life or major bodily function is in danger or when the unborn child has a severe abnormality which is incompatible with life outside the womb at full term. Exceptions are not granted for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
Under the law, physicians knowingly in violation can lose their state medical licenses, and receive a civil penalty of up to $500 if they falsify records about the circumstances of the procedure.
State records indicate about 200 abortions a year are performed on women 15 to 20 weeks pregnant; according to the suit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Jackson Women's Health Organization performed 78 abortions past 15 weeks in 2017.
Prior to the passage of the new law, Mississippi barred abortion at 20 weeks into pregnancy. It also requires that those performing abortions be board-certified or -eligible obstetrician-gynecologists, and that a woman receive in-person counseling and wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion.
Signing the bill, Bryant said that “We are saving more of the unborn than any state in America, and what better thing we could do? We'll probably be sued here in about a half hour, and that'll be fine with me. It'll be worth fighting over.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">It’s a great day in Mississippi as we move to make our state the safest place in the nation for an unborn child. I was proud to stand with members of the pro-life community as Gov. <a href="https://twitter.com/PhilBryantMS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PhilBryantMS</a> signed the ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. <a href="https://t.co/xWQNgjyTUn">pic.twitter.com/xWQNgjyTUn</a></p>— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) <a href="https://twitter.com/tatereeves/status/975835841766526976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said at the signing that the state would be prepared for pay to defend the law in court: “I don’t know if you can put any value on human life. We are all about fighting to protect the unborn. Whatever challenges we have to take on to do that, is something we’re willing to do.”
Posted on 03/20/2018 18:04 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome, Italy, Mar 20, 2018 / 10:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Continuing his custom of saying Holy Thursday Mass outside a sacred place, Pope Francis this year will visit one of Rome’s most well-known prisons, the Regina Coeli, located in the historic Trastevere neighborhood.
The Pope will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper March 29. During the ceremony he will wash the feet of 12 inmates. He will also meet with prisoners and visit sick inmates in the prison’s infirmary.
Originally the site of a 17th-century convent, from which it gets its name, the Regina Coeli prison was constructed in 1881 by the Italian government after the country’s unification. A women’s prison, called the Mantellate, was later built nearby, also on the site of a former convent.
The prison has been visited by popes on three former occasions: by St. John XXIII in 1958, by Bl. Paul VI in 1964, and by St. John Paul II in 2000.
Like most prisons throughout Italy, Regina Coeli has had issues with overcrowding and inmate suicide in recent years.
For Pope Francis, this will be the fourth time during his pontificate that he has celebrated Maundy Thursday Mass at a prison. The first was in 2013, just after becoming Pope, when he visited the Casal del Marmo youth detention center.
This occasion was notable for being the first time a Pope included females and non-Christians among those whose feet he washed. At the time, liturgical law permitted only men's feet to be washed in the Holy Thursday ceremony.
In January 2016, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments modified the Roman Missal to allow for women's feet to be washed at the Holy Thursday Mass, though it added that those chosen are to be “from among the People of God.”
The Roman Missal's text was modified to say that “those chosen from among the People of God are accompanied by the ministers,” while it had previously read: “the men chosen are accompanied by the ministers.”
“People of God” is an ecclesiological term adopted by the Second Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, to indicate the Church of Christ, which “subsists in the Catholic Church.”
Pope Francis said Holy Thursday Mass at a center for asylum seekers in Castelnuovo di Porto, a municipality just north of Rome, in 2016. There he washed the feet of refugees, among whom were Coptic Orthodox, Muslims, and Hindus.
In 2015 the Pope went to Rome’s Rebibbia prison, and in 2017 he visited Paliano prison located south of Rome.
In 2014 he visited people with disabilities, saying Mass at the Don Gnocchi center for the disabled.
Posted on 03/20/2018 15:38 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Mar 20, 2018 / 07:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Tuesday Pope Francis offered his condolences for the death of Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, the disgraced former archbishop of Edinburgh, who died Monday at the age of 80 in a hospital in northern England.
The Pope's March 20 message was addressed to Archbishop Leo Cushley, who was appointed to head the archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 after O’Brien stepped down following his acknowledgment that he participated in inappropriate sexual conduct during his ministry.
In the brief message, Francis said he was saddened to hear of O’Brien’s death and offered his heartfelt condolences to his family and those who mourn him.
“Commending his soul to the merciful love of God our Father, and with the assurance of my prayers for the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and consolation in our Lord Jesus Christ,” he wrote.
The funeral and burial arrangements for the cardinal are still being determined. Scottish newspaper The Herald reported March 20 that the Holy See will be a participant in the decision, as well as Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who the Pope appointed to manage the O’Brien scandal in 2013.
According to The Herald, an archdiocesan spokesperson said O’Brien’s funeral arrangements “will be decided in the days to come.”
“There will be consultation between the Holy See – the Holy Father will have an input – and Keith O’Brien’s family as to where his requiem Mass takes place and when and where he is buried.”
Born in Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1938, O'Brien was named archbishop of St. Andrews & Edinburgh by St. John Paul II in 1985.
From 2002-2012, O’Brien served as President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. He was made a cardinal by John Paul II in 2003 and participated in the 2005 conclave that elected Benedict XVI.
He stepped down as Archbishop of St. Andrews & Edinburgh in 2013 at the age of 74 after allegations went public that he had participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with other men in the 1980s.
After the claims surfaced that February, the cardinal's request for retirement – originally submitted to Benedict XVI in November 2012 for reasons due to age and health – was accepted immediately by Benedict, going into effect Feb. 25, 2013.
O'Brien did not participate in the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis, and in May 2013, after speaking with the newly-elected Pope, he left Scotland for a time of prayer, penance and reflection.
Two years later, Francis accepted his resignation of the rights and privileges of cardinal – a rare circumstance which can only be approved by the pope.
Posted on 03/20/2018 11:02 AM (CNA Daily News)
Stockholm, Sweden, Mar 20, 2018 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Meet Elina Berglund: a nuclear physicist who will be known as the woman who developed the first natural cycle fertility app to have been internationally certified as an effective means of avoiding pregnancy.
“It feels incredibly exciting that there is now an approved alternative to conventional pregnancy prevention methods, and that it’s possible to replace medication with technology,” Berglund told Business Insider.
The app, called Natural Cycles, was founded in Switzerland by Elina Berglund and her husband Raoul Scherwizl. They created the app as a way to go “beyond contraception,” and to “get to know your body and unique cycles,” according to their website.
“At Natural Cycles, we are all about combining scientific research and mobile tech to empower every woman worldwide with knowledge about her body, menstrual cycle and fertility.”
The app works on a sympto-thermal based system. Using mathematics and advanced technology, the app tracks a woman’s recorded daily temperature through an algorithm which determines fertility, making it a competitive alternative to hormonal birth control and contraception for women who would otherwise use them.
This information allows women to know exactly where they are in their cycle, and even considers factors such as temperature fluctuations and cycle irregularities in order to make accurate predictions about ovulation.
While the Catholic Church teaches that the use of contraception is immoral, because it intentionally separates procreation from the sexual act, it does approve of fertility mapping methods like natural family planning. Though Berglund's app was developed to be used as a contraceptive, it can be used as a form of natural family planning.
Natural family planning methods, such as the Billings Method or Creighton Model, help women and families achieve pregnancy – or prevent pregnancy, if there is a just reason to avoid it – by tracking natural cycles, which is similar to the concept behind the Berglund's app.
Business Insider pointed to a clinical study which concluded that the Natural Cycles prevention method is as effective as the pill in spacing pregnancies – without the side effects.
However, getting to this point was not easy for Berglund and her husband. Not long after its founding, the Natural Cycles app began to receive severe investigatory restrictions from the Swedish Medicinal Products Agency.
Eventually, the app recently received official recognition and approval from Tüv Süd, a German inspection and certification agency.
In the future, Natural Cycles has big plans to make up for lost time: they are targeting the U.K. with a big marketing sweep, and have their eyes on the United States – if the app gets approved by the FDA.
The app currently has more than 150,000 users in over 160 countries around the world.
An earlier version of this article ran on CNA Feb. 16, 2017.
Posted on 03/20/2018 02:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Chicago, Ill., Mar 19, 2018 / 06:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The pastor of Chicago’s St. John Cantius Church was removed from office last week for unspecified “credible” allegations of misconduct involving adult men, a response the Chicago archdiocese says is typical in such cases.
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago removed Father C. Frank Phillips, founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and pastor of Chicago’s St. John Cantius Church.
“I am aware that this is difficult news to receive, but the Archdiocese of Chicago is committed to ensuring those serving our parishioners are fit for ministry,” the cardinal said in a statement. “Know that this decision was made after careful consideration. I will continue to pray for you and am confident the Lord will sustain the St. John Cantius community as you make this transition.”
Cardinal Cupich said he had to withdraw the priest’s faculties to minister in the archdiocese “after learning of credible allegations of improper conduct involving adult men.”
Susan Thomas, communications director for the Archdiocese of Chicago, told CNA that the priest is not accused of a canonical crime, known as a “delict,” and to the archdiocese’s knowledge he is not being investigated for a civil crime.
The archdiocese has referred the matter to Fr. Gene Szarek, C.R., the provincial superior of the Resurrectionists, to deal with the allegations and to decide on any further action. Phillips, though the founder of the Canons Regular, is canonically a member of the Resurrectionists.
Phillips’ attorney, Steve Komie of Komie and Associates, told CNA that he has been informed that the Resurrectionist provincial has directed a review board to review the priest’s situation.
“Father Philips has asked me to say that he’s looking forward to the convocation of the board under the decree of the provincial and he’s looking forward to appearing in front of the board, and he’s looking forward to have the board work its way through the claims being currently made,” Komie said.
“He looks forward to the report and in the meantime he’s praying for the peace and reconciliation of all involved.”
“That’s the extent of his statement, because at this time under the rules he is not allowed to comment further,” said the attorney.
In some Catholic circles, St. John Cantius Parish has become well-known for its liturgy and music. It celebrates some Masses in Latin, including the Extraordinary Form.
Phillips had served at the parish since 1988. In 1998 he founded the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, with the approval of Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Francis George and the Congregation of the Resurrection. It follows the Rule of St. Augustine and seeks to “preserve and foster the devotional, musical, catechetical, and artistic traditions of the Catholic Church,” its website says.
Phillips will live away from the parish at a residence to be determined by his order.
Thomas told CNA that removal is “a typical response for misconduct of this nature.”
“Other cases have been handled in the same way,” she said.
The priest was removed in accordance with “the standard Archdiocesan process in addressing allegations of improper conduct with adults.” The allegations do not concern minors.
In 2015, Rev. Marco Mercado was removed from a Chicago archdiocesan parish because of what the archdiocese called an “inappropriate relationship with an adult man.” His priestly faculties were also revoked.
In the same year, Rev. Brendan Curran, O.P, was removed from ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago after he was reported to have had an inappropriate relationship with an unmarried adult woman. In addition to parish ministry, Curran was known as an immigration rights activist in the Chicago area.
Cardinal Cupich has appointed Fr. Scott Thelander, S.J.C., as administrator of St. John Cantius Parish and interim superior of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.
“He is an experienced pastor who is committed to ensuring that the spiritual, pastoral and administrative services of your parish will continue without interruption,” the cardinal said. “The current services offered at the parish and schedule of Masses will continue.”
The service and training of the Canons Regular and members in seminary formation will continue, the cardinal said.