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Nueva Zelanda: Ley sobre eutanasia causa controversia por poca protección a pacientes

, 14 Ago. 20 (ACI Prensa).- Un proyecto de ley en Nueva Zelanda, que pretende legalizar la eutanasia y el suicidio asistido, causa controversia durante foro público por la falta de garantías que protejan a las personas vulnerables.

USCCB: Staffer ‘elated’ by Harris VP pick spoke in ‘personal capacity’

CNA Staff, Aug 14, 2020 / 06:40 pm (CNA).- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said Friday that a staff member who recently said she was “elated” by the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s presidential running mate was not speaking on behalf of the conference.

“At no point are Conference staff authorized to speak on behalf of the bishops in support of, or in opposition to, candidates for elected office,” said James Rogers, chief communications officer for the bishops’ conference.

“Because the comments in question may have led to confusion among the faithful, let me be clear,” he said in an Aug. 14 statement. “As Catholics, we are each called to evaluate candidates for public office by how closely their policies align with Gospel principles, as expressed by the U.S. bishops in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”

Rogers did not address the substance of the staff member’s comment.

His statement coincided with a “clarification” by Catholic News Service (CNS), the official news service of the U.S. bishops’ conference, which said that Donna Grimes, associate director of African American affairs in the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, was giving a personal reaction as a Black Catholic to Harris’ selection in its Aug. 12 article.

CNS said that Grimes was not asked to represent the bishops’ conference in her comments, and that she did not present herself as representing the conference.

Grimes was identified by her position at the bishops’ conference in the CNS article, and remained identified in that way after CNS issued its clarification.

She told the agency that Harris was not her first pick as Biden’s running mate, but is “really deserving and brings a lot to the table.”

“I was so elated. We, the community, need good news, and this was just wonderful,” Grimes told CNS of her reaction to the announcement of Harris. She said she believes Biden and Harris will offer “policy that is favorable to people on the margins” and said she hopes that if elected, they will address health care reform and voting-rights issues.

Grimes did not mention the issues on which Biden and Harris have clashed with U.S. bishops, among them conscience protections in healthcare policy, same-sex marriage, and, most frequently, abortion. Biden and Harris have pledged to restore currently restricted federal funding for abortion. Harris has previously pledged to use federal law to restrict state laws regulating or limiting abortion.

Pope Francis has called abortion “inhuman eugenics,” urged its eradication, and said that the unborn are among those marginalized on the “existential peripheries,” for whom the Church must have special care.

Nor did Grimes mention Harris’ 2018 questioning of a judicial nominee over his membership of the Knights of Columbus. In questions about the impartiality of nominee Brian Buescher, Harris asked if Buescher was aware that the Knights of Columbus “opposed a woman’s right to choose” and were against “marriage equality” when he joined.

The senator’s remarks were subsequently criticized as anti-Catholic and one U.S. bishop, Archbishop Charles Chaput, characterized them as “bigoted.”

Both Biden and President Donald Trump have been criticized by the U.S. bishops’ conference, with Trump frequently facing criticism for his immigration policies, use of the federal death penalty, and cuts to social safety nets.

Last year, USCCB spokeswoman Judy Keane left the bishops’ conference after media reports said that she had tweeted in support of President Trump or in opposition to Democrats from her personal Twitter account.

Among Keane’s tweets was one that criticized Harris. Responding to a news story saying that Harris, then running for president, promised to raise teacher salaries, Keane wrote “She’ll be promising all kinds of things to get elected. Then she’ll raise taxes so hard-working Americans have to pay for it all. No thanks.”

After Keane’s tweets first emerged into the spotlight, the spokeswoman was placed on leave, and shortly thereafter left the bishops’ conference. The conference did not issue a clarification on Keane’s comments. Nor did it say whether she was fired or left voluntarily.

CNA reported Aug. 13 that a spokesperson for the U.S. bishops’ conference had said, “The Conference is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that does not endorse or oppose specific candidates for office. Comments by individual Conference employees are not necessarily a reflection of the Conference’s official position.”

CNA has asked the conference for its employee guidelines on political speech, but the conference has not yet provided it.


Joven con raro síndrome denuncia que en TikTok usan sus fotos para bromas pesadas

, 14 Ago. 20 (ACI Prensa).- Lizzie Velasquez, una joven católica estadounidense que sufre un raro síndrome, lamentó el uso de imágenes de personas con discapacidad como broma y pidió apoyo para detener el uso de su foto en la aplicación TikTok.

Solemnidad de la Asunción: ¿La Virgen María murió? Responde el Padre Fortea

, 14 Ago. 20 (ACI Prensa).- En el marco de la celebración de la Solemnidad de la Asunción, muchos fieles se preguntan si Santa María falleció o no antes de ser llevada al Cielo. El famoso teólogo español José Antonio Fortea responde a esta inquietud.

La Asunción de la Virgen muestra lo que nos espera en la resurrección, afirma Cardenal

, 14 Ago. 20 (ACI Prensa).- El Penitenciario Mayor, Cardenal Mauro Piacenza, afirmó que la Asunción de la Virgen María, cuya solemnidad se celebra mañana, “sostiene nuestra confianza en la vida futura, porque representa la temprana y el depósito concreto de la resurrección de nuestros cuerpos”.

Portland street evangelist: More Bibles ‘prayed with’ than burned at protests

Denver Newsroom, Aug 14, 2020 / 05:05 pm (CNA).- A Portland street evangelist whose Bibles were burned in an Aug. 1 street protest says although he is disappointed that some of the Bibles he distributed were destroyed, he believes the positive impact of his ministry outweighs the negative actions of a few protestors.

Alan Summerhill, an Evangelical Christian, told CNA he has been giving out free Bibles out of his truck in cities across the Pacific Northwest ever since his retirement three and a half years ago. He said he typically buys cases of Bibles, for about a dollar per book, to give away.

He told CNA his evangelistic mission has brought him to cities throughout the US, but his main focus is the Portland, Oregon area. In addition to giving out Bibles, Summerhill said he also prays outside the local Planned Parenthood several days a week.

When the protests started in Portland around May 28, Alan was on the road. When he got back, he said he was somewhat reticent to approach the protests, but ultimately decided to go because of the evangelistic opportunity. So he parked his truck near the federal courthouse, the epicenter of most of the protest activity.

The Portland protests often have taken the form of crowds of hundreds of masked people protesting, ostensibly, against racism, police brutality, and fascism.

Summerhill, who told CNA he is “nearly 60,” said that he gave away dozens of free Bibles to street protestors in Portland during the week leading up to Aug. 1— most of which were surprisingly well-received.

"When I'm out, I find a great hunger and desire for the Word," he said.

He said between the night of Sunday, July 26 and the following Friday, he gave out 68 Bibles in downtown Portland, all "to people who appeared to eagerly want them."

But in the early morning hours of Aug. 1, masked protestors burned two Bibles, along with several American flags, in a bonfire in the street during the protest outside the federal courthouse.

Summerhill did not witness his Bibles being burned, but he says when he saw a video posted online of the burnings, there was no mistaking the red-and-white cover of the New King James Version (NKJV) Bibles that he distributes.

While reports of the incident from both local sources and national media, mentioned “a truck” giving out free Bibles that night, Summerhill said no one had contacted him to ask if he had provided the Bibles until he was reached by CNA.

Some media outlets reported "stacks" of Bibles burned in the streets on Aug. 1, which Summerhill and other sources have confirmed was not accurate. Summerhill "unequivocally" denied that any of his Bibles were ever unsecured, stolen, or taken in "stacks" to be burned.

Despite his disappointment that a few protestors showed such disrespect for the Bibles he gave out, Summerhill is optimistic that the many Bibles he distributed will make an impact, even if the burned ones are gone.

“I see maybe two being burned after a week where almost 70 were distributed. Many more were prayed with. Many, many more welcomed us. The Gospel is proclaimed,” Summerhill said in an Aug. 1 tweet.

“Jesus is declared. There remains an unreported story.”

Summerhill told CNA that in his ministry, he has given out about 450 Bibles this year, and talked and prayed with many passersby. He stressed that his ministry is not about him or his own fame and recognition, but rather about meeting people where they are and ministering to them.

Every time he hands out a free Bible, Summerhill says he asks the recipient to read it and be willing to discuss it with him if they see him again. He says nearly everyone agrees to those conditions.

Summerhill said his ministry is different than what most people might think of when they envision Evangelical street ministry. He does not carry a bullhorn, does not preach, and he does not aggressively push his Bibles on passersby, he said.

Instead, he merely puts up his “Free Bibles” sign and waits for people to approach him, he said.

“And I've averaged about a Bible an hour over the past three years," of being outside with the sign, he said.

Handing out Bibles at the Portland protests was not without danger, he said.

Federal agents responding to the protests in Portland have garnered criticism for using tear gas and other forceful methods against protesters. Summerhill himself says he was, at one point, caught in a tear gas assault as federal agents attempted to break up the protests.

Some of the protests have been accompanied by riots and looting. In addition to extensive property damage in the city’s downtown, there have been occasional incidents of violence within or adjacent to the protests, including shootings and stabbings.

Despite this, Summerhill says he has observed mostly peaceful demonstrations in the downtown area where he and a mission partner have worked to spread the Gospel.

"The three days I was there...I would say we were welcomed. The narrative of what's going on seems to be fueled by people with a political agenda," he opined.

Summerhill pointed out that neither he, nor anyone else who has yet publicly come forward, knows who exactly it was who burned the Bibles on Aug. 1. He said he thinks it could easily have been provocateurs from either side of the political divide.

"I have every reason to wonder who was burning the Bibles. No one has claimed responsibility, no one has identified anybody,” he said.

Summerhill noted that he sees God among many Black Lives Matters protestors. As a firsthand observer of the protests, he said the widespread perception of the protestors as a monolithic, Godless, and Marxist movement is inaccurate.

He added that he does not support the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, an organization that promotes LGBT ideology and is often an organizer of Black Lives Matter protests.

But Summerhill said he personally has met many protestors, both in Portland and Seattle, who told him they identify as Christian.

"It is flat wrong to say that there is no Christian element in what is going on in Portland," he said.

"The answer to our problems is Jesus Christ. And if we can't figure that out, we might as well throw in the towel.”


Invitan a Jornada de Adoración de 24 horas por el fin de la pandemia de coronavirus

, 14 Ago. 20 (ACI Prensa).- Del 15 al 16 de agosto, el Vicariato de Izabal (Guatemala) convoca a una “Jornada de Adoración Continua de 24 horas” para pedir por el fin de la pandemia de coronavirus y por “una vida más fraterna, más humana y más cristiana”.

Nebraska governor to sign D&E abortion ban into law

Denver Newsroom, Aug 14, 2020 / 04:14 pm (CNA).- Governor Pete Ricketts of Nebraska is set to sign a ban on dilation and evacuation abortions into law at a ceremony on Saturday, after the bill passed the state legislature on Thursday.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference, one of the main organizations supporting the legislation, announced that the signing would take place outside on the steps of the state capitol at 11am Aug. 15. Attendees are asked to wear a mask.

Lauren Garcia, communication specialist for the NCC, told CNA that they are happy that Ricketts is signing the bill into law right away, and in a public setting, because only five days remain in the current legislative session.

"He could have done something private, and we just hear about [the signing] later, but we wanted to make this a celebration, because this is the most significant pro-life legislation that's been passed since our 20-week ban ten years ago," Garcia told CNA.

"Even though we're in the midst of COVID and all that, we thought it would be a good opportunity for people to come out to an outside event, with plenty of safe social distance, just to celebrate this big accomplishment."

D&E abortions, commonly known as dismemberment abortions, are typically done in the second trimester of pregnancy and result in the dismemberment of an unborn child.

State Sen. Suzanne Geist (District 25-Lincoln) introduced LB814 in January. Twenty-one state senators joined the legislation as co-sponsors upon its introduction, with another four joining later.

Ricketts came out in strong support of the measure upon its introduction.

“This barbaric procedure literally rips apart a preborn child, piece by piece, to destroy the life of the baby. I urge Senators to act quickly to end this horrendous form of abortion,” Ricketts said.

“Protecting the dignity of life has been, is, and will remain a core value of what it means to be a Nebraskan. I invite you to join us in affirming the preciousness of unborn life and in opposing the brutal practices used to end it,” he said.

The bill specifically bans the use of clamps, forceps, or similar instruments in abortion procedures.

NCC, Nebraska Family Alliance, and Nebraska Right to Life are co-hosting the signing event. Geist, the sponsor of the legislation, is also expected to be in attendance at the signing.

The measure passed its first vote in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature Aug. 5 by a 34-9 vote. Multiple senators attempted to filibuster the bill at that point, but the bill earned the 33 votes necessary to break the filibuster as Geist moved to invoke cloture.

On Aug. 13, the final vote stood at 33-8. State Sen. Carol Blood (3-Bellevue) abstained from voting after saying she had concerns that the ban would not apply if suction is used to remove pieces of a fetus, nor would it apply if the fetus was killed before being removed, a process that Blood called equally horrific, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, to date 11 states have passed bans on dilation and evacuation abortions, though because of courts blocking the measures, the bans in two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, are currently in effect; and an appeals court recently ruled to allow Arkansas’ D&E ban to come into effect Aug. 28.

Opponents of the Nebraska bill have maintained that courts will likely deem the legislation unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade.

However, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson recently released an opinion, at the request of State Sen. Ernie Chambers, concluding that LB814 is "likely constitutional” because it “does not appear that it will impose a substantial obstacle on abortion access in Nebraska.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled Aug. 7 to reinstate the 2017 Arkansas laws. They can take effect Aug. 28, although they may still face legal challenges. The laws include a ban on abortions based solely on the sex of the baby, and two regulations on the preservation and disposal of tissue from aborted babies, as well as legislation prohibiting D&E abortions.

A district judge had blocked the rules following a legal challenge from the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of a local abortion doctor.

A federal judge during July 2019 blocked Indiana’s D&E ban from taking effect.

Over 100 Democratic politicians call for platform changes to welcome pro-lifers

Washington D.C., Aug 14, 2020 / 03:49 pm (CNA).- More than 100 Democratic politicians have sent a letter to the party’s Platform Committee, calling for changes in the platform to accept pro-life Democrats and assure them that their view will be respected.

“In the U.S., pro-life Democrats have been a critical part of the coalition to expand voting rights, improve health care, and pass criminal justice reform,” the letter said. “These accomplishments would not have been possible if the Democratic Party had in place a litmus test on abortion.”

The letter voiced concern that the party’s leaders and official platform have moved to an extreme position on abortion in the last two decades, sending a message to Democrats that they do not belong in the party unless they oppose all limits on abortion.

This view fails to acknowledge that one in three Democrats are pro-life, the letter stressed, adding that as a party which prides itself on inclusivity and diversity, the Democrats must welcome and respect it’s 21 million pro-life members.

Dated August 14, the letter was signed by 105 elected Democratic politicians, both current and retired. Signatories include local officials and state legislators, as well as nine members of Congress and three governors.

Among the signatories were Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who signed a “heartbeat bill” into law earlier in 2019, and U.S. Senator Katrina Jackson, who authored the Louisiana law on abortion clinic admitting privileges that the Supreme Court struck down earlier this year.

Another signatory was U.S. Senator Mike Gabbard of Hawaii, father of U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, whose support for limiting abortion in the third trimester put her in stark contrast with most of the other candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

According to Democrats for Life of America, dozens of additional politicians said they quietly supported the letter but feared the repercussions of signing it.

The letter’s signers said they worried about a type of pro-abortion litmus test that has been created within the Democratic Party.

They suggested that pro-abortion language within the party’s platform is radical and out-of-touch with the views of Americans.

While prominent party leaders have endorsed legal abortion on-demand at any time in a pregnancy, polls indicate that 79% of Americans oppose this view, they said.

They noted that the 2016 Democratic Platform endorses taxpayer funding for abortion, both in the U.S. and in developing nations – ideas that the majority of Americans reject.

The signers warned that the rigid pro-abortion views of the party’s leaders are driving voters away.

“In 389 out of 435 Congressional districts, a majority of voters support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks,” they said. “When Democratic leaders support late-term abortion, they push many voters into the arms of the Republican Party. Many people holding pro-life views are single-issue voters.”

The letter called on the party to reintroduce language into the platform recognizing a diversity of views on abortion and pledging that the consciences of all party members will be respected.

In the year 2000, the Democratic platform included such language in regards to abortion, saying, “We respect the individual conscience of each American on this difficult issue, and we welcome all our members to participate at every level of our party.” As late as 2004, the platform called for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare.”

By 2016, however, the conscience language had been dropped from the platform and the word “rare” was no longer used alongside repeated calls to make abortion “safe and legal.”

Pro-life advocates both within and outside of the Democratic Party have objected to these changes, arguing that the party has become increasingly extreme on the issue.

Joe Biden’s presumptive nomination as the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and his selection of Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate, have prompted further concerns.

Last year, Biden shifted his position on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of Medicaid funds for most abortions. After voting for the original amendment in 1976 and supporting it for decades, Biden announced last summer that he opposed the Hyde Amendment. His change in position came amid criticism from other Democratic candidates, particularly Harris.

Harris has been prominent in pushing to limit the operations of pro-life groups.

As California attorney general, she drew criticism from the state Catholic conference by sponsoring a bill compelling pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise “free or low-cost” abortions to their clients. That law was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018.

While seeking the Democratic presidential nomination last year, Harris proposed a plan that would bar some states from changing their abortion laws without federal approval.

As a senator, she has also co-sponsored legislation to bar any government from imposing a wide variety of limitations on abortion.

Decapitan imagen de San Judas Tadeo en parroquia dedicada a Virgen de Guadalupe

, 14 Ago. 20 (ACI Prensa).- El Arzobispo de Denver (Estados Unidos). Mons. Samuel Aquila, elevó sus oraciones por la conversión de quienes decapitaron una imagen de San Judas Tadeo en una parroquia dedicada a la Virgen de Guadalupe.