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Posted on 09/21/2023 19:46 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Charlotte, N.C., Sep 21, 2023 / 15:46 pm (CNA).
The National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland, is opening a new $4 million state-of-the-art Seton Shrine Museum and Visitor Center on Sept. 22, offering visitors an interactive encounter with the first American-born canonized saint.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774–1821), a widowed mother, opened one of the first free Catholic schools for girls in the United States and established the first order of women religious in the country — the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph — on the very grounds where her shrine and the new museum and visitor center are located. She was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.
The shrine includes St. Elizabeth Ann’s original “Stone House” and “White House” as well as the basilica. With the addition of the museum and visitors center, pilgrims to the shrine now have the opportunity to immerse themselves in her life by walking in her footsteps where she lived and served, and through interactive displays and exhibits in the museum that are rich in American history and the history of the Catholic Church in America.
What was formerly the provincial entrance near the basilica has been transformed into a modern and welcoming visitor center, seamlessly connecting visitors to the gift shop and museum galleries. Inside, the galleries paint an intimate portrait of Mother Seton through dozens of artifacts, visual storytelling displays, and digital interactive exhibits.
The museum houses three core galleries: the SEEKER exhibit, which delves into Mother Seton’s troubled childhood, fairytale marriage, bankruptcy, widowhood, and conversion to Catholicism; the SERVANT exhibit, which explores how Mother Seton founded a new community of consecrated religious and pioneered a way for women in America to serve God; and the SAINT exhibit, which provides insights into the dedicated efforts of thousands of Americans across four generations for Mother Seton to be declared a saint.
“One of my favorite exhibits is an exhibit which consists of a digital touch screen, showcasing the 14 Sisters of Charity communities,” said Rob Judge, executive director of the shrine. “The impact exhibit allows visitors to look all around the world at all the past and present missions that the hundreds of sisters have worked in over the years, showcasing the huge impact they’ve had in serving the poor. And it all came from a woman who decided to start a school after she was widowed and invited other women to join her.”
Judge notes that Elizabeth Ann Seton never set out to build a huge network. “That’s the beauty of it. If we are faithful one step at a time, that is available to all of us. The impact exhibit helps make that clear. Her life and work developed into so much more than founding a school. By a simple yes, so much good has been done,” he told CNA.
In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum also features two special exhibits that will be on display for a limited time.
The first is “Fancywork: Early American Needlework from St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School,” an exhibit with more than 20 pieces of needlework dating from the early 1800s to the 1870s and the stories of the students behind the works.
The second is “Getting in the Habit: Iconic Clothing of the Daughters of Charity,” which displays dozens of historic artifacts that explore the ranging apparel of the Daughters of Charity throughout the years, exhibited by the Daughter of Charity Province of St. Louise, Provincial Archives.
“This story from 200 years ago is worth telling today through this state-of-the-art facility,” said Tony Dilulio, director of programs for the shrine and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Dilulio coordinated the experts involved in the lighting, exhibits, and design — many of whom also created landmarks such as presidential libraries.
“I would love to challenge every visitor to be a ‘servant saint seeker.’ To seek God as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton did. To work as diligently as she did her whole life, and to be a saint!” Dilulio added.
With the addition of the new museum and visitors center, the shrine anticipates a significant increase in pilgrims, which averages 60,000 visitors annually.
“We need models and intercessors, and she’s par excellence,” Judge said. “We’re hoping that through these exhibits people get to know her a bit. She’s a very relatable saint. In order to relate to someone you have to know something about them. We hope this museum allows people to relate to her and get to know her better and seek her intercession in their lives.”
The Mass, blessing, and dedication Sept. 22 will be presided over by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore. More information on the Seton Shrine Museum can be found on the shrine’s website.
Posted on 09/21/2023 18:53 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
CNA Staff, Sep 21, 2023 / 14:53 pm (CNA).
A group of pro-life students who participated in a demonstration at a North Carolina college last week during a visit to campus by Vice President Kamala Harris say they were escorted off campus by police for their own safety after being harassed by a large crowd.
Harris’ speech at North Carolina A&T University on Sept. 15 was part of her “Fight for Our Freedoms College Tour,” an effort to mobilize college students to vote and support the Democratic agenda on a variety of issues, including the expansion of abortion.
Before the event, a number of students holding signs with pro-life messages such as “abortion hurts women” and “fight for our freedoms” gathered on the Greensboro, North Carolina, campus.
According to members of the group, they engaged in positive dialogue with students on campus. When the vice president’s speech was over, however, things got ugly.
A video shared on X shows a crowd of young people stealing signs from the pro-life activists who were brought together by the group Students for Life of America.
One young man can be seen taking the Students for Life group’s marker and sign and writing “BLM,” otherwise known as Black Lives Matter, on it. The crowd cheered as he raised the sign and danced around.
Two others can be seen on video holding up signs that say “F*** dem kids,” while the crowd is heard chanting the same.
Other profanities could be heard being shouted at the pro-life group. Photos from the protest show the pro-life group being taunted with obscene hand gestures. The group also claims they were “twerked on” (a type of suggestive dancing), which several photos confirm.
One of the Students for Life of America student leaders, Lydia Taylor, told CNA Wednesday that as the “mob” closed in on her and was waving signs in her face, the police intervened.
“They immediately came in and said, ‘We have to go now’ and pulled us out of the mob. We were forced to leave a lot of our stuff behind,” the 20-year old said.
While @ncatsuaggies students yelled “F*ck ‘Dem Kids” and “Black Lives Matter,” SFLA Student Leaders Lydia Taylor, Jessica Newell & Pro-Life Force tried their best to protect their belongings & correct the abortion lobby’s false narrative — because Black Preborn Lives Matter, too. pic.twitter.com/B6j5tk025V— Students for Life Action (@SFLAction) September 16, 2023
The group ended up retrieving a bull horn, microphone, and some speakers but lost some of their signs and materials that are used at other pro-life demonstrations.
“It was so chaotic,” she said.
Taylor, who organized the group of about 10 pro-life students from across the state, is a student at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, about an hour and 20-minute drive away from where the protest took place.
When she heard about the vice president’s plan to talk about expanding abortion access at college campuses in states across the country, including her own, she felt called to spring into action.
“We need to go and stand up against her pro-abortion extremism, especially since she supports abortion with no restrictions up until the moment of birth,” she said.
During her speech at the university, Harris called for greater access to abortion in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“One does not have to abandon their faith, or deeply held beliefs, to agree that the government should not be telling [a woman] what to do with her body,” Harris said, taking issue with what she called “extremist so-called leaders” passing state pro-life laws.
The vice president criticized those laws, especially those being passed without rape and incest exceptions, calling them “immoral.”
“What the [Supreme] Court took away, Congress can put back in place. Congress can pass a law that puts back in place the protections of a case called Roe v. Wade, which gives you the right to make decisions for yourself,” she told the crowd, urging them to vote for lawmakers who will do so.
Taylor told CNA that before the crowd of students harassed them, her group had many positive conversations with students attending the vice president’s event on campus.
“We changed at least 10 minds and have connected with students there that are interested in starting a pro-life group, which was incredible,” she said.
Other university students approached Taylor expressing support for the pro-life cause, she said.
It was after the talk that things went south.
“I think it’s interesting that it went peacefully before the Kamala Harris event, but after hearing her speak, immediately, the first thing they did was come and harass us and vandalize our signs,” she said.
After someone wrote “Black Lives Matter” on the pro-life group’s sign, Taylor said: “Hey, we actually agree that Black lives do matter, and the abortion industry is targeting Black lives, and we’d love to have a peaceful conversation with you.”
But the crowd, which she said numbered in the hundreds, just became more aggressive.
CNA reached out to the university for a comment but did not receive a response.
Posted on 09/21/2023 08:00 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
CNA Staff, Sep 21, 2023 / 04:00 am (CNA).
Sept. 21 marks the feast day of St. Matthew, also known as Levi, an apostle of Jesus and, according to tradition, the author of one of the four Gospels.
Surprisingly little is known for certain about Matthew’s life, even though his Gospel is so crucial for the Church. The manner of Matthew’s calling by Jesus is well known — Matthew was a Jew but worked as a tax collector for the Romans in Capernaum near the Sea of Galilee, making him a pariah among his own people. When Jesus called Matthew to follow him, Matthew gave up his presumably materialistic life as a tax collector to follow the Lord.
Jesus’ calling of Matthew led some religious authorities of the Jewish community to wonder: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” To which Jesus responded: “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes, however, that no further reference is made to Matthew in the Gospels, except in the list of the Apostles, and “of Matthew’s subsequent career we have only inaccurate or legendary data.” It appears though, according to a number of other ancient sources, that he evangelized for at least a decade and a half in Asia.
Matthew’s earthly body is purported to lie in the crypt beneath the cathedral of Salerno, Italy. In the crypt, a bronze St. Matthew made by Michelangelo Naccherino in 1606 sits above the altar. The saint is shown writing the Gospel with a book resting on his left knee and a pen in his right hand. At his left side, an angel hands him an inkwell as he writes his Gospel.
Alfano I, the archbishop of Salerno from 1058–1085, completed the crypt in 1081 and placed Matthew’s body in the sepulcher. The renovation in the early 17th century was carried out by architects Domenico and his son Giulio Cesare Fontana.
According to legend, St. Matthew’s intercession helped to protect the city in 1544 from the dreaded pirate Ariadeno Barbarossa, supreme commander of the Turkish military fleet, when a storm that had been prayed for by devotees to St. Matthew in Salerno blew Barbarossa’s fleet away from the city.
Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox churches celebrate St. Matthew on Nov. 16, along with St. Fulvianus, a prince who is recorded in some traditions as converting from paganism after Matthew’s martyrdom.
Pope Benedict said in 2006 that “in the figure of Matthew, the Gospels present to us a true and proper paradox: those who seem to be the farthest from holiness can even become a model of the acceptance of God’s mercy and offer a glimpse of its marvelous effects in their own lives.
Posted on 09/20/2023 23:25 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 20, 2023 / 19:25 pm (CNA).
Attorney General Merrick Garland strongly objected to accusations that the Department of Justice would discriminate against Catholic Americans during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.
Garland called the suggestion of anti-Catholic bias “outrageous” and “absurd” when questioned about a memo that originated with the Richmond Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The memo, dated Jan. 23 and leaked to the media in February, revealed an FBI Richmond investigation into “radical traditionalist” Catholics and their possible ties to “the far-right white nationalist movement.” It suggested “trip wire or source development” within Latin Mass communities to mitigate risks.
The FBI quickly retracted the memo shortly after it was made public. Both Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray have condemned the memo.
During the hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Jeff Van Drew questioned Garland about the memo, which led to a tense exchange.
“Do you agree that traditional Catholics are violent extremists?” Van Drew asked Garland.
“I have no idea what ‘traditional’ means here,” Garland responded. “...The idea that someone with my family background would discriminate against any religion is so outrageous, so absurd.”
Garland, who is Jewish, has spoken about his family escaping persecution in Europe. He said in a speech in April that his grandmother was one of five children. He said that she escaped religious persecution before World War I but that two of her siblings remained in Europe and were ultimately killed during the Holocaust.
Van Drew pressed Garland further, saying: “It was your FBI that … was sending undercover agents into Catholic churches.” He asked Garland whether he believes that traditionalist Catholics are extremists.
Garland stated that he was “appalled by that memo” and told Van Drew that “Catholics are not extremists.” However, the attorney general said he did not know whether anyone was fired for drafting or circulating the memo.
Posted on 09/20/2023 22:50 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 20, 2023 / 18:50 pm (CNA).
As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is making his case to the United Nations and the U.S. Congress for more military aid against Russia, a growing number of Republican lawmakers have expressed reservations about sending the country tens of billions of additional taxpayer dollars.
“While Russia is pushing the world to the final war, Ukraine is doing everything to ensure that after Russian aggression, no one in the world will dare to attack any nation,” Zelenskyy said at the United Nations meeting in New York City on Tuesday as he urged foreign leaders to stand against Russia.
“Weaponization must be restrained,” Zelenskyy said. “War crimes must be punished. Deported people must come back home. And the occupier must return to their own land.”
During Zelenskyy’s trip to the United States, he also plans to visit Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress about additional aid to support Ukraine’s military effort against Russia’s invasion. The United States has already approved more than $113 billion in humanitarian and military support for Ukraine throughout the war, but President Joe Biden is asking Congress to approve another $24 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine.
Growing hesitation among Republicans
Most Republican lawmakers and every Democratic lawmaker have supported previous Ukrainian funding packages, but opposition to additional aid is growing within the Republican Party. Some polls have shown a slim majority of Republican voters opposing more aid to Ukraine and more Republican lawmakers are hesitant to support Biden’s request for emergency funding.
“Is Zelenskyy elected to Congress?” Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told a press gaggle when asked whether he will commit to more funding for Ukraine’s war effort this week.
“Is [Zelenksyy] our president?” McCarthy continued. “I don’t think I have to commit [to] anything. I have questions for him. Where’s the accountability in the money we already spent? What is the plan for victory? I think that’s what the American public wants to know.”
McCarthy famously promised that Republican leadership would not write a “blank check” to Ukraine last year but has consistently voted to support aid for the war effort. Other Republican lawmakers who have voted for aid, such as Republican Reps. Mike Garcia and Nancy Mace, have also suggested that Congress focus on domestic needs instead.
Republican Rep. Lisa McClain said in a statement to CNA that “Vladimir Putin’s illegal and aggressive invasion of Ukraine is reprehensible” and that “the United States has stood with Ukraine in this war since day one,” but she also warned that the United States is falling short of domestic obligations.
“To write another check for a foreign war while we still haven’t given relief aid to Maui or East Palestine is a big ask that will not be met with open arms,” McClain said. “I think all Republicans have no issue standing in solidarity with Ukraine, but we have real problems here at home that need to be addressed first.”
Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, who has taken a strong stance against military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the war, told CNA in a statement provided by his office that he will continue to oppose any funding requests “to perpetuate the needless death and destruction on both sides in this war.”
“Our nation is under attack at the southern border, inflation is at an historic high, and our country is buried in $33 trillion national debt,” Gosar said. “Anyone in Congress who thinks differently should spend more time away from Washington, D.C., because most Americans are fed up with the war and the endless spending. Congress should stop wasting money in Ukraine and focus on America’s needs.”
Will it be enough to block more aid?
In spite of this growing movement, some members of Republican leadership believe this faction is still a minority of the party’s elected officials. When contacted by CNA, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul’s office referred to statements the congressman made to CNN this week.
“I do think the majority of the majorities in both [the] House and Senate support this effort [to provide additional aid to Ukraine],” McCaul, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said.
“We’ll be meeting with Zelenskyy on Thursday,” McCaul continued. “... But I think we also need answers. … A lot of members want to know, ‘What is the plan for victory? Why aren’t we putting the weapons into Ukraine that they need to win rather than a slow bleeding survival rate that was counterproductive to the counteroffensive?’”
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has also maintained staunch support for military aid to Ukraine in the country’s fight against Russia. While speaking in the Senate this week, McConnell doubled down on support for aid to Ukraine.
“Tomorrow, I’ll join colleagues in welcoming President Zelenskyy to the Capitol,” McConnell said. “I’ll continue to make the case myself for sustained support for the Ukrainian cause, not out of charity, but out of a primary focus on Americans’ interests.”
Support for continued aid to Ukraine has also remained strong among Democratic lawmakers, who have not seen a similar opposition movement rising from within their party.
Posted on 09/20/2023 22:10 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 20, 2023 / 18:10 pm (CNA).
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy and 25 House Republicans introduced a resolution Tuesday to repeal the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, a law that has been used extensively by the Biden administration to penalize pro-life activists.
Passed in 1994, the FACE Act imposes criminal penalties on individuals convicted of “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct” that interferes with access to abortion clinics, places of worship, and pregnancy centers.
The resolution introduced by Roy in the House and sponsored by Utah Senator Mike Lee in the Senate would repeal the FACE Act on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional use of federal power and that it has been weaponized against people of certain religious and political beliefs.
In a Monday press release Roy said that “free Americans should never live in fear of their government targeting them because of their beliefs. Yet, Biden's Department of Justice has brazenly weaponized the FACE Act against normal, everyday Americans across the political spectrum, simply because they are pro-life.”
“Our Constitution separates power between the federal government and the states for a reason, and we ignore that safeguard at our own peril,” Roy went on. “The FACE Act is an unconstitutional federal takeover of state police powers; it must be repealed.”
Roy also led an unsuccessful effort to prohibit taxpayer funding from being used to enforce the FACE Act in April.
How has the FACE Act been used?
Though churches and pregnancy centers are included in the FACE Act, in the last year only four people have been charged for attacks on churches and pregnancy centers, despite over 100 attacks.
During Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, Roy questioned Biden Administration Attorney General Merrick Garland about bias in the FACE Act’s application.
“Are you concerned that enforcement of the FACE Act has been biased towards pro-lifers over anti-life protestors 126 to 4,” Roy asked Garland. “126 times against pro-lifers, versus 4 times.”
Most recently, three pro-life activists — Joan Bell, 74, Jean Marshall, 73, and Jonathan Darnel, 41 — were found guilty on Sept. 15 of felonies related to the FACE Act that could land them up to 11 years in prison and fines as much as $350,000.
The Biden Department of Justice alleged that the three activists engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade of an abortion clinic in an October 2022 protest in Washington D.C.
Another eight pro-life activists in Michigan were charged with FACE Act violations in February.
The most notable FACE Act charge was made against Mark Houck, a Pennsylvania father of seven, who made national headlines when he was arrested by armed authorities at his home on Sept. 23, 2022. Houck was eventually cleared of all charges in January.
New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith, a co-sponsor, said in a press release Tuesday, that “the FACE Act prescribes harsh, mean-spirited punishments when pro-life individuals engage in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience — the staple of the human rights and civil rights movements.”
“Under the FACE Act, peaceful actions like holding a sign, singing a hymn, or praying the Rosary, if conducted near an abortion mill, can result in jail sentences, massive fines, and punitive damages by the party that feels it has been offended,” he said.
“The Biden Administration has weaponized the FACE Act, singling out nonviolent pro-life advocates and punishing them as felons,” Smith continued. “At the same time, there has been no documented arrest in over 80 instances of violent attacks, firebombing, and vandalism by pro-abortion activists in a coordinated effort to intimidate front-line volunteers and licensed medical professionals providing critical support to mothers in need and their unborn baby boys and girls.”
Posted on 09/20/2023 18:32 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
CNA Staff, Sep 20, 2023 / 14:32 pm (CNA).
A monthlong nationwide college tour by Vice President Kamala Harris, meant in part to promote the expansion of abortion under law, has prompted repudiation from pro-life advocates.
The tour, announced Sept. 7, is aimed at bringing together “thousands of students for high-energy, large-scale events” focused on “key issues that disproportionately impact young people across the country — from reproductive freedom and gun safety to climate action, voting rights, LGBTQ+ equality, and book bans.”
Harris is set to visit “around a dozen campuses in at least seven states,” including historically Black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, community colleges, apprenticeship programs, and state schools, the White House said. Most of the states Harris will visit, such as Virginia and North Carolina, are considered swing states in U.S. presidential elections.
Harris’ most recent stop was at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro on Sept. 15. In her speech, which focused mainly on voting rights, Harris urged voters to support, among other things, the “freedom to make decisions about your own body.”
“One does not have to abandon their faith, or deeply held beliefs, to agree that the government should not be telling [a woman] what to do with her body,” Harris said, taking issue with what she called “extremist so-called leaders” passing state pro-life laws. The vice president criticized those laws, especially those being passed without rape and incest exceptions, calling them “immoral.”
“What the [Supreme] Court took away, Congress can put back in place. Congress can pass a law that puts back in place the protections of a case called Roe v. Wade, which gives you the right to make decisions for yourself,” she told the crowd, urging them to vote for lawmakers who will do so.
Harris has long been considered a champion of the abortion industry, raking in numerous endorsements and campaign contributions from pro-abortion organizations. She and President Joe Biden, a Catholic, have on numerous occasions jointly reaffirmed their support for abortion and condemned efforts by pro-life lawmakers to enact restrictions on abortion.
In recent months, Harris has lamented the growing number of states that have restricted abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and encouraged Congress to enact pro-abortion legislation, drawing ire from national pro-life groups.
SBA Pro-Life America, a national advocacy organization, condemned Harris’ urging the young people in attendance to use their votes to expand access to abortion.
“Vice President Kamala Harris just kicked off her ‘Abortion Activism Around America’ tour aimed at indoctrinating our young people. Today, she spoke in the beautiful and vibrant state of North Carolina. While there, she continued to push her no-limits abortion-on-demand beliefs. But Harris needs to understand that North Carolinians do not support her radical approach,” said Michelle Ashley, SBA Pro-Life America’s North Carolina state director.
“In fact, the majority of North Carolinians want serious limits on abortions, wanting no elective abortions after the first trimester,” Ashley continued, citing a poll SBA conducted in January.
“This belief stands in complete opposition to the Biden-Harris administration’s stance. I’m grateful to the brave North Carolinians who stand fearlessly for life in the face of this current administration’s nationwide no-limits pro-abortion push.”
Students for Life of America (SFLA) staged a protest in North Carolina ahead of Harris’ arrival and said they were directed by university police to stand in a “free speech area.” The group said that despite some resistance from students, a number of “genuinely curious students approached us, wanting to hear more about our beliefs and resources. Several minds were changed.”
“Unfortunately, after Harris’ event ended, a large mob surrounded us, and chaos ensued,” SFLA member Lydia Taylor narrated.
“When they shouted ‘Black Lives Matter,’ I told them that pro-lifers agree with them and that the abortion industry was targeting Black lives in the womb. Together, we could protect those Black babies — but sadly, this made them even more aggressive. Finally, the police came through the mob to get us out and to safety. We were forced to leave some of our property behind in the chaos, and the deserted signs were torn up immediately and vandalized further.”
The day before Harris arrived in North Carolina, SFLA president Kristan Hawkins sent a letter to Harris inviting her to debate the issue of abortion on a college campus. Hawkins is making her own college tour this fall and both women are stopping at Northern Arizona University, albeit on different dates.
“The administration that you help lead fights for abortion through all nine months, for any reason, with taxpayer funding, up to and including infanticide. Throw in the attacks on conscience rights and states passing pro-life laws, and it’s clear that your administration is working to earn the money that Planned Parenthood Action and others have invested in your agenda,” Hawkins wrote in part.
“While this is well known to those of us who track this human rights policy, for most students on college and university campuses, the extent of the radial abortion agenda of the Biden-Harris administration is more camouflaged by rhetoric about ‘access’ and ‘justice.’”
The pro-life group National Right to Life responded the day before Harris’ North Carolina stop, on Sept. 14, saying the Biden administration has “employed a whole-of-government approach to promoting abortion, using every lever of power at its disposal to make abortions more available and more common, with no thought of the innocent unborn children who would die.”
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have made unlimited abortion throughout pregnancy a priority issue,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.
“The Biden-Harris abortion agenda is extreme and out of step with the majority of Americans.”
Harris’ next stop will be at Morehouse College, a historically Black men's liberal arts college in Atlanta, on Sept. 26, according to the White House website.
Posted on 09/20/2023 08:00 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
CNA Staff, Sep 20, 2023 / 04:00 am (CNA).
The feast of the Korean martyrs, celebrated by the Catholic Church on Sept. 20, remembers 103 men, women, and children who died for their faith in the first decades of Korean Christianity. The Korean martyrs marked on this day are collectively known as Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions. They were among the 8,000 to 10,000 Korean Christians killed for refusing to deny Christ.
Persecutions began in 1791, with five additional waves through the 19th century. Catholics in Korea celebrate the witness of their country’s Catholic martyrs throughout September, with celebrations culminating in the feast of the Korean martyrs.
They died for Christ
When Pope John Paul II canonized the Korean martyrs in his 1984 visit to South Korea, he noted their great diversity.
“From the 13-year-old Peter Yu to the 72-year-old Mark Chong, men and women, clergy and laity, rich and poor, ordinary people and nobles, many of them descendants of earlier unsung martyrs — they all gladly died for the sake of Christ,” he said in his homily for the May 6, 1984, canonization Mass in Seoul.
The martyrs commemorated on Sept. 20 include Korea’s first priest, St. Andrew Kim Taegon, and lay Catholic leader St. Paul Chong Hasang.
Kim was born in 1821 into an aristocratic Korean family that eventually included three generations of Catholic martyrs.
Kim’s great-grandfather died for his Catholic faith in 1814. While Kim attended seminary in China, his father was martyred for the faith in 1839. Kim was ordained in Shanghai in 1845 and returned to Korea to catechize Christians in secret. He was arrested 13 months later, tortured, and beheaded.
Paul Chong Hasang was a layman who helped unite Christians under persecution and encouraged them to be strong in the faith. His appeals to Pope Gregory X directly led the pope to recognize Korea’s Catholic community and to send more priests. Chong died by martyrdom in 1839 after penning a letter in prison defending the Catholic faith to the Korean government.
Another martyr, 17-year-old Agatha Yi, and her brother were falsely told that their parents had denied the faith. She responded: “Whether my parents betrayed or not is their affair. As for us, we cannot betray the Lord of heaven whom we have always served.”
Her words were reported widely and inspired six other adult Christians to report themselves to the magistrate. Yi, her parents, and these six are among those canonized.
Some of the first French missionaries to Korea are numbered among these Korean martyrs. There are many more to be recognized, and many forgotten by history.
“There are countless other unknown, humble martyrs who no less faithfully and bravely served the Lord,” John Paul II said in his canonization homily.
Korean Christianity’s unique history
Knowledge of Catholic Christianity arrived in Korea early in the 1600s, but not directly through missionaries. Rather, non-Christian Korean scholars learned about it through books. Some Koreans would become convinced Christians, but only in 1784 was the first Korean baptized after traveling to China to seek out Jesuit missionaries. It was these lay Christians who brought the Gospel to Korea and formed Catholic communities even without priests.
“In a most marvelous way, divine grace soon moved your scholarly ancestors first to an intellectual quest for the truth of God’s word and then to a living faith in the risen Savior,” Pope John Paul II commented in his 1984 canonization Mass homily. “From this good seed was born the first Christian community in Korea.”
Korean leaders, however, saw Christianity as a disruptive force that undermined hierarchical society and Confucian ideals of the political system. Some Christians openly renounced ancestor worship, which Korean society prized, according to UCA News. The Christian priority on God was perceived to be treason to the king, especially under the ruling Joseon dynasty. Some Korean Christians also turned to foreign powers to establish trade links and encourage religious freedom, actions that other Koreans found suspicious.
Hostility toward Christians turned violent multiple times.
As John Paul II said in 1984: “This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution … the years 1791, 1801, 1827, 1839, 1846, and 1866 are forever signed with the holy blood of your martyrs and engraved in your hearts.”
Other Korean martyrs have been beatified — and more are expected
Pope Francis beatified another 124 martyrs during his August 2014 visit to South Korea. These included Paul Yun Ji-chung, Korea’s first martyr.
In 2017, the Korean bishops announced they would begin an inquiry that could lead to the beatification of another 213 people, including some from the period of the Korean War in the mid-20th century. Candidates for beatification include the first bishop of Pyongyang; American-born Bishop Patrick Byrne; and numerous priests and laity. At the time of the announcement, the process was expected to take 10 years.
Posted on 09/19/2023 21:20 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
CNA Staff, Sep 19, 2023 / 17:20 pm (CNA).
The fight for the unborn continues, even from jail, Jonathan Darnel, one of the three pro-life activists who was convicted in federal court last Friday under the controversial Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act), told CNA.
Darnel, 41, who was charged with a felony conspiracy against rights and a FACE Act offense, now faces up to 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $350,000 maximum fine along with Jean Marshall, 73, of Kingston, Massachusetts; and Joan Bell, 74, of Montague, New Jersey.
The FACE Act prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”
Passed in 1993, the FACE Act was written to prosecute crimes at both abortion clinics and pro-life pregnancy facilities. Despite its broad areas of protection, it has been used almost exclusively against pro-life activists.
The three protesters, along with five others who were convicted for the same offenses in August, participated in a “conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services,” according to the DOJ’s press release on the convictions.
Two clinic doors were blocked by the protesters, who used their bodies, furniture, chains, and ropes, the DOJ said.
Darnel, an evangelical Christian, filmed the protest.
In the more than one-hour, 30-minute video of the protest, some of those who sat inside the clinic blocking doors can be seen praying the rosary and singing hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary while refusing to leave.
“Pro-life rescuers are entering the doors of an abortion clinic and saving babies from death. This is very risky for the rescuers, but it’s about time we got serious about ending abortion again,” a description of the video reads.
Speaking to CNA on the eve of his conviction in a phone interview, Darnel said he was there that day to save lives. He told CNA that it’s estimated that the abortion clinic, which advertises killing of a child up to “27-plus weeks of pregnancy,” was inoperable for about four hours during the sit-in protest.
It also appeared as if some women were turned away from the clinic that day and a staff member at the clinic said that several appointments needed to be rescheduled, according to Darnel.
“So we hope that some of those children were saved, but I can’t confirm that for sure,” he added.
Darnel, Marshall, and Bell are currently incarcerated awaiting sentencing along with five others who were convicted in a separate trial for violating the FACE Act.
Paulette Harlow of Kingston, Massachusetts, a woman in her mid-70s, is set to be tried on Oct. 23 on similar charges.
Darnel said he doesn’t believe he violated the FACE Act and is “frustrated” that the government brought charges against him.
“FACE is a crime, but it shouldn’t be a crime because abortion shouldn’t be tolerated,” he said, adding that “it’s an honor to be taken like so many others.”
Darnel, who has engaged in pro-life work “quasi-full time” since 2009, said: “Except for the unjust execution of Christ, abortion is the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of the world.”
“I live in a nation that murders kids,” he added.
“How can I say I love Christ and not respond with extreme zeal, extreme action, and drastic measures to this holocaust?”
Darnel said he filmed the protest that day because he wanted to inspire people to “get more serious about abortion,” adding that a “rescue” is one way to do that.
Asked if one can continue pro-life ministry in prison, Darnel said: “You certainly can.”
“I know the females who get incarcerated say they’re constantly meeting women who are abortion-minded and having opportunities to talk them out of it, show them a better way, or post-abortive women who need some kind of repentance and healing from that,” he said.
As far as men go, Darnel said he is positive he is going to meet other inmates who have instigated or paid for abortion.
“They’re probably less likely to talk about it than the women might be, but hopefully I can still be a good witness to them in one way or another,” he said. He added that his witness could help men recognize that involvement in abortion is wrong and inspire them to make amends for it.
Before his conviction, Darnel created a website dedicated to repealing the FACE Act, which says the federal law “was designed to protect the criminal abortion industry by cruelly punishing anti-abortion rescuers.”
Despite Darnel’s incarceration, others are taking up the fight against the FACE Act. Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy called for the repeal of the FACE Act in newly proposed legislation on Tuesday.
Darnel told CNA on Thursday night that “there might be something happening soon on that front,” referencing the repeal of the FACE Act.
In Roy’s press release Tuesday, he said: “Free Americans should never live in fear of their government targeting them because of their beliefs. Yet, Biden’s Department of Justice has brazenly weaponized the FACE Act against normal, everyday Americans across the political spectrum, simply because they are pro-life.”
The announcement also said that Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah will introduce companion legislation in the Senate.
“Who knows? This case may be putting the plight of the preborn and the injustice of abortion and all those who would stand up for them on the map,” Darnel told CNA.
“And I hope that maybe, just maybe, if our case is appealed to the Supreme Court, FACE might get struck down, and that might have big implications nationally,” he said.
Posted on 09/19/2023 19:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Denver, Colo., Sep 19, 2023 / 15:00 pm (CNA).
In the United States, there are no federal policies that guarantee maternity leave for new mothers. The time and pay a woman receives varies by state and organization. FemCatholic, a media company dedicated to having honest conversations about Catholic women, published a report in 2022 showing that very few dioceses in the United States provide comprehensive maternity leave.
Samantha Povlock, founder of FemCatholic, and Renee Roden, a journalist who worked on the report, joined “EWTN Pro-Life Weekly” on Aug. 24 to discuss their findings and why they believe Catholic organizations should be leading the way in pro-family policies.
“I wish I were surprised that the number of dioceses that offered a full 12 weeks of paid leave was so low,” Roden expressed.
The report was done in March 2022 and at the time only four dioceses offered a full 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. These were the Archdioceses of New York, Chicago, Omaha, and the Diocese of Raleigh. Since then, one additional archdiocese has begun to offer paid maternity leave — the Archdiocese of Denver.
“Two things were surprising: One is it should be surprising that Catholic dioceses, so few of them, are offering women the 12 weeks of fully paid leave,” she said. “I think another thing that’s surprising is that 1 in 4 women go back to work two weeks after giving birth.”
Roden explained that in the report they also discussed the “medical realities of childbirth” and how essential those 12 weeks after giving birth, which are starting to be called the “fourth trimester,” are not only for the mother but also for the child.
Povlock, a mother of four, added: “Those early days are just so vital in building mom and baby’s connection and I think it really is the way we’re designed as people, so giving families that time is really important.”
Many of the dioceses who were not providing paid maternity leave were concerned about the cost, Roden shared.
“Studies show that 55% to 69% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, so it’s just unrealistic for them to take that 12 weeks off without pay,” she explained. “So it puts a burden on the company and dioceses feel like they may not be able to afford that.”
However, the FemCatholic report found that not all of the four dioceses offering paid maternity leave were among the richest.
Roden pointed out that the Diocese of Raleigh and Archdiocese of Omaha “don’t have as big of assets as these other two archdioceses.”
She added: “So, I think it showed us that obviously we understand when people say they think finances are a barrier to doing that but it showed us that finances aren’t prohibitive of companies or dioceses being able to offer these policies.”
Both Roden and Povlock shared that after their report was published several dioceses — including Tucson, Orange, and Arlington — have taken steps in the right direction to improve their maternity leave policies.
“They’re doing what they can and it’s a step in the right direction, and I think all those baby steps in the right direction are really encouraging to see,” Roden said.
Povlock added: “I want to call on business people and leaders in our Church to help advance these types of business policies for women.”
Ascension, the media company responsible for the popular “Bible in a Year” podcast with Father Mike Schmitz, recently unveiled its parental leave policy, which expands new moms’ fully paid maternity leave from one week to 12 weeks. It also includes six weeks for paternity leave and extended leave time for new parents to adopt, as well as leave for those who experience a miscarriage.
Jonathan Strate, CEO of Ascension, told “EWTN Pro-Life Weekly” that Catholics “have an opportunity to lead the way” in terms of setting the bar when it comes to maternity leave policies.
“These are the kind of policies that do help build a culture of life. To really send the message that you can be a working parent and you can raise a family and the work should be able to support the family,” he said.
Strate explained that while creating their new leave policies, they did not see many templates available from other companies to draw from. Due to this, they decided to make theirs available for other companies who may want to implement similar pro-family policies for their employees.
He invited viewers to visit ascensionpress.com/familyleave to see its policies.
“Hopefully that helps some other organizations to adopt these a little bit quicker,” he said.