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Nearly naked activist shouting pro-abortion chants disrupts Mass in Michigan

Pro-abortion activists shown disrupting a Mass at St. Veronica Parish in Eastpointe, Michigan. A video said the incident happened on June 12, 2022. / Screenshot from TikTok video

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 13, 2022 / 15:32 pm (CNA).

A nearly naked woman disrupted Mass at a Catholic church in Michigan by standing on pew and shouting pro-abortion chants, an online video shows.

“Overturn Roe? Hell, no!” the woman shouted, interrupting the priest's homily. “Abortion without apology!” Two other women visible in the video joined her in the chants and held green cloth bandanna-like banners which often are used by activists with the pro-abortion group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights.

Ushers escorted the three women out of the church. As they were led out, a man inside the church chanted, “Abortion kills babies! Abortion kills babies!”

The episode took place at St. Veronica Parish in Eastpointe, Michigan, located about a 20-minute drive north of Detroit. The video originally was posted on TikTok and then re-posted on Twitter. A caption on the video says the disruption happened Sunday.

Pro-abortion activists shown disrupting a Mass at St. Veronica Parish in Eastpointe, Michigan. Three women were escorted from the church. A video said the incident happened on June 12, 2022. Screenshot from TikTok video
Pro-abortion activists shown disrupting a Mass at St. Veronica Parish in Eastpointe, Michigan. Three women were escorted from the church. A video said the incident happened on June 12, 2022. Screenshot from TikTok video

In a statement to CNA, the Archdiocese of Detroit said for the past five weeks it has been alerting pastors and parishes to be aware of security transgressions in other dioceses.

"We are sad to see protestors disrupt a liturgical celebration and disrespect those who were gathered in prayer," archdiocesan spokesman Ned McGrath said. "All religious communities should be free to worship without fear. In the Archdiocese of Detroit, we are committed to accompanying women and families facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies and advocating for laws that protect the lives of unborn babies and mothers." McGrath told CNA that the local police were notified about the disturbance.

The incident is the latest in a growing list of provocations by pro-abortion activists targeting Catholic churches because of the Church’s clear teaching that abortion is a grave evil.

Incidents of vandalism and arson also have taken place at a number of pro-life pregnancy centers across the U.S. since a leaked draft opinion in a Mississpi abortion case suggested a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court is prepared to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

On Monday, two leading U.S. bishops issued a statement calling for government action to stem the violence.

“Since the leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, charities that support pregnant mothers in need have been firebombed, and pro-life organizations have been attacked almost daily and terrorized, and even the lives of Supreme Court justices have been directly threatened,” read the statement by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore.

“In light of this, we urge our elected officials to take a strong stand against this violence, and our law enforcement authorities to increase their vigilance in protecting those who are in increased danger. We thank those who have already done so, and we encourage them to continue,” the statement continued.

“Above all, each of us must choose the path of peace and open our hearts to the love that God has for his children. O Sacred Heart of Jesus, touch our hearts and make them like your own.”

Dolan chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Religious Liberty. Lori is chairman of the Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Meet the friars who have been praying to St. Anthony daily for 100 years

A statue of St. Anthony stands in the St. Francis Chapel run by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in upstate New York. / Courtesy of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 12, 2022 / 12:09 pm (CNA).

Catholics know St. Anthony of Padua as a Franciscan preacher, a doctor of the Church, and the patron of lost things. For the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in upstate New York, he’s also a big brother.

“He is a big brother to us and we pray to him for intercession,” Father Brian F. Terry, the minister general, told CNA ahead of the saint’s feast day on June 13. 

His order, he added, prays the longest continuous novena, or daily prayer, to the 13th-century saint from Portugal. 

“It’s not just nine days,” Terry stressed. “It's been a novena we've been saying since the foundation of the community.”

Inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, Servant of God Father Paul Wattson founded the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement to walk as brothers with those who are lost and in need of God’s healing. While the New York-based order began in 1898 in the Anglican tradition in the Episcopal church, its members converted to Catholicism in 1909.

Today, Terry said, there are around 65 friars, including those in formation. There are also 90 sisters with whom the friars serve.

400,000 annual prayer requests

The story of their devotion to St. Anthony starts in 1912 when they had just finished installing a statue of the saint in their St. Francis Chapel. One day, as Wattson stood before the statue, someone handed him a letter from a mother begging for prayers for her dying baby, who happened to be named Anthony.

The St. Anthony Candle Grotto at Graymoor, which is run by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in upstate New York. Courtesy of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement
The St. Anthony Candle Grotto at Graymoor, which is run by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in upstate New York. Courtesy of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

“I immediately knelt before this image of St. Anthony with the Divine Infant in his arms and besought the Wonder-Worker of seven centuries to intercede for baby Anthony’s life,” Wattson recalled in his journal.

Every evening, Wattson and the friars prayed for the saint’s intercession. Two weeks passed and the mother wrote again — this time to say that little Anthony was miraculously cured.

From that time on, the friars began praying every day in a “perpetual novena” before the statue, a spot known today as “St. Anthony’s corner.” They dedicate their prayers to the petitions they receive from the faithful.

According to Terry, the friars receive more than 400,000 prayer requests every year.

The letters come from around the world in different languages. But they have one thing in common: They ask for the friars to pray for St. Anthony’s intercession.

For the saint’s feast day, thousands of pilgrims gather annually at the friars’ St. Anthony National Shrine at Graymoor, in Garrison, New York, located roughly 50 miles north of New York City. This year will mark the friars’ first large-scale in-person celebration since 2019, following the pandemic.

Pilgrims gather to pray at Graymoor in celebration of St. Anthony's upcoming feast day, June 12, 2022, in Garrison, New York. Courtesy of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement
Pilgrims gather to pray at Graymoor in celebration of St. Anthony's upcoming feast day, June 12, 2022, in Garrison, New York. Courtesy of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

“One of the big traditions they have here is people love to bring candles to the shrine,” Terry told CNA. “By the end of the night, we will have thousands of candles on the steps around the shrine. It's absolutely beautiful. … It's just stunning.”

The friars recognize the shrine — a dream of Wattson’s — as the largest outdoor shrine of St. Anthony in the United States. Dedicated in 1960, the shrine located on the friars’ 400-acre mountain-top property features a large marble statue of St. Anthony holding the child Jesus.

Wattson “had a devotion to St. Anthony pretty much most of his life,” Terry said.

Emulating Anthony

For his part, Terry described the saint as “one who went out to find the people where they were, and met them and just told them a simple story of a loving God.” 

The friars carry this out in their service, which includes everything from encouraging dialogue among all faiths to running ministries such as St. Christopher’s Inn, which Terry said houses 180 men that are homeless and suffering from alcohol and drug problems. 

The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement operate a shrine to St. Anthony of Padua in upstate New York. Courtesy of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement
The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement operate a shrine to St. Anthony of Padua in upstate New York. Courtesy of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

For those unable to visit the shrine in person, the friars’ website features its own “St. Anthony Prayer Corner,” which includes the saint’s story, the friars’ connection to the saint, and prayers and novenas for the faithful seeking the saint’s intercession.

“St. Anthony, gentlest of saints, your love for God and charity for his creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were ready to offer on behalf of those in need,” one prayer reads. “Encouraged by this, I ask you to hear my prayers.”

Rep. Chris Smith calls ‘modern slavery’ of human trafficking a pro-life issue

Photo illustration. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 12, 2022 / 04:00 am (CNA).

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey is proposing bipartisan legislation to aid survivors of human trafficking. The issue, he told CNA, is a pro-life one.

“I'm animating my entire work here by Matthew 25, when our Lord said, ‘Whatever you did for the least of my brethren, you did for me,’” he emphasized to CNA at a June 9 press conference outside of the U.S. Capitol Building, promoting the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 (H.R.6552). As with advocating for the unborn, advocacy for these women, he said, falls under protecting society’s weakest and most vulnerable.

With the input of survivors on top of years spent studying the issue, Smith, a Republican, authored the act together with Rep. Karen Bass, a Democrat from California.

The legislation would reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, also authored by Smith, his office said. It would provide roughly $1 billion over five years to strengthen and expand education, restorative care, and other critical programs that protect victims, prosecute perpetrators and prevent trafficking.

Essential programs that aid in the prevention of human trafficking and the protection of survivors require the reauthorization of funding, which expired in September of 2021, Smith said at the press conference.

An earlier version of the bill, named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, had the backing of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, a non-profit run by Douglass’ direct descendants.

“This is trauma and victim informed, which I think is extraordinarily important. We’ve listened to those who have suffered from modern-day slavery and made sure we got it right,” Smith said.

This bill seeks $1 billion in funding to ensure that each survivor is afforded “quality employment pathways and equitable care,” and it has garnered support from 316 signatories and over 500 advocates.

New provisions to the bill named in honor of Douglass include social services, case management, life skills training, mental health care, assistance in job searches, and higher education for survivors.

That same day, over 800 anti-trafficking and advocacy organizations together with 18 trafficking survivors signed a letter to congressional leaders calling for a U.S. House of Representatives vote on the bill. 

The letter ends by urging the House to schedule the bill for a vote to “assure that survivors are afforded the care and respect they deserve without delays or gaps in critical services.”

Smith told CNA up to 30 million people a year are trafficked. Following the pandemic, he said, “a lot of it went underground ... and there was an exponential increase in grooming of young children.”

The U.S. Department of State defines human trafficking as a “crime of exploitation” where “traffickers profit at the expense of their victims by compelling them to perform labor or to engage in commercial sex in every region of the United States and around the world.” It cites an “estimated 24.9 million victims worldwide at any given time.”

In an effort to fight human trafficking, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) hosts an Anti-Trafficking Program to “educate on the scourge of human trafficking as an offense against fundamental dignity of the human person, to advocate for an end to modern-day slavery, to provide training and technical assistance on this issue, and to support survivors through community-based services.”

“Some people are trafficked for prostitution, pornography, and other forms of sexual exploitation. Some are trafficked for forced labor in agriculture, sweatshops, and domestic servitude,” the USCCB says. “In both cases, the person who is enslaved is treated as an object for another's benefit. The person's God-given human dignity is either ignored or forgotten.”

Trinity Sunday 2022: 10 illuminating quotes from the saints about the Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity, detail of Iconostasis in Greek Catholic Co-cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Zagreb, Croatia. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 11, 2022 / 19:46 pm (CNA).

The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, also known as Trinity Sunday, is observed on the Sunday following Pentecost. This year’s feast falls on June 12, and draws our attention to the mystery of the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Saints over time have commented on the importance of the Holy Trinity, speaking on its greatness, simplicity, and power to transform the souls of believers.

To pay tribute to the Holy Trinity, here are 10 illuminating quotes from the mouths, minds, and hearts of 10 different saints:

  1. St. Augustine: “For to have the fruition of God the Trinity, after whose image we are made, is indeed the fullness of our joy, than which there is no greater.”

  2. St. Teresa of Avila: “The three Persons are distinct from one another; a sublime knowledge is infused into the soul, imbuing it with a certainty of the truth that the Three are of one substance, power, and knowledge and are one God.”

  3. St. Seraphim of Sarov: “In spite of our sinfulness, in spite of the darkness surrounding our souls, the Grace of the Holy Spirit, conferred by baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, still shines in our hearts with the inextinguishable light of Christ ... and when the sinner turns to the way of repentance the light smooths away every trace of the sins committed, clothing the former sinner in the garments of incorruption, spun of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. It is this acquisition of the Holy Spirit about which I have been speaking.”

  4. St. Patrick (from ‘St. Patrick’s Breastplate’ prayer): “Today I put on a terrible strength invoking the Trinity, confessing the Three with faith in the One as I face my Maker.”

  5. St. Catherine of Siena: "O Trinity, eternal Trinity! Fire, abyss of love ...Was it necessary that you should give even the Holy Trinity as food for souls? You gave us not only your Word through the Redemption and in the Eucharist, but you also gave yourself in the fullness of love for your creature."

    A statue of the Holy Trinity in Budapest, Hungary. Daniel Ibanez/CNA
    A statue of the Holy Trinity in Budapest, Hungary. Daniel Ibanez/CNA

  6. St. Thomas Aquinas: “The Father loves not only the Son, but also Himself and us, by the Holy Ghost.”

  7. St. Ambrose: “Rise, you who were lying fast asleep….Rise and hurry to the Church: here is the Father, here is the Son, here is the Holy Spirit.”

  8. St. Pope John Paul II: “A great mystery, a mystery of love, an ineffable mystery, before which words must give way to the silence of wonder and worship. A divine mystery that challenges and involves us, because a share in the Trinitarian life was given to us through grace, through the redemptive Incarnation of the Word and the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

  9. St. Faustina: “When One of the Three Persons communicates with a soul, by the power of that one will, it finds itself united with the Three Persons and is inundated in the happiness flowing from the Most Holy Trinity, the same happiness that nourishes the saints. This same happiness that streams from the Most Holy Trinity makes all creation happy; from it springs that life which vivifies and bestows all life which takes its beginning from Him.”

  10. St. Francis de Sales (from a consecration prayer to the Trinity): “I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: My memory and my actions to God the Father; My understanding and my words to God the Son; My will and my thoughts to God the Holy Spirit.”

Who, or what, is 'Jane's Revenge'? A look at the group invoked in pro-abortion vandalism

Surveillance footage shows suspects spray-painting pro-abortion slogans on the exterior of South Broward Pregnancy Help Center, a pro-life clinic in Hollywood, Florida, on May 28, 2022. / Screenshot from Archdiocese of Miami Vimeo video.

Denver Newsroom, Jun 11, 2022 / 12:45 pm (CNA).

Anarchist groups and individuals using the moniker “Jane’s Revenge” are among those who claim to be planning a “Night of Rage” to respond to the Supreme Court’s expected overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Their grandiose rhetoric portrays churches, crisis pregnancy centers, and pro-life groups as their enemy, and these actors seem to be behind at least six vandalism or arson attacks on pro-life groups, crisis pregnancy centers, and churches.

The first communique from a group calling itself Jane's Revenge was posted May 8 to the anonymous blogging host noblogs.org, the same day as a vandal and arson attack on Wisconsin Family Action that appeared to be anarchists motivated by animosity towards the group’s pro-life cause.

The communique characterized the attack as a “warning” and claimed it would not issue any further warnings. Its authors claimed to be the victims of a “war” and to have been “shot, bombed, and forced into childbirth without consent.”

Claiming that attacks on abortion clinics and abortion doctors were happening with “impunity,” the Jane’s Revenge communique demanded “the disbanding of all anti-choice establishments, fake clinics, and violent anti-choice groups within the next thirty days.”

Madison police said they were aware that a group had claimed responsibility for the attack and was working with federal partners to determine whether the claim is true.

On May 10, Robert Evans, a journalist who reports on online extremism, posted screenshots of the communique to Twitter, saying he received the statement from “an anonymous intermediary I trust,” hosted on a site on the semi-private internet network Tor.

A May 30 statement at noblogs.org and attributed to Jane’s Revenge called for a “Night of Rage” the night the final Supreme Court decision is released.

Why the name 'Jane’s Revenge'?

Evans appears to be among the first to connect the group’s name with the Jane Collaborative, which does not appear in the first Jane’s Revenge statement. The collaborative was an illegal abortion procurement ring operating out of Chicago in the late 1960s and early 1970s. National Public Radio ran several stories on the group in early May.

An HBO documentary, “The Janes,” was released on June 8. The HBO website portrays the group as “defying the state legislature that outlawed abortion, the Catholic Church that condemned it, and the Chicago Mob that was profiting from it.” The group performed abortions on about 11,000 women, resulting in the deaths of their babies.

Are these anarchist groups organized? It’s not clear.

The size of Jane’s Revenge is hard to determine. While its first communique claimed to have backers across the U.S. in every city, its May 30 message claims its movement will be “unsustainable” if it continues to rely on “the same few hundred people.”

The group’s second statement, published May 30, calls for activism and the creation of “autonomously organized self-defense networks” The group tends to be critical of more mainstream abortion activists and their “demure little rallies for freedom.”

“We cannot sit idly by anymore while our anger is yet again channeled into Democratic party fundraisers and peace parades with the police.”

Jane’s Revenge called for a “Night of Rage” on the day the final Supreme Court decision on abortion is issued at 8 p.m., calling this a “general guideline” to be adapted for local conditions.

The statement claimed inspiration from “reproductive liberation” autonomous organization movements in Argentina, Mexico, and Poland.

Contending that abortion foes “work to oppress us,” the group's May 30 statement repeated another slogan used to vandalize pro-life groups and churches: “If abortion isn’t safe, you aren’t either. We are everywhere.”

Kyle Shideler, a senior analyst for the Homeland Security and Terrorism at the Center for Security Policy, said militant abortion groups like Jane’s Revenge “organize in local cells” and its claimed members have “likely voluntarily self-identified themselves as Jane’s Revenge.”

“It is unlikely that there is a hierarchy or that they receive orders, although they may communicate from cell to cell or use social media or in other ways,” he told the EWTN news show “The World Over” on June 9.

According to Shideler, the government does not treat anarchist organizations as criminal conspiracies, but as “a bunch of looney individuals operating separately.”

In his view, this is the wrong approach.

“Although they are cellular in structure they are very organized and they need to be treated as an organization,” he said.

What has Jane’s Revenge done?

The first crime invoking “Jane” appears to have taken place early in the morning of May 8, Mother’s Day, when the Madison, Wisconsin headquarters of Wisconsin Family Action was targeted by arson and vandalism. The vandalism involved an anarchist symbol, an anti-police slogan, and the phrase “if abortions aren’t safe, you aren’t safe either.”

Other incidents followed.

On the night of May 13, a vandal spray-painted slogans, including the words “Jane’s Revenge,” on the walls of the Alpha Pregnancy Center in Reisterstown, Maryland.

On May 22, St. Michael Parish in Olympia was vandalized with the words “Abort the church” spray-painted on a wall. Several other non-Catholic churches were targeted by vandals. In a message submitted anonymously to Puget Sound Anarchists, the Bo Brown Memorial Cell of Jane’s Revenge claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The group said it was motivated by the churches’ ties to crisis pregnancy centers, which it characterized as “religious fake clinics that manipulate mostly poor people into having and keeping children they don’t want or aren’t ready for and marrying whomever impregnated them whether or not that relationship is healthy or safe.” It characterized both the Catholic Church and the LDS / Mormon church as “patriarchal sex abuse cults.”

The group’s “cell” is named for a local anarchist who was a member of the George Jackson Brigade, a self-styled revolutionary group that committed several bank robberies and multiple pipe bombings in Washington State and Oregon in the 1970s.

In a separate crime on May 25, Next Step Pregnancy Center in Lynnwood, Washington, was tagged with graffiti saying, “Jane’s revenge” and “If abortions aren’t safe, you aren’t either." At least five of its windows were smashed.

An Archdiocese of Miami-run pro-life pregnancy center in Hollywood, Florida, was defaced with pro-abortion graffiti over Memorial Day weekend.

“If abortions aren’t safe then niether [sic] are you,” “Janes revenge,” and an anarchist symbol were written outside the South Broward Pregnancy Help Center, located about 45 minutes north of Miami. You can watch surveillance footage of the vandalism suspects in action below.

Miami’s Archbishop Thomas Wenski denounced the vandalism, saying “it also expresses contempt for the beliefs, values and practices of a faith community and could easily escalate to physical harm to members of these faith communities.”

Another attack took place June 3, when the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center in Washington D.C. was vandalized with red paint and spray paint that said “Jane says revenge.”

In upstate New York, a pro-life pregnancy center sustained major damage in a fire and was defaced with pro-abortion graffiti the morning of June 7.

The center, CompassCare, located in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst, New York, posted photos showing shattered windows and office space heavily burned and damaged. The words “Jane was here” spray-painted on the side of the building.

CompassCare, a pro-life pregnancy center near Buffalo, New York, was heavily damaged by fire and spray-painted with pro-abortion graffiti on June 7, 2022. CompassCare
CompassCare, a pro-life pregnancy center near Buffalo, New York, was heavily damaged by fire and spray-painted with pro-abortion graffiti on June 7, 2022. CompassCare

Rev. James Harden, a Methodist minister and CEO of CompassCare, said there were “multiple perpetrators” who caused “catastrophic damage.” He told "The World Over" that the FBI is involved in the investigation.

He also called on government officials to condemn crimes against crisis pregnancy centers.

Is Jane’s Revenge a terrorist group?

Shideler said Jane's Revenge's acts should be viewed through the lens of terrorism.

In his view, these actions are aimed “to intimidate an arm of the government,” namely the Supreme Court, and “to intimidate the public, members of the pro-life movement, and to disrupt their ability to organize at the state and local level.”

The groups say they will “escalate violence if the government does not do what they wish,” in Shideler’s words, and “that is the definition of terrorism.”

He faulted a “very poor” federal response to such groups. He said federal officials wrongly treat anarchist individuals as “primarily a local law enforcement problem.”

Shideler also lamented the existence of “mainstream tolerance for this kind of behavior,” similar to tolerance for political violence in 2020.

Pro-life pregnancy centers in Alaska and Washington state defaced with pro-abortion graffiti

Map of Anchorage, Alaska. / Shutterstock

Boston, Mass., Jun 10, 2022 / 16:07 pm (CNA).

Pro-life pregnancy centers in both Anchorage, Alaska and Vancouver, Washington were defaced with pro-abortion graffiti last week. 

Alaska Watchman, a conservative news website, reported that the Anchorage vandalism occurred June 2 around 1:30 a.m. at Community Pregnancy Center. A staff member reportedly found nails placed facing upwards in a crack in the clinic parking lot, in addition to the spray-painted graffiti. Glass in the clinic’s front door was also reportedly broken. 

Greg Monrad, executive director of the clinic, told Alaska Watchman that he believes the nails were placed there for someone to drive over or step on. Monrad said there is no reported history of “anything like this” occurring in the past.

The spray paint on the clinic said “we will not go back” in two places, the website reported. 

Monrad said that the clinic’s operations were not impeded by the attack. The graffiti was painted over after police arrived at the scene, and the door is currently being fixed, Alaskawatchman.com reported June 9.

Monrad said that he thinks the goal of the alleged vandalism was to intimidate the clinic. 

“We’re not going to let intimidation change what we’re doing,” Monrad said. “It failed. It was pretty unanimous from the volunteers and staff here, that this is not going to change how we do business here one bit at all. We may pray a little more than we already pray.”

A spokesperson for the clinic did not respond to CNA’s request for a comment by time of publication.

In Washington state, photos in a June 9 tweet by user alissa azar show the Options360 Women's Clinic in Vancouver covered in red paint and the words “Jane’s Revenge” across the wall with graffiti.

Pam Marchand, CEO and president of the clinic, told CNA on Friday that the damage was discovered on Thursday morning. She said it is unclear whether the damage occurred in the evening of June 8 or early in the morning June 9.

A police report was filed, she said, and did not report any other damage done to the clinic. She said that the red paint has been cleaned off and operations are up and running as of Friday, and she declined to comment on who the culprits might be and their motivations. 

The reported damage to the Anchorage and Vancouver clinics comes during a string of pro-abortion attacks to clinics across the nation. Reports of vandalism took an abrupt rise after a Supreme Court draft opinion was leaked showing that the justices were poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that federally legalized abortion.

Since the leak, pro-life pregnancy centers in Florida, Washington D.C., Washington state, Maryland, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Texas have been vandalized. Catholic church buildings in several states also have suffered pro-abortion vandalism.

The court is expected to release the official opinion or decision in that case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, at the end of June or beginning of July.

WATCH: Video shows 'Jane's revenge' vandalism suspects in the act

Surveillance footage shows suspects spray-painting pro-abortion slogans on the exterior of South Broward Pregnancy Help Center, a pro-life clinic in Hollywood, Florida, on May 28, 2022. / Screenshot from Archdiocese of Miami Vimeo video

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 10, 2022 / 14:51 pm (CNA).

New video footage shows the four vandals who wrote “Janes revenge” on an archdiocesan pro-life pregnancy center in Hollywood, Florida, over Memorial Day weekend.

In the four separate video clips shared with CNA by the Archdiocese of Miami, four people in masks can be seen approaching the South Broward Pregnancy Help Center and spray-painting the wall of the clinic.

They then can be seen walking away from the scene. But before they leave the camera’s view, one of the vandals can be seen turning around to face the wall while holding up an object. It appears to be a cell phone camera. It’s unclear whether the person was taking a photo or not. They then left the scene.

Photos of the vandalism show the words “If abortions aren’t safe then niether [sic] are you,” and “Janes revenge.” Another non-legible phrase is also written in spray paint. You can watch the footage below.

Rebecca Brady, director of the archdiocese’s Respect Life ministry, told CNA in a statement Thursday that the vandalism occurred Saturday, May 28, shortly before midnight. The clinic’s cleaners discovered the vandalism the next day. 

Brady said her husband volunteered to paint over the graffiti so clients and volunteers wouldn’t be scared.

“We believe the intention of this vandalism was to scare and intimidate us,” she said. Learning about the vandalism on St. Joan of Arc’s feast day, Brady said that the saint “teaches us bravery and courage, and we know Christ has won the ultimate victory for life.”

“Respect Life Ministry will not back down, we will continue extending the love and mercy of Christ to all regardless of creed,” she said. “We also now have the opportunity to learn [what] it means to love our enemies.”

Brady called for prayer for the perpetrators and safety for the volunteers in the clinics and on sidewalks. She also called for prayer for those wounded by abortion, so that they may have healing.

“And we pray that one day this will cease to be a source of contention because we will have come together as a society to support families in such a way that abortion becomes unthinkable,” she said.

The center is one of three in the city that is run by the Archdiocese of Miami.

The Florida clinic is one of many that has been vandalized in recent weeks. A steep rise in vandalism reports at pregnancy resource centers and churches began after a Supreme Court draft opinion was leaked showing that the justices were poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that federally legalized abortion.

A pro-life pregnancy center in Hollywood, Florida, was defaced with pro-abortion graffiti over Memorial Day Weekend 2022. Courtesy of Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie
A pro-life pregnancy center in Hollywood, Florida, was defaced with pro-abortion graffiti over Memorial Day Weekend 2022. Courtesy of Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie

The court is expected to release the official opinion or decision in that case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, at the end of June or beginning of July.

On Friday, the pro-life group Heartbeat International put out an advisory that one in six clinics have experienced targeted harrassment, citing a recent survey. The goal of the advisory is to encourage pregnancy resource centers to take precautions in the wake of the violence, the group said.

The group, in partnership with Live Action, also announced a new reporting system for harassment of any centers. 

The prayer of absolution will change for US Catholics in 2023. Here’s how

null / Ivan U / Shutterstock.

St. Louis, Mo., Jun 10, 2022 / 11:16 am (CNA).

If you go to the Sacrament of Penance in 2023, there will be two subtle changes in the wording of the prayer of absolution, which the priest prays to conclude the sacrament. 

The new prayer will likely come into use in the United States beginning in 2023, though it will not be official until it is published by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). 

Here’s the new approved text, as reported by Aleteia, with changes in bold:

God, the Father of mercies,

through the death and resurrection of his Son

has reconciled the world to himself

and poured out the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins;

through the ministry of the Church may God grant you pardon and peace,

and I absolve you from your sins

in the name of the Father, [sign of the cross] and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

And here’s what the prayer was before:

God, the Father of mercies,

through the death and resurrection of his Son

has reconciled the world to himself

and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins;

through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace,

and I absolve you from your sins

in the name of the Father, [sign of the cross] and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

The Catholic bishops of the United States in 2021 voted in favor of the new translation of the prayer, with 182 votes in favor, 6 against, and 2 abstentions. The Vatican’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved the translation in April 2022, according to a USCCB newsletter shared online this week. 

The Sacrament of Penance, also called reconciliation or confession, is the means through which God grants pardon for sins. In the sacrament, the contrite penitent discloses his or her sins to a Catholic priest who grants sacramental absolution. The penitent resolves to not sin again and performs an act of satisfaction, usually called a penance, and which could take the form of three Hail Marys, for example.

Through the priest, God grants his pardon and peace, and the penitent is reconciled to God.

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has frequently encouraged Catholics to receive God's forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.

Abortion and public opinion: what the surveys really say

Pro-lifers rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1, 2021. / Rena Schild via Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Jun 10, 2022 / 02:10 am (CNA).

Public polling about abortion has taken on new prominence with the U.S. Supreme Court expected to change legal abortion precedent like Roe v. Wade. But the actual beliefs of Americans — and, in particular, Catholic Americans — on specific policies and protections for the unborn often show sympathy for pro-life stands that Roe v. Wade disallows.

“Many Americans are conflicted about abortion. As such, the results of many surveys and polls on the issue of abortion are very sensitive to how questions are worded,” political scientist Michael New told CNA on June 8.

New is a research associate at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life research and education institute.

“In particular, I think that polling about Roe v. Wade provides little insight about American attitudes toward abortion,” New added. “That is because many Roe v. Wade polls fail to explain that Roe v. Wade effectively legalized abortion on demand in all 50 states for all nine months of pregnancy. This is a policy position that only a small percentage of Americans share.”

What pollsters should tell survey participants

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and related precedents are now up for reconsideration at the U.S. Supreme Court. On May 2, a leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson became public and indicated the court was set to overturn Roe v. Wade.

New said polls on Roe v. Wade should explain that reversing the decision would not ban abortion everywhere, but instead return it to the states.

“Pollsters and survey research firms should ask more questions about specific types of pro-life laws, including limits on taxpayer funding for abortion, parental involvement laws, and gestational age limits,” said New. “The results of these polls show that majorities of Americans are sympathetic with many of the policy goals of the pro-life movement.”

The Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey reported that 63% of Catholic respondents to its survey said abortion should be legal in all or most cases and 68% of Catholics said Roe v. Wade should be left as it is. The Catholic figures are in line with American opinion as a whole, the Associated Press said.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,172 adults, 358 of whom self-identified as Catholic, was conducted on May 12-16, just after the leak of the draft Supreme Court decision. It claimed a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points for all respondents and plus or minus 7.4% for Catholic respondents.

To the question of whether abortion should be legal in all or most cases, 63% of Catholics said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a view held by 74% of mainline Protestants and only 25% of evangelical Protestants.

The AP-NORC poll reported that 68% of Catholic respondents said they attend religious services once a month or less.

About 37% said they were attending less often than they did five years ago, while 14% said they were attending more often.

Church attendance is a major factor

New said that strong religious practice, more than religious self-identification, is associated with stronger views against abortion.

“One problem with most of the polls on Catholic attitudes toward abortion is that they do not look at Mass attendance,” he said. “In general, religion is not a strong predictor of public opinion toward abortion. However, consistent church attendance is correlated with greater pro-life sentiment. As such, Catholics who attend Mass weekly tend to be much more pro-life the Catholics who only attend Mass occasionally.”

A March survey from the Pew Research Center provides another perspective on public opinion. Among its respondents, 76% of Catholics said abortion should be legal in some cases but illegal in others, 10% said abortion should be illegal in all cases, and 13% said it should be legal in all cases.

The survey reported that 42% of Catholics said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while 56% believed abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Among weekly Mass attendees, 68% said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while 30% said it should be legal. About 24% of weekly Mass attendees said abortion should be illegal in all cases, compared to 10% of all U.S. Catholics and 8% of all U.S. adults.

At the same time, 44% of all U.S. Catholics said that the statement “human life begins at conception, so a fetus is a person with rights” describes their views “extremely/very well,” including 70% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly or more. About 38% of all surveyed U.S. adults shared this view, though 42% said that statement describes their views “not too well” or “not well at all.”

Strong majorities of U.S. adults and all U.S. Catholics told Pew they supported legal abortion if the life or health of a woman is threatened, though only about half of weekly Mass-goers did.

Critics of legal abortion tend to argue that health exceptions for abortion end up allowing abortion for any reason.

The Pew survey took place on March 7-13. It surveyed 10,441 U.S. adults and 2,224 Catholics. It claims a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points for responses from U.S. adults and plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for responses from Catholics.

Opinion on Roe v. Wade

In January 2022, a Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll survey reported that more than 60% of Americans disagree with the central holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The survey reported that 44% said that the Supreme Court should leave abortion up to each individual state and 17% said the court should make abortion illegal.

About 42% of respondents said abortion should be limited at “the point at which a fetus can feel pain,” while 36% said abortion limits should apply at “the point at which a fetus can live outside the womb.”

About 63% opposed or strongly opposed new federal rules that allowed abortion-inducing prescription drugs to be sent through the mail rather than provided in-person through a certified health care provider.

More than half of respondents opposed taxpayer funding for abortion in the U.S. and a strong majority opposed taxpayer funding for abortions in other countries.

The Marist Poll surveyed 1,004 U.S. adults from Jan. 4-9. It claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

A Gallup survey released in early June said that only 39% of respondents identified as pro-life, the lowest since 1996, while 56% identified as pro-choice, the highest since 1995.

The news cycle shapes responses

New suggested that a more detailed approach would provide more information about what Americans believe. The Gallup survey, he said, asks respondents every year if they are “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” But the survey has asked about gestational age limits for abortion only seven times in the last 26 years.

“Even though Gallup asks questions about gestational age limits infrequently, the results consistently show that strong majorities of Americans oppose abortion after the first trimester,” New explained.

“The results of the most recent Gallup poll, which was conducted in May 2022, found that 55% of Americans think that abortion should be ‘generally illegal’ during the second trimester and 71% of Americans think that abortion should be generally illegal during the third trimester.”

The news cycle can play a role in influencing survey responses, New said. Gallup’s survey and others were largely conducted after Justice Alito’s draft opinion in an abortion case.

“Since most of the subsequent media coverage was not sympathetic to the pro-life position, it is not surprising that there was a gain in sentiment in favor of legal abortion,” said New.

He saw an increase in pro-life sentiment during the 1990s debate over banning partial-birth abortion and the 2013 murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. There was an increase in pro-abortion rights sentiment in the late 1980s and early 1990s when some believed the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade.

DC aborted babies: Private autopsy to examine how they died, Sen. Cruz says

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks in front of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on June 9, 2022. / Screenshot taken from Twitter video by Ford Fischer

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 9, 2022 / 17:19 pm (CNA).

Sen. Ted Cruz and a pro-life group said Thursday that authorities will allow a private pathologist to examine the remains of five babies the group claims it recovered from a D.C. abortion clinic.

The Texas Republican lawmaker and activists from the group, Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), along with other members of Congress, repeatedly have called for the D.C. medical examiner to conduct autopsies of the babies to determine if they were aborted in violation of federal law.

Cruz announced that a private autopsy was in the works during a press conference Thursday morning with members of PAAU outside the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve learned that an attorney for PAAU has confirmed that the D.C. medical examiner has agreed to allow a private pathologist to examine the bodies of the five babies,” Cruz said.

“This is a step in the right direction,” he added. 

The group’s media coordinator, Caroline Smith, later confirmed Cruz’s announcement to CNA, saying that PAAU’s lawyer had reached a verbal agreement with the medical examiner’s office. 

CNA reached out to the office of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser for comment late Thursday but did not receive a response prior to publication. You can watch Cruz's press conference here.

The dead babies made headlines in April after members of PAAU held a press conference where they claimed that they had obtained 115 aborted babies from a driver for a medical waste company to bury them in a dignified way. Five of those babies appeared to be of late-term gestation. 

Smith told CNA that the medical examiner’s office confirmed to PAAU that the five babies are in the office’s possession.

Father Bill Kuchinsky of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia previously told CNA that he buried the other 110 aborted babies in a dignified way.

The Washington Post reported April 1 that D.C. officials said the city’s medical examiner would not perform autopsies on the five babies. Executive Assistant Chief of D.C. Police Ashan Benedict said at a March 31 press conference that the five babies “were aborted in accordance with D.C. law.” 

Pro-life groups have expressed concern that the manner in which the babies died violated federal law.

Cruz also said that if the Republicans win the Senate majority in November, hearings would be scheduled “on the likely violations on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban and the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.”

“Much of the media attention is focused on the activists, including Terrisa [Bukovinac], who obtained the bodies, not on the abortionist who took the lives of these children; and not on the government officials in the District of Columbia and what they were doing with the remains or whether they were going to conduct an investigation,” he said. You can watch CNA reporter Katie Yoder discuss the case in the video below.

Cruz said he would continue demanding justice for the babies despite the lack of media attention. He added that he wrote a letter to Mayor Bowser and Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III notifying them that they “have a legal obligation to preserve evidence in this case for future congressional oversight hearings.”

“On the face of this,” Cruz said, “the evidence, the remains of these five children strongly suggests a violation of criminal law that, to date, the attorney general [Merrick Garland] is turning a blind eye to because his political preferences incline him in that direction.”