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Brisbane archbishop gives priests until Dec. 15 to be fully vaccinated

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane speaks at a Vatican press conference, Oct. 19, 2015. / Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 23, 2021 / 17:12 pm (CNA).

The Australian Archdiocese of Brisbane has announced that all archdiocesan employees, including clergy, contractors and some volunteers, must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15 in accord with the state’s mandate unless they have a medical exemption. 

“As we view the situation in Australia and internationally, it is clear that vaccination is the most effective way to lessen the risk of exposure or the risk of passing the virus on to others within our community,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge said a Nov. 16 statement on the archdiocese’s website says. 

“Therefore,” the statement continued, “the Archdiocese of Brisbane has made the decision that employees, contractors and certain volunteers will need to have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination by 15 December unless they have an official medical exemption.”

Coleridge said that clergy who are not fully vaccinated are putting the faithful at “risk.”

“A pastor or assistant pastor in parish ministry is to know the faithful, visit families, care for the faithful strengthening them in the Lord and refresh the faithful with the sacraments,” he wrote in the letter.

“That means that clergy engaged in parish ministry must be close to people. In the circumstances of the pandemic, clergy engaged in pastoral ministry who are not doubly vaccinated put the faithful of the parish at risk. They present a risk to the faithful to whom they minister, as well as to their families,” he added.

Priests and deacons who are not “doubly vaccinated are failing in their duty of care for the faithful,” Coleridge wrote.

An official medical exemption is the only type of exemption Archbishop Mark Coleridge will be accepting, according to a letter that the archbishop sent to deacons and priests seen by The Australian, Sky News reported.

According to the archdiocese’s website, the medical exemption certificate must certify “that the person is unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccination because they have a recognised medical contraindication; and indicating whether the medical contraindication will permanently or temporarily prevent COVID-19 vaccination; and if the medical contraindication only temporarily prevents a COVID19 vaccination, specifying when the person may be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.”

“A medical contraindication against one COVID-19 vaccination does not necessarily translate to a contraindication against all vaccines,” he said.

“I will not consider conscientious objection to receiving the vaccination as a valid exception to the provisions set out here,” Coleridge wrote.

“I fully respect the right of conscience, especially when properly formed in the Catholic understanding," he stated. “But I too have a conscience, and it is not just legal obligation but consciences which has led to my decision."

The statement on the archdiocese’s website notes that Queensland, the state that encompasses the archdiocese, will reopen their borders in the coming weeks causing an increased risk of COVID-19 infection.

Queensland has implemented strict guidelines on travel in and out of the state. Reaching 70% vaccination in November, Queensland has laid out a plan to ease restrictions, mostly for fully vaccinated travelers across state borders, as vaccination rates go up.

When Queensland reaches 80% vaccination, estimated to be on Dec. 17, unvaccinated people will be unable to visit “vulnerable settings” like nursing homes, hospitals, prisons and others.

Unvaccinated individuals also will not be able to attend “hospitality venues” such as hotels and pubs, and others. They will not be able to attend indoor or outdoor entertainment venues, festivals, or attend Queensland government-owned galleries, museums or libraries. 

A full list of restrictions can be seen on the website

The Archdiocese of Brisbane has 98 Parishes, 144 schools and 109 Centacare early EdCare, aged care, disability and family and relationships service locations, according to their website. Almost 22,000 jobs are provided for by the archdiocese.

City of Philadelphia to pay $2 million to Catholic foster care agency in settlement

Sharonell Fulton has fostered more than 40 children through Catholic Social Services. / Photo courtesy of Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Philadelphia, Pa., Nov 23, 2021 / 16:08 pm (CNA).

The city of Philadelphia will pay Catholic Social Services a $2 million settlement and reinstate their foster care contract after the Supreme Court unanimously found in June that the city had discriminated against the group due to their religious beliefs. 

Most of the money will be used to pay Catholic Social Services’ [CSS] legal fees, and CSS will receive $56,000. 

As part of the settlement, CSS will be exempt from Philadelphia’s nondiscrimination ordinance, and will receive a contract for $350,000 for foster care. Additionally, CSS will have to state on its website that, while it does not work with same-sex couples, it will refer them to an organization that will. 

Ken Gavin, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said the archdiocese was “grateful that our ministries can continue serving those who count on us, especially foster children in need of a loving home.” 

The Supreme Court ruled in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia that the city discriminated in ending its contract with Catholic Social Services. The suit was sent back to the appellate court, and the city did not pursue additional legal action. Their settlement agreement was approved by the U.S. District Court on Oct. 1. 

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city backed down due to fears of additional constitutional changes. 

“Certainly, this was not the outcome we wanted,” Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa told the Inquirer. “But it was clear if we took this further down the road, we could actually open it up for radically changing other existing constitutional law.”

Two foster mothers who worked with CSS, Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch, filed suit against the city in 2018 after the contract was canceled.

That year, Philadelphia abruptly ended CSS’s contract for its foster-care program, since CSS would not certify same-sex couples as foster parents on religious grounds. No same-sex couple ever approached CSS seeking certification as a foster parent. 

Part of the settlement reached requires that Philadelphia work with Fulton and Simms-Busch under the new contract. 

In the majority ruling, the high court found that “The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”

“CSS seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. 

In March 2018, the city of Philadelphia announced that it was experiencing a shortage of foster families, in part due to the opioid crisis, and put out a call for 300 new families to help accept children.

A few days later, the city announced that it would no longer refer foster children to agencies that would not place them with same-sex couples, including CSS. Prior to that announcement, CSS served about 120 foster children in approximately 100 homes at any given time. 

In recent years, faith-based child welfare providers in multiple states including in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia, have also been forced to shut down their adoption and foster care services due to their beliefs that children should be placed with a married mother and father.

Book Review: A primer on how to recover the art of preaching

Diego Cervo/Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Nov 23, 2021 / 12:33 pm (CNA).

For the past decade, one of the missions of Father Daniel Cardó’s parish, Holy Name in Sheridan, Colo., has been liturgical renewal. With the hope of leading the congregation into full, conscious, and active participation at Mass, the church sanctuary was remodeled with beautiful details and symbols, the stained glass windows now depict glorious saints, the congregation loudly and joyfully chant the propers of the Mass, and the choir sings works of Palestrina, Byrd, and the like each Sunday.

In addition, careful preparation is taken with Cardó’s homilies in order to engage, encourage, and educate his flock. His latest publication, “The Art of Preaching: A Theological and Practical Primer” (The Catholic University of America Press, 2021) is a natural extension of the homilies he preaches each Sunday as well as his work as the Benedict XVI Chair of Liturgical Studies at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.

As a professor of homiletics, he has experience teaching seminarians studying for the priesthood the art of preaching, which he neatly organizes in this book, aiming to provide the theoretical and theological foundations of preaching, along with very practical advice and examples. As the author indicates in the introduction, his goal has been to create one volume with all the basic teachings for those aiming to learn or improve the art of preaching. 

At the beginning of the book, Cardó outlines both the challenges and opportunities that homilists face when preaching, encouraging them to use the powerful platform they have each Sunday to do something great with their homilies. But, needless to say, encouragement is not enough. The book offers a wide and well-researched view of the necessary foundations for preaching.

After an engaging first chapter in which the author describes the challenges for preaching, particularly those of our day and age, the book offers a useful overview of the main Magisterial teachings on the homily. Based on this, the author unpacks in a short chapter the best insights from the art of rhetoric, both classic and modern. Building on this human foundation, the reader is taken into a journey through the theology of preaching, reflecting on the who, where, and what of homiletics. 

"The Art of Preaching," by Father Daniel Cardó. Courtesy of The Catholic University of America Press
"The Art of Preaching," by Father Daniel Cardó. Courtesy of The Catholic University of America Press

The book enters into a more practical section, with the chapters on the preparation and the delivery of the homily. The author offers very concrete advice based on the best literature on the topic, but also on his own experience of preaching and teaching to preach. Homilists will appreciate the suggestions for preparation and the tips for delivery. 

Cardó illustrates his points through the example of the preaching of St. Augustine, and closes this section with the bold suggestion that all preachers are theologians who put their years of learning into practice in the daily and weekly effort of exploring God’s message to his people here and now. 

The second section of the book is a well-selected “Homiletics Reader,” containing 14 brilliant homilies, with brief introductions and questions for study and dialogue. 

Lay people who read this book might be surprised by how fruitful the experience can be. The laity too, as Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said about this volume, “will be grateful for this book,” which, we can only hope, will be read by many seminarians, deacons, priests, and bishops. As such, Chaput also says, “The Art of Preaching will be a wonderful gift for all your clergy friends.”

Women scholars discuss danger of redefining women

Libresco, Favle and Bachiochi during the “The Dignity of the Sexed Body: Asymmetry, Equality, and Real Reproductive Justice” panel Nov. 13. / Steve Toepp / University of Notre Dame

South Bend, Ind., Nov 23, 2021 / 11:46 am (CNA).

Efforts to redefine women undermine their feminine dignity and unjustly pressure them to resort to abortions to keep pace with men in the workforce, a panel of women scholars said earlier this month in a discussion that highlighted the harmful consequences of de-sexing society.

Titled “The Dignity of the Sexed Body: Asymmetry, Equality, and Real Reproductive Justice,” the Nov. 13 discussion took place at the 21st annual fall conference of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, and featured presentations by English professor Abigail Favale, legal scholar Erika Bachiochi, and writer Leah Libresco Sargeant.

Favale, the dean of the College of Humanities at George Fox University, in Newberg, Ore., spoke about the dangers of divorcing the terms “woman” and “female.”

Currently, she noted, “defining a woman as an adult human female is considered hate speech” by some, and use of the terms “pregnant woman” or “breastfeeding” can be labeled discriminatory. Yet “appropriating the identity of a woman is considered laudatory, liberating, the next frontier of civil rights,” she said. 

“[I]f woman no longer names the billions of persons who are female, how do we speak about them?” Favale asked.

Apparently, the answer is not so easy. Favale cited three failed definitions as proof.

One, from the Australian Academy of Sciences, defines a woman as “anyone who identifies as a woman.” A second definition, offered by British philosopher Katherine Jenkins, is someone who “experiences the norms that are associated with women in her social context as relevant to her.”

A third definition comes from trans-identified person Susan Striker, who says a woman is “useful shorthand for the entanglement of femininity and social status regardless of biology — not as an identity, but as the name for an imagined community that honors the female, enacts the feminine and exceeds the limitations of a sexist society.”

Favale says these definitions unseat the dignity of women in a deeply disquieting manner. 

Libresco, Favle and Bachiochi during the “The Dignity of the Sexed Body: Asymmetry, Equality, and Real Reproductive Justice” panel Nov. 13. Steve Toepp / University of Notre Dame
Libresco, Favle and Bachiochi during the “The Dignity of the Sexed Body: Asymmetry, Equality, and Real Reproductive Justice” panel Nov. 13. Steve Toepp / University of Notre Dame

“The most stunning aspect of this linguistic insurrection is the unnaming of female humans,” she said. “To quote Helen Joyce: The quest for the liberation of people with female bodies has arrived at an extraordinary position: that they do not even constitute a group that merits a name.”

The divorce between woman and adult human female also puts women in physical danger, Favale argued.

Women are the primary beneficiaries of the “few sex segregated spaces that continue to exist in western, liberal democracies — bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, shelters, sports teams — [and] all of those exist for the benefit of women who are more vulnerable to sexual assault and harrasment,” she said. 

Ironically, Favale lays blame at the feet of the feminist movement. 

“For the past five decades mainstream feminism has enthusiastically been sawing off the branch it has been sitting on,” Favale said. 

“While there are myriad iterations and definitions of feminism, a common denominator among them is ostensibly a serious concern about the status and well-being of women,” she said. “And yet this very concept has been steadily eroded of content by feminists themselves.”

Without a reuniting of the two terms, warns Favale, the dignity of women will no longer be protected. 

“[A] feminism that rejects an entire definition of woman grounded in the concrete reality of the sexed human body cannot effectively advocate for those whose lives and circumstances are shaped by that body,” she concluded.  

Is it men who’ve been liberated?

Bachiochi, a pro-life feminist legal scholar and fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., elaborated on these bodily realities in her discussion of “the natural asymmetry of the sexed body.”

As Aristotle observed, “males reproduce outside of themselves and so can walk away, and females reproduce inside of themselves and so cannot,” Bachiochi noted. She went on to describe the physical differences between male and female arousal, the effect of testosterone in men, and the waves of oxytocin which uniquely affect the woman after the sexual act, chemically bonding her to her sexual partner whether he is worthy or not. 

“[A]t the heart of sex, there is a deep inequality,” she argued. 

Bachiochi claimed this asymmetry has prompted many movements to rectify the imbalance.

“Now, throughout human history women have attempted all sorts of means and methods to manage and even escape these natural asymmetries, asymmetries that make women vulnerable not only to stronger and more libidinous men, but also to the dangers and difficulties of childbearing,” she said. “From nascent contraceptives to dangerous aborations even to infanticide, desperate women have often resorted to desperate measures.”

What is new today, she said, is that women believe that equality with men “demands the affirmative right to engage in the killing of one’s own vulnerable and dependent child” and the right to engage in “putatively consequence-free sex just like a man.” 

Libresco, Favle and Bachiochi during the “The Dignity of the Sexed Body: Asymmetry, Equality, and Real Reproductive Justice” panel Nov. 13. Steve Toepp / University of Notre Dame
Libresco, Favle and Bachiochi during the “The Dignity of the Sexed Body: Asymmetry, Equality, and Real Reproductive Justice” panel Nov. 13. Steve Toepp / University of Notre Dame

Ironically, however, women’s liberation seems to have liberated men more than women, she argued. She highlighted that women experience this “right” to consequence-free sex with a great deal of cognitive dissonance.

Many women engage in casual sexual relationships “as a kind of right, a right that..too often becomes a kind of duty,” one that can result in the unintended consequence of pregnancy, Bachiochi said.

“It is the government, then, in seeking to restrict abortion, that would force [a woman in this position] to be a mother,” she said. “And so equality demands, from this perspective, that women enjoy the right to engage in a life-destroying, child-destroying act.”

Bachiochi, who also serves as the director of The Wollstonecraft Project at the Abigail Adams Institute, contrasted this attitude with the vision of Mary Wollstonecraft, a British advocate of women’s rights.

Wollstonecraft believed that asymmetries in the sexed body led to further asymmetries in the political, legal, and social realms. But rather than seeking to rectify these differences by making women more like irresponsible and libidinous men, Bachiochi said, Wollstonecraft and others believed the solution to procuring equality lay in greater chastity among the male sex. 

“The little respect paid to chastity in the male world is, I am persuaded, the grand source of many of the physical and moral evils that torment mankind, as well as of the vices and follies that degrade and destroy women,” Wollstonecraft famously said. 

“In Wollstonecraft’s view, engaged and attentive fatherhood was the very best means to direct men’s desires properly, by bringing them into the light of shared domesticity,” argued Bachiochi. 

The pressure to conform

Sargeant, the author of “Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Offer,” and “Building the Benedict Option,” agreed with Bachiochi’s contention that women’s equality is not synonymous with the ability to have sex and walk away from any consquences as men can do. 

“[C]ontraception and abortion are the most dangerous compromises that women are asked to make in order to make up for not being as good at being men, as it would be convenient for others if we were,” she argued. 

“Ruth Bader Ginsberg thought … that women cannot have equal protection under the law, cannot be equal as citizens, without having the ability to pay the entrance price to society, which is the ability to abandon somebody who is vulnerable and depends on you,” Sargeant said.

While that premise is false, she said, this is the way society is currently structured.  

“Abortion is one more example where we say to a woman, ‘The problem is that you are a woman. It's your responsibility to find a way for us all not to have to deal with that unpleasant reality, and whatever compromise, whatever sacrifice, whatever suffering you have to cause … is worth it because we don’t have room for women here,’” Sargeant said.

Sargeant sees this outlook manifested in the unreasonable pressures routinely placed on new mothers to return to work days or weeks after giving birth. In essence, women in these situations are told to be like men, she said.

Instead, Sargeant argued that the culture needs an entirely different argument about the human person, one that recognizes vulnerability, dependence, and the dignity of love, rather than asking women to conform to a standard of masculine autonomy.

Cordileone to Catholic students after boycott of pro-life assembly: 'Do not be victims of the culture'

Credit: Wuttichai Jantarak/Shutterstock / null

San Francisco, Calif., Nov 22, 2021 / 19:19 pm (CNA).

The archbishop of San Francisco has encouraged students at a local Catholic high school to reject the lies of the abortion industry and become courageous advocates for life, following a boycott of a pro-life assembly at the school. 

“Do not be victims of the culture,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone wrote in an open letter to students at Archbishop Riordan High School. 

Cordileone met with student leaders at the high school on Nov. 8 to discuss the incident.

The meeting was "a chance for productive and thoughtful dialogue," said the high school's interim president, Tim Reardon.

Cordileone wrote an open letter to all students in preparation for the meeting. The text of his letter was published by First Things Nov. 19. 

“There are powerful forces in our country that use slogans to co-opt you into being agents of their own self-serving agendas. You must see through the lies,” he said in the letter.

The students staged a walkout Oct. 22 to protest an all-school assembly featuring pro-life speaker Megan Almon.

According to an account of the incident by the San Francisco Chronicle, students began to exit the auditorium and file into an adjacent gym about “five minutes” into the presentation, leaving “a few dozen of the school’s more than 800 students” in the auditorium for the entire talk.

The walkout has since gained media attention after a video of the walkout went viral, with several hundred thousand views on TikTok.

“My school tried to hold a pro-life assembly,” on-screen text on the video of a throng of masked students reads, “So we walked out.”

In his letter, Cordileone praised students for their idealism and energetic advocacy for justice. He then challenged the students to discern the truth about abortion. 

“Abortion is the killing of a human life,” Cordileone wrote. “This is a scientific fact. The fetus in the mother’s womb is a unique, growing human being, with its own unique DNA. 

“The method of killing depends on the stage of pregnancy and type of abortion, but often involves such techniques as dismembering the limbs, crushing the skull, and burning the body,” he said.

But above all, abortion is a moral issue, the archbishop wrote. 

“No matter the method, abortion is a horrendously violent act,” Cordileone said. “This is not hyperbole. It is scientific fact.”

Cordileone went on to challenge students to advocate for the truth about abortion, which is not glamorous, but fosters greatness. 

“Think of the abolitionists of the mid-19th century, or the advocates of civil rights of the mid-20th century: They did not fit into the societies of their times, advocating for politically unpopular and unfashionable causes,” he wrote. “They risked, and some lost, their lives in the effort to correct the greatest injustice of their time. We now regard them as the moral heroes of their generation.”

He cited Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who once said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

“This, though, only happens when a new generation of moral heroes rises up to correct the injustice,” the archbishop wrote. “This requires a strong backbone, great spiritual stamina. Will you be the moral heroes of your generation? Do you have what it takes?”

Cordileone urged the students to cultivate their prayer lives. He wrote that only Christ—and His Church—can offer women true choice in the face of an unplanned pregnancy, and healing after an abortion. 

He encouraged young women at the high school to cherish their fertility as a blessing that does not come at the cost of progress for women.  

“God has given you the awesome gift of being able to conceive and bring to the light of day a new, unique human being, with an immortal soul,” he wrote. “I’m old enough to remember a time when our society cherished this gift and protected it; indeed, in effect, society organized itself around it.”

“It is true that back then women were deprived of many opportunities that they now enjoy, and this is progress to be celebrated. However, it should not come at the cost of women having to cancel out this awesome gift.”

Cordileone challenged young men at the high school to respect women as equals, not as tools to be used for selfish pleasure. 

“You still have a ways to go before you mature into full manhood,” he wrote. “If you want to remain a boy forever, then spend your life caring only about yourself and every little immediate pleasure that you desire, because to be a real man requires a life of sacrifice and virtue. 

“It also means acting responsibly by showing respect toward women as your true equals and cherishing and respecting that awesome gift she has of bringing new life into the world,” he said.

He prayed that students at Archbishop Riordan High School would be open to learning and growing in their knowledge, “and especially open to hearing and trying to understand points of view different from your own, even points of view with which you strongly disagree.”

“I wish that is what those of you who walked out of the speech by a pro-life activist recently would have done,” he wrote. “This action put on full display one of the blind spots of youth due to young people’s lack of extended life experience: gullibility.”

After shocking Waukesha Christmas parade attack, Wis. Catholics grieve and pray

Catholics and others were injured, and at least four people killed, when a car drove through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Nov. 21. / Getty Images

Waukesha, Wisconsin, Nov 22, 2021 / 16:51 pm (CNA).

Catholics in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha have responded with grief, prayer, and solidarity after an SUV drove into marchers in the city’s Christmas parade. Five people were killed, and among the nearly 50 injured are a Catholic priest, multiple parishioners, and Catholic schoolchildren.

“As the shepherd of the Catholic community of southeastern Wisconsin, I feel compelled to stand in solidarity with those who have been affected by this senseless act,” said Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee said in a video message on Monday. “When confronted with the shock and the grief encountered by our brothers and sisters in Waukesha, it is now important for us to turn to our faith which offers us God’s loving presence and consolation.”

Like other schools in the city, Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha cancelled Monday classes. The high school, which had a contingent marching in the parade, held a prayer service at 12:30 p.m.

St. William Church in Waukesha scheduled a bilingual prayer service at 6 p.m. Central Time Monday and said it would be streamed live on its Facebook page and YouTube.

“Our prayers are with the people who have been injured and killed during the tragic incident in Waukesha,” the archbishop continued in the video. “Please join us in prayer for all those involved, their families, and those who are traumatized from witnessing the horrible scene.”

“I know that people of every faith and tradition will call their communities together and offer to God their sense of confidence in his ability to guide us through this difficult period and offer hope and healing,” said Listecki. “God bless you.”

A red SUV barreled through barricades and into a crowd marching down the main street of Waukesha just before 4:40 p.m. on Nov. 21. Videos posted on social media showed a dark SUV racing down the parade route past horrified onlookers moments before marchers were struck, with police in pursuit.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, the Waukesha Xtreme Dance team, and a marching band were also struck by the vehicle, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Several of the dead were part of the dancing grandmothers’ group, while another was a Citizen Bank employee walking with a float. 

The youngest to die was 52, while the oldest was 81. Those hospitalized for their injuries included at least 18 children.

Also marching in the parade were individuals and institutions of the local Catholic community.

Waukesha has four Catholic parishes. In the wake of the incident, the city’s parishes provided social media livestreams of the rosary and Eucharistic adoration.  

Authorities named Darrell Brooks Jr. as the suspected driver, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Among other recommended charges, he could face five charges of first-degree intentional homicide, each of which has a sentence of mandatory life in prison.

Brooks, 39, was the subject of an ongoing domestic violence case. The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said Nov. 22 that prosecutors had recommended an “inappropriately low” bail in this case and it is investigating the recommendation.

In the last two years Brooks has faced three charges of recklessly endangering others’ safety. He jumped bail for a July 2020 incident for allegedly firing a handgun during an argument.

Most recently, in early November, he allegedly ran over a woman with his vehicle in the parking lot of a Milwaukee gas station. She was hospitalized for her injuries. Brooks was free on $1,000 bail.

At a Monday afternoon press conference, Waukesha police chief confirmed that Brooks was involved in a “domestic disturbance” before he drove onto the parade route. There was an unconfirmed report that a knife was involved. Officials said on Monday that there was no police pursuit related to that incident, CNN reports.

Brooks has a significant record of other criminal convictions.

Bishop of Charleston prohibits confirmation, anointing of the sick in ‘Tridentine Form’

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston, South Carolina / Bill Kennedy/Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 22, 2021 / 16:12 pm (CNA).

Priests in the Diocese of Charleston, S.C. may no longer administer confirmation or the anointing of the sick in Latin using the pre-Vatican II Roman Missal, under a new policy that goes into effect Sunday.

The policy announced by Charleston Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone also limits the use of the Traditional Latin Mass, and comes in response to Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes, or “Guardians of the tradition.” The papal edict states that it is each bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the use of the Traditional Latin Mass in his diocese.

The Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962 is known as the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, the Tridentine Mass, and the Traditional Latin Mass.

The new “Policy Regarding Celebration of the Mass of 1962 in the Diocese of Charleston” goes into effect on Nov. 28, the first Sunday of Advent. It identifies four parishes in the diocese where the Traditional Latin Mass may be said on Sundays and holy days of obligation, under certain conditions.

Guglielmone stipulates in the new policy that the Traditional Latin Mass cannot be celebrated for midnight Mass at Christmas, or during the Triduum or the Easter vigil. A single Traditional Latin Mass is allowed on All Souls Day. On weekdays, the older rite may be celebrated “if an additional Mass is celebrated according to the ‘NOVUS ORDO’ on the same day,” the policy states.

The four parishes where the Traditional Latin Mass can be celebrated are: Stella Maris in Sullivans Island; Sacred Heart in Charleston; Prince of Peace in Taylors, and Our Lady of the Lake in Chapin.

The policy also limits the celebration of certain sacraments in the “Tridentine form.”

Confirmation and anointing of the sick are not permitted, the bishop states. Baptism is allowed only at the request of the parents. Matrimony using the older rite is permitted with permission of the bishop, and funerals are allowed only at “specific prior written request of the deceased.”

A note adds that “Baptism, Matrimony and Anointing of the Sick can be celebrated in Latin according to the most recent updating of the rites.”

“Those priests who have been celebrating this Mass prior to the date of Pope Francis’ MOTU PROPRIO and who have indicated to me that they were doing so, may celebrate this Mass” in the four parishes, Guglielmone states in the policy.

A spokeswoman for the diocese confirmed that the new policy is in response to Traditionis custodes. “The motu proprio from the Holy Father requested that each bishop evaluate their diocese and implement specific instructions regarding the celebration of the Mass of 1962,” she told CNA. “After reviewing the rites thoroughly and consulting with the pastors of our diocese, the bishop approved this policy effective the first Sunday of Advent.”

The spokeswoman also addressed the sacramental regulations in the policy. “Regarding the specific limitations on certain sacraments, these decisions were made based upon the rubrics and study of the rites,” she said. “For example, before Vatican II the Mass could not be celebrated after 12:00 p.m. on a Sunday and not before midnight the day before a major feast day. Thus, there is no permission in the rubrics to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass on Christmas Eve.”

Guglielmone was appointed bishop of Charleston by Pope Benedict in 2009. The text of the new policy is below.

The new policy of the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., regarding the use of the Traditional Latin Mass. CNA
The new policy of the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., regarding the use of the Traditional Latin Mass. CNA

Catholic University of America: Unintentional abortion coverage for students wasn't used

The Catholic University of America. / Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 22, 2021 / 14:51 pm (CNA).

Although it has acknowledged that its student health plan unintentionally covered certain abortion services for the past three years, The Catholic University of America said Monday that no abortion claims occurred during that time.

"Aetna reported that there were no abortion claims paid under the plan," university spokeswoman Karna Lozoya told CNA. 

Aetna is a healthcare provider often used by universities to offer students and staff a university-sponsored health insurance option. 

CUA’s report comes days after a media report uncovering that the university's student health care plan provided by Aetna covers abortion “when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or if it places the woman’s life in serious danger.”

The College Fix, a new site that features the work of student journalists, originally reported Nov. 9 that CUA was offering the services. 

The news outlet has written a series of stories about student health care plans at a number of Catholic higher-education institutions that cover abortion services, sterilization surgeries, contraception, and even sex change surgeries, all in contradiction to the explicit teachings of the Catholic Church.

In an earlier statement to CNA, Lozoya explained that the abortion coverage was not intentional on the university’s part.

“The Catholic University of America is committed to defending life at every stage, and we work hard to live out that commitment in all aspects of University operations. For our student and staff health plans, we have always excluded abortion from coverage,” she said.

“A few years ago our health insurance provider for our student health plan (Aetna) made a blanket change to their plans to add limited exceptions to the abortion exclusion — in the case of rape, incest, and if the life of the mother is in danger. Unfortunately, the change was not intentional on our part. Our health insurance plan for staff never included these exceptions,” the statement continued.

“As a result of our direct communications with Aetna, they have removed all exceptions to the comprehensive exclusion of abortion coverage from our student health plan, and we have removed the plan from our website. An amended plan will be available soon, and it will be explicit that abortion is excluded from coverage,” Lozoya said. “The Catholic University of America apologizes for the error.”

A senior and student senator at Catholic University of America, Gerald Sharpe, told CNA that the university is pro-life.

“As the university mentioned, this was a colossal error. I know and have worked closely with the administration when I was student body President — they are deeply committed to protecting all life in the womb. As a senior at Catholic U, I can easily say the Church’s teaching on life is upheld and fostered on campus,” he said.

This article was updated with additional information on Nov. 22.

Faith leaders unite to ‘Pray for Dobbs,’ the case that could overturn Roe

Adult and young people hold signs protesting abortion. / Murloc / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 22, 2021 / 14:13 pm (CNA).

Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians recently united for a day of prayer in anticipation for an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case concerning abortion. 

“Our Christian churches and all people of goodwill must pray, fast, and work harder to end this pandemic of child sacrifice,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., said at the event held on Nov. 18.

The National Virtual Prayer Gathering comes as part of the “Pray for Dobbs” campaign. On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that involves Mississippi’s law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks. The case challenges two landmark cases: Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe in 1992.

The “Pray for Dobbs” campaign provides “resources to help your church, school, ministry, or faith community pray for a just decision in the Dobbs case,” including an informational webinar, flyers detailing the case, and action ideas. Those ideas include prayer, fasting, and organizing local prayer vigils for Dec. 1.

Kat Talalas, the assistant director for pro-life communciations at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), explained the initiative during in an informational webinar on Oct. 19. Some 3,500 church leaders participated in the webinar.

“Several faith leaders, all around the same time, had simultaneously the same idea, which is that we need a unified effort of Christians across the country joining together in prayer and fasting to end the scourge of abortion,” Talalas said during the webinar. “They also realized this would have to be an effort that comes out of the body of Christ and is not necessarily tied to any political group or political movement, but is truly an effort from people who are seeking to intercede and to ask God to protect all human life.”

With leaders of different faith traditions involved, she stressed, “We welcome you, we hope that you will join us in prayer and fasting from now until June 22.” The Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case is expected to come sometime before July 2022.

The prayer event, hosted by Mary Szoch, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council (FRC), featured 16 guests including Naumann, former chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Our nation stands guilty of not only promoting, endorsing, and enshrining abortion across the land, but we are responsible for exporting abortion throughout the world in a sinister form of colonial imperialism,” Naumann said during the event. He asked God for forgiveness and to “strengthen us to stand against evil, to love those who may attack us, and show great compassion to those who’ve been involved in sins against life.”

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, the superior general of the Sisters of Life, began her prayer during the event with the sign of the cross. She prayed for those wounded by abortion and for the children who have perished by abortion. 

“We pray that those whose hearts have been pierced by abortion may experience anew your gaze of love upon them and, in your gaze, be restored to experience their own great dignity,” she said.

“Holy Spirit,” she added, “inspire our Supreme Court justices and clerks for the deep sense of reverence for the sacredness of every human life so that every human life be protected in law. That the sufferings of abortion may end.”

Szoch described “Pray for Dobbs” as “bringing together Christians from around the country to pray for the end to abortion in America.” 

“It was really an effort all across the board,” she told CNA. “We had Catholics involved, we had Baptists involved, we had Presbyterians involved. I know I'm leaving out people there, but we really did have a unified effort.”

The speakers at the prayer event included Tony Evans, the senior pastor Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Benjamin Watson, a former NFL star and Super Bowl champion, Tony Meléndez, a singer and concert guitarist, and Metropolitan Tikhon, the archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All America and Canada for the Orthodox Church.

She said it was advertised by churches across the country, the USCCB, FRC, and the Alliance Defending Freedom.

She acknowledged the importance of prayer and fasting in anticipation of the case.

“The atrocity of abortion is a grave evil and we know that God, the author of life, is pro-life,” she said. “He is the being who brought every unborn child into being, and he knows each unborn child intimately, and he has called each one of them by name for a purpose.”

Szoch highlighted another upcoming cross-denominational and non-partisan event called “Pray Together for Life.” Separate from “Pray for Dobbs,” FRC is organizing it to be held on Nov. 28 in Jackson, Miss.

“We need America to return to a nation that believes in the dignity of the human person,” she said, “and for that, we can't do it without God.” 

Heart surgery scheduled for San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy

Bishop Robert McElroy. / Catholic News Agency

San Diego, Calif., Nov 22, 2021 / 11:32 am (CNA).

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego is scheduled for a coronary bypass surgery on Monday. He is expected to make a full recovery, though he will not return to work until after Christmas.

“I have great confidence in the medical staff who are carrying out this operation and, generally, patients are able to return to work in about four weeks,” he told the diocese’s priests in a letter.

“Of course, God will be in charge of all this,” he added.

The 67-year-old bishop began discussing the possible surgery with doctors after he received results from medical tests over the summer, the diocese said in a statement on Friday.

McElroy was born in San Francisco and ordained a priest there in 1980. He served as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Francisco from 2010 to 2015, when he was named Bishop of San Diego.

He is currently president of the California Catholic Conference and a member of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

His predecessor in San Diego, Bishop Cirilo Flores, died in September 2014 at the age of 66 after only one year in office. Flores had suffered a stroke and was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.