Nation/World news briefs: April 11, 2023


“We are not alone: Jesus, the living one, is with us forever. Let the Church and the world rejoice, for today our hopes no longer come up against the wall of death, for the Lord has built us a bridge to life.”
— Pope Francis, speaking April 9 during his Easter message and blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world)

Pope accepts resignation of Dubuque archbishop for health reasons

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Michael O. Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, 68, for health reasons and has appointed retired Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington April 4 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The archbishop gave no details about his health in the letter. At 68, he is seven years younger than the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. He turns 69 April 13.

Legislature approves ‘born alive’ bill with veto-proof majority

Kansas lawmakers approved a “born-alive infants protection act” April 4, sending the legislation to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s desk with a veto-proof majority. The bill aims to protect infants born alive, regardless of whether the intent was to abort them, and marks the first abortion-related legislation passed in the state since Kansas voters rejected an effort to strip abortion protections from their state constitution last year. The Kansas House voted 86 to 36 to pass the bill, HB 2313, which would require physicians to provide medical care to infants “born alive” as the result of a botched abortion procedure appropriate to their gestational age, and to report data to the state about any such incidents. The Kansas bill also would apply to instances where doctors induce labor to deliver an unborn child that is not expected to survive outside the womb.

Concerns raised over mandatory reporting bill that lacks confession exception

A bill that would require clergy to report child abuse or neglect in Washington state is under consideration by the Legislature, but some have expressed concern that this bill could force Catholic priests to violate the civil law in order to uphold church law regarding the seal of confession. SB 5280, sponsored by state Sen. Noel Frame, D-Seattle, would make members of the clergy mandatory reporters, people required by law to report suspected or known instances of child abuse or neglect. The bill, as introduced by Frame, contained an exemption for what her office described in a February press release as “clergy-penitent privilege, referred to as confession in some faith communities.” That exemption was removed as the bill went through an amendment process in the state House, leading to objections from the state’s Catholic bishops.

AG’s abuse report ‘heartbreaking,’ new reminder of ‘tragic and shameful time’

In a pastoral letter responding to the release of a redacted version of the Maryland attorney general’s report “Clergy Abuse in Maryland: Report on the Investigation of the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Archbishop William E. Lori said it serves “as a heartbreaking and new reminder of a tragic and shameful time.” The report, released April 5, details cases of sexual abuse committed by representatives of the church, for the most part from the 1940s to the early 1990s, as well as the way the archdiocese responded to reports of abuse. The report includes information on more than 600 victims of child sexual abuse by 156 people affiliated with the church in that time span.

Award-winning CNS reporter Jerry Filteau dies at 78

Jerry Filteau, who was a reporter for Catholic News Service for nearly 40 years before his 2007 retirement, died April 4 after a long illness. He was 78. Filteau, whose byline became associated with in-depth and authoritative reporting on the Catholic Church, suffered from coronary heart disease and also had esophageal cancer. He was in hospice care at the home he shared with his wife of 49 years, Pat, in the Washington suburb of Laurel. In 2003, Filteau won the St. Francis de Sales Award from what was then called the Catholic Press Association — considered the highest honor in U.S. Catholic journalism. Filteau was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, and grew up in Minnesota. He studied at Crosier Seminary in Onamia before moving to the Washington area to study at The Catholic University of America’s Theological College.

Catholic groups back request for international court to act on climate change

Various Catholic groups praised a United Nations’ resolution that calls on the International Court of Justice to outline countries’ obligations for protecting the earth’s climate, and the legal consequences they face if they don’t carry these out. The resolution was pushed by Pacific Islander youth and by the small island nation of Vanuatu, whose future is threatened by rising sea levels and cyclones. The U.N. General Assembly adopted the resolution by consensus March 29. The Laudato Si’ Movement, an international network of Catholic groups working to protect the environment in line with Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the need to care for the earth, welcomed the resolution “given that it takes concrete and safe steps on the way out of the current impasse in terms of science-backed climate change mitigation.”


Marking the 38th year they have provided the Easter flowers for St. Peter’s Square, Dutch flower growers sent 38,000 blooming bulbs — tulips, daffodils and hyacinths — to the Vatican. The floral gift, arranged in the square by Dutch and Vatican workers, also featured 6,000 Avalanche roses, as well as hundreds of anthurium, delphinium and chrysanthemums. Flowering azaleas, ivy and celosia completed the Easter garden set up on the steps leading to the basilica, the area around the altar and the balcony of the church.

Top photo: France Ribiollet, who was about to read the second reading at Pope Francis’ Easter morning Mass, waits for Mass to begin as she sits amid the flowers in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 9, 2023. (CNS photo/Chris Warde-Jones)

Author: OSV News

OSV News is a national and international wire service reporting on Catholic issues and issues that affect Catholics.

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