“One does not proclaim the Gospel standing still, locked in an office, at one’s desk or at one’s computer, arguing like ‘keyboard warriors’ and replacing the creativity of proclamation with copy-and-paste ideas taken from here and there. … I exhort you to be evangelizers who move, without fear, who go forward to share the beauty of Jesus, the newness of Jesus, who changes everything.”
— Pope Francis, speaking April 12 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square
Pope Francis confirms trip to Mongolia in September
Pope Francis confirmed he will travel to Mongolia in September, becoming the first pope to visit the Asian nation, which is home to a cardinal and some 1,300 Catholics. In an audience April 14 with executives and staff of ITA Airways, the airline that has taken the pope on his international trips since 2021, he said that he will visit Mongolia, a country sandwiched between Russia and China, after traveling to Hungary in late April and Marseille, France, in September. During an airborne news conference on his return flight from South Sudan in February, the pope told journalists there was a “possibility that from Marseille I will fly to Mongolia.”
Arsonist attacks historic Ukrainian Catholic church visited by St. John Paul II
Police in Lviv, Ukraine, have arrested a 31-year-old man who set fire to a historic Ukrainian Greek Catholic church visited by St. John Paul II in 2001. Rescue services responded to an early morning April 14 emergency call at the Church of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God, where flames destroyed a significant portion of a door at the back of the structure. The blaze was quickly extinguished, and no injuries were reported. In 2001, the church hosted an address to youth by St. John Paull II, with some half a million in attendance. The adjacent square was renamed for the pope, with a nearby monument and park dedicated to his honor as well. Surveillance video enabled authorities to track down the arson suspect, a resident of Ukraine’s western Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia) region.
State Legislature advances mandatory reporting bill that lacks confession exception
A bill that would require clergy to report child abuse or neglect in Washington was advanced by the state’s House, prompting concern from some Catholics who are seeking a clergy-penitent exemption to protect the seal of the confessional. Catholics in the state have expressed concern the House’s version of the bill could force priests to violate the civil law in order to uphold church law regarding the seal of confession. The bill passed the House April 11 in a 75-20 vote.
Catholic governor calls on lawmakers to abolish the death penalty as ‘a pro-life state’
Gov. John Bel Edwards called for an end to the death penalty in Louisiana during his final State of the State address, April 10, in an impassioned call for lawmakers to adopt legislative proposals reflecting its identity as a “pro-life state.” “For the first time, I’m calling on the Legislature to end the death penalty,” said Edwards, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election to a third consecutive term in the governor’s mansion. Edwards, a pro-life Catholic Democrat, signed into law the state’s six-week abortion ban and other strong protections for unborn children. At the start of a new legislative session, the governor also tasked lawmakers with being “good and faithful servants this session,” and argued that being a pro-life state also includes passing paid family leave.
Federal judge temporarily blocks Biden’s clean water rule amid challenge from 24 states
A federal judge April 12 blocked a Biden administration rule that would expand federal protections for thousands of smaller bodies of water, such as streams and wetlands, in 24 states across the country. Judge Daniel Hovland of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a temporary preliminary injunction to halt enforcement of the rule, which would broaden the definition of what types of bodies of water qualify for federal water-quality protections under the 1972 Clean Water Act. Twenty-four Republican-led states spearheaded by West Virginia challenged the rule, arguing it was federal overreach that would damage the agriculture industries in their states. Supporters of the rule argued it would protect the environment and drinking water.
Immigration bill criminalizing transporting undocumented immigrants has religious liberty implications, faith leaders say
A bill in Florida that supporters say would crack down on illegal immigration in the Sunshine State has prompted concerns from some faith leaders that it could criminalize some ministries that serve the state’s migrant population. Senate Bill 1718, would make it a felony to shelter or transport immigrants without legal status into or within Florida, among other measures like prohibitions on hiring them or requiring hospitals to ask patients for their immigration status. The bill is seen as likely to pass the Florida Legislature; DeSantis has backed the legislation. Catholics and other faith communities in Florida have raised concerns that the bill could jeopardize some of their ministries, including rides to church services or to ministries that serve the vulnerable without regard to immigration status, such as soup kitchens and accommodations in homeless shelters.
DID YOU KNOW?
At least 52,250 people have been killed over the last 14 years in Nigeria just for being Christian, a new report published April 10 revealed. The report, titled “Martyred Christians in Nigeria” and published by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), which is headquartered in Eastern Nigeria, says 30,250 of those have been killed since 2015, when President Muhhamadu Buhari came to power. The report blames what it calls Buhari’s radical Islamism for those killings. Approximately 34,000 moderate Muslims were also butchered or hacked to death within the same period.
Photo: A file photo shows trees reflect in a pond along a trail in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. A federal judge temporarily blocked a federal rule in 24 states that is intended to protect the nation’s water supply by defining which bodies of water are subject to the WOTUS rule. (OSV news photo/CNS file, Bob Roller)