Nation/World news briefs: Aug. 22, 2022

Survivors of Uvalde mass shooting get tuition aid to attend Catholic school

Thanks to tuition help from Catholic Extension, children who were wounded in the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde can transfer to a local Catholic school. The Chicago-based nonprofit announced Aug. 15 it has awarded 30 full scholarships to survivors who want to attend to Sacred Heart Catholic School, Many families are seeking immediate psychological relief by transferring their children from Robb Elementary to the Catholic school. In a new release, Catholic Extension said the scholarships are part of the organization’s “ongoing efforts to support the well-being of the children and their families of Uvalde.”

State Supreme Court upholds state law banning most abortions

The Idaho Supreme Court Aug. 12 upheld a state law that bans abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. The law will take effect Aug. 25. A Planned Parenthood affiliate had challenged the ban, saying it violates Idahoans’ right to privacy and equal protection under the state constitution. Writing for the majority in the 3-2 decision, Justice Robin Brody said Planned Parenthood was asking the court ultimately “to declare a right to abortion under the Idaho Constitution when — on its face — there is none.”

Vandals target New England crisis pregnancy center

Police are investigating vandalism at a western Massachusetts pregnancy center that provides women facing a crisis pregnancy with free diapers, wipes, baby clothes, strollers and car seats. Police said vandals early Aug. 18 spray-painted “Jane’s Revenge” on benches located outside of Bethlehem House in Easthampton, near Springfield, along with the message, “If abortion isn’t safe, neither are you.” Jane’s Revenge is an organization that supports keeping abortion legal. It has claimed responsibility for similar actions at churches and pro-life pregnancy centers across the country since May, when a draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health organization case was leaked.

Pope ‘deeply saddened’ by Orthodox church fire

Pope Francis offered prayers and condolences to the victims of a fire in an Orthodox Church that took the lives of 41 people — including 18 children — who died in a fire in Egypt’s capital, Cairo. In a telegram sent on the pope’s behalf Aug. 18 to Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said Pope Francis was “deeply saddened” by the fire, which also claimed the life of Coptic Orthodox Bishop Abdul Bakhit. According to news reports, at least 5,000 Coptic Christians were preparing for the morning liturgy Aug. 14 at the Martyr Abu Sefein Church in Imbaba, a suburban area of the city, when the fire started. The deaths resulted from an ensuing stampede and smoke inhalation.

Pope says not enough evidence to try cardinal for sexual assault

A preliminary Vatican investigation into allegations against Cardinal Marc Ouellet concluded there was not sufficient evidence to warrant opening up formal proceedings against the cardinal for sexual assault, a Vatican spokesman said.  Pope Francis has been made aware of these findings and, after further consultation, has declared that “there are insufficient elements to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault by Cardinal Ouellet against person F,” Matteo Bruni, head of the Vatican press office, said in a written statement Aug. 18. Bruni confirmed that Belgian Jesuit Father Jacques Servais, a long-time associate of the cardinal, had been chosen by the pope to conduct the preliminary study. In the class action lawsuit, Cardinal Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Bishops, was accused of actions allegedly committed against a young laywoman who was employed as a pastoral worker in 2008, when the cardinal was archbishop of Quebec. Court documents filed Aug. 16 indicate the alleged actions consisted of “nonconsensual touching of a sexual nature.”

Pope warns Somalia at risk of famine, appeals for aid

Pope Francis called on the international community to help the people of Somalia who are at risk of famine due to severe drought. “The populations of this region, who already live in very precarious conditions, now find themselves in mortal danger due to drought,” the pope said Aug. 14 during his Sunday Angelus address. “I hope that international solidarity can respond effectively to this emergency,” he said. “Unfortunately, war diverts attention and resources, but these are the objectives that demand the utmost commitment: the fight against hunger; health; and education.” According to an Aug. 5 report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the rise in food insecurity brought on by the drought has caused “more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year.”

Top photo: Students are seen in Uvalde, Texas, Aug. 15, 2020. (CNS photo/courtesy Catholic Extension)

Author: Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ news and information service.

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