Nuns and priests flee, more churches shut in Tigray region
Catholic bishops in Ethiopia warned that insecurity is shutting down churches and forcing more priests and nuns to flee, as consequences of the war in the northern province of Tigray are felt across the entire country. The bishops reiterated that the insecurity also had made it difficult for the Church to effectively carry out its pastoral work in many parishes — including those in the Diocese of Adigrat in Tigray. The latest report by the International Displacement Monitoring Centre, an international organization that produces data and analysis on internal displacement, said conflict and violence in Tigray have displaced an estimated 5.1 million people. These people need food, and some fear the starvation of millions.
Pro-lifers will ‘redouble efforts’ to help women, protect unborn
Now that the Value Them Both constitutional amendment has been defeated, a big question looms: What’s next? “This turns our attention to our pastoral efforts,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City. “While we can’t protect women and children from abortion by the law, we can with love. … This makes the work of our pregnancy resource centers more important. We need to redouble our efforts in those areas.” The Value Them Both amendment, defeated Aug. 2, would have reversed the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that found a right to unlimited and unrestricted abortion in the state’s 1859 constitution.
Archbishop decries Biden order, ‘continued promotion of abortion’
Decrying President Joe Biden’s new executive order on abortion, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee said Aug. 5 that “continued promotion of abortion takes lives and irreparably harms vulnerable pregnant mothers, their families and society.” “Even preceding the Dobbs decision, my brother bishops and I have implored the nation to stand with moms in need, and work together to protect and support women and children,” Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said in a statement. On Aug. 3, Biden signed an executive order instructing the Department of Health and Human Services “to advance access to reproductive health care services, including, to the extent permitted by federal law, through Medicaid for patients traveling across state lines for medical care.”
Orlando priest to head Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life, Vocations
Father Jorge Torres, a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, Florida, has been appointed as the next executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations at the conference’s headquarters in Washington. Father Torres has served as a specialist in the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis since June 2021 to help implement the multiyear National Eucharistic Revival, which was launched this year on June 19, the feast of Corpus Christi, and culminates in the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in 2024. Father Michael J.K. Fuller, USCCB general secretary, appointed him to his new post Aug. 5. It takes effect Jan. 1.
Knights of Columbus honor family of the year
Thousands of Knights of Columbus members and their families were welcomed to Nashville Aug. 1 for the 140th annual Supreme Convention of the Catholic fraternal men’s organization with a private concert at the legendary Grand Ole Opry House. Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and his wife, Vanessa, presented awards to individual Knights, councils, assemblies and jurisdictions for their outstanding achievements over the last year. The Sewell family — Robert and Tracey Sewell and their eight children — of Douglasville, Georgia, was named International Family of the Year. Robert Sewell, a member of the St. John Paul II Council 10821, has been a Knight for 15 years and has served in a variety of roles with the Knights. His family members are regular volunteers in their parish and their community, particularly with the local Pregnancy Resource Center’s Walk for Life and the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Mass in Atlanta.
Longtime Catholic peacemaker and activist, dies at 88
Deacon Tom Cornell, a co-founder of Pax Christi USA as well as the Catholic Peace Fellowship and a decadeslong associate of Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day, died Aug. 1. He was 88. He died at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York, near Peter Maurin Farm in Marlboro, New York, where Deacon Cornell and his wife, Monica, lived for nearly three decades. The farm is part of the Catholic Worker in New York, providing hospitality to the formerly homeless and for men recovering from addiction or struggling with physical or mental impairments. Friends in online social media posts recalled Deacon Cornell as “a giant” in Catholic peacemaking and credited his strong dedication to the corporal works of mercy. He joined the Catholic Worker in New York in 1953, serving the homeless and poor who regularly visited Maryhouse and St. Joseph House.
Photo: A man holds candles as he prays after religious institutions declared a five days prayer session to end the war in Tigray, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 10, 2021. (CNS photo/Tiksa Negeri, Reuters)