“I would like to join my tears to yours and tell you that there is not a day when I am not close to you and do not carry you in my heart and in my prayers. Your pain is my pain.”
— Pope Francis, in a Nov. 24 letter to the Ukrainian people expressing his admiration for their courage and commitment to their country in the face of so much death and destruction
Catholic leaders respond to shooting at nightclub
Catholic leaders have condemned the Nov. 19 attack on an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that killed at least five people and injured at least 25. The church leaders — the archbishop of Denver, leaders of religious orders and congregations, and a Catholic outreach group to members of the LGBTQ community — also prayed for those impacted by the attack and urged for an end to hate crimes and use of language that condemns those in the LGBTQ community. The suspected gunman, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, faced murder and hate crime charges Nov. 21, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, adding that the suspect used an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon in the attack at Club Q before he was subdued by people at the club.
State Supreme Court reinstates six-week ban on abortions
The Supreme Court of Georgia Nov. 23 reinstated a law that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is about six weeks into a pregnancy. The law makes exceptions to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape or incest, if a police report is filed. It also made exceptions to allow abortions when a fetus has serious medical issues. The high court issued a one-page order putting a lower court ruling overturning the ban on hold while it considers an appeal. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney had overturned the ban Nov. 15.
Rabbi invested as papal knight in Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great
Rabbi A. James Rudin, who has built strong Catholic-Jewish relations around the world working with popes and other faith leaders, was named a knight of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great in ceremonies at St. Leo University in Florida. During the investiture Nov. 20 at the university, Rabbi Rudin became just the third American rabbi to earn the honor. Rabbi Rudin of Fort Myers, Florida, has been an international leader in interreligious relations. As a staff member of the American Jewish Committee for 32 years, he has served as its interreligious affairs officer and currently is senior interreligious adviser.
Retired Bishop Hubbard asks Vatican to return him ‘to the lay state’
Retired Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany has asked the Vatican that he be “returned to the lay state.” The 84-year-old bishop announced in a Nov. 18 statement that he made the request, citing his age and that he is retired from active ministry. He also repeated his denial that he abused anyone. The announcement came as Bishop Hubbard continues to face several lawsuits under New York’s Child Victims Act.
Private lifestyle no longer a reason for job dismissal in German church
People who work for the Catholic Church in Germany and live in a second marriage or in a same-sex partnership will in most cases no longer have to brace for their dismissal under new employment guidelines being discussed by the country’s bishops. The bishops adopted the more liberal guidelines for the approximately 800,000 employees of the Catholic Church and the Caritas social services organization, reported KNA, the German Catholic news agency. Germany’s constitution allows religious and ideological communities a far-reaching right of self-determination, including employment requirements. A central concept of the revised “Basic Order of Church Employment” is that in the future, an employee’s private lifestyle would no longer be a reason for dismissal. The new version is initially only a recommendation to the dioceses. Each diocesan bishop maintains the responsibility to implement it or not.
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Pope Francis has suspended the secretary-general and other top officers of Caritas Internationalis, appointing a temporary administrator to oversee improved management policies and to prepare for the election of new officers in May. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, whose second term as Caritas president was to end in May, also loses his position, although he is to assist the temporary administrator in preparing for the future by taking “special care of relations with the local churches and the member organizations,” said the papal decree published Nov. 22. Caritas Internationalis is the umbrella organization for 162 official Catholic charities working in more than 200 countries; it includes the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, the Canadian bishops’ Development and Peace and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Pope Francis appointed Pier Francesco Pinelli, a business management consultant, to oversee the Vatican-based offices of the general secretariat.
Top photo: Pope Francis greets Ukrainian Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych during a private meeting at the Vatican Nov. 7, 2022. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)