Nation/World news briefs: Oct. 10, 2022

TEXAS
State executes inmate who won court battle over prayer in death chamber

John Ramirez, a Texas inmate who won a legal battle with the Supreme Court to have his pastor pray aloud over him and place his hands on him in the execution chamber, was executed by lethal injection Oct. 5. Ramirez, 38, was given the death sentence for the stabbing murder of a convenience store clerk during a 2004 robbery. Just before Ramirez was executed at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, the Texas Catholic Conference said in a tweet that it lamented his scheduled execution. The public policy arm of the state’s bishops described the death penalty as “an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” The Catholic conference also prayed for the victim’s family and all involved in the case.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
USCCB, military archdiocese oppose VA’s proposed abortion services rule

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese for the Military Services have filed a joint statement objecting to a rule proposed by the Biden administration to allow abortions to be performed on demand in health programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. “The interim final rule allows abortions, including elective abortions, in VA programs through nine months of pregnancy,” said the statement, dated Sept. 21. “That abortion is permitted through all nine months of pregnancy can be inferred from the rule’s failure to place any gestational limit on the availability of abortion in VA programs,” it added. On Sept. 1, the VA submitted to the Federal Register an interim final rule allowing the VA to provide access to abortion counseling and — in certain cases — abortions to pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries, according to a Sept. 2 news release from the VA.

UKRAINE
Baltimore archbishop sees resilience, helps distribute Knights’ aid

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore joined a small group of leaders from the Knights of Columbus on a four-day trip to Poland and Ukraine to help distribute aid from the fraternal organization to orphanages and other service centers assisting refugees from the war in Ukraine. Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly established the Ukraine Solidarity Fund in February to assist with food, shelter, clothing and other supplies. During this trip, the Knights brought care packages for internally displaced persons and also provided monetary support for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Latin-rite Church in Ukraine and for the orphanage run by the Archdiocese of Czestochowa, Poland.

ETHIOPIA
Bishop urges action to save millions in renewed war in Tigray

A displaced teenager rests in a tent at a camp in Kasagita, Ethiopia, Feb. 25, 2022. The young woman sustained injuries to her right leg from explosives left near her house in the aftermath of fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Force and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. (CNS photo/Tiksa Negeri, Reuters)

On the date marking 700 days of war in Ethiopia’s region of Tigray, Bishop Tesfasellassie Medhin of Adigrat restated his call to the local and international community to act to save millions of people. People must “exercise their moral duty (to) be a voice of the voiceless and enforce international treaties to save more than 7 million live from vanishing,” Bishop Medhin said in a statement Oct. 4. Fighting began again Aug. 24, shattering a five-month humanitarian truce the government announced in May to allow aid to reach millions of needy people. During the period some food, medicines and other basic needs reached the region. Bishop Medhin said the Catholic Church in Tigray was urging all the Catholic networks, partners, national and international religious leaders, U.N. agencies, the international community, among others, to condemn the war and move to help the suffering populations.

VATICAN CITY
Schedule published for papal trip to Bahrain

Pope Francis’ visit to Bahrain Nov. 3-6 will make him the first pope to visit the archipelago nation in the Persian Gulf. The focus of the visit will be the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence in Awali and meetings with top Muslim leaders, but it will also include an ecumenical gathering and a prayer for peace in the newly built Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral, a Mass and meetings with Catholics in the Muslim-majority nation. Bahrain is a tiny island nation — smaller in area than London — and a key U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf.

VATICAN CITY
Pope appoints new cardinals as members of dicasteries

Pope Francis appointed several recently created cardinals to be members of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the Vatican announced. Among the new appointments announced by the Vatican Oct. 7 was Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego, who will serve as a member of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life as well as the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Cardinal McElroy was among the 20 prelates welcomed into the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis Aug. 27.

Author: Catholic News Service

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

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