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Posted on 06/25/2019 20:08 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Baltimore, Md., Jun 25, 2019 / 12:08 pm (CNA).- A Christian grade school in Maryland is filing a lawsuit after state officials denied its participation in a voucher program for low-income students and ordered it to reimburse the state for participating in the program in previous years.
“Bethel Christian Academy offers an academically rigorous and caring Christian education in a diverse environment,” said Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Christen Price in a statement.
“Unfortunately, Maryland bureaucrats are telling low-income students that this high-quality education can’t be an option for them due solely to the school’s religious beliefs. Worse still, the state is now demanding Bethel pay back over $100,000 from the two years it participated in the program, which would be a serious financial hardship for the school.”
Bethel Christian Academy is a faith-based grade school in the Baltimore area with some 280 students from more than 40 different countries, including recent immigrants. The schools serves Christian students, as well as those with different religious affiliation, or none at all.
The Maryland Department of Education has disqualified the academy from participating in the state’s Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) voucher program, which benefits low-income students in the area.
The department had previously requested to see the student handbooks of schools in the program. Bethel’s handbook includes a statement of Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality.
In making its decision, the Department of Education cited a state law forbidding BOOST schools from discriminating in the admissions process on sexual orientation.
However, lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the academy, stressed that the school does not turn away any students based on their sexual orientation. Rather, it asks all of its grade school students to refrain from any kind of sexual conduct.
“While Bethel fully complied with the program’s requirements, Maryland let its hostility toward Bethel’s religious views, not the law, decide the school’s eligibility,” said legal counsel Christiana Holcomb. “Maryland’s families deserve better; that’s why we’re asking the court to address the state’s hostility.”
Bethel families were notified that they could no longer use the voucher at the academy just a few weeks before the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Several families had to remove their children from the school, because they could not afford to send them there without the voucher. One in five students at Bethel relies on some kind of financial aid.
In June 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a church-owned playground could not be excluded from a playground resurfacing reimbursement program run by the state solely on the grounds of being religious.
In that case, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, the state of Missouri had argued that funding a church-run school violated state constitutional prohibitions on taxpayer funding of churches.
However, the Supreme Court held in a 7-2 ruling that excluding the religious-owned playground violated the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Posted on 06/25/2019 19:48 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Portland, Maine, Jun 25, 2019 / 11:48 am (CNA).- The Diocese of Portland announced Tuesday it will be using a third-party reporting system for violations of its standards of ethical conduct, such as fraud or harassment.
“Several months ago, after hearing from people around the state, the diocese started the process of establishing this system for individuals to express their concerns in an easily accessible way,” Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland said June 25. “The system is organized to ensure that these reports will be handled in a timely and thorough manner.”
The system will be operated by Red Flag Reporting, an ethics, safety, fraud, and whistleblower hotline based in Akron. According to its website, it was founded “by one of the nation’s largest CPA firms.”
Reports of violations of the diocese's code of ethics will be made through Red Flag Reporting's website or telephone hotline. Red Flag will oversee the handling of each complaint by the diocese.
It is not meant to be used for reporting sexual abuse of minors; the Portland diocese indicated that in those cases, civil authorities and its head of professional responsibility should be contacted.
The reporting system could be used to report such ethical violations as fraud, misconduct, safety violations, harassment, or substance abuse at parishes, schools, or the chancery.
Bishop Deeley said that “To ensure transparency and the success of this initiative, the Church needs the committed involvement of the laity. In partnering with Red Flag Reporting, the diocese is offering stronger protections against problematic activity.”
“It is gratifying to report that the protocols already implemented in the Diocese of Portland regarding the safety of children, through the vigilance of both clergy and laity, have helped to make our Church a safer place for all. Since many of the procedures began in 2002, there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric in the Diocese of Portland. We have similar hope for this new system of accountability.”
Posted on 06/25/2019 11:01 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
New York City, N.Y., Jun 25, 2019 / 03:01 am (CNA).- The Bishop of Brooklyn accepted last week the findings of a nine-year diocesan investigation into the life of Monsignor Bernard John Quinn, known for fighting bigotry and serving the African American population, as part of his cause for canonization.
The information will be sent to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio received the findings at a Vespers service at the Immaculate Conception Center in Queens.
Msgr. Quinn “combatted racism and is an inspiration to the priests of this diocese,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “He is a hero who turned things around and gave his life for his people, died an early death, and was a great man.”
Quinn was born in Newark in 1888, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1912.
In 1922, he established St. Peter Claver parish, Brooklyn's first church for African American Catholics
Six years later, he established Little Flower Orphanage for African American orphanage in Wading River on Long Island. The building was twice set on fire.
Quinn's great-niece, Mary Clare Quinn, said: “The family was all very proud of the work he was doing at Little Flower, and we all contributed during the winters and summers, going out there to help. They used to burn crosses at our house in Mineola, even after he was gone, but my family stared fear down.”
Msgr. Paul Jervis, postulator for Quinn's cause, said the priest “could not separate his sacramental ministry from the social and political realities that denied to people on account of their race, or immigrant status, the opportunities to enjoy the fullness of life as the Lord willed for all humanity.”
“St. Peter Claver Catholic Church became a meeting ground where white Catholics encountered blacks and discovered that they all had a common humanity with the same human problems, and were all in need of the intercession of St. Therese and the pastoral intercession of Monsignor Quinn,” he said.
Quinn died in 1940 at the age of 52.
The diocesan phase of his cause for canonization was opened in June 2010. At that time, Bishop DiMarzio said that Quinn's ministry “did not end upon his death but has continued to grow and take root in the hearts and souls of the faithful and clergy of this church in New York, which has continually ministered to the poor and oppressed.”
Posted on 06/25/2019 07:13 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Vienna, Austria, Jun 24, 2019 / 11:13 pm (CNA).- Vienna's FC Mariahilf football team has issued a statement of regret after a friendly with the Vatican women's football team was cancelled Saturday after several FCM members lifted their jerseys whilst the Vatican anthem was playing, displaying painted ovaries and pro-abortion messages.
The Vatican soccer team, who had been invited to Vienna by FCM, decided not to go ahead with the June 22 match.
“The action of the three players was independently organized and carried out,” FCM stated. “We sincerely apologize to the Vatican team’s players and guests from near and far that the game was not played.”
The club noted that “tolerance, diversity, of life forms, and peaceful coexistence are important to us, as we have pointed out with rainbow symbols. We therefore understand the demands and message of our players, but we find the timing of their expression inappropriate and therefore understand the emotion it caused.”
The friendly was scheduled to kick off in the early afternoon in a sports arena in Wien-Simmering. Beforehand, both sides had participated in a prayer service and blessing of the pitch.
Austrian state broadcaster ORF quoted one of the FCM players involved in the protest as saying the activists were "not aware of the consequences of their action in any way and would have liked to play the football match".
The activists also handed out leaflets to journalists attending the match. These stated that the activists did not assent to the Church's teaching on abortion and same-sex marriage.
"They were not aware that the timing of the action during the playing of the Vatican anthem and in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio could be detrimental to the idea of sport and ruin many weeks of preparation", reported the ORF.
When announcing the upcoming game, the German section of Vatican News reported FCM founder Ernst Lackner as saying he had initially not expected that the Vatican team would really accept the invitation, but that the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, had assured the Vatican team that FC Mariahilf was a serious team that was also strongly committed to charity.
The papal women's football team had its first appearance in 2018 and immediately received an invitation from FCM, which is currently playing in the Wiener Landesliga, the third highest league in domestic women's football.
Posted on 06/25/2019 02:00 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2019 / 06:00 pm (CNA).- A group of about 350 people, including priests, sisters, and laypersons, processed through Washington, DC on Sunday to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. The procession wound past national landmarks and stopped at the homes of the faithful along the way.
The procession was led by Monsignor Charles Pope, the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Church in Washington, and was about one and a half miles in length. The procession ended at St. Joseph’s Church, on Capitol Hill, and included stops at two home altars along the way.
Over the course of the procession, the Eucharist was carried past the Capitol building and Supreme Court. Those processing sung hymns and prayed the Rosary.
This year was the first Eucharistic procession on Capitol Hill in recent memory. Catholic Men United, a group that “exists to fight for the honor and purification of Christ’s bride” also helped to organize the event. Pope is the group’s spiritual director.
Writing on the Archdiocese of Washington website, Pope said that Capitol Hill is, “a location that inspires both awe and anger. It is the epicenter of power in our country, power for both great good and great evil. Yet here we are as well, the Church.”
“We processed up a street where many protesters have walked before, past the homes of believers as well as non-believers, past rainbow flags as well as Madonnas in front yards, past the homes of members of Congress and ‘ordinary’ folks as well,” said Pope.
The procession went smoothly, without any major disruptions or protests, albeit there were many a curious stare from those walking by.
Pope said the procession was offered “in reparation for the sins and shortcomings of the members of the Church, both clergy and lay.”
“We will commit ourselves anew to the Lord, acknowledging our past sins and seeking grace to overcome our shortcomings and resist temptations,” he said. “We will cry for God’s mercy on us and on our nation. Without grace and mercy, we do not stand a chance, but with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.”
“I don’t know how to describe feeling so humbled and unworthy at the same time as honored and deeply loved,” said Robin Fennelly, whose home was a stop along the procession.
“All I could do was kneel, weep, and throw rose petals at the feet of the holy priests carrying our Lord.”
Posted on 06/25/2019 01:47 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2019 / 05:47 pm (CNA).- Amid a flurry of headlines denouncing the Vatican for releasing a document condemning “gender theory,” theology professors and Catholic educators told CNA that the document will be helpful in setting priorities for Catholic educators going forward, as Catholic schools respond to questions about LGBT issues.
“I love the emphasis on ‘forming the formators’...It’s important for teachers to realize that they’ve got to be able to answer their students’ questions, whether in religious education or teaching in a Catholic school,” Dr. Theresa Farnan, a professor of philosophy at St. Paul Seminary, the minor seminary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, told CNA.
“You’ve got to be able to answer your students’ questions. Because you might get one shot to answer that question, and that may be it.”
Published at the beginning of “Pride Month,” during which many cities and corporations mark the campaign of LGBT advocacy, the document says that the Church teaches an essential difference between men and woman, ordered in the natural law and essential to the family and human flourishing.
“There is a need to reaffirm the metaphysical roots of sexual difference, as an anthropological refutation of attempts to negate the male-female duality of human nature, from which the family is generated,” the Congregation for Catholic Education wrote June 10, in a document entitled “Male and Female He Created Them.”
“The denial of this duality not only erases the vision of human beings as the fruit of an act of creation but creates the idea of the human person as a sort of abstraction who ‘chooses for himself what his nature is to be’,” the document states.
For Christians working in schools, both religious and secular, the radical individualism of gender theory should be avoided in favor of teaching children “to overcome their individualism and discover, in the light of faith, their specific vocation to live responsibly in a community.”
Dr. Susan Selner-Wright, who holds the Archbishop Chaput Chair in Philosophy at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, told CNA that “dialogue” does not, as some may believe, mean the same thing as “compromise” when it comes to talking about these kinds of issues.
“‘Dialogue’ right now, in the culture, basically means everybody’s got a right to their opinion, all opinions are equal, and ‘dialogue’ is just basically cover for never having to disagree with each other. And I think the congregation was just brilliant in explaining what dialogue really is,” Selner-Wright said.
The document also states that many efforts to implement “gender theory” into society shut down any possibility of dialogue from the Christian perspective.
“[Pope] Francis says that the ideologues just want to ‘assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised,’ and then that cuts off dialogue...That’s not real dialogue. That’s just people shouting at each other. It’s not a way to go forward and to help people to live well.”
True dialogue, she said, is not just “dropping knowledge” on people, but rather inviting them into a conversation in order to be able to propose reasons to support your point of view.
“I would caution people not to dismiss dialogue as something that always leads to compromise. It shouldn’t. It should lead us to journey together towards the one who is Truth,” she said.
Much of the document is a reiteration of existing Church teaching on gender, but Farnan said she appreciated the document’s points of emphasis on formation of teachers.
“I will say the gamechanger...is the absolute insistence that they have to form all of their teachers, so that every teacher who is in a classroom with a kid can articulate the Church’s teaching on gender,” Farnan said.
The document says that “school managers, teaching staff and personnel all share the responsibility of both guaranteeing delivery of a high-quality service coherent with the Christian principles.”
“The other brilliant thing about the document, I think, is that it shows the utter continuity from John Paul II through Benedict XVI to Francis on this specific issue,” Selner-Wright said.
“People want to say ‘Oh Francis is my guy,’ well, he’s really not if what you’re talking about is transgenderism. He’s been completely clear that [transgender ideology] is bankrupt,” she said.
“I really liked the model that [the document] used: listen, reason, and propose,” Farnan said.
Farnan said she just finished a three-day workshop with members of the “iGen” generation, who have never known a time before the internet. She said the way to connect with members of the iGen is to be able to back claims up with science and to “be able to carefully distinguish between ideology and genuine scientific contribution.”
“The final part of it, which I think is the most important, is to propose Christian anthropology as a way of life,” Farnan explained.
“And honestly, if there’s anything that over the last four decades, five decades, we’ve been failing at as a Church is that we’re not going out and presenting a confidant vision of how Christianity differs from culture. And this is an opportunity to present a pretty stark difference. I think it’s really important.”
“What this document reminds us is that, as educators, we have to make sure that they’re getting a complete understanding of what Christianity has to offer in a very positive way...the authentic way to live a life of fulfillment of the human being.”
Farnan said she will watch with interest as individual dioceses work to implement the contents of the document. She highlighted Fort Wayne-South Bend as an example of a diocese that has been proactive in holding workshops for their teachers, educators, and priests to form them in Christian anthropology so they can answer their students’ questions about gender theory.
Mary Pat Donoghue, executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CNA in an interview that she also thinks the document will be useful for ongoing formation of Catholic educators.
“It's a call for all of us to enter more deeply into an understanding of the Church's teaching. I think that the document serves that purpose very, very beautifully,” Donoghue said.
“It also, though, has an element encouraging compassionate pastoral response, and I think that is important as well. So on a local level, diocesan level, finding ways to respond and to help schools to respond should these types of situations arise.”
Donoghue echoed Farnan’s point about the importance of “forming the formators.” Individual situations will always vary, she said, but schools faced with challenging situations related to gender theory should always be able to look to the diocesan level for guidance.
“It's important for our schools to have clear and consistent teaching, certainly around something that's this important,” she explained.
“It's also important for our teachers to understand that the Church's teaching contains the fullness of truth, therefore it's always going to be the most charitable and the most loving answer. Pairing that with a compassionate person-to-person response I think is the best way forward.”
Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland is the chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. bishops’ conference, and Donoghue said she believes Barber would describe the document as a means to better understand Church teaching about the nature of the human person.
“All human people struggle and bear crosses in many, many different forms, and a person suffering from gender dysphoria bears a very painful cross, and so we certainly don't stand to condemn or to judge, but to offer care and to bring about the fullness of the teaching to help to liberate that person,” Donoghue said.
Bea Cuasay and Michelle McDaniel contributed to this report.
Posted on 06/25/2019 01:12 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Indianapolis, Ind., Jun 24, 2019 / 05:12 pm (CNA).- A Catholic high school in the Indianapolis archdiocese has said it will comply with the archbishop’s instructions to stop employing a teacher in a same-sex marriage.
The decision comes days after a Jesuit high school in the archdiocese refused to comply with a similar instruction and had its Catholic status stripped by Archbishop Charles Thompson.
“It is Archbishop Thompson’s responsibility to oversee faith and morals as related to Catholic identity within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis,” Cathedral High School leaders said in a June 23 letter. “Archbishop Thompson made it clear that Cathedral’s continued employment of a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage would result in our forfeiting our Catholic identity due to our employment of an individual living in contradiction to Catholic teaching on marriage.”
“Therefore, in order to remain a Catholic Holy Cross School, Cathedral must follow the direct guidance given to us by Archbishop Thompson and separate from the teacher,” said the letter, signed by Matt Cohoat, chairman of Cathedral High School’s board of directors, and Rob Bridges, the school’s president.
There are about 1,000 students grades 9 to 12 at the high school. There are 68 schools recognized as Catholic by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
On June 20 the archdiocese announced that Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School will no longer be recognized as a Catholic school due to a disagreement about the employment of a teacher who attempted to contract a same-sex marriage.
“All those who minister in Catholic educational institutions carry out an important ministry in communicating the fullness of Catholic teaching to students both by word and action inside and outside the classroom,” the archdiocese said.
Every archdiocesan and Catholic private school has been instructed to clearly state that all such ministers “must convey and be supportive of all teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Teachers, the archdiocese said, are classified as ‘ministers’ because “it is their duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. To effectively bear witness to Christ, whether they teach religion or not, all ministers in their professional and private lives must convey and be supportive of Catholic Church teaching.”
The June 20 statement noted that the archdiocese “recognizes all teachers, guidance counselors and administrators as ministers.” The 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC established that religious institutions are free to require those it recognizes as ministers to uphold religious teachings as a condition of employment.
The letter from Cathedral High School leaders said the “agonizing decision” followed “22 months of earnest discussion and extensive dialogue” with the archdiocese about the high school’s Catholic identity.
The teacher concerned was not named in the letter.
“Please know that we offer our prayers and love to this teacher, our students and faculty, our archbishop, and all associated with Cathedral as we continue to educate our students in the Catholic Holy Cross tradition,” the school’s letter continued. “We ask that dialogue about this difficult situation be respectful of the dignity of every person and that you continue to pray for our Cathedral family and the wider Indianapolis community.”
The letter said that being Catholic can be “challenging” and the high school leaders voiced hope that the action does not dishearten parents, staff, and students.
The high school is affiliated with the Brothers of Holy Cross and its bylaws state that its Catholic identity is to be “at all times maintained” and that education in the faith is “a mission priority.”
“We are committed to educating our students in the tenets of the Catholic faith with an emphasis on the Holy Cross tradition,” said the school’s letter.
The letter voiced respect for the position of those at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and said there are differences in the schools’ respective situations.
“Brebeuf is sponsored by the Jesuits while Cathedral is merely affiliated with the Brothers of Holy Cross. Because Brebeuf is a specific ministry of the Jesuits, their canonical and nonprofit status is different than ours. Therefore, the two schools cannot function the same way if Cathedral were to receive a similar decree as Brebeuf,” the school said.
School leaders at Brebeuf had said that despite the archdiocese’s decision “our identity as a Catholic Jesuit institution remains unchanged.” They said that to follow the instruction from the archdiocese “would not only violate our informed conscience on this particular matter, but also set a concerning precedent for future interference in the school’s operations and other governance matters that Brebeuf Jesuit leadership has historically had the sole right and privilege to address and decide.”
The archdiocese first made the request to Brebeuf two years before.
The Code of Canon Law recognizes the diocesan bishop’s responsibility to ensure that religion teachers are “outstanding in true doctrine, in the witness of their Christian life, and in their teaching ability.” The diocesan bishop has the right to approve religion teachers and, “if religious or moral considerations require it, the right to remove them or to demand that they be removed.”
Fr. Brian Paulson, S.J., head of the Jesuits’ Midwest Province, said he recognized the archbishop’s instruction to be “his prudential judgement of the application of canon law” regarding his responsibility for Catholic education and oversight of faith and morals in his archdiocese.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has previously addressed a similar issues at another school.
In August 2018, Shelley Fitzgerald, a guidance counselor at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, was placed on paid administrative leave. Fitzgerald, an employee of an archdiocesan school, had attempted to contract a same-sex marriage in 2014.
The Indianapolis high school cases drew significant comment from LGBT activists and the prominent Jesuit commentator Father James Martin, editor-at-large of America Magazine, who claimed that the action targets “LGBT people” and not “straight teachers.”
Morals clauses at Catholic schools have been a target of some activist groups, including the dissenting Catholic Equally Blessed Coalition. The coalition has received several low-six figure grants from the Arcus Foundation to back LGBT activists and to counter the Catholic Church.
One coalition member, New Ways Ministry, gave Martin its Bridge Building Award in 2016.
Posted on 06/24/2019 22:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Harrisburg, Pa., Jun 24, 2019 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- A growing number of states are considering bans or additional restrictions on child marriages, including in Pennsylvania, where a bill to outlaw child marriages passed the state’s House of Representatives earlier this month.
“Children under the age of 18 cannot vote, serve in the military and buy alcohol or tobacco products, among other things,” Pennsylvania state Rep. Jesse Topper (R), one of the lead co-sponsors of the legislation, HB 360, stated upon its passage on June 5.
“Marriage is a life-altering decision and those who enter into it must be of a certain maturity that comes with age.”
The legislation is expected to pass the Senate and to be signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf (D), NBC News reported.
Once the bill is enacted into law, Pennsylvania would become the third state, joining New Jersey and Delaware, to outlaw marriage licenses for any applicants under the age of 18; other states set age limits below 18 or allow for exceptions such as court approval.
There are currently 13 states without any age restrictions on marriage, though Maine’s state legislature recently passed a law restricting marriage licenses to applicants aged 16 or older and is due to come into force on Monday.
State Reps. Perry Warren (D) and Topper are the Pennsylvania bill’s lead co-sponsors.
Topper stated in a press release that child marriages—mostly between adult males and female minors—legalized relationships that would otherwise be considered cases of statutory rape. The bill would amend the state’s current law, which allows for marriage licenses for children younger than age 16 to be granted through court approval, and for children ages 16 to 18 with parental consent.
Warren said upon passage of the legislation that “this bill is about child protection,” and that “studies have shown that the child is often not in control of a decision to marry before 18, and a child under 18 does not have the legal rights of an adult.”
The advocacy group Unchained at Last, which works to end forced marriages and child marriages in the U.S. and which supported the Pennsylvania legislation, says that around 248,000 children were married in the U.S. between the years 2000 and 2010.
That estimate was drawn from data gathered in 38 states which revealed more than 167,000 child marriages in the time frame, with estimated numbers from the remaining 12 states and Washington, D.C. “based on the strong correlation Unchained identified between population and child marriage.”
Child spouses have a significantly high risk of abuse, due to their vulnerability, along with a higher risk of divorce, the group says.
According to a 2017 PBS FRONTLINE report, there were at least 207,459 reported child marriages in the U.S. with children as young as 12 being granted marriage licenses in several states.
The number of child marriages did fall significantly over the time period between 2000 and 2010, both PBS and Unchained at Last noted.
Posted on 06/24/2019 20:01 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Pueblo, Colo., Jun 24, 2019 / 12:01 pm (CNA).- A charter bus carrying members of a Catholic group from New Mexico crashed Sunday in southern Colorado, killing at least two people including the driver and injuring more than a dozen others.
The group, high schoolers from Aquinas Newman Center at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, had been in Denver for the weekend attending Steubenville of the Rockies, an annual Catholic youth conference.
Among the dead is Jason Paul Marshall, a seminarian of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Marshall was studying theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.
The crash occurred on Interstate 25 around 2:30 pm June 23 about ten miles north of Pueblo. The bus struck part of a bridge structure and went off the highway into a ditch.
Colorado State Patrol reported that the driver was ejected from the bus and died. Thirteen other passengers sustained injuries ranging from minor to critical, CSP reported. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe later named the driver as 22-year-old Anthony Padilla.
A total of 14 ambulances and three medical helicopters were called to the scene to assist. Authorities said the driver may have had an “unspecified medical issue” that contributed to the crash, but the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe will be celebrating a Mass of Healing June 26 at the Newman Center for the victims of the crash. A call from CNA to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe on Monday morning went unanswered as of press time.
Around 30 remaining members of the Newman Center group were able to attend Mass Sunday evening at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. Father Robert Fisher offered prayers for the victims of the crash during Mass.
“Please pray tonight for a Catholic group from New Mexico who were involved in a tragic bus accident this afternoon in Pueblo,” the Archdiocese of Denver said on Facebook.
“The group had attended the Steubenville of the Rockies Youth Conference in Denver and was on its way home. We send our prayers and deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed, and our prayers for healing and comfort for those who were injured.”
Posted on 06/24/2019 19:12 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2019 / 11:12 am (CNA).- On Saturday US President Donald Trump announced he would delay immigration raids meant to begin that weekend, and the US bishops stated their opposition to the planned deportations.
“We recognize the right of nations to control their borders in a just and proportionate manner. However, broad enforcement actions instigate panic in our communities and will not serve as an effective deterrent to irregular migration,” Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin said June 22.
“Instead, we should focus on the root causes in Central America that have compelled so many to leave their homes in search of safety and reform our immigration system with a view toward justice and the common good,” said the bishop, who chairs the US bishops' migration committee.
He added: “We stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to achieve those objectives.”
Trump had announced upcoming immigration raids June 17, but on Saturday said he would delay the action two weeks, to allow Congress to modify US asylum law.
The Trump administration is eager to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the US.
Earlier this month, Mexico agreed to take measures to reduce the number of migrants to the US, in order to avoid the imposition of tariffs.
Some 6,000 National Guard troops will be assigned to Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, and some asylum seekers in the US will be sent to Mexico to wait while their claims are processed.
In the US, the House passed a bill June 4 that would provide a citizenship path for some brought to the US illegally as children, as well as for qualified holders of Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure.
Bishop Vásquez commented that “Dreamers, TPS and DED holders are working to make our communities and parishes strong and are vital contributors to our country. We welcome today’s vote and urge the Senate to take up this legislation which gives permanent protection to Dreamers, TPS and DED holders.”
The bill, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, would grant qualifying childhood arrivals 10 years of legal residence, after which they could receive permanent legal residence with two years of higher education or military service, or three years of employment. Those with TPS or DED could apply for lawful permanent residence if they have been in the country for at least three years and have passed background checks. After five years of lawful permanent residence, they would apply for citizenship.
In May, Bishop Vásquez and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, president of the US bishops' conference, voiced concern over a separate immigration plan from the Trump administration which prioritizes immigration status based on merit rather than family ties.
“We oppose proposals that seek to curtail family-based immigration and create a largely ‘merit-based’ immigration system,” they said. “Families are the foundation of our faith, our society, our history, and our immigration system.”