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Catholic bishop questions lack of EU support as Poland aids millions of Ukrainian refugees

Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko, chairman of the Polish bishops’ council for migration, tourism, and pilgrimages. / Episkopat News.

Koszalin, Poland, May 16, 2022 / 05:08 am (CNA).

More than three million people have fled from Ukraine to Poland since Feb. 24.

Bishop condemns 'abhorrently evil' slaying of 10 at Buffalo supermarket

olice on scene at a Tops Friendly Market on May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. According to reports, at least 10 people were killed after a mass shooting at the store with the shooter in police custody. / John Normile/Getty Images

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 15, 2022 / 06:16 am (CNA).

Ten people were killed and three others injured Saturday when a teenage gunman opened fire with an assault rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

Authorities are calling the mass shooting a racially motivated hate crime and say the gunman specifically targeted the store because it is located in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Eleven of those shot were Black, while the other two victims were white, authorities said.

The gunman, identified as Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York, livestreamed the attack. He surrendered to police at the scene.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher of the Diocese of Buffalo issued a statement on Twitter after the shootings.

Fisher said that “what unfortunately has become an all too common occurrence in this country has now shown its abhorrently evil face in Buffalo as we have now learned that 10 innocent souls have lost their lives here.

“On behalf of the Diocese of Buffalo, I, in the strongest of terms, condemn this utterly senseless act and pray for the victims and all those impacted by this act of cowardice,” Fisher said.

“May the Good Lord guide us as we pray that our society regain respect for life and for an end to this tragic and despicable act in this beautiful city of ours. I encourage all Catholics and all people of faith to come together in prayer for the victims and for peace.”

The statement concluded: “The scourge of senseless gun violence that has taken the lives of so many across our nation and changed the lives of countless innocent men, women and children must come to an end.”

After driving some 200 miles to Buffalo, Gendron parked outside the Tops Friendly Market around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, authorities said. He began shooting in the parking lot, where he killed three people and injured another person, authorities said. He then moved inside the store, where he exchanged fire with a retired Buffalo police officer working as a security guard, killing him, authorities said.

The guard shot Gendron but the gunman’s tactical gear prevented him from being seriously injured, authorities said. Gendron proceeded to shoot more people inside the store before police arriving at the scene talked him into surrendering.

The gunman is believed to have posted a manifesto online in which he expresses racist, anti-immigrant views and claims that white Americans were at risk of being replaced by people of color, the New York Times reported.

He was arraigned on first-degree murder charges and appeared in court Saturday evening wearing a bandage over his shoulder, USA Today reported.

The White House issued a statement from President Biden on the shootings Saturday evening.

“Tonight, we grieve for the families of ten people whose lives were senselessly taken and everyone who is suffering the physical and emotional wounds of this horrific shooting. We are grateful for the bravery of members of law enforcement and other first responders who took immediate action to try to protect and save lives. The First Lady and I are praying for the victims and their families, and hearts all across this country are with the people of Buffalo,” Biden said.

“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does its work, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation,” Biden continued. 

“Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism.”

Arrest made in Texas church theft, though tabernacle remains missing

The tabernacle belonging to St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church in Katy, Texas, was stolen May 8, 2022. / Screenshot from YouTube video

Houston, Texas, May 14, 2022 / 15:03 pm (CNA).

A suspect has been charged with burglary in connection with the theft of a tabernacle from a parish church in Greater Houston, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced Friday.

The tabernacle had been stolen from St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church in Katy, Texas, May 8.

“Thanks to the Katy Police Department's diligent efforts and skill, a suspect has been apprehended and charged with burglary. It is our understanding the theft was not motivated by last week's release of the draft Supreme Court opinion involving Roe v Wade,” the Galveston-Houston archdiocese announced May 13.

“Sadly, the tabernacle has not yet been recovered, though efforts by the Katy police are ongoing. In any case, such a theft beyond material price is immeasurably hurtful to us and speaking theologically, is sacrilegious.”

The suspect was identified by the Houston Chronicle as Christian James Meritt.

The archdiocese stated: “We offer our profound gratitude to the Katy Police for their hard work in the investigation.”

“We ask all to continue praying with us for the parish and all those involved in this matter,” it added.

Catholic University awards honorary degree to imprisoned human rights advocate Jimmy Lai

Hong Kong media tycoon and Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai. / Napa Institute.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 14, 2022 / 09:00 am (CNA).

The Catholic University of America on Saturday awarded an honorary degree to imprisoned Hong Kong human rights advocate Jimmy Lai. His adult son, Sebastien Lai, accepted the award on his father’s behalf.

The younger Lai spoke about the university’s recognition of his father in an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo earlier this week.

“It really means a lot to have the support of all these great people,” he said on “The World Over” May 12.

“I’m sure he’ll be very happy to receive this award, and I’m sure knowing that all these people are praying for him, and knowing that all these people have the same thoughts towards freedom and freedom of religion, freedom of expression, will make him incredibly happy," he added. You can watch the full interview in the video below.


A devout Catholic and media magnate, Jimmy Lai, 74, has been arrested numerous times for his pro-democracy activism and is awaiting trial on sedition charges related to the stringent national security law the China’s communist government imposed on Hong Kong in July 2020.

Most recently he was sentenced in December 2021 to 13 months in prison on a charge of unlawful assembly, stemming from his participation in an annual vigil commemorating the 1989 crackdown of pro-democracy demonstrators at Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Authorities in Hong Kong also have shuttered Lai’s influential Hong Kong newspaper, Apple Daily.

Under the new security law, a person who is convicted of secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces will receive a minimum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of a life sentence.

In a video interview produced by the Napa Institute prior to his imprisonment, Lai spoke about his Catholic faith and the role it played in his outspoken defense of human rights for the past 30 years, citing "the Lord's teaching that your life is not about yourself."

"When you lift yourself above your own self-interest, you find the meaning of life. You find you're doing the right thing, which is so wonderful. It changed my life into a different thing," Jimmy Lai said of his conversion to Catholicism in 1997.

"The way I look at it, if I suffer for the right cause, it only defines the person I am becoming. It can only be good for me to become a better person. If you believe in the Lord, if you believe that all suffering has a reason, and the Lord is suffering with me … I'm at peace with it."

Bestowed during The Catholic University of America’s commencement in Washington, D.C. Saturday, the honorary degree comes just days after Cardinal Joseph Zen, the 90-year-old archbishop emeritus of Hong Kong and outspoken advocate for human rights and religious freedom in China, was detained by Hong Kong’s national security forces. Zen baptized Jimmy Lai in 1997.

In his interview with Arroyo, Sebastien Lai spoke about Zen as a close friend of his family and said his detention was a “strong act” by Hong Kong authorities.

The younger Lai observed that “Hong Kong used to be this island off the coast of China that had its own legal system and freedoms and it just seems that these ideals keep getting degraded every single news cycle.”

He said he is able to correspond with his father, who he said draws a picture of Jesus on the back of each letter he sends.

The Catholic University of America’s Class of 2022 has 1,496 graduates. Dominican Father Joseph White, O.P., rector of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, delivered this year’s commencement speech.

TLM altar boys implore cardinal: Consider our love for Latin Mass

Altar boys swing incense in a procession in Cologne, Germany. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 14, 2022 / 06:00 am (CNA).

Six Latin Mass altar servers in a Washington, D.C. parish have written an impassioned letter to the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, imploring him to consider their positive experiences in the Traditional Latin Mass when implementing the Vatican’s new guidance on the Extraordinary Form.

“For us, the Latin Mass is a refuge,” the May 4 letter, posted on the parish's Facebook page, says. “A refuge where the evils of the world and the struggles of life cannot penetrate. We believe it is the closest thing to heaven on earth and we would love to see it continue.”

Pope Francis issued a motu proprio in July 2021 called Traditionis custodes that includes new guidance and restrictions on when and where the Roman Missal of 1962, typically referred to as the Traditional Latin Mass, may be used. The document, which gives local bishops increased authority on the celebration of the Extraordinary Form, was received with much pain and confusion among Catholics who participate in the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Although many bishops issued temporary guidance for their dioceses, there have been few reports of permanent guidance issued. The Archdiocese of Washington has yet to issue permanent guidance.

Altar boys serving at a Traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary Mother of God parish in Washington, D.C. Screenshot of Facebook livestream video
Altar boys serving at a Traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary Mother of God parish in Washington, D.C. Screenshot of Facebook livestream video

The letter, written by altar boys from St. Mary Mother of God parish in the nation’s capital, says that if the Latin Mass were no longer allowed at St. Mary’s, it would feel like “losing something precious, something of ourselves, nearly comparable to losing a loved one.”

The altar boys wrote that they wish to “partake in the mystery of the Eucharist” through the Latin Mass and added that “hopefully, one or more of us will be called to serve Our Lord as a priest.”

The altar boys remain unnamed. The letter is signed, simply, “St. Mary’s Altar Boys.”

“We have been going to the Latin Mass at St. Mary's since we were born and have loved it since we were old enough to understand the beauty of it,” the letter says.

The altar boys wrote that they drive an hour to get to the church to serve Mass.

“The experience of serving the Mass is amazing and we also find great joy in teaching the young boys how to serve the Mass and leading them through the motions and prayers,” the letter says.

The letter continues: “From the Gloria on Holy Thursday to the Procession with the Infant at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and the sad but beautiful liturgy of Good Friday we enjoy every bit of partaking in the great work of Christ. Our siblings have been baptized into the Church at St. Mary's and our families have received first Holy Communions there and been reconciled with God in our first Confessions at St. Mary's.”

The letter concludes: “We ask that you consider these words when you make your decision about the continuing of this beautiful form of Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross.”

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington was not immediately available for comment Saturday.

Roe v. Wade: Could the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs case come Monday?

Security fencing was erected outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the leak of a preliminary draft opinion in a pivotal abortion case that could decide the fate of the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that legalized abortion nationwide. / Katie Yoder

Washington D.C., May 14, 2022 / 05:25 am (CNA).

The Supreme Court’s scheduled release of one or more opinions on Monday is fueling speculation that it may issue a decision then in the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

May 16 marks the first “opinion issuance day” since the leak of a draft opinion in the case that suggests justices will overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

When the court announced that Monday would be a decision day, “I think everybody’s ears kind of perked up,” Katie Glenn, government affairs counsel for the pro-life group Americans United for Life, told CNA.

While the court traditionally waits to issue decisions in bigger, more controversial cases like Dobbs until the end of the court’s term in late June or early July, the leak of the draft opinion, written by Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., threw into question that expectation.

In the wake of the bombshell leak, first published by Politico on May 2, several pro-life leaders and organizations have said they believe the court ought to come out with the decision quickly.

"The unprecedented leak is an attempt by the Left to corrupt the Court’s deliberation process and bully the justices into changing their majority opinion,” Carrie Severino, the president of the Judicial Crisis Network, told CNA. “For the sake of the Court's own integrity, it would be appropriate to release the opinion as soon as possible.”

In response to the leak, abortion activists protested outside of justices’ private homes and attacked Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers. At the same time, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. stressed that the “work of the Court will not be affected in any way” by the leaked draft, which the Supreme Court confirmed is authentic. 

Roberts and the eight other justices met in private for the first time since the leak on Thursday, May 12, the Associated Press reported. Justices could decide Dobbs on Monday, legal experts say, or they could decide any of the 37 other cases that have yet to be ruled on before the court breaks for summer recess.

Glenn of Americans United for Life outlined several possible outcomes. Justices might want to get the decision out of the way now, as people protest outside their homes, and attempt to diffuse the situation. She could also see justices waiting until June to show that the pressure and tactics directed at them do not influence the court’s behavior. 

Justices could also still be working on the main opinion or concurrences and dissents.

“It could be just a timing issue,” Glenn suggested. “They can't release it on Monday because it's not finished.” 

Monday is the earliest scheduled date for the justices to issue a decision in Dobbs. The latest date they could release it is more uncertain.

While the last Thursday of June usually marks the end of the Supreme Court’s term, Glenn said that, “depending on how all of this changes their schedule or if there are a lot of concurrences and dissenting opinions — more than normal — they very easily could go into July.”

Lauren Muzyka, an attorney who serves as the president and CEO of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, outlined two possible outcomes regarding the timing of the decision.

She told CNA that the leak, “rather than forcing the Justices to move more quickly than they’d originally intended, might actually convince them to stick to their ground and maintain their original schedule, simply out of principle.”

“Still, knowing that Justice Alito and his family have been taken to a secure location for protection right now and other Justices have been given increased security as well,” she added, “I also wouldn't be surprised if Chief Justice Roberts made a decision to push it out Monday.”

Muzyka said that, regardless, the pro-life movement’s mission remains the same: empowering women to choose life.

“Even with the furor out there at the moment — pregnancy centers and churches being vandalized plus violent commentary on social media and television — that’s not going to stop the pro-life movement from reaching mothers in crisis with the news that they have options, resources, and they deserve better than abortion,” Muzyka concluded. “And I don’t think it’s necessarily going to move the Supreme Court to change direction, either.”

What is Roe v Wade? Six things to know.

Capitol police placed fencing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 1, 2021, during oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, in an attempt to separate rallies by abortion supports and pro-lifers. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Denver Newsroom, May 13, 2022 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

You’ve heard of Roe v. Wade — and you’ve probably heard that the U.S. Supreme Court may be about to overturn it. 

But what exactly is Roe v. Wade, and why does it matter whether it’s overturned?

Here’s what to know:

Roe v. Wade was a legal case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in January 1973. 

“Wade” refers to Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas. “Roe” is the pseudonym of Norma McCorvey, a Louisiana woman who had filed a lawsuit in Texas to get an abortion, which was illegal at the time. Despite her involvement in the case, McCorvey never actually got an abortion. In fact, she eventually converted to Protestant Christianity and later to Catholicism, and engaged in pro-life ministry in her later years. 

In their opinion, the justices ruled that states could not ban abortion before viability, which the court determined to be 24 to 28 weeks into pregnancy. The legal reasoning centered on the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, which the court interpreted as conferring a "right to privacy" for women seeking abortions. 

The makeup of the court at that time, which issued the ruling by a 7-2 vote, was entirely male — the first female justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, would not arrive at the court until eight years later. 

Nearly 20 years later, the court upheld Roe in the case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The 1992 ruling said that while states could regulate pre-viability abortions, they could not enforce an “undue burden,” defined by the court as “a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”

What effects has Roe had since the decision was made?

The immediate effect was the legalization of abortion throughout the entire United States, until roughly the end of the second trimester. Abortion was already legal in some form in several states — such as Colorado, Hawaii, and New York— before Roe changed the status quo for the entire country. 

Abortion rates in the U.S. rose in the years following Roe, peaking at an estimated 1.4 million per year in 1990. In 2019, the latest year government figures are available, there were an estimated 630,000 abortions. 

Since Roe and Casey, every state regulation on abortion that has been proposed or passed has had to be viewed through Roe’s legal framework of “strict scrutiny”, and later through Casey’s “undue burden” standard. Dozens of state regulations have been struck down by courts over the years for being out of step with Roe, and thus unconstitutional. 

Is there a chance Roe could be overturned now?

Yes. A case currently before the court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves a 2018 Mississippi law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks. The case centers on the question of “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” or whether states can ban abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, making it a direct challenge to Roe and Casey. 

What will happen if Roe is overturned?

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the question of abortion legalization or restriction will return to the states. State policy would vary widely on the question of abortion, with the practice being automatically outlawed in several states, and explicity protected in others. 

If Roe is overturned and women who would have chosen an abortion are unable to get them, many more babies and mothers will need care than previously. Pro-life organizations are marshalling resources to offer support. 

That said, abortions will continue in states which have passed laws to protect access to it, and some states, such as Colorado, have explicitly positioned themselves as destinations where women can travel from states with restrictions to avail themselves of abortions.

The federal government under President Joe Biden has attempted preemptively to pass a bill codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law, which if passed would supersede state-level pro-life laws, but such attempts so far have failed. 

What will happen if Roe is not overturned?

There are a number of scenarios that could come to fruition that involve Roe remaining in place. 

If the Supreme Court does not overturn Roe, but upholds Mississippi’s 15-week ban, other states with a court-blocked 15-week bans, such as Arizona, could see their laws come into effect. Additionally, other pro-life states may pass 15-week bans now that they are constitutionally allowed to do so. 

​​If the Mississippi law is struck down, and Roe and Casey are affirmed, it would be a devastating setback for the pro-life movement, which has pinned its long-term legal strategy on someday having a “conservative” supermajority on the Supreme Court, as is the case today.

So… How likely is it that Roe v. Wade will be overturned? 

A leaked draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been confirmed to be genuine though not necessarily final, suggests that the court is indeed poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

The draft, reported on May 2 after being leaked to Politico, shows the court siding with Mississippi, as well as a thoroughly repudiating Roe and Casey.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Associate Justice Samuel Alito writes in the 98-page draft document, which is labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.”

“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The Politico news report said that four justices had joined Alito in the majority, three are preparing dissents, and Chief Justice John Roberts — often a swing vote — had not yet settled on a side.

Whatever the court ultimately decides, the consequences for the country will be enormous.

Spanish bill would allow girls 16 and 17 to get an abortion without parental consent

Spanish Equality Minister Irene Montero speaks after the Council of Ministers, March 3, 2020. / La Moncloa - Gobierno de España via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Madrid, Spain, May 13, 2022 / 14:50 pm (CNA).

Spain’s coalition government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez intends to propose a bill that would legalize abortion without parental consent for 16 and 17 year old children.

Pilgrims in Fatima offer prayers for peace in Ukraine

Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal on May 13, 2022. / Screenshot from Radio Espérance YouTube channel.

Rome Newsroom, May 13, 2022 / 11:36 am (CNA).

May 13 marks the 105th anniversary of the first apparition of Mary in Fatima.

Church leaders and scholars to explore St. John Paul II’s ‘natural law legacy’

Pope John Paul II in 1996. / Vatican Media

Warsaw, Poland, May 13, 2022 / 08:57 am (CNA).

Speakers will include papal biographer George Weigel and Dutch Cardinal Willem Eijk.