June 24, 2022

WASHINGTON – In response to the Supreme Court of the United States issuing its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:

“This is a historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers. For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of preborn children, generations that were denied the right to even be born.

“America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This truth was grievously denied by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized and normalized the taking of innocent human life. We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision. We pray that our elected officials will now enact laws and policies that promote and protect the most vulnerable among us.

“Our first thoughts are with the little ones whose lives have been taken since 1973. We mourn their loss, and we entrust their souls to God, who loved them from before all ages and who will love them for all eternity. Our hearts are also with every woman and man who has suffered grievously from abortion; we pray for their healing, and we pledge our continued compassion and support. As a Church, we need to serve those who face difficult pregnancies and surround them with love.

“Today’s decision is also the fruit of the prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless ordinary Americans from every walk of life. Over these long years, millions of our fellow citizens have worked together peacefully to educate and persuade their neighbors about the injustice of abortion, to offer care and counseling to women, and to work for alternatives to abortion, including adoption, foster care, and public policies that truly support families. We share their joy today and we are grateful to them. Their work for the cause of life reflects all that is good in our democracy, and the pro-life movement deserves to be numbered among the great movements for social change and civil rights in our nation’s history.

“Now is the time to begin the work of building a post-Roe America. It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.

“As religious leaders, we pledge ourselves to continue our service to God’s great plan of love for the human person, and to work with our fellow citizens to fulfill America’s promise to guarantee the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”


Pro-life demonstrators in Washington celebrate outside the Supreme Court June 24, 2022, as the court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision. (CNS photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – In a 5-4 decision June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its nearly 50-year-old decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in this country.

The court’s 213-page ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization was not totally unexpected due to the leak of an opinion draft a month earlier. The ruling emphasizes that there is no constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

The Dobbs case focused on an abortion clinic in Mississippi opposed to the state’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The court’s reversal of its long-standing abortion ruling brings abortion policy decisions to the state level. At least half of states plan to ban or restrict abortions with this decision in place.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion. Casey v. Planned Parenthood is the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe.

Alito was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in a separate opinion, said he agreed with the majority that the Mississippi abortion restriction should be upheld, but he said the court should not have overturned its Roe decision.

Alito, writing for the majority, said: “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.”

U.S. Catholic bishops who have supported a reversal of Roe immediately reacted positively to the court’s decision that comes at the end of this year’s term.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called the decision a “historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers.”

“We pray that our elected officials will now enact laws and policies that promote and protect the most vulnerable among us,” said the June 24 statement by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, USCCB president, and Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“We give thanks to God for today’s decision … This just decision will save countless innocent children simply waiting to be born,” said the New York Catholic bishops in a statement shortly after the court’s opinion was released.

Protesters were outside the court when the ruling came down, as they have been for days, anticipating it. Those on both sides of issue were also at the court when the document first leaked.

The Dobbs opinion is similar to the leaked draft that called Roe “egregiously wrong from the start.”

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote a joint dissent that said: “Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”

They also noted that their dissent “with sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection.”

When the court announced last year that it would take this case, after considering it more than a dozen times since 2020, the justices said they would only review one of the three questions presented to them: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”

That point of viability — when a fetus is said to be able to survive on its own — was a key point in this case, because the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that states cannot restrict abortion before 24 weeks, or when a fetus could survive on its own.

A friend-of-the-court brief submitted by the USCCB stressed that abortion is not a right created by the Constitution and called it “inherently different from other types of personal decisions to which this court has accorded constitutional protection.”

Referring to the court’s major abortion decisions, the brief also warned that if the Supreme Court “continues to treat abortion as a constitutional issue,” it will face more questions in the future about “what sorts of abortion regulations are permissible.”


Statement of the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera,
Bishop of Scranton, on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

June 24, 2022

“One of the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church is that all human life is sacred – from the moment of conception until natural death – and it must be respected and protected. In its opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, issued on Friday, June 24, 2022, I am thankful that the majority of Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have recognized and upheld the sanctity of human life.

“For Catholics, respecting life, especially the unborn, is intrinsic to our identity as people of faith. While political and ideological divisions often drive us apart, we must remember that the Sacred Scriptures call us to be one, reverencing every life that comes into our world. It is critical to note, however, that valuing human life is not simply confined to life in the womb. We must never dismiss or ignore our responsibility to care for, protect and defend our brothers and sisters from other serious threats to human life, including poverty, racism and oppression.

“While already the largest private provider of social services in the United States, the Catholic Church must redouble its efforts and always stand ready to assist young women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies. Everyone in our Diocese and parishes should be familiar with ways to help mothers in difficult circumstances. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently launched its “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative to continue building relationships with community resources and make sure people in all parish communities know where to refer a pregnant woman in need.

“Our diocese is blessed to have many parishes filled with faithful people who regularly donate diapers, clothing, money and other resources to help expectant mothers each year. On the diocesan level, Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton provides educational, emotional and material support to expectant parents and operates Shepherd’s Maternity House in East Stroudsburg which provides housing, care and assistance for pregnant women and their newborn babies. Along with so many other community agencies and programs, including, but not limited to, Saint Joseph’s Center, Friends of the Poor, Rachel’s Vineyard and the Pennsylvanians for Human Life, any mother needing assistance can receive life-affirming support.

“As we strive to build a true culture of life in our nation, the Gospel of Matthew reminds us that our welcome into God’s eternity will be determined by our willingness to reverence, respect and serve the most vulnerable among us in whom Christ is present: ‘Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me’” (Matthew 18:5).


SCRANTON – Two seminarians in the Diocese of Scranton have each taken one-step closer to the sacred priesthood after receiving Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders from the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.

The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders for William A. Asinari and Andrew T. McCarroll took place at Marywood University on Monday, June 20, 2022, during the annual Quo Vadis Days summer camp.

“I’m overwhelmed in a really, really good way. I think God’s peace has flooded my heart,” Asinari said following Mass that included the Rite of Admission. “I’m just looking forward to seeing the beautiful growth to come out of this.”

Asinari and McCarroll entered formation together six years ago.

“It has bene a six year journey together and to be able to stand next to each other and to say that the Church is serious about us being in formation and being priests for local service in the Church of Scranton and we’re serious about that commitment too. It really is a joyful moment and a moment of brotherhood for Bill and myself,” McCarroll added.

The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders is celebrated when a man has reached a maturity of purpose in his formation and demonstrated the necessary qualifications for ordination to the diaconate. In the presence of the bishop, each man publicly expresses his intention to complete his preparation for Holy Orders and also his resolve to fully invest himself to that end, so as to best serve Jesus Christ and his Holy Church.

When asked what keeps him moving forward on his vocation journey to the priesthood, Asinari said the answer is easy.

“The grace of God, His Grace and His love and the way He has guided me to this point. I’ve always almost seen myself like a little child holding onto God’s hands and whenever it gets frightening or turbulent, just holding tighter and tighter and just following him. That is what gets you through it,” he explained.

This year, the Rite of Admission was held during the annual Quo Vadis Days, so dozens of high school students interested in learning more about their own vocations journey got to participate in the Mass.

“I think it was good to have young men here who are asking the same questions that we were asking six years ago and we’re continuing to ask – and just for them to see us step forward and say we’re serious about this,” McCarroll ended by saying.

Pope Francis is pictured with Canadian Indigenous delegates from the Métis National Council and bishops representing the Canadian bishops’ conference during a meeting at the Vatican March 28, 2022. Earlier this year, the pope promised to visit Canada during his Vatican meetings with Canadian Indigenous representatives; he will visit July 24-29. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Perhaps signaling some improvement in Pope Francis’ painful knee, the Vatican announced June 23 that he will visit Canada in late July. However, the Canadian bishops said that, due to the 85-year-old pope’s age and limitations, it is expected that his participation at public events will be limited to approximately one hour.

The Vatican confirmed the pope’s plan to be in Canada July 24-29, returning to Rome July 30. The focus of the trip is his meetings with members of Canada’s Indigenous communities in the cities of Edmonton, Alberta; Quebec; and Iqaluit, Nunavut, the country’s most northern region.

The visit, drawing on the theme of “Walking Together,” will include a combination of public and private events.

The Vatican said Pope Francis will arrive in Edmonton July 24 and, following a brief airport ceremony, will take the remainder of the day to rest.

On July 25, Pope Francis will visit Maskwacis, home to the former Ermineskin Residential School, one of the largest residential school sites in Canada. He will join former residential school students from across the country as part of a formal program. Alberta is home to the largest number of former residential schools in Canada.

Later in the day, the pontiff will visit Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples, a National Indigenous church in downtown Edmonton.

On July 26, the feast of St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus, Pope Francis will celebrate an open-air Mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. In the early evening, he will travel to Lac Ste. Anne, the site of an annual pilgrimage that welcomes tens of thousands of Indigenous participants from throughout Canada and the United States each year. Programming will be offered throughout the day leading up to the pope’s participation in a prayer service.

On July 27, he will fly to Quebec City for private and public meetings. He has been invited to participate at a dedicated area on the Plains of Abraham, where there will be opportunities for Indigenous cultural expression as well as the chance to view papal events on large screens.

On July 28, Pope Francis will travel to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where he will celebrate Mass at one of the oldest and most popular pilgrimage sites in North America. The basilica draws more than a million visitors — including annual Indigenous pilgrimages — each year. Later in the day, he will meet with bishops, priests, seminarians, consecrated men and women as well as those who work in various church ministries. The pope will have the remainder of the evening for rest, while a dinner focused on friendship and ongoing dialogue will bring together Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada and representatives of the Catholic bishops of Canada.

Following a private meeting with the Jesuits July 29, Pope Francis will meet with Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada before departing for Iqaluit, where he will spend the afternoon in a private meeting with residential school survivors before attending a public community event hosted by Inuit. He will depart for Rome from Iqaluit at 6:45 p.m.

Pope Francis had promised to visit Canada during a meeting April 1 with representatives of Canada’s Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Assembly of First Nations — three groups he also had met with individually. A delegation from the Manitoba Métis Federation met separately with the pope April 21.

Many of the representatives in the groups were survivors of residential schools — boarding schools the government established to educate and forcefully assimilate Indigenous children. Many of the schools were run by Catholic religious orders or dioceses.

Canada’s Catholic bishops have said that “the pope’s visit will provide a unique opportunity for him, once again, to listen and dialogue with Indigenous peoples, to express his heartfelt closeness and to address the impact of colonization and the participation of the Catholic Church in the operation of residential schools throughout Canada.”

The Indigenous communities have asked the pope to publicly apologize on Canadian soil for the church’s role particularly in the schools.

He already apologized to the Indigenous representatives at the Vatican. “For the deplorable conduct of those members of the Catholic Church,” the pope told the representatives in April, “I ask for God’s forgiveness, and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry.”

Materials from the pontificate of Pope Pius XII are pictured in the Vatican Apostolic Archives in this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo. The Vatican announced June 23 it will put online documentation detailing Jewish people’s petitions for help to Pope Pius XII during World War II. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Thousands of records detailing requests to the Vatican made by Jewish people persecuted by the Nazis will be made available online to the public, the Vatican announced.

In a statement released June 23, the Vatican said universal access to the documentation, which has been available to researchers since March 2020, was made “at the request of the Holy Father.”

The documentation, titled “Ebrei” (“Jews”), aims “to preserve the petitions for help from Jewish people all over Europe, received by (Pope Pius XII) during the Nazi-Fascist persecutions,” the statement said.

“The archival series consists of a total of 170 volumes, equivalent to nearly 40,000 digital files. An initial 70% of the complete material will be made available initially, before being integrated with the final volumes that are currently being worked on,” the Vatican said.

While the Vatican made no direct link, the decision to make the documents available online closely follows controversy over a new book by historian David I. Kertzer.

In his book, “The Pope at War,” Kertzer suggested that Pope Pius remained silent out of fear of the Nazis and that the Vatican prioritized saving Jewish converts to Catholicism from persecution.

In an article for the Vatican newspaper, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Vatican foreign minister, highlighted the case of Werner Barasch, a Jewish university student from Germany who was held at a concentration camp in Miranda de Ebro, Spain.

Barasch wrote a letter in 1942 to an Italian friend and asked that Pope Pius send the apostolic nuncio in Madrid to secure his release so he could travel to the United States and be reunited with his mother.

Archbishop Gallagher said that while two documents revealed that the Vatican Secretariat of State had intervened, no other paperwork existed that revealed the young man’s fate.

However, an internet search revealed that “he was released from the Miranda camp the year after his appeal in a letter to the pope, and that in 1945, he was finally able to join his mother in the United States,” the archbishop said.

The documentation being released online, he added, details more than 2,700 cases of requests for help from the Vatican, primarily for families, but also for groups of people.

“Thousands of people persecuted for their membership to the Jewish religion, or for merely having ‘non-Aryan’ ancestry, turned to the Vatican, in the knowledge that others had received help, like the young Werner Barasch himself writes,” Archbishop Gallagher said.

Archbishop Gallagher said the cases were given the name “Pacelli’s list,” referring to Pope Pius’ given name, Eugenio Pacelli, echoing “Schindler’s list,” the title given to the list of those saved by the German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of over a thousand Jews during World War II.

“Although the two cases differ, the analogy perfectly expresses the idea that people in the corridors of the institution at the service of the pontiff worked tirelessly to provide Jewish people with practical help,” he said.

The Vatican foreign minister said that the release of the documents to the public will aid “descendants of those who asked for help to find traces of their loved ones from any part of the world.”

It also will “allow scholars and anyone interested to freely examine this special archival heritage from a distance,” the archbishop said.

Pope Francis speaks as he opens the World Meeting of Families in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican June 22, 2022. The Festival of Families, an evening of sharing and music, was the opening event of the five-day meeting. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Catholic Church professes marriage and family life to be a path to holiness – a daunting concept – but one that can start with a tiny step, Pope Francis said.

“Start from where you are, and, from there, try to journey together: together as couples, together in your families, together with other families, together with the church,” the pope said June 22, opening the World Meeting of Families with an evening “Festival of Families” in the Vatican audience hall.

The in-presence portion of most of the event June 22-26 was limited to about 2,000 people – official delegates of bishops’ conferences, Catholic family associations and movements. But the entire event was being livestreamed, and parishes and dioceses around the world were holding their own events at the same time on the theme, “Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness.”

At the opening festival, with some 4,500 people in the Vatican audience hall, Pope Francis said he wanted the church to be a “good Samaritan that draws near to you and helps you to continue your journey and to take a step forward, however small.”

Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, welcomed delegates to the gathering and told Pope Francis the five families — from Rome, Ukraine and Congo — that shared their stories “are not perfect families … because, as you always say, perfect don’t exist.”

“They are normal families who, like so many others, in every country and latitude, go through the difficulties and sufferings typical of our time,” the cardinal said, but they have discovered that when the problems are experienced with faith, they can open “incredible paths of family holiness.”

Serena Zangla and Luigi Franco, who have lived together for 10 years and have three children, spoke to the pope of the difficulty they had in finding a parish that would accept and support them, for which Pope Francis apologized. Zangla said they finally have found a community and are hoping to be married soon.

The sacrament of marriage is the gift God gives to couples in love, the pope said. “It is a marvelous gift, which contains the power of God’s own love: strong, enduring, faithful, ready to start over after every failure or moment of weakness.”

“Family life is not ‘mission impossible,'” he told them. “By the grace of the sacrament, God makes it a wonderful journey, to be undertaken together with him and never alone.”

Roberto and Maria Anselma Corbella shared with the crowd the story of the illness and death of their daughter, Chiara, who eventually chose not to pursue cancer treatment so her unborn baby would live.

“To see how she experienced the trial of her illness helped you to lift up your gaze, not to remain imprisoned in grief, but to be open to something greater: the mysterious plans of God, to eternity, to heaven,” the pope said. “I thank you for this witness of faith!”

Paul and Germaine Balenza of Congo spoke of the crises in their marriage, including infidelity, and how members of the Christian Family Community helped them find the strength to forgive and begin again.

“No one wants a love that is short-term or is marked with an expiration date,” the pope said. “We suffer greatly whenever failings, negligence and human sins make a shipwreck of marriage. But even amid the tempest, God sees what is in our hearts.”

Listening to their story, the pope said he was reminded of the biblical story of the prodigal son, “only this time, the ones who went astray were the parents, not the child!”

Pope Francis congratulated the couple for celebrating a “feast of forgiveness” with their children and renewing their wedding vows at Mass, because it helped their children see “the humility needed to beg forgiveness and the God-given strength to pick yourselves up after the fall.”

Iryna Kozhushko and her daughter Sofia from Ukraine, and Pietro and Erika Chiriaco, the couple with six young children hosting them in Acilia, a suburb of Rome, also shared their stories.

The welcome offered by the Chiriaco family, Pope Francis said, shows the generosity that almost naturally comes from having a large family where people are “trained to make room for others.”

“In the end, this is what family is all about. In the family, we experience what it is to be welcomed. Husbands and wives are the first to ‘welcome’ and accept one another, as they said they would do on the day of their marriage,” he said. “Later, as they bring a child into the world, they welcome that new life.”

“Whereas in cold and anonymous situations, the weak are often rejected,” the pope said, “in families it is natural to welcome them: to accept a child with a disability, an elderly person in need of care, a family member in difficulty who has no one else — this gives hope.”

Zakia Seddiki, a Moroccan Muslim and widow of Luca Attanasio, the Italian ambassador to Congo killed in an ambush in 2021 at the age of 43, also spoke at the event.

Seddiki had told the crowd, “We based our family on authentic love, with respect, solidarity and dialogue between our cultures.”

“None of that was lost, not even after the tragedy of Luca’s death,” the pope said. “Not only do the example and the spiritual legacy of Luca continue to live on and to speak to the consciences of many people, but also the organization that Zakia founded in some way carries on his mission. Indeed, we can say that Luca’s diplomatic mission has now become ‘a mission of peace’ on the part of your entire family.”

Pope Francis praised Seddiki and Attanasio for supporting and respecting each other’s religious identities and focusing on how both Islam and Christianity called them to work “to overcome divisions, prejudices and narrow-mindedness, and to build together something grand, something beautiful, on the basis of what we have in common.”

The Supreme Court is seen in Washington June 15, 2022. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – In a 6-3 ruling June 21, the Supreme Court said a Maine tuition aid program that excluded religious schools violated the Constitution’s free exercise clause.

The opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, said: “A state need not subsidize private education but once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

He also said the court’s decision in Carson v. Makin stemmed from a principle in its two previous decisions, particularly the 2020 opinion in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. In that case, the court said the state of Montana could not exclude religious schools from receiving tax credit-funded scholarships under its school choice program.

The Maine case went a step further by asking if the state can prevent students from using state funds to attend schools that provide religious instruction.

Roberts stressed that a neutral benefit program that gives public funds to religious organizations through the independent choices of the recipients of those benefits does not violate the Constitution’s establishment clause.

During oral arguments last December on this case, several of the justices found fault with the state’s decision process in determining just how religious a school was in order to decide if the school could participate or not in the program specifically for rural communities.

Schools deemed as ones that could potentially “infuse” religion in classes were excluded while other schools deemed by the state’s board of education to be the “rough equivalent” of public schools — or religiously neutral — could take part in the tuition program.

“That’s discrimination based on doctrine. That’s unconstitutional,” Roberts said at the time, which he essentially reiterated in his opinion.

Justice Stephen Breyer, in his dissent, stressed that the court has “never previously held” what it is saying today, “namely, that a state must (not may) use state funds to pay for religious education as part of a tuition program designed to ensure the provision of free statewide public education.”

Breyer, joined by Justice Elena Kagan and in part by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, said this decision pays more attention to the free exercise clause and not enough to the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Washington, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, said the high court “rightly ruled that the Constitution protects not just the right to be religious but also to act religious.”

“This commonsense result reflects the essence of Catholic education,” they said.

“The court has again affirmed that states cannot exclude religious schools from generally available public benefits based on their religious affiliation or exercise,” the USCCB chairmen added. “In our pluralistic society, it is vital that all people of faith be able to participate in publicly available programs and so to contribute to the common good.”

Nichole Garnett, a law professor at Notre Dame Law School, who focuses on education policy, called the decision “a victory both for religious liberty and for American schoolchildren.”

“The majority makes clear, once again, that, when the government makes a benefit available to private institutions, it must treat religious institutions — including faith-based schools — fairly and equitably,” she said in June 21 statement.

She also noted that the opinion cements the constitutional principle that “requires government neutrality — and prohibits hostility — toward religious believers and institutions.”

Garnett, signed an amicus brief in the Maine case submitted by the Religious Liberty Initiative of Notre Dame Law School on behalf of elementary and secondary schools from three faith traditions – Catholic (Partnership for Inner-City Education), Islamic (Council of Islamic Schools in North America) and Jewish (National Council of Young Israel).

Noting how this decision could impact school choice programs, she said it “clears away a major hurdle to the expansion of parental choice in the U.S. by clarifying that, when states adopt choice programs, they must permit parents to choose faith-based schools for their children.”

“Faith-based schools have a long and proven track record of providing high-quality education, especially for our most disadvantaged children and policies that exclude them from private-school choice programs are both unconstitutional and unwise,” she added.

Becket, a religious liberty law firm, similarly filed an amicus brief in this case, emphasizing that states have had a long history of excluding religious institutions from public benefits, often in part from the Blaine Amendments passed during a time of anti-Catholic sentiment in the last 19th century.

The Blaine Amendment to prohibit direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation was first proposed in Congress in 1875 by Rep. James G. Blaine of Maine. (Blaine also served as a U.S. senator from 1876 to 1881.)

In their statement, Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Daly noted that Blaine’s “cynically anti-Catholic” proposal was narrowly defeated in Congress but Blaine Amendments “were ultimately adopted in some form by 37 states.”

“These laws have nothing to do with government neutrality toward religion,” the two prelates said. “Rather, they are expressions of hostility toward Catholics. We are grateful that the Supreme Court continues to rebuke this harmful legacy.”

Pope Francis listens as Father Tesfaye Tadesse, superior general of the Comboni Missionaries, speaks during an audience with participants attending the general chapter of the Comboni Missionaries, at the Vatican June 18, 2022. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – One cannot share the Gospel without living it first, Pope Francis said in separate meetings with members of the general chapters of the Pauline Fathers and Comboni Missionaries.

“The first thing a communicator communicates is himself, perhaps without meaning to, but it is himself,” the pope told the Paulines, a religious order with a focus on communications and the media.

“A missionary is a disciple who is so united to his master and lord that his hands, his mind and his heart are channels of Christ’s love,” the pope told the Comboni Missionaries.

Pope Francis met members of the general chapters of the orders at the Vatican June 18.

“Great missionaries” like Blessed Daniele Comboni and St. Frances Cabrini “lived their mission feeling animated and driven by the heart of Christ, that is, by the love of Christ,” the pope told the Combonis. That drive pushed them “to go out and go beyond: not only beyond geographical limits and boundaries, but first and foremost beyond their own personal limits.”

“The push of the Holy Spirit is what makes us come out of ourselves, out of our closures, out of our self-referentiality,” he said, and it “makes us go toward others, toward the peripheries, where the thirst for the Gospel is greatest.”

To be sent on mission, he said, it to be sent to bring God’s mercy, compassion and tenderness to people, and that can be done only by being merciful, compassionate and tender.

“Mercy, tenderness is a universal language, which knows no boundaries,” the pope said. “But you carry this message not so much as individual missionaries, but as a community, and this implies you must care not only for your personal style but also the style of your communities,” cultivating honest communication and care for one another.

At his meeting with the Pauline Fathers, Pope Francis handed them the speech he had prepared and then proceeded to talk about the importance of honest, complete communication.

“You have the vocation to communicate cleanly, evangelically,” the pope told them. “If we take today’s media, there is a lack of cleanliness, a lack of honesty, a lack of completeness.”

“Disinformation is the order of the day: one thing is said, but many others are hidden,” he said. “We must ensure that in our communication of faith, this does not happen, that communication comes precisely from vocation, from the Gospel – crisp, clear, witnessed with one’s life.”


Franciscan Sisters Celebrate Jubilee
Jubilarian Served Scranton Diocese in Pastoral Care

Aston—On June 12 more than 150 members of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and their companions gathered in Our Lady of Angels Chapel in Aston, Pennsylvania, to give witness to the lives and service of the congregation’s 2020, 2021, and 2022 jubilarians. Celebrating 70 and 50 years of religious profession, the 39 jubilarians represent an accumulated 2,450 years of service in 18 states and 38 dioceses, including Ireland, Antigua, and Puerto Rico.

Golden jubilarian Sister Kathleen Francis McCarron, OSF, previously ministered in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at Our Lady of Peace Residence from 2017 to 2021.