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Survey: A majority of US Catholics support the death penalty

The lethal injection room at California's San Quentin State Prison. / California Department of Corrections via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Washington D.C., Jul 21, 2021 / 18:02 pm (CNA).

One recent survey shows a majority of U.S. Catholics supporting use of the death penalty for murder convicts. The poll numbers follow a 2018 update to the Catechism that the death penalty is “inadmissible.”

According to a survey of 5,109 U.S. adults by the Pew Research Center, conducted from April 5 to 11, 2021 and published in June, a majority of U.S. Catholics either “strongly” or “somewhat” support use of the death penalty for murder convicts.

Mirroring the responses of U.S. adults overall, 31% of Catholics “somewhat” favor the death penalty for those convicted of murder, while 27% of Catholics “strongly” favor it.

In comparison, 32% of U.S. adults “somewhat” favor the death penalty in such cases, and 27% “strongly” favor it, according to the Pew report.

Among Hispanic Catholics, there is slightly more support for the death penalty for murder convicts. In this subgroup, 30% “somewhat” support the death penalty in such cases, and 31% “strongly” support it.

Regarding the question of moral justification for the death penalty, a majority of Catholics believe it is justified in cases of murder convictions.

Among Catholics overall, 60% say capital punishment is morally justified “when someone commits a crime like murder”; among Hispanic Catholics, that number is 62%. Only 30% of Catholics believe the death penalty is morally wrong, including 35% of Hispanic Catholics.

Among religious subgroups, white evangelical and non-evangelical Protestants are most likely to believe the death penalty is morally justified in cases such as murder. More than three-quarters, 77%, of white evangelical Protestants believe this, and 76% of white non-evangelical Protestants.

Nearly two-thirds of those professing no religion “in particular,” 66%, also said that capital punishment is justified in such instances.

Language in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the use of the death penalty was updated in 2018, calling it “inadmissible.”

Pope Francis, in his 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti, wrote, “Today we state clearly that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible’ and the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition worldwide.”

In October 2020, CNA spoke with Fr. Thomas Petri regarding Pope Francis’ statements on the death penalty. Fr. Petri is currently the president and assistant professor of moral theology and pastoral studies at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies.

He explained that the Church’s ordinary magisterium has always taught that “states have the right to inflict the penalty of death.” He added that “no pope can somehow come out and contradict that.”

Pope Francis, he said, did not say the use of the death penalty was “intrinsically evil,” and thus did not contradict the Church's ordinary magisterium.

Both popes John Paul II and Francis have made prudential applications of the Church’s teaching in areas of faith and morals, he said. Their statements on the death penalty have noted that the security of modern prisons has rendered the need for the death penalty non-existent, as a means of protecting society from criminals.

Thus, since popes have spoken frequently on the death penalty in recent years – including through encyclicals and the Catechism – Catholics cannot just prudentially disagree with their teachings, he said.

“You can probably disagree with whether or not there should be life prison terms, but not this. I don’t think you can say this about the death penalty issue,” he said.

According to a 2020 RealClear Opinion Research poll, sponsored by EWTN News, U.S. Catholics broadly supported the death penalty by a margin of 57% to 29%.

In the April 2021 Pew survey, atheists, agnostics, and Black Protestants were the most likely religious subgroups to say the death penalty is morally wrong. A slight majority of atheists, 51%, believe the death penalty is morally wrong, compared to 47% of self-identified agnostics and 42% of Black Protestants.

Do we have a Traditional Latin Mass? US bishops continue to respond to Traditionis custodes

Priest celebrating the traditional Latin Mass at the church of St Pancratius, Rome / Thoom/Shutterstock

Denver Newsroom, Jul 21, 2021 / 17:30 pm (CNA).

Bishops throughout the United States have continued to respond to Pope Francis’ motu proprio on traditional liturgies, addressing the impact the letter will have on their respective dioceses.

Pope Francis’ July 16 motu proprio Traditionis custodes (“Guardians of the tradition”), concerning liturgies prior to the 1970 reform, restricted the use of the Traditional Latin Mass. It states that it is a bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the use of the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal in his diocese. 

For many episcopal sees of the United States, nothing will change in the near future regarding celebration of the traditional Latin Mass. These jurisdictions include the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and Archdiocese of Milwaukee, as well as the dioceses of Cleveland, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Knoxville, and Lincoln.

The bishops of those dioceses have all issued statements granting temporary permission for priests who offer Latin Masses according to the 1962 Missal to continue doing so. The bishops said they would be reviewing the motu proprio and consulting with advisors on the document, in the meantime.

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln wrote July 21 that "In light of Pope Francis' motu proprio Traditiones custodes, I have spoken to the priests of the Diocese of Lincoln who celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal and I authorize them to continue to do so. Many Catholics are drawn close to Jesus through the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and so I desire for it to remain present in the diocese."

Bishop Edward Malesic of Cleveland wrote on July 19, “I will be consulting with my advisors and those currently responsible for the celebration of the Eucharist according to what has been termed the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.” 

“At this time, I grant temporary permission for those priests competent in celebrating the Eucharist according to the 1962 Missal to continue to do so in private and in churches that as of July 16, 2021 have publicly scheduled these Masses,” he stated.

Traditionis custodes revoked the previous faculty granted to priests to offer the traditional Latin Mass without the permission of their local ordinaries; rather, it stated the bishops’ authority to authorize the traditional liturgies in their respective dioceses.

Furthermore, for bishops who authorize the celebration of the traditional Mass, they are to designate locations for the liturgies - but may not designate a “parochial church.”

In Milwaukee, Bishop Jerome Listecki has announced that the Latin Mass will continue as scheduled at St. Stanislaus, a church administered by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest; the institute is a society of apostolic life with an emphasis on the traditional Latin Mass. 

Listecki said that any other priest who celebrates the Latin Mass will have to inform him that they will continue to do so, and “explain the circumstances under which they will celebrate.” 

Archbishop Alexander Sample from the Archdiocese of Portland has yet to reveal his plans regarding the motu proprio. On Twitter, following the release of Traditionis custodes on Friday, Sample said that he did not have a comment yet. 

“I know that many of you will want me to comment on the Holy Father’s new legislation regarding the traditional Latin Mass,” said Sample on July 16. “I never respond precipitously to things like this. I need time to pray, reflect and study this new law so that I can respond in mercy, charity and truth.” 

Sample is a proponent of the Latin Mass, and in 2013 he said that, in his view, “the 2007 motu proprio of Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum, is one of the greatest gifts that could be given to the Church in the service of liturgical renewal and reform.”

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced that a priest had been selected as a “delegate” to assist with the implementation of the motu proprio. The archbishop did not elaborate on any of the changes that would be coming to his territory. 

The traditional Latin Mass will continue to be available at two churches in the Cincinnati area, as well as at one church in Dayton and a to-be-determined location in the northern part of the diocese. 

“Priests assigned to these designated locations – as well as other priests who have the requisite faculty along with the permission of the pastor, rector, or chaplain of the respective place – may celebrate Mass ad libitum according to the Missal of 1962 at these locations for the satisfaction of the needs of the faithful,” said a document from the archdiocese. 

Priests are permitted to celebrate “non-scheduled and non-publicized Masses in a sacred place, or at least a decent place, with the Archbishop’s permission,” the document said. “These Masses may admit a minister to make the necessary responses and otherwise assist the celebrant during Mass.” 

In New Orleans, Archbishop Gregory Aymond said on July 16 that he is “in consultation” with the priests of his diocese who celebrate the Latin Mass, as well as the Director of the Office of Worship and “canonists whose opinion I respect.” 

Aymond said that his “first priority is the spiritual welfare of the people of the Archdiocese, particularly, in this case, those who find sustenance in this form of the Mass.” 

The Archdiocese of New Orleans says it intends to release more information “in the upcoming weeks.” People in the archdiocese “who have some connection” to the Latin Mass, said Aymond, will continue to have their spiritual needs met. 

The Diocese of Providence updated its initial statement on the motu proprio from July 16, saying on July 19 that while priests in the diocese who celebrate the Latin Mass will be given permission to do so, the authorization is not permanent. 

“​​However, at some point in the future we will need to begin the implementation of the requirements of the new instruction,” said Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence. 

“We will strive to do so with patience and prudence, and with sensitivity to the legitimate spiritual needs of the faithful. Clergy and lay faithful who are accustomed to the usus antiquior form of the liturgy should be prepared – spiritually, personally and pastorally – to accept and implement any changes that may be required.”

Mary Magdalene: The first witness to the Resurrection

"The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene" by Alexander Ivanov, 1834-1836. / Wikimedia Commons.

Denver Newsroom, Jul 21, 2021 / 16:48 pm (CNA).

July 22nd is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene.

Not much is known about Mary Magdalene. She first appears in the Gospel of Luke as a follower of Christ from whom 7 demons have been cast out. In the Gospels, she is sometimes associated with two other women in Scripture: the woman who washes Jesus’ feet with oil and Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. 

Her most prominent position in scripture occurs in the Gospel of John, where she remains with Jesus at the crucifixion, keeps vigil at the tomb, and is the first to see him on Easter morning. Differing traditions have her evangelizing in Ephesus, while others place her in Marseille, France. 

Her body has never been found. 

Apart from the Blessed Virgin Mary, perhaps no other saint alive during the time of Christ appears to have been as deeply moved by Jesus’ death as today’s saint.  

“How beautiful to think that the first appearance of the Risen One took place in such a personal way! That there is someone who knows us, who sees our suffering and delusion, who is moved by us, and who calls us by name,” said Pope Francis of the encounter in a general audience the year after upgrading her memorial to a feast day.

After this shocking encounter, the joy of Christ’s Resurrection imbued her with the courage to spread this good news joyfully. “I have seen the Lord!” she proclaimed to the apostles and the whole world. Once known as a sinful woman, Mary Magdalene becomes the Apostle to the Apostles, the first witness to the Resurrection, and the model of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ risen from the grave.

“God surprises her in the most unexpected way,” opined Pope Francis, “So that woman, who is the first to encounter Jesus...now has become an apostle of the new and greatest hope.”

New Hampshire moves to restrict late-term abortions

New Hampshire state house / Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

Denver Newsroom, Jul 21, 2021 / 16:01 pm (CNA).

New Hampshire’s 2021 budget includes a limit on late-term abortions, a significant change from current policy which allows abortions up to the point of birth.

The Fetal Life Protection Act limits abortions in the state to the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, unless the life, health, or well-being of the mother is endangered. The act makes performing an unauthorized abortion a class B felony, with fines ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. New Hampshire currently has no gestational age limit on abortions.

The $13.5 billion state budget bill, which includes the Fetal Life Protection Act, was signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu (R) on June 25. The pro-life provisions go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. 

The two Republican state senators who introduced the act, Regina Birdsell and Sharon Carson, explained the rationale behind the provisions in a July 20 op-ed in the Portsmouth Herald

“For too long, we were among a small group of states that provided no protection for unborn children until the moment of birth,” the senators wrote. 

Under the bill, anyone seeking an abortion would be required to have an ultrasound first. The senators defended that provision as “routine,” and argued that most abortion clinics already perform ultrasounds to determine an unborn baby’s age. 

In addition, the bill requires medical providers to file a report to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services each time an abortion is performed after 24 weeks due to a medical emergency. 

New Hampshire is currently one of seven states that has no gestational limit on abortions, New Hampshire Public Radio reported. 

“We are proud that New Hampshire has finally become the 44th state to finally protect infants in the 7th, 8th, and 9th month of pregnancy. This is long overdue,” Birdsell and Carson wrote. 

“Voters have consistently and overwhelmingly supported limits on abortions in the third trimester. They oppose an extreme pro-abortion agenda without any limits up to the moment of birth,” they said. 

A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggested that a majority of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases after the first trimester. 

Notably, only 19% of respondents said abortion in the third trimester - roughly months seven through nine of a pregnancy - should be legal in most or all cases, while 81% responded that it should be illegal in most or all cases. 

Most states limit abortions at 18 to 22 weeks gestation, the senators noted. 

“Those who support abortion until birth object to any and all protections for the unborn...we’re hearing that this late-term abortion law is extreme, even though it’s already in place in 43 other states,” the senators wrote. 

Some of the those states with no gestational limits, such as Colorado, have become havens for late-term abortion doctors who accept patients from all over the world. Data from a prolific late-term abortion doctor in Boulder, Colorado suggest that many abortions performed late in pregnancy - some of which are performed as late as 38 or 39 weeks - are due to conditions such as Down syndrome. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in its most recent report on abortion in the United States, estimated that 92% of abortions in 2018 were performed within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. 

The CDC data suggests that abortions after 21 weeks gestation make up only 1.2% of all abortions performed in the United States, and are thus “extremely rare.” However, that CDC data excludes information from some states such as California, Illinois, New York, and the District of Columbia.

More than six-in-ten, 61%, Americans believe that abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of pregnancy, according to the AP/NORC poll.

The percentage of Americans who believe abortion should be illegal in all cases in the first trimester was 16%, according to the poll. Meanwhile, 35% said abortion should be illegal in all cases during the second trimester, and 54% answered that way for abortion during the third trimester. 

However, when asked about the legality of abortion overall, 56% said they believed abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 43% said it should be illegal in most or all cases.

US bishops' petition to preserve Hyde Amendment surpasses 130,000 signatures

The March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 2018. / Jonah McKeown/CNA

Washington D.C., Jul 21, 2021 / 15:01 pm (CNA).

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging Americans to sign their petition to save the Hyde Amendment from being eliminated in congressional legislation.

“We are trying to get Catholics, pro-lifers, and all people of goodwill to contact Congress and to let them know that taxpayer funded abortion is unacceptable,” the USCCB’s Assistant Director for Pro-Life Communications, Kat Talalas, told CNA July 21.

The USCCB’s petition, which launched in early May, calls for stopping “billions of taxpayer dollars could be used to pay for abortion.” The petition also discusses the history of the Hyde Amendment, consequences of its elimination, and provides other links and resources related to the amendment.

President Joe Biden, a Catholic, excluded the Hyde Amendment from his budget request to Congress for the 2022 fiscal year. The amendment prohibits funding of elective abortions in Medicaid; according to one estimate, it has resulted in around 60,000 fewer abortions per year. Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate are pushing for a repeal of the policy.

The Hyde Amendment was first introduced in 1976, and has been part of federal budgets every year since. It must be attached each year to federal budget bills.

The current Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, H.R. 4502, does not include the Hyde Amendment.

The USCCB has collected about 133,000 signatures for their petition, although Talalas told CNA the signatures are “increasing by the minute.”

After the LHHS appropriations bill was introduced last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved the bill July 15. An amendment to include the Hyde Amendment in the appropriations bill failed at the markup hearing in a 27-32 vote. The legislation ultimately passed the committee by a vote of 33-25.

Both chambers of Congress have to approve the bill before it can be sent to Biden’s desk for signing.

The USCCB will be sending the petition to each representative and senator in cCngress early next week. Talalas told CNA bishops around the country have been advertising the petition in their dioceses.

The Hyde Amendment has historically received staunch opposition by some in Congress and the White House, with President Bill Clinton excluding the policy from his budget request to Congress in 1993 and some House Democrats working to keep it out of budget legislation that year.

However, an amended version of the policy passed Congress and was signed into law by Clinton. Members of Congress from both parties have over the years voted for budget bills including Hyde Amendment language, and presidents of both parties have signed the bills.

Biden once supported the Hyde Amendment as a U.S. senator, even explaining his support for it in a letter to a constituent in 1994. However, as a 2020 presidential candidate, Biden reversed his support for the policy in June 2019 amid pressure from pro-abortion groups.

The 2016 Democratic Party platform included, for the first time, a call to repeal the Hyde Amendment. The party again called for its repeal in 2020.

New bill would defund public universities that provide on-campus abortions  

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) at a July 21, 2021 press conference introducing the Protecting Life on College Campus Act of 2021, outside the U.S. Capitol building / Office of Sen. Steve Daines

Washington D.C., Jul 21, 2021 / 14:05 pm (CNA).

Pro-life lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday to defund public colleges and universities that perform abortions or offer the abortion pill to students or staff. 

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the founder and chairman of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, on Wednesday introduced the Protecting Life on College Campus Act of 2021 in the Senate, while Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Mary Miller (R-Ill.) introduced a version of the bill in the House. The bills would stop federal funding of public colleges and universities that offer abortions or abortion pills at campus health clinics.

The lawmakers said the bill is a response to a new California law requiring campus health clinics at state colleges and universities to make abortion pills available to students on-campus starting in 2023. 

Pro-life activists have criticized the California law, arguing that an estimated 7% of women who undergo a chemical abortion experience complications afterward which require surgery.

In remarks to reporters on Wednesday morning, Daines said that chemical abortions “are dangerous, and target vulnerable young women.” 

“We can’t let our campus clinics become abortion clinics,” he said, adding that “the craziness in California” shouldn’t become “the mainstream in America.”

“What is on the fringe of a far-left position suddenly can become mainstream in this country and we’ve got to stop it,” he said. 

Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, told reporters that “access to abortion does not equate to women’s health.” 

“This abortion regime is dangerous for women,” Mancini said, adding there are “psychological ramifications” to “being your own abortionist.” 

With a pro-abortion majority in the House, and Democrats enjoying a tiebreaker majority in the Senate, a vote on the bill appears unlikely in the current Congress.

In 2019 California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed the bill into law requiring 34 state university campuses to provide free access to chemical abortions, as well as abortion counseling services. The law also set up a fund to pay for the cost of chemical abortions at the campus clinics, providing a $200,000 grant to each clinic.

The California Catholic Conference opposed the legislation as “unprecedented and unnecessary,” arguing that it would force state universities into “promoting, facilitating and potentially funding only abortions.” The law’s abortion counseling requirement was written in such a way as to exclude pro-life counseling, the conference added.

On Wednesday, Roy said his bill in the U.S. House “is the next logical step in our quest to protect life.” He noted that the legislation should coincide with a defense of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for most elective abortions. 

“Here today, we are united in standing up to ensure that taxpayer dollars don’t go to institutions, to states, carrying out the horrific practice of chemically induced abortions,” Roy said. 

Judge temporarily blocks Arkansas ban on most abortions

Pregnancy Test. / Flickr/Ernesto Andrade.

Little Rock, Ark., Jul 21, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked an Arkansas law banning almost all abortions, while the court considers whether it is constitutional.

US District Judge Kristine Baker issued a preliminary injunction against the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act July 20. The law, adopted March 9, was to have taken effect July 28.

The law bans abortions except when medically necessary to save the life of the mother.

It provides for an “unclassified felony” for anyone who performs an abortion in the state except in a medical emergency, with a fine of up to $100,000, ten years in prison, or both. The law does not carry charges or convictions for mothers of unlawfully aborted children.

Baker said the law is “categorically unconstitutional” and that “since the record at this stage of the proceedings indicates that women seeking abortions in Arkansas face an imminent threat to their constitutional rights, the court concludes that they will suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief.”

Catherine Phillips, Respect Life Director for the Diocese of Little Rock, noted that the diocese has supported the legislation, and Bishop Anthony Taylor released a statement supporting it earlier this year.

When the law was adopted, Phillips told CNA that the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act, SB6, helps move the state in a pro-life direction by protecting the rights of innocent, unborn babies.

She also noted that the law has received attention for its lack of exception for rape and incest. “Women or children who are victims of these deplorable and violent acts must be given compassionate care and support,” she said, while adding that “it is a grave moral evil to kill the child” who was conceived as a result.

The state has already passed a law outlawing abortion if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, a so-called “trigger ban” that has also been adopted by several other states. Arkansas also already has a 20-week abortion ban, enacted in 2013, which has yet to be challenged in court.

The office of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a statement that the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act has the explicit goal of challenging Roe v. Wade.

“SB6 is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law,” the statement read.

“I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Courts have struck down similar laws in other states in recent years. A similar measure in Alabama was struck down by a federal district court during October 2019.

A federal appeals court upheld certain Arkansas state abortion restrictions during August 2020. The Eighth Circuit court briefly allowed a 2017 state law to go into effect, which banned sex-selective abortions and dilation and evacuation abortions.

However, in January 2021, the same Eighth Circuit upheld or imposed injunctions on several pro-life laws in the state, including the sex-selective abortion law and the dilation and evacuation abortion ban.

A law banning abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest, and medical emergency was blocked, as well as another that would have prohibited abortions based solely on a Down syndrome diagnosis for the baby.

Those regulations had been set to go into effect July 2019 before injunctions blocked them.

On Jan. 7, Baker issued a preliminary injunction against the ban on abortions based solely on the sex of the baby, including requirements that doctors seek the medical records of any woman seeking an abortion who knows the sex of her unborn child.

Another of the enjoined laws regulates the preservation and disposal of tissue from aborted babies, while another requires doctors performing abortions on patients under 16 years old to inform police of the situation.

Catholic teaching challenges award for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s two-child limit

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle / EWTN Pro-Life Weekly

Washington D.C., Jul 20, 2021 / 19:01 pm (CNA).

An environmental charity recently awarded Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for limiting their family to two children. 

In honor of World Population Day, British charity Population Matters presented the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with a “special award” for “choosing and publicly declaring their intention to limit their family to two.” 

Among other things, the charity congratulated them for “helping to ensure a better future for their children, and providing a role model for other families.” The group called their family size limit an “enlightened decision,” and said the couple’s environmentally-friendly example showed that a “smaller family is also a happy family.” 

The award came after Prince Harry revealed that he wanted two children “maximum!” in a 2019 British Vogue interview.

“I’ve always thought: This place is borrowed,” he said. “And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation.”

The royal couple have already reached their self-imposed limit with their two-year-old son Archie and one-month-old Lilabet Diana.

Catholic leaders challenge this idea, as EWTN Pro-Life Weekly reported on July 17. Pope St. John Paul II once stressed that an appreciation of the human person is necessary for interest in others – and the earth.

Catholic leaders suggest that welcoming children and embracing family contributes to the prosperity of the environment. 

“If an appreciation of the value of a human person and of human life is lacking, we will also lose interest in others and in the earth itself,” Pope St. John Paul II taught in his 1990 message celebrating the World Day of Peace.

Adding to the late pontiff’s words, EWTN Pro-Life Weekly host Catherine Hadro said, “the answer is to care for both the environment and human life.”

“We are called to respect the earth our creator made,” she explained. “But we must also respect the human life our creator makes.”

Hadro also said that she would not be alive today if her grandmother had not been open to life. Her mother, she said, was the youngest of 13 children. She said she is also married today because her mother-in-law welcomed 10 children, the youngest of whom is her husband.

“No, not every couple is called to have or will be blessed with a large family,” she said. “But to shut off God’s plan for your family is to shut up the creator Himself.”

Instead of posing a threat to the world and closing doors, children infuse the world with beauty, she said.

“The more people there are, the more love there is and the more opportunities there are for this beautiful planet of ours,” she concluded.

Fall River seminarian develops apologetics website

Fall River, Mass., Jul 20, 2021 / 18:19 pm (CNA).

A seminarian and former graphic designer has created the Auspice Maria website as an initiative of the new evangelization.

John Garabedian, a seminarian of the Diocese of Fall River, told CNA his goal is “to present old truths in new, creative, engaging ways and use my talents and professional experience of being a graphic designer for God’s glory and lead them with beauty to the Source of Beauty, God Himself.”

Auspice Maria, Latin for “under the protection of Mary”, is a digital library of videos, spiritual reflections, graphic art, and other catechetical resources.

Auspice Maria offers answers to theological questions through original content such as blogs and videos. Some videos feature Garabedian, but many of the videos feature priests in Garabedian’s diocese.

Garabedian plans to create content every couple of months in order to balance his seminary studies. His vision is to create videos mostly featuring priests, thoughrhe would like to have some lay people contribute as well.

In addition to its original content, Auspice Maria offers resources by linking to videos and articles created by EWTN, Catholic News Agency, The Thomistic Institute, Ascension Presents, Word on Fire, Carry Your Cross, and other organizations with a Catholic mission.

The site offers a blend of apologetics and evangelization targeted towards non-practicing, young adult Catholics who left the faith for a “lack of evidence.” The website is also for practicing Catholics who want to grow in their faith, Garabedian says.

Garabedian’s inspiration for the website came during a visit to Jerusalem, when he saw an “Auspice Maria” monogram on a banner at the Church of the Visitation.

With his graphic design skills, Garabedian wanted to create a logo based on the monogram, “but with a modern, athletic twist to reflect the beauty of the Catholic Church, Our Lady, and my love for sports.”

The motivation also came from Garabedian’s desire to share that belief in God and the Catholic Church is “firmly rooted in Scripture, history, and a rich intellectual tradition of philosophy, theology, and science.”

In addition to word of mouth and local parish outreach, Garabedian is spreading his initiative through its Facebook, YouTube Channel, and Instagram.

The project took Garabedian about a year to create with the help from some priests, family, and friends. Garabedian told CNA he may begin selling apparel to fundraise for evangelization efforts.

“The goal is to spread the saving love of Jesus Christ to hearts longing for love, happiness, and peace that only God can give,” he said.

FSSP says it is ‘deeply saddened’ by Pope Francis' Latin Mass restrictions

The prostration of the ordinands at the Fraternity of St. Peter's Roman Parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, June 27, 2013 / Alan Holdren/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2021 / 17:30 pm (CNA).

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter issued a statement on Tuesday reaffirming their fidelity to Pope Francis, and expressing their disappointment with his recent motu proprio restricting the use of traditional liturgies.

“The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter [FSSP], whose goal is the sanctification of priests through the faithful observance of the liturgical traditions prior to the reform implemented after the Second Vatican Council, has received Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio Traditionis custodes with surprise,” said the order on Tuesday. 

The July 16 motu proprio, Traditionis custodes (“Guardians of the tradition”), restricts the use of the Traditional Latin Mass and prohibits it from being celebrated in “parochial churches.” It states that it is each bishop’s “exclusive competence” to authorize the use of the Latin Mass in his diocese according to the 1962 Roman Missal.

In its statement issued from its headquarters in Fribourg, the FSSP explained that it is a canonically-approved religious order, and “has always professed its adherence to the entire Magisterium of the Church and its fidelity to the Roman Pontiff and the successors of the Apostles, exercising its ministry under the responsibility of the diocesan bishops.”

“Today, therefore the Fraternity of St. Peter is deeply saddened by the reasons given for limiting the use of the Missal of Pope St. John XXIII, which is at the center of its charism,” said the statement.  

The order was founded by 12 priests who were formerly members of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), an order that is in a canonically irregular status with the Roman Catholic Church. The founder of the SSPX, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was excommunicated prior to his death for consecrating four bishops without permission from the Holy See.

The FSSP Constitutions reference the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, they said, and the order “has always sought to be in accord with what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called in 2005: ‘the hermeneutic of reform in the continuity of the Church.’” 

Pope Francis explained his reasoning for the motu proprio in a letter to the world’s bishops, saying that the expansion of the Latin Mass after Summorum Pontificum did not result in a unified Church. Summorum Pontificum was Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter which recognized the rights of priests to say the Traditional Latin Mass, and stated they did not need the permission of their local ordinary to offer it. 

That 2007 document, Pope Francis said, “was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”

On Monday, the FSSP stated that it “in no way recognizes itself in the criticisms made. It is surprising that no mention is made of the many fruits visible in the apostolates attached to the missal of St. John XXIII and the joy of the faithful in being able to benefit from this liturgical form.”

The statement notes that the Latin Mass has prompted “many people” to discover the Catholic faith or return to the Catholic faith. 

“How can we fail to notice, moreover, that the communities of the faithful attached to it are often young and flourishing, and that many Christian households, priests or religious vocations have come from it,” asked the FSSP. 

The FSSP said that “we wish to reaffirm our unwavering fidelity to the successor of Peter on the one hand, and on the other, our desire to remain faithful to our Constitutions and charism, continuing to serve the faithful as we have done since our foundation.” 

“We hope to be able to count on the understanding of the bishops, whose authority we have always respected, and with whom we have always collaborated loyally,” said the order. 

The FSSP is active in 39 dioceses in the United States, and has 54 apostolates. There are 112 priests of the FSSP in the United States. 

Some U.S. bishops have chosen to either restrict the Latin Mass in their diocese to parishes administered by orders like the FSSP, or have granted their priests authorization to continue saying the Traditional Mass. 

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois, in a decree on Monday, dispensed two parishes in his diocese from the motu proprio’s mandate that Traditional Masses not be offered at parochial churches.