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Posted on 06/25/2019 19:02 PM (CNA Daily News)
London, England, Jun 25, 2019 / 11:02 am (CNA).- Following a decision by the Court of Appeals in England to overturn an order for a forced abortion on a disabled woman, new details have emerged about the case.
Lawyers told the appeal court Monday that doctors had prepared the woman for the enforced abortion by promising her a new doll after the procedure.
Fiona Paterson, the barrister representing the National Health Service (NHS) hospital trust that cares for the woman, told the appeal court on Monday that doctors had informed the woman that “she would go to sleep” and that “she would have an operation and when she woke up the baby would no longer be in her tummy.”
To try to placate the woman, who did not wish to undergo the procedure, doctors told her that she would be given a new doll to play with after undergoing the abortion.
Observing that the woman had previously been given a doll, Paterson said that doctors thought “the prospect of a new [doll] might be very appealing to her.”
The woman is reported to have a "mental age" of between six and nine years old, as well as a mood disorder. She was 22 weeks pregnant at the time the case was decided at the Court of Protection on June 21.
Both the woman, who cannot be named because of privacy restrictions, and her mother are described as being of Nigerian descent, Catholic, and opposed to abortion.
On Friday, Mrs Justice Nathalie Lieven ruled that an abortion would be the “best interest” of the woman, despite the her own objections and those of her mother (a former midwife) and her social worker. Doctors said they were concerned that the woman would be unable to physically or emotionally handle labor, or the recovery from a cesarean section.
The court-ordered abortion was overturned on June 24, after the pregnant woman’s mother petitioned the Court of Appeal. The three appeal justices--Justices Richard McCombe, Eleanor King, and Peter Jackson, said they would explain their reasoning for their decision in the future.
“I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society's views of termination,” Lieven said at the time of her original ruling. Lieven had previsouly acted as a legal repreetative for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the UK abortion provider, and argued in court that abortion restrictions in Northern Ireland were analogous to “torture.”
The woman’s mother made clear that she would care for her grandchild, but Lieven rejected this argument as she said it would be too complicated and risky for the child, and the potential removal of the child from the woman’s custody would be more traumatic than if she underwent an abortion.
In her ruling, Lieven said that she did not believe the woman had the ability to understand what being pregnant meant.
“I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll,” she said.
The case’s handling has proved controversial. Over 75,000 people signed a petition requesting that the UK’s health secretary intervene.
A spokesperson for the pro-life group Right To Life UK, Clare McCarthy, welcomed the decision by the appeal court but cautioned that the decision would not protect mothers or children in similar circumstances.
“Unfortunately, we fear that this is not a one-off case,” McCarthy said.
“We are calling on the Department of Health to urgently reveal how many women have been forced to have an abortion in the UK over the last 10 years and make it clear how they will ensure it will not happen again.”
Posted on 06/25/2019 11:01 AM (CNA Daily News)
New York City, N.Y., Jun 25, 2019 / 03:01 am (CNA).- The Bishop of Brooklyn accepted last week the findings of a nine-year diocesan investigation into the life of Monsignor Bernard John Quinn, known for fighting bigotry and serving the African American population, as part of his cause for canonization.
The information will be sent to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio received the findings at a Vespers service at the Immaculate Conception Center in Queens.
Msgr. Quinn “combatted racism and is an inspiration to the priests of this diocese,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “He is a hero who turned things around and gave his life for his people, died an early death, and was a great man.”
Quinn was born in Newark in 1888, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1912.
In 1922, he established St. Peter Claver parish, Brooklyn's first church for African American Catholics
Six years later, he established Little Flower Orphanage for African American orphanage in Wading River on Long Island. The building was twice set on fire.
Quinn's great-niece, Mary Clare Quinn, said: “The family was all very proud of the work he was doing at Little Flower, and we all contributed during the winters and summers, going out there to help. They used to burn crosses at our house in Mineola, even after he was gone, but my family stared fear down.”
Msgr. Paul Jervis, postulator for Quinn's cause, said the priest “could not separate his sacramental ministry from the social and political realities that denied to people on account of their race, or immigrant status, the opportunities to enjoy the fullness of life as the Lord willed for all humanity.”
“St. Peter Claver Catholic Church became a meeting ground where white Catholics encountered blacks and discovered that they all had a common humanity with the same human problems, and were all in need of the intercession of St. Therese and the pastoral intercession of Monsignor Quinn,” he said.
Quinn died in 1940 at the age of 52.
The diocesan phase of his cause for canonization was opened in June 2010. At that time, Bishop DiMarzio said that Quinn's ministry “did not end upon his death but has continued to grow and take root in the hearts and souls of the faithful and clergy of this church in New York, which has continually ministered to the poor and oppressed.”
Posted on 06/25/2019 08:03 AM (CNA Daily News)
Sydney, Australia, Jun 25, 2019 / 12:03 am (CNA).- While Cardinal George Pell of Australia is appealing his sexual abuse conviction in court, he and his supporters are making arrangements for a “safe hideaway” for the cleric, should his conviction be overturned.
According to The Australian, the risk of backlash and threats against the cardinal are so high that he is seeking a “secure compound” in which to live, should his appeal succeed in court. Some possibilities for this place would include an undisclosed location in New South Wales in southeastern Australia, or somewhere in Rome, where he previously lived and worked as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, the report noted. He would not reassume his Vatican position.
The Australian noted that one possible safe place for Pell to live, should his conviction overturn, would be a seminary in Sydney, where he stayed as he awaited trial. The difficulty with placing the high-profile cardinal in Australia is that he is easily recognized.
After having been convicted of five counts of sexual abuse of a minor in December 2018, Cardinal Pell was sentenced to serve six years in prison in March. Pell has been held in solitary confinement in the Melbourne Assessment Prison since then.
According to the Vatican, Pell has been barred from public ministry and from contact with minors during the entire legal process of the case, including the appeal.
The cardinal was convicted of having abused two choir boys immediately following a 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass in Melbourne’s cathedral. Pell, who was the Archbishop of Melbourne at the time, was accused of abusing both choir members in the same incident. One of the alleged victims was present in court to give evidence during the trial in 2017, while the other died in 2014.
The appeal was heard by a panel of three judges for the state of Victoria’s Supreme Court on June 5-6. The ruling on the appeal, or when it can be expected, is yet unknown.
During the appeal hearing, the prosecution struggled to answer questions from the judges about the case, according to multiple reports. This included admitting that the alleged victim’s story regarding specific dates and times of the abuse had changed multiple times.
According to The Age, an Australian source, Pell’s lawyers are basing their appeal on what they see as multiple improbabilities or inconsistencies in the case, such as witness reports that Pell would have been greeting parishioners outside after Mass at the time of the abuse, rather in the sacristy, where the abuse is alleged to have occurred.
Furthermore, the lawyers hold that Pell was never not accompanied by another adult while at the cathedral, and it would have been impossible for someone of his size and status to disappear into the sacristy with two young boys, among other things.
The Australian added that the Supreme Court will adjourn between June 29 and July 14, meaning that the final ruling in the appeal might not be handed down until after the recess. Should Pell’s appeal fail, appealing to the Australian High Court could be the next step for his legal team.
“We’re not making any assumptions at all about whether the appeal will be successful,’’ a friend of Pell told The Australian. “It’s one day at a time.’’
The Vatican opened an internal investigation into Pell following his conviction, but they have said that Pell has the right to maintain his innocence until the “last stage of appeal.”
Posted on 06/25/2019 07:13 AM (CNA Daily News)
Vienna, Austria, Jun 24, 2019 / 11:13 pm (CNA).- Vienna's FC Mariahilf football team has issued a statement of regret after a friendly with the Vatican women's football team was cancelled Saturday after several FCM members lifted their jerseys whilst the Vatican anthem was playing, displaying painted ovaries and pro-abortion messages.
The Vatican soccer team, who had been invited to Vienna by FCM, decided not to go ahead with the June 22 match.
“The action of the three players was independently organized and carried out,” FCM stated. “We sincerely apologize to the Vatican team’s players and guests from near and far that the game was not played.”
The club noted that “tolerance, diversity, of life forms, and peaceful coexistence are important to us, as we have pointed out with rainbow symbols. We therefore understand the demands and message of our players, but we find the timing of their expression inappropriate and therefore understand the emotion it caused.”
The friendly was scheduled to kick off in the early afternoon in a sports arena in Wien-Simmering. Beforehand, both sides had participated in a prayer service and blessing of the pitch.
Austrian state broadcaster ORF quoted one of the FCM players involved in the protest as saying the activists were "not aware of the consequences of their action in any way and would have liked to play the football match".
The activists also handed out leaflets to journalists attending the match. These stated that the activists did not assent to the Church's teaching on abortion and same-sex marriage.
"They were not aware that the timing of the action during the playing of the Vatican anthem and in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio could be detrimental to the idea of sport and ruin many weeks of preparation", reported the ORF.
When announcing the upcoming game, the German section of Vatican News reported FCM founder Ernst Lackner as saying he had initially not expected that the Vatican team would really accept the invitation, but that the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, had assured the Vatican team that FC Mariahilf was a serious team that was also strongly committed to charity.
The papal women's football team had its first appearance in 2018 and immediately received an invitation from FCM, which is currently playing in the Wiener Landesliga, the third highest league in domestic women's football.
Posted on 06/25/2019 05:01 AM (CNA Daily News)
Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jun 24, 2019 / 09:01 pm (CNA).- Tens of thousands took to the streets of Guayaquil, Ecuador on June 22 in support of life, marriage, conscience protections, and parental rights.
Organizers said more than 100,000 people attended the march, which had as its theme, “Respect the Constitution, the family and life.”
The demonstrators demanded the nullification of a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Ecuador which opens the door to redefining marriage. They also voiced their opposition to attempts to legalize abortion, medical marijuana, and sex change operations on minors without parental consent.
The march was organized by several groups defending life and the family, including the Guayaquil Family Network, I'm the One to Educate My Children, Ecuador for the Family, the Young People's Front of Ecuador, Don't Mess with my Children, Lawyers for Life, and the National Front for the Family.
In a statement, the organizers charged that a recent ruling from the Constitutional Court, which paves the way for the redefinition of marriage, violates Article 67 of the Constitution, which says, “Marriage is the union between man and woman, to be based on the free consent of the contracting persons and with equal rights, obligations, and legal capacity.”
“The sovereign authority, that is, the Ecuadoran people, is defending its rights and fighting so they don't keep passing laws attacking the life, health and security of the family, and attacking children, the most vulnerable of beings,” they said.
They also warned that the National Assembly of Ecuador is debating a measure that would legalize abortion in cases of incest, rape, and fetal deformity.
Abortion is currently only legal in the country in cases of the rape of a woman with mental disabilities or when the mother’s life is determined to be at risk.
In addition, leaders of the march argued against a proposal to legalize the cultivation and consumption of medical marijuana, saying that it “puts children and adolescents in real risk of addiction in a State that has not been able control the consumption of other drugs.”
Other proposals that organizers objected to include a surrogacy measure, sex change operations on minors without parental consent, same-sex adoption, and requiring doctors to perform abortions.
The organizers of the march said that they are gathering signatures “to continue fighting until the nullification of these laws is accomplished through a referendum. The marches will continue in the coming days in other cities.”
Another march will be held in Quito, Ecuador's capital, on June 29.
Posted on 06/25/2019 02:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Jun 24, 2019 / 06:00 pm (CNA).- A group of about 350 people, including priests, sisters, and laypersons, processed through Washington, DC on Sunday to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. The procession wound past national landmarks and stopped at the homes of the faithful along the way.
The procession was led by Monsignor Charles Pope, the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Church in Washington, and was about one and a half miles in length. The procession ended at St. Joseph’s Church, on Capitol Hill, and included stops at two home altars along the way.
Over the course of the procession, the Eucharist was carried past the Capitol building and Supreme Court. Those processing sung hymns and prayed the Rosary.
This year was the first Eucharistic procession on Capitol Hill in recent memory. Catholic Men United, a group that “exists to fight for the honor and purification of Christ’s bride” also helped to organize the event. Pope is the group’s spiritual director.
Writing on the Archdiocese of Washington website, Pope said that Capitol Hill is, “a location that inspires both awe and anger. It is the epicenter of power in our country, power for both great good and great evil. Yet here we are as well, the Church.”
“We processed up a street where many protesters have walked before, past the homes of believers as well as non-believers, past rainbow flags as well as Madonnas in front yards, past the homes of members of Congress and ‘ordinary’ folks as well,” said Pope.
The procession went smoothly, without any major disruptions or protests, albeit there were many a curious stare from those walking by.
Pope said the procession was offered “in reparation for the sins and shortcomings of the members of the Church, both clergy and lay.”
“We will commit ourselves anew to the Lord, acknowledging our past sins and seeking grace to overcome our shortcomings and resist temptations,” he said. “We will cry for God’s mercy on us and on our nation. Without grace and mercy, we do not stand a chance, but with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.”
“I don’t know how to describe feeling so humbled and unworthy at the same time as honored and deeply loved,” said Robin Fennelly, whose home was a stop along the procession.
“All I could do was kneel, weep, and throw rose petals at the feet of the holy priests carrying our Lord.”