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Oklahoma school board approves what would be the 1st taxpayer-funded religious school in US

A state school board in Oklahoma voted June 5 to approve what would be the first publicly funded religious school in the nation, despite a warning from the state's attorney general that the decision was unconstitutional.

Vatican: Pope Francis has checkup at Rome hospital

Pope Francis at his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square on May 31, 2023. / Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, Jun 6, 2023 / 05:36 am (CNA).

Pope Francis went to a Rome hospital’s center for the elderly for a visit on Tuesday, according to Italian media reports.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that Pope Francis spent about 40 minutes at Gemelli Hospital before returning to his Vatican residence shortly before noon on June 6.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a brief statement June 6 confirming media reports.

Bruni said: “This morning Pope Francis went to Gemelli Hospital to undergo some clinical examinations and returned to the Vatican before noon.”

According to its website, Gemelli Hospital’s center for elderly patients has a day hospital as well as areas for acute patients, rehabilitation, neuropsychology, and research.

Pope Francis, 86, canceled meetings on May 26 due to a fever. He resumed his normal activities the next day.

At the end of March he was hospitalized for four days for a lung infection.

Since early 2022 the pope has suffered from knee pain. He started to have difficulty standing and walking and has been using a cane and wheelchair for over a year.

He has also dealt this year with a recurrence of diverticulitis, a painful inflammation of bulges in the large intestine, for which he was operated on in July 2021.

Despite his recent medical challenges, the Vatican recently announced the pope’s intention to visit Mongolia Aug. 31–Sept. 1.

Francis is also scheduled to be in Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day Aug. 2–6. The trip also includes a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.

This story was updated at 6:39 a.m. MDT with the statement from Matteo Bruni.

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Former feminist turned pro-lifer shares her testimony prior to March for Life in Colombia

Adriana (left) / March for Life in Medellín, Colombia, on June 3, 2023. / Credit: United for Life

ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 5, 2023 / 17:20 pm (CNA).

A young Colombian mother shared her testimony regarding her feminist past and recounted how now, as a pregnant mom, she defends the right to life of unborn children.

In a special interview as a prelude to the National March for Life held throughout Colombia on June 3, Adriana shared her testimony with the United for Life platform in Medellín.

With the message “I defend women, including her” written on her showing midriff, Adriana related that she belonged to a group of women from her town and “from there they connected us to the entire feminist organization.”

The young woman lamented how in her time as a feminist, the leaders encouraged them to experience attraction to other women and to strip down during their demonstrations.

“I was surprised because they freely told us so at large gatherings and invited us to have an inclination for the same sex, for women themselves. And that kind of didn’t square with me,” Adriana said.

“In many of the demonstrations that we were at,” she continued, “because I was very active in the movement, they urged me a lot to strip down, to paint my body for the demonstration, which, thank God, I never agreed to because I didn’t see the reason to violate my privacy, my dignity.”

The change

Regarding the reasons that led her to leave the feminist movement, Adriana explained that “the issue of their supporting abortion so much never sat right with me because it doesn’t seem right to me to attack an innocent baby, because we, their moms, are the only ones who can defend them, so I decided to get out of the movement.”

“I got to know Lazos de Amor Mariano (Bonds of Mary’s Love), I consecrated myself [to Jesus through the Virgin Mary] and well, that’s it. By the grace of God, I’m pregnant. It was very hard, very difficult, but I love my baby and I am infinitely grateful to God for giving me this gift of being a mother,” she said.

“Being a mother is a gift, it’s not a right, because many want to and cannot,” the young Colombian said.

Bonds of Mary’s Love is a private association of the lay faithful dedicated to the new evangelization called for by St. John Paul II.

The crisis

Regarding the crisis that she had to go through when she realized she was pregnant, Adriana recalled that “I was very desperate because I was unemployed, without support, because my baby’s father left me alone, he doesn’t want to take responsibility and I was desperate all by myself and I said to myself, ‘What am I going to do?’”

“I talked with a missionary [from Bonds of Mary’s Love] and he connected me with Red Provida (Pro-life Network); they called me and a psychologist spoke with me, she offered me complete support. They have supported me emotionally, spiritually,” she added.

“All this can be overcome, thanks be to God,” the young mother remarked.

For life and against abortion

When asked about her participation in the March for Life events in Colombia, Adriana replied: “I’m here because I’m against abortion.”

If the woman decides not to be with the man, “there are many options such as adopting, but the baby is not to blame. There is no reason, not for rape, or deformities, to not to give life to a baby,” she continued.

The Constitutional Court (CC) of Colombia decriminalized abortion in 2006 on three grounds: rape, fetal deformities, or danger to the life of the mother.

In February 2022, the same court issued another ruling that liberalized abortion on demand up to 24 weeks, or six months of pregnancy.

The June 3 National March for Life, which was organized by the United for Life platform, demanded the repeal of that ruling as well as a 2012 CC ruling that decriminalized euthanasia. Tens of thousands of people turned out for the event in approximately 70 cities including Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Bucaramanga, and Chiquinquirá.

To conclude her testimony, Adriana stressed that “we don’t have authority over life, God does. He’s the one who decides who dies or lives. We don’t have that right, especially if we have this great gift of giving life. How can you take it away?”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.