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Major donations mean 'tremendous impact' for Catholic school students in western Pennsylvania

Stephen Kiers/Shutterstock

Greensburg, Pa., Jul 23, 2021 / 16:01 pm (CNA).

An anonymous donor and new partners will help continue millions of dollars in funding for a tuition aid program for the Diocese of Greensburg’s Catholic schools. The program is set to support hundreds of students in southwestern Pennsylvania over the next five years.

 

“These are true evangelization efforts. These monies help to ensure that more students will be knowledgeable in the faith,” Dr. Maureen Marsteller, Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the diocese, said July 21.

 

In 2020, the St. Pope John Paul II Tuition Opportunity Partnership gave nearly $2.5 million in tuition assistance to support more than 800 students. These resources offset tuition for 250 students new to the Catholic school system. This boosted Catholic school enrollment by more than 13%.

 

“These are major opportunities for our Catholic schools, each made possible by community-minded individuals who understand the impact that Catholic education can have in a person's life,” Bishop Larry Kulick of Greensburg said. “We are grateful for their commitment to our schools and families through these partnerships.”

 

The scholarship partnership was first announced in July 2020. It was launched with $2.5 million from an anonymous donor the diocese said is “committed to fortifying Catholic education in western Pennsylvania.”

 

To qualify for assistance for the scholarship program, students must show commitment to and enthusiasm for learning. The student or family must be registered members of a faith community, and the student must demonstrate service to that community. A student’s parent or guardian must also show some financial commitment to the cost of education.

 

Beneficiaries do not need to be Catholic. The amount of monetary aid for each student depends on factors such as financial need, other financial aid options, and the number of siblings who attend Catholic schools, according to the Valley News Dispatch.

 

The five-year extension to the program has the support of the previous anonymous donor as well as new named donors including Jay W. Cleveland, Jr., president and CEO of Cleveland Brothers. The Pennsylvania Educational Income Tax Credit program, with commitments from over 100 businesses and individuals, have helped provide tuition assistance forecasted at $20 million over the next five years.

 

“It is truly a great day for us here in the Diocese of Greensburg with this historic and monumental announcement,” Bishop Kulick said at a press conference at Aquinas Academy in Greensburg. The program is a “wonderful opportunity” to ensure that every student who wants a Catholic education will receive it, he said.

 

He said that Aquinas Academy saw a 10% increase in enrollment, aided by the donation.

 

Cathy Collett, principal at Aquinas Academy, said that adding $2.5 million to tuition aid programs “certainly makes a tremendous impact.”

 

There are 11 Catholic elementary schools and two junior-senior high schools in the diocese’s school system, which has more than 2,300 students, according to the diocese’s website. Forecasts suggest the tuition program could help enrollment grow by 80 students, another 10% increase.

 

The diocese also welcomed capital project donations for many school campuses that totaled more than $300,000 in manpower and resources from Lindy Paving, Golden Triangle Construction and Arch Masonry at many of the school campuses. The diocese’s statement voiced gratitude for attorney John Goetz and the law firm Jones Day, Pittsburgh for pro bono legal services regarding the donations.

 

There are about 128,000 Catholics out of a total population of some 640,000 people who live in the territory of the Greensburg diocese.

Sympathizers in Nigeria's high-ranking positions stall fight against militants, priest says

St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Enugu, Nigeria was vandalized Nov 4, 2013. / Aid to the Church in Need/www.kirche-in-not.ch.

Lokoja, Nigeria, Jul 23, 2021 / 15:39 pm (CNA).

Boko Haram sympathizers and others who support Nigeria being an Islamic State are stalling the fight against militants in the West African country, a local priest has said.

According to Fr. George Ehusani, a priest of the Diocese of Lokoja and executive director of the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, many of those secretly backing the activities of militants in Nigeria occupy key positions in various sectors of the country.

In a July 22 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Ehusani said that the sympathizers are thwarting every effort to defeat the militants by either supporting them materially or leaking key information pertaining planned offensives from the country’s military ranks.

“There are people who may not be as radical and as brutal as this Boko Haram or these violent bandits, but who share their sentiments, who share some of their ideological orientations, who sympathize with them; people who believe that Nigeria, or at least most of Nigeria, the Northern part of Nigeria, should be fully Islamic,” Fr. Ehusani says.

He adds, “There are people of that orientation in government. Everybody knows that there are people of that orientation in schools and colleges. There are people of that orientation in the military forces, in the security forces.”

“There are allegations that when plans are made as to how to swoop on these people and end this menace, the plans will leak out from the highest military command,” the priest said, adding, “The plans will leak out to the terrorists.”

Because the sympathizers occupy key positions in government and other influential positions in the public and private sectors, Fr. Ehusani says they are treated “with kid gloves”.

“We can see the lack of action, the inaction and treating these criminals with kid gloves all these years. We can see that some people in high places in government sympathize with these bandits and these criminals, and they will not easily allow, let’s say, the Nigerian air force to go and bomb their enclave,” he says.

The priest asserts that the government has been “more unwilling than unable” to fight the militants who continue to wreak havoc against populations in Nigeria, most of them Christian.

He finds it baffling that the Nigerian military has been able to quell violence in the neighboring countries, only to appear defeated by militants.

“Many of us are at a loss,” Fr. Ehusani said, asking, “How can a country that has trained military, trained army, navy, air force that has done very well in international peacekeeping, one that has done very well in helping to quell the crisis in Sierra Leone, in Liberia… say they cannot quell this Boko Haram problem?”

The priest said that Nigeria played a principal role in bringing to an end the 11-year war in Sierra Leone and in many other countries, including Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Fr. Ehusani says that militants are establishing territory in many places, especially in the north of the country, where many places have their specific flag.

“As we speak, swathes of territories in Northern Nigeria are no go areas except for them; meaning swathes of territories that I as a priest, as a Christian, cannot go into because they have taken over; they have hoisted their flag,” he stated.

He explained that in Borno state, for instance, there are vast territories where citizens are forced to pay taxes to Boko Haram and other bandits so as to be allowed to carry on legitimate activities like going to their farms.

“I am not able to give you the number or the geographical dimension or size but there are swathes of territories here and there where the average person cannot go to, that even government officials cannot go to,” he said, adding, “If the governor of the state wants to go there, he will need a battalion of the military to be able to go to that area.”

He noted a November 2020 incident in Zabarmari in Borno state. He said at least 39 farmers were killed, and “their offence was that they went to the farm.”

He says that although many of those killed were Christians, Muslims were also victims of the violence.

Fr. Ehusani told ACI Africa that over time, militants who only targeted Christians have started killing Muslims who refuse to be part of them.

In the beginning of the Islamist attacks, only Christian places of worship were being burnt down, the priest recalled. With time, he said, the attacks degenerated and now, everybody who is not part of the militants is targeted.

“When it started, even the moderate Muslims either were too scared to speak out or they sympathized with these people. So, they kept quiet. So, part of the ways in which this thing became a wildfire is that at the beginning in 2009, 2010 and 2011, many moderate Muslims in Northern Nigeria kept quiet,” he said.

Fr. Ehusani said in reference to the Muslims, “At that time they thought that it is only us Christians who will be victims. Now when you ignore a wildfire, it will consume you yourself.”

“It is no longer just about Christians,” he reiterated, explaining that “Today, even mosques are being ransacked. Islamic schools have been ransacked.”

He said that when the attacks began, militants picked out Christians on abducted buses, killed them, and allowed Muslims to go. But “now they will kidnap everybody in the bus and ask for ransom. And if they don't get the ransom, they kill all of them.”

The priest expressed concern that militants in Nigeria are evolving in their tactics and are accessing sophisticated weapons.

He explained that “Just four days ago, the criminals downed an air force plane. So, we're no longer just dealing with ground level troops anymore. We're dealing with people who have the capacity to either launch grenades, rockets or something to bring down a fighter jet.”

The leadership of Nigeria  “as presently constituted” has failed in protecting its people, he asserted, noting that at the moment the people can only trust in God.

“God alone is our trust because the government as presently constituted cannot even protect its own government officials not to talk of protecting Christians,” he said, adding, “Christians are the most vulnerable now since most of these bandits are determined to bring about Islamic rule.”

“As a Christian living in Northern Nigeria today, I do not have anything to look up to as anything coming from the government to be able to protect me,” Fr. Ehusani said.

He referred to the July 16 murder of Major General Hussaini Ahmed, saying, he “was brutally shot and killed on the road that he was traveling two hours away from Abuja.”

Fr. Ehusani said Ahmed’s sister, who was travelling with him, was kidnapped.

“He was brutally shot and killed, a major general in the army, former provost Marshal; and we have had such high-level people that are just killed like chickens,” the priest said.

He posed: “So, what kind of hope do you think that I have if I step out of my house that I cannot be killed? That's why I say to your question, I look up to this sky from where does my help come from. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. That’s all we can say as Christians in Nigeria today.”

The people have unceasingly reached out to the international community for help, where the government has failed, he said.

“We have also cried to the international community that, even if the government does not ask for help, see the number of people who are dying. Can you imagine that over 1,000 people are being killed every month, and we are not at war?”

He added, “There is no declared war. There is what is called low intensity conflict and high intensity conflict. By the time you have more than a thousand people having been killed every month, it is no longer low intensity. It is a high intensity conflict.”

The priest expressed regret that despite what has been described as a genocide in Nigeria, the government has done little to show concern.

The prayer chanted by Christians in Nigeria, the priest said, is, “Lord help us because the government of the day cannot help us.”

Lawsuit brings sex abuse allegations against New Hampshire bishop

Bishop Peter Libasci of Manchester. Credit: Jeff Dachowski.

Rockville Centre, N.Y., Jul 23, 2021 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

Bishop Peter Libasci has been accused in a lawsuit of committing sexual abuse while a priest in New York during the 1980s. 

The Bishop of Manchester is accused in a July 14 lawsuit of abusing a male youth on numerous occasions in 1983 and 1984. Bishop Libasci has not spoken out publicly on the allegations, but the Diocese of Manchester says the matter has been reported to civil authorities. 

The anonymous alleged victim, an altar boy who would have been in his early teens, was a student at Saints Cyril and Methodius School in Deer Park, New York, which has since merged with another school. The lawsuit also names the Sisters of St. Joseph, an order which ran the school, claiming they were negligent in allowing the alleged abuse to occur. 

The Manchester diocese told the Associated Press in a statement that it was aware of the lawsuit and that the matter had been reported to civil authorities, but that Libasci’s status as bishop has not, for the moment, changed. 

The diocese did not respond to CNA’s request for further comment. 

Bishop Libasci was a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre at the time of the alleged abuse, having been ordained in 1978. The Rockville Centre diocese is one of several in New York that have recently filed for bankruptcy amid a flood of lawsuits. 

In a 2002 agreement, in return for the the state of New Hampshire agreeing not to prosecute the diocese as an institution or any individuals for their past handling of sexual abuse allegations involving clergy, though county attorneys still can pursue individual prosecutions, the diocese agreed to new policies on sexual abuse and to periodic audits of those policies, the AP reported.

Before his 2011 appointment to lead the Manchester diocese, Bishop Libasci was an auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre, having been consecrated in 2007. 

Sean Dolan, spokesman for the Rockville Centre diocese, told CNA that because the allegations involve a current diocesan bishop, the diocese has informed the Holy See of the accusation, in keeping with the norms of Vos estes lux mundi, Pope Francis’ 2019 document which governs procedures regarding accusations against bishops. 

If a Vos estis investigation into Bishop Libasci is initiated, it will likely be undertaken by Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, Libasci’s metropolitan archbishop, with a 90-day timetable for Cardinal O’Malley to complete any investigation. 

A spokesman for the Boston archdiocese told the NH Reporter that no Vos estis investigation has yet begun, and referred further questions to the Vatican. 

“Following its standard protocol, the Diocese of Rockville Centre also reported the matter to the Suffolk County District Attorney,” Dolan told CNA in a statement.

“The Diocese of Rockville Centre remains committed to the ongoing work of creating a safe environment in the Church.”

The Rockville Centre diocese filed for bankruptcy in October 2020. Several other New York dioceses including Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo have also declared bankruptcy. 

The passage of the Child Victims Act in New York in 2019 allowed for sex abuse lawsuits to be filed in past cases in which victims had not yet taken action, long after the statute of limitations had expired. The CVA originally created a one-year window for these lawsuits to be filed; the window closes next month, and hundreds of lawsuits have since been filed.

Cardinal Kasper assails Traditional Latin Mass community for divisiveness

Cardinal Walter Kasper. / CNA/Bohumil Petrik.

Denver Newsroom, Jul 23, 2021 / 13:30 pm (CNA).

German prelate Cardinal Walter Kasper argued that the Traditional Latin Mass was a source of division and scandal within parishes in an interview about Traditionis Custodes with the National Catholic Register on Thursday, July 22, 2021. 

The cardinal stated that those who prefer the Traditional Latin Mass “reject the Second Vatican Council more or less in its entirety” and characterized Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum as a failed attempt at furthering unity.

"It’s my experience that the overwhelming majority of the faithful are firmly against it (the Traditional Latin Mass). I know many people are scandalized when they come to St. Peter’s in Rome early in the morning and see that on many altars priests celebrating the 'old Mass' without any altar boy and no participation of the faithful. They turn to the empty basilica and say: 'Dominus vobiscum','“Orate fratres' etc.," he added.

While Cardinal Kasper did recognize that other threats to unity exist within the Church--notably the German synodal way--he stayed away from characterizing them with the same degree of danger as adhering to the Traditional Latin Mass. 

“As far as I know, none of the bishops wants any schismatic act and there is a slowly growing number in the bishops’ conference who are resistant,” said the Cardinal about the German synodal way. 

The full text of the interview can be found here

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Pope Francis' Traditional Latin Mass restrictions: Has your diocese responded yet?

Cardinal Raymond Burke gives the final blessing during the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage Mass in Rome on Oct. 25, 2014. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jul 23, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

Catholic clergy and lay people around the world continue to react passionately to newly imposed restrictions on the use of the Traditional Latin Mass, one week after Pope Francis released his controversial apostolic letter Traditionis Custodes.

In his motu proprio issued July 16, the pope recognized the “exclusive competence” of bishops to authorize or refuse the Latin Mass in their respective dioceses, and he directed bishops to ensure that groups dedicated to the “extraordinary form” do not deny the validity of Vatican II and its liturgical reforms. The pope also declared that Traditional Latin Masses can no longer be offered at “parochial churches,” and he ordered that readings must be in the vernacular.

Expressly aimed at unifying the Church, the document has sparked a week of fractious commentary.

Several prominent Church leaders, as well as numerous conservative commentators such as author George Weigel, have been pointed in their criticism of the surprise announcement. In a July 21 essay published in First Things, Weigel called the motu proprio "theologically incoherent, pastorally divisive, unnecessary, cruel—and a sorry example of the liberal bullying that has become all too familiar in Rome recently."

Meanwhile, Fr. Thomas Reese, in a July 20 column for Religion News Service, said the document was part of Pope Francis’ effort to “separate the pious faithful with traditional devotion to the old liturgy from the ideologues who reject the reforms of the [Second Vatican] council.”

To date the official response to the document from U.S. bishops has been muted, with 152 dioceses having said nothing publicly yet about their plans to implement the pope’s new rules.

Most of the few dozen bishops who have issued statements have chosen temporarily to allow the Traditional Latin Mass to continue in their dioceses while they review the document, while others have restricted Latin Masses in certain parish churches. Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois issued a canonical dispensation from the document for two parish churches, allowing the Traditional Latin Mass to continue at those locations.

Below is a state-by-state list of episcopal statements on the state of the Traditional Latin Mass in their respective dioceses, as of July 23: 

Alabama 

Archdiocese of Mobile: N/A

Diocese of Birmingham: N/A

Alaska

Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau: N/A

Diocese of Fairbanks: N/A

Arizona

Diocese of Phoenix: Bishop Thomas Olmsted decreed that the Traditional Latin Mass may be celebrated in chapels, oratories, mission churches, or non-parochial churches, and dispensed seven parishes from the location restrictions of Art. 3, § 2 of Traditionis custodes. He also allowed the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy to continue at the personal parish of Mater Misericordiae.

Diocese of Tucson: N/A

Arkansas 

Diocese of Little Rock: Celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass has ceased at “regular parish churches.” Two parishes administered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter will not be affected.

California

Archdiocese of Los Angeles: N/A
Archdiocese of San Francisco: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.

Diocese of Oakland: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.

Diocese of Sacramento: N/A

Diocese of Fresno: N/A

Diocese of San Bernardino: N/A

Diocese of San Diego: N/A

Diocese of San Jose: N/A

Diocese of Santa Rosa: N/A

Diocese of Stockton: N/A

Diocese of Orange: N/A

Diocese of Monterey: N/A

Colorado

Archdiocese of Denver: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Colorado Springs: N/A

Diocese of Pueblo: N/A

Connecticut

Archdiocese of Hartford: N/A

Diocese of Bridgeport: Priests wishing to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass - including in private - must write Bishop Frank Caggiano for permission to continue. Bishop Caggiano has promised to grant temporary faculties for at least private Masses.

Diocese of Norwich: N/A

Delaware

Diocese of Wilmington: N/A

Florida

Archdiocese of Miami: N/A

Diocese of Orlando: N/A

Diocese of Palm Beach: N/A

Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee: N/A

Diocese of St. Augustine: N/A

Diocese of St. Petersburg: N/A

Diocese of Venice: N/A

Georgia

Archdiocese of Atlanta: N/A

Diocese of Savannah: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Hawaii

Diocese of Honolulu: N/A 

Idaho

Diocese of Boise: N/A

Illinois

Archdiocese of Chicago: Cardinal Blase Cupich stated that "current practices with regard to the 1962 Missal remain in place" in the archdiocese.

Diocese of Belleville: N/A

Diocese of Joliet: N/A

Diocese of Peoria: N/A

Diocese of Rockford: N/A

Diocese of Springfield: Bishop Thomas Paprocki issued a canonical dispensation from Art. 3, § 2 of Traditionis custodes for two parishes in the diocese, allowing celebration of the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal to continue at those churches.

Indiana

Archdiocese of Indianapolis: N/A

Diocese of Evansville: N/A

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend: N/A

Diocese of Gary: N/A

Diocese of Lafayette: N/A

Iowa

Archdiocese of Dubuque: Archbishop Michael Jackels said that at Immaculate Conception parish in Cedar Rapids, where the Extraordinary Form is offered, “efforts will be made, guided by the new norm, to provide for those folks.”

Diocese of Davenport: N/A

Diocese of Des Moines: St. Anthony parish in Des Moines reported that a regularly scheduled Sunday Latin Mass will continue, with permission from Bishop William Joensen.

Diocese of Sioux City: “The faithful attending the Latin Mass at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City will not experience a change in worship for the time being due to the July 16 announcement from the Vatican.”

Kansas

Archdiocese of Kansas City: N/A

Diocese of Dodge City: N/A

Diocese of Salina: N/A 

Diocese of Wichita: N/A

Kentucky

Archdiocese of Louisville: N/A

Diocese of Covington: N/A

Diocese of Lexington: N/A

Diocese of Owensboro: N/A

Louisiana

Archdiocese of New Orleans: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Alexandria: N/A

Diocese of Baton Rouge: N/A 

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux: N/A

Diocese of Lafayette: N/A

Diocese of Shreveport: N/A

Diocese of Lake Charles: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Maine

Diocese of Portland: N/A

Maryland

Archdiocese of Baltimore: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Massachusetts

Archdiocese of Boston: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.  

Diocese of Fall River: N/A

Diocese of Springfield: N/A

Diocese of Worcester: Bishop Robert Joseph McManus said that “in the weeks ahead,” he would meet with priests celebrating the Extraordinary Form with his “permission,” to discuss implementation of Traditionis custodes.

Michigan

Archdiocese of Detroit: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.  

Diocese of Gaylord: N/A

Diocese of Grand Rapids: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Kalamazoo: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Lansing: N/A

Diocese of Marquette: N/A

Diocese of Saginaw: N/A

Minnesota

Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so, conditional on writing to the bishop for permission.

Diocese of Bismarck: N/A

Diocese of Crookston: N/A

Diocese of Duluth: Celebration of the Traditional Mass may continue at St. Benedict’s parish in Duluth; authorization for other parishes offering the Traditional Mass will be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Diocese of New Ulm: N/A

Diocese of Saint Cloud: N/A

Diocese of Winona-Rochester: N/A

Mississippi

Diocese of Biloxi: N/A

Diocese of Jackson: N/A

Missouri

Archdiocese of St. Louis: N/A

Diocese of Jefferson City: N/A

Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph: N/A

Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.

Montana

Diocese of Great Falls-Billings: N/A

Diocese of Helena: N/A

Nebraska

Archdiocese of Omaha: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Grand Island: N/A

Diocese of Lincoln: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.  

Nevada

Diocese of Las Vegas: N/A

Diocese of Reno: N/A

New Hampshire

Diocese of Manchester: N/A

New Jersey

Archdiocese of Newark: N/A

Diocese of Camden: N/A

Diocese of Metuchen: N/A

Diocese of Paterson: N/A

Diocese of Trenton: Bishop David O’Connell authorized use of Mass according to the 1962 Missal at five parishes, with a sixth permitted to offer the Traditional Latin Mass on First Fridays of every other month.

New Mexico

Archdiocese of Santa Fe: N/A

Diocese of Gallup: N/A

Diocese of Las Cruces: N/A

New York

Archdiocese of New York: N/A

Diocese of Albany: Bishop Edward Scharfenberger welcomed “input” from members of the diocese on implementation of Traditionis custodes.

Diocese of Brooklyn: N/A

Diocese of Buffalo: N/A

Diocese of Ogdensburg: N/A

Diocese of Rochester: N/A

Diocese of Rockville Centre: N/A

Diocese of Syracuse: N/A

North Carolina 

Diocese of Charlotte: N/A

Diocese of Raleigh: Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama said he “will prayerfully study” the motu proprio with priests and diocesan staff “before making any long-term changes or provisions regarding the celebration of the extraordinary form in the Diocese of Raleigh.”

North Dakota 

Diocese of Bismarck: N/A

Diocese of Fargo: N/A

Ohio

Archdiocese of Cincinnati: Old St. Mary’s church and Sacred Heart church in Cincinnati, as well as Holy Family church in Dayton and to-be-determined location in the north of the archdiocese, have been designated as sites for celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. For other celebrations of Mass according to the 1962 Missal, priests must obtain permission and offer non-scheduled and non-publicized Mass at a “sacred” or “decent” place.

Diocese of Cleveland:  Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.

Diocese of Columbus: N/A

Diocese of Steubenville: N/A

Diocese of Toledo: Bishop Daniel Thomas granted a canonical dispensation from Art. 3, § 2 of the motu proprio for St. Joseph parish in Toledo, allowing the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal to continue there. Other priests already celebrating the Latin Mass should request permission from him, including the location, reason for celebrating, and proposed frequency of Masses.

Diocese of Youngstown: N/A

Oklahoma 

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City:  Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.  

Diocese of Tulsa: N/A

Oregon

Archdiocese of Portland: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.  

Diocese of Baker: N/A

Pennsylvania

Archdiocese of Philadelphia: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so.  

Diocese of Allentown: N/A

Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown: N/A

Diocese of Erie: N/A

Diocese of Greensburg: N/A

Diocese of Harrisburg: N/A 

Diocese of Pittsburgh: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass - currently offered at one parish in the diocese - may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Scranton: Traditional Latin Masses at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Scranton, administered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), may continue. Diocesan priests who have offered Mass according to the 1962 Missal must request permission to continue doing so.

Rhode Island

Diocese of Providence: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

South Carolina

Diocese of Charleston: N/A

South Dakota

Diocese of Sioux Falls: N/A

Diocese of Rapid City: N/A

Tennessee

Diocese of Knoxville: Bishop Richard Stika granted a temporary canonical dispensation from Art. 3, § 2 of Traditionis custodes for parishes already offering the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Diocese of Memphis: N/A

Diocese of Nashville: N/A

Texas

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo stated, “For the time being, the celebration of Holy Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 may continue within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.”

Archdiocese of San Antonio: N/A

Diocese of Amarillo: N/A

Diocese of Austin: N/A

Diocese of Beaumont: N/A

Diocese of Brownsville: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Corpus Christi: N/A

Diocese of Dallas: N/A

Diocese of El Paso: N/A

Diocese of Fort Worth: Bishop Michael Olson authorized the Traditional Latin Mass to continue at Saint Benedict Parish in Fort Worth, administered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). The parish pastor Fr. Karl Pikus, FSSP, is also serving as Bishop Olson’s delegate for other Catholics in the diocese requesting the sacraments in the extraordinary form; Catholics making those requests must have a letter of permission from their pastor.

Diocese of Laredo: N/A

Diocese of Lubbock: N/A 

Diocese of San Angelo: Bishop Michael Sis issued a canonical dispensation from Art. 3, § 2 of Traditionis Custodes for St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in San Angelo, allowing celebration of the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal to continue there “due to the lack of suitable alternative locations for these Masses”.

Diocese of Tyler: N/A

Diocese of Victoria: N/A

Utah

Diocese of Salt Lake City: N/A

Vermont

Diocese of Burlington: N/A

Virginia

Diocese of Arlington:  Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Richmond: N/A

Virgin Islands

Diocese of St. Thomas: N/A

Washington

Archdiocese of Seattle: N/A

Diocese of Spokane: N/A

Diocese of Yakima: N/A

Washington D.C. 

Archdiocese of Washington: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Archdiocese of the Military Services: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

West Virginia

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Wisconsin

Archdiocese of Milwaukee: Priests already celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass may continue to do so. 

Diocese of Green Bay: N/A

Diocese of La Crosse: N/A

Diocese of Madison: Bishop Donald Hying said that priests wishing to offer the Traditional Latin Mass could “presume” his authorization now.

Diocese of Superior: N/A

Wyoming

Diocese of Cheyenne: N/A

CNA would like to keep this list updated. If you have new information, please contact us at [email protected]

Hong Kong democracy activist: Most of my friends have been detained

Joseph Cheng. / Courtesy photo.

Rome Newsroom, Jul 23, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

For Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joseph Cheng, dramatic changes occurred quickly in his city, leading him, like so many others, to leave his home. He says that his Catholic faith has given him the strength to accept suffering for the sake of the values he holds dear.

“The changes have been rapid and have been beyond the expectations of ordinary Hong Kong people, of ordinary supporters of the pro-democracy movement,” Joseph Cheng told CNA on July 23.

“Among my friends who are activists, who are staunch activists, it is quite a sad story. Most of them have been detained,” he said.

More than 10,000 people have been arrested in Hong Kong since the 2019 anti-government protest movement brought over a million people into the streets.

In the first year under the national security law imposed in June 2020, 117 were arrested and more than 60 politicians, activists, journalists, and students were charged under the law, according to AP.

“Many of the young activists have been leaving in recent months,” Cheng said.

“Almost two-thirds of the most active participants in the pro-democracy movement are either being detained or they are being prosecuted and therefore they cannot leave or they have gone,” he said.

It is estimated that up to a million people may leave Hong Kong, which has a population of 7.5 million, in the next few years.

Cheng is one of many from Hong Kong who has already opted to leave in response to the threat posed by the national security law. He left with his family for Australia in July 2020 and has since settled in Auckland, New Zealand.

Others from Hong Kong have gone to the United Kingdom or Taiwan, which have both offered special visas in light of the situation.

“I never expected to leave Hong Kong,” said Cheng, a 71-year-old retired political science professor.

“I was quite prepared to retire in Hong Kong … but I was severely attacked by the pro-Beijing mass media … and I was very worried that I may be arrested and prosecuted.”

Cheng said that due to recent events, many people are pessimistic about Hong Kong’s future, and he did not think that he would be able to return in the foreseeable future.

Yet he said that his Catholic faith had helped to give meaning to his suffering and shape his belief that values are worth fighting for even when one understands that “not much can be achieved, and the situation probably will continue to deteriorate.”

“As a Catholic, we believe in the afterlife, and we believe in everlasting life. And we believe that love of God, maintaining our faith, maintaining our love for ... members of the society are important,” he said.

“And because of our belief in these things, we tend to accept sufferings, hardships, challenges in the present world ... in a more prepared manner.”

For Cheng, this may also explain why “many of the pro-democracy leaders and activists are Catholics.”

“They have received a Catholic education,” he said. “And I am among those who hold these beliefs, who hold these values and am, therefore, slightly more willing to sacrifice, and to engage in activities to uphold the values that we treasure.”

Mississippi AG asks Supreme Court to overturn abortion rulings 

Steven Frame/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jul 23, 2021 / 11:00 am (CNA).

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to overturn two of its landmark rulings on abortion, arguing those decisions “shackle states to a view of the facts that is decades out of date.”

The high court recently agreed to hear the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involving Mississippi’s ban on most elective abortions after 15 weeks. Activists on both sides of the abortion debate have argued that the case might prompt the court to re-examine its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, as well as its 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that built upon the Roe ruling.

The high court is expected to hear the Dobbs case in the fall. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court on Thursday, Fitch said that the Roe and Casey rulings created more questions than answers, and that the issue of abortion should be returned to lawmakers rather than to the courts. 

Fitch said that rather than settling debate over the issue of abortion, the Roe and Casey decisions established “a special-rules regime for abortion jurisprudence that has left these cases out of step with other Court decisions and neutral principles of law applied by the Court.” 

“As a result, state legislatures, and the people they represent, have lacked clarity in passing laws to protect legitimate public interests, and artificial guideposts have stunted important public debate on how we, as a society, care for the dignity of women and their children,” Fitch said. 

“It is time for the Court to set this right and return this political debate to the political branches of government,” she wrote. 

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, praised Mississippi’s brief in a statement, arguing that “updating America’s abortion jurisprudence is necessary and long overdue.” 

“The law at issue before the Supreme Court concerns moderate limits on the abortion of a child who has developed past 15 weeks, with a fully formed nose and lips, eyelids and eyebrows – when her humanity is beyond debate,” Mancini said. “Limiting gruesome late term abortions is compassionate and popular; and the norm in countries that have allowed their laws to catch up with the science.” 

Mancini argued that most nations restrict elective abortions at an earlier point in a pregnancy than the United States does. 

“Sadly, right now, the United States is one of only seven countries – including North Korea and China - that allow elective abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy," she said.   

In a statement, NARAL Pro-Choice America Acting President Adrienne Kimmell said Mississippi “is explicitly seeking to end the constitutional right to abortion and subvert the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans who support Roe and the legal right to abortion.” 

“This has always been the anti-choice movement’s agenda behind closed doors—now they’re operating in plain sight,” Kimmell said.

Fitch, in her brief, said that Mississippi is “simply asking the Court to affirm the right of the people to protect their legitimate interests and to provide clarity on how they may do so.”

She further argued that major societal changes since 1973 have made the Roe decision worth examining. 

“A lot has changed in five decades,” Fitch said. “In 1973, there was little support for women who wanted a full family life and a successful career. Maternity leave was rare. Paternity leave was unheard of. The gold standard for professional success was a 9-to-5 with a corner office. The flexibility of the gig economy was a fairy tale. In these last fifty years, women have carved their own way to achieving a better balance for success in their professional and personal lives.” 

“By returning the matter of abortion policy to state legislatures, we allow a stunted debate on how we support women to flourish,” Fitch continued. “It is time for the Court to let go of its hold on this important debate.”

Role reversal: Developing nations express concern to flood-hit Germany

The images of flooded villages and towns in Germany have shocked the world, prompting aid agencies in developing countries more accustomed to dealing with natural disasters to offer words of compassion and concern to one of Europe's most prosperous nations.  Although Germany will not need aid for reconstruction, dioceses globally and partners of the Catholic-run charities such as Aid to the Church in Need, Misereor, and the Caritas Internationalis network in places such as Cuba, Honduras, India, Mali, Philippines and Zimbabwe have sent messages of support and solidarity to German church relief agencies. It's a reversal of roles, in which countries in the global south that have long been affected by climate change and devastating natural disasters are offering whatever comfort they can to the developed north.

Confessions of an exhausted Catholic

Commentary: I buck myself up with a reminder that Catholicism is much bigger than the latest scandal or headline. The church is an ancient, beautiful and flawed vessel that has carried the best and worst of humanity over the centuries.