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As Fr Pfleger abuse inquiry continues, Chicago archdiocese counters 'misconceptions' of priest's supporters
Posted on 02/26/2021 03:01 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Chicago, Ill., Feb 25, 2021 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- Defenders of outspoken activist priest Fr. Michael Pfleger are wrong to claim an investigation has cleared him of decades-old sexual abuse allegations or to claim that the priest was singled out, the Archdiocese of Chicago has said.
“It is mystifying why anyone would believe the leadership of the archdiocese, which has consistently supported Fr. Pfleger’s good works, would concoct a ruse to remove him,” the Chicago archdiocese said Feb. 24.
“Let’s be clear. This case began when an adult male came forward to the archdiocese on his own with an allegation of child sexual abuse,” the archdiocese continued. “His brother subsequently came forward to the archdiocese with an allegation of child sexual abuse. The archdiocese did not have any prior contact with these men, nor did it look for them or anyone else. These men have made serious allegations, which demand that we follow the same process as we have in other cases.”
Earlier that day a group of about 100 people gathered outside the headquarters of the Chicago archdiocese to call for Pfleger’s reinstatement, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Pfleger, who is white, has been a politically involved community leader based out of the predominantly African-American Saint Sabina Parish in Chicago. He has served at the church since 1983 and is presently described as its senior pastor.
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago asked Pfleger to step away from his duties in early January after the first accusation of abuse.
Two brothers have come forward, saying they were each sexually abused separately by Pfleger dozens of times over several years, beginning in the 1970s when they were 12 or 13 years old.
The men, both Black, are in their early 60s and live in Texas. The younger brother told the other brother that he had filed a complaint against Pfleger, and the older man said that he had also been abused by the priest.
Pfleger denies the accusations.
“Let me be clear and restate what my lawyers said in the beginning,” the priest said on Twitter Feb. 24. “I am innocent of these false allegations. When this is over, which I hope is soon, I will have much more to say.”
Pfleger’s causes include advocacy on behalf of the Black community, opposition to gun violence, and support for gun control. He has also helped launch several employment and social services programs for youth, the elderly and the homeless.
At times he has voiced support for the ordination of women as Catholic priests; that a woman cannot be ordained a priest is a truth belonging to the deposit of faith.
The Saint Sabina Facebook page made claims about the Pfleger investigation in a Feb. 24 post, claims that the Chicago archdiocese disputed.
The post claimed that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has “completed their investigation on Fr. Pfleger with the results unfounded. #Facts.” The post claimed that Illinois officials had concluded their investigation 20 days previously. “The archdiocese has not given us an update as to when Fr. Pfleger can return even though the allegations have been deemed baseless. #facts.”
“With all due respect, our request is simple: Reinstate Fr. Michael Pfleger and clear his name. Period,” the post said.
In the archdiocese’s view, there is a “basic misunderstanding” about the state officials’ investigation.
“Our understanding is that the (Department of Children and Family Services) is not directly investigating the veracity of the allegations against Fr. Pfleger,” the archdiocese emphasized. Rather, the department is investigating whether there is a “risk of harm” to children. Depending on the contents of the letter the archdiocese receives from state officials, “there may be no conclusion about guilt or innocence in this case.”
There is also disagreement over whether Illinois officials have completed their investigation into whether there is currently a minor victim and have notified the relevant parties.
Bill McCaffrey, spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services, confirmed to the Sun-Times that the archdiocese was sent a letter Feb. 4 and Pfleger Feb. 24. Neither the archdiocese nor Pfleger’s attorney say they received a letter.
Eugene Hollander, an attorney representing the two alleged victims, said he “would not put much stock” in the findings. Neither brother gave a statement to the department, he said.
The Chicago archdiocese and the Chicago Police Department have ongoing investigations into the accusations.
State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, a parishioner at St. Sabina, is among those urging the priest’s reinstatement.
“It is time for the archdiocese to expedite the process and bring a renewal, a rebirth and a restoration of Fr. Pfleger’s good name, his dignity and his decency,” she said, according to the Sun-Times. “Time is of the essence because in the court of public opinion, time becomes the jury.”
The Chicago archdiocese stressed the need to take every abuse allegation seriously and to follow the same process.
“The Church has been accused, at times correctly, of not taking accusations seriously, of conducting cursory investigations and restoring misbehaving priests to ministry prematurely,” the archdiocese said. “We are convinced that the procedures for dealing with these cases, developed and enhanced over the years, work. They should be followed by all organizations that care for and educate young people. It is ironic that we are now accused of taking too long to consider allegations because a priest is prominent and well regarded.”
Stressing the need to spend time on accusations to arrive at a “just conclusion,” the archdiocese said it would work on all cases, “always giving priority to the protection and healing of victims.”
“Fr. Pfleger has always been free to comment as he and his attorneys see fit,” said the archdiocese. It said his comments were restricted only insofar as he could not name his accusers and the circumstances they described. “He was encouraged to make public his declaration of his innocence,” the archdiocese added.
The archdiocese rejected claims it has not reached out to the parish.
“In addition to the letters sent by the cardinal, our Office for the Protection of Children and Youth has contacted St. Sabina multiple times, explaining the process and offering assistance. The offers were refused,” said the archdiocese’s statement.
Pfleger has often been a source of controversy. In 2019 he invited Louis Farrakhan to speak at his parish after Farrakhan was banned from Facebook for violating its hate speech policies.
In 2011 the priest was suspended from ministry at St. Sabina and barred from celebrating the sacraments because of public statements Pfleger had made threatening to leave the Church if he were reassigned from his current parish. He was reinstated after he apologized.
Posted on 02/26/2021 01:10 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
New York City, N.Y., Feb 25, 2021 / 05:10 pm (CNA).- Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York on Wednesday offered an update on finances in the archdiocese, noting that although offertory was down overall for the fiscal year, the percentage of offertory given online increased.
He also noted that a large number of clerical abuse lawsuits filed under New York’s Child Victims Act present a challenge to the financial stability of the archdiocese.
“Thanks to the generosity of you, our people, the dedication and commitment of our pastors and priests, and the hard work behind-the-scenes of people in the field and in the chancery, we have
managed to hold our own in some ways, but continue to face some uphill battles in others,” Dolan wrote in a Feb. 24 Flocknote.
Dolan pointed to clerical abuse claims brought under the Child Victims Act, which the state enacted in 2019 following the revelations of abuse perpetrated by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The law set up a one-year window for clergy sex abuse lawsuits in cases where the statute of limitations had previously expired. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has since extended the window for filing lawsuits until Aug. 14, due to complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The New York archdiocese has since 2016 offered an independent compensation program for victims of clergy sex abuse. Those victims who accepted compensation from the archdiocese in the fund would waive the right to sue for more money later.
CNA reported in December 2017 that nearly 200 clergy sex abuse victims had already received compensation totaling more than $40 million from the New York archdiocese; the figure may now be as high as $200 million.
Dolan said the flood of new lawsuits presents a financial challenge to the archdiocese.
“We are still assessing what the economic impact will be on the archdiocese, although
it is likely to be extremely significant. Cases continue to be filed, and we are anxious to reach just settlements with those who have meritorious claims, just as we already did through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program,” Dolan said.
“We are prayerful and hopeful that our primary insurance carrier recognizes the moral imperative to resolve meritorious suits as soon as possible though unfortunately we have met resistance in our effort. We will continue to press and will report back soon.”
Although offertory collection overall dropped by 10% since the beginning of the pandemic until the end of the fiscal year on Aug. 31, 2020, a greater percentage of the archdiocese’ parishes began using online giving services.
Online giving activity more than doubled, from 10% to 25% of all offertory, Dolan said.
Dolan noted that most of the archdiocese’ parishes had applied for and received Paycheck Protection Program loans, after being encouraged to do so by the archdiocese.
“Fortunately, most of our needy parishes properly made use of the Paycheck Protection Program funds, which went to pay the salaries of parish and school staff, and partially offset this overall decline in offertory throughout the archdiocese,” Dolan said.
“In so many cases, a parish is not just a place of worship but a second home for people. It is important that we continue our effort to support these communities of worship.”
The Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal met its goal of $20 million this year, he said.
Although the New York Catholic Conference initially opposed the Child Victims Act, the conference eventually dropped its opposition, the archdiocesan spokesman told CNA in January. When the bill was amended to allow lawsuits by alleged victims of not only religious clergy, but also alleged victims of public employees such as public school teachers, the conference stopped opposing it.
Posted on 02/25/2021 23:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2021 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- The House on Thursday passed the Equality Act, a bill that the U.S. bishops have warned would trample religious freedom protections while codifying gender ideology in federal law.
By a vote of 224 to 206, the House passed the Equality Act only six days after it was introduced on Feb. 18. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), recognizes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under civil rights law and forbids discrimination on the basis of those classes in a number of areas.
The U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) has opposed the legislation, saying it upholds gender ideology and the redefinition of marriage and frames gender as simply a “social construct.” Furthermore, it would “punish” religious groups opposed to these beliefs, the conference warned.
Through the bill, Congress is forcing “novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations,” stated a Feb. 23 letter by five USCCB committee chairs to members of Congress.
The bishops were Bishop Michael Barber, S.J., of Oakland, chair of the USCCB education committee; Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chair of the USCCB domestic justice committee; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chair of the bishops’ religious liberty committee; Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa, chair of the marriage subcommittee; and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, chair of the USCCB pro-life committee.
The act, they said, “includes dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting ‘gender’ as only a social construct.”
They warned that the bill could force church halls to “host functions that violate their beliefs.” Women would have to share shelters, sports, and locker rooms with biological males identifying as transgender females. Religious adoption agencies would have to match children with same-sex couples or possibly face closure.
The legislation prevents religious freedom claims from being made by individuals and groups under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The landmark 1993 law has been invoked by many as a defense against various government mandates, but the Equality Act would override those religious freedom protections.
During House debate over the legislation, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) said the bill “dismantles Title IX” protections for girls’ sports. Religious adoption agencies in several states have already been shut down because of mandates that they place children with same-sex couples, she said.
“The Equality Act stipulates that religious beliefs and faith no longer matter in the Democrats’ new world order,” Hartzler said.
The bill would override conscience protections for health care workers, said Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.). The act would “force both people and organizations in everyday life and work settings to speak and act in support of gender transitions, including health care workers and licensed counselors, even when it’s against their professional judgement,” she said.
Under the act, “it is Washington, D.C., that ultimately decides the morality of our children and our churches,” Herrell said.
Pro-life groups have also warned that the legislation could expand taxpayer-funded abortion, as it amends civil rights law to forbid “pregnancy” discrimination. Thus, they say that women seeking abortions under the law could claim discrimination if they are denied an abortion.
“Tragically, this Act can also be construed to include an abortion mandate, a violation of precious rights to life and conscience,” the bishops wrote in their Feb. 23 letter.
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List called the bill a “Trojan horse” that upholds “a ‘right’ to abortion,” as it “equates abortion with pregnancy and childbirth.”
The president of a Catholic college also warned that, under the legislation, professors could be censored for teaching the truth about marriage and sexuality.
“It doesn’t ensure equality for our faculty, who would not be allowed to proclaim the truth about human dignity and sexuality,” Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, said of the act.
President Biden promised to sign the act within his first 100 days in office. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Posted on 02/25/2021 22:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2021 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- A nominee for assistant health secretary on Thursday wouldn’t say if government officials can intervene when parents refuse their child’s gender transitioning.
Dr. Rachel Levine, President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), appeared before members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday for a confirmation hearing. Levine, a biological male who identifies as transgender female, is currently Pennsylvania’s health secretary.
When pressed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) on the matter of minors being allowed to transition genders, Levine would not directly answer his questions.
“Do you support the government intervening to override the parent’s consent to give a child puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or amputation surgery of breasts and genitalia?” Paul asked Levine. He stated his “alarm” that Levine was not directly answering his questions.
Levine responded that “transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field,” and told Paul “if confirmed to the position of assistant secretary of health, I would certainly be pleased to come to your office and to talk to you and your staff about the standards of care and the complexity of this field.”
Roger Severino, the former head of the HHS civil rights office, stated that Levine’s answer manifested “ideology” rather than “science.”
“I met with Dr. Levine while at HHS and asked a simple question. ‘What does it mean to be male or female?’ Much like @RandPaul, I couldn't get an answer,” Severino tweeted. “Science is about clarity and openness to review while ideology is about subjectivity backed by coercion of those who disagree.”
Severino is currently a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), and directs the center’s HHS Accountability Project.
As Pennsylvania’s health secretary, Levine reportedly supported allowing minors to start hormone therapy, but only with their parents’ consent.
In a 2017 address at Franklin & Marshall College on transgender medicine, the health secretary said that teenagers could start taking puberty blockers at the start of puberty, and with the consent of parents, a therapist, and a physician.
For 14-16 year-olds, they could take cross-gender hormones with a gradual dosage increase, Levine said, while most transgender surgeries take place after the age of 18.
Regarding homeless youth who identify as LGBT, Levine said they do not have the “luxury” of protocols, so the transition process could be “accelerated” for them.
Levine also opposed religious exemptions to the HHS contraceptive mandate that were granted to the Little Sisters of the Poor. Levine called the exemptions “immoral and unethical.”
On Thursday, Paul repeatedly questioned Levine on the matter of children transitioning genders.
“Dr. Levine, do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?” Paul asked.
Levine said that “transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field, with robust research and standards of care that have been developed.”
Paul said in response that he was “alarmed” that Levine was “not absolutely willing to say minors shouldn’t be making decisions to amputate their breasts, or to amputate their genitalia.”
“I’m alarmed that you won’t say with certainty that minors should not have the ability to make the decision to take hormones that will affect them for the rest of their life,” he said.
Posted on 02/25/2021 19:16 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2021 / 11:16 am (CNA).- A former official at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warned Thursday that health secretary nominee Xavier Becerra could pose grave implications for the global pro-life cause.
If confirmed as HHS Secretary, Becerra’s priority in the job would be abortion, said Valerie Huber, former U.S. Special Representative for Global Women's Health at HHS, during an interview on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly that will air Thursday night.
“Having someone who is such a radical pro-abortion advocate will move that agenda to its limits,” Huber said.
Becerra is currently California’s attorney general. During his tenure, he has upheld state pro-abortion laws that forced crisis pregnancy centers to advertise for abortions, and required Catholic nuns to have abortion coverage in their health plans. He has also pushed for easier access to the abortion pill regimen and supported lawsuits against abortion restrictions in other states.
At his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Becerra would not name a single abortion restriction that he supported.
Huber noted the Biden administration has already allowed for U.S. global health assistance to fund international pro-abortion groups by repealing the Mexico City Policy.
“By its being rescinded, that means that U.S. taxpayer dollars are going to be used to promote and to fund NGOs around the world who provide abortion,” Huber said.
She said Becerra’s nomination could also have a wide-ranging impact on abortion not just within the United States, but overseas.
“Most pro-life advocates here in the United States and citizens who don’t want their taxpayer dollars used for abortion often focus only on what’s happening here within the borders of the United States government,” Huber said.
“What that does is gives a president and an HHS secretary who is so focused on abortion plenty of space for mischief-making that could result in abortion being deemed an international human right,” she said.
Huber added that HHS is “ground zero for either the protection of life or the promotion of abortion.” She called Becerra “unfit” for the role of HHS secretary.
During Becerra’s confirmation hearing this week, he was pressed by senators on his record on abortion and religious freedom.
In one exchange during Becerra’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), asked Becerra why he voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Becerra replied, “When I come to these issues, I understand that we may not always agree on where to go, but I think we can find some common ground on these issues.”
Romney said, “I think we can reach common ground on many issues, but on partial-birth abortion it sounds like we’re not going to reach common ground there.”
Posted on 02/25/2021 08:45 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Denver Newsroom, Feb 25, 2021 / 12:45 am (CNA).- The co-writer and star of a new film chronicling the courtroom drama of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case said in a recent interview that the film aims to be a truthful and historically accurate account of how the landmark decision came to be, and stars actors with varying views on the topic of abortion.
“Roe v Wade,” co-written and co-directed by Loeb and Cathy Allyn, is set to premiere at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Feb. 28.
Nick Loeb, a businessman-turned-filmmaker and actor, plays the part of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a prolific abortion doctor who later converted to Christianity and became pro-life.
In a Feb. 23 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Loeb said despite the film’s subject matter, it is not a “conservative,” “religious,” or even a “pro-life” film.
“What we tried to do is really just lay out the facts of how Roe v. Wade came to be and how it was decided. People can take one view or another. I've had a lot of people who think it's in the middle,” he commented to The Hollywood Reporter.
Still, Loeb himself is pro-life and the personal journey of Loeb’s character, Nathanson, is one of powerful pro-life conversion.
“Why some folks may think it's a conservative film or why it aligns with those views is because the protagonist actually converts. He starts off pro-choice and becomes pro-life through his journey. It's a true story,” Loeb commented.
Nathanson personally performed an estimated 5,000 abortions and oversaw tens of thousands more, including one on his own pregnant girlfriend in the 1960s.
Nathanson was previously a strong proponent of legalized abortion, and has been accused of inflating statistics on illegal abortions in the U.S. In 1969, he helped to found the lobbying organization now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America.
He left the practice of abortion in the early 1970s, and became a Christian and a pro-life activist until his death in 2011.
Loeb said he experienced an evolution of his own views on abortion similar to that of Nathanson. As a young man, he was pro-choice; in his 20s, he had two partners who obtained abortions.
“[I]t really had an emotional impact on me. As I've gotten older, the more regret I have. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have had them,” he commented.
“Learning more about the science behind it and when a human being is actually created, I slowly started to change my views. I went on the same journey as Bernard [Nathanson] and that's why I was really interested in playing this role.”
Several of the film’s other stars are also known to be pro-life, such as Jon Voight, who stars as Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.
In 2020, "Roe v. Wade" premiered at the Vienna Independent Film Festival, where Voight took home the award for best supporting actor, the Federalist reported.
Loeb said not all the actors in the film are pro-life, but at least one of the actors— whom he declined to name— converted from pro-choice views to pro-life over the course of filmmaking.
Loeb said writing the film took extensive research into the Roe v. Wade case, and it was important to him to have a female co-writer, rather than him alone.
“The case gets thrown around all the time without a full understanding of how it came to be and what happened. I really want people to understand, whether they're pro-choice or pro-life, that when a woman gets pregnant, there's a baby there,” he concluded.
“It's not a clump of cells or a gob of goo. There's a real living being that has a heartbeat in the first couple of weeks that you can hear. People should understand that so they don't take abortion so lightly.”
The film is set to be available in April on Amazon Prime and iTunes.
Loeb’s comments are not the first time he has spoken in defense of unborn children.
In 2016, Loeb and his then-fiance Sofia Vergara created and froze several embryos through IVF. When the couple separated, Loeb sued for custody of the embryos in order to implant them in a surrogate mother. A Louisiana court dismissed that lawsuit earlier this month.
In 2019, Loeb told the National Catholic Register that Facebook had blocked his team from promoting a previous Hollywood Reporter article on the film.
Posted on 02/25/2021 01:07 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Seattle, Wash., Feb 24, 2021 / 05:07 pm (CNA).- In the wake of a suicide at a Catholic social services headquarters in Seattle, Archbishop Paul Etienne said that Christians should remember the “desperation and hopelessness” of those in distress, but also God’s “profound love.”
In a Feb. 23 letter to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Seattle, Etienne reported that on Tuesday afternoon a “distraught individual” entered the headquarters of Catholic Community Services and Catholic Housing Services at the Randolph Carter Family and Learning Center in Seattle.
“He threatened the life of a staff member before taking his own life,” the archbishop said. “Mercifully, no one else was harmed and all of the staff were able to safely leave the building.”
The Catholic community was “deeply saddened by the tragic events,” said the archbishop.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the deceased person and his family,” Etienne said. “Our prayers are also with everyone who was part of or witnessed today’s painful events.”
The archbishop connected the man’s death to the stresses of poverty, the coronavirus epidemic and despair.
“Events like this remind us of the stress and pain that unrelenting poverty can bring. Events like this remind us of the real suffering and frustration that coincide with untreated health conditions,” he said. “Events like this remind us of the desperation and hopelessness people feel before taking their own lives—a tragic trend that is exacerbated by the pressures of the COVID-19 epidemic.”
The archbishop prayed that everyone involved is “aware of and reminded of God’s profound love.”
“I ask the Holy Spirit to provide healing and comfort to our families and communities, especially those who are poor, fearful and vulnerable during these most challenging of times,” he added.
The archbishop especially praised the employees of Catholic Community Services and Catholic Housing Services.
“We are called by Jesus to accompany the poor and care for them,” he said, saying this is what the employees do “every day.”
“They journey with the people they serve through very challenging difficulties—and they do so with the love and care of our Savior.”
Etienne said he was grateful for the employees and leadership at the services center for their quick response in following safety protocols. He also thanked the Seattle Police Department and other first responders.
“I encourage anyone who is struggling during these difficult times, or who has a loved one who is struggling, to reach out for help,” Etienne said. “Our Catholic community is here to support you through our parishes, Catholic Community Services, or our mental health ministries. Please remember that you are not alone.”
Posted on 02/25/2021 00:00 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Feb 24, 2021 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- An Australian university has found that the country has less than half the number of palliative care physicians needed to care for terminally-ill patients.
A study published by Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) PM Glynn Institute revealed that the country only has 0.9 palliative care doctors per every 100,000 people. According to the ACU, health industry standards state there should be at least two doctors for this population.
Australia is currently considering legalizing euthanasia nationwide. Two states have already legalized it, and the issue has been debated in many other states. At least one state, Tasmania, is expected to legalize the practice later this year.
Dr. Michael Casey, the director of the PM Glynn Institute, warned that the lack of doctors available for palliative care will push ill patients towards choosing assisted suicide.
“People say voluntary-assisted dying is about giving patients a choice, but if dying patients cannot access the palliative care services they need, they don’t really have a free choice,” said Casey in the the Australian publication The Catholic Leader.
Casey said that the country needs “to do more to ensure that everyone who needs good quality palliative care can access it, wherever they are and whatever their circumstances, before considering a momentous step like voluntary assisted dying.”
Palliative care seeks to accompany a patient towards the end of their lives, not to accelerate the process of death. Palliative care specialists are typically opposed to euthanasia.
The author of the ACU report, Dr. Cris Abbu, said that there should be more efforts taken to encourage doctors and nurses to enter the speciality of palliative care.
“Palliative care remains one of the least-preferred specialisations of medical students for future practice,” said Abbu. “The rates of full-time equivalent palliative medicine physicians and palliative care nurses have remained unchanged since 2013, despite the increasing demand.”
Abbu suggested that the government of Australia subsidize the training of 225 new palliative care physicians in order to better satisfy the demand for the specialty. He also said there should be a community-based approach to palliative care, in order to ease strain on hospitals.
Currently, public hospitals are the providers of palliative care services in 86% of cases in Australia.
“Given an aging population and an increase in the incidence of chronic illnesses, both of which imply increasing need for palliative care services, the burden on public hospitals is likely to increase in the future unless we find workable alternatives,” said Abbu.
Posted on 02/24/2021 23:33 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
CNA Staff, Feb 24, 2021 / 03:33 pm (CNA).- As part of the Year of Saint Joseph called for by Pope Francis, the National Shrine of St. Joseph will host a virtual conference and rededicate the saint’s statue.
The event takes place on March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and includes a day of prayer and talks from Catholic leaders.
A highlight of the conference will be the rededication of a restored statue of St. Joseph - a life-size depiction of Joseph holding the infant Christ. According to the website, the crowns of the two characters had deteriorated and Joseph’s cloak had faded prior to the restoration.
“Be part of a historic day on March 19th when the National Shrine of St Joseph holds an all-day event filled with prayer, insightful and inspirational talks,” the website reads.
“This day will feature the historic rededication of the shrine’s statue of St. Joseph and offer a powerful entrustment of the Nation to Saint Joseph during this year dedicated to him [by] Pope Francis. This will be a powerful grace-filled day.”
During the event, Father Don Calloway, Marian of the Immaculate Conception, will lead an entrustment of the United States to St. Joseph and preside over the statue's crowning. The statue still needs to be installed and the shrine is accepting donations to help complete the project.
A rosary will be led by Father Francis Hoffman, host of the Family Rosary Across America and CEO at Relevant Radio; and a Divine Mercy Chaplet will be led by Drew Mariani, host of “The Drew Mariani Show.”
Prior to the event, people may submit prayer requests to be placed below the shrine’s main altar, After a month, the intentions will be relocated to the St. Joseph prayer chest.
The speakers at the virtual conference will discuss the life of St. Joseph and the spiritual benefit of the saint’s intercession and Christian example. Teresa Tomeo, a host for Catholic television and radio, will be the master of ceremonies.
Father Michael Brennan, Norbertine priest and director of the Archconfraternity of St. Joseph, will discuss the rich history of the National Shrine of St. Joseph and the Norbertines’ spiritual practices. Established in 1892, the shrine is located on the campus of St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. The order has conducted a novena to St. Joseph for over 100 years.
Dr. Mark Miravalle, a mariologist and the author of “Meet your Spiritual Father,” will describe some benefits attached to St. Joseph’s intercession, especially for struggling families. He will encourage participants to pray to St. Joseph, especially for their future spouse and to heal divisions in the family.
Father Chad Ripperger, an exorcist in the Archdiocese of Denver, will emphasize the role of St. Joseph as a spiritual protector and father.
Father Matthew Spencer, the former host for Relevant Radio’s St. Joseph’s Workshop with Fr. Matthew Spencer, will share a variety of devotions to the saint.
Posted on 02/24/2021 23:28 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Feb 24, 2021 / 03:28 pm (CNA).- President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services declined at a hearing Wednesday to state if he would support any theoretical type of restriction on abortion.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) questioned California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra during his confirmation hearing with the Senate Committee on Finance. Daines said he had “serious concerns” with Becerra’s “radical views” on abortion, and noted that many Montanans, as well as national pro-life groups, had voiced their opposition to their nomination.
In an effort to give Becerra a chance to “push back” against this view, Daines asked him if he could “name one abortion restriction that you might support.”
“I have tried to make sure that I am abiding by the law, because whether it’s a particular restriction, or whether it’s the whole idea of abortion, whether we agree or not, we have to come to some conclusion,” said Becerra.
Daines pressed back, asking if there was “any line” that Becerra would draw, asking him to name “just one” restriction that he might support.
Becerra then reminded Daines that his wife is an OB/GYN who has cared for babies “for decades,” and then said that his mother was praying the Rosary for him and had “blessed” him that morning prior to his hearing. He did not provide a restriction he may support.
Daines asked if Becerra would support a ban on abortion following a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Again, Becerra refused to answer, saying, “I respect the different views that are out there, but what’s important to make sure that my view is in according with the law.”
Becerra declined to comment if he would support a ban on sex-selective abortion or a ban on partial-birth abortion, saying that he would “respect those who take a particular view,” but that his job would be “following the law.”
Partial-birth abortion was outlawed in the United States in 2003. Becerra did not say he was opposed to this ban, nor did he say he supported it.
While a congressman, Becerra voted against a partial-birth abortion ban and also opposed a bill that criminalized the killing of an unborn child resulting from an assault on the mother.
As attorney general of California, he repeatedly defended the state’s pro-abortion laws while also prosecuting pro-life activists. He also led other state attorneys general in fighting state abortion restrictions in court.
Becerra defended the state’s Reproductive FACT Act, a law passed in 2015 before his tenure that forced crisis pregnancy centers to advertise where clients could get abortions. The court battles over the law reached the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2018 that the law violated the free speech rights of pregnancy centers.
He also continued the state’s prosecution of pro-life activist David Daleiden, for his 2015 undercover videos claiming that Planned Parenthood unlawfully profited from the fetal tissue of aborted babies. The previous attorney general, current Vice President Kamala Harris, initiated the prosecution of Daleiden.
Becerra defended the state’s 2014 mandate which forced even Catholic religious— the Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit—to provide abortion coverage in employee health plans. For this action—as well as for the state’s previous enforcement of the Reproductive FACT Act—the HHS Office for Civil Rights issued notices of violation to the state.