Supreme Court appears split on Montana's ban on vouchers for religious schools (Washington Times) The Becket Fund has published background information on the case. “The case before the Supreme Court today concerns whether the Constitution offers states a license to discriminate against religion,” the USCCB said in a statement. “It is about whether our nation will continue to tolerate this strain of anti-Catholic bigotry. Blaine Amendments, which are in 37 states’ constitutions, were the product of nativism … We hope that the Supreme Court will take this opportunity to bring an end to this shameful legacy.”
Pope Francis offers greetings for Chinese New Year (Vatican News) On “25 January next, in the Far East and in various other parts of the world, many millions of men and women will celebrate the Lunar New Year,” the Pope said following his January 22 general audience. “I send them my cordial greetings, wishing them in particular to be places of education in the virtues of welcome, wisdom, respect for each person, and harmony with creation.”
President Trump proclaims National Sanctity of Human Life Day (White House) “Our Nation proudly and strongly reaffirms our commitment to protect the precious gift of life at every stage, from conception to natural death,” President Trump wrote in his proclamation. “My Administration is also building an international coalition to dispel the concept of abortion as a fundamental human right.”
Pope, in general audience, reflects on hospitality and Christian unity (Vatican Press Office) “They showed us unusual kindness“ (cf. Acts 28:2) is the theme of the 2020 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. As the residents of Malta offered hospitality to the shipwrecked St. Paul, so, too, “we, as Christians, must work together to show migrants the love of God as revealed by Jesus Christ … Working together to live ecumenical hospitality, especially towards those whose lives are most vulnerable, will make all us Christians – Protestants, Orthodox, Catholics, all Christians – better human beings, better disciples and a more united Christian people.”
Spanish bishops adopt 3-year marriage-prep program (CNS) The Catholic bishops of Spain have adopted a new 3-year program of preparation for marriage, replacing the current norm that provides for just five hours of preparation. The new program is a response to the country’s soaring divorce rate; almost 60% of married couples divorce within 15 years.
Bishop Strickland says he asked Pope about McCarrick report (CNS) On January 20, Pope Francis received the bishops of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Recounting that the Pope said the report would be published, the bishop of Tyler (Texas) added, “It’s about the victims. It’s about the children of God who have suffered through the negligence and bad acting of bishops, priests, and other members of the Church.”
Ecumenical Patriarch at Davos: ecology is most urgent challenge (AsiaNews) Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said that today’s world leaders will be judged on their response to the challenge of preserving the environment. He said that “we know what needs to be done and we know how it must be done,” but lamented that it is not being done.
Serve mothers in need, USCCB committee chairman says in Roe anniversary statement (USCCB) “As the Church and growing numbers of pro-life Americans continue to advocate for women and children in courthouses and legislatures, the Church’s pastoral response is focused on the needs of women facing pregnancies in challenging circumstances,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City (KS), chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “While this has long been the case, the pastoral response will soon intensify.”
Planned Parenthood lost 400,000 individual donors last year (Live Action) “Between 2000 and 2010, individual contributors dropped nearly 26% before beginning a climb upward,” according to the report. “Now, it appears that the organization’s donors are again tracking downward, showing a loss of nearly 27% from just the previous year.” However, “taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood increased nearly 70% from $363.2 million in 2008 to $616.8 million in 2018.”
Irish bishop offers to mediate among violent gangs (CNS) A gruesome killing in Drogheda, a city of 40,000 on Ireland’s eastern coast, has shocked the nation. “All human life is sacred, and an attack of this nature on someone who is still a child is disgusting and beyond belief,” said Auxiliary Bishop Michael Router of Armagh. “This desecration of life has diminished our common humanity and our sense of ourselves as a civilized people.”
Pope names Harvard economist to pontifical academy (Vatican Press Office) Professor Dani Rodrik (@rodrikdani), who hails from Turkey, has devoted his research to “globalization, economic growth and development, and political economy,” according to his website. The goal of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences is “promoting the study and progress of the social, economic, political and juridical sciences, offering the Church the elements which she can use in the study and development of her social doctrine.”