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Archie Battersbee, 12, dies after being taken off life support against his parents' wishes

Hollie Dance (center left) and Paul Battersbee (center right)), the mother and father of Archie Battersbee, speak to the media as they leave the Royal Courts of Justice on June 29, 2022 in London, England. Archie's parents ultimately lost their legal fight to keep their son on life support. He died on Aug. 6, 2022. / Carl Court/Getty Images

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 7, 2022 / 06:40 am (CNA).

Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old British boy whose family waged an unsuccessful legal fight to stop his doctors from disconnecting him from a ventilator, died Saturday.

“Can I just say I’m the proudest mum in the world — such a beautiful little boy, and he fought right until the very end,” his mother, Hollie Dance, told reporters outside the Royal London Hospital, where Archie died, the New York Times reported. “And I’m so proud to be his mum.”

Archie had been in a coma on a ventilator since April when he was found unconscious with a ligature around his neck. According to news reports, his family suspects he may have been taking part in a social media challenge.

Archie’s doctors at Royal London Hospital had maintained that the boy, whose heart was still beating, was “very likely” brain-stem dead, but a conclusive test was never performed. A UK High Court judge granted the doctors' request to perform the test, but the test — required by the UK's Code of Practice — was not carried out because doctors determined there was a danger it could produce a false negative result.

His family, which opposed the brain stem test because they believed it to be too dangerous, argued that Archie needed more time to recover to whatever extent possible.

The family presented video evidence they said showed Archie crying and gripping his mother's hand. In a June 13 ruling, the High Court judge said the evidence was unconvincing. She ordered that doctors remove the boy from the ventilator, saying the available medical evidence showed that Archie was brain dead as of May 31. An appeals court subsequently upheld the decision.

Last week, Archie’s parents exhausted their legal options when the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) refused to intervene in the case.

"It was the last thing, wasn't it? And again our country has failed a 12-year-old child," Dance said, according to the BBC.

Catholic bioethics experts condemned the decision by the hospital to take Archie off of life support. Before Archie’s death, the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, based in the UK, released a statement saying, “It seems extraordinary that questions of life and death should be matters of a balance of probability rather than determination beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Baptized in the hospital

The bioethics center issued a statement following the announcement of Archie's death.

“The court battle over Archie Battersbee’s care is the latest example of the dying of children becoming complicated by unresolved conflict between parents and hospital authorities. It seems clear that there are serious problems with the current clinical, interpersonal, ethical, and legal approach to these situations,” the statement said.

“The tragic case of Archie Battersbee must lead to reform so that such conflicts can be averted in the future,” the center said.  

“Our last thoughts and our prayers are for Archie’s family, and for Archie himself. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace,” the statement concluded.

In court testimony, a family spokeswoman described Archie's family as "vaguely Christian" but not church-goers prior to his brain injury. Archie, however, was attracted to Christianity because he saw mixed martial artists praying before they entered the ring, the spokeswoman testified.

"Archie had saved up for and then begun wearing a small cross and a St Christopher’s ring in the two years before the accident," the June 13 High Court ruling states.

"Archie had been speaking about being baptised and wanted his mother to take him to a church service at Christmas. This led to the family having Archie christened as he lay unconscious. Archie’s mother, brother and sister were christened then on Easter Sunday at the hospital," the ruling states.

Pope Francis: Put your trust in God and his care for you

Pope Francis gives his weekly Angelus address Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Aug 7, 2022 / 06:10 am (CNA).

Hold fast to trust in God and stay alert to his presence in your life, Pope Francis said during his weekly Angelus address on Sunday.

“Let us walk without fear, in the certainty that the Lord always accompanies us. And let us stay awake, lest it happen to us that we fall asleep while the Lord is passing by,” he said Aug. 7.

The pope spoke about letting go of worry and anxiety before reciting the Angelus, a Marian prayer, from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

“At times we feel imprisoned by a feeling of distrust and anxiety,” Francis said. “It is the fear of failure, of not being acknowledged and loved, the fear of not being able to realize our plans, of never being happy, and so on.”

Fear, he added, leads us to “struggle to find solutions, to find a space in which to thrive, to accumulate goods and wealth, to obtain security; and how do we end up? We end up living anxiously and constantly worrying.”

Francis pointed to the day’s Gospel passage from St. Luke, in which, he said, “Jesus reassures us: Do not be afraid.”

“Trust in the Father who wants to give you all that you truly need. He has already given you his Son, his Kingdom, and he will always accompany you with his providence, taking care of you every day. Do not be afraid — this is the certainty that your hearts should be attached to,” Pope Francis said.

Jesus, the pope said, makes two fundamental exhortations to his disciples: to “not be afraid,” and to “be ready.”

“There is no need to worry and fret for our lives are firmly in God’s hands,” he said. “But knowing that the Lord watches over us with love does not entitle us to slumber, to let ourselves succumb to laziness.”

“On the contrary, we must be alert, vigilant,” he continued. “Indeed, to love means being attentive to the other, being aware of his or her needs, being willing to listen and welcome, being ready.”

Vigilance also extends to our responsibility over the goods God has entrusted to us, he said, pointing to life, faith, family, relationships, work, our home, and creation.

“We have received so many things. Let us try to ask ourselves: Do we take care of this inheritance the Lord has left us? Do we safeguard its beauty or do we use things only for ourselves and for our immediate convenience?” he said. “We have to think a little about this — are we guardians of the creation that has been given to us?”

“St. Augustine said, ‘I am afraid that the Lord passes by and I do not notice;’ of being asleep and not noticing that the Lord passes by,” Francis said.

“May the Virgin Mary help us, who welcomed the Lord’s visit and readily and generously said, ‘Here I am.’”

After the Angelus, Pope Francis said he was glad that the first ships carrying grain had been allowed to leave the ports of Ukraine since the outbreak of war in February.

“This step demonstrates that it is possible to dialogue and to reach concrete results for everyone’s benefit,” he said. “Therefore, this event also presents itself as a sign of hope, and I sincerely hope that, following in this direction, there might be an end to combat and that a just and lasting peace might be reached.”

Francis also expressed his sorrow for the Polish pilgrims who died or were injured in a bus crash in Croatia on Saturday.

12 Polish pilgrims bound for Medjugorje killed in bus crash in Croatia

Map of Croatia. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 7, 2022 / 04:40 am (CNA).

Twelve Polish pilgrims bound for Medjugorje were killed Saturday when their bus crashed into a ditch, authorities said. Another 31 people were injured, some critically.

A Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman told Polish private broadcaster TVN24 that all the victims were adult Polish citizens.

Pope Francis said Sunday following his Angelus reflection that he was praying for the victims.

The accident happened at around 5:40 a.m. local time when the bus veered off the A4 road between Jarek Bisaski and Podvorec, northeast of Zagreb.

The pilgrims included three priests and six nuns, the BBC reported. The news agency said the trip to Medjugorje, the site of alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was organized by the Brotherhood of St Joseph Catholic group.

Poland's justice minister and prosecutor general ordered the Warsaw Prosecutors Office to investigate the cause of the crash, Vatican News reported.

Meet Michael McGivney Schachle, the miracle baby who helped make his namesake a Blessed

Daniel and Michelle Schachle with their son, Michael McGivney Schachle, 7, at the annual convention of the Knights of Columbus held Aug. 1-4, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. / Joe Bukuras/CNA

Nashville, Tenn., Aug 7, 2022 / 04:00 am (CNA).

Seated in a small black wagon pulled by his father, 7-year-old Michael McGivney Schachle happily rolled along the hallways of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville last week, innocently unaware that people were staring at him in awe as he passed by.

His parents noticed. They’re used to it by now.

“He's like a living relic,” his mother Michelle Schachle said.

Numerous U.S. prelates and other Catholic dignitaries attended the Knights of Columbus’ annual convention at the hotel on Aug. 1-4. But few could match Michael’s star power, which radiated from his megawatt smile.

Doctors gave Michael McGivney Schachle "zero" chance of survival before his birth. Thanks to the intercession of Father Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, he was miraculously healed in the womb of a life-threatening condition. Courtesy of the Schachle family
Doctors gave Michael McGivney Schachle "zero" chance of survival before his birth. Thanks to the intercession of Father Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, he was miraculously healed in the womb of a life-threatening condition. Courtesy of the Schachle family

For good reason: Michael, whose family lives in Dickson, Tennessee, is the boy whose miraculous healing in his mother’s womb from a life-threatening condition led Pope Francis to beatify Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, placing him one step from sainthood.

Michael’s parents — his father Daniel is a knight and an insurance agent for the fraternal order — spoke to CNA at the convention about their son, their faith, and the miracle that will follow Michael for the rest of his life.

‘Zero’ chance of survival

Michelle found out that she was pregnant with Michael, the couple’s thirteenth child, in December 2014. It was only one month later that Michael, who was originally intended to be named Benedict after Michelle’s grandfather, was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

In February 2015, an ultrasound revealed another complication: Michael had a rare condition called hydrops fetalis, in which fluid builds up in the baby’s tissues and organs, causing swelling. The doctor told Michelle that the baby’s condition was fatal and encouraged her to abort the child.

According to Michelle, the diagnosing doctor said that she had worked at the hospital for 30 years and had never seen a child survive as severe a case of the condition as Michael had.

“Daniel wanted a percentage [for chances of the child’s survival] and he was hoping she'd say like 10% or 15%,” Michelle recounted.

“She said, ‘Zero. There’s no chance.’”

Because of their Catholic faith, however, abortion was not an option.

So, the couple turned to prayer. 

It was Daniel who decided to seek the help of Father McGivney (1852-1890), an Irish-Catholic priest who ministered to immigrant families in New Haven, Connecticut, and founded the Knights as a mutual aid and fraternal insurance organization.

“Father McGivney, we both need a miracle. Please pray if it's God's will that this cup will pass from me and that my son will be healed. But not our will, but his will be done,” Daniel says he prayed, kneeling in his bedroom, the night after the diagnosis.

Daniel said he promised that if his son were cured, the boy would be named after the Knights’ founder.

He had not consulted with this wife on that part of the deal, however.

“She was like, ‘We're gonna name him Benedict. You can't change his name!’” 

The next day the couple began asking their friends to pray for their son’s healing through Father McGivney’s intercession.

Despite the dire diagnosis, the couple decided to go forward with a pre-planned pilgrimage to Europe sponsored by the Knights.

The couple said they were given many signal graces on the trip. One of those graces came in Rome, while their priest, Father Michael Fye, offered Mass at the Vatican. Daniel said that the priest chose a random chapel in the church to celebrate Mass, and it turned out to be the same chapel that the Knights of Columbus had paid to restore an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Help, a few years earlier.

The Schachle family of Dickson, Tennessee. Courtesy of the Schachle family
The Schachle family of Dickson, Tennessee. Courtesy of the Schachle family

A watershed moment came in Fatima, Portugal.

As the couple was praying for a miracle during Holy Mass, they were astounded by the scripture reading of the day from the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John. In the reading, a royal official whose son was sick in Capernaum asks Jesus to heal the boy.

Jesus responds, “You may go; your son will live.” Hearing those words, the Schachles were stunned. Daniel’s jaw dropped.

“There were just a thousand little things like that that happened on the trip,” Daniel said. “So, by the time we left, I was almost sure that God had done something because of all of those signs.”

‘A kiss from God’

When the couple arrived back home, Michelle went for her next ultrasound. What she saw that day would later be accepted as evidence in support of McGivney’s beatification.

After reviewing the image, Dr. Mary Carroll told Michelle that she would need to see a certain pediatrician with expertise in caring for Down syndrome pregnancies because the baby could be born a month early.

Confused, Michelle said that she thought the baby had a 0% chance of survival and that there was no hope. 

“Honey, you just came back from Fatima. There's always hope,’” Michelle remembers the doctor telling her. Their son still had Down syndrome, but the ultrasound showed there was no trace of hydrops.

It was that day that the child received the name Michael McGivney Schachle, Michelle said. 

Michelle began to weep. But according to Michelle, Carroll said to her, “Sweetheart, don't cry. That's the prettiest baby I've ever seen in my life.” 

Mikey Schachle, whose life was saved by an officially recognized miracle through the intercession of Fr. Michael McGivney. Photo courtesy of the Schachle Family.
Mikey Schachle, whose life was saved by an officially recognized miracle through the intercession of Fr. Michael McGivney. Photo courtesy of the Schachle Family.

Michael was born on May 15, 2015. Providentially, May 15 is the anniversary of the chartering of the first Knights of Columbus council.

The Schachles have other curious connections to McGivney: Michelle and McGivney have the same birthday, and both Michael and McGivney were born into families of 13 children. The family also had named their homeschool after McGivney.

Michael’s miracle was approved by Pope Francis on May 27, 2020.

Today, “Mikey,” as he’s known, loves making people laugh with his jokes. He knows he was healed in his mommy’s tummy and says he loves God.

And those who know his incredible story stop and smile when he’s around.

On Aug. 2, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly made a special mention of the Schachles in his annual address. A large video screen showed Daniel raising his smiling son in the air.

The crowd cheered.

Seeing him, his mother says, is like “a little kiss from God — proof that God exists and that he loves you.”

‘Good Morning Man’ remembered for dedicating life to others after ‘conversation with God’

A framed photo of Larry Tutt stands in front of a basket holding red whistles reading "RIP Larry Tutt 2022" following a memorial Mass at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2022. / Katie Yoder / CNA

Washington D.C., Aug 6, 2022 / 07:30 am (CNA).

Larry Tutt had no ordinary job. 

Every morning — rain or shine, hot or cold — he rose at 5 a.m. and commuted to his place of work: the corner of K and 15th Streets in Washington, D.C. As nearby lawyers and lobbyists raced to their upscale offices in the heart of the city, Tutt would set up his chair on the sidewalk and greet passersby with a smile and a “Good morning!”

All he asked for in return was a smile back.

“It did not matter if you were sleeping across the street, in a tent, or if you were the president of the United States,” his niece, Shernita Tutt, told CNA. “He wanted everyone [to] remain humble, respect the love of God. His purpose was to show that to the world.”

He quickly became a beloved figure known as “The Good Morning Man.” But, after being a staple of the D.C. community for more than a decade, he disappeared July 23. Tutt suffered from liver cancer, unbeknownst to his friends and family, and landed in the hospital. Even then, he tried to escape so he could get back to work.

Several days later, on July 29, he passed away at age 67.

In response, city locals flooded his family’s GoFundMe page (which asked for donations to help with the cost of his burial) with memories. Bikers recalled changing their routes just so they could hear him shout, “GOOD MORNING, BICYCLE RIDER!” One person remembered him cheering her on her first day at work, while another recalled him retrieving her lost watch.

Citizens create a memorial for Larry Tutt at the corner where he used to sit, at K and 15th Streets in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2022. Katie Yoder / CNA
Citizens create a memorial for Larry Tutt at the corner where he used to sit, at K and 15th Streets in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2022. Katie Yoder / CNA

“He made every morning I saw him a little bit brighter,” Michelle Salvatera, who works at the White House on supply-chain issues, wrote on the GoFundMe page, according to the Washington Post. “Most times we take advantage of something so small as a good morning. I’ll miss hearing him and his whistle.”

On Friday, a week after his death, the Catholic Information Center (CIC) gave away red whistles as reminders to pray for Tutt following a memorial Mass for the D.C. hero. Located steps away from where Tutt used to sit, the CIC houses a Catholic bookstore and chapel — the chapel where Tutt once attended Mass.

He was there again, on Friday, in the memories of those who loved him. Shernita Tutt clutched a golden-framed photo of her uncle throughout the Mass attended by dozens of people. 

During the homily, Father Joe Ruisanchez remembered Tutt as a man of faith and goodwill with a “great heart.”

“I remember on one occasion, I thanked him for something. And he said, ‘No, no, no, thank the Lord,’” Ruisanchez said. “Thank the Lord.” 

People gather in the Catholic Information Center's St. Josemaria Chapel for a memorial Mass for Larry Tutt in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2022. Katie Yoder / CNA
People gather in the Catholic Information Center's St. Josemaria Chapel for a memorial Mass for Larry Tutt in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2022. Katie Yoder / CNA

Ruisanchez pointed to Tutt as a Christlike example of transforming suffering into good.

“I hope that from him — from the good encounter we had with him — we can at least learn how to transform whatever difficulties we find in life into something good,” he said. “This is what Jesus Christ did. He transformed his suffering on the cross into the revelation of the greatest possible love: Giving his life. Paying for our sins.”

Other CIC staff remembered Tutt with fondness.

“Larry lived well and brought joy to others through the simplicity of his life,” Rosemary Eldridge, the director of communications and special events, told CNA.

After Mass, people lined up to share their condolences with Tutt’s family members, who hail from D.C. Some had tears in their eyes.

Shernita Tutt found the response of the community in general “quite overwhelming.”

“It was his calling,” she said of her uncle who used to walk her to kindergarten every day. He chose his corner on K Street, she added, after a “conversation with God.”

“I believe that, through his life and with his trials and his tribulations, he found his own way to be encouraging and remind people about kindness and humanity,” she said. “That was his mission.” 

Among other things, however, Tutt struggled with mental-health issues. While he himself was not a war veteran, as some reports claim, he witnessed what happened to his brother, Charles, after serving during the Vietnam War.

“That was tragic for him to see his brother come back home and deal with the difficulties of PTSD,” Shernita Tutt said.

Amid his struggles, she added, he continued to go out, be positive, and “put God first.” 

“He definitely wanted to grab your attention and remind you to slow down,” she said. “[To tell you] it’s OK, you have things going on in life. I mean, life is going to be life. But take a moment, express kindness, a smile, [make] eye contact.”

He appreciated the little, simple things, she said, rather than embracing materialistic things.

“In a busy world — and we know that D.C. is overworked and focused on task — it was important for him to remind everyone to just take a moment and smell the roses,” she said.

His was, as it turns out, an extraordinary job.

New leader of African bishops conference says ‘greatness is service’

Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Wa, who was elected present of SECAM July 30, 2022. / Courtesy of SECAM

Rome Newsroom, Aug 6, 2022 / 05:00 am (CNA).

Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Wa, who is to be made a cardinal later this month, has been elected head of the African bishops’ conference.

The 63-year-old Ghanaian bishop, who will travel to Rome to receive a red hat Aug. 27, has said that he sees his new mission as a cardinal as “an invitation to serve.”

Baawobr has led the Diocese of Wa, in northwest Ghana, since 2016. He is known locally for his charity and care for people with mental disabilities in a country where the stigmatization of mental illness is still high. 

Six years ago he launched a diocesan street ministry which brings together parish volunteers and health care professionals to provide care and medical assistance for people with mental disabilities who have been abandoned by their families. 

“I always think of the two sons of Zebedee who are struggling for the seats, one on the left and one on the right. At that moment Jesus reminds them that their greatness is in service, that he has come to serve,” Baawobr said in an interview with ACI Africa, CNA’s Nairobi-based news partner.

“So, I think each one of us, wherever we are, we are called to serve, and that is what will make us great, not the title.” 

Baawobr was elected president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, known by the acronym SECAM, at the end of the African bishops’ plenary assembly on July 30 in Accra, Ghana.

Bishops gathered at the19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar in Accra, Ghana, July 2022. Courtesy of SECAM.
Bishops gathered at the19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar in Accra, Ghana, July 2022. Courtesy of SECAM.

Before he became Bishop of Wa, Baawobr was the first African to serve as the superior general of the Missionaries of Africa, commonly called the "White Fathers" for their distinctive white cassocks.

His vocation as a Missionary of Africa provided him ministry experiences in different regions in Africa. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1987, Baawobr served in a parish in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

He later moved to Kahangala, Tanzania to take on the role of formator for the order after finishing a licentiate in Sacred Scripture and a doctorate in Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. 

Baawobr also spent time in France, studying Ignatian spirituality at Le Chatelard in Lyon and working for five years as the director of the missionary order’s formation house in Toulouse.

While acting as the superior general of the White Fathers from 2010 to 2016, he was named vice grand chancellor of the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies. Pope Francis later appointed him as a member and consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Born in Tom-Zendagangn in the Wa diocese, Baawobr studied at a village school and the St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary before he entered the diocesan seminary in 1979 at the age of 20.

After discerning his vocation with the Missionaries of Africa, he studied for his novitiate in Fribourg, Switzerland and then completed his theological studies at the Missionary Institute London. He was professed as a member of the society of apostolic life in 1986.

Baawobr will be made a cardinal along with 20 others in a consistory in Rome on Aug. 27.

“At least now people are forced to look up what is Wa and they find it on the map,” Baawobr joked, as he described the excitement in his home diocese over the appointment.

He said that at first he did not believe that Pope Francis had named him a cardinal until he received a call from the nuncio.

“The news came as a surprise. I did not expect it at all. I had just finished Mass when somebody announced to me that it was on social media, that I've been appointed cardinal,” he said. “I didn't believe it until … I switched on my phone and I saw that it was true.”

“From the surprise, I came to accept it as an invitation to serve,” Baawobr said. “As a priest, that is my first calling, to serve God, to serve his people.”

A delegation from the Diocese of Wa will accompany Baawobr to Rome for the August consistory, where he will become one of two new cardinals from Africa, along with Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke of Ekwulobia.

However, he noted that it has been challenging getting visas for everyone who would like to come with him to Rome. He said that the Italian embassy has asked him “to reduce the [guest] list again and again.”

Baawobr said that he wants to make the trip “an occasion to pray and to grow in the faith,” for the Ghana delegation with pilgrimages to basilicas in Rome and “possibly a pilgrimage to Assisi so that we pray for peace for ourselves and for our families and for the nation.”

“It comes down very strongly that we are not alone in this mission. And the Holy Father is inviting us to share, to collaborate with him,” he said.

“I think from there also I draw the message that wherever we are, if people are needing our collaboration in order to attain a specific goal, we should offer that with joy and humility and simplicity.”

Spanish bishop: We’re creating ‘monsters’ if youth don’t grow up to be loving and generous

null / Devin Avery / Unsplash

Denver Newsroom, Aug 6, 2022 / 04:00 am (CNA).

Bishop Juan Carlos Elizalde of Vitoria, Spain, warned that some young people are “at risk” for self-centeredness because of the way they’re being raised and educated. 

“We’re creating monsters if, in loving our young people, we don’t succeed in getting them to love, help, and reciprocate generously,” the bishop said in his Aug. 4 address during solemn vespers in honor of the patroness of Vitoria, Our Lady of the Snows (the White Virgin), on the occasion marking the 200th anniversary of the city formally naming her as its patroness.

Elizalde stressed that taking that approach with youth means that we’re not “truly loving them.” Quite the contrary, “we will be depriving them of their roots.”

“We are doing something wrong when we’re not conveying hope, nor can we stop youth suicide, addictions, or violence,” the prelate emphasized.

In contrast, the bishop said that the festivities in honor of the city’s patroness “reinvigorate the desire to live” and consequently to stand up for “life from the moment of conception until its natural end,” as well as for “the men and women who in their adulthood bear the weight of society” and for the elderly “mistreated, isolated, and weakened by so much pandemic.”

Elizalde said that the contribution of the Church to the city of Vitoria is the “irrepressible joy” of feeling you are a child of God because “when contemplating the White Virgin, where are you? In her arms.”

That joy is also “tremendous strength in difficulties,” “profound consolation” when there is sorrow, “high spirits when there is meaning, a life project and a future,” and “serene peace charged with hope” when one’s own strength fails.

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

Unborn babies are tax exempt under Georgia’s heartbeat-based abortion law

The Georgia capitol in Atlanta. / Rob Wilson / Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Aug 5, 2022 / 19:00 pm (CNA).

An unborn baby is now recognized as a dependent who will qualify expectant parents for a $3,000 deduction in Georgia tax rules, under the same law which bans abortion based on a detectible fetal heartbeat.

Georgia’s Department of Revenue issued new guidance stating that “any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat” is eligible for Georgia’s individual income tax dependent exemption, National Public Radio reports. A heartbeat is detectable about six weeks into pregnancy, sometimes before women know they are pregnant.

A woman six weeks pregnant as of July 20 may list her unborn child on her tax returns next year, with relevant medical records or other supporting documentation. More specific instructions are expected later this year, the New York Times reports.

Georgia’s 2019 law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectible recognizes the unborn child as a “natural person.” The same law which allows expectant parents to claim their baby as a dependent also requires a father to pay child support for “direct medical and pregnancy-related expenses” for an unborn child.

In June the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which mandated legal abortion nationwide in 1973.

In light of that decision, a three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on July 20 ruled that Georgia’s abortion ban can become law.

Legal protections and benefits for the unborn child and expecting parents have drawn criticism from some abortion advocates, but there are also legal questions to be answered.

In a July 2020 ruling against the state law, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones questioned whether a pregnant woman with an eating disorder could be found guilty of child cruelty and whether health care providers required to report child abuse could be liable for failing to report a pregnant woman living with an abusive relationship partner, the Georgia Recorder reports.

Lauren Groh-Wargo, the campaign manager of Georgia’s strongly pro-abortion rights Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, questioned whether a woman who claims the tax deduction but later miscarries could be investigated for tax fraud and procuring an illegal abortion.

However, the Georgia law exempts miscarriages, stillbirths, and ectopic pregnancies from legal penalty.

The law allows abortions in cases of medical emergencies to prevent the death or physical impairment of the pregnant woman.

Though the law recognizes the unborn child as a person, it still allows abortion up to 20 weeks into pregnancy targeting unborn children allegedly conceived in rape or incest, if an official police report was filed.

Alabama and Arizona also have abortion laws that broadly define the unborn child as a person.

Another 40 states, including Texas and California, define the unborn child as a legal person in cases involving homicide, the New York Times reports.

Some states have passed pro-abortion laws explicitly stripping legal rights from an unborn child. A 2022 Colorado law, the Reproductive Health Equity Act, says that “a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of the state.”

Two-year-old lawsuit accusing Theodore McCarrick of repeatedly raping boy still pending in NJ

Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick arrives at Massachusetts' Dedham District Courthouse for his arraignment, Sept. 3, 2021. / Andrew Bukuras/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 5, 2022 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

One of the more graphic sexual abuse lawsuits against former cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick is still pending in New Jersey after the parties recently failed to settle the nearly two-year-old case, court filings show.

The civil lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark in September 2020, accuses McCarrick of raping and sexually assaulting an unnamed adolescent boy on more than 50 occasions from 1985 to 1990.

The lawsuit also names the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen as defendants, alleging that they failed to protect the boy from McCarrick while he led those New Jersey dioceses. All the defendants deny the claims against them.

The parties met with a private mediator June 23 but were unable to settle the case, court records show.

“At this juncture, the parties do not believe that another settlement conference will be productive,” the plaintiff’s lawyers, Mark Lefkowitz and Kevin Mulhearn, wrote in a July 21 letter to U.S. District Court Evelyn Padin.

The lawyers revealed in the letter that the Newark Archdiocese has produced 172,734 pages of documents requested by the plaintiff’s legal team, which is still reviewing the records.

Depositions of McCarrick and the plaintiff, who is now in his late thirties, have taken place, the letter said. Other individuals have yet to be deposed.

McCarrick, 92, was dismissed from the clerical state by Pope Francis in 2019 after a Vatican investigation found him guilty of sexually assaulting minors and adults.

Dozens of alleged assaults

The New Jersey lawsuit is one of several civil complaints still pending against McCarrick.

The disgraced prelate also faces criminal prosecution in district court in Dedham, Massachusetts, for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy in 1974.

In that case, McCarrick entered a not guilty plea in September 2021 to three counts of indecent assault and battery. Each charge carries up to five years in prison.

No trial date has been set in the criminal case. The next hearing date is Sept. 8, a spokesman for the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office told CNA Friday.

The New Jersey civil case involving the alleged rapes of an adolescent boy has received significant media attention due to the graphic nature of the allegations. The 108-page lawsuit also chronicles in detail McCarrick’s steady rise up the Catholic hierarchy, despite multiple warnings and complaints about his alleged predatory behavior toward minors, seminarians, and young priests.

According to the lawsuit, McCarrick was “deeply revered, respected, and highly trusted” by the plaintiff’s “extremely devout Catholic” parents and extended family.

“Plaintiff’s parents were thrilled that McCarrick, a high-ranking Catholic bishop whom they viewed as God’s emissary, had decided to single out their family (and their son) for special attention and could not even begin to imagine that McCarrick’s desires toward Plaintiff were sexual or predatory in nature,” the lawsuit states.

“They thus strongly encouraged Plaintiff to spend considerable time with McCarrick, as they viewed his actions toward Plaintiff as a blessed manifestation of God’s grace,” according to the complaint.

In 1985, while McCarrick was bishop of Metuchen, the then-12-year-old boy stayed overnight at the Metuchen rectory with his parents’ approval, the lawsuit states.

The next day, McCarrick took the boy to a beach house owned by the diocese in Sea Girt, New Jersey, where McCarrick sexually assaulted the boy for the first time, the lawsuit alleges.

Subsequent sexual assaults allegedly took place in a variety of other locations, including the rectory in Metuchen, a fishing cabin in the woods at the Eldred Preserve in the Catskills in New York State, and a hotel in Ireland, the lawsuit states.

The assaults continued when McCarrick became archbishop in Newark, the lawsuit states. In one incident alleged to have taken place at McCarrick’s private Newark residence, McCarrick brought another, unidentified priest to the apartment.

“This is my friend. He’s like us. We all do the same thing,” McCarrick allegedly told the then 13- or 14-year-old boy by way of introduction, according to the lawsuit. “I’m gonna leave now. And you two enjoy yourselves.”

The other priest then sexually assaulted and raped the boy, the lawsuit states. After the priest left, McCarrick raped the boy again, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges that McCarrick’s alleged predatory behavior was known within the dioceses and spoken of at high levels of the Catholic Church, yet nothing was done to stop him, in part “because McCarrick was an exceptional fundraiser for the Catholic Church, and was charismatic and viewed by many as a rising star in the Church.”

Lasting damage alleged

The plaintiff had been a straight A student prior to McCarrick's abuse, the lawsuit states.

"Upon suffering sexual abuse by McCarrick, however, Plaintiff’s grades slipped dramatically, as he was unable to concentrate, and his behavior at school worsened considerably," the complaint alleges.

"Plaintiff attended three separate high schools, as he was expelled from several high schools for excessive fighting and general bad behavior. He became a wild, unruly child, prone to bursts of anger and untamed aggression, and frequently got into fights with other children (particularly when other boys touched him, as he hated physical contact with other males)," the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff never attended college and instead joined the U.S. Coast Guard, requesting to be stationed in Alaska "to separate himself from McCarrick and his nightmarish experiences to the greatest extent possible," the lawsuit states.

Lawyers for McCarrick, the Archdiocese of Newark, and the Diocese of Metuchen could not be reached for comment Friday.



  




Little Sisters of the Poor to close Denver nursing home after 105 years

Little Sisters of the Poor. Courtesy of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. / null

Denver, Colo., Aug 5, 2022 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

After years of service to the elderly in the Archdiocese of Denver, the Little Sisters of the Poor announced this week their intention to withdraw from a nursing home they have operated for more than a century, citing the need to dedicate resources to other projects. 

The Mullen Home complex, located in Denver’s West Highland neighborhood, received its first residents in 1918 after the sisters moved in the year prior. The home includes private rooms for assisted living, apartments for the elderly, a library, and a chapel. It was expanded and renovated between 1975 and 1980. 

The order’s leader in Denver said the decision to close the home had come about following a “lengthy period of prayer, much consultation and much study.”

“As part of a strategic plan aimed at strengthening our ministry and the quality of our religious and community life, we Little Sisters have recognized the need to withdraw from a certain number of Homes in the United States, while at the same time dedicating our resources to much needed upgrades and reconstruction projects in others,” Mother Julie Horseman said in an emailed statement Aug. 3. 

“While it is always difficult for the Little Sisters to withdraw from any of our Homes, know that our immediate concern is for our Residents and Staff members. We will be working with all of them in the coming weeks and months, assisting with this difficult transition.”

According to the Archdiocese of Denver, the land on which the nursing home sits was given to the Little Sisters by John K. Mullen and his wife Catherine in 1917. Mullen was a Denver-based Irish-American entrepreneur and philanthropist who supported many Catholic causes in Denver and elsewhere.

The deed by which Mullen transferred the land to the religious order had a provision whereby the land and buildings would be transferred to the Archdiocese of Denver if the Little Sisters ceased operating the nursing home. The archdiocese is “studying its new purpose with prayerful consideration,” the Little Sisters said. 

“Their intention is to use it to further the mission of the Church and preserve our legacy in the Denver area,” Mother Horseman said. 

The Little Sisters of the Poor began in France in 1839, when the order’s founder, Saint Jeanne Jugan, offered her bed to an elderly woman who was blind and lying paralyzed in the cold. Today, the order serves in 30 countries, with 27 homes in the United States. Because the sisters care for the low-income elderly, they trust in God for financial support. Sources of income such as Medicaid and pensions from the residents generally only cover about half of their expenses, so they beg for the remainder. 

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver thanked the Little Sisters for their more than 100 years of ministry in the city, adding that the archdiocese is “still in the process of determining the next steps for the property.” 

“I want to offer my heartfelt and sincere gratitude for their work. Whenever I would visit Mullen Home as a priest and later as a bishop, I was always edified by their witness to the Catholic faith and their living out of the corporal works of mercy. Their compassionate care for the elderly provided a witness to Jesus Christ and his love for the poor and the sick,” Aquila said. 

The nearest Little Sisters-run nursing homes to Denver after the Mullen Home closes will be in Gallup, New Mexico and Kansas City, Missouri.