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Diocese of Pittsburgh announces its third round of parish mergers

November 30, 2020 CNA Daily News 2

CNA Staff, Nov 30, 2020 / 06:08 pm (CNA).- The Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced that it will initiate its third round of parish mergers early next year, reducing its current 107 parishes to 81.

The mergers will take effect January 4, creating 14 groupings of parishes from 40 current parishes. The merger is the most recent step in the diocese’s “On Mission for The Church Alive” initiative.

“This is a pivotal time for our diocese as we plan for the future of the Church of Pittsburgh,” Bishop David Zubik said in a Nov. 28 statement.

“Southwestern Pennsylvania is radically different than it was 100, 50, 20, even 10 years ago, yet the work of the Church and our call from God to bring His love to everyone continues as strong as ever,” the bishop said.

“As we address the challenges we face in the Church today, the witness of working and growing together reflects the unity of the Body of Christ that is essential to our mission.”

Among others, the new parishes will include Mary, Queen of Peace, which brings together the parishes of Saint Mary of the Mount and Prince of Peace; and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which brings together the parishes of Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Joseph, and Saint Margaret Mary.

Each merger is taking place following consultation with parishioners, and a request by the priest-administrator of each grouping, which was approved by the diocesan Priest Council and Vicars General.

The merger is the latest step in the “On Mission for The Church Alive” initiative, which is reorganizing what began as 188 parishes into what ultimately will be fewer than 60 parish groupings.

The diocese’s strategic planning initiative began in 2015 in part as a response to declining Mass attendance, the financial struggles of some parishes, and fewer priests.

The situation was exacerbated by the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report, which detailed sexual abuse allegations in six of Pennsylvania’s eight Latin-rite dioceses, including Pittsburgh. CBS Pittsburgh reported earlier this year that since the report’s release, Mass attendance had dropped 9% and offertory donations declined 11%.

In a letter to parishioners, Zubik stressed that the mergers, while difficult, are necessary to strengthen the local Church’s ministries and make them more effective for the future.

“This has not been a simple task. Jesus never promised that it would be easy to carry his message of love and mercy to others. He was clear that sacrifice would be necessary,” the bishop said.

“However, you are positioning your new parish for more effective ministry by addressing financial needs, sharing resources and allowing your clergy to focus on the spiritual work for which they were ordained,” he continued. “With your faith in Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, I invite you to warmly welcome and serve each other as you become one parish family.”


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Demonstrations against abortion bill held in Argentina

November 30, 2020 CNA Daily News 1

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov 30, 2020 / 05:19 pm (CNA).- Demonstrations were held Saturday throughout Argentina in opposition to a bill that would legalize elective abortion, introduced by President Alberto Fernández earlier this month.

According to organizers, the demonstrations against the bill took place in more than 500 cities Nov. 28.

With messages such as “Legal or illegal abortion kills the just same,” “We are not afraid to defend the truth,” and “There are more of us who defend life, we are the blue majority,” Argentines demonstrated for the protection of the unborn. Blue refers to the light blue neckerchiefs adopted by the prolife movement as the symbol of their cause; abortion advocates have chosen green as their color.

A vote on the bill could be taken as soon as Dec. 10 in the Chamber of Deputies, where it is being fast tracked.

Existing Argentine law allows abortion in cases when the mother’s life or health is in danger, or in cases of rape.

One of the participants of the Buenos Aires march was lawmaker Victoria Morales Gorleri. A few days ago, she received a letter from Pope Francis responding to a letter sent by two women from one of the poor neighborhoods in the capital, Villa 31, who were concerned about the abortion bill pushed by Fernández.

“Francis wrote me a letter, addressed to women, where he says that it’s not right to hire a hit man to solve a problem,” Morales said in a video posted by march organizers.

“We have to solve the problem by fighting poverty and creating jobs. There are other ways to go about this, not the elimination of a life … It’s a failure for a nation to legalize the death of a human being.”

“If we legalize deciding on human life to solve a problem, then we will have a very sad end of the year because we’re becoming a people that is moving more and more away from the ethics linked to the human being,” Morales said.

Agustín Laje said in a video posted by march organizers that “life is not only a right but a fundamental right, without which no other right makes sense.”

What every person “needs, first of all, is the right to life in order to exercise any other right. It’s even a question of logic,” he stressed. Laje also warned that “dismissing human rights begins by dismissing the right to life.”

Camila Duro of the Argentine Pro-Life Unity organization explained to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, that the demonstrations took place because the Fernández administration “wants to fast track the legalization of  abortion, turning its back on the majority of the Argentine people, and so we want to express our disgust with that move.”

Dr. María José Mancino, president of Doctors for Life Argentina, told ACI Prensa that contrary to what those who support the government’s anti-life law say, “abortion is not a health problem or a priority problem in Argentina. There are many other problems that are not being considered.”

“The Senate already defeated an abortion bill in 2018 in Argentina and the people have taken to the streets now to say that we don’t want abortion. The country does not need to be divided in such a fraught political and economic climate. “

A bill to legalize abortion through the first 14 weeks of gestation narrowly passed the Chamber of Deputies in 2018, but was rejected by the Senate.

Mancino stressed the need to “defend the values, tradition and the family in the country.
Abortion is an issue that divides us all. Those whom they want to kill with this law are future Argentines, compatriots, citizens of our country.”

Raúl Magnasco from Más Vida Argentina told ACI Prensa that “we are going through very difficult times in our country and it’s important that we commit ourselves to the defense of life.”

Magnasco noted that “what citizens are calling for is to respect the will of the people in face of a government that promotes the abortion agenda according to the interests or requirements of the International Monetary Fund, calling them rights or sexual and reproductive health.”

In an email to ACI Prensa, former congresswoman Cynthia Hotton said that by this abortion bill “the national government intends to put [the issue] on the agenda to divide society and distract. The president is hiding the failure of the public health system, poverty and the economy behind this initiative.”

“People are fed up with the lies and the political manipulation of everything: from the pandemic and the land seizures, to the farewell given to Diego Maradona. The outcome is always the same: following the incompetency, the people are the ones who suffer the most. With abortion, the same thing happens. People are tired of the green neckerchief as the panacea to all the problems of women and of society.”

“While the budget is wasted on radical feminists and abortion supporters in all ministries, poverty, insecurity and violence continue to grow; the healthcare system continues to collapse; underpaid doctors are still overwhelmed; pregnant women and unborn babies continue to die in the poorest provinces but also in the city of Buenos Aires,” Hotton lamented.

“The green neckerchief seems to be for Alberto Fernández the only flag left standing,” she stressed.

The abortion bill, entitled “Regulation of access to voluntary interruption of pregnancy and post-abortion care,” was drawn up by the ministries of Health and Women, Gender and Diversity in coordination with the Legal and Technical Secretariat of the Presidency.

Along with that bill, Fernández also introduced the “Comprehensive health and care during pregnancy and early childhood,” which was drafted by the Social Development department.

Discussion of both bills will begin in parallel in online sessions starting next week.

So far, two days have been allocated for between 30 and 60 presenters from the scientific, health, ethical-religious and judicial areas, each having seven minutes.

The apparent goal is to discuss the bills in December so that once voted on in the full session of the Chamber of Deputies, and if passed, they would be sent to the Senate for debate.


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March for Life gears up for pandemic conditions

November 30, 2020 CNA Daily News 1

CNA Staff, Nov 30, 2020 / 03:05 pm (CNA).- With the annual March for Life scheduled to occur in January, how different might it look from previous years due to the ongoing pandemic?

The 48th annual March for Life is scheduled to take place on Jan. 29,… […]