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Senate committee splits on Becerra confirmation

March 3, 2021 CNA Daily News 1

Washington D.C., Mar 3, 2021 / 06:00 pm (CNA).- The Senate Finance Committee was divided on the confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services on Wednesday.

In voting to favorably recommend the confirmation of Becerra to the … […]

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Mexico’s bishops hope politicians would be enlightened by Our Lady

March 2, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 2, 2021 / 02:33 pm (CNA).- In a statement Tuesday responding to media inquiries about US president Joe Biden’s stated devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bishops of Mexico expressed hope that public office holders would be enlightened by her.

“As the Mexican Bishops’ Conference we are proud that the Virgin of Guadalupe is so loved and appreciated everywhere, beyond the bounds of languages, cultures, and traditions. We wish that all those who hold public office allow themselves to be enlightened by Our Mother in their way of living and serving so that they know how to promote the highest values that give life to peoples, such as health and peace, justice, truth, solidarity, care for the earth, defense of the poor, and promotion of the marginalized,” the bishops said in a March 2 press note.

They said their statement was “in response to inquiries from the media about what was expressed by the President of the United States Joe Biden about his devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe.”

Biden had cited Our Lady of Guadalupe and displayed his rosary in a conversation with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador March 1.

Biden, who is Catholic, claimed a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe from his previous travels to Mexico as vice president.

“During my visits, I got to know Mexico a little bit and its people, and paid my respects to the Virgin of Guadalupe. As a matter of fact, I still have my rosary beads that my son was wearing when he passed,” Biden said, according to a White House transcript of the event.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness, not only of the Americas, but of unborn children.

Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and the U.S. bishops’ conference has noted the unique circumstance of having a Catholic president who is not inconsistent with Church teaching on topics such as immigration and fighting poverty, yet contradicts Church teaching on abortion, marriage, religious freedom, and gender ideology.

Biden has supported taxpayer-funded abortion and has pledged to sign the Equality Act, legislation the USCCB has warned would codify gender ideology in law and would “punish” objecting religious groups.

In a Jan. 20 statement for Biden’s inauguration, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles offered prayers for the new president and emphasized his own role as bishop in forming consciences, rather than in being a partisan.

Biden, warned the USCCB president, “has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”

Abortion, said Gomez, “remains the ‘preeminent priority’” of the conference, as it “is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family.”

Although Biden’s staff have referred to him as a “devout Catholic,” the USCCB’s pro-life chair has said they should stop using that term due to his support for abortion.

“The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, in an interview with Catholic World Report published on Feb. 13.

Archbishop Naumann noted that “we bishops have the responsibility to correct him” for using the term. He added that Biden “is usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people” by calling himself a “devout Catholic” while opposing the Church’s teaching on life.


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Supreme Court will hear case on federal funding of pro-abortion groups

February 22, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Feb 22, 2021 / 10:00 am (CNA).- The Supreme Court will consider a case involving federal funding of domestic pro-abortion groups.


The court on Monday morning granted petition to review a case about the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule. The Baltimore mayor and city council challenged the rule, supported by a number of states and pro-abortion groups.


According to SCOTUSBlog, the case will be argued in the fall of 2021.


The 2019 rule of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prohibited grant recipients in the federal Title X family planning program from referring for abortions, or being co-located with abortion facilities. The rule was meant to implement the program’s original stated purpose that funds would not be used for abortion as a method of family planning.


Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, withdrew from the program rather than comply with the rule, forfeiting an estimated $60 million in annual Title X funding.


In September, the Fourth Circuit court ruled 8-6 against the rule, in the case of Cochran v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. The majority ruled that HHS “failed to recognize and address the ethical concerns of literally every major medical organization in the country” by implementing the rule.


In a separate challenge to the Protect Life Rule, the Ninth Circuit court upheld the rule in Feb., 2020.


In November, a group of pro-life obstetricians and gynecologists and a Christian medical association had asked the Supreme Court to take up the case. The group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed the amicus brief on their behalf.


“The Supreme Court has already recognized that the federal government has the authority to prevent Title X funds from being used for abortion,” stated John Bursch, senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy for ADF.


The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, which claims 4,000 OB-GYN members and associates, and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, which claims 20,000 members and 329 chapters in the United States, had petitioned the court to take the case.


The court, Bursch said, needs to “make clear that any administration, including future ones, can enforce a rule like this one if it so chooses, and that the courts can’t interfere with that.”


On Jan. 28, President Biden took the first step toward repealing the Protect Life Rule by instructing HHS to review the rule “and any other regulations governing the Title X program that impose undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds or women’s access to complete medical information.”


A COVID relief bill under consideration in Congress would increase funding for Title X by $50 million. Some House Republicans have warned that the funding increase, coupled with the Biden administration eventually repealing the Protect Life Rule, would benefit abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.


According to the group’s latest annual report, it performed nearly 355,000 abortions in the 2020 fiscal year and received more than $618 million in government funding—both figures representing an increase from the year before.