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Rector of Redemptoris Mater seminary in Argentina dies of Covid

January 6, 2021 CNA Daily News 1

Corrientes, Argentina, Jan 6, 2021 / 04:27 pm (CNA).- Fr. James Flores Álvarez, rector of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in the Archdiocese of Corrientes, died Tuesday of COVID-19.

The Peruvian priest had arrived in Corrientes in early 2018, several months after the seminary opened in the archdiocese in northern Argentina.

Fr. Flores was diagnosed with COVID in late December and was responding well to treatment in the local field hospital, but died suddenly Jan. 5.

“It is with deep sadness that we report the Easter of Father James Adam Flores Álvarez. He left today for the Father’s house, after several days of hospitalization in the Field Hospital”, Archbishop Andres Stanovnik of Corrientes said during the funeral Mass Jan. 6.

“We thank God for having sent you among us, even for a short time. Now we say goodbye to you and we hope that you meet in Heaven with your father and mother and so many brothers who accompanied you in your priestly life.”

“May the blessed Mother of the Redeemer take you by the hand so that you confidently cross to the new life” the archbishop concluded.


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Argentine boy saved from stray bullet by crucifix

January 4, 2021 CNA Daily News 1

San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, Jan 4, 2021 / 03:46 pm (CNA).- Several hours before the beginning of 2021, a 9-year-old Argentine boy was saved from a stray bullet by a small metal crucifix on his chest, an event that local media have called “a New Year’s Miracle.”

According to a report from the police office of San Miguel de Tucumán, capital of the northwestern province of Tucumán, “the event took place around 10:00 pm on December 31 2020: a 9-year-old boy named Tiziano, from the neighborhood of Las Talitas, checked in with his father into the ER of the Baby Jesus Hospital in the southern part of the capital city with a superficial wound in the thorax, produced by a firearm.”

“After being checked thoroughly by several doctors on staff for 48 minutes, the boy was released,” the report says.

Tiziano’s family contacted José Romero Silva, a journalist from Telefé, Jan. 1 to explain how the boy’s life was saved: the bullet hit in the middle of the small metal crucifix that the boy received as a gift from his father. Tiziano’s aunt sent Silva a picture of how the bullet damaged the crucifix, which prevented the bullet from causing any real damage, except for a minor superficial wound.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”es” dir=”ltr”>[MILAGRO DE AÑO NUEVO] Anoche minutos antes de la 00 una bala perdida le pegó en el pecho a un Niño en Las Talitas. Pero el impacto fue en un crucifijo que el menor llevaba puesto, lo que salvó su vida. El Cristo quedó intacto y el Niño con una herida por el roce<a href=””>@telefetucuman</a> <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; José Romero Silva (@Josecitors) <a href=””>January 2, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Silva shared the picture in his Twitter account, writing: “New Year’s Miracle: yesterday, minutes before 00 hours a stray bullet hit the chest of a boy from Las Talitas. But it hit in a crucifix the minor was wearing.”


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Planned Parenthood’s international arm boasts financing efforts to legalize abortion in Argentina

December 31, 2020 CNA Daily News 0

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec 31, 2020 / 12:56 pm (CNA).- In a post published on Wednesday, December 30, just hours after abortion was legalized by the Argentinian Senate, one of the international branches of Planned Parenthood, the International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPFWHR), boasted about having financed a large operation in the South American country to push to legalize abortion.

The celebratory post on the IPPFWHR website contradicts the claims of Argentinian President Alberto Fernández, who presented the abortion law and who repeatedly rebuffed pro-life concerns that the law was in fact being pushed by international organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the Ford Foundation rather than the will of the Argentinian people.

According to a November 2020 survey carried by independent pollster Giacobbe & Asociados, 60% of Argentinians opposed the law, while only 26.7% were in favor.

“Argentina’s Senate just voted to legalize abortion up to 14 weeks! This is a historic moment for our region, our incredible partners in Argentina, and the countless activists and organizers who formed ‘the green wave’,” the IPPFWHR posted.

The post also revealed that the IPPFWHR “has nurtured an ecosystem of feminist organizations and activists for more than 15 years that contributed to make today possible.”

“IPPFWHR directly supports seven partners in Argentina, who in turn sub-grant funds to 20 other grassroots organizations from around the country. They have been coalescing around shared activities, such as advocating with policymakers and ensuring communication campaigns in favor of so called abortion rights featured prominently in the public discourse. They’re also actively planning how to best support the implementation of the new law.”


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Brazilian President Bolsonaro criticizes Argentina’s legalization of abortion

December 31, 2020 CNA Daily News 1

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 12:49 pm (CNA).- In a short message published on his Twitter account, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized the decision of the Argentinian Senate to legalize abortion and vowed that abortion will never become legal in Brazil – the largest Latin American country – under his presidency.

“I deeply lament for the lives of Argentinian children, now subject to being cut in their mothers’ wombs with the consent of the State. As far as it depends on me and my government, abortion will never be approved on our land. We will always fight to protect the lives of the innocent!,” tweeted Bolsonaro.

– Lamento profundamente pelas vidas das crianças argentinas, agora sujeitas a serem ceifadas no ventre de suas mães com anuência do Estado. No que depender de mim e do meu governo, o aborto jamais será aprovado em nosso solo. Lutaremos sempre para proteger a vida dos inocentes!

— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) December 30, 2020

A new abortion law was approved by the Argentinian Senate on Wednesday, December 30. The new law, in practice, will allow abortions at any time until birth and has no provisions for protecting the baby if he or she survives a late-term abortion.


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After Abortion is legalized in Argentina, Catholic Bishops decry chasm between politicians and the people  

December 30, 2020 CNA Daily News 2

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec 30, 2020 / 09:38 am (CNA).- After the Senate in Argentina legalized abortion in the early hours of Wednesday, December 30, the Argentinean Bishops Conference released a statement accusing the country’s political leadership of being far away from the sentiment of the people and vowed to continue working “with firmness and passion in the care and service of life”.

The long-debated bill to legalize abortion presented by President Alberto Fernandez to fulfill a campaign promise was finally approved in the Senate with 38 votes in favor, 29 against, 1 abstention, and 4 absences after 12 hours of debate. The bill was previously cleared by the House.

According to a November 2020 survey carried by independent pollster Giacobbe & Asociados, 60% of Argentinians opposed the law, while only 26.7% were in favor. But the law, one of the most permissive in the world and with no parallel in the region, was strongly supported by the media, TV personalities, and influencers.

“This law that has been voted will further deepen the divisions in our country”, said the Bishops’ statement. “We deeply regret the remoteness of the leadership from the people’s feelings, which has been expressed in various ways in favor of life throughout our country.” Argentina saw indeed the largest pro-life peaceful marches in its history, but were mostly ignored by the local press.

“We are certain that our people will always continue to choose all life and all lives. And together with our people we will continue working for the authentic priorities that require urgent attention in our country.”  

The Bishops also said that while focusing on legalizing abortion, the government has failed “the boys and girls living in poverty in an increasingly alarming number, the many school dropouts, the pressing pandemic of hunger and unemployment that affects many families, as well as the dramatic situation of those retired, which in these hours see their rights violated once again.”

Finally, the statement expressed gratitude to “all the citizens and legislators who defended the care for all life.”


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Militants desecrate church in Argentine Patagonia

November 9, 2020 CNA Daily News 1

CNA Staff, Nov 9, 2020 / 08:04 pm (CNA).- A group of militants charged into a Catholic church in Argentina on Friday, beat the priest, desecrated the Eucharist, and vandalized the interior of the church. Five were eventually apprehended.

The attack took place at Our Lady of Luján Parish, located in the town of El Bolsón in Argentina’s Patagonia region near the Chilean border.

The militants were Mapuche activists. The Mapuche are an indigenous people inhabiting present day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of Patagonia. Militants have resorted in recent years to violence over land disputes, particularly targeting Catholic churches.

The vandals beat the parish pastor, Franciscan friar Fr. Ricardo Cittadini, briefly took another Franciscan hostage, broke sacred images, and overturned pews.


Un ciudadano envió a @aciprensa un video en el que se aprecia como quedó una parroquia en la Patagonia argentina tras el violento ataque y profanación por parte de vándalos mapuches

— David Ramos (@YoDash) November 7, 2020


A video sent by a local Catholic to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, shows the damage inflicted to the Church.

The video shows statues of saints and a crucifix destroyed, pews broken, and the church’s tabernacle opened, with a chalice and ciborium thrown to the ground.

According to the AICA news agency, two women entered the church after asking to use the restroom. They subsequently opened the door for several more militants, who surprised and attacked the priest and another member of the community.

Before fleeing, the militants hung an Argentine flag stained with red paint in one of the windows.

AICA reported that the attack was related to an eviction ruling that orderedMapuche group Winkul Lafken Mapu from land they had occupied in the town of Villa Mascardi, located about 20 miles southwest of Bariloche.

The land is owned by the Diocese of San Isidro. Execution of an eviction order had been postponed at request of the diocese, until security measures could be put in place for those being evicted and for police charged with carrying out the order.

The Diocese of Bariloche issued a statement lamenting desecration of the church, and expressing solidarity with “our Franciscan brothers and with the community of faithful Catholics” of the Our Lady of Luján parish.

“Violence of any kind, whether about the (land) claims or in the responses to them, is never, nor will it ever be, a solution, but rather aggravates existing conflicts. The first victim of violence is peace and harmony between people,” said Bishop Juan José Chaparro of Bariloche, in a statement after the attack.

“While understanding the respect that some members of the Mapuche people ask for, the Church, however, also demands respect and consideration for a sacred place for Catholics, such as a church, especially taking into account that the bishop has listened and dialogued on an ongoing basis with all those who have come to him.”

The diocese stressed that  “the national government must assume – without delay – its proper responsibility for solving the conflicts that have arisen from the claims of the native peoples (such as the Mapuches), which have come up in many places in the national territory, not just in Patagonia.”

In doing this, “legitimate rights, differentiating them from those that may not be, must be recognized in the corresponding cases; the legal mechanisms immediately set in motion so those legitimate rights can be effectively exercised.”

“It is the longstanding reluctance of the national government to fulfill this responsibility” that is the main reason “the conflicts are growing and intensifying every day,” the statement said.

“Out of our faith we implore God our Father, to inspire in us all, sentiments of justice and peace.”


A version of this report was first published by ACI-Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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Diocesan commission backs Argentina bishop over seminary closing

November 4, 2020 CNA Daily News 2

CNA Staff, Nov 4, 2020 / 08:00 pm (CNA).- Amid tension and protests in one Argentine city over the Vatican-ordered closure of a diocesan seminary, some Catholics have expressed their support for the decision to close the seminary, and for their diocesan bishop.

“We stand with you, bishop, as an instrument of the Divine will, and by the Ministry you have been invested in, and in sacred obedience, we assure you of our prayers to the Blessed Virgin so that she may strengthen you and that you may continue in the fidelity that God has asked of you,” said a Nov. 1 statement from the social and pastoral ministry commission of the Argentine Diocese of San Rafael.

The statement came after protestors demonstrated last week in front of the diocesan offices and cathedral of the San Rafael diocese, urging a reversal of a decision from the Vatican to close the Mary Mother of God Seminary in the diocese, which was announced in July.

The seminary is well regarded in the diocese, largely because of the large number of diocesan priests who have been trained there. But the Congregation for Clergy ordered the seminary closed this summer, because, according to the diocese’s Bishop Eduardo Taussig, the seminary has had seven rectors in 15 years.

In October, Taussig visited Rome to address the Vatican-ordered closure, and when he returned to the diocese told Catholics the matter was not up for further discussion. Protestors in recent weeks have called for the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of the seminary before its closure.

The seminary has been the flashpoint of conflict in the diocese over a June directive from Taussig, in line with other dioceses in the region, that Holy Communion was to be received only in the hand, and not on the tongue, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In San Rafael, where Communion is customarily received on the tongue by many Catholics, that order was met with resistance, and many priests of the diocese refused to comply. The seminary has been perceived by some to be behind the priests’ reluctance to require Communion in the hand, the bishop has said.

This refusal to comply had caused “serious scandal inside and outside the seminary and diocese,” said Taussig.

Taussig said that reception of the Eucharist in the hand or on the tongue are both equally accepted by the Church.

Speaking to TVA El Nevado on July 27, Fr. José Antonio Álvarez, spokesman for the Diocese of San Rafael, said that “due to the undisciplined reaction of a good part of the clergy of the diocese at this time, this diocese does not have the possibility of putting together a formation team in conformity with the discipline of the Church.”

On Aug. 20, Taussig announced that he would impose canonical sanctions on priests who persisted in disobedience by giving Communion on the tongue and not in the hand.

Some in the diocese, including parents of seminarians, say they have written to Pope Francis to urge that the seminary be permitted to remain open. The social and pastoral ministry commission has criticized the protestors, urging support for Taussig and trust in the Vatican’s decision.

A version of this report was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.