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Unbelievable:

From the AP:

Authorities are investigating whether a Catholic charity violated state and federal law by helping a 16-year-old illegal immigrant who was in the organization’s care get an abortion.

Workers with Commonwealth Catholic Charities helped the girl travel to and from the procedure in January and signed a consent form for the abortion, Joanne Nattrass, the charity’s executive director, said in a statement Thursday. She declined further comment.

Four of the Richmond-based charity’s workers were fired, according to a letter by David Siegel, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ refugee resettlement program.

The federal department is looking into the charity’s actions and the role played by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The conference receives $7.6 million a year in federal funds to place unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in foster care until they’re reunited with relatives, sponsored, or returned to their homeland. The girl is from Guatemala but was living in Virginia when the abortion took place.

Federal law bans the use of federal money to pay for abortions with exceptions for rape, incest or threats to the life of the mother. Virginia law requires parental consent for an abortion for a girl under 18.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities serves children in the Richmond area as a subcontractor of the bishop’s conference. The conference “appears to have been aware of Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ actions,” Siegel wrote in his April 23 letter to HHS’ deputy inspector general, Timothy Menke.

In a letter nearly a week later, the conference acknowledged some responsibility for the incident and said it has revised agreements with the more than 1,700 Catholic Charities offices nationwide to explicitly bar services that contradict Catholic teachings. Catholics are strongly opposed to abortion, and it isn’t clear why the organization assisted the teen.

“There were significant supervisory errors that resulted in a failure to do everything possible to avoid the abortion,” said the letter, signed by Bishops Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Richmond diocese; John C. Wester of the Salt Lake City diocese; and Michael P. Driscoll of the Boise, Idaho diocese. All have some link to the youth resettlement program.

Federal officials were surprised and disappointed that the Catholic charity used funding to help a minor get an abortion, said Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the Administration for Children and Families in HHS.

“That is at odds with federal policy and is a possible violation of Virginia state law, so we have referred this case to HHS’ inspector general,” Wolfe said in a statement. “Our agency is one that supports human life and we take that responsibility seriously.”

wac

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paul-scofield-cp-4544634.jpgThe man who will be best remembered for his portrayal of St. Thomas More in the film version of A Man for All Seasons died of leukemia yesterday.

R.I.P.

WAC

As of right now (3:42pm on Palm Sunday) it would appear that someone has hacked and uploaded insulting images onto the American website of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem:

UPDATE: AmericanPapist has a post on the hack, with the following screen shot:

2339291438_db2b0bf7c5.jpg

UPDATE: Looks like the Order has fixed the hack.

WAC

priestfight.jpg
Physical Confrontation at the sites made holy by the Prince of Peace are nothing new. The major churches in the Holy Land are under split jurisdiction among the Apostolic churches, and a slight violation of protocol can spark a fistfight among their robed ecclesiastical guardians.

This story, however, has made international news. Supposedly some Armenian monk got in the way of a Greek monk during a cleanup at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. All Hell broke loose:

Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.

But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.

For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event.

A dozen unarmed Palestinian policemen were sent to try to separate the priests, but two of them were also injured in the unholy melee.

“As usual the cleaning of the church afer Christmas is a cause of problems,” Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh told AFP, adding that he has offered to help ease tensions.

“For the two years that I have been here everything went more or less calmly,” he said. “It’s all finished now.”

The Church of the Nativity, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City, is shared by various branches of Christianity, each of which controls and jealously guards a part of the holy site.

The Church of the Nativity is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born in a stable more than 2,000 years ago after Mary and Joseph were turned away by an inn.

WAC

A couple of people were in the working sacristy behind my 1st Acolyte’s position last Sunday during Solemn mass at St. Mary’s snapping away with a camera. I was wondering what the hubbub was about. Today, via an email from the celebrant, I found out:

latinmass2.jpgAttached is the cover photo from this week’s US NEWS and WORLD REPORT
They came and took pictures at a recent Latin Mass I celebrated and said
it might
be on the cover. I didn’t really think it would be the cover, but there
it is.

CP

Rev. Msgr. Charles Pope
Pastor, Holy Comforter – St. Cyprian Church

The TLM (and the one I serve, no less!) makes the cover of a major newsweekly.

Friends, things are changing for the better.

WAC

In honor of the anniversary of the apparition at Lourdes, Pope Benedict XVI has declared a plenary indulgence under the following conditions:

A) If between December 8, 2007 and December 8, 2008 they visit, preferably in the order suggested: (1) the parish baptistery used for the Baptism of Bernadette, (2) the Soubirous family home, known as the ‘cachot,’ (3) the Grotto of Massabielle, (4) the chapel of the hospice where Bernadette received First Communion, and on each occasion they pause for an appropriate length of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, … and the jubilee prayer or other Marian invocation.

B) “If between February 2, 2008 … and February 11, 2008, Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes and 150th anniversary of the apparition, they visit, in any church, grotto or decorous place, the blessed image of that same Virgin of Lourdes, solemnly exposed for public veneration, and before the image participate in a pious exercise of Marian devotion, or at least pause for an appropriate space of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, … and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Further details at CWN.

WAC

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