1. Archbishop’s immunity in groping probe lifted.

By Associated Press, The Washington Post, July 8, 2019, Pg. A12

The Vatican said Monday that it will lift the diplomatic immunity of its ambassador to France, who is accused of groping and inappropriate touching by multiple men.

The announcement followed the French Foreign Ministry’s statement earlier in the day that it had “received confirmation from the Holy See of a waiver of immunity” so Archbishop Luigi Ventura could be properly investigated over allegations of sexual aggression. 


2. U.S. bishops at odds over Amazon synod’s married priest proposal.

By Christopher White, Crux, July 9, 2019

While the upcoming Vatican meeting of bishops from the Amazon is focused on pastoral needs for that particular region, two U.S. bishops have weighed in on one of its central proposals – offering starkly different takes.

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas and Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee have taken to Twitter in recent days to comment on the Pan-Amazonian Synod’s working document, which raises the option of ordaining married men in order to provide greater access to the sacraments, particularly in the remote areas of the region.

While both U.S. prelates are considered to be theologically conservative, their responses reflect a wider divide over the issue, which is likely to be one of the most divisive issues debated when the Synod convenes in October.

In a series of Tweets over two days, Stika defended the proposal of allowing married priests, noting that he assented to the authority and wisdom of the pope on the matter.


3. Views on clergy vary by age, education, religious identity.

The Associated Press, July 8, 2019

Americans’ age, education level and religious affiliation matter greatly when it comes to their opinions on a prospective clergy member’s sexual orientation, gender, marital status or views on social issues such as same-sex marriage or abortion, a new poll shows.

The survey released Monday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that among all Americans who identify with a specific religion, about 8 in 10 say their faith should allow women and divorced people to be clergy members and just over half say the same about gay men.

At least three-quarters of evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics think a woman should be able to become a clergy member in their respective faiths.

Majorities across religious groups think someone who is divorced should be able to be ordained. Catholics, however, are slightly less likely than Protestants to find it acceptable.


4. Supreme Court to Decide if Montana Can Bar Religious Schools From Tax-Credit Program.

By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, July 8, 2019

Last month, he U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up a case that could make religious schools more accessible for low-income students participating in state aid programs.

At issue is a restriction from the Montana Department of Revenue barring religious schools from the state’s 2015 tax credit scholarship program.

The Montana Constitution has a Blaine Amendment, which bars public dollars from going to a religious organization either directly or indirectly. The state’s Blaine Amendment was cited by the Montana Supreme Court in its 5-2 decision last year to invalidate the scholarship program.

The scholarship program, created by the Montana Legislature, gives a modest $150 tax credit to individuals and groups who make donations to scholarship organizations. Those donations fund scholarships for low-income families to send their children to private schools of their choice.

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, a legal adviser for The Catholic Association, told the Register that the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Montana case “is an opportune chance for the court to invalidate state Blaine Amendments once and for all.”

“Montana law that forbids tax credits going to schools owned or operated by a ‘church, sect or denomination’ — Montana’s version of the anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment — should not strip parents of choice in education,” she said. “Much like the playground grant at issue in the Trinity Lutheran case, Montana’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program should be open to all.”


5. Thousands of Irish pro-lifers rally in Dublin, say abortion law must go.

Catholic News Agency, July 8, 2019, 4:51 PM

An estimated 10,000 Irish pro-life advocates attended the first major pro-life rally and march in Ireland since the country implemented permissive abortion legislation, with speakers emphasizing their determination to continue working to restore legal protections for unborn children.

The July 6 march began at Dublin’s Parnell Square and ended at the Customs House, where the All-Ireland Rally for Life took place.

“The theme of the Rally was a call to ‘Stand For Life,’ because no vote, no piece of legislation, no referendum can ever make abortion right,” the rally organizing committee said July 6. “We were delighted to see people of all ages and all walks of life respond to that call.”

The event was organized by Life Institute, Precious Life and Youth Defence with the support of over 30 local pro-life groups.


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