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U.S. Supreme Court shows some support to Trump's travel ban

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the last case before the U.S. Supreme Court this session, it seemed the majority of justices might uphold President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries.

Comments made during the hourlong oral arguments April 25 in Trump v. Hawaii emphasized national security reasons for Trump's action.

The challengers to the ban -- Hawaii, several individuals and a Muslim group -- have argued that Trump's policy was motivated by his antagonism toward Muslims and it violates federal immigration law and the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.

Trump's campaign pledges, including one where he called for a "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," were raised in court, but Solicitor General Noel Francisco said these comments should not influence the justices because they were made before Trump was president.

Francisco stressed that Trump's basis for the travel ban was a result of concerns about national security and not personal beliefs.

"No matter what standard you apply, this proclamation is constitutional," he added.

Justice Samuel Alito said the travel ban didn't look "like a Muslim ban" as some have labeled it, saying it "only applies to about 8 percent of the world's Muslims."

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked: "Where does the president get the authority to do more than Congress has already decided is adequate" in national security measures. Francisco's response, in short, was that the country's immigration laws provide the executive branch broad authority to decide who can enter the country.

Trump has said the travel ban is necessary to protect the United States from terrorism by Islamic militants. Its current version is indefinite and applies to travelers from five countries with predominantly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also blocks travelers from non-Muslim countries: North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

Trump's first travel ban, issued right after he took office, was blocked by several U.S. courts. A few months later, a second version of the ban was similarly blocked by several lower courts but the Supreme Court voted last December to allow the policy to take effect until it heard oral arguments about it.

Catholic Church leaders have expressed their objection to the travel ban.

An amicus brief filed March 30 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Legal Immigration Network said the ban singles out "populations of six overwhelmingly Muslim nations for sweeping immigration restrictions" that do not exist elsewhere in the world.

The brief said the president's order showed "blatant religious discrimination," which is "repugnant to the Catholic faith, core American values, and the United States Constitution." It also said the Supreme Court should relegate the order "to the dustbin of history, so it will do no further harm."

The Catholic groups noted that Trump's action poses a major threat to religious liberty and also fails the basic test of religious neutrality. If it stands, they said, it will prevent countless refugees from escaping persecution and starting a new life in this country with the help of church resettlement agencies.

Before, during and after the oral arguments, about 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Supreme Court on the rainy spring morning holding up signs saying: "Refugees Welcome" and "No Muslim Ban" The fairly small crowd should not belie the interest in this case, which received friend of the court briefs from Mormon history and legal scholars, a group of U.S art museums, and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who criticized Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Anticipating the interest in the case, the court announced in mid-April that it would make the audio of the oral argument available shortly after the court session was over instead of at the end of the week when audios are normally released.

A ruling in this case is expected in late June.

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Survivor hopes papal meeting will bring end to 'culture of abuse'

IMAGE: CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Chile said he hopes his meeting with Pope Francis will be an opportunity to make a difference and bring an end to a culture within the Catholic Church that disparages victims and makes them feel guilty for coming forward.

"I hope that it is not just about me. I hope I can convey the pain of thousands of people who are still suffering, and that this is the beginning of the end of this culture of abuse and this culture of cover-up among bishops," Juan Carlos Cruz said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service April 25.

In a statement released by the Vatican April 25, Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, said Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo will meet individually with Pope Francis and will stay at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where the pope lives. The pope's individual meetings with the men will take place April 27-29 and then he will meet them as a group April 30.

"The pope thanks them for accepting his invitation," Burke said. "During these days of personal and brotherly encounter, the pope wants to ask their forgiveness, share his pain and shame for what they have suffered and, above all, listen to all suggestions that can be made to avoid the repetition of such reprehensible acts."

The Chilean survivors have alleged that Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno -- then a priest -- had witnessed their abuse by his mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. In 2011, Father Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.

During his visit to Chile in January, the pope sparked controversy when he pledged his support for Bishop Barros and said: "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him. It is calumny."

He later apologized to the victims and admitted that his choice of words wounded many.

A short time later, the Vatican announced Pope Francis was sending Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and an aide, Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, to Chile to listen to people with information about Bishop Barros.

Not all of the 64 witnesses spoke about Father Karadima and Bishop Barros; several of them gave testimony about abuse alleged to have occurred at a Marist Brothers' school.

Burke said the pope called for prayers for the church in Chile and hoped the meetings would be "a crucial step to repair and forever avoid the abuses of conscience, power and especially sexual (abuse) in the heart of the church."

Cruz told CNS that there is still much to be done in the fight against clergy sexual abuse, because the attempts at reform have failed to address a pervasive culture that treats historical abuses as "something that happened that's already in recovery" when in reality it is "an open wound that keeps getting deeper."

"I think we need to attack the problem head-on, directly, and deal with that," he said.

While there are good people on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Cruz said it was "pretty shameful" that the commission has accomplished little in helping survivors.

Cruz said he intends to tell Pope Francis "all these things directly."

"He wants to hear the truth, he has an open heart and he's a good man and I'm excited in a good way to be able to speak about these things frankly and with respect with him," Cruz told CNS.

After receiving more than 2,300 pages of documentation from Archbishop Scicluna, Pope Francis acknowledged he had made "serious mistakes in the assessment and perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information."

In a letter to the bishops of Chile released by the Vatican April 11, Pope Francis asked "forgiveness of all those I have offended," and said he hoped to "be able to do it personally in the coming weeks."

The pope said he was convening a meeting in Rome with the Chilean bishops to discuss the findings of the investigations and his own conclusions "without prejudices nor preconceived ideas, with the single objective of making the truth shine in our lives."

Following the release of Pope Francis' letter, Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales, president of the bishops' conference and head of the military ordinariate, said the bishops of Chile would travel to the Vatican in the third week of May.

Regarding the pope's meeting with the Chilean bishops, Cruz told CNS he hopes Pope Francis will hold accountable bishops who covered up abuse, rather than punish them "with a cushy job in the Vatican." They should be replaced with good people because "the people in Chile have been pretty scandalized" by the behavior of several members of the church hierarchy.

"I hope too that this -- what's happening in Chile -- sends a (message) to the universal church that this behavior will not be tolerated anymore," Cruz said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Pope Francis’ Advice for College Students

Pope Francis has a reputation for saying surprising things. Remember when he found common ground between Christians and atheists? Then there was the time he…

The post Pope Francis’ Advice for College Students appeared first on Busted Halo.

Toronto cardinal calls for prayers after van kills at least 10

IMAGE: CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters

By

TORONTO (CNS) -- Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins called for special prayers after a van jumped a curb and killed at least 10 people on a busy Toronto street.

Although officials said the April 23 incident did not appear to be terrorism, they said it did appear to be deliberate. Cabinet members from leading industrialized nations were meeting in Toronto in preparation for a G-7 summit in Quebec in June.

"I invite the Catholic community across the Archdiocese of Toronto to join me in offering our prayers for all those who were killed and injured in the violent incident earlier today," the cardinal said in a statement. "I will be asking all 225 Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Toronto to offer special prayer intentions this week for all those who have suffered. Let us all unite in our efforts to bring comfort and care to those who are hurting today."

Authorities identified the driver as Alek Minassian, who was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder. The Associated Press reported witnesses said he appeared to intentionally jump a curb in the North York neighborhood as people filled the sidewalks on a warm afternoon. He continued for more than a mile, knocking out a fire hydrant and leaving bodies strewn in his wake.

Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of the Toronto-based Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, tweeted: "Death toll of today's horrific accident is now at 10 with many more in critical condition. Tonight we celebrated Mass for all who have died. Such senseless, horrible killing of many innocent people who were outside enjoying our first taste of spring. God bless Toronto tonight."

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Raise a cone: Rome's poor celebrate pope's name day with gelato

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

ROME (CNS) -- Cones raised in the air, the crowd gathered for dinner at the Sant'Egidio Community's soup kitchen toasted Pope Francis on his name day, the feast of St. George.

The gelato was offered by the pope, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as part of his name day celebration April 23. He provided 3,000 servings of ice cream -- mostly vanilla cones with chocolate and nuts on top, but also a few pistachio cones and a couple strawberry ones -- to soup kitchens and homeless shelters around Rome.

"It's not like gelato is the only thing he gives away," said Ruggiero, who passed on the cones because, he said, at his age -- 70-something -- "I'm watching my physique."

"Everything this pope does he does for the poor," Ruggiero told Catholic News Service. "And then there's his smile."

Alberto, roughly the same age, was seated next to Ruggiero for the dinner, which began with a course of gnocchi, then moved on to the main course of veal and potatoes and would normally have finished with fruit. Oranges were the day's offering.

"It's a very charming gesture," said Alberto as he unwrapped his cone at the kitchen in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood.

The two men, along with five other friends, had begun their evening in the tiny Church of San Calisto, where they join in singing evening prayer and prayers for peace twice a month. Then they walk to the soup kitchen nearby for dinner.

One of the seven gentlemen wrote their names in big letters on the paper place mats to save their seats. But there is always room for one more. And they take turns filling each other's water glasses, passing out the food and collecting the dirty plates before the next course.

Across the room, Antonino Siragusa was eating, but also helping to serve. He said he has met the pope "six times. He's a good person, very lively. He smiles and will meet anyone."

Before the meal began, he admitted he had not known it was the pope's name day, but he was glad to hear it.

"I love sweets," he said. "This is great!"

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Italy grants citizenship to Alfie Evans in attempt to guarantee his care

IMAGE: CNS/Vatican Media

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Italian government granted citizenship to Alfie Evans, a seriously ill British toddler, in a last-minute effort to prevent doctors in England from withdrawing life-support.

The Italian foreign ministry, in a brief note April 23, said Angelino Alfano, the foreign minister, and Marco Minniti, the interior minister, "granted Italian citizenship to little Alfie."

"The Italian government hopes that being an Italian citizen would allow the immediate transfer of the baby to Italy," the foreign ministry said.

The baby's parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, lost their latest legal battle April 23 to prevent doctors from removing Alfie's life-support when the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.

Doctors in the U.K. have not been able to make a definitive diagnosis of the 23-month-old child's degenerative neurological condition, but they have said keeping him on life-support would be "futile."

A high court judge backed a lower court's ruling that the hospital can go against the wishes of the family and withdraw life-support.

Tom Evans flew to Rome and met Pope Francis April 18, begging the pope to help get his son "asylum" in Italy. The Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome has offered to care for Alfie. Three specialists from Bambino Gesu had flown to Liverpool and examined Alfie. According to the president of Bambino Gesu, "a positive outcome would be difficult, but the baby's suffering can be alleviated."

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Pope calls for end to 'needless bloodshed' in Nicaragua

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jorge Cabrera, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called for an end to violence in Nicaragua after several days of protests against proposed social security legislation led to the deaths of more than two dozen people.

"I express my closeness in prayer to that country and I am united with the bishops in asking that every form of violence end, that a pointless shedding of blood be avoided and that open issues be resolved peacefully and with a sense of responsibility," the pope said April 22 after praying the "Regina Coeli" prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The pope said he was "very worried about what is happening these days in Nicaragua," where citizens took to the streets beginning April 18 after the government announced changes to the nation's social security system.

The proposed overhaul, which would have increased pension contributions while reducing benefits by 5 percent, was scrapped by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega April 22.

Ortega has been heavily criticized for his handling of the crisis, which led to the deaths of 25 people. But despite criticism of the overhaul coming from business leaders, university students and elderly pensioners, the president publicly blamed right-wing groups for the inciting violence.

Outrage spread after a local journalist, Angel Gahona, was shot and killed while broadcasting the protest on Facebook Live. A police officer was also shot in the head during deadly clashes in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua.

Nicaragua's Catholic bishops called for peaceful demonstrations and sheltered protesters in the cathedral of Managua.

Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Jose Baez of Managua has been outspoken in his support of student protesters who have been targeted. In an April 22 tweet, he urged the president to engage in constructive dialogue.

"President Daniel Ortega, abandon your arrogant attitude, listen to the people, embrace dialogue with sincerity, feel the pain of so many families and contribute to peace in the country," he tweeted.

Bishop Baez also tweeted that he was calling on military and police forces to end the repression against protesters and "to listen to God's voice in their hearts: 'Thou shall not kill!"

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

A Beginner’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration

My first experience with Eucharistic Adoration occurred in sixth grade at my Catholic elementary school when my homeroom teacher took my entire class to the…

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration appeared first on Busted Halo.

Great Caesar's ghost! Superman turns 80

IMAGE: CNS photo/DC Comics

By Mark Judge

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Look! Up in the sky! It's Superman! And he's 80!

The year 2018 marks eight decades since the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics No. 1. It also sees the arrival of issue 1,000 of the "Action" series. DC Comics is celebrating these milestones with a special expanded edition of Action Comics as well as a book, "80 Years of Superman: The Deluxe Edition."

Action Comics No. 1,000 costs $7.99, while the book is priced at $30. Both are suitable for readers of all ages.

Action Comics No. 1,000 is a series of short comics stories by popular DC writers such as Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns, Tom King and Peter J. Tomasi. The art is provided by Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Patrick Gleason and superstar Jim Lee, among others.

The stories in both volumes celebrate Superman and his commitment to fighting evil, telling the truth and being a good friend and husband (he and Lois Lane were married in 1996). Not for nothing is he called "the big blue boy scout," although in the modern world of dodgy politicians and celebrities, Superman seems deeply countercultural.

His basic history is well known: Superman was created in 1933 by writer Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) and artist Joe Shuster (1914-1992). The two had become friends while attending high school together in Cleveland.

Jerry Siegel's daughter, Laura Siegel Larson, penned the forward to "80 Years of Superman." She notes that her father and Shuster sold the character to DC Comics for a mere $130 -- a fact that eventually led some of Superman's fans to charge the publisher with taking advantage of the young duo. In 1976, DC gave Siegel and Shuster a pension and a "created by" credit for all time.

Based on his non-Earthly origin and propensity both for saving people and urging them to repent and think of others, Superman has often been considered a Christ figure. One of the best stories in Action No. 1,000 reflects this similarity.

It's the 1930s, and Superman stops a crook in his car, then hangs him from a telephone pole before letting him go. Visiting the man later, Superman offers not only judgment, but mercy.

"You've had your fair share of knocks," Superman says. "And you can keep knocking the world back like you've done. Or you can make a decision today. Be that person who wasn't there for you for someone else." Touchingly, the man does just that.

"80 Years of Superman: The Deluxe Edition" offers short essays about the Man of Tomorrow by writers and journalists as well as reprints of classic stories. Editor Paul Levitz includes tales ranging from 1938's Action Comics No. 1 and the first appearance of Supergirl (No. 252) to Clark Kent revealing to Lois that he is also Superman (No. 662). In No. 309, Superman gets to meet President John Kennedy.

"80 Years" also features a never-published story, "Too Many Heroes," written by fan favorite Marv Wolfman.

Journalist Larry Tye observes that, over the years, "Superman has evolved more than the fruit fly." In the 1930s, the Man of Steel was a crime fighter. In the '40s, he was a patriot combating Nazi aggression. In the '50s, he took on communist spies. And at the end of the Cold War, he tried to eliminate nuclear stockpiles.

Today, Superman might be focusing on his day job as a journalist. That's been hinted at by Brian Michael Bendis, the star comic book writer who decamped from Marvel this year to take over the Superman franchise at DC.

Along the same lines, in "80 Years of Superman," David Hajdu, author of the comic book history "The Ten-Cent Plague," smartly considers how Superman and his alter ego, Daily Planet reporter Kent, complement each other.

"In his role as a godly endowed hero among humans, Superman has always been much more concerned with the dispensing of justice than the revealing of truth," Hajdu writes. "He hunts and catches villains, crooks and evildoers of all kinds -- earthy, alien, extra-dimensional or inexplicable -- and enforces a resolutely held super code of right and wrong."

However, Clark Kent's mission as a reporter is "to serve the truth." Superman's creators "made clear that they saw both sides of their cleverly dualistic character as companionably heroic," Hajdu notes. Moreover, "Clark's work as a journalist often drove the narratives."

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Judge reviews comic books and video games for Catholic News Service.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Virtual Earth Day Retreat

Looking for a way to celebrate >Earth Day this year? Try Busted Halo’s Virtual Earth Day Retreat and spend some time reflecting on the spiritual meaning of creation in our lives. Download the retreat (if you print it -- print on both sides of the paper!) by clicking the image below. Take a few minutes out of your day -- at your desk, on your lunch break, between classes -- and grow an even deeper appreciation for all God’s creation. Happy Earth Day!

The post Virtual Earth Day Retreat appeared first on Busted Halo.