BY RHINA GUIDOS
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON (CNS) - A second icon of Mary holding Jesus has been stolen from outside a chapel at The Catholic University of America fol- lowing complaints that the image of Christ resembled George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020. No one has been arrested for the theft, but the university said au- thorities are investigating the crime, which some also view as a sacrilege - a violation of a sacred object. In a Dec. 20 letter to the university community, the institution's presi- dent John Garvey said the wall out- side the law school chapel, where the icon was located, will remain empty while a replacement, a different art- work, is mulled over. The second icon replaced a larger one stolen in late November. It had sparked a substantial number of emails and phone calls telling the university that the image was "blas- phemous because they saw it as dei- fying or canonizing George Floyd," Garvey wrote in a Nov. 24 letter to the school's community. But the school had always seen the figure as Jesus, Garvey wrote. In a Dec. 20 letter, Garvey said that the different interpretations of the artwork "created needless contro- versy and confusion, for which I am sorry," adding that "there are many examples of artwork that reflect the cultural richness and diversity of the Catholic Church, and that do so without creating confusion for faith- ful Catholics. We will keep that aim in mind as we consider a replace- ment." The icon, depicting a dark-skinned Mary holding a dark-skinned Jesus, had been at the entrance of the Mary Mirror of Justice Chapel at the uni- versity's Columbus School of Law since February. Just before Thanks- giving some groups began calling at- tention to it on social media, spark- ing petitions to have it removed. Some comments that we received were thoughtful and reasonable. Some were offensive and racist. Much of the criticism came from people unconnected to the university," Gar- vey wrote in the November letter.
Illinois bishop decries end of parental notice
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CNS) - Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield decried a new Illinois law that repeals the state's Parental Notice of Abortion Act. By signing the repeal into law Dec. 17, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritz- ker's action "marks a dark and disgraceful moment in the history of the state of Illinois, the bishop said in a statement issued the same day. Effective Jan. 1, 2024, it repeals a 1995 law that required parents be notified of their minor daughter's abortion 48 hours before the procedure took place. The law did not require parental consent, as many other state laws do. The notification law did not actually take effect until 2013 because of various court challenges. That year the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the law was constitutional. The repeal measure, H.B. 370, was deceptively titled Illinois Youth Health and Safety Act," Bishop Paprocki said. "Those legislators who promoted and voted in support of this legislation, and the governor who signed this unjust law, have granted a five-part victory to evil in our state," he said.
Bishop Kicanas to undergo heart surgery
TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) - In an online message to Catholics of the Tucson Diocese, retired Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas announced he has to undergo open heart surgery "on or near" Jan. 7 "barring a COVID spike. Recently I learned that I had some serious issues with my heart. Quite a surprise!" he wrote in the message, posted Dec. 20 on the website of the Tucson Diocese's online news outlet, New Outlook. "It is estimated that the surgery will take about six hours followed by some five to seven days in the hospital and a six-week recovery at home," the 80-year-old prelate said. "I have confidence in my doctors and their prognosis."
Contention over Catholic University icon grows after it's stolen again
Groups urge court to block vaccine mandate
DECEMBER 31, 2021 THE CATHOLIC FREE PRESS
ACROSS THE NATION 3
BY CAROL ZIMMERMANN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON (CNS) - The U.S. Supreme Court said late Dec. 22 that it will hear the legal challenges to the Biden administration's vac- cine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees and health care facilities. The court scheduled oral argu- ments for Jan. 7. Until then, the court said, it will postpone any consideration of requests that it stay these mandates. Business organizations, asso- ciations, religious groups and 27 states had called on the high court to stop the administration from mandating a coronavirus vaccine or, in lieu of a vaccine, COVID-19 testing for large employers. Their objections came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, based in Cincinnati, rein- stated the vaccine mandate for em- ployers Dec. 17. Groups and states against the mandate filed appeals to Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose jurisdic- tion covers Ohio. Kavanaugh can ask the Supreme Court to consider these requests. The three religious groups that filed a joint 179-page brief request- ing a stay on the mandate are: American Family Association, a Christian activist organization; Answers in Genesis, a Christian apologetics ministry; and Daystar Television Network, an evangelical Christian network. The groups said the mandate vio- lated their First Amendment rights because it did not provide religious exemptions or accommodations. They also said it went against their sacred rights of belief and con- science." After the court scheduled oral ar- guments Jan. 7 in challenges to the administration's vaccine mandates, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement: "We are confident in the legal authority for both policies" and the Justice De- partment "will vigorously defend both at the Supreme Court."
Archdiocese sues public school district
LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Archdiocese of Los An- geles is suing the Los Angeles Unified School District over millions of dollars in federal funds that the public school district is legally required to share with Catho- lic and other private schools for assisting low-income, academically struggling students with reading, math and counseling. Attorneys for the archdiocese filed the lawsuit in the Superior Court of California Dec. 16, nearly six months after the California Department of Education issued a 58-page "investigation report" that said the school district had committed "egregious" ac- tions in withholding Title I federal funds from scores of Catholic schools. The state gave the Los Angeles Unified School District 60 days to begin "timely and meaningful consultation" with the archdiocese and to rectify any errors in calculating student need. The law- suit said the school district has taken no such action.
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Retired Auxiliary Bishop Sheltz dies at age 75
HOUSTON (CNS) - Retired Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz of Galveston-Houston died Dec. 21. No cause of death was given. The bishop, who was 75, was a native Houstonian and ministered in his home diocese for his entire priesthood of more than 50 years. Funeral arrangements for Bishop Sheltz are pending. "There is real sadness for us at the death of Bishop Sheltz," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. "He was such a kind and generous man, a faithful priest. Whenever I asked him to do anything, he always said yes' and did so cheerfully. He was a great model of a diocesan priest, conscientious. He mirrored Christ very much." As a priest of the Archdiocese of Galveston- Houston, Bishop Sheltz served at six parishes: Assump- tion, Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, St. Vincent de Paul, Christ the Redeemer and Prince of Peace Church, all in Houston; and St. Anthony of Padua Church in The Woodlands near Houston. He served as dean of the San Jacinto Deanery and episcopal vicar of the archdio- cese's northern vicariate while he was a parish priest.
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BY MARK PATTISON
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON (CNS) - The global North is getting not only vaccinated but receiving booster shots as well to protect against the coronavirus. Meanwhile, in poorer nations, only 6% have gotten as much as a first shot. If COVID-19 and its emerging variants are to be stopped, poor nations need not only the capacity to manufacture vaccines, but the technology behind those vaccines that have been proven successful at stem- ming COVID-19's spread. We would need billions of vaccines available," said Mary Beth Powers, president and CEO of the New York- based Catholic Medical Mis- sion Board, which provides long-term medical and de- velopment aid to communi- ties affected by poverty and unequal access to health- care, focusing on women and children's health. Production in the North is increasing, so we should have supplies that are near sufficient," she added, "but that was before we started factoring in the boosters." Powers, in a Dec. 22 phone interview with Cath- olic News Service, said: "We should think of the COVID vaccine as a public good - not a private need," just as with previous vaccines for measles, diphtheria, polio and pertussis. "We should have had a better plan ... or an idea of how to transfer the technology" once vac- cines were approved for use. At a COVID-19 summit in September of this year, ac- cording to Powers, partici- pants set a goal of having 70% of the world's popula- tion vaccinated by next September. However, "we're nowhere near" that goal, she said. "We're maybe at 6% of emerging markets of low- and middle-income countries. We're way be- hind where we need to be." Governments of wealth- ier nations have been able to buy millions of doses for their citizens. But the bill from the drug companies is "out of the price range of other countries, and they've had a much slower start getting people vacci- nated," Powers said.
Drug companies urged to share vaccine tech
PHOTO COURTESY OF KATHY AND PETER DUNBECK
Angels in the lead at St. Luke's
WESTBOROUGH - Youngsters from St. Luke the Evangelist Parish held a Nativity Pageant during which the Angels led all characters into the church. Making up the choir of angels were Alina Stone, Abigail Pursel, Thalia Maksian, Lillian Maksian, and Hanna Ciamla.
In flyover, Kentucky bishop blesses his people
OWENSBORO, Ky. (CNS) - Owensboro Bishop Wil- liam F. Medley wanted to bless his people who had been in the path of the tornadoes that struck west- ern Kentucky during the night of Dec. 10, and with the help of a local pastor, some Knights of Columbus and an airplane, he did just that. On Dec. 21, the bishop flew over the southern regions of the Dio- cese of Owensboro with a monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament, blessing all below who had been impacted by the tornadoes. A week before, the bishop had driven 400 miles to visit the affected locations, including Resurrection Parish in Dawson Springs, St. Joseph Parish in Mayfield, the Princeton area and the Bowling Green area.
CNS PHOTO ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLICPrevious Page