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U.S. bishops disappointed by Supreme Court's climate regulation ruling

Kodda / Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 14:45 pm (CNA).

The U.S. bishops said Friday they are disappointed by a Supreme Court ruling which limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

“The Catholic bishops of the United States have long-supported the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in order to address climate change,” read a July 1 statement from Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chair of the U.S. bishops’ domestic justice committee.

“We are, therefore, disappointed today that following the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act the EPA will have significantly restricted authority to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants.”

In its 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA on June 30, the court ruled that the Clean Air Act does not explicitly give the EPA wide-ranging power to regulate the entire energy industry.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. 

The EPA’s regulations, he said, were an example of “agencies asserting highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted.”

Coakley wrote that “both reasonable regulation and legislation are critical for addressing the threat and challenges of climate change. We call upon Congress to give the EPA the necessary authority to meaningfully regulate greenhouse gases.”

He quoted a 2018 memo from the U.S. bishops’ office of general counsel to the administrator of the EPA urging that the agency has “both the statutory authority and responsibility to take regulatory action… It is hard to foresee a scenario, under current economic and technological conditions, in which the EPA faithfully carries out its mandate to protect the public health from greenhouse gases without significantly affecting political and economic realities.”

Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on care for our common home, covered a wide range of topics in relation to the environment – from climate change, species extinction, and resource depletion, to waste, economic structures, and global inequality.

The encyclical praised St. Francis of Assisi for living out an "integral ecology" with joy and authenticity.

NY AG asks Google to remove pregnancy centers from ‘abortion’ search results

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks to the media on May 26, 2022, in New York City. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 12:58 pm (CNA).

New York’s attorney general office sent Google a letter Tuesday requesting that the company remove pro-life pregnancy centers from search results for abortion services.

“A search through Google Maps seeking ‘abortion’ and a location will provide a local listing of both those health care providers who offer abortion services and organizations that do not provide abortion care,” wrote Darsana Srinivasan, chief of the health care bureau in the attorney general's office.

Nearly 3,000 U.S. pregnancy centers provide “​​essential medical, education and support services” to millions every year at little to no cost, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the research arm of SBA Pro-Life America. Thousands of licensed medical workers serve these centers, according to CLI.

But in her letter, Srinivasan maintained that crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are not health care providers and will not help women with abortion.

“CPCs exist solely to intercept and dissuade pregnant people from making fully informed decisions about their healthcare such as the choice to obtain an abortion,” she claimed. “Including these organizations in a list for an individual seeking abortion services is dangerous and misleading.” 

Abortion activists have targeted many of these centers in anticipation of and following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

Srinivasan complained that a Google Maps search for “abortion Binghamton, NY” lists pregnancy centers such as Life Choices Center and Women’s Life Services “along with legitimate health care providers who offer abortion and abortion counseling.” 

She concluded: “With the expectation that New York will be seeing an increasing number of pregnant people from out of state seeking abortion services in our state—often traveling here at great financial cost and inconvenience — it is imperative that pregnant people are receiving accurate information.”

New York’s Democratic attorney general, Letitia James, added to the letter in a Wednesday release.

“New Yorkers, and others traveling to the state, should trust that Google Maps will provide accurate information and direct them to real and safe care,” she said. “My office will do whatever is necessary to work with Google to make these changes and ensure that people can locate the reproductive health care facilities that they need.”

Google, Life Choices Center, and Women’s Life Services did not respond to requests for comment by time of publication.

Nashville pregnancy center attacked, FBI joins investigation

null / Carl Ballou / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 12:30 pm (CNA).

The FBI and Metropolitan Nashville Police are investigating an attempted arson of a pro-life pregnancy center in Nashville, Tennessee, that was attacked and had the words “Janes Revenge” written on the side at around 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning. 

Nashville Police said that Midtown Hills Precinct officers discovered a smashed window with “an unignited Molotov cocktail-type device” inside the building when they arrived at the scene at Hope Clinic for Women around 1:40 a.m. The device is being analyzed in a lab, police said.

Police said the attack on the center is the first vandalism in Nashville related to the June 24 U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Police said they are working with the clinic to heighten security measures.

Kailey Cornett, executive director and CEO of Hope Clinic for Women, told CNA Friday that the window has been replaced and the graffiti cleaned off. 

“We’re all back in shape,” she said. 

Cornett said her team is resilient and very grateful for an influx of prayers and support after the news of the vandalism. 

“We are here to do what we’re called to do and that's to serve women,” she said. “We were able to rally around each other and support each other yesterday but I think that we're ready to get back to providing care today."

The incident is part of a surge of attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and Catholic churches reported since the court’s decision returned abortion regulation to the states. CNA is tracking the incidents using the interactive map below.

The FBI said in June that it is investigating the series of attacks and threats against pro-life pregnancy centers and faith-based organizations across the nation.

Graffiti spelling out “Jane's Revenge” is commonly used in these vandalism incidents. It remains unclear if Jane’s Revenge is an organized group or merely a slogan. 

FBI probe could help prosecute Louisiana priests accused of inter-state sex abuse

St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. / travelview/Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, Jul 1, 2022 / 12:04 pm (CNA).

Federal authorities are investigating alleged sex abuse of minors by New Orleans-area Catholic clergy, sometimes going back decades, on the grounds that the accused men could have violated a federal anti-sex trafficking law by crossing state lines. The investigation could provide another means for abuse victims to make their case against their abusers, and possibly file sex abuse lawsuits against Catholic dioceses and other organizations.

The FBI is probing whether accused priests can be prosecuted under various charges including the Mann Act, which bars taking anyone across state lines for illicit sex. Though some criminal claims may date back to the 1970s, the Mann Act has no statute of limitations. The Louisiana State Police is aiding the inquiry.

Federal prosecutors have used the Mann Act to help convict Ghislaine Maxwell, a leading figure in the Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse ring, and music star R. Kelly. In 2013, a Baptist pastor was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for taking a 16-year-old girl across state lines for illicit purposes.

Federal authorities have interviewed more than a dozen alleged victims this year, the Associated Press reports. Some of the victims allege they were abused by a New Orleans-based priest on trips to Mississippi camps or Texas and Florida amusement parks. 

A former altar boy told the AP his abuse began in the 1970s when his accuser allegedly sexually abused him on trips to Colorado and Florida. 

The probe also involves allegations against former New Orleans priest Lawrence Hecker, now 90. Hecker was removed from ministry in 2002 after alleged abuse ranging in nature from fondling to rape. He allegedly abused children decades ago on out-of-state trips. He was dismissed from the clerical state in 2018. 

Richard Trahant, an attorney for Hecker’s alleged victims, in a court filing alleged that the records under the confidentiality order will reveal that the last four archbishops of New Orleans knew Hecker was a serial sexual abuser of children. 

The archdiocese list, however, said it first received an allegation against Hecker in 1996. Though attorneys have claimed that Archbishop Philip Hannan was aware of Hecker’s abuse, Hannan left office in 1988, NOLA.com reported in 2020.

The federal probe could pave the way for further revelations and further lawsuits against the New Orleans archdiocese.

In May 2020, the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced that it was filing for bankruptcy. Survivors who filed claims against the archdiocese in bankruptcy courts by the March 1, 2021 deadline would not be able to sue in state courts. The archdiocese faced about 400 sex abuse claims in bankruptcy court and these were a major motive for the bankruptcy effort. 

Victims could still sue their alleged abusers who operated in religious orders or lay ministries, the New Orleans Advocate reported.

Bankruptcy proceedings have sealed Church documents that were produced by lawsuits with a confidentiality order. Critics say the records document years of abuse claims, interviews with clergy accused of abuse, and a pattern of Church leaders reassigning accused clergy without reporting their alleged crimes to law enforcement.

The archdiocese in 2018 published a list naming 57 “credibly accused” clergy. Six more names were later added to the list. An Associated Press analysis faulted the initial list, arguing that it undercounted by at least 20.

Peter G. Strasser, a former U.S. attorney in New Orleans, declined to bring charges. He told the Associated Press he had “naively” thought federal charges could be possible but faced many obstacles, including the complexities of “putting the church on trial” for conspiracy and other charges.

“The issue has always been determining what is the federal crime,” he said.

Revelations of the extent of clergy sex abuse began in 2002, causing much scandal and pain but also efforts to strengthen support for victims, child protection programs, abuse reporting methods, and disciplinary action against abusive clergy and their superiors.

The U.S. bishops’ annual report on Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, released in November 2021, said there were fewer than 24 new allegations of recent abuse by clergy.

However, over 4,200 new allegations of historic abuse were reported in the report’s one-year coverage period. 

Statistical graphs of the dates of reported abuse incidents continue to show that the numbers of alleged clergy abuse incidents peaked in the 1970s. Lawsuits from historic abuse have cost the Catholic Church in the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars.

In 2021, the Louisiana legislature passed a law creating a three-year “lookback” window for survivors of child sex abuse to file lawsuits against their alleged abuser, even when the statute of limitations would normally impede such lawsuits.

At the time, the victim’s 28th birthday was the deadline for child sex abuse lawsuits

The archdiocese told CNA in October 2020 that it had been seeking to dismiss from the clerical state priests who had been removed from ministry over accusations of child sex abuse, in the wake of the 2018 report. Under canon law, dioceses are obligated to provide for the needs of priests removed from ministry, such as for housing and health care. They are not obliged to provide for the needs of priests who have been dismissed from the clerical state.

Attacks on churches, pro-life pregnancy centers continue 

Grafitti on a sign for All Saints Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon, June 25, 2022. / All Saints Catholic Church

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 30, 2022 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision on Friday, attacks on Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers have been reported in West Virginia, Washington, Virginia, Louisiana, Colorado, California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Indiana. 

Below are the latest recorded attacks since the decision.

St. Patrick Catholic Church in Philadelphia was defaced with pro-abortion spray paint June 25.

Father Hyacinth Cordell, O.P., pastor of the church, told CNA that the graffiti, which said "Abort the church," was on a corner on the outside of the church. It is cleaned off, he said.

Vandalism at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Philadelphia, June 25, 2022. Fr. Hyacinth Cordell, OP
Vandalism at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Philadelphia, June 25, 2022. Fr. Hyacinth Cordell, OP

A pro-life sign at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Hutchinson, Kansas, about 50 miles northwest of Wichita, was vandalized over the weekend.

The sign which shows a mother holding a baby says “Vote Yes August 2nd” and “ValueThemBoth.com” below. The sign is encouraging people to vote yes on an amendment to the state constitution that would allow regulations on abortion. 

Matt Vainer, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Wichita, said that the perpetrator was followed by a witness who called the police. The perpetrator was arrested, he said. 

The pastor of St. Teresa of Avila, Fr. Aaron Spexarth, placed the sign underneath a crucifix in the church, as he believed it was most appropriate to place it at Christ’s feet, Vainer confirmed to CNA.

All Saints Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon had its sign defaced with pro-abortion graffiti June 25.

A photo of the vandalism shows the words “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you! -XOXO Jane.” The FBI is investigating, Barbara Custer, a parish secretary at the church, told CNA.

A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic in Yuba City, California was vandalized June 27.

The clinic had one of its windows smashed by what seems to be one perpetrator according to video footage, the clinic’s executive director Kristen Bird told CNA. 

Video shows the perpetrator throwing three rocks at the window until it broke. Repairs will cost anywhere between $700 and $900. The FBI is investigating, Bird said. 

A window was smashed with a rock at A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic in Yuba City, California, June 27, 2022. A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic
A window was smashed with a rock at A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic in Yuba City, California, June 27, 2022. A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic

The mobile clinic of Options Health, a pregnancy center in Concord, California, was vandalized June 25, Blayne Wittig, the clinic’s Executive Director told CNA.

The Pregnancy Resource Center of Salt Lake City was vandalized June 24, within hours of the release of the Dobbs decision.

A receptionist at the clinic told CNA June 30 that a sign was taped to the front door that read “If abortions aren’t safe neither are you,” and on the backside, “Women are fragile, not like a flower, but more like a bomb.”

Stickers were left on the building, one of which that said “Jesus loves abortion” with a heart shape replacing the word “love.” Stickers were placed around that one which said “abortion forever” and “abortion is healthcare.”

Catholic Charities San Antonio aiding survivors and their families after Texas migrant deaths

Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities San Antonio, aids a migrant following the death of dozens of people abandoned in a truck. / Tara Ford

Denver Newsroom, Jun 30, 2022 / 17:11 pm (CNA).

Following the discovery of the bodies of more than 50 migrants who died in an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, the local Catholic Charities organization is offering support to the 12 surviving migrants and their families. 

Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities San Antonio, told CNA that they are requesting prayers as they offer shelter and basic necessities to the families of the deceased and surviving migrants. Many of the survivors remain hospitalized and “their health is very weak,” Fernandez said. 

The June 27 incident is thought to be the largest en masse death of migrants from the southern border in modern history, but the manner of their deaths is not without precedent. In 2017, San Antonio was the site of a similar incident in which 10 migrants died in a tractor trailer baking in a hot Wal-Mart parking lot. 

“We deal with immigrants every day, thousands of people every week. This is the fourth truck incident where people have lost their lives,” Fernandez lamented.

The migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer baking in extreme heat in San Antonio, Texas on the evening of June 27. The official death toll has risen to 53, NPR reported, and the dead include 22 Mexicans, 7 Guatemalans, and 2 Hondurans, with the others not yet having been publicly identified.

Fernandez said Catholic Charities has been in touch with the consulates in the countries of origin of the deceased migrants, and hopes to be able to pay for travel expenses for the surviving migrants and for their families. 

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio, and Auxiliary Bishops Michael Boulette and Gary Janak will preside at a memorial Mass for the migrants June 30, the archdiocese told CNA, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of San Fernando. The liturgy will include a procession from the cathedral’s Main Plaza, a special cross, and candles and flags representing the countries of the deceased as well as the survivors, spokesman Jordan McMorrough said. 

According to experts cited by NPR, it is likely that the people who were in the trailer had crossed the border on foot, before gathering in Laredo to be loaded into a truck. The truck driver as well as three other people involved in smuggling the migrants are reportedly detained. 

Rebecca Solloa, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Laredo, told CNA that the border crossing at Laredo sees the most traffic when other nearby border crossings are overcrowded. She said the migrant shelter that they operate in Laredo has seen increases in the number of migrants needing assistance in the past week, up from around 50 to now as many as 150 a day. 

Solloa said they provide basic necessities to prepare the migrants for travel to their families in other areas of the U.S. interior. Migrants will stay usually between 8-24 hours at their shelter, and the most of the migrants they are serving currently are from Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Venezuela. 

She said their biggest priorities currently are ensuring they have enough food and clothing to give to the migrants, as well as having enough water to provide for them in the sweltering heat. 

Solloa, too, urged prayers for the deceased migrants, many of whom likely had families depending on them in their home countries. She said in her view, the incident is indicative that Title 42 — which during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many migrants being turned away — has caused desperation among migrants, leading them to attempt riskier crossings. 

Although Title 42 remains in place, the Supreme Court ruled June 30 that the Biden administration can end the Trump-era policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols or “Remain in Mexico” policy, which since its 2019 implementation has required asylum seekers to wait in dangerous conditions in Mexico as their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) had filed an amicus curiae brief in Biden v. Texas, supporting the administration’s decision to terminate the program. Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on migration, welcomed the ruling in a statement Thursday. 

“Today’s decision recognizes and preserves the executive branch’s ability to reverse untenable, illegal, and immoral policies, regardless of who is in office. The implementation of [Migrant Protection Protocols] has obstructed due process and subjected people to the very dangers that forced them to seek refuge in the United States in the first place. With this ruling, we welcome the end of MPP,” Dorsonville wrote. 

 

“Ours is both a nation of laws and a beacon of hope for many throughout the world. This should inspire us to work toward just and humane responses to forced migration, not embrace failed policies of the past. As Pope Francis has warned, we cannot limit ourselves to building ‘walls of fear’ and supporting ‘vetoes dictated by nationalist interests’ if we are to achieve meaningful progress in addressing these challenges.”

 

“While this ruling helps pave the way forward, it does not resolve the ongoing challenges at our country’s southwest border. We remain committed to supporting immigration policies that produce more sustainable solutions, respect the God-given dignity of migrants, and better reflect Christ’s call to welcome the stranger.”

California abortion amendment deserves 'vigorous opposition', bishops say

The California capitol. / Willem van Bergen (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Denver Newsroom, Jun 30, 2022 / 16:47 pm (CNA).

California voters will have the opportunity to approve or reject a strongly pro-abortion amendment to the state constitution in November. The state’s Catholic bishops said the proposal gives a “boundless scope” to ending the lives of the unborn when human lives should instead be protected “at every age in every stage.”

The proposed amendment “looks to enshrine the most extreme forms of abortion into the California Constitution,” the California Catholic Conference warned in a statement signed by the 12 archbishops and bishops leading the state’s 12 dioceses and archdiocese.

“This constitutional amendment, as written, will legalize and protect abortion up to the point just prior to delivery,” the conference said. “It is distressing that so many California legislators would sign their names to legislation that allows the taking of a human life moments before birth.”

The State Assembly voted for the legislation, known as Senate Constitutional Amendment 10, on June 27 by a margin of 58-16. The Senate passed the amendment bill on June 20 by a 29-7 vote. It does not need the governor’s approval. Voters may approve or reject the amendment on the Nov. 8 state ballot.

The proposed amendment reads: “The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.”

The California Catholic Conference was strongly critical.

“We believe in protecting life at every age in every stage,” the bishops’ statement said. “We are extremely troubled by the language in Senate Constitutional Amendment 10, which is so broad and unrestrictive that it would encourage and protect even late-term abortions, which most Californians oppose. We also fear the boundless scope of this proposed amendment, which asserts a new constitutional right to ‘reproductive freedom’ but does not define what that means.”

The Catholic conference said it “vehemently opposes” the amendment. It will be “actively engaged” in opposing the ballot initiative and in “asking the state’s 12 million Catholics to work to raise awareness and vigorous opposition in our dioceses, parishes, and communities.”

Though abortion is a procedure that ends a human life, Roe v. Wade and related Supreme Court precedents required states to legalize abortion. The Dobbs v. Women’s Health decision of 2022 overturned these decisions, allowing individual states to regulate or ban abortion.

California leaders, including Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, have sought to make California a “sanctuary state” for legal abortion. 

The proposed California amendment would modify Article I of the California Constitution. Article I presently contains more than 30 sections dealing with individual rights, often restating or implementing freedoms found in the U.S. Constitution

The proposal was introduced after the leak of a draft Supreme Court decision in May.

California Senate President pro tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon were among the joint co-authors of the bill, which was sponsored by abortion provider Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, among others.

“Abortion is health care, and should be a private discussion between a patient and their health care provider,” Atkins said, according to National Public Radio. “When politicians and judges force themselves into that room, safety goes out the window.”

Republican Assembly Leader James Gallagher, a father of four whose twin children were born 10 weeks early, objected that the bill does not restrict late term abortions and would have ignored the unborn twins’ human rights.

“They were alive and they … are people — and our law needs to begin to recognize that,” Gallagher said, according to the Washington Post. 

Backers of the proposed amendment say it does not change current state law on fetal viability. 

A new budget agreement sets aside more than $200 million in funding for reproductive health services. Newsom signed legislation to eliminate copays for abortions and to broaden abortion access.

The California Catholic Conference lamented the abortion push.

“The sad reality is that California already has some of the most accommodating abortion laws and services in the nation,” the Catholic conference said. “And by providing extensive funding for abortion services without any corresponding equitable funding for pregnant women and mothers, the state exercises a destructive, coercive power in favor of ending innocent lives. Enshrining this amendment’s language into the constitution will extend the danger of coercive abortion to babies with unquestioned viability.” 

The California Catholic Conference has put forward on its website a plan for a “Post-Roe” California to oppose abortion and build a “culture that supports and defends every human life.” Its plan, called “We Were Born Ready,” includes advocacy, education, service, and prayer.

The state is already a leading location for abortions. In 2017, about 862,320 abortions were performed in the U.S. as a whole, including 132,680 abortions in California alone, according to the pro-abortion research group the Guttmacher Institute.

VIDEO: Watch violent vandalism attack on Catholic church in Washington state

Windows were smashed at St. Louise Catholic Church in Bellevue, Washington, on June 28, 2022. / Courtesy of Bellevue Police

Mansfield, Mass., Jun 29, 2022 / 18:53 pm (CNA).

A woman was praying alone in the perpetual adoration chapel early Tuesday morning when the wave of anti-Catholic vandalism and violence sweeping the U.S. struck St. Louise Catholic Church in Bellevue, Washington.

Hearing a commotion outside, the woman ventured into the hallway. There, she confronted a masked intruder standing outside the parish center, smashing the glass front door.

The person screamed profanities at the woman, who ran back into the chapel. Terrified, she locked the door behind her and called the pastor, Father Gary Zender, while hiding behind a piano.

“She called me on my office number just pleading for help to come and get her and rescue her,” Zender told CNA. “She was scared to death.”

A surveillance camera captured the frightening incident on video.

The footage shows a masked person with long hair striding up to the door carrying a large rock and pink backpack. The person hurls the rock at the front door, three times, then kicks the door four times, shattering the glass.

The person then removes a can of black spray paint from the backpack and begins to write graffiti on the building’s exterior. Next, the assailant makes obscene gestures toward the door, smashes the glass again with the can of spray paint and pushes the door. Then the person appears to scream at someone inside the building before continuing to spray-paint the building’s exterior and sidewalk.

Graffiti legible in photos provided by the police reads “woman haters,” “groomers rapists,” and “the church is child abuse,” among other words. You can watch the surveillance footage in the video below.

The attacker, who entered the church property around 9:30 a.m., also smashed a different glass door at the parish hall and defaced a statue of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, Zender said. He estimated the damage at $10,000.

Zender said that the assailant spray-painted the parish administrator, Jonathan Taasan, on his right cheek and “quite a bit” into his ear. He is not injured, Zender said. 

The Bellevue Police Department tweeted Tuesday that they had arrested a 31-year-old Bellevue resident on suspicion of a hate crime and assault. Police said the suspect was arrested “without incident.” Police called the graffiti “anti-Catholic.”

A police spokesperson declined to provide the suspect’s name, referring a CNA reporter to the Kings County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor’s office did not respond to CNA’s request for information about the incident before publication time.

Zender led a procession to the vandalized places and blessed them as part of the Tuesday night Mass. The parish also prayed for the person responsible for the vandalism. While the parish was attacked with a rock “Christ is a rock for us," Zender noted.

“I think it comes up as a bit of a shock that it would happen here. I think there's the reality that, you know, things have changed,” he said. “We're not quite as safe as we once thought we were and we have to take more precautions."

TRACKER: Check the status of abortion trigger laws across the U.S.

The scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in the Dobbs abortion case on June 24, 2022. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jun 29, 2022 / 16:25 pm (CNA).

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning the regulation of abortion to the states.

More than a dozen states had passed "trigger laws" intended to outlaw abortion as soon as the federal right to abortion that Roe established was struck down.

Some of those laws took effect immediately after the ruling, with no further action needed. In several states, however, the trigger law required certification by the state attorney general, governor, or legislature. 

A few trigger laws — so far in Louisiana, Texas, and Utah — have been temporarily blocked in court and will now be subject to judicial review. 

Take a look at the interactive map below to see how this process is unfolding.

San Antonio archbishop to preside at memorial Mass after Texas migrant deaths

In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas. According to reports, at least 46 people, who are believed migrant workers from Mexico, were found dead in an abandoned tractor trailer. Over a dozen victims were found alive, suffering from heat stroke and taken to local hospitals. / Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

Denver Newsroom, Jun 29, 2022 / 15:15 pm (CNA).

Following the discovery of dozens of migrants who died in an abandoned tractor-trailer in Texas — thought to be the largest en masse death of migrants from the southern border in modern history — the Archbishop of San Antonio is set to hold a memorial Mass on Thursday. 

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, and Auxiliary Bishops Michael Boulette and Gary Janak will preside at a memorial Mass for the migrants June 30, the archdiocese told CNA, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of San Fernando. The liturgy will include a procession from the cathedral’s Main Plaza, a special cross, and candles and flags representing the countries of the deceased as well as the survivors, spokesman Jordan McMorrough said. 

García-Siller said in a tweet that he had met with a young girl named Serenidad who was in the trailer and had survived. He urged prayers for the survivors and urged leaders to take action on immigration reform. 

“Our people inside the truck are innocent. They were the result of corruption in their place of origin as well as in the Unites States. May we take [steps] to change and experience conversion for the better of the human person. Pray about it!” he wrote June 28. 

The migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer baking in extreme heat in San Antonio, Texas on the evening of June 27. The official death toll has risen to 53, NPR reported, and the dead include 22 Mexicans, 7 Guatemalans, and 2 Hondurans, with the others not yet having been identified.

San Antonio, about 150 miles from the national border at Laredo, is a regional hub for transportation, as well as for human trafficking and smuggling. San Antonio was also the site of a similar incident in 2017 in which 10 migrants died in a tractor trailer. 

According to experts cited by NPR, it is likely that the people who were in the trailer had crossed the border on foot, before gathering in Laredo to be loaded into a truck. The truck driver is reportedly detained. 

Marie Kenyon, who leads the Justice and Peace commission at the Archdiocese of St. Louis, told CNA that she was in Laredo last week with a volunteer group assisting at a Catholic Charities migrant shelter. She said as a mission diocese, Laredo’s migrant shelter does not receive as much attention or donations as some others along the U.S.-Mexico border, such as Brownsville and El Paso. 

She shuddered at the thought that her volunteer group may have unwittingly passed the truck full of migrants going the opposite way on the highway from San Antonio to Laredo. 

“On Saturday in Laredo it was 107 degrees,” she noted. “So even if you’re in that trailer for 3-4 hours, that’s the end of you.” 

Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ committee on migration, lamented the deaths in a June 29 statement and called the incident a “harrowing depiction of the extreme risks assumed by migrants out of sheer desperation.”

“Unfortunately, this disregard for the sanctity of human life is all too common in the context of migration,” Dorsonville wrote. 

“As a Church called to build a culture of life, we cannot tolerate this injustice. Instead, we must recognize that we are brothers and sisters, each imbued with God-given dignity. To prevent further loss of life, we urge governments and civil society to promote access to protection, including asylum, develop new pathways for those compelled to migrate, and combat human trafficking in all its forms.”

Pope Francis has also urged prayers for the migrants. 

“I sorrowfully heard the news of the tragedy of the #migrants in Texas and #Melilla,” the pope said in a social media post on June 28.

“Let us #PrayTogether for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life; and for ourselves, may the Lord might open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again.”