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John Paul II’s mom chose life after her doctor advised an abortion

Karol Wojtyla with his parents. Photo courtesy of the Dicoese of Krakow. / null

Rome Newsroom, May 18, 2022 / 12:01 pm (CNA).

Over one hundred years ago on May 18, Emilia Wojtyla gave birth to her second son, Karol, after a difficult and life-threatening pregnancy. The child would grow up to be St. John Paul II.

In a new book published in Poland, Milena Kindziuk describes how St. John Paul II’s mother was advised to get an abortion.

“She had to choose between her own life and that of the baby she was carrying, but her deep faith did not allow Emilia to choose abortion,” Kindziuk said in an interview with ACI Stampa.

“Deep in her heart she had to be ready to make this sacrifice for the baby she was carrying,” she said.

In her book, “Emilia and Karol Wojtyla. Parents of St. John Paul II,” Kindziuk cites the testimony of a midwife, Tatarowa, and the reports of her two friends, Helena Szczepańska and Maria Kaczorowa, as well as the memories of other Wadowice residents. She said that these showed that Emilia Wojtyla was depressed by the insistence of her first doctor, Dr. Jan Moskała, that she have an abortion.

She said that Emilia and Karol Wojtyla “made a bold decision that, regardless of everything, their conceived baby was to be born. And so they started looking for another doctor.”

They ultimately chose Dr. Samuel Taub, a Jewish doctor from Krakow, who had moved to Wadowice after the First World War.

“Emilia's friends have kept memories of that visit. The doctor confirmed that there was a risk of complications during childbirth, including Emilia's death. However, he did not suggest an abortion,” Kindziuk said.

“Emilia had a bad pregnancy: she spent most of her time lying down and still had less strength than usual,” she said. “In this situation, Dr. Taub recommended the woman to lie down, rest often and feed herself very well.”

On the day of the birth, May 18, 1920, “Emilia lay in her apartment in Kościelna street, in the living room … in the presence of a midwife,” Kindziuk explained.

At the same time Karol Sr. and their 13-year-old son Edmund had gone out around 5 p.m. to participate in the prayer of the Divine Office in the parish church across the street where they sang the Litany of Loreto, she added.

“We know from the messages that Emilia asked the midwife to open the window: she wanted the first sound her son could hear to be a song in honor of Mary. In short, Emilia Wojtyla gave birth to her son, listening to the song of the Litany of Loreto,” she said.

St. John Paul II also told his personal secretary Stanislaw Dziwisz that he was born to the litany in honor of the Mother of God, she said, adding that he was elected pope at the same time of day that he was born.

The sainthood causes of St. John Paul II’s parents were formally opened in Poland in May. Karol, a Polish Army lieutenant, and Emilia, a school teacher, were married in Krakow Feb. 10, 1906. The Catholic couple gave birth to three children: Edmund in 1906; Olga, who died shortly after her birth; and Karol in 1920.

Before she died of a heart attack and liver failure in 1929, Emilia was a staple of faith for the household. At the time of her death, the young Karol Wojtyla was a month away from his ninth birthday.

This article was originally published on CNA on May 18, 2020.

Padre Pio's relics coming to national shrine in DC

The body of St. Pio of Pietrelcina / Alexey Gotovskiy/CNA

Boston, Mass., May 18, 2022 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina never visited the United States during his time on earth, but now his relics, which include multiple elements from his body, will be visiting Washington D.C. this weekend as they are displayed for veneration at the nation’s largest Catholic church.

The 20th century Italian priest, often referred to as "Padre Pio", received the stigmata, or wounds resembling those of Christ crucified. He was also well known for the many miracles that occurred through him during his life on earth.

The relics will be visiting the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception May 21-22. A spokesperson for the shrine, Jacquelyn Hayes, told CNA that this weekend will be the first time Padre Pio’s relics will be visiting the basilica.

The first and second class relics include crust from the saint’s wounds, his blood stains on cotton gauze, a lock of his hair, his handkerchief which contains his sweat, and a piece of his mantle.

On Saturday, the relics will be available for veneration from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Great Upper Church. The Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, will be celebrating a Mass in honor of Padre Pio at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday as well.

The relics will also be on display Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The relics are being provided by the Tuckahoe, New York-based Saint Pio Foundation, which annually sponsors a tour of Padre Pio’s relics. The showing is happening in partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington.

The foundation’s website says that it sponsors “a tour of the relics each year to give hundreds of thousands of the faithful an opportunity to have a ‘spiritual encounter’ with Padre Pio, to pray to him, and to ask for his intercession.”

A tour schedule for the relics of Padre Pio can be found on the foundation’s website.

The foundation, which has a mission of promoting awareness of the saint and his charism, allows for requests to host the relics in a diocese or parish.

“The request must come directly from the archbishop of an archdiocese, the bishop of a diocese, or the pastor of a parish of the Catholic Church for an archdiocesan, diocesan, or parish veneration, respectively,” the foundation’s website says.

St. John Paul II and Blessed Carlo Acutis named among patrons of World Youth Day 2023

St. John Paul II in 1978. / Vatican Media.

Rome Newsroom, May 18, 2022 / 11:30 am (CNA).

Pope St. John Paul II and Blessed Carlo Acutis will be among the patrons of World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon.

Cardinal Manuel Clemente, the Patriarch of Lisbon, unveiled the new patrons on May 18, the anniversary of the Polish pope’s birth.

The 73-year-old cardinal said that the Virgin Mary would be the “patroness par excellence” of the world’s largest gathering of Catholic young people, taking place in the Portuguese capital on Aug. 1-6, 2023.

Other patrons include St. John Bosco, St. Vincent of Saragossa, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bartholomew of Braga, and St. John de Brito.

The remaining patrons are Blessed Joanna of Portugal, Blessed João Fernandes, Blessed Maria Clara of the Child Jesus, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Blessed Marcel Callo, and Blessed Chiara Badano.

Clemente said: “Each in their own time, the patrons of WYD Lisbon 2023 have shown that the life of Christ fills and saves young people of all times. We count on them, we leave with them.”

World Youth Day was established by Pope John Paul II in 1985. The week-long gathering usually attracts hundreds of thousands of young people.

The international event is typically held on a different continent every three years with the presence of the pope.

World Youth Day in Lisbon was initially scheduled for August 2022, but the Vatican postponed the event by a year due to the coronavirus crisis.

The bishop overseeing preparations told CNA in 2021 that the event will be an opportunity to renew hope in the wake of the pandemic.

“I wish WYD Lisbon 2023 to be from and to all the people and that it can mean an opportunity to renew the hope in the post-pandemic period,” Bishop Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar said.

Pope Francis dismisses prominent German ex-monk from clerical state

Anselm Bilgri / Screenshot from TV BAYERN LIVE* YouTube channel.

Munich, Germany, May 18, 2022 / 10:51 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has dismissed a prominent German former monk from the clerical state in the wake of his continued celebration of weddings and baptisms after leaving the Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising on May 18 confirmed to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, “that Anselm Bilgri has been dismissed from the clerical state by the Vatican.”

A diocesan spokesperson added that it was “normal procedure” for this to be communicated by the local archdiocese.

“This is also the route taken in less prominent cases,” the spokesperson said.

Bilgri is a well-known figure in the German-speaking Catholic world. He was ordained a priest by the future Benedict XVI in 1980. As a Benedictine monk and prior of the scenic monastery of Andechs, famous for its Bavarian brewery, Bilgri soon became known to a wider public.

After he was not elected as the new abbot by the monks of Andechs in 2003, Bilgri took a sabbatical, before announcing he was leaving the monastery. He spent several years working as a consultant and life coach.

In 2007, the German magazine Stern labeled him a “Manager Messiah,” but his request to be incardinated in the Munich archdiocese was rejected by the then archbishop, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter.

In December 2020, Bilgri formally left the Catholic Church. He joined Germany’s Old Catholic community.

Old Catholics belong to a movement originating primarily in the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland, consisting of Catholics who were excommunicated over their refusal to acknowledge papal authority in dogmatic matters following the First Vatican Council.

In Old Catholic communities, women can be ordained, remarriage after divorce is possible, and homosexual unions are blessed.

In March 2021, Bilgri came out as homosexual and announced that he was marrying “his long-term boyfriend,” a man almost 30 years his junior. The ceremony was officiated by the mayor of Munich.

Speaking to the German tabloid Bild, the 68-year-old Bilgri accused the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising of having “snitched” on him, saying that the pope had “punitively dismissed” him from the clergy for “persisting in Church schism.”

Bilgri told the tabloid: “They tattled on me in Rome. And requested that the pope react. Absolutely ridiculous. I left the Church a long time ago.”

But Bilgri’s departure from the Church and his continued actions as a priest are two separate things, a canon law expert told CNA.

“By leaving the Church and joining the ‘Old Catholics,’ Mr. Bilgri has committed the delict of schism,” said Father Stefan Mückl, a canon law professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, on May 18.

“This results in excommunication as a penalty. However, excommunication is intended to induce the perpetrator to insight and repentance,” Mückl explained.

“The persistence in a schismatic community, and, aggravatingly, the exercise of priestly functions in it, realizes further canonical delicts, such as persistence in schism despite admonition, as well as sacrilegious acts such as the administration of sacraments despite excommunication.”

“In addition, there is also the ‘marriage’ with another person, which obviously is also a delict for a cleric, punishable among other things by dismissal from the clerical state,” the professor told CNA.

Mückl emphasized that in Bilgri’s case, dismissal from the clerical state was an expiatory punishment, which, moreover, had a permanent character.

“The point here is to atone for behavior that is intolerable for the ecclesiastical community with an appropriate punishment,” he said.

"Mr. Bilgri has rightly earned this punishment after all that he has done publicly and non-publicly. Nevertheless, the call remains for him to repent and reconcile with the Church — for the sake of his own salvation.”

Pope Francis changes rules for major superiors of religious orders

Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, May 18, 2022. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 10:25 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has changed the Church’s regulations to allow religious brothers who are not priests to lead their religious communities with Vatican permission.

In a “rescriptum ex audientia” issued May 18, the pope said that the Vatican congregation overseeing religious orders can, in individual cases and at its own discretion, grant permission for non-priest religious members to assume the role of major superior.

The change includes the derogation of the second paragraph of canon 588 in the Code of Canon Law, which says that clerical institutes are under the direction of ordained priests.

Pope Francis said that the council of an institute of consecrated life, or a society of apostolic life of pontifical rite, may now nominate or elect a “non-cleric member” as major superior after receiving written permission from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The congregation, the rescriptum said, “reserves the right to evaluate the individual case and the reasons given by the Supreme Moderator or the General Chapter.”

A non-cleric member can be nominated as a local superior without the Vatican’s permission.

The change marks a shift from a requirement that only an ordained brother or friar can be the head of a religious community, mirroring a recent innovation by Pope Francis allowing not just clerics but “any member of the faithful” to lead a dicastery of the Roman Curia.

Pope Francis: St. Charles de Foucauld’s spirituality helped me through a crisis

Pope Francis meets members of the Charles de Foucauld Spiritual Family Association in the study of the Paul VI Hall, May 18, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 06:03 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that learning about St. Charles de Foucauld’s spirituality helped him during a period of crisis as a theology student.

“I would like to thank St. Charles de Foucauld, because his spirituality did me so much good when I was studying theology, a time of maturation and also of crisis,” the pope said on May 18, during a meeting with members of the Spiritual Family of Charles de Foucauld.

The association’s members were in Rome for the May 15 canonization of the French explorer who became a hermit and missionary in Algeria, where he was killed in 1916.

Pope Francis said he learned about St. Charles de Foucauld from the Italian priest Father Arturo Paoli and books by René Voillaume, which he said he had read often.

Charles de Foucauld “helped me so much to overcome crises and to find a way of Christian life that was simpler, less Pelagian, closer to the Lord,” the pope said. “I thank the saint and bear witness to this, because he did me so much good.”

During the meeting, held in a room off of the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall before his general audience, Francis did not offer more details about the crisis he experienced as a theology student.

The pope studied theology as a seminarian from 1967 to 1969. In 1986, he spent three months at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, where he began a doctoral dissertation on Romano Guardini, an Italian-born German priest.

His studies were cut short when the Jesuits called him back to Argentina to be a spiritual director in Córdoba and his dissertation was never finished.

At the meeting on Wednesday, Pope Francis called Charles de Foucauld “a prophet of our time, who was able to bring to light the essentiality and universality of faith.”

The Trappist priest condensed the meaning of belief, the pope said, “into two simple words, in which there is everything: ‘Jesus — Caritas.’”

Francis quoted a letter of the martyred saint, who wrote to his cousin Marie de Bondy in 1915, while “in the silence of the hermit life,” that “we are inclined to put first works, whose effects are visible and tangible, God gives first place to love and then to sacrifice inspired by love and obedience resulting from love.”

“As a Church,” the pope said, “we need to return to the essentials, not to get lost in so many secondary things, at the risk of losing sight of the simple purity of the Gospel.”

Pope Francis: ‘God is not afraid of our prayer of protest’

Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, May 18, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 04:20 am (CNA).

Pope Francis urged Catholics on Wednesday to feel free to protest spontaneously to God when faced with suffering and injustice.

Reflecting on the Book of Job in his general audience address in St. Peter’s Square on May 18, the pope said that “God is not afraid of our prayer of protest.”

“Sometimes I meet people who approach me and say: ‘But, Father, I protested against God because I have this and that problem…’ But, you know, friend, that protesting is a way to pray when it is done like that,” he said.

“When children, when young people object against their parents, it is a way of attracting their attention and of asking that they take care of them.”

“If you have some wound in your heart, some pain, and you want to object, object even to God. God will listen to you. God is a Father. God is not afraid of our prayer of protest, no! God understands. But be free, be free in your prayer. Don’t imprison your prayer within preconceived paradigms.”

The live-streamed catechesis was the 10th in a cycle on old age that the 85-year-old pope began in February. He entered St. Peter’s Square in a white jeep, stopping to invite a group of children in red hats to join him for part of his journey past rows of pilgrims.

After touring the square, the jeep pulled up behind a raised platform in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope, who suffers from knee pain, was helped to exit the vehicle and walk slowly to the white chair where he gave his address.

Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, May 18, 2022. Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.
Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, May 18, 2022. Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

The pope described the Book of Job as “a universal literary classic” and meditated on how the prophet Job lost everything but retained his belief in God’s justice, despite being surrounded by spiritually ignorant friends.

He said: “On our catechetical itinerary, we meet Job when he was an old man. We encounter him as a witness of a faith that does not accept a ‘caricature’ of God, but protests loudly in the face of evil until God responds and reveals his face.”

“And in the end, God responds, as always, in a surprising way — He shows Job His glory without crushing him, or better still, with sovereign tenderness, tenderly, just like God always does.”

“The pages of this book need to be read well, without prejudices, without stereotypes, to understand the power of Job’s cry. It would be good for us to put ourselves in his school to overcome the temptation of moralism due to the exasperation and bitterness of the pain of having lost everything.”

The pope noted that Job reached a turning point at the height of his “venting,” when he proclaimed: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25-27).

“This passage is really beautiful,” he commented. “It makes me think of the end of that brilliant oratorio of Handel, the ‘Messiah,’ after the celebrative Hallelujah, the soprano slowly sings this passage: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives,’ peacefully.”

“And so, after this painful and joyful experience of Job, the voice of the Lord is something else. ‘I know that my Redeemer lives’ — it is truly a beautiful thing. We could interpret it like this: ‘My God, I know You are not a Persecutor. My God will come and do me justice.’”

“It is the simple faith in the resurrection of God, the simple faith in Jesus Christ, the simple faith that the Lord is always waiting for us and will come.”

Pope Francis said that the drama of Job is played out today when “really heavy trials fall on a person, on a family, on a people.” He mentioned parents of children with serious disabilities and people with chronic illnesses.

“These situations are often aggravated by the scarcity of economic resources. At certain junctures in history, the accumulation of burdens gives the impression that they were given a group appointment. This is what has happened in these years with the COVID-19 pandemic, and is happening now with the war in Ukraine,” the pope reflected.

He asked: “Can we justify these ‘excesses’ to the higher intelligence of nature and history? Can we religiously bless them as justified responses to the sins of the victims, as if they deserve it? No, we cannot.”

“There is a kind of right that victims have to protest vis-à-vis the mystery of iniquity, a right that God grants to everyone, that indeed He himself inspires, after all.”

Concluding his address, the pope said that many elderly people walked a similar path to Job, undergoing great suffering but continuing to hold on to God’s promises.

He said: “They have suffered so much in life, they have learned so much in life, they have gone through so much, but in the end, they have this peace, a peace, I would say, that is almost mystical, that is, the peace from an encounter with God to the point they can say, ‘I knew you because I had heard about you, but now I have seen you with my own eyes’ (Job 42:5).”

“These elderly people resemble the peace of the Son of God on the Cross who is abandoned to the Father.”

After the pope’s address, a summary of his catechesis was read out in seven languages.

Addressing English-speaking Catholics, he said: “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Israel and the Middle East, Canada and the United States of America.”

“In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you!”

After addressing Italian pilgrims, Pope Francis said: “Finally, my thoughts go, as usual, to the elderly, the sick, the young, and newlyweds.”

“Dear young people, do not be afraid to put your energies at the service of the Gospel, with the enthusiasm characteristic of your age; and you, dear elderly and dear ill people, be aware that you offer a valuable contribution to society thanks to your wisdom; and you, dear newlyweds, let your families grow as places where you learn to love God and your neighbor in serenity and joy.”

In Michigan, 'rogue decision' blocks longtime state abortion law


Denver Newsroom, May 17, 2022 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Michigan’s longstanding law against abortion cannot be enforced if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, a state judge said Tuesday in a temporary injunction.

Michigan adopted a law criminalizing abortion as a felony, except when necessary to save the life of the mother, in 1931.

“After 50 years of legal abortion in Michigan, there can be no doubt that the right of personal autonomy and bodily integrity enjoyed by our citizens includes the right of a woman, in consultation with her physician, to terminate a pregnancy,” Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher said May 17, issuing a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the state law.

The law has not been enforced since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, but the Michigan Court of Appeals found in 1997 that there is no right to abortion in the state constitution.

According to Gleicher, the right to an abortion is almost certainly guaranteed under the state constitution’s due process provisions that protect bodily integrity, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Critics noted that the judge is a donor to Planned Parenthood and previously represented Planned Parenthood in a failed challenge to precedent upholding the state abortion law.

“The judge engaged in an analysis without any advocacy from the other side, and she was demonstrably wrong in her legal conclusions, drawing on precedent which has absolutely no bearing on pro-life laws,” John Bursch, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel and former Michigan solicitor general, told journalists on a May 17 phone conference.

“The Michigan court of appeals has already held that this exact same 1931 law is valid under the constitution, in a case where Planned Parenthood sued, and lost, when represented by the very judge who issued today’s opinion,” he added.

“Even more extraordinary, that same judge makes annual contributions to Planned Parenthood, in effect, indirectly subsidizing the very same legislation she is now decided, and has also received an Award as a Planned Parenthood advocate. She should have recused herself from the case, and not participated in it.”

Planned Parenthood of Michigan, represented by the ACLU of Michigan, had filed a lawsuit against Michigan’s attorney general seeking an injunction against the law.

Bonsitu Kitaba, the ACLU affiliate’s assistant legal director, had previously said an injunction would be the best-case scenario for her clients and for Michigan.

Gleicher’s injunction said the law “criminalizes virtually all abortions, and if enforced, will abruptly and completely end the availability of abortion services in Michigan.”

A preliminary injunction advances the public interest and allows the court “to make a full ruling on the merits of the case without subjecting plaintiff and their patients to the impact of a total ban on abortion services in the state,” she said.

Gleicher is a 2007 appointee of Gov. Jennifer Granholm. She is a donor to Planned Parenthood and represented the organization as a volunteer lawyer with the ACLU in a key 1990s abortion case. That case led the Michigan Appeals Court to determine that the state constitution “does not guarantee a right to abortion that is separate and distinct from the federal right,” the Detroit Free Press reports.

When Gleicher disclosed this information, the Michigan Republican Party called on her to recuse herself from the case, but she declined.

Complicating the lawsuit was that Attorney General Dana Nessel agreed that there was a “lack of adversity” and no jurisdiction for the Michigan Court of Claims because she does not intend to enforce the law against abortion. Nessel, a Democrat, does not believe the law is constitutional, but thought the lawsuit should have been dismissed.

Planned Parenthood countered that the attorney general of the state can change.

Bursch said the situation was “extraordinary.”

“This is the kind of mess that you end up with in the court system when the state executive and its attorney general refuse to uphold and defend a law that has been in place since 1931. They may not like it. But no one has the ability to unilaterally ignore, change or encourage the invalidation of Michigan law. They should be working through the democratic process, like anyone else,” he said.

Bursch apologized for initially describing the judge in the case as a “rogue judge,” saying instead “it’s certainly a rogue decision.”

“It’s a rogue decision for someone who is ethically conflicted in hearing the case and lacks jurisdiction to decide the case to nonetheless go ahead and issue an injunction against the attorney general of the state, based on arguments that no one has argued before her in briefing or in oral argument,” he said.

Bursch said the Alliance Defending Freedom legal group had initially been invited to submit arguments, but then was excluded from participating because it wasn’t a party to the case.

“This was all done in secret with parties that agreed on the results. It’s improper, six ways from Sunday,” Bursch said.

Right to Life Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference are considering what options they can pursue. The legal complexities of the case could mean seeking appellate review without necessarily intervening as a party.

“We are unquestionably going to take legal action. I would expect such a decision to be announced by the end of the week,” said Bursch, whose legal group represents the two organizations.

Abortion advocacy groups in the state have launched a ballot initiative to override the 1931 law by way of a constitutional amendment.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has filed her own lawsuit which asks the Michigan Supreme Court “to recognize a constitutional right to an abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Michigan Constitution.”

As reason for the lawsuit, she cited a possible decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that could alter or abolish precedent mandating legal abortion.

The governor’s lawsuit named as defendants the prosecutors in 13 Michigan counties with abortion clinics. The seven Democratic prosecutors have agreed not to enforce the law, while the six remaining prosecuting attorneys are Republicans.

That lawsuit drew some criticism.

“The right to life for unborn children and its inherent value given by our Creator cannot be reduced to a legal opinion or legislative vote,” Michigan Catholic Conference policy advocate Rebecca Mastee said in an April 7 response to Whitmer’s lawsuit. “While the legality of abortion is contingent upon democratic structures, it is unfortunate that the judicial branch is being used to try to invalidate a longstanding policy approved by elected representatives and left untouched by the Legislature for nearly a century since.”

A 1972 ballot measure in Michigan rejected legalized abortion, Mastee noted.

Whitmer is a staunch backer of abortion. In September 2021, she used a line-item veto to remove from the state budget about $16 million worth of funding for alternatives to abortion, drawing objections from the state’s Catholic conference.

Spanish Jerusalem Bible changes 'fishers of men' to 'fishers of persons'

null / David Ramos / ACI Prensa

Lima, Peru, May 17, 2022 / 17:25 pm (CNA).

The Desclée de Brouwer publishing house, which publishes the Jerusalem Bible, changed the word "man" (“hombre”)  to "person" (“persona”) in its new Spanish edition.

The Jerusalem Bible is among the best known publications of the Bible. It has been published in Spanish since 1967. The first edition was published in French in 1956, and was based on the original Hebrew and Greek texts, not the Latin Vulgate, as are subsequent editions in other modern languages.

The excerpt shared by several Twitter users refers to Matthew 4:19, where Christ says to his disciples: "I will make you fishers of men," which in the new edition says, "I will make you fishers of persons.”

“It doesn't seem right to me, but I think it has the importance that we give it.  If we read Holy Scripture every day, we would have realized long ago that the Jerusalem Bible translation is not the best option,” said Fr. Antonio María Domenech Guillén, a priest of the Diocese of Cuenca.

ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, asked the managing director of the Desclée De Brouwer publishing house, Javier Gogeaskoetxea, about the change in the most recent version of the Jerusalem Bible.

“The change is due to the fact that the Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem seeks above all fidelity to the original texts. It so happens that in the original 'Greek' text the word used does not include gender. Therefore the translation possibilities should not include it either: person or human being”, he explained.

"If I were to put 'man,'” he continued, “we would be lacking in fidelity to the original text because the Greek word is neither man nor woman."

"I understand that there is an attempt to 'polemicize' by attributing  'inclusive' language to the translation. But nothing is further from reality, the reason is fidelity to the original text,” he said.

"The basic rule followed by the Jerusalem Biblical and Archaeological School is that 'the oldest text is always the most truthful.' If the words are now changed to be 'gender-friendly' it has nothing to do with the decision of the Jerusalem Biblical and Archaeological School,” he noted.

"The biblical translations don’t conform to modern times, but rather try to be faithful to the ancient texts," the managing director of the Desclée De Brouwer publishing house concluded.

Father Jesús Silva, a Spanish priest and graduate in Patristic Theology, gave a detailed explanation on Twitter about what would be the best translation of the word ánthropos in the Greek text, first translated in the Jerusalem Bible as “men”, and now as “persons.”

“The term that translates, anthropos, refers to a ‘human being’ regardless of sex. However, the translation as 'persons' has its problems. To what persons was Jesus referring: human, angelic or divine? Well, in the text, thus translated, it is not excluded that Jesus is calling the disciples to evangelize the angels or God himself," the priest said.

Fr. Silva then said that “since 'persons' is an ambiguous term, we will have to look for another that is not. We can then translate it as 'human persons' or 'human beings.' In turn, this translation is equivocal, since, what makes a human human?”

“Let's put that it’s 'a rational being', as the RAE (Royal Academy of the Spanish Language) says. However, if intelligent aliens exist, it remains to be seen whether the term 'human' can be applied to them or not. As long as this is not clarified, the concept of human persons is also equivocal.”

“Perhaps the most appropriate translation,” the priest further mused, “whenever we want to avoid translating the word ánthropos as 'man' – could be 'earthling'; although according to the RAE, any inhabitant of the earth is one, for which it should rather be said 'fishers of human earthlings.'”

But as for the term “human,” Fr. Silva noted that the RAE defines it as "'proper to man.' That is to say, that literally speaking, what is human is what is proper to man (sic): men earthlings. But what does 'man' mean?

“The RAE comes to our aid again. The word 'man' means 'rational animate being, male or female.' Let’s therefore say that with the word 'anthropos' Jesus wanted to tell the Twelve that they would be 'fishers of rational animated beings, male or female.'”

So then, the priest summed up, “with that circumlocution that’s so correct, to avoid misunderstandings that occur with words like 'person,' 'human being' or 'human earthling,' and adopting the principle of the economy of language, we could translate the word ánthropos as 'man', which includes all of the above.”

To conclude, Fr. Silva proposed that "in this new translation of the Bible, more adapted to our time, and guided by a principle of inclusion, as well as fidelity to the text and the intention of Jesus, let us translate the phrase in a new way as 'I will make you fishers of men.' You’re welcome.”

Cardinal Zen may be in Hong Kong court next week

Cardinal Joseph Zen. / Yung Chi Wai Derek/Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, May 17, 2022 / 16:15 pm (CNA).

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun is scheduled to appear in court May 24, according to a report by the British daily The Guardian.

“A source close to him said the cardinal was set to appear in court on 24 May, adding it was possible that he would be further detained, should charges be laid,” Sum Lok-kei wrote in a May 16 article in The Guardian.

Cardinal Zen was arrested May 11 under China’s national security law with at least four others for his role as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pro-democracy protesters in the special administrative region of Hong Kong to pay their legal fees.

He was released on bail later that day.

Cardinal Zen, who was Bishop of Hong Kong from 2002 to 2009, has long advocated for underground Catholics in mainland China.

Bishop Malloy of Rockford, chair of the U.S. bishops’ international justice and peace committee, said May 12 that the cardinal’s arrest “indicates the downward trend in respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights in Hong Kong.”

The president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ conferences, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, expressed May 14 “profound concern about the situation for human rights and threats to religious freedom in Hong Kong” in light of Cardinal Zen’s arrest.

While Hong Kong, a British colony until 1997, “used to be one of Asia’s freest and most open cities,” it is now “transformed into a police state,” Cardinal Bo said, noting that freedoms of expression, press, and assembly “have all been dismantled.” He added there are signs that religious freedom “is threatened” and that religious leaders are self-censoring.

“To see a government in China break its promises made in an international treaty, the Sino-British Joint Declaration, so repeatedly and blatantly, is appalling.”

Regarding the supposed crimes of Cardinal Zen, the Burmese cardinal said: “In any system where the rule of law exists, providing assistance to people facing prosecution meet their legal fees is a proper and accepted right. How can it be a crime to help accused persons have legal defence and representation?”

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, wrote May 13 that since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre, “the Chinese Communist Party’s appalling human rights record and repression of political freedoms have only worsened.”

In an opinion piece at The Washington Post, the California Democrat called Cardinal Zen “a critical voice of conscience: an embodiment of moral fortitude, who has been a constant presence as Hong Kong has led a decades-long pursuit of the freedoms promised with the handover from British rule.”

She too noted China’s failure to uphold the terms of Hong Kong’s handover: “Nearly 25 years later, China’s pledges have been utterly abandoned. Any pretense that Hong Kong’s rights would be respected has been shattered by violence and intimidation.”

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, told journalists May 12 his “most concrete hope is that initiatives like this cannot complicate the already complex and not simple path of dialogue between the Holy See and the Church in China.”