Report says accurate number of children separated at border is unknown

A Central American migrant, who is part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., reacts as he waits to apply for asylum in 2018 at a checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. (CNS photo/Edgard Garrido, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A report published Jan. 17 says the number of immigrant children separated from their parents at the border last year is unknown and the number given out by government officials at the end of 2018, saying that 2,737 children were separated, is not accurate. The number may be much higher.

The separations officially reported were those that took place between July and November 2018, when then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced what he called a zero tolerance policy, which meant that undocumented migrant parents caught crossing the border with their children would risk being separated from them. After some lawsuits were filed and much public outcry, the policy was reversed.

But the report from the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, says children had been separated from parents or guardians long before then and the Department of Homeland Security which implemented the policy, even saw an uptick in separations in 2017. Some children may also have been separated after the policy officially ended.

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Posted in U.S.

Marchers urged to stand strong, fight for life with ‘compassion, hope’

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, wave to crowd Jan. 18 during the annual March for Life rally in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Julie Asher 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Those who stand up for the dignity of life in all its stages and want to see this respect for all life enshrined once again in U.S. law have a friend in the Pence family and the Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence told the March for Life crowd on the National Mall Jan. 18.

Pence and second lady Karen Pence were a surprise addition to the roster of speakers at the rally, and after his remarks, the vice president introduced a videotaped message by President Donald Trump, which also was unexpected.

“We’re the Pences and we’re pro-life,” the vice president said to the cheering crowd.

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Posted in U.S.

Youth at Mass for Life thanked for offering sign of hope for the future

A participant cheers while attending a pro-life youth rally and Mass at Capital One Arena in Washington Jan. 18 before the annual March for Life. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Mark Zimmermann 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — They came from near and far, and even from Down Under, united in prayer and in standing together for life at the Archdiocese of Washington’s annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life, held Jan. 18 at the Capital One Arena in Washington.

The estimated crowd of 18,000 came from the Washington area and from across the country and were joined by young adults from Sydney on their way to World Youth Day in Panama.

The main celebrant at the Mass, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, entered and left the arena smiling and waving a blessing to the spirited crowd of teens and young adults, many of whom wore colorful, matching hats or sweatshirts along with their school uniforms.

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Posted in U.S.

Pope says it’s ‘grave sin’ to deny God has blessed other Christians

Pope Francis processes alongside Orthodox Metropolitan Gennadios of Italy, at right in black, as he arrives to preside over an ecumenical prayer service Jan. 18 at Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. The service marked the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — Just as divisions in society grow when wealth is not shared, divisions within Christianity grow when the richness of gifts God has given to one Christian church or community are not recognized and shared, Pope Francis said.

“It is easy to forget the fundamental equality existing among us: that once we were all slaves to sin, that the Lord saved us in baptism and called us his children,” the pope said Jan. 18 during an ecumenical evening prayer service at Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

At the beginning of the service, Pope Francis, Orthodox Metropolitan Gennadios of Italy and Malta and the Rev. Tim Macquiban, minister of Rome’s Ponte Sant’Angelo Methodist Church, paused for a moment of prayer before the presumed tomb of St. Paul.

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Posted in Vatican

‘So small a thing’ can be a big deal, bishop says at march vigil’s end

A young woman prays during the closing Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 18 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond, Virginia, quoted from Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien to make a pro-life point during his homily at the Jan. 18 Mass that closed the Vigil for Life.

“In J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ there is a passage where Boromir, a lord of Gondor, is tempted by the Ring of Power. He holds it up, while being tempted to use its power to defend his people, and he says: ‘The ring! Is it not a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing? So small a thing!'”

But those small things can be big deals, Bishop Knestout said at the Mass, celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

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Posted in U.S.

‘Deception’ guided court cases that legalized abortion, archbishop says

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, uses a censer while serving as the principal celebrant of the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 17 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The two Supreme Court cases that legalized abortion virtually on demand in the United States were based on “deception,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.

“The late Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, lied about being gang-raped,” said Archbishop Naumann, new chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “After her pro-life conversion, Norma acknowledged that she was deceived by her attorneys about the reality of abortion. For the last 20 years of her life, Norma McCorvey labored tirelessly to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

In his homily at the Jan. 17 March for Life vigil Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, Archbishop Naumann said, “The late Sandra Cano, the Jane Doe of the Doe v. Bolton decision, never wanted an abortion.”

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Posted in U.S.

Take charge of your roots, culture, pope tells indigenous youths

Pope Francis greets members of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples after his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 30. (CNS/Max Rossi, Reuters)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said that in order to face the challenges ahead, young indigenous men and women must protect and never forget their roots and their cultures.

In a video message sent to the World Meeting of Indigenous Youth in Soloy, Panama, Jan. 18, the pope urged the young people to “be grateful for the history of their people,” which will help them “go forward full of hope.”

“Return to your culture of origins,” he said. “Take charge of your roots, because from your roots comes the strength to make things grow, flourish and bear fruit.”

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Posted in Vatican, World