Sofia Infante

Writer

Wed

26

Apr

2017

Santa Clara County Opens Sanctuary Churches

by Sofia Infante

 

In the midst of increasing tension over Trump’s immigration directives, cities such as New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco are protecting their status as sanctuary cities. Now, Catholic churches in different states have followed suit by declaring themselves sanctuary churches, or safe havens where immigrants in fear of being deported can seek shelter. Although there is no strict definition of a sanctuary city, these cities usually have a set of laws curbing federal requests for the sanctuary city to enforce the federal government’s immigration laws.

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Wed

29

Mar

2017

Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Undergoes Confirmation Hearings

by Sofia Infante

 

Beginning on March 20, the Senate Judiciary started confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal who President Donald Trump nominated to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. During the Senate hearings, Gorsuch portrayed himself as a judge who favored the law over political parties. “I’ve ruled for disabled students, for prisoners, for the accused, for workers alleging civil rights violations and for undocumented immigrants,” Gorsuch said during the hearings. “Sometimes, too, I’ve ruled against such persons.”

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Wed

22

Feb

2017

Pope Francis Convenes Commission for Translation of the Missal

 

by Sofia Infante

 

Pope Francis has announced that he has created a commission to review Liturgiam authenticam, the authoritative decree that puts forth guidelines on the translation of Latin liturgical texts into English and other languages. The document was crafted in 2001 with the intention of revising liturgical documents in order to bring them into conformity with Catholic doctrine. It replaced Comme le Prevoit, the Vatican document concerning the translation of liturgical books following the Second Vatican Council. Some of the notable changes enacted by Liturgiam authenticam include bringing back “and with your spirit,” instead of “and also with you.” It replaced the “We” in the Nicene Creed to “I.” It also incorporated the three-fold self-accusations in the Penitential act, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” in which the person strikes their breast three times. Among one of the most contentious alterations was replacing the less authentic phrase “for all” with “for many” during the consecration: “Take this, all of you, and drink from it: This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in memory of me.”

 

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Tue

15

Nov

2016

Pope Reaffirms Exclusion from Priesthood Does Not Diminish Women’s Roles

by Sofia Infante

 

On November 1, 2016 Pope Francis once again signaled that the door to women’s ordination in the Catholic Church is permanently closed. He reiterated his previous statements on women’s ordination, stating, “On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the final word is clear, it was said by St. John Paul II and this remains.” Pope Francis made the comments during a press conference on the papal plane en route to Rome from Sweden. The pope had been visiting the country for the commemoration of the 499th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, where he met with Lutheran and Catholic leaders.

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Tue

25

Oct

2016

Society of Jesus Elects New Superior General

by Sofia Infante

 

On October 14, the Jesuits elected Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J. as the 31st Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He is the Society’s first Latin American Superior General. Fr. Sosa was elected at the Jesuits’ 36th General Congregation in Rome, by 212 Jesuit electors—representing 17,000 Jesuits worldwide—who have gathered to discuss the mission, governance, and state of the order. The election came after four days of murmurationes, an old Jesuit tradition of one-on-one conversation regarding the virtues of possible candidates designed to prepare the congregation for the election of a new Superior General. Fr. Sosa follows Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., who announced his resignation in 2014 after leading the Society of Jesus since 2008.

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Tue

27

Sep

2016

Tim Kaine Shifts Stance on Gay Marriage and Abortion

by Sofia Infante

 

 

Since his nomination as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine’s Roman Catholic faith has been scrutinized, especially after his recent predictions that the Catholic Church will eventually support gay marriage, and his call to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a law banning federal funding for abortions.

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Tue

29

Mar

2016

Pope Francis Opens Medical Clinic for the Homeless

by Sofia Infante

 

Once again demonstrating his message to care for our disadvantaged and overlooked neighbors, Pope Francis commissioned a medical center for the homeless in Rome. The center is located by the Colonnade in St. Peter’s Square, next to the barbershop and shower stalls which Pope Francis also established. These facilities supply the poor with free meals, showers, haircuts, and a change of clothes, all offered once a week. Lucia Ercoli, director of the Association, expressed her gratitude in a statement: “We’re grateful to Pope Francis for wanting to once again give a concrete sign of mercy in St. Peter’s Square to the homeless or distressed.”

 

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Tue

23

Feb

2016

Italians Protest Bill Legalizing Same Sex Civil Unions

by Sofia Infante

 

 

A recent bill that would legalize same sex unions in Italy has garnered fierce dissent in one of the last countries in Western Europe to recognize same sex civil unions. Sponsored by Monica Ciranna, a Democratic Party lawmaker, the bill would allow same sex couples to marry under civil law and gain full adoption rights.

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Tue

26

Jan

2016

Number of Christian Martyrs Has Tripled in Two Years

by Sofia Infante

 

 

According to UK-based Christian advocacy group, Open Doors, the number of Christian martyrs has tripled in two years from 2,100 martyrs in 2013, to 7,100 in 2015. Open Doors, a non-profit group that works in more than 60 countries, strives to address the urgent crisis of Christian persecution throughout the world by evangelizing, supporting persecuted orphans, and offering social and economic support, among other forms of outreach.

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Tue

08

Dec

2015

Archbishop for Armed Forces Asks for More Priests

by Sofia Infante

 

During a meeting with bishops on November 16 in Baltimore, Archbishop of Military Services Timothy Broglio appealed for more priests to join the Archdiocese which he oversees. He noted, “Approximately, one fourth of the active-duty personnel and their immediate families are Catholics…At present those Catholics—totally around a million people—are served by only 217 priests in a territory that covers the globe.”

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Tue

17

Nov

2015

Vatican Declares Report on Pope Francis Regarding Divorce Unreliable

by Sofia Infante

 

On November 1, 2015, a report by Italian Journalist Antonio Scalfari was published in La Repubblica, claiming that Pope Francis had declared that communion would be made available to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. On November 2, Father Federico Lombardi—the head of the Vatican’s Press office—denied that that the Pope made these comments, stating, “As has already occurred in the past, Scalfari refers in quotes what the Pope supposedly told him, but many times it does not correspond to reality, since he does not record nor transcribe the exact words of the Pope, as he himself has said many times.” He added, “So it is clear that what is being reported by him in the latest article about the divorced and remarried is in no way reliable and cannot be considered as the Pope’s thinking.” Indeed, Scalfari has himself admitted to not transcribing or recording his interviews, but instead writing them down from memory.

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Tue

27

Oct

2015

Vatican Official Fired After Revealing Long-Term Relationship

by Sofia Infante

 

On October 3, Msgr. Krysztof Charamsa, a Catholic priest working at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith granted a video interview Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera during which he identified as a “homosexual priest, with a partner.” Following, Charamsa stated, “I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity. I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realized that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman.” The day before Charamsa’s interview was held a meeting consisting of Catholic men and women with same sex attraction who choose to live celibate live. The meeting was sponsored by Courage, an international Catholic apostolate to those experiencing same-sex attraction who wish to be faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church.

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Tue

24

Mar

2015

Reforms For New Vatican Financial Offices Go Into Effect

by Sofia Infante

 

On March 1, reforms regarding three key Vatican oversight bodies went into effect. The move is a part of Pope Francis’ financial reform plan and largely consolidates power in the hands of Australian Cardinal George Pell, who was appointed head of Pope Francis’ financial reform plan. The reforms provide a new legal framework for the three new financial oversight committees instituted by Pope Francis in 2014: The Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy, and the Office for the General Auditor. The system’s structure consigns supreme authority to the Pope, under who is the head of the Council for the Economy, which instructs the Secretariat for the Economy.

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Tue

24

Feb

2015

Proposed Assisted Suicide Bill Voted Down By Colorado Lawmakers

by Sofia Infante

 

On February 6 by an 8-5 bipartisan vote, the Colorado House Committee voted down House Bill HB1125, which sought to legalized physician assisted suicide, almost certainly ending the possibility of its being passed during this session. The decision came after an 11-hour long hearing where lawmakers heard testimony from terminally ill patients, clergy, and physicians. The measure, which was being called the “Colorado Death with Dignity Act,” would have allowed terminally ill individuals to end their lives by ingesting a lethal dose of prescribed medication. Under the now defunct bill, which was drafted by State Representative Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins), the patient would have had to be terminally ill, with less than six months to live, mentally competent, and must have submited a written and oral request to end their lives in the presence of a disinterested witness. In the US, physician assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, Montana, Washington, New Jersey, and Vermont and although the bill was defeated in Colorado, similar bills are under review in other states. Proponents of the measure argue that a person should have the right to choose when, how, and in whose presence, they will to die.

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Wed

28

Jan

2015

Two Gunmen Attack Charlie Hebdo Offices

by Sofia Infante

 

On January 7, 2015, two masked gunmen entered the Paris office of French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, slaughtering eleven men and wounding eleven others. The attackers were seeking retribution for the depiction of the Muslim prophet, Muhammed, in one of the newspaper’s previous issues. The offices had been firebombed in 2011 for the newspaper’s depiction of the Prophet of Islam. Charlie Hebdo has not infrequently drawn criticism for its excessive sanitization of nearly all the world’s popular religious faiths and graphic depictions of revered religious figures.

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Tue

18

Nov

2014

Gaza-Israel Conflict Continues With a Wave of Vehicular Attacks 

by Sofia Infante

 

The conflict between Gaza and Israel continues despite a recent cease-fire. In what has come to be known as “auto intifada”, Palestinians are killing Jewish citizens in Israel using their motor vehicles. So far, the attacks have resulted in four deaths including the death of a three-month-old. The attacks come less than two months after Israel and Palestine agreed to a long-term cease-fire following devastating bombings in the Gaza strip set off by the murder of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish extremists.

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Sun

16

Nov

2014

Proposed Changes to Controversial HHS Mandate Under Fire by USCCB

by Sofia Infante

 

 

Catholic Bishops have expressed their displeasure with the controversial HHS mandate put in place by the Obama administration. The mandate requires employers to provide health insurance that covers control pills, sterilization, and medications that can cause early abortion. In its Oct. 8 comments to the Department of Health and Human Services, the US Bishops’ Conference contended, “[T]he mandate continues to substantially burden the religious liberty of stakeholders with religious objections to the mandated coverage… Because it does not further a compelling government interest by the means least restrictive of religious exercise, the mandate continues to violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

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Tue

23

Sep

2014

Louisiana Case Questions Validity of the Seal of Confession; Expected to go before SCOTUS

by Sofia Infante

 

The Diocese of Baton Rouge is appealing to the US Supreme Court following a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court concerning whether Father Jeff Bayhi has to testify concerning the content of a confession where a minor allegedly relayed to Fr. Bayhi that she was sexually abused at the hands of one of his parishioners. Back in May, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that since the girl in question has decided to disclose part of her story she has waved her rights to confidentiality and, thus, that Fr. Bayhi is obliged by the Louisiana law to disclose the content of the confession to the court. In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the Diocese of Baton Rouge called the state Supreme Court’s decision an “assault on Church teaching.” A statement released in July by the diocese stated, “The issue before the District Court, the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Louisiana Supreme Court assaults the heart of a fundamental doctrine of the Catholic faith as relating to the absolute seal of sacred communications (Confession/Sacrament of Reconciliation).”

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Tue

29

Apr

2014

UK and US Fetal Incineration Sparks Backlash Among Pro-Life Advocates and Health Officials

by Sofia Infante

 

The recent discovery that the fetal remains of unborn babies were disposed of by incineration as clinical waste in hospitals across the United Kingdom and the United States has prompted outrage from pro-life advocates who say it reflects total disregard for the dignity of human life. According to an investigation launched by the UK’s Channel 4, the bodies of around 15,500 babies were burned as medical waste and used to heat some of the facilities. The investigation also revealed that 27 National Health Services (NHS) trusts had incinerated fetal remains in the last two years. A report by The Telegraph revealed that Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, one of the UK’s leading hospitals, had incinerated 797 miscarried or aborted fetuses at its on site “waste-to energy facility.” In another facility at Ipswich Hospital 1,001 fetal remains were brought in from another location. The facilities had told the mothers that their child’s body would be cremated.

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Tue

25

Mar

2014

Kidnapped Syrian Nuns Released by Syrian Rebels

by Sofia Infante

 

One dozen Greek Orthodox nuns and three women, who had been kidnapped from their convent by the Al-Qaeda affiliated rebel organization Al-Nusra Front, have been returned to safety after being held in captivity in the nearby town of Yabrud for three months. They were brought through a rebel-held border crossing to Arsal, a Lebanese border town, and released to Lebanese officials. Then they were driven to Syria, where they were taken to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus.

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Tue

25

Feb

2014

UN Report on Child Sexual Abuse within the Vatican Sparks Backlash

by Sofia Infante

 

A United Nations Committee Report released by the UN Committee for the Rights of Child has ignited a firestorm of criticism from Catholic Church officials and leaders who accuse it of manipulating the child sex scandal to impose secular views and change Church doctrine, while ignoring the Church’s advancements in the area of child protection. The report, released on February 5, called for the Vatican to open its files to public review, enforce mandatory reporting to law enforcement officials, stating, “[The Vatican] has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.” The report also made recommendations concerning the Church’s views on same-sex marriage, contraception, and abortion.

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Tue

28

Jan

2014

Belgium May Soon Legalize Minor Euthanasia

by Sofia Infante

 

Child euthanasia may soon become legal in Belgium after the Senate voted in favor of a bill that would legalize euthanasia for minors and those suffering from dementia. The bill passed by a margin of 50-17 and must now be considered by the Chamber of Representative, where it is expected to be approved. Efforts to legalize child euthanasia in Belgium had previously been unsuccessfully proposed in 2004 and 2008.

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Tue

10

Dec

2013

Saint of the Issue: Nicholas of Myra

by Sofia Infante

 

Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop known for his secret gift giving. Due to the number of miracles granted through his intercession, he became known to some as Nicholas the Wonderworker. The modern-day Santa Claus is modeled after him and is named after the Dutch Sint-Niklaas, which was shortened to Sinterklass and Anglicized to Santa Clause.

 

Nicholas was born on March 15, 270 in Asia Minor in the city of Parara and grew up in Myra, a city in Lycia, at the time when the area was heavily influenced by Greek heritage. He came from a wealthy Christian family and is said to have been very religious from an early age. When his parents died during an epidemic, Nicholas was taken in and raised by his uncle, the Bishop of Parara, who later ordained him as a priest.

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Mon

18

Nov

2013

Decreases in Religious Life Prompt Possible Canon Law Reform

by Sofia Infante

 

At a conference regarding “vocational perseverance” hosted at the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome on October 29, heads of religious life said that Pope Francis, who in his short time as head of the Catholic Church, has come to be regarded as a reformer, is open to the possibility of reforming the Code of Canon Law. A recent decrease in religious life has seen a large departure of priests and nuns from religious life, leading many within the Church to wonder if a reform of the Code of Canon Law may help ameliorate the current situation. Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, who was recently named secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said that in the last five years more than 13,000 people left the religious life.

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Tue

22

Oct

2013

Holocaust Survivor Thanks Pope for Church’s Aid

 by Sofia Infante

 

Holocaust survivor, Graziella Viterbi, 88, expressed her gratitude for the Church’s role in saving her life in a meeting with Pope Francis on October 4. The meeting took place in the archbishop’s residence in Assisi, where her family fled during the Holocaust.

 

They greeted each other with a “shalom” as they met in the “hall of divestment”, the first time in 800 years that a pope has visited the room where many Jews sought refuge during World War II. “Thank you for what the Church did for us,” Viterbi told Pope Francis who replied, “I thank you. Pray for me.”

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