CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 June 2018

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Around the Traps

#MeToo called to support women abused for their faith
VATICAN (CNS): Under the title, #MeToo for All, Aid to the Church in Need has published an open letter to four actresses asking help in publicising the widespread sexual exploitation of women because of their faith. 
 
Addressed to Asia Argento, Meryl Streep, Sharon Stone and Uma Thurman, the letter was printed as an ad June 6 in the Italian edition of Vanity Fair. The four have been leaders in denouncing sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood. 
 
Aid to the Church in Need said that the four actresses have been effective in “calling the world’s attention to the sexual molestation women have suffered, particularly in the world of entertainment,” it was “intolerable” that little or no attention is given “to the very many women who endure sexual and psychological violence because of their faith.” 
 
The organisation asked the four actresses to help raise awareness of the thousands of women who are “persecuted and violated without receiving any solidarity or visibility.”
 
Church suspends sacraments during Ebola outbreak
OXFORD (CNS): The Catholic Church in Congo said emergency measures will remain indefinitely in place in parishes at risk of Ebola, and called for effective action against the disease by the government of president, Joseph Kabila. 
 
“Although Masses are continuing, sacraments such as baptism and confirmation have had to be suspended,” Monsignor Jean-Marie Bomengola, secretary of the Social Communications Commission, said. 
 
“Since we can’t foresee how the disease will develop, we can’t set out any timescale. But the crisis needs real containment measures, and we’re counting on the government to provide them,” he said. 
 
Health care workers toiled to head off a feared epidemic in the Equateur province in northwest Congo, where at least 25 people have died of the almost-always fatal disease. 
 
Monsignor Bomengola said on June 7 that at least 1,000 people had been vaccinated and that measures were in place to prevent any personal contact among Catholics. “All precautions are being taken to ensure people don’t come too close. It’s a highly abnormal situation,” he said.
 
Gossip destroys gift of peace pope says
VATICAN (CNS): Peace is a gift that can easily be destroyed through petty gossip and speaking ill of others, Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience on June 6. 
 
People who receive and give the sign of peace “should be men and women of peace” and not ruin “the peace made by the Holy Spirit with your tongue,” the pope said. 
 
Continuing his series of audience talks on Confirmation, Pope Francis spoke about the gift of the Holy Spirit pointing out that, “Gossip is not a work of the Holy Spirit, it is not a work of the unity of the Church. Gossip destroys the work of God. Please stop gossiping.” 
 
Baker wins in same-sex wedding cake case
WASHINGTON (CNS): In a majority 7-2 decision on June 4, the Supreme Court of the United States (US) sided with a Colorado baker in a case that put anti-discrimination laws up against freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression. 
 
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had violated the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom in its ruling against the baker, who refused to make a wedding cake for the same-sex couple. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented. 
 
Kennedy noted that the case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, had a limited scope, writing that the issue “must await further elaboration.” 
 
The ruling stems from the case argued before the court last December from an incident in 2012 when Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked the baker, Jack Phillips, to make a cake for their wedding reception. Phillips refused, saying his religious beliefs would not allow him to create a cake honouring their marriage.
 
Across the country, appeals in similar cases are pending, including another case at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. 
 
The chairpersons of three US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committees said the decision “confirms that people of faith should not suffer discrimination on account of their deeply held religious beliefs, but instead should be respected by government officials… In a pluralistic society like ours, true tolerance allows people with different viewpoints to be free to live out their beliefs, even if those beliefs are unpopular with the government.”
 
Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with the Catholic Association, a group that emphasises religious freedom, described the court’s ruling as a “clear win for religious liberty and expression.”

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