Monday, February 28, 2022

Breaking tonight: Radical pro-abortion bill defeated in U.S. Senate


Pro-abortion Women's Health Protection Act fails in US Senate

The U.S. Senate failed to move forward with the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) on Monday, striking down what some pro-life groups identify as the most radical abortion bill in U.S. history.

The WHPA “would enshrine into federal law abortion on demand until the moment of birth, and it would nullify state laws — new and existing – that protect unborn children and their mothers,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, warned ahead of the vote.

The Feb. 28 cloture vote, with 46 for and 48 against the WHPA, needed 60 votes to proceed. It fell largely along party lines with only one Democrat (Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia) voting against proceeding with the bill that would override states’ pro-life laws and remove restrictions on abortion up to the point of birth in some cases. No Republicans voted in support of the WHPA.

Why is the Senate voting on the WHPA now?

While the act did not pass, the vote itself was historic. 

Ahead of the vote on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the Senate floor: “This will be the first time that the Senate takes a vote on a standalone bill to proactively codify Roe.”

The Senate’s vote comes as the Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling later this year in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that threatens Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. The Dobbs case centers on the question of “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” or whether states can ban abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, which the court previously determined to be 24 to 28 weeks into pregnancy.

If the Supreme Court does not uphold Roe when it decides Dobbs, abortion could be left up to individual states. The WHPA threatens these state laws.

“Sadly, it seems like the Supreme Court is posed to severely limit abortion rights in the coming months,” Schumer said Monday. “That’s why this bill is essential.”

During a press conference hosted by Senators Steve Daines, founder and chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, and James Lankford, chair of the Values Action Team, Republican senators criticized the timing of the vote during the invasion of Ukraine and called the WHPA more extreme than Roe.

Daines recognized the WHPA as the “most extreme legislation on abortion ever considered in the history of this body.”

On the Senate floor, Lankford added that the WHPA is “not going to just codify Roe.”

“This is talking about stripping away every protection for every child in the womb from any state in the country.” Later, he added, “This bill is the one-minute-from-infanticide bill. It mandates abortion in every state up to the moment of birth.”

What is the WHPA?

The WHPA would prohibit abortion restrictions or bans “that are more burdensome than those restrictions imposed on medically comparable procedures, do not significantly advance reproductive health or the safety of abortion services, and make abortion services more difficult to access.”

The act’s text lists a series of specific restrictions it would do away with, on everything from limitations on telemedicine to restrictions around viability, which the act defines as the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb — determined by “the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider.”

The WHPA would forbid any kind of limit on abortion before fetal viability, including “a prohibition or restriction on a particular abortion procedure.” After viability, the WHPA would outlaw limits on abortion “when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”

National pro-life groups, such as SBA List, have expressed concern over this section because the Supreme Court, in Doe v. Bolton, broadly defined what “may relate to health,” including “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the wellbeing of the patient.”

SBA List previously warned that the WHPA would also “nullify pro-life laws in states across the country, including late-term abortion limits when unborn children can feel pain, waiting periods, informed consent laws, antidiscrimination laws, and more.”

Last September, the House passed the WHPA in a vote that fell along party lines, with one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, joining Republicans to vote against it. Along the way, the Biden administration repeatedly expressed support for the bill.

Pro-life leaders respond to the vote

Ahead of the vote, multiple pro-life leaders expressed concern over the WHPA and stressed that the act ignored the will of the people.

“The March for Life condemns this bill in the strongest possible terms,” Mancini said. “The misnamed Women’s Health Protection Act is the most radical abortion bill in United States history.” 

She cited a Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll survey released in January that found that 71% of Americans, including 49% of Democrats, want to see abortion limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, also criticized the WHPA. 

“Biden, Pelosi and Schumer’s ‘Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act’ would enshrine an unlimited abortion ‘right’ in federal law and block common ground pro-life laws around the country, including limits on late-term abortions when unborn babies feel pain, bans on lethal discrimination abortions, and many more,” she said. “[N]ational Democratic leaders’ support for abortion on demand without limits, at taxpayer expense, is grossly out of step with the will of the American people.” 

As president and founder of Live Action, Lila Rose wanted that if the WHPA passed, it “would be the single most destructive piece of legislation enacted in the history of our nation.”

Like Mancini and Dannenfelser, she said, “The American people do not want this horrific bill aimed exclusively at ensuring the ongoing and expanded destruction of hundreds of thousands of helpless, innocent preborn children.”

“We must walk with families materially, emotionally, and spiritually to show them that they can choose life for their children,” she added. “The Women's Health Protection Act does the exact opposite, radically expanding the killing of children through all nine months of pregnancy.”

Two senior fellows at The Catholic Association also reacted to the approaching vote.

“In pushing the Women’s Health Protection Act, the Democrats show that their pro-abortion extremism knows no bounds,” Ashley McGuire stressed. “The law, if passed, would override the will of the people in every state that has passed, through legislative means, commonsense protections for women and babies.”

Maureen Ferguson called the WHPA “the most extreme, undemocratic abortion bill ever introduced in Congress.” 

“It would override every limit on abortion everywhere in the country, including limits on late-term abortion, parental consent laws, and conscience protections for doctors and nurses who do not wish to participate in abortions,” she said. “The Women’s Health Protection Act is Roe vs. Wade on steroids.”

Catholic Devotion for March: Saint Joseph


Catholic Prayer: March Devotion: Saint Joseph






Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Due to the solemnity of Saint Joseph on March 19, this month is devoted to this great saint, the foster father of Christ. "It greatly behooves Christians, while honoring the Virgin Mother of God, constantly to invoke with deep piety and confidence her most chaste spouse, Saint Joseph. We have a well grounded conviction that such is the special desire of the Blessed Virgin herself." --Pope Leo XIII


FOR OUR WORK Glorious Saint Joseph, pattern of all who are devoted to toil, obtain for me the grace to toil in the spirit of penance, in order thereby to atone for my many sins; to toil conscientiously, putting devotion to duty before my own inclinations; to labor with thankfulness and joy, deeming it an honor to employ and to develop, by my labor, the gifts I have received from Almighty God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties; to work above all with a pure intention and with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must then render of time ill-spent, of talents unemployed, of good undone, and of my empty pride in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all in imitation of thee, 0 Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my motto in life and in death. Amen.

OFFERING TO SAINT JOSEPH O great Saint Joseph, thou generous depositary and dispenser of immortal riches, behold us prostrate at thy feet, imploring thee to receive us as thy servants and as thy children. Next to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, of which thou art the faithful copy, we acknowledge that there is no heart more tender, more compassionate than thine.

What, then, have we to fear, or, rather, for what should we not hope, if thou dost deign to be our benefactor, our master, our model, our father and our mediator? Refuse not, then, this favor, O powerful protector! We ask it of thee by the love thou hast for Jesus and Mary. Into thy hands we commit our souls and bodies, but above all the last moments of our lives.

May we, after having honored, imitated, and served thee on earth, eternally sing with thee the mercies of Jesus and Mary. Amen.

FOR THE INTERCESSION OF SAINT JOSEPH O Joseph, virgin-father of Jesus, most pure spouse of the Virgin Mary, pray every day for us to the same Jesus, the Son of God, that we, being defended by the power of His grace and striving dutifully in life, may be crowned by Him at the hour of death.

Papal Prayer Intention for March 2022


The Pope's Monthly Intentions for 2022


A Christian Response to Bioethical Challenges
We pray for Christians facing new bioethical challenges; may they continue to defend the dignity of all human life with prayer and action.

March begins and this Patron of Wales is first Saint for March


St. David

According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of South Wales and St. Non. He was ordained a priest and later studied under St. Paulinus. Later, he was involved in missionary work and founded a number of monasteries. The monastery he founded at Menevia in Southwestern Wales was noted for extreme asceticism. David and his monks drank neither wine nor beer - only water - while putting in a full day of heavy manual labor and intense study. Around the year 550, David attended a synod at Brevi in Cardiganshire. His contributions at the synod are said to have been the major cause for his election as primate of the Cambrian Church. He was reportedly consecrated archbishop by the patriarch of Jerusalem while on a visit to the Holy Land. He also is said to have invoked a council that ended the last vestiges of Pelagianism. David died at his monastery in Menevia around the year 589, and his cult was approved in 1120 by Pope Callistus II. He is revered as the patron of Wales. Undoubtedly, St. David was endowed with substantial qualities of spiritual leadership. What is more, many monasteries flourished as a result of his leadership and good example. His staunch adherence to monastic piety bespeaks a fine example for modern Christians seeking order and form in their prayer life.His feast day is March 1.

The Catholic Church in Ukraine


Things to Know About the Catholic Church in Ukraine

Though most of Ukraine‘s population is Eastern Orthodox, Catholics are among those suffering amid Russia’s invasion of the country.

CNA Staff
February 24, 2022

Though most of Ukraine‘s population is Eastern Orthodox, Catholics are among those suffering amid Russia’s invasion of the country. Russian military entered Ukraine at several points on Thursday, and missile strikes on military targets and cities were also reported.

Here is what to know about Ukraine's Catholic population:

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

About 9% of Ukrainians are Greek Catholics, meaning they are Catholics who belong to Churches of the Byzantine Rite. Virtually all of these are part of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is led by Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuck of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Kyiv-Halych. 

The Byzantine Rite celebrates the liturgy in the form used by the Eastern Orthodox Churches, regularly using the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Ukrainian Greek Catholics are concentrated in the country's western oblasts bordering Poland, particularly Lviv. There are, however, 16 eparchies or exarchates (equivalent to dioceses or vicariates) of the Church throughout the country, including in Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is rooted in the 10th-century Christianization of Kievan Rus,' a state whose heritage Ukraine, Russia and Belarus all claim. That event also forms the roots of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

This Church also has a diaspora, with a sizable presence in the U.S., Canada, Poland and Brazil and smaller communities elsewhere in Europe and in Argentina and Australia.

Latin Rite Catholics

There is also a Latin, or Roman, Rite hierarchy in Ukraine, to which about 1% of the population belongs. This is also concentrated in the west of the country, with six dioceses being suffragan to the Archdiocese of Lviv, and has cultural ties to Poland and Hungary.


Ukraine is also home to the Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo and the Armenian Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv.

The Ruthenian Catholic Church also uses the Byzantine Rite, and it is centered in an oblast that borders four of Ukraine's western neighbors. There are nearly 320,000 Catholics in the Mukachevo eparchy, who are served by about 300 priests.

There is an Armenian Catholic Archeparchy in Lviv, though it has been vacant since World War II. Armenian Catholics in Ukraine are few in number and are often entrusted to the pastoral care of priests of other Catholic Churches.


Catholic Churches were severely persecuted in Ukraine while the country was part of the Soviet Union, and the renewal of conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the 2010s brought with it fears of ecclesial conflict and persecution.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was outlawed under Soviet rule, from 1946 to 1989, and the Ruthenian Catholic Church was suppressed in 1949.

In 2014, after the Russian annexation of Crimea and armed conflicts in other border regions between Ukrainian military forces and pro-Russian rebel groups and Russian soldiers, the then-apostolic nuncio to Ukraine warned of a return of persecution because of Russia's expansion into Ukrainian territory.

“The danger of repression of the Greek-Catholic Church exists in whatever part of Ukraine Russia might establish its predominance or continue through acts of terrorism to push forward with its aggression,” Archbishop Thomas Gullickson said Sept. 23, 2014.

Archbishop Gullickson was nuncio to Ukraine from 2011 to 2015, and he retired in 2020, at age 70.

“Any number of statements emanating from the Kremlin of late leave little doubt of Russian Orthodox hostility and intolerance toward Ukrainian Greek-Catholics,” he said in September 2014 to directors of Aid to the Church in Need. 

“There is no reason for excluding the possibility of another wholesale repression of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church as came about in 1946 with the complicity of the Orthodox brethren and the blessing of Moscow,” he stated.

Many Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic clergy were forced to leave Crimea after its annexation. Both Roman and Greek Catholics faced difficulties in properly registering ownership of church property and in ensuring legal residency for their clergy.

Under the Soviet Union, 128 priests, bishops and nuns of the Ruthenian Catholic Church were put in prisons or sent into exile in Siberia. The eparchy of Mukachevo had 36 priests martyred during the persecution.

Blessed Theodore Romzha was Ruthenian bishop of Mukachevo for three years before he was assassinated in 1947 by the NKVD on the orders of Nikita Khrushchev, who was then first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine. 

Blessed Romzha was among a group of more than 20 Ukrainian martyrs of the 20th century who were beatified by St. John Paul II during his 2001 visit to Ukraine.

Pope Francis meets with Iraqi church leaders


Pope Francis meeting representatives of Christian Churches in IraqPope Francis meeting representatives of Christian Churches in Iraq  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis receives representatives of Iraqi Churches

Meeting a delegation of Iraqi Church religious leaders on Monday, Pope Francis encourages the local Christian communities to continue promoting dialogue so as to build fraternity and counteract extremism and fundamentalism.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis on Monday received in audience Representatives of the Christian Churches in Iraq visiting Rome on the occasion of the first anniversary of his Apostolic Journey to the country in March 2021.

Courageous witnesses of the Gospel

In his address to the delegation , the Holy Father recalled that Iraq is the cradle of civilization and of Christianity, remarking that it has also been a land of exiles since biblical times. Referring to the tragic events of these recent years, he expressed his deep gratitude to the Christian communities of Iraq for their “courageous witnesses of fidelity to the Gospel” amid persecution.

“I bow before the suffering and martyrdom of those who have preserved the faith, even at the cost of their lives. Just as the blood of Christ, shed out of love, brought reconciliation and made the Church flourish, may the blood of these many martyrs of our time, belonging to different traditions but united in the same sacrifice, be a seed of unity among Christians and a sign of a new springtime of faith.”

Fraternal relations

He further commended the Iraqi Churches for their fraternal relations which have allowed to establish “many links of collaboration in the field of pastoral care, formation and service to the poorest” and encouraged them to “continue along this path, so that, through concrete initiatives, constant dialogue and, fraternal love, progress may be made towards full unity”

“In the midst of a people which has suffered so much division and discord, Christians will shine as a prophetic sign of unity in diversity.”

An essential component of Iraqi society

Pope Francis went on to point out that Christians are an essential component of Iraqi society. “Iraq without Christians”, he said, “would no longer be Iraq, because Christians, along with other believers, contribute strongly to the country’s specific identity as a place where co-existence, tolerance and mutual acceptance have flourished ever since the first centuries”.  This is why, Pope Francis stressed “no stone should be left unturned in ensuring that Christians continue to feel that Iraq is their home, and that they are citizens in their own right”.

The importance of dialogue

The Holy Father further highlighted that Christians of Iraq have the special vocation of ensuring  that religions be at the service of fraternity and therefore the duty to engage in dialogue. Dialogue, he said, “is the best antidote to extremism, which is a danger for the followers of any religion and a grave threat to peace”.

He also noted fundamentalism can be eradicated only through  addressing its root causes, which include “material, cultural and educational poverty and  situations of injustice and vulnerability”.

"Don't get discouraged!"

Wrapping up his address, Pope Francis called on Christians not be discouraged and to continue invoking the Spirit of Jesus “maker of unity”: “Let us ask the Holy Trinity, the model of true unity which is not uniformity, to strengthen communion among us and among our Churches. In this way we will be able to respond to the Lord’s heartfelt desire that his disciples be ‘one’ , Pope Francis concluded.

Members of the delegation

Members of the Iraqi delegation included, amongst others,  Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud of Mosul and East Assyrian Bishop Abris Youkhanna of Kirkuk and Diana, who both expressed deep gratitude to Pope Francis for his  historic visit to Iraq.

Gratitude for the Pope's visit to Iraq

Indeed, Archbishop Daoud highlighted the positive impact of that visit on interreligious relations in the country, especially on the attitude of Muslims towards Christians. For his part, Bishop Youkhanna noted that the Pope’s visit has given a “new impulse and light” to ecumenical dialogue in Iraq. “Dialogue is made up of human relationships that constantly reminds us that we are all children of God, and therefore brothers”, the prelate said.

Ukraine will not be abandoned


A woman fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine embraces a child in a refugee camp in Przemysl, PolandA woman fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine embraces a child in a refugee camp in Przemysl, Poland 

We will not abandon the Ukrainian people

In the wake of the Russian invasion, many Ukrainians feel abandoned. But as the war continues, there has also been an eruption of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, from Europe and around the world. The Pope has called for a day dedicated to closeness with the suffering of the Ukrainian people: “God is with the peacemakers, not with those who use violence!”

By Sergio Centofanti

Many Ukrainians have felt abandoned in these dramatic days. They do not want to hear about the “price of gas,” because they feel they’ve been sold out. They know that an external intervention could trigger a much bigger conflict, devastating for the world. Belarusian President Lukashenko has even said that sanctions could push Putin towards nuclear war — a scenario we would not even want to think about.

But in the face of the Russian attack and nightmarish threats, solidarity is growing. The invasion of a free country has united Europe as never before. Europe, so divided on so many issues, has never been as united as it is today: it stands by the Ukrainian people. Neighbouring countries have opened their borders to the refugees: Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia have opened their arms. Other countries are ready to host those forced to flee. Demonstrations and initiatives for peace and solidarity with Ukraine are taking place in Europe and on other continents.

Christian communities, parishes, associations, and Caritas have mobilised to send humanitarian aid in every way possible. President Zelensky said that the Ukrainian people feel the Pope’s support. At the Angelus, Pope Francis reiterated his appeal to silence the weapons, saying that “God is with the peacemakers, not with those who use violence!” and that “ordinary people want peace.” There is such solidarity in the face of images of children, women, and the elderly, who are fleeing on foot or are shut up in shelters, praying with dismayed faces, or who are beside those who have fallen. Now there is hope for negotiations.

There is so much sympathy for the Ukrainians, a people who want peace and have suffered so much. In the 1930s, Stalin starved them because they resisted Soviet policies: several million Ukrainians died from the famine. It is a little-known extermination, the Holodomor, the annihilation of a people by starvation.

Many Russians are ashamed of the invasion. The pro-government media call it a “military operation” or a “liberation” or an intervention aimed at “denazification.” There are many Russians who believe this. But many Russians are demonstrating in favour of peace, against the attack. Many have been arrested. We support Russians who are for peace. We support the Russian soldiers who do not want to shoot at Ukrainians, such as those standing empty-handed in front of a tank. Let us help those Russians who believe in this war to understand where the evil is. But above all, let us not abandon the Ukrainian people.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Final Saint of the Day for February was a Pope


St. Hilary, Pope

Pope from 461-468 and guardian of Church unity. He was born in Sardinia, Italy, and was a papal legate to the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, barely escaping with his life from this affair. Hilary was used by Pope St. Leo I the Great on many assignments. When Leo died, Hilary was elected pope and consecrated on November 19,461. He worked diligently to strengthen the Church in France and Spain, calling councils in 462 and 465. Hilary also rebuilt many Roman churches and erected the chapel of St. John Lateran. He also publicly rebuked Emperor Anthemius in St. Peter's for supporting the Macedonian heresy and sent a decree to the Eastern bishops validating the decisions of the General Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. Hilary consolidated the Church in Sandi, Africa, and Gaul. He died in Rome on February 28.

The Church in her wisdom

 From today's opening prayer at Mass:

Grant us O Lord, we pray, that the course of our world may be directed by your peaceful rule and that your Church may rejoice, untroubled in her devotion.  

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.  

Pope Francis again speaks out against war


Ukrainian refugees arrive at Zahonyi railway station close to the Hungarian-Ukrrainian borderUkrainian refugees arrive at Zahonyi railway station close to the Hungarian-Ukrrainian border  (AFP or licensors)

Pope: 'Silence all weapons. Those who wage war forget humanity!'

Pope Francis renews his invitation to set aside 2 March as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine, and decries the "diabolical and perverse logic of weapons" which, he says, is far from the will of God.

By Linda Bordoni

“In these days we have been shocked by something tragic: war!”

With these words Pope Francis launched a series of appeals: for prayers and closeness to those suffering the Russian assault in Ukraine; for the opening of humanitarian corridors for those who flee; and, for political resolutions to conflicts in Ukraine and in other parts of the world.

“Many times,” he said during the Sunday Angelus, “we have prayed that this road would not be taken,” and he asked the faithful to continue to implore God more intensely.

2 March: Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace

The Pope renewed his invitation to everyone to make 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine.

“It is a day to be close to the suffering of the Ukrainian people, to be aware that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore God for an end to the war.”

Those who wage war forget humanity

Pope Francis went on to say that “those who wage war forget humanity: they do not start from the people; they do not look at the concrete life of the people, but put partisan interests and power in front of everything.”

“They rely on the diabolic and perverse logic of weapons which is the most distant from the will of God, and they distance themselves from the common people who want peace,” he said.

He noted that, in every conflict, “ordinary people are the real victims who pay for the follies of war with their own skin.”

The Pope added that he thinks especially “of the elderly, of those who are seeking refuge at this time, of mothers fleeing with their children.”

“They are brothers and sisters for whom it is urgent to open humanitarian corridors and who must be welcomed, with an aching heart, for what is happening in Ukraine.”

Don’t forget wars in other parts of the world

Pope Francis also invited all men and women of goodwill not to forget the wars in other parts of the world, mentioning those in Yemen, Syria, and Ethiopia.

“I repeat: May weapons be silenced! God is with the peacemakers, not with those who use violence!”

Those who love peace, the Pope continued, as the Italian Constitution states, “repudiate war as an instrument of offence to the freedom of other peoples and as a means of settling international disputes.”