Thursday, February 29, 2024

Praying in March with the Pope's monthly intention


The Pope's Monthly Intentions for 2024


For the new martyrs

We pray that those who risk their lives for the Gospel in various parts of the world inflame the Church with their courage and missionary enthusiasm.

1st Saint of the Day 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 schedule for the Pope during Holy Week and Easter


File photo of Pope Francis giving his Easter Urbi et Orbi addressFile photo of Pope Francis giving his Easter Urbi et Orbi address 

Pope Francis' liturgical celebrations for Holy Week and Easter

The Holy See Press Office releases the official calendar of Pope Francis' Liturgical Celebrations for March 2024, which includes Holy Week and Easter Sunday celebrations, as well as the Via Crucis at the Colosseum.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

The Vatican’s Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has released the Pope’s liturgical schedule for March, which includes all the celebrations leading up to Holy Week and throughout Easter Sunday.

On Sunday, 24 March, Palm Sunday, Pope Francis will preside over Holy Mass in St Peter’s Square.

Later that week, on Holy Thursday morning, the Pope will preside over the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. 

The next evening, on Good Friday, the Pontiff is scheduled to preside over the Mass for the Lord's Passion in St. Peter's Basilica, before presiding over the Via Crucis in Rome's iconic Colosseum.

As is customary, the Pope will also preside over the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Holy Saturday evening, and the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, the next morning.

At noon on Easter Sunday, from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father will give his Urbi et Orbilessing ("to the city and the world") message and blessing upon the faithful of Rome and the world.

Here is the full calendar of the liturgical celebrations:

March 24: Palm Sunday: Passion of the Lord

St. Peter's Square
10:00 am
Commemoration of the Lord's entrance into Jerusalem and Holy Mass

March 28: Holy Thursday

St. Peter's Basilica
9:30 am
Chrism Mass

March 29: Good Friday "Passion of the Lord"

St. Peter's Basilica
5:00 pm
Celebration of the Passion of the Lord

9:15 pm
Way of the Cross

March 30: Easter Sunday "Resurrection of the Lord"

St. Peter's Basilica
7:30 pm
Easter Vigil on Holy Night

March 31: Easter Sunday "Resurrection of the Lord"

St. Peter's Square
10:00 am
Daytime Mass

Central Loggia of St. Peter's Basilica
12:00 pm
"Blessing 'Urbi et Orbi'"

Bishops from across the Americas gather in Tampa


Members of the executive committees of the Episcopal Conferences of Canada, the United States and Latin America (CELAM). Members of the executive committees of the Episcopal Conferences of Canada, the United States and Latin America (CELAM).  

Bishops of the Americas aim at more synodal and missionary Church

Bishops from Canada, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean hold a three-day summit in the US city of Tampa “to pray and discuss their shared ministry as pastors.”

By Vatican News

Continuing a tradition that goes back to 1959, the bishops of the Episcopal Conferences of the North and South America met in Tampa (USA), for collegial reflection dedicated to prayer, fraternity, listening, and dialogue. Taking part in the February 26-28 gathering were Bishops from the leadership of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

At the conclusion of their meeting, the Bishops sent a letter to Pope Francis to share their experience. “Our conversations bore much fruit and we have begun to explore the possibilities of various joint initiatives, especially in the areas of the environment and migration.”

Speaking with Vatican News, CELAM Secretary General of CELAM, Bishop Lizardo Estrada, said the Church in the American continent lives an “affective and effective collegiality.” Emphasizing the common response of the Church to various challenges, he explained, “We want to walk together, synodality leads us to that; and to listen to one other and to face common problems and respond to these challenges that we all have, all America.”

‘One American continent’

In a joint statement issued after their meeting, the Bishops of the Americas stated, “We talked about our mutual concerns and approaches to pastoral ministry and moral issues including euthanasia, migration, ecological threats to our common home, and the Synod.”

The Bishops said their time together has helped them to see “the wisdom” of Pope Saint John Paul II’s affirmation that there is “one American continent,” noting, “We share much in common and have similar pastoral and social concerns.”

They added that their time together “has strengthened our bonds of fraternity in Christ and has allowed us to discern ways we can promote a more synodal and missionary Church and work together even more effectively in the vineyard of the Lord.”

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Mafia suspected of poisoning the chalice of a Priest in Italy before Mass


Mafia in Italy suspected of poisoning priest’s chalice

Marco Mancini

During evening Mass on Feb. 24, Father Felice Palamara, a parish priest in Cessaniti, a village in the Vibo Valentia province of Italy, was once again apparently targeted by the ’Ndrangheta, a criminal organization in Italy that operates mainly in Calabria, the so-called “toe” of Italy.

Palamara, a priest of the Diocese of Tropea-Mileto-Nicotera, noticed a strange smell coming from the chalice: Bleach had been poured into the liturgical vessels, laboratory analysis later confirmed. Realizing what was happening, he was forced to interrupt the liturgy to report the incident to the local police.

Days prior, the priest’s car had been damaged by unidentified vandals.

The bishop of Tropea-Mileto-Nicotera, Attilio Nostro, expressed his solidarity with the priest and denounced the intimidating actions of the Calabrian Mafia.

The diocese said in a statement posted on its website that “it is experiencing a time of suffering due to intimidating acts.”

Nostro went on to exhort his flock to “not be discouraged by this language of violence. We must not give in to this logic, allowing ourselves to be tempted by despair and anger. We cannot accept this language; we must not respond to hatred with hatred, knowing that it is not possible to truly dialogue with those who refuse to do so.” 

“My heartfelt thanks to law enforcement for the professionalism with which they are helping and supporting us in this humanly difficult moment, and I too will continue to guarantee my priests my constant presence so that they can carry out their invaluable service,” the bishop concluded.

In addition, Father Francesco Pontoriero, also of the same diocese, has received explicit death threats in recent days.

The two priests presumably ended up in the sights of the ’Ndrangheta for their constant commitment to the rule of law and their struggle against the Mafia.

Due to Mafia infiltration, at the end of last summer the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, following the recommendation of the minister of the interior, dissolved the city council of Cessaniti, which is located in the area  where the two threatened priests carry out their pastoral ministry.

Nope, Catholics still cannot be Masons


After meeting with Masons, bishop reaffirms Catholics cannot join

Cindy Wooden - Catholic News ServiceFebruary 27, 2024

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After participating in a seminar on the Catholic Church and the Freemasons, an Italian bishop reaffirmed that Catholics who belong to Masonic lodges are in a “serious state of sin” and cannot receive Communion.

Bishop Antonio Staglianò, president of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, spoke to Vatican News Feb. 24 after participating in the seminar Feb. 16 with the leaders of Italy’s three main Masonic lodges, Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan and Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

The seminar was sponsored by GRIS, an Italian Catholic research group founded in the 1980s to promote research about cults and religious sects.

News that the seminar was taking place -- behind closed doors -- made headlines across Italy, particularly because in November the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed church teaching that membership in Freemasonry is incompatible with being Catholic.

“Active membership in Freemasonry by a member of the faithful is forbidden because of the irreconcilability between Catholic doctrine and Freemasonry,” the doctrinal office said, pointing to the longstanding church position, explained in detail in the office’s “Declaration on Masonic Associations” in 1983.

Catholics enrolled in Masonic associations “are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion,” the 1983 declaration said.

According to the newspaper Il Messaggero, Archbishop Delpini told participants the meeting was not about reconciliation or “absolution, but about fostering conversations between people to get to know each other’s points of view, to record their convergence or distance.”

The opening speech by Stefano Bisi, grand master of the Grand Orient of Italy, the main Masonic Lodge, was posted on the lodge’s website.

“I would like the prelate, the man of the cloth in front of me, not to be afraid of me and I would like not to be afraid of him,” Bisi said. “I am glad to be here today because it means that steps forward on the path of knowledge and respect have been taken.”

The grand master claimed that in its “300 years of existence, no institution has been opposed, fought, mystified, vilified and so feared as universal Freemasonry.”

Bisi told the Catholic leaders that “there has not been a significant attempt at openness” to the Masons during the pontificate of Pope Francis, even though the pope has reached out to LGBTQ+ Catholics and those who are divorced and civilly remarried.

“But he has forgotten that among the Masons there are many Catholics, who are impeded from receiving Communion,” he said, “and when there were negotiations about giving credentials to an ambassador who was a Mason, he said, ‘no.’”

After participating in the meeting, Bishop Staglianò told Vatican News the church’s teaching would not change because the Mason’s idea of God and even of charity and fraternity were so different from Catholic teaching.

“Masonry is a heresy that fundamentally aligns with the Arian heresy,” he said, “imagining that Jesus was the Great Architect of the Universe,” as they define the Supreme Being, “denying the divinity of Christ” as the Arians did.

Such a fundamental difference in saying who God is also means Catholics and Masons have a different understanding of who human beings are, why they are all brothers and sisters and why they are called to engage in charity, the bishop said.

“In short,” Bishop Staglianò said, “when we speak of irreconcilability we are referring to deep contradictions.”

Pope Francis visits the hospital today after General Audience


Pope FrancisPope Francis  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis visits Rome hospital for diagnostic tests

Following the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis, who has been suffering from mild flu symptoms in the past days, visits Rome’s Gemelli Hospital on the Tiber Island for some diagnostic tests.

By Vatican News

A statement released by the Holy See Press Office on Wednesday said Pope Francis visited the Gemelli Hospital on Rome’s Tiber Island straight after the General Audience, where he underwent some diagnostic tests. Following the tests, he was driven back to the Vatican.

Some scheduled papal audiences were cancelled in the past days as a precautionary measure due to flu symptoms the Pope was experiencing.

On Wednesday morning, at the beginning of the Wednesday General Audience, he explained to those present in the Paul VI Hall that he still had a “cold”  and he asked one of his collaborators, Monsignor Filippo Ciampanelli, to read the catechesis for him.

Immediately after the audience, he was driven to the Rome hospital on the Tiber Island, which is very close to the Vatican.

On Sunday, he recited the Angelus as usual, appearing at the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

The Holy See Press Office meanwhile has confirmed the Pope will receive German Chancellor, Olaf Scholtz, in audience on Saturday, 2 March, as planned.

Papal General Audience 02.28.2024


Pope at Audience: God's power is made perfect in weakness

During his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis continues his catechesis series on virtues and vices, this week focusing on the sins of envy and vainglory, suggesting there are remedies to each, both of which involve making ourselves less at the center, embracing weakness, and letting God operate in our lives.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Envy and vainglory are dangerous vices, but there are remedies to combat each.

Pope Francis suggested this during his weekly General Audience on Wednesday morning in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, as he continued his catechesis series on virtues and vices, this week examining envy and vainglory.  

Given the Pope's recent flu-like symptoms, the Holy Father opted for an official of the Vatican Secretariat of State, Msgr. Filippo Ciampanelli, to read his remarks on his behalf, as he has done for the Holy Father on other occasions.

Speaking first about envy, the Pope recalled the sin, even as early as in the story of Cain and Abel, proved to be a destructive force fuelled by resentment towards others, that often leads to deadly hatred.  

"Envy," he observed, "is an evil that has not only been investigated in the Christian sphere: it has attracted the attention of philosophers and wise men of every culture."

God's 'math' is different

At envy's basis, the Holy Father suggested, is a relationship of hate and love. "One desires the evil for the other, but secretly desires to be like him.

"His good fortune," he continued, "seems to us an injustice: surely, we think to ourselves,  we would deserve his successes or good fortune much more!

At the root of this vice, he noted, is "a false idea of God," where "we do not accept that God has His own 'math,' different from ours."

Remedies to envy and vainglory

The remedy to envy, the Pope suggested, lies in Saint Paul’s exhortation: “Love one another with brotherly affection, compete in esteeming one another.” 

Meanwhile, vainglory, which is excessive or ostentatious pride especially in one's achievements, he said, is marked by an inflated self-esteem and "a craving for constant praise," "frequently prone to using other people for one’s own ends." 

This sin, the Holy Father pointed out, goes hand in hand with "the demon" of envy, saying both vices are characteristic of a person "who aspires to be the centre of the world."

God's power made perfect in weakness

The vainglorious person, the Pope indicated, is completely self-absorbed.

To combat this vice, the Pope suggested following Saint Paul’s example of boasting of his weakness rather than achievements, which "offers an effective way for overcoming vainglory."

Pope Francis urged the faithful to imitate Saint Paul in knowing that God’s grace is sufficient, since His power is made perfect in weakness.

As we accept and even embrace our weaknesses, the Holy Father suggested, the power of Christ will set us free for a more generous love of others.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Long-time Catholic evangelization resource in New Orleans to close


Closing the book on 85 years of evangelization

By Peter Finney Jr.
Clarion Herald

In its 85 years of continuous operation, The Catholic Book Store has survived fire, flood and the colossal power and quick-twitch convenience of Amazon.

But now, the oldest bookstore in New Orleans, launched before WWII in 1939 by Florence Henderson, an independent laywoman who saw a need to make Catholic reading material more easily available, will close on April 30, the victim of an unrelenting financial balance sheet.

“Frankly, the profit and loss statement was probably the biggest thing,” said Margaret Kelly, the widow of former Tulane University president Eamon Kelly, who has served as a volunteer and a member of the bookstore’s board of directors since the early 1990s. “We could see that we weren’t making enough money to pay our expenses. And, that becomes a worry because you feel obligated.

“The other thing is we realized we couldn’t pay a living wage. We found out that young people, even high school kids, aren’t willing to work for $7.50 an hour anymore. There are too many other opportunities to get more elsewhere, and they’re saving for college, and their families have expenses. So, it just became sort of untenable.”

Revenue couldn’t keep up

The bookstore has only one full-time employee – longtime manager Anne Komly – and for many years it has operated rent-free on the second floor of a building, owned by the Archdiocese of New Orleans, at Fig Street and South Carrollton Avenue, directly across from Notre Dame Seminary.

Financial challenges began to mount in recent years. Kelly, the 90-year-old who taught herself QuickBooks to keep the store’s financial records, said one example is the falloff in total sales. A year ago, sales during the Christmas season amounted to approximately $15,000.

“This year, it might have been half of that,” Kelly said. “The difference was significant. And this has been going on for a while. It wasn’t just one year. We were limping by, relying on people who could contribute.”

Major street reconstruction in the area virtually cut off access to the store for months during the summer of 2023.

“That was the most recent disaster,” said volunteer board member Jack Belsom, 90, with a rueful smile.

“They tore up our driveway,” Komly recalled. “There was a back way that people could come in, but people would call and say, ‘I came by, but I couldn’t get in, so I just went on.’”

Had it not been for many generous donors providing either cash or books or gifts, the bookstore probably would not have been able to make it this long, Kelly said.

Strong woman founder

In 1939, Henderson opened The Catholic Book Store at 710 Common St. in the St. Charles Hotel, next door to “Mr. Chehardy’s tailor shop,” and announced her venture through small ads in the Catholic Action, the predecessor of the Clarion Herald.

Her idea was to offer a wide variety of Christian reading material instead of concentrating on liturgical works and religious articles such as plaster statuary, religious prints, medals and rosaries.

“There were other stores which stocked those things in abundance,” Henderson told the Clarion Herald in 1984, the 50th anniversary of the store’s opening.

The store survived the tail end of the Depression and WWII. When the St. Charles Hotel revamped its ground floor to accommodate airline travel business, the store moved to the 300 block of Baronne Street.

A place of welcome

One of the classic tales in bookstore history came, unwittingly, in the 1950s when it was featured in a book written by John Howard Griffin, “Black Like Me.” Griffin darkened his skin to give himself the appearance of being Black and traveled throughout the South to see how he would be treated.

In New Orleans, Griffin’s many attempts to cash a $20 traveler’s check were rebuffed until he walked into The Catholic Book Store on Baronne Street and found “a kind, white woman” who helped him. Undoubtedly, the woman who cashed his check was Henderson.

“He was so amazed at the fact that he was welcomed with open arms, because at the time, everybody thought he was Black,” Belsom said. “That was the kind of place that people could wander into and be welcomed, understood and appreciated. Florence was an absolutely wonderful person. She had a real belief in what she was doing. She thought that people ought to be able to get their hands on books related to the church and to religion.”

In 1969, fire accompanied by water damage prompted the move to the basement of a two-story home on Fig Street, next to the seminary. The bookstore later was able to become the de facto book exchange for Notre Dame Seminary.

Katrina swamped its pages

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina sent 4 1/2  feet of water into the store, swamping the entire collection. The store reopened in 2006 across the street in a trailer on the seminary lawn, and, in 2009, it moved back across the street to the second floor of the Fig Street home.

With the closure of The Catholic Book Store, Catholic books and Catholic gifts  can be purchased at Pauline Books and Media, Mule’s Religious & Office Supply, Church Supply House in Metairie, and at Westbank Religious Supply in Marrero.

“I’m very sad,” Komly said. “It’s been a big part of my life. And, the customers – we’re all good friends.”

“It’s like a death in the family – exactly like that,” Kelly said. “This is a place where you can encounter books and look around and see which ones you want. We had a school child who used to come in here and wait for her mother to pick her up because she couldn’t stay at school anymore. She’d sit in the book room and do her homework.”

Board member Michael M. Davis is concerned about the shuttering of another Catholic opportunity to evangelize.

“It’s beyond our control – we have no choice – but that really concerns me,” Davis said. “We’re all aware of the Catholic bookstores closing. We’re aware of the diocesan newspapers closing around the country. This is just another evangelization opportunity that is being closed.”

“It’s the end of an era,” Kelly said.

The Catholic Book Store can be reached at (504) 861-7504 or Komly said now through the store’s closing on April 30, all books, gifts and other merchandise will be sold at 50% off. Even furniture within the store will be sold.

Archbishop Aymond remind Louisiana Catholics of the LCCB position on the death penalty which is opposed to the public pronouncements of Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry


We must affirm the culture of life in Louisiana

It is with much hope that the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops seeks to provide continued guidance to affirm the culture of life and end the use of the death penalty. The Life and Dignity of the Human Person is the foundation of Jesus’ teaching, and of Scripture, our tradition, and Catholic social teaching.

This is a hopeful teaching of the church and upholds our consistent life ethic that life is sacred from conception to natural death. At the same time, we continue to pray for the victims and their families and for their healing and for an end to violence in our communities.

As a Church, we accompany our brothers and sisters, children, parents and loved ones as we see them suffer from the heinous and violent actions of others. Only God can console them, yet we offer what comfort we can with our presence and prayer. The healing that comes from forgiveness has been a powerful force in the lives of many families who have experienced violence. Through our varied ministries, we offer counseling, personal support and the grace of the sacraments to assist in the healing process. Our ministry of healing and forgiveness is rooted in Jesus’ command to “be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

Prior statements by the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops include “Let Justice and Mercy Meet” in 2002 and, in April 2017, “It’s Time to Affirm Life Without Exception: The Death Penalty is Not Acceptable.” Since then, there has continued to be work by faithful Catholic laity and church leadership to affirm the culture of life.

St. John Paul II made it clear that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.

In 2018, Pope Francis officially updated the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” calling capital punishment “an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and deeming it “inadmissible” in all cases. We must always keep the Catholic principles of restorative justice in mind: supporting and restoring the victim’s family; making the offender accountable for his crime; and protecting the wider community.

The death penalty is a pro-life issue, and the church has been consistent in advocating for its abolition. There are ways to protect society without resorting to capital punishment, as St. John Paul II has called us to this understanding. As Catholics, we are aware of the deeper reality of the depth of mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ and that mercy is the ultimate fulfillment of justice.

The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops formulates public policy positions through a board of directors consisting of the Archbishop of New Orleans and the bishops of the six other Catholic dioceses in Louisiana.

Saint of the Day for Wednesday


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.

Former President Trump takes stand on IVF; opposes position of the Catholic Church


Trump Calls On GOP To Protect IVF

In All 50 States, A Move Opposed

By The Catholic Church

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — Former President Donald Trump on Feb. 23 responded to the Alabama Supreme Court’s in vitro fertilization ruling in a statement saying he supports the “availability of IVF” and calling on the state’s Legislature to “act quickly to find an immediate solution” to preserve access to fertility treatment in the state.

IVF is an artificial form of fertility treatment opposed by the Catholic Church on the grounds that it often involves the destruction of human embryos and violates their human dignity in multiple other ways.

Trump, who is in the midst of his third bid for the White House and is the clear frontrunner poised to receive his party’s nomination for president, joined several other Republican lawmakers or candidates for office who condemned the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling.

“Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families,” Trump said in a statement. “We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder! That includes supporting the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America.”

Trump added in his statement, “Like the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of Americans, including the VAST MAJORITY of Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, and Pro-Life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby.”

“Today, I am calling on the Alabama Legislature to act quickly to find an immediate solution to preserve the availability of IVF in Alabama,” Trump said. “The Republican Party should always be on the side of the Miracle of Life — and the side of Mothers, Fathers, and their Beautiful Babies. IVF is an important part of that, and our Great Republican Party will always be with you, in your quest, for the ULTIMATE JOY IN LIFE!”

A Feb. 16 ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court found that embryos are children under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, a statute that allows parents of a deceased child to recover punitive damages for their child’s death. That ruling came in response to appeals brought by couples whose embryos were destroyed in 2020, when a hospital patient removed frozen embryos from storage equipment, which they argued constituted a wrongful death. The judges found that under the law, parents’ ability to sue over the wrongful death of a minor child applies to unborn children, without an exception for “extrauterine children.”

The Alabama legal ruling, while limited in scope, aligns more with the position the Catholic Church has staked out against the legalization of IVF.

The 1987 document from the Congregation (now Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith known as “Donum Vitae” (“The Gift of Life”) states the church opposes in vitro fertilization and related practices, including gestational surrogacy, in part because “the connection between in vitro fertilization and the voluntary destruction of human embryos occurs too often.”

Issued by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, the teaching named the “right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death” and “the child’s right to be conceived, brought into the world and brought up by his parents” as behind the church’s moral objections to artificial methods of human reproduction. It emphasized, “The political authority consequently cannot give approval to the calling of human beings into existence through procedures which would expose them to those very grave risks noted previously.”

The teaching warned further, “The possible recognition by positive law and the political authorities of techniques of artificial transmission of life and the experimentation connected with it would widen the breach already opened by the legalization of abortion.”

However, the Alabama high court’s limited ruling was met with backlash, as multiple Alabama IVF providers paused treatment in the state following the ruling, as questions were raised about legal implications for the practice. 

Republican candidates for office distanced themselves from the ruling.

“As someone who struggled to get pregnant, I believe all life is a gift. IVF allowed me, as it has so many others, to start my family,” Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Calif., who represents a district carried by Biden, wrote on X. “I believe there is nothing more pro-life than helping families have children, and I do not support federal restrictions on IVF.”

CNN reported the National Republican Senatorial Campaign sent a memo to their candidates suggesting they “clearly and concisely reject efforts by the government to restrict IVF.” The memo included a recent poll showing the popularity of IVF even among conservatives.

“Campaign on increasing access,” the memo said. “Advocate for policies that increase access to fertility treatments including insurance coverage and support services. Position this stance as part of a broader commitment to health care accessibility and family support.”

Nikki Haley, a former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor, said that while she personally believes a frozen embryo is a baby, she disagrees with the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling. Asked by NBC News whether she agreed that embryos are children after that ruling, Haley said, “Embryos, to me, are babies.” Haley added that she underwent fertility treatments.

“I had artificial insemination. That’s how I had my son,” Haley said. “One thing is to save sperm or to save eggs. But when you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. So, I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that.”

Haley later told CNN that while she believed Alabama’s highest state court ruled on the letter of the law, the state’s Legislature should “go back and look at the law” to protect access.

The Biden campaign said the ruling was tied to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

“American women couldn’t care less what Donald Trump posts on Truth Social, they care that they can’t access fertility treatment because of him,” Biden-Harris campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement. “Let’s be clear: Alabama families losing access to IVF is a direct result of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justices overturning Roe v. Wade. Trump is responsible for 20 plus abortion bans, restrictions on women’s ability to decide if and when to grow a family, and attacks on contraception. He proudly overturned Roe, and brags about it on the campaign trail — as recently as last night.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 238,126 patients underwent IVF treatment in 2021, resulting in 112,088 clinical pregnancies and 91,906 live births.