Dr. Kermit Barron Gosnell is pictured in an undated mug shot from the Philadelphia Police Department. Gosnell is on trial in Philadelphia and has been charged with murder and other offenses related to illegal, late-term abortions.(CNS photo/handout Philadelphia Police Department) (April 17, 2013)
By Catholic News Service
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — Dr. Kermit Gosnell may have been convicted May 13 of murder at his Philadelphia abortion clinic, but “nothing can bring back the innocent children he killed, or make up for the vulnerable women he exploited,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
And, he added, “the repugnance of his clinic conditions” must be remembered.
In a May 14 statement, the Philadelphia archbishop said, “Gosnell is not an exception. Others just like him run abortion mills throughout our country.”
A Philadelphia jury May 13 found Gosnell guilty of murder in the deaths of three babies born alive during abortions and acquitted him of a fourth similar charge. Continue reading
Bulletin from Wire and Broadcast News Sources
Wire services and broadcast news sources are reporting that Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor accused of performing illegal, late-term abortions in a filthy clinic has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive but acquitted in the death of a fourth baby. Continue reading
Archbishop John J. Myers addresses U.S. bishops at their annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 13, 2012. Myers accepted the resignation of Father Michael Fugee May 2. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
By Catholic News Service
NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) — A priest of the Archdiocese of Newark resigned from active ministry May 2 after reports surfaced of his being with minors in apparent violation of a court’s memorandum of understanding that forbids him from contact with underage people.
Father Joe Lackner preaches in an undated photo. Lackner, former director of campus ministry at the University of Dayton, died Sunday at 71. (Courtesy Photo/University of Dayton)
DAYTON, Ohio — The Rev. Joseph Lackner, S.M., who died Sunday in Seoul, South Korea, following complications from a heart attack, is being remembered today for his intellectual curiosity, humor, care for others, cooking prowess — and ability to give a brilliant homily.
“In my estimation, he was one of best preachers we had in the Society of Mary,” said Brother Raymond L. Fitz, S.M., Father Ferree Professor of Social Justice and past president of the University of Dayton. “He was somebody you really loved being around. He was always very present to people. If you were in a conversation with him, he’d be totally there for you. He brought humor and joy to life.”
A wake will be held at 8:30 a.m., followed by a 10:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, May 11, in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on campus. A noon reception will be held in Kennedy Union’s Torch Lounge. A 1:30 p.m. burial will take place at Queen of Heaven Cemetery at Mount Saint John.
Father Lackner, 71, had just finished teaching courses in the University’s Bangalore, India, program when he made a stop in Seoul to visit Marianists before heading back to the U.S. He suffered a heart attack there last week and was slowly recovering before a setback over the weekend, according to the Rev. Jim Fitz, S.M., vice president for mission and rector.
“I will miss Joe’s enthusiasm for the mission and his great fraternal spirit,” Fitz said. “His presentations on Marianist education and spirituality will be a lasting legacy to us all. On top of that, Joe was a wonderful and generous cook. It has been a privilege to share Marianist life with him over the years as our lives intersected.”
Reflecting on the Gospel from Sunday’s Mass, Fitz spoke about the commandment Jesus gave to the disciples: You must love one another as I have loved you. “Joe was a disciple. The man cared for people.”
Father Lackner, who taught and served in various capacities at the University of Dayton including an eight-year stint as director of campus ministry, was set to return to campus to preside over liturgies, administer sacraments and teach a course in literature and Christian tradition in the English department and another in sacraments and liturgy in the religious studies department.
Born in Cincinnati, Father Lackner professed first vows in the Society of Mary in 1960. He was ordained a priest in 1972. He served as director of campus ministry at Thomas More College for three years in the 1970s before leading the University of Dayton’s campus ministry office from 1980-1988.
As an administrator, he served as assistant provincial and director of education in the Cincinnati Province of the Society of Mary from 1997-2002 and assistant provincial for developing regions for the Marianist Province of the United States from 2002-2010. He served on the University of Dayton’s board of trustees from 1998-2006.
As a professor, he taught at the University of Dayton, Saint Louis University, Thomas More College, Xavier University, St. Mary’s University, Parks College, the Athenaeum of Ohio and, most recently, Chaminade University of Honolulu.
Father Lackner graduated from the University of Dayton with two bachelor’s degrees — English and education — and a master’s degree in counselor education. From Saint Louis University, he earned an A.M. in Biblical languages and literature and a Ph.D. in historical theology. He also held an Ed.D. in private school education from the University of San Francisco.
“He was probably the most widely read Marianist I knew,” Brother Ray Fitz said. “He loved the classics and he was continually reading theology. He really appreciated the arts.”
Added Patricia Johnson, Alumni Chair in Humanities: “He was deeply committed to his work. He was a very kind man who had a gentle way.”
Father Lackner is survived by a sister, Helen Hampton, of Hamilton, Ohio. Donations may be made in Father Joseph Lackner’s memory to the Marianists at https://www.marianist.com/support or through the Marianist Mission, 4435 East Patterson Rd., Dayton, Ohio 45481.
Dr. Kermit Barron Gosnell is pictured in an undated mug shot from the Philadelphia Police Department. Gosnell is on trial in Philadelphia and has been charged with murder and other offenses related to illegal, late-term abortions.(CNS photo/handout Philadelphia Police Department)
By Catholic News Service
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — A Philadelphia judge dismissed three of eight murder charges April 23 in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist accused of killing babies said to be born alive at his clinic.
Gosnell was arrested in January 2011 and charged with seven counts of infanticide and one count of murder in the case of a Nepalese woman who died during an abortion.
During the trial’s fifth week, several patients and former employees testified about the squalid conditions at the clinic described by some as “a house of horrors.” Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty against Gosnell.
Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart did not give a reason for dismissing the three murder counts against the 72-year-old doctor who ran the Women’s Medical Center in West Philadelphia. The judge’s decision preceded the start of defense arguments, which had been scheduled to begin the afternoon of April 23 and were postponed until April 24.
Gosnell still faces four charges of first-degree murder and one charge of third-degree murder related to the death of the patient.
According to The Associated Press, eight former co-workers, including Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, earlier pleaded guilty to charges ranging from third-degree murder to racketeering to performing illegal, late-term abortions.
The judge upheld charges that Gosnell violated Pennsylvania’s abortion laws by performing abortions after 24 weeks and failing to counsel women 24 hours before the procedure. He also granted a motion for acquittal in five charges of abuse of corpse against Gosnell.
In a statement on the Priests for Life website, Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said she sat in the packed courtroom as three of eight murder charges were thrown out against Gosnell.
She said the judge “apparently did not believe based on the evidence presented that three of the babies Gosnell was charged with murdering were viable — that is born alive and killed as prosecutors alleged.”
King, director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries, said: “You don’t have to be a pro-lifer to know that what this doctor is accused of is wrong.”
She noted that the case had not received much media attention until recently, but said that in news coverage “reporters seem all too eager to comment and condemn the actions of abortionist Kermit but not the system that created him.”
People wave banners as they demonstrate against France's planned legalization of same-sex marriage in Paris April 17. Heads of Catholic bishops' conferences in France and Spain warned that the promotion of gay marriage could threaten social peace. (CNS photo/Benoit Tessier, Reuters)
By Catholic News Service
A glance around the nation and world in Catholic news.
Marriage is not for government to ‘define or redefine,’ says bishop
WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) — Marriage “is a unique relationship between a man and a woman” and it’s not the government’s place to “define or redefine” it, Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington said in an April 15 letter to Delaware legislators. The letter was sent four days after Gov. Jack Markell announced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. In 2011, Delaware legalized civil unions for same-sex couples.
While the government can regulate marriage, Bishop Malooly wrote, it’s “not theirs to define or redefine its essential makeup. It remains God’s design, a permanent union between a man and a woman.” He said his letter was not written “to attack anyone, but rather to join the current public debate about marriage and to voice once again the God-given meaning and purpose of marriage.”
Bishop Malooly acknowledged the current notion that marriage is “just about love and commitment between two people,” an argument that supports the redefining of marriage to include persons of the same sex. However, the bishop told lawmakers, while marriage is about love, “it is also about the unique expression of love that only and man and woman as husband and wife can give to each other.”
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North Korea’s threats may be bluff but worrisome, say Koreans in U.S.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) — While North Korea marked the April 15 anniversary of its founder’s birth with flowers and remembrances, rather than more threatening rhetoric and missile tests, concerns about a nuclear attack on the U.S. continued to loom. Following weeks of war threats, April brings two significant anniversaries for North Korea.
One was April 15, which would have been the 101st birthday of North Korea’s late founding father, Kim Il Sung. On April 25, the country planned to mark the anniversary of the creation of the North Korean Army. Both anniversaries were being seen as potential occasions for strong military displays.
“It’s most likely just threats, but I am a bit worried about rash actions,” said Mitchell Lee, 18, a parishioner of St. Paul Chong Ha Sang in Flushing. “I think the new leader (Kim Jong Un, grandson of Kim Il Sung) is lacking leadership,” Lee told The Tablet, newspaper of the Brooklyn Diocese. “He’s threatening, maybe bluffing, to affirm his leadership because he’s young and not many accept him as their leader.”
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Immigration bill introduced; advocates parse for details of provisions
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Immigration legislation finally introduced in the Senate April 17 includes many of the provisions long-sought by advocates for comprehensive reform, but months of work likely lie ahead to attempt to turn it into law. Among other provisions, it incorporates the popular DREAM Act, without an upper age limit; would offer a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived before 2012; would expand the pool of visas for skilled and unskilled workers; dramatically changes the process for adult children or siblings of legal residents to immigrate; and would create a new set of “triggers” for determining that the border is “secure” before parts of the law may be implemented.
While advocates for immigrants were quick to applaud in general the effort by the senators who wrote the bill, the legislation drew criticism from all sides for its specifics, along with some early praise. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S. 744, weighed in at 844 pages and, after weeks of reports that it was “nearly finished,” was finally submitted by at 2 a.m. April 17 by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Schumer is one of the so-called “gang of eight,” a bipartisan panel that has been working on crafting legislation that might win the support of both Republicans and Democrats. Since Latino voter turnout proved to be key to Democrats doing well in the November elections, momentum has been strong in both parties to pass immigration reform.
President Barack Obama laid out his principles for reform in January and has been working with stakeholders and political leaders to push for a bill that he said he would like to sign this summer.
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Best defense against sin, temptation is Jesus, pope says at audience
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Surrounded by the devil’s temptations and being susceptible to sin, people can always find help, support and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, Pope Francis said at his weekly general audience.
“My dearest brothers and sisters, we have this advocate; we’re not afraid to go to him and ask him for forgiveness, ask his blessings, request his mercy,” the pope said. St. Peter’s Square was full to capacity for the audience April 17; large numbers of Italian pilgrims were among the crowd, including groups traveling with their bishops who making their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. At the end of the audience, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck the border area of Iran and Pakistan April 16, killing at least 40 people.
“I pray for the victims and all those who are hurting, and I wish to express my closeness to the Iranian and Pakistani people,” he said. In his main audience talk, the pope continued a series of audience talks for the Year of Faith, reflecting on basic Christian beliefs.
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Bishops’ leaders in France, Spain criticize promotion of gay marriage
OXFORD, England (CNS) — Heads of Catholic bishops’ conferences in France and Spain warned that the promotion of same-sex marriage could threaten social peace. “These long months of debate on the bill to allow marriage for persons of the same sex have highlighted predictable divisions,” said Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris. Addressing the French bishops’ spring plenary in Lourdes April 16, the cardinal said his country was witnessing “an organized and militant invasion by gender theory,” signaled by the rejection of “any difference between sexes as a means of human identification.”
The president of the Spanish bishops’ conference, Madrid Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela, said his country’s 2005 same-sex marriage law remained “deeply unjust,” although the country’s Constitutional Court reaffirmed them in November.
“We need to restore to all Spaniards the right to clear recognition in law as husband and wife and recover a legal definition of marriage which does not ignore the specifics of one of social life’s most important institutions,” the cardinal told the Spanish bishops’ plenary in Madrid. “This is not something which supposedly affects only the private life of individuals. The basic structure of society is at stake,” he said.
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Mourners attend candlelight vigil for boy who died in marathon blast
DORCHESTER, Mass. (CNS) — Hundreds of people converged on Garvey Park in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester for an evening candlelight vigil April 16 to remember Martin Richard, an 8-year-old killed in bombings at the Boston Marathon April 15, and to pray for the Richard family.
Martin’s mother, Denise, suffered a brain injury and his 6-year-old sister, Jane, lost a leg in the blast. Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 170. The two others killed included Krystle Campbell, 29, from Medford and Lu Lingzi, 23, a graduate student at Boston University from China. Richard received first Communion at St. Ann Parish in Dorchester last May.
His father, Bill Richard, released a statement before the vigil thanking family, friends and people they don’t even know “for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover,” the statement said. Father John J. Connolly, pastor of neighboring St. Brendan Parish who lives at St. Ann, led the prayer vigil, while Father Sean M. Connor, pastor of St. Ann, stayed with the Richard family.
Father Connolly told those gathered that Bill Richard was thankful for their prayers, support and kindness and he requested that his “family be granted the necessary space and time both to mourn and to recover.”
Martin Richard, who was killed in the Boston Marathon attacks, is shown in this undated family handout photo released April 16. The 8-year-old boy, who attended St. Ann Parish Neponset in the Dorchester section of Boston with his family, was one of three people killed when two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the marathon the previous day. More than 140 people were injured, including the boy's mother and sister, who were seriously injured. (CNS photo/courtesy of Bill Richard via Reuters)
By Catholic News Service
BOSTON (CNS) — The first name released of someone killed in the April 15 explosions at the Boston Marathon was that of 8-year-old Martin Richard, whose picture in newspapers showed him grinning broadly, apparently at his first Communion.
Two bombs that exploded near the end of the marathon route, about four hours into the race, left at least three people dead and more than 170 injured. The Dorchester Reporter, the local newspaper in Martin’s hometown, said his sister, Jane, 7, suffered a “grievous injury” to her leg and their mother, Denise, was critically injured.
In a statement released April 16, Bill Richard thanked family, friends and strangers for their thoughts and prayers for his family.
“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries,” said the statement, published by the Boston Globe. “We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.”
The Richard family was described in the Dorchester paper and other publications as well-known and very involved in their community, in children’s sports leagues, local redevelopment and their church, St. Ann Parish Neponset, in the Dorchester section of Boston.
An employee who answered the phone at the parish April 16 declined to talk to Catholic News Service about the family or how parishioners were responding.
A widely circulated photo of Martin shows him in a white suit and tie, with a gap-tooth grin, holding what apparently is a banner made for his first Communion last year. It has his name, a chalice, a loaf of bread and other symbols of the Eucharist.
As investigators pieced together clues and asked the public to send them any photos or video that might help, faith leaders reached out to a grieving, stunned city.
A second person who died in the explosions was identified by various media outlets as Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Mass. No information had been released yet about the third fatality.
The routine schedule of four daily Masses was to proceed as usual at St. Francis Chapel in the Prudential Center, a large office building close to the bombing scene. A recording on the center’s phone advised people wanting to come to pray in the chapel that, because of street closures for the investigation, access was limited to doors on Huntington Street only.
Around the region, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and interfaith organizations scheduled prayer services and vigils for the days after the bombings.
One Web listing included more than two dozen Masses and prayer services in Boston and surrounding towns.
The public was invited to attend a Mass celebrated at 12:05 p.m. April 16 at the Boston archdiocesan Pastoral Center, followed by a eucharistic prayer service and recitation of the rosary. The prayer service included intercessions for those who died and those injured as well as the first responders and all mourning the tragedy.
The later afternoon broadcast of the archdiocesan radio program “The Good Catholic Life” was to address various aspects of how the Catholic community can help all those suffering and grieving.
Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who was returning April 16 to Boston from a retreat in the Holy Land with several dozen priests, called St. Ann in Dorchester to share his concerns and prayers for the Richard family, according to a statement from the archdiocese. It also said he offered Mass that morning for the Richard family and all who were affected by the bombings.
In a statement the day before, Cardinal O’Malley expressed deep sorrow after the “senseless acts of violence.” He said the community was “blessed by the bravery and heroism of many” who responded to help the wounded.
Boston Marathon runner Megan Cloke pauses after leaving flowers on the doorstep of 8-year-old Martin Richard's home in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston April 16. The boy, a former student at Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy, was one of three people killed when two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the marathon the previous day. More than 140 people were injured, including the boy's mother and sister were seriously injured. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters)
By Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis responded to the bombings in Boston by invoking peace for the souls of the departed, consolation for the suffering and strength for emergency and medical personnel.
In a message sent to Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said Pope Francis was “deeply grieved by the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated” near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15.
The explosions left three people dead, including an 8-year-old boy, and more than 140 wounded.
Cardinal Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, sent the message on behalf of the pope. The text was released by the Vatican April 16.
“In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness involves God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response,” the message said.
“At this time of mourning, the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good, working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come,” the message said.
Cardinal O’Malley had also released a statement, saying, “In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today.”
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston celebrates Mass in the Bethany Chapel of the Pastoral Center. Cardinal O'Malley released a statement late Monday on the bombings at the Boston Marathon. (CNS photo/George Martell, The Pilot Media Group)
Just days after the Archdiocese of Boston celebrated the good news of hearing that Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley was named as one of eight close advisers to Pope Francis, tragedy struck in the form of a pair of bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
A CNN report early Tuesday claimed the bombings left three dead and 144 wounded.
Cardinal O’Malley, who was on retreat in the Holy Land at the time of the Boston Marathon bombings, released the following statement late Monday on the website of The Boston Pilot, Boston’s archdiocesan newspaper.
“The Archdiocese of Boston joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon today. Our prayers and concern are with so many who experienced the trauma of these acts, most especially the loved ones of those who lives were lost and those who were injured, and the injured themselves.
“The citizens of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are blessed by the bravery and heroism of many, particularly the men and women of the police and fire departments and emergency services who responded within moments of these tragic events. Governor Patrick, Mayor Menino and Police Commissioner Davis are providing the leadership that will see us through this most difficult time and ensure that proper procedures are followed to protect the public safety.
“In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today. We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.”
More than 2,000 worshippers filled the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston in 2008 to celebrate its bicentennial. (CNS photo/ Gregory L. Tracy, Pilot)
A pair of explosions detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday around the four-hour mark of the race. Several news agencies reported a third explosion at Boston’s JFK library, but it was unknown if the blasts were related.
Catholic Online reported that at least two people had been killed and reports from the web on the number of injured varied from 23 to more than 100.
On its social media pages, the Archdiocese of Boston has asked for prayers.
“Please join us in prayer for all those injured at the Boston Marathon today and for the emergency workers who protect and care for us all,” the Archdiocese of Boston wrote on its Facebook page. “May our Risen Lord have mercy on us today.”
A few minutes later it added: “As reports of death and injuries are reported, we ask you to please turn to the Lord each time to pray for them and for those who love them that they would receive the consolation of the Holy Spirit, the mercy of God, and the loving maternal embrace of our Blessed Mother.”
On Twitter, the Archdiocese of Boston wrote, “May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace,” along with an update of how many were known to be hurt at the time of the post.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had not issued an official statement as of 6 p.m. Monday, but did write, “Please pray with us for those injured in Boston,” on its Facebook wall.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, added his sentiments via his Twitter account as well.
“Join me in praying for those killed and injured in the Boston Marathon and JFK Library explosions,” he wrote.