Nation & World briefs

U.S.

Brain-dead pregnant woman taken off life support

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Following a Jan. 24 court order, a Fort Worth hospital two days later removed a 33-year-old brain-dead pregnant woman from life support. Marlise Munoz, who was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed at home in November and was deprived of oxygen for up to an hour, was being kept on life-sustaining machines at John Peter Smith Hospital against the wishes of her husband and parents. Hospital officials said they could not remove her respirator because of a Texas law that prohibits doctors from withdrawing "life-sustaining treatment" from pregnant women. On Jan. 14, Munoz's husband, Erick, sued the hospital. The motion filed in Tarrant County District Court states he "vehemently" opposed keeping his wife on life support, and would like to bury her. The court agreed with him and issued its order to the hospital to remove her from the machines that were keeping her alive.

Kentucky bishop named to Harrisburg; auxiliary named for Sacramento

WASHINGTON -- Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Lexington, Ky., has been named to head the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., and the vicar general of the Diocese of Fresno, Calif., has been named auxiliary bishop of Sacramento, Calif. Pope Francis made the appointments Jan. 24. Bishop Gainer, 66, was ordained as bishop of Lexington Feb. 22, 2003. He is a native of Pottsville, Pa., just 55 miles from Harrisburg in the Diocese of Allentown. Msgr. Myron J. Cotta, 60, will become an auxiliary bishop of the Sacramento Diocese. He is a native of Dos Palos, Calif., in the Fresno Diocese, and has been a priest since 1987.

Effort looks to curb Super Bowl sex trafficking

WASHINGTON -- A lot of "positive feedback" has been reported from hotels expecting an influx of visitors for the Feb. 2 Super Bowl with regard to efforts to curb human trafficking -- primarily sex trafficking -- surrounding the event. The report comes from Margot Morris, program director for the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment. To help hotel managers, the Tri-State Coalition conducted training for hotel staff in November at Rutgers University's law school. Dominican Sister Pat Daly, the coalition's executive director, said, "We didn't want to vilify the NFL, we didn't want to vilify the hotels. It's a business -- a high-profit business, an influx of short-term tourists are coming to the area. Unfortunately, it's a great opportunity (for traffickers) to gain (a) lot of profit."

U.S. culture driving wedge between women, unborn

WASHINGTON -- The president and CEO of Americans United for Life told a conference in Washington Jan. 22 that there is "no truth in this lie that abortion is good for women. We must not let the culture drive a wedge between a mother and her baby," said Charmaine Yoest. She made the comments at a conference sponsored by Americans United for Life, a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization, in partnership with the March for Life Education and Defense Fund and the Ave Maria University School of Law. The theme was "The New Frontier in Reversing Roe" and the focus was advocating a mother-child strategy to advance the culture of life. As it stands, federal law places no limits on abortion. Supreme Court decisions in 1973 in the twin cases Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, permit a woman to terminate her pregnancy for any reason.

WORLD

Relic of Blessed John Paul II reported stolen

VATICAN CITY -- Thieves reportedly stole a relic of Blessed John Paul II from a country chapel 85 miles east of Rome. Italian media reported Jan. 27 that the relic, a piece of fabric soaked in Blessed John Paul's blood, had disappeared over the preceding weekend from the church of San Pietro della Ienca. The church is located near the city of L'Aquila, where the late pope frequently went on brief vacations. One of the volunteers who takes care of the church where Blessed John Paul often prayed, discovered that intruders sawed through bars over one of the windows and made off with the relic and a cross.

Quebec euthanasia bill against 'basic human values'

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Quebec's euthanasia Bill 52 will come to a vote in February, and the province's bishops say it "goes against the most basic human values and contradicts the very purpose of medicine. Bringing about a patient's death is not a medical act." "To cause death to a sick person is not to care for him," the bishops said in a Jan. 23 statement. "A lethal injection is not a treatment. Euthanasia is not a form of care." The commission tasked with a detailed study of the bill "rushed through going through the articles to finish the amendments," in January, said Nicolas Steenhout, executive director of Living With Dignity, a coalition of people and groups opposed to euthanasia in Quebec.

Pope accepts resignation of Israeli Melkite archbishop

JERUSALEM -- Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa. Canon 210 of the Eastern Code of Canon Law allows for resignation for health reasons or at the age of 75. Archbishop Chacour is 74. Last October, the well-known archbishop was called in for questioning for suspected sexual harassment of a woman who works in the community; the allegations concerned an incident that allegedly took place five years ago. A source familiar with the Church in Galilee noted that the archbishop tendered his resignation after speaking with Church officials, who suggested it would be best if he resigned. Ill health and the sexual harassment charges against him appear to be among the several reasons he resigned, said the source.

-- Catholic News Service

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