Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Medicaid reimbursements will no longer go to abortion providers in Iowa

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, based in Des Moines, has announced plans to close four of its 12 clinics in Iowa — three in the Diocese of Davenport and one in the Diocese of Sioux City. The clinics in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City will close effective June 30. The fourth clinic, in Bettendorf, will close later, according to news sources. In April, the Iowa Legislature changed the current Medicaid family planning waiver program to prevent reimbursement of abortion providers, which includes Planned Parenthood. The new rule takes effect July 1. The state will provide funds to continue a $3.3 million family planning program at no cost to Iowans making less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level. No funding will be provided for health services received at facilities where abortion services are offered.

Convocation called 'great opportunity' for Church

WASHINGTON — Dominican Sister Marie Bernadette Thompson can't help but see things through a teacher's eyes after spending eight years teaching elementary and high school students. But the 42-year-old sister, who has been council coordinator for the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious since 2014, also is not opposed to being a student. She hopes to pick up some pointers from other Church leaders from around the country this summer at the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" July 1-4 in Orlando, Florida. The convocation, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is an invitation-only event meant to give the 3,000 participants expected to attend a better understanding of what it means to be missionary disciples in today's world.

WORLD

Pope, English church leaders offer prayers after Manchester Arena attack

MANCHESTER, England — Pope Francis decried the "barbaric attack" on concertgoers in Manchester, adding his voice to Catholic leaders dismayed at what British officials said was the deadliest case of terrorism since 2005. In a telegram sent to English church officials on Pope Francis' behalf, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope "was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life" after a suicide bomb killed at least 22 people and injured another 59 at Manchester Arena May 22. Many concertgoers at the Ariana Grande concert were teenagers, young adults and families. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. The pope "expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence," the telegram stated.

After talks, Venezuelan bishops reiterate stance against new constitution

CARACAS, Venezuela — The Venezuelan bishops' conference reiterated its rejection of a government proposal to draft a new constitution, after a rare meeting between the conference president and top government representatives. "The Church's position was reaffirmed, which is that realizing a constituent assembly is unnecessary," Father Pedro Pablo Aguilar, communications director for the bishops' conference, told Catholic News Service May 21. Two days earlier, at the request of the government, Archbishop Diego Padron Sanchez, president of the bishops' conference, met with Elias Jaua, who heads Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's commission to establish an assembly to rewrite the country's constitution. The country remains deadlocked in a political impasse following the opposition's overwhelming victory in 2015 congressional elections.

Montreal's spiritual roots noted at anniversary Mass

MONTREAL — Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations kicked off inside Notre-Dame Basilica with a celebration emphasizing that Montreal was not born out of violence or greed, but as a spiritual endeavor. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Cardinals Gerald Lacroix of Quebec and Thomas Collins of Toronto attended the May 17 Mass, along with some 30 bishops, 400 priests, religious men and women and special guests. The Mass celebrated the birth of Ville-Marie — Montreal's original name — in 1642. Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal recalled the memory of the founders of Montreal, "those adventurers of hope" who dared "set out without being sure of tomorrow." It is through "their faith in the beauty of the project of a city founded on spirituality, togetherness and solidarity" that Montreal was born, said Archbishop Lepine.

— Catholic News Service 

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