21 Killed in Latest School Shooting

via the Washington Post:

Eighteen children and three adults were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary, Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) said Tuesday on CNN. He said he learned of the higher death toll from a briefing with the Texas Rangers.

Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident, “shot and killed — horrifically, incomprehensibly” more than a dozen children and a teacher, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said earlier Tuesday. Ramos is also dead, the governor said, apparently killed by officers at the scene. Two people familiar with the investigation said the initial evidence indicates the gunman bought the weapons used in the attack shortly after his recent 18th birthday.

Clint Smith reacted on Twitter:

These are elementary school children who woke up this morning. Who ate their favorite cereal. Who tied their shoes in double knots. Who laughed with friends on the bus. Now more than a dozen are dead. This isn’t normal. It doesn’t have to be this way. It can’t keep being this way.

Sitting outside of my children’s school watching little kids chase one other on the playground and thinking of how this could be any school in this country, at any time. How this has happened before and surely will again. But it doesn’t have to, it doesn’t have to be inevitable.

The Labor Movement and the Catholic Church, Then and Now

via AFL-CIO:

For decades, legendary “labor priest” Monsignor George Higgins was a living link between the American labor movement and the Catholic Church. Monsignor Higgins passed away 20 years ago this May 1. To commemorate the occasion…the AFL-CIO and the Catholic Labor Network are co-sponsoring a panel discussion, hosted by AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, on Monsignor Higgins’ legacy and the relationship between the labor movement and the Catholic Church, then and now. AFL-CIO President Elizabeth Shuler will open the event followed by Patti Edwards Devlin, a board member of the Catholic Labor Network and retired Federation Liaison to the General President for LIUNA. Moderated by Fr. Clete Kiley of UNITE HERE and the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, panelists will include Fr. Evelio Menjivar, Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, Dr. Meghan Clark from St. John’s University, Chuck Hendricks of UNITE HERE and the Catholic Labor Network, and Ingrid Delgado of the US Catholic Conference of Bishops.

Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

We Pay to Keep the Old Out of Poverty. Why Won’t We Do the Same for the Young? by Bryce Covert: “Sending parents more money during a devastating pandemic was a sound way to keep them from free-falling into destitution. But it’s just as sound a policy when there’s no other emergency than our continuing high child poverty rate.”

Dobbs, Accountability and the Shifting Ground Under Roe by Michael Wear: “A world in which pregnancy and family life is seen as a detriment to the workplace will always be a world which is anti-woman. And a world in which abortion is seen as the choice one makes if they really want to advance in their career–that is, the world we have now, and the world which is described and assumed by pro-choice arguments—will always exert coercive and discriminatory pressure on women and their lives.”

This Really Is a Different Pro-Life Movement by Daniel K. Williams: “Thus, as the anti-abortion movement’s political influence shifted away from Catholic states toward evangelical-Protestant regions, it abandoned its earlier calls for federal antipoverty programs, expanded maternal-health insurance, and federally funded day care, and instead focused exclusively on the narrower issue of overturning Roe v. Wade and making abortion illegal.”

We need to talk about pandemic drinking by Leana S. Wen: “A new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) finds that alcohol-related deaths in 2020 were so high that, for 16- to 64-year-olds, they exceeded the number of deaths from covid-19. Previously, the average annual increase was a little more than 2 percent; between 2019 and 2020, it skyrocketed to more than 25 percent. The largest rise in mortality occurred for people 35 to 44 years old, though rates of death associated with alcohol increased across all age groups.”

‘It’s Life or Death’: The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens by NY Times: “The decline in mental health among teenagers was intensified by the Covid pandemic but predated it, spanning racial and ethnic groups, urban and rural areas and the socioeconomic divide. In December, in a rare public advisory, the U.S. surgeon general warned of a “devastating” mental health crisis among adolescents. Numerous hospital and doctor groups have called it a national emergency, citing rising levels of mental illness, a severe shortage of therapists and treatment options, and insufficient research to explain the trend.”

The Holocaust Started With My Great-Uncle’s Murder by Mattie Kahn: “Arthur Kahn is believed to be the first Jewish person killed by the Nazis. I’ve known the story of his death as long as I can remember, but I wanted to learn the story of his life.”

Gun deaths surged during the pandemic’s first year, the C.D.C. reports. by NY Times: “Gun deaths reached the highest number ever recorded in the United States in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, as gun-related homicides surged by 35 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday.”

F.D.A. Moves to Ban Sales of Menthol Cigarettes by NY Times: “Public health experts say the proposal could save hundreds of thousands of lives, especially among Black smokers — 85 percent of whom use menthol products.”

This is no way to treat pregnant workers by Dina Bakst: “The United States has no federal law providing workers with an affirmative, clear and effective right to reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth and related medical needs. This woman’s experience, and those of thousands like her, illustrates the urgent need for such a law — especially when the pandemic has exacerbated the unjust, discriminatory treatment of pregnant workers.”

How Pope Francis Can Fix His Broken Approach to Ukraine

At NCR, Thomas Bremer, Regina Elsner, Massimo Faggioli, and Kristina Stoeckl write:

If the Vatican wants to end the manipulation of its position by the Moscow Patriarchate, the people in charge should first of all recognize that this manipulation is happening and that the Vatican’s policy of balancing out leads to manipulations from the Russian Orthodox Church. Making statements that condemn the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine in greater clarity alone is not enough, because the Russian side will just ignore those, as it ignores the voices of its Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The only way to end the manipulation of the Vatican’s position by the Russian state and church media is to stop producing actions and statements that can be interpreted to feed Russian propaganda, and to make very clear and unambiguous statements.

Francis appears to interpret the war in Ukraine as outcome of a geopolitical conflict of interests between Russia and the United States. This vision of the conflict has important shortcomings. The idea that Russia is defending a legitimate national security interest in Ukraine and that NATO has allegedly violated this interest by its past expansions is flawed. Security for whom?

The Russia that claims to need security guarantees against NATO expansion has, in reality, failed to guarantee security, personal safety, dignity and peace for its own population and for neighboring countries for over two decades. Opposition politicians, critical journalists, civil society activists and normal citizens have been curtailed, repressed and even killed….

The episodes of repression of legitimate civil protest teaches us that the world and especially the Vatican must not accept claims to security interests as legitimate in the face of blatant violations of rights and personal safety of Russian citizens at the hands of their state. The Kremlin does not want security from NATO-expansion for the purpose of building peace, but for continuing to suppress its own population and destabilize its neighbors….

Francis still puts hopes in ecumenical dialogue with the current leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. For the time being, important preconditions for this dialogue are missing: a commitment to peace, to the value of human life and to truthfulness.

The deliberate and strategic manipulation of the messages that come out of the Vatican by the Moscow Patriarchate and Russian media should ring an alarm. It is hard to imagine that real ecumenical dialogue and communion among the Orthodox Churches can be restored without signs of metanoia from the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church….

Francis must make clear where the Catholic Church stands on Ukraine.

If Roe Is Overturned, What Should Be Next for the Pro-Life Movement?

Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash

Tish Harrison Warren writes:

Pro-life activists have been working toward overturning the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision ever since it came down in 1973. But as I spoke to folks from pro-life and whole-life movements last week after the leak of a draft opinion that indicated the court will overturn Roe, the mood was complicated. I did not find unalloyed jubilance or triumph.

Most people I talked to expressed cautious optimism and hope but also concern. This was in part because they worried that the court’s draft opinion may shift in weeks to come. But more so because those who take a holistic approach to reducing abortion feel that legally restricting abortion, while a win for justice and the voiceless and vulnerable, is not alone enough to create a culture that is holistically pro-life and addresses the needs of both women and unborn children.

The sense I got is that, for many pro-life and whole-life leaders, this Supreme Court decision would represent a starting line, not a finish line….

Now is the time to get to work and create a world that supports and protects not just the unborn person in the womb but also the equally human and valuable people carrying them. The place we should’ve been directing a majority of our efforts all along: housing, child care and transportation…Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa…

The burden of responsibility to provide aid lies with both pro-life and pro-choice advocates who must set aside their differences and work together to boldly advocate the social services that will ensure care for both mother and child. If pro-lifers do not respond, it exposes our true intentions, which is moral high ground, instead of an invested interest in the flourishing of mother and child…Kori Porter…

What lies ahead is the continued need to enact policies that address the underlying reasons that some women feel they need abortions in the first place….

I am enthusiastic about the possibility of just laws that protect vulnerable unborn human beings, but I am sobered by the enormous work ahead if we are to actually create a culture where women, children and families can flourish.

Catholic News Service to Cease Domestic Operations

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

via CNS:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced to staff May 4 a dramatic reorganization of its communications department, including the closure of the Washington and New York offices of Catholic News Service.

In meetings with newsroom staff, James Rogers, the chief communications officer of the conference, said that the Washington office would be closed at year’s end.

The Rome bureau of Catholic News Service will remain open and continue to report on Vatican and related international events….

Greg Erlandson, director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service, said he was “profoundly saddened by this decision.”

“For more than a century, Catholic News Service has served the local, national and international Catholic press. I am proud of the professionalism of our staff of editors, journalists and photographers and of all that they have accomplished.”


We Are Not Beyond Redemption: Young Catholics and Climate Change

via the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life:

The climate crisis is a global challenge threatening both the natural world and the poor around the world. In the United States and in other nations, young people are leading the response to “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” through social movements, organizing efforts, policy initiatives, and other creative, collaborative approaches to help address climate change. Many Catholics and other young people of faith are at the center of these efforts. Catholic social thought—from scripture and the Gospels to Church teaching from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis—offers a framework to “care for our common home.”

This Salt and Light Gathering brought together a young adult leader from Catholic Climate Covenant, a community organizer in Louisiana’s “cancer alley,” an academic who co-authored a study on U.S. Catholic bishops’ silence on climate change, and a theologian from Brazil who is part of Laudato Si’ Movement…

Watch the video featuring Millennial writer Daniel DiLeo, Sharon Lavigne, Suzana Moreira, Anna Robertson, and moderator Anna Gordon: