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.

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:

The Life of Madeleine Albright

Photo by Ryan Arnst on Unsplash

via the NY Times:

She arrived on a ship called the SS America, an 11-year-old refugee fleeing tyranny for freedom. Nearly three-quarters of a century later, her adopted country bade farewell on Wednesday to Madeleine Korbel Albright, who in the course of a storybook life became a relentless evangelist for American ideals at home and abroad and an implacable foe of tyranny everywhere.

The little immigrant girl who survived Nazis and Communists before growing up to become the first female secretary of state was honored by presidents, cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, diplomats, generals, foreign leaders and dissidents at one of those only-in-Washington memorial services that was about this moment in history as much as it was about the dearly departed.

In death as in life, Ms. Albright evoked the eternal struggle between democracy and autocracy that flared again in her final days in a land not far from her own native country. Taking a respite from the momentous confrontation with a revanchist Russia in Ukraine, President Biden and other leaders gathered at Washington National Cathedral to summon her courage and conviction to steel themselves and the next generation for the challenges of their own time….

“She continued to issue blunt warnings about the dangers posed by authoritarianism and fascism with undeniable moral clarity,” Mrs. Clinton said. During the phone call, she said, Ms. Albright talked about the importance of rallying “the world against Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine and the urgent work of defending democracy at home and around the world.”

via CNN:

President Joe Biden on Wednesday eulogized Madeleine Albright, describing the first female US secretary of state as a “force of nature” and a champion of democracy.

“With her goodness and grace, her humanity and her intellect, she turned the tide of history,” Biden said during the funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral.
The President said, “She always had a knack for explaining to the American people why it mattered to them that people everywhere in the world were struggling to breathe free.”…
“It was not lost on me that Madeleine was a big part of the reason NATO was still strong and galvanized, as it is today,” Biden said.
The President said Albright remained a “nexus of the foreign policy community” in the decades after she left office.
Albright, Biden said, was “always, and I mean always, on top of the latest developments. Always speaking out for democracy, and always the first to sound the alarm about fascism.”