NEWS BRIEFS

– Tej Francis

EDMONTON, CANADA

ELDERLY WOMEN WIELD CANES TO BEAT BACK PRIEST’S ATTACKER IN CANADA

(CNA) Police are investigating an incident in Edmonton, Canada, after a posse of elderly women beat back a priest’s attacker with their walking canes. It was after evening Mass at Our Lady Queen of Poland parish on March 13, and Father Marcin Mironiuk was outside saying goodbye to parishioners when a young man, roughly 25 years old, approached the priest.

Fr. Mironiuk, who did not recognize the man, reportedly asked him if he spoke Polish. The man said no and reportedly rushed the priest, according to authorities. Lorraine Turchansky, a spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, told Global News Canada that the man threw the priest to the ground and started choking him with his hands when the elderly women who were also leaving Mass came to his defense. When the women tried to pull the stranger off the priest, he fled the scene, Turchansky told Global News.

CBC News reported that police are investigating the incident, and that the suspect has been described by authorities as a 25 year-old white man with short, dark hair, who smelled of alcohol at the time of the incident. The attack is one of a series of priest attacks or incidents in Canada. On March 22, several days after the incident in Edmonton, 77 year-old Fr. Claude Grou of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal was stabbed by an attacker who rushed him during morning Mass.

VATICAN CITY

POPE FRANCIS CHANGES CANON LAW FOR RELIGIOUS WHO DESERT THE COMMUNITY

(CNA) Pope Francis amended canon law Tuesday to create a new mechanism for dismissing a religious man or woman who has deserted their community. Under the new law, promulgated by the pope in an apostolic letter issued “motu proprio,” superiors can declare a member dismissed ipso facto if they have been illicitly absent from the community for more than a year and cannot be located.

“Community life is an essential element of religious life,” Francis stated in the letter, titled Communis vita (“Common life”) and issued March 26. He cited canon 665 of the Code of Canon Law, which provides that “religious must live in their own religious house observing common life and cannot be absent without permission of their superior.” Under the current provisions of canon 694, which the motu proprio reforms, the ipso facto dismissal of a member of a religious community can be declared for two reasons: that he or she has “defected notoriously from the Catholic faith,” or “has contracted marriage or attempted it, even only civilly.”

With Tuesday’s change, Pope Francis added the ground of desertion of the community. Now, if a member of a religious community is “absent from the religious house illegitimately, in accordance with can. 665 § 2, for twelve months without interruption” they too can be declared dismissed from the community, provided that their superiors are otherwise unable to locate or contact them.

WASHINGTON

MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR SIGNS ‘HEARTBEAT’ BILL; OPPONENTS PLEDGE LEGAL BATTLE

(CNS) Since the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh last October and the 2018 midterm elections, a number of states have new laws in place to either expand or restrict abortion, including Mississippi, whose new law puts the state among the most ardent on the pro-life side of the battle. On March 21, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, signed into law S.B. 2116, a “heartbeat bill” which will prohibit abortions in the state after the point a fetal heartbeat is detected. It was approved by a 34-15 party-line vote with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats rejecting it. The House passed it in a 78-37 vote. Set to take effect in July of this year, it will set tough restrictions for the state’s only abortion clinic — Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Pro-life advocates cheered the bill’s passage, among them Mississippi Bishops Joseph Kopacz of Jackson and Louis Kihneman of Biloxi. The bill makes abortions illegal as soon as the fetus’ heartbeat can be detected, which could be as early as six to eight weeks; in some cases it may be as late as 12 weeks when detected with a Doppler fetal monitor. The only exceptions would be to prevent a woman’s death or her serious risk of impairment.

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