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Friday News Roundup: Attempt to Force Priests to Violate the Seal of Confession Fails in Arizona

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Grace Place Steps4Life Fundraiser

Grace Place has served families in the Four Corners area as a non-profit pregnancy center for over 30 years. Relying completely on donations and community support, the Steps4Life event is a major source of funding for the center. Walkers or runners commit to covering two miles on Saturday, April 24th, with the support of personal or business sponsors.

Learn more or register here

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St. Teresa School Annual Lottery

Enter to win a grand prize of $10,000 and support St. Teresa Catholic School! Only 500 tickets will be sold, and cash prizes are available to secondary winners. The raffle is a major source of funding for St. Teresa School, which serves families in Cibola County, New Mexico.

Learn more

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1st Annual Right to Life Committee of New Mexico Gala

The Right to Life Committee of New Mexico educates “the public and builds pro-life support and values throughout New Mexico in order to protect all innocent human life from fertilization until natural death.”

Their 1st Annual Gala will be held Friday, April 23. Learn more.

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 AZ Legislative Update: Attempt to Force Priests to Violate the Seal of Confession Fails

A new effort in the form of a late strike-everything amendment (HB 2494) to have priests violate the Seal of Confession was heard this week in the Senate Education Committee where it failed to pass on a 4-4 vote.  An earlier version of this legislation (SB 1008) was introduced this session, but also died when it was not heard in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Legislation proposing to remove the Seal of Confession and involve government regulation of a sacrament is a very troubling First Amendment matter.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that a priest, with no exceptions, is forbidden from disclosing sins learned in the Confessional.

Accordingly, the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) has worked extensively on these measures and is sincerely grateful to Senators T.J. Shope, Nancy Barto, Sally Gonzalez, and Rick Gray for making a strong stand for religious liberty and voting no on HB 2494.

The ACC was also pleased this week to see movement on a bill (SB 1254) requiring the State of Arizona to highlight adoption as an option by providing easily accessible information to women faced with an unwanted pregnancy.  With the approval of the House Health and Human Services Committee, the bill is now expected to move to the House floor relatively soon.

Finally, a beneficial strike-everything amendment (SB 1297) was introduced in the House Ways and Means Committee that will significantly help charities and school organizations in Arizona.  SB 1297, as amended, now proposes to extend the state income tax filing deadline to conform to the new federal deadline of May 17.

If SB 1297 is passed into law soon, it will also extend the deadline for people to make tax credit contributions to charities helping the poor and foster children, as well as school tuition organizations.  Essentially this means that Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul, and our Catholic school tuition organizations, will have an extra month to get tax credit donations from people who did not make them last year when they are filing this year’s taxes.

These organizations have done much to help the needy in our communities, especially during the pandemic, and this measure, if passed, will better help them provide services to even more vulnerable people.

If you want to stay up to date on these bills, and other legislative matters of importance to the Catholic Church in Arizona, please visit www.azcatholicconference.org and make sure that you are signed up to receive these updates.

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Joint Statement of Catholic Bishops on U.S. and Mexico Border

WASHINGTON- The bishops along the border of the United States and Northern Mexico have issued a joint statement on the situation at the border of the two countries.

Their joint statement follows:
As U.S. and Mexican bishops along the border, we witness daily the dilemma that our migrant sisters and brothers face. For most, the decision to migrate is not motivated by an indifference toward their homeland or the pursuit of economic prosperity; it is a matter of life or death. The situation is all the more difficult for children.

Challenges such as these require humanitarian solutions. Undoubtedly, nations have the right to maintain their borders. This is vital to their sovereignty and self-determination. At the same time, there is a shared responsibility of all nations to preserve human life and provide for safe, orderly, and humane immigration, including the right to asylum.

For that reason, we renew our appeal to our governments, to political leaders, and civil society, that they work together to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants in accordance with their intrinsic dignity, as well as work with other countries in the region to eliminate conditions that compel their citizens to resort to dangerous and irregular migration, producing long-term solutions.  “Unlike disagreement and conflict,” Pope Francis reminds us, “persistent and courageous dialogue does not make headlines, but quietly helps the world to live much better than we imagine.”

Conscious of the importance of public health and safety, we encourage policies supported by sound scientific rationales. We maintain that family unity must be a vital component of any response. We ask that special attention be given to particularly vulnerable populations, such as children. We strongly urge that structures be put in place and reforms in our laws be made to both promote a welcoming culture for our sisters and brothers and respect the sovereignty and safety of our countries.

We pledge our support to continue helping our respective governments’ efforts to protect and care for families, as well as individuals who feel compelled to migrate. To accomplish this we commit   to the ongoing work of Catholic organizations at the border and elsewhere, which are generously tended to by lay people, consecrated persons, and the clergy.

One year ago, on the eve of Easter Sunday, Pope Francis, exclaimed: “How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death.” As we once again enter into Holy Week, in which we experience the power of love in Christ’s Death and Resurrection, we feel encouraged to keep going, helping migrants, conscious that while the way ahead is long and arduous, it is not impossible if we journey together.

Situación en la Frontera entre Estados Unidos y México

WASHINGTON— Los obispos de diócesis ubicadas en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y el Norte de México emitieron un comunicado conjunto sobre la situación en esa región fronteriza entre los dos países.

La declaración conjunta es la siguiente:

Como obispos de Estados Unidos y de México en la frontera, diariamente somos testigos del drama que enfrentan nuestras hermanas y hermanos migrantes. Para la mayoría de ellos, la decisión de migrar no está motivada por la indiferencia hacia su patria o la búsqueda de prosperidad económica; es una cuestión de vida o muerte. La situación es aún más difícil para los niños.

Desafíos como estos requieren soluciones humanitarias. Sin duda, las naciones tienen derecho a mantener sus fronteras. Esto es vital para su soberanía y su autodeterminación. Al mismo tiempo, todas las naciones comparten la responsabilidad de preservar la vida humana y proporcionar una inmigración segura, ordenada y humana, incluido el derecho de asilo.

Por eso renovamos un llamado a nuestros gobiernos, a los líderes políticos y a la sociedad civil para que trabajen juntos a fin de acoger, proteger, promover e integrar a los migrantes de acuerdo con su dignidad intrínseca, y a trabajar con otros países para eliminar las causas que obligan a una migración peligrosa e irregular, procurando soluciones a largo plazo. “El diálogo persistente y corajudo”, recuerda el Papa Francisco, “no es noticia como los desencuentros y los conflictos, pero ayuda discretamente al mundo a vivir mejor, mucho más de lo que podamos darnos cuenta”.

Conscientes de la importancia de la salud y la seguridad pública, alentamos políticas respaldadas por razones científicas. Sostenemos que la unidad familiar debe ser un componente vital de cualquier respuesta. Pedimos que se dé especial atención a las poblaciones particularmente vulnerables, como los niños. Insistimos fuertemente que se implementen estructuras y haya reformas en nuestras leyes para promover una cultura acogedora para los migrantes, respetando al mismo tiempo la soberanía y la seguridad en nuestros países.

Prometemos nuestro apoyo continuo a los esfuerzos de nuestros respectivos gobiernos para proteger y cuidar a las familias, así como a los individuos, que se sienten obligadas a migrar. Para lograr esto, nos comprometemos con el trabajo continuo de las organizaciones católicas en la frontera y en otros lugares que son atendidos generosamente por laicos, consagrados y clérigos.

Hace un año, en la víspera del Domingo de Pascua, el Papa Francisco exclamó: “Qué hermoso es ser cristianos que consuelan, que llevan las cargas de los demás, que animan, que son mensajeros de vida en tiempos de muerte”. Al entrar nuevamente en la Semana Santa, en la que experimentamos la fuerza del amor en la Muerte y la Resurrección de Cristo, nos sentimos animados a seguir adelante, ayudando a los migrantes a cargar su cruz, conscientes de que, aunque el camino sea largo y arduo, no es imposible si viajamos juntos.


The Friday news roundup presents a quick overview of Catholic stories and events from around the Diocese of Gallup, United States, and world. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email [email protected], call 505-863-4406 or mail us at PO Box 1338, Gallup NM 87305.

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Suzanne Hammonshttp://dioceseofgallup.org
Suzanne Hammons is the editor of the Voice of the Southwest and the media coordinator for the Diocese of Gallup. A graduate of Benedictine College in Kansas, she joined the Diocesan staff in 2012.

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