Providence diocese won’t comment on bill expanding liability for child sex abuse

Providence, R.I., Mar 3, 2021 / 08:01 pm (CNA).- The Diocese of Providence is refusing to comment on a bill that would provide increased opportunities for victims of child sexual abuse to sue people and entities which enabled their abuse.

The bill, which was introduced to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in February, would expand the definition of a “perpetrator” in a 2019 piece of legislation known as “Annie’s Law.”

“Annie’s Law” changed the statute of limitations for filing suits related to child sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years after the abuse victim’s 18th birthday.

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Christian medical groups urge conscience protections amid Covid-19 vaccination push

CNA Staff, Mar 3, 2021 / 07:19 pm (CNA).- In a joint statement Tuesday, several Christian medical organizations highlighted the importance of conscience protections as COVID-19 vaccines are being administered.

Governing authorities ought to respect an individual’s decision to accept or refuse a vaccine according to their conscience, the organizations stated.

“While the pandemic remains a significant public health crisis, the individual rights of American citizens also remains of paramount importance. The guarantee of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ includes the right to make individual health care decisions while taking into account our responsibility for the common good,” the March 2 statement reads.

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Mother Drexel’s Legacy

Mother Katharine Mary Drexel (1858 – 1955) is a fitting intercessor for the racial tensions afflicting her native United States – she is the first natural born canonized American citizen (Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in 1774 what would become that nation a few years later). A young debutante who inherited her father’s fortune (about $7 million back then, worth many times that now), she could have ‘had it all’, as a glam band once sang. Her birth mother had died five days after Katherine’s birth, and her father re-married well, to Emma Bouvier, who gave her stepchildren, Katherine and her two sisters, a fine example of holiness, caring for the poor, and even seeking out those too ashamed to come to the door: As the new Mrs. Drexel was to say, Kindness may be unkind if it leaves a sting behind, words which all of us could take to heart.

As she pondered her vocation, Katharine was struck by the transitory nature of the world, as cancer slowly took the life of her new mother, and, with the death of her father in 1885, Katharine, who had always been devoted to helping Native Americans, empathizing with their plight, decided to enter a convent, and consecrate her life, and her fortune, to God, in helping the poor and disadvantaged. The final straw that moved her in this direction was a private meeting with Pope Leo XIII that evokes that of her near-contemporary, Therese of Lisieux. When Katherine asked the Pope for missionaries to help in their work, the Holy Father replied, ‘Why don’t you become one?’.

And so, she did, taking her first vows on February 12th, 1891 as a Sister of Mercy. Her long life was filled with setting up schools – 62 in all -and missions – 145 of them.  Sadly, as a sign of our secular times and dwindling religious vocations, Katharine’s shrine closed in 2017, the convent and grounds put up for sale, and her remains transferred to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

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