Fortnight for Freedom: Defending Religious Liberty on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

 

We are in the Fortnight for Freedom.

This annual event is sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It’s purpose is to promote an awareness of the threats to religious liberty in America today, and to encourage Catholics in every walk of life to stand up for our precious freedom of religion.

Freedom of religion is one of the cornerstones in the great American experiment in government of, by and for the people. Without religious freedom, all other freedoms are meaningless.

So.

What one thing can you and I do today, Tuesday, June 24, 2014, to stand for religious liberty?

You are already doing something important by reading this blog post and informing yourself about the issue.

 

For today’s action on behalf religious freedom, I’m going to suggest that we turn our attention overseas, to a part of the world where religious freedom is considered anathema. In particular, I am asking you to contact the Sudanese Embassy in Washington DC on behalf of Meriam Ibrahim.

Mrs Ibrahim was sentenced to death for the crime of marrying a Christian. She was 8 months pregnant at the time. The Sudanese court freed her yesterday. She and her family were re-arrested the airport today.

Email, call or write the Sudanese Embassy and tell them that you support Mrs Ibrahim and request that the Sudanese government release both her and her family.

You can contact the Sudanese Embassy by email here.

You can contact the Sudanese Embassy by phone or letter here:

Embassy Of The Republic Of Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Ave
Washington DC,20008,
Ph: 202.338.8565
Fax: 202.667.2406

From Deacon Greg: Meriam Ibrahim has Been Arrested Again

Deacon Greg has the story.

Meriam Ibrahim has been arrested again, one day after being freed by the Sudanese courts.

Mrs Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy because she married a Christian. Her father is Muslim, but she was raised by her Christian mother. She and her husband have been married for a number of years and have two children, including the baby Mrs Ibrahim was carrying when she received the death sentence.

Her attorney, Elshareef Ali Mohammed, said that he was at the airport with Mrs Ibrahim and her family when a group of 50 security forces arrested both her and her family.

If you would like to protest this action, you can contact the Sudanese embassy at this phone number and address.

Embassy Of The Republic Of Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Ave
Washington DC,20008,
Ph: 202.338.8565
Fax: 202.667.2406

Saving America: What is a Precinct Meeting?

 

A reader asked me to explain what a precinct meeting is, and how it can be used to take back our country.

I haven’t had time to research how this is done in each state. I will write other posts describing each state in detail. But this is the process in Oklahoma.

The two political parties do not get their platforms out of a box of Cracker Jacks. These platforms are voted on by elected party members. Any registered member of a political party can participate in party politics. No one can stop them. All they have to do is begin by going to a precinct meeting.

Here’s how it works in Oklahoma, which is probably not all that different from other states.

Each of the two political parties are divided into territories. These territories fall along state lines. Thus, you have an Oklahoma Democratic or Republican Party, a Texas Democratic or Republican Party, a Michigan Democratic or Republican Party and so on throughout all 50 states. For the purposes of what I asked Public Catholic readers to do yesterday, which is convert the Democratic Party, I’m going to describe the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s process.

State parties are subdivided into territories. In the Oklahoma Democratic Party, these territories fall along the lines of state legislative districts. Thus, the district I represented, District 89, is a district in the Oklahoma Democratic Party, at least for precinct meeting purposes. Each house district is divided into precincts. These precincts are the same ones that the state election board uses to divide voters in order to determine where you go to vote in elections. You can look on your Voter ID card to see your precinct.

Once each year, the Democratic Party (and the Republicans, I might add) hold what are called precinct meetings. Anyone who is a registered member of the Democratic Party can attend the precinct meeting for the precinct in which they reside. These precinct meetings elect officers and vote on resolutions which, if they are passed, will be forwarded to the next step in the process for consideration in becoming part of the party platform. The precinct meeting attendees also elect delegates to the next set of meetings, which are county meetings.

Any one in attendance can introduce resolutions about what should be included in the party platform. Any attendee can be elected a precinct officer or delegate. There is no requirement for having been active in the party previously.

Precinct meetings are usually sparsely attended. Many times, they are held in someone’s home. Other times, there will be district meetings at a union hall in the district or something similar. In areas with really low turnout, several districts may meet together. It does not take much to take over a precinct meeting. You can bring a few friends and family members and sweep it. Precinct meetings take a couple of hours. They are held on a Tuesday evening early in the year.

The delegates who are elected at precinct meetings are then able to attend the county meetings. These are usually much more heavily attended. There may be several hundred people there, and most of them will be party regulars. Members of the Oklahoma House and Senate are automatically delegates to the county and state conventions. These meetings usually take most of a Saturday.

County meetings also elect officers and delegates to the next stage of the process, which is the Statewide convention. At this point, it’s more difficult to get elected a delegate. But it is very do-able if you work together with other pro life Democrats from around the state. If you are a firefighter or police officer or member of another union, you can unite that with your pro life beliefs to gain votes. Ditto for other groups. Also, if we manage to get enough pro life Democrats to show up at precinct meetings, we’ll have the votes at the county meetings to elect pro life delegates to the statewide meeting.

At least in Oklahoma, pro life Democrats are a majority in the rank and file, even though they are almost non-existent among the party regulars. That’s not because the pro choice Democrats have been evil about this. It’s because they were the ones who cared enough to show up at precinct meetings.

County meetings also vote on the resolutions that were passed up from the precinct meetings for inclusion in the party platform. There is a Resolutions Committee that vets these, and also writes resolutions of its own. (This part can get a bit nasty when you’re talking about issues like pro life, which is another reason why we need a lot of pro life Democrats there.) All of these resolutions are voted on by the body at large.

There are a lot of tricks involved in these votes. One of the most common is to hold votes on something that the existing county leadership disagrees with until most people have gone home. Another trick is to use a voice vote to say something has won when it has really lost, or vice versa. At this point, pro life Democrats who are newcomers will need the guidance of someone who is both pro life and an old pro at this stuff. There are quite a few of those people. We just need to work together.

The next step is the statewide convention. This is the meeting at which state officers are elected and the party platform is written and voted on. It is also where Democratic Committeewomen and delegates to the National Democratic Convention which nominates the party’s presidential candidate are elected.

I have not been able to attend an Oklahoma State Democratic Party convention for many years because I have been a pro life Democratic elected official who actually passes pro life bills. I have put pro life first, even when it meant crossing party lines or voting against efforts of the party.

As a Democratic member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, I have always had the legal right to attend. I was an automatic delegate. However, I have been picketed at statewide Democratic Conventions and there was a vote at one of them to censure me by the party for passing a pro life bill. That censure came within 50 votes of passing. I stopped going to these meetings because (a) it was too unpleasant, and (b) my fellow elected officials asked me not to attend because my presence made things too unpleasant for them.

I’m telling you this to give you an idea of how hard core the Oklahoma Democratic party officialdom is in support of abortion. On the other hand, the rank and file is heavily — not exclusively, but certainly a majority — pro life. How did this happen?

It happened because of who attends precinct meetings.

Pro choice people have been working on this party for decades now. They organize and get their people to these meetings. We have lost the Democratic Party to the pro aborts by means of the oldest political truth in the books: Bad politicians (or in this case, bad delegates) are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.

We can turn it around by simply showing up. I mean that. It’s really that easy. It’s a matter of one Tuesday evening and two Saturdays, donated to the pro life cause.

Conversion Story: Finding Jesus in Prison

 

Those who are forgiven much, love much.  Jesus Christ

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Equal and Opposite Reaction: Pro Aborts Fight Back


For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Sir Isaac Newton

Sometimes, the laws of physics sound political. Never is this more true than with Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

This third law states simply that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is talking about the push-pull of the forces that create motion in pairs of forces.

Think about it.

You use your legs to kick when you are a swimming. Every time you kick, you “push” against the water. But — and here’s the reaction — the water is also pushing back against you. That’s why you can go from one end of the swimming pool to the other. It’s also why you make waves while you’re doing it.

In politics, this action-reaction thing gets a little more vocal. Here’s a for-instance. Pro abortion people managed to get the Supreme Court to legalize all abortions from conception to birth by judicial fiat. Pro life people reacted by pushing back with laws that regulate the abortion industry.

Now, the pro aborts are reacting to that reaction and bringing out laws of their own making the regulations illegal. These laws, which are being introduced at both the state and federal level, put an ironic lie to the old pro abortion claim that they want abortion to be safe, legal and rare.

Pro abortionists consistently oppose any and every law that seeks to regulate the abortion industry. They do this to the point that I have personally seen women who are pro choice — as opposed to pro abortion — begin to get a bit antsy about it.

I’ve even seen pro choice women come out in favor of pro life laws because they see both the sense and need of them. For some reason I don’t quite get, this is not as true of pro choice men. I would guess — don’t know, just guessing — that this difference has something to do with the different perspectives men and women have of abortion.

The all-time King Daddy of this new opposite reaction from the pro abortion people is S 1696. The pro abortion folks have mis-named S 1696 the Women’s Health Protection Act. What makes S 1696 so special is that it’s not a state law. With S 1696, the pro abortion people are, quite literally, making a federal case out of it. They know, to use another tired old canard, that the way to shut down abortion clinic regulation in all 50 states is to use an Act of Congress.

Federal law differs from state law in several ways, but the most obvious is that federal law affects the entire country, while state law affects only the states in which it is enacted. It’s a lot easier to change Congress than it is to change the legislative bodies of all 50 states. Plus — and this is also huge — Federal law seeps into every crack of state governance. The primary method of transmission is federal money.

S 1696 is, as I said, the all-time-King-Daddy of opposite reactions to efforts to regulate the abortion industry on a state-by-state basis. If S 1696 becomes law, and the Court upholds it, it will supersede any and all local authority in the regulation of the abortion industry.

The language of S 1696 is among the most specific I have read in any proposed statute. It reads like a laundry list of thou shalt nots, aimed specifically and without any attempt to hide it, at state statutes that the authors of S 1696 disagree with. As such, it’s not a proposed law as such things are generally regarded. It is, instead, a specific and deliberate overturning of a large number of state regulations in order to protect the laissez faire practices of one industry. It is special interest legislation at its most crude and obvious.

This whole thing is so rife with irony that it is, despite its seriousness, comical.

What we have with this King-Daddy of pro abortion bills are regulation-prone Democrats, fighting to completely deregulate one industry, while deregulation-prone Republicans are fighting to regulate it. To top that off, the bill’s authors have chosen to name this woman-endangering bill the “Women’s Health Care Protection Act.” The irony in that is obvious. This proposed legislation would erase any and all protections for women who undergo abortions and allow corporate, multi-state abortion chains to do with and to women as they please. It’s the opposite of women’s health care protection.

To steal a line from the movie Apocalypse Now, “Sometimes it gets so thick, you need wings to stay above it.”

Right now, S1696, which was authored by Senator Blumenthal, is languishing in the United States Senate, where it’s been since it was first filed in 2013. There are not enough votes to pass it. Even if it got out of the Senate, it would be deep-sixed in the Republican-held House.

 

That doesn’t mean the bill is doomed. It just means that it’s an idea whose votes have not yet been elected to power. Power goes back and forth in this country. Look at Congress today and know that what you see now will change radically in the future. The Rs may take over for a while, or the Ds may get control of both houses. Whatever is not, or whatever happens next, it will change. Eventually, everybody gets a turn at play.

There is no way this kind of legislation or this fight is going to go away so long as we continue to tolerate the two-party two-step on this issue. We can delay passage of S 1696, but we can’t stop it. Not with the tactics we’ve been using.

I’ve talked about the Republicans and corporatism quite a bit lately, and I’m going to do more of it as time goes by. But for today, let’s look at the Democrats and their love affair with all things libertine. The Democratic Party was once staunchly pro life. In my usual contrarian way, I was pro choice back then. Now that the party is staunchly pro choice, I’m pro life.

Go figure.

But I remember quite clearly when the legislation supporting the pro life cause came from the Ds. The switch began in the 1980s and was fueled, ironically enough, by the Moral Majority and its supporters. For reasons of their own, they decided to demonize the Democratic Party and cast it into the role of pro abortion. They lied — a lot — about Democratic candidates. I’ve seen some of the outrageous lies that were put out against pro life Democrats at that time, claiming they were pro abortion, pro beastiality, Communists and whatever else it took to beat them in elections.

This ended in pro life people leaving the Democratic party and the pro life Democrats who hung on becoming friendless political waifs. They were attacked by the religious right for being pro abortion, even when they weren’t, and shunned by their own party.

The result is the mess we have now: Two polarized parties, elected puppet people that only care about going at one another and carrying water for their party’s special interests, and a badly damaged country.

Senate Bill 1696 and its total subservience to the abortion industry is a symptom of this. The fact that it will, in time — years in the future, but it will — become law is a direct result of this silo approach to the pro life issue.

You can not create a culture of life with half the people.

 

The solution — and it’s an obvious solution — is to convert the Democratic Party on this issue.

If that sounds tough, it is.

But it’s far from impossible. In fact, based on the scanty attendance at most precinct meetings, it’s highly do-able. It’s been done before.

What’s lacking is the direction. Pro life people are being led to keep on doing what they’ve always been doing. Forty-one years in, maybe we should think about trying something new.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That dictum holds true in physics without us doing anything. But in human relations, especially in politics, we’ve got to supply a bit of the gas to make those equal and opposite reactions happen. We have to be that equal and opposite reaction. 

We’re pro life enough to pray Rosaries for Life in front of abortion clinics. We’re pro life enough to go to Washington and San Francisco and points in between to march.

That means we’re pro life enough to go to a precinct meeting. We just need to know how.

Which, my friends, is why I’m here.

Stay tuned. We’re going to talk more.

 

Sudanese Court Orders Release of Meriam Ibrahim, Who was Sentenced to Death for Her Christian Faith

 

SUNA, Sudan’s official news agency, says that the Court of Cassation in Khartoum has canceled the death sentence against Meriam Ibrahim. The court has also ordered her release.

Miss Ibrahim, who has a Muslim father, was raised by her Christian mother. She was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian and given a death sentence. She was 8 months pregnant at the time.

For more details, go to Fox News.

Salutorian Puts Jesus in His Graduation Speech, In Spite of School Censorship

Brooks Hamby’s high school graduation speech got kicked back three times. The reason? He persisted in talking about his faith.

Evidently, Mr Hamby eventually submitted a draft that was approved. But it turned out the censorship was all for naught. When I watched the video below, it sounded to me like Mr Hamby gave the first couple of lines from his approved speech, then shifted to remarks the administration knew nothing about.

“I presented three drafts of my speech,” he said, “all of them denied on account of my desire to share with you my personal thoughts and inspiration to you: My faith in Jesus Christ.”

You can hear a murmur from the crowd and sense consternation on the dais behind him as he continued.

Rumors have evidently circulated that the school denied Mr Hamby his diploma, but according to an interview he gave the Desert News, this is not true. But he did say that the school and their attorney’s told him they would shut off the microphone if he gave a speech mentioning Jesus.

Here is the text of the letter the school district sent him before he gave his speech. This letter is a lot of force to bring down on a graduating high school senior. I think Mr Hamby showed remarkable courage. How many of us would have the guts to do the same?

Based on District legal counsel opinion referencing two 9th Circuit Appellate Court cases, any aspect of a graduation speech that makes reference to Jesus and prayer is inappropriate and violates prevailing legal standards. The first and second draft speeches proposed oppose government case law and are a violation of the constitution. The District is advising you that reference to religious content is inappropriate and that the two drafts provided will not be allowed. If you choose to move forward with a differentiated speech that interjects religious content, the sound will be cut off, and a disclaimer to the entire audience must be made explaining the District’s position.

For more details, check out the Desert News.

Here is the video:

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Pope Francis Excommunicates the Mafia

 

Pope Francis excommunicated all members of the Mafia today.

It is rare indeed for a Pope to say that every single person who is member of a group is excommunicated by reason of that membership. But, in my opinion, this particular excommunication is long overdue.

Pope Francis went to Calabria, a region of Italy that is reputed to be heavily corrupted by the Mafia, to issue this excommunication.

He called the Mafia an “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated,” he said.

The fact that the Holy Father chose the weekend of the Feast of Corpus Christi to issue this excommunication is deeply symbolic. The Body of Christ, which is present in the Eucharist on all the altars of the Catholic Church in the world, must not be profaned by allowing those who live by murder and corruption, destroyers of life, to partake of it.

Salvation is available to anyone who repents. I hope that this excommunication results in two things: A cleansing of the Church, and a changed life for at least some of these people who have chosen the Mafia as their little g god.

In the meantime, we need to pray for the safety of our brave and honest Holy Father, Pope Francis.

From Vatican Radio:

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis concluded his one-day trip to the southern Italian region of Calabria with strong words against the Calabrian mafia, calling it “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated,” he said to applause.

The Pope made these statements on Saturday during the feast-day Mass he presided for Corpus Domini on the plains of the small town of Sibari, a once-important city in the Hellenistic period of Calabrian history.

Organizers planned for 200,000 faithful to attend. They gathered under the hot sun, with temperatures flirting around the 30-degree mark. Sitting in the first rows of the assembly were those with illness and disability, rather than local dignitaries—a decision the local bishop chose to underline ahead of the Pope’s trip.

The Pope’s visit to the region, marked by violence and corruption and renowned for mafia activity, was highly anticipated by the locals, who in recent months were rocked by the murder of Fr. Lazzaro Longobardi, as well as the death of a three-year-old boy, the innocent victim of a mafia homicide.

In his homily, the Pope spoke about the evils that can occur when adoration of God is replaced by adoration of money.

Truth Sifting to the Top 2: AP Retracts False Accusations Made in Babies Buried in Septic Tank Story

 

I’m writing back to back truth-sifting-to-the-top posts today.

It happens that way sometimes. The truth, after a loud cacophony of untruths, will suddenly start sifting to the top all at once.

It seems that the story of Irish nuns having dumped 700 baby bodies into a septic tank is just that: A story. Or rather, a hoax. Or, to put it bluntly the invention of an anti-Catholic press looking for anything at all to be turned into another scandalizing story about the Church.

Father James Martin, SJ, who is an editor at large at America magazine, pinged the Associated Press in public about their inaccurate reporting of the Septic Tank Story. The AP responded by printing a retraction.

The one time I asked for a retraction from a publication because of a story about me, the story was serious lawsuit bait. They printed a left-foot-of-honesty retraction kind of like this one. Instead of just saying “we got it wrong folks,” they spent most of the ink saying that I hadn’t been available when they tried to contact me to verify.

I should have demanded at least one other retraction, for the same reason, (lawsuit bait) but didn’t. I kind of regret that now. However, I’m sure their retraction would have been as murky as the one I got the first time. After being attacked like this for years, I’m slower than most to believe these too-bad-to-be-true exposes.

Since it wouldn’t be possible for either the dead nuns or the dead babies to sue, my hat is off to the Associated Press for giving it up and doing a retraction. I am also grateful to Father Martin for pushing them to do it. America Magazine has the clout to force the issue, something that not everyone does.

I want to ask Public Catholic readers to stop and consider all this in light of themselves and their reactions. The babies buried in the septic tank story sounded bogus from day one. It was implausible on its face. I wrote about this and then commented on it in the com boxes. The response was that a few commenters chimed in with reality-stretching explanations as to why the story could have been true, despite the impracticality of stuffing 700 bodies into a septic tank.

I think those people wanted to believe the story, for their own reasons.

On the other hand, a lot of good people got drug off the road by this story. I imagine there were heartsick Catholics all over the world going, “not again,” when they read this thing. I’m guessing that a lot of them got down at heart over it, and maybe even a few of them wondered if they would still follow the Church.

That was the agenda behind this story. The reason for jumping on this odd assortment of random facts and stringing them together into accusations of 700 baby bodies thrown into a septic tank by nuns who operated a Catholic orphanage was … well … to damage the Church and to destroy your faith.

I had no hard proof the story was bogus.

But my knowledge gained from having lived in a household that used a septic tank,

plus my understanding of the space requirement for 700 bodies,

plus my knowledge of the Church’s teachings about respect for human remains,

plus my understanding of the kind of people I know nuns to be,

plus my understanding of how lousy the popular press is with anti-Catholicism

led me inexorably to the conclusion that the story, minus some real proof, was, to put it bluntly, almost certainly a dead, flat lie.

However, I didn’t jump out there and say this is a lie. What I did was counsel you to wait and see how it all turned out; to let the truth sift itself to the top.

I’m going back over this now to caution readers, once again, about the popular media. You can’t believe them. They deliberately use stories that get you worked up and hook you into obsessive viewing throughout their 24-hour news cycle.

More to the point, much of the popular media is rabidly anti-Catholic. I look at a lot of news stories about religion, and I can tell you that I see story after story, trashing the Catholic Church, Christians and Christianity. The rare balanced — not favorable, but balanced — story stands out like a flashing light.

Most of what the media is saying about the Church is carefully selected and edited to put the Church in the worst possible light. I think the reason for this is that the Church has taken courageous stands on social issues that go against the media zeitgeist.

In this atmosphere, my advice to let the truth sift itself to the top is doubly important. Do not allow yourself to be yanked around emotionally by these stories. Do not bite down on the the totally untrue implication that you have to decide who is right or wrong and what should happen to them.

There are plenty of things in your life that you need to decide, and plenty of things you need to be concerned about. But these endless cycles of outrageous and manufactured stories are not among them.

When it comes to negative reporting about our Church, get out your salt. Take every negative story published about the Church that does not have substantial objective facts that you can look at yourself to back it up with as much salt as you can load in your wagon and wheel in.

Here, courtesy of America, the National Catholic Review, is the left-footed retraction from the Associated Press. Notice it falls over itself with one thing that has been lacking in the reporting of this story: Specificity. The retracting is limited to specific facts the AP got so wrong there is no denying it. Even then, they toss in the idiot jibe that “that may have occurred” regarding refusal of baptism. No proof, no fact; just speculation to gloss their mistake.

Ireland-Children’s Mass Graves story

DUBLIN (AP) — In stories published June 3 and June 8 about young children buried in unmarked graves after dying at a former Irish orphanage for the children of unwed mothers, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that the children had not received Roman Catholic baptisms; documents show that many children at the orphanage were baptized. The AP also incorrectly reported that Catholic teaching at the time was to deny baptism and Christian burial to the children of unwed mothers; although that may have occurred in practice at times it was not church teaching. In addition, in the June 3 story, the AP quoted a researcher who said she believed that most of the remains of children who died there were interred in a disused septic tank; the researcher has since clarified that without excavation and forensic analysis it is impossible to know how many sets of remains the tank contains, if any. The June 3 story also contained an incorrect reference to the year that the orphanage opened; it was 1925, not 1926

For more details, check out Kathy Schiffer’s great post on this topic. 

Truth Sifting to the Top: Vatican Answers Rumors that Pope Francis is Sick

 

The truth about Pope Francis’ health is sifting itself to the top.

“There is no sickness whatsoever,” the Reverend Thomas Rosica, said in reply to a CNN question about the Holy Father’s health. “If there was, we would be open about that and ask people to pray for him.”

I suppose I could go on and on about the details, but it turns out that Pope Francis is just taking a mini vacation by following a lighter schedule during July. This is the same thing he did last year. It is, as I have said, more than his predecessors did. They took full vacations in the country during July at Castel Gandolfo.

Not only is Pope Francis not sick, he’s added a new trip to South Korea for Asian Youth Day. This will be August 13-18.

The pope’s regular workday runs from 7 am mass until around 8 pm. How many 77-year-olds can do that?

The moral of this story is simple: Don’t let the internet/media blather keep you in an emotional dither. Sometimes things really do happen. But most of what they try to get you worked up about is slow news day speculation. If you’re in an airplane and it crashes, you’ve gotta move and get out of that thing. But if you’re sitting home on your sofa watching talking-head speculation on tv, the best thing you can do is wait and see. Let the truth sift itself to the top. It will.

From the DailyNews:

Even Popes get pooped sometimes.

As rumors swirled about the Pope’s declining health, a Vatican spokesman soundly squashed reports that Francis had become ill.

“There is no sickness whatsoever,” the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office, told CNN. “If there was, we would be open about that and asking people to pray for him.”

The speculations emerged after observers noticed that the pontiff had canceled his weekly general audiences in Saint Peter’s Square during the month of July. He is also not planning on inviting guests to his early morning Masses during both July and August.

Although it seems like a lighter schedule, the Pope’s summer calendar is similar to last year’s, the Catholic News Service reports. In fact, he’s adding on a trip to South Korea for Asian Youth Day from Aug. 13-18.


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