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Germany: Over 2,700 anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2021 (AP)

On June 28, the Federal Association of Departments for Research and Information on Antisemitism published its 2021 annual report.

“More incidents were recorded that were highly dangerous for the victims, such as cases of extreme violence and assaults,” the authors of the report concluded. “There was more targeted damage to or desecration of property, too. However, low-key anti-Semitic incidents remained the most frequent in 2021.”

In Nicaragua, the Ortega regime steps up efforts to silence civil society—especially the Catholic Church (America)

Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Marxist Sandinistas who overthrew the authoritarian regime of Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, ruled Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista takeover until his loss in the 1990 presidential election. He returned to power in 2007.

According to the report, there have been “190 attacks and desecrations against church sites since 2018, including a fire in the cathedral of Managua, as well as police harassment and persecution of bishops and priests by the Nicaraguan government.”

Pope tells young people to be messengers of hope (Vatican News)

“I encourage you to use well and responsibly the time that is available to you: it is in this way that one grows and prepares oneself to take on more demanding task,” Pope Francis said in a message to participants in the Global Youth Tourism Summit, which took place on June 27.

“Dear young people, I hope you will be messengers of hope and rebirth for the future,” he added.

Abortion providers confront new landscape after Roe overturn (Wall Street Journal)

“Abortion providers in several states across the country halted services in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, while supporters and opponents began to shift their focus to pill-based abortions and how new restrictions would be enforced,” the report notes.

FBI investigating New Orleans archdiocese on abuse complaints (AP)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has opened a major investigation of the New Orleans archdiocese, centered on the handling of sex-abuse complaints.

While most criminal investigations of sex abuse by Catholic clerics has been conducted by local or state officials, the FBI has launched a wide-ranging federal probe, with a focus on possible violations of the Mann Act, which makes it a federal crime to transport people across state lines for illicit sexual purposes. Several priests are suspected of taking boys to neighboring states and molesting them.

The FBI investigation reportedly covers the archdiocesan handling of abuse complaints that date back several decades, and could prompt federal prosecutors demand the release of confidential archdiocesan records.

Both the FBI and the New Orleans archdiocese have declined to comment on the investigation.

Pelosi receives Communion at papal Mass (CNA)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi received Communion at a June Mass at the Vatican, at which Pope Francis presided.

Pope Francis was not the celebrant of the Mass, nor did he distribute Communion. The Speaker, who was vacationing in Rome, was one of many diplomats and political figures attending the Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. She received the Eucharist from a priest who may or may not have recognized her.

The feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is traditionally a celebration of the unity among the world’s bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff. Because of continued trouble with his painful knee condition, Pope Francis presided at the Eucharistic celebration but Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the dean of the College of Cardinals, was the celebrant.

Speaker Pelosi has been barred from receiving the Eucharist by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, her home diocese. But she has continued to attend Mass and receive Communion in other dioceses.

Respond to opposition with firm decision to do good, Pope tells pilgrims (Vatican News)

During his Angelus address for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Pope Francis reflected on Luke 9:51-62, the Gospel reading of the day.

“Let us ask Jesus for the strength of being like him, of following him resolutely down the path of service, not to be vindictive, not to be intolerant when difficulties present themselves, when we spend ourselves in doing good and others do not understand this, or even when they disqualify us,” the Pope said to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “No, silence and go ahead.”

“May the Virgin Mary help us make the resolute decision Jesus did to remain in love to the end,” he concluded.

Vatican spokesman reacts to Dobbs decision, cautions against 'polarization,' 'extremisms' (Vatican News)

Reacting to the US Supreme Court decision on abortion, Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, emphasized that “Pope Francis has spoken out strongly and unequivocally” against abortion.

Tornielli’s editorial (“For Life, Always”) followed an earlier statement by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The ruling, said Tornielli, “could provide an opportunity to reflect on life, the protection of the defenseless and the discarded, women’s rights, and the protection of motherhood.”

“A serious and shared reflection on life and the protection of motherhood would require us to move away from the logic of opposing extremisms and the political polarization that often—unfortunately—accompanies discussion on this issue, preventing true dialogue,” he added.

“Being for life, always, for example, means being concerned if the mortality rates of women due to motherhood increase,” he continued, citing the increase in maternal mortality in the US between 2019 and 2020. (Tornielli did not mention that the increase was linked to Covid.)

“Being for life, always, means asking how to help women welcome new life,” he added. “In the United States, about 75% of women who have abortions live in poverty or have low wages. And only 16% of employees in private industry have access to paid parental leave ... Being for life, always, also means defending it against the threat of firearms.”

“We can hope, therefore, that the debate on the US Supreme Court ruling will not be reduced to an ideological confrontation, but will prompt all of us—on both sides of the ocean—to reflect on what it means to welcome life, to defend it, and to promote it with appropriate legislation,” Tornielli concluded.

Leading UN official deplores Supreme Court ruling, says abortion is 'international human right' (United Nations Human Rights)

The Supreme Court decision that permits states to protect the lives of unborn children “represents a major setback after five decades of protection for sexual and reproductive health and rights in the US through Roe v Wade,” said Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Access to safe, legal and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human right law and is at the core of women and girls’ autonomy and ability to make their own choices about their bodies and lives, free of discrimination, violence and coercion,” Bachelet continued. “This decision strips such autonomy from millions of women in the US, in particular those with low incomes and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, to the detriment of their fundamental rights.”

US Secretary of State pledges push for global expansion of abortion (@SecBlinken)

Referring to the Dobbs v. Jackson decision (CWN coverage), Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the State Department is “fully committed” to “helping provide access to reproductive health services and advancing reproductive rights around the world.”

“We will not waver from this commitment,” he added.

In the majority of nations around the world, abortion is legal in limited circumstances, such as rape (map). One-third of nations permit abortion on demand early in pregnancy.

Only a handful of nations permit abortion as extensively as the US did prior to the Dobbs decision. As the Court observed, “only six countries besides the United States” allowed “nontherapeutic or elective abortion-on-demand after the 20th week of gestation” as of 2018: “Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam ... Iceland and Guinea-Bissau are now also similarly permissive” (pp. 6-7).