Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory High School in Indianapolis has appealed its case to Rome, to the Vatican. It had been banned from the archdiocese by archbishop Charles Thompson for refusing to terminate a teacher who is in a same-sex marriage. The school desires to be reinstated as a Catholic institution. The appeal will be handled by the Congregation of Catholic Education. The school is named for Saint Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649), a French Jesuit missionary who travelled to New France (Canada) in 1625 and spent his career in ministry to the Huron Indians.
Here and around the Commonwealth (and also in at least a dozen other states) children and youth are returning to public schools to see new signs posted: IN GOD WE TRUST. This is considered by some to be the national motto and appears on some currency and license plates. Missouri, Tennessee, South Dakota, Virginia, Mississippi and Colorado are other states that have mandated the motto. The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation is working to take this motto movement to all fifty states and has promised to defend the law pro bono if it is challenged in court. It is not known how this motto impacts school morale, academic performance, and/or religious devotion.
Vice President Pence welcomed to the White House a small delegation from the 21Wilberforce organization. That group, named for the famed 19th century abolitionist, operates from a mission to “empower people of faith to collaboratively support persecuted communities of all faiths, challenge religious repression, and globally expand freedom of religion, belief, and conscience.” Also hosting the meeting was U S Ambassador for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. Other groups represented were Open Doors, China Aid, Religious Freedom Roundtable, Citizen Power Initiatives for China, and representatives of Uyghur Muslims and Falun Gong of China. 21Wilberforce is seeking Magnitsky Sanctions for Xinjiang Leaders, an official unsupervised visit to Xinjiang, the release of prisoners of conscience, China designated as a Country of Particular Concern, and circumvention of China’s Internet firewall.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio joined the growing chorus of religious leaders condemning racist rhetoric from the White House and other national leaders. The Archbishop, a vocal supporter of the immigrant communities in Texas, took to Twitter to issue his appeal: “President stop hate and racism, starting with yourself,” he tweeted. Last week religious leaders in Washington DC, led by the rector of the National Cathedral, denounced the same sort of speech, contending that it demonized certain groups of people and encouraged violent actions against them. Garcia-Siller later apologized for mentioning the President but doubled down on his rejection of public rhetoric that described refugees as “invading” the United States.
Muslims from the United States are joining the estimated two to three million people to converge in Saudi Arabia for the five-day pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site. The Hajj is one of the five Pillars of Islam, the others being confessing of faith, keeping Ramadan, giving alms, and praying the five daily prayers. It is expected that Muslims will keep the Hajj at least once during their lifetime. This year, because of the Middle Eastern outbreak of MERS virus, the Saudi government urges the following persons to do the Hajj another year: pregnant women; children; those with chronic health issues, such as heart, kidney, diabetes, cancer or respiratory diseases; and those with congenital or acquired immunodeficiency disorders.