Breaking: Bishops’ president decries ruling on California marriage law

Press release just issued by the USCCB:

WASHINGTON-Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, decried the August 4 decision of a federal judge to overturn California voters’ 2008 initiative that protected marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of any society. The misuse of law to change the nature of marriage undermines the common good,” Cardinal George said. “It is tragic that a federal judge would overturn the clear and expressed will of the people in their support for the institution of marriage. No court of civil law has the authority to reach into areas of human experience that nature itself has defined.”

Joining Cardinal George in his criticism of the court decision was Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage. Archbishop Kurtz noted that “Citizens of this nation have uniformly voted to uphold the understanding of marriage as a union of one man and one woman in every jurisdiction where the issue has been on the ballot. This understanding is neither irrational nor unlawful,” he said. “Marriage is more fundamental and essential to the well being of society than perhaps any other institution. It is simply unimaginable that the court could now claim a conflict between marriage and the Constitution.”

K of C pledges to help every Haitian child who lost a limb during earthquake

Young people who lost a limb in Haiti's earthquake will receive up to three prosthetics during the next two years under the Knights of Columbus' Hope for Haiti's Children program. (CNS/Bob Roller)

The estimated 800 Haitian children who lost an arm or a leg because of the country’s violent earthquake Jan. 12 will get prosthetic limbs and therapy courtesy of the Knights of Columbus.

The effort, called Hope for Haiti’s Children, was first announced by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson as he gave his annual report Aug.3 during the organization’s convention in Washington.

More details of the two-year program were announced at a Washington press conference Aug. 4.

Estimated to cost at least $1 million, the Knights are partnering with the University of Miami’s Project Medishare for Haiti to make the prosthetic devices available.

Each child will receive three prosthetics and all necessary therapy during the two-year period.

Earlier this year, the Knights teamed up with the California-based American Wheelchair Mission to deliver more than 1,000 wheelchairs to Haiti for people who suffered crushing injuries in the quake. The wheelchairs were donated to patients at a field hospital at the Port-au-Prince airport operated by the University of Miami.

The Knights also plan to deliver another 1,000 wheelchairs over the next several months.

“Each and every one of these children will receive a new start in life thanks to the Knights of Columbus,” Anderson told the convention delegates.

Jacques Montouroy: A true humanitarian

CRS aid worker Jacques Montouroy shows Haitians in a makeshift tent camp how to cut washers from rubber tubing a few weeks after the country's devastating earthquake. (CNS/Lane Hartill, Catholic Relief Services)

Catholic Relief Services lost a true humanitarian July 29 in the person of Jacques Montouroy.

He died from complications from an ulcer, according to CRS. He was 63.

In his 41 years with the U.S .bishops’ overseas relief and development agency, “Papa Jacques,” as he was known, worked in some of the most God-forsaken places on earth under extremely difficult conditions: Haiti after the January earthquake, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia in their wars. Yet he persisted in meeting the needs of others in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Lane Hartill, regional information office for CRS in West Africa, writes about the life of his colleague in a post on CRS Voices, the agency’s blog. His reflection on Montouroy depicts a man whose life was rooted in Gospel values as he tried to serve the poorest and most forgotten people of the world.

Montouroy never married. His family was the people he served and the people he worked with. Hartill says Montouroy never sought the spotlight and never liked to have his picture taken.

From the sound of it, he surely will be missed.