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Devout Christian dad killed in Trump assassination attempt was ‘the very best of us’

Trump supporters are seen covered with blood in the stands in aftermath of assassination attempt against former President Donald Trump in Butler, Pennsylvania, July 13, 2024. / Credit: Photo by REBECCA DROKE/AFP via Getty Images

Boston, Mass., Jul 14, 2024 / 15:46 pm (CNA).

The 50-year-old husband and father who was fatally shot Saturday at former president Donald Trump’s campaign rally outside of Pittsburgh was a devoted Christian and “the very best of us,” according to his family and the state’s governor.

Corey Comperatore “went to church every Sunday. Corey loved his community. Most especially, Corey loved his family,” Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said in a press conference Sunday.

Speaking to reporters north of Pittsburgh, the Democratic governor said that he spoke to Comperatore’s wife and two daughters. 

Comperatore was a “girl dad” who worked as a firefighter, Shapiro said.

“I asked Corey’s wife if it would be okay for me to share that we spoke. And she said yes,” Shapiro said on Sunday. 

“She also asked that I share with all of you that Corey died a hero. That Corey dove on his family to protect them last night at this rally. Corey was the very best of us. May his memory be a blessing.”

Comperatore was “an avid supporter of the former president and was so excited to be there last night with him in the community,” the governor added.

Flags will be flying at half staff in the state after the tragedy, Shapiro said. 

Comperatore was a chief at the Buffalo Township Volunteer Fire Department. That township is about a 30-minute drive northeast of Pittsburgh.

Comperatore’s LinkedIn and Facebook profiles say that he was a project and tooling engineer at JSP, a manufacturing company.

A Saturday Facebook post from Comperatore’s wife, Helen — posted prior to the shooting — said that the family wasn’t originally sitting in the bleachers behind the former president.

It wasn’t until a campaign official approached the family and asked if they wanted to be seated in the bleachers behind Trump that they were moved, she wrote.

Dawn Comperatore Schafer, who identified herself as Corey’s sister, said on Facebook Sunday that the firefighter “was a hero that shielded his daughters. His wife and girls just lived through the unthinkable and unimaginable. My baby brother just turned 50 and had so much life left to experience.”

“The hatred for one man took the life of the one man we loved the most,” she said. “Hatred has no limits and love has no bounds. Pray for my sister-in-law, nieces, my mother, sister, me, and his nieces and nephews as this feels like a terrible nightmare but we know it is our painful reality.”

A Facebook post by Comperatore’s daughter Allyson was circulating the internet on Sunday; in it she called the event “a real-life nightmare.”

“What was supposed to be an exciting day that we had all looked forward to (ESPECIALLY my dad), turned into the most traumatizing experiences someone could imagine,” she wrote.

Allyson called her father “the best dad a girl could ever ask for,” adding that he “was a man of God, loved Jesus fiercely, and also looked after our church and our members as family.”

“The media will not tell you that he died a real-life superhero. They are not going to tell you how quickly he threw my mom and I to the ground,” she said. 

“They are not going to tell you that he shielded my body from the bullet that came at us. He loved his family. He truly loved us enough to take a real bullet for us. And I want nothing more than to cry on him and tell him thank you. I want nothing more than to wake up and for this to not be reality for me and my family,” she said.

A GoFundMe fundraiser had raised nearly $500,000 for the Comperatore family by Sunday evening.

World leaders unite in support of democracy after attack on Trump; shooter identified

Law enforcement agents stand near the stage of a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pennsylvania, after an assassination attempt on the former president. / Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

CNA Newsroom, Jul 14, 2024 / 07:15 am (CNA).

Political leaders from around the globe have spoken out against political violence and in support of democracy after an assassination attempt on former president Donald Trump at a rally in western Pennsylvania on Saturday evening.

Leaders have also wished the former president a quick recovery after he was injured in a shooting at about 6:20 p.m. ET in Butler, Pennsylvania, shortly after the campaign rally began.

In a statement posted to Truth Social on July 13, Trump said a bullet pierced the upper part of his right ear. After receiving treatment at a nearby hospital, the former president flew to New Jersey under Secret Service protection late Saturday night.

Shooter identified

The FBI has identified the Trump rally shooter as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Crooks, who carried no ID and was identified with DNA analysis, was killed by a Secret Service sniper at the rally, according to officials.

In a statement, the FBI said the event “remains an active and ongoing investigation” and encouraged anyone with information to call or submit photos or videos online.

Kevin Rojek, FBI Pittsburgh special agent in charge, said at a Saturday night briefing they have not yet identified a motive for the shooting, which left one attendee dead and two in critical condition. Police said all three victims were men.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer announced that Congress will hold a hearing over the assassination attempt, with Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle invited to attend.

Leaders react

French president Emmanuel Macron called the assassination attempt “a tragedy for our democracies.” He wished the former president a speedy recovery, adding that “France shares the shock and indignation of the American people.”

Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, said he was “sickened” by the shooting. “It cannot be overstated — political violence is never acceptable. My thoughts are with former President Trump, those at the event, and all Americans,” he said.

In a post on X, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said: “We must stand firm against any form of violence that challenges democracy,” and Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te said: “Political violence of any form is never acceptable in our democracies.”

French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting with Governor of Spain at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, France on March 21, 2022. Credit: Victor Velter|Shutterstock
French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting with Governor of Spain at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, France on March 21, 2022. Credit: Victor Velter|Shutterstock

Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, wished Trump a quick recovery “with the hope that the coming months of campaigning will see dialogue and responsibility prevail over hatred and violence.”

A spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the shooting and called it an “act of political violence.”

British prime minister Keir Starmer said he was “appalled by the shocking scenes” at the rally. “Political violence in any form has no place in our societies and my thoughts are with all the victims of this attack,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his wife, Sara, “were shocked by the apparent attack on President Trump.”

“Together with all democracy-loving peoples around the world, we condemn all forms of political violence,” the president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said on X, adding: “The voice of the people must always remain supreme.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese echoed Marcos’ sentiments. “The incident at former President Trump’s campaign event in Pennsylvania today is concerning and confronting,” he said. “There is no place for violence in the democratic process.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who met Trump last week while visiting the U.S. for a NATO summit, said his prayers were with the former president “in these dark hours.”

In a post on X, President of Argentina Javier Milei wrote that Trump has all his “support and solidarity,” calling the former president the “victim of a cowardly assassination attempt that put his life and that of hundreds of people at risk.”

The Argentine president used the opportunity to call out “the desperation of the international left,” accusing it of “harmful ideology” and a willingness “to destabilize democracies and promote violence to screw itself into power.”

“In fear of losing at the polls, they resort to terrorism to impose their retrograde and authoritarian agenda,” he said, closing by wishing a quick recovery to Trump and saying that the elections in the United States will be held “fairly, peacefully, and democratically.”

U.S. bishops’ Solidarity Fund reminds Catholic to ‘stand with Africa’

Bishops gathered at the19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar in Accra, Ghana, July 2022. / Credit: Courtesy of SECAM

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 14, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ Solidarity Fund for the Church of Africa is bolstering the needs of faithful Catholic communities across the African continent and helping them to meet their challenges.

In a recent statement from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ (USCCB) Office of Public Affairs, the bishops said: “Catholics across the United States can answer this call to ‘Stand with Africa’ by participating in their diocese’s annual collection for the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa.”

Though plagued with various difficulties such as poverty, lack of resources, and political conflicts, Africa’s growth and vitality in Catholicism has made the continent a focal point in the Church’s expansion and future aspirations.

According to an October 2023 Vatican report covering the year 2021, the Catholic population of Africa consisted of 265 million, or 18%, of the continent’s population. Whereas Europe has seen declines in its Catholic population, Africa’s Catholic population continues to expand in many places.

“Globalization, climate change, and poverty deeply affect the lives of African men and women every day. But amidst rapid societal change, the Catholic Church remains constant, proclaiming the timeless and hopeful message of the Gospel,” stated Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith of Portland, Oregon, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Africa.

“The Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa enables the Church to support those who are in dire need of pastoral care and to inspire those whose faith and hope may be flagging,” Smith said.

Building upon the U.S. bishops’ 2001 statement “A Call to Solidarity with Africa,” the fund’s initiative seeks to “provide a serious, sustained response that will meet genuine needs, strengthen the capacity of the Church in Africa, and provide for effective and transparent accountability.”

The Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa awarded over $2.1 million in 2023 to 75 projects put forward by the bishops of Africa, including:

— Grants helping Kenyans and Ugandans recover spiritually from the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the disintegration of marriages and family violence.

— In Cameroon, cited by human rights groups for appalling prison conditions, Catholic prison chaplains have learned to document abuses and advocate for reform.

— The Sisters of the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa received theological and practical training to apply Catholic social teaching to a broad range of threats to human life, from human trafficking to environmental degradation.

— In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the public sector is plagued by rampant financial corruption, diocesan and parish staff studied proper Church administration and financial stewardship.

— In South Africa and Namibia, ethnic groups received hymnals in the Xhosa and Rumanyo languages and a Bible in the language of the Rukwangali people.

Those who wish to support similar efforts and the Church of Africa can either donate year-round to #iGiveCatholicTogether or annually through their parish collection/e-offertory program on their diocese’s scheduled date of appeal.

“The Church helps people to praise God in their own language because God came to us speaking our languages,” Smith said.

“He wants to walk with everyone through whatever hardships or heartaches we suffer,” he concluded in the statement. “That is the purpose of the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. Gifts to this fund make God’s love tangible.”

Catholic priest prayed for Trump’s safety at Pennsylvania rally moments before shooting

Father Jason Charron. / Credit: YouTube screenshot/HolyProtectionsShrine.org

CNA Newsroom, Jul 14, 2024 / 06:40 am (CNA).

A Catholic priest who gave a benediction during former president Donald Trump’s rally Saturday told people they needed to pray for Trump moments before Trump was shot and wounded.

Father Jason Charron, a Ukrainian Catholic pastor, told CNA a group of about 15 to 20 people called him over to a barricade within the rally site as he was trying to leave shortly before Trump began speaking.

“I said to them: I prayed for him and his safety, but that they have to pray, as well, because there are people who want to kill him,” Charron said in a telephone interview with CNA late Saturday night. “And little did I think — literally a few minutes later there was this kind of indistinct sound, and people began leaving, and at that point I heard someone saying that that was a gunshot.”

A gunman trying to kill Trump fired several times at the former president, hitting the top of his right ear while killing a spectator and wounding two more, authorities said.

Charron said he met briefly with Trump before the former president went out to address the crowd at the rally, which took place in an outdoor venue at Butler Farm Show in Butler County, Pennsylvania.

“I spoke with him regarding the situation in Ukraine and shook his hand. It wasn’t a very in-depth conversation,” Charron said.

The priest told CNA that the Trump campaign contacted him a few days ago and asked him to offer a benediction at the rally. In an interview that aired on the “Pints with Aquinas” podcast Saturday night, Charron recounted the prayer he offered at the event.

“My prayer was one of protection. My prayer there was for the restoration of right relationships in our society — relationships at the individual level, at the familial level, at the societal level, such that our nation would be made great again in God’s sight. And our nation be made great again, I said, that our world be made great again, in God’s sight,” Charron said.

“All of this presupposes that people, first of all, begin to live their daily lives in accordance with God’s will,” the priest added.

Charron said he is aware of Trump’s policy pronouncements that conflict with Catholic teaching, including Trump’s recent statements saying he favors the availability of abortion pills. But he alluded to Trump’s pro-life actions, which include while he was president appointing three U.S. Supreme Court justices who helped form a majority that overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, which enabled states to ban abortion.

“If people are going to wonder why I was at a Trump rally, it wasn’t to canonize him or absolve him from his many imperfections,” Charron told CNA.

“His recent shyness on championing pro-life legislation is undesirable, and it’s not for that that I’m there, but to encourage him to build on the pro-life victories of his first administration,” he said.

Charron was ordained to the priesthood in the Ukrainian Catholic Church for the Diocese of St. Josaphat in 2008. He has served in parishes in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and is currently pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Catholic leaders react to Trump shooting: ‘Our country needs God’

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he is rushed offstage during a rally on July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pennsylvania. / Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

CNA Newsroom, Jul 13, 2024 / 20:57 pm (CNA).

Catholic ecclesial and political leaders across the United States offered their prayers for Donald Trump after an attempted assassination of the former president Saturday evening at a campaign event in Pennsylvania.

Among them was Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, where the shooting took place.

“We are deeply shocked by news reports of the shooting at a political rally for former President Trump right across the street from one of our churches in Butler County,” Zubik said in a statement. 

“We are grateful for the swift actions of the Secret Service and our local first responders,” he added. “Let us join together in prayer for the health and safety of all, for healing and peace, and for an end to this climate of violence in our world. May God guide and protect us all.”

Other U.S. Church leaders echoed concern for the nation as a whole, which already was in the grips of a fever of extraordinary polarization before Saturday’s shocking events.

“Together with my brother bishops, we condemn political violence, and we offer our prayers for President Trump, and those who were killed or injured,” Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said in a statement Saturday night.

“We also pray for our country and for an end to political violence, which is never a solution to political disagreements,” Broglio added. “We ask all people of goodwill to join us in praying for peace in our country. Mary, Mother of God and Patroness of the Americas, pray for us.”

The archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSSR, also called on the Mary’s intercession. He invited prayers for the recovery of Trump and all victims of the shooting: “May the family of the deceased and wounded find consolation and hope, and may this outrage lead us, as Americans, to denounce all forms of political and gun violence and the rhetoric that incites it.”

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, archbishop of San Antonio and a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, asked for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose basilica in Mexico City he visited on Saturday afternoon.

“Political conflicts cannot and must not lead to violence,” he said in a statement issued from Mexico City. “May Our Lady of Guadalupe, mother of Jesus Christ and our mother, guide us in these difficult times in our country. May we become peacemakers in our homes, our families, our workplaces, and our nation. We need peace in our world.”

Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia said in a statement posted to Instagram late Saturday night that he was “deeply saddened and dismayed to learn of the shooting.”

“Americans must join in solidarity to condemn today’s act of political violence and violence in all forms. Working together, we can resolve our differences through peaceful dialogue and conquer the sin of hatred,” he said.

Earlier this summer, the USCCB issued a statement on political violence, urging all Christians and people of goodwill to abstain from political violence and instead “pursue what leads to peace and building up one another” through dialogue and seeking justice.

“Today’s events demonstrate the political tension that exists in our nation,” said Bishop Larry Kulick of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, which neighbors Butler County but does not include it.

“Violence can never be a legitimate part of the democratic process,” he said. “I ask all the faithful of the Diocese of Greensburg to join in me in prayer for those who have died, those who mourn their loss, and those who have been injured.”

Kulick added: “My heartfelt prayers go out to all of those who have been affected by this horrific event.”

Bishop Robert Barron of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, soon after the news of the shooting broke.

“I would like to offer prayers for President Trump and all those who were injured at the rally in Pennsylvania,” he said. “We must turn from the path of violence. May the Lord bless our troubled nation.”

Bishop Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa, called Saturday’s shooting “a tragic day for our country.”

“There is no place for political violence in the United States. The events today demonstrate the great need for prayer — it is a time to pray for peace and pray for an end to violence,” he said.

“We must also pray for those who may have been killed or injured in the event, and their families, and pray for the quick recovery of former President Trump,” he added. “Moving forward, may we show love and respect for one another in this great country.”

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City also offers his prayers for Trump “and those killed, injured, and traumatized Saturday at the rally in Pennsylvania.”

Coakley added: “Let us remember that violence is never the answer to our differences. And may God bless our nation, at this time marked by division.”

Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, expressed similar sentiments.

“Please pray for President Trump and his family and for the souls and families of those killed in this terrible incident,” he said. “Please pray for peace in our nation.”

Bishop Donald Hying, bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, also offered prayers for Trump and those injured in the shooting, adding: “Our country needs prayer and conversion. Our country needs God.”

Michael Warsaw, board chairman and CEO of EWTN, CNA’s parent organization, released the following statement: “This is a very very sad day for our country. We need to pray for the former president and all who have been impacted by this incident. We also need to redouble our prayers for our country.”

Kevin Roberts, the Catholic president of The Heritage Foundation, said the shooting was “no surprise” given years of bitterly heated rhetorical attacks against Trump.

“Today’s attempted assassination of Donald Trump is something many of us have been worried about,” Roberts said in a statement. 

“When the Radical Left spends years and millions of dollars calling Trump and every conservative ‘threats to democracy,’ it’s no surprise that today’s tragedy would happen,” he said. “We must pray for our country and all our leaders, and for an end to this inflammatory rhetoric of the Left and their media accomplices.”

This is a developing story.

National Catholic Register staff writers Matthew McDonald and Peter Laffin contributed to this story.

Trump injured at Pennsylvania rally in assassination attempt; shooter, rally attendee dead

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pennsylvania. / Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

CNA Newsroom, Jul 13, 2024 / 19:34 pm (CNA).

Former President Donald Trump suffered injuries in an assassination attempt at a rally in western Pennsylvania on Saturday evening, with the former president being escorted out of the venue with blood on his face after shots rang out.

The alleged shooter was reportedly killed by law enforcement and one attendee at the rally was also killed, according to media reports.

“The former president is safe,” the U.S. Secret Service said in a written statement on Saturday evening that did not say whether Trump was injured.

The incident took place at about 6:20 p.m. in Butler, Pennsylvania, shortly after the Trump rally began.

Secret Service tend to Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump onstage at a rally on July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pennsylvania. Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Secret Service tend to Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump onstage at a rally on July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pennsylvania. Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Secret Service agents shielded Trump as he appeared to lie on the floor of the stage.

Trump stood up and put his fist into the air before being whisked away by law enforcement officers. Blood was visible on the top of his right ear and on his right cheek.

Multiple media outlets reported that the alleged shooter was killed by law enforcement after the shooting took place. An attendee at the rally was also reportedly killed amid the shooting.

In a statement posted to Truth Social, the former president thanked law enforcement “for their rapid response on the shooting that just took place in Butler, Pennsylvania."

“Most importantly, I want to extend my condolences to the family of the person at the rally who was killed, and also to the family of another person that was badly injured,” Trump wrote. “It is incredible that such an act can take place in our country.”

“Nothing is known at this time about the shooter, who is now dead,” Trump said. “I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear. I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin. Much bleeding took place, so I realized then what was happening. GOD BLESS AMERICA!”

National and church leaders, meanwhile, responded to the news with calls for prayers and with condemnation of the violence.

President Joe Biden on Saturday said he had been “briefed on the shooting at Donald Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania.”

“I’m grateful to hear that he’s safe and doing well. I’m praying for him and his family and for all those who were at the rally as we await further information,” the president said.

“Jill and I are grateful to the Secret Service for getting him to safety,” Biden added. “There’s no place for this kind of violence in America. We must unite as one nation to condemn it.”

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, said in a statement that the U.S. bishops "condemn political violence, and we offer our prayers for President Trump, and those who were killed or injured."

"We also pray for our country and for an end to political violence, which is never a solution to political disagreements. We ask all people of goodwill to join us in praying for peace in our country. Mary, Mother of God and Patroness of the Americas, pray for us," Broglio said.

Bishop David Zubik, the bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh where the shooting took place, released a statement Saturday night in which he expressed shock at “news reports of the shooting at a political rally for former President Trump right across the street from one of our churches in Butler County.”

“We are grateful for the swift actions of the Secret Service and our local first responders,” the bishop said. “Let us join together in prayer for the health and safety of all, for healing and peace, and for an end to this climate of violence in our world. May God guide and protect us all.”

Kevin Roberts, the president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said in a statement that the shooting was “something many of us have been worried about.”

“When the Radical Left spends years and millions of dollars calling Trump and every conservative ‘threats to democracy,’ it’s no surprise that today’s tragedy would happen,” he said. “We must pray for our country and all our leaders, and for an end to this inflammatory rhetoric of the Left and their media accomplices.”

Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, Bishop Robert Barron on Saturday said he would “offer prayers for President Trump and all those who were injured at the rally in Pennsylvania.”

“We must turn from the path of violence,” the bishop said. “May the Lord bless our troubled nation.”

Jonah McKeown of CNA and Peter Laffin of the National Catholic Register contributed to this report.

This is a developing story.

Washington judge denies state attorney general’s subpoena against Seattle Archdiocese

“To be very clear: we are not seeking to cover up the sins of the past,” Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne emphasized. “We acknowledge that sexual abuse occurred; it is tragic and heartbreaking. We want abusers to be held accountable and we wish to dispel the fear that clergy sexual abuse is rampant today." Image of Saint James Cathedral in Seattle. / Credit: DarrylBrooks/Shutterstock

CNA Staff, Jul 13, 2024 / 10:45 am (CNA).

A judge in Washington state on Friday rejected the state attorney general’s request to enforce a subpoena against the Archdiocese of Seattle as part of an ongoing investigation into sex abuse. 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson had said in May that his office had sent subpoenas to the Seattle Archdiocese, the Diocese of Spokane, and the Diocese of Yakima as part of an investigation into whether the bishoprics “used charitable funds to cover up allegations of child sex abuse by clergy.”

The attorney general’s office claimed in May that the Seattle Archdiocese “refused to cooperate” with the subpoena, leading the prosecutor to request that the King County Superior Court enforce the demand under the state’s Charitable Trusts Act, which imposes transparency requirements on large charitable trusts. 

In a press release shared with CNA, the archdiocese said that King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott on Friday “ruled that the attorney general does not have legal authority to enforce a subpoena against the Archdiocese of Seattle,” with the judge “specifically noting that the religious exemption in the Charitable Trust Act” applies in this case. 

The archdiocese “is committed to transparency and accountability to help those who have been harmed heal and to rebuild trust,” the Friday statement said, adding that the archdiocese “remains steadfast in its offer to collaborate with the attorney general in a lawful manner.”

In a Thursday letter prior to the ruling, Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne had argued that the state charitable law contains “a very clear religious exemption that our Legislature adopted to limit the attorney general’s authority.”

Bishop Paul D. Etienne. CNA file photo.
Bishop Paul D. Etienne. CNA file photo.

“Because of this clear religious exemption, we simply cannot comply” with the subpoena, the archbishop wrote. “Doing so puts First Amendment rights and the foundational concept of separation of church and state at risk.” 

The prelate further argued that the prosecutor’s request was “too broad” and that complying with the subpoena would involve “many months to produce irrelevant documents” and would “waste millions of dollars for us and for taxpayers.”

“To be very clear: We are not seeking to cover up the sins of the past,” the archbishop added. “We acknowledge that sexual abuse occurred; it is tragic and heartbreaking. We want abusers to be held accountable and we wish to dispel the fear that clergy sexual abuse is rampant today, because it is not.”

In a Friday statement following the ruling, meanwhile, Ferguson’s office reiterated its claim that the prosecutor “has authority under the Charitable Trusts Act to investigate organizations’ use of charitable funds.”

“We plan to immediately appeal this decision because Washingtonians deserve a full public accounting of the Church’s involvement in and responsibility for the child sexual abuse crisis,” Ferguson said. 

The prosecutor told local media that if the ruling “means we have to go all the way up to the state Supreme Court, that’s absolutely what we’re going to do.”

In May the Seattle Archdiocese had said that it “welcome[d] this investigation because we have a shared goal of abuse prevention, healing for victims, and transparency.” 

The archdiocese said it had been “working closely with the attorney general’s team for months” on the investigation prior to the legal dispute.

Confraternity of the Lord of Miracles to celebrate 30 years in U.S.

Image from the 2023 29th anniversary celebration of the Confraternity of the Lord of Miracles in the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida. / Credit: "EWTN Noticias"/Screenshot

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 13, 2024 / 09:00 am (CNA).

In October, the Confraternity of the Lord of Miracles of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, will celebrate 30 years of promoting the most important devotion in Peru and evangelizing southern Florida.

The confraternity was formed 1994 as an initiative of a Spanish priest who encouraged Peruvians to begin the apostolate at St. Juliana Church, where the image that is brought out in procession in the month of October is currently kept.

Professor Mario Neyra, president of the Confraternity of the Lord of Miracles, told EWTN Noticias, the Spanish-language broadcast partner of EWTN News, about the activities carried out by the apostolate, which is made up mostly of Peruvians but which faithful of other nationalities can join.

“Our job is basically to promote faith in the Lord of Miracles and maintain a little of our traditions. In the month of October we remember our roots and also honor Our Lord,” Neyra said.

Neyra, who is married and will be ordained a permanent deacon next year, said that currently the Confraternity of the Lord of Miracles of the Diocese of Palm Beach is also present in St. Rita and Holy Name of Jesus parishes.

With novenas, Masses, processions, and providing typical Peruvian dishes, the confraternity continues to carry out its apostolate, something that Neyra considered is a distinctive feature of Hispanic immigrants.

“Here in the United States the Catholic Church has grown thanks to immigrants. The life that exists in the parishes is often because of them,” Neyra highlighted.

“In the activities they do in the parishes, the parish priests definitely count on Latinos. Parish life, joy, all this comes from us,” he commented.

Who is the Lord of Miracles?

The Lord of Miracles, also called the Christ of Pachacamilla, the Purple Christ (in reference to decorations and clothing associated with the devotion) or the Black Christ (referring to the dark complexion of the figure of Christ) is an image of Jesus painted on an adobe wall that is preserved in the Shrine of Las Nazarenas in Lima, Peru. 

The image is considered miraculous because the wall it is painted on has withstood the onslaught of several disastrous earthquakes, which is why veneration of the image has grown increasingly since the 17th century, becoming a characteristic devotion of Peruvians throughout the world.

After one of the earthquakes, an oil painting of the image was commissioned so it could be carried out in procession.

One of the many processions of the Lord of Miracles takes place in Rome and concludes in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, where Pope Francis usually greets the participants as he did on Oct. 22, 2023.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

After needing a heart transplant, one woman’s rehabilitation became spiritual

Kathleen Anderson holds a photo of the woman whose heart was donated and transplanted into her. Anderson still keeps in contact with the woman’s family. / Credit: Isabel Cacho/Angelus News

Los Angeles, Calif., Jul 13, 2024 / 08:00 am (CNA).

For 70 years, Kathleen Anderson’s congenital heart disease had eroded her health and brought her to her knees in prayer. 

As she finally prepared to undergo a heart transplant, she paused to pray and hoped to find healing and respite when she emerged from surgery.

Although she awoke with a healthy new heart in her chest, the ordeal triggered a monthslong spiritual battle that caused her to cry out to God.

Today, Anderson says that God has physically — and spiritually — healed her heart and says that her Catholic faith, her commitment to prayer, and the support of others helped her to persevere. 

“My advice to those who are suffering is to never give up hope and to turn to Jesus, because he will give you the peace that you need,” said Anderson, a longtime parishioner of St. Cornelius Church in Long Beach, California. 

Anderson was born into a devout Catholic family and prayed the rosary every night with her parents, asking God to heal her heart. She went on to get married and have three children, even after doctors weren’t sure she could have kids because of her illness. 

With time, Anderson’s condition worsened. She had her first heart surgery at 52 and underwent additional procedures in the following years.

Ultimately, doctors placed her on Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s heart transplant list but warned her that it could take years for her to get a new heart. Having a heart transplant is also still fairly rare — 4,545 in the U.S. in 2023, according to tracking data — despite it being well known.

“I had faith,” she said. “I prayed. I said, ‘Thy will be done.’”

But that faith was tested with several letdowns. Twice, Anderson was called into the hospital to receive heart transplants but was turned down at the last minute. 

She was later told she was being removed from the transplant list as the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold. She wasn’t sure when — or if — she’d be put back on the list but again clung to prayer and tried to accept God’s will.

In November 2020, she was called in for a heart transplant for the third time but didn’t think it would actually happen. 

“I was wheeled into the operating room and this time the doctor was all suited up,” she said. “He looked at me and he said, ‘Are you ready for battle?’ And I knew that it was time.” 

When Anderson awoke from surgery, she quickly realized that her battle would be more spiritual than physical — something that she did not expect.

She found that her new heartbeat felt “different.” She feared her body might reject her new heart. And she didn’t feel the “euphoria” that she thought she should feel. 

“I wanted to feel the happiness because I could see that everyone was so happy for me,” she said. “Instead I felt fear, confusion. Almost not knowing how to feel. Almost not feeling at all.”

Anderson returned home to a strong support system and supportive church community but still couldn’t shake her feelings. 

It took several months for her to rebound, but she remained steadfast in prayer and looked to the lives of the saints for inspiration and guidance.

“Little by little, I felt Jesus and I felt God helping me through all the prayers, through all the support,” she said. “And I started to feel that lifting. And I started to feel the joy.”

As the first anniversary of her heart transplant neared, she felt invigorated and grateful. 

She planned a big party at a park near her house to thank her supporters for their support, love, and prayers. COVID restrictions were starting to lift and she wanted to see everyone in person. 

“I didn’t want to just send notes,” she said. “I wanted to feel them, I wanted to touch them. I wanted to really let them know that I was here.”

Today, Anderson is 74 and has been married for 48 years. She is a grandmother of seven and has been active at her parish for more than 20 years.

She’s also struck up a friendship with her heart donor’s husband and two daughters. She visited them a few years ago in San Diego, where they spent several hours telling Anderson about their beloved wife and mother and sharing family photo albums with her. 

“It was a good meeting,” she said. “To this day, we still keep in contact.”

These days, Anderson is focused on teaching her grandchildren how to turn to God in good times and in bad. 

She’s also intent on sharing her story with others as a way to spread hope and healing. 

“My purpose is to reach out and to let people know what God did for me, what Jesus did for me, what people did for me,” she said. 

Those who know Anderson say she’s happy with life and goes the extra mile to help bring others to Christ. 

“It was such a bittersweet moment,” said Anderson’s daughter, Jaclyn Padgett, who also attends St. Cornelius. “Somebody lost their life to give a life and she’s held that very near and dear to her heart.

“She’s just got a sense of wonder and amazement about this gift. I think she truly feels like it’s such a gift for her to be able to continue living and to continue serving.”

Monsignor Jarlath Cunnane — known as “Father Jay” — pastor at St. Cornelius, describes Anderson as a dedicated parishioner who is involved in various groups and often speaks about her transplant and faith journey during parish retreats.

“I think her testimonies are always very impactful because of the depth of her sharing and the faith involved,” he said. 

Looking toward the future, Anderson said she’s trying to live in the moment and not worry about what tomorrow may bring. 

As always, she remains consistent in her willingness to follow God’s plan. 

“I now hold two hearts within me,” she said. “One physical, and one spiritual, sharing in the wonders of God’s glorious works. And I thank God every day.”

This story was originally published by Angelus News on July 8, 2024, and has been adapted and reprinted by CNA with permission.

Relics of Carlo Acutis and 6 saints coming to National Eucharistic Congress

A reliquary containing Blessed Carlo Acutis’ relic at a Mass at St. Dominic Parish in Brick, New Jersey, Oct. 1, 2023. / Credit: Thomas P. Costello II

Rome Newsroom, Jul 13, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

Relics of Blessed Carlo Acutis, St. Juan Diego, and five other saints will be available for veneration each day of the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis next week. 

Catholics attending the congress will have the rare opportunity to pray with the relics of Sts. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Manuel González García, Paschal Baylon, Junípero Serra, Juan Diego, and Blessed Carlo Acutis, as well as part of a relic from Chartres, France, known as “the Veil of Our Lady.”

Organizers announced that the relics will be displayed at a specially designated reliquary chapel within the Indiana Convention Center July 15–20 from noon to 6:30 p.m. each day, allowing the faithful to offer prayers of intercession and reflect on the lives of the saints who exemplified profound devotion to the Eucharist.

“From our Blessed Mother through Blessed Carlo Acutis, the Eucharist has been at the center of the lives of all saints, and these particular patrons can inspire us to share in their closeness to Our Lord, present in the holy Eucharist,” Father Eric Augenstein, the reliquary chapel coordinator for the congress, told CNA.

Relics are physical objects that have a direct association with the saints or with Our Lord. First-class relics are the body or fragments of the body of a saint, such as pieces of bone, and second-class relics are something that a saint personally owned, such as a shirt or book (or fragments of those items).

Catholics venerate relics for the sake of worshipping God, as St. Jerome described in “Ad Riparium” in 404 A.D.: “We venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore him whose martyrs they are.” 

The Church has documented medical miracles that have occurred when people have prayed with relics, including the miracles that led to the approval of Acutis’ upcoming canonization.

Here are the Eucharistic saints whom people can encounter at the National Eucharistic Congress:

St. Manuel González García

Known as the “Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle,” St. Manuel González García (1877–1940) was a bishop amid the Spanish Civil War known for his profound devotion to the Eucharist. After his episcopal ordination in Seville, he said: “I desire that in my life as a bishop, as before in my life as a priest, my soul should not grieve except for one sorrow which is the greatest of all, the abandonment of the tabernacle, and that it should rejoice for one joy, the tabernacle, which does not lack company.”

On his tomb in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of Palencia Cathedral, it is written: “I ask to be buried next to a tabernacle, so that my bones after my death, like my tongue and my pen in life, may always be repeating to those who pass by, ‘Jesus is here! Jesus is here! Do not leave him abandoned!’”

First-class relics of St. Manuel González García’s bone, blood, and hair are being brought to Indianapolis from Spain by several sisters who are members of the Eucharistic Missionaries of Nazareth, a community he founded.

Blessed Carlo Acutis

A relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis’ heart (pericardium) from Assisi, Italy, will be on display in the congress reliquary. The Italian teenager who died in 2006 is known for his devotion to the Eucharist and his passion for technology. He called the Eucharist “my highway to heaven” and used his computer skills to catalog Eucharistic miracles from around the world. Diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 15, Carlo offered his suffering for the Church and the pope. Pope Francis has put forward Acutis as an example for young people and recently approved his canonization as the first millennial saint, expected during the Catholic Church’s 2025 Jubilee Year.

Acutis’ Eucharistic Miracles Exhibit will also be on display in the Indiana Convention Center each day of the congress. 

St. Paschal Baylon

St. Paschal Baylon was born on the feast of Pentecost in 1540 in Torrehermosa, Spain. A humble shepherd who joined the Franciscan order as a lay brother, he was known for his deep piety and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Despite his lack of formal education, he was revered for his wisdom and spirituality. He was canonized in 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII and declared the patron saint of all Eucharistic congresses and associations by Pope Leo XIII.

A relic of Baylón’s mummified finger is provided to the Eucharistic congress from the Shrine of All Saints in Chicago.

St. Junípero Serra

St. Junípero Serra was a Franciscan missionary who played a pivotal role in the establishment of the California mission system. The missionary saint from Mallorca, Spain, arrived in Mexico in 1749 and later moved north to found the first nine of 21 missions in California, starting with San Diego de Alcalá in 1769. His efforts significantly influenced the spread of Christianity in the American West. Pope Francis declared Serra a saint in the first canonization on U.S. soil in 2015. 

St. Juan Diego

St. Juan Diego is best known for his encounters with the Virgin Mary, who appeared to him as Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531. The Virgin Mary instructed Diego to build a church in her honor, leaving her image miraculously imprinted on his tilma as proof. The Mexico City basilica that now houses the tilma has become one of the world’s most-visited Catholic shrines. Pope John Paul II beatified St. Juan Diego in 1990 and canonized him in 2002.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

A pioneer in American Catholic education, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first native-born American to be canonized as a saint. Seton was born into an Episcopalian family in New York City in 1774. After her husband's death, she converted to Catholicism and founded the Sisters of Charity, the first American religious community for women. She established schools and orphanages, laying the foundation for the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. 

The Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis provided Seton’s relic for the congress.

The Veil of Mary

A piece of a relic of the Veil of Our Lady from the Chartres Cathedral in France will be displayed for veneration at the National Eucharistic Congress. The veil, also known as the Sancta Camisa, has been preserved and venerated in the Chartres Cathedral since the 10th century. This piece of the veil belongs to Holy Rosary Church in Indianapolis and is on loan for the congress. 

The Shroud of Turin

Visitors to the National Eucharistic Congress will also have the chance to see a replica of the Shroud of Turin, which is part of an educational exhibit on display in the Wabash Ballroom Three of the Indiana Conversion Center each day of the congress. 

Eucharistic adoration

Eucharistic adoration will be available 24 hours a day throughout the congress at St. John the Evangelist Church next to the Indiana Convention Center starting at 9 a.m. on July 15 and concluding at 9 a.m on July 21.

“The Eucharist we receive and adore today is the same Jesus who was received and adored by these great saints, and so many others before us. We are united to the Communion of Saints most intimately through the Holy Eucharist,” Augenstein said.