News Briefs

An official of the New York State Catholic Conference has criticized as "grossly unethical, dangerous and exploitative" a plan that allows state funds to be paid to women who donate their eggs for research purposes. The move was approved June 11 by the Empire State Stem Cell Board, which oversees $600 million in New York taxpayer funds earmarked for stem-cell research. • The United Nations has appealed for massive financial support to serve refugees and internally displaced people, saying the ability of humanitarian agencies to help is waning. Worldwide, 42 million people were uprooted at the end of 2008, said Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. • Bishops from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America have called on their governments to convene a regional summit to assess the causes of migration and to work out a regional plan for cooperation on migration and development. "We are at a pivotal moment in the history of migration in this hemisphere," said the statement, dated June 4. • The board of directors of Public Broadcasting Service voted June 16 to stop its member stations from airing new religious programming, though existing programs on PBS affiliate stations will continue to be broadcast. "Interpretive" religious programming, such as concerts and journalistic programs, also will be permitted to air. The decision marks a compromise between PBS and some of its affiliate stations. • Nearly 20 years after the late Cardinal John O'Connor of New York suggested it, the U.S. bishops approved a Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life June 18 during their spring meeting in San Antonio.

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Pope Francis listens to a question from Vera Shcherbakova of the Itar-Tass news agency while talking with journalists aboard his flight from Cairo to Rome April 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The situation in North Korea, he added, has been heated for a long time, "but now it seems it has heated up too much, no?"
Gerard O'ConnellApril 29, 2017
Pope Francis greets children dressed as pharaohs and in traditional dress as he arrives to celebrate Mass at the Air Defense Stadium in Cairo April 29. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
Francis took the risk, trusting in God. His decision transmitted a message of hope on the political front to all Egyptians, Christians and Muslims alike, who are well aware that their country is today a target for ISIS terrorists and is engaged in a battle against terrorism.
Gerard O'ConnellApril 29, 2017
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to celebrate Mass at the Air Defense Stadium in Cairo April 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The only kind of fanaticism that is acceptable to God is being fanatical about loving and helping others, Pope Francis said on his final day in Egypt.
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to journalists in the Oval Office at the White House on March 24 after the American Health Care Act was pulled before a vote. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)
Predictably Mr. Trump has also clashed with the Catholic Church and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on many of the policies he has promoted during his first 100 days.
Kevin ClarkeApril 28, 2017