In Brief

In Brief Vincent Lambert
Kentucky death penalty protocol ‘unconstitutional’

A Franklin County Circuit judge ruled last week that Kentucky’s death penalty regulations are unconstitutional because they fail to provide for an automatic stay of execution for intellectually disabled inmates.

The Catholic Conference of Kentucky and Fr Patrick Delahanty, retired chair of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, praised the court’s decision as a step in the right direction.

The state Catholic conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, thanked the court for recognising the injustice of executing intellectually disabled individuals but its executive director, Jason Hall, stressed that “legislators need to act soon to abolish the death penalty once and for all”.

US bishops call for ‘immigration reform’ 

Washington’s bishops have issued a call for “comprehensive immigration reform that honours the dignity of those seeking a better life in the US, while also addressing the legitimate need for safe and secure borders”.

In a statement, the bishops called the current stalemate on immigration reform a “disappointing reality (that) continues to complicate efforts of law enforcement, sow discord in our communities and harm vulnerable people”. As Catholics, the bishops said, “we are called to practice Christian charity and to protect and defend the dignity of every human person, especially the poor and most vulnerable based on the moral natural law”.


Mother makes plea to stop French son’s euthanising

Doctors have said they will begin to remove intravenous feeding tubes from Vincent Lambert, though his parents have asked international authorities to intervene to avoid the death of the man, who requires artificial life support due to a severe injury. “Vincent is not at the end of his life, he is not a vegetable,” his mother Viviane Lambert asked the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last week, Radio France International reports.

“I beg you, help us,” she said. “Without your intervention, my son, Vincent Lambert, will be euthanised because of his mental handicap.” She said it would be discriminatory to deprive a disabled person of food and drink.

New York cardinal celebrates religious freedom

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York championed the importance of religious freedom at a patriotic-themed gathering in Utah at the end of last month, appearing with religious leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We come together as neighbours, we come together as a family, we come together as friends,” Cardinal Dolan said. “See, that gives a counterexample to those who would love to caricature us as these bigoted, hateful, violent people. And we can’t allow that to happen.”


Chilean diocese announces migration aid campaign

The migration ministry in the Diocese of Arica, Chile, has announced an aid campaign for the hundreds of migrants facing desperate conditions at a border crossing in the northern part of the country.

The diocese pledged to “redouble our efforts in this humanitarian emergency we are experiencing now”.

While Catholic institutions are present along the border and are providing humanitarian aid, the Diocese of Arica said more is needed to alleviate the crisis. It encouraged donations of bottled water, diapers and wipes, fruit juice and milk. Donations are being collected at San Marcos School in Arica. The diocese also warned that the migrants are receiving insufficient medical care and face poor sanitary conditions.