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Archbishop advises cellphones cannot be used to administer sacraments


WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Administering the sacrament of reconciliation via cellphone is impermissible under church teaching, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship. In a March 27 memo to his fellow bishops, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Connecticut, said he was informed by Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship at the Vatican, that using a cellphone for the sacrament poses a threat against the seal of confession.

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A parishioner finds lessons on her way home in the midst of a pandemic


WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents were abroad as news of the rapid spread of COVID-19 dispersed almost as fast as the virus that causes it around the world. By late March, the U.S. Department of State said it was trying to track some 50,000 citizens and residents who might be needing help getting back into the country after flights were canceled, and countries driven by panic about what could happen to their health care systems quickly shuttered airports and borders to keep the coronavirus out.

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Priest who died from virus called 'great missionary among us'


BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) -- Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn March 28 announced the death of Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay, 49, who died the evening before from COVID-19. He was pastor of St. Brigid's Church in the Wyckoff Heights area of the New York borough of Brooklyn and he also was diocesan coordinator of the ministry to Mexican immigrants.

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Bishops shocked that U.K. to allow abortion pills at home during pandemic


MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- The English bishops have expressed their shock at an emergency policy to allow "do-it-yourself abortions" during the coronavirus pandemic. Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster said a change in the rules to allow the distribution of abortion pills in homes would "further endanger women" during a time of national crisis.

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