Vatican prelate defends document on AI ethics signed by Microsoft, IBM executives (Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia) The “Call for AI [Artificial Intelligence] Ethics,” under embargo until February 28, “is not an official text of the Academy,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said at a Vatican conference. “Certainly, it is something that we proposed and that I am endorsing … With this initiative, the Academy is not creating commercial partnerships, it is not marrying or sponsoring anyone … I believe that urging leaders in technological innovation to make a specific and public ethical commitment is a true exercise of the defense and promotion of human life.”
With no Ash Wednesday Masses, bishops in northern Italy share prayers (CNS) “This year, Lent is beginning in an unforeseen way that we could not have imagined even a few days ago,” said Patriarch Francesco Moraglia of Venice, following the suspension of Masses because of the coronavirus’s spread. “The situation we are experiencing brusquely awakens us from the illusion of being the generation that, thanks to its technical and scientific knowledge, has placed everything under control.”
English baby removed from life support after doctors expand 'brain death' diagnosis (CNA) English doctors have removed 4-month-old Midrar Ali from his ventilator after declaring that his brain stem is dead. The boy’s father, Karwan Ali, opposed the move, saying that his son still shows signs of life. The hospital’s decision pins the time of the child’s death as last October 1. The father told BBC: “No doctor, no biologist can keep a dead person alive for three months... I’m a biologist. I know that.”
Delhi archbishop calls for prayer, assistance to riot victims (Fides) NPR reports that “Hindu mobs appear to have targeted Muslims primarily” in recent violence. “In this moment of trial, while sudden riots torment Delhi, we come forward with our prayers and every possible effort to bring relief to those affected in terms of shelter, food and clothing,” Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi said in a letter.
Pope's 'slight indisposition' causes one cancellation (Reuters) Pope Francis cancelled a scheduled appearance at a Lenten service with priests of the Rome diocese on February 27, with a spokesman explaining that he was suffering from a “slight indisposition.” The Pontiff resumed his regular schedule later in the day, including a meeting with the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
Minnesota archbishop asks clerics not to vote (KSTP) Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul-Minneapolis is asking priests and deacons to “abstain from voting” in Minnesota’s presidential primary next week. The archbishop was responding to a new state law that requires voters to choose the ballot of one political party and record that choice. Being aligned with a political party, the archbishop said, “could be seen as ‘partisan’ political activity,” which clerics should avoid.
Contact your senators about their recent vote on abortion, USCCB urges (USCCB) The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was approved in a 53-44 vote, falling short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. “Please take action,” the US Conference of Catholic Bishops stated, “to thank those senators who supported this bill and your deep disappointment to those senators who opposed this bill.”
New Legionary leader promises change in institutional culture (Reuters) Father John Conner, the newly elected superior general of the Legion of Christ, has said that the troubled religious order is planning a “change of the institutional culture that allowed so much suffering to occur.” The Legionaries have adopted new policies and procedures to respond to sex-abuse complaints.
Ghana: bishops urge all citizens to vote (Fides) The Catholic bishops of Ghana have exhorted the faithful to vote in this year’s elections. “Following the footsteps of Jesus who did not shun his civil duties, all Christians should actively participate in the elections,” the bishops said in a pastoral letter.
China, citing coronavirus, closes all houses of worship (CNS) Citing the coronavirus epidemic, the Communist party and government stated that they “have unified requirements to suspend the opening of religious venues, suspend all collective religious activities, delay the opening of religious schools, strengthen publicity and guidance for religious people, [who] actively donate goods, and do a lot of work to win the fight against epidemic prevention and control.”
Asia Bibi seeks asylum in France (AP) Asia Bibi is the Catholic woman who was jailed from 2009 to 2018 in Pakistan on an unsupported charge of blasphemy against Islam. She now lives in an undisclosed location in Canada.