In brief


Cardinal: accused bishops must cede authority to lay people

Catholic bishops must renounce some of the authority they have over their dioceses to allow for lay people to investigate allegations against them, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has said. A new national investigative body “has to be some sort of lay oversight committee that is tasked with receiving accusations about bishops,” he said. The new body is necessary to rebuild trust between lay people and bishops. “I think we take our eye off the ball if we don’t deal with the business of privilege, power and protection of a clerical culture,” he told the National Catholic Reporter. “Those three elements have to be eradicated … Everything else is a sideshow if we do not get at that.”


Cardinal O’Malley expands seminary investigation

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston has expanded his archdiocese’s abuse investigation into all three of its seminaries. St John’s Seminary has been under investigation by a law firm since August, after two of its seminarians filed abuse claims. Cardinal O’Malley said that “to meet the generally expected
levels of transparency and accountability, it is best to expand the review” to include Pope St John XXIII National Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Seminary as well. Meanwhile, the cardinal has clashed with Bishop Robert Malone of Buffalo over the latter’s handling of abuse cases. O’Malley told an investigative journalist he would pass on his reports about the bishop to the nuncio. Bishop Malone criticised O’Malley, saying he should have checked his facts first.

San Diego

Parish seeks to build massive statue of Mary

A church near the US-Mexico border is raising $1 million (£760,000) to build a 40ft-high statue of the Virgin Mary to greet immigrants to the United States. The statue, loosely modelled on the Statue of Liberty, will be erected outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in San Ysidro, an area of San Diego, California, on the border. Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego said it would show that America is “still a nation of immigrants, welcoming those who are oppressed and those who are refugees”. Sculptor Jim Bliesner said the statue would stand as a “beacon of hope and encouragement for people engaged in the struggle of the migrant”.


Cardinal asks Romero: intercede for Nicaragua

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes of Managua has asked St Oscar Romero to intercede for Nicaragua. At a Mass in his cathedral on Sunday in thanksgiving for Romero’s canonisation at the Vatican, the cardinal asked the new saint “to accompany El Salvador and us [Nicaragua], to intercede with our good God so that we can all be true promoters of a culture of peace, of a culture of dialogue”. He continued: “May we put aside any confrontation, any wall that is hatred that separates us.” Romero, he said, “was a person who fulfilled the commandments. Jesus asks whoever says he wants to be his disciple to leave everything and carry his Cross.”


Bolivia celebrates its first saint

Bolivia has its first saint, after Pope Francis canonised Nazaria Ignacia of St Teresa of Jesus on Sunday. St Nazaria, born in Spain in 1889, founded a religious order, the Missionaries of the Crusade, alongside 10 Bolivian women in the city of Oruro in 1908. The order now has 415 members in 79 communities. Fr Jaime Encinas Ayala, vicar general of Oruro, said Orurians “cannot sleep for joy”. Her canonisation was celebrated with a procession and Eucharistic Adoration.

La Serena

Two Chilean bishops dismissed

Pope Francis has dismissed two Chilean bishops from the clerical state for child sexual abuse. Francisco José Cox, 84, the former archbishop of La Serena, and Marco Antonio Ordenes, 53, the former bishop of Iquique, have been dismissed with no right of appeal. Two weeks earlier the Pope expelled Fernando Karadima from the priesthood for sexually abusing young men. Rumours of Cox’s abuse of boys circulated as early as 1992. He resigned in 1997, aged 60, 15 years before the usual retirement age. Despite this he was given a major role in Rome, as president of the national commission overseeing the Jubilee Year celebrations in 2000.

Vatican City

Archbishop Romero and Pope Paul VI declared saints

Pope Francis has canonised Archbishop Oscar Romero and Pope Paul VI, with five others, in a ceremony in St Peter’s Square. The Pope was carrying Paul’s pastoral staff and wearing the blood-stained belt worn by Romero as he was killed while saying Mass. “All these saints, in different contexts,” put the Gospel “into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all behind,” Francis said. He asked: “Do we content ourselves with a few commandments or do we follow Jesus as lovers, really prepared to leave behind something for him?” the Pope asked. In August he referred to Paul VI as the “great pope of modernity”.


Kim Jong-un invites Pope Francis to North Korea

Kim Jong-un has invited Pope Francis to North Korea, according to a spokesman for the South Korean government. The spokesman said President Moon Jae-in would hand-deliver the dictator’s invitation to Francis at a meeting in Rome this week. According to Moon, Kim said he would “greatly welcome” a papal visit. Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of Daejeon, South Korea, said such a trip would be a “gigantic step” for the Korean peninsula.


Relic draws crowds

Priests in Tasmania who fail to report sex abuse disclosed during Confession could face up to 21 years in prison, under draft legislation. Several priests have said they would go to jail rather than break the Seal of Confession. Such a measure was proposed by the Royal Commission.


Orthodox world splits in row over Ukraine

The Russian Orthodox Church has severed all ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople in protest at its endorsement of a self-governing Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Hilarion said: “No other decision could have been taken by our Holy Synod because the logic of all the actions taken by the Constantinople patriarchate.” The patriarchate is the seat of Patriarch Bartholomew, a figurehead for 300 million Orthodox Christians. Moscow had earlier accused the patriarchate of “attempting to destroy the very foundations … of the Orthodox Church.”

Hodeidah, Yemen

A wonderful nation is about to be destroyed, says bishop

Yemen is facing a catastrophe, according to Bishop Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia.
“A war is ongoing, but the big world does not seem to be very interested,” Bishop Hinder told Catholic News Service. “There are innumerable people internally displaced because they fled from the war.” Two thirds of the population is close to starvation, without adequate food or water. Nearly 400,000 children are at risk of dying through malnutrition. In the port city of Hodeidah alone, hundreds of thousands have been displaced.Bishop Hinder said: “A wonderful nation with a cultural tradition spanning millennia is about to be destroyed.”