In brief

Buffalo, United States

Whistleblower goes public with call on bishop to resign

A whistleblower who leaked diocesan files on alleged clerical abusers has appeared on television calling for her former boss, Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, to resign. Siobhan O’Connor, who was his executive assistant, leaked documents showing 118 priests had been credibly accused of abuse – nearly three times as many as the diocese had admitted. She told the CBS programme 60 Minutes: “What I saw really left me with no other option. Because at the end of my life, I’m not going to answer to Bishop Malone. I’m going to answer to God.” Bishop Malone said that he was “stunned and dismayed” by the allegations and that he had a good record on abuse.

New York

Bishop steps aside after abuse allegation is deemed credible

A bishop has been removed from public ministry pending a Vatican review of a decades-old accusation of sexual abuse against him, the Archdiocese of New York has said. Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik has stepped aside from Our Lady of Refuge in the Bronx, where he has served for most of his priestly life, but denied the allegation and is appealing to the Vatican, according to a letter released by the archdiocese. In a video, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said he had met parishioners the day before. A lay review board, he said, had found sufficient evidence to conclude that the allegation, which related to a minor, was “credible and substantiated”. In June the lay review board had judged that an allegation against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was also credible.


Bishop says racism was a factor in his removal

Bishop Emeritus Martin Holley of Memphis, Tennessee, who was removed as bishop last month without a public explanation, has blamed “latent racism” and “privilege” among disgruntled clergy as factors behind his forced departure. Bishop Holley, whose diocese was the subject of an apostolic visitation earlier this year after he reassigned two thirds of its 60 active priests, made the remarks during an interview with EWTN’s World Over programme. The bishop also claimed his removal might be an “act of revenge” by Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Bishop Holley explained that in 2012 he had advised Benedict XVI not to appoint Cardinal Wuerl as Vatican Secretary of State. The cardinal has not responded to the claims.

Morales, Guatemala

Friar and layman executed for work with poor are beatified

A Franciscan priest and his lay assistant who were shot dead for their work in supporting poor farmers have been beatified. Blessed Marcello Tullio and Blessed Luis Navarro were ambushed by gunmen while driving home after a Mass in 1981. Their work evangelising and educating poor plantation workers meant they were viewed suspiciously by counter-insurgents during Guatemala’s 36-year civil war. Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said at a Mass in the city of Morales that their martyrdom inspired “courageous Christian witness”. He hailed Blessed Luis as Guatemala’s first native martyr.

Buenos Aires

Government rejects calls for ‘gender ideology’ in schools

Argentina’s education minister has rejected calls by MPs to impose a sex education curriculum that critics said amounted to “gender ideology”. Alejandro Finocchiaro said that a 2006 law which allows faith schools and parents a role in creating the curriculum should be properly implemented instead. Despite the announcement, thousands of Argentines marched under the slogan “Don’t mess with my children” (“Con mis hijos no te metas”). Mr Finocchiaro’s statement was welcomed by pro-life groups.


Bishops ‘worried’ by Bolsonaro election

Church leaders are “worried” about the future of Brazil’s indigenous people after the election of populist Jair Bolsonaro as president, according to the general secretary of the bishops’ conference. Auxiliary Bishop Leonardo Steiner of Brasília said: “The bishops’ conference is worried because the words about indigenous people were too strong. We have a great concern for their future … We’ll see if the rhetoric becomes a programme of governance, or remains just words in the wind.” About 900,000 Brazilians are classed as indigenous and have certain land rights. Bolsonaro has said it was a pity Brazilian cavalry had not “exterminated” them.


Irish Church holds fifth collection to pay for papal visit

The Church in Ireland is to hold a fifth national collection for the papal visit in August this year after fundraising fell €4 million (£3.5 million) short. A spokesman for the bishops’ conference said £13.5 million had been raised through previous collections and donations. The visit had cost the Church about £17 million. In a message to priests, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin said the shortfall was due “in no small measure to the consistent negative coverage in the media”. Emails released to the Irish Times, meanwhile, showed that Brenda Drumm, spokeswoman for the World Meeting of Families, blamed RTÉ for a low turnout at the papal Mass, partly because it emphasised the long walk to the site.


Police investigate women’s bones found at nunciature

Italian investigators are seeking to identify human remains discovered in the basement of the apostolic nunciature in Rome. Builders found a nearly complete skeleton and other bones while digging into the ground. Analysis suggests one set of bones belonged to a woman. DNA will now be extracted from the teeth and skulls. The finding has raised hopes of resolving the mystery of two 15-year-old girls, Emanuela Orlandi and Mirella Gregori, who both went missing in 1983.

Ilagan, Philippines

Duterte mocks saints

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has mocked Catholics’ veneration of saints in another attack on the Church. On All Souls’ Day, he said: “We don’t even know who those saints are. Who are they? Just drunkards.” He suggested people put a picture of him on the altar – “Santo Rodrigo”.

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Cardinal who opposed regime steps down

A cardinal who has been a thorn in the side of Congolese leaders for decades has stepped down just weeks before the country’s long-postponed elections. Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo of Kinshasa, who at 79 is four years past the retirement age, will be succeeded as Archbishop of Kinshasa by Archbishop-elect Fridolin Ambongo. In January Cardinal Monsengwo, who is also a member of Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinals, condemned a crackdown on anti-government protesters as “nothing short of barbaric”.

Minya, Egypt

Seven pilgrims killed in Islamist attack

Egypt’s Christians are mourning seven pilgrims killed in an Islamist ambush last week. The pilgrims were among those travelling on two buses to the desert monastery of St Samuel the Confessor in Minya. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which left 19 injured. On Sunday Pope Francis said: “I pray for the victims, pilgrims killed just because they are Christians, and I ask Holy Mary to console their families and the whole community.” Egypt’s interior ministry said security forces had killed the gunmen behind the attack after discovering an ISIS hideout nearby.