World News

In brief

Buffalo

Bishop to sell his residence to pay for abuse settlements

Bishop to sell his residence to pay for abuse settlementsthe bishop of Buffalo, New York State, has announced that he will sell his $1.9 million (£1.3 million) residence to help pay for compensation for abuse victims.

Bishop Richard Malone said the decision was made because of “the need to have strong resources”. Dozens of priests have been accused of abuse in the diocese. “We do have some good resources for that already, but we know we’ll need more so we decided to put the residence on the market,” the bishop said.

The residence, built in 1900, has nine bedrooms and six bathrooms. Located on a particularly sought-after street, it
was once the city’s most valuable home.

Guadalajara

Bishop to sell his residence to pay for abuse settlements

A priest was murdered in his parish office in Guadalajara, Mexico, last week, reportedly while hearing Confessions. Fr Juan Miguel Contreras Garcia, 33, was the second priest to be killed in Mexico in just three days. Another priest, Fr Ruben Alcantara Diaz, was attacked prior to Mass in Cuautitlan Izcalli, a suburb of Mexico City.

The Mexican bishops’ conference issued an “urgent call” for peace, saying: “It’s time to look honestly at our culture and society in order to ask ourselves how we lost respect for life and the sacred.” Last year there were more than 25,000 homicides in Mexico, the highest number since records began in 1997. The Catholic Multimedia Centre said that 23 priests have been killed in Mexico since December 2012 (see leading article).

Managua

Pope prays for Nicaragua as protesters are killed

Pope Francis has called for an end to the “useless spilling of blood” in Nicaragua after at least nine people were killed in violent protests.

“I express my closeness in prayer to that beloved country, and I join the bishops in asking for an end to any type of violence,” Francis said after praying the Regina Coeli on Sunday.

After a weekend of large protests, Daniel Ortega, the president, called off a planned programme of pension cuts. Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Baez of Managua called the protesters the “moral reservoir” of the country. “You have woken the nation up,” he said. Among those killed on Saturday was a journalist shot dead during a Facebook Live broadcast.

Santiago

Cardinal says Bishop Barros should resign

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the Archbishop of Santiago, has said that a bishop accused of turning a blind eye to abuse should “without a doubt” resign. But Cardinal Ezzati said he could not judge whether Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno had covered up abuse by his mentor Fr Fernando Karadima. Last month Pope Francis apologised for “grave errors” in his handling of the case and summoned Chile’s bishops to a meeting. The Pope also blamed a “lack of truthful and balanced information”. Cardinal Ezzati said that neither he nor the Chilean Church had deceived the Pope.

Ottawa

Bishops seek to calm row over lack of papal apology

Canada’s bishops have issued a briefing paper to their country’s MPs and senators clarifying why Pope Francis has not apologised for abuse that occurred in Catholic residential schools set up for indigenous people.

Last month the bishops said that Francis felt he “could not personally respond” to a truth and reconciliation commission that called for him to apologise. Since then MPs have put forward motions urging Parliament to bypass the bishops and ask the Pope to apologise during a visit to Canada. But in their briefing note the bishops explained that neither they nor the Holy See had a role in running the schools. They said they had expressed remorse for the abuse several times and noted that Benedict XVI had voiced his own sorrow while meeting indigenous leaders in 2009.

Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian bishops pray for Alfie Evans

Bishops in Brazil have written a letter and posted a video in support of Alfie Evans, a 23-month-old whose treatment was due to be withdrawn at Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital this week.

In a declaration signed by Cardinal Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro, the bishops said they wished to “manifest our unconditional support for the family of little Alfie Evans”.

They said that life was sacred and must not be “vilified or suppressed on any pretext”, asking that “all care be taken so that little Alfie may have the guarantee of all of his rights”. Alder Hey officials said it was in Alfie’s best interests to withdraw treatment.

London

Gender ideology is spreading confusion, say bishops

The bishops of England and Wales have said that they are “deeply concerned” about confusion caused by gender ideology. In a statement released after a plenary meeting, the bishops said: “The idea that the individual is free to define himself or herself dominates discourse about gender. Yet our human instinct is otherwise.”

The bishops expressed hope for a “renewed appreciation of the fundamental importance of sexual difference in our culture”. They also stressed the Church was committed to caring for people who did not accept their biological sex. “Through listening to them we seek to understand their experience more deeply and want to accompany them with compassion, emphasising that they are loved by God,” they said.

Kpalimé

Priests suspended for protest against bishop

Priests suspended for protest against bishop three priests in Togo have been suspended for protesting against their bishop at a Chrism Mass.

The priests refused to renew their vows, remained seated when others stood to pledge allegiance, and tried to disrupt the Mass, according to the bishops’ conference, which called the actions “scandalous and sacrilegious”. A decree from Bishop Benoît Alowonou of Kpalimé urged the priests to repent and undertake “spiritual healing” in a monastery. The priests told a press conference “We are not ready to compromise.”

Zhengzhou

Chinese province begins new crackdown on Christians

Catholics in China’s Henan province have been told their churches will be closed unless they adhere to new rules regulating religions.

According to UCA News, a crackdown has worsened in recent months, with churches demolished, priests taken away from parishes and Bibles confiscated. In a circular the Henan Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association told faithful to “take seriously” a “red line” separating religion and education ­– including a prohibition on under-18s going to Mass.

Manila

Duterte demands investigation of nun

President Rodrigo Duterte has said that he ordered immigration authorities to question a 71-year-old Australian nun, Sister Patricia Fox, who protests on behalf of political prisoners. He accused her of treating the Philippines “like a mattress to wipe your feet on”.

Riyadh

Vatican official meets Saudi ruler in first ever visit

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman during a historic visit to Riyadh last week.

Cardinal Tauran is the most senior Vatican official to have made such a visit, the country’s state news agency SPA said. It comes after a flurry of diplomatic contacts and raises hopes that the kingdom might relax its ban on Christians practising their faith openly. Despite the presence of three or four million Christians, including a large number of migrants from the Philippines, the country does not have a single church. King Abdullah, King Salman’s predecessor, met Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2007.