World News

In brief

Riverside, California

Judge overturns law allowing assisted suicide

American bishops have welcomed a ruling by a California judge overturning the state’s 2015 law allowing assisted suicide. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops said: “Assisted suicide is not health care. We pray that this ruling will stand and that law-makers will rethink this tragic mistake, reject assisted suicide and protect all patients.” Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, said: “Healthcare professionals were shocked at the cynicism and questioned why the state was embracing doctor-assisted suicide as the standard of care for people who needed respect and support.” The law was signed by Governor Jerry Brown (pictured), an ex-seminarian.

Mexico City

Bishops promise to lose ‘princely pretensions’

Mexican bishops have promised to lose their arrogance and “princely pretensions” and to pursue a new pastoral vision with “greater spiritual accompaniment and a special prophetic courage”. The bishops’ conference is believed to be reacting to criticism from Pope Francis in 2016. The bishops said that “attitudes of individualism, pastoral jealousy, princely pretensions, arrogance and behaviours which contradict a life of communion and participation, no longer have a place in the iglesia pueblo [Church as the people].”

They admitted: “At times we appeared more judges, owners or leaders of a human organisation, than humble representatives of the project of the Kingdom of God.” The Church has been accused of not speaking out about drug-related violence.

San Salvador

Romero to be proclaimed a saint in Rome on October 14

Pope Francis will canonise Blessed Oscar Romero, the Archbishop of San Salvador who was killed in 1980 while celebrating Mass, on October 14.Blessed Oscar will be declared a saint at the Vatican during a meeting of the world synod of bishops. Blessed Pope Paul VI, who revived the synod, will be proclaimed a saint on the same date, along with four others.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, said that Archbishop Romero, “outraged at seeing the violence against the weak and the killing of priests and catechists, felt the need to assume an attitude of fortitude”.


Bishop urges Nicaraguan leader to change tack

Nicaraguan bishops have begun mediating talks between President Daniel Ortega and opposition groups. The dialogue followed huge protests against Ortega’s regime that resulted in the deaths of more than 50 protesters. The talks are taking place in Our Lady of Fatima national seminary in Managua. On the first day Bishop Juan Mata Guevara of Esteli said: “I ask, Mr President, that you rethink with your cabinet the path you have taken. It has started – I say this with pain – a non-armed revolution.” Shouts of “killer” could be heard and the names of the dead were read aloud.

New York

Bishops praise Trump for withdrawing abortion ‘subsidy’

The US bishops’ pro-life chairman has praised the decision to reinstate Reagan-era regulations banning any family planning clinic that receives federal funds from making abortion referrals or sharing space with abortion providers.

When President Clinton came to office he reversed President Reagan’s 1988 Title X regulations which separated state funding for family planning from any abortion provision.

“Most Americans recognise that abortion is distinct from family planning,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said last week. “For too long, Title X has been used to subsidise the abortion industry. We need to draw a bright line between what happens before a pregnancy begins and what happens after a child has been created.”


Wake up to poverty, says archbishop

Archbishop Edmundo Valenzuela of Asunción has urged Paraguay to wake up to its poverty problem. Speaking while celebrating
the Te Deum for the 207th year of independence, he called for solutions “to the structural inequalities that keep almost two million Paraguayans in poverty and destitution and have caused the social gap to grow in the last 15 years”. Poverty affected
40 per cent of children under 10, and 29 per cent of the entire population, he said. President Horacio Cartes will be succeeded by Mario Abdo Benítez, also of Paraguay’s right-wing governing party, in August.


Bishop to ask Vatican about Chesterton’s Cause

An investigation into the Cause for GK Chesterton is expected to be handed to the Bishop of Nottingham this summer.

Canon John Udris was appointed in 2013 to look into the possibility of opening the Cause. He told the Herald that Chesterton was potentially a “huge model” for the Church, a beer-and-Burgundy-lover who “breaks the mould of conventional holiness”. But he said it was not up to him to recommend opening the Cause.

Canon Udris said this week that he hoped to complete the investigation by the summer. “Then it will be the decision of Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton whether or not to open the Cause. He will obviously want to consult with the bishops’ conference and with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints before doing so.”


Germany’s president pleads for Protestant Communion

The president of Germany has called for the Church to allow Protestants to receive Communion. Speaking at a conference in Münster, Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged “ways of expressing the common Christian faith by sharing in the Last Supper and Communion.” Cardinal Reinhard Marx, bishops’ conference president, agreed, saying: “When someone is hungry and has faith, they must have access to the Eucharist. That must be our passion, and I will not let up on this.”

Kuala Lumpur

Change welcomed

Malaysian bishops hailed the election win by opposition leader Mahathir Moh­amad as an opp­or­tunity. The result ends a 60-year coalition dominated by the United National Malays Organisation.“We must pray for healing and unity among all of us,” they said.

Vatican City

Pope names new cardinals

Pope Francis has named 14 new cardinals. They are Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako (Iraq), Archbishop Luis Ladaria, Fr Aquilino Bocos Merino (Spain), Archbishop Angelo De Dona­tis, Archbishop Gio­vanni Angelo Becciu, Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi (Italy), Archbishop Konrad Krajewski (Poland), Archbishop Joseph Coutts (Pakistan), Bishop Antonio dos Santos Marto (Portugal), Archbishop Pedro Barreto (Peru), Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana (Madagascar), Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda (Japan), Archbishop Sergio Obeso Rivera (Mexico) and Bishop Toribio Ticona Porco (Bolivia).


Murdered Iraqi priest’s Cause opened

The Vatican has approved the opening of the Cause of an Iraqi priest and three deacons who were gunned down in Mosul.

Chaldean Fr Ragheed Aziz Ganni, his cousin Deacon Basman Yousef Daud and deacons Wahid Hanna Isho and Gassan Isam Bidawed were shot dead in June 2007 in front of the Holy Spirit Church in Mosul. Fr Ganni had just finished celebrating Mass for the feast of Pentecost. The Congregation for Saints’ Causes has now permitted a diocesan bishop to open a local inquiry into a candidate’s sanctity. The process will be handled by the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle of Detroit, because of the difficult conditions in Mosul.