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Great Falls

Bishop calls priests ‘imprudent’ for attending Trump rally

A bishop has said that four priests were “imprudent” for attending a Donald Trump rally in Montana. The priests were seen in their clericals directly behind Trump as he stood at the podium. Their appearance provoked criticism, with an article in the Montana Standard calling for the priests to apologise.

Bishop Michael Warfel of Great Falls said it was an “imprudent decision on their parts to allow themselves to be used in such a way”. While they were free to support political candidates, he said, “they should not have been attired in clerical garb and seated in such a prominent location.” The bishop added: “I myself had been invited to attend the rally but declined. It has been my
experience that people can be manipulated and used unwittingly.”


Ortega’s wife invokes God amid crackdown

Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s vice president and the wife of President Daniel Ortega, has angered protesters by saying that the removal of barricades was a “miraculous event” and a “work of faith in God”. At least one person was reported to have died as security forces cleared blockades in La Trinidad. Fr Eugenio Rodríguez told AFP that he and other priests tried to reach the main blockade to start a dialogue but were intercepted by “five hooded men”. Without referring to Murillo, Auxiliary Bishop Silvio José Báez of Managua said on Twitter: “You shall not pronounce the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.” More than 300 people have been killed during protests.


Western Colombia still ravaged by conflict, say bishops

The failure to disband armed groups in the impoverished western region of Chocó has left its inhabitants “quite helpless” and “at the mercy” of guerrilla and paramilitary groups, the area’s bishops have said.In a joint statement signed with Chocó Inter-ethnic Solidarity Forum, which represents indigenous groups, the bishops called on the government to address “the grave humanitarian, social and environmental crisis”.

They said there had been little progress in implementing the 2016 peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and that army and navy operations were “not sufficient to counteract the actions of groups outside the law … Illegal armed actors exercise territorial control in extensive areas.”


Venezuela’s bishops denounce ‘perverse’ Maduro regime

Venezuelan bishops have denounced the “perverse ideology” of the country’s government. Archbishop José Luis Azuaje, president of the bishops’ conference, said that daily protests “indicate the failure of a model that the people have been denouncing at the top of their lungs, and for many years”.

This week Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the country’s leading churchman, Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino of Caracas. Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Mérida, has been named apostolic administrator.


FSSP elects Polish priest as superior general

The traditionalist Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) has elected Polish priest Fr Andrzej Komorowski as its new head. The fraternity’s general chapter, which met at Our Lady of Guadalupe International Seminary in Denton, Nebraska, chose Fr Komorowski for a six-year term. He succeeds American Fr John Berg, who had been superior general since 2006. Fr Komorowski was born in Poland in 1975 and was ordained in 2006 after studying at the fraternity’s seminary in Wigratzbad, Bavaria. He had served as assistant to the superior general since 2012 and is based in fraternity’s headquarters in Fribourg, Switzerland.

Buenos Aires

Argentine senate debates abortion law

Thousands of Catholics have gathered at Argentina’s most famous shrine to pray for the defeat of a bill that would legalise abortion.The bill, which would approve abortion on demand until the 14th week of pregnancy, was passed in congress and is now being debated by the senate. A final vote is scheduled for August 8. Bishop Oscar Ojea, president of the local bishops’ conference, told faithful at the Shrine of Our Lady of Luján that the Church was “perplexed and hurt”, as it may be “the first time that in Argentina, during democratic times, a bill that legitimises the elimination of a human being by another human being is passed”.


Pope appoints Bishop of the Forces after three-year gap

Pope Francis has appointed a new bishop for Britain’s Armed Forces, filling a post that has been vacant since 2015. Paul Mason, currently auxiliary bishop of Southwark, will take over as the eighth Bishop of the Forces. The previous incumbent, Bishop Richard Moth, was transferred to Arundel and Brighton. The bishopric, whose see is in Aldershot, Hampshire, serves all Catholic service personnel wherever they are stationed. Currently there are seven chaplains serving in the Royal Navy and two in the Royal Air Force. The Army has 17 regular chaplains.

Bishop Mason said: “Supporting the men and women of the British Armed Forces, and their families, is a very important apostolate … and one in which I will be doing my best to pass muster.”

Vatican City

Two teenagers are declared Venerable

Pope Francis has advanced the Causes of two teenagers, recognising their “heroic virtue”. Carlo Acutis, an Italian who died aged 15 from leukaemia, called the Eucharist “my highway to heaven” and used his computer skills to catalogue Eucharistic miracles around the world. Alexia González-Barros, born in Madrid in 1971, was killed by a tumour aged 14. She often prayed: “Jesus, I want to be healed; but if you do not want that, I want what you want.”

Davao City

Duterte recalls abuse

Rodrigo Duterte has claimed that he lost his faith after being groped by a Jesuit during Confession while at secondary school. The Philippines president said during a speech in Davao City that the incident was “not that serious” but that afterwards “I created my own God.”


Bishops say president is complicit in killings

Nigeria’s bishops have urged the country’s president to resign for failing to stop the massacre of Christians by Muslim herdsmen.They said that, given that the Fulani herdsmen seemed to be “above the law”, it could no longer be seen as a “coincidence” that he, together with the country’s security apparatus, were Muslim. In a statement the bishops’ conference said that President Muhammadu Buhari “should no longer continue to preside over the killing fields and mass graveyard that our country has become”.


Australian archbishop urged to resign by brother bishops

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, who has been sentenced to a year’s detention for failing to report abuse, has been advised to resign by fellow bishops. The archbishop is appealing his conviction and has said he will only resign if the appeal fails. He denies being informed of abuse carried out in the 1970s and not reporting it to police.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane said: “A number of survivors, prominent Australians and other members of the community have publicly called on Archbishop Wilson to resign. Although we have no authority to compel him to do so, a number of Australian bishops have also offered their advice privately.”