World News

In brief

Washington, DC

Cardinal urged to resign by deacon who assists him at Mass

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been publicly rebuked by one of his associates. Deacon James Garcia, a deacon who frequently assists Cardinal Wuerl at Mass, has told him that he “cannot, in good conscience, continue to attend to you personally, whether as an assisting deacon or a master of ceremony”. Deacon Garcia also called on the cardinal to resign in light of “recent developments”. Cardinal Wuerl has been criticised for his handling of abusive priests in his previous role as Bishop of Pittsburgh. He has defended his record. The cardinal has also denied that he knew about his predecessor Theodore McCarrick’s misconduct.

New York City

Letter suggests Vatican knew about McCarrick in 2000

A senior official from the Vatican Secretariat of State acknowledged that the Vatican had received allegations about Archbishop Theodore McCarrick in 2000, according to a letter sent six years later and made public this week. The letter, by then Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the former Vatican substitute for general affairs, was sent to Fr Boniface Ramsey, a priest in New York City. It referred to “serious matters” involving seminarians that Fr Ramsey had brought to the attention of the nuncio in November 2000. Fr Ramsey shared the letter with the Catholic News Service last week. The letter appeared to confirm a claim by the former US nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who said the Vatican was informed of the McCarrick allegations as early as 2000.

Hobbs, New Mexico

Bishop: weeping statue could be a trick of the devil

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces has said that an investigation has found no natural causes for the apparent weeping of a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The statue in Hobbs, New Mexico, began emitting fluid from its eyes in May. The liquid was found to be similar to the chrism oil used in the sacraments. Bishop Cantú said investigators had examined the statue, checked its interior and spoken to the company that produced it. “So far, we have not discerned natural causes,” he wrote.

“If the cause of the phenomenon is supernatural, we must discern if it is from God or from the Devil,” he writes. “I remind you that the Church believes in the existence of fallen angels, who at times try to trick us … So, we must be prudent and vigilant.”

Santiago de Cuba

Cuban archbishop warns against ‘ideological colonialism’

Archbishop Dionisio Garcia of Santiago de Cuba has urged his country not to redefine marriage. Cuba’s parliament has approved a new constitution that both recognises private property and changes the definition of marriage to “the consensual union of two people, regardless of gender”. The public is now being consulted on the changes. The campaign to redefine marriage was led by Raúl Castro’s daughter Mariela.

Archbishop Garcia said the proposal was being driven by a “new ideological colonialism”, where outside groups exert influence on poor countries in need of aid. He said many people were worried that the change would pave the way for gay adoption.

Guatemala City

Tens of thousands march for life in Guatemala

Tens of thousands of Guatemalans have marched in favour of life and the family. The rally, called “Let’s Transform Guatemala” (Transformemos Guate), was held in opposition to a bill that would legalise abortion in cases of rape of underage girls. Organisers said the bill treated abortion as the answer, without providing “a real solution so that violence, sexual exploitation and human trafficking may be eradicated”, according to ACI Prensa. In Guatemala abortions are only allowed when the mother’s life is in danger.


Chilean senate passes gender bill

Chile’s senate has passed a bill that would allow teenagers as young as 14 legally to change their gender.The bill will pass to another legislative body, the Chamber of Deputies, before it can become law. The legislation defines gender identity as the “personal and interior conviction of being male or female, according to how one perceives oneself”. It would allow teenagers to apply to change their gender through the family courts, as long as they had the approval of at least one legal guardian. Without such approval, they could still ask a judge to intervene.


Cardinal Scola enters row over Communion for remarried

Cardinal Angelo Scola, who in 2013 was the bookies’ favourite to become pope, has defended the Church’s traditional teaching on Communion for the remarried. In a book-length interview, he said that the teaching – which holds that divorced and remarried people cannot receive Communion unless they resolve to live “in complete continence” – was “inherent in the very character of Christian marriage”, because of the close connection between the bond of marriage and the bond between Christ and the Church. According to L’Espresso, he said that since the Eucharist was “foundational” to marriage, a divorced and remarried person had “excluded himself from the Eucharist”.


St Thérèse of Lisieux relics head to the Arctic Circle

The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents, Ss Louis and Zélie Martin, are embarking on a six-week tour of Nordic countries later this month. The relics will start off in Stockholm on September 28, before heading to Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Fr Syméon, the organiser, has said the visit is intended to support families. A high point of the trip is in Vadstena, Sweden, on October 6, when bishops will consecrate Scandinavia to the Martin family.

Newcastle, Australia

Prosecutors appeal

Australian prosecutors are appealing for a tougher sentence against Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, who was sentenced to a year’s detention at his sister’s house for failing to pass on an allegation of abuse to authorities. Wilson is also appealing his conviction.

New Delhi

Indian bishops: gay sex may be legal but it is still immoral

A landmark ruling by India’s Supreme Court legalising homosexual acts does not change the fact that such behaviour is morally unacceptable, the nation’s bishops have said. A statement issued by Fr Stephen Fernandes, secretary to the bishops’ justice, peace and development office, said: “What is legal is not equal to moral acceptability.” It added that gay sex “violates the purpose of human sexuality, which is procreation … This is the moral stand of the Catholic Church”. The bishops’ statement said that the Church “respects the dignity of homosexuals as persons … just as the Church stands for the same for all without exclusion or discrimination”.


Cardinal says ‘war’ is waged on Christians

Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Burma, has said his country’s army is waging “war” against the Kachin people, a mainly Christian minority.Speaking at a peace forum in Seoul, he said that, while the suffering of the Rohingya had captured the world’s attention, a series of other “wars” were being overlooked. The crimes against the Kachin, he said, included “villages bombed and burned, women raped, churches destroyed, villagers used as human minesweepers and human shields”. Military attacks this year have led to more than 7,000 Kachin people being displaced.