World News

In brief


Bishops: meeting with Pope was ‘remarkable and intimate’

The bishops of England and Wales have described their two-hour meeting with Pope Francis last week as a “most remarkable and intimate experience”. In a statement after a week-long ad limina visit to Rome, they said the Pope gave them a simple message: “to live the gift of our faith with joy”. They continued: “As we spoke with Pope Francis we realised, more and more, that he simply radiates this joy and peace. Even in this time of turmoil, the Holy Father is so clearly rooted in God and blessed by God. His peace is secure. His life is serene. We know, because he showed us his heart. It is the heart of a loving father.” Francis has changed the format of ad limina meetings, preferring open conversation to giving a speech.

Vatican City

Viganò calls on Vatican cardinal to break his silence

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has issued a new message, calling on Cardinal Marc Ouellet (inset), prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, to break his silence on McCarrick. Viganò, who alleges Pope Francis ignored sanctions against the American ex-cardinal, criticised Francis’s reaction to his initial “testimony”, saying the Pope had slandered him by implicitly comparing him to the Devil. To Ouellet, he wrote: “You were the one who told me of Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick … I urge you to bear witness to the truth.”


Vatican’s next step

Vatican negotiators are seeking to convince Beijing to recognise officially a dozen “underground” bishops by December, the AFP news agency has reported. A Vatican source said the goal of the latest step of negotiations is to “give more space” to the faithful in China.


Monk due to testify in trial is found poisoned

An autopsy of a Coptic monk who died just before he was due to testify at a trial has revealed signs of poisoning. Zeinoun al-Maqari was among six monks banished from the Monastery of St Macarius the Great, 57 miles north of Cairo, after the abbot, Bishop Epiphanius, was found bludgeoned to death. Two other monks have been charged with murder and al-Maqari was due to testify at their trial. One of the accused, Wael al-Saad, reportedly admitted that
he hit the bishop with a steel pipe.

Piatra Neamț, Romania

Cardinal beatifies 22-year-old who died resisting rape

A Romanian peasant who was stabbed to death while resisting rape during the communist-era repression of the Church has been beatified.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, called Veronica Antal a “martyr to chastity”. Antal, who died in 1958, took vows of chastity as a Franciscan tertiary aged 17. Unable to become a nun, she created a prayer cell near her parents’ house, from where she visited the sick and needy and helped prepare children for confirmation. She was attacked while walking home from church by a neighbour who stabbed her 42 times. Her grave immediately became a place of pilgrimage.


Prelates clash over blueprint for youth synod

Two of America’s most senior prelates have publicly clashed over the merits of a document that will guide this month’s youth synod.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia shared a critique of the instrumentum laboris by an anonymous theologian who said it raised “serious theological concerns” and argued that it showed an “inadequate grasp of the Church’s spiritual authority” and an “impoverished understanding of Christian joy”. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago attacked the critique, saying it represented a “woeful lack of understanding of magisterial teaching” and criticising its anonymity. Chaput responded that the critique was “among the most charitable I’ve received from scholars”. The exchange appeared in First Things.

Cornwall, Canada

Journalists told not to approach Canadian bishops

Journalists covering the Canadian bishops’ annual gathering at Cornwall, Ontario, have been told not to approach bishops or bishops’ conference officials “at any time – including [during] coffee breaks and meals”. An accreditation form sent to media asks journalists to submit questions in advance and to promise not to approach bishops or conference staff.The assembly is held behind closed doors but accredited journalists can attend the first day and a half. Lisa Gall, communications coordinator, said the instructions “were added on the basis of recent experience and in view of our conference’s longstanding principle that its principal spokesperson is the president” or bishops officially delegated to speak on behalf of the conference.

Victoria, United States

Residence of disgraced ex-cardinal is revealed

Survivors’ groups have expressed dismay that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick is now living next door to a primary school. The archbishop, who is alleged to have sexually assaulted seminarians and teenagers, has begun a life of prayer and penance at St Fidelis Capuchin friary in Victoria, Kansas, according to statements from the Diocese of Salina and the Archdiocese of Washington. He is barred from any public ministry or public appearances. David Clohessy, former head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said: “It boggles the mind that Church officials are this reckless.”

Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Bishop calls for end to killings after teenager is shot dead

A bishop has expressed dismay at the death of a 16-year-old who was fatally shot while protesting against president Daniel Ortega.
The killing of Matt Andrés Romero brings to 323 the number of people who have lost their lives during protests since April, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Romero was shot in the chest while marching in support of political prisoners. Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos of Matagalpa wrote on Twitter: “We mourn the death. We mourn one more death. It grieves our soul … Our prayers for his family. Our love and solidarity with them. We continue to insist: not one more death, please.”


Pope expels notorious abuser from the priesthood

Pope Francis has expelled from the priesthood a Chilean who sexually abused young men in his parish. The Vatican said the dismissal of Fernando Karadima from the clerical state was an “exceptional decision [made] in conscience and for the good of the Church”. Karadima’s group Catholic Action, formed in Santiago, attracted hundreds of men to the priesthood. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the penalty was a sign of the Pope’s “hard line against abuses”, adding that Karadima’s crimes had done “exceptional damage to Chile”.

Rosário, Argentina

Gunmen fire at church

Gunmen have fired bullets at a church and at the door of a school across the road after the parish priest denounced local drug traffickers. Fr Juan Pablo Núñez, of Mary Our Queen Church, Rosário, said he began speaking out a few weeks ago and had already received threats. The neighbourhood was a “no man’s land”, he told the news portal Todos Para Uno, with “many robberies and shootings”. “People came to talk to me because they didn’t know whom to talk to, so I started airing their concerns,” he said. He explained that he was not afraid for himself, but said: “I do fear for the people, because these gangs don’t respect anyone.”