News Analysis

World News: From La Rioja to Lagos

Washington DC

Project launches to tackle abuse crisis
A new initiative has been launched at the Catholic University of America with the goal of eliminating sexual abuse and addressing leadership failures within the Church.
“The Catholic Project” aims to unite clergy and laity in addressing the Church’s problems. Its work will range “from conferences, research, and educational resources on the causes of the crisis, to bringing attention to the needs and perspectives of survivors, to promoting principles and best practices for preventing future crises”, according to its website.

Stephen White, the executive director, wrote last week at The Catholic Thing that “The crisis is unmistakably a crisis of fidelity.” But, he said, it was also a crisis of mismanagement, priestly formation and many other factors.

Philadelphia

Adoption agencies lose fight against ‘discrimination’ ban
Catholic adoption agencies could face a difficult future, after the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled against them in a dispute with the City of Philadephia.
Last year, the city’s Department of Human Services cancelled its contract with the archdiocese’s Catholic Social Services group. The civil authorities said that the group were discriminating, by only placing foster children with opposite-sex couples.

The group challenged the law, but the court ruled that the city had a right to deter “discrimination”. The ruling said that the ban on Catholic services “does not show religious persecution or bias”. Similar legal disputes are taking place in other states.

Madison, Wisconsin

New bishop will preach ‘love and truth;’
The new Bishop of Madison has said he will try to bring together “love and truth”.

Bishop Donald Hying said at a press conference: “Truth without love becomes harsh, rigid, judgmental. Love without truth becomes sentimental and kind of just devoid of content.”

Bishop Hying, previously Bishop of Gary, Indiana, praised his predecessor, “the great” Bishop Robert Morlino, who died last year.
Fr John Zuhlsdorf, who writes the Catholic Herald’s Omnium Gatherum column, also made mention of Bishop Morlino.
Fr Zuhlsdorf wrote on his blog: “This is good news and the answer to many prayers. I sense that the late, great Extraordinary Ordinary interceded.”

Mexico City

Pope donates money to Mexican migrants
Pope francis has donated $500,000 to help migrants attempting to travel through Mexico. The Vatican charity Peter’s Pence said in a statement that the donation “will be distributed among 27 projects in 16 dioceses and Mexican religious congregations that have asked for help to continue providing housing, food and basic necessities to these brothers and sisters”.

The statement also contained an implicit criticism of US government policy in not accepting more migrants. “Men and women, often with young children, flee poverty and violence, hoping for a better future in the United States. But the US border remains closed for them,” the statement said.

Piura, Peru

Archbishop withdraws legal action against journalist
an archbishop has withdrawn a defamation suit against two journalists who had accused him of knowing about abuse.
Archbishop Jose Eguren Anselmi had taken legal action against the journalists after they separately alleged that he had been aware of abuse in the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae group.

The legal action had been criticised by the media – and, indirectly, by the bishops’ conference.
The archbishop said he was backing down to help Church unity. One journalist, Pedro Salinas, had been convicted and fined, but the punishment will no longer apply.

La Rioja, Argentina

‘Dirt War’ victims beatified
four argentines who were killed during the “dirty war” of the 1970s have been beatified.

The best-known, Bishop Enrique Angelelli of La Rioja, devoted much of his time to trying to help the poor – especially workers, whom he encouraged to form unions and cooperatives. When the Argentine government began to kidnap and murder social activists, Antonelli said: “It’s my turn next.”

Along with the three others to be declared Blessed – Fr Carlos Murias, Fr Gabriel Longueville, and lay catechist Wenceslao Pedernera – the bishop was assassinated. The courts have found that the killers forced the truck he was driving to crash.

London

Committee urges abortion of disabled in Northern Ireland
A committee of MPs has called on the government to permit the abortion of severely disabled babies in Northern Ireland. The region has lacked an executive since 2017, when the power-sharing arrangement collapsed. Westminster is overseeing Irish affairs, and pro-abortion campaigners want MPs to impose new laws.

The report from the Women and Equalities Committee recommended that “the UK Government must legislate as a matter of urgency to allow for access to abortion where there has been a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality”.

Two committee members backed a dissenting report saying this would be undue interference in the region’s independence. The charity Life warned that it could be a step towards “abortion on demand” across the UK.

Włocławek

Kaczyński: Polish identity threatened by LGBT movement
One of Poland’s leading politicians has said the country is threatened by new ideologies of sex and gender. Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, told a Catholic Action conference in Włocławek that the LGBT rights movement, and new campaigns for sex education from groups such as the World Health Organisation, represent “a threat to Polish identity, to our nation, to its existence and thus to the Polish state”.

Taree, Australia

Poet dies aged 80
The poet Les Murray, a Catholic convert, has died at a nursing home after a period of illness. The poet Jamie Grant, a friend of Murray’s, led the many tributes, describing him as “not just Australia’s greatest poet, but … the greatest writer in Australian literature in any genre”.

Kigali

Bishops apologise for genocide statement
Rwanda’s bishops have apologised after a backlash to a pastoral letter written on the 25th anniversary of the genocide in which more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed.
The bishops had suggested that some killers, if they were old and ailing, should be released from prison. Critics included victim groups and the justice minister, Johnston Busingye, who said the Church should instead examine its own alleged role in abetting the genocide.

The bishops admitted in a statement that the letter had caused “hurt”. They said they had sought to encourage Christians to promote “unity and reconciliation, while also seeking forgiveness”, and that they were “saddened” that the letter gave offence.

Lagos

Government urged to help abducted girls
Bishops have called on the Nigerian government to do more to help the schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.

Bishops Matthew Audu and George Dodo told the Catholic News Service that the government lacked the will to rescue the girls, 219 of whom were taken from their dormitories in a midnight raid by the Islamist terror group.

In 2017, negotiations led to the release of 82 of the girls, but more than 100 are still missing. Bishop Hilary Okeke has said that Pope Francis has raised the matter with President Muhammudu Buhari.