St Louis, Missouri Victim of shooting recalled as a ‘lovely soul’
Catholics have paid tribute to a parishioner who was fatally shot last week. Jamie Schmidt, a mother of three, was a customer in a Catholic goods shop when a gunman entered the shop, sexually assaulted two women there and then shot Schmidt. Mourners gathered at a Mass at St Anthony of Padua Church, High Ridge. One, Cathy Gansmann, said she was “a lovely soul, so sweet, so unassuming”. Her husband, Gregg Schmidt, said in a statement posted on Facebook: “Hug your friends and family and tell them you love them every time you get the chance. I didn’t get to say goodbye and that hurts pretty bad.”
Ann Arbor, Michigan Business group withholds annual donation to the Vatican
Legatus, a US-based organisation for Catholic business leaders, has announced it will suspend its annual tithe to the Vatican. The organisation had said in September that it was placing its annual donation in escrow until it could receive clarification about how the money would be used. Thomas Monaghan, chairman of Legatus, wrote to members earlier this month, saying “it is evident that it is going to take time for the current crisis in the Church to be addressed”, and announcing that dues for next year’s tithe would not be collected. According to the Wall Street Journal, Legatus’s tithe to the Holy See this year would have been about $820,000 (£640,000). Monaghan said the board would revisit the topic next autumn for 2020’s tithe.
Glendale, California Catholics to consecrate California to Mary
Catholics are hoping to consecrate California to the Immaculate Heart of Mary next weekend. A project, consecratecalifornia.com, lists parishes taking part across the state. The plan is to hold a midday Mass followed by a walk to a designated spot where the rosary and consecration prayers will be recited. It will take place on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The instigator of the campaign is Angelo Libutti, a film writer and Glendale resident who came up with the idea while in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The campaign seeks Mary’s intercession to combat several moral evils. One prayer on the website includes a request “to be spared the just punishment for our souls that our state deserves from killing our unborn, sick, elderly, unwanted”.
Managua, Nicaragua Ortega regime turns against Cardinal Brenes
The regime of Daniel Ortega has long cultivated the support of Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes – but a former insider says that this policy has been abandoned. The website El 19 Digital, a mouthpiece for the government, published an op-ed by Mario Barquero Baltodano, the country’s ambassador to Iran, calling the cardinal “hesitant” and “erratic”and saying the Church had encouraged violence. Carlos Mikel Espinoza, a former editor of the site, told the Madrid-based Periodista Digital that all such articles were approved by Ortega’s wife, Rosario Murillo. He said for 11 years the website had avoided any conflict with the cardinal, who is widely respected.
Lima, Peru Bishops urge crackdown on corruption
Peru’s bishops have said it is “impossible to continue to tolerate living with corruption” amid a scandal involving bribes to politicians. In a letter entitled “Keeping Hope Alive”, they called for “an honourable, honest and independent judicial system”. A referendum on anti-corruption measures is scheduled for December 9. The bishops urged Peruvians to listen to the protests of young people. “What kind of Peru do we want to leave them?” they asked. Five former presidents are being investigated for corruption or are facing charges.
La Plata, Argentina Sex education ‘corrupting youth’
Archbishop Héctor Aguer, the retired Archbishop of La Plata, has said Argentina’s youth are being “corrupted” by a sex education programme driven by ideology. The archbishop’s remarks were aired in a documentary, Keys to a Better World, and came after Mauricio Macri’s government announced it wanted schools to adopt more fully a 2006 law setting out guidelines for sex education. But Archbishop Aguer, a trenchant government critic, said that resulting textbooks introduced concepts of gender ideology and sexual orientation to primary school children.
Foggia, Italy Young man healed by Padre Pio tells story of miracle
A 27-year-old man who fell into a coma as a boy has described his miraculous recovery after his mother prayed at the tomb of St Padre Pio. Matteo Pio Colella was speaking to ACI Prensa ahead of the release of the film El Misterio del Padre Pío (“The Mystery of Padre Pio”), which includes his testimony. Aged seven, he contracted a severe form of meningitis and was expected to die within hours. During a coma, while his mother was praying, he saw Padre Pio in a vision, who told him “not to worry”. The cure paved the way for Padre Pio’s canonisation. Colella said he considered the saint to be like a grandfather and knew he had “received an enormous grace”.
Kraków, Poland Polish nun who helped save Jews dies aged 110
A Dominican nun who helped to hide Jews in a convent during World War II has died aged 110. Described as the “oldest nun in the world”, Sister Cecylia Maria Roszak was honoured as Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli memorial Yad Vashem for her role in sheltering 17 members of the Jewish resistance during the Nazi occupation of Vilnius. The Jewish activists hid in the convent while continuing their political work. Sister Cecylia died in Kraków where she had served as an organist and cantor for 80 years.
Yei, South Sudan Let me talk to armed groups, says bishop
A bishop in South Sudan has urged his state government to allow religious leaders to mediate talks with armed groups. Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe of Yei told Radio Easter that people were tired of promises of peace while fighting continued. He said religious leaders could examine the grievances of different groups. A peace deal between the country’s president, Salva Kiir, and Riek Machar, its former vice president, was struck last month, but conflict between armed groups has continued.
Canberra, Australia Senator declares himself female so he can debate abortion
An Australian senator has declared himself to be female so he can no longer be criticised for speaking out on abortion. Barry O’Sullivan, who is Catholic and pro-life, said he was fed up with the “vomit” and “vitriol” he received when raising the issue. Earlier that week he had proposed that pro-abortion protesters be banned from the pro-lifers’ annual Day of the Unborn Child event. This led Larissa Waters, a Green party senator, to say O’Sullivan needed to “get his hands and his rosaries off my ovaries”. O’Sullivan told parliament he would “not stand silent”, adding: “I’m going to declare my gender today, as I can, to be a woman, and then you’ll no longer be able to attack me.”