Why young Catholics are leaving the Church
An American study on young adults leaving the Church has found that about a third left because of Church teaching on matters such as same-sex marriage, which they saw as “an issue of social justice and human dignity, not an issue of sexuality”, according to Robert McCarty, one of the study authors. The report, Going, Going, Gone: the Dynamics of Catholic Disaffiliation, was presented at a symposium before the Santa Clara Faith Formation Conference. Disaffiliation reflects “the secularisation of culture where faith and belief are optional and not a given”, Dr McCarty said. Some 87 per cent of respondents said that nothing the Church could do would bring them back to it.
Relief for vulnerable religious minorities in Middle East
President Donald Trump has signed into law the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018. The act will provide humanitarian relief to genocide victims in Iraq and Syria. It will also hold perpetrators of genocide accountable. Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, chairman of the US bishops’ committee on international justice and peace, said the new law was “a signal of hope for the critically vulnerable of this region”.
The law will enable assistance for the humanitarian and recovery needs of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, whether through the federal government or through other bodies such as faith-based groups. It also allows US agencies to conduct criminal investigations and to apprehend alleged ISIS members.
Sisters accused of stealing half a million
Two sisters who reportedly admitted to stealing from the school where they taught may face charges. Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang, who retired this year from St James Catholic School, are alleged to have spent at least part of the money on gambling trips to Las Vegas. The missing cash is estimated at $500,000.
“What happened is wrong. Our Sisters take full responsibility for the choices they made and are subject to the law,” said the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet. Canonical restrictions have been imposed on the Sisters, and a formal canonical process “will be determined when the criminal aspect of the case is completed”. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will file a criminal complaint against the two Sisters.
Ten million pilgrims flock to Guadalupe
More than 10 million pilgrims went to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City, earlier this month to celebrate the Virgin Mary’s appearance nearly 500 years ago.
About 10.6 million registered over four days, according to city authorities; a jump from 7.3 million last year. Marilú Esponda, spokesman for the First Archdiocese of Mexico, said the strength of Mexicans’ devotion to Our Lady “fills us with hope”. She pointed to the “many stories of people who came from other states, from far away, each … showing their gratitude to the Virgin”. Our Lady is said to have appeared to an indigenous Mexican, St Juan Diego, four times in 1531.
World Youth Day ‘will boost Panama’s economy’
The organiser of World Youth Day in Panama has said the festival will bring $250 million (£200 million) in investment to the country. Roberto Alfaro, director of the local organising committee, told the Mi Diario daily that the $44 million (£35 million) cost of the event would be funded through pilgrims’ fees and donations from supporters. The benefits would not just be economic, he said, but would also be felt in terms of the values it promoted. More than 200,000 pilgrims are expected to attend the festival on January 22-29.
Mass attendance ‘halved in eight years’
Mass attendance in Chile has declined from 16 per cent of Catholics in 2010 to eight per cent this year, according to a poll carried out by GFK Adimark and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
The poll, called the 2018 Bicentennial, marking the country’s 200th anniversary, found that the number of people identifying as Catholic had fallen from 70 per cent in 2006 to 58 per cent in 2018.
Only 15 per cent of the remaining faithful say they trust the Church, according to the poll, which involved 2,011 people. The country’s Church has been wracked by a sex abuse crisis.
Shopping mall backs down over Nativity scene
A shopping centre has backed down after initially refusing the Legion of Mary permission to display a Nativity scene. The Thistles Centre had said it wanted to be religiously and politically neutral. The decision was widely criticised: a spokesman for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh said that “it seems just a wee bit, well, Grinch-like”, while the Church of Scotland called it “a sad day for all of us”. Stephen Kerr, the Conservative MP for Stirling, also asked the shopping mall to allow a Nativity scene, and the Scottish Sun installed one, which was swiftly removed. But the management has now reversed its decision. The archdiocese said Thistles should be “congratulated for listening to the general public and responding with such generosity”.
Pope Francis slims down Council of Cardinals
Pope francis has removed three of the nine members of his Council of Cardinals. They are Cardinal George Pell, 77 (pictured), who is facing sex abuse charges in Australia, Chilean Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa, 85, who is accused of mishandling abuse cases, and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, 79, the retired Archbishop of Kinshasa. Pope Francis wrote to them in October, “thanking them for the work they had done over the past five years”, the Vatican said. They were the council’s oldest members.
More than 100 Christians were arrested in Iran last week, the charity Open Doors has said. They were questioned on their involvement in Christian activities and their mobile phones were confiscated. They were also ordered to have no contact with Christian groups, the charity said.
Jesus’s baptism site to be reopened
Churches at the traditional site of Jesus’s baptism by John the Baptist on the banks of the River Jordan may be open within a year. The area, about six miles east of Jericho, was sown with 3,000 anti-tank landmines by Israeli forces during the Six-Day War in 1967. The site contains a Franciscan chapel (pictured), Greek, Romanian, Syrian, Russian and Coptic Orthodox churches and Greek and Ethiopian Orthodox monasteries. The Halo Trust, an international anti-landmine charity, has already cleared the area around the monasteries and several of the churches.
Catholics celebrate bishop’s resignation
Catholics in the city of Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, celebrated the resignation of their local bishop last week by setting off firecrackers and chanting slogans outside the bishop’s residence and the city’s cathedral until 2am, according to UCA News.
Bishop Prasad Gallela’s resignation was accepted by Pope Francis on December 10. The 56-year-old is facing a criminal complaint from two lay Catholics who say he has been diverting diocesan funds to maintain a secret wife and child.
UCA News said about 250 mainly young people gathered for the celebration. Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Emeritus Gali Bali of Guntur as apostolic administrator of Cuddapah diocese.
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