Salt and Light founding CEO resigns over ‘plagiarism’
Fr Thomas Rosica has resigned as CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, following accusations that he had plagiarised the work of other authors in his articles, blog posts and lectures. While saying that he never wilfully plagiarised other writers, Fr Rosica accepted that he relied on people sending him ideas which he included in his work, but that he frequently failed to acknowledge the sources of material he used.
“I ask forgiveness for errors in not properly acknowledging individuals and attributing sources in my writings,” he said.
Fr Rosica has also tendered his resignation from several senior positions at universities.
Québec bans religious symbols for employees
Bishops in Québec have criticised a new law in the province banning future government employees in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols and clothing – including hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes and crosses – during working hours. The ban, which will affect teachers, police officers and judges among others, reveals “a lack of knowledge about religious life in society, as well as its cultural connotation,” said the bishops. “This lack of knowledge seems to us fuelled by prejudices and fear. Rather than defuse them, these measures exacerbate them.”
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau was also critical of the new law. “We do not feel it is a government’s responsibility or in a government’s interest to legislate on what people should be wearing,” he said.
South Bend, Indiana
Families must be central to mission, says archbishop
The Christian family must be a radical witness to hope in a world which is becoming more isolated and despairing, said Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles last week. He was speaking at a conference on Liturgy and the Domestic Church at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
“Our society has rejected what 20 centuries of Christian civilisation considered a basic fact of nature – that most men and women will find their life’s purpose in forming loving marriages, working together, sharing their lives, and raising children,” Archbishop Gómez said. “Many young people are debating whether it is ‘ethical’ to have kids in an age of global warming.”
Formation of families in the faith must be central to the Church’s mission, he said.
Successful surgery on unborn baby
A major hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, has performed groundbreaking surgery in the womb on a baby with spina bifida. Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic made an incision to open the uterus, exposing the back of the 23-week-old foetus. They then sutured several layers of tissue to cover the baby’s spinal cord.
The operation was performed in February, and the baby was born by Caesarean section last week.
“By successfully repairing the defect before birth, we’re allowing this child to have the best possible outcome and significantly improve her quality of life,” said Dr Darrell Cass, who led the surgical team.
War memorial cross to remain
The US Supreme Court has ruled that a memorial cross to First World War soldiers can remain standing. Justice Samuel Alito ruled that the 40-foot cross “is undoubtedly a Christian symbol, but that fact should not blind us to everything else that the Bladensburg Cross has come to represent”. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer of the Catholic Association said the ruling had “brought common sense and clarity to this important First Amendment issue. The Constitution does not require eliminating the great symbols of America’s religious pluralism from the public square.”
Rio Maria, Brazil
Amazonian Catholics appeal for justice
A Catholic network has appealed for justice after Carlos Cabral Pereira, president of the Union of Rural Workers of Rio Maria in the northern Brazilian state of Pará, was shot dead earlier this month.
The Pan-Amazon ecclesiastical network of Brazil (REPAM) promotes the rights and dignity of people living in the Amazon, seeking to bring to the world’s attention the fragile situation of indigenous people there. REPAM has asked the authorities to investigate Pereira’s killing and to “establish public policies in order to guarantee and protect many men and women who are threatened every day”.
Diocese and Cardinal Nichols criticised by IICSA
The diocese of Birmingham has been criticised by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. IICSA said the diocese had, in the second half of the 20th century, been “driven by a determination to protect the reputation of the Church”. When an allegation of abuse was made, “The default position was to take no action or to move the priest to another parish,” the report said.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham from 2000 to 2009, was criticised for his response to a 2003 documentary about an abuser priest. The then-archbishop said the airing of the programme on the eve of John Paul II’s Silver Jubilee “confirm[ed] the suspicions of many, that within the BBC there is hostility towards the Catholic Church in this country”.
Vatican players walk off after protest against Church
The Vatican’s women’s football team has walked off the pitch just before a game against the Austrian team FC Mariahilf, after a confrontation over Church teaching. As the Vatican anthem played before kick-off, some Mariahilf players lifted their jerseys to reveal pro-abortion messages such as “My body, my rules” painted on their stomachs and backs. At the same time, activists on the touchline displayed LGBT rights banners.
Vatican News reported that “The protest caught the Vatican players by surprise, who were expecting a simple sporting event, and together with their manager, took the difficult decision not to take part in the match so as not to further the exploitation of the event.”
A civil rights group in India has accused the police of harassment for raiding the house of Fr Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and activist. “The objective is thus very clearly to intimidate, scare and frighten all others,” said a statement issued by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.
Cardinal calls for peace
A senior Vatican official has called for peace as tensions mount between President Trump’s administration and the Iranian government.
Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, called for dialogue and friendship between the two countries.
“On our knees, let’s pray USA & IRAN do not unsheath the weapons of war!” he wrote on Twitter last week. He added: “Let nations cultivate political friendship and not mutual demonisation. The former builds peace. The latter kills it.”
Italian priest on trial for ‘breaking Confession Seal’
A priest accused of breaking the Seal of Confession is facing an ecclesiastical trial.
Fr Orazio Caputo was allegedly told during Confession of a police investigation into the head of the Catholic Culture and Environment Association (CCEA) by a mother concerned for her daughter.
The head of the CCEA, Piero Alfio Capuna, is charged with the sexual abuse of 10 underage girls. Fr Caputo is alleged to have warned the group of the investigation.
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