Peoria, Illinois Archbishop Sheen beatification date announced
Archbishop Fulton Sheen will be beatified on December 21, the Diocese of Peoria has announced. The archbishop and TV preacher, who died in 1979, got the green light for beatification in July after Pope Francis approved a second miracle brought about through his intercession. The beatification ceremony will take place during a 10am Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, where Sheen was ordained to the priesthood 100 years ago, in September 1919. Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will preside at the rite. It will be only the fourth such ceremony to take place in the US.
Boston Seminary inquiry finds ‘inappropriate’ acts
An investigation into a seminary in Boston archdiocese has found evidence of “inappropriate” sexual activity, but said these were “isolated incidents” and that there was no evidence of sexual contact between staff and seminarians. The inquiry, led by former US attorney Donald Stern, said that St John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachussetts, had suffered from inadequate leadership, and that there had been incidents of misconduct around sex and alcohol. However, it said that, contrary to some media allegations, “the seminary is not a den of sexual misconduct fuelled by excessive drinking.” Cardinal Séan O’Malley of Boston thanked Stern, saying: “The inquiry has presented issues that require remedial action and oversight for ongoing compliance.”
San Francisco Lawyer ‘fully confident’ about Daleiden appeal
The lawyer for a pro-life activist is “fully confident” that he will win his appeal against Planned Parenthood, the Catholic News Service reports. The activist, David Daleiden, is facing a fine of nearly $2.3 million (£1.8m). Planned Parenthood and 10 of its abortion affiliates brought the lawsuit in 2016 over undercover investigative videos filmed in 2015 by Daleiden and a colleague that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing fees related to foetal tissue. The two posed as representatives of an invented foetal tissue procurement firm. Peter Breen, lead defence attorney of the Thomas More Society in Chicago, said Daleiden “utilised standard investigative journalism techniques applied regularly by news outlets”.
Pro-government mobs have besieged another Nicaraguan parish, further inflaming tensions between the Church and President Daniel Ortega, whose Sandinista regime is targeting dissidents and attempting to stamp out dissent, the Catholic News Service reports. Ortega supporters tried to enter St John the Baptist Parish in Masaya, south of Managua, the capital, where churchgoers were attending a vigil to pray for imprisoned anti-government protesters. Some churchgoers and altar boys were beaten by the mob, according to media reports. Other churches, including Managua’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral, have been targeted by government supporters.
La Paz, Bolivia Bishops mediate between government and opposition
The Bolivian bishops have emerged as mediators as the country struggles through a political crisis following the resignation of President Evo Morales. Twenty people have been killed in clashes between security forces and Morales supporters, who have taken to the streets to protest against the new caretaker government. Church leaders are collaborating with the EU and the Spanish embassy in mediating talks between the new government and Morales’s supporters. The bishops had criticised Morales’s government, but have consistently called for a peaceful resolution.
Orán, Argentina Bishop returns as priests convicted
A former Vatican official has returned to Argentina after prosecutors asked for international cooperation in arresting him. Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who stands accused of sexual and financial misconduct during his time as bishop of Orán, has been living in the same Vatican residence as Pope Francis. He said via a spokesman that
he was not in “rebellion” against prosecutors, who claimed that Bishop Zanchetta was not responding to telephone calls or emails. In a separate case, two Argentine priests were convicted of abusing children at a school for the deaf. Fr Nicola Corradi was sentences to 42 years and Fr Horacio Corbacho to 45 years.
Vatican City Vatican official attacks report
A former official at the Secretariat of State has accused the Catholic News Agency (CNA) of “misleading readers”. A CNA story by Ed Condon reported allegations that Cardinal Angelo Becciu “tried to disguise” a $200 million loan, breaking the Vatican’s financial rules, and had clashed with Cardinal Pell, who objected. Cardinal Becciu tweeted in response: “Mr Condon shamefully misled the faithful with another FALSE article … claiming my involvement in financial impropriety.” CNA editor-in-chief JD Flynn said CNA stood by the story. “I repeat our multiple invitations for an on the record interview with you,” he wrote in reply.
Cardiff Catholics may leave students’ union after abortion vote
A students’ union is poised to declare itself itself officially “pro-choice”, despite warnings from Catholic students that this could force them to leave the union. Cardiff University Students’ Union (CUSU) voted to “adopt an official pro-choice stance” to “ensure that students understand their rights to bodily autonomy and abortion”. The union’s officers are expected to ratify the motion, but had not announced their decision at the time of going to press. Catholic chaplain Fr Sebastian Jones wrote an open letter to CUSU officers, warning that Catholics would have to leave the union, as they could not give “voluntary and material support to those who promote abortion”.
Vesoul, France Mayor apologises after nun banned from wearing habit
A mayor has apologised to a nun who was barred from a retirement home because she wanted to wear her religious habit. The unnamed nun was accepted by the retirement home, but local authorities said that France’s strict secular laws meant she could not wear a habit. “Our residents may have preferences and beliefs and these should be respected,” the home told her. Alain Chrétien, the mayor of Vesoul, apologised and said he would try to help her find housing.
Nagasaki Pope: abolish nukes
Pope Francis has urged the abolition of nuclear weapons, saying that peace is incompatible with the “fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation”. Speaking in Nagasaki, the Pope said a “climate of distrust” had obstructed non-proliferation efforts.
Bangui, Central African Republic Convicted abuser became head of Caritas office
The head of Caritas International’s Central African Republic office remained in place even though he was a convicted child abuser, CNN has revealed. Fr Luk Delft, a Belgian Salesian, was appointed to lead the CAR office in 2015, even though he had been convicted in Belgium in 2012 of child abuse and possession of child pornography. A court order barred him from working with children until 2022, but he moved to CAR and worked with displaced families. CNN alleged that he committed further sexual abuse, which he denies. It remains unclear what was communicated between the Salesians, Caritas and the Church in CAR.