Six California dioceses subpoenaed
The office of California’s attorney general has informed six dioceses that they will be issued subpoenas as part of a review of child protection policies and procedures “to verify that safeguards are effectively in place and are being appropriately implemented”.
California adopted a law in October extending the statute of limitations to allow claims to be filed by victims until age 40, or five years after discovering damage from the abuse. Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento (left) welcomed the move, saying the subpoenas “will move us toward our shared goal of ensuring that the safeguards in place for our children are working as they should”.
Alleged victim sues Vatican
John Bellocchio, 37, who claims that former cardinal Theodore McCarrick abused him when he was a teenager, has announced that he is suing the Vatican.
Bellocchio, who alleges that McCarrick sexually assaulted him when he was 14, alleges that officials were aware of McCarrick’s behaviour during his 60-plus years as a cleric, but continued to promote him.
Bellocchio, who is represented by Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson, took the legal action under the New York Child Victims Act and the New Jersey Victims’ Rights Bill, both of which are new laws lifting the statute of limitations on sex abuse claims. He said he was seeking “to change the practices and protocols” used by the Church.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is ‘mother of us all’
Mary is “the mother of all of us”, Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles said in his homily at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.
He praised Mary for “her humility, her tender love for even the least of us, her children”.
Our Lady of Guadalupe first appeared on December 9, 1531 to St Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City, and asked him to build a church there in her honour. Today the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the world’s most visited Marian shrine.
St Juan Diego was canonised in 2002.
Nealy 10 million flock to Marian shrine
An estimated crowd of 9.8 million people flocked to Mexico City’s Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe last Thursday after travelling for days from all over the country and beyond. The number of pilgrims, if correct, would exceed the population of Mexico City.
The December 12 pilgrimage honours Mexico’s patroness, who appeared to St Juan Diego and left an imprint of her image on his cloak, which is now inside the church. Visitors bear statues and other images of Our Lady as they stream to the basilica. Some make the last stretch crawling on their knees.
If the crowd estimate is accurate then the total number of pilgrims exceeded the population of Mexico City (8.9 million) itself.
New president to legalise abortion
Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, has promised he will seek to legalise abortion.
He said he would send a bill to congress which, if approved, would make Argentina the first major Latin American nation with legalised abortion, a major U-turn for official policy in a country which has steadfastly opposed legalisation.
A bill presented last year was rejected by the senate by 38 votes to 31, after Fernández’s predecessor, Mauricio Macri, refused to endorse it. Pope Francis offered support to those opposed to the bill.
Pope prays for Chile after plane crash
In a telegram, Pope Francis has assured the Chilean people of his spiritual closeness to them and to the families of those on board the Chilean military transport plane which went missing last week bound for Antarctica.
On Friday, searchers combing Antarctic seas recovered parts of the plane and human remains belonging to some of the 38 people aboard. No one is thought to have survived.
The search involved 23 aeroplanes and dozens of ships from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, the US and Britain.
Causes need scrupulous investigation, says Pope
Pope Francis has stressed that canonisations Causes require intense investigation, saying that postulators must have “an attitude of serving the truth” and not be motivated by a desire for success or financial gain.
Speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, Pope Francis met the Congregation’s staff, members, consultants and postulators, the people who shepherd and promote Causes.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the congregation, said that in the past 50 years, 2,203 people have been beatified and 1,479 canonised, and that the Congregation “carries out a meticulous and scrupulous work of scrutinising and verifying their holiness”.
Pope changes abuse reporting laws
Pope Francis has abolished the obligation of secrecy for those who report having been sexually abused by a priest and for those who testify in a Vatican trial or process having to do with clerical sexual abuse, the Catholic News Service reports.
“The person who files the report, the person who alleges to have been harmed and the witnesses shall not be bound by any obligation of silence with regard to matters involving the case,” the new instruction says.
Ho Chi Minh City
Police ruin Nativity
Plainclothes police and hooligans have torn down a Nativity scene, physically attacking the residents of the Lộc Hưng parish who were assembling it. Three Catholics, who stood up to the police invoking the right to religious freedom, were arrested and released later that evening.
Lebanese Christians may emigrate
A growing number of Christians in Lebanon are considering emigration as anti-government protests continue and the country’s economic crisis deepens, according to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
Melkite Archbishop Georges Bacouni of Beirut told ACN: “There’s a risk of losing the young generation: they don’t want to stay in Lebanon. There are too many question marks about the country’s future.”
The Church, he added, is under increasing pressure caring for needy people amid strife.
Priest arrested on fraud charge
A Catholic priest accused of fraud in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh was arrested on December 11 and has been remanded in custody for 15 days.
Fr Anand Muttungal, 47, a priest of the Archdiocese of Bhopal, has been accused of duping 377 people after promising residential plots through a housing society. He is a former spokesman for the nine dioceses in Madhya Pradesh.
But Richard James, a spokesman for Fr Muttungal, described the priest’s arrest as illegal and arbitrary, saying: “He will come out clean from the charges against him, and the real culprits will be exposed.”
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