World News: from Buenos Aires to Bhopal

World News: from Buenos Aires to Bhopal


Pro-lifers rally after ‘Shame on you’ videos
A series of videos by a Pennsylvania politician has prompted more than 1,000 pro-lifers to gather for a “rally against bullying”.

Brian Sims, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, livestreamed videos on social media in which he denounced pro-life activists – two women, three teenagers and a man – standing outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. Sims shouted at one: “An old white lady telling people what to do with their bodies? Shame on you!” He also asked viewers if they could provide the names and addresses of the activists he filmed.

Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, was the moderator of the rally. In her remarks, Rose called on Sims to resign. But she said that the event had been organised “for a much bigger reason … [to] stand for the dignity of human life”.


‘Saint’ who died in school shooting is mourned
Tributes have been paid to Kendrick Castillo, a Catholic teenager who died in a school shooting.

Castillo, aged 18, rushed to block the shooter in order to save his classmates. His father John told the Denver Post that he wished Castillo had hidden from the shooter, “but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.”

Castillo was remembered as a joyful, kind and gentle boy who was loved by teachers and schoolmates alike. One friend told the Catholic News Agency that Castillo was “a living saint” who loved the priesthood and was always helping with the Knights of Columbus.

“He lived the life of a hero, always helping others to the point where I’m not quite sure what he did for himself.”


Bishop addresses Communion row
A Chilean bishop has defended himself after he was accused of declining to give Communion to Catholics who knelt to receive the Host.

Bishop Celestino Aós, the new administrator of the Archdicoese of Santiago, told Crux: “I didn’t deny Communion to anyone. There was a person who got on his knees, I asked him to get up, and I gave him Communion. But then to a second person, who did not want to get up, when he got up, I offered him Communion and he did not want it.”

The bishop added: “Communion is not simply a union with God but with the community.” He said he would follow the common practice for receiving Communion wherever he went.

Buenos Aires

President urged to listen to opponents
Argentina’s Bishops have urged President Mauricio Macri to seek consensus, after he invited political and social leaders to negotiate on a policy platform. Macri is under pressure after instigating an unpopular policy platform, and faces elections in six months.

He has asked opposition leaders and others to consider agreeing to a 10-point plan, which includes making debt repayments and cutting taxes. But opposition leaders have been reluctant to take up the offer. In an open letter, the bishops said any resolution should be the “result of an encounter and not previous to it.”


Study: high sexual activity in seminaries
An academic study, based on interviews with 50 theology students at Brazilian seminaries, has found a widespread culture of sexual misconduct.

The authors, Elismar Alves dos Santos and Pedrinho Arcides Guareschi, both religious and both well-regarded academics, reported that the students thought nine in 10 seminarians were attracted to members of the same sex. Of those, the interviewees claimed, four fifths go in seach of sexual partners. “They say: ‘If there is love, what harm is there?’”

The study was published in 2017, but has only now reached a wider audience after being translated into Italian.


Bishop criticises activist over papal ‘heresy’ letter
A bishop has criticised a pro-life activist who signed a letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy.

Georges Buscemi, who has been the main Quebec organiser of the national March for Life since 2009, put his name to the open letter arguing that the Pope had committed the canonical crime of heresy through his words and actions. They asked bishops to take action, first by admonishing the Pope.

Bishop Noël Simard, president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec, said: “I used to send a cheque to Campagne Quebec-Vie every year. But now it’s over.”

Buscemi told the Catholic News Service he was aware the letter could cause offence, “but the resolution of the crisis in the Church is more important”.


Five thousand march for life
An estimated 5,000 pro-lifers took to the streets of London for Saturday’s March for Life. The marchers chanted “Life from conception, no exception” as they moved through Westminster to Parliament Square, where the crowds were addressed by Obianuju Ekeocha of Culture of Life Africa. Ekeocha urged the assembled marchers to take inspiration from William Wilberforce’s fight against the slave trade.

Other speakers included Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, Melissa Ohden, an American who was born despite an attempted chemical abortion, and a couple who fled a Marie Stopes clinic. The couple had thought they had no choice except an abortion, but were helped by 40 Days For Life.


Pilgrimages allowed, but no decision on authenticity
Pope Francis has lifted the ban on pilgrimages to Medjugorje – but has taken no view on the authenticity of the alleged apparitions.

Archbishop Henryk Hoser the Pope’s apostolic visitor to Medjugorje, and Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, the nuncio to Bosnia-Herzegovina, announced the decision to allow parishes and dioceses to make official pilgrimages to the site.

Local commissions have not approved the supposed 1981 apparitions, and Francis has in the past expressed scepticism.


Pastor acquitted
A Pentecostal pastor has been acquitted of trying to convert people to Christianity.

Balu Saste was charged under a local “anti-conversion law” in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Such laws reflect an increasingly hostile environment for Christians and other non-Hindus in parts of the country.

Dablo, Burkina Farso

Six killed in church attack
A shooting at a Catholic church in Burkina Faso has claimed the lives of six people, reports the Catholic News Service. According to Agence France-Presse, armed persons entered the church on motorcycles and shot at churchgoers attempting to escape. Fr Simeon Yampa, who was celebrating Sunday Mass, was among those killed in the attack. The gunmen then set fire to the church and several other buildings nearby.

Government officials blamed the attack on Islamist terror groups. Burkina Faso has seen a rise in attacks on Christians.

Collepardo, Italy

Cardinal sounds alarm over Bannon ‘training school’
An internal dispute has broken out over a new “training school” being planned by Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist. Bannon, in collaboration with the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI), is hoping to create an academy in a former Carthusian monastery, Trisulti Charterhouse. But now Cardinal Renato Maria Martino, the DHI’s president, is allegedly raising doubts over the plan, according to Politico.

Cardinal Martino is said to have emailed DHI founder Benjamin Harnwell saying that Trisulti Charterhouse should be “open to all” and should respect Catholic doctrine – an apparent reference to Vatican officials’ disapproval of Bannon’s work.