Pelosi objects ‘as a Catholic’ to being accused of hate
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a reporter “Don’t mess with me!” when he asked if she hated President Trump, after she had accused him of “abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardising the integrity of our elections”.
“I don’t hate anybody,” she said. “This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the President’s violation of the oath of office. And as a Catholic I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me.” She added: “Don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.” Trump responded in a tweet: “She says she ‘prays for the President’. I don’t believe her, not even close.”
Buffalo, New York
Bishop Malone resigns after year of controversy
Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo has resigned after a year of controversy and speculation. Bishop Malone had been accused of covering up claims of sexual abuse by priests in his diocese, which he denied.
But evidence emerged suggesting that he knew about – and believed – claims of sexual abuse months before he removed a priest from ministry. In a tape-recorded conversation with diocesan officials at the beginning of August, Bishop Malone said: “We are in a true crisis situation. True crisis. And everyone in the office is convinced this could be the end for me as bishop.” He added that if the media reported on the story “it could force me to resign”.
His resignation follows an apostolic visitation and canonical inspection of the Buffalo diocese.
US politicians urge crackdown on pornography
Four Republican members of Congress have asked the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to crack down on online pornography.
Warning of an “explosion in pornography” which “has consequences, especially for our children”, representatives Jim Banks (Indiana), Vicky Hartzler (Missouri), Mark Meadows (North Carolina) and Brian Babin (Texas) said: “Given the pervasiveness of obscenity, it’s our recommendation that you declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority and urge your US Attorneys to bring prosecutions against the major producers and distributors of such material.”
At a recent meeting with technology company executives, Pope Francis emphasised their responsibility to protect against the exploitation and abuse of children.
El Paso, Texas
Fourth attack on city church
An attack on a church in the Texan border town of El Paso last week is the fourth act of church vandalism in the city in just a few months. A small fire was started in one of the parish offices of St Thomas Aquinas Church (pictured), and several windows and doors at the church were destroyed. Small fires were started at three other El Paso churches in May and June. One parishioner told ABC-7 that they were shocked but not intimidated, saying: “To whoever did it, we are not afraid of you, we will continue to come here to worship God and we will continue praying for those who did it.”
Evening Masses stopped because of fear of violence
Bishop Ramón Castro Castro of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City, has suspended evening Masses in his diocese because of escalating violence. Attendance at services has fallen because people are frightened to go out after dark.
“There are many people I know who have nothing to do with organised crime, but find themselves affected by this violence and have changed their lifestyle,” he told local media. “These are situations where people are scared. It’s a fear that paralyses them.”
The murder rate in Mexico is rapidly escalating.
Religious brother beatified
A member of the De La Salle Christian Brothers was beatified on Saturday in Huehuetenango, where he was killed 36 years ago.
Brother James Miller taught at the Casa Indigena School and also introduced experimental agricultural techniques to indigenous Mayans. He was shot in the back while repairing a wall at the school in 1982, aged 37. “Aware of numerous dangers and difficulties,” he wrote just a month before he died, “we continue working with faith and hope and trusting in God’s Providence.”
As a martyr, no proof of a miracle was needed for his beatification, but it will be if he is to be canonised.
Holy See ‘helped finance explicit Elton John film’
The Vatican helped to fund an explicit film about the life of singer Elton John, an Italian newspaper has claimed. Corriere della Sera reported that Rocketman was developed with the help of a €1m (£850,000, $1.1m) investment from the Malta-based Centurion Global Fund. The Vatican’s Secretariat of State holds a majority stake in the fund. The film contains explicit scenes. John told the Guardian that “Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life.” The fund made a loss of 4.6 per cent in 2018. The Vatican has said it is investigating the losses.
Pro-life bill narrowly fails
A pro-life bill has failed to pass Slovakia’s parliament, after only 59 out of 150 MPs voted for it, failing to gain the number of votes required to become law.
Twenty-four MPs voted against and 40 abstained. The proposed law would have obliged women seeking abortions to see ultrasound images and listen to their child’s heartbeat.
Tens of thousands had marched in support of the law, which was also supported by the Church (Jonathan Luxmoore, page 14).
The Church in Hong Kong is divided over anti-government protests, according to a report in the Financial Times. Edwin Chow, acting president of the Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students, said students had urged the Vatican to take a stance in defence of the protesters, but to no avail.
Cardinal to lead reconciliation efforts
Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa has been appointed to lead a national commission on reconciling communities, after dozens were killed amid ethnic violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia region in October. The violence also targeted Christians in the largely Orthodox country.
Fr Petro Berga of the Diocese of Addis Ababa told Aid to the Church in Need: “As a minority Church serving society without any ethnic or religious distinction, the Catholic Church is in the best position to play a role in mediation work.”
Rugby Australia reaches settlement with sacked player
Rugby Australia (RA) has agreed to pay Israel Folau an undisclosed amount after an out-of-court settlement was reached over his sacking for quoting St Paul on homosexuality. Folau, one of Australia’s best-known rugby players, had posted on Instagram that “hell awaits” sinners, quoting a list from St Paul. Folau used a translation which renders St Paul’s word for “those who commit same-sex acts” as “homosexuals”.
RA chief Raelene Castle said that, despite the settlement, it was unlikely that Folau would play again in the rugby union league, because “it’s clear to say our values are not aligned”. Castle denied that RA had “backed down”.
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