Appointee resigns over anti-Catholic remarks
A new appointee to the Virginia state council on women’s issues has resigned following the disclosure of past remarks she made on social media about Catholics. Democrat activist Gail Gordon Donegan, nominated by Governor Ralph Northam (pictured), had made derogatory comments on Twitter, which were “extremely offensive to Catholics and the Catholic faith”, said Deborah Cox, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Richmond. She continued: “We would expect anyone appointed to a council or commission for the Commonwealth [of Virginia] to be respectful of all faith groups and civil in his or her public comments … given their status as a representative of the Commonwealth.”
Hospital insisted that nurse assist at abortion
A hospital has been criticised for insisting that a nurse assist with an abortion against her wishes. The unnamed nurse believed that she would be assisting after a patient had suffered a miscarriage, but was told “Please don’t hate me” by a doctor when it became clear that it was an elective abortion. She asked to be relieved and was told no.
The event occurred in 2017 and the nurse made a formal complaint in 2018. The Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Health and Human Services “uncovered serious discrimination by [the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington] against nurses and staff who cannot, in good conscience, assist in elective abortion”, in violation of federal laws protecting the rights of pro-life health workers.
Midland and Odessa, Texas
US bishops appeal again for gun control
bishops have once more called for prayer and action on gun control following last Saturday’s mass shooting in Midland and Odessa, Texas. Seven people died and many more were injured as a gunman drove around shooting at random.
Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, asked that the Holy Spirit would “illumine our hearts and minds to reverence and respect God’s extraordinary gift of life”.
Following other recent mass shootings, including in El Paso when 22 people were killed, the US bishops’ conference called for the passage of “responsible gun laws and increased resources for addressing the root causes of violence”. They urged President Donald Trump to “set aside political interests and find ways to better protect innocent life”.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Possible miracle in Cause for Creole sister
The recovery of a 19-year-old student from a potentially fatal aneurysm could be recognised as a miracle, furthering the Cause of a Creole religious Sister from Louisiana.
When Christine McGee was rushed to hospital and fell into a coma, her mother prayed to the Venerable Henriette DeLille (pictured), asking for healing for her daughter.
Born in 1812, Henriette, a free Creole woman of French, Spanish and African descent, chose against a common-law marriage to a wealthy white man, believing this violated the sanctity of marriage. She founded a small order now called the Sisters of the Holy Family. If consecrated, she would be the first US saint of African-American descent.
The Pantanal, Bolivia
President’s ‘reckless’ decree alarms Church
catholic bishops in Bolivia have denounced as “reckless” a government decree increasing the amount of forested land that can be cleared by burning and called for the decree to be repealed.
President Evo Morales of Bolivia is facing similar criticism to that levelled at President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil: that he is putting the economics of intensive agriculture above the preservation of the Amazon rainforest, its indigenous peoples and its unique biosphere. The wetlands of the Pantanal in eastern Bolivia, home to many endangered species, are threatened by major fires.
Bishops defend Amazon synod
The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) has launched a counter-offensive against critics of Pope Francis and the forthcoming Amazon synod.
“I want to focus on the importance of our Church’s under-standing, participation and support for the synod event for the Amazon,” said Archbishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo of Belo Horizonte, president of the CNBB. “There is no point in any group or any segment in the Church attacking the synod, attacking this or that perspective, because faithfulness to truth and goodness is always guaranteed.”
Priests debate ‘risks jeopardising synod’, says theologian
October’s Amazon synod could be distracted from its purpose by discussions about married priests, an Argentine Jesuit theologian has said.
A suggested solution to the shortage of priests throughout the region is that married deacons could be ordained, so that they could administer the sacraments.
The subject “risks jeopardising this synod,” said Fr Augusto Zampini, of the Vatican Department for Integral Human Development, who is deeply involved in the planning of the synod. Previous synods have been sidetracked by other issues; the Vatican “is worried about [this] and we are trying to learn from mistakes in the past,” Fr Zampini told the Religion News Service.
Former communications tsar given new role
Pope Francis has appointed Mgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, former prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication, as vice chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Mgr Viganò (pictured), 57, resigned from his previous role after a controversy over his presentation to the media of a letter from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He was accused of misrepresenting the text.
New bill awaited
Australia is about to unveil a new religious freedom bill mirroring existing laws on race, age and disability – but Catholic bishops are concerned it doesn’t go far enough.
Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne said: “It is important that it is a positive law, one not about exemption.”
Healing ‘defies medical explanation’
For the first time a bishop has declared that an unexplained healing occurred at the shrine at Knock. Bishop Francis Duffy of Ardagh and Clonmacnois said the healing of Marion Carroll (pictured) 30 years ago “defies medical explanation”. In her book I Was Cured at Knock Ms Carroll described how she couldn’t walk, her muscles were wasted and she was blind in one eye. After a blessing at Knock she stepped from her stretcher. “I recognise that Marion was healed from her long-standing illness while on pilgrimage in this sacred place,” Bishop Duffy said last Sunday.
Priest killed as his car is set ablaze
A young priest was killed in in the Jalingo diocese of eastern Nigeria last week when the car he was driving was set ablaze. Fr David Tanko had been travelling to a meeting of priests discussing peace in a conflict between two local ethnic groups, the Tiv and the Jukun. His car was attacked by Tiv militia.
“We received the news of his death with shock. This is sad. The diocese is mourning,” Bishop Charles Hammawa of Jalingo said. “We have been preaching peace and making efforts to bring both parties in the crisis in the area to a roundtable discussion. We don’t want any group to go on reprisal. Going on reprisal will only worsen the situation.”
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