First Mass in Notre-Dame since fire
Notre-Dame cathedral has seen its first Mass since the fire which devastated the roof. Archbishop Michel Aupetit (right) celebrated Mass in the Chapel of the Virgin on Sunday June 16, the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral’s altar. For safety reasons, the congregation was limited to 30, including construction workers and canons of the cathedral.
The fire on April 15 destroyed the roof, but despite initial fears the main structure of the cathedral survived the blaze. It has not been announced when Notre-Dame will be open to the public again.
Priest stabbed by homeless man
A priest has been stabbed while on his way to celebrate Mass. Fr Ireneusz Bakalarczyk was approached by a homeless man before 7 am and stabbed in the chest and abdomen, as reported by Polish news channel TVP Info. The 48-year-old priest was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery and is in recovery. A suspect has been arrested.
The Archdiocese of Wrocław told the Polish Press Agency that they did not think Fr Bakalarczyk had been targeted specifically, but that the attacker’s intent was probably to stab any “man in a cassock”.
Pinterest bans pro-life group
The social media site Pinterest has banned the pro-life group Live Action for “misinformation”. In an email, Pinterest told Live Action that its account was being “permanently suspended” because of “medically inaccurate information”. It also accused Live Action, which investigates and campaigns against abortion providers, of “conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment and violence”.
Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, said: “Pinterest has targeted Live Action, I believe, because our message is so effective at educating millions about the humanity of the preborn child and the injustice of abortion.”
Diocese gets green light to pursue layman’s canonisation
The US bishops, in a vote at their plenary meeting, have given assent for the Diocese of Marquette to pursue the Cause of Irving “Francis” Houle, who died in 2009.
Born in 1925, Houle worked as a factory manager, and was married with five children. A devout man who prayed the Stations of the Cross after work every day, Houle was remembered by his wife as a “saint” and a “wonderful husband and father”. He also had visions of Jesus and reportedly received the stigmata.
Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, told his fellow bishops that when he met Houle he sensed “the odour of sanctity … I could definitely smell a rose”. He added that Houle, who gave talks on the faith, worked “in communion with the local bishop” and “never wanted to draw attention to himself”.
Sonsonate, El Salvador
Sacristan arrested after priest’s murder
A 34-year-old sacristan is in the custody of Salvadoran authorities in connection with the killing of a priest, reports the Catholic News Service.
Abraham Heriberto Mestizo made an initial court appearance after being formally accused by officials in Sonsonate of being involved in the killing of 35-year-old Fr Cecilio Perez Cruz, found fatally shot at home on May 18.
In a press release, El Salvador’s National Civil Police said Mestizo was the sacristan at San José de la Majada parish in Juayua, in the western part of El Salvador, where the priest was the pastor, but the statement did not explain why he was linked to the crime. Some initially suspected that the priest, a campaigner on economic and environmental issues, had been killed by gangs.
Bishop will pour holy water on entire city
A bishop is collaborating with the army to sprinkle an entire city with holy water.
Bishop Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya of Buenaventura will borrow a military helicopter for the ceremony. The city, which has been caught up in the drugs trade, has seen escalating violence, with more than 50 murders this year, recently including that of a 10-year-old girl.
The bishop told local media: “We want to go around the whole of Buenaventura, from the air, and pour holy water onto it to see if we exorcise and get out all those demons that are destroying our port, so that God’s blessing comes and gets rid of all the wickedness that is in our streets.”
Judges introduce same-sex marriage
Ecuador’s bishops have said that the courts have no right to redefine marriage, after the constitutional court voted to recognise same-sex marriage. The judges said that their decision was based on a previous ruling by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights. Ecuador’s constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman, a definition approved by 63 per cent of voters in a 2008 referendum. The judges said they had reinterpreted that article of the constitution, in the light of “constitutional norms favourable to the equality of persons”.
Trial date for priests
A trial date has been set for two priests accused of abusing children at a school for the deaf. Fr Nicola Corradi and Fr Horacio Corbacho were arrested in 2016 along with other employees at the school, one of whom will face charges alongside the priests on August 5.
The school was investigated by the Vatican in 2009, and other priests had been sanctioned. In 2014, abuse survivors wrote to Pope Francis saying that the case had not been dealt with fully. The Washington Post reports that the survivors personally handed the Pope a list of priests accused of abuse. Survivors’ groups allege that the Vatican and the Argentine Church failed to act promptly.
Bishops call for conscientious objection
The four bishops of the state of Victoria have issued a dramatic pastoral letter calling for “conscientious objection” to the practices of euthanasia and assisted suicide, which both begin in the state this week under a new law. Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne signed the letter along with the bishops of Sale, Sandhurst and Ballarat.
“We cannot cooperate with the facilitation of suicide, even when it seems motivated by empathy or kindness,” the bishops write. They pointed to the example of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, killed for refusing to join the army under the Nazis. The bishops said they had no “animosity” towards those who disagreed.
St Anthony’s Shrine, which was attacked in the Easter Sunday bombings that killed 257 people, has reopened. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has continued to criticise the Sri Lanka government’s handling of the aftermath of the attack, saying: “The country needs honest political leaders.”
Government shuts Church’s medical care
Eritrea’s government has shut down the Church’s 22 health centres, in a possible act of retaliation against the country’s bishops.
Catholics make up only four per cent of Eritrea’s population of five million, but the Church’s medical centres are renowned for their high standards of care. In April the bishops urged new policies to reduce the exodus of migrants to Europe. The BBC reports that some analysts believe the closures are revenge for those statements. The bishops said the medical services could not be seen as “opposing the government”.
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