One of the US’s best-known Catholic politicians has called for a new economic model based on Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum. In a speech at the Catholic University of America, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said America had “drifted far from” Leo’s vision of an economy “in which workers and businesses are not competitors for their share of limited resources, but instead partners in an effort that benefits both and strengthens the entire nation”.
The Republican said that America had “neglected the rights of workers” and the duty of businesses to work for the common good. The economy must be reshaped, Rubio said, so that the market serves “our nation and our people”. (Jordan Bloom, page 14)
Nuncio asks bishops to show loyalty
The papal nuncio to the US has asked the country’s bishops to be in “a permanent state of mission”, and to show loyalty to the Pope.
Archbishop Christoph Pierre told the bishops’ plenary meeting that the US Church should reflect the Pope’s priorities. Last week, the bishops had issued a statement denying an allegation that they had concealed some child protection plans from the Vatican. A spokesman for the bishops said that the allegation, made in a new book, “perpetuates an unfortunate and inaccurate myth that the Holy Father finds resistance among the leadership and staff of the US bishops’ conference.” The bishops had not informed Rome, the spokesman said, because the proposals were still; at an early stage.
As the Herald went to press, the bishops elected Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles as the new conference president.
Priest burns controversial images
A Mexican priest has burnt images of the “Pachamama” statue (pictured) which caused controversy at last month’s Amazon synod.
Fr Hugo Valdemar Romero, former spokesman of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, told LifeSite that “Many very wounded and angry faithful looked to me, asking us [clergy] to do something to show our repudiation of idolatry and to ask God for forgiveness for so many sacrileges and profanations.”
The images were at the centre of a ceremony in the Vatican Gardens on October 4 which has been variously interpreted by officials as pagan, as Catholic, or as an indistinct homage to “fertility” and “life”. They have caused much debate, with one Austrian Catholic throwing two replicas of the statues into the Tiber.
Morales steps down
Bolivian president Evo Morales has resigned after violent protests over election irregularities. He said he was quitting to protect the families of his political allies, whose homes had been attacked. But Morales had also been under pressure from protesters who argued that his election win last month was unfair. The head of the army, General Williams Kaliman, also called for Morales, who had been in power for 14 years, to step down.
Bolivia’s bishops have urged the country’s leaders to seek a peaceful solution and new elections, saying that contrary to some claims, Morales’s departure is “not a coup d’etat”. Last mon the bishops called for a “wholesome audit” of the election result.
Protesters ransack church
Protesters have attacked a church, smashing statues and burning images, during political demonstrations in Chile’s capital. The protests are political in nature, and have channelled anger at economic inequality, but some took the opportunity to attack La Asuncion Church, dragging pews and images onto the street and setting them alight. Last year too, during Pope Francis’s visit to the country, there were arson attacks on its churches.
At least 20 people have been killed during the protests as rock-throwing protesters have clashed with riot police.
Police raid diocesan office
Police have raided the office of Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is facing charges of misconduct in the civil courts as well as a Vatican investigation. Orán’s Economic Crime Unit raided the offices to investigate alleged fraud against the state, according to local newspaper El Oranense.
As well as the allegations of financial misconduct, Zanchetta is being investigated by the Vatican for possible financial and sexual misconduct. He was promoted to a Vatican role in 2015, despite the claims, which he has consistently denied.
Pope approves England’s fourth oratory
Less than a month after the canonisation of St John Henry Newman, England is to get its fourth oratory.
Pope Francis signed a decree formally erecting the Manchester Oratory at St Chad’s parish in the Diocese of Salford. The community, which has been in formation since 1992, will oversee a prison and a hospital chaplaincy, as well as a Catholic primary school.
The Oratorians, founded by St Philip Neri, are a community of priests, and sometimes also lay brothers, who take no specific vows but live together. St John Henry brought the oratory to England, founding the Birmingham and London oratories. A third oratory in Oxford was established in the early 1990s. There are also communities-in-formation in Bournemouth, Cardiff and York.
Married priests ‘wouldn’t stop at the Amazon’
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the former vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, has said he hopes and prays that the Church does not introduce married priests in the Amazon.
To make a new, major exception from priestly celibacy, the cardinal told Corriere della Sera, “would be a yielding to the spirit of the world, which always tries to penetrate the Church, and which would hardly stop with exceptional cases like the Amazon”.
Call for inquiry
Bishop Ha Chi-shing, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, has called for an inquiry to uncover “the whole truth” after a student was killed during the ongoing protests. Chow Tsz-lok, 22, died after falling from the third floor of a parking lot, close to clashes between police and protesters.
Bishops warn UN summit threatens African culture
Bishops and pro-life Kenyans have warned that a UN summit could pose a threat to the unborn, pro-life values and the culture of African countries.
Bishop Alfred Rotich, chairman of the Kenyan bishops’ family life office, told ACI Africa that the UN Population Fund’s Nairobi Summit, which took place this week after the Herald went to press, would be dominated by pro-abortion activists. Archbishop Martin Kivuva of Mombasa said the summit was expected to “tell us we are poor because we are many. That is a lie! We are poor because they took and still take our resources.”
Patriarch says it’s time for a new administration
Maronite Patriarch Bechara Raï has called for a “renewal of power and administration” in Lebanon, echoing the demands of protesters who are calling for a change of government.
In remarks reported by L’Orient de Jour, Patriarch Rai, the spiritual leader of Lebanon’s million or so Maronite Catholics (about a quarter of the national population) said: “The country can no longer stand a single day of extra delay.” He urged President Michel Aoun to start parliamentary consultations and to appoint a new prime minister to replace Saad Hariri, who resigned last month. Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis in decades, and protesters have blamed corruption among the political elite.