Pro-lifers condemn Sanders’s population comments
Pro-life activists have condemned Senator Bernie Sanders for remarks which appeared to support the abortion of unborn children as a way of limiting population growth in poor countries. Sanders said that population growth was a threat to the environment, and drew attention to “poor countries around the world, where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to limit the number of kids they have”. He repeatedly made reference to abortion in his answer, saying it was “absurd” to deny funding to organisations which “allow women to have abortions or even get involved in birth control”.
South Orange, New Jersey
McCarrick created ‘culture of fear’ at seminary
Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick created a “culture of fear and intimidation” at the Seton Hall University seminary, according to an independent report released by the university last month.
“McCarrick used his position of power as then-Archbishop of Newark to sexually harass seminarians. No minors or other university students were determined to have been affected by McCarrick,” the report said. Policy lapses had “resulted in incidents of sexual harassment going unreported to the university”.
A “series of proactive measures” had been developed to address the fallout of the McCarrick scandal within the university community. The university promised to conduct “prompt reviews” of allegations of sexual harassment.
Catholic school bans Harry Potter books
A Catholic school in Tennessee has banned the Harry Potter books from its library. Fr Dan Rehill, pastor at St Edward Catholic School in Nashville, sent an email saying: “These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception. The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells, which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.”
Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Nashville, said that the Church does not have an official position on the Harry Potter books, but that “Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school. He’s well within his authority to act in that manner.”
Bishop condemns election killing
The secretary general of the Colombian bishops’ conference has condemned the assassination of Karina García, a Liberal Party mayoral candidate in the south-west city of Suárez, Cauca department.
Bishop Elkin Fernando Álvarez Botero, auxiliary bishop of Medellín, called for an end to the bloodshed in the country. He asked “those who still continue to take the path of violence, to be very aware that with violence, death and eliminating people, we’re not going to achieve anything for the country”.
He concluded: “The violence has got to end. No more bloodshed.” The BBC believes as many as 400 community leaders have been killed in the last three years.
Amazon fires are a ‘true apocalypse’ says bishop
The fires raging through the Amazonian rainforest are a “true apocalypse”, according to a bishop who served in the region. Bishop Erwin Kräutler, formerly of the Territorial Prelature of Xingu in northern Brazil, is a member of the preparatory council for next month’s Amazonian synod at the Vatican.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has appointed three cardinals to help lead the synod: Baltazar Porras Cardozo from Venezuela; Pedro Barreto Jimeno from Peru; and João Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Vatican’s congregation for religious.
Archbishop’s Cause progresses
Supporters of Archbishop Hélder Câmara’s Cause for Canonisation received good news last week, with the delivery of all the documents relevant to his Cause to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
An advocate of Liberation Theology, Câmara served as Archbishop of Olinda and Recife from 1964 to 1985. He is often cited as the source of the one-liner: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.”
Archbishop Câmara died in 1999 aged 90. His Cause was opened in 2015.
Pope: it’s ‘an honour’ to be criticised by Americans
Pope Francis has said that “it is an honour if the Americans attack me”, during an informal press conference on the plane from Rome for a papal visit to Mozambique
The Pope was responding to journalist Nicolas Senèze who had given Francis a copy of his book Comment l’Amerique veut changer de pape (How America Wants to Change the Pope).
The book argues that the many attacks on the Pope are part of a concerted American effort to undermine Francis. The Pope has not read the book, but said it was a “bomb”.
Matteo Bruni, director of the Press Office of the Holy See, said afterwards that “The Pope wanted to say that he always considers criticisms an honour.”
German bishops to press ahead with ‘synodal process’
The German bishops’ conference has announced its plans for a controversial “synodal process” to examine questions such as celibacy and the Church’s moral teachings. A new “synodal assembly” has been formed which, according to the Catholic News Agency which has seen the draft statutes, could pass resolutions in the name of the German Church. Seventy of the assembly’s 200 members will be from the theologically progressive Central Committee of German Catholics.
The Griffith University Art Museum in Queensland has been strongly criticised for displaying a painting by Juan Davila showing the Blessed Virgin Mary in a sexualised manner, parodying Michelangelo’s Pietà. Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane said the artwork “set out to shock”.
The online world often ‘a place of hatred’, say bishops
Social media platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter should be fined if they spread fake news and offensive content, Australia’s bishops have said.
Too often the online world has become a place of hatred, the bishops argued. “Pushing users to more extreme positions and promoting fake news and conspiracy theories sells. But this is at odds with human solidarity,” said a statement from the Bishops’ Conference. “Our right to truthful information and trustworthy broadcasting requires greater regulation of digital platforms, with sanctions for the spread of fake, divisive and offensive content.”
Church ‘should be a door to solutions’
Church leaders in Mozambique should actively encourage dialogue and solutions rather then being part of conflicts and divisions, Pope Francis said on his visit to the country last week.
He said that the Church in Mozambique “cannot be part of the problem of rivalry, disrespect and division that pits some against others, but instead a door to solutions, a space where respect, interchange and dialogue are possible”.
“You must always be ready to ‘visit’, to shorten distances,” just as Mary did at the Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, he said.
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