Salt Lake City
Bishop stands by priest after parents’ protest
More than 150 parents have signed a petition calling for the removal of their parish priest after he made controversial posts on Facebook. They object to Fr Erik Richtsteig celebrating a weekly Mass for children after his posts on political and religious subjects. They were particularly offended when he reportedly said pictures shared by gay activists during Pride month were like “a gnome vomiting”. The priest also said he would not accept a “friend request” from those who used a Pride-month rainbow image.
Bishop Oscar Solis is resisting pressure to transfer Fr Richtsteig. He wrote in a letter to parents that the priest might have flaws, but also had “fidelity and zeal for his priestly ministry.”
Diocese to investigate auxiliary bishop
An auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Cincinatti will face an investigation after being accused of failing to report allegations of harassment.
Bishop Joseph Binzer was accused by the Catholic News Agency (CNA) of failing to tell the archdiocesan authorities that a priest was accused of harassing teenage boys. The allegations were made in 2013 and 2015, according to CNA, and were passed on to law enforcement, but not to the archbishop or the priest personnel board. The priest has since been suspended.
Archbishop Dennis Schurr has announced an inquiry, and told CNA: “We obviously made serious mistakes in our handling of this matter, for which we are very sorry.” He said that the workings of the priest personnel board would be reformed.
Grief and calls for change after mass shootings
US bishops have reacted to mass shootings by asking Catholics to push for tougher gun laws, telling them: “Things must change.” They spoke after a gunman killed 20 people at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, and another massacred nine people in Dayton, Ohio. “We encourage all Catholics to increased prayer and sacrifice for healing and the end of these shootings,” the bishops wrote.
Changes were needed to national policy and national culture, they said. “God’s mercy and wisdom compel us to move toward preventative action.” They added: “Something remains fundamentally evil in our society when locations where people congregate to engage in the everyday activities of life can, without warning, become scenes of violence and contempt for human life.”
Girl in photo with murdered priest identified
American pilgrims have met the previously unknown woman captured in a famous picture of Blessed Stanley Rother.
The priest, who was murdered in 1981, was photographed outside his mission church in Santiago Atitlan with a four-year-old girl.
A group of 43 pilgrims visiting Guatemala for the July 28 anniversary of Blessed Stanley’s martyrdom had the chance to meet her in person for the first time, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City told CNA.
“No one really knew who that young girl was, but in recent months she has been identified,” he said.
Bishops criticise proposed law change on transsexuality
Catholic bishops in Uruguay are concerned about plans to reform laws on transsexualism. They say the proposals in a referendum threaten the rights of parents and could lead to the imposition of a “gender ideology” contrary to Christian anthropology. The bishops have expressed sympathy for transsexuals who have suffered discrimination, but oppose the “ideological position” adopted by the government to modify the law. They are critical of proposals to allow children to undergo hormonal sex change therapy without parental consent, and surgery with the consent of just one parent.
Play lampooning Catholicism cancelled
A theatrical performance in which the Blessed Virgin Mary was crowned as “Our Lady of the Transvestites” was cancelled after protests from the Catholic Church. Archbishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, president of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, denounced the play as “prejudiced” and an “aggression” against the faith, prompting Belo Horizonte mayor Alexandre Kalil to cancel it. The work is by the Transliterary Academy, a company mostly comprising transvestite or transgender artists. The audience is invited to lampoon Catholic liturgies, satirise hymns and pray to a statue of Mary robed in a rainbow flag.
No big changes to Notre-Dame design
The French government has decided that Notre-Dame Cathedral must be restored to how it looked before the fire.
Ministers had invited creative proposals on how the cathedral could be rebuilt following the blaze of April 15 that destroyed its spire and much of its vaulted ceiling, with some projects envisaging a greenhouse roof, a stained glass room, and a crystal spire or a “beam of light” spire. But the government has passed a law stating the cathedral must be restored faithfully to its original design and limiting changes to the minimum required. It has created an agency for the task, including the Church.
Alarm at changes to JPII Institute
Changes to the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome represent serious threats to its identity, the school’s vice president has said. Fr José Granados said the changes to the curriculum and teaching staff had left faculty members “dumbfounded”. The changes imperilled the original mission of the institute, he said, and they contradicted Pope Francis who wished to preserve and promote the school “as a source of renewal and a pathway for the Church’s accompaniment to families”.
Last week Benedict XVI held a meeting with Mgr Livio Melina, who has been dismissed as professor of moral theology.
A Christian convert has been jailed for a year after she was convicted of “acting against national security” and disseminating propaganda against the system. Mahrokh Kanbari, 65, was found to possess Bibles and Christian literature. She was “instructed” to return to Islam but refused.
Priests protest after murder
Catholic clergy have protested against government inaction following the murder of a priest.
Fulani Muslim herdsmen are suspected to be behind the shooting of Fr Paul Offu of St James the Greater Church in Ugbawka. The day after his August 1 murder, priests of the Enugu diocese marched on the Enugu State Government House and police headquarters to demand that the authorities did more to protect Christians. The authorities are reluctant to blame the Fulani but Fr Benjamin Achi of the Enugu diocese insisted that the priest was abducted by the herdsman.
Ordinations boom continues
A vocations boom in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has seen 11 Catholic priests ordained in a single day. The new priests were all Indonesians and included eight Jesuits. Another 13 priests will be ordained this month, adding to 45 ordinations to have taken place this year. There are 5.7 million Catholics in Indonesia in a population of nearly 263 million people. Besides Java, ordinations have also been performed in South Sumatera, Sumatra, Papua, East Nusa Tenggara and Flores, an island in which Catholics form the majority. Ten of the forthcoming ordinations will involve candidates belonging to the Sacred Heart of Jesus community in Lampung province.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.