New bishop of troubled diocese addresses scandals
The new bishop of the troubled Wheeling-Charleston diocese has asked his flock to help bring it out of crisis.
Preaching on the text from Isaiah, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who lived in a land of gloom, a light has shone,” Bishop Mark Brennan (pictured) said: “My friends, it takes no humility on my part to admit that I am not the light.”
But he promised to address the situation left by Bishop Michael Bransfield, who departed amid accusations of financial and sexual corruption. (Bishop Bransfield denies all wrongdoing.) Without mentioning his predecessor by name, Bishop Brennan referred to “the scandals”.
Leo XIII can help US workers, says Rubio
A prominent Republican politician has paid tribute to Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum, saying that it shows how America can serve workers better.
“The dignity of work,” Marco Rubio wrote in an article for the First Things website, “is not just the concern of individuals” but also of “communities and nations”. Today, he argued, “Business profits have become increasingly estranged from production and employment”, with speculation and wage-cutting rife. “This is mainly driven by large, transnational corporations.”
He suggested remedies such as “taxing stock buybacks and encouraging physical investment, building new hubs for manufacturing and innovation, and further expanding the federal per-child tax credit and enacting a paid family leave policy”.
Minister urged to speak with drug traffickers
A bishop in Mexico’s heroin-producing heartland is urging the federal government to hold talks with armed groups – including drug cartels – saying many in the illegal drug business are unable to make ends meet and are “seeking an exit”.
Mexican interior minister Olga Sánchez Cordero (pictured) said last week that talks were being held with armed groups, but later clarified that these didn’t include drug cartels; rather the talks were with so-called community police and self-defence groups, the Associated Press reported.
But Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza of Chilpancingo-Chilapa told the Catholic News Service that the government should also “reach out” to criminal groups.
Venezuelan bishops defend Vatican official
The leaders of Venezuela’s bishops’ conference have defended a senior official at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State against abuse accusations.
Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra (right), the sostituto (number three) at the Secretariat and himself a Venezuelan, was accused by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former nuncio to the US, of having sexually abused two seminarians. Archbishop Viganò claimed that the Vatican had a “terrifying” dossier on Archbishop Peña Parra’s alleged misdeeds.
But in remarks translated by John Allen of Crux, the president and vice-president of the bishops’ conference said the allegations were “calumnious”.
Calls for international response to Amazon fires
Leaders of the Latin American bishops’ council have urged ninternational action to save the Amazon from massive fires which have ravaged parts of the rainforest this summer, saying: “If the Amazon suffers, the world suffers,” reports the Catholic News Service.
According to Brazil’s space research institute, the number of wildfires, common in July and August, has surged from 2018 to 2019 with 72,843 fires spotted. President Jair Bolonaro and environmental groups have blamed each other for the blazes.
World’s oldest bishop accused of abuse
The world’s oldest bishop has denied allegations of abuse, saying that throughout his “long priestly life that began in 1945, I always had impeccable behaviour”.
Archbishop Bernardino Piñera, who was Bishop of Temuco and then Archbishop of La Serena, released his statement after the nunciature revealed that the Vatican was investigating an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor 50 years ago. The bishop is 103.
The archbishop’s nephew, Chile’s president Sebastian Piñera, said: “As a nephew, I find it hard to believe, because I know his behaviour, his attitude over a lifetime.”
Bishop ‘released’ by separatist kidnappers
A bishop kidnapped by separatist forces has been released.
Bishop George Nkuo of Kumbo disappeared last week, just a week after two priests in the same region were kidnapped. One separatist group claimed responsibility for abducting the bishop, saying they wanted him “to pray and bless us”. He has now been released, according to the Chinese news organisation CGTN.
The separatists, from the English-speaking minority, claim they are being oppressed by the French-speaking majority. Amid the fighting, in which half a million Cameroonians have been displaced, the Church has called for dialogue and a peaceful
Six arrests after attack on Catholic pilgrims
Six suspected members of a Hindu nationalist group have been arrested on suspicion of attacking a Catholics group. The attackers destroyed a statue of Our Lady being carried by pilgrims on their way to Velankanni, the site of a popular Marian shrine. It is the latest example of rising violence towards minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, since the Hindu nationalist BJP party, led by Narendra Modi (pictured), came to power in 2014. Modi was re-elected by a landslide in May.
Sri Lanka’s period of emergency rule has ended, four months after the bomb attacks on Christians and tourists. The authorities were given special powers to arrest and detain suspects.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has said the government could have stopped the attacks, but failed to.
Report finds state-backed exploitation and terror
An official report on West Papua has found evidence of severe economic and religious oppression. The report by the Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission is based on more than 250 interviews with community leaders.
The report says that land is being sold to multinational companies. If locals protest, they face intimidation from the army and police. The report also claims that high migration of Muslims from the Indonesian mainland is changing the country. Militants, protected by the army, “are recruited as illegal loggers” and burn down protesters’ houses.
Abortion bill a failure of civilisation, says bishop
A bill to decriminalise abortion has passed the lower house of the New South Wales parliament, by a 59-31 margin.
The law would permit abortion for any reason to 22 weeks, and up to birth if two doctors gave permission. Furthermore, as Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney described the bill, “It conscripts all medical practitioners and institutions into the abortion industry by requiring them to perform abortions themselves or direct women to an abortion provider.”
The archbishop said the bill gave no real options to women, adding: “If a civilisation is to be judged by how it treats its weakest members, New South Wales failed spectacularly today.”
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