New McCarrick allegations emerge
The ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been accused of sexual abuse by seven more men, taking the total number of accusations to at least nine. McCarrick (pictured) was dismissed from the clerical state by the Vatican earlier this year, after two allegations by men who say he abused them when they were boys.
Now seven men have come forward with similar stories, according to the Washington Post. One wrote an essay that was posted online under a pseudonym. He said that he had not planned to speak out until McCarrick stated in an interview that “I’m not as bad as they paint me” and “I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of.”
Bishops praise assisted suicide study
Two US bishops have praised a study of assisted suicide which draws attention to the risks it poses to the disabled. Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who leads the bishops’ pro-life committee, and Bishop Frank Dewane, head of the committee on human development, said the study by the National Disability Council (NDC) showed that assisted suicide separates people into “those whose lives we want to protect and those whose deaths we encourage”.
The study found that state regulations did not provide adequate safeguards for the vulnerable. “If assisted suicide is legal,” said NDC chairman Neil Romano, “lives will be lost due to mistakes, abuse, lack of information or a lack of better options.” He said that, in some cases, “the low-cost option is ending one’s life versus providing treatments to lengthen it or services and supports to improve it.”
More ‘nones’ than Catholics, study finds
“Nones”, those who profess no religious affiliation, are now the largest subgroup in American society, their numbers having grown in the past decade while the percentage of Catholics has slipped, the Catholic News Service reports.
A Pew Research Center report found that in the last 10 years, nones have risen from 17 per cent of the adult population to 26 per cent today. In the same period, Catholics have declined from 23 per cent to 20 per cent. Protestants make up 48 per cent.
Pew said that in the General Social Survey conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, the percentage of Catholics in the population peaked at 27 per cent in the early 1970s, the early 1980s and the late Noughties.
Work begins to build largest US parish church
A new church with a capacity of 3,000 could open as soon as spring 2021, according to officials in the Diocese of Fresno.
It will be the largest parish church in the country – though there are larger sites of Catholic worship, such as at cathedrals and shrines.
Work has begun on St Charles Borromeo Church in Visalia, which will serve a community formed by amalgamating three parishes. At a groundbreaking ceremony last week, Mgr Raymond Dreiling, a pastor at one of those three parishes, paid tribute to the priest who had originally purchased the land. Mgr Charles O’Mahony bought it in 1961, and the parish has been naned after St Charles in his honour. “We’re reaping the benefits of his vision,” said Mgr Dreiling.
Churches attacked amid protests
Chile’s government has declared a state of emergency in 10 of the country’s 16 states after protests in the capital Santiago and elsewhere. Ten people have died amid clashes between demonstrators and security forces, as protests over economic inequality have spiralled into violent confrontations.
In Valparaíso, the cathedral has been caught up in the protests, with protesters trying to set the building alight before smashing sacred images inside. The Chilean bishops’ conference told Fides that the events were “painful and traumatic”.
Bishop distances himself from Bolsonaro
A Brazilian bishop who found fault with the Amazon synod working document has distanced himself from President Jair Bolsonaro.
Bishop Emeritus José Luís Azcona had vocally criticised the working document, saying it put Christian salvation on a level with “all religions and creeds and affirming there are other legitimate ways to salvation”. But he told Crux that Bolsonaro, whose government has expressed concern about the synod, “forgets the Church has the divine power – which was not conferred by and is not dependent on the civil power – to preach the Gospel and all its consequences in society and even in politics.”
Westminster imposes abortion and same-sex marriage
Westminster has imposed new laws on Northern Ireland, forcing the region to accept legal abortion and same-sex marriage, after Northern Ireland’s politicians failed to meet a deadline to re-establish a functioning government. A dispute between the main parties has led to a deadlock, prompting London MPs to take advantage of a legal provision which allows them to impose laws on the region.
Unionist parties tried to pass a bill to stop the legislation taking effect next year, but failed on a technicality: no bill can be passed without a new speaker being elected, which could not happen without support from other parties, who had boycotted the session. DUP leader Arlene Foster said she would explore further legal options to prevent the new laws taking effect in March.
Church mourns bishops and priest-author
Archbishop Emeritus Michael Bowen, the former Archbishop of Southwark, has died aged 89. He became Archbishop of Southwark in 1977, and served for some time as president of the bishops’ conference. The Archdiocese of Southwark said he “will be remembered both as a gentleman and a gentle man”.
Bishop Emeritus Brian Noble, former Bishop of Shrewsbury also died a few days later at the age of 83. His successor, Bishop Mark Davies, said he would be remembered for “his example of perseverance through serious illness in his care of this Diocese with his unfailing dedication and good humour.”
English Catholics have also been mourning Fr Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory, who died earlier this week after a long illness. He was known as a preacher and confessor, and as a prolific writer.
The Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil has said he expects Syrian refugees to come to northern Iraq, as they flee conflict in north-east Syria. Archbishop Bashar Warda was responding to the displacement of 130,000 people after a Turkish offensive in Syria.
Teachers call for cancellation of sex education programme
Catholic teachers in Ghana have joined the bishops’ conference and Muslim organisations in urging the government to withdraw a sex education programme from the national school curriculum, the Catholic News Service reports.
The “unlimited scope and span” of the comprehensive programme, launched this year by the government and Unesco, “would create room for anything to be introduced … by interested groups or individuals”, the association of Catholic teachers in Ghana said in a statement at the end of its national meeting in Torve.
Government offers religious freedom healthcare exemptions
The Australian government has said it will make changes to religious freedom legislation concerning Church-run hospitals and elderly-care facilities, after the bishops pushed for changes to a recently released draft legislation package.
Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, the bishops’ spokesman on religious freedom, said in an official submission that the legislation required “some significant amendment”.
The submission was heavily focused on getting health and elderly-care services included in exemptions for religious schools. The Church estimated that it provides about 10 per cent of Australia’s healthcare services.
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