Church in the world: press briefing
Anti-abortion activists from Rhode Island are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the fetal personality issue just months after the court reversed its nearly 50-year-old ruling Roe vs. Wade precedent that had established a constitutional right to abortion. On September 13, the group Catholics for Life filed a 46-page petition asking the court to “clarify whether an unborn human being has standing to access the courts.” In 2019, Catholics for Life and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit arguing that a state law passed that year codified the right to abortion under deer violated their rights as citizens of Rhode Island. Two of the plaintiffs were unborn children: a 15-week pre-viable fetus and a 34-week viable fetus. In November 2019, a Rhode Island state judge dismissed Catholics for Life’s lawsuit. The group has since failed to appeal the decision.
France cannot extradite a former missionary accused of sexual abuse despite calls from an Inuit delegation to dismiss Father Johannes Rivoire, now 92. Canada. “In accordance with its constitutional tradition, France does not extradite its nationals,” Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti told them, but Paris would help investigate the case. Dating back more than 50 years, the accusations of mistreatment of at least three minors in the territory of Nunavut exceed France’s statute of limitations. Canada has issued an arrest warrant for Father Rivoire and requested his extradition. His order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, also ordered him to comply but he refused. Father Rivoire maintained his denial of the alleged abuses when he received the five-person delegation in Lyon, where he lives in a retirement home. The Inuit also met with representatives of the order and the Conference of Religious of France. The former missionary returned home in 1993 when charges were brought.
Members of Brazilian The Episcopal Conference met the candidates for the national elections on October 2. They presented their contribution to building a fairer and more united country, while emphasizing the non-partisan position of the Church. Topics covered include environmental protection, social exclusion and poverty. The first meeting, between Bishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo of Belo Horizonte and the vice-presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin, took place on September 13. General elections next Sunday will elect the president and vice president, renew the House and Senate, and elect the 27 state governors. The electoral campaign, which has been polarized and at times violent, is mainly centered on the election of the new president. Among the 12 candidates, the main contenders are right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a left-wing leader who served as president from 2003 to 2011. The bishops invited the Brazilians, “to vote with conscience and responsibility, choosing the projects of the candidates committed to the integral defense of life, in all its stages, without forgetting human and social rights and our common home”.
The Cuban government expelled the Jesuit superior from the country. “On the morning of September 13, Father David Pantaleón, superior of the Jesuits in Cuba, left the island because his residence permit was not renewed,” reads a statement from the Jesuits of Latin America. He pointed out that the priest, originally from the Dominican Republic, was also the president of the Cuban Conference of Men and Women Religious who, like the Jesuits, defended human rights and accompanied prisoners and their families.
Bishop Joseba Segura Etxezarraga of Bilbao, Spain announced last week that Pope Francis had ordered a new canonical process to investigate an alleged abuse at the Opus Dei Gaztelueta school in Vizcaya. It is José María Martínez Sanz, full member of Opus Dei and lay teacher. The ecclesiastical tribunal will be overseen by a bishop and other high Church staff. The abuse claims date back to 2009 and 2011 and Martínez was convicted in a secular court. Him and youhe Prelature of Opus Dei rejected the allegations of abuse. Earlier this year, the minor involved wrote to the pope asking him to reopen the case and in return received a handwritten letter saying the court was being appointed.
An opera star from hong kong publicly apologized for praising Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II after her recent death. Law Kar-ying posted a selfie on Instagram as he waited in line to pay his respects to Queen Elizabeth at the British Consulate in Hong Kong with the caption: “Hong Kong was a blessed land during her reign”. The message sparked outrage among nationalists. Law later released an apology video in which he expressed regret for “making grieving remarks without thinking about it.”
The provincial government of india The state of Karnataka, in the south of the country, has approved a law criminalizing religious conversions. On September 15, the State Legislative Council passed Karnataka’s controversial Religious Freedom Bill. Bishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, who heads the regional bishops’ forum, called the law “irrelevant and malicious” and “aimed at separating Christians from other religious minorities.” FFreedom of religion is a constitutional right in India.
The European Parliament has condemned the growing repression of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua. A resolution, adopted on September 15, criticized the “arbitrary arrest” of Bishop Rolando Álvarez de Matagalpa and demanded “his immediate and unconditional release and that of the others and the cancellation of all legal proceedings against them”. The text also underlined the expulsion earlier this year from the Polish Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag.
Damage caused by heavy rains in August and September in the western region of Sierra Leone, led the director of Caritas Freetown to call on communities to protect their environment and avoid irresponsible waste. “We continue to call on everyone to preserve the environment, plant trees and stop irresponsibly littering,” Fr. Peter Konteh said. It was assessing damage to a school run by Caritas Freetown to help girls from vulnerable families. The litter prevented rainwater from draining away and the water carried debris, including heavy rocks, which damaged the school building.
The rise of water illnesses following the floods which have already claimed 1,500 lives, prompted Pakistanbishops to appeal for more emergency assistance. Three bishops from the dioceses most affected by the recent deadly monsoon floods have appealed for more funding for emergency food, the repair of damaged houses and the provision of medical supplies. Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad in Sindh said the money would help drain flooded land and buy medicine to fight rising malaria, dengue fever and cholera. He feared that poor communities would go deeper into debt “and that the bonded labor that exists in the province of Sindh would increase”.
A court placed the former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, suspected of involvement in the 2019 Easter massacres, including three in churches. The Colombo Magistrate’s Court ordered him to appear in court on October 14, in response to a private complaint filed by Father Cyril Gamini Fernando, a member of the National Catholic Committee for Justice for the Victims of the Sunday Attack. of Easter, and Jesuraj Ganeshan, who lost a leg in the explosion of a church where he was praying. The Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, criticized Sirisena for failing to respond to warnings about the attacks that killed 280 people and injured hundreds.
The Diocese of Marbel in the South Philippines and Catholic social action groups are celebrating the decision last week by the local government of South Cotabato, Mindanao, to revoke operating permits for the controversial Tampakan gold and copper quarry. Bishop Cerilo Casicas of Marbel has long called for public vigilance “against surface mining methods in South Cotabato.” It was feared that the huge mine would displacing some 4,000 indigenous people, polluting rivers and destroying forests and farmland. Meanwhile, Catholic clergy have joined protest rallies ahead of the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law on September 21, 1972.
A Catholic female religious order of Pennsylvania argued Sept. 15 in a federal appeals court that a private oil company violated the sisters’ religious freedom rights when it seized their farmland to build a gas pipeline in 2018. Lancaster, so is Transco’s blatant disregard and trampling on worshipers’ religious beliefs,” Sister Dani Brought Adorers of the Blood of Christ said outside a federal courthouse in Philadelphia. Citing natural gas law, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowed the Williams/Transco pipeline company to seize a cornfield owned by the sisters that was in the pipeline’s route. The sisters are appealing a federal judge’s October 2021 ruling that dismissed their lawsuit, which argued that the pipeline “defiles(d) the sanctity of their property.”
The Vatican is to organize a competition to choose an original musical composition for the official hymn of the jubilee year 2025 of the Catholic Church. The Vatican Dicastery for Evangelization invited participants to set to music a rich text that expresses the essence of the Jubilee occasion. The compositions must be original and unpublished. The hymn is intended to have a liturgical purpose and should be capable of being sung by a congregation of the Church and by a schola cantorum. The deadline for registration is March 25, 2023. Application forms from January on: www.iubilaeum2025.va/en/inno.html