The Catholic Church defended human rights during Chile’s dictatorship. An archive tells the story
The archive of the Vicariate of Solidarity gives an account of a painful episode in Chile’s history: 47,000 instances of human rights violations during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, who took power after a military coup that deposed President Salvador Allende 50 years ago.
Spain's ombudsman registers 445 church sex abuse complaints
Spain’s ombudsman says an independent commission set up a year ago to investigate historic sex abuse by the Catholic church has collected testimonies from 445 victims, as the nation tackles an issue other European countries acted on long ago.
Nicaragua proposes suspending Vatican ties after comments
Nicaragua ’s government says it has proposed suspending relations with the Vatican days after Pope Francis compared President Daniel Ortega’s administration to a communist or Nazi dictatorship amid a crackdown on the Catholic Church in the country.
Sri Lankan court orders ex-leader to pay victims of bombings
Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ruled that inaction by the country’s former president and four others led to Easter Sunday bomb attacks in 2019 that killed nearly 270 people and ordered them to pay compensation for violating the basic rights of the victims and their families.
German bishops assure Vatican but vow to proceed with reform
Germany’s Catholic bishops are vowing to continue their controversial reform process after a week of tense meetings with Vatican officials seeking to put the brakes on proposals to ordain women, bless gay unions and rethink church teaching on sexuality.
Tabernacle, sacred item in a Catholic Church, stolen from St. Bartholomew in Katy
In the Catholic church, the tabernacle often serves as a secure and sacred place in which to store the Blessed Sacrament for carrying to the sick who cannot participate in Mass, or as a focus for the prayers of those who visit the church.
Benedict woes come as German church reform pressure rises
A report on decades of sexual abuse in Germany that shone an unflattering spotlight on retired Pope Benedict XVI has come on top of already strong pressure in Germany to reconsider Catholic rules on issues including homosexuality and women’s roles.
Rwanda's Kagame welcomes French 'truth' about the genocide
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda on Wednesday described a French report documenting France’s role in the 1994 genocide as “a good thing,” welcoming efforts in Paris to “move forward with a good understanding of what happened” 27 years after the massacres that shocked the world.
German archbishop offers to resign after abuse criticism
The report commissioned by Cologne's archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, absolved Woelki himself of any neglect of duty with respect to abuse victims. Francis has previously declined, at least initially, to accept resignations when they were offered to repent for mishandling sex abuse cases, though he has relented after time. Woelki said he also would temporarily suspend two Cologne church officials based on the findings of the investigation. The report found Schwaderlapp neglected his duty to inform and report abuse allegations in eight cases. AdIn January, a new system drawn up by the church to compensate abuse victims took effect.
Belgian bishop lashes out at Vatican over gay unions decree
FILE - In this Saturday, May 8, 2010 file photo, from left, Liege Bishop Aloysius Jousten, Brussels Archbishop Andre Leonard, Tournai Bishop Guy Harpigny and Antwerp Bishop Johan Bonny attend a press conference at the Vatican. Belgian bishop Johan Bonny, in an opinion piece, has lashed out at the Vatican over its decree that the Catholic Church won't bless same-sex unions. The Congregation's note distinguished between blessing same-sex unions and the church’s welcoming and blessing of gay people, which it endorsed. It argued that such unions were not part of God’s plan and that any sacramental recognition of them could be confused with marriage. AdThe orthodoxy office's document argued that same-sex unions can't be blessed by the Catholic Church because they are not part of that plan.
Vatican excludes gay union blessing as God ‘can’t bless sin’
(Tiziana Fabi/Pool photo via AP)ROME – The Vatican declared Monday that the Catholic Church won't bless same-sex unions since God “cannot bless sin.”The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal response to a question about whether Catholic clergy have the authority to bless gay unions. Since gay unions aren't intended to be part of that plan, they can't be blessed by the church, the document said. Francis has endorsed providing gay couples with legal protections in same-sex unions, but that was in reference to the civil sphere, not within the church. At the time, Argentine lawmakers were considering approving gay marriage, which the Catholic Church opposes. AdSpeaking of families with gay children, he said: “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this.
Vatican clears retired US bishop of multiple abuse claims
His attorney, Thomas Jubin, said multiple allegations against Hart were “specious,” with some based on second- and third-hand information, and with some accusers emphasizing that Hart didn't physically touch them. “Despite this, Bishop Hart asks me to convey that he continues to pray for all involved in this case so that they may find peace and healing. In Cheyenne, Biegler has previously stood by the findings of his review board, which determined a half-dozen claims were credible. As a result, the sentence showed the arbitrary nature of Vatican’s canonical sex abuse deliberations and judgments, which aren't public. The first known allegations against Hart dated to the early 1960s and were made in the late 1980s.
The Latest: Turkey's COVID-19 death toll tops 25,000
Higher concentrations of the COVID-19 virus were also found in sewage samples, prompting fears that the virus could be transmitted via poorly installed plumbing systems in subdivided units that lack ventilation. The nation of 26 million people has reported fewer than 30,000 virus cases and a little over 900 deaths. There have been 373,090 total virus cases and a death toll of 3,279 since the pandemic began, according to the health department. ___NEW YORK -- The United States has surpassed 25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The U.S. accounts for roughly one of every four cases reported worldwide and one of every five deaths.
Orthodox priest shot at church in France; attacker at large
Police officers and rescue workers block the access to the scene after a Greek Orthodox priest was shot Saturday Oct.31, 2020 while he was closing his church in the city of Lyon, central France. The priest, a Greek citizen, is in a local hospital with life-threatening injuries after being hit in the abdomen, a police official told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)LYON – A Greek Orthodox priest was shot Saturday while he was closing his church in the French city of Lyon, and authorities locked down part of the city to hunt for the assailant, police said. The priest, a Greek citizen, is in a local hospital with life-threatening injuries after being hit in the abdomen, a police official told The Associated Press. As night fell on Lyon, an Associated Press reporter saw police tape and emergency vehicles throughout the neighborhood.
Poland activists vow largest protest yet over abortion ban
The past week of social upheaval followed a ruling last week by the constitutional court, which ruled that abortion in the cases of severe fetal deformities is unconstitutional. It allowed abortion only in the cases of fetal defects, risk to the woman's health and incest or rape. Last week's constitutional court ruling leaves only the woman's health or pregnancy resulting from crimes as legal reasons for abortion. Health Ministry figures show that 1,110 legal abortions were carried out in Poland in 2019, mostly because of fetal defects. Polish women seeking abortions get them in Germany or other nearby nations, or illegally in Poland.
Vatican, China extend bishop agreement over US opposition
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican and China extended a controversial accord on bishop nominations Thursday over strong opposition from the White House and conservative Catholics given Beijing's crackdown on religious believers. The Holy See and Beijing government jointly announced a two-year extension to the 2018 agreement, which expired Thursday. Beijing foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing Thursday that China and the Vatican decided to extend the agreement “after friendly consultations." But he said the Vatican needed to chart its own path with China, regardless of U.S. policy. “The Vatican needs to have its own relationship with China, with the Chinese people who are so numerous."
Pope: Market capitalism has failed in pandemic, needs reform
ROME – Pope Francis says the coronavirus pandemic has proven that the “magic theories” of market capitalism have failed and that the world needs a new type of politics that promotes dialogue and solidarity and rejects war at all costs. “Fratelli Tutti” (Brothers All) was released on the feast day of his namesake, the peace-loving St. Francis of Assisi. In the encyclical, Francis rejected even the Catholic Church’s own doctrine justifying war as a means of legitimate defense, saying it had been too broadly applied over the centuries and was no longer viable. “Aside from the differing ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident,” Francis wrote. In this case, “Fratelli Tutti” is a quote from the “Admonitions,” the guidelines penned by St. Francis in the 13th century.
Vatican releases financial, budget data amid scandal
ROME – The Vatican released a detailed budget, balance sheet and earning statement for the first time ever Thursday as it seeks to reassure Catholics amid a corruption scandal that has exposed its shoddy financial management. The data marked the first time since 2016 that the Vatican has released any information about its finances, despite pledges by Pope Francis from the start of his pontificate in 2013 to be more transparent and accountable. The data showed that the Vatican bureaucracy had narrowed its deficit to 11 million euros from 75 million euros in 2018, despite a continued fall in donations from dioceses and individuals alike. Astonishingly, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - in recent decades perhaps the best-known Vatican office because it processes all clergy sex abuse cases - operates on an annual budget of 3.36 million euros. That represents 1% of the Curia’s budget for its apostolic work, far less than what is budgeted for the Vatican's Apostolic Library or Archives.
Pompeo urges Vatican to condemn human rights abuses in China
Pompeo made the appeal at a conference on religious freedom organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, with top Vatican officials in the audience. Pompeo has strongly criticized the accord, penning an essay earlier this month suggesting that the Vatican had compromised its moral authority by signing it. The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Holy See was “surprised” by Pompeo’s article. Both focused instead on the Holy See’s longstanding history of promoting religious freedom as a fundamental human right. After the conference, Pompeo met with Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, the first Group of Seven leader to sign onto China’s infrastructure-building Belt and Road initiative.
Nobel laureate refuses local honor over Poland's LGBT 'rift'
Tokarczuk said in a tweet Friday that while she appreciated being considered, she “sadly” couldn't accept Lower Silesia’s honorary citizenship. She said that receiving it at the same time as Bishop Ignacy Dec would highlight the “painful rift” in Poland over LGBT rights. Dec has repeatedly described the LGBT rights movement as a threat to the Catholic Church and to Poland, which is predominantly Catholic. “Instead of being a joyous celebration of a sense of community, it is a vivid illustration of the painful rift in our society,” she said. Poland has produced heated debates over LGBT rights in recent months, including after right-wing President Andrzej Duda described the movement as worse than communism as part of his reelection campaign earlier this year.
Pope seeks to ‘liberate’ Virgin Mary from the Mafia
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2019 file photo, Pope Francis blesses a statue of the Mother Mary as he celebrates Mass at the National Stadium, in Bangkok, Thailand. Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a new Vatican think tank that is seeking to prevent the Mafia and organized crime groups from exploiting the image of the Virgin Mary for their own illicit ends. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)ROME – Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a new Vatican think tank that is seeking to prevent the Mafia and organized crime groups from exploiting the image of the Virgin Mary for their own illicit ends. The Catholic Church in Italy has long been associated with the Mafia, thanks in part to their post-war common cause against communism. Marian devotion is particularly important to Francis, history's first pope from Latin America, where displays of such popular piety are common.
Pope: Gossiping is "plague worse than COVID"
VATICAN CITY Pope Francis said Sunday that gossiping is a plague worse than COVID that is seeking to divide the Catholic Church. Francis strayed from his prepared text to double down on his frequent complaint about gossiping within church communities and even within the Vatican bureaucracy. Please brothers and sisters, lets try to not gossip," he said. Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. The Catholic hierarchy has long relied on this fraternal correction among priests and bishops to correct them when they err without airing problems in public.
Pope moves against Polish bishop accused of hiding predators
Francis on Thursday named the archbishop of Lodz, Grzegorz Rys, to temporarily take over as head of the Kalisz diocese. The Vatican's ambassador, in explaining the decision, said the current Kalisz bishop, Edward Janiak, 67, retains the title of Kalish bishop for the time being. The film also documented another case of alleged cover-up of another priest during Janiaks time as Kalisz bishop. Polak in May wrote to the Vatican reporting the allegations against Janiak and asking for an investigation into them. Later in May, Kaliszs leading priests were asked by a local bishop to sign a letter to the Vatican pledging confidence in Janiak.
Houston-area churches prepping for parishioners to return, changes in store for members
THE WOODLANDS – Houston-area churches are preparing the music, the pews, the signs, and the digital instructions for parishioners, who have been away for weeks to return to mass Sunday. St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in The Woodlands is one of the dozens of Catholic churches in the Houston area preparing to welcome back members this weekend. For starters, St. Anthony of Padua is requiring parishioners to reserve tickets online. Like businesses across Texas, churches must operate at 25% capacity in Phase 1 of Gov. The church's pastor said many will be happy to return to church, changes and all.
Parishioners at St. Cecilia Catholic church react to positive coronavirus patient who attended Mass
HOUSTON – Dozens attended Mass at St. Cecilia Catholic Church on Sunday after news that one of the Houston area individuals that tested positive for the virus. “There’s no way in heck I will not come to Mass to receive my Lord, that’s the most important thing to me,” said parishioner Lorena Rodel. The church informed the public Friday that the individual attended 5:30 pm Ash Wednesday Mass on February 26. Houston Health officials said anyone sitting within six feet of the individual may have been exposed and are asked to call Houston Health at 713-439-6000. The church said it has cleaned the area thoroughly and released a statement on Facebook.
Survivors demand more transparency of investigations into accused priests
HOUSTON – A small group gathered outside Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Friday to demand more transparency from the Catholic Church. Members of the group said one year after the Catholic Church released a list of “credibly accused” priests, they’ve gotten no information on the progress of related investigations. “What is happening with these priests, where are they, what is happening with their cases?” said Lopez. It is our understanding the City of Victoria Police Department investigated the allegation,” said Jo Ann Zuniga with the Archdiocese of Galveston. The victim’s mother came to the Victoria Police Department on 01/22/2020 with additional information on this case, which prompted the department to reopen the case.
Notre Dame won’t have Christmas mass for the first time in centuries
PARIS – Notre Dame kept Christmas going even during two world wars — a beacon of hope amid the bloodshed. “This is the first time since the French Revolution that there will be no midnight Mass (at Notre Dame),” cathedral rector Patrick Chauvet told The Associated Press. Though Notre Dame has moved liturgically to a new home, Notre Dame will always remain Paris' cathedral so long as the bishop's physical chair, or “cathedra" doesn't move. “The cathedra is at the cathedral and so it remains Notre Dame Cathedral, which is the cathedral in the heart of Paris,” Chauvet said. Notre Dame choir singer Mathilde Ortscheidt, 29, left a little more space for melancholy as she regretted her absence at last year’s Midnight Mass.