Cardinal Parolin previews papal journey to Marseille (Vatican News) As has become customary, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, granted an interview to Vatican News on the eve of the Pope’s apostolic journey to Marseille (September 22-23).
The Pontiff is taking part in the conclusion of the Rencontres Méditerranéennes [Mediterranean Meetings], a gathering of mayors and bishops that previously took place in Bari and Florence.
The meeting “is about reawakening hope and doing so—at a time when a climate of great intolerance and indifference is being perceived—together, and by converging on fundamental issues,” said Cardinal Parolin.
He explained, “I am thinking, precisely, of the migration phenomenon, but also of the challenges of peace, climate change, the fight against hunger.”
European court rules that Greek Orthodox prelate's comments about homosexuals are not protected free expression (Religion Clause) In the case Lenis v. Greece, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a Greek Orthodox bishop’s comments on homosexuals are not protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression.
Metropolitan Amvrosios (Ambrose) Lenis of Kalavryta, who once served as chief secretary of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, wrote a 2015 blog post on homosexuals entitled “The Scum of Society Have Reared Their Heads! Let’s Be Honest! Spit on Them.” In 2019, he was sentenced to seven months in prison for his remarks.
Cardinal Sako appeals for Vatican support as he seeks to regain formal recognition in Iraq (Our Sunday Visitor) Two months after Iraq’s president revoked his recognition of Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako as Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, the prelate expressed disappointment that the Vatican has not done more to support him.
“I want the Vatican also to take a strong position,” Cardinal Sako said. “Honestly, I’m very sad and disappointed about the Church.”
“I’m expecting moral support,” he continued. “We don’t have a militia or army to defend us. Even a letter or a declaration [from the Vatican] to say that this [declaration by Iraq’s president] is not right, this is not true.”
Russian invasion aims for 'elimination of the Ukrainian Catholic Church,' archbishop warns (America) Archbishop Borys Gudziak, the Ukrainian Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia, told the Jesuit journal America that the “Russian invasion is the elimination of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. That happened in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and it’s happening now.”
“Our Catholic communion means the world to us, and the Holy Father is a representative of that communion,” he said. “It is also the reason why, when there’s ambiguity in a time of great suffering, that people in Ukraine are knocked off balance. It’s not a theoretical question: People are being killed, people are dying, and they’re dying because of an imperialist ideology.”
Vatican newspaper calls for renewed international commitment to peace (L'Osservatore Romano) With the headline “Nel mondo 170 conflitti. E la pace?” [“In the world 170 conflicts. And peace?], the Vatican newspaper devoted the prominent front-page article in its September 21 edition to a plea for renewed commitment to peace.
Isabella Piro began, “Is today, September 21, really the International Day of Peace? Is this anniversary established by the UN in 1981 really celebrated today? Because if you look around you wouldn’t think so at all.”
“Today, the UN has asked for the observance of 24 hours of nonviolence and ceasefire, because ‘our world has never needed peace more,’” she continued. “Will anyone grant this request?”
Cardinal Dolan: Are Sunday Masses just too long? (Our Sunday Visitor) Recalling comments about Sunday Mass attendance in New York’s synod discussions, Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote that Sunday Masses that regularly take 90 minutes are too long.
He wrote, “Apart from the predictable carping from both fringes — the far left claiming that the only way to increase Mass attendance was to drop all liturgical guidelines and go back to the “do-your-own-thing” hootenannies of the ’70’s, or the alt-right urging turning the altar around and getting the fiddlebacks out of mothballs — the largest majority replied that the top reasons people were no longer coming to Sunday Mass were — are you ready for this? — one, because they couldn’t understand the priest; two, their parish had been closed; and, three, Mass was too long!”
In UN speech, Archbishop Gallagher condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine (Vatican Press Office) In the strongest Vatican condemnation to date of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Archbishop Paul Gallagher told a meeting of the UN Security Council: “It is undeniable that the Russian attack on Ukraine has jeopardizes the entire global order which arose after World War II.
The Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States said that the “cruel and senseless war” forced Ukraine into “defining its sovereignty and the inviolability of its internationally recognized borders.” He said that other nations should support that defense of international law.
Meanwhile, the archbishop said, “those paying the highest price are civilians, simple people, and above all, children, youth, and the elderly.”
“Aggression can only generation new aggression,” the Vatican “foreign minister” said. “If this war is not stopped and peace is not sought at every turn, the whole world risks plunging into even deeper crises.”
Two Chinese bishops, Archbishop Paglia added as Synod participants (CNA) Pope Francis has added new names to the list of participants in the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, including two bishops from mainland China as well as Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the controversial head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The final list of Synod participants, released by the Vatican on September 21, included Bishop Giuseppe Yang Yongqiang of Zhoucun and Bishop Antonio Yao Shun of Jining.
The Vatican also disclosed that Cartinal Luis Ladaria, who recently stepped down as prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, has withdrawn from participation at his own request.
Attorney General Garland: 'Catholics are not extremists, no' (Daily Wire) Attorney General Merrick Garland testified before the House Judiciary Committee on September 20.
Pressed by Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) about the January FBI memo that warned against “radical traditionalist Catholic ideology,” Garland said that he was “appalled” by the memo. He added, “Catholics are not extremists, no.”
Vatican, Lutheran officials call for joint study of Augsburg Confession (CNS) Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, and Rev. Anne Burghardt, head of the Lutheran World Federation, called for a joint Catholic-Lutheran reflection on the Augsburg Confession (1530).
The Confession’s 28 articles, drafted principally by Philipp Melanchthon, are the basic statement of Lutheran faith.
Australian premier appeals to Vatican for copy of canonical investigation into Bishop Saunders (The West Australian) Government officials in Australia expressed anger that the evidence contained in the canonical investigation into Bishop Christopher Saunders had not been turned over to civil authorities.
“We want the Vatican to give the information they have to WA [Western Australian] police so they can take their inquires forward,” said Premier Roger Cook, whose office is akin to that of an American governor.
“Following yesterday’s request from the Western Australia Police, the Church is taking immediate steps to provide them a copy of the Vatican-initiated report into Bishop Christopher Saunders,” said Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
The report from the canonical investigation, leaked to Australian media, found that Bishop Saunders, now 73 years old, “likely sexually assaulted four youths while potentially grooming another 67.”
Priests defy Cardinal Woelki, bless same-sex couples outside Cologne Cathedral (AP) “Several” priests in Cologne, Germany, blessed same-sex couples, as well as couples who had divorced and remarried outside the Church, the Associated Press reported. About 30 couples were blessed.
In 2021, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that the Church does not have the power to bless unions of the same sex. Pope Francis approved the document’s publication.
Vatican archbishop speaks at UN meeting on 'pandemic prevention' (Vatican Press Office) In an address to a UN meeting on “pandemic prevention,” Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States, said: “All trustworthy responses to health emergencies must respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of opinion, and expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion or belief.”
However, in his remarks the archbishop’s only criticism of the response to the Covid epidemic was the failure to provide vaccines promptly to all nations. He did not express any concern about forced church closings.
Bishop who will attend synod: We must address issue of women deacons and priests (CNA) “We must first distance ourselves from everything that fundamentalism signifies, from believing that doctrine can’t be touched,” Bishop Alfredo De la Cruz of the Dominican Republic, who will take part in next month’s Synod on synodality, said during an online conference on the Synod.
Referring to the “protagonism of women,” he said that “the Church cannot turn its back on this entire movement, this growth, these victories of women. I’m going more specific. For example, in the case of the diaconate, we have to address priestly ministry.”
The prelate, appointed a bishop by Pope Francis in 2021, also said that the Synod will “have to address mandatory celibacy; we will have to address Communion to all those who participate in the Eucharist as a feast of the Lord and as a community of faith, because we say that Eucharist is the meeting place of all brothers. ‘Ah, I encounter my brother, but to one group I don’t give anything to eat’ and I leave them hungry,”
Archbishop's retirement signals end of era for Liechtenstein's Catholics (Pillar) On September 20, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Wolfgang Haas, 75, of Vaduz (Liechtenstein) and named Bishop Benno Elbs of nearby Feldkirch (Austria) as apostolic administrator.
In 1988, Pope St. John Paul II appointed Haas, then 39, as coadjutor bishop of Chur, Switzerland; he acceded to the see in 1990. Bishop Haas faced opposition in Chur and had to enter the cathedral by the back door for his installation Mass because of the number of protestors.
The tiny nation of Liechtenstein was then part of the Diocese of Chur. In 1997, Pope John Paul separated Liechtenstein from the rest of the Chur diocese, created the Archdiocese of Vaduz, and named Bishop Haas the first archbishop.
On several occasions, Archbishop Haas celebrated the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass in the extraordinary form. More recently, he declined to participate in the Synod on synodality. The archdiocese successfully attracted priestly vocations: the number of diocesan priests in Vaduz rose from 15 to 23 between 1999 and 2020.
Human rights commission calls on Nicaragua to cease persecuting the Church (IACHR) In a Spanish-language statement, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on Nicaragua to cease “the persecution of the Catholic Church and to release all persons arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.”
The commission cited the imprisonment of Bishop Rolando Álvarez and Fathers Osman José Amador, Eugenio Rodríguez Benavides, and Leonardo Guevara Gutiérrez, as well as the expulsion of priests and religious and the expropriation of property.