Church in the World: News Briefing

Church in the World: News Briefing

View of the Benedictine abbey in Fecamp, seen from the entrance court.

Guido Vermeulen-Perdaen / Alamy

A golden reliquary said to hold the Precious Blood of Christ was stolen from a northern French monastery in June but safely turned up six weeks later at the home of a Dutch art sleuth in Amsterdam. Its two blood vials were the goal of medieval pilgrimages to the Benedictine monastery in Fécamp, between Le Havre and Dieppe, to pray for the safe return of Crusaders. The relics enjoyed a revival in the nineteenth century, when the gold-plated copper reliquary with deep blue inlays was built. The internationally recognized Dutch detective Arthur Brand got a middleman’s email shortly after the theft on June 1. The thief had found the relics unsellable and wanted to return them, but felt wary of going back to Holy Trinity monastery himself. The middleman eventually left them in a cardboard box at the Dutchman’s doorstep. Other sacred vessels were also returned but it is not yet clear if all have been given back. “These people know my reputation,” said Brand, a Catholic who felt having the relics nearby was a religious experience. “It would have been too dangerous to involve the police.” Le Havre Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin said recovering the relics was “a great relief for the Catholic community” because “the ancient tradition of the Precious Blood has been part of the history of our city”.

The German The bishops’ conference has deplored the German government’s decision to repeal the law which prohibited advertising for abortion. The Church would continue to press for the protection of unborn life, the conference’s press spokesman, Matthias Kopp, emphasized. However, the president of the Central Committee of German (lay) Catholics ZdK, Irme Stetter-Karp, said abolishing the law that prohibited advertising for abortion was a “positive” sign. “It is crucial to make sure that a medical intervention for abortion is available to women nationwide”, Stetter-Karp wrote in a guest contribution for the German weekly. Die Zeit supplement Christ und Welt of 14 July. In rural areas this was not yet the case, she pointed out. In Germany a pregnant woman who wants an abortion must first get counseling and obtain a certificate that counseling has been undertaken from a recognized counseling center. Although in 1999, Pope John Paul II forbade the German Church to participate in counseling and the German bishops’ conference followed suit, a group of Catholics founded the “Donum Vitae” Association which offers counseling. Ms Stetter-Karp was one of the founding members. It was thanks to counseling, she claimed, that between 2011 and 2021 abortions had decreased by 13.1 percent.

As Kenyans Prepare for general elections scheduled for August 9, the Conference of Catholic Bishops has called on the country’s civil servants to abide by the law and remain faithful in their service to citizens. “We count on our civil servants to be faithful and law-abiding during the upcoming transitions and focus on service to citizens, and not so much about positions in the new government,” the bishops said in their weekly Sunday message, read by Fr. Kevin Ndago on behalf of Bishop Salesius Mugambi of the Meru Diocese. The bishops have undertaken to issue a message every week in the lead-up to the poll. The bishops further encourage the civil servants “to ensure that people with bad morals do not take advantage of the period of transition to steal public funds and property”, the message added. We should not only operate within the law but also go beyond it,” the bishops said. “Not knowing the law is not an excuse, as we have the higher law – God’s law and conscience that speaks to us.”

The Holy See Press Office announced plans on Monday for the beatification of Pope John Paul I, who was born as Albino Luciani in the northern Italian town of Forno di Canale (now Canale d’Agordo) on 17 October 1912. Pope Francis will preside over the beatification Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, 4 September 2022. Pope John Paul I’s was the shortest papacy in modern history, reigning over the See of Peter for 33 days. He was the first Pope to choose a double name, saying he did so in honor of his two predecessors: John XXIII and Paul VI. He was also the last in the long line of Italian-born Popes which began with Clement VII in 1523.

A public letter signed by hundreds of current and former parishioners at Ohio State University’s St. Thomas More Newman Center called on Bishop Earl Fernandes to reverse his decision removing the Paulist Fathers from the pastoral care of the center. The Paulists had served the university community for 66 years and, like many university chaplaincies, the center was a resource for progressive Catholics. Fernandes was installed as bishop on May 31, so the suddenness of the decision took many by surprise.

The annual report detailing diocesan compliance with the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” was issued by the US bishops’ conference, and it found there were 2,930 victims who filed claims charging sexual abuse as minors during the audit year ending June 30, 2021. That figure is a significant drop from the 4,079 claims filed the previous audit year. Virtually all the claims were “historical in nature,” that is, they were filed by adults alleging abuse years ago. 30 claims were new claims alleging recent abuse.

Dutch Catholic church choirs are struggling to return to normal after some found up to 40 percent of their singers have not come back following the Covid restrictions. Singing in church was banned under the safeguards because it meant so many people were breathing so close together. Joris Kregting, a sociologist at the Kaski Center for Religion and Society, told Katholiek Nieuwsblad the fall in choir members was disturbing. “I do not expect the decline to recover just like that,” he said.

Four of eight “chapels of light” for memorial candles in the Marian sanctuary at Lourdes in southwestern France were destroyed in a July 10 fire that officials judged an accident. The chapels are light open structures across the Gave river from the grotto where St. Bernadette Soubirous said the Virgin Mary appeared in 1858. Four are still operating. Built in 2018 to relieve crowding near the grotto and Lourdes baths, the row of round-roofed chapels had one chapel for candle sales and seven others for lit candles. Up to 4,000 candles, large and small, could burn there.

The Nigerian Diocese of Kafanchan has asked for prayers after two Catholic priests were kidnapped on Friday evening last week. Fr John Mark Cheitnum and Fr Denatus Cleopas were abducted at the rectory of Christ the King Catholic Church in the town of Lere in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna State. “May Jesus, crucified on the Cross, listen to our prayers and hasten the unconditional release of His priests and all other kidnapped persons,” Fr Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo who serves as the chancellor of the diocese of Kafanchan wrote in a statement. At least seven Catholic priests have been kidnapped in Nigeria in the month of July, according to data compiled by Aid to the Church in Need. The latest abduction brings the total up to 20 Nigerian priests kidnapped since the beginning of 2022. Three of the priests were killed.

Pope Francis again expressed his closeness to the people of Sri Lanka, assuring that he joins them in prayer. Speaking during the Sunday Angelus he also issued an appeal to all parties who are engaged in finding a solution to the crisis, rooted in corruption and economic mismanagement, that has deprived the people of basic needs and livelihoods and led to a popular uprising. Reviled president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned and fled the country, and acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency with effect from Monday. Protesters have now turned their sights on Wickremesinghe, because of his close ties with Rajapaksa. Earlier this month Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo urged the political leaders of Sri Lanka including Rajapaksa and then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to keep to their word and resign.

Archbishop Max Leroy Mésidor of Port-au-Prince has insisted on the urgent need to disarm Haiti’s criminal gangs. “People have the right to expect immediate action from the police to disarm illegal gangs”, he said after a UN resolution adopted on Friday last week urged the Haitian government to strengthen the rule of law, tackle social and economic problems, and initiate violence reduction. programs. It singles out the need to target sexual violence and called for the illicit trafficking and diversion of arms and illicit financial flows to be urgently addressed.

Eugenio Scalfaria journalist who helped found Italy’s Radical Party and the left-liberal La Repubblica newspaper, and made waves in the Catholic world for his conversations with Pope Francis, died on Thursday last week aged 98. Each time a new Scalfari “interview” with the pope came out, the Vatican Press Office released a statement cautioning readers not to take the pope’s quoted remarks to heart, as they were not the result of an interview and were not what the pope literally said. , but rather the fruit of Scalfari’s “own reconstruction.” After news of Scalfari’s death broke, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni was quoted as saying that Pope Francis had learned “with sorrow about the death of his friend.” Pope Francis, Bruni said, “fondly preserves the memory of the meetings, and of the dense conversations on man’s final questions that he had with him throughout the years and entrusts his soul to the Lord in prayer so that he may welcome him and console those who were close to him.”

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