Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Gathering celebrates 50 years of baptism in the Spirit

PITTSBURGH — Followers of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal came back to where it all began. Some 6,200 of them gathered for the 2017 Jubilee Conference July 20-23 in Pittsburgh under the theme of "Rivers of Living Water." The gathering included some 2,000 people from Haiti and a large number of Latinos. "We are celebrating a current of grace that is 50 years young," said Franciscan Father Dave Pivonka during his homily at the opening Mass. "(It) is ever-ancient and ever-new." General session speakers included Patti Mansfield, an original participant in the "Duquesne Weekend," where the Catholic Charismatic Renewal began; Damian Stayne, founder of the community Cor et Lumen Christi; and retired Bishop Sam G. Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux, La., who is a longtime key figure in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

Archbishop backs transgender ban, but says dignity must prevail

WASHINGTON — Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services offered support for President Donald Trump's reinstatement of a ban on transgender people serving in any branch of the military. In a July 28 statement, the archbishop said that "sexual orientation and gender identity issues reflect a rapidly increasing and incorrect societal attitude that individual behaviors in life should pursue immediate and personal choices rather than eternal truth." He said that "personal choices in life, whether regarding the protection of the unborn, the sanctity of marriage and the family or the acceptance of a person's God-created biology, should be made not solely for a penultimate reality on this earth but in anticipation of the ultimate reality of sharing in the very life of God in heaven." While supporting the ban, Archbishop Broglio said that Trump's emphasis on military readiness and the cost associated with gender reassignment surgeries and therapies as reasons for the ban failed "to address the essence of the issue — the dignity of the human person."

Slovak bishop welcomed to U.S. eparchy

PARMA, Ohio — Slovak Bishop Milan Lach took his new post as apostolic administrator of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma wanting to encourage and unify Byzantine Catholics of the eparchy in faith. The eparchy's clergy and faithful welcomed Bishop Lach during a Divine Liturgy July 21. The 43-year-old Jesuit was the auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Presov, Slovakia, at the time of his appointment June 24. Ordained a priest in 2001 and a bishop in 2013, Bishop Lach is the first European-born bishop to oversee the Eparchy of Parma since its founding in 1969, though he is the second European bishop to be named to the United States this year. Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk, former auxiliary bishop of Lviv, Ukraine, was named to head the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Chicago in April.

WORLD

Pope names bishop to Hong Kong as Cardinal Tong retires

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal John Tong Hon as bishop of Hong Kong. Coadjutor Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, 70, succeeds the cardinal as head of the diocese, the Vatican announced Aug. 1. Cardinal Tong, 78, has led the Diocese of Hong Kong since 2009, when Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun retired as head of the diocese. Cardinal Tong has defended China-Vatican negotiations as a win-win situation while rebuffing worries that the Holy See would give up Church principles and sacrifice the underground Church in exchange for successful negotiations, reported ucanews.com. His outlook has been more optimistic than that of Cardinal Zen.

Cardinal says Venezuela must take blame for 10 election-related deaths

CARACAS, Venezuela — Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino said the nation's government must take the blame for at least 10 deaths related to a controversial election. "This is the responsibility of the president of the republic, the high command, and the ministers," Cardinal Urosa told the Caracas newspaper El Nacional July 31. "They will have to explain this to God" and the courts. Some Venezuelans went to the polls July 30 to elect members of a Constituent Assembly, a 545-member body charged with drafting a new constitution for the country. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered on the vote May 1, but political opposition and Church leaders have warned that the new constitution could establish a one-party state.

Bishop gets Vatican OK for nun to officiate wedding

OTTAWA, Ontario — When no priests were available, the bishop of the Quebec Diocese of Rouyn-Noranda sought and received Vatican permission for a nun to officiate at a recent wedding. While the story has been portrayed around the world as a sign that Pope Francis is changing the role of women in the Church, Bishop Dorylas Moreau said the wedding was carried out according to a long-established provision of canon law. It allows an exception for a layperson to be permitted to officiate at a wedding when a bishop, priest or deacon is unavailable. That layperson can be a man or a woman. "It is an exceptional situation, not something habitual," Bishop Moreau said in French.

— Catholic News Service 

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