Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Bishop Pepe of Las Vegas retires; Bishop Thomas to succeed him

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of 75-year-old Bishop Joseph A. Pepe of Las Vegas and has named Bishop George L. Thomas of Helena, Montana, to succeed him. The resignation of Bishop Pepe and the appointment of Bishop Thomas were announced in Washington Feb. 28 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop Pepe had led the Diocese of Las Vegas since 2001. Bishop Thomas, 67, was named bishop of the Western Montana diocese in 2004.

WORLD

Pope, cardinal advisers study regional abuse case tribunals

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals discussed the possibility of establishing regional tribunals around the world that would judge cases of sexual abuse allegedly committed by clergy, the Vatican spokesman said. Greg Burke, the spokesman, confirmed a report published Feb. 27 on the website Vatican Insider stating the pope and his cardinal advisers were considering decentralizing the role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in handling cases, but would not diminish the congregation's authority. "I can say that this is one of the options. The pope himself spoke about this in one of his press conferences," Burke told journalists Feb. 28. The Council of Cardinals, often referred to as the C9, held its first meeting of the year Feb. 26-28 with Pope Francis. The pope appointed the council members five years ago to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia and on church governance.

German bishops examine Communion rules for some in mixed marriages

BERLIN — The German bishops' conference continues to develop its recent decision to allow non-Catholic spouses in mixed denomination marriages to receive Communion in limited cases. The document, primarily addressed to pastors, contains specific guidance about whether Communion is possible in particular cases for married couples of different Christian faiths. The document has been developed over several months, based on Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" and previous Catholic doctrine. It is now undergoing revisions. The bishops have yet to agree on a final version, which will be published in the coming weeks. "There are still possible additions," Daniela Elpers, spokeswoman for the German bishops' conference, said. The initial announcement, made by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, conference president, Feb. 22 following the bishops' spring plenary conference, stated that the bishops deem it possible in certain cases to allow the Eucharist to be given to a non-Catholic spouse in a mixed-denomination marriage. "The background is the high proportion of mixed marriages and families in Germany, where we recognize a challenging and urgent pastoral task," said Cardinal Marx.

— Catholic News Service 

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