Nation and World News

Lay ministers no longer allowed to cleanse vessels

At the direction of Pope Benedict XVI, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion will no longer be permitted to assist in the purification of the sacred vessels at Masses in the United States.

Papal Message

Here is the Vatican text of Pope Benedict XVI

Papal Message

Here is the Vatican text of Pope Benedict XVI

13 U.S. saints precede last canonization

With the Oct. 15 canonization of St. Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., seven sainthood causes from the United States have been successfully completed.

Pope canonizes 4, says being a saint not for the weak, fearful

Presiding over the second canonization ceremony of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI honored two women and two men who demonstrated that becoming a saint is not for the weak and fearful.

World and National News Briefs

Davenport Diocese files bankruptcy

DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNS) — The Diocese of Davenport has become the fourth Catholic diocese in the United States to file for bankruptcy because of sex abuse lawsuits it faces. The diocese last week filed a petition for Chapter 11 reorganization in the Iowa District of U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The action came 22 days after a jury awarded $1.5 million to a Davenport man who claimed he was sexually abused by a diocesan priest nearly five decades ago. Demands for settlement of that lawsuit and 25 claims that exceeded $7 million prompted the diocese’s decision to go to trial for the first time rather than settle out of court. The possibility of bankruptcy had been looming large in the diocese since October 2004, when it announced an agreement to settle 37 sexual abuse claims and lawsuits for $9 million. In the past two years the diocese has reached settlements totaling more than $10.5 million. The jury’s award Sept. 18 left diocesan leaders with no other option, they said.

2 priests accused of $8.6 million theft

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (CNS) — The bishop of Palm Beach and the pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Delray Beach asked parishioners to hold strong in their faith and prayers after two former pastors were accused of misusing $8.6 million in Sunday offertory collections and other Church funds over several decades. Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito of Palm Beach and Father Thomas Skindeleski, current pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer, received repeated applause and expressions of support at a recent Mass after Delray Beach police announced that they had filed grand theft charges against former pastors Father John Skehan, 79, and Father Frank Guinan, 63. Father Skindeleski replaced Father Guinan a year ago at St. Vincent Ferrer. Father Skehan had served there before Father Guinan for nearly 40 years, then stayed on as pastor emeritus. Father Skehan, who was arrested Sept. 27, was released Sept. 29 after posting $400,000 bail. As of Oct. 13, Father Guinan was still wanted on charges.

Orthodox priest kidnapped, murdered

MOSUL, Iraq (CNS) — An Orthodox priest was kidnapped Oct. 9 and found decapitated Oct. 11 in Mosul, reportedly for not doing enough to condemn comments Pope Benedict XVI made about Islam in a speech in Germany, according to local police and clerics. A report filed by Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based Middle Eastern news agency, said Father Amer Iskender was killed by Muslim captors who had demanded a ransom and a condemnation of the pope’s remarks on Islam by the priest’s church, St. Ephrem Orthodox Church in Mosul. The news report said that before the priest’s kidnapping his church had put up signs condemning the statement made by the pope in Regensburg, Germany, in mid-September and calling for good relations between Christians and Muslims.

Vatican confirms pope’s trip to Turkey

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican officially confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Turkey at the end of November, despite misgivings among many Muslims over recent papal remarks on Islam. The pope’s Nov. 28-Dec. 1 trip, his first to a predominantly Muslim country, will include stops in Ankara, Ephesus and Istanbul, the Vatican said Oct. 16. The pope will travel at the invitation of the Turkish government and the Orthodox Church’s Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In Ankara, the capital, he is expected to meet with political leaders Nov. 28. The following day he is expected to say Mass in Ephesus, an important early center of Christianity in western Turkey. The pope will meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul and participate in an Orthodox liturgy Nov. 30. On Dec. 1, he is expected to celebrate Mass for Catholics in the city before returning to Rome.

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