Nation and World News

World and National News Briefs

Official’s Mass attendance raises eyebrows

HONG KONG (CNS) — The Catholic chief executive of Hong Kong has attended a Mass celebrated by the bishop of Kunming, China, who does not have papal approval, raising questions of propriety and a possible breach of Vatican guidelines. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who attends Mass daily in Hong Kong, went to Mass June 5 in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province in southern China, reported UCA News, an Asian Church news agency based in Thailand. Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming celebrated the Mass at Sacred Heart Church. The ordaining and assisting bishops at Bishop Ma’s April 30 ordination have Vatican recognition, so his ordination is valid, but it was not approved by Pope Benedict XVI, so it is considered illicit.

Catholic health group has new officers

ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) — Members of the Catholic Health Association, during their recent 91st assembly in Orlando, elected new officers and board members. Sandra Bennett Bruce, president of St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, was elected vice chairwoman and chairwoman-elect of the CHA board of trustees. Lloyd H. Dean, president of Catholic Healthcare West in San Francisco, was elected secretary/treasurer of the board. Chosen for a first three-year term as board members were Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, founder of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, La.; Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla.; Deborah A. Proctor, president of St. Joseph Health System in Orange, Calif.; Robert V. Stanek, president of Catholic Health East in Newtown, Pa.; Joseph R. Swedish, president of Trinity Health in Novi, Mich.; and Anthony R. Tersigni, president and CEO of Ascension Health in St. Louis.

Bishop says he’s cleared of sex-abuse claim

SPOKANE, Wash. (CNS) — Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad has said that an investigation he ordered produced no evidence to support an unnamed woman’s allegation that he sexually abused her 40 years ago when she was a minor. Bishop Skylstad communicated the probe’s results June 8 at a news conference in answer to a reporter’s question but did not elaborate. "The bishop could not have been and was not involved with this girl," Thomas Frey, the bishop’s personal lawyer, told Catholic News Service June 9. "The diocese will not pay any claim to her," said Frey, who hired the private investigator that looked into the woman’s allegations. The June 8 news conference was called to announce a proposed settlement with one of the diocese’s insurers, Oregon Auto Insurance Co. The insurer will pay the diocese $6 million to end litigation on whether the insurer is liable for abuse claims against the diocese.

Judge rules Vatican not immune from suit

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) — A federal judge in Portland ruled June 7 that the Holy See is not entitled to sovereign immunity from a clergy sex-abuse lawsuit that named it as a defendant. The next day the Vatican appealed the ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Mosman had denied the Vatican motion to be removed as a defendant in the case, saying that the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act does not entitle the Holy See to immunity in this case because "without warning parishioners of a known danger (the Holy See) placed a priest it knew to be a child molester in a position in which, for the third time, he would have access to minors." He said there was enough of a connection between the Vatican and the priest accused of the molestation for the priest to be considered a Vatican employee under Oregon law.

Catholic-Jewish dialogue progressing

WASHINGTON (CNS) — At a consultation in New York, delegates of the National Council of Synagogues and the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs discussed mutual concerns ranging from current conditions in the Middle East to what they called "the anti-Catholic, even anti-religious implications of the movie ‘The Da Vinci Code.’" The spring meeting of the twice-yearly consultation was held May 22 at New York’s Hebrew Union College/Jewish Institute of Religion. The National Council of Synagogues is an agency of the nation’s Reform and Conservative Jews. In a communique released in Washington June 8, the participants said they devoted their morning session to "an illuminating discussion of ‘Mutual Borrowings Over the Centuries,’" exploring aspects of how Jewish thought and practice have influenced Christianity over time and vice versa.

Church said to have role in mobilizing Hispanics

The Catholic Church can play an important role in mobilizing Hispanics to increase their influence on public policy, said several speakers at a Washington symposium examining Hispanic participation in U.S. political life.

Polish priests barred from clerical spy hunt

The Archdiocese of Krakow said local priests may not investigate allegations of communist-era clergy collaborators after a former friend of Pope John Paul II was named as a secret police agent.

World and National News Briefs

Pope extolls Vatican museums’ mission

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The masterpieces and thousands of artifacts on display at the Vatican Museums "are not simply impressive monuments of a distant past" but represent the Church’s unwavering faith in the beauty of God, Pope Benedict XVI told a group of the museums’ benefactors. He said that for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flock to the museums and the Sistine Chapel every year, the artistic treasures housed there "stand as a perennial witness to the Church’s unchanging faith in the triune God," who, according to St. Augustine, is "beauty ever ancient, ever new." The pope made his comments during a June 1 audience with the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums to mark the 500th anniversary of the the Vatican Museums’ founding.

Papal Spain trip to be brief and busy

MADRID, Spain (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to Spain will be short but busy, said a Spanish archbishop. In a May 30 press conference, Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia said the city is in the final stages of preparations for the papal visit. The pope plans to visit Spain as part of the Fifth World Meeting of Families, convened by the pope every three years. Families from six continents will meet to discuss the challenges they face in the 21st century. On July 8-9, in little more than 24 hours, the pope will meet with the Spanish royal family and with President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He also will celebrate Mass and visit the cathedral in Valencia.

Churches urged to seek program money

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic and Protestant leaders praised the Bush administration for making $100 million in new funds available to programs that strengthen marriage in America. After four years of rejecting President George W. Bush’s Healthy Marriage Initiative, Congress passed the proposal May 16. Five religious leaders and marriage advocates spoke about the initiative at a recent event in Washington hosted by Marriage Savers, a nonprofit organization that aims to reduce the nation’s growing divorce rate. "Marriage is the community’s responsibility," said Bishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Knoxville, Tenn., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family Life. "Good marriages cannot exist in a vacuum. We need to take action." Mike McManus, founder of Marriage Savers, said the purpose of the event was to encourage Protestant and Catholic leaders to apply for federal aid to fund marriage programs and to urge their colleagues to consider doing the same.

Catholic journalists called faith exemplars

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Media professionals who work for the Catholic Church must be exemplars of faith and morality as they try to bring Christian values to the world, Pope Benedict XVI said. The pope met June 2 with the employees of the newspaper, news agency, radio network and satellite television station of the Italian bishops’ conference. Pope Benedict said it is their job to bring the Gospel to Italian life. Divorce, abortion and the lack of ethical references in public debates show the consequences of a culture intent on moving away from its Christian roots, the pope said. To be effective witnesses, he said, those who work in Catholic media must give "shining testimony of profoundly Christian lives" and be deeply united with Christ in prayer "in order to see the world with his eyes."

Church in Germany focuses on message in World Cup

The Catholic Church in Germany is harnessing the enthusiasm for the soccer World Cup in June and July by offering religious hospitality in all 12 cities in which games will be played.

Syndicate content