Spain's ombudsman registers 445 church sex abuse complaints
Spain’s ombudsman says an independent commission set up a year ago to investigate historic sex abuse by the Catholic church has collected testimonies from 445 victims, as the nation tackles an issue other European countries acted on long ago.
Nicaragua proposes suspending Vatican ties after comments
Nicaragua ’s government says it has proposed suspending relations with the Vatican days after Pope Francis compared President Daniel Ortega’s administration to a communist or Nazi dictatorship amid a crackdown on the Catholic Church in the country.
Sri Lankan court orders ex-leader to pay victims of bombings
Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ruled that inaction by the country’s former president and four others led to Easter Sunday bomb attacks in 2019 that killed nearly 270 people and ordered them to pay compensation for violating the basic rights of the victims and their families.
German bishops assure Vatican but vow to proceed with reform
Germany’s Catholic bishops are vowing to continue their controversial reform process after a week of tense meetings with Vatican officials seeking to put the brakes on proposals to ordain women, bless gay unions and rethink church teaching on sexuality.
Benedict woes come as German church reform pressure rises
A report on decades of sexual abuse in Germany that shone an unflattering spotlight on retired Pope Benedict XVI has come on top of already strong pressure in Germany to reconsider Catholic rules on issues including homosexuality and women’s roles.
2 arrested after allegedly bringing gun into West Side Catholic church during service, Archdiocese says
Two people are in custody after an incident involving a gun inside a West Side Catholic church that caused parishioners to flee the building during morning services, according to the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
Rwanda's Kagame welcomes French 'truth' about the genocide
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda on Wednesday described a French report documenting France’s role in the 1994 genocide as “a good thing,” welcoming efforts in Paris to “move forward with a good understanding of what happened” 27 years after the massacres that shocked the world.
German archbishop offers to resign after abuse criticism
The report commissioned by Cologne's archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, absolved Woelki himself of any neglect of duty with respect to abuse victims. Francis has previously declined, at least initially, to accept resignations when they were offered to repent for mishandling sex abuse cases, though he has relented after time. Woelki said he also would temporarily suspend two Cologne church officials based on the findings of the investigation. The report found Schwaderlapp neglected his duty to inform and report abuse allegations in eight cases. AdIn January, a new system drawn up by the church to compensate abuse victims took effect.
Belgian bishop lashes out at Vatican over gay unions decree
FILE - In this Saturday, May 8, 2010 file photo, from left, Liege Bishop Aloysius Jousten, Brussels Archbishop Andre Leonard, Tournai Bishop Guy Harpigny and Antwerp Bishop Johan Bonny attend a press conference at the Vatican. Belgian bishop Johan Bonny, in an opinion piece, has lashed out at the Vatican over its decree that the Catholic Church won't bless same-sex unions. The Congregation's note distinguished between blessing same-sex unions and the church’s welcoming and blessing of gay people, which it endorsed. It argued that such unions were not part of God’s plan and that any sacramental recognition of them could be confused with marriage. AdThe orthodoxy office's document argued that same-sex unions can't be blessed by the Catholic Church because they are not part of that plan.
Vatican bars gay union blessing, says God 'can't bless sin'
(Tiziana Fabi/Pool photo via AP)ROME – The Vatican declared Monday that the Catholic Church won't bless same-sex unions since God “cannot bless sin.”The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal response to a question about whether Catholic clergy have the authority to bless gay unions. Since gay unions aren't intended to be part of that plan, they can't be blessed by the church, the document said. Francis has endorsed providing gay couples with legal protections in same-sex unions, but that was in reference to the civil sphere, not within the church. At the time, Argentine lawmakers were considering approving gay marriage, which the Catholic Church opposes. AdSpeaking of families with gay children, he said: “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this.
Vatican clears retired US bishop of multiple abuse claims
His attorney, Thomas Jubin, said multiple allegations against Hart were “specious,” with some based on second- and third-hand information, and with some accusers emphasizing that Hart didn't physically touch them. “Despite this, Bishop Hart asks me to convey that he continues to pray for all involved in this case so that they may find peace and healing. In Cheyenne, Biegler has previously stood by the findings of his review board, which determined a half-dozen claims were credible. As a result, the sentence showed the arbitrary nature of Vatican’s canonical sex abuse deliberations and judgments, which aren't public. The first known allegations against Hart dated to the early 1960s and were made in the late 1980s.
The Latest: Hong Kong ends lockdown in Kowloon neighborhood
The district has been at the center of a worsening coronavirus outbreak, with over 160 cases reported over the first three weeks in January. As of Sunday, Hong Kong has reported 10,086 cases of the coronavirus, with 169 deaths recorded. The nation of 26 million people has reported fewer than 30,000 virus cases and a little over 900 deaths. There have been 373,090 total virus cases and a death toll of 3,279 since the pandemic began, according to the health department. The U.S. accounts for roughly one of every four cases reported worldwide and one of every five deaths.
New Braunfels Catholic church celebrates 175 years of history
New Braunfels – The year 1845 does not only represent a landmark for the city of New Braunfels, but also the start of the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in the city. COVID-19 canceled the city and church’s big plans to celebrate the huge milestone birthday, but that hasn’t stopped church officials from appreciating the history behind it all. “The bishop came over and talked to the city leaders of New Braunfels and said, ‘Hey, you guys promised us some land for our church. “It was the little room that grew,” Phelan said. “This church has been here for a very very long time,” Phelan said.
Orthodox priest shot at church in France, motive unknown
Police officers and rescue workers block the access to the scene after a Greek Orthodox priest was shot Saturday Oct.31, 2020 while he was closing his church in the city of Lyon, central France. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)LYON – A Greek Orthodox priest was shot Saturday while he was closing his church in the French city of Lyon, and authorities locked down part of the city to hunt for the assailant, authorities said. “We don’t know at this stage the motive for this attack.”Antoine Callot, the pastor at another Greek Orthodox church in Lyon, identified the wounded priest as Nikolas Kakavelakis, a 45-year-old father of two. No one was guarding the church targeted Saturday in Lyon, or the church attacked in Nice on Thursday. The Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “We condemn the attack against an Orthodox priest of Greek origin near the Church of the Annunciation in Lyon, France.
Poland: Tens of thousands hold new protest over abortion ban
The protests were triggered by an Oct. 22 ruling by Poland’s constitutional court that abortion in cases of severe fetal deformities was unconstitutional. He has long supported a total ban on abortion and he is being blamed now for being behind the court ruling, issued by party loyalties. "The will of people to protest should be a lesson for anyone who wants to impose authoritarian ways.”Poland's abortion law was forged by political and Catholic Church leaders in 1993. Earlier attempts by the country's conservative ruling party to change the law to ban all abortions also prompted enormous street protests, including in 2016 and 2017. Such actions and vulgarity have offended many people in the largely Catholic nation, even some who disagree with the court ruling.
Vatican, China extend bishop agreement over US opposition
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican and China extended a controversial accord on bishop nominations Thursday over strong opposition from the White House and conservative Catholics given Beijing's crackdown on religious believers. The Holy See and Beijing government jointly announced a two-year extension to the 2018 agreement, which expired Thursday. Beijing foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing Thursday that China and the Vatican decided to extend the agreement “after friendly consultations." But he said the Vatican needed to chart its own path with China, regardless of U.S. policy. “The Vatican needs to have its own relationship with China, with the Chinese people who are so numerous."
Pope: Market capitalism has failed in pandemic, needs reform
ROME – Pope Francis says the coronavirus pandemic has proven that the “magic theories” of market capitalism have failed and that the world needs a new type of politics that promotes dialogue and solidarity and rejects war at all costs. “Fratelli Tutti” (Brothers All) was released on the feast day of his namesake, the peace-loving St. Francis of Assisi. In the encyclical, Francis rejected even the Catholic Church’s own doctrine justifying war as a means of legitimate defense, saying it had been too broadly applied over the centuries and was no longer viable. “Aside from the differing ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident,” Francis wrote. In this case, “Fratelli Tutti” is a quote from the “Admonitions,” the guidelines penned by St. Francis in the 13th century.
Vatican releases financial, budget data amid scandal
ROME – The Vatican released a detailed budget, balance sheet and earning statement for the first time ever Thursday as it seeks to reassure Catholics amid a corruption scandal that has exposed its shoddy financial management. The data marked the first time since 2016 that the Vatican has released any information about its finances, despite pledges by Pope Francis from the start of his pontificate in 2013 to be more transparent and accountable. The data showed that the Vatican bureaucracy had narrowed its deficit to 11 million euros from 75 million euros in 2018, despite a continued fall in donations from dioceses and individuals alike. Astonishingly, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - in recent decades perhaps the best-known Vatican office because it processes all clergy sex abuse cases - operates on an annual budget of 3.36 million euros. That represents 1% of the Curia’s budget for its apostolic work, far less than what is budgeted for the Vatican's Apostolic Library or Archives.
Pompeo urges Vatican to condemn human rights abuses in China
Pompeo made the appeal at a conference on religious freedom organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, with top Vatican officials in the audience. Pompeo has strongly criticized the accord, penning an essay earlier this month suggesting that the Vatican had compromised its moral authority by signing it. The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Holy See was “surprised” by Pompeo’s article. Both focused instead on the Holy See’s longstanding history of promoting religious freedom as a fundamental human right. After the conference, Pompeo met with Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, the first Group of Seven leader to sign onto China’s infrastructure-building Belt and Road initiative.
Nobel laureate refuses local honor over Poland's LGBT 'rift'
Tokarczuk said in a tweet Friday that while she appreciated being considered, she “sadly” couldn't accept Lower Silesia’s honorary citizenship. She said that receiving it at the same time as Bishop Ignacy Dec would highlight the “painful rift” in Poland over LGBT rights. Dec has repeatedly described the LGBT rights movement as a threat to the Catholic Church and to Poland, which is predominantly Catholic. “Instead of being a joyous celebration of a sense of community, it is a vivid illustration of the painful rift in our society,” she said. Poland has produced heated debates over LGBT rights in recent months, including after right-wing President Andrzej Duda described the movement as worse than communism as part of his reelection campaign earlier this year.
Pope seeks to 'liberate' Virgin Mary from the Mafia
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2019 file photo, Pope Francis blesses a statue of the Mother Mary as he celebrates Mass at the National Stadium, in Bangkok, Thailand. Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a new Vatican think tank that is seeking to prevent the Mafia and organized crime groups from exploiting the image of the Virgin Mary for their own illicit ends. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)ROME – Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a new Vatican think tank that is seeking to prevent the Mafia and organized crime groups from exploiting the image of the Virgin Mary for their own illicit ends. The Catholic Church in Italy has long been associated with the Mafia, thanks in part to their post-war common cause against communism. Marian devotion is particularly important to Francis, history's first pope from Latin America, where displays of such popular piety are common.
Pope: Gossiping is "plague worse than COVID"
VATICAN CITY Pope Francis said Sunday that gossiping is a plague worse than COVID that is seeking to divide the Catholic Church. Francis strayed from his prepared text to double down on his frequent complaint about gossiping within church communities and even within the Vatican bureaucracy. Please brothers and sisters, lets try to not gossip," he said. Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. The Catholic hierarchy has long relied on this fraternal correction among priests and bishops to correct them when they err without airing problems in public.
Priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Helotes tests positive for COVID-19
SAN ANTONIO – A priest at a Catholic church in Helotes has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine. Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church posted on Facebook Friday night that Father Juan Molina recently received a positive result. The church, located at 13715 Riggs Road, will remain open, as allowed under Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff’s ban of large gatherings. “Given the parish protocols for the celebration of Mass during this time, the church can remain open,” the post states. “As a reminder, the cleaning crew sanitizes the church after every Mass.
Pope moves against Polish bishop accused of hiding predators
Francis on Thursday named the archbishop of Lodz, Grzegorz Rys, to temporarily take over as head of the Kalisz diocese. The Vatican's ambassador, in explaining the decision, said the current Kalisz bishop, Edward Janiak, 67, retains the title of Kalish bishop for the time being. The film also documented another case of alleged cover-up of another priest during Janiaks time as Kalisz bishop. Polak in May wrote to the Vatican reporting the allegations against Janiak and asking for an investigation into them. Later in May, Kaliszs leading priests were asked by a local bishop to sign a letter to the Vatican pledging confidence in Janiak.
Community rallies to help repair humble West Side church
SAN ANTONIO Sacred Heart Church, a familiar landmark built on the citys West Side in 1963, was showing its age. The retired Army veteran from Detroit said he quickly volunteered after he was asked by former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros to oversee the work. Former homeless woman spearheads plan with San Antonio church to help evicted familiesCrosss wife, Lucrecia, is the former mayors executive assistant. A longtime parishioner himself at Sacred Heart, Cisneros brought what was needed to the Archdiocese of San Antonio. San Antonio Catholic churches make changes in preparation for reopeningMizengo said many of his parishioners have helped however they can, not just financially.
San Antonio Catholic churches make changes in preparation for reopening
SAN ANTONIO – A day after the announcement that churches in the Archdiocese of San Antonio can reopen next week, local parishes have received guidelines that must be followed. San Antonio archbishop announces when local parishes can reopenMass has been live-streamed and the pews are filled with pictures of church members. Now, keeping the guidelines of the health officials and the Archdiocese of San Antonio, we can only accommodate 25% of it, means almost 65 people,” Lakkisetti said. He said church staff will be constantly cleaning the building and disinfecting the pews after every Mass. Here are the new guidelines:Christ the King Catholic Church COVID-19 guidelines (KSAT)For more COVID-19 coverage from KSAT, click here.
San Antonio Archdiocese removes Helotes priest following 2 sexual misconduct allegations
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Archdiocese has removed the pastor of a Catholic church in Helotes after two people accused him of sexual misconduct. According to a letter dated April 30 from the archdiocese that was sent to parishioners, Monsignor Carlos Davalos sent two sexually inappropriate text messages to an adult parishioner earlier this year. Five days after the allegation, the archdiocese was informed that Davalos had addressed sexually inappropriate comments and questions to a minor. In addition to removing him as pastor, the archdiocese removed Davalos’ faculties to minister in the archdiocese. Archdiocese Letter by David Ibanez on ScribdThe San Antonio chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests credited the archdiocese for removing Davalos, but said it should not be involved in the investigation.
Churches adjust from filled pews to online services this Easter
“It’ll be a different Easter,” said Father Pat O’Brien, with St. Pius X Catholic Church. Both St. Pius X and First Baptist have been livestreaming on Facebook and their websites, as well as broadcasting on television. First Baptist Church services are a Sunday morning staple on KSAT 12. St. Pius X uses its Catholic Television channel and Spanish-language television. “God is going to love us through this time of uncertainty and all the pain that people are going through right now," Johnson said.