Cologne cardinal warns German 'synodal path' could cause schism (CNS) It would “be the worst thing if something like a German national church were to be created here,” said Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who expressed hope that the synodal path would initiate “a true reform, which is definitely needed in the Church.” He added that many German Catholics do not know “who Christ is, what the Church is, they no longer know what a sacrament is, what the sacramental structure of the Church is.”
US Secretary of State prods Vatican on accord with Beijing (First Things) “Two years on, it’s clear that the Sino-Vatican agreement has not shielded Catholics from the Party’s depredations,” writes US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in a column appearing on the First Things web site. Pompeo argues that the Holy See should show moral leadership by pressing Beijing to recognize religious liberty and other fundamental human rights.
Oklahoma City priest 're-ordained' after learning of invalid baptism (Archdiocese of Oklahoma City) In a case similar to that of a Detroit priest, Father Zachary Boazman “reviewed a family recording of his infant baptism in 1992” and saw that the deacon of the Diocese of Fort Worth used an invalid baptismal formula. He immediately contacted Archbishop Paul Coakley and was baptized, confirmed, and ordained. In addition, the archbishop “sanated (validated) the marriages celebrated by Father Boazman in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City ... Baptisms he performed were not affected, since anyone can baptize as long as they use the required wording with the proper intention.”
Pope expresses closeness to sick, elderly priests (Vatican Press Office) In a message to the sick and elderly priests of Lombardy (map), Pope Francis said, “In reality, you are priests who, in prayer, in listening, in the offering of suffering, carry out a ministry that is not of secondary importance in your churches ... Fragility can be ‘like a refiner’s fire, like fuller’s lye’ (Malachi 3:2), which, lifting us up towards God, refines us and sanctifies us. Let us not be afraid of suffering: may the Lord bear the cross with us!”
Chinese priest released, but bishop in custody (AsiaNews) Father Liu Maochun, a priest of the “underground” Catholic Church who had been held for 17 days by government officials, has been released. But Catholics of the Zhengding diocese in Hebei province report that Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo has been held by officials of the government’s religious-affairs bureau for over a month. Bishop Jia is not recognized by the government.
'Lives will be upended': US bishops decry federal court decision on TPS (USCCB) TPS (temporary protected status) allows migrants from some countries to live and work in the US, and a federal appellate court has ruled that President Trump has the authority to end TPS for migrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan. Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration and the president of Catholic Relief Services in lamenting the decision.
Churches again close, public Mass suspended in Dublin (Dublin archdiocese) Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has warned pastors that with the city announcing “level 3” Covid restrictions, churches will be closed “except for private prayer, weddings and funerals.” Public celebration of Mass will be suspended. The archbishop gave no sign of opposition to the government mandate, saying, “we are called to make painful sacrifice for the common good.”
Top Vatican officials vow to cooperate against corruption (CNA) Two ranking Vatican officials have signed a public statement pledging cooperation in the battle to eliminate corruption. The Vatican cited the accord between Father Juan Antonio Guerrero, who heads the Secretariat for the Economy, and Alessandro Cassinis Righini, the acting auditor general, as “a further concrete act that demonstrates the desire of the Holy See to prevent and combat the phenomenon of corruption inside and outside the Vatican City State.” Father Guerrero, a Jesuit priest, occupies the office once held by Cardinal George Pell. Righini is the interim auditor general. Libero Milone, the last auditor general, was forced to resign in June 2017; a permanent replacement has not yet been named.
Pause to evaluate catechetical programs, Quebec cardinal suggests (Catholic Herald) Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec has suggested that parishes should “pause” to re-evaluate their catechetical efforts after the Covid lockdown. The cardinal said that the break in teaching caused by the lockdown is an opportunity to examine the programs, recognizing that “our methods and ways of doing things do not bear the fruits we expect.”
Hong Kong Watch chairman: Vatican is providing China with 'useful idiots and fellow travelers' (Foreign Policy) Writing in Foreign Policy magazine, which is owned by the Washington Post, the chair of Hong Kong Watch said that “the Chinese Communist Party knows how to make use of what Lenin described as ‘useful idiots.’ Mao was adept at using ‘fellow travellers.’ When you have Vatican officials extolling the virtues of Chinese communism, as the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, did when he described it as the best example of Catholic Social Teaching, it is evident that the Vatican has provided Beijing with both useful idiots and fellow travellers.”
Fire at Australian cathedral deemed suspicious (Catholic Weekly) At St. Carthage’s Cathedral Parish in Lismore, (map), “the sacristy sustained damage as a result of the fire, but not the main part of the cathedral,” according to the report. Bishop Gregory Homeming, OCD, said, “I’m not disturbed by what has happened, it’s a building and I thank God that no one was injured.”
$12M shrine dedicated in Canada (B.C. Catholic) Our Lady of the Rockies Shrine in Canmore, Alberta, is a new shrine of the Diocese of Calgary. The shrine, constructed at the cost of 16 million Canadian dollars ($12.1M US dollars), is “strategically placed at the crossroads of one of Canada’s premier tourist destinations,” according to the report.
Wellpath sued by EEOC for religious discrimination (US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission) “A nurse who is a practicing Apostolic Pentecostal Christian was hired by Wellpath to work in the GEO Central Texas Correctional Facility in downtown San Antonio,” according to the EEOC. “Before reporting to work, the nurse told a Wellpath human resources employee that her religious beliefs require her to dress modestly and to wear a scrub skirt instead of scrub pants while at work. In response, Wellpath denied the request for her religion-based accommodation and rescinded the nurse’s job offer.”
NJ town agrees to let Jewish congregation build worship center after feds sue (NJ.com) “For years, the congregation had tried to purchase property in Woodcliff Lake in order to build a worship center big enough for its needs,” according to the report. “On three separate occasions, the borough purchased or re-zoned the parcels Valley Chabad attempted to purchase, preventing development of a Chabad house.” Valley Chabad is “an Orthodox Jewish congregation affiliated with the Chabad Lubavitch Hassidic movement,” according to the federal court decision.
NPR: Biden's Catholic faith is 'central to how he sees the world' (NPR) The host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition said, “Joe Biden is known to carry a rosary in his pocket and to go to Mass every Sunday. If elected, he would be only the second Catholic president in American history ... his faith is central to how he sees the world.” Sister Carol Keehan, former CEO of the Catholic Health Association, told NPR that “when Joe Biden talks about faith, he talks very much about things like the Gospel of Matthew.”