Holy Cross priest who is Texas pastor named bishop for Florida diocese
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Holy Cross Father William A. Wack, who is a pastor in Texas, to be the bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee. Bishop-designate Wack, 49, has been pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin, Texas, since 2009. He succeeds Bishop Gregory L. Parkes, who was named in November to head the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida. The appointment was announced in Washington May 29 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The date of Bishop-designate Wack's episcopal ordination hasn't been determined.
Oregon Catholic father of four killed trying to protect fellow passengers
PORTLAND, Ore. — On a crowded Portland commuter train May 26, a selfless Catholic father of four stepped forward to calm a tense situation. Rick Best defended two women being accosted by a passenger yelling hate speech about Muslims and other groups. Best, a 53-year-old member of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, Ore., would die for his noble deed. In less than a minute, he and another defender were slain, slashed in the neck in front of horrified onlookers. Another man survived the knife attack. Best's funeral Mass is set for June 5 at Christ the King Church. The accused killer, 35-year-old Jeremy Christian, had been on a racially charged rampage. With a history of police run-ins going back 15 years at least, he was caught on camera in April, draped in an American flag and repeatedly yelling bigoted epithets during a demonstration in Portland. On his Facebook page, he posted a photo of himself performing the Nazi salute and declared himself a white supremacist.
Military archdiocese completes phase in cause for Vietnam-era chaplain
WASHINGTON — A tribunal of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services has wrapped up its nearly four-year inquiry into whether the life of Father Vincent R. Capodanno, a Vietnam War hero and U.S. Navy chaplain, merits consideration for sainthood. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who heads the Washington-based military archdiocese, announced May 21 that the archdiocesan phase in the Maryknoll priest's cause has concluded. His announcement came at the end of the 23rd annual memorial Mass celebrated to honor U.S. military members, living and dead, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The decision clears the way for the tribunal's findings to go to the Vatican's Congregation for Saints' Causes for its review and a possible decision on whether to advance the priest's cause to the next stage in the sainthood process. Archbishop Broglio has called Father Capodanno, who died in Vietnam Sept. 4,1967, one of the "great priest chaplains."
Appeals court upholds travel ban injunction
RICHMOND, Va. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, Va., issued a 10-3 ruling May 25 to uphold a Maryland federal court's injunction against President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban. Writing for the majority, Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory said: "Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation." Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Trump administration will file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mindanao bishops support 'temporary' martial law in wake of violence
MANILA, Philippines — Catholic bishops in the southern Philippines supported the declaration of martial law in Mindanao following an attempt by a band of gunmen claiming to be Islamic militants to seize a city. "At present we simply do not have solid and sufficient facts to absolutely reject the declaration of martial law as morally reprehensible," the bishops' said in a statement released May 29. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial across the southern part of the country after gunmen claiming to have links with the Islamic-State group stormed Marawi May 23. State security forces continued to battle with fighters of the Maute group May 29, resulting in the displacement of thousands of people. "We are certainly agreed that martial law must be temporary," the bishops of Mindanao stated, in the statement signed by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, ucanews.com reported.
Pope names Brazilian priest secretary of office for laity, family, life
VATICAN CITY — Eight months after the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life officially began functioning, Pope Francis named a 46-year-old Brazilian priest to serve as its secretary. The appointment of Schonstatt Father Alexandre Awi Mello was announced May 31 at the Vatican. U.S. Cardinal Kevin Farrell is prefect of the office for laity, family and life, which began operating in September. It was formed by uniting the pontifical councils for laity and for family. Pope Francis' statutes for the office give it responsibility "for the promotion of the life and apostolate of the lay faithful, for the pastoral care of the family and its mission according to God's plan and for the protection and support of human life."
— Catholic News Service