Report states genocide of Christians continues
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration renews its commitment to the protection of religious minority groups threatened by the Islamic State in the Middle East, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the preface of the annual State Department report on international religious freedom, released Aug. 15. "ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled," Tillerson stated Aug. 15. "ISIS is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other minorities." Since the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, the State Department documents the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries around the world, reporting to Congress the "violations and abuses committed by governments, terrorist groups, and individuals."
Women religious advised to focus on communion, not numbers
ORLANDO, Fla. — Sister Mary Pellegrino, outgoing president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, urged participants at the group's annual assembly in Orlando not to focus on dwindling numbers of women religious but instead on the communion they have with each other. She said the danger of focusing too much on decreasing numbers is that it diminishes every vocation, the Church and even God. "It's rooted in a corporate God who ascribes to human notions of progress and growth, rather than rhythmic patterns of fruitfulness," Sister Pellegrino, a Sister of St. Joseph, said in Aug. 10, adding that concern about smaller numbers also "reflects our fears and our uneasy and unresolved relationship with death." She said a new emphasis on deepening communion could be liberating but also challenging. Sister Pellegrino gave the keynote address during the Aug. 8-11 assembly for the association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States.
Auxiliary appointed for Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Father Andriy Rabiy as auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. Bishop-designate Rabiy, 41, currently serves as vicar general and vice chancellor of the archeparchy and as pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Reading, Pa. The appointment was announced in Washington Aug. 8 by Msgr. Walter Erbi, charge d'affaires at the apostolic nunciature in the United States. Born Oct. 1, 1975, in Lviv, Ukraine, Bishop-designate Rabiy studied at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington and was ordained to the priesthood in 2001.
Venezuelan cardinal rejects U.S. military intervention
VATICAN CITY — A Venezuelan cardinal rejected the possibility of foreign intervention in the country following U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to pursue a military option. "The crisis we Venezuelans are suffering is so serious that now an external problem arises: the threats of a military option by President Trump," Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas said. The cardinal spoke Aug. 13 after celebrating the 150th anniversary of the consecration of his archdiocese's cathedral Aug. 13. He rejected the assertion that foreign military intervention could solve the crisis Venezuela is experiencing. "I — and I am sure all the Venezuelan bishops — reject all foreign military interference, such as the Cuban one present for some time in Venezuela," Cardinal Urosa said, "and I do not agree with the threat of a military option." After a meeting Aug. 11 with Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State, Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and H.R. McMaster, national security adviser, Trump told journalists that a military intervention was "certainly something that we could pursue."
Mexico City Archdiocese clarifies abuse case reports
MEXICO CITY — The Archdiocese of Mexico City said it reported six cases of priests accused of sexually abusing minors to prosecutors between 2010 and 2017, following a change in Mexico's Religious Associations Law requiring such crimes to be brought to the authorities' attention. "Cardinal Norberto Rivera left it clear that, starting with the implementation of (the law in 2010) — which requires religious leaders and their representatives to inform the corresponding authority about the probable committing of crimes — he had knowledge of the probable commission of six acts, presumably criminal, after being told by his vicars," the archdiocesan publication Desde la Fe stated in article Aug. 10. "He instructed (the vicars) to report them immediately to the corresponding authorities." The article followed news that Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera was interviewed by an investigator from the federal attorney general's office over criminal complaints of covering up 15 cases of abuse. Cardinal Rivera's lawyer, Armando Martinez Gomez, said the complaints were filed by a pair of former priests. Father Hugo Valdemar Romero, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, said the accusations were brought to "create a scandal of such a level that the pope would accept (the cardinal's) resignation" more quickly. Cardinal Rivera turned 75 June 6 and, in accordance with canon law, submitted his resignation to Pope Francis.
Kenyan bishops urge calm after election protests
NAIROBI, Kenya — Catholic bishops in Kenya called for calm in the East Africa nation, as pockets of violent postelection protests left at least five dead in opposition strongholds. The protests had ignited slums in Nairobi and Kisumu after Raila Odinga, the main opposition candidate, rejected the provisional early results, which showed incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta had taken an early lead in voting Aug. 8. "We are saying to the actors (politicians), you were given an opportunity to go around the country; now can you stop and reflect and allow Kenyans to pause as they wait for the results," said Bishop Alfred Rotich, retired head of the country's military diocese, Aug. 10. "We need to be calm, we need to be sober ... this is moment for peace," he added. In Eldoret, Bishop Cornelius Arap Korir issued a similar appeal. In some areas, his diocese is still recovering from deadly postelection violence that occurred 10 years ago. "We urge calm. Those who (are) aggrieved should go to court,"Bishop Arap Korir said.
— Catholic News Service