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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Former nuncio heard rumors about McCarrick in 1994

VATICAN CITY — A former nuncio to the United States acknowledged hearing rumors about the sexual misconduct of Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick already in 1994. Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, who served as pro-nuncio to the United States from 1990 to 1998, told Catholic News Service Oct. 29 that he received a phone call from a woman in the months preceding St. John Paul II’s visit to the United States in 1995. “I remember in 1994, during the preparation of the papal visit to New York, Newark and Baltimore,” Cardinal Cacciavillan said, “I received a telephone call” at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. According to the 92-year-old retired papal diplomat, the caller feared there would be a “media scandal if the pope goes to Newark,” Archbishop McCarrick’s diocese, because of “voices, voices (rumors) about McCarrick’s behavior with seminarians. It was not a formal complaint, but the expression of a concern,” he said.

USCCB, dioceses ordered to retain documents

WASHINGTON — An attorney for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has confirmed that federal officials have asked the organization to keep documents and other files that might pertain to possible sex abuse allegations and other matters and to order the same of all dioceses around the country. “We have transmitted the U.S. attorney’s letter at his request and in the spirit of cooperation with law enforcement,” said Anthony Picarello, associate general secretary and general counsel for the USCCB in an Oct. 29 email to Catholic News Service. News reports in late October said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, sent the bishops’ conference a letter and instructions about the preservation of documents in early October asking that it be sent around to the country’s 197 dioceses.

Bishops consider endorsing sainthood cause of Sister Thea Bowman

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops will consider endorsing the sainthood cause of Sister Thea Bowman, the granddaughter of slaves and the only African-American member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who transcended racism to leave a lasting mark on Catholic life in the United States in the late 20th century. The request from Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson, Miss. — where Sister Bowman grew up and also where she ministered in her last years while taking care of her aging parents while subsequently fighting cancer herself — will be considered during the bishops’ Nov. 12-14 fall general meeting in Baltimore. In ecclesiological terms, Bishop Kopacz is asking whether it is advisable to initiate the sainthood cause at the local level, which is required by a 2007 instruction from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Sister Bowman, who died in March 1990 of cancer at age 52, has been declared a “servant of God.”

Catholic groups urge humane treatment of migrants in caravan

WASHINGTON — As a group from Central America heads to the border between the U.S. and Mexico, the Trump administration is said to be getting ready to send troops to meet them and Catholic groups are asking that the migrants be treated humanely. “As Catholic agencies assisting poor and vulnerable migrants in the United States and around the world, we are deeply saddened by the violence, injustice, and deteriorating economic conditions forcing many people to flee their homes in Central America,” according to a statement Oct. 29 from the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee and the president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services and of Catholic Charities USA. “While nations have the right to protect their borders, this right comes with responsibilities: Governments must enforce laws proportionately, treat all people humanely and provide due process,” said the three Catholic leaders, committee chairman Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, Sean Callahan of CRS and Dominican Sister Donna Markham of Catholic Charities.

WORLD

Pakistan court sets aside death sentence for woman

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s Supreme Court has set aside the death sentence of Asia Bibi, a Catholic convicted of blasphemy, and ordered her release from prison. A three-member court bench announced the verdict Oct. 31. The apex court ruled that Bibi be released from death row immediately if she had no other case registered against her, reported ucanews.com. Members of Tehreek-e-Labaik, an extremist group, initiated protests and blocked roads after the verdict. Khadim Rizvi, leader of the group, recently warned the judges, the government and local as well as international nongovernmental organizations of “dire” consequences if Bibi was set free. Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 on charges of making derogatory remarks about the prophet Muhammad during an argument with a Muslim farm worker. The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on the blasphemy case Oct. 8 and had barred media from covering the issue until the decision was announced by the court.

— Catholic News Service

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