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Nation and world briefs


Abp. Lori: Church has keen desire to get right response to child sexual abuse

WASHINGTON — A week into National Child Abuse Protection Month, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori visited the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chapel April 8 to celebrate midday Mass for conference employees and reflect on the Church’s work to develop policies and procedures to prevent child abuse by those within the Church. He recognized that those who work at USCCB headquarters have a keen desire “to do everything possible to address on an ongoing basis the sexual abuse crisis that has roiled the Catholic Church for such a very long time. ... Nevertheless, all of us admit that much more still needs to be done, especially in the areas of episcopal transparency and accountability. There are many motivations for wanting to get this right,” he said at the Mass.

Vatican hands down final ruling against Guam bishop

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has rejected an appeal by the now-former Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana, Guam, upholding its judgment of finding him guilty of abuse against minors. The doctrinal tribunal’s decision is final and no further appeals are possible, it said in a communique published April 4. “The penalties imposed are as follows: the privation of office; the perpetual prohibition from dwelling, even temporarily, in the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Agana, and the perpetual prohibition from using the insignia attached to the rank of bishop,” it said. The 73-year-old member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin was ordained a bishop in 1984 and he “sacramentally” remains a bishop, Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, told reporters April 4. However, Gisotti added, Bishop Apuron has been formally removed from the “office” of archbishop of Agana, where he was installed in 1986. Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes, who was named coadjutor of the archdiocese in 2016, automatically becomes the archbishop of Agana, Gisotti said.


Bishops say no-fault divorce in U.K. undermines marriage from outset

MANCHESTER, England — The introduction of “no-fault” divorces in the United Kingdom will undermine marriages from the outset, said the Catholic bishops of England and Wales. In the first major overhaul of U.K. divorce law for 50 years, the British government announced April 9 that it would allow couples to split up simply by filing a statement to say the marriage had broken down irretrievably. An application can be made by just one of the spouses, and the other spouse will not have a right to legally contest the divorce if they disagree with it. The plans include a “cooling off” period of six months to allow spouses to reconsider any decision to break up. “If notice can be given by just one party that they wish to leave the marriage without any recourse for the party that has been left, the equality and validity of that contract and the trust and commitment vital for its success will be undermined at the outset,” said Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, chairman of the bishops’ Marriage and Family Life Committee.

Indian bishop charged with repeatedly raping nun

NEW DELHI — Indian police charged Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar of repeatedly raping a nun in her rural convent, the Associated Press reported. The bishop was charged April 9 with rape, illegal confinement and intimidation, among other charges, said Hari Sankar, a district police chief in the predominantly Catholic state of Kerala. Bishop Mulakkal was arrested Sept. 21 after a 48-year-old member of the Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under the prelate, complained that he raped her multiple times between 2014 and 2016 while he was visiting her convent in Kerala. The bishop, who was in charge of the congregation, denied the allegations.

Vatican updates norms for personal ordinariates

VATICAN CITY — Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI established personal ordinariates for Catholics coming from the Anglican tradition, the Vatican has issued a slightly updated set of norms governing them. The updated “complementary norms” include a provision Pope Francis approved in 2013 explicitly stating that the personal ordinariates are not only for former Anglicans and their families, but also may include persons evangelized and brought into the Catholic Church through the ordinariate’s ministry. The norms, approved by Pope Francis and released April 9, were drafted and published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees the ordinariates. Currently there are three personal ordinariates, which are jurisdictions similar in some ways to a diocese: the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham serves Catholics with an Anglican tradition in England and Wales; the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter covers the United States and Canada; and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross serves Australia. The ordinariates are led by an ordinary, who has the powers of a bishop, but may not necessarily be ordained a bishop.

Pope scheduled to address South Sudan leaders meeting at Vatican

VATICAN CITY — To help bring lasting peace to a nation scarred by civil war, Pope Francis was scheduled to speak with and bless leaders from South Sudan gathered for a retreat at the Vatican. “The highest civil and ecclesiastical authorities of South Sudan will participate” in the retreat April 10-11 in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence where the pope lives, Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, stated. The retreat was the idea of Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Communion, who was expected to attend. “This event, both ecumenical and diplomatic at the same time, was organized by mutual agreement between the (Vatican) Secretariat of State and the office of the archbishop of Canterbury with the goal of offering on the part of the Church a propitious occasion for reflection and prayer,” Gisotti stated April 9.

— Catholic News Service

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