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Nation and world briefs


Church leaders seek aid for Catholic students in coronavirus relief bill

WASHINGTON — Some of the country’s most prominent Church leaders appealed to Congressional negotiators to include financial support for families to continue to send their children to Catholic and non-public schools in a coronavirus relief bill currently being negotiated. Explaining how the deep economic recession caused by the pandemic since March has “made it impossible for many struggling families to continue paying tuition,” five cardinals, an archbishop and a bishop called for the aid in an Aug. 5 letter to Republican and Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives and Senate. The letter, released Aug. 6, implored for “robust” assistance “to ensure that the education needs of all children are met, including children in Catholic and other non-public schools.” Among those signing the letter were Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York; Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago; and Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education. The correspondence was the third plea for support in recent weeks by Church leaders as Republican and Democratic congressional leadership and the administration were locked in days of negotiations over specific measures in the relief bill.

Pope accepts resignation of Bishop LeVoir of New Ulm, Minn.

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop John M. LeVoir of New Ulm, Minnesota. He has headed the diocese since 2008. The resignation was announced in Washington Aug. 6 by Msgr. Walter Erbi, charge d’affaires at the apostolic nunciature in Washington. Born Feb. 7, 1946, in Minneapolis, Bishop LeVoir is 74 and just a few months year shy of 75, the age when bishops are required by canon law to turn in their resignation to the pope. Ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis May 30, 1981, then-Father LeVoir had parish assignments in Stillwater, Minnesota, and in South St. Paul. He was named the fourth bishop of New Ulm July 14, 2008. He was installed Sept. 15, 2008. In early March 2017 the New Ulm Diocese filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to settle abuse cases filed against the diocese.


Pope Francis appoints six women to Council for Economy

Renewing the membership of the Vatican Council for the Economy, Pope Francis named six women to the previously all-male board that oversees the financial operations of all Vatican offices and entities. Statutes for the council, approved by the pope in 2015, say the body will have 15 members: eight cardinals or bishops and seven laypeople, each serving a five-year term. The original seven lay members were all men with experience in business, finance or government. The six women the pope named to replace them Aug. 6 have a similarly high profile and background. The six are: Charlotte Kreuter-Kirchhof, a German professor of law; Marija Kolak, president of Germany’s national association of cooperative banks; Maria Concepcion Osacar Garaicoechea, a Spaniard and founding partner of the Azora Group and president of the Board of Azora Capital and Azora Gestion; Eva Castillo Sanz, former president of Merrill Lynch Spain and Portugal; Ruth Maria Kelly, a former banking executive, former member of Parliament and former secretary of education in Great Britain; and Leslie Jane Ferrar, former treasurer to Prince Charles. The only layman named to the council was Alberto Minali, a former executive at an Italian insurance company. According to Vatican News, Pope Francis renewed German Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s mandate as “cardinal coordinator” of the council. The cardinal, who is archbishop of Munich and Freising, also serves on the pope’s international advisory Council of Cardinals. The pope also renewed the mandate of Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, South Africa. The new cardinals and bishops named to the council are: Cardinals Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary; Odilo Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo; Gerald Lacroix of Quebec; Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey; Anders Arborelius of Stockholm; and Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of L’Aquila, Italy.

Weapons must be set aside for peace to flourish, pope says

VATICAN CITY — For peace to flourish, weapons of war must be set aside, especially nuclear weapons that can obliterate entire cities and countries, Pope Francis said on the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. “May the prophetic voices” of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki “continue to serve as a warning to us and for coming generations,” he said in a written message sent Aug. 6 to Hidehiko Yuzaki, governor of the Hiroshima prefecture, who led a peace memorial ceremony. The pope also invited people to pray for a nuclear weapons-free world after reciting the Angelus Aug. 9.

Salvadoran bishops demand justice after seminary rector killed

WASHINGTON — During his Aug. 8 homily, Bishop Elías Bolaños Avelar of Zacatecoluca, El Salvador, admitted he was still struggling with the Aug. 6 killing of a priest from his diocese, who also was the rector of the philosophy department at the St. Óscar Romero Seminary in Santiago de María. Many young men knew him as a rector of their seminary, but priest friends knew Father Ricardo Cortez, who was in his 40s, as the “philosopher of Agape, the philosopher of love” because of his great smile and friendship, Bishop Bolaños said during a homily at the priest’s funeral Mass. Authorities said they found the lifeless body of the priest near a road, close to a car he was driving, after being alerted early Aug. 7, but he may have been killed the day before. Father Cortez is the third priest killed in the country in the last 18 months, and most of the country’s bishops showed up to the funeral Mass to demand justice for the killing.

— Catholic News Service

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