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Nation and world briefs


Catholic leaders welcome eviction moratorium extension to June 30

CLEVELAND — The eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control has been extended three months, until June 30. The order from Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, said the extension was necessary to prevent potentially millions of renter households from being forced from their homes in the coming weeks. The action was welcomed by humanitarian and faith-based housing advocates who sought the extension as the coronavirus pandemic continues and the number of reported cases continues to rise in much of the country. Leaders from three national Catholic organizations were among those urging the CDC to act on behalf of renters and homeowners who have fallen behind on rent or mortgage payments. In a March 26 letter to Walensky seeking a moratorium until the pandemic runs its course, the leaders said the extension would protect vulnerable people from losing their homes. Sending the letter were Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA; and Mercy Sister Mary Haddad, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Church must build culture of transparency on abuse, USCCB committee says

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People have agreed with the National Review Board’s call that the Catholic Church must continue to build a culture of accountability and transparency regarding clergy sexual abuse. Bishop James V. Johnson Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, committee chairman, said in a statement that the members also agree with the all-lay review board “on the need to identify, address and correct systemic failures which hinder the best response to allegations.” The reaction was posted in March on the committee’s page on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website, www.usccb.org. It came in response to a Dec. 16 National Review Board statement following the release of the Vatican’s report on its investigation into former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.


Suicide bomb attack disrupts Palm Sunday Mass at Indonesian cathedral

MAKASSAR, Indonesia — A suicide bomb attack on a Catholic cathedral compound shattered the calm of Palm Sunday Mass, leaving two bombers dead and at least 20 people wounded. A destroyed motorbike and the body parts of a man and a woman were found after the bombers attacked the main gate of Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral around 10:30 a.m. March 28, reported ucanews.com. “We were suspicious because two perpetrators riding a motorbike tried to get into the churchyard, but our security guard stopped them, and several seconds later the bomb exploded,” Father Wilhelmus Tulak, who witnessed the incident, told ucanews.com. Father Tulak, parish priest of the cathedral, said five cathedral security guards and several congregation members suffered burns and injuries from the blast, but no one was killed.

Pope Francis grants Hamburg archbishop leave of absence from his duties

HAMBURG, Germany — Pope Francis has granted Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Hesse a leave of absence from his duties, the Hamburg Archdiocese announced March 29. The archbishop recently offered his resignation after a report on the handling of clergy sex abuse cases in the Cologne Archdiocese, where he served as director of personnel and vicar general. In the interim, Msgr. Ansgar Thim, vicar general, will handle archdiocesan administration, reported the German Catholic news agency, KNA. The question as to if or when the pope will accept Archbishop Hesse’s resignation remains open. The Vatican has so far not issued any statement on the case. Pope Francis now has time to unhurriedly decide about the resignation, KNA reported.

Vatican sanctions 2 Polish bishops over abuse cover-up

WARSAW, Poland — The Vatican has imposed sanctions on two Polish Catholic bishops, who resigned in 2020 after being accused of ignoring sexual abuse by their clergy. In simultaneous statements March 29, the apostolic nunciature in Warsaw said action had been taken against Archbishop Slawoj Glodz of Gdansk and Bishop Edward Janiak of Kalisz on the basis of canon law and Pope Francis’ May 2019 motu proprio, “Vos estis lux mundi.” The statement said the decisions were made after investigations into their handling of “abuse committed by some clergy against minors,” as well as “other issues” related to their time in office. It ordered both retired prelates to live outside their former dioceses and said they were forbidden to participate in public religious celebrations or lay meetings. The pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Janiak in October, after claims in two TV documentaries that he violated Polish law and Vatican guidelines by brushing aside complaints against local priests. In June, the Vatican also ordered inquiries into Archbishop Glodz, who resigned Aug. 13 after he was accused by local priests of failing to respond to abuse complaints.

After Bloody Saturday, Myanmar Catholics pray for peace, those who died

YANGON, Myanmar — While Catholics in Myanmar observed Palm Sunday, many in the Buddhist-majority country were crying at the funerals of more than 100 people killed the previous day. At least 114 people were killed by security forces March 27, the bloodiest day since the military seized power Feb. 1, reported ucanews.com. The day has been labeled Bloody Saturday. Dozens of victims were bystanders — including children — who were not taking part in anti-coup demonstrations. Ucanews.com said local media reported a man from Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, was shot and burned alive by security forces. Auxiliary Bishop John Saw Yaw Han of Yangon called on Catholics to pray earnestly to bring peace to Myanmar. “

Philippine cardinal, human rights advocate, named to Manila Archdiocese

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis named Cardinal Jose Advincula of Capiz to be the new archbishop of Manila. The March 25 announcement in Manila and at the Vatican filled the vacancy Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle left in February 2020, when he was called to the Vatican. The appointment puts Cardinal Advincula, a human rights advocate and promoter of strong families, in the same city as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has urged security forces to “kill” and “finish off” armed communist rebels and “not think about human rights.”

Naples archbishop orders removal of paintings donated by mafia boss

ROME — Archbishop Domenico Battaglia of Naples ordered the removal from a church of two religious paintings that were donated by a mafia boss who led one of the prominent clans in the Camorra crime syndicate. In a statement published March 29, the Archdiocese of Naples said Archbishop Battaglia gave the order after he was “recently made aware” of the paintings placed at the entrance of a church in the archdiocese with an inscription that read, “In devotion of Lorenzo Nuvoletta.” The late crime boss led the infamous Nuvoletta clan in the Neapolitan town of Marano di Napoli until his arrest in 1990. He died of liver cancer in 1994 while serving the remainder of his sentence under house arrest. The archdiocese said the archbishop ordered the removal of the paintings — one depicting Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii and the other St. Rita — to avoid confusing the faithful “with actions that could even remotely be traced back to an ambiguity between the Gospel and life.

— Catholic News Service

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