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Nation and world briefs


Bishop Foys of Covington retires; Illinois priest named successor

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Roger J. Foys of Covington, Kentucky, and named as his successor Father John C. Iffert, currently vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. Bishop Foys, who has headed the Diocese of Covington since 2002, is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. The bishop turns 76 July 27. The changes were announced July 13 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio. Bishop-designate Iffert, 53, was ordained a priest for the Belleville Diocese June 7, 1997, by then-Bishop Wilton D. Gregory.

Abuse allegation against retired Buffalo bishop under investigation

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Diocese of Buffalo said July 13 it has been notified of an allegation of abuse made against now-retired Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz by an individual who claims he was abused as a child in 1990 by the bishop. In a statement the diocese said it was made aware of the allegation by “an action brought pursuant to the Child Victims Act,” a New York law that allows for victims to file claims regardless of when or how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. Bishop Grosz, 76, who performs limited sacramental ministries in retirement, voluntarily agreed to step aside from active ministry and not exercise any priestly or episcopal functions pending a thorough investigation. He denied ever having abused an individual, either an adult or a minor.


Pope calls for calm, dialogue after Haitian president killed

VATICAN CITY — Condemning the “heinous assassination” of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, Pope Francis urged the people of Haiti to shun violence and make a commitment to dialogue and solidarity as the path to a better future. In a telegram sent to the Vatican nunciature in Haiti after the July 7 killing of Moïse and the wounding of his wife, Martine Moïse, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope offered his condolences to all Haitians and was praying for the former first lady’s recovery. “He wishes for the dear Haitian people a future of fraternal harmony, solidarity and prosperity,” the telegram said. The bishops of Haiti also released a statement condemning the assassination. Haiti has been plagued by gang violence that some have said affected the poorest citizens. After the assassination, borders were closed, and the prime minister declared a state of siege.

Pope names relator general for 2023 synod

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has chosen Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg to serve as relator general of the Synod of Bishops on synodality. The appointment of Cardinal Hollerich, who also serves as president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, was announced by the Vatican July 8. The relator is responsible for providing a comprehensive outline of the synod’s theme at the beginning of the meeting and for summarizing the speeches of synod members before work begins on concrete proposals for the pope. The theme chosen by the pope for the next synod is: “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.”

Franciscans elect Italian as 121st successor to St. Francis of Assisi

ROME — Members of the general chapter of the Order of Friars Minor elected Rome-born Father Massimo Fusarelli as the new minister general of the worldwide Franciscan order. The general chapter July 3-18 brought together 116 Franciscans representing some 13,000 friars. The election of the new head of the order took place July 13. Pope Francis congratulated Father Fusarelli and assured him of his prayers in a telegram sent shortly after the election. Father Fusarelli, 58, succeeds U.S. Franciscan Father Michael Perry, who was elected minister general in 2013 to finish the term of Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo when he was named secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Father Perry was elected to a six-year term in 2015.

Persecution worsens for Christians in Myanmar, experts say

BANGKOK — Christians and ethnic minorities in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar are facing increased oppression under the junta that overthrew the civilian government on Feb. 1, experts said during an online forum. The observers warned of the increased danger of persecution of ethnic and religious minorities including Christians in a July 8 panel discussion hosted by U.S.-based International Christian Concern. The panelists also discussed the ICC’s report released June 16, “Caught in the Crossfire: Myanmar’s Christian Minorities Under Tatmadaw Rule,” ucanews.com reported. The report revealed details of Christians in ethnic minority areas such as Kachin, Kayah and Chin states and in Wa state where they have historically faced oppression and persecution under more than five decades of iron-fisted military rule.

Pope released from hospital, prays at Rome basilica

VATICAN CITY — Ten days after undergoing intestinal surgery, Pope Francis was released from Rome’s Gemelli hospital, the Vatican confirmed. In a statement released July 14, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that after leaving the hospital midmorning, the pope visited the Basilica of St. Mary Major to say a prayer of gratitude before the icon of “Salus Populi Romani” (health of the Roman people). The pope thanked Mary “for the success of his surgery and offered a prayer for all the sick, especially those he had met during his stay in hospital,” the statement said. After praying at the basilica, the pope returned to his Vatican residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Bruni said. The pope was admitted to Gemelli hospital in the early afternoon July 4 to undergo “a scheduled surgical intervention.”

— Catholic News Service

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