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Nation and world briefs


Buffalo Diocese, N.Y. attorney general settle lawsuit over sexual abuse

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Diocese of Buffalo and the New York attorney general’s office have reached a settlement in a 2020 civil lawsuit filed by the state regarding the diocese’s handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations. Under the agreement, filed Oct. 25 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the diocese is required to implement enhanced child protection measures. It also prohibits two retired bishops alleged to have covered up clergy sexual abuse from holding any fiduciary roles within New York. “The settlement that the diocese and the New York attorney general have agreed to confirms that the rigorous policies and protocols the diocese has put in place over the past several years are the right ones to ensure that all young people and other vulnerable persons are safe and never at risk of abuse of any kind by a member of the clergy, diocesan employee, volunteer, or member of a religious order serving in the Diocese of Buffalo,” Buffalo Bishop Michael W. Fisher said in a statement. The settlement comes in a case filed by the attorney general’s office in November 2020 that accused diocesan leaders of protecting more than two dozen priests accused of child sexual abuse.

Pope names pastor in New Orleans as auxiliary bishop of Atlanta

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Father John-Nhan Tran, a priest in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and pastor of Mary Queen of Peace in Mandeville, Louisiana, as auxiliary bishop of Atlanta. Bishop-designate Tran, 56, was born in Vietnam and escaped with his family to the United States after the Vietnam War as a refugee when he was 9. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1992. His appointment was announced Oct. 25 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States. The ordination will take place Jan. 23, 2023. The bishop-designate attended Don Bosco College in Newton, New Jersey, and St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, Louisiana. He earned a master of divinity in theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He has served at eight parishes in the Archdiocese of New Orleans as both a parochial vicar and pastor.


Academy for Life president defends appointment of economist

VATICAN CITY — Convinced that poverty, inequality and economic systems are killing millions of people each year and threatening the dignity of many more people, Pope Francis appointed an economist to the Pontifical Academy for Life. But the nomination of Mariana Mazzucato, a professor of the economics of innovation and public value at University College London, raised concern in some quarters because of her retweets or positive comments on tweets in June criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overrule Roe v. Wade and affirm that there is no constitutional right to abortion in the United States. Mazzucato’s nomination, as well as the nomination of six other new members, was announced by the Vatican Oct. 15. In the wake of the criticism, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the academy, told Catholic News Service Oct. 20 that all the members, including Mazzucato, “have at heart the value of human life in their area of expertise. They are not all Catholics and do not profess all the tenets of the Catholic faith. And we know there are differences on the level of ethics, but they defend life in its entirety.” A statement from the academy Oct. 19 said, “The Pontifical Academy for Life is a body of study and research. So, debate and dialogue take place among people from different backgrounds.” However, it added, when a document is prepared for publication by the academy it is first reviewed by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope appeals for end to fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

VATICAN CITY — The day after Pope Francis appealed for political leaders in Ethiopia to “end the suffering of the defenseless population,” representatives of the Ethiopian government and of its rival Tigray forces announced they would meet in South Africa for peace talks originally scheduled for early October. “I follow the persistent situation of conflict in Ethiopia with trepidation,” Pope Francis had told pilgrims joining him Oct. 23 for the midday recitation of the Angelus at the Vatican. “I appeal to those who hold political responsibility to put an end to the suffering of the defenseless population and to find equitable solutions for lasting peace throughout the country,” he said. The Reuters news agency reported Oct. 24 that the Ethiopian government had issued a statement saying its delegation had left for South Africa to participate in the talks, which are being mediated by the African Union. Kindeya Gebrehiwot, a spokesman for the Tigray forces, had tweeted earlier in the day that the Tigray delegation had already arrived. In the tweet, Gebrehiwot said the most pressing issues were “immediate cessation of hostilities, unfettered humanitarian access & withdrawal of Eritrean forces. There can’t be a military solution!”

Vatican, China renew agreement on bishops

VATICAN CITY — Saying it is committed to “respectful dialogue” with China’s communist government and to “fostering the mission of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people,” the Vatican announced it has renewed its agreement with China on the appointment of bishops. The “provisional agreement,” forged in 2018 and renewed in 2020, has been extended for another two years, the Vatican announced Oct. 22. The text of the agreement has never been made public, but Vatican officials said it outlines procedures for ensuring Catholic bishops are elected by the Catholic community in China and approved by the pope before their ordinations and installations. In the past four years, only six bishops have been named and installed under the terms of the agreement. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, noted that the achievements of the agreement also included the lifting of the excommunications or irregular status of seven bishops who had been ordained with government approval, but not the Vatican’s consent and, he said. Many dioceses are still without bishops or have very elderly bishops, he said, but the process is continuing.

— Catholic News Service

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