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Nation and world briefs


New Orleans Archdiocese pushes back on report alleging mishandled abuse cases

NEW ORLEANS — The Archdiocese of New Orleans and Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond are pushing back at a newspaper’s investigative report claiming they mishandled several claims of clerical abuse. The Guardian published an Aug. 8 investigative feature concluding that the “archbishop on six different occasions disregarded findings of credibility” for accused priests, allegedly overriding the archdiocesan review board, a consultative body required for each diocese or eparchy by the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” also known as the Dallas Charter. The newspaper article cited a confidential 48-page attorney’s memorandum it had obtained, claiming the document revealed the archdiocese was keeping several priests from being named as credibly accused while the archbishop approved a number of settlements. Allegations against the deceased or retired priests named in The Guardian’s report ranged from inappropriate touching to rape. “We adamantly deny the assertions made in The Guardian that allegations of sexual abuse were mishandled by Archbishop Aymond and the Archdiocese of New Orleans,” Sarah Comiskey McDonald, archdiocesan communications director, said. “Each allegation is complex and unique. A finding of credibility by the Internal Review Board is not a determination of guilt in either canon law or civil law,” she said. (OSV News)


Jesuit university’s accounts frozen in Nicaragua

MEXICO CITY — Nicaragua appears to have frozen the bank accounts of the country’s Jesuit university — marking yet another attack on the Catholic Church and its educational and charitable projects. The Central American University sent an email to students Aug. 9, stating, “By means beyond our control we are not receiving payments corresponding to fees or services from any of the instances of the university,” according to the independent Nicaragua news organization Divergentes. Divergentes cited a government source, saying the university’s accounts had been frozen. It later reported Aug. 10 that the Nicaraguan government had frozen the university’s assets two months ago, acting on orders from the prosecutor’s office, but had not advised the Central American University. The university has not offered an explanation for its problems in receiving payments. (OSV News)

As Niger coup standoff deepens, Catholic leaders warn against military intervention

NAIROBI, Kenya — As the standoff over a coup in Niger deepens, Catholic leaders in Africa are cautioning against a military intervention in the West African country. On July 26, Abdourahamane Tchiani, the general commander of the presidential guard and a former U.N. peacekeeper, proclaimed himself the leader of a new military junta in the country, after seizing power and detaining President Mohamed Bazoum. Tensions are rising in Niger, with the international community pressuring talks and the Church calling for a voice of reason. This is the fifth coup in the former French colony, which gained independence in 1960. In Niamey, the capital, reports indicated that citizens were storing food and other basic items, in anticipation of a military intervention threatened by the Economic Community of West African States if the new military leaders did not reinstate the president by Aug. 7. The military in Niger reacted with defiance, and the deadline has since passed. ECOWAS is a regional trading, political and economic union of 15 African nations. “We as (the) conference of bishops in Burkina Faso and Niger have delivered our messages that we do not support any military intervention as a solution to the current crisis in Niger,” Bishop Laurent Birfouré Dabiré of Dori, president of the bishops’ conference of Burkina Faso and Niger said at a news conference in Nairobi Aug. 9. Church leaders, diplomats and analysts fear that a military intervention in Niger would turn bloody and result in the deaths of thousands or other consequences such as food shortages. (OSV News)

Vatican investment office reports $35 million profit for 2022

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican investment office made 32.27 million euros (about $35.2 million) in profit in 2022 and contributed the entire amount to the Vatican’s operating budget, said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. The profit was close to 6 million euros less than what the investments earned in 2021, the bishop said in the annual report of the administration, which is known by its Italian acronym, APSA, and controls most of the Vatican’s portfolio, including real estate. “Transparency of numbers, achievements and defined procedures is one of the tools we have at our disposal to ward off — at least in those who are free of preconceptions — unfounded suspicions regarding the extent of the Church’s assets, its administration or the fulfillment of the duties of justice, such as payment of due taxes and other tributes,” the bishop wrote in his introduction to the 104-page report, which was published in early August. (CNS)

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