Canadian archdiocese drops vaccine requirement for Mass (Pillar) The Archdiocese of Moncton has rolled back a policy, issued earlier this week, that would have required proof of Covid vaccination for anyone attending Mass. Archbishop Valery Vienneau said that he had dropped that requirement after conferring with local public officials.
The archdiocese now will not require proof of vaccination. Instead it will require masks in churches, and limit the size of congregations to 50% of the building’s capacity.
The policy announced on Monday had stunned many Catholics, and gone well beyond the strict regulations issued by the government of the New Brunswick province. Mass-goers would have been required to show proof of vaccination, and ushers would have registered that information, making it available to public officials. That policy also apparently would have applied to confessions, in clear violation of the guaranteed anonymity of the confessional.
With that policy rescinded, the new rules in the Moncton archdiocese match those in other Catholic dioceses of New Brunswick.
Reflect, rebuild, and see, Pope preaches to Europe's bishops (Vatican Press Office) On September 23, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica (video) commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE).“Jesus does not ask us to make arguments for God, he asks us to show him, in the same way the saints did, not by words but by our lives,” the Pope said at the conclusion of his homily. “He calls us to prayer and poverty, creativity and gratuity. Let us help today’s Europe – faint with a weariness that is Europe’s current malady – to rediscover the ever youthful face of Jesus and his Bride. How can we fail to devote ourselves completely to making all people see this unfading beauty?”
Pelosi responds to Archbishop Cordileone; he answers (Washington Times) After San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone condemned legal abortion as “nothing short of child sacrifice,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi—who lives in his archdiocese—said that she and the archbishop “had a disagreement about who should decide this.” Pelosi went on: “I believe that god has given us a free will to honor our responsibilities.”
Archbishop Cordileone quickly shot back on his Twitter account: “Representatives in Congress: you have free will. Use it today to vote no to legalizing the killing of babies even weeks from birth. You have a choice. Give it to unborn babies, too.”
Cardinal Pell says he underestimated opposition to Vatican finance reform (Crux) Cardinal George Pell has acknowledged that he “underestimated the ingenuity and resilience of the opponents of reform” at the Vatican. While some of those opponents were simply averse to change, he said, there was also “certainly opposition from people linked to corruption.”
Speaking on September 23 at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, the Australian prelate said that he now realizes he should have fought harder for a full audit of Vatican offices—a measure that he had ordered, but was countermanded by the Secretariat of State. He also said that he should have fought the ouster of the Vatican’s own auditor, Libero Milone.
Cardinal Pell said that the forthcoming financial-misconduct trial at the Vatican should shed more light on the sources of corruption. He voiced the hope that the trial might also explain the transfer of over $7 million in Vatican funds to Australia, which is “still a situation that’s unclear.” Some observers have suggested that the funds were used to promote the prosecution of Cardinal Pell on abuse charges—prosecution that eventually led to his conviction, which was later overturned by Australia’s top court.
Vatican 'foreign minister,' at UN, decries racism, eugenics, persecution of religious believers (Holy See Mission) At a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration against racism, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States deplored racism and xenophobia, and also decried pre-natal eugenics and religious persecution.“The Durban Declaration rightly expresses concern about intolerance, hostile acts, and violence against religious groups,” said Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. “Individuals and entire populations are discriminated against because of their faith while perpetrators often enjoy impunity.”“Another form of discrimination is the insidious practice of eugenics,” he added. “Today, we could say that a eugenic mentality often lurks behind artificial procreation techniques and the dark sides of pre-natal diagnostics, where the idea that there are human beings of inferior value because of disability, sex, or other traits often leads to the denial of their right to life.”
Vatican gives German cardinal leave of absence after abuse investigation (Reuters) Cardinal Rainer Mari Woelki of Cologne will take time off “to reflect, to renew, and to reconcile” after a Vatican investigation confirmed that he had mishandled sex-abuse complaints. But the German cardinal, who has steadfastly resisted calls for his resignation, will remain as head of the Cologne archdiocese.
Cardinal Woelki had acknowledged failings in his response to a report on abuse in the archdiocese. But a Vatican investigation absolved him of covering up evidence.
Cardinal Woelki has been at odds with the majority of German bishops who have favored radical changes in the Church, in their support for the “Synodal Path” undertaken by the episcopal conference.
Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the conference, said that he was caught off guard by the Vatican’s September 24 announcement that Cardinal Woelki would remain in office after a period of leave.
In US, diocesan phase of Synod of Bishops concludes April 1 (CNS) The theme of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is For a synodal church: communion, participation, and mission. The synod begins at a local level in October 2021 and concludes in Rome in October 2023.Pope Francis will formally open the synodal process on October 9.In the US, “each diocese is being asked to submit a summary of local discussions by April 1 to the USCCB, which will then take a month to synthesize in a final written presentation for the Vatican,” according to the report.
Pope appoints delegate to govern Memores Domini movement (Vatican News) Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Filippo Santoro of Taranto, Italy, as his special delegate to govern the Memores Domini movement, replacing the current leadership.
The takeover follows a Vatican investigation that began in July 2020. At that time, Vatican officials explained that internal difficulties within the movement had prompted the intervention. Memores Domini is an outgrowth of the Communion and Liberation movement, whose membership has been divided in responding to the leadership of Pope Francis.
Memores Domini is composed of celibate lay members, who live in community. Several members of the group formed a domestic staff for Pope Benedict XVI during his pontificate, and continue to serve his household in retirement.
Texas bishop: Gov. Abbott is 'undermining our religious obligation to help those in need' (Wall Street Journal) In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville said that “our work [with migrants] has been threatened by the Texas state government.”“If the order goes into effect, it would forbid our organization to drive a pregnant woman to a doctor’s office or take a child to a hospital for care,” he continued. “It would forbid us to drive a migrant family to a bus station or airport so they could continue their journey to waiting family members.”
Venezuelan Cardinal Urosa Savino, critic of Maduro regime, dead at 79 (Fides) Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, the retired Archbishop of Caracas, died of Covid complications on September 23 at the age of 79.
In a last statement issued from his hospital bed, the Venezuelan cardinal— who had been a leading critic of the authoritarian regime led by President Nicolas Maduro— said: “I have always acted, not out of hatred or resentment, but for the defense of freedom, justice, and the rights of the Venezuelan people.” He added: “I hope that Venezuela comes out of this very negative situation.”
With the death of Cardinal Urosa Savino, there are now 218 living members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 121 are eligible to participate in a papal conclave.
Bishops in India's Karntaka state oppose anti-conversion law (Fides) The Catholic bishops of Karnataka have met with the state’s chief minister, Basavaraj Bommai, to urge his opposition to a proposed law against forcible religious conversion. Catholic leaders warn that the measure could be used against Church schools and hospitals, on the false pretext that the religious institutions require conversion as a condition for service.
Nun describes her service in Afghanistan (Aid to the Church in Need) Sister Shahnaz Bhatti, who left Afghanistan last month with the assistance of the Vatican representative and the Italian military, described the challenges she faced during her years running a school in Afghanistan for the intellectually disabled. “The most trying thing was not being able to move about freely, because, as women, we always had to be accompanied by a man,” she recalled.
Council of Cardinals meets with Pope to discuss next Synod of Bishops (Vatican News) Pope Francis instituted the advisory Council of Cardinals in 2013. Those participating in the online meeting with Pope Francis were Cardinals Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, Reinhard Marx, Sean O’Malley, Oswald Gracias, Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Pietro Parolin, and Giuseppe Bertello, along with the Secretary of the Council, Bishop Marco Mellino.The theme of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is “For a synodal church: communion, participation, and mission.” The synod begins at a local level in October 2021 and concludes in Rome in October 2023.
Cardinal Kasper repeats worries over German 'Synodal Path' (National Catholic Register) Cardinal Walter Kasper has warned that the “Synodal Path” proposed by the German bishops seems to be an effort to “reinvent the Church.” The German cardinal said that “many wonder whether all this is still entirely Catholic.”
Although he is generally regarded as a theological liberal, the retired German cardinal, has consistently expressed hesitation at the direction of the Synodal Path. Speaking last week about the stands endorsed by the episcopal conference, he said: “Some statements clearly deviate from the basic concerns of Vatican II, for example in the sacramental understanding of the Church and the episcopate.”