All posts tagged: Catholic

Retired Catholic bishop charged with sexual offenses in northwest Australia

Retired Catholic bishop charged with sexual offenses in northwest Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A retired Catholic bishop has been charged with sexual offenses including child abuse in a remote part of Australia’s northwest. Christopher Saunders, 74, will appear in the Broome Magistrates Court on Thursday in the heart of the sprawling Outback diocese where he had actively served as a cleric for 45 years, a police statement said. He has been in police custody since detectives charged him Wednesday with 19 offenses including indecent assault and indecently dealing with a child, the statement said. The allegations date to 2008 and cover Broome as well as the far-flung northwest towns of Kununurra and Kalumburu. Saunders has previously denied any wrongdoing. Saunders resigned in 2021 as bishop of Broome, a diocese larger than France but with a population of only 50,000 people, after police announced they had dropped a sex crime investigation. He had stood down a year earlier after media reported the allegations. A Vatican investigation into child sexual abuse allegations against Saunders began in 2022. That investigation became public knowledge last year when an …

Texas attorney general moves to shut down Catholic migrant shelters

Texas attorney general moves to shut down Catholic migrant shelters

(RNS) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued a volunteer-run network of Catholic migrant shelters based in El Paso, Texas, aiming to revoke the organization’s nonprofit registration. The lawsuit comes after Annunciation House moved to delay handing over documents about its clients to the attorney general. Paxton’s office said it had demanded Annunciation House records because of the organization’s “potential efforts to facilitate illegal immigration.” “The Office of the Attorney General (‘OAG’) reviewed significant public record information strongly suggesting Annunciation House is engaged in legal violations such as facilitating illegal entry to the United States, alien harboring, human smuggling, and operating a stash house,” the office wrote in a press release on Tuesday (Feb. 20). If Paxton, a Republican, is successful, Annunciation House, which was founded in 1976, could be required to cease sheltering migrants entering Texas. The lawsuit “seeks to revoke Annunciation House’s authorization to do business in Texas and asks the court to appoint a receiver to liquidate their assets,” Paxton’s office wrote.  On its website, Annunciation House says it has hosted …

Catholic migrant shelter battles Texas AG, who wants to shut it down

Catholic migrant shelter battles Texas AG, who wants to shut it down

Texas’ attorney general wants to shut down a faith-based group that has sheltered migrants for decades, escalating conservatives’ targeting of Catholic organizations and amping up the state’s own immigration enforcement operation. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, has sued to revoke the license to operate of Annunciation House in the border city of El Paso, after a judge sided with the nonprofit and allowed it 14 days to respond to a demand for records by Paxton. Paxton’s office requested among other things logs identifying people to whom the organization has provided services. Paxton’s office said in a statement Tuesday that public records it has reviewed suggest the organization has been helping undocumented people enter the country, among other things. But Jerome Wesevich, the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid attorney representing Annunciation House, said Paxton’s lawsuit to shut down Annunciation House and its shelters has never been about obtaining documents. “What they wanted was a pretext to shut us down,” Wesevich told NBC News. A new Texas law that enhances penalties for the smuggling of people …

Orbán faces the biggest challenge of his political career – POLITICO

Orbán faces the biggest challenge of his political career – POLITICO

Magyar said Rogan had not only amassed riches through his positions, but was the “one-man, unlimited master of the secret services and propaganda,” whose agents had even interfered in his private life with Varga. “Rogan has to go,” he declared. The video went viral within Hungary, garnering in excess of 1.6 million views within just two days, in a country with a population of little under 10 million. And coming just hours after the Novak-Varga scandal, Magyar’s allegations-cum-revelations left Fidesz in shock. Such defections from party insiders are almost unprecedented. This isn’t the first time the prime minister has gone through a nasty break with a government official, but previous incidents featured little in the minds of the average voter. By contrast, the well-groomed Novak, who seemingly personified the ideal of the peace-loving, family-defending conservative Christian woman, was a household figure who appeared on state-controlled television daily. In the days since the scandal, Magyar has now moved on to attacking Orbán’s son-in-law István Tiborcz — who has acquired holdings in hotels, banks and a host …

Catholic bishops in Mexico say they negotiated for possible peace accord with drug cartel leaders

Catholic bishops in Mexico say they negotiated for possible peace accord with drug cartel leaders

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Four Roman Catholic bishops met with Mexican drug cartel bosses in a bid to negotiate a possible peace accord, one of the bishops said, and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Thursday he approves of such talks. The revelation by Bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, José de Jesús González Hernández, in remarks at a public appearance, illustrate the extent to which the government’s policy of not confronting the cartels has left average citizens to work out their own separate peace deals with the gangs. López Obrador acknowledged it wasn’t the first time church leaders had held such talks, and that they have done so before in the neighboring state of Michoacan and in other states. “Priests and pastors and members of all the churches have participated, helped in pacifying the country. I think it is very good,” López Obrador said the day after the existence of the negotiations was revealed. He said such talks had been held in the neighboring state of Michoacan and in other places in Mexico as well. “The church …

Catholic Church works to explain what same-sex blessings are

Catholic Church works to explain what same-sex blessings are

A same-sex couple receives a blessing in front of Germany’s Cologne Cathedral in September 2023, a few months before Pope Francis officially declared such blessings allowable. Martin Meissner/AP hide caption toggle caption Martin Meissner/AP A few years ago, Javier López and his partner of 14 years, Sergio Guzmán, were visiting family in Mexico. While there, a priest — who’s a longtime friend — surprised the couple. “I just want to make sure that you guys take care of each other,” López recalls the priest saying. “And at that point he actually asked us to kneel in front of him and gave us a blessing.” It was something López says they never expected: “We were shocked and surprised and really, like, ‘I guess this is official now.’” The moment was poignant for both López and Guzmán. “He was a friend of the family but represents the church as well,” Guzmán says, “so it was a great affirmation and not a condemnation of our relationship.” The blessing wasn’t planned or even asked for, but López says that …

How Pope Francis is recasting Catholic Church’s views on intimacy

How Pope Francis is recasting Catholic Church’s views on intimacy

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — A recently resurfaced book by the Vatican’s doctrine czar, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, caused a stir in the Catholic world when it described orgasms as a “sublime act of worship of God.” But the book, titled “Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality” and written in the 1990s, is hardly the first time a Catholic leader — or even a pope — has spoken candidly about sex. For Pope Pius XII, there was nothing wrong in married couples seeking pleasure during sex, and Pope John Paul II described marital intercourse as the representation of God as love in his 1960 book “Love and Responsibility.” And it was under his pontificate that Fernández, now the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote those now infamous lines elevating the orgasm to a kind of divine adoration. In his decade as pope, Francis has tried to usher in a more positive, frank approach to the topic of sex in the Catholic Church, urging the institution to reckon with the real-life experiences of …

In Northern Ireland, ‘a Protestant state’ finally has a Catholic leader – POLITICO

In Northern Ireland, ‘a Protestant state’ finally has a Catholic leader – POLITICO

Demands and priorities Britain is providing the executive an extra £3.3 billion to start patching holes in services and pay long-delayed wage hikes that just triggered the biggest public sector strike in Northern Ireland’s history. The trouble is, the head of Northern Ireland’s civil service, Jayne Brady, has already told the new leaders that these eye-watering sums are still too small to pay the required bills. The U.K. expects Stormont to raise regional taxes, something local leaders have been loath to do. If anything can unite unionist and republican politicians, it’s their shared demand for the U.K. Treasury to keep sending more moolah — even though the British government already has committed to pay Northern Ireland over the odds into perpetuity at a new rate of £1.24 versus an equivalent £1 spent in England. Money demands and spending priorities should underpin short-term stability at Stormont. But a U.K. general election looms within months and DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson wants to reverse his party’s losses to Sinn Féin. That could be complicated by the fact that he’s just compromised on …

how the Catholic church shaped Ireland’s constitution to define the status of women

how the Catholic church shaped Ireland’s constitution to define the status of women

It has been 87 years since feminist and activist Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington declared that the new 1937 Irish constitution was based on a “fascist model, in which women would be relegated to permanent inferiority”. Several clauses were labelled “sinister and retrogressive” by women’s groups who feared gender bias embedded within the constitution would restrict Irish women to their domestic roles as wives and mothers. Since the constitution entered into force, it has been amended 32 times. The ban on abortion, for example, was overturned in 2018 – a move that the current Irish Taoiseach (prime minister), Leo Varadkar, described as the latest step in a “quiet revolution” towards modernity. Read more: According to Ireland’s constitution, a woman’s duties are in the home – but a referendum could be about to change its sexist wording On March 8 2024 (also International Women’s Day), the Irish electorate will vote once again to amend the constitution and formally change the status of women in Ireland. This time the choice is to either retain Article 41.2 – the “woman in …

In Catholic men’s religious orders, diversity brings new opportunities — and occasional friction

In Catholic men’s religious orders, diversity brings new opportunities — and occasional friction

(RNS) — Tuan Anh Nguyen’s journey to religious life began with a stint as a youth minister, a proposed bargain with God and a (possibly) divine sign in a video game. Though wagering a vocation on his mad video game skills is a little unusual, the data suggests Nguyen is increasingly typical of aspiring Catholic religious in other ways: ethnically diverse, educated and influenced by positive experiences in Catholic youth or campus ministry. This changing class of Generation Z and millennial aspirants like Nguyen is prompting religious communities — often anchored in decades if not centuries of tradition — to rethink what it means to mentor and walk alongside these young men as they discern their calling. The fact that those considering religious vocations are more diverse reflects changes in the U.S. Catholic population itself, according to the Rev. Thomas Gaunt, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. More than a quarter of U.S. Catholics are now foreign-born, he said, a change that has been gradually occurring since the 1970s. “We’re …