Indian bishop accused of rape steps aside, requests leave from Vatican

A Catholic bishop in India accused of raping a nun repeatedly over the course of two years has written to the Vatican asking permission to be relieved of his duties as bishop while the case is investigated. “Bishop Franco Mulakkal wrote a letter to Holy Father Pope Francis expressing his desire to step aside temporarily and requested to be relieved from the administration of the Diocese,” the Diocese of Jullundur, which Mulakkal leads, said in a statement released over the weekend and reported by Reuters. The request came days before Sept.…

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Pope accepts resignation of US bishop accused of sexual harassment

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, and has instructed Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore to conduct an investigation into allegations that Bishop Bransfield sexually harassed adults. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, nuncio to the United States, announced Bishop Bransfield’s retirement on September 13 and the appointment of Archbishop Lori as apostolic administrator of Wheeling-Charleston. The Archdiocese of Baltimore released the news that Archbishop Lori had received a specific charge from the Pope to investigate allegations against the bishop. “My primary concern is for…

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Trump defends Pope Francis’s handling of the abuse crisis

Donald Trump has defended Pope Francis’s handling of the abuse crisis, saying that the Pontiff is handling the situation “the best anyone can handle it”. In an interview with the Daily Caller, Trump said that the abuse scandal dated back 70 years, and was “one of the sadder stories ’cause I respect so much the Catholic Church.” Of the multiple abuse allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, Trump said: “I’m surprised at McCarrick, everyone knew him and so incredible to see these things.” Trump’s comments come less than two weeks after Archbishop Carlo…

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The Church has been ‘turned upside down’ by abuse crisis, says Cardinal

The Catholic Church in the United States is living through two storms, Cardinal Joseph Tobin has said. There is the policy of “zero tolerance” toward undocumented immigrants, which has plunged communities into fear, and the Holy Spirit is working “like a hurricane” to smash structures of clericalism through the current clergy sexual abuse crisis, he said. Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, devoted his remarks in a lecture at the University of Notre Dame to immigration, discussing the impact of a corrosive political discourse and secularism and drawing on…

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Pope says ‘silence’ is the best response to ‘people lacking good will’

Pope Francis said “the truth is meek, the truth is silent” in a homily at Casa Santa Marta, as he resumes his early morning Masses. The Pope’s homily concerned the Gospel from Luke (4:16-30), when Jesus returns to Nazareth and and the fury of the townspeople when he refused to perform miracles for them. The reading from St Luke ends: “They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.…

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Colombian cardinal denounces ‘shameful’ attacks on Pope Francis

The head of a council of Latin American bishops has spoken out against “attacks on the Pope as a person”, following controversy surrounding Archbishop Carlos Maria Viganò’s claims about the Pontiff. The council, known as CELAM for its acronym in Spanish, was commemorating the 50th anniversary of a regional meeting of bishops that took place in Medellin, Columbia, in 1968, designed to work toward dismantling poverty and its ailments in the region. Cardinal Ruben Salazar of Bogota, president of CELAM, said that just as the movement focused on the poor…

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New Orleans archbishop holds “healing mass” for abuse victims

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond on Tuesday likened the sexual abuse scandal engulfing the Roman Catholic Church to the “incredible destruction” wrought by Hurricane Katrina, saying that church leaders face a similarly fraught road to recovery. “Thirteen years later, we are hit by another storm — not of rain, not of wind,” Aymond said. “It is, indeed, a man-made storm.” The archbishop apologized for the atrocities of some of his colleagues, telling hundreds of parishioners, priests and seminarians there is “no excuse in the world for abusing a child.” He asked…

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