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Pope Francis ends automatic dismissal of religious-order priests for abuse (updated)

Less than a year after he strengthened the Code of Canon Law’s section on crimes, Pope Francis has issued an apostolic letter motu proprio (on his own initiative) that alters the wording of...

Supreme Court poised to strike down Roe decision?

The US Supreme Court will soon overturn the controversial Roe v. Wade decision, allowing individual states to regulate abortion, according to a blockbuster report on the Politico site. Although...

Syro-Malabar priests in 335 of 340 churches defy cardinal’s decree

Pope Francis recently exhorted the faithful of the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church to obey the Syro-Malabar hierarchy’s decision on a uniform method of celebrating the liturgy in all of the church’s eparchies (dioceses).

The uniform method envisions the celebrant turning towards the faithful in the initial rites but then turning towards the altar during the Eucharistic sacrifice. In some eparchies, however, including the Major Archeparchy of Ernakulam–Angamaly, the entire liturgy has been offered facing the people in recent decades.

Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church and the leading proponent of the uniform method, said that priests should begin celebrating according to the uniform method on Easter. Archbishop Antony Kariyil, the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Ernakulam-Angamaly and a leading opponent of the uniform method, said implementation could begin at Christmas. The vast major of Ernakulam–Angamaly’s priests have sided with Archbishop Kariyil.

African cardinal: Homosexual marriage is an abomination

Lamenting the “corruption of morals,” Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) said on Easter Sunday that marriage between a man and a man, or between a woman and a woman, is an “abomination.”

Côte d’Ivoire, a West African nation of 27.5 million (map), is 44% Muslim, 18% Catholic, and 16% Protestant, with 22% adhering to ethnic religions.

Archbishop Roche: Vatican is preparing document on liturgical formation

Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said in an interview with a Spanish Catholic magazine that his dicastery is preparing a document on the liturgical formation of all the baptized.

Commenting on Pope Francis’s restrictions on the extraordinary form of the Mass, the prelate also told the magazine (Omnes) that neither St. John Paul II nor Pope Benedict sought to promote the Tridentine Mass, but only to “care for people who have a difficulty” with the ordinary form.

“At this moment, the liberalism, the individualism that exists in this society are a challenge for the Church,” he added. “It is easy to think of my personal preference, of a specific type of liturgy, of a particular expression of celebration, of this priest rather than this other priest; but this individualism is not of the character of the Church.”

Russian soldiers loot Catholic seminary in Ukraine

Russian soldiers ransacked and looted the seminary of the Latin-rite Diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, according to Aid to the Church in Need, which is raising funds for the seminary’s restoration.

“They took everything they could: kitchen utensils, washing machines, computers, and air conditioners,” said Father Ruslan Mykhalkiv, the seminary’s rector. “The seminarians’ rooms were ransacked, and they took liturgical items, including a chalice donated by St. John Paul II when he visited Ukraine in 2001.”

Pope clears schedule for medical tests

Pope Francis cleared his schedule on April 22 to undergo medical tests.

The Pope has been forced to curtail his activities recently because of health problems. He was not the principal celebrant at the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s basilica, and sat down midway through his Urbi et Orbi address on Easter Sunday.

A painful knee—which Vatican officials have attributed to strained ligaments—has made it difficult for the Pontiff to move or stand, and he has been assisted in walking for weeks. Last July he was hospitalized for an operation in which surgeons removed about a foot of his colon. The Vatican has not disclosed any other medical problems.

Although he has admitted that his health is “capricious,” and his schedule is therefore uncertain, the 85-year-old Pontiff has planned trips later this year to Lebanon and to Africa, and he has voiced his desire to travel to Canada.

Vatican approves US norms for training seminarians

The Congregation for Clergy has given its approval to new norms for the training of seminarians in the US. The “Program for Priestly Formation” was approved by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2019.

The key change sought by the Vatican, in requesting new norms, was for a “propaedeutic stage” of formation, lasting at least a year, in which seminarians will benefit from prayer, vocational discernment, and “fostering communion between a seminarian, his bishops, and his particular church.” This propaedeutic year is ordinarily not to be combined with classroom training.

Head of Eastern Catholic church resigns at 68

The head of the Slovak Greek Catholic Church (CNEWA profile), one of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See, has resigned.

Metropolitan Archbishop Ján Babjak, SJ, of Presov said that he was resigning for the “peace and good of the Church” (Slovak, Swiss media reports).

Since his episcopal ordination by St. John Paul in 2003, the prelate, now 68, has ordained 176 priests and dedicated 35 new churches, according to the Slovak media report.

Pope Francis appointed an older prelate—Bishop Peter Rusnák, 72—as Archbishop Babjak’s temporary replacement.

Vatican intervenes in dispute between Carmelites, Argentine archbishop

The Vatican’s Congregation for Religious has stepped into a dispute between Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta, Argentina, and a local community of Discalced Carmelites.

The Congregation announced that an “apostolic assistant” would be appointed to oversee the Carmelite monastery, following the conclusion of a Vatican investigation, which found that the nuns had improperly given support to an alleged lay visionary, acting “against the will of the bishop and the priests of the diocese.” The Vatican faulted the Carmelites for allowing a lay woman, who claims to have received apparitions fo the Virgin Mary for years, to live at the monastery and release her messages without ecclesiastical approval.