Vatican takes disciplinary action against Bishop Bransfield (Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston) After an investigation of “sexual harassment of adults and of financial improprieties” by Bishop Michael Bransfield, Pope Francis has ruled that the retired bishop may not live within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which he once led; may not participate in public liturgical celebrations; and must “make personal amends for some of the harms he caused” after consultation with his successor as bishop of the West Virginia diocese. Bishop Bransfield stepped down last September, having reached the retirement age of 75.
The Vatican’s disciplinary action was announced in the afternoon of Friday, July 19— apparently timed to ensure minimum publicity.
Japan's bishops apologize for their silence when government segregated those with leprosy (Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan) For several decades after a cure was found, the Japanese government continued to segregate—and in some cases, forcibly sterilize—those affected by Hansen’s disease (leprosy). A court recently ordered the Japanese government to pay damages to survivors. “Japan’s bishops did not oppose the isolation and destruction of patients, did not support patients’ rights to compensation and restoration, did not recognize that our failure added to their suffering, and did not stand with those whose rights needed protection,” the bishops said in their statement. “Words do not suffice to express the deep remorse we feel for adding to the suffering of those patients and their families.”
Vatican distances itself from nuncio's comments opposing Franco exhumation (Vatican News) During his last days as apostolic nuncio to Spain, Archbishop Renzo Fratini, 75, criticized the Spanish government’s decision to exhume the body of Francisco Franco (Encyclopedia Britannica article) from the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen), the basilica, Benedictine monastery, and war memorial where his tomb is located. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, said the decision is an internal Spanish matter, and added that the Benedictine community, which also opposes exhumation, “has been reminded—and will continued to be reminded—of its civil duty to observe fully the order and to respect civil Authorities.”
British Parliament votes to legalize abortion, same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland (CNA) The Catholic bishops of Ireland have voiced their regret at the move by the British parliament to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The measures were attached to an “executive formation” bill designed to maintain the normal operations of government in Northern Ireland, where the region’s own assembly has been suspended because of a dispute between the major parties. The legislation would take effect in October unless the Northern Ireland Assembly resumes its functions.
Minnesota diocese avoids bankruptcy, reaches $5M settlement with 15 abuse survivors (Valley News Live) “Because of this settlement, the Diocese of Crookston can avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection,” Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston wrote in a letter to the faithful after he apologized to victims. “All other dioceses in Minnesota have filed or announced their intent to file for financial reorganization. We will not have to lay off staff. We can joyfully and steadfastly continue our mission of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to this time and place.”
Immigration stranglehold causing inhumane consequences, Pennsylvania bishop says (The Catholic Accent) “I sometimes wonder what the Diocese of Greensburg would look like today if the doors had been locked to impoverished and persecuted immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century looking for safety and a better way of life,” Bishop Ed Malesic wrote. “I cannot tell you how critical this issue is for me as a follower of Jesus Christ, and for many others like me. I believe the Lord will judge us at the end of our days on the basis of how we treated our brothers and sisters during our time on earth.”
New director for Vatican press office (Vatican News) Pope Francis has appointed a British-born journalist, Matteo Bruni, as the new director of the Vatican press office. A graduate of La Sapienza University in Rome, Bruni has been coordinating media for the Pope’s international trips. He replaces Alessandro Gisotti, who had been the interim director, and will now work as one of two new deputy directors assisting Andrea Tornielli, the Dicastery for Communication’s editorial director. In a statement, Gisotti reflected on his work during the “exceptional and unprecedented moment for the Holy See Press Office, given the sudden resignations of the Director and Vice Director.”