In Brief

In Brief Sr Margaret Claydon Photo: CNS/courtesy Trinity Washington University
Two prominent US Catholics pass away

A Catholic Sister who set a national standard for women’s education and a famous writer of courageous fictional Catholic protagonists have died in the US this past week.

Sr Margaret Claydon (97) of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur passed away in Cincinnati, while Mary Higgins Clark – known as the “queen of suspense” – died aged 92 in Florida.

Ms Clark was a widely-read author of over 50 novels with a strong Catholic upbringing and was a regular parishioner.

Sr Claydon, meanwhile, played a significant role in advocating governance changes for Catholic colleges and universities to empower more lay leaders.

China charity appeals for medical aid in face of ‘severe shortages’

A Catholic charity in China says the country is experiencing a severe shortage of medical supplies in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

Jinde Charities has appealed to the universal Church for help with supplying face masks, surgical masks, googles and eye masks.

However, the government-registered organisation says “hundreds of masks and protective clothing are consumed daily”.

“There is a serious shortage of medical supplies,” said Jinde in a message on February 2.

Despite increased efforts to contain the spread of the virus, including over 700,000 medical masks sent by the Vatican, China is struggling to meet the soaring demand.

Polish archbishop wants John Paul II as Europe’s patron saint

An archbishop in Poland is calling for St John Paul II to be named a Doctor of the Church and co-patron saint of Europe.

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, head of the Polish Episcopal Conference, says the late Pope should be recognised for his efforts.

“John Paul II ‘brought back’ half of Europe from ‘nonexistence’, [he brought back] grand and wonderful heritage of cultural and Christian roots,” he wrote in a letter to the bishops of the world asking for support.

The archbishop described his countryman as “a protector of European values that constitute an irremovable foundation of the modern-day civilisation”.

Argentina to build 400 grottos for Virgin Mary celebration

Four hundred small grottos are being constructed in Argentina to commemorate the anniversary of a statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue of Our Lady was discovered 400 years ago in a rock niche on the side of a remote slope in the province of Catamarca.

To mark the occasion, the bishops of Argentina have declared December 8, 2019 to 2020 a National Marian Year. The year 2020 also celebrates the 500th anniversary of the first Mass on Argentina soil.

Our Lady of the Rosary parishioners in Hualfin suggested the idea, which was approved by Bishop Luis Urbane of Catamarca and parish councils in the area.

German cardinal sparks outrage after Nazi comparison

A cardinal in Germany has caused uproar by likening the German Church reform talks with Adolf Hilter’s rise to power.

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller criticised a bishops’ synod in Frankfurt last week for being a “self-appointed assembly” designed to rescind the Constitution of the Church.

He controversially compared the “synodal path” discussions as a “suicide process” akin to the Nazi Party’s seizure of power in 1933.

The synodic process is intended to address a long-running protest by KDFB Catholic German Women’s Federation and other groups to end celibacy, create ministries for women, debate sexual mores and abuse of minors.