In Brief

In Brief
After lockdown, Italy’s bishops seek new ways to engage parishioners

Italy’s bishops will need to help their communities participate more in parish life and return to taking part in the sacraments in ways that continue to respect evolving measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, according to their conference leadership.

When Masses were once again open to the public starting May 18, there was a noted lack of attendance by families with young children, teenagers, and older parishioners.

In a letter drafted by the leadership committee of the Italian bishops’ conference, it was advised that “parishes will need to ‘listen’ in order to understand what has contributed to their absence”.

With difficulties caused by the pandemic, there are also new opportunities, it added, praising all the priests and catechists who worked hard to maintain contact with parishioners and young people, particularly online.


New US clinic allows doctors to practice in line with Faith

A new clinic in the U.S is providing catholic physicians the option to practice their work in line with their beliefs.

As a young physician, Dr William Toffler provided contraception, including vasectomies and inserting intrauterine devices. He also performed an abortion.

“Looking back, it was the most regrettable act of my life,” Toffler told the Catholic Sentinel, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland.

He’s now embarking on a new venture that allows him to practice medicine in line with his Catholic Faith. Toffler is teaming with a group of other Catholic physicians to start a nonprofit Catholic medical practice, Holy Family Clinic.

The clinic practice will be fully consistent with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ ‘Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services’.


French police arrest Nantes cathedral volunteer

A Rwandan man is facing up to 10 years in prison after he confessed to deliberately setting fire to the city’s Gothic cathedral [pictured]. French media reported the 39-year-old man, named only as Emmanuel A, admitted to lighting two fires in the area of a 17th-century organ and a third above an electrical panel in the Cathedral of Ss Peter and Paul July 18.

The man is a Catholic who had been working voluntarily at the cathedral as a warden and had the keys to the building because he was responsible for locking it up on the day of the fire.

He was questioned by police following the blaze and released without charge but rearrested July 25. He confessed to arson later that day.


Hunger high on list of battles that aid agency CRS faces

As the coronavirus pandemic commands global attention, the health crisis is just one in a long list of emergencies aid agencies must tend to in their mission to help the world’s poorest.

Catholic Relief Services reports that hunger is a problem of utmost concern in many countries in the middle of the pandemic.

A July 13 report from the United Nations said almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019, an increase of 10 million from the previous year; figures arrived at before the pandemic began.

With the challenges that Covid-19 has introduced, there simply is no way to sugar coat an impending tragedy building up, said Seán Callahan, president and CEO of the US bishops’ overseas relief and development agency.