In Brief

In Brief Fr Geoff Drew
Devil is a symbol, not a person – Church official

The superior general of the Society of Jesus has said that the Devil is a symbolic reality, not a person.

The Devil, “exists as the personification of evil in different structures, but not in persons…he is not a person like a human person. It is a way of evil to be present in human life,” Fr Arturo Sosa, SJ, said in an interview with Italian magazine Tempi.

“Good and evil are in a permanent war in the human conscience and we have ways to point them out. We recognise God as good, fully good. Symbols are part of reality, and the devil exists as a symbolic reality, not as a personal reality,” he added.


US priest charged with raping altar boy

A grand jury returned a nine-count indictment of rape against a Cincinnati archdiocesan priest last week for crimes committed when he was a parish music director, prior to ordination.

The priest, Fr Geoff Drew, was removed in July as pastor of St Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Cincinnati when more recent and less severe allegations against him were made known to the archdiocese.

Fr Drew is charged with raping an altar boy from St Jude Parish in the Cincinnati suburb of Bridgetown. The incidents are said to have occurred about 30 years ago. Fr Drew was music director at the parish from 1984 to 1999. He was ordained a priest in 2004.

Congo’s Church calls for local development programmes

Foreign companies working in mineral-rich Congo ought to contribute part of their profits to local development programs, said an official of the country’s Catholic bishops’ conference.

Msgr Donatien Nshole, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, said that the country’s economy “rests on exploitation of natural resources”, but that the Congolese people have seen few benefits from the extractive industry.

“Instead of contributing to our country’s development and benefitting our people, however, our mineral, petrol and forest resources have become the cause of our misfortune,” he said in discussing reports on the African country’s by mining, agricultural and environmental sectors commissioned by the Catholic Church’s Episcopal Commission for Natural Resources.


Faith groups condemn Trump’s child-detention policy

The Trump administration has moved to cast aside an agreement that previously limited the amount of time the government could detain migrant children.

On August 21, officials announced new rules that would allow federal officials to detain minors past the 20-day detention limit and could perhaps open the door to long-term detention of migrant children and families. The move is expected to be challenged in court and various faith groups quickly condemned it.

“Today the Trump administration effectively announced that they’d like to be able to keep children in cages forever,” said the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas via Twitter following the news.