In Brief

In Brief Judge Sara Smolenski Photo: Church Militant
Priest defends decision to deny judge Holy Communion

The Church in western Michigan is defending a priest’s decision to deny Holy Communion to a judge in a same-sex marriage.

Judge Sara Smolenski says Fr Scott Nolan privately informed her on about a week after receiving Communion from him at St Stephen Church in East Grand Rapids. She says she hadn’t been regularly attending the Church for months.

Fr Nolan says the teachings of the Catholic faith aren’t flexible. The Church recognises marriage as between a man and a woman.

In a statement, the Grand Rapids Diocese says: “No community of faith can sustain the public contradiction of its beliefs by its own members.”

Pope appoints new head to Vatican watchdog agency

Pope Francis has appointed a seasoned Italian finance inspector to lead the Vatican’s financial watchdog agency following the resignation of its president.

The Vatican said in a statement that the Pope named Carmelo Barbagallo as the new head of the Financial Intelligence Authority, known by the Italian acronym AIF.

In an interview with Vatican News published shortly after the announcement, Barbagallo said he was honoured by the appointment and “aware of the full weight of the moral and professional responsibility it carries”.

Catholics can’t be complacent on UK general election

Catholics can’t “watch from the balcony” during the UK’s December 12 general election, according to the bishops of England and Wales.

The election was called by Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he failed to push through his Brexit deal in Parliament and comes just 2 1/2 years after the last vote. It’s the first December election in the UK since 1923.

“Conscious of the common good of every person and our society as a whole, we ask everyone to engage with the election and vote,” the bishops said.

“Honest political activity depends upon integrity. We urge all in public life to recognise that telling the truth, not making vindictive and abusive comments or unattainable promises, are essential,” the bishops continued.

Pope prays for victims of Albania earthquake

Pope Francis has led prayers for the people of Albania after the country was struck by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake.

“I would like to send my greetings and my closeness to the dear people of Albania who have suffered so much in these days,” the Pope said before concluding his weekly general audience.

“Albania was the first country in Europe I wanted to visit. I am close to the victims. I pray for the dead, for the wounded, for the families. May the Lord bless this country that I love so much,” he said.

The earthquake struck in the early hours of the morning November 26 and was felt as far away as Serbia.

US bills on child sex abuse signed into law

Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf signed into law three bills on child sex abuse, which were recommended by the state’s 2018 grand jury report on allegations of clerical sexual abuse of minors.

“These bills will today become law, and victims of one of the most unimaginable forms of abuse will receive the support and rights they deserve,” Wolf said. “And while we celebrate the monumental victory of many survivors of childhood sexual abuse finally receiving their opportunity for justice, we must continue pushing forward until every survivor, of every age, has the chance to tell his or her story.”