Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup Bishop Hubertus Leteng
Pope saddened by Catholics who despise others

God did not choose perfect people to form his Church, but rather sinners who have experienced his love and forgiveness, Pope Francis has said.

The Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how his actions went against the general mentality of his time, a way of thinking that saw a “clear separation” between the pure and impure, the Pope said during his weekly general audience.

“There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect. And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad.”

Continuing his series of audience talks about Christian hope, the Pope reflected on Jesus’ “scandalous gesture” of forgiving the sinful woman – a woman caught in adultery.

The woman, he said, was one of many poor women who were visited secretly even by those who denounced them as sinful.

Although Jesus’ love toward the sick and the marginalised “baffles his contemporaries”, it reveals God’s heart as the place where suffering men and women can find love, compassion and healing, Pope Francis said.


Vatican investigates claims Indonesian bishop has mistress

The Vatican has appointed an apostolic visitor to investigate claims by Indonesian priests that their bishop had a mistress and misappropriated Church funds.

Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunyamin of Bandung said that the Vatican has asked him to look into the accusations against Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng, Indonesia.

Bishop Bunyamin is scheduled to visit the diocese on Catholic-majority Flores Island on August 14.

The appointment followed social media postings that Catholics in the Ruteng Diocese living in Jakarta would gather at the apostolic nunciature for a vigil calling for a speedy resolution to the situation. Bishop Bunyamin said the gathering would “worsen the situation”.

The conflict erupted in June when 69 diocesan priests submitted letters of resignation, leaving their positions as episcopal vicars and parish priests and demanding that Bishop Leteng change how the diocese is run.

The move followed allegations last year that the bishop secretly borrowed €80,000 from the Indonesian bishops’ conference and €25,600 from the diocese without providing accounts for how the money was spent.


Beijing and Holy See negotiate appointment issue

A senior Vatican official has hinted there is an unofficial agreement between the Holy See and Beijing on the appointment of bishops, even as negotiations to formalise arrangements continue to hit roadblocks.

Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, who attended a conference on the sensitive topic of organ donation and transplants in the southern Chinese city of Kunming, offered the hint during an interview with state-run Global Times.

“We need to make a distinction between a formal agreement and the real things (that are happening among the public). The real thing is that at this moment China and the Pope have a very good relation,” said Bishop Sorondo.

Observers have been increasingly confident that a process has been put in place as the two sides work toward a formal agreement, especially after the appointment of five new bishops in 2015 and 2016 that were recognised by both sides.

However a formal agreement appears to have stagnated with regard to three bishops appointed by Beijing who are not recognised by the Vatican.