Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup Cardinal Reinhard Marx
Cardinal: damage of abuse scandal caused by Church leadership, not media

The days of making “weak excuses” in response to the sexual abuse crisis are over, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising has warned.

The fallout and damage that has resulted, he added, “has not been caused by the press doing their job properly, but rather by the Church itself; it’s caused by the Church leadership”, which had a duty to act responsibly.

The Catholic Church needs more open and clear dialogue, accountability and a willingness to see abuse survivors and critics who push for remedy and reform not as enemies, but as “as co-operators with the Holy Spirit”, the cardinal said at a news conference in Rome.

Next to a flat wooden cross covered with shards of a broken mirror, the cardinal and others spoke at an event hosted by the Pontifical Gregorian University and its Centre for Child Protection. The centre was announcing the start of the first interdisciplinary two-year master’s degree program in safeguarding. The cardinal’s archdiocese has helped provide financial support to the CCP since it was established in 2012.

 

Court in India denies bail to bishop accused of raping nun

A court in southern India has denied bail to a bishop accused of raping a nun on grounds that he could influence witnesses if released from jail.

The High Court of Kerala said that releasing Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar would not help the investigation or deliver justice in an “efficient, smooth and fair” manner, according to ucanews.com.

“The court finds no reason to conclude at this stage, at least prima facie, that the allegations levelled by the nun are false and frivolous,” the court order said.

It also said the bishop could use his high-profile position to influence witnesses, who are mainly members of the nun’s congregation, which functions under the authority of the bishop.

The Vatican removed Bishop Mulakkal from the administrative responsibilities of his diocese in September just before he was arrested by police on claims that he raped the 48-year-old nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

Bishop Mulakkal has denied the charges.

 

Romanian marriage referendum fails

A referendum to establish a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Romania has failed – after only a fifth of voters turned out. Romanians were being asked whether they wanted the constitution changed to specify that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. But just 20.4% of eligible voters cast ballots – short of the 30% needed.

The result comes as a surprise, as a poll on Friday indicated support for the change was as high as 90%.

Mihai Gheorghiu, president of the pro-referendum Coalition for the Family, said they were trying “to protect, at a constitutional level, the definition of marriage – between one woman and one man”.

But after two days of voting, the ‘no’ campaign’s strategy to boycott the vote in the hope the turnout fell below the 30% needed to validate the referendum was successful.

 

Catholic aid agencies step up response to Indonesia quake

Catholic aid agencies were among those working to assess the needs and get relief to the island of Sulawesi after an earthquake and tsunami left more than 1,400 people dead.

Among those killed were 34 Christian students trapped while attending a Bible class. Fifty-two other students remained missing in Jono Oge village, reported ucanews.com.

“They are Catholic and Protestant students who were on a retreat in the location when the earthquake occurred, causing the church to collapse,” said Albert Podung, a Church worker who lives in Palu, the coastal city devastated by the 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on September 28.

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