Monday, March 27, 2023

Tenn. Police Respond to Shooting at Rel. School; At Least 3 Killed, Several Wounded, Shooter Killed

Authorities in Tennessee said today (March 27, 2023) that they were  responding to a shooting at a private religious school in Nashville, according to the NPR website. 

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said an "active shooter event" had occurred at the Covenant School, a private school associated with the Presbyterian church serving students from preschool through grade six. 

The shooter was confronted by officers and was killed, officials said. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Pope Updates Rules to Investigate Abuse Claims; Leaders of Cath. Lay Assoc. Now Responsible Like Bishops

Pope Francis has updated the procedures for investigating sexual abuse allegations, specifying that leaders of international Catholic lay associations and movements have the same responsibilities over their members that bishops have over diocesan priests, the Catholic News website reports today (March 26, 2023). 

The updated version of Vos Ests Lux Mundi (You are the light of the world, published yesterday, also expanded the categories of victims covered by the  regulations to include vulnerable adults. 

The original text spoke of the crime of "sexual acts with a minor or a vulnerable person." The updated text reads "a crime against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue committed with a minor, or with a person who habitually has an imperfect use of reason or with a vulnerable adult."  

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Cath. Bishops Blast Mutilating Bodies of People; Prohibit Mutilating Human Body to Change Sex

It sets out clearly the prohibition on "manipulating" or mutilating  the bodies of people with the aim of changing sex, stating: "Catholic health  care services must not perform interventions , whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex or take part in the development of such procedures." the Catholic Herald website reports today (March 25, 2023). 

This is a welcome statement from bishops which should put to rest any suggestions that the Catholic church could support any such surgeries which are always harmful to the patient, the natural order, and the created order of God. 

The bishops explain that , "A  fundamental tenet of the Christian faith is that there is  an order in the natural world that was designed by the Creation and this created order is good."

Friday, March 24, 2023

Brazil Links Pastoral Ministry to Nation's Slums; Archdiocese of Rio IS Main Force behind Project

 The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil is promoting the formation  of a nation-wide Favelas and Housing Pastoral Ministry, the Crux website reports today (March 24, 2023).

The main force behind the project is the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro's Favelas Pastoral Commission, which was established in the 1970s and has been the only one in Brazil to specifically deal with slums. 

"We began our work trying to identify the Catholic groups  that already had connection with the struggle for housing in different parts of Brazil. We invited all of them to join us,"  explained Father Luiz Antonio Pereira Lopes, who heads Rio's Favelas Pastoral commission.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Judge Voids Lawsuit by 36 Meth. Churches; Churches Tried to End Ties to Denomination

A North Carolina Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed last year by 36 United Methodist churches demanding to sever their ties to the denomination, the Religion News website reports today (March 23, 2023). 

Judge Richard Doughton issued an oral ruling on March 20 dismissing  the suit brought against the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, its board of trustees, and Bishop Kenneth Carter Jr. 

The conference's motion to dismiss had argued that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits civil courts from becoming entangled in church debates that require an examination of religious doctrine and practice. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Vatican Is Not Concerned with Xi-Putin Meeting; Pope Francis Seems Less Interested in Politics

 As President Xi Jinping of China  continues his journey of friendship to Moscow to cement ties with President Vladimir Putin, the meeting is setting off alarms in Western capitals, where officials are worried that Beijing's tacit for Russia's war in Ukraine might turn overt, the Crux website reports today (March 22,  2023). 

Yet there was one traditionally Western center of power that seemed immune to the anxiety: The Vatican under Pope Francis. 

Increasingly, the Vatican is a "Western" institution only in the limited sense that it is physically located in western Europe. In terms of geopolitical orientation  under history's first pope from the developing world, however, the Vatican seems more and more like the capital of a global institution positioning itself to function in a multipolar era.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Syria Seeks Permanent Russian Military Presence; In Return Syria Backs Russia in War with Ukraine

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said he would "welcome a permanent Russian military presence" in his  country and supports Russia's invasion of Ukraine,

Assad, who met Russian President  Vladimir Putin this week in Moscow, told reporters that he awaits Russian proposals to set up new military bases and boost troop numbers in Syria. 

Moscow ensured the autocratic Syrian leader's survival despite Western demands that he be toppled. In return, Assad stressed that Syeia stood beside Russia on the issue of Ukraine.