Vatican City, Apr 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Bishop Michael O. Jackels received an early birthday present of sorts when Pope Francis named him April 8 to lead the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
The Vatican press office made the appointment public just after noon Rome time, saying that the Pope also accepted the resignation of current Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus.
The announcement cited canon law 401, section two as the reason Archbishop Hanus is stepping down. This means that he has become “unsuited” for fulfilling his obligations “because of illness or some other grave reason,” according to the regulation.
A press conference is planned for 10:00 a.m. in Dubuque, where further details will be revealed.
Archbishop-designate Jackels was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, and will celebrate his 59th birthday on April 13.
He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln on May 30, 1981. During his time as a priest he served as the pastor of the University of Nebraska’s Newman Center in Lincoln, assistant director of the diocese’s vocations office and director of Hispanic ministry.
Between 1997 and 2005 he served as an official at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
On January 28, 2005 he was appointed Bishop of Wichita, Kansas and was consecrated a bishop on April 4 of the same year.
Archbishop-designate Jackels speaks English, Italian and Spanish. He will be serving 206,843 lay Catholics, 216 priests, 91permanent deacons and 861 religious, all spread out over 17,403 square miles.
In related news, Pope Francis appointed another Lincoln priest, Monsignor John Folda, as the Bishop of Fargo on April 8.
Vatican City, Apr 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
A top official who works at the Secretariat of State says Pope Francis is thinking about streamlining his department by combining it with another Vatican government body.
According to the source – who requested anonymity in an April 6 interview with CNA – the Pope is considering simplifying the Curia by combining a part of the Secretariat of State’s first section with the Vatican City State’s administration. The first section deals with the management of the Church around the world.
Luigi Sandri, a Church observer and historian of the Vatican Councils, remarked in an April 6 interview, “a re-thinking of the Secretariat of State would perfectly follow Pope Francis’ line of considering himself as the bishop of Rome.”
One consequence of these types of changes is that they would enhance Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello’s power.
A former Observer to the United Nations in Geneva and a former Vatican ambassador to Italy, Bertello is now president of the Vatican City State’s administration. He is considered one of strongest contenders for the position of secretary of state, especially if reports are true about him playing a key role in moving some Curia votes to Francis during the conclave.
But the timing for the leadership change at the most powerful Vatican congregation appears to be set for the fall.
A Salesian priest who serves in the Roman Curia explained in an April 6 conversation that, “Cardinal Bertone probably won’t leave his post before September.”
Cardinal Bertone, the current secretary of state, is expected to continue his duties until at least early May, since he is scheduled to ordain new papal ambassador Monsignor Ettore Balestrero as a bishop on April 27 in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
As Msgr. Balestrero explained in a late-March conversation with CNA, Pope Francis decided that new nuncios will always be ordained bishops by the secretary of state. The heads of those departments, on the other hand, will ordain the secretaries for Vatican congregations, he said.
The speculation about who will take the reigns as the next secretary of state began shortly after Pope Francis’ election.
Cardinal Bertello does appear to be in the pole position, but another solution being suggested is that the Pope could appoint a current papal nuncio as his new secretary of state.
This would satisfy the so-called circle of diplomats, cardinals and monsignors in the Curia who maintained that Bertone was unfit for the position because he had no diplomatic experience. This arrangement would also meet the need for a significant change in the Vatican’s “engine room” after the Vatileaks scandal.
There are three other contenders widely considered to be in the running for the position of secretary of state: Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, the former papal nuncio to Brazil and the current secretary of the Congregation for Bishops; Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the nuncio to France and formerly the nuncio to Canada; and Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who previously served in the Secretariat of State.
Vatican City, Apr 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Monsignor John T. Folda, who has been appointed Bishop of Fargo by Pope Francis, says he hopes to follow the Pope’s example of service, simplicity and joyful faith.
“I only hope I can follow the beautiful example of service, simplicity, and joyful faith that he has already shown the world,” said Bishop-designate Folda in a statement released April 8.
“It is certainly an honor to be chosen by him for this role,” he said.
The bishop-designate comes from the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb. and will be ordained a bishop at Fargo’s Cathedral of Saint Mary in June.
The Bishop of Lincoln, James D. Conley, said the diocese “rejoiced” at the appointment of the eighth Bishop of Fargo, but that he would also “be deeply missed.”
“I have known Msgr. Folda for over 20 years and I know that he will be a stellar bishop,” said Bishop Conley in a letter published today by the Diocese of Lincoln.
“His vast experience, as well as his keen intelligence, his personal humility, and his dedication to Jesus Christ and his Church will prepare Bishop-elect Folda well to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful of the Diocese of Fargo,” Bishop Conley stated.
Denver’s Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, who led the Fargo diocese until 11 months ago, said he offered his “sincere congratulations, prayers and friendship.”
“Bishop-elect Folda is a man of deep faith, warm leadership and unwavering fidelity to the teachings of the Church,” Archbishop Aquila said in an April 8 statement.
“My heart is filled with joy for the Church of Fargo,” he added.
Bishop-designate Folda had been working as the rector of the Minor Seminary Saint Gregory the Great in Seward, Neb., for nearly 14 years.
The 51-year-old studied engineering at the University of Nebraska, after attending Archbishop Ryan High School in Omaha.
He entered the seminary and studied divinity at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa.
The bishop-designate then studied spiritual theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
He was ordained a priest in 1989 for the Lincoln diocese and worked as assistant pastor for the Cathedral of the Risen Christ.
The Diocese of Fargo, where he will be serving as bishop, has a population of 396,000 of which 89,400 are Catholics.
The diocese has 126 religious, 120 priests and 43 permanent deacons.
April 8 was also a notable day for Bishop Michael O. Jackels, whom Pope Francis named as Archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa.
He also appointed Reynaldo Gonda Evangelista as Bishop of Imus, Philippines, and Botros Fahim Awad Hanna as Bishop of Minya, Egypt.
Brasilia, Brazil, Apr 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The archbishop of Rio de Janeiro proposed an agenda for Pope Francis' visit to Brazil this summer for World Youth Day which includes a trip to an impoverished neighborhood known as a “favela.”
Archbishop Orani Tempesta delivered his suggested itinerary to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which is charged with overseeing the celebration of the global youth event.
The proposed agenda includes a visit to the Christ the Redeemer Shrine that overlooks Rio de Janeiro, a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Penha – which dates back to the 17th century – a meeting with the country's bishops, and a gathering with young people pursuing a vocation to religious life.
Archbishop Tempesta said that Pope Francis' attendance at the opening ceremonies, the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross, the vigil and closing Mass has been confirmed. He will also have lunch with a group of youths representing each of the world's continents.
Marcio Queiroz, director of communications for WYD 2013, said officials expect to receive a response from the Vatican in the coming weeks and that the final schedule could be released around the end of April.
“The suggestion was made that (Pope Francis) visit a favela in Rio, not any one in particular,” Queiroz explained.
“If he accepts, we will evaluate all of the necessary aspect such as security, accessibility and other important details.”
Philadelphia, Pa., Apr 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia has finalized three priests' removal from archdiocesan ministry: one who faces a “substantiated” allegation of abuse in a 40-year-old incident and two priests who have been accused of sex abuse or other misconduct.
The archbishop ruled that retired priest Monsignor Richard T. Powers, Father Joseph J. Gallagher and Father Mark S. Gaspar are “unsuitable for ministry.”
“After reviewing all the facts, as well as recommendations from competent external authorities, I made the decisions I feel are right and just,” Archbishop Chaput said April 7 regarding Fr. Gallagher and Fr. Gaspar.
Archbishop Chaput’s decision was informed by the recommendation of the archdiocesan review board.
Priests named unsuitable for ministry may not exercise their public ministry, administer any of the sacraments, wear clerical dress, or present themselves publicly as priests. They can appeal the disciplinary action to the Holy See.
The archdiocese said that Fr. Gallagher and Fr. Gaspar were removed for “substantiated violations” of standards of behavior for clergy.
The two priests had been among the 26 active diocesan clergy put on leave in March 2011 under Philadelphia’s then-archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali.
Cardinal Rigali's action followed a February 2011 Grand Jury Report on accused Philadelphia-area clergy still in roles that brought them into contact with children.
The grand jury said Fr. Gallagher was accused twice of fondling altar boys in the early 1980s at St. Mark’s Church in Bristol Township, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. One of his accusers, Daniel Neill – who committed suicide in 2009 – allegedly told his story to diocesan officials two years prior in 2007 but they declined to act against the priest.
The nature of the accusation against Fr. Gaspar is not reported.
Msgr. Powers, 77, was removed over allegations he committed a sexual act with a 17-year-old girl on an overseas trip to Venezuela 40 years ago. The archdiocese said that the priest’s name was found on an internal document rediscovered in March 2012 in response to a subpoena. The priest was put on leave after the archdiocese turned the document over to the courts involved.
The Msgr. Powers case is not directly connected to cases of priests put on leave after the February 2011 Grand Jury Report on the archdiocese’s handling of sex abuse, the archdiocese said.
The archdiocese said it announced the allegation against Msgr. Powers at Epiphany of Our Lord Parish, where the priest retired in 2010 and maintained a residence. However, the archdiocese said it was not allowed to make a general public announcement because of a court-imposed gag order.
Last year, Archbishop Chaput made decisions regarding 15 priests put on administrative leave following the grand jury report. Eight priests were found suitable for ministry and seven priests were found unsuitable. Another priest died before a full investigation could be conducted.
The archdiocese said that there are another seven administrative leave cases that are not being announced yet due to “a variety of reasons.” Four cases require law enforcement agencies to release them, while three cases are currently under investigation by the archdiocese or are pending a final decision by Archbishop Chaput. All cases have been referred to the local district attorney.
London, England, Apr 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The United Kingdom's Catholic bishops voiced grief and prayed for the soul of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who died on Monday following a stroke.
“It was with sadness that we heard the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher, who served this country for many years both as a Member of Parliament and as Prime Minister,” said Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster on behalf of the local bishops' conference.
“We pray for the repose of her soul and for the intentions of her family and all those who now mourn for her.”
Thatcher died the morning of April 8 at the age of 87. She was the first female prime minister of the U.K., and the longest-serving in the 20th century. From 1979 to 1990, she served in the role for the Conservative Party.
She was closely aligned with Ronald Reagan and John Paul II against communism and the Eastern bloc, and was nicknamed the “Iron Lady” by the press of the Soviet Union. Thatcher was also opposed to the movement which has led to the European Union and adoption of the euro.
Domestically, she supported economic deregulation, privatization, and opposed labor unions. She served as a member of parliament from 1959, and was Secretary of State for Education and Science under the government of Edward Heath. While the Labour Party was in control of the U.K. government from 1975 until her election, she served as Leader of the Opposition.
As prime minister, Thatcher defended the U.K.'s possession of the Falkland Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Argentina. The U.K. has held the islands since 1833, though they are claimed by Argentina.
In 1982 Argentina invaded the islands but were repelled by British forces. The two-month war over the islands cost 907 lives. Her decisive response in the conflict renewed her support in the U.K. and helped ensure that the Conservatives won the 1983 election.
Thatcher survived a 1984 assassination attempt by the Irish Republican Army, which was fighting for Irish independence from the U.K.
She was raised Methodist, and joined the Church of England when she married Denis Thatcher in 1951. They were married until his death in 2003. She is survived by her children, Carol and Mark.
David Cameron, the current prime minister, told the BBC that “I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister.”
Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England, said that “it is right that today we give thanks for a life devoted to public service, acknowledging also the faith that inspired and sustained her.”
Queen Elizabeth II has expressed sadness at Thatcher's death, and President Obama said the world has “lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty.”
Washington D.C., Apr 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The U.S. bishops have thanked organizations and entities for their courage in fighting a federal contraception mandate that forces employers to pay for services that violate their religious beliefs.
“Catholics in America have long been advocates for religious liberty, and we continue to affirm this basic right today,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore.
“We have consistently supported the rights of individuals not to act against their religious beliefs or moral convictions, especially when individuals seek to protect the dignity of human life,” he added.
Archbishop Lori serves as the chair of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and issued the statement in his capacity as spokesman for the bishops on the subject.
In January 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring all health care providers to provide and pay for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs – even if the employer or insurance provider has deeply-held beliefs preventing the provision of these products and procedures.
Over the course of 2012 and 2013, the Obama administration has offered a series of proposed modifications that offer exemption for “religious employers” and other proposals that clarify who qualifies as a “religious employer.”
Archbishop Lori acknowledged these motions towards compromise and said that “this small, incremental step is welcomed.” He added, however, that “most of the serious problems with the definition and mandate remain, and so we will continue our vigorous efforts to correct those remaining flaws.”
He explained the extent of the Catholic expression of faith and the full extent of religious freedom, saying that “in our Catholic tradition, the right to religious freedom proceeds from the inherent dignity of each and every human person.”
“Accordingly, our concern for religious freedom extends well beyond our own ministries of service,” the archbishop added.
The public has also had an opportunity to submit comments on the mandate and proposed exemptions. The topic has garnered more than 150,000 official comments – more than any other U.S. regulatory proposal. The comment period closes April 8 at midnight.
Currently there are scores of lawsuits against the mandate and proposed modifications, including those from Catholic dioceses around the country, religious non-profit organizations such as universities, hospitals and charities, and for-profit companies that reflect their owners’ religious belief through their operation.
“We continue to pray for the success of all of these lawsuits,” said the archbishop, thanking all those “who have challenged the HHS mandate in federal courts around our country over the last year.”
“Their goal is nothing less than securing the freedom of the Church to continue to obey the Lord’s command – and, in turn, to serve the common good – by providing charitable ministries in health care, education, and service to the poor, all without compromising Catholic beliefs,” said Archbishop Lori of the Catholic groups filing suit.
The archbishop also expressed “solidarity and appreciation as well for those in the business sector who have courageously challenged the HHS mandate in court.”
He added that the U.S. Bishops “note that their actions have been a source of encouragement, particularly because of their high rate of success in obtaining early injunctions to block the mandate.”
Archbishop Lori concluded by saying he “would like to urge all people of good will to pray that our leaders, and all people of this great country, will promote and protect religious liberty and its fundamental place in society.”