Print Version    Email to Friend
Around the Traps

Pope leads rosary for earthquake victims

VATICAN (SE): Discarding his prepared text for a general audience on August 24, Pope Francis asked the crowds in St. Peter’s Square to join him in the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary for the victims of the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck central Italy.

“I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones afflicted,” Vatican Radio reported him as saying.

He sent his condolences to those who lost loved ones and support to the anxious and afraid. He said he was saddened to hear the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists.


What to do next?

PITTSBURG (SE): Bishop David Zubik told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on August 18, “The number one priority has to be, ‘We need to make our worship better’.”

He added, “Second of all, we need to do the best job that we can to get not only more ordained leaders, but we really have to open up lots of doors for the lay leaders of the Church.”

Since 2000, Mass attendance in his diocese has declined by 40 per cent and Catholic school enrollments have fallen by 50 per cent.

The newspaper also reported that nearly half of Pittsburgh parishes are the in red, compared with one-third in 2012.


Sarajevo cardinal pope’s emissary for Mother Teresa thanksgiving

VATICAN (SE): Vinko Cardinal Pulic, from Sarajevo, has been named by Pope Francis as his special emissary for a thanksgiving for the canonisation of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata to be held in her birthplace of Skopje, Macedonia, on September 11, a week after the canonisation, Vatican Radio reported.

Mother Teresa was born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in 1910 to ethnic Albanian parents during the time of the Ottoman Empire.

She arrived in India in 1929 as a novice with the Loreto sisters and in the late 1940s left to found the Missionaries of Charity.

She died in Kolkata on 5 September 1997.


Basement bargain burial

NEW YORK (SE): St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan, New York, serves as the final resting place for hundreds of people, some dating back to the late 1700s.

But high above the tombs is an aging cathedral undergoing a millions of dollars renovation.

Instead of looking for donations to finance the project, the diocese is selling basement bargain burial spaces in the crypt. One earmarked for the clergy will be sold to a family of six for as little as a US$7 million ($54.25) or above donation.

Smaller spaces for an urn are going at the rock bottom price of US$10,000 ($77,500), but must be bought in advance of death.


Embattled Brazilian president gets papal encouragement

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis has written a personal message to Brazil’s embattled president, Dilma Rousseff, who is facing impeachment proceedings.

“Pope Francis wrote me a letter, but I will not divulge the content,” Rousseff disclosed on August 22. “I can only say that it was not an official letter.”

An official letter could have provoked complaints of Vatican interference in the domestic politics of Brazil. The bid to oust the president has heightened political divisions, aggravating the tensions brought on by a long and deep economic crisis.

Analysts in Brazil see the pope’s message as personal encouragement for Rousseff.


Papal telegramme for Methodist Synod

VATICAN (SE): The Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, sent a telegramme expressing the best wishes of Pope Francis to the synod of the Waldensian-Methodist Church when it met in Torre Pellice, Italy, on August 22.

The pope prayed for the grace to “journey with sincerity of heart towards full communion” and to “witness to Christ in an efficacious manner.”

He also expressed hope that the differences between Catholics and Waldensians would not hinder joint witness in the areas of evangelisation, service to migrants and the poor, as well as the safeguarding of the integrity of creation.


Virgin Mary covered up for fear of Islamist attack

RIMINI (SE): At the annual Rimini Meeting to promote friendship among peoples organised by Communion and Liberation, a bookseller said she covered up a statue of the Virgin Mary to avoid clashes, because of fears of Islamist extremists.

Vatican Radio reported that Francesco Curridori, a representative of the Shalom publishing house, told the media that organisers of the meeting in Italy did not require her to cover the statue, but she decided to do so “because if anything happened, I would feel responsible.”

More from this section