In Brief

Source: FSSPX News


Austria: Woman in charge of formation of seminarians

 According to the daily Der Standard, it is a woman, Brigitte Posch, who has been appointed head of training at the international seminary of the Jesuits, the Canisianum in Innsbruck. According to her, “priestly celibacy does not have to mean a lack of interpersonal relations with the feminine world”, and to thus justify her presence in the name of the aggiornamento formulated at Vatican II, but not yet sufficiently applied in the Church. Brigitte Posch will train 55 seminarians from 22 different countries.


United States: health services may refuse to carry out abortions

 On November 20, American Congress voted for a law stipulating that the State authorities may no longer force the health services to practice or support an abortion. This legislation will have the effect of depriving of federal financing, every state or local government who penalized a health center on the grounds that it refused to carry out an abortion, or to make available means with a view to such an act. The new law completes a federal directive, allowing a doctor to refuse to give training for carrying out abortions. This legislative disposition includes hospital personnel and all those who provide care facilities. Christopher H. Smith, a republican deputy, affirmed in the Washington Times that “the law intends to protect the freedom of conscience of those who do not wish to be implicated in abortions.”


France : Succession of the archbishop of Paris

 Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger had an interview with the pope on November 24, on the subject of his successor as archbishop of Paris. He was also received by Cardinal Re, prefect of the dicastery charged with episcopal nominations. Several names were submitted to the Commission for Bishops, an organ composed of 20 cardinals and 15 bishops, attached to the Congregation of the same name, and which meets every fortnight to decide important nominations. No decision has yet been taken. – Born in September 1926, Cardinal Lustiger has been archbishop of Paris since February 27, 1981.


Australia : The bishops mobilize against abortion

 The Australian bishops want to “reverse the spiral of abortions” in their country. It is true that with close to 100,000 interruptions of pregnancy per year, Australia has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. The Catholic Church has undertaken to propose “genuine alternatives” to pregnant women. The bishops have annouced that their plan will pass through pregnancy advice centers, measures aiming to improve the conditions of adoption, affordable appartments for women with children, and other social measures. – The Prime Minister, John Howard, recently affirmed that a modification of the abortion law was not on the agenda, but the health minister, Tony Abott, a Catholic and an enemy of the Green Left, is publicly anti-abortion.


Switzerland: Diocese of Basel adopts a budget to tackle its deficit

 The synod of Basel-Stadt has adopted its budget for 2005 with a deficit of 500,000 Swiss francs. In ten years, the diocese of Basel-Stadt will have at its disposal, financial income 30% less than its present income. This is the reason why the synod lauched a restructuring plan called “Vision 2015”, which will be presented in the deanery at the end of the year. Its aim is to avoid large losses, by “adopting only the necessary facilities.”


Chile: Pastor Sam Kobia praises the ecumenical role of Pentecostalism

 The Secretary General of the COE (Ecumenical Council of Churches), pastor Sam Kobia, has stressed the importance of Pentecostalism for ecumenism, during a meeting with representatives of Pentecostal Churches, on November 20 in Santiago. Chile is considered by him to be the “ideal country for measuring the influence of Pentcostalism in the Church and society in Latin America.” “Thanks to a new opening up to ecumenism, the dynamism and energy of Pentecostalism can enrich in an important way the quest for unity among the Christian Churches,” he said. For several years, the Pentecostal churches have been collaborating with the Council of Latin American Churches (CLAI) and other interconfessional organizations.


 Iraq: “Convert to Islam or get out!”

 The recent attacks against Christian Churches in Baghdad and Mosul, as well as the tracts distributed by militants ordering Christians to convert to Islam or leave the country, show that religious intolerance is gaining ground in Iraq. These tracts notify Iraqi Christians – who have been in the country since the dawn of Christianity, centuries before the arrival of Islam – to convert, or “suffer the consequences”. 10% of the 800,000 Iraqi Christians have already fled, terrified by these threats.


United States: Diocese of Boston registers a 50% drop in revenue

 According to the American Catholic agency CNS, in mid November, the archbishop of Boston, Mgr. Sean P. O’Malley put the properties of 16 parishes, already closed, on the market. “These draconian measures are the result of a massive decline in Church attendance, a shortage of priests and serious financial problems,” he explained. The scandal of sexual abuse committed by the clergy provoked a loss of revenue in the order of 50%, added Archbishop O’Malley. The numbers of priestly ordinations has dropped from 50 to 60 per year 50 years ago to 7 today. 47 parishes are already closed, following a plan which anticipates the closure of 83 parishes out of a total of 357.


New Zealand: Episcopal pressure against law on homosexual marriage

The New Zealand bishops are at war against the legalization of marriages between persons of the same sex. In a pastoral letter published on December 3 and read out in churches the following Sunday, they ask the faithful to be attentive to the voting of their representatives. The bishops advise Catholics to act accordingly by not voting next year for candidates who have supported homosexual marriages. During its second reading, this bill was passed by 65 votes, while 61 were needed. Catholics make up 14% of New Zealand’s 4 million inhabitants.