New director for Vatican press office (Vatican News) Pope Francis has appointed a British-born journalist, Matteo Bruni, as the new director of the Vatican press office. A graduate of La Sapienza University in Rome, Bruni has been coordinating media for the Pope’s international trips. He replaces Alessandro Gisotti, who had been the interim director, and will no be Bruni’s deputy.
Ecumenical Patriarch criticizes 'fake news' on Ukrainian Orthodoxy (AsiaNews) “The Moscow Patriarchate’s cold war against the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople continues,” AsiaNews reports. Until recently, Ukraine’s Orthodox faithful were divided into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, with only the first canonically recognized by other Orthodox churches. After the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, signaled it would grant canonical recognition, the latter two bodies united to form the Orthodox Church of Ukraine—a decision condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Cardinal Tobin decries immigration raids (Archdiocese of Newark) The announced immigration raids “will cause more suffering to immigrant families, many of whom have been subject to detention, family separation, and violence,” Newark’s archbishop said in a statement. “These enforcement actions should not be pursued on or around church property, as our brothers and sisters should not be afraid to worship God.”
New audit set for West Virginia diocese (WOWK-TV) The firm of CliftonLarsonAllen has been named to conduct an independent audit of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. The diocese has been rocked by reports of lavish spending by Bishop Michael Bransfield, who retired last September and has subsequently been barred from ministry because of reports of misconduct.
Kerala priest and nun face trial for 1992 murder (UCANews) The southwestern Indian state of Kerala (map) is 55% Hindu, 27% Muslim, and 18% Christian. Two Eastern Catholic churches (the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church) have their headquarters there, as do two Oriental Orthodox churches (the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church).
Priest pleads for end to international silence on Eritrea (Fides) The East African nation of 6 million (map) has been a repressive one-party state since it gained independence in 1993. Although Catholics have freedom of worship, the government shut down Catholic newspapers in 2001 and Catholic hospitals earlier this summer.
Cardinal Müller rips working document for Amazon Synod (CNA) Cardinal Gerhard Müllehr as issued a strong statement criticizing the working document for the Amazon Synod. The former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sees the document as making “a radical U-turn from the hermeneutics of Catholic theology.” In particular he decries the references to “cosmovision,” and rejects the suggestion that “there are new sources of Revelation.” He also criticizes the document for “flattery” aimed at Pope Francis, and says “the text could easily be cut down to half the length or less.”
USCCB president condemns threat of widespread immigration enforcement actions, new rule drastically limiting asylum (USCCB) On July 14, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a nationwide deportation sweep that President Donald Trump had announced, delayed, and re-announced. On July 16, an interim final rule on asylum, announced the previous day, went into effect; under the rule, “asylum-seeking immigrants who pass through a third country en route to the US must first apply for refugee status in that country rather than at the US border,” NPR reported. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo commented, “It is contrary to American and Christian values to attempt to prevent people from migrating here when they are fleeing to save their lives and to find safety for their families.”
EU bishops' commission discuss 'common values' with new EU leader (COMECE) Every six months, a different nation holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, the upper house of the EU’s legislature. On July 1, the presidency passed to Finland, and thus leaders of the the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU met with the Finnish foreign minister.
Influential bishop hopes Amazon Synod will move toward women's ordination (LifeSite News) A bishop serving on the preparatory commission for the Amazon Synod has indicated that he hopes the meeting will recommend the ordination of women—“at least” to the diaconate—and of married men. Bishop Erwin Kräutler, an Austrian-born bishop who now head the territorial prelature of Xingu in Brazil, reportedly played a major role in drafting the working document for the Synod.
Planned Parenthood ousts president in policy dispute (Washington Post) Leana Wen has been removed from her post as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation after just eight months. The board of Planned Parenthood did not explain the move, but informed sources said that Wen had declined to promote “transgender” rights to abortion. In her own statement the ousted president, a physician, said that she had hoped the organization would promote a broad range of health services, but the board decided “to double down on abortion rights advocacy.”
[Note: the Washington Post coverage provides a highly skewed account of Planned Parenthood involvement in the sale of fetal body parts.]