Filipinos await Pope Francis
Doves fly over Filipinos lighting candles as they offer prayers and flowers at a mass gravesite in Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 8. One year after one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded crashed across the central Philippines, church leaders in some of the worst-hit parts looked to Pope Francis' Jan. 15-19 visit to Leyte Island with hope, and slight trepidation. "The pastoral visit of Pope Francis will surely bring much blessing to all of us," said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, "especially to the poor, the survivors of calamities, both natural- and human-caused and the victims of different types of injustice." Pope Francis leaves Rome Jan. 12 to fly to Sri Lanka, which is still trying to promote reconciliation and peaceful coexistence after a bloody conflict from 1983 to 2009 claimed thousands of lives.
Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA, cns
New president at USF
SAN FRANCISCO — The University of San Francisco's new president told the congregation at St. Ignatius Church Oct. 31 for his inaugural Mass that the school is "a Catholic university for many reasons. Let the chief one be that Christ is the norm of our way of proceeding," Jesuit Father Paul J. Fitzgerald said during his homily in a church filled to capacity with students, faculty and staff.
Maryknolls elect leaders
OSSINING, N.Y. — Father Raymond J. Finch, a 38-year missioner who has served throughout Latin America, has been elected superior general of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Representatives to the Maryknoll Society's 13th general chapter held at the Maryknoll Mission Center in Ossining elected Father Finch and other new leaders to serve six-year terms through 2020. Every six years, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers convene a general chapter to establish goals and policy for the future, and to select new leadership.
Sainthood cause endorsed
WASHINGTON — Two years ago, the U.S. bishops endorsed the sainthood cause of Dorothy Day, who was born an Episcopalian but later became a Catholic and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement that still flourishes today. This year, the bishops endorsed the cause of another former Episcopalian: Father Paul Wattson, who was ordained an Anglican priest but became a Catholic and whose legacy includes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, observed each January. Support for his cause came on a voice vote Nov. 11, the second day of the bishops' annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.
'Tale of two synods'
BALTIMORE — October's extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was just one event, but "a tale of two synods" emerged from it, according to the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Speaking to reporters Nov. 10 after the morning session of the USCCB's annual fall general assembly in Baltimore, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, acknowledged the differences in the synod experienced by the bishops participating in it and news accounts disseminated outside the synod. Those differences were highlighted by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York in remarks delivered during the assembly's morning session. "There must have been two synods," he said, and the participating U.S. bishops "happened to be at the wrong one." From what he said he had heard and read about the synod, one synod was "confrontational and divisive," "hijacked by left-wing dissenters intent on eluding doctrine," with proceedings "smothered by new Ottavianis, dug in to resist the fresh breeze" of change, Cardinal Dolan said, referring to Italian Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani known for his opposition to the changes being brought about in the church during the Second Vatican Council.
PHILADELPHIA — The financial health of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia continues to recover, despite a persistent though shrinking deficit. That is the outlook from the latest audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, which the archdiocese made public Nov. 6, along with an explanatory document. The statements, prepared by the archdiocese and audited by the accounting firm Grant Thornton, report on the Office for Financial Services, the central office managing most of the archdiocese's finances. The reported deficit, referred to in the statement as the change in net assets, stood at $743,982 through June 30, 2014. That is down significantly from the reported deficit of $39.2 million in fiscal year 2012.
World Meeting registration
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia formally opened its arms to the world as Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia told the U.S. Catholic bishops Nov. 10 that registration has begun for the World Meeting of Families next year in the city. The archbishop made the announcement on the first day of the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. With up to 15,000 attendees expected for the gathering of families from around the country and the world Sept. 22-25, 2015, organizers are planning hotel and other accommodations plus a full slate of top speakers and activities for what will be the largest convention for Philadelphia next year.
No proof of claims
LOS ANGELES — A Vatican court has "definitively determined and ruled" that no allegations of sexual misconduct of any kind alleged against Msgr. Richard Loomis, 68, a Los Angeles priest, have been proved. The ruling was announced in a Nov. 8 statement issued by Office of the Vicar for Clergy of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The ruling came "after 10 years of exhaustive investigation and canonical trial," it said. The alleged abuse reportedly took place between 1969 and 1971 while he was a seminarian. He was ordained for the archdiocese in 1976.
Documents detail abuse
CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago Nov. 6 released approximately 15,000 pages of documents related to 36 archdiocesan priests who have substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with minors. The documents are posted on the archdiocesan website, www.archchicago.org.
— Catholic News Service
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