Australian Cardinal George Pell has denied all charges after Australian authorities filed sexual abuse charges against him. He said he looks forward to having an opportunity to defend himself in court. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pell faces abuse charges, Quebec hikes funds, radio director: News and Notes

  • July 11, 2017

News and notes from around the Catholic world as collected by The Catholic Register.

PELL FACES ABUSE CHARGES: Cardinal George Pell, one of the highest ranking officials at the Vatican, is scheduled to appear in an Australian court July 18 to face sexual abuse charges.

“I’m looking forward finally to having my day in court,” the 76-year-old Australian cardinal said June 29. “I’m innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”

Pope Francis has granted Pell a leave of absence from his position as the Vatican’s treasurer so that he can work on his defence.

Without giving specifics about the number of charges or the incidents, police said Pell is facing multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offenses from multiple complainants.

QUEBEC HIKES FUNDS: Quebec churches will collect $12 million this year from the provincial government’s Quebec Religious Heritage Corporation, a $2-million increase over 2016.

The extra money from the government will be split among 64 church buildings, two organs and five works of art. The biggest winner is Christ Church Anglican, which gets $500,000 to help with restoration of its bell tower. Montreal’s Mary Queen of the World Basilica collects $400,000 for the restoration of a surrounding wall. The Visitation Church in Montreal gets $340,000 for its interior.

RADIO DIRECTOR: Radio Maria Canada has appointed Fr. Charles Michael Grech as director to continue the work of producing Canadian Catholic programming in English and Italian for the online radio platform.

Grech took over over from Fr. Augusto Menichelli on July 1.

“I am thrilled to work with the volunteers and staff who earnestly put all their energy to ensure the station runs smoothly and provides our listeners with a needed ministry,” said Grech. “Spreading hope and the Gospel is more important than ever.”

Radio Maria Canada (, part of World Family of Radio Maria, was founded in 1995.

PRIEST DEFROCKED: Pope Francis has defrocked an Italian priest who was found guilty of child sex abuse, three years after overturning predecessor Benedict XVI’s decision to do the same after allegations against the priest first came to light.

Mauro Inzoli, 67, was initially defrocked in 2012 after he was accused of abusing minors, but Francis reversed that decision in 2014, ordering the priest to stay away from children and retire to “a life of prayer and humble discretion.” The Diocese of Crema released a statement June 28 saying the Pope had made a “definitive ruling” that Inzoli should be dismissed from clerical duties.

CONGO VIOLENCE: More than 3,300 people have been killed in Congo’s Kasai region in fighting between the army and rebels since October, according to a report from Catholic leaders in the region.

Church sources also said that 20 villages had been destroyed, half of them by government troops.

In all, 3,383 people died in clashes in the region, the June 20 statement said. The number contrasts with UN reports that have put the number of dead at about 400. The UN announced June 23 it was launching an investigation into the killings and reported atrocities.

The office of the papal nuncio in Kinshasa sent a note to the Vatican’s Fides news agency stating that two bishops have been forced to flee the violence. As well, 60 parishes, 34 religious houses and 141 schools were closed or damaged, and 31 Catholic health facilities were also affected.

The violence was triggered by the death of a local leader at the hands of police in Kasai in August.

SOUTH SUDAN AID: A month after security concerns forced postponement of a papal trip to war-torn South Sudan, Pope Francis has pledged about $650,000 (Cdn) in aid.

The Vatican announced June 21 that Pope Francis will be aiding projects in the areas of education, health care and agriculture, called the “Pope for South Sudan” initiative.

Because he is unable to travel to South Sudan in person, Francis “wanted to express the tangible presence and closeness of the Church with the afflicted people,” Cardinal Peter Turkson said.

PLEA FROM SISTERS: The Misericordia Sisters, who founded the health centre that bears their name in Winnipeg in 1900, have asked the Manitoba government to reverse its decision to close the urgent care centre.

“Having patients travel to another site for care, in winter in particular, would be unconscionable,” reads the letter from the Montreal-based Misericordia Sisters. “Misericordia’s Urgent Care is a beacon of hope in cold weather — central to where the vulnerable live, where they are walking, bus stops they are sleeping in, and even the bridge under which many call home.”

The Canadian Press reports that other groups have joined in the call to keep the centre open, but Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen is staying on course to reduce the number of hospital emergency rooms in the city to three from six in an effort improve wait times.

PRIESTS APPEAL: A group of priests in Indonesia’s Ruteng diocese appealed to the Vatican to intervene and resolve a dispute with their bishop, whom they accuse of misappropriating more than $100,000 in Church funds.

Representatives of the priests, accompanied by a bishops’ conference official, met Archbishop Antonio Filipazzi, the outgoing apostolic nuncio in Indonesia June 16 to call on the Vatican to help them achieve their demand that Bishop Hubertus Leteng heed their calls for an overhaul of how the diocese is run.

The move came after dozens of priests in the diocese on Flores Island quit their posts in protest against their bishop.

MELKITE PATRIARCH: Bishop Joseph Absi is the new Melkite patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and All the East

Melkite leaders elected Absi on June 21, one day after his 71st birthday, during the Melkite Catholic Synod at Ain-Traz, Lebanon. A native of Damascus, Syria, Absi has served as patriarchal vicar in the Archdiocese of Damascus since 2007.

The Melkite Catholic Church has about 1.2 million members.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location