Weekly Mass attendance in US fell to 17% in 2022, with additional 5% watching online (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) Weekly Mass attendance among adult Catholics in the United States fell from 24% in 2019 to 17% in 2022, with an additional 5% watching Mass weekly online because of COVID-related concerns, according to a new study published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
The study found that “49% percent of adult Catholics always receive Communion when attending Mass and 18% do so frequently or usually. 18% seldom receive Eucharist at Mass. 15% never receive Communion at Mass.”
49% of adult Catholics—and 88% of adult Catholics who attend Mass weekly—believe that “Jesus Christ is truly present under the appearance of bread and wine.”
Only 24% of those surveyed go to Confession at least yearly.
Vatican bank lawyer raps Secretariat of State investors, seeks damages (Crux) As the Vatican’s financial “trial of the century” draws slowly toward its conclusion, at attorney for the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), told a Vatican tribunal that the officials of the Secretariat of State invested large sums “without any control or accuracy.”
The attorney, Roberto Lipari, urged the tribunal to find defendants guilty in the financial-misconduct case, and said they should be required to pay the IOR for “moral and reputational damage.”
Lipari charged that the Secretariat of State used the IOR “like a cash machine,” and used their ecclesiastical clout to force the bank’s cooperation. He emphasized that the investment strategy of the Secretariat of State was amateurish: “It was all managed in a self-referential way by a monsignor who’s an expert in canon law, and an accountant with no experience in financial investments.”
To illustrate his argument, Lipari pointed to a plan to invest in a project in Angola, noting that the project threatened environmental damage, the host country had a poor human-rights record, and a potential partner was an arms dealer. That project—which was pursued under the leadership of the trial’s chief defendant, Cardinal Angelo Becciu—never came to fruition.
Cardinal Cupich lauds Cardinal Bernardin's 'seamless garment' (L'Osservatore Romano) The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has given prominent coverage to a speech by Cardinal Blase Cupich at Fordham University, praising the “consistent ethic of life” championed by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, in his famous “seamless garment” speech forty years ago.
Cardinal Cupich praised his predecessor for suggesting that “the spectrum of life cuts across the issues of genetics, abortion, capital punishment, modern warfare and the care of the terminally ill.” Whereas Cardinal Bernardin had argued in 1984 that the abortion issue should be seen alongside the question of nuclear weaponry, Cardinal Cupich offered an updated list of issues, including climate change, artificial intelligence, and family leave. He argued that the absence of a federally guaranteed right to paid family leave “is a scandal for any nation.”
Papal abuse commission issues scathing statement on continued abuse cover-ups (Crux) Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has issued a strongly worded statement decrying the “tragically harmful deficiencies” in the handling of sex-abuse complaints.
“Every day seems to bring forth new evidence of abuse, as well as cover up and mishandling by Church leadership around the world,” the commission said.
The September 27 statement from the commission, which was created by Pope Francis, comes as prominent figures in Rome question the handling of complaints against Father Marko Rupnik, and the Pope’s involvement in his case.
“We are long overdue in fixing the flaws in procedures that leave victims wounded and in the dark both during and after cases have been decided,” the papal commission protested.
In unusual move, Steubenville bishop named auxiliary bishop of Detroit (Vatican Press Office) In an unusual move, Pope Francis has transferred Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, 60, of Steubenville (OH) to his native Detroit, where he will serve as an auxiliary bishop.
The Pontiff also named Bishop Paul Bradley, the retired bishop of Kalamazoo (MI), as the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Steubenville.
Last year, Bishop Monforton announced his request for a USCCB consultative vote on a merger of the Steubenville diocese with the Diocese of Columbus. His request—soon tabled—was undertaken without consultation with his clergy.
Bishop Monforton is also the subject of two ‘Vos Estis’ investigations into whether he mishandled sexual abuse allegations.
Maryland attorney general releases revised report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore (AP) Attorney General Anthony Brown has released a revised report on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The revised report includes previously redacted names, though five names still remain redacted.
The attorney general’s original report, released in April, found that “over 600 children are known to have been abused by the 156 people included in this Report, but the number is likely far higher.”
The vast majority of first incidents of abuse took place between 1955 and 1989 and peaked in the late 1960s and 1970s, according to the archdiocese, which responded with a pastoral letter and FAQs.
At the time, the Archdiocese of Baltimore was marked by widespread priestly dissent from Catholic teaching on sexual morality, with 72 priests signing Father Charles Curran’s statement of dissent from Humanae Vitae within weeks of its publication in 1968.
Discipline of sister who led community co-founded by Father Rupnik raises questions (CNA) Hannah Brockhaus of CNA notes the apparent contradiction between two recent actions undertaken by the Diocese of Rome. Auxiliary Bishop Daniele Libanori, SJ directed Sister Ivanka Hosta to do penance for Father Marko Ivan Rupnik’s victims; Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Vicar of Rome, authorized a separate canonical visitation that questioned the accusations against Rupnik.
China pleased with Pope's message, Hong Kong archbishop says (Reuters) A message from Pope Francis to China’s government leaders was “well received,” Archbishop Stephen Chow of Hong Kong told the Reuters news agency.
The archbishop—who will receive a cardinal’s red hat at the consistory this Saturday—said that Communist officials were pleased that the Pontiff, during his visit to Mongolia, encouraged Chinese Catholics to be “good Christians and good citizens.”
Religious freedom includes institutional freedom, Vancouver archbishop preaches (The B.C. Catholic) Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, of Vancouver preached at a recent Red Mass that religious freedom is not “an individual matter to be confined to the private sphere alone.”
“What the Church asks for is simply the space to continue to serve with integrity the common good through the institutions it has developed over centuries,” he continued. Religious freedom’s “authentic exercise demands that its beliefs, including its inherent moral imperatives, be manifested publicly.”
Priest shot in attack on parish in Cameroon (ACI Africa) Suspected separatist fighters shot Father Elvis Mbangsi in both legs and one hand during an attack on St. Martin of Tour’s Kembong Parish in the Diocese of Mamfe in Cameroon.
Cameroon, a Central African nation of 29.3 million (map), is 62% Christian (30% Catholic), 20% Muslim, and 17% ethnic religionist. The Anglophone crisis, an ongoing armed conflict, began in 2017 and has displaced over 700,000 people.
Vatican Museums offer longer hours, automatic ticketing (Vatican Museums) The Vatican Museums have announced plans for longer hours and a streamlined ticket-purchasing system, in preparations for the Jubilee of 2025.
Beginning in January 2024, the Museums will be open from 8 am to 7 pm daily, with extended hours (8 to 8) on Fridays and Saturdays during the tourist season that begins in March.
The ticketing system, designed to curb the role of scalpers, will require identity checks for ticket-holders. The system has been designed, the Museums explained, to ensure that tickets are available to all who want them.
Stolen tabernacle returned to California church, with Blessed Sacrament missing (KMPH-TV) The tabernacle was recently stolen from St. Rita Catholic Indian Mission, a church in the Diocese of Fresno. The thief returned the tabernacle, with the Blessed Sacrament missing, to another church, with a note that the tabernacle belonged in St. Rita’s.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has documented over 275 acts of vandalism, arson, and other destruction at parishes and other Catholic sites in the United States since May 2020.
Deacon's estate settles with abuse victim (The Guardian) The estate of a late New Orleans deacon has agreed to “one of the largest individual sexual abuse settlements ever paid” to area clerical abuse survivors, The Guardian reported. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.
Virgil M. Wheeler III, an attorney and Tulane University law professor, served on several archdiocesan boards as a layman and was ordained to the diaconate in 2018.
In 2022, he was convicted of sexually abusing a boy in 2001 and 2002 and received five years’ probation. After reneging on a verbal commitment to settle the victim’s civil suit for $1 million, Wheeler died of pancreatic cancer in April.
Portuguese premier meets with Pontiff (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis met on September 28 with Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Luis Santos da Costa.
A brief Vatican statement indicated that the conversation focused on Church-state relations, with particular reference to the papal visit to Portugal for World Youth Day in 2023. The discussions also touched on the war in Ukraine and the issue of migration.
Summing up this pontificate: 'He made a mess' (First Things) In a First Things essay, Father Brian Graebe, a priest of the New York archdiocese, suggests that if the reign of Pope Francis were summed up in a single sentence, it would be a variation on a sentence that the Pope himself used: “He made a mess.”
“That is,” Father Graebe continues, “Pope Francis has made a mess of the Church’s doctrine, not just in what Catholics believe, but in how we receive and understand that revelation.
Illustrating his argument by examining the Pope’s statements on the death penalty, the author stresses that the role of the Pope is to preserve Church doctrine, not to change it.
Cardinal Mario Grech seen as 'central figure in Pope's plan to change Catholic Church' (National Catholic Reporter) Cardinal Mario Grech, appointed Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops in 2020, said in 2009, “Whoever does not accept Christ’s teachings should be honest with themselves and excommunicate themselves from the Church.” At the time, he was bishop of Gozo (Malta).
“He had a very, very strong opinion and then he changed,” said Joseanne Peregin, a founder of the Drachma parents’ group, a Maltese organization described in the article as “a welcome space for LGBTQ+ Catholics.”
“And the reason for that change was meeting the people,” she added. “This synodal process, he lived it. He lives it. If I was the Pope, I would want exactly those kinds of people.”
Heads of Germany's Synodal Way seek papal talks on resolutions (Pillar) In June, the leaders of the German bishops’ conference and the lay Central Committee of German Catholics sought a meeting with Pope Francis to discuss the resolutions approved during the nation’s Synodal Way. Three months later, the bishops’ conference has posted the letter on its website.
Papal audience: report on visit to Marseille, new vision for Mediterranean (Vatican Press Office) At his regular weekly public audience on September 27, Pope Francis reported on his weekend visit to Marseille, which was highlighted by a conference on the Mediterranean.
The challenge that the conference faced, the Pope said, was “that the Mediterranean might recover its vocation,” and become “a laboratory of civilization and peace.”
The result of the conference, the Pope continued, was “an outlook on the Mediterranean that I would call simply human, not ideology, not politically correct or instrumental—no, human—that is, capable of referring everything to the primary value of the human person and his or her inviolable dignity.”