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Roberta Drury, a Catholic victim of Buffalo shooting, 'reflected God's love'

Roberta Drury, 32, who was killed in a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, May 14, 2022. / Drury family

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 24, 2022 / 11:39 am (CNA).

Roberta Drury, one of the victims of the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, was remembered at her funeral Mass on Saturday for her many admirable qualities, including her “smile that could light up a room.”

A White gunman killed 10 Black people on May 14 at a supermarket. Another three persons were injured in the shooting.

According to her obituary, “Robbie” Drury, 32, had been living in Buffalo for 10 years, caring for her brother, who is recovering from leukemia.

During his homily at Drury’s May 21 funeral Mass at Assumption Catholic Church in Syracuse, New York, Father Nicholas Spano, O.F.M. Conv., said Christ’s disciples have the mission of reflecting the light of God, adding that Drury “embraced this mission” and “lived it every day.”

Spano said that Drury “reflected God's love every time she cared for her brother, every time she greeted someone in her neighborhood around her street, every time she talked with friends and family she was that light that shown through whatever darkness might have been present.”

“Roberta had a perseverance and a tenacity that was both inspirational and enviable,” Spano said at the Mass. “Because of what she experienced, she was able to be the instrument of God's peace as she became that light in the darkness.”

Spano said that “There are no words to fully express the depth and breadth of this tragedy.” He added that on the day of the shooting “our corner of the world was changed forever. Lives ended. Dreams shattered. And our state was plunged into mourning.”

Spano said that Drury has “left us a lasting gift,” which is “her example of being light in the darkness.” 

“So, as we go forth from this place we're challenged by our faith and by Roberta's example to be a light in this world,” he said.

The casket of Roberta Drury, the youngest of those killed during the mass shooting at the Buffalo Tops supermarket on May 14th, is brought out following the funeral at Assumption Church on May 21, 2022 in Syracuse, New York. Drury, who was 32, had walked to the Tops market to pick up groceries for her mother when she was gunned down along with nine others in what is being described as an act of white supremacy. 18-year-old Payton Gendron is accused of the mass shooting that killed 10 people at the Tops grocery store on the east side of Buffalo on May 14th and is being investigated as a hate crime. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The casket of Roberta Drury, the youngest of those killed during the mass shooting at the Buffalo Tops supermarket on May 14th, is brought out following the funeral at Assumption Church on May 21, 2022 in Syracuse, New York. Drury, who was 32, had walked to the Tops market to pick up groceries for her mother when she was gunned down along with nine others in what is being described as an act of white supremacy. 18-year-old Payton Gendron is accused of the mass shooting that killed 10 people at the Tops grocery store on the east side of Buffalo on May 14th and is being investigated as a hate crime. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Spano noted that some have questioned “in their grief, where was God?”

“My brothers and sisters, as Christians, we believe that God was there. God was present, as he always is with them in their moments of suffering,” he answered. “He himself, suffering, alongside those killed by hate, violence, and evil.”

“Roberta and her companions did not die alone nor in the absence of love,” he said. “But rather in that tragic moment, were ushered into the hands of a loving God. In an instant they moved from this imperfect world, to a place of peace and light.”

“We can say this,” he added, “because we believe in a God who not only took on our humanity at the moment of his incarnation, but ultimately embraced the darkest dimensions of humanity on Good Friday.”

Spano said that “to us our loved ones appear dead, but they are now alive with God.”

Reflecting on the Mass’s scripture reading from the eleventh chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Spano said that “Jesus leaves us with those words of assurance and hope that in him and in him alone, we find our rest.”

He continued: “Rest from our struggles, rest from our pain, rest from our suffering. In that moment when we cross over into the eternal light of Jesus, we enter into a place where love [is] experienced to an unparalleled proportion, hate is forever banished and suffering is no more.”

Spano questioned “As a family, as a church, as New Yorkers, how do we as people of faith respond to the reality of darkness in our world?”

He answered by citing the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who “once wrote: ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.’” 

Spano also said that Christ’s call to forgiving others is “echoed in the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: ‘forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude.’”

Spano said that for Catholics “memory is a crucial aspect of our faith. For us to remember is not only to keep alive but to make present. We enter into this mystery … every time we celebrate the Eucharist.”

“It's in the Eucharist that we see the power of memory,” he said. “When we celebrate the Lord's meal, and we do it in memory of him, we make present the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in our midst, the entire Paschal Mystery at once,” he said.

“Each time we think of Roberta remembering her kindness, remembering her love for family and friends, her perseverance, her tenacity, and most of all that smile that could light up a room,” he said, “we make present once again that reality.”

New Catholic archbishop of Paris invokes ‘synodal spirit’ at installation Mass

Archbishop Laurent Ulrich is installed as archbishop of Paris in the Church of Saint-Sulpice on May 23, 2022. / Twitter @dioceseparis.

Rome Newsroom, May 24, 2022 / 10:40 am (CNA).

Archbishop Laurent Ulrich was installed on Monday as the new Catholic archbishop of Paris.

The installation Mass took place on May 23 in the Church of Saint-Sulpice, the second-largest Catholic church in the French capital, which is serving as a temporary cathedral while Notre-Dame de Paris undergoes restoration.

In his homily, Ulrich spoke about developing “a missionary spirit and a collaborative spirit, which is really the synodal spirit” in the archdiocese.

He said that meant encouraging vocations, offering charity to the most vulnerable, and listening to the cries of abuse survivors.

“This is not a program, it is an attitude that changes us and transforms us, which makes us witnesses of the living Christ in the world in which we ourselves live,” he said.

Originally from Dijon in eastern France, Ulrich is the 142nd archbishop of Paris.

He succeeds Archbishop Michel Aupetit, who resigned in December 2021. Aupetit announced in February this year that he would continue to serve as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, after receiving encouragement from Pope Francis.

Ulrich, who is 70 years old, was the archbishop of Chambéry, southeastern France, from 2000 to 2008. He served as the archbishop of Lille, northern France, from 2008 until his appointment to Paris.

Among the challenges facing the new archbishop will be to heal the divisions exposed in the Paris archdiocese during Aupetit’s tenure from 2017 to 2021.

Before the evening installation Mass, Ulrich presided over vespers in the public square in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

As the archbishop of Paris, Ulrich will be responsible for overseeing the restoration of Notre-Dame’s interior following a devastating fire in 2019. The cathedral is expected to reopen for worship on April 16, 2024, five years after the blaze.

Speaking about the cathedral fire, Ulrich said: “I greet all the people of Paris who felt this wound with infinite sadness, but also with the immense pride of knowing that they are mysteriously and universally supported.”

The Archdiocese of Paris, which dates back to the third century, serves an estimated 1.3 million Catholics out of a total population of around 2.2 million people.

At the end of his homily, Ulrich invoked the intercession of some of the saints who lived in Paris, including St. Denis, St. Geneviève, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Catherine Labouré, and St. Charles de Foucauld.

“We are not lacking in models or intercessors: they have been courageous witnesses and above all simple servants. … May the grace of the Lord thus make us bear fruit,” he said.

Polish bishops’ leader: Vatican’s approach to Russia ‘naive and utopian’

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki. /

London, England, May 24, 2022 / 09:27 am (CNA).

The president of Poland’s Catholic bishops’ conference has said that the Vatican’s approach to Russia is “naive and utopian.”

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki made the remark in an interview with the Polish Catholic news agency KAI published on May 23, following a May 17-20 visit to Ukraine.

The 72-year-old archbishop was asked about his meeting with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

The interviewer noted that Pope Francis had received a “special memorandum” on the Vatican’s “current Eastern policy.” It is understood that Gądecki presented the document to the pope during a March 28 private audience.

Gądecki told KAI: “In my opinion, the Vatican’s approach to Russia should change to a more mature one, since the past and present approach seems very naive and utopian.”

“Of course, the goal of establishing contacts and dialogue is noble, which is based on the fact that Russia is big and deserves respect. But this is not accompanied by sufficiently serious reflection on the Vatican’s part.”

He went on: “For Russia, the Vatican is an important entity, but at the same time it should be humiliated, as Putin himself has shown several times by being intentionally late by several hours for a scheduled meeting with the pope.”

Gądecki was referring to meetings between the Russian president and the pope at the Vatican in 2013, 2015, and 2019. Putin was reportedly 50 minutes late for the papal audience in 2013, 70 minutes late in 2015, and nearly an hour late in 2019.

The archbishop added: “The Holy See should understand that in its relations with Russia it should be more cautious, to say the least, because from the experience of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, it seems that lying is second nature to Russian diplomacy.”

The archbishop of Poznań, west-central Poland, suggested that Vatican diplomacy had historically “underestimated” the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Referring to Blessed Stefan Wyszyński, who led the Polish Church under communism, he said: “Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński tried to change this, but I do not think he succeeded. It was rather Providence, his efforts and determination, and not the efforts of the diplomacy of the Apostolic See that saved the Church in Poland. A radical change was brought only by the pontificate of John Paul II, but now we seem to be returning to the old line.”

Gądecki acknowledged that the Holy See is committed to neutrality in international affairs.

“Vatican diplomacy — being aware that Christians often fight on both sides — does not point to one aggressor but tries to do everything possible to reach a peaceful conclusion through diplomatic efforts,” he said.

“But today, in the situation of war, [the Ukrainian Greek Catholic leader] Major Archbishop Shevchuk stresses, the most important thing is that the Holy See supports Ukraine at all levels and does not follow utopian ideas taken from liberation theology.”

In the interview, Gądecki described his solidarity visit to Ukraine as part of a delegation that included Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, and Archbishop Stanisław Budzik of Lublin, eastern Poland.

The Polish bishops met with Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki, the chairman of Ukraine’s Latin Rite bishops’ conference, in Lviv, western Ukraine, as well as Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk in Kyiv. They also visited the liberated cities of Irpin and Bucha to pray for Ukrainians killed under Russian occupation.

Gądecki also told KAI that he had discussed his recent letter expressing “fraternal concern” over the direction of Germany’s “Synodal Way” with Archbishop Gallagher, the Vatican’s equivalent of a foreign minister.

In his letter to German bishops’ conference chairman Bishop Georg Bätzing, Gądecki questioned whether the initiative bringing together Germany’s bishops and laypeople was rooted in the Gospel.

“Archbishop Gallagher informed me that [Vatican Secretary of State] Cardinal Parolin was grateful for the letter to Georg Bätzing, the president of the German episcopate, in which I took up a critique of the German synodal path,” the Polish archbishop said in the interview.

‘Bicycling cardinal’ is new leader of Italy’s Catholic bishops’ conference

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna, Italy, in St. Peter's Basilica on Oct. 5, 2019. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Vatican City, May 24, 2022 / 07:37 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has chosen Cardinal Matteo Zuppi as the next president of the Italian bishops’ conference following a vote on Tuesday.

Zuppi, 66, has a reputation as the “bicycling cardinal” for his propensity to cycle around the northern Italian city of Bologna, which he has led as archbishop since 2015.

He also has strong ties to the influential Sant’Egidio Community.

The cardinal was chosen to lead the Episcopal Conference of Italy (CEI) during the group’s 76th general assembly, taking place in Rome on May 23-27.

Pope Francis had previously asked the Italian bishops to adopt a new statute that would allow them to elect the president themselves, but the bishops preferred to leave the choice to the pope, who as Bishop of Rome is also the Primate of Italy.

Under a compromise arrangement, the bishops presented a list of the three candidates with the most votes to the pope, who could then choose between the three or opt for a different candidate.

Zuppi succeeds 80-year-old Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, who led the bishops’ conference for a five-year term beginning in 2017.

Pope Francis made Zuppi a cardinal in 2019. For years, the Rome native has been listed among the “papabili” — possible future popes — but has made light of the speculation.

Before being transferred to Bologna, Zuppi was an auxiliary bishop of Rome for three years. He was responsible for the city’s historic center area, which includes the Trastevere neighborhood, where the headquarters of the Sant’Egidio Community is located.

Sant’Egidio is a Catholic lay association that aids migrants and promotes ecumenism. It has also helped negotiate reconciliation, including by holding peace talks in countries like Mozambique and South Sudan.

German bishops’ leader expresses disappointment in Pope Francis

Bishop Georg Bätzing, chairman of the German bishops’ conference, meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican, June 24, 2021. / Vatican Media.

Cologne, Germany, May 24, 2022 / 06:45 am (CNA).

The chairman of Germany’s bishops’ conference on Sunday expressed his disappointment with Pope Francis, insisting that “the teaching of the Catholic Church” must be “changed,” especially concerning homosexuality and the role of women.

In a May 22 interview, Bishop Georg Bätzing expressed his “disappointment” in the pope, adding: “But in the sense of a deception,” reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

Bätzing used the close-sounding German words Enttäuschung (“disappointment”) and Täuschung (“deception”).

Explaining what he meant by this, the bishop said: “The pope, even in the Catholic Church, even with all the powers vested in him, is not someone who could turn the Church from its head onto its feet, which is what we would like.”

Bätzing added: “He is doing what he can. Namely, he is initiating a process where all these questions are put on the table. For the 2023 world synod and for questions, so to speak, like ‘Are groups allowed to participate, are LGBTQ allowed to participate?’ he always says: everyone.”

In the wide-ranging interview with national state broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, the bishop of the Limburg, western Germany, said: “I believe that in the final realization of what our image of God and man is, discrimination against homosexuals, people living in relationships, for example, should not be framed as a prohibition, but as a possibility that is encountered in an appreciative way.”

Bätzing also said that on the matter of ordaining women to the Catholic priesthood, he wanted to “maintain a balancing act in such a way” that he could say what the Church’s teaching is, but at the same time recognize that “this teaching no longer finds acceptance among the faithful, not only in a social context, among the faithful.”

“The sensus fidelium, that is, the sense of the faithful, has moved on,” Bätzing said. “This is a sign that we must take up theologically and that leads to change. And that’s what I’m committed to. So, I don’t sit in the armchair and say ‘this is the way it is now,’ but I really give a lot of my strength to achieving this. And I believe that change is going to happen.”

Bätzing acknowledged that he personally knew another prominent prelate whose public departure from the Catholic Church last week made headlines around the world.

The former priest Andreas Sturm, who was vicar general of the Diocese of Speyer, had also called for a change of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Announcing his departure from the Church, Sturm cited frustration over a lack of changes to Church teaching in a number of areas, especially sexuality and the ordination of women.

Asked whether he would contemplate a similar step, Bätzing replied that he would also consider turning his back on the Church altogether if he “got the impression that nothing would ever change.”

“However, I have the impression that a lot is changing at the moment,” the 61-year-old bishop said.

Pope Francis names Arkansas priest to lead Diocese of St. Augustine

Bishop-elect Erik Pohlmeier. / Courtesy of the Diocese of St. Augustine.

Vatican City, May 24, 2022 / 05:15 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed Arkansas priest Father Erik Pohlmeier as the next bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida.

Bishop-elect Pohlmeier, 50, will succeed Bishop Felipe J. Estévez, 76, whose retirement was accepted by Pope Francis on May 24.

Pohlmeier’s consecration as bishop and installation in the diocese will take place on July 22.

“I am grateful for every way I have been called to serve the Church and am humbled by this opportunity to serve in the place where Mass was first celebrated in the United States. May God be praised for any good work I am able to do,” Pohlmeier said in a statement on May 24.

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock said that Pohlmeier “is one of the most capable, beloved, and admired priests of the Diocese of Little Rock, and he will be sorely missed.”

Taylor noted that Pohlmeier “is fluent in Spanish and brings to the Diocese of St. Augustine a personal experience of the full spectrum of Catholic life acquired over the course of 24 years of priestly ministry in every apostolate imaginable: urban, rural, and suburban, in which he has served people of every ethnicity, income level, and culture, both in parish life and in diocesan apostolates, most recently as the director of faith formation.”

“We are all one Church, so while we in Arkansas are proud of Bishop-elect Pohlmeier and sending him to Florida will be a great sacrifice for us, we rejoice in the good fortune of the Diocese of St. Augustine and know that the Lord must love them very much to give them such a fine man to be their next bishop,” he said.

The Diocese of St. Augustine covers 17 counties in Northeast and North Central Florida, and serves more than 153,000 Catholics.

Pohlmeier is currently pastor of Little Rock’s largest Catholic parish, Christ the King, and has served as director of the office of faith formation and office of deacon formation since 2016.

He was born in Colorado Springs on July 20, 1971, but grew up in Paris, Arkansas, with three brothers and one sister.

He entered seminary in 1992, after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1991.

The bishop-elect studied undergraduate theology at Rome’s Gregorian University. He also received a master’s in spiritual theology from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome while attending the North American College seminary.

In 1998, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Little Rock, which encompasses all of Arkansas.

Since 2003, he has been a theological consultant for the Arkansas Catholic newspaper.

From 2007 to 2016, Pohlmeier was on the national board of directors of Couple to Couple League, a non-profit organization that provides instruction in fertility awareness and Natural Family Planning.

The bishop-elect has been director of continuing education for clergy since 2019.

Cardinal Zen appears in court in Hong Kong

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun departs the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, Nov. 18, 2014. / Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

Rome Newsroom, May 24, 2022 / 04:10 am (CNA).

Cardinal Joseph Zen appeared in court in Hong Kong on Tuesday, a date which is the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.

The 90-year-old former Catholic bishop of Hong Kong was charged in court on May 24 with four other prominent democracy advocates who were all trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pro-democracy protesters to pay their legal fees.

All five entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of failing to register the humanitarian fund with the police, according to AFP.

For a first conviction, this charge can reportedly incur a fine of up to $1,274, but likely will not fall under Hong Kong’s national security law.

The date set for Cardinal Zen’s trial is Sept. 19.

Father Joseph Chan, Hong Kong’s vicar general was present in the courtroom, but the cleric told AFP that he was not there as a representative of the diocese.

Zen offered a Mass to pray for China on the night of May 24, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians.

Cardinal Zen offered Mass on May 24, 2022 after appearing in court in Hong Kong. Screenshot from the livestream of the Mass on the cardinal's Facebook page.
Cardinal Zen offered Mass on May 24, 2022 after appearing in court in Hong Kong. Screenshot from the livestream of the Mass on the cardinal's Facebook page.

Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the Marian feast as the annual World Day of Prayer for the Church in China in 2007.

Zen was arrested by the authorities in Hong Kong on May 11 and was released on bail later on the same day.

Diplomats from Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and other European countries were in the courtroom to attend Zen’s hearing.

The cardinal’s arrest earlier this month sparked reactions around the world. A Vatican spokesman said that the Holy See “is following the development … with extreme attention.”

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called on Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to “cease targeting Hong Kong’s advocates and to immediately release those who have been unjustly detained and charged, like the Cardinal Joseph Zen … and others arrested today.”

David Alton, an independent member of the House of Lords, the upper house of the U.K. parliament, described the cardinal’s arrest as “an act of outrageous intimidation.”

Pope Francis said in his Regina Coeli address on May 22 that he is praying for the Church in China and “attentively and actively following the often complex life and situations of the faithful and pastors” there.

Without specifically mentioning Zen by name, the pope called on people to pray for Catholics in China “so that the Church in China, in freedom and tranquility, might live in effective communion with the universal Church, and might exercise its mission of proclaiming the Gospel to everyone.”

Archbishop Cordileone responds to criticism that he's 'politicizing the Eucharist'

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone / EWTN News Nightly Screenshot

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 19:47 pm (CNA).

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Monday responded to criticism that he is “politicizing” the Eucharist by denying Nancy Pelosi Holy Communion, saying he would prefer the Democratic House Speaker remain in office “and become an advocate for life in the womb."

"What does it mean to politicize the Holy Eucharist if one is following Church teaching and applying Church teaching?” Cordileone said in an interview with EWTN News’ Erik Rosales that aired May 23 on “EWTN News Nightly.”

“One would have to demonstrate that one is doing that for a political purpose,” the archbishop said.

“I've been very clear all along, my purpose is pastoral, not political,” he added. “I am not campaigning for anyone for office. As a matter of fact, my preference would be for Speaker Pelosi to remain in office and become an advocate for life in the womb."

On Friday, Cordileone announced that he had notified Pelosi, who describes herself as a devout Catholic, that until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion, she should not be admitted to Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, her home diocese, nor should she present herself for Communion. 

Cordileone told Rosales that he has not received any response from Pelosi so far. Nor has the 82-year-old speaker issued any public statements about the Communion ban as of yet. You can watch Cordileone’s interview in the video below.

As of May 23, at least a dozen U.S. bishops have publicly supported Cordileone’s action, which only applies within the San Francisco Archdiocese. Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila called Cordileone “a shepherd with the heart and mind of Christ, who truly desires to lead others towards Christ’s love, mercy, and promise of eternal salvation.”  

Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., where Pelosi spends much of her time, has not commented publicly on Cordileone's action, but has indicated in the past that he does not intend to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who actively promote abortion and other policies at odds with Church teaching.

Cordileone told Rosales that politicizing the Eucharist can even occur “in reverse.” One could “receive Communion as a means to furthering a political agenda, when one is motivated for that reason,” he said. “So it cuts both ways.”

Cordileone noted that many Catholics don’t understand Church teaching on the Eucharist, “what it is, who it is, and what the proper disposition is to receive it, what it means to receive the most Holy Eucharist.”

He added that he wanted to help Catholics understand “the grave evil of abortion and what it means to cooperate with evil on the different levels.”

“I wanted to be clear in laying out that teaching,” he said.

‘Aggressive’ abortion stance

Rosales said that Cordileone told him his decision is not related to the recent leak of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that shows the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide. 

However, Rosales said that Cordileone was “motivated by Speaker Pelosi's reaction to the Texas Heartbeat Law,” which bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at about six weeks gestation.

“That's when Speaker Pelosi became very outspoken and aggressive — I'll use that word — in vowing to codify the Roe vs Wade decision into federal law,” Cordileone told Rosales, referring to her ardent support for the Women’s Health Protection Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives but failed to garner enough votes in the Senate

“So it would guarantee open, unqualified access to abortion for all 9 months, all through out the country,” Cordileone said. “This was very alarming, very disturbing.”

It was at this time that Cordileone began the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign, asking Catholics to pray and fast to soften her heart for the unborn.

Cordileone said that Pelosi frequently speaks fondly of her five grown children.

“I think she has a maternal heart, there is a real sensitivity there,” he said.

“So I asked people to pray and fast for her and I've been trying to meet with her. Ever since then I've made several attempts to speak with her. I've either been denied or just received no response.”

Cordileone added that Pelosi “knew in advance that I would make this announcement if she did not repudiate her position on abortion or at least not refer to her Catholic faith and not go to Communion.”

Rosales brought up Pelosi’s recent October meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican and asked whether the pope should take a greater stance on the issue.

“I think Pope Francis has taken a very strong stance on this,” Cordileone said. “He's been very outspoken about the evil of abortion. He sees how everything is interconnected.”

 Citing Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, Cordileone said the pope “talks about the interconnectedness of it all. He brings up this issue that care for the environment, care for our common home also includes care for the poor and the vulnerable, including life in the womb, and he compares it to hiring a hitman to solve the problem.”

Judge blocks auction of Dorothy's Wizard of Oz dress, over Catholic University's objections

The Dorothy dress at the center of the dispute. / Bonhams

Denver Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 18:50 pm (CNA).

The Catholic University of America cannot auction a dress from the Wizard of Oz until a court resolves a legal challenge about its ownership, a federal judge has said.

The university had scheduled an auction of the dress worn by Judy Garland for the classic movie in hopes of raising more than $1 million for its drama department. The legal challenge comes from Wisconsin resident Barbara Ann Hartke, 81, a niece of a Dominican priest and drama professor at the university. She says that the dress should be hers because she is the priest’s closest living relative.

Judge Paul Gardephe, in a May 23 temporary injunction, ruled that the niece’s lawsuit had enough merit to proceed. He blocked the planned auction until the lawsuit challenging ownership of the dress is legally settled through proceedings in Manhattan federal court. He has set another hearing in June. The ruling could postpone the sale of the dress for months or years, the Washington Post reports.

Mercedes McCambridge, an Oscar-winning actress and artist-in-residence at Catholic University in 1973, had given the dress to Father Gilbert Hartke, O.P., the founder and head of the university’s drama school. In the late 1980s, the dress went missing and the costume became the subject of rumor. Matt Ripa, a lecturer and operations coordinator for the university’s drama department, happened upon a bag atop faculty mailboxes in 2021. He opened the bag to find a shoebox, inside of which was the dress.

Barbara Ann Hartke’s lawsuit has support from at least one other relative of Hartke, who was one of six siblings. However, the university filed affidavits from other relatives who say Hartke told them the dress belonged to the university.

The university also filed an affidavit from Father Kenneth R. Letoile, O.P., the Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph, who explained that the Dominican priest had made a vow of poverty and not allowed to possess anything as personal property. Any gifts to him should have proceeded to the province, and the province did not claim ownership of the Wizard of Oz dress.

Fr. Gilbert Hartke holds a dress gifted to him that Judy Garland wore as Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Courtesy of The Catholic University of America.
Fr. Gilbert Hartke holds a dress gifted to him that Judy Garland wore as Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Courtesy of The Catholic University of America.

Shawn Brenhouse, an attorney for Catholic University, said the university will continue to defend its right to sell the dress, the proceeds of which are planned to support the drama school.

“The Court’s decision to preserve the status quo was preliminary and did not get to the merits of Barbara Hartke’s claim to the dress,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “We look forward to presenting our position, and the overwhelming evidence contradicting Ms. Hartke’s claim, to the Court in the course of this litigation.”

In court papers, Barbara Ann Hartke’s attorney Anthony Scordo III argued that his client could show that Father Hartke’s estate was the rightful owner of the dress. McCambridge had “specifically and publicly” given the dress to the priest and the dress is “therefore an asset of decedent’s estate.”

Gardephe rejected the university’s argument that the dress must be sold urgently so that potential buyers would not lose interest. He cited the enduring popularity of the film and said that controversy over the dress has generated more interest.

According to the auction company Bonhams, Judy Garland wore the gingham dress while filming a scene in which her character Dorothy Gale faces the Wicked Witch of the West in the witch’s castle.

The dress from the 1939 movie is one of only two existing dresses that retains its white blouse. It is now valued at an estimated $800,000 to $1.2 million, Bonhams said. Another surviving dress was auctioned for $1.5 million in 2015.

The university had said that proceeds from the sale of the dress would endow a faculty chair, a position that will support the current bachelor of fine arts degree in acting for theater, film, and television, as well as the development of a new formal film acting program at the university’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art.

Dr. Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw, Dean of the School of Music, Drama and Art of The Catholic University of America, is the wife of Michael Warsaw, chairman and CEO of the EWTN Global Catholic Network, Catholic News Agency’s parent network.

DC archdiocese mistakenly gives candid response on Pelosi Communion denial

Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington takes possession of Immacolata Concezione di Maria a Grottarossa in Rome, Sept. 27, 2021 / Courtney Mares.

Denver Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 17:43 pm (CNA).

The Archdiocese of Washington’s communications office erroneously told a reporter Monday that media requests related to Nancy Pelosi’s denial of Holy Communion by her bishop “will be ignored.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the local ordinary of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, announced Friday that Pelosi may not be admitted to Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, nor should she present herself to receive the Eucharist, until she publicly repudiates her longstanding support for abortion. 

Since Cordileone’s announcement, numerous bishops have publicly made their support for Cordileone’s action known. Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa — which includes a vacation home of Pelosi’s in Napa — has said that he, too, will uphold Cordileone’s decision not to admit her to communion and has instructed his priests as such.  

A reporter writing for the Washington Examiner had contacted the Archdiocese of Washington, led by Cardinal Wilton Gregory, for a comment on the matter, since Pelosi spends much of her time in the nation’s capital. The reporter received an emailed response from the communications office, apparently sent in error. 

“Just sharing for you to know what comes in,” the email reads. “Email since Saturday, when I last checked the comms inbox has just been a couple of random people wanting to tell the Cardinal to bring down the hammer on Pelosi. Aside from Jack Jenkins at [Religion News Service], this is the only new media inquiry. It will be ignored, too.”

When the Examiner requested clarification, archdiocese spokesperson Patricia Zapor told the reporter that Cardinal Gregory would not be commenting publicly on the matter. 

“I apologize for the mistaken email. We have not been responding to inquiries on this topic because Cardinal Gregory's position has not changed from what he has said in the past,” the followup email reads. 

“Cardinal Gregory has no new comment about the issue of Catholic politicians receiving Communion. The actions of Archbishop Cordileone are his decision to make in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Cardinal Gregory has not instructed the priests of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington to refuse Communion to anyone.”

Pelosi has long advocated for the legalization of abortion and announced in September 2021 that she would seek to codify Roe. v. Wade into U.S. law. Despite the ban on her receiving in San Francisco and Santa Rosa, Pelosi reportedly received Communion May 22 during Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown, in the Archdiocese of Washington. 

Cardinal Gregory told a reporter — Jack Jenkins at Religion News Service — in 2020 that he would not deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. 

During the U.S. bishops’ spring meeting in June 2021, Gregory cautioned against drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist that would include language on worthiness to receive Communion, especially among Catholic public figures. Some bishops critical of the motion warned that it would be interpreted as a partisan denunciation of pro-abortion Catholic politicians, especially President Joe Biden.

In a May 20 letter addressed to lay Catholics, Cordileone explained that he issued the instruction in accordance with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” 

“After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone wrote in the letter.