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This is the prayer that Catholics are asked to say for the Church in China on May 24

St. Francis Xavier statue in front St. Joseph Cathedral in Beijing, China, February 25, 2016. / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 17:03 pm (CNA).

In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed May 24, the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, to be a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which venerates the Blessed Virgin Mary under that title as the country's patroness.

This year, Pope Francis has asked Catholics to join him in praying for the faithful in China.

“This coming Tuesday is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin, Mary Help of Christians, particularly dear to Catholics in China who venerate Mary, Help of Christians as their Patroness in the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai, in many churches throughout the country, and in their homes,” Pope Francis said on May 22.

National Shrine and Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan, also known as Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians, in Shanghai, China. lobia, Wikimedia.
National Shrine and Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan, also known as Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians, in Shanghai, China. lobia, Wikimedia.

“This happy occasion offers me the opportunity to assure them once again of my spiritual closeness. I am attentively and actively following the often complex life and situations of the faithful and pastors, and I pray every day for them,” he said.

The pope continued, “I invite all of you to unite yourselves in this prayer 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, and thus offer a positive contribution to the spiritual and material progress of society, as well.”

In response, the Catholic humanitarian organization Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and other human rights groups have also called for prayer. Adding to the urgency for prayer this year are reports that Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the 90-year-old retired bishop of Hong Kong who is an outspoken support of the pro-democracy movement there, is expected to return to court on Tuesday in connection with his May 11 arrest for allegedly violating China’s national security law. 

"The wish of Benedict XVI was to promote unity in a community that had become divided into 'official' and 'underground,' but at the same time, to foster communion between the entire Catholic Church and Chinese Catholics. Therefore, on this day, all Catholics are called to express their solidarity with Christians in China," ACN said in a statement released on May 23.

"Furthermore," the statement continued, "the prayer aims at strengthening Catholics in their faith, especially at a time when public witness and practice of faith or even the explicit proclamation of the Gospel are increasingly restricted by the Chinese communist government."

Here is the prayer Benedict XVI asked Catholics to pray on this occasion:

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians," the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.

We come before you today to implore your protection. Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption. You willingly and generously cooperated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross. Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.

Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence. Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus.

In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.

Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.

Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

Oklahoma passes extensive abortion ban bill, as country awaits Supreme Court ruling

null / Aykut Erdogdu/Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 16:50 pm (CNA).

The Oklahoma legislature has passed another law limiting abortion, ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could allow many more restrictions on abortion. The Oklahoma legislation follows a Texas model in allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers, but expands its scope to ban almost all direct abortions from the moment of conception.

House Bill 4327 bars all abortions except to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the unborn child was conceived in rape or incest reported to law enforcement. The legislation passed by 76-16, generally on a party-line vote, on May 19.

“Is our goal to defend the right to life or isn’t it?” bill sponsor Republican State Rep. Wendi Stearman asked legislators before the bill passed.

State Rep. Cyndi Munson, a Democrat, had questioned Stearman about the fact that many women, especially young girls, do not report rape or incest to law enforcement.

“Can you explain to me why you’re okay with a person carrying on a pregnancy after they have been raped or there has been instances of incest?” Munson asked.

“I am okay with preserving the life of the child,” Stearman responded. “The child was not part of that decision.”

Like a novel Texas law, it allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who “aids and abets” illegal abortions. The Texas law, however, bars abortion six weeks into pregnancy. The proposed Oklahoma law is the first of its kind to allow civilian enforcement of an abortion ban beginning at conception.

The legislation defines an unborn child as a human fetus or embryo at any stage of development. It specifically allows doctors to remove the body of a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion or miscarriage, or to remove an ectopic pregnancy, the Associated Press reports. The bill’s provisions do not apply to abortion-inducing drugs or contraception.

Dr. Eli Reshef, an Oklahoma City fertility specialist, told the Associated Press that the legislation is not expected to apply to in-vitro fertilization, when embryos are conceived in a lab by fertilizing eggs before transferring them into a woman’s womb.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has said he will sign any pro-life legislation the legislature sends to him.

Earlier this month, Stitt had signed into law a bill which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks into pregnancy. That law, too, relies on citizens’ private lawsuits to enforce the ban.

Plaintiffs who successfully sue those who perform or aid and abet abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected could have a legal reward of at least $10,000.

Oklahoma’s two Catholic bishops had praised that bill as a protective measure for human life in the state, and also encouraged help for the women considering abortion.

Planned Parenthood’s two abortion clinics in Oklahoma stopped performing abortions after the governor signed the six-week ban. Once the latest bill is signed into law, the state’s two other abortion clinics will close, their attorney has said, according to the Associated Press.

“At this point, we are preparing for the most restrictive environment politicians can create: a complete ban on abortion with likely no exceptions,” Emily Wales, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, told the Associated Press. “It’s the worst-case scenario for abortion care in the state of Oklahoma.”

Abortion restrictions in Texas reduced the number of abortions in the state by perhaps 46%. However, some pregnant women are seeking abortions in bordering states like Oklahoma or ordering abortion pills by mail.

The numbers of abortions performed in Oklahoma fell from 6,200 in 2002 to 3,736 in 2020, the lowest in more than 20 years. About 9% of Oklahoma abortions in 2020 were performed on women from Texas.

In late April Oklahoma legislators passed a law banning abortions entirely unless the procedure is done to save the life of the pregnant woman. That law, which would likely be struck down as unconstitutional unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, is set to go into effect in August.

The U.S. Supreme Court could very well overturn Roe v. Wade and related precedents requiring all U.S. states to legalize abortion. Overturning the decision would return control of abortion legislation to the states.

In October 2021, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City issued a call to prayer for the abolition of the death penalty and for the end to abortion in Oklahoma

“We must pray for a renewed focus on the precious gift of life - all life from conception until natural death,” he said.

English bishop urges Catholics to oppose Jersey assisted suicide proposal

oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.

Denver Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 15:23 pm (CNA).

The Catholic bishop overseeing the island of Jersey has called on clergy and parishioners to “speak out” and mobilize against proposals to legalize assisted suicide there. 

Jersey, located in the English channel near the French coast, is under the purview of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has spoken out repeatedly in recent years against the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia in the Channel Islands. 

“Assisting someone to die prematurely or to commit suicide, even when they earnestly request it, can never ever be a compassionate action. It is a grave sin. We must not yield to the temptation to apply rapid solutions, moved by a false compassion or by criteria of efficiency and cost-effectiveness,” Bishop Eagan wrote in a May 22 letter.  

“Instead, we need to show respect and tenderness to patients who are seriously ill so that the sacred value of their life can shine forth with splendor in their suffering. Modern palliative care, an area in which the UK is a world leader, enables this.”

Jersey is a British crown dependency, with its own government and legal system, though the British monarch is head of state. It has a unicameral legislature called the States Assembly, which backed an assisted suicide proposition by 36 votes to 10, with three absences, on Nov. 25, 2021. 

Eagan’s letter comes amid elections in Jersey. The bishop urged voters to overturn the “grim proposals” currently before the island’s legislature. The proposition would permit an adult island resident under certain conditions with a “voluntary, clear, settled, and informed wish to end his or her own life” to seek assisted suicide.

“Don’t let Jersey become a destination for death and suicide tourism. Assisted suicide is incompatible with a doctor’s role as healer. It would be difficult or impossible to control. It would pose serious societal risks. The right to die would soon become the duty to die,” he noted. 

The Catholic Church supports, rather than assisted suicide or euthanasia, palliative care, which means seeking to accompany a patient towards the end of their lives with methods such as pain management. While firmly opposing euthanasia, Catholics do not believe life must always be prolonged with unduly burdensome medical treatment. Pope Francis has described assisted suicide as part of a "throwaway culture" that offers a "false compassion" and treats a human person as a problem.

“Frailty, pain and infirmity are a difficult trial for anyone. Those who are terminally ill can experience despair and gloom at the problems they face, even feeling a sense of burden on family and a financial burden on society. Yet we can thank God for the amazing advances that medical science has made and for the level of loving care that can nowadays be given,” Eagan wrote. 

“Modern drugs and modern methods mean that in today’s world, palliative care doctors and nurses can use their skills and knowledge to ensure that pain is properly managed at the end of life. Indeed, as a Christian, I would go further and say that in union with Christ, it is possible to find from Him all the strength, patience and energy we need to sustain our suffering – to ‘carry the cross’ (Mt 16: 24) – and to turn it into a positive good for others.”

In March 2021, Jersey formed a citizens' jury, made up of 23 randomly selected applicants, to determine whether assisted suicide should be allowed on the island. If the island changes its laws, Jersey will be the first place on the British Isles to allow assisted suicide, though proposals to legalize the practice are also being considered in both Scotland and England.

The Jersey jury met virtually ten times over two months, starting March 18, to hear evidence and consider and debate the legal, ethical, and medical implications of legalizing assisted suicide. 

Ultimately nearly 80% of the jurors, or 18 out of the 23, agreed that assisted suicide should be permitted when a Jersey resident, aged 18 and over, has a terminal illness or is experiencing “unbearable suffering,” which would not include suffering caused by a mental condition such as depression, ITV reported.

Health Minister Richard Renouf has said that he fears that some elderly or frail residents may feel themselves a “burden” on their families and may feel pressure to end their own lives.

“We believe in assisted living, not assisted dying. Death is not pain relief but the beginning of a new life for ever with God our Father and Creator. This future depends on the state of our soul when we die and this perspective rightly affects our decisions on end of life care and how best to uphold a patient’s personal dignity. Someone near the end of life needs support, comfort and care, good pain control, respect and loving communication – not suicide on prescription,” Egan wrote in his letter. 

Bishop Egan has also spoken out in recent years against proposals to legalize assisted suicide on another Channel Island, Guernsey. In 2018, the legislature of Guernsey rejected a proposed legalization of assisted suicide, drawing praise from Bishop Egan.

Bishops call for peace, prayer after gunmen kill boy in Mexican church

null / Daniel Ibañez/ACI Prensa

Lima, Peru, May 23, 2022 / 14:53 pm (CNA).

A three-year-old boy was killed by gang members who opened fire inside a church in Fresnillo in the Mexican state of Zacatecas.

Their intended target was a young man they were pursuing who fled into the church. 

The boy was attending Mass with his mother and was killed in the hail of bullets unleashed by the gunmen.

“We are saddened and alarmed by the killing of a three-year-old boy inside the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, where armed men entered following a man whom they wounded. Our condolences to the family of this little boy,” the Mexican Bishops’ Conference said in a May 20 statement.

The local press reported that two armed men entered the church and let loose a burst of fire at a young man they were chasing, who died later from his wounds in a hospital May 20.

The three-year-old boy named Caleb died instantly when struck by the bullets.

In their statement, the Mexican bishops said that "this shows that all limits of violence and human respect are being exceeded."

“We once again call on everyone to lay down their arms and put an end to all forms of violence, because all of us can be builders of peace. No one has the right to attack the life of his brother and there is nothing that justifies such violence," the bishops stressed.

In their message, the prelates also remembered Fr. José Guadalupe Rivas, who was beaten to death May 17.

“We send our most heartfelt condolences to the family of Father José Guadalupe and to the family of the other murdered brother, as well as to the Archbishop of Tijuana, Don Francisco Moreno Barrón, and to his entire Church,” they said.

The bishops called on the faithful to continue "praying for our authorities so that they find the best paths for pacification and security that we all need and desire."

“Let us pray for the criminals so they repent and change their lives. Let us pray for everyone so that we become peace builders.” the bishops concluded.

Prince Charles marks 100 years of society supporting Catholic archbishops of Westminster

Prince Charles attends the Society of St. Augustine of Canterbury centenary reception at Archbishop’s House, Westminster, England, May 10, 2022. / Mazur/cbcew.org.uk.

London, England, May 23, 2022 / 12:35 pm (CNA).

Prince Charles has marked the 100th anniversary of a society supporting the Catholic archbishops of Westminster.

The heir to the British throne attended the Society of St. Augustine of Canterbury centenary reception at Archbishop’s House, Westminster, on May 10.

The Prince of Wales was the principal guest at the reception hosted by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster since 2009.

The society’s president, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, spoke about how the organization had helped to maintain and improve Archbishop’s House, the central London residence of the archbishops of Westminster, since it was founded by Cardinal Francis Bourne in 1922.

An auction at the event raised more than 6,000 pounds (around $7,500) towards the society’s Centenary Appeal.

The society is seeking to raise 100,000 pounds ($125,000) towards the cost of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions at Archbishop’s House.

Prince Charles was confirmed as an Anglican in 1965, at the age of 16. When he succeeds to the throne, he is expected to serve as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the country’s established state church.

He has a keen interest in Orthodox Christianity and has frequently visited Mount Athos. He has also expressed support for persecuted Middle Eastern Christians.

He attended the canonization of John Henry Newman in Rome on Oct. 13, 2019. He described the Victorian-era convert to Catholicism as a “thinker ahead of his time” and a “fearless defender of truth.”

40,000 people take part in Italy’s March for Life

Participants in the Choose Life rally in Rome, Italy, on May 21, 2022. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Rome Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 11:30 am (CNA).

Tens of thousands of people took part in Italy’s national March for Life in Rome on Saturday.

About 40,000 people participated in the “Choose Life” rally on May 21, the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica reported.

“We are here to reaffirm the right of children to come into the world, they do not get to ask for it,” Father Andres Bonello told Adnkronos, an Italian news agency.

“We do it in a peaceful way, singing and dancing together with many young people,” said the Argentine priest who is a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

Participants in the pro-life rally marched from Rome’s Piazza della Repubblica to the public square by the St. John Lateran Archbasilica.

Massimo Gandolfini, a medical doctor and president of the Let’s Defend Our Children association, said that there was a “silent majority of Italians” concerned about euthanasia of the elderly, Europe’s demographic winter, and the abortion of 100,000 children in Italy each year.

“With the ‘Choose Life’ rally we want to reaffirm that life is the first fundamental right of every human being, whose inviolable respect is the precondition for a free, just and peaceful society, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states,” said Gandolfini, one of the rally’s organizers.

“In particular, the defense of ‘fragile’ life — from conception and in the unfolding process until natural death — is the cornerstone of a people’s civilization, which knows its lowest point when it induces the elderly, the sick and the depressed to choose suicide.”

Abortion in Italy

In Italy, abortion is legal for any reason within the first 90 days (almost 13 weeks) of pregnancy, and afterward for certain reasons with the referral of a physician.

The practice was legalized in 1978, despite opposition from Pope Paul VI, who encouraged doctors to exercise conscientious objection.

The RU486 abortion drug was legalized in Italy in 2009, and in 2010 standards were set which require women to be hospitalized for three days during its administration.

It cannot be prescribed beyond the seventh week of pregnancy.

Pope Francis praises the pro-life rally

Pope Francis greeted participants in Italy’s pro-life rally during his Regina Coeli address in St. Peter’s Square on May 22, the day after the march.

“I thank you for your dedication in promoting life and defending conscientious objection, which there are often attempts to limit,” the pope said.

“Sadly,” the pope continued, “in these last years, there has been a change in the common mentality, and today we are more and more led to think that life is a good at our complete disposal, that we can choose to manipulate, to give birth or take life as we please, as if it were the exclusive consequence of individual choice.”

“Let us remember that life is a gift from God,” Pope Francis said. “It is always sacred and inviolable, and we cannot silence the voice of conscience.”

Almost 12,000 people attend the beatification of Pauline Jaricot

The beatification of Pauline Jaricot in Lyon, France, on May 22, 2022. / In Your Name/Diocèse de Lyon Flickr photostream.

Rome Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 10:00 am (CNA).

Nearly 12,000 people attended the beatification of Pauline Jaricot in Lyon, France, on Sunday.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle presided over the beatification Mass in Lyon’s exhibition hall on May 22, during which a relic of Jaricot’s heart was carried in procession.

Tagle, the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, praised Jaricot for her missionary zeal to bring Jesus’ love to more people.

“We marvel at how docile Pauline Jaricot was to the Holy Spirit, who prompted her with new ideas and initiatives for spreading the Gospel and serving the poor,” Tagle said.

Jaricot, who was a friend of St. John Vianney, founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in 1822 when she was in her early twenties. The association helped Catholics to assist the foreign missions through prayer and small donations.

She later founded the Association of the Living Rosary, which was a great success in France and soon spread beyond it.

“To love Jesus is to let him, who is the Word of God, live, act and love in me and through me,” Tagle said in his homily, which he read in French.

“We see in Pauline Jaricot a living witness to the power of love for Jesus, a love that becomes an identification with Jesus.”

Miracle recipient Mayline Tran. In Your Name/Diocèse de Lyon Flickr photostream.
Miracle recipient Mayline Tran. In Your Name/Diocèse de Lyon Flickr photostream.

The miracle

Among those present at the live-streamed beatification ceremony were 13-year-old Mayline Tran and her family.

Tran experienced a medically inexplicable healing in 2012 at the age of three that was deemed by a panel of experts to be a medical miracle attributed to Jaricot’s intercession.

Tran had fallen into a coma after suffering from cardiac arrest. The oxygen supply had been cut off to her brain after the three-year-old choked on a small French sausage.

The Tran family, who were not originally from Lyon, had never heard of Pauline Jaricot. But parents at the girl’s Catholic school, connected to Jaricot’s Living Rosary group, organized a prayer novena with the participation of the entire school asking for Jaricot’s intercession for her healing.

The girl made a complete medical recovery within months after doctors had informed the Tran family that their daughter had no chance of being able to walk or talk again.

“Miracles do exist and Mayline is living proof of it,” Emmanuel Tran, her father, told the crowd before the Mass, according to the French daily newspaper Ouest-France.

Pope Francis greets a crowd of an estimated 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square in Rome for his Regina Caeli address on May 22, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis greets a crowd of an estimated 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square in Rome for his Regina Caeli address on May 22, 2022. Vatican Media

An example of evangelization

On the day of the beatification, Pope Francis praised Jaricot for her courage and vision regarding the Church’s mission.

“May her example enkindle in everyone the desire to participate through prayer and charity in the spread of the Gospel throughout the world,” the pope said from the window of the Vatican’s apostolic palace at the end of his Regina Coeli address.

In a letter read aloud at the beatification, Pope Francis said that he was entrusting the spiritual fruitfulness of the Archdiocese of Lyon to the intercession of Jaricot and St. Irenaeus of Lyon, whom the pope declared a Doctor of the Church earlier this year.

“Pauline dedicated her life to the mission, to the service of the poor and to prayer,” the pope wrote in the letter.

“May our charity be as inventive and effective as hers, let us learn to offer generously what we are, our talents to God, and to our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest, to give of our means to support the mission that is incumbent on all of us in the Church to bring the Gospel to the world,” he said.

Pope Francis thanks Italian volunteers for helping Ukrainian refugees fleeing ‘absurd war’

Pope Francis meets members of Italy’s Civil Protection service in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall on May 23, 2022. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, May 23, 2022 / 09:05 am (CNA).

Pope Francis thanked Italy’s civil protection volunteers on Monday for helping refugees fleeing the “absurd war” in Ukraine.

In a speech on May 23, the pope commended the volunteers for helping the vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic and supporting a nationwide vaccination campaign.

“Equally there has been no lack of your commitment to humanitarian assistance and the reception in Italy of refugees from Ukraine, especially women and children who have fled this absurd war,” said the pope, who has made public appearances in a wheelchair since May 5.

“Thank you for what you have done and continue to do in silence. Good does not make noise but builds the world.”

Italy’s civil protection volunteers work under the guidance of the country’s Civil Protection Department, which is responsible for the prevention and management of emergency events. The volunteers belong to more than 5,000 organizations across the country.

Later in his address, the 85-year-old pontiff recalled Pope Paul VI’s famous appeal — “never again war” — during his 1965 address to the United Nations.

“Let us repeat it today in the face of what is happening in Ukraine, and protect people’s dream of peace, peoples’ sacred right to peace,” Pope Francis said.

He was speaking on the day that the United Nations announced that, for the first time on record, more than 100 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes by conflict.

Over 6.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24. Almost 120,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Italy as of May 21, according to the country’s interior ministry.

On May 22, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said he hoped that negotiations to end the war between the predominantly Orthodox Christian countries of Russia and Ukraine would start as soon as possible.

Celebrating the feast of St. Rita in Cascia, central Italy, he said: “In this land of faith and peace, here in Umbria, I hope that negotiations will begin as soon as possible and that we can finally reach the much-needed peace.”

Describing St. Rita as the “saint of the impossible and the advocate of desperate cases,” he asked for her intercession for an end to the conflict, reported Vatican News, the Holy See’s online news portal.

The U.N. human rights office said that it had recorded 8,462 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of May 22, with 3,930 people killed and 4,532 injured. But it added that the actual toll was likely to be “considerably higher.”

Germany’s Munich archdiocese spent around $1.5 million on abuse report

The Frauenkirche, the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. / Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0 de).

Munich, Germany, May 23, 2022 / 07:00 am (CNA).

A report on the handling of abuse cases in Germany’s Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, published in January, cost around 1.45 million euros ($1.53 million).

The figure, reported by CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, is more than twice the amount that the Archdiocese of Cologne paid for a report by the same law firm.

A spokesperson for the Munich archdiocese said on May 19 that work on preparing the study by the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl took nearly two years.

“In addition, there are further costs for the publication, especially the preparation and implementation of the press conference and the involvement of other experts by the law firm,” the spokesperson said.

The Munich study covered 1977 to 1982, the period that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Benedict XVI, led the archdiocese, as well as the tenures of Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, who succeeded him, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who has served as archbishop of Munich and Freising since 2007.

The more than 1,000-page report criticized the 95-year-old retired German pope’s handling of four cases during his time in charge of the southern German archdiocese.

The report also also faulted Marx’s handling two abuse cases. The 68-year-old cardinal told reporters in January 2022 that he intended to remain in office for now, but did not rule out seeking to resign for a second time.

Marx wrote to Pope Francis in May 2021, offering to resign amid the fallout from the clerical abuse crisis in Germany. The pope declined his resignation in June that year.

The Cologne archdiocese paid 757,500 euros ($857,000) for an initial report by Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, which Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who has led the archdiocese since 2014, controversially declined to publish.

After lawyers advising the archdiocese raised concerns about “methodological deficiencies” in the study, Woelki commissioned the Cologne-based criminal law expert Professor Björn Gercke to write a new report, costing 516,200 euros ($584,000).

The 800-page Gercke Report, which was released in March 2021, covered the period from 1975 to 2018.

Pope Francis decided in September 2021 that Woelki should remain in charge of the Cologne archdiocese after a Vatican investigation into his handling of abuse cases.

More recently, the Vatican also ruled that Woelki did not breach canon law when awarding contracts connected to the Gercke Report.

Another German research project on clerical sexual abuse, the MHG Study, was presented by the German bishops in 2018. The study cost around one million euros ($1.06 million), according to figures provided by the German bishops’ conference.

One significant outcome of the MHG study was the “Synodal Way.” The costs of the controversial multi-year initiative are expected to run to several million dollars, though the exact amount remains a mystery.

Detroit’s new auxiliary is an archbishop and veteran Vatican diplomat

Archbishop Paul Fitzpatrick Russell. / Courtesy of aod.org.

Vatican City, May 23, 2022 / 05:22 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Monday named an archbishop who served as an apostolic nuncio in Central Asia as an auxiliary bishop of the Detroit archdiocese.

The Holy See press office said on May 23 that Archbishop Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, the former apostolic nuncio to Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, would retain the personal title of archbishop of Novi in his new post.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who has led the Archdiocese of Detroit since 2009, said: “We are deeply grateful to Pope Francis for appointing Archbishop Russell as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and we are similarly grateful to Archbishop Russell for accepting this new ministry.”

“We are particularly glad to welcome Archbishop Russell home to Michigan, where he grew up and first heard the Lord call him to the priestly vocation. Having served the Church all over the world, Archbishop Russell brings to the Archdiocese of Detroit a valuable perspective of the universal Church and our mission to make joyful missionary disciples of all nations.”

Paul Fitzpatrick Russell was born on May 2, 1959, in Greenfield, Massachusetts, but spent much of his childhood in northern Michigan.

He studied at Saint John’s Seminary in Boston and gained a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston on June 20, 1987.

He entered the Vatican diplomatic service in 1997, serving in the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, as well as in Ethiopia, Turkey, Switzerland, and Nigeria, and as head of the diplomatic mission to Taiwan.

On March 19, 2016, Pope Francis appointed him titular archbishop of Novi and apostolic nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley ordained Russell to the episcopate at the Cathedral of the Holy Name in Boston on June 3, 2016. Archbishop Vigneron was a co-consecrator.

Russell, who speaks English, French, Italian, Spanish, and German, was also appointed apostolic nuncio to Azerbaijan on April 7, 2018.

According to the website catholic-hierarchy.org, he resigned as nuncio to Turkey on Oct. 22, 2021, and as nuncio to Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan on Feb. 2 this year.

Russell is related to Blessed Michał Piaszczyński, a Polish priest who died in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1940 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999.

The Detroit Catholic reported that Russell will become the 31st auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese’s history. He will serve alongside four other auxiliaries: Bishop Donald Hanchon, Bishop Arturo Cepeda, Bishop Gerard Battersby, and Bishop Robert Fisher.

On Oct. 9, Hanchon will turn 75, the age at which bishops must present their resignations to the pope.

The Detroit archdiocese serves 1.1 million self-identifying Catholics via 215 parishes in Michigan’s Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair and Lapeer counties.

Russell will be formally welcomed to the archdiocese on July 7 during a liturgy at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.

The 63-year-old archbishop said: “I am so happy with Pope Francis’ decision to send me home and look forward to serving as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit and immersing myself in the mission and ministry of the local Church in southeast Michigan.”