01 November 2018, The Tablet

News briefing: The Church in the World

News briefing: The Church in the World

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz: appointed apostolic administrator
Photo: CNS

Bishop removed

Mystery surrounds the removal by Pope Francis of Martin Holley from his position as Bishop of Memphis, Tennessee. The diocese has at the time of going to press yet to comment on the development. In the meanwhile the Pope has appointed Archbishop Joseph Kurtz (pictured) of Louisville, Kentucky, as apostolic administrator to the diocese.

A “caravan” of 7,000 migrants and refugees this week continued moving through southern Mexico on their way to the United States border. Composed mostly of Hondurans, the migrants have received support from local churches and residents of the towns it has passed through.

Mexican authorities have offered the migrants the chance to apply for residency in southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. The majority rejected the offer and instead decided to continue their journey to Mexico City where they were to meet with federal officials.


A police officer was killed last week defending the Mexico City home of Cardinal Norberto Rivera, who was Archbishop of Mexico City from 1995 until 2017. José Javier Hernández was assigned to Rivera’s protection and was killed while repelling an attack by three armed men. The motive of the attack is unknown. One of the aggressors was wounded. His two accomplices took the injured man to a nearby hospital where they left him before making their escape.


Official Dutch statistics show that, for the first time, a little more than half the population – 51 per cent – does not belong to any religious group.

Of the 49 per cent who told Statistics Netherlands they were believers, Roman Catholics were the largest group with 24 per cent of the population, Protestants (split into three churches) formed 15 per cent, Muslims five per cent and those of other faiths six per cent.

“Sexuality is a force that must be learned how to command and steered, otherwise it is like a car, if you cannot drive it, you will have accidents,” the Bishops of Benin have said in a statement, published at the end of their Ordinary Plenary Session, that took place from 21 to 24 October in Bohicon. They also expressed their concern about the introduction of sexuality and reproductive health programmes in the country’s educational system, which, they said, effectively promoted sexual permissiveness, contraception and homosexuality.

Plea over refugees

Bishop Greg O’Kelly, the Apostolic Administrator of the Adelaide archdiocese and Bishop of Port Pirie, has called for the removal of all “genuine refugees” – particularly children and their families – from Australian immigration detention in both the Pacific island nation of Nauru, and on the Papua New Guinea island of Manus, after a series of reports had revealed the “alarming deterioration in the mental and physical health of all detainees”.

Rallies calling for the closure of the centres were held in Sydney (above) and cities across Australia on Saturday.


Kampala’s Catholic Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga wants the Uganda government to start collecting tithes for the Church in a similar arrangement to that of Germany. Last Sunday, speaking at St Mary’s cathedral, Rubaga, the archbishop suggested that the government deduct 10 per cent from church members’ monthly salaries.

An Iranian student who converted to Catholicism while in South Korea has obtained refugee status through the efforts of both Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul and the student’s classmates.

Cardinal Yeom, who met the student referred to as “Anthony” in August, sent letters to Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and other officials appealing for leniency in Anthony’s case in light of his religious conversion.

“As he now has a clear Catholic identity, if he were to return to his home country, he would face a high possibility of persecution,” Cardinal Yeom wrote. All Muslims who convert are charged as criminals in Iran.

A Buddhist woman jailed in Indonesia for 18 months for complaining about a mosque’s noisy loadspeakers will remain in prison after losing an appeal against her blasphemy conviction on 25 October.

“Meliana”, 44, was accused of blasphemy after she complained to the daughter of the caretaker of a nearby mosque that the five-times-a-day call to prayer was too loud. Mobs later attacked her home and ransacked more than a dozen Buddhist temples.

Rape case witness found dead

A Catholic priest considered a prime witness against an Indian bishop accused of rape has been found dead, with his family suspecting foul play. However, local medical staff said he had a series of health problems.

Fr Kuriakose Kattuthara, 67, was found dead inside his room in Jalandhar on 22 October, a week after Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar was granted bail by the state court in Kerala and went back to his diocese.

Ucanews.com reported Fr Kattuthara has testified against Bishop Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a nun repeatedly between 2014 and 2016.

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