NEWS BRIEFS

– Tej Francis
tejfrancis@gmail.com

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Michigan diocese supports priest accused of LGBT Eucharist ‘discrimination’

(CNA) A Michigan diocese said it supports a priest who told a parishioner that because of her same-sex civil marriage she should not receive the Eucharist.

“Inclusion and acceptance have been a hallmark of Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Grand Rapids throughout the diocese’s history. They remain so. They presume, however, a respect on the part of individuals for the teachings and practice of the wider Catholic community,” the Diocese of Grand Rapids said in a statement Thursday.

“No community of faith can sustain the public contradiction of its beliefs by its own members. This is especially so on matters as central to Catholic life as marriage, which the Church has always held, and continues to hold, as a sacred covenant between one man and one woman.” the diocese added.

The diocesan statement came after a Nov. 26 report from local news channel WOOD TV 8, which claimed that Fr. Scott Nolan of St. Stephen Parish in East Grand Rapid had “denied Communion,” to Judge Sara Smolenski, chief judge of the Kent County District Court.

Washington D.C.

‘Once the Church is persecuted, the faith becomes alive’: a pastor’s story

(CNA)  As he helps his flock recover from the horrific bombing of their cathedral in Jolo, in the Philippines, earlier this year, Monsignor Romeo Saniel, OMI, said a miraculous event 17 years ago prepared him for his enormous task of the present.

On May 4, 2002, Saniel was on foot distributing Holy Communion to parishioners in downtown Jolo. He noticed two young men approaching him from behind before one of them drew out a pistol.

Saniel felt the gun against the back of his head and heard a loud click—the weapon had jammed. His security escort immediately jumped in to save him, and the assailants ran away.

It took Saniel several years to tell his mother about the near-death experience. What she said back to him changed his life.

At the date and time of his assassination attempt, his mother said she was immobilized with a fever. Feeling that “one of her children was in danger,” she knelt and prayed her rosary.

“I think that rosary, the prayer of my mother, saved me,” Saniel told CNA.

CALIFORNIA

Confessional secrecy could be under threat, It must be defended

(Catholic Herald) The Seal of Confession has long been a matter of public controversy. But Catholics, especially priests, have shown a remarkable solidarity in defending the seal – the obligation of a priest to never, under any circumstances, reveal the sins that are confessed to him.

The subject is back in the news because the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), as part of its laudable efforts to prevent the evil of child abuse, has started to ask questions about the seal, and whether it enables abuse.

There are some precedents for overruling the seal. In July, California nearly passed a law requiring priests to break the seal if child abuse was confessed. Only an outcry from Catholics prevented the bill from passing.

Earlier this month, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster made clear to IICSA that this was a crucial question for Catholics: “I think the Seal of Confession is an essential part of the exercise of priesthood as a nexus between my sinful humanity and the mercy of God, and I would defend the Seal of Confession absolutely.” He added that priests had in the past died rather than break the seal, and suggested that they still would. In speaking thus, the cardinal speaks for us all.

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