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Rome & the World: Pope will visit daughter of builder of Bahrain’s 1st church

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I.Media for Aleteia - published on 10/27/22

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press about the Church and the major issues that concern Catholics around the world. The opinions and views expressed in these articles are not those of the editors.

Thursday 27 October 2022
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1. Bahrain’s oldest Catholic families eagerly await Pope Francis’ visit
2. A US diocese agrees to secular oversight to fight abuse
3. France refuses extradition to Canada of priest accused of sexually assaulting Inuit
4. Pope expresses compassion for family of Shireen Abu Akleh
5. The Vatican is concerned about the militarization of space
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1Bahrain’s oldest Catholic families eagerly await Pope Francis’ visit

Three of the oldest Catholic residents in Bahrain tell of their joy and excitement regarding Pope Francis’ visit to the country, planned for 3 to 6 November, and especially to their Church. 78-year-old Najla Uchi’s father, Salman Uchi, originally from Baghdad, was given the responsibility to build the first Roman Catholic Church of the country in 1939. More than 80 years later, the Pope will visit this historic place of worship, the Sacred Heart Church, on November 6. “After Baba [her father] built the church everything was celebrated there ― christenings, holy communion, anniversaries,” Najla explains. “I love my church not because my father built it but because of the priests, the nuns and the people who come to pray. The Pope coming is so special. He comes bringing peace but I also want him to come and see what Bahrain is,” she added. Another historic parishioner is the 79-year-old Alex Simoes, who remembers sprinting up the stairs of the belfry to ring the church bells as a young boy. Originally from India, Simoes said his sister was the first to be baptized in the church in 1939. Instead, 76-year-old Florine Mathias moved to Bahrain from India as a teenage bride in the 1960s. Today she assists underprivileged people through the Sacred Heart Church, often called the “Mother Church” as it was the first to be built in the Gulf. “The Mother Church is a peaceful monument ― whoever walks in there never goes out crying ― that is my experience,” she said. “The Pope is visiting our home to spread peace, healing and happiness. It is a blessed time for us all. Our prayers are being answered,” she concluded.

The National, English  

2A US diocese agrees to secular oversight to fight abuse

The Diocese of Buffalo has agreed to enact more external secular oversight of its response to complaints concerning clergy sexual abuse, as part of a legal agreement with the New York State attorney general, Letitia James. The diocese has appointed a “child protection policy coordinator” to ensure that child protection protocols are followed. It has also committed to a documented step-by-step process to ensure full transparency in handling sexual abuse complaints. Additionally, the agreement prohibits Bishop Emeritus Richard Malone and his former auxiliary bishop, Bishop Edward Grosz, from holding any secular fiduciary role with a charity registered in New York for life. It does not bar them though from taking on a ministerial, pastoral, or spiritual role in any New York dioceses. “In choosing to defend the perpetrators of sexual abuse instead of defending the most vulnerable, the Buffalo Diocese and its leader breached parishioners’ trust and caused many a crisis of faith,” Letitia James said in an 25 October statement. The process outlined in the settlement includes the appointment of an independent investigator upon receipt of a complaint, and a 45-day timeline for all investigations to be completed. The diocesan lay review board must also provide written recommendations for each case reviewed. The diocese, which will be required to communicate about each case, will forward all complaints it receives to law enforcement and will also cooperate with any investigation. In addition, the settlement codifies the priest supervision program that the Bishop of the diocese, Michael Fisher implemented last June. Under this program, accused clergy in the diocese will be assigned an individual guardian to ensure compliance with restrictions, including not saying Mass or taking confessions, wearing the Roman collar or living near children or a school. The diocese will submit to an annual compliance audit. Buffalo’s example could inspire others and set a precedent, as the attorney general’s office launched an investigation into all eight New York dioceses in September 2018. The other seven investigations remain ongoing. 

Crux, English 

3. France refuses extradition to Canada of priest accused of sexually assaulting Inuit

Canada announced Wednesday that France had refused its extradition request for Father Johannes Rivoire, accused of sexually assaulting young Inuit in the 1970s. The authorities said French law prohibits the extradition of its own citizens and that “too much time has passed between the events and the filing of charges.”

France 24, French

4. Pope meets with family of Shireen Abu Akleh

The family of the Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, killed by Israeli forces on May 11, was able to speak with Pope Francis at the end of the general audience on October 26. The pontiff also blessed a photo of the woman, who was a Catholic. A mass in her memory was celebrated at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin, at the initiative of the Palestinian Embassy to the Holy See.

Al-Jazeera, English 

5. The Vatican is concerned about the militarization of space

The representative of the Holy See at the United Nations headquarters in New York expressed the urgency of a total ban on all types of weapons in space. He calls for an international treaty on the subject, while various countries have spent resources on research, development and testing of orbital and space weapons.

Holy See Mission, English

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