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Cardinal Zen arrest: A roundup of reactions

Cardinal Joseph Zen. Courtesy Photo. / null

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 11, 2022 / 08:50 am (CNA).

UPDATE: While Cardinal Zen has now been released on bail, reactions to his arrest continue.

The Holy See Press office stated that “The Holy See has learned with concern the news of the arrest of Cardinal Zen and is following the development of the situation with extreme attention.” 

White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that “Freedom of expression are critical to prosperous and secure societies,” the Hill reported.

She added, “We call on PRC 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.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence tweeted “Pray for Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90 years of age, who has been unjustly arrested by the Chinese Communists, and for all those in the world who suffer for their Catholic Faith. Though separated by distance, we stand in complete solidarity with today’s heroes and martyrs."

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler responded to Tobin by tweeting, “Thank you Bishop Tobin and others for your support of Cardinal Zen….let us pray that all bishops,priests, deacons and faithful join us in prayer and call for Justice for Cardinal Zen.”

In a tweet, former member of Congress Dan Lipinski [D-IL] took aim at the Chinese Communist Party for Zen's arrest.

“The Chinese Communist Party apparently fears 90 year old Catholic Cardinal Zen so much that they arrest him for his pro-democracy work,” Lipinski said. “It’s appalling that China has taken over democratic Hong Kong while the world watches, mostly in silence.”

Melissa Chan, a reporter and former VICE News correspondent, tweeted that “It's hard to explain to those who've never lived in Hong Kong just what a fixture Cardinal Zen is in the city.”

She added, “Even for those who are not Catholics, he symbolized for decades moral fortitude, goodness, and so much of what was great about Hong Kong. Now he's arrested.”

Shibani Mahtani, the Southeast Asia bureau chief for The Washington Post, tweeted that “Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing faction always highlights the vandalism, Molotov cocktails and violence of 2019 as a reason for the national security law — so why have they used it to go after veteran critics and dissidents, including now 90 year old Cardinal Zen?”

Hong Kong Law Fellow at the Georgetown Center for Asian Law Eric Yan-ho Lai tweeted that “The arrest of Cardinal Zen @CardJosephZen, echoed the arrest of Cardinal Kung Pin-mei,who was jailed by the Communist Party as he refused to surrender to the state controlling the Church in 1950s. Many Catholic bishops were persecuted on the mainland,and now #HK.”

In another tweet he added, “The Vatican started a secret deal with China on appointing bishops in the mainland in 2018; the deal was renewed in 2020, and now the two-year cycle comes. Will the Holy See continue to appease China who intimidated the HK Catholic Church by arresting Cardinal Zen?”

The Standard, a Hong Kong-based newspaper, reported that Zen was arrested on Wednesday evening local time, along with other trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund. The fund, which is no longer active, was created in 2019 to assist with the legal fees for pro-democracy protesters.

EWTN host Raymond Arroyo tweeted on May 11 that Zen’s arrest was “heartbreaking and tragic news.”

“I await comment and protest from the Vatican,” Arroyo added.

Sam Goodman, the advocacy director at the human rights organization Hong Kong Watch, told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that he hoped the Vatican would condemn the arrest and call for Zen’s release.

Goodman also said that he hoped the Vatican would reconsider what he described as “its silence regarding the ongoing human rights violations in Hong Kong and China more broadly.”

Benedict Rogers, the chief executive of Hong Kong Watch, said the arrests for alleged “collusion with foreign forces” were “unbelievably horrific.”

“And to arrest a 90 year old Cardinal, @CardJosephZen, a truly great man, a hero, is especially egregious,” Rogers wrote on his Twitter account.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Freedom of Religion or Belief, a cross-party group of U.K. parliamentarians, also condemned Zen’s arrest.

“This is yet another example of China’s increasing restrictions of fundamental human rights,” it said in a Twitter post.

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.”

William Nee, research and advocacy coordinator of the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders, linked the arrests to the election of Hong Kong’s new chief executive John Lee.

“Today’s arrests in Hong Kong signal an ever darker turn under the leadership of John Lee,” he tweeted.

“The arrest of Cardinal Zen sends a chilling message for the prospects of freedom of religion in Hong Kong, and ironically proves that his warnings about the dangers of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] were prophetic,” he added.

Zen, who was the bishop of Hong Kong from 2002 to 2009, is an outspoken supporter of democracy in the city, which is officially known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

Peru passes bill supporting parents' rights in education

null / Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Lima, Peru, May 10, 2022 / 15:55 pm (CNA).

The Peruvian Congress on Thursday passed Bill 904, which supports the right of parents to educate their children according to their values and principles.

The bill was passed May 5 by a vote of 90 to 18, with eight abstentions.

It was introduced by Congressman Esdras Ricardo Medina and is titled the "Law promoting the quality of educational materials and resources in Peru."

Article 3 of the bill "provides for the participation of parents in the process of preparing the content of educational materials, texts and resources."

"Parents participate in the process of developing programs and the content of educational materials, texts and resources for Basic Education (preschool through high school) in conjunction with the institution through the APAFA (Association of Parents of Families) committees, civil associations or other representative bodies," the bill states.

Article 5 says that “officials and civil servants in the education sector may not approve or publish educational materials, texts or resources” without the participation of parents.

The bill also requires "complete respect for the religious freedom or moral convictions of students and their parents" and emphasizes that "education should not be a means to promote any type of social or political ideology."

Congressman Alejandro Muñante called the passage of the law a "victory supporting the right of parents to educate their children."

Muñante also said that he hopes that the president "doesn’t propose changes" to the bill, so that "one more step can be taken towards the recovery of an educational system that is a reflection of the Christian principles and values that Peruvian society embraces and defends.”

If the president of Peru proposes changes to a law, it is sent back to Congress. The legislators can accept the changes, or reject them, in which case the law is enacted as is.

Both the Minister of Education, Rosendo Serna, and the Minister of Women, Diana Miloslavich, have requested that the president propose changes to the bill in the coming days. The People’s Ombudsman’s Office  also joined the request.

According to Minister Miloslavich, the rule limits the powers of the Ministry of Education in the preparation of school materials: “I also believe that this affects our stewardship. I vote to have the legislation revised by the president. I hope to have the support of the Council of Ministers and the president,” she said.

Congresswoman Milagros Aguayo de Jáuregui commented: “Why be scandalized or prevent parents from having a more active participation in the educational process of their children? Why prevent them from participating as observers? Isn't that a constitutional right?”

Muñante assured that the bill "doesn’t take away the stewardship of the Ministry of Education in educational matters", but rather "materializes the priority right of parents" stated in Article 13 of the Constitution, which states: “Parents have the duty to educate their children and the right to choose the educational centers and to participate in the educational process."

Tomb of beatified Brazilian priest damaged in apparent robbery attempt

Damage at the tomb of Bl. Donizetti Tavares de Lima in Tambaú, Brazil. / Leonardo Spiga Real y Prefectura municipal de Tambaú via Facebook.

Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, May 6, 2022 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

The tomb of Blessed Donizetti Tavares de Lima was damaged during an apparent robbery attempt last weekend in Brazil.

Tavares de Lima was a priest known for working miracles and for his tireless work in defense of the poor. His body is kept in the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Tambaú, about 60 miles southeast of Ribeirao Preto.

On May 2, the mayor of Tambaú, Leonardo Spiga Real, reported on Facebook that "one of the glass sides that encloses the mausoleum of Blessed Donizetti was broken during an attempted robbery."

Photographs posted by the mayor show that one of the glass panels of the mausoleum which protects the tomb of Blessed Donizetti was smashed.

While the blessed’s body was originally buried in the Tambaú Municipal Cemetery, it was translated to the Aparecida shrine in 2009.

Spiga said that law enforcement is investigating the act of vandalism, to find those responsible.

“Images from the security cameras are being retrieved and will be reviewed so the Civil Police can continue the investigation and find the criminal or criminals," he said.

In addition, the mayor said that "the public authorities are already studying new measures to strengthen security."

Finally, Spiga called on civilians to report to the police any evidence that might help in the investigation of the case.

"We deplore what happened and ask that you, a good citizen, report suspicious behavior to law enforcement authorities," he said.

Father Donizetti Tavares de Lima was born in 1882 in Cássia in Minas Gerais state. He was ordained a priest in 1908. He came to Tambaú in 1926 and lived there until he died at the age of 79. 

Dozinetti was beatified in 2019, after the Vatican recognized the miracle of the healing of Bruno Henrique Arruda de Oliveira through the priest’s intercession.

Bruno was born in 2006 with a deformity known as "bilateral congenital clubfoot," a difficult-to-treat anomaly that affects the muscles and bones of the feet.

Madonna seeks an audience with Pope Francis

null / chrisweger (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Daniel Ibáñez / ACI Prensa

Lima, Peru, May 6, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

In a Tweet on Wednesday, Madonna asked Pope Francis to receive her so she could talk with him about "some important matters".

“Hello @Pontifex Francis —I’m a good Catholic. I Swear! I mean I don’t Swear! Its been a few decades since my last confession. Would it be possible to meet up one day to discuss some important matters ? I’ve been ex communicated 3 times. It doesn’t seem fair. Sincerely Madonna,” the singer tweeted May 4.

Madonna has been the protagonist of various scandals and controversies, such as when she simulated a crucifixion in 2006 on her Confessions tour.

In 1990, during her Blond Ambition tour, Madonna simulated masturbation when she sang Like a Prayer. The song’s music video includes burning crosses.

The singer-songwriter’s request to the Holy Father has already received several responses from priests.

“Madonna, if your heart needs peace, God has already put in it the first step to recover it. It is never too late to return to Jesus, who loves you. You are his daughter by baptism in the Catholic faith. I pray for you”, Father Jorge Enrique Mújica tweeted.

Fr. Matthew P. Schneider said, “I don't know if the Pope himself can meet with you, but I can find you a priest near where you are to help you. Just DM me if you need help or have questions.”

“Hi Madonna. I am a catholic priest. Do you know what ex communication means? Just checking... Praying for you!,” said Fr. Guillermo Serra.

How overturning Roe v Wade would affect Latin America

null / Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Lima, Peru, May 4, 2022 / 16:20 pm (CNA).

Pro-life leaders in Latin America have reacted to the possibility that the Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion throughout the United States may be overturned.

The news organization Politico published May 2 a draft ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The document calls for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

In a statement to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, Jesús Magaña, president of the pro-life platform United for Life in Colombia, commented that if the leak turns out to be the final decision, "it would be a victory for the pro-life movement" and it would be recognized that the 1973 ruling "was an extremely serious mistake that has cost the lives, in the United States alone, of more than 60 million human beings.”

“The 1973 decision has a very big effect, especially on the American continents. In Latin America, court rulings in the United States are looked at very carefully, and in the case of Roe v. Wade, the ruling exerted pressure for abortion to be decriminalized in many of our countries and continues to do so to this day," Magaña explained.

The Colombian pro-life leader said that reversing the ruling "would have positive effects in Latin America in favor of life."

Martha Villafuerte, national director of the Ecuador Family association, told ACI Prensa that when the pro-life community in her country learned of the leak, it had "a very hopeful impact."

“The news was a wake up call, because while Ecuador bows its head to the abortion agenda, the United States is fighting in a firm, consistent and head-on way. It’s all or nothing. That’s the strength that we must replicate so our Constitutional Court reverses the decriminalization of abortion,” she said.

"For countries like Colombia or Ecuador, where there have recently been court rulings against life, this news shakes us up into going to the root of the problem," she said.

However, Villafuerte fears that according to some sources in the United States that leaking the ruling against Roe v. Wade "may be a dirty trick by the abortion lobby to put pressure on the judges."

"We have to give our complete support, crossing borders, praying a lot so that the judges maintain their position and show courage in the face of political pressure," she added.

Marcial Padilla, director of the Mexican pro-life and pro-family platform ConParticipación, told ACI Prensa that the Supreme Court’s decision is of "extreme importance for Mexico and all of Latin America."

“In Mexico, for example, a 2021 judicial decision is imposing abortion on the country. Therefore, for Mexicans it’s very important to observe what’s happening in the United States. And if the ruling is issued, it would be proof that, with perseverance, it’s possible to reverse a Court’s interpretation,” he noted.

Padilla also recalled that pro-life groups “must be aware that the cause in favor of the dignity and appreciation of human life is not just before birth,” and that it must be recognized that if Roe is overturned, it would be "a very important step in being able to protect the mother and child in all circumstances."

The director of the Origin Association in Peru, Giuliana Caccia, commented to ACI Prensa that if Roe is overturned, it would “pull out the rug” from under "all the laws (and bills) that base their arguments on this judicial precedent, not only in the United States," but throughout the world.

Caccia noted that Roe v. Wade strengthened for decades the "narrative that abortion is a human right," which can be seen by "the strategy that the pro-abortion lobby has implemented throughout these decades, creating supranational and pseudo-scientific jurisprudence to promote its agenda.”

For Caccia, it’s a matter of time before the “truth comes to light.”

“The most incredible thing about this case is that Norma McCorvey, the famous 'Jane Roe' in the decision, said that the story that gave rise to her case was false: she wasn’t raped and her testimony was manipulated by the activist lawyers who moved forward with the case," Caccia pointed out.

"Let’s hope that justice will be done and this helps stop this genocide whose main victims are innocent children and women who don’t understand the personal and spiritual repercussions of the decision they make to end the lives of their babies," Caccia said.

And the campaign director for CitizenGO in Argentina, Silvina Spataro, told ACI Prensa that the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned is cause for “great joy” because the ruling is "unjust and based on a bogus case."

“This news is a big step for all pro-lifers! It has to give us strength to continue fighting to reverse the criminal abortion laws in our countries and continue working to raise awareness about the value of human life from conception to natural death,” Spataro said.

Bolivian bishops encourage efforts to overcome social crisis

The inauguration of Luis Arce as president of Bolivia in La Paz, Nov. 8, 2020. Credit: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile via Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0 CL). / null

Cochabamba, Bolivia, May 3, 2022 / 15:08 pm (CNA).

At the conclusion of their plenary assembly on Friday, the bishops of Bolivia encouraged everyone's commitment to "join efforts" to overcome the current crisis in the country and to rebuild the social fabric.

The bishops released a statement at the conclusion of their April 26-29 meeting in Cochabamba highlighting the Easter season, in which Christ "challenges us and calls us to show solidarity with the realities of suffering and poverty of so many of our disadvantaged brothers, the outcasts of society.”

Bolivia has experienced political crises since a disputed 2019 presidential election.

Evo Morales, the left wing then-president of Bolivia, fled the country in November 2019 after weeks of protest regarding the disputed election.  

Jeanine Áñez, of a center-right party, then served as interim president, from November 2019 to November 2020. 

Luis Arce, a member of Morales’ party, then won the 2020 presidential election. In March 2021, Áñez was on charges of terrorism, sedition, and conspiracy, with her assumption of the presidency called a coup d’etat.

The bishops asked people to commit to "the effort to overcome this crisis together and rebuild the social fabric, looking for what unites us and overcoming what divides us."

"Only united and with the efforts of all, we can find solutions to the problems that afflict us,” they said.

Pointing to various problems, the bishops lamented the scarcity of sources of stable and decent work, the increase in emigration, the precarious state of the healthcare and educational systems, and the weakened economy.

“We see that the recovery of social peace in the country is becoming more complex as we find ourselves at a point where the absence of a sincere desire for reconciliation and harmony is still perceived, since attitudes of mistrust continue that prevent us from recognizing ourselves as what we are, Bolivians, all children of the one Father,” the prelates noted.

The bishops also pointed to "the clamor for substantial reform" in the administration of justice, that it be "fair and free from all political, economic and other interference."

"This situation, if not corrected promptly, puts peace at serious risk, in addition to sowing pain and suffering in so many innocent people and feelings of helplessness in the citizenry."

The bishops encouraged people "to join efforts to work together for a united Bolivia, drawing on our multiple cultural and historical riches."

They thus called on “the different levels of government to work even harder at their fundamental role of promoting the common good through listening, dialogue and agreements with all sectors" of society in order to "overcome the tensions and problems that we are facing, and to propose practical and equitable solutions for all.”

They also called on businessmen to recognize their important role “in job creation, work that must have the person as its greatest value, the common good and respect for creation; the good that God has provided to be shared among all as brothers.”

To Bolivian families, the prelates expressed “our solidarity and empathy for the difficulties you have experienced and continue to suffer. We encourage you to remain united and under the provident gaze of God, to overcome this situation, rebuilding a climate of peace, serenity, harmony and well-being.”

"In the hope that the health situation will improve, we encourage you, children and young people, to resume your educational activities with enthusiasm and responsibility."

“With joy and hope, we perceive that little by little we are overcoming those times of sadness and restlessness. Thanks to the Lord who accompanies us personally and as a community, opening us to horizons of light and hope,” they added.

Colombians march in more than 70 cities to defend life, reject abortion

March for Life 2022 in Baranquilla, Colombia. / Unidos por la Vida

Bogotá, Colombia, May 2, 2022 / 17:40 pm (CNA).

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people dressed in light blue and carrying banners and flags marched in more than 70 cities in Colombia to defend the life of the unborn child and to say no to abortion.

Jesús Magaña, president of United for Life, the platform that organized the event, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, that on April 30 some 200,000 people attended the marches in 78 cities in the country.

Large cities with marches included Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Bucaramanga, Pereira, and Manizales.

A “Manifesto for Life” written by United for Life was read at this 16th National March for Life in Colombia, stating that the Colombian people “are outraged by ruling C-055 of 2022 in which four judges of the Constitutional Court and an alternate judge sentenced unborn babies up to six months of pregnancy to a cruel death penalty without any grounds.”

“Therefore, throughout the country, we are peacefully demonstrating our rejection of this unconstitutional and criminal decision of the Court. We want to tell the world that Colombia is a country of life and that it will not rest until the right to life is restored and guaranteed from the moment of fertilization until natural death,” the text adds.

United for Life said that "all legal, political, cultural and social means" will be used “to restore precisely the right to life, which has been systematically violated for years by the Constitutional Court."

The pro-life platform asked the four aforementioned judges of the court to resign from their positions and to "answer judicially and socially to the people for this abuse of power."

The manifesto also invited Colombians to "rethink this type of action by the Constitutional Court, since it has become a body that breaches the balance of powers, destroys the democratic system, deforms the Constitution with its reinterpretations."

The candidates for president of the country were asked to sign the Pact for Life "as a sign of their commitment to put forth actions and public policies that protect and promote all human life."

“Colombia is a country that loves and respects life, that doesn’t want new violence and the extermination of human beings worked out in the offices of the Constitutional Court, especially which allows and promotes the massacre of our unborn babies. We will continue to mobilize until this massacre is stopped,” the manifesto concludes.

Mexico's bishops decry prevailing violence, impunity in the country

null / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 29, 2022 / 14:58 pm (CNA).

The Mexican Bishops’ Conference expressed its concern Thursday over the ever-present threats to the lives of women and the weakest in the country.

In a statement released April 28, during the conference’s 112th Plenary Assembly, the Mexican bishops pointed to the threats “to human dignity and the values of family, life, freedom of expression, democracy, education and hospitality in solidarity, and in the midst of prevailing violence, injustice and impunity.”

This situation, they noted, affects "especially the poor, migrants, women and the weakest."

However, they stressed that hope in the Risen Christ impels Catholics to continue "fighting for peace, justice, tolerance, solidarity and dialogue."

The Mexican bishops emphasized that "the presence of Christ, the Crucified-Risen One, always instills confidence and hope."

"Confidence not only because of his assistance, which guarantees us victory over sin and death, but also because of that which he has placed in us to continue his work," the bishops said.

“And the hope that no reality, no matter how difficult, painful or complex it may be, has the last word, and always opens us to the possibility that with our existence, lived according to the Heart of Christ, the seeds of the Kingdom are sown,” they added.

The bishops then encouraged the faithful "to discover hope beyond the characteristics typical of our changing times."

"We dare to affirm, with our eyes on the Risen One, that neither the culture of death, nor violence, nor lies, nor evil, will have the last word," they said.

The Mexican Bishops’ Conference also highlighted "the deep cultural and religious roots that give us identity as a Mexican people, the mature fruit of the genuine testimony of many missionary disciples throughout five hundred years of evangelization, and of the presence of Mary of Guadalupe, who has translated for us the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with great tenderness and in a very kindly voice: 'Am I not here who am your mother?'”

The bishops also asked the faithful “to avoid making one-sided readings of the times we live in, which contribute to polarization: those from above, those from below; those of before, those of now; the good ones, the bad ones”.

"Faced with complex times, a new boldness is necessary and the lucidity of believers, fixing their gaze on the Prince of Peace", they said.

Vatican intervenes in conflict between Argentine archbishop, Discalced Carmelites

Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta / Archdiocese of Salta

Salta, Argentina, Apr 28, 2022 / 15:40 pm (CNA).

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will mediate in a conflict between Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta  and the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Salta of the San Bernardo monastery.

A statement published on April 27 by the Archdiocese of Salta explains that the congregation delivered a series of instructions on the administrative management of the monastery, the obedience of the Carmelite congregation to the local archbishop, and what should be done regarding an alleged Marian invocation–popularly known as the “Virgen del Cerro” (Virgin of the Hill)–that the nuns are promoting without the approval of their pastor.

The statement explains that "the Roman Dicastery has decided to appoint an Apostolic Assistant for the monastery" after the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires announced April 26 the "completion of the apostolic visit carried out by the bishop emeritus of Santo Domingo, Martín De Elizalde, and the Reverend Sister Isabel Guiroy at the 'San Bernardo' convent.”

The appointment of the assistant will be made by "an immediate decree" in which the powers and the person appointed will be indicated.

The visit to the monastery of San Bernardo, which took place March 30, "was carried out in an appropriate, correct and competent manner, and the visitors exhaustively fulfilled the assignment granted to them," the text states.

The dicastery determined that the community of Carmelite Sisters of Salta "should not in any way get involved in activities that are part of the well-known devotion ‘I am the Immaculate Mother of the Divine Eucharistic Heart of Jesus and I am the Most Sacred Eucharistic Heart of Jesus,' nor support this activity.”

This devotion refers to alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary and of Christ to Salta parishioner María Livia Galliano de Obeid, which began in 1990 and supposedly continue to this day.

The dicastery clarified that "it belongs to the local ordinary, or through him to the competent Congregation of the Apostolic See, to discern its veracity and authorize the practices of veneration in this context."

"The community of the Sisters of Salta is obliged to strictly observe the rules of law in this regard, including the strict observance of monastic cloistered life," the text continued.

The dicastery noted that "allowing the lay faithful to reside permanently on the monastery grounds, to participate regularly in the life of the monastic community, and allowing pilgrims to access the monastery grounds, constitutes the clear involvement" of the Carmelite community in the matter of the alleged apparition.

The nuns’ actions, the dicastery pointed out, go "against the will of the bishop and the priests of the diocese, which leads to a division of the local Church community and to conflicts to which the documentation refers."

“The monastery, by allowing the 'visionary,' Mrs. María Livia Galiano de Obeid, to live on its own premises and allocating some spaces for pilgrims close to this context, is clearly fully involved in this work, against the will of the local church,” the congregation stressed.

The statement also pointed out that the community of the Discalced Carmelites of Salta "must fully live out the Carmelite charism, not a work that consequently leads to tense situations."

“Therefore, a renewed formation is also recommended in the spirit of the Rule and according to the Carmelite tradition, observing its own tradition of monastic life. In dialogue with the local ordinary, a stable form of regular meetings should be instituted, which would serve to deal with problematic situations on an ongoing basis," the text noted.

Another point mentioned in the dicastery’s statement is that, although the San Bernardo monastery "enjoys its due autonomy," the "bishop has the right to visit the monastery and to receive, and the Prioress has the duty to present, an annual report on the administration of the goods and finances of the monastery.”

“The administration of the temporal goods of the monastery must be transparent and presented to the community in all its aspects, because the temporal goods are goods of the entire community and the Prioress and the bursar are only their administrators on behalf of the community,” the dicastery specified.

On April 12, a formal complaint was filed with the Office of Family and Gender Violence, which is under the Salta Judiciary, by three Discalced Carmelites from Salta against Archbishop Cargnello for allegedly having committed gender violence and harassment against the prioress and the sisters.

The case is currently in Family and Gender Violence Court No. 3, with Judge María Carolina Cáceres Moreno in charge of the case. The local press has reported that the Archbishop of Salta will testify before the judge May 3.

“What the complaint seeks is for the danger to end and the acts of physical and/or psychological violence against the Prioress and also against the other Carmelite sisters who are inside the monastery. What they are suffering is because of their status as women. It is also aggravated by the inequality in the relationship of power that hierarchical superiority entails, which the archbishop has at the ecclesiastical level,” the nuns’ lawyer, Claudia Zerda Lamas, told the Argentine news website Infobae.

ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, contacted the Archdiocese of Salta via email to determine its position regarding the accusation.

Eduardo Jesús Romani, a lawyer for the archdiocese, replied that the complaint filed with the Court of Family and Gender Violence No. 3 "is generic and none of the facts constitute gender violence."

The lawyer said that the charge of “moral and financial violence” is being foisted on the archbishop. “Clearly this situation doesn’t exist nor is it documented in the file, since the relationship was always based on the obligations that the archbishop has towards the Convent. We understand that the background to the complaint is related to the so-called ‘Virgin of the Hill,’” he said.

Finally, Romani said that the archdiocese is "concerned about the situation of the nuns since we believe that they are being manipulated" by those who promote the alleged Marian apparition in Salta.

"This comes out very clearly in all the facts under study," the lawyer said.

Killing the innocent by abortion is not mercy, says Chilean cardinal

Cardinal Celestino Aós Braco of Santiago takes possession of his titular church in Rome, June 19, 2021. / Archdiocese of Santiago

Santiago, Chile, Apr 26, 2022 / 18:40 pm (CNA).

During his homily at the Mass for the blessing of the foundation stone for the Divine Mercy Shrine in Santiago on Sunday, Cardinal Celestino Aós Braco warned that abortion "is not mercy," nor is the "mutilation" of moral and religious teaching.

Cardinal Aós said April 24, Divine Mercy Sunday, that "it’s not mercy to kill the innocent by abortion, it’s not mercy for the child that is eliminated, nor for the mother to whom they want to present that action as a solution."

“It’s not mercy to mutilate human beings by not taking care of their development and moral and religious instruction; it’s not mercy, moving forward and abandoning the one who is left behind,” he added.

The cardinal said that “we are called to build a culture of mercy” through performing the works of mercy.

The Archbishop of Santiago explained that "mercy has the face of consolation." 

“It’s true, we often go through difficult trials but the certainty that the Lord loves us must never wane, his Mercy is also expressed in the closeness in affection and in the support that many brothers offer us when days of sadness and affliction come upon us.”

"We all need consolation because no one is immune to suffering, pain and misunderstanding," and "God never remains distant when these dramas happen."

“A word that gives encouragement, a hug that makes you feel understood, a caress that makes you perceive love, a prayer that allows you to be stronger. These are all expressions of the closeness of God through the consolation offered by a brother,” Cardinal Aós gave as examples.

After the homily, the decree for the construction of the Divine Mercy Shrine was read and signed, the land and the faithful present were blessed, and the first stone was placed on the foundation where the altar will be located.