- New Vatican statistics note 'downward trend' in Catholic baptisms worldwide (CNS)
The number of seminarians around the world has also declined. After surging from 63,882 in 1978 to 120,616 in 2011, the number of seminarians has steadily fallen over the last decade and now stands at 109,895 (the lowest figure since 1999).
- Archbishop Gänswein ordered to leave Rome? (CNA)
Pope Francis has told Archbishop Georg Gänswein that he must leave Rome, according to a German newspaper report. The former secretary to the late Pope Benedict XVI has not been given a new pastoral assignment, but has been instructed to return to the Freiburg diocese, where he was ordained, according to the report. Neither the Vatican nor the German archbishop has commented on the report. Archbishop Gänswein met with Pope Francis in a private audience on May 19. Although the Vatican did not disclose the topics discussed at that meeting, it was generally understood that the Pope spoke with the German archbishop about a new assignment. The two had met earlier, in January, shortly after the death of Pope Benedict. In April, an Argentine journalist who had interviewed the Pontiff reported: “Francis reminded Gänswein that all the private secretaries of the popes had returned to their dioceses when the Pope died.” On paper, Archbishop Gänswein still has a Vatican assignment, as Prefect of the Pontifical Household. But in 2020, after a brief uproar over a book in which the Pope-emeritus and Cardinal Robert Sarah defended clerical celibacy, Pope Francis instructed Gänswein to devote all his energy to the care of Pope Benedict—effectively dismissing him from the Pontifical Household. So he is, at the comparatively young age of 66, effectively a prelate without portfolio.
- Pope Francis, in message, invokes Mary as Mediatrix of all graces, warns against 'sterile traditionalism' (CWN)
Thousands of people took part in a Marian procession in the Sardinian city of Sassari on May 28 to mark the 80th anniversary of the sparing of their city from Allied bombing during World War II.
- Spanish bishops' abuse report finds that nearly 83% of victims are male (Conferencia Episcopal Española)
The Spanish Episcopal Conference has released a report summarizing the testimony of 927 victims of sexual abuse about 728 abusers within Catholic institutions. With data that mirrored the experience of the United States, the report found that the vast majority of abuse (nearly 83%) was homosexual in nature and that more abuse took place in the 1970s than in any other decade. The report found that of the 728 perpetrators, 99% were male, 378 were clergy, 208 were non-ordained members of religious institutes, and 92 were laity, with others of unknown status.
- Fort Worth bishop dismisses Carmelite superior (OSVNews)
Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, has dismissed the superior of a Carmelite monastery from religious life, in the latest move in a public dispute with the religious community. Bishop Olson took action immediately after the Vatican Dicastery for Religious appointed him as “commissary” for the Carmelite monastery in Arlington, Texas. A commissary is ordinarily named when the Vatican concludes that a religious community is unable to govern itself. The dispute began in April, when the bishop opened an investigation of Mother Teresa Agnes, the superior of the monastery, charging that she had violated the Sixth Commandment with a visiting priest. The Carmelite community denies that charge, saying that the Mother Teresa Agnes admitted only to unspecified misconduct that took place while she was under the influence of medications after surgery. As the conflict escalated, Bishop Olson seized control of the monastery’s communications. Mother Teresa Agnes and her community filed a lawsuit in civil court, saying that the bishop had no authority to take such actions. The bishop fired back by ordering a halt to the daily Mass celebrated at the monastery. With his order dismissing Mother Teresa Agnes from religious life, Bishop Olson said that he would restore the daily Mass, as well as confessions, to the Carmelite community.
- 'Let us put a stop to this horror of torture,' Pope pleads in video (The Pope Video)
In a video reflection on his June prayer intention (for the abolition of torture), Pope Francis said, “Let’s think of how Jesus himself was tortured and crucified. Let us put a stop to this horror of torture.” “Let us pray that the international community commit itself concretely to abolish torture, guaranteeing support to victims and their families,” he added.
- Naked man jumps on altar of St. Peter's Basilica to protest Ukraine war (Reuters)
The incident took place two weeks after a car rushed through a Vatican gate and was fired upon by gendarmes.
- All mission work is Christ's work: Cardinal Tagle (Fides)
In a May 31 talk to the Pontifical Mission Societies, Cardinal Luis Tagle said that “every authentic apostolic mission is the work of Christ, who acts by grace in the lives and hearts of his disciples.” The pro-prefect of the Dicastery of Evangelization stressed that the role of Christians is simply to present Jesus to the world. “If we have faith, we recognize that the Lord will accomplish what He wants to accomplish in our lives,” he said, adding that the faith is “a treasure that does not come from us.”
- Cardinal Farrell to head Vatican City appeals court (Vatican News)
Pope Francis has named Cardinal Kevin Farrell as president of the court of appeals for the Vatican City state. The appointment adds to the list of influential Vatican offices held by Cardinal Farrell, who is already the prefect of the Congregation for Laity, Family, and Life; the camerlengo (who is charged with handling the temporal workings of the Vatican during a papal interregnum); and the chairman of a new committee of prelates supervising Vatican investments. Along with Cardinal Farrell, the Pontiff named three other Italian prelates to the appeals court: Cardinals Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, Cardinal Paolo Lojudice of Siena, and Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, the archpriest of St. Peter’s basilica.
- Thousands of European churches open for 'night of the churches' (L'Osservatore Romano (Italian))
In Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the South Tyrol region of Italy, thousands of churches will simultaneously be open on the evening of June 2 for sacred music concerts and other events. 800 churches will be open in Austria, with 600 offering guided tours; 70 churches and chapels will be open in South Tyrol; 1,700 churches will be open in the Czech Republic; and 2,400 programs have been planned in Catholic and Reformed churches in Switzerland.
- Pope merges 2 Italian dioceses (CWN)
On June 1, Pope Francis merged two Italian dioceses, the Diocese of Cuneo (founded in 1817) and the Diocese of Fossano (founded in 1592), creating the Diocese of Cuneo-Fossano in the Italian province of Cuneo (map).
- Vatican newspaper laments 'cruel paradox' of food waste in world of widespread hunger (CWN)
With the headline “Un paradosso feroce” [A cruel paradox], L’Osservatore Romano devoted the most prominent front-page coverage in its June 1 edition to the extent of food waste in a world in which a significant number of people suffer from hunger.
- St. Peter's Basilica opens exhibit on Marian coronations (CNS)
- Vatican questions transfer of funds from Pontifical Mission Societies (AP)
The Vatican is investigating the transfer of $17 million from the Pontifical Mission Societies to a non-profit investment fund, the Associated Press has revealed. The US-based Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) raises money for papal charities. But $17 million from that fund was transferred to Missio Corp., a private equity fund set up and administered by Father Andrew Small, who was director of the PMS. Missio Corp. then made low-interest loans to church-administered agricultural programs in developing countries. Father Small explains that he was able to raise funds more readily for the development programs—apparently because of donors’ skepticism about Vatican financial management. But his critics say that, although the transfers were legal and approved by the PMS board, the funds were not used for the stated purpose of the PMS: to support charities chosen by the Pontiff. The Vatican’s concern is reflected in the fact that the staff and board of the PMS have been replaced, and the organization’s bylaws rewritten. Father Small, an English Oblate of Mary Immaculate, is now the secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
- Indian bishop, acquitted of rape charge in civil court, resigns (Vatican Press Office)
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, 59, as bishop of Jullundur, India. Appointed by Pope Francis in 2013, Bishop Mulakkal was arrested in 2018 on charges of raping a nun and stepped aside from his duties. He was acquitted in 2022 and met with the Pope in February.
- 222 churches, 115 villages burned down in Indian state, tribal forum says (The Statesman (Kolkata))
The eastern Indian state of Manipur (map) is 41% Hindu, 41% Christian, 8% Muslim, and 8% Sanamahi. Violence has erupted there between the predominantly Hindu Meitei people and the predominantly Christian Kuki (Pillar coverage).
- Cardinal Tobin suggests faithful voluntarily eschew gun ownership (Crux)
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark has suggested that Catholics should “voluntarily set aside our rights” to own firearms. “I honestly believe it is the best thing we can do to change the culture of violence that threatens us today,” the cardinal said.
- Entrusting Ukraine to Mary, Pope praises youth from Ukraine, Russia who 'live as brothers' (CWN)
At the conclusion of his May 31 general audience, Pope Francis paid tribute to Russian and Ukrainian young people who are living together for two years under the auspices of Rondine Cittadella della Pace.
- Educating a child takes a village, Pope says (Vatican Press Office)
Pope Francis strongly encouraged the work of the African Education Compact in a June 1 address, using language that will be familiar to Americans. “To educate a child, it takes a whole village,” he said. The Pope recalled that he had launched the African Education Compact in 2019 “to emphasize that community dimension of education that has always been part of your millenary educational tradition.” The Pope went on to say: “We look at Africa with great confidence, because it has everything it needs to be a continent capable of charting future paths.”
- Nevada governor signs pro-abortion legislation (The Jurist)
Gov. Joe Lombardo, a Catholic and Republican who describes himself as pro-life, has signed legislation that forbids agencies from assisting other states in investigations of out-of-state abortions that take place in Nevada. The legislation also forbids state licensing boards from disciplining abortionists. Gov. Lombardo said that he was respecting the will of voters, who approved a pro-abortion referendum in 1990. Nevada Right to Life, which opposed the legislation, nicknamed it the “Abortion Traffickers Protection Act.”