Sunday, September 25, 2016

Installation Of New Bishop Of Killaloe

http://www.killaloediocese.ie/images/stories/1145bishop_fintan_3.jpgThe ordination of Fr. Fintan Monahan as Bishop of Killaloe will take place in the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in Ennis on Sunday 25th September at 3.00pm.

The event will be streamed live here on the Diocesan website on the day. 

You can see the streaming at www.killaloediocese.ie.

Bishop ordered to reopen Indian church after fight with faithful

Statue to be coveredIn a setback to the Archbishop of Bangalore, India's High Court has ordered the reopening of the St Paul the Hermit Church which had been shut down following the erection of a statue of a controversial priest who had died, reports daijiworld.com.

The court has also ordered that the church should be opened by September 26, and that Archbishop Bernard Moras should appoint a priest to the church by September 29.

The only consolation to the Bangalore Archdiocese was that the bust of Fr Chowrappa Selvaraj, commonly known as Fr Chasara, erected in defiance of the Archbishop, was that it be covered in a wooden case.

Fr Chasara was accused in the murder of the then Rector of St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary at Malleswaram in 2013. Six other people were named on the charge sheet.

Crux reported that in May members of the church launched a hunger strike to protest the decision by Archbishop Moras to shut the parish down, after it defied his order not to install the statue.

Of the 13 parishioners who began the hunger strike on May 29, six were hospitalised on May 31.

First Australian woman installed as head of Knighthood order

Dr Thomson after her installationBrisbane dentist and lawyer Monica Thomson has been installed as the first Australian female lieutenant of the oldest of all the Orders of Knighthood in the Church. 

After 20 years as a dame of the Queensland chapter of the legendary Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Dr Thomson adds a black cape and a gold mantilla to her hooded robes to distinguish herself as the new chapter leader.

Her robes were blessed during the installation by Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

“I am very proud to be the first woman in Australia, and the seventh worldwide,” Dr Thomson, 65, mother of three sons and grandmother of eight, said.

“I was one of the original members when our chapter was formed and I hope to carry on the good work during my term as lieutenant.”

Knights and dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre are devoted to building up the faith and practice among members, and sustaining the spiritual, charitable, and social works of the Church in the Holy Land including Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

In 1888, Pope Leo XIII authorised the order to give women similar honours to men.

As a result, Dames of the Holy Sepulchre share the same rights and privileges as knights of the order, including licence to ride a horse – should they wish – into a church or cathedral.

Dr Thomson said she would not be taking up that ancient right. “I’ve only ever ridden once or twice. I am not a horsewoman, but I do like to go to the races,” she said.

Dr Thomson was one of six children. She was born and educated in Fortitude Valley and attended St Patrick’s and All Hallows’ School.

Beijing issues new, harsh draft regulations on religious activities

A new set of draft regulations on religious activity has been issued in China. 

These would replace the 2004 regulations. 

Compared to these, the draft is longer: there are 74 articles spread over nine chapters, (in 2004 there were only 48 articles). 

New to this draft is the inclusion of norms for the construction of religious buildings and statues (after the demolition campaign of crosses and churches); diverse rules governing the use of the internet; clarifications on Buddhist religious personnel (Tibetan) as well as Catholic. The amount of fines that are imposed on those who break the rules has also been adjusted. Now there will be penalties of up to 200 thousand yuan (over 27 thousand euro: the minimum wage in Shanghai is a bit less than 300 Euros) for "illegal religious activities " or foreign travel and pilgrimages without government consent.
 
Contradictions within the Party
 
In itself, the draft, published on  September 8 on the State Council for Legislative Affairs website, was made public to allow for any corrections, suggestions and amendments until October 7. But a Party member confessed laconically to AsiaNews: "It is said that it is a draft, but it really is the definitive text."


The ideological structure of the new text remains firmly in the communist domain: religious activities, to be expressed, must be screened and controlled by the state at all levels; village, county, state, country.

Without defining what a religion is or religious experience, the regulations (Art. 2) begin proclaiming that in China "citizens enjoy religious freedom", that no one "can force a person to believe or not to believe "and that" ... no organization can discriminate against citizens who believe in a religion".


This statement is in contradiction to what is happening within the Chinese Communist Party itself, where for years it has been preached that members can not adhere to any religion even in private, not even after they retire.

Although there is no definition of religion, the first part of the draft lists a long series of things that religions "must not do": cause conflict with other religions or non-believers; provoke ethnic divisions; favor religious extremism; divide the nation; practice terrorism (art. 4).

“Sinicized” religions without foreigners

To be "under the law", religions must be "guided" by the government of the people, by the departments of Religious Affairs, the county and village authorities who have the right to intervene in religious activities (art. 6).

In addition, each religious group "must adhere to the principle of independence and self-government" and "not be controlled by foreign forces" (art. 5). These principles are a tradition from the times of Mao Zedong, who at first wanted to destroy religion and then – when this proved impossible - at least control them with an iron fist with the patriotic associations, giving rise to "independent" churches and community. 

But these principles have taken on a new emphasis after President Xi Jinping’s speech to the United Front last year, in which he warned against "foreign influences" and decreed that if the religions want to live in China they must "sinicize ". The negative psychosis operated on foreign religions refers to Muslims in Xinjiang and Tibetan Buddhists, but also the Pope and the Vatican who, with the appointment of bishops, are suspected of conspiracy and of "interference in China's internal affairs".

This "sinicization" also deals a blow to foreign personnel who may be invited to "religious schools" (seminaries, monasteries, etc.). Art. 17 provides that institutions cannot invite staff from abroad, and that permission can only be granted by the " State Council Department of Religious Affairs". This fruits of this can already be seen: theological seminaries such as Beijing, which once housed dozens of foreign professors, now can barely obtain permission for two or three.

The places of worship and crosses

A complicated process has been introduced for the approval of the construction of places of worship, with applications passing month to month through all levels of government; only then can a place of worship be built, but then it will take even more months to apply for registration for use (Articles 19-27). Special permits are required to install religious statues outside of places of worship (Art. 29-30). 

In addition to permission, the religious community must accept the verification of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. In any case "the construction of large religious statues outside of temples and churches is prohibited".

The ban reflects the demolition campaign carried out against the crosses and churches in Zhejiang launched two years ago to reduce the visibility of the Christian buildings, which hoisted large crosses on top of buildings or towers. In addition to destroying buildings that had already received building permits, the provincial government issued norms which regulated the height, position, size and even the color of the crosses.

Controlling the buddha and bishops

Chap. V (arts. 36-39) regards  "religious personnel", who exercise ministry.  They must be registered with the Ministry of Religious Affairs. There are two specific points. The first refers to the "living Buddha" of Tibetan Buddhism, whose reincarnation "must be submitted for approval to the department for religious affairs of the people's government". 

The Party-government established this rule years ago, which seeks to prevent the possibility of an "uncontrolled" or "not approved" reincarnation the Dalai Lama.

Another specific point regards Catholic bishops, who must be registered with the nation’s departments of religious. It is also specified that "those that have not obtained or have lost religious professional credentials, must not engage in activity as religious professionals" (n. 36). Many  Catholics are concerned that this subparagraph might harden the government's stance towards unofficial bishops, who are not registered with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and that therefore commit "illegal or outlawed actions" if they dare to celebrate a Mass or distribute the Sacraments.

The end of the underground community?

The same can be deduced from the Chap. VII on "legal responsibility", where "illegal" religious activities will be punished "according to law" and result in a revocation of "the registration certificate."

Many Chinese dioceses have been signaling to us that the government is licit and illicit means to push unofficial priests to register with the Ministry. Sadly – although not specifically mentioned in the Regulations - such registration occurs through the Patriotic Association (PA), which is the control body, whose statutes (to build an "independent" Church) are "incompatible with Catholic doctrine" , as the Letter of Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics clearly states. Most underground priests would be willing to be registered if the tentacles of the PA were removed. The fact remains that these new regulations appear to deal a lethal blow to the underground community, making it almost impossible for them to exercise their religious freedom without registration of places of worship and staff. What’s more their "illegal activities" could result in hefty fines up to 200 thousand yuan (Arts. 67-68).

The "criminal" actions that warrant severe punishment include " accepting domination by external forces, accepting clergy from foreign religious groups or organizations without authorization, as well as other acts contrary to the principle religious independence and self-governance" ( art. 70, 2). In practice, if out of friendship an Italian priest celebrates with a community or with a Chinese priest ( "without authorization"!) he will be committing one of the most serious crimes: ecclesial communion does not count; it must have government approval.

The criminalization against everything that harms "independence and self-government" has also spread to the internet: religious information via the internet must have the permission of government authorities and "must not contain prohibited content" (Arts. 47-48) .

In conclusion, reading all regulations, religions emerge as a suspect and dangerous item, made acceptable only if  controlled by the "people's government". Yet from the start Regulations proclaim that "religious freedom" is enjoyed by all citizens, without discrimination.

Among the discriminatory prohibitions there is in fact - in addition to the above mentioned prohibition on Party members to be religious - the fact that “It is prohibited to proselytize, hold religious activities, establish religious organizatons, or set up religious activity sites in State schools" ( art. 44). In return, the state has the right to coerce and to enforce lessons of atheism and Marxism in religious schools.

Statute for Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications published

Pope Francis embraces Monsignor Dario Vigano, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, during an audience in 2013 - REUTERSThe Statute for the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications was published on Thursday, saying its aim was "to respond to the current media reality, characterized by the presence and development of digital media and their increasing social interaction." 

It said this evolving situation called for a reorganization of the Apostolic See’s various media outlets in order to proceed towards a merger of them under a united management. The Statute has been approved on “an experimental basis” for three years and is part of a wider ongoing reform of the Roman Curia and the Holy See's institutions. 
 

The Statute confirms that the Secretariat for Communications was established by Pope Francis in his Motu Proprio, issued on 27th June 2015, with the aim of uniting all those entities within the Apostolic See which are involved in communications, in order to respond ever better to the needs of the Church’s evangelizing mission.

It said new technological advances or media models that may emerge in the future will be adopted and also come under the umbrella of the Secretariat. When carrying out its functions, the Secretariat will coordinate its activities with the other Vatican Dicasteries and especially with the Secretariat of State.

Structure

The Statute confirmed that the Prefect, Secretary, Members and Consultants of the Secretariat for Communications have all been appointed by Pope Francis for 5-year terms. It said the Secretariat will be divided into 5 Administrative Departments: the Department for General Affairs, the Editorial Department, the Department for the Holy See’s Press office, the Technology Department and the Theological and Pastoral Department.

All of them will come under the control of the Prefect and the Secretary and each Department will have its own Director, to be appointed by Pope Francis, having been proposed by the Prefect and including input from the Secretariat of State. The Prefect can also propose setting up “other entities” or organizations linked to the Holy See and each department can also avail themselves of “independent services.”

Department for General Affairs

Its duties and responsibilities include: the general management of the various departments, human resources, dealing with all legal and copyright matters and coordinating any international initiatives.

Editorial Department

Its duties and responsibilities include: giving guidelines and coordinating editorial policies pertaining to the Secretariat for Communications, developing new forms of communication and ensuring the effective integration of traditional media with today’s digital world.

Department for the Holy See’s Press Office

Its duties and responsibilities: include publishing and releasing official communications concerning both the activities of the Roman Pontiff and the Holy See, following the guidelines of the Secretariat of State, hosting and moderating press conferences and briefings, giving official replies to queries from journalists about the activity of the Pope and the Vatican in general, after having consulted the Secretariat of State.

Technology Department

Its duties and responsibilities include: managing the technological side of communications activity and keeping pace with and adopting new advances in this field, defining and applying methods that conform to Vatican and international norms and to best practices in the sector.

Theological and Pastoral Department

Its duties and responsibilities include: drawing up a theological vision of communications, promoting the pastoral activity of the Pope through words and images and providing a theological context to support them, promoting a pastoral-theological formation by setting up a network with local churches and Catholic associations active in the field of communications and making Christians more aware of the importance of communications methods for announcing the Christian message and promoting the common good.

Staff and Offices

All staff and consultants are to be chosen from people of proven reputation, free from any conflict of interest and possessing an adequate level of professional experience. Any conflict of interest that may arise during their mandate must be made known and appropriate measures taken to resolve it.

Documents and Data

All the documents, data and information held by the Secretariat for Communications will be used exclusively for the reasons stipulated by law and they will be protected in order to guarantee their safety, integrity and confidentiality, covered by office secrecy.

Archives

The Secretariat for Communications will have an archivist responsible for keeping the Secretariat's archives and storing them “in a secure place within the Vatican City State or in an extraterritorial Vatican area.” The Prefect will be in charge of drawing up procedures for the best storage and preservation of documents including audiovisual and audio files, in both analogue and digital forms.

Working language

The working language used by the Secretariat for Communications will be Italian.

Transitional Norms

The Statute is of a transitional nature where, as already spelled out in the Moto Proprio, the organziations merging and becoming part of the Secretariat for Communications are: the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service, Vatican Radio, Vatican Television Centre, L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Printing Press, Vatican Photographic Service and the Vatican Publishing House. The Secretariat for Communications also will take over responsibility for the institutional website of the Holy See and take on the management of the social media outlets reporting on the activities of the Pope.

“All these organizations will continue their activities, observing the current norms, yet following the guidelines given by the Prefect until the date when they will be incorporated into the Secretariat for Communications, at which time they will be disbanded.” During the integration process, the various organizations involved will follow the regulations, guidelines or other instructions as issued by the Secretariat “within the framework of the general norms of the Holy See and respecting the acquired rights of the staff.”

Patriarch Kirill criticizes monks for their passion for luxury

Image result for Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All RussiaPatriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia criticized hegumens and abbesses for seeking luxury and comfort.
"I initiated that each father superior and each mother superior has a bishop's staff (a symbol of spiritual power - IF). But I could not even imagine that hegumens and abbesses will turn these staffs in patriarchal ones, will richly decorate them, will put a cross on them. I did not bless such staffs. You should have an ordinary hegumen staff, without decorations, without jewelry trinkets," the patriarch said on Thursday at his meeting with heads of monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow.
"When you come home, the first thing you should do is to order ordinary staffs similar to the one that was in Holy Metropolitan Peter's hands," he said.

According to the primate, fathers superior and mothers superior should think more about ascetic life, not about comfortable conditions.

"I do not think that the way of life of hegumens and abbesses of the old times who organized monasteries radically differed from lifestyle of ordinary monks and nuns. Everyone should clearly understand it. If there is no such understanding, you should better not become a mother superior or father superior," he said.

Pope Francis’s eight gifts to the USA on his visit one year ago (Commentary)

Pope Francis’s eight gifts to the USA on his visit one year agoLike Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis came from “a far country.” 

Compared to many of those lined up for the papacy, he was not well-traveled, he was not a great linguist, neither a Vatican diplomat nor a great international networker.

Francis came to the papacy with significant personal gifts and history, but first and foremost he stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter’s as a pastor from South America. 

He was a Cardinal Archbishop from Argentina, and that is what he brought as he filled the shoes of St. Peter. 

That was his gift to the papacy and that was his gift to the whole church.

I think this was also the greatest gift he brought in his Sept. 22-28, 2015 visit to the United States, the one-year anniversary of which falls this week.

Because the USA is bordered by two great oceans to the East and West and by relatively calm neighbors to the North and South, we are too often insular in our perspectives. It seems like we are an island nation. News reporting focuses more on local affairs.

Many Americans have not traveled beyond our borders, and too often there is a startling ignorance of geography, international history and foreign affairs.

Therefore, one of the greatest contributions Pope Francis made in his visit to the United States was to open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to the broader vistas of the world and a wider perspective of the Catholic Church.

Here, therefore, are eight things the Argentinian Pope helped us learn on his visit to the USA.

He struggled to speak English 

Pope Francis made a valiant effort to address us in our own language. 

In doing so he reminded us that a huge number of our fellow human beings not only speak a different language, but that a large number of our fellow Americans have Spanish as their first language.

Why does this matter? 

Because of our world domination, we can all too easily take it for granted that wherever we go people will speak our language and therefore know our culture.

When the pope struggled to speak English, we were made to see that our culture and language is not a priority for everyone.

He spoke as the son of immigrants 

As the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, Pope Francis reminded us of the importance of immigrants to the history of the United States. 

As we struggle to cope with a new wave of immigration, Pope Francis reminds us that this is a noble struggle and one which is part of our heritage.

He is the son of immigrants, and apart from the Native Americans, everyone who is here is the descendant of immigrants. 

The pope’s presence here reminded us that we are a nation of immigrants, so we should see Christ in our immigrant neighbor and find proper ways to welcome them.

His name is Francis

The present pope took the name of the great St. Francis because he wanted to bring the good news to the poor by being poor. 

Simply through his name and also through his message he brought to light the need to follow Jesus Christ in the way of St. Francis.

His name reminded us of our obligation to the poor, and our obligation to praise God in all his created works.

He represented the Church in the developing world

The majority of the worlds’ Christians are already in the global South. 

The future of the Catholic Church lies in Africa, Asia and South America. 

The first pope from the developing world helps to shift our attention away from our own hot button issues to the needs and concerns of the developing world.

Pope Francis was a visual sign that “the church is alive, the church is young, the church is Southern!”

He opened his eyes and his heart to America

Pope Francis had never visited the United States previously, and some of his words have been harshly critical of American economics and power. His views were criticized as naive and uninformed.

His visit to America showed his willingness to listen, learn and to welcome all as he was welcomed. 

As he was willing to learn from us, we were emboldened to learn from him.

He put our concerns in perspective 

When huge numbers of Catholics are living is poverty, unemployment, disease and hunger, our own concerns in the affluent North are put into perspective. 

Pope Francis represents the homeless immigrants on the move, the slum dwellers in the great and terrible cities of the South, the victims of war, terrorism and violence.

When he helps us see our needy brothers and sisters, our petty worries, fears and political agendas become insignificant.

He treasured the family 

In his visit to Philadelphia the pope stressed the joy and responsibility of family life. 

Instead of spending all his time and energy condemning abortion, promiscuity, pornography, prostitution and all the things that destroy family life, he chose to emphasize the joy, the fulfillment and rewards of a dedicated, self sacrificial and giving family and community life.

From this we learned again to spend more time building up all that is good, beautiful and true rather than simply castigating all that is negative.

He Revealed Jesus

Every priest is called to be an icon of Christ, but Pope Francis spoke simply, acted with gracious concern for all and showed the humility, simplicity and wisdom of Christ. 

Like Jesus he was shrewd, courteous and cautious with the politicians while preaching the gospel courageously.

He reached out to the poor, the needy, the wounded and the young, while welcoming also the rich and powerful who wished to hear his words.

To put it simply, if the pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth, we saw Christ’s delegate in action.

Another Catholic priest in Mexico kidnapped, remains missing

Another Catholic priest in Mexico kidnapped, remains missingComing on the heels of the kidnapping and murder of two Catholic priests in Mexico over the weekend, a third one was reportedly taken from his church on Monday and remains missing.

Father José Alfredo López Guillen of the state of Michoacán, one of the most violent zones in the country, reportedly was taken on Monday by people who remain unknown. 

Items from the parochial house and his car are also missing.

The news about the kidnapping was shared by Cardinal Alberto Suárez Inda of the diocese of Morelia, the capital of Michoacán. His diocese published a video through YouTube and Twitter, where the cardinal says: “We ask God that his integrity, his life, are respected, so that he can soon go back to his ministry.”

Suárez Inda, created cardinal by Pope Francis in 2015, also prayed for peace, respect for life and the conversion of those who spend their lives doing wrong to others.
 
“This barbarity is in no way justified,” he said.

Michoacán has long suffered the consequences of organized crime and drug trade, and the disappearance of López Guillen is far from being an isolated case.

Fathers Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Jose Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz had been kidnapped last week in Veracruz, a region also marred by drug trade and organized crime, and found murdered on Monday, the same day the priest from Michoacán went missing.

Mexico is the second-largest Catholic country in the world: 83 percent of its more than 120 million citizens identify as Catholics.

Yet it’s also long been among the most dangerous countries in the world for Catholic priests. 

As in Colombia, they’re often the target of mobsters and drug dealers, since the Church is often the loudest voice against the illegal trade.

The country’s Catholic Multimedia Center’s 2015 annual report said that 30 priests had been killed in the last decade, without including the two assassinated this week.

A report from the United States Secretary of State on religious freedom in the country includes the gruesome murder of two priests last year, Father Erasto Pliego de Jesus from Puebla and Francisco Javier Gutierrez Diaz from Guanajuato.

The CMC also said in 2015 there was a decrease in the number of priests killed, from six in the year before to two. However, it also said that some 520 priests had been victims of extortion during the year. 

The fate of Father Carlos Ornelos Puga, who disappeared in November 2013 from La Victoria, Tamaulipas, and Father Santiago Alvarez Figueroa, who disappeared in December 2012 in Zamora, Michoacan, remained unknown.

But priests are not the only targets. 

Last June three nuns were tied up, gagged, and assaulted by unknown attackers in their parish home in the state of Oaxaca.

Chicago priest removed from ministry faces child porn charge

Image result for Father Octavio Munoz CapetilloA Chicago Catholic priest removed from his pastoral duties while authorities investigated questionable material stored on his computer has been charged with possessing child pornography.
 
Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo appeared in court Wednesday in Chicago. 

His bond was set at $50,000.

Police say he was arrested Tuesday in Rockville, Maryland, and extradited to Chicago.

Archbishop Blase Cupich removed Capetillo from pastoral duties in July 2015 after informing prosecutors that church officials found “sexual images and material” on his computer.

At the time, Capetillo was pastor of St. Pancratius Church on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

The Archdiocese of Chicago issued a statement Wednesday saying Cupich removed Capetillo from ministry after learning the material found on his computer might involve minors.

Padre Pio’s heart on display for first time outside Italy

Padre Pio’s heart on display for first time outside ItalyThe heart of a celebrated Roman Catholic saint is being publicly displayed this week - the first time the religious relic has left Italy.
 
Hundreds of the faithful are expected to line up Wednesday at the Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell, Massachusetts, for a glimpse of the heart of St. Padre Pio.

Honoring the relics of saints is an ancient practice in the Roman Catholic faith.

St. Padre Pio was a Capuchin friar best known for possessing the Stigmata, or wounds of Jesus Christ. He died in Foggia, Italy, in 1968 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

The heart also will be displayed in Boston later this week as part of the run-up to the saint’s feast day on Friday.

“I’m very excited to announce that the Capuchin Friars who run the Shrine of St. Padre Pio have offered to come to Boston with the heart of Padre Pio for his feast day this year,” Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston announced in a Sept. 2 post on his blog.

“This is the first time any major relic of Padre Pio has left Italy, and we are so pleased that they have offered to come to Boston for this historic visit. We know that many people throughout our country have a great devotion to Padre Pio, so the friars have made this possible especially for those who are not able to travel to San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy to venerate his relics and pray for his intercession,” he added.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, colloquially known as “Padre Pio,” was a priest of the Order of the Friars Minor Capuchin, a stigmatist, and a mystic, who lived from 1887-1968. He was beatified in 1999, and canonized in 2002 by St. John Paul II, who often sought spiritual counsel from the mystic when he was alive.

Padre Pio was born in Pietrelcina, but served in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, from 1916 until his death in 1968.

His body, which has remained partially incorrupt years after his death, was sent to Rome in February as a special initiative for the Jubilee of Mercy.

Kentucky diocese reinstates priest accused of sex abuse

Kentucky diocese reinstates priest accused of sex abuseThe Catholic Diocese of Owensboro has reinstated a priest who was suspended after being accused of sexually abusing a juvenile in the 1980s.
 
The Diocesan Review Board reviewed the complaint against Father Freddie Byrd and decided there was not enough information to substantiate the allegation.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports that Byrd was reinstated last week to active ministry at St. Ann Church in Morganfield, after being suspended in June.

The complaint to the diocese in western Kentucky accused Byrd of engaging in inappropriate conduct with a 17-year-old in 1983, at a time when Byrd was not yet a priest.

The diocese alerted law enforcement. 

Kentucky State Police spokesman Corey King says authorities did not conduct an investigation.

First Catholic University in Vietnam Opens

First Catholic University in Vietnam OpensThe Catholic bishops of Vietnam have opened the country's first Catholic university. 

The university is the first of its kind since the country was subjected to communist rule in 1975.
 
The opening September 14 in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) comes after years of dialogue between the Vietnamese bishops, the Vatican and the Vietnam government. 

In 2011, the bishops issued a pastoral letter asking the government to "open the door to religious people of good will who wish to get involved in school education." 

Then in 2015 the archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, Paul Bui Van Doc, said, "The relationship between the Vatican and the Vietnam government is becoming better and better, so we asked and they accepted."

Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao said, "It is an important step for the Vietnamese Church that takes place during the Jubilee year."

He continued, "It is a work of mercy that, thank God, begins in the Holy Year. Our approach is that of compassion, accomplished through the service of education."

The university will offer bachelor, licentiate and doctorate degrees in theology, and the courses will include sacramental, dogmatic and moral theology as well as liturgy and biblical studies, spirituality, missiology, and canon law, along with philosophy, psychology and social sciences.

Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao, rector of the institute, said at the opening ceremony, "The institute aims to enhance theological knowledge and competence among all priests, religious and laypeople." 

He added, "Theological understanding is very necessary for Catholics to live a true life of faith in a fast-changing society."

Twenty-three students have enrolled, most of them diocesan or religious priests, but the university is hoping to see an increase in enrollment in future, as well as constructing its own building. 

For now the university is temporarily housed in the headquarters for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam.