A woman carries her belongings as a stranded ferry is seen on land Oct. 2 after an earthquake and tsunami in Donggala, Indonesia. (CNS photo)

Catholic aid agencies respond after quake, tsunami in Indonesia; over 1,200 killed
JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNS) — Catholic aid agencies were among those working to assess the needs and get relief to the island of Sulawesi after an earthquake and tsunami left more than 1,200 people dead.
Indonesia’s disaster agency said Oct. 2 the death toll from the magnitude 7.5 earthquake and tsunami was expected to rise as rescuers pulled bodies from the rubble. It said nearly 800 people were severely injured and nearly 50,000 people had been displaced by the disaster.
Yenni Suryani, country manager for Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. church’s international relief and development agency, said humanitarian groups were struggling to get aid to people in the hard-hit cities of Palu and Donggala.
“With the airport damaged, getting access to Palu and Donggala is a huge problem,” Suryani said. “Responders and local aid groups are having to drive overland 10-12 hours. That means a bottleneck for relief supplies in coming days. Landslides are hindering road travel in some places. There’s very limited electricity in Palu, but power is out almost everywhere. Some mobile phone towers have been repaired allowing limited communication, but it’s unreliable.”
Catholic Relief Services and Malteser International were among Catholic aid agencies sending emergency response teams to Indonesia.
Central Sulawesi Gov. Longki Djanggola declared a state of emergency until Oct. 11, reported ucanews.com.
Father Joy Derry Clement, chairman of the Socio-Economic Commission of Manado Diocese in North Sulawesi, told ucanews.com some parishes in the area have been heavily hit, and at least two churches in Palu were partially destroyed.
“Their walls are cracked. In some cases, heavy steel pillars have become detached from their brackets,” he said, adding a number of priests suffered minor injuries due to the quake.
“We’ve formed team that will be sent to Palu soon to assess the situation there. I’ve also set up a logistics team in the commission’s office where material aid from local Catholics can be collected,” he said.
At least 500 priests, nuns, seminarians and lay Catholics had been relocated to the compound of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish without tents since the disaster, he added.

Russian Catholics hope ties won’t be affected by inter-Orthodox tensions
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — As plans to establish an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church encounter complaints from Russia, Catholic leaders hope ecumenical ties will not be affected.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who holds honorary primacy among the world’s 14 main Orthodox churches, plans to grant autocephaly, or independence, to Christians in Ukraine, many of whom have been linked to the Russian Orthodox Church’s Moscow Patriarchate. Calls for a single independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church intensified after Russia’s 2014 forced annexation of Crimea and military intervention in eastern Ukraine. In 2016, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko petitioned Istanbul-based Patriarch Bartholomew to grant the necessary “tomos of autocephaly.”
Some observers have cautioned that Catholic-Orthodox relations could be set back by inter-Orthodox feuding.
“When you’re in dialogue, it’s necessary to have some unity, so you know whose position is representative,” said Viktor Khroul, a Moscow University professor and former Catholic newspaper editor.
“This has been a problem in links between the Catholic Church, which is united and organized, and the Orthodox world, which lacks a common position on many issues. If inter-Orthodox disputes now deepen, ecumenical ties may also suffer,” he told CNS Sept. 30.
Khroul said Catholics in Ukraine already were having trouble organizing social and charitable projects, as rival Orthodox leaders refused to work together.
“The best stance for Catholics now, both individually and ecclesially, is to maintain their distance from each side, while praying these Orthodox conflicts will be healed in a spirit of unity, love and justice,” he said.

Former Washington Cardinal McCarrick now living in St. Fidelis Friary in Kansas
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Archdiocese of Washington announced Sept. 28 that former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who was removed from ministry earlier this year after abuse allegations came to light, is now living in Kansas in a friary for Capuchin Franciscan friars.
Archbishop McCarrick resides at St. Fidelis Friary in the city of Victoria, the archdiocese said in a statement, adding that “respect for the privacy of this arrangement is requested” out of consideration for the peace of the community of the friars who live there.
Victoria is in a rural area of Kansas and has a population of about 1,200. The website for the friary, which is in the Diocese of Salina, lists its residents as five priests and one religious brother.
Salina Bishop Gerald L. Vincke issued a statement Sept. 28 saying Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl called him on Sept. 13 to ask for his permission to allow Archbishop McCarrick to live there after the provincial, or superior, of the Capuchin religious community in Denver consented to the arrangement.
“Please know that I agreed to this arrangement with the understanding that Archbishop McCarrick is excluded from any public appearances and ministry,” as church officials investigate the accusations and they’re examined in a canonical trial, Bishop Vincke said in the statement. “Our diocese is not incurring any cost in this arrangement.”
Bishop Vincke said that he realizes the decision “will be offensive and hurtful to many people,” especially since Archbishop McCarrick “is, in many ways, at the forefront of the recent firestorm in the church.”
While allowing Archbishop McCarrick to live in the diocese, Bishop Vincke said he had to reconcile his feelings of “disappointment, anger and even resentment” toward him.
“Many of us are confused and angry by what Archbishop McCarrick is alleged to have done several decades ago,” he said, while also apologizing to all victims of abuse.
On July 28, Pope Francis accepted then-Cardinal McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals and ordered him to “a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.”
In June, the pope had removed him from public ministry after allegations the then-cardinal had abused a minor 47 years ago in New York was deemed credible. A second accusation that he had abused a minor followed, along with other revelations from seminarians who alleged various abuses by the prelate in a New Jersey beach house. Archbishop McCarrick has denies the accusations.
In July, The New York Times wrote about past financial settlements with two men who had accused the cardinal of abusing them.
Since then, the 88-year-old archbishop had been in seclusion in Washington. The statement from the diocese did not disclose when the move to Kansas took place.
Leadership from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met with Pope Francis Sept. 13 about carrying out an investigation of the archbishop and the allegations that surround him but have not publicly disclosed what it will entail.
In a statement Sept. 19, the USCCB Administrative Committee said it supported “a full investigation into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, including his alleged assaults on minors, priests and seminarians, as well any responses made to those allegations.”

Next Encuentro phase is action by parishes, dioceses on ideas, priorities
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Nearly 3,000 Hispanic ministry leaders, like Dominican Sister Judith Maldonado, have gone back to their parishes and dioceses to share the ideas and fruits of the conversations that took place at the Fifth National Encuentro in Grapevine, Texas.
And as that phase of the multiyear process reached completion, the next phase is aimed at putting into practice the lessons learned and bear fruits.
“This has been like a retreat, the message that we were given at the end is like you have the Holy Spirit, you have to take it with you and you have to be saints, produce fruits of love,” said Sister Maldonado, a member of the Dominican Sisters of the Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. Her order is involved with family ministry serving parishes in Maryland and Texas.
In the next few months, the leadership team of the Fifth National Encuentro, or V Encuentro, will distribute a concluding document listing the main priorities and problems identified across 28 ministry areas; the document will assist dioceses, parishes and national structures in drafting their own pastoral plans according to their own realities and priorities.
The Encuentro’s team of accompaniment, or ENAVE, plans to continue providing support and tracking progress.
“We have achieved things that in some ways we never would have imagined would be possible,” Ken Johnson-Mondragon, V Encuentro’s director of research, told Catholic News Service. “Walls have come down, people have experienced really the joy that Pope Francis talks about.”
The V Encuentro process that began about four years ago has helped thousands of Hispanic ministry leaders engage in faith-filled dialogues among themselves and reach out to those on peripheries. Encuentro has also promoted collaborations within and across dioceses, which is known as ‘pastoral en conjunto,’ and has helped remove the “fear to speak up,” bringing the participants closer to their pastors and bishops, added Johnson-Mondragon.
The V Encuentro also identified and prepared at least 25,000 new Hispanic ministry leaders across the country, and about a third of the leaders engaged were youth and young adults. An estimated 100,000 individuals participated in the process and about 150,000 others were reached on the peripheries.
Another important gain is that the V Encuentro has captured the attention and support of the bishops nationwide. At the gathering, about 125 bishops walked side by side with their diocesan delegations, and about 160 out of 178 Roman Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in the country were represented.

Retired Tucson bishop named apostolic administrator of New Mexico diocese
TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) — Retired Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson has been named apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The Las Cruces Diocese announced Sept. 28 that Pope Francis appointed Bishop Kicanas to the post.
On July 11, Pope Francis named Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces to be coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, California. He remained head of the New Mexico Diocese until Sept. 28 when he was welcomed to the San Jose Diocese with a special Mass.
As apostolic administrator, Bishop Kicanas will have oversight powers of a local bishop until a new bishop is named.
“I have had the joy of visiting the Diocese of Las Cruces on a number of occasions,” Bishop Kicanas said in a statement. “I admire the clergy, religious and parishioners of the diocese and have been impressed by their commitment to the pastoral mission to this local church.”
“I hope to do what I can to support the church until a new bishop is appointed,” he added. “Please keep me in your prayers.”
Bishop Kicanas, now 77, retired in October 2017. His successor, Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger, was installed as the eighth bishop of Tucson that November.
“It is a great tribute to Bishop Kicanas’ many gifts and talents that the Holy Father has appointed him to care for the faithful in Las Cruces during this time of transition,” said Bishop Weisenburger. He called on priests, deacons, religious and all diocesan employees and volunteers to join him in congratulating and praying for the bishop in this new position.
Bishop Kicanas currently serves as the chairman of the board for the National Catholic Educational Association and vice chancellor for Chicago-based Catholic Extension, a national organization that raises and distributes funds to support the ministry of U.S. mission dioceses, like Las Cruces and Tucson.
The 10-county New Mexico diocese was founded in 1982. It serves about 234,550 Catholics through 47 parishes, 44 missions and six Catholic schools.
Bishop Cantu, 51, had headed the Diocese of Las Cruces since February 2013. He was an auxiliary bishop of San Antonio for five years. The San Jose Diocese is headed by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, who turned 73 June 11 and has headed the diocese since 1999.
A coadjutor automatically becomes the head of the diocese upon the death or retirement of its bishop.

California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes measure to extend statute of limitations
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a measure Sept. 30 that would have extended the state’s statute of limitations for decades for childhood sexual abuse survivors.
The proposed measure would have allowed victims to file abuse claims until they are 40 years old. It also would have allowed those who have repressed memories of abuse to sue within five years of realizing the cause of their trauma.
In his Sept. 30 letter to the members of the California State Assembly, Brown said he vetoed a similar bill in 2013 and said his views on this have not changed.
He said the current measure is even broader than the one he opposed five years years ago and “does not fully address the inequity between the state defendants and others and provides a longer revival period for otherwise barred claims.”
In the aftermath of the 2002 sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, California lawmakers created a one-year window to eliminate the statute of limitations and revived all child sex abuse claims no matter when they took place.
Information about the legislation on the California Catholic Conference’s website said the church did not oppose the 2002 legislation. That next year, when the measure took effect, more than 1,000 plaintiffs brought cases to court and the Catholic Church in California paid more than $1.4 billion in restitution, resulting in the loss of insurance policies and bankruptcy.
“And the church continues to work with all victims no matter when the abuse took place. Now lawmakers, working with the trial lawyers, want to re-open claims again,” the website alert said.
Brown’s letter mentioned this one-year revival of lapsed claims which he said provided relief but also a defined cut off time.
In a 2008 law, he said, the Legislature attempted to address the “unfair distinction between victims of public as opposed to private institutions.” However, that law fell short because “instead of subjecting public/government entities to the 2002 law, it allowed “victims of public institutions” to sue from 2009 forward, Brown explained.
“In passing this 2008 law, I can’t believe the Legislature decided that victims of abuse by a public entity are somehow less deserving than those who suffered abuse by a private entity,” he said. Brown was not governor then; he was elected to the post in 2010 and re-elected 2014. He also served as California’s governor some decades earlier, from 1975 to 1983.
Before the veto, the California Catholic Conference, said it opposed the bill because it placed “an unfair burden on the accused, who, decades after the alleged abuse, may be unable to furnish witnesses or records to defend themselves,” Steve Pehanich, spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times.

Synod aims to renew the church to help young Catholics, cardinal says
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — To strengthen and support young people in the faith, members of the Synod of Bishops will need to listen to their real-life stories, interpret what they hear in the light of the Gospel and make decisions that will lead to an authentic renewal of the Catholic Church, said Brazilian Cardinal Sergio da Rocha.
“Often we hear voices that blame young people for moving away from the church. But many of them have lived in situations that lead them to affirm that it was the church that moved away from them,” said Cardinal da Rocha, archbishop of Brasilia and relator general of the Synod of Bishops 2018.
The Brazilian cardinal will introduce the work of the synod Oct. 3 and, midway through the gathering, will summarize the speeches individual bishops have made in the synod hall.
The synod will meet Oct. 3-28 to discuss “young people, the faith and vocational discernment.”
Introducing the synod at a news conference Oct. 1, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, synod general secretary, said it will have 267 voting members, including two bishops from mainland China. While Chinese bishops always have been invited to the synod, he said, the agreement signed by the Vatican and the Chinese government Sept. 22 made it possible for bishops to attend.
The synod’s members include 15 heads of Eastern Catholic churches, 16 heads of Vatican offices, 15 members of the synod’s permanent council, 181 members elected by national bishops’ conferences and the men’s Union of Superiors General and 40 members named by Pope Francis. Eighteen of the voting members are priests; two are religious brothers.
The synod released Oct. 1 a new “Instruction of the Celebration of Synodal Assemblies and on the Activity of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.” The document specifies that religious brothers may be voting members of a synod, but women may not.
Cardinal Baldisseri said, however, that the synod observers, which include women and 34 young people between the ages of 18 and 29, can participate in the synod’s working groups and are encouraged to help formulate the synod’s final resolutions.
The instruction and Pope Francis’ new constitution on the synods, which was published Sept. 18, looks to the future, but “first of all looks to the past, to the deposit of faith and the tradition of the church,” the cardinal said. “It is the structure of the church for a synod of bishops. Obviously, there is an increasing effort to involve the entire people of God.

The pope’s intention
Here is Pope Francis’ prayer intention for this month:
Evangelization, The Mission of Religious: That consecrated religious men and women may bestir themselves, and be present among the poor, the marginalized, and those who have no voice.