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OSV News Showcase | October 27, 2023

Wanda Póltawska, a longtime friend and soulmate to St. John Paul II, holds a copy of a book she wrote in a bookstore in Turin, Italy, in this May 12, 2008 file photo. Póltawska, a Polish psychiatrist, wife, mother of four and a survivor of Ravensbrück Nazi concentration camp, died Oct. 24, 2023, at 101 in Krakow, Poland. (OSV News photo/Guglielmo Lobera, Catholic Press Photo)
Wanda Póltawska, a longtime friend and soulmate to St. John Paul II, holds a copy of a book she wrote in a bookstore in Turin, Italy, in this May 12, 2008 file photo. Póltawska, a Polish psychiatrist, wife, mother of four and a survivor of Ravensbrück Nazi concentration camp, died Oct. 24, 2023, at 101 in Krakow, Poland. (OSV News photo/Guglielmo Lobera, Catholic Press Photo)

Good evening! 

As we observe the day of prayer and fasting requested by Pope Francis and try to wrap our minds around the fact that (as of this writing) the Lewiston, Maine, shooter is still at-large, we can only whisper up our plea to heaven that this chaotic earth might yet be put right through the power and mercy of the Lord. As those thoughts rise, however, the stories of the past week, including the developing headlines concerning the abuses and the artwork of Father Marko Rupnik, populate our showcase to keep us as well-informed as possible until next week brings us new stories, new developments and new things about which to feel concerned or uplifted. 

We hope you’ll keep following OSV News on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, as well as instagram and Facebook, as we strive to bring you the latest news within the Catholic Church and throughout the world. 

Elizabeth Scalia

Culture Editor

Pope calls on doctrinal dicastery to formally investigate Father Rupnik

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has lifted the statute of limitations on abuse accusations against Father Marko Rupnik to allow for a formal investigation of the case by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. “In September the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors brought to the pope’s attention that there were serious problems in the handling of the Fr. Marko Rupnik case and lack of outreach to victims,” a written communique by the Vatican press office said Oct. 27.

Father Marko Rupnik, disgraced former Jesuit, incardinated in Slovenian diocese

Father Rupnik had been accused of sexually, spiritually or psychologically abusing some 2 dozen women and at least one man over a 40-year period. He had been briefly excommunicated in 2020 for granting absolution to a woman with whom who he had engaged in sexual relations. 

COMMENTARY: Incardination of predator priest Rupnik is an epic fail for synodality

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the synod, speaking as a “person of God” — and a priest by virtue of my baptism — I was hoping for a stronger condemnation of the ongoing, never-fully-repented-of scourge of sexual abuse and “misconduct” perpetrated upon all of us people of God; in fact, not just a condemnation but a seriously constructive examination of what material, spiritual and liturgical reparation could and should look like.

‘Three-pronged prayer’ needed amid Maine mass shootings, says pastor

Amid a manhunt for a suspected mass shooter, a pastor in Maine is calling for “three-pronged prayer.” Father Daniel Greenleaf, pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, told OSV News that he is interceding for at least 18 people killed and 13 injured in an Oct. 25 attack in his town, as well as for their families and for law enforcement. 

Mexican bishops call for solidarity after Hurricane Otis devastates Acapulco

Cáritas México mobilized a response to Hurricane Otis, which battered Acapulco around midnight Oct. 25 as the strongest hurricane to ever hit Mexico’s Pacific Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center, causing widespread property damage and flooding, while leaving the tourist destination incommunicado. Dioceses in Mexico have established collection centers to help the homeless amid widespread devastation.

Gaza pastor: Pray for peace, hostage release, aid

Father Gabriel Romanelli, an Incarnate Word priest assigned to Gaza’s Church of the Holy Family, said his parish complex is now housing some 700 persons in dire need. Father Romanelli — who was in Bethlehem when the war erupted, and who has been unable to return to his parish — said supplies are dwindling, with water and fuel running critically low, and electricity nonexistent. 

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson elected House Speaker

A number of pressing issues await the new Speaker Johnson, including a looming deadline to avert a government shutdown next month, and debates over aid packages for Israel and Ukraine as they fend off conflict. Advocacy groups and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops previously cautioned against a government shutdown, urging lawmakers to come to an agreement to keep the government open.

Argentina will get first female home-grown saint when ‘Mama Antula’ is canonized

The Vatican announced Oct. 24 that San José, born as María Antonia de Pa Figueroa, but known throughout Argentina simply as Mama Antula, would be canonized as the pope authorized the promulgation of the decree on the miracle attributed to her intercession. The decision means a lot for Argentina, its native Pope Francis and his Jesuit order.

Wanda Póltawska, St. John Paul II’s soulmate and adviser, dies at 101

She dedicated her life and career to fight for marriages and unborn children — a battle she would pursue with and for Karol Wojtyla. He signed letters to her as “Brother.” She would talk to him daily on the phone when he became Pope John Paul II and was at his deathbed. Wanda Póltawska, Polish psychiatrist, wife and mother of four, survivor of Ravensbrück Nazi concentration camp and St. John Paul II’s friend and soulmate, died at 101 in Krakow Oct. 24.

Diocese of Stockton, Calif., warns of fake clergy ‘selling’ sacraments

The individuals have falsely assumed the identities of two actual clerics from the Archdiocese of Toluca, Mexico, and have conducted “unauthorized celebrations” of baptism, confirmation and first Communion, as well as house blessings. The impostors also have demanded that individuals present birth certificates for the alleged sacraments, raising concerns about human trafficking and identity theft. 

Small Christian Communities, prominent in Asia, Latin America, seen as model for whole church

Throughout the various stages of the Synod of Bishops on synodality, several church leaders have referred to a new model of church that includes basic ecclesial communities. Maryknoll Father Joseph Healey, who spent 55 years working in Africa, emphasized that “in Eastern Africa, the Small Christian Community model in the church is not a program, it’s a way of life.”

Church still working to include people with disabilities

When Enrique Alarcón Garcia, president of Frater España, a Christian fraternity of people with disabilities in Spain, entered the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall as a papal appointee to the Synod on Synodality, it seems one of the first things he noticed was the seating arrangements. Not where he would be seated, but how he would be seated — at a round table with other synod participants, “occupying the same place and the same height,” Alarcón told listeners at an Oct. 14 Vatican press briefing.

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