Bishops elect Louisville archbishop new president
BALTIMORE (AP) — The nation's Roman Catholic bishops have elected Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Kentucky to be their new president as they grapple with changing priorities under Pope Francis.
Kurtz, who leads the Archdiocese of Louisville, won just over half the votes in a field of 10 candidates during a Baltimore meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He succeeds New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is ending his three-year term. The new vice president is Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas.
The conference president is the main spokesman on national issues for the Catholic Church in the United States and acts as a representative of the American church to the Vatican and the pope.
Kurtz says the church faces the challenge of turning from being inward to caring about those in need.
Flurry of Vatican-Russian Orthodox talks precede Putin visit to Pope Francis
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has met with the foreign minister of the Russian Orthodox Church ahead of a Nov. 25 visit to the Vatican by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Vatican released no details of Tuesday's meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion, who came to Rome for a Catholic-Orthodox conference on family values. Simultaneously in Moscow, a top Italian cardinal involved in Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, Cardinal Angelo Scola, met with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.
While there was no word about any possible meeting between Kirill and Francis — long-sought by the Vatican — officials say it's likely Francis will meet the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, in Jerusalem in the first half of 2014.
Coalition praying and fasting in an effort to have Congress take up immigration reform.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A coalition of lawmakers, immigrant rights activists, faith leaders and labor officials are turning to fasting and prayer to enhance their call for immediate and comprehensive immigration reform.
"Fast for Families" held a mass prayer vigil last night in Washington and several leaders have committed to fasting every day and night on the Capitol's doorstep. The aim is "to send a clear and visible message to Congress." Fasters will be joined nationwide by groups and activists who are prepared to make sacrifices for the passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to release names of some abusive priests
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will release this month the names of some priests who have sexually abused children.
In an open letter, Archbishop John Nienstedt (NEYEN'-stet) says the disclosure is necessary to correct "serious mistakes" made in the handling of such cases. The release of names will be limited to those priests who live in the archdiocese and who have what church officials have deemed to be substantiated claims of abuse against them.
He also says the names would be released "upon receipt of permission of the relevant court." But attorney Mike Finnegan, who represents victims, says the release doesn't go far enough and that the archbishop doesn't need court permission to identify the alleged abusers.
David Clohessy (KLAH'-see) of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) also says the release would be incomplete and comes only after intense media scrutiny. Clohessy says bishops who agreed in 2002 to be open about abuses are only working harder to conceal them.
Maine church looks at ways to muffle loud bell
BATH, Maine (AP) — A Maine church is looking to mollify neighbors for whom its bell tolls too loudly.
People in Bath say the First Baptist Church bell has tolled more loudly since the church tower's clock was worked on about a year ago.
The innkeeper at the Kismet Inn says the complaints ring true. She says she likes the bell during the day, but it keeps her guests up at night. The Times Record reports the inn is on the market, but the deal is on hold until the bell issue is resolved.
Church and city representatives say in the next couple of weeks, tests will be done, looking at different materials and how the bell is struck in an attempt to dampen the noise.