FGM is a criminal act, says Pope
FEMALE genital mutilation (FGM) is a “criminal act” and a “tragedy”, Pope Francis said on Sunday, in a media audience aboard the papal aeroplane, reported by Crux Now. “This is terrible that today there is a practice that humanity isn’t able to stop. It’s a crime,” he said. Pope Francis was reportedly responding to the question whether he supported the protests in Iran when a 22-year-old, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody after being arrested for an alleged violation of the country’s dress code for women. Rather than answer directly, the Pope spoke broadly about the importance of protecting women’s rights. “We have to continue to fight this because women are a gift,” he said, and “God . . . created two equals: man and woman.”
French cardinal admits to abusing teenager
CARDINAL Jean-Pierre Ricard has admitted to abusing a 14-year-old girl when he was a parish priest, and joins ten other serving or former RC bishops in France who have been accused of either perpetrating abuse or covering it up. At a press conference on Monday, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Archbishop of Reims, the Most Revd Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, read a letter from Cardinal Ricard, a retired Archbishop of Bordeaux, in which he admitted to acting in a “reprehensible manner” with the girl. “There is no doubt that my behaviour caused serious and long-lasting consequences for that person,” Cardinal Ricard wrote. At the press conference, the Archbishop acknowledged that six other bishops, five of whom are still alive, have been accused of sexual abuse, while a further two retired bishops were under investigation. Last month, The Tablet reported that a former Bishop of Créteil, the Rt Revd Michel Santier, had retired early because of sexual-abuse accusations, not merely ill health, as had previously been reported.
Put the poor at centre of economics, WCC urges
THE World Council of Churches (WCC) is backing a letter to G20 leaders before a summit in Indonesia on 15-16 November. “Our faith perspectives and valuing of justice and peace demand that the poor and the dispossessed lie at the centre of our economic thinking and that our economic systems also work to serve their needs,” the letter says. The letter has also been signed on behalf of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council, and the Council for World Mission. Between them, the signatories say that they represent more than half a billion Christians. They argue that the only solution to the intertwined social, environmental, and economic crises is to forgo a system that values a narrow model of growth based on financial indicators, and instead to embrace one with more holistic measures of human flourishing.