A year after a Salesian missionary priest from India was kidnapped in Yemen, his religious superiors do not know where he is or who is holding him.
Father Thomas Uzhunnalil was taken captive last March 4 when Islamic militants attacked a rest home in Aden, operated by the Missionaries of Charity. Sixteen people, including four nuns, were killed in the raid; Father Uzuhunnalil was seized.
A video in which Father Uzhunnalil pleads for help was released late in December. The priest, who said that his health was deteriorating, criticized the government of India for failing to secure his release.
The government of India has sought to negotiate the release of the missionary priest, with no success to date. Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of Trivandrum, the president of India’s episcopal conference, admitted that “we don’t know who kidnapped the priest and where they have taken him.”
Church leaders in Korea have opened causes for the beatification of more than 200 martyrs, including the former bishop of Pyongyang.
The causes involve two groups of people who died in persecutions: one in the late 18th century, the other in the 20th century after the Communist takeover of North Korea. The latter group includes Bishop Francis Hong Yong-ho, who was named apostolic vicar of Pyongyang in 1944 and formally appointed as bishop of the North Korean capital in 1962. He was imprisoned in 1949, and subsequently disappeared. Finally in 2013 the Vatican acknowledged that he had died, probably in a prison camp, although the date of his death remains unknown.
The list of candidates for martyrdom includes a number of foreign missionaries, including an American, Bishop Patrick James Byrne, who established the first Maryknoll mission in Korea in 1923. He was seized by North Korean government agents in 1950 and led on a forced march to Pyongyang; during the march he contracted pneumonia and he died soon thereafter.
The Korean bishops’ conference has been authorized by the Vatican to organize the causes at the national rather than diocesan level.
The aging women religious who are locked in a legal battle with entertainer Katy Perry over the sale of their convent property have lashed out at the entertainer for her apparent involvement with witchcraft.
The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose convent in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles is the focus of the dispute, have strongly objected to the sale of the building to Katy Perry. Now they have told London’s Daily Mail that Perry took part in a “Witch Walk” in Salem, Massachusetts,
The Los Angeles archdiocese reached an agreement to sell the building to Perry after a 2015 court ruling that annulled a previous sale by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The court ruled that the earlier sale was invalid, because Archbishop Jose Gomez had legal control over the property. The Sister argue that the court’s ruling was based on a faulty interpretation of a Vatican document. The case is still in California courts.
Sister Rita Callanan said that she would “not be very happy at all” if the sale to Perry is completed. “I gave a lot of things from the internet to show the archdiocese what kind of woman she was,” she disclosed. “Some of the things she does are disgusting.”
The Sisters want to control the proceeds of the sale to cover their retirement costs; and because they object to selling the property to Katy Perry.