The diocese of Fort-de-France the victim of identity theft

Don’t fall into the trap ! “, warns the diocese of the catholic Church in martinique on its website. For several weeks, and the messages are multiplying on social networks to defraud financially faithful, by usurping the identity of Bishop David Macarius, bishop of Martinique, or of other priests and deacons known in the region.

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The phenomenon dates back to 2018 but has been accentuated in recent times, according to Father Alain Ransay, the delegate of the bishop to education :” At this moment, there are almost daily fake messages circulating in my name “.

The scams that can go up to 5 000 euros

These profiles elusive spotted the contact lists of members of the clergy from martinique and apply to them on WhatsApp, Messenger or Facebook. They offer financial assistance, and spiritual guidance to people in difficulty, in exchange for a sum of money to build up a case. “ We ask people who are already very lowly pay 500 €, and then you explain to them that there are missing parts of the file, and they can spend in the 2 000 €, recounts the story of Father Alain Ransay. I even know a lady who has been ripped off of 5 000 € !

In a press release, dated June 8, the diocese urged the faithful to” signal [er] networks profiles seeking funds by pretending to be members of the clergy and [de] contact [er] the authorities “. ” We are in the process of building a case to file a complaint and hope to have more weight collectively than the deposits individually , “said Father Alain Ransay.

A common practice

The secretary-general of the communication of the diocese, Michel Study, also invites internet users to be wary of the French fault that is used in these malicious messages.

The impersonations of members of the clergy are frequent on the social networks. In September 2019, the diocese of Marseilles has reported the creation of a fake Twitter account in the name of his archbishop, Monsignor Jean-Marc Aveline.

In march 2013, nearly 130,000 users had subscribed to the fake account @JMBergoglio, in the name of pope Francis, a few hours after his election. The phenomenon has also taken a strong magnitude on the african networks, as explained in The Cross Africa in June 2017.

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In Marseille, a fire that precipitated the end of the ” squat Saint-Just “

“We had an incredible opportunity “loose , Anne Giraud, responsible for the pastoral care of migrants for the diocese of Marseille, joined by The Cross. “ The fire started around 7 o’clock in the morning : a few hours earlier, in the middle of the night, the toll would have undoubtedly been very heavy. The building has already been declared endangered. “

In the aftermath of the serious fire, Monday 8 June, a three-storey building located at 59 avenue de Saint-Just (13e arrondissement of Marseille), this woman was a member of the episcopal council, which is closely following this project since the beginning, seems relieved. “Nearly a hundred people have been evacuated, including children, and there were no injuries. The evacuation was made in the quiet. These migrants are now housed in both gyms made available by the municipality. “ The Samu social of the city also ensures, for several days, their supply of food.

The dilapidated

Other catholics involved in the squat are more severe : “The utilities have expected such a major accident to occur “, storm one of them, currently in one of the gyms that welcomes the people. “A dozen of them has disappeared during the evacuation : without a doubt, were afraid-they to be led in an administrative detention centre… The others are rather better than they were at the squat : here, at least, the toilets are clean and they don’t have cockroaches or bed bugs. “

This vast building belonging to the diocese of Marseilles – for a long time unoccupied, and promised in the sale – was in a dilapidated state, since its occupation by asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors in December 2018. They were then helped by a militant collective, the Collective 59 Saint-Just.

The department condemned

What we feared has happened,”said Anne Giraud about the fire of June 8, recalling that the building was “crowded “ and “dangerously unhealthy “while stating that the cause of the fire has not yet been established.

“Since September, our new bishop, Bishop Aveline, has written several letters to the county council and to the prefecture to request that these people be relocated, she adds, but it is not here. “ The squat Saint-Just, who had hosted up to 350 people, was, in fact, emptied of most of its occupants in recent months, but they were still several tens to live in conditions considered to be “unworthy “during the confinement period.

The departmental council of the Bouches-du-Rhone has for this reason been condemned twice by the justice in April and may : he has therefore been forced to take charge of a part of the unaccompanied minor present at the squat.

Discomfort and dissension

The whole matter has in any case embarrassed the diocese of Marseille, which has sent a Collective 59 Saint-Just a “command to leave the premises “ on Tuesday, 2 June. “Victims, in December 2018, an illegal occupation, we have refused to seek the expulsion of these people by force, because it was winter and it was Christmas “says Anne Giraud. “But this occupation has cost the diocese approximately 15 000 € of charges per month. “

The diocese had also confessed his discomfort in the face of retrenchment policies in early 2019, when a member of the national Gathering had denounced the presence of “clandestine “ on a place belonging to the catholic Church. On the side of the Collective 59 Saint-Just, internal differences seem to appear in recent months, some activists persisted in wanting to keep this place.

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Dioceses also experience economic crisis after epidemic

Confined as all the employees of the diocese of Créteil, Philippe Guyard, the treasurer, telework. And the result of the two months that the Church of France has just gone through, he already knows the result for the finances of his diocese. No real need to strum on his calculator, he could do the head operation … By taking an average contribution of two euros to the quest, with 300 faithful in a parish, it’s some 600 € collected each Sunday. At the rate of 76 parishes in the diocese, the quest brings in around € 50,000 each week. When there is no celebration for ten weeks due to confinement, the calculator panics: the “shortfall” amounts to half a million euros …

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No masses, no marriages, no baptisms, no offerings … And even the contributions for the Church’s money are decreasing “Notes Philippe Guyard who expects a loss of resources of € 700,000 on an annual budget of € 10m. In emergencies, you must have enough cash to finance fixed costs, compensate priests, salaries … The equation is the same in each diocese, and ten of them, out of a hundred, have real concerns about cash. ” This forces us to take a closer look at how we use our resources. It’s a form of counting that goes with the truth of our mission “Underlines Mgr Marc Stenger, bishop of Troyes.

Same thought for Bertrand de La Chanonie, bursar of the diocese of Luçon in the midst of territorial reform: “ Confinement is for everyone the opportunity for a new start, in terms of our finances, administratively but also pastoral.

Measure losses

Pragmatic, the diocesan bursars play on all fronts: “ Very quickly, we implemented all the procedures: deferral of loans and social charges, partial unemployment for our 40 employees, explains Yves-Marie Delpit, bursar of the diocese of Périgueux. We managed to get through March and April, and we will get through May by scraping the drawer bottoms. “In the diocese of Verdun, the economist Didier Aynes estimates the dead loss at 150,000 €, while for the diocese of Lille, the calculator borders on 2 M €. The lack of a quest puts a strain on the budget, and the anxiety-provoking climate of confinement reduces contributions by one-third of the Church’s money. ” For the moment, we have prohibited any solicitation process, explains Jean-François Delaby, bursar of the diocese. Charitable and spiritual support actions were to be favored.

Even if it’s difficult to measure losses yet, we’ll run out of money “Notes Eliane Ginon, bursar of the diocese of Moulins. Once the ban on celebrations is lifted, worshipers are unlikely to return overnight. Without counting the summer period and less visited churches… ” Reserves help us get through the crisis, but they usually serve to balance the books: how will we do in December?

Generate donations

Dioceses look closely at investments, consider postponements. ” We will honor scheduled hires, but we will postpone the replacements of people retiring, explains Archbishop Pascal Wintzer. What generates donations is our presence with the faithful, continues the Archbishop of Poitiers. We have to find a way to maintain the links.

Since March 17, impossible to go to mass. Containment requires. But no question for this parishioner to depart from good habits: before settling down to pray with the TV mass, she puts some change in a box. At the end of ten weeks, it will make a small jackpot to deposit at the presbytery. ” We have had several messages from devotees who put aside, confirms Cécile Villain, to the communication of the diocese of Chartres. And to further encourage this generosity, a video was made with the priests: “ The faithful give for their priest, their parish priest.

Deputy Secretary General responsible for economic affairs at the CEF, Ambroise Laurent reminds that the quest is not only a generous gesture but a liturgical act: ” Since there were masses broadcast over the Internet, it also made sense to set up the online quest. Almost one hundred thousand people participated, with very different amounts. The diocese of Autun thus raised € 20,000 in two months, via the CEF. In addition to the national quest, the diocese of Rennes has set up its own link: in March and April, just over 500 donations raised 100,000 €, notes Régis Boccard, his treasurer.

The Denarius of the Church

We launched our campaign from the last fortnight before confinement, says Benoît Dehen, diocesan treasurer in Bordeaux. Are we going to catch up by around 20%? This is not to be taken for granted, knowing that natural erosion is already on the order of 5 to 7%. “Coming out of confinement, the money of the Church is 10 to 50% behind depending on the dioceses. But the faithful can contribute all year round. Several bishops have already sensitized Catholics, like Mgr Jean-Louis Balsa, bishop of Viviers: ” To support the diocese, I invite you to make an exceptional gesture for the money of the Church, complementary to your usual gifts.

Even in Alsace-Moselle, where the Church benefits from the concordatory regime which pays priests, the dioceses have to face the crisis: “ For us, the concern is not yet financial, but already really pastoral, especially with families affected by mourning in a region particularly affected by the pandemic “, Confides Olivier Guibert, treasurer of the diocese of Metz.

A national campaign in June

This period forces us to revise our misconceptions about the alleged wealth of the Church: it barely has the means to live “, Confides Laurent Charignon, treasurer of the diocese of Marseille. The numbers count. But they are part of the concern for the common good, as Bishop Benoît Rivière puts it: ” We are going to have to spread out construction sites but at the same time, we are making local businesses and artisans work and I don’t want to stop everything. “And the bishop of Autun further underlines the impact of the health crisis:” After confinement, gaps will widen in French society and new inequalities will appear. The diocese will have to question a profound change in certain pastoral objectives.

At the time of deconfinement, the restart is a vast project: celebrations, but also education, charitable actions … And financial contribution. ” Giving is basically a way of living your faith. From June 13 to 28, there will be a major national campaign to encourage donations and support all possible contributions to the life of the Church, masses, Church moneys, legacies … “, announces Ambroise Laurent. A mobilization that goes beyond the economic aspect of the epidemic, and joins the long-term structural work, already undertaken by the dioceses to find a new economic balance.

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Three main sources supply the funds of parishes and dioceses.

– The quests: they represent almost a third of resources. This is an overall loss during containment, which online quests amortize without offsetting.

– The casual: means the sums paid for baptisms, marriages and burials. Given the probable postponements, there is a real “shortfall” over several months.

– The money of the Church: the large annual collection is managed in each diocese. Usually launched in the spring, before the Easter holidays, the money is currently lagging behind and can be made up in the coming months.

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Pastor from Nigeria leaves Palatinate parish after hostility


Speyer Cathedral: The diocese had to withdraw its priest from Nigeria because of massive hostility against him.
Picture: dpa

Burglaries, punctured car tires, presumably racist hostility and a death threat have caused Pastor Patrick Asomugha and his congregation to resign out of concern for his health. Asomugha is from Nigeria

DThe diocese of Speyer has withdrawn the Catholic priest Patrick Asomugha from his position as administrator of the Queidersbach congregation after repeated massive hostility and a death threat. Vicar General Andreas Sturm announced on Friday that the decision had been made together with the priest. He should now take on another task in the diocese. “The care and protection of Pastor Asomugha makes this step inevitable,” said the diocese of Speyer.

Asomugha, who comes from Nigeria and has led the parish of Saint Francis of Assisi since 2017, will leave the parish by Monday. “It would be irresponsible to continue to expose Father Asomugha to the threat,” Sturm said. “Under these circumstances, I can no longer fulfill my duties as a pastor in Queidersbach,” Asomugha explained himself, even if he regretted this. “The attacks against me make it almost impossible to lead a normal church life in Queidersbach.”

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According to the diocese, unknown persons had recently left a death threat on the African pastor’s garage door. Shortly afterwards, two glass bottles with suspected alcoholic contents were smashed in front of the front door of the rectory in which Asomugha lives on the upper floor. There have been repeated hostilities against him since the middle of last year: the vicarage was broken into twice – with considerable material damage. In the fall, Asomugha’s car tires were punctured.

The diocese continues to investigate the police. The West Palatinate Police Headquarters takes the threats seriously. “Past events show that crimes have already been committed,” a spokesman for the security forces in Kaiserslautern said on Friday to the German Press Agency.

Asomugha is expected to take on a new role in the Diocese of Speyer this summer. The pastor had repeatedly called for reconciliation in the past few months. In October there was a solidarity service in Queidersbach, at which around 600 people set an example against racism. The diocesan board of the Federation of the German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) Speyer expressed shocked about the incident. Asomugha’s threats were probably racially motivated acts. One is appalled that, because of their skin color, origin or other characteristics, people are afraid that they will no longer be able to pursue their profession or that they will have to leave their jobs. “If this happens in our church context, we are deeply ashamed. We condemn every form of psychological and physical violence against people, ”said a statement released on Friday. There should be no place for racism in the church and society.

The Catholic German Bishops’ Conference confirmed to the Evangelical Press Service that similar cases of racism against Catholic pastors of different origins and skin color had also occurred in other German bishoprics. However, the Bishops’ Conference does not have key figures, only the individual dioceses and archdioceses can provide information, said spokesman Matthias Kopp.

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The obipos of the USA allow to eat meat this Lent because the coronavirus already supposes a sacrifice | Global World Blog

What greater sacrifice than spending weeks locked up at home because of the coronavirus? The bishops of several dioceses in the United States must have asked themselves, who in recent days have lifted part of the restrictions of Lent. A bishop of New Jersey, with 600,000 faithful in his diocese of Metuchen, has allowed meat to be eaten on Fridays, except that of April 10 because it is Good Friday. The numbers of the epidemic in the United States have grown exponentially in recent days.

“Given the difficulties in obtaining some types of food and the many other sacrifices that we are suddenly undergoing, I have granted a dispensation from abstaining from eating meat on Fridays for the remainder of Lent,” Bishop James F. Checchio has published. , on the Twitter account of his diocese. Abstaining from eating meat is one of the precepts of the liturgical season that precedes Holy Week.

As collected The Washington Post, Many other bishops have granted dispensations. A Louisiana state bishop, Shelton J. Fabre, believes that the coronavirus has put “most, if not all” of its faithful in a situation that complicates making food, “including alternatives to meat.” In a pastoral message, he also pointed out that “the rise in the price of fish and shellfish, and even the risk of going shopping without putting health at risk” clearly “make it difficult” to comply with the precept, and he has so stated in the Web page from the diocese of Houma Thibodaux. Of them, those who eat meat can compensate with charity or pious works, the religious recalled.

The American newspaper details other consequences in religious practice of the coronavirus crisis, such as the concern of many priests that, by imposing ash on the foreheads of his faithful as is customary on Ash Wednesday, could facilitate contagion. Since the beginning of March, and in line with what happened in other countries, numerous Catholic churches in the United States, more than 50 million people, they stopped allowing the wine consecrated during the Eucharist to be drunk from the chalice, a practice that, in the case of the Greek Orthodox Church it has continued to be practiced.

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