Archdiocese Raps Foley Abuser’s Behavior

 MIAMI — Father Anthony Mercieca’s admitted behavior 40 years ago with a young Mark Foley “is morally reprehensible, canonically criminal and inexcusable,” the spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami said Oct. 20, shortly after receiving the name of the former congressman’s alleged abuser.

Mary Ross Agosta, director of communications for the Miami Archdiocese, said Archbishop John Favalora had withdrawn from Father Mercieca the right to function as a priest and had begun an investigation that “could result in ecclesiastical sanctions” against the Maltese priest, who served in south Florida for 38 years.

The Diocese of Gozo in Malta, for which Father Mercieca was ordained in 1962, was notified of Archbishop Favalora’s decisions, the spokeswoman said. The priest, who retired in 2002 from work in the Miami Archdiocese, now lives on the Maltese island of Gozo. A notice on the Web site of the Diocese of Gozo said Bishop Mario Grech had asked his diocesan response team to investigate the abuse allegations and report back to him. It said the diocese had learned about the allegations Oct. 19 “from the international press.”


D.C. Talk Proposes Solution for Iraqi Christians

WASHINGTON — A new administrative region for Christians and other minorities in northern Iraq is the only solution to keep them from disappearing from the Shiite-majority country, said Pascale Warda, the former Iraqi minister of displacement and migration. Warda said minorities in Iraq — Assyrian Christians, Chaldean Catholics, and others — do not want a divided Iraq.

“We would like to organize a democratic and federalist Iraq,” she said.

Michael Youash, project director of the Iraqi Sustainability Democracy Project, said the administrative region with local jurisdiction would encompass the Nineveh plain and minority lands in the western part of the Dahuk region.

Youash and Warda spoke Oct. 18 at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington. All minorities, without exclusion, could live in the region, they said. Youash said the administrative region, or governorate, is guaranteed under a constitutional provision allowing creation of such areas for minorities.


State Conference Considers Appealing Decision

ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Catholic Conference said it is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of a state court decision on mandated contraceptive services.

The Oct. 19 decision of the New York State Court of Appeals upheld a state law that forces Catholic education, health and human services ministries to provide contraception coverage in employees health plans.

“We are very disappointed with the Court of Appeals’ decision and firmly believe that it is in error,” said Richard Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference in a statement. “Any religious organization must have the right in American society to uphold its own teachings, even if those teachings are unpopular or countercultural.”

(Register staff)