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May 9, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Plight of martyrs
The Trevi Fountain, a Rome landmark, was lit up in red April 29 in a graphic commemoration of the thousands of modern Christians martyred for their faith. The event was sponsored by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which wanted to "draw attention to the dramatic issue of anti-Christian persecution." Pope Francis frequently mentions his belief that today, "perhaps more than in the early days" of Christianity, Christians are "persecuted, killed, chased out, robbed just because they are Christians."
Paul Haring/CNS

Holder wants reparations
WASHINGTON — Former Attorney General Eric Holder added his voice to the call for slavery reparations during a program at Jesuit-run Georgetown University. Such reparations can take a variety of forms and may not necessarily mean cash payments to descendants of slaves, Holder said in a response to a question from a student during an April 29 program on race and justice. Reparations, he said, "can mean a whole bunch of different things. You can come up with policies that take into account what slavery meant then, what it means now. Affirmative action can be thought of as reparations, you know? And it takes into account the negative impacts of negative racial policies that have hobbled the progress of African-Americans, people of color in this country."

Sister Margaret Brennan

Sister Margaret Brennan
MONROE, Mich. — A funeral Mass was celebrated at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters' motherhouse in Monroe for Sister Margaret Brennan, an Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister who served as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in 1972. Sister Brennan, 92, died April 28 in the motherhouse's infirmary.

New bishops
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Bishop Neil E. Tiedemann as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. Bishop Tiedemann, 68, has been bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica, since 2008. He is a member of the Passionists and was ordained in 1975. … Bishop Edward M. Rice, whose most recent assignment was auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, was named head of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Bishop Rice, 55, has served as an auxiliary bishop of St. Louis since 2010. He succeeds Bishop James V. Johnson, who was appointed bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, Sept. 15.

Ordinations give hope
WASHINGTON — It's ordination season and Catholics have reason to be pleased with the numbers of priests who will serve the church well into the future. In recent years, the numbers of priestly ordinations have given Catholic Church observers reason to believe there is not a global vocations crisis, but they acknowledge there is still a need for more. Since 2012, the total has been stable at about 415,000 priests worldwide, a number that is the net of new ordinations and retirements or deaths.

Pro-life response
WASHINGTON — One day after Planned Parenthood's President Cecile Richards spoke at Georgetown University, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl celebrated a University Mass for Life for college students at a nearby Catholic church, encouraging them to stand up for God's gift of human life. A Georgetown student group's invitation to Richards, the head of the nation's largest abortion provider, to speak April 20 at the country's oldest Catholic university drew nationwide criticism and was countered by a week of pro-life activities at the school.

Still waiting
KATHMANDU, Nepal — A year after an earthquake toppled them to the ground, the stones that once formed Sarita Majhi's simple house are stacked neatly in a pile, waiting to be used to once again build a house for the woman and her two small children. For now, Majhi lives in a temporary hut formed from sheets of tin roofing and a sun-bleached tarpaulin. Her husband went off to work in Saudi Arabia before the quake, and in its aftermath told her he's not returning home to their village of Kumpur west of the capital. So Majhi is alone, making millet beer that she sells to her neighbors, and waiting — like just about everyone here — on the government's promise to deliver roughly $2,000 per family to get started rebuilding.

Gender-neutral facilities
MANCHESTER, England — Catholic schools that voluntarily set up gender-neutral toilets or changing rooms to accommodate increasing numbers of transgender students could be sued in the event of a sex attack, a Catholic lawyer warned. Neil Addison, director of the Liverpool-based Thomas More Legal Centre, said schools that adopted such arrangements voluntarily would leave themselves open to legal action if a crime was committed because of their policy. Britain does not have a law that would force schools to set up such facilities.

Cardinal admits errors
LYON, France — Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, under judicial investigation over his handling of sexual abuse accusations against clergy admitted making mistakes and unveiled new anti-abuse measures at a meeting April 25 with 220 priests from the eastern archdiocese, which has been hit hard by abuse accusations.

Rev. Daniel Berrigan

Father Daniel Berrigan
NEW YORK — Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan, an early critic of U.S. military intervention in Vietnam who for years challenged the country's reliance on military might, died April 30. He was 94. The author of several books of poetry and one of the first Catholic priests to receive a federal sentence for peace activism, Father Berrigan protested government policies in word and in deed.

— Catholic News Service


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