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June 26, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Catholics around the world number 1.28 billion people, which is about 17.7 percent of the global population. The Vatican's Central Statistics Office compiles the figures each year and includes them in the 500-page Statistical Yearbook of the Church. The yearbook also breaks those figures down by continent and region.

Philippines martial law
Filipino activists salute during a protest rally June 12, Philippines Independence Day, in Manila. Martial law in the southern Philippines and security forces' clashes with a local terrorist group in Mindanao made a mockery of Independence Day celebrations June 12, said a Philippine bishop. "As long as there is martial law and unrest in Marawi City, the 'independence' of our nation is a farce," said Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon.

Convocation purpose
WASHINGTON — Maybe it's no surprise the Seattle Archdiocese is sending a delegation of 12, as in the number of apostles, to the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Florida, July 1-4. Deacon Eric Paige, one of the 12, is the executive director for the archdiocese's Office of Evangelization, Formation and Discipleship. For him, it could seem like a busman's holiday to spend four days at a gathering with 3,000 other Catholics talking about something he works on every day. But when asked if he hopes to either gain wisdom from the event or share what he has learned with other participants, Paige said it would likely be a combination of the two. One thing he hopes to get a better grasp of during the gathering — with its workshops, keynote addresses and time for prayer — is advice on how to use modern technology to spread the Gospel message.

Work still needed
WASHINGTON — The 14th annual report on diocesan compliance with the U.S. Catholic Church's "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" shows that church leaders have taken steps to help many find healing as victims of clergy sexual abuse, but there is still work to be done. Introductory remarks in the 2017 report urge church leaders not to assume that "sexual abuse of minors by the clergy is a thing of the past and a distant memory. Any allegation involving a current minor should remind the bishops that they must rededicate themselves each day to maintaining a level of vigilance," wrote Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, which oversees the audits. The newly released report — based on audits conducted between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016 — shows that 1,232 survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy came forward with 1,318 clerical abuse allegations in 132 Catholic dioceses and eparchies. The allegations represent reports of abuse that occurred from the 1940s to the present.

Death penalty cases
WASHINGTON — The California Supreme Court June 6 examined whether a ballot measure passed in November to speed up executions is constitutional. After voters narrowly approved Proposition 66, as the measure is called, it was challenged by opponents. It now comes down to whether the state's citizens or the court will decide how capital punishment cases are handled. California's bishops had urged voters to say no on Proposition 66, stressing that "any rush to streamline that process will inevitably result in the execution of more innocent people." During the June 6 oral arguments, the justices expressed doubts about the measure and pointed out that the effort to rush executions and set a five-year limit on appeals would shift court resources toward capital punishment and away from all other cases. Currently, the state has nearly 750 inmates on death row. Only 13 executions have taken place since 1978.

NBCC meeting
WASHINGTON — Delegates attending Congress XII of the National Black Catholic Congress in Orlando, Florida, in July will take on new responsibilities this time around. Rather than working from a draft of a pastoral plan developed prior to the congress as per tradition, the 2,000 attendees will be tasked with developing a pastoral plan during the July 6-9 gathering and taking it home to their parishes and dioceses. "We're interested in what the people have to say, what's in their hearts. It's what they want to see addressed (by the Catholic Church)," said Father Stephen D. Thorne, pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish in Philadelphia and a congress leader. "In the end, what is finally approved, we hope to see it reflected in the pastoral plan of the local bishop," he told Catholic News Service. "Whatever the goals are — an African-American Catholic saint, or Catholic education and Catholic schools being viable in our communities and supporting them, or the violence of young people — can be included. It's a real act of faith, an act of the Spirit, to come together kind of like in conclave, (and) have the people say what is in our hearts."

New archbishop
INDIANAPOLIS — Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Charles C. Thompson of Evansville as the seventh archbishop of Indianapolis. Archbishop Thompson, who has been Evansville's bishop since 2011, succeeds Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, who was named to head the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, last November. The appointment was announced June 13 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Relic recovered
TURIN, Italy — Inside a copper teapot in a kitchen cupboard, Italian police found the relic of St. John Bosco that had been stolen two weeks earlier from the basilica erected at his birthplace. The press office of the Salesians in nearby Turin announced June 15 that Italian military police obtained a search warrant and discovered the relic early that morning in the home of a 42-year-old Italian man identified only by the initials C.G. From previous encounters with the law, the man's fingerprints were on file and they were found on the glass case protecting the relic and reliquary in the lower Basilica of St. John Bosco in the town of Castelnuovo Don Bosco.

Catholic News Service


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