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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Bishops’ pastoral letter against racism is starting conversations

BALTIMORE — One year after the U.S. bishops approved their pastoral letter against racism, the document is hardly just sitting on a shelf but is the basis for listening sessions in dioceses around the country and is an educational tool for individuals, schools and parishes, the bishops were told Nov. 13. Bishop Shelton T. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, described the attention the letter is getting around the country in a presentation on the final day of the bishops’ annual fall meeting in Baltimore. He reminded the bishops that in the two years since the ad hoc committee was formed, it has been “hard at work as the Church works to acknowledge past harms and cultivate racial reconciliation.” The document, titled “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love — A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” sold out its first 2,000 copies eight months after it was printed and was recently sent out for a second printing. It is available online in English and Spanish along with study guides at www.usccb.org/racism.

Bp. Malone: Pope understands difficulties, ‘distress’ facing Buffalo Diocese

BUFFALO, N.Y. — During their two-hour group meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican Nov. 15, the Catholics bishops of the New York region experienced a “free and open discussion of many of the challenges and opportunities our Church is facing,” Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone said Nov. 18. “Pope Francis was most welcoming and gracious, expressing his paternal and loving support for us in our ministry,” the bishop said in a video message to Catholics of his diocese upon his return from the bishops’ “ad limina” visits to Rome. It was “a very busy but wonderful week,” he noted. “We each were personally greeted by the Holy Father as we entered and as we left,” Bishop Malone continued. “In a few words spoken privately to me, it was clear that the pope understands the difficulties and distress we here in Buffalo, and I personally, have been experiencing. He was very understanding and kind.” For more than a year, Bishop Malone has faced questions about his handling of abuse allegations.

Pope appoints new bishop of Shreveport, La.

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Francis Malone, a pastor and the chancellor for ecclesial affairs in the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, to be the bishop of Shreveport, Louisiana. Bishop-designate Malone, 69, has held the post of chancellor since 2008. He also is pastor of Christ the King Parish in Little Rock. In Shreveport, he succeeds Bishop Michael G. Duca, now head of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he was installed Aug. 24, 2018. The appointment was announced in Washington Nov. 19 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

WORLD

Mob enters Managua cathedral, attacks hunger strikers, damages property

MEXICO CITY — A pro-government mob entered the cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua, damaging property, attacking hunger strikers inside the building and jostling a priest and nun. Independent media reported police stood by idly as the mob moved into the cathedral, where the mothers of political prisoners were carrying out a hunger strike as part of a campaign to have their children released for Christmas. Videos subsequently uploaded to social media show screaming protesters swarming the cathedral vicar, Father Rodolfo Lopez, and later pummeling him. The nine hunger strikers inside the cathedral were forced to relocate, according to press reports. An Archdiocese of Managua statement issued Nov. 18 after the incident said Father Lopez and Sister Arelys Guzman, the cathedral administrator, “are fine, but had to leave the church to protect themselves.”

Catechism will be updated to include ecological sins

VATICAN CITY — Following through on a proposal made at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, Pope Francis said there are plans to include a definition of ecological sins in the Church’s official teaching. “We should be introducing — we were thinking — in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the sin against ecology, ecological sin against the common home,” he told participants at a conference on criminal justice Nov. 15. Members of the International Association of Penal Law were in Rome Nov. 13-16 for the conference, which centered on the theme, “Criminal Justice and Corporate Business.” Pope Francis also denounced the abuse of law and legislation to justify acts of violence and hatred.

Pope names new envoy to United Nations

VATICAN CITY — Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Pope Francis’ choice to be the Holy See’s new permanent observer to the United Nations, said the pope has given him the mission of enlightening international discussions and debates with the principles of Catholic social teaching. The 61-year-old Italian archbishop has been serving as the apostolic nuncio to the Philippines since September 2017. His appointment to the U.N. post was announced by the Vatican Nov. 16. The archbishop will take up his new post Jan. 16. Archbishop Caccia succeeds Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who Pope Francis named in October as nuncio to Spain and Andorra.

— Catholic News Service

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