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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Court: Company can take sisters' land to build natural gas pipeline

WASHINGTON — The Adorers of the Blood of Christ and other landowners in Lancaster County, Pa., have lost their court case to keep a natural gas pipeline from being built on their property. In an opinion Aug. 23, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Schmel ordered that Williams Partners and their Transco subsidiary can have permanent right of way of 1.05 acres to build the 42-inch pipeline, as well as another 1.65 acres of right of way on a temporary basis to build it. The pipeline will extend through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In a memorandum of opinion supporting his order, Schmel said the company's claimed monthly losses of $500,000 because of the delay in pipeline construction and revenue losses of $33 million a month until it is built was "sufficiently proven" by Williams. Schmel also ordered Williams to pay $329,000 to the Adorers and the other landowners for their property. Schmel discounted the freedom-of-religion argument posed by the Adorers; the landowners were defendants in this case. The order allowed the construction of an outdoor chapel by opponents of the pipeline on their part of the property in question.

Racism 'remains pre-eminent sin of nation, Church,' says Brooklyn bishop

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn is forming a new commission to study the effects of racism in the Catholic Church and on the Brooklyn Diocese. He made the announcement Aug. 24 at a specially called Mass for Solidarity and Peace to counter recent display of racism in demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va. He said, "I am establishing a diocesan commission for social justice. ... In the coming months, we will design our commission to deal with the social and religious problems that racism — in all of its forms — presents to us." He said that the commission would be named for Msgr. Bernard Quinn, a white Brooklyn pastor who established parishes and services for African-American Catholics in the first half of the 20th century. His cause for sainthood is currently before the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes.

WORLD

Top Vatican official discusses terrorist threat, immigration debate

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican obviously is concerned about terrorist threats, "especially for the senseless hatred" it represents, and will continue to remain vigilant, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Speaking to reporters Aug. 26, Cardinal Parolin said he had seen the most recent video attributed to Islamic State in which the pope and Vatican are threatened, and "one cannot help but be concerned." However, he said, he did not believe the video prompted extra security measures beyond those that have been in place for some time. For the Year of Mercy 2015-2016, the main boulevard leading to St. Peter's Square was closed to traffic; it never reopened. But while pilgrims approaching St. Peter's Square for Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesdays and his Angelus address on Sundays had already been subjected to security checks, Italian police seemed to take more time doing the checks after the terrorist attack in Barcelona Aug. 17.

Priests, laypeople injured defending Church property in Chinese village

HONG KONG — Several priests and laypeople defending Church property were injured during an assault by security officers and workers in China's northern Shanxi province. The incident occurred in Wangcun village, part of Changzhi Diocese, Aug. 29, reported ucanews.com. Fathers Chen Jun, Gao Binglong, Ma Ning, Shen Xuezhong and several laypeople were assaulted by security officers and workers who came to demolish a building returned to the Church four years ago. Cui Hewen, a layman, was beaten by workers and suffered injuries to the head. Prior to the assaults, the priests joined hundreds of laypeople sitting in front of heavy earth-moving equipment to block the demolition work. News of the assault went viral on the internet, with some Catholics calling for prayers. Others asked for more laypeople to go to the site and provide support. By the afternoon, about 20 priests and nearly 2,000 laypeople gathered at the site. Unable to carry on with their demolition order, the workers and security officials left the venue. The former Church property was demolished in 1992 and was rebuilt as a factory by local authorities. In 2012, the village committee decided to return the property to Changzhi Diocese.

Vatican confirms pope's visit to Myanmar, Bangladesh

VATICAN CITY — A day after appealing for an end the violent persecution of the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, the Vatican announced Pope Francis will visit the country in late November. After the visit Nov. 27-30 to the cities of Yangon and Naypyitaw in Myanmar, the pope will travel on to Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, the Vatican said Aug. 28. After praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square Aug. 27, Pope Francis said he was saddened by the news "of the persecution of a religious minority, our Rohingya brothers and sisters." News media reported violent clashes Aug. 25-26 after Rohingya fighters attacked 30 police stations. More than 100 people, mostly insurgents, have been reported killed, according to the BBC. Most of the Rohingya population in Myanmar's Rakhine state have been denied citizenship in Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist.

Church is always in need of repair, reform, pope says

VATICAN CITY — Although the Church is built upon a strong foundation, it is always in need of being reformed and repaired, Pope Francis said. Before reciting the Angelus prayer Aug. 27, Pope Francis said that Christians are the "living stones" that Christ uses to fill in the gaps and crevices that continually appear. "Even with us today, Jesus wants to continue building His Church, this house with solid foundations yet where cracks aren't lacking and which still needs to be repaired. Always," the pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. The pope spoke about the day's Gospel reading from St. Matthew in which Peter proclaims that Jesus is "the Christ, the son of the living God."

— Catholic News Service 

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