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Nation and world briefs


Catholic college leaders urged to bridge racial divides on campus

WASHINGTON — Catholic college leaders were encouraged Jan. 29 to take steps to heal racial divides on their campuses during an annual meeting in Washington. Father Bryan Massingale, a theology professor at Fordham University in New York and author of "Racial Justice in the Catholic Church," acknowledged that Catholic colleges and universities likely have diversity plans and strategies in place, but he said such guidelines will simply sit on the shelves unless there are concrete actions behind them. "What's at stake is our integrity," he told the college presidents and leaders at a workshop during the Jan. 28-30 Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities meeting. He urged them to pay particular attention to the urgency of what African-American students are experiencing today as highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement. Father Massingale said Catholic colleges leaders need to be aware of the Catholic response to this moment of racial turmoil and urged them as a first step to recommit to their sponsors and founders.

Newark auxiliary punched in mouth; alleged attacker arrested

IRVINGTON, N.J. — Auxiliary Bishop Manuel A. Cruz of Newark told a congregation he was fine Jan. 29, the day after he had been punched in the mouth by an assailant. "He did meet and address the congregation this morning to tell everybody that he was fine and that, certainly, people should not be making this a matter that they can be worked up on," said James Goodness, Newark archdiocesan spokesman, told the NJ.com website. "This was an isolated incident." The Cuban-born Bishop Cruz, a Newark auxiliary since 2008, was at a Jan. 28 event for baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente when he was attacked. He was celebrating Mass for the late player at the Basilica Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark. Charles Miller was arrested by the Essex County Sheriff's Office and charged with aggravated assault. The Essex County prosecutor's office is handling the investigation. No motive was given for the attack.


Religious, political leaders condemn shooting at Quebec mosque

QUEBEC CITY — Faith and political leaders condemned a shooting at Quebec's main mosque that left at least six people dead. Vigils were scheduled Jan. 30 in Quebec City and Montreal, the evening after a man entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center and opened fire, killing at least six men who were praying and injuring 19 more. Police later said they had arrested a suspect in the attack, the motive for which remained unclear. Pope Francis met with Quebec Archbishop Cardinal Gerald Lacroix in Rome Jan. 30 and assured him of his prayers for the victims of the attack on the mosque. A Vatican statement said the pope highlighted the importance of Christians and Muslims remaining united in prayer in these moments. Afterward, the cardinal immediately departed for Canada. Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal said: "Nothing can justify such murderous acts aimed at innocent people. We are called to say again that, whatever our beliefs are, as human beings we are all brothers and sisters, all equal in dignity."

Pope encourages Knights of Malta to continue renewal

VATICAN CITY — As the Sovereign Military Order of Malta accepted Pope Francis' intervention in their governance, the pope urged members to follow a path of renewal as they prepare to elect a new grand master. In accordance with the pope's wishes, the governing council of the order accepted the resignation Jan. 28 of Fra Matthew Festing as grand master and appointed Fra Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein to temporarily lead the chivalric order. By "putting aside personal interests and dangerous ambitions," members, volunteers and benefactors of the order can better dedicate themselves to the "noble and proven mission" of defending the faith and serving the poor, the pope wrote in a letter to von Rumerstein. The Knights of Malta have 13,500 members, as well as 80,000 volunteers and 25,000 medical professionals providing relief and humanitarian aid in 120 countries.

Pope: Respond to violence with Christ's love, strength

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis prayed for an end to the daily violence and brutality waged by fundamentalist extremists in the Middle East. "Your sufferings are our sufferings. I join you in praying for an end to the conflict and for God's closeness to those who have endured so much, especially children, the sick and the elderly," the pope told representatives of the Oriental Orthodox churches Jan. 27. The representatives were in Rome for a meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which include churches with large communities in Syria, Iraq and throughout the Middle East. The Oriental Orthodox churches that officially participate in the dialogue include the Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Malankara Orthodox Syrian churches.

— Catholic News Service 

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