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Nation and World Briefs

USCCB offers support of the work of CRS in Africa

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic Relief Services received a vote of confidence from the Executive Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops following allegations that educational materials and webpages produced by the agency’s partners in Africa included practices that are contrary to church teaching. “The humanitarian relief efforts of CRS are grounded in the loving teachings of the Catholic Church. CRS stands in firm defense of life. Criticisms to the contrary should not detract from the powerful impact your donations have on the lives of otherwise forgotten suffering populations,” committee members said in a statement released March 17. “We have confidence in the thorough vetting system utilized by CRS by which complaints are investigated and corrective action taken, if necessary. CRS works alongside other relief agencies that may not share our teaching. In these instances, CRS keeps its work distinct,” the statement said. Executive Committee members are conference officers. They are Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president; Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, vice president; Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, secretary; and Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg, Florida, treasurer.

Once McCarrick report issued, Church urged to ‘make reparation, learn’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Once the Vatican releases the McCarrick report, the church must listen to the reaction to it in a “spirit of humility” and must seek to “make reparation, learn and keep moving forward in a new way,” said a leading U.S. woman religious. Sister Carol Zinn, a Sister of St. Joseph from Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, who is executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, made the comments in a call with news media following the Catholic Partnership Summit, held Feb. 28-29 in Washington. She said she hopes that as Catholics react to the report, “the church would take a listening stance rather than a defensive one,” to acknowledge it and recognize that “the institutional church, cannot govern itself the way it has governed itself before.” Sister Zinn also urged church leaders to remember Christ’s paschal mystery — that the Lord’s passion and death came before his resurrection. In 2019, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis, at the conclusion of a process conducted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, imposed on Theodore McCarrick the penalty of his dismissal from the clerical state, prohibiting him from functioning in any type of priestly ministry. McCarrick, who was the archbishop of Washington from 2000 to 2006 and earlier was a priest and auxiliary bishop in New York and the bishop of Metuchen and the archbishop of Newark in New Jersey, was found to have engaged in “sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

Nun, security guard among those killed in Nigerian gas explosion

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) — The principal of a Catholic girls’ school was among 15 people killed in the impact of an explosion at a gas processing plant in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. Sister Henrietta Alokha, a Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and a woman who worked as a security guard were rescuing students from a chapel that had caught fire and “died in the process of ensuring that the students were safe,” Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Lagos said in a March 16 statement. He did not release the name of the security guard. The roof of the chapel at Bethlehem Girls’ College in the Lagos suburb of Abule Ado caved in and fell on the two women, the statement said. The March 15 explosion destroyed about 50 buildings after a fire broke out in Abule Ado. Nigeria’s state-owned oil company said the explosion was triggered after a truck hit some gas cylinders stacked in a gas processing plant near a pipeline. The “devastating explosion, which very badly affected our Bethlehem Girls’ College … occurred while the students and staff were at Sunday Mass,” the archbishop said

Humanitarians call for end to Syria’s civil war, entering 10th year

AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — Humanitarians caring for displaced Syrians in and outside their country are calling for an end to Syria’s brutal civil war as it enters its 10th year. The magnitude of displacement, death and destruction in Syria marks one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises right now, the United Nations and human rights groups have said. Henrietta Fore, executive director of the U.N. children’s agency, made an impassioned appeal for peace, saying it “has never been more pressing,” in a statement issued in the Jordanian capital, Amman, March 15. “More than 9,000 children have been killed and injured in the conflict, while close to 5,000 have been recruited into the fighting,” she said. “Nearly 1,000 education and medical facilities” have also been attacked and destroyed … while “more than 2.8 million children are out of school,” the statement said. “Stop hitting schools and hospitals. Stop killing and maiming children,” UNICEF urged, saying the agency needs access to reach those requiring humanitarian assistance.

- Catholic News Service

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