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Nation and world briefs


Pope, cardinal offer condolences to victims of Bronx fire that killed 17

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis issued condolences to families of those killed in a Jan. 9 apartment building blaze in the Bronx that killed 17 people, including eight children. In a Jan. 10 telegram to Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, the archdiocese where the apartment building is located, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said: “His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the recent devastating fire in the Bronx in which a number of children lost their lives. In offering heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his spiritual closeness to those affected by this tragedy, he entrusts the victims and their families to the merciful love of almighty God and invokes upon all consolation and strength in the Lord,” the telegram said. The five-alarm fire injured more than 60 others. More than 200 firefighters responded to the blaze in the 19-story building. Cardinal Dolan visited the site Jan. 10.

Bishop welcomes pledge by five nuclear nations to prevent war, arms races

CLEVELAND — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace welcomed a pledge by five nuclear powers to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and new arms races. Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, said in a Jan. 6 statement that the pledge from China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the U.S. “is an important acclamation of the need to prevent nuclear war and avoid arms races. This principled statement affirms ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’ and stresses the importance of abiding by nonproliferation agreements and commitments,” Bishop Malloy said. The pledge by the nuclear-armed states came a day before the planned Jan. 4 start of the 10th Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. U.N. officials delayed the start of the conference for a third time until Aug. 1-26 in New York.


Pope appeals for peace in Kazakhstan

VATICAN CITY — With dozens of people reported dead and thousands detained in Kazakhstan, Pope Francis prayed for the victims and for a return of peace in the former Soviet republic. “I have learned with sorrow that there have been victims during the protests that have broken out in recent days in Kazakhstan,” the pope said Jan. 9 after reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square. “I pray for them and for their families, and I hope that social harmony will be restored as soon as possible through the search for dialogue, justice and the common good.” Bishop Adelio Dell’Oro of Karaganda told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, that because the government declared a state of emergency and banned all public gatherings until Jan. 19, public celebrations of the Mass are not allowed.

Preserve Christian identity received at baptism, pope says

VATICAN CITY — Before baptizing 16 babies in the Sistine Chapel, Pope Francis reminded parents and godparents of their responsibility to care for and preserve the Christian identity the infants were about to receive. “This is your task throughout your lives: to guard the Christian identity of your children,” the pope said. “It is a daily commitment: help them grow with the light they receive today.” The pope baptized the seven boys and nine girls — the children of Vatican employees — in the Sistine Chapel during the celebration of Mass Jan. 9, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The annual tradition of baptizing infants on the feast day, which began in 1981 by St. John Paul II, was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Indian government says Missionaries of Charity can get foreign funds

NEW DELHI — The Indian government has restored the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of the Missionaries of Charity, clearing the decks for the globally renowned charity to receive and utilize foreign funds, reported ucanews.com. “I am delighted that the Indian government has restored our FCRA license,” said Sunita Kumar, spokeswoman for the order founded by St. Teresa of Kolkata. The change of decision comes less than a fortnight after the federal ministry for home affairs declined to renew the order’s FCRA registration, citing “adverse inputs.” The congregation was finding it difficult to carry forward its charitable works ever since news broke on Christmas Day that its application for renewal had been refused.

— Catholic News Service

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