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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Holiness is possible and Church provides tools to attain it, cardinal says

BALTIMORE — Holiness is possible, and the Catholic Church provides the tools for attaining it. That was the theme of an address delivered May 15 by Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. The evening talk, which was preceded by a morning Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sarah, was part of the closing celebration of the 200th anniversary of the dedication of the basilica, the first Catholic cathedral built in the United States. The neoclassical cathedral, designed by U.S. Capitol Architect Benjamin Latrobe and envisioned by Baltimore Archbishop John Carroll as a beacon of religious liberty, was dedicated in 1821 by Baltimore Archbishop Ambrose Maréchal. “Holiness is nothing other than living exactly as God wants us to live, by being conformed more and more to His son,” said Cardinal Sarah, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Prayer, fasting and penance can be invaluable aids for helping individuals in the pursuit of holiness, Cardinal Sarah said.

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop Deliman

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Deliman of Philadelphia, who is 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the pope. The pope named then-Msgr. Deliman, a pastor in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, as an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese May 31, 2016. A native of Lorain, Ohio, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1973. His resignation was announced May 13 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio.

WORLD

Citing ‘police state,’ Cardinal Bo urges prayers for Hong Kong

YANGON, Myanmar — Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, urged prayers for Hong Kong after the detention of Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun. “Hong Kong used to be one of Asia’s freest and most open cities,” Cardinal Bo said May 14. “Today, it has been transformed into a police state. Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, and academic freedom have all been dismantled. There are early signs that freedom of religion or belief, a human right set out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Hong Kong is a party, is threatened.” Hong Kong’s national security police separately detained Cardinal Zen, 90, and three other trustees of the now-defunct 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund May 10 and May 11, and all were released May 11. The fund was set up to offer financial assistance to those involved in anti-government protests in 2019 and was disbanded after coming under scrutiny by authorities over the past year. Cardinal Bo noted that Cardinal Zen “was arrested and faces charges simply because he served as a trustee of a fund which provided legal aid to activists facing court cases.”

Cardinal Parolin launches Catholic app for military personnel

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, encouraged men and women in the military to download a new app designed to connect them to the Catholic faith and provide the consolation of prayer in times of war and uncertainty. In a video message to active-duty and veteran military personnel attending an annual pilgrimage in Lourdes May 13, Cardinal Parolin said the “Catholic Military Connect” app is a useful tool that “will accompany you on your journey of faith. I believe that the app will be immensely helpful to all military personnel and, in a particular way, to young men and women who in this important sector of civil service, seek to grow in personal friendship with Jesus Christ and in the understanding and appreciation of the beauty and richness of our Catholic faith,” he said. The app, which is available for free in Google Play and Apple App stores, was developed by the Apostolat Militaire International, an organization dedicated to promoting Christian values in military life, and Tweeting with God, an initiative that informs users on questions on faith. The Catholic Military Connect app provides easy access to “answers to military questions, prayers for the military, testimonies, inspiring quotes and spiritual first aid,” according to a May 13 press release.

Chaos, curfew after arrests in mob murder of student accused of blasphemy

LAGOS, Nigeria — Catholic churches in Sokoto suspended Masses May 15 as the governor imposed a 24-hour curfew to quell violence during protests against the arrest of young men for the May 12 murder of Deborah Yakubu. Yakubu, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, was stoned, beaten and burned after a mob of students alleged she blasphemed Muhammad in an online post several weeks earlier. Police arrested two suspects, triggering the protests. Various media published unconfirmed reports that protesters tried to set fire to several churches. They also burned businesses in a major business hub near the Sokoto Central Market. Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto criticized the actions of the protesters but denied rumors that his residence was attacked. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja urged Nigerians not to give up on the struggle for interreligious harmony in the country. In a homily May 15, he urged Christians to oppose people trying to gain selfish advantages without respect for rights or ethics, and he said extremism must be opposed.

Also in Nigeria, a priest kidnapped In March died while in captivity, according to the Archdiocese of Kaduna, Nigeria. In a statement published May 12 by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Father Christian Okewu Emmanuel, archdiocesan chancellor, said Father Joseph Aketeh Bako died “at the hands of his captors between April 18 and 20, 2022.” Father Bako was kidnapped March 8 after armed terrorists attacked the parish rectory in Kudenda, a village outside Kaduna.

— Catholic News Service

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