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Nation and world briefs


Virginia bishop mourns loss of life in shooting, decries ongoing violence

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Catholic bishop of Richmond decried the Nov. 13 fatal shooting of three football players at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, urging everyone to pray for the victims, their families and the entire university community. Once again, the country is mourning “the loss of human lives due to an act of violence,” Bishop Barry C. Knestout said in a Nov. 14 statement. The university is in the territory covered by the Richmond Diocese. “Like you, I grieve for the loss of life and my heart breaks for the suffering caused by this troubling act,” he said. Police said three of the university’s football players, identified as Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, were fatally shot late in the evening on a bus described as being “full of students” that had just returned from a student trip to Washington. Besides the three students who were killed, two others were wounded and received treatment. A suspect whom police identified as Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a fellow student, was later taken into custody.

New Ascension yearlong podcast starts Jan. 1, will present entire catechism

WASHINGTON — Beginning Jan. 1, Ascension Press will launch “The Catechism in a Year,” taking listeners through the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and “providing explanation, insight and encouragement along the way.” Over the course of 365 daily podcast episodes, Father Mike Schmitz will read the entire catechism. Throughout 2022, the priest has hosted the popular “The Bible in a Year” podcast with Scripture scholar Jeff Cavins. Father Schmitz read every verse of the Catholic Bible in 365 days, using a reading plan based on Cavins’ Great Adventure Bible Timeline. The reading plan organizes the 14 narrative books of the Bible into 12 periods to help readers understand how they relate to one another and to God’s plan for salvation. A priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, Father Schmitz is a popular Catholic speaker and author. He and Cavins created the Bible podcast with the backing of Ascension. “We don’t think it’s an accident that after ‘Bible in a Year,’ the No. 1 requested thing from our audience was a ‘Catechism in a Year,’” said Lauren Joyce, communications and public relations specialist at Ascension.


Kenyan bishops say drought at ‘crisis level’

NAIROBI, Kenya — As Kenya’s drought reaches crisis proportions, Catholic bishops suggested enhanced post-harvest management and food banks to help guarantee food security. “The current drought situation in the country, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions, has now reached a crisis level. The consequent famine is regrettable and unacceptable. This calls for urgent and decisive action from all actors,” said Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeri. He spoke while reading the bishops’ final statement to the media Nov. 10, at the end of their general meeting in the coastal city of Mombasa. The bishops also asked the government to finance school feeding programs in the drought-affected regions so that no child drops out of school. Failed rains, climate change, a recent locust infestation, the war in Ukraine and inflation are being blamed for Kenya’s food crisis. A drought — the worst in 40 years, according to the U.N. — is affecting 23 out of the country’s 47 counties. On Nov. 7, a consortium of food security organizations urged the humanitarian community to immediately increase funding to combat drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Pope mourns violence, loss of life from attack in Istanbul

VATICAN CITY — As authorities in Turkey continued to investigate who was responsible for a deadly bombing in a busy shopping district in Istanbul, Pope Francis prayed for victims and the nation. “Assuring the injured and those who mourn their loved ones of his spiritual closeness, His Holiness prays that no act of violence will discourage the efforts of the people of Turkey to build a society based on the values of fraternity, justice and peace,” said a telegram, written on behalf of the pope and signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State. The telegram was sent to Archbishop Marek Solczynski, papal nuncio to Turkey, and published by the Vatican Nov. 15. “Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life caused by the explosion in Istanbul on Sunday and he sends condolences to the families and friends of those who have died,” the telegram said. A bomb exploded Nov. 13 on a busy street, leaving six people dead and more than 80 people injured. Authorities in Turkey arrested a suspect Nov. 14, who claimed she had acted on behalf of Kurdish militants.

Vatican confirms it is opening investigation of French cardinal

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has opened an investigation into French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the retired archbishop of Bordeaux, who admitted in a public letter that he had abused a 14-year-old girl 35 years ago. “As a result of the elements that have emerged in the last few days and the statement made by the cardinal, in order to complete the examination of what happened, it has been decided to initiate an ‘investigatio praevia,’” or preliminary investigation, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said Nov. 11. The person “best suited” to conduct the investigation “with the necessary autonomy, impartiality and experience is now being evaluated, also in view of the fact that the French judicial authorities have an open file on the case,” Bruni said. In a separate case, the retired archbishop of Strasbourg, France, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Grallet, admitted making “inappropriate gestures” to an adult woman when he was a priest in the 1980s. Archbishop Grallet issued a statement Nov. 15. He said both criminal and canonical investigations were underway.

— Catholic News Service

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