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Nation and world briefs


New Orleans archbishop prays for killed priest, missing worker

WASHINGTON — Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans spoke of horror and pain in a Nov. 30 statement, following what police believe is the killing of a retired priest and possibly a church worker in the archdiocese. “The horror of the events that have unfolded here in Covington is beyond shocking,” wrote Archbishop Aymond in the statement posted on the website of the archdiocese after local police confirmed that one of two burned bodies found Nov. 28 is that of retired priest Father Otis Young, of St. Peter Catholic Church in Covington, a suburb of New Orleans. “Let us continue to pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Otis and for Ruth Prats who remains missing, and for both their families and all who are suffering,” the archbishop wrote. Authorities are working on identifying the second body, which many in the archdiocese believe could be Prats, who helped care for the priest.

Bp. Vasa: Chapter 11 will allow evaluating claims ‘as fairly as possible’

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Bishop Robert F. Vasa of Santa Rosa announced Dec. 2 that the diocese expects to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because it faces more than 130 new claims of sex abuse dating from 1962 to the present, with “a vast majority of the cases” dating to the 1970s and 1980s. The diocesan attorneys are expected to file Chapter 11 after Dec. 31 and before March 1, he said in a statement. “After months of careful and prayerful consideration” and consultation with the priests of the diocese, the Diocesan Finance Council and professionals retained by the diocese,” Bishop Vasa said, “it has become clear to me that it is necessary” for the diocese to take this action. “This decision was made necessary due to the overwhelming number of sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the diocese after the statute of limitations was lifted for a three-year ‘window,’” he said. In 2019, state legislators passed the California Child Victims Act. It took effect Jan. 1, 2020, opening a three-year “look back window” to allow survivors of sexual abuse or assault to bring both civil and criminal lawsuits at any age and no matter when the abuse happened, even if it happened decades ago. The window ends Dec. 31.


Migration must be managed, not stopped, pope tells governments

VATICAN CITY — Migration across the Mediterranean Sea is as old as humanity, and while some governments say they want to stop that movement of people, it will not and should not happen, Pope Francis said. “Migration is essential to the well-being of this area and cannot be stopped. Therefore, it is in the interest of all parties to find a solution that is inclusive of the various aspects and just demands, beneficial to all and ensures both human dignity and shared prosperity,” Pope Francis wrote in a message to participants in the Italian foreign ministry’s annual Rome MED Dialogues. The lack of coordinated solutions to help potential migrants thrive in their home countries and to welcome those who set off for Europe “continues to result in unacceptable and almost always avoidable loss of life, especially in the Mediterranean,” the pope wrote. The meeting Dec. 1-3 brought together representatives of the European Union and European countries on the Mediterranean with representatives from the Middle Eastern and North African nations that face the sea and that often are crossed by migrants and refugees seeking a better life in Europe.

Lawyer who led abuse investigation commission in Cologne resigns

COLOGNE, Germany — The state-appointed chairman of the commission to investigate abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne has quit, saying he doubted the independence of the commission and wondered whether its main aim was to protect Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. The German Catholic news agency KNA reported Stephan Rixen has stepped down as head of the Independent Commission for the Investigation of Abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne and has withdrawn from the body. Rixen told KNA Dec. 5 that his initial doubts about the independence and effectiveness of the committee had been confirmed. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia had appointed Rixen, a constitutional lawyer, to the committee made up of representatives of the diocese, scholars and people with practical expertise as well as victims of abuse. Committee members were recruited partly by the Church, partly by the state government, and all are formally appointed by the local bishop.

— Catholic News Service

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