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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Upholding religious liberty must entail mutual respect, bishop says

WASHINGTON — Upholding religious liberty must entail mutual respect, said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. On his most recent “Walk Humbly” podcast, Bishop Burbidge observed, “What we believe and know to be true is at odds with the popular culture of our world.” Speaking of the June 16 LGBTQ+ Pride Night observance by the Los Angeles Dodgers, at which a satirical drag group costumed as nuns, the LA Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, appeared, he said, “We accept and we respect people in their life situations even though we may not agree with a position or what they stand for. But when you use that position to attack, or to make fun of, to discriminate against, that has to be unacceptable.” The bishop’s remarks were made in the context of the June 22-29 Religious Freedom Week, a project of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Burbidge chairs the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities. The USCCB provides “Pray-Reflect-Act” resources for Religious Freedom Week at usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek. (OSV News)

Pope names Bishop Coyne of Vermon, as coadjutor archbishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of Burlington, Vermont, as coadjutor archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut. Now-Archbishop Coyne, who turned 65 June 17, has headed the statewide Burlington Diocese since 2015. Before that he was an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis from 2011-15. He will serve alongside Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, 74, who has served as Hartford’s fifth archbishop since he was installed in December 2013. Next April, Archbishop Blair turns 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the pope. The appointment of the coadjutor was publicized in Washington June 26 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. As coadjutor, Archbishop Coyne will automatically succeed Archbishop Blair upon his retirement. Archbishop Coyne will take up residence in the Archdiocese of Hartford with a Mass of welcome to be celebrated Oct. 9 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. (OSV News)

WORLD

Bishops: Hunger-stricken families in East African countries in great need

NAIROBI, Kenya — Religious leaders, including Catholic bishops, have continued to donate relief items to hunger-stricken families in East African countries to help them overcome the effects of drought, the worst in 40 years, followed by five consecutive failed rainy seasons. The World Health Organization warned that the region is experiencing one of the worst hunger crises of the last 70 years. The United Nations estimated that based on 2022 statistics, the most recent available, more than 37 million people in East Africa are facing hunger, with 7 million children under age 5 acutely malnourished. According to 2022 figures from the African Development Bank, of the 828 million people suffering from hunger globally, 278 million live in Africa. That figure could rise to 310 million by 2030, warns the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. The East African countries facing the greatest hunger include Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Burundi. In Kenya, out of a total population of more than 53 million people, over 2.9 million people in the northern part of the country face severe food insecurity, according to the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. European Commission figures showed that number could have reached 5.4 million from March to the end of June. (OSV News)

Catholic leaders offer prayers, express outrage after 46 die in Honduras women’s prison massacre

MEXICO CITY — Catholics in Honduras prayed for the victims of a horrific massacre in a women’s prison — an attack underscoring the power of the country’s criminal gangs and their control over correctional facilities. Many Catholic clergy expressed outrage, while demanding an overhaul of the country’s prison system. “Tragedy repeats itself,” tweeted Bishop Ángel Garachana of San Pedro Sula. “Who doesn’t shudder with pain for them and their families? Who doesn’t indignantly wonder when the radical and comprehensive transformation of a corrupt and failed prison system is going to be undertaken?” The massacre occurred June 20 at the women’s prison in Támara, about 19 miles from the capital Tegucigalpa with authorities attributing the violence to an attack by the Barrio 18 gang. Authorities considered the attack premeditated. At least 46 women were killed in the atrocity. (OSV News)

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