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Nation and world briefs

U.S.

‘We have hope,’ say advocates at El Paso march and vigil for migrants’ dignity

On the evening of March 21, hundreds of people joined the peaceful demonstration “Be Not Afraid: March and Vigil for Human Dignity” organized by the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, along with migrant-supporting organizations such as Hope Border Institute and religious and community leaders from areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. Organizers called the event “a watershed moment of community resistance and prayer” in response to the Texas Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 4, controversial legislation passed in November that makes it a state crime for migrants to cross the border into the state of Texas without authorization. Because the federal government is responsible for border protection, lawsuits have questioned the state law’s constitutionality, and a series of federal judges — including those in the U.S. Supreme Court — has blocked its implementation as those challenges play out in court. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered to hear speeches March 21 at El Paso’s San Jacinto Plaza. After the speeches, the demonstrators processed to Sacred Heart Church while chanting in unison, “We have hope.” (OSV News)

Five are injured in Brooklyn church blaze during Easter Mass

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A five-alarm fire broke out in Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii Church in the East Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn during Mass on Easter, according to the New York Fire Department. Five people — including three firefighters — were injured in the blaze, which was discovered at around 1:48 p.m. March 31 inside the church. All of the injuries were non-life threatening, FDNY officials said. There were approximately 150 people inside the church for the 1 p.m. Spanish-language Mass at the time of the fire. The people attending the Mass were safely evacuated from the building,. It’s not clear where the fire started or what the cause of the fire was. (OSV News)

Sacramento Diocese files for bankruptcy due to ‘sickening sin’ of abuse

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Diocese of Sacramento announced April 1 it has filed for bankruptcy, citing the costs of settling more than 250 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy and staff. “There are many victim-survivors who have long suffered from the reprehensible sins committed against them,” Bishop Jaime Soto said in an April 1 press release. “This reorganization process will allow me to respond to them as equitably as possible.” Bishop Soto had first announced the news Dec. 9, 2023, and had warned faithful as early as February 2023 that the move would be necessary to settle the “staggering number of claims” filed under California’s AB 218. The law commenced on Jan. 1, 2020, and expired Dec. 31, 2022. “It is the sickening sin of sexual abuse — and the failure of Church leadership to address it appropriately — that brought us to this place. I must atone for these sins,” Bishop Soto said in the April 1 release. “Join me in praying for the healing of victim-survivors.” (OSV News)

WORLD

Vatican announces April 8 publication of document on human dignity

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican press office announced that the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith’s declaration on human dignity will be released April 8. The document is said to include a faith-based critique of several issues, including “gender ideologies” and surrogacy. Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the dicastery, and Msgr. Armando Matteo, secretary of the doctrinal section of the dicastery, along with Dr. Paola Scarcella, a professor of medicine and director of catechesis for persons with disabilities with the Community of Sant’Egidio, will speak at a Vatican news conference, the press office announced April 2. In January, Cardinal Fernández said, “We are preparing a very important document on human dignity which includes not only social issues, but also a strong critique of moral issues such as sex change, surrogacy, gender ideologies, etc.” The social issues would include anything that impacts human dignity, such as immigration, poverty, war and environmental degradation. (CNS)

Nicaragua cracks down on Church in Holy Week

CUERNAVACA, Mexico — Catholics turned out in large numbers to celebrate Holy Week in Nicaragua. But the ruling Sandinista regime prohibited public exhibitions of faith — such as processions and reenactments of the passion of Christ — as it continued exercising control over religious activities in what’s becoming an increasingly totalitarian country. Processions occurred within church atriums and sanctuaries as police and paramilitaries monitored activities outside and even were captured filming events, according to social media accounts. Some 30 police officers corralled attendees at the Managua cathedral on Good Friday, March 29, independent news outlet Confidencial reported, ensuring that nothing occurred outside of cathedral property. Holy Week marked the second consecutive year the regime has prohibited processions and limited activities to church premises. A source in Nicaragua said that priests watch their words during Mass and report being spied upon by police and paramilitaries. (OSV News)

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