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World news in brief

23 March 2018

Release International

Future stormy for Christians in China, says campaigner

A CAMPAIGNER for Release International, Bob Fu (pictured), has warned of a “gathering storm” for Christians in China after President Xi Jinping was given a mandate to be President for life. Speaking at an event in London this week, Mr Fu said: “Churches have been totally destroyed under President Xi’s rule. There is a new spiritual storm coming to the Chinese Church. It may even be worse than during the Cultural Revolution.”


Roman Catholic priest is murdered in Colombia

FR DAGOBERTO NOGUERA, a Roman Catholic priest, was murdered in Colombia a fortnight ago. He served multiple parishes in Brooklyn, New York, before moving to Colombia to retire in 2014. The Bishop of Santa Marta, the Rt Revd Luis Adriano Piedrahita Sandoval, said that Fr Noguera had “dedicated himself to charity work with people in need” in retirement, and expressed “deep sorrow” at the news.


Christian Aid condemns killings in Brazil

CHRISTIAN AID has condemned the murder of three human-rights defenders in Brazil and called for inquiries into their killings. Marielle Franco, a popular city councillor who led criticism of police in Rio de Janeiro, was assassinated, together with her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, last week. Earlier this month, Paulo Nascimento, a community leader and campaigner on water contamination from an aluminium plant in Barcarena, in the Amazon state of Pará, was shot dead. The Head of Tackling Violence and Building Peace at Christian Aid Ireland, Karol Balfe, said that measures were needed urgently to protect human-rights defenders. The murders were a “chilling indictment of the grave threats faced by those speaking out against injustice”, she said.


Vatican releases letter in communications row

THE Vatican has released the full text of a letter in which the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, declined an invitation to write a commentary on a compilation of books about the theology of his successor. The Vatican had previously released a digitally altered and cropped version, and had been criticised for spreading “fake news”. The full document states that the Pope Emeritus declined to contribute because he did not have time, and that one of the authors had been a “virulent” critic of his teaching and that of Pope John Paul II. He wrote: “I’m certain you can understand why I’m declining.” On Wednesday it was announced that the Pope had accepted the resignation of Mgr Dario Vigano, who was in charge of the Vatican’s new streamlined communications department.


Philippine bishop facing ‘fabricated’ charges bailed

BISHOP Carlo Morales, of the Philippines Independent Church (PIC), was bailed from prison last week after being arrested on a charge of “illegal possession of firearms and ammunition”. The Bishop, a peace advocate from Ozamiz, had refused to leave the side of a wrongfully arrested human-rights activist, says USPG, which maintains that the charge against the Bishop has been fabricated. The Supreme Bishop of the PIC, the Most Revd Rhee M. Timbang, said that “temporary liberty is not enough,” and called for the Bishop’s acquittal. The director for mission engagement of USPG, the Revd Richard Bartlett, said: “We continue to pray for justice for Bishop Carlo and Rommel Salinas, the peace activist imprisoned with him, and for all political prisoners in the Philippines.”

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