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World news in brief

12 August 2022


A couple watch smoke rise from the fuel storage tanks in Matanzas, Cuba

A couple watch smoke rise from the fuel storage tanks in Matanzas, Cuba

Pope prays for missing after Cuban oil fire

DURING his general audience this week, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the victims of a fire at the Matanzas oil depot in Cuba, last Friday, which killed at least one person. The blaze, which began after lightning struck one of the ten fuel-storage tanks on site, was finally brought under control by firefighters on Tuesday. Specialists were brought in from Mexico and Venezuela, and planes, boats, and helicopters were used. More than 100 people were injured, and 14 people were still missing when the Church Times went to press on Wednesday. Extensive blackouts were reported. On Monday, the Pope also sent a telegram to the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Cuba, praying for those missing.


Nicaraguan bishop under house arrest

THE Roman Catholic Bishop of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, in Central America, the Rt Revd Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, has been under house arrest since Thursday of last week, Vatican News reports. The police, who have accused him of inciting violence, stopped him from leaving his home to celebrate mass at the cathedral. The Bishop is a critic of President Daniel Ortega’s Sandanista government, which has arrested dozens of opposition politicians. The Nicaraguan bishops said in a statement that their “hearts are touched” by his plight. In May, Bishop Lagos went on an indefinite hunger strike to protest against the constant police surveillance that he said he had been under (News, 27 May).


Argentinian slum priests begin anti-drugs pilgrimage

A GROUP of priests who live and minister in slums in Buenos Aires have begun a year-long pilgrimage to raise awareness of the drug-addiction crisis in the country, Crux Now news agency reports. One of the priests, Fr José María “Pepe” Di Paola, said in his homily during the opening mass on Sunday: “We want an Argentina where no one dies because of drug addiction, and we will walk through Argentina with our pilgrim image.” Young former addicts were among those joining the walk, he said. They had recovered in the RC centres set up in 2008 at the request of Pope Francis, when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

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