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World news in brief

03 February 2023


Candlelit vigil for Tyre Nichols at Regency Skate Park, in Sacramento, on Monday

Candlelit vigil for Tyre Nichols at Regency Skate Park, in Sacramento, on Monday

US bishop laments death of Tyre Nichols

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, issued a pastoral message on Saturday, the day after the Memphis Police Department (MPD) released footage of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. Mr Nichols was beaten by five police officers after a traffic stop on 7 January; he died from his injuries three days later. The officers have been sacked and face murder charges. “Sense cannot be made of the murder of a young man at the hands of five men whose vocation and calling are to protect and serve. This was evil and senseless,” Bishop Curry said. “The fundamental call and vocation of law enforcement officials, and indeed every one of us, is that of the Good Samaritan.” Mr Nichols’s funeral took place in Memphis on Wednesday.


Spanish sacristan killed and priest injured in machete attack

THE sacristan of the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of La Palma, in Algeciras, in southern Spain, Diego Valencia, was killed on Wednesday of last week, news agencies report. Mr Valencia was attacked by a man wielding a machete, who, minutes earlier, had seriously injured 74-year-old Fr Antonio Rodríguez, who had been celebrating mass at St Isidore of Algeciras. According to Reuters, the suspect, Yassin Kanjaa, a 25-year-old Moroccan, has been imprisoned on remand. Spain’s High Court described his actions as a “targeted jihadist attack”, and said that he faced charges of “aggravated murder with terrorist intent”.


Nicaraguan priests found guilty of conspiracy

FOUR Roman Catholic priests, two seminarians, and a cameraman employed by the Church have been found guilty of sedition by a Nicaraguan judge, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. The men had previously been under house arrest with the Bishop of Matagalpa, the Rt Revd Rolando Álvarez, in a church compound, before it was raided by police on 19 August (News, 26 August 2022). At a separate hearing on 10 January, a judge ruled that Bishop Álvarez would be put on trial for charges of conspiracy and spreading false information. On 16 January, another priest, Fr Óscar Benavides, was found guilty on conspiracy charges, after being arrested in August and held in a prison where political prisoners are alleged to have been tortured (News, 19 August 2022).


Faith organisations urge against asylum restrictions

PRESIDENT BIDEN has been urged by 165 faith-based groups not to enact new immigration policies that amount, they say, to an “asylum ban”. A report from the Religion News Service quotes the letter, dated 23 January, which asks Mr Biden to abandon policies announced last month. According to The New York Times, the plans would both bar asylum-seekers from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Haiti if they were found to have crossed the Mexican border without authorisation, while expanding immigration opportunities to people from those countries who are able to meet certain requirements, such as being able to afford a plane ticket. The chief executive of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, said that the policy “borders on a wealth tax” on asylum-seekers.

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