News Briefs

Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, imprisoned in China’s Xinjiang Province, was allowed a visit from his brother and father-in-law on March 24, the first time he has been seen since April 2010. • On March 29 the Dalai Lama was named the winner of the 2012 Templeton Prize, to be presented in London on May 14, because of his “incomparable global voice for universal ethics.” • U.S. bishops announced on March 26 Vatican approval for the publication of a new Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb. • More than 40,000 people from 41 countries and 47 U.S. states gathered in Anaheim, Calif., for the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress on March 23-25. • Bishop Fabio Colindres of El Salvador persuaded leaders of Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18, El Salvador’s most notorious gangs, to end a wave of killings across the country after negotiating better prison conditions for 30 gang leaders. • On March 29 Nigerian Army troops stormed a neighborhood of Kaduna, Nigeria, and arrested 33 members of Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group suspected in a series of attacks against Christian churches.

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In a video, His Holiness Pope Francis speaks at TED2017, April 25, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
Pope Francis asked all people to work toward a future that lifts up society’s most marginalized, including migrants, the sick, the unemployed and prisoners.
Michael J. O'LoughlinApril 26, 2017
Edward Lally (center) is joined by his schola, Sarah Coffman, Katherine Keberlein, Ngaire Bull and Sarah Beatty, at St. Edward's Catholic Church in Chicago on April 8, 2017. Photo courtesy of Sarah Beatty.
With chant “you’re expressing something in pure melody."
Judith ValenteApril 25, 2017
Vivian Tuttle holds a photo of her daughter Yvonne, who was murdered during a 2002 bank robbery in Norfolk, Neb., as she testifies in favor of the death penalty at a public hearing in Omaha, Neb. in October 2016 (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file).
The fight against the death penalty lays bare the strengths and weaknesses of the Catholic approach to pro-life issues.
Joseph P. HooverApril 25, 2017
Bill Nye's gags are every bit as goofy as they were in the ’90s. But his new show on Netflix is weighed down by a condescending attitude.
Eric Sundrup, S.J.April 25, 2017