News Briefs

Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth appealed to Australia’s Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on Feb. 18 for urgent help in finding 50 Thai orphans, ages 10 to 14, feared abducted by sex traffickers. • Even as world leaders hesitate to enact strong measures on climate change, Bishop Peter Kihara Kariuki of drought-afflicted Marsabit, Kenya, said his diocese has been struggling with the “deadly effects of global warming for years now.” • Nineteen Catholic scholars asked Pope Benedict XVI to slow the sainthood cause of Pope Pius XII in a Feb. 16 letter, arguing that more research needs to be done on the World War II-era pontiff. • The former head of the Canadian Forces chaplain branch, Msgr. Roger Bazin, was charged with sexual assault on Feb. 19 based on allegations of incidents that occurred 38 years ago. • Protests and outbreaks of violence across India followed the publication of a picture depicting Jesus holding a cigarette and a bottle of beer in a textbook for use among schoolchildren across the subcontinent. • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington closed its 80-year-old foster care and public adoption program on Feb. 1 to avoid licensing same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents in compliance with a new district ordinance.

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A boy presents a hat to Pope Francis upon his arrival at the international airport in Trujillo, Peru, Jan. 20. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Just as the apostles faced the storm on the sea, you had to face the brunt of ‘El Niño costero.’”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Pope Francis’ statements...were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” Cardinal O’Malley said in a statement released Jan. 20.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 20, 2018
 Pope Francis and Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stand outside the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, Jan.19.(CNS photo//Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
“The degradation of the environment...cannot be separated from the moral degradation of our communities.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
The U.S. bishops had an unusually busy year issuing positive and negative statements about the new president, but some hoped for more decisive action against his policies.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 19, 2018