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Charitable giving dropped about 5 percent in 2009, a decrease of $11.2 billion, reports the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. • Bishop Francisco Claver, S.J., a defender of civil rights, died on July 1 in Manila, Philippines. He was the author of a statement in 1986 by the Philippine bishops that helped the People Power Revolution that unseated President Ferdinand Marcos. • Italy defended the display of the crucifix in public schools before Europe’s human rights court on June 30, arguing that it is a symbol of the country’s cultural heritage, not an imposition of religious belief on students. • Great Britain’s coalition government has dropped plans to amend the laws of succession that might have allowed a Catholic to become king or queen. • The Rev. Joseph Zhang Shulai, the “underground” vicar general of the Diocese of Ningxi, China, and Sister Mary Wei Yanhui were found murdered in their rooms on July 6 at a church-run home for the aged in Wuhai city, Inner Mongolia. • Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Robert McElroy of the Archdiocese of San Francisco as an auxiliary bishop. A contributor to America, Monsignor McElroy is the author of “Why We Must Withdraw From Iraq” (4/30/07).

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