News Briefs

Criticizing a federal judge's ruling in two Massachusetts cases that a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, said July 12: "To claim that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is somehow irrational, prejudiced or even bigoted is a great disservice not only to truth but the good of the nation." • Former seminarian Zhang Wenping was arrested in Hohhot, the regional capital of Inner Mongolia, July 8 and is being questioned in the murder of Father Joseph Zhang Shulai and Sister Mary Wei Yanhui, who were found dead on July 6. • Paul Leo Locatelli, S.J. 71, who served for 20 years as president of Santa Clara University and has been serving as its chancellor, died July 12 in Santa Clara of complications from pancreatic cancer. • Rev. William R. Callahan, a leading activist for peace and social justice, died July 5 at Community Hospice in Washington of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 78. • More than 400 people packed the chapel of a La Salle Brothers' school near downtown Lima, Peru for a July 8 vigil in support of British Brother Paul McAuley, who has been threatened with expulsion from the country. For the past decade, Brother Paul has worked with indigenous youths and an environmental network in the Amazonian lowlands. • Pope Benedict XVI named Italian Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, an expert in church law who specializes in religious institutes, to be his personal delegate with authority over the Legionaries of Christ on July 9. • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his call for an end to the building of settlements in Jerusalem July 1, stressing that the construction damages trust and stokes unrest in the region.

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The U.N. report documents cases of extrajudicial murders committed by police, illegal house raids and threats and harassment against journalists and social and political activists in Honduras.
Jackie McVicarMarch 20, 2018
An employee wrapped in a blanket talks to a police officer after she was evacuated at a FedEx distribution center where a package exploded on March 20, 2018, in Schertz, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In their joint statement, the Texas bishops echoed Chief Manley’s appeal to the community. “We ask all people in our dioceses to remain vigilant, and to pray and work for peace,” the bishops said.
Paul StinsonMarch 20, 2018
The challenge of finding families for homeless youth and for those in group shelters is creating the latest flashpoint over competing civil rights claims. (iStock/bodnarchuk)
Catholic Social Services refuses to place foster children in homes headed by same-sex couples; the city of Philadelphia says this policy violates a nondiscrimination law.
My approach to the mystery of A.L.S. is a bit different than that of the famed physicist.
Elise ItalianoMarch 20, 2018