News Briefs

Catholics in England and Wales will be obliged to abstain from meat every Friday after a restoration of the discipline takes effect on Sept. 16, the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain. • “Things are worse than I thought,” said Haruo Someno, a Passionist priest volunteer for Caritas Japan cleaning up a community damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. “God is at work here, but finding out how is going to be a challenge that must be met.” • On May 12 Mexico’s Interior Ministry fired seven top officials after revelations that immigration officers had handed over migrants to criminal groups, who then demanded ransoms from victim’s relatives. • A Vatican instruction issued on May 13 requires bishops and pastors to “respond generously” to Catholics who seek to celebrate the Mass according to the Tridentine rite. • More than 70 Catholic scholars challenged the Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who was honored at the The Catholic University of America’s commencement, to uphold the church’s preferential option for the poor as he frames his 2012 legislative priorities. • The Melkite Catholic Church has opened the Al-Liqa’a (“the encounter”) cultural center in Beirut, Lebanon, with a mission of “building bridges across a divided world.”

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Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at Lobito beach in Iquique, Chile, Jan. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
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