News Briefs

Visiting with Syrian refugees near the Macedonian border on Oct. 19, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, president of Caritas Internationalis, wondered why European powers could not make the continuing exodus “easier” on people who “already have escaped horrible, horrible experiences.” • Police in the St. Louis area are stepping up patrols and trying to develop a profile for a suspect in as many as seven fires outside churches in predominantly black neighborhoods since Oct. 8. • Federico Lombardi, S.J., the Vatican spokesman, said an Italian newspaper’s claims about the pope’s health were “entirely unfounded,” adding on Oct. 21 that the news report was “a serious act of irresponsibility.” • Basic principles of human dignity are being violated repeatedly in the Middle East as conflict continues, particularly in Syria and Iraq, but also in Jerusalem and other areas of the Holy Land, said the members of the Synod of Bishops on the family in a statement released on Oct. 24. • Accusations of physical, psychological and sexual abuse by leaders of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Catholic movement founded in Peru in the 1970s, led the group’s current leadership on Oct. 18 to issue a communique asking forgiveness and to pledge an internal investigation.

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