News Briefs

The global pope-apalooza continued in January as Pope Francis was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and in “superpope” graffiti that sprouted up on buildings around Vatican City. • It was announced on Jan. 27 that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa, Israel, as he contends with allegations of sexual harassment. • Following two Boko Haram attacks in January that killed 70 people, Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza of Yola, Nigeria, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to give military service chiefs the constitutional support they need to flush out the militants. • Pope Francis has chosen the theme, “He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich,” from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, for this year’s Lenten message, according to a Vatican statement on Jan. 31. • Bishops from the Church of England approved on Jan. 27 the start of “facilitated conversations” on sexuality, following an internal report recommending that gay couples should be permitted to celebrate their relationships in church. • In a statement released on Jan. 25, the leaders of the Christian churches in Iraq requested that Iraqi legislators explicitly guarantee to all adult citizens the right to freely choose their religion.

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