News Briefs

On Jan. 29 at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin, Tex., representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and four Protestant denominations in the Reformed tradition signed an agreement that recognizes the validity of one another’s baptisms. • The New Jersey Death with Dignity Act, a bill that would allow assisted suicide in New Jersey, made it through a legislative committee on Feb. 7 and will now be considered by the full assembly. • The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, has officially become the new archbishop of Canterbury after the “Confirmation of Election” ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on Feb. 4. • An official with Belgium’s Mechelen-Brussels Archdiocese said on Feb. 6 that “dozens of churches” faced closing and that the city’s largest Catholic landmark, St. Catherine Church, was expected to be turned into a fruit and vegetable market. • In the span of just 15 days, two priests have been gunned down in Colombia: the Rev. Luis Alfredo Suárez Salazar in Ocaña on Feb. 2, killed apparently by stray bullets intended for another target; and on Jan. 16 the Rev. José Francisco Velez Echeverri in Buga, apparently a robbery victim.

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Indigenous people walk past Pope Francis after presenting offertory gifts during the pope's celebration of Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis appealed to the Mapuche, who have suffered “great injustices,” to totally reject violence “which can make a just cause turn into a lie.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 17, 2018
Dolores O'Riordan, former lead singer of The Cranberries, performs on stage during a concert in 2007 in Tirana, Albania (CNS photo/Arben Celi, Reuters).
She was Dickensian, if Dickens had written a Gaelic warrior-waif, a hero with a voice that could thrill and comfort.
Cameron Dezen HammonJanuary 17, 2018
Pope Francis dove head-first into Chile's sex abuse scandal on his first full day in Santiago.
Pope Francis meets with priests, religious and seminarians at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago, Chile, Jan. 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Francis focused for the second time today during his visit to Chile on the abuse scandal that has rocked the Chilean church. “I know the pain resulting from cases of abuse of minors, and I am attentive to what you are doing to respond to this great and painful evil,” he said.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 16, 2018