News Briefs

Catholic Relief Services was coordinating closely with Caritas Oceania agencies in an emergency response in Vanuatu, a remote island nation in the South Pacific devastated by Cyclone Pam on March 15. • As Kuwaiti legislators debated a law banning any new church construction, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said on March 17 that it was actually “necessary to destroy all the churches” of the Arabian Peninsula because of an edict that only Islam could be practiced in the region. • The Presbyterian Church (USA) joined most other American mainline Protestant churches, approving same-sex marriage on March 17. • On March 20, Pope Francis accepted the decision of Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland, who resigned in 2013 after admitting to sexual misconduct, to renounce all “duties and privileges” associated with being a cardinal. • Melkite Patriarch Grégoire III Laham, speaking in Damascus on March 16, rejected calls for an international military intervention in Syria as “reckless” and urged Pope Francis and Christians to “promote a concrete and realistic road map” to peace for the beleaguered nation.

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