News Briefs

Pope Francis is considering the possibility of visiting Cuba in September, before or after his trip to the United States, the Vatican said on April 17. • Parents of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy killed in the Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013, called on the government on April 17 to end its quest for the death penalty and sentence the convicted bomber to life in prison. • Responding to petitions from members of the Papal Commission for the Protection of Children, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, O.F.M.Cap., put the question of the accountability of bishops and religious superiors before the members of Pope Francis’ Council of Nine cardinal advisors on April 15. • Even the dead, it seems, cannot escape Islamic State extremism as militants who have been in control of Mosul, Iraq, since June began toppling tombstones and crosses in the city’s oldest Christian cemetery—part of a campaign to “eradicate pagan symbols.” • At the general audience in St Peter’s Square on April 15, Pope Francis gave a special greeting to the husband and daughter of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian who has been imprisoned since 2010 after being convicted of blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad and sentenced to death by hanging.

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