News Briefs

The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 14 that the death penalty cannot be imposed unless the jury is unanimous in the decision, aligning Florida with sentencing standards in most other states. • As Catholics and Lutherans mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation on Oct. 31, Pope Francis said they should feel “pain for the division that still exists among us but also joy for the brotherhood we have already rediscovered.” • Vatican officials announced on Oct. 20 that Pope Francis, who spends his summers in Rome, is throwing open the doors to the summer papal apartment in the apostolic palace at Castel Gandolfo to visitors. • Representatives from the Holy See’s office of interreligious affairs traveled to Cairo, Egypt, on Oct. 21 to lay the groundwork for the official restart of talks between the Holy See and the prestigious Sunni Muslim center of learning, Al-Azhar, after a five-year lull. • After chaos broke out at Holy Trinity Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, while it hosted a meeting to resolve the nation’s university tuition-hike crisis, South Africa’s Jesuits said on Oct. 20 that the church could no longer be used for such dialogue.

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Imtiaz Cajee, nephew of Ahmed Timol, poses with his book about the activist on Aug. 24 in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. (AP Photo, File)
A judge has overturned a finding of suicide and ruled that Ahmed Timol was murdered by South Africa’s Security Police 45 years ago.
Anthony EganOctober 23, 2017
Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrate in support of a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to obtain an abortion, outside of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.
Texas bishops: "No one -- the government, private individuals or organizations -- should be forced to be complicit in abortion."
Catholic News ServiceOctober 23, 2017
It is time for the laity to speak out and act like true disciples of Christ in spreading the joy of the Gospel. 
Thomas J. ReeseOctober 23, 2017
Pope Francis speaks from the Vatican as he addresses Canadian youths in a video message that was included in a Salt and Light Television program on Oct. 22 (CNS photo/courtesy Holy See Press Office).
“The world, the church, are in need of courageous young people, who are not cowed in the face of difficulties," the pope said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 23, 2017