December 19, 2017 // World News

News briefs for Dec. 24, 2017

Auxiliary Bishop Dominic Mai Luong of Orange, Calif., is pictured in 2003 being greeted by a congregant in Orange. The first Catholic bishop of Vietnamese descent in the United States, he died in Orange Dec. 6 at age 76. He was the founding father of the Vietnamese Catholic community in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and had been an auxiliary bishop for Orange since 2003. (CNS photo/Peter Finney Jr., Clarion Herald)

Bishops condemn selling of Nigerians into slavery in Libya

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) — A trio of Nigerian bishops condemned the enslavement of Nigerians who traveled to Libya for work, calling the practice a horrific abuse of human dignity. Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of Kafanchan, retired Archbishop Alaba Job of Ibadan and retired Bishop Julius Adelakun of Oyo called on the Nigerian government to act on behalf of Nigerian nationals in Libya and elsewhere who have been victimized by modern-day slave traders. They also suggested the government discourage Nigerians from traveling to other countries for work because of dangers posed by the illicit labor market. Their comments came after Nigerian officials had repatriated 3,000 Nigerians from Libya through Dec. 4 following reports of inhumane treatment in the North Africa nation. Bishop Bagobiri expressed concern that Nigerians were willing to pay as much as $1,400 to travel to Libya and other countries to seek “greener pastures.” 

Press must be factual, free from manipulation, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People need factual and trustworthy news that avoids sensationalism and whipping up heated reactions, Pope Francis said. It is important the press not be “constantly at the mercy of easy slogans or improvised information campaigns, which show the intention of manipulating reality, opinions and people themselves, often creating worthless ‘media dust storms,’” he told members of the press. “Your voice — free and responsible — is fundamental for the growth of any society that wishes to call itself a democracy, so that the continuous exchange of ideas and a fruitful debate based on real and correctly reported information may be guaranteed,” he said. The pope spoke Dec. 16 with members of the Italian Periodical Press Union and members of the Italian Federation of Catholic Weeklies, which represents nearly 200 Catholic newspapers. He praised in particular the value, necessity and effectiveness of diocesan weeklies, which he said require “a renewed commitment” from priests and the whole church community, and “kind attention from public authorities.”

Chaplain says 40 years with Badgers ‘a
wonderful experience’

MADISON, Wis. (CNS) — When the Wisconsin Badgers’ football team travels to the Orange Bowl to play Miami Dec. 30, the players will take a 12-1 record with them — one of the best in team history. Accompanying them will be Msgr. Michael Burke — better known as “Father Mike” to the coaches and players. He has been the team’s chaplain for 40 years. He began working with the team when he was on the faculty of Madison’s Holy Name Seminary. The Badgers used the seminary fields and facilities for their summer training camp for many years. Msgr. Burke was a faculty member, rector, and vocation director during the years from 1977 until the closing of the seminary in 1995. He remembers the training camps well. “The team was usually at the seminary for over three weeks,” he recalled in an interview with the Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Madison. “They were locked in and had to stay there the entire time. They certainly got focused, since there were no distractions.” 

Natural disasters prompt church to raise millions for aid

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, California and Mexico City, recovery was slow and deep pain remained from a string of natural disasters as 2017 ended. Hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes from August through December caused widespread destruction and claimed hundreds of lives. Rebuilding in the affected areas will take years to complete. Catholic agencies responded with emergency aid and undertook fundraising campaigns to help people of different walks of life who lost homes and livelihoods. The USCCB collected $38.5 million for hurricane relief and another $1.3 million for Mexican earthquake relief. Catholic Charities USA raised $24 million for disaster assistance. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul also was on the scene in various locales coordinating its response through parish and diocesan councils.

Pope Francis blows out a candle on a 13-foot-long pizza during a special meeting to celebrate his 81st birthday Dec. 17 at the Vatican’s Paul VI hall. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)


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