In Brief

In Brief Demonstrators stand in front of law enforcement officers during a rally in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in front of St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo: CNS
‘Church shouldn’t stay silent,’ says Russian Catholic official

The secretary-general of the Russian bishops’ conference defended his Church’s right to speak out during police repression, as the country’s Catholic archbishop demanded “substantial, concrete answers” to societal problems that are the subject of current massive protests.

“Young people have gone out in freezing temperatures and tried to express their convictions, and many have suffered in consequence – moral issues are involved here and our Church shouldn’t stay silent,” said Jesuit Father Stephan Lipke, conference secretary-general.

“Some warn this might endanger the life of our parishes. But what’s the good of parishes if they’re just centres of confusion and do nothing to shape people’s consciences?” he asked Catholic News Service February 10.


Salvadoran bishops urge peace, not violence, before elections

El Salvador’s bishops called on citizens to show the best Salvadoran society is known for – faith, hard work and solidarity – not the rancour and violence on display during the last days of one of the most contentious political campaign periods in the country’s recent history.

“We are people who have earned the respect of those who admire us for the virtues that enhance us, such as the sense of family, love of work, strength in the face of adversity, great capacity for solidarity and our deep faith in God,” said Bishop Constantino Barrera Morales of Sonsonate, reading part of a statement the Salvadoran bishops’ conference published February 9. “But the Salvadoran family is currently going through a deep crisis,” Bishop Barrera added.


As slavery continues, cardinal highlights St Josephine Bakhita

An English cardinal reflected last week on the life of St Josephine Bakhita – who endured brutal slavery before entering religious life – and urged prayers and recognition for the many people worldwide who are enslaved.

In particular, he said, the poverty and uncertainty wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic have intensified the conditions in which slavery and human trafficking thrives.

“The organised criminal networks, which profit ruthlessly through the sale of our brothers and sisters as slaves and no more than commodities to be exploited, are taking full advantage of this chaos: over 40 million trapped today in modern slavery. It is pitiable: a terrible wound in the flesh of humanity, indeed in the body of Christ,” Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster preached at a Mass on February 8, St Bakhita’s feast day.

Pope and bishops express grief over Indian glacier disaster

Pope Francis and Indian bishops have expressed grief over a massive glacier burst that killed at least 32 people in northern India.

The tragedy in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on February 7 also left more than 170 missing.

“I express my closeness to the victims of the calamity that happened in India where part of a glacier separated itself, provoking violent flooding that devastated two power plants,” Pope Francis said in a tweet on February 10.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), said on February 9 that the CBCI expresses its grief and offers its condolences to the family members of all those who have died or are missing as a result of the Uttarakhand glacier calamity.