In Brief

In Brief The base of what was a St. Junipero Serra statue is seen in front of Mission San Raphael in San Rafael, Calif., after vandals tore down the statue. Photo: CNS
Catholic agencies welcome access to Ethiopia’s Tigray region

Catholic relief agencies in Ethiopia welcomed a move by the government to allow more access in Tigray where a military operation displaced millions and left an unspecified number of people dead.

Amid increased international calls for unrestricted access, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali announced February 24 that 135 personnel from bilateral and multilateral organisations had been cleared to travel and undertake aid work in the region.

Seven international media organisations, including The New York Times, the BBC and Reuters, also were granted access. “This is all what the humanitarian agencies have been seeking. They have been asking for access to the region so that they can provide the much-needed services,” Andre Atsu, the Jesuit Refugee Service regional director in Eastern Africa, told Catholic News Service.


Mozambique’s Christians living an ‘experience of the cross’

Catholics living in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province have lived an “experience of the cross” amid the escalation of terrorist violence over the past three years, according to their former bishop.

An Islamic militant insurgency has launched hundreds of attacks in the northern province, killing more than 2,000 people since October 2017. Violence peaked in 2020 with beheadings, kidnappings, and attacks on churches.

Brazilian Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa served as a missionary in Mozambique for nearly 20 years with six and a half years as the bishop of the Pemba diocese in Cabo Delgado.

“It was an extremely searing experience, an experience of the cross, an experience of suffering,” Bishop Lisboa said in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need published on February 25.


‘Justice’ as Serra statue vandals prosecuted, says archbishop

Amid calls from California activists to drop vandalism charges against five assailants who destroyed a statue of St Junipero Serra last year, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco warned that doing so would set a dangerous precedent.

“If a crime caught on videotape and witnessed by the police were not to have been prosecuted, it would have sent a profoundly disturbing message to the hundreds of thousands of people of faith in Marin County,” Archbishop Cordileone said in a February 19 statement.

Four of the five assailants were arraigned late last year, and the last of the five was arraigned February 18.

“I want above all to thank the San Rafael Police Department and the Marin County District Attorney’s Office for recognising that social justice requires justice,” Archbishop Cordileone concluded.


Vatican abuse trial: Allegations ignored, say witnesses

Witnesses at the fifth hearing in a trial for alleged abuse and cover-up at a Vatican youth seminary testified last Wednesday to an unhealthy culture of ridicule and abuse of power.

The witnesses also alleged that reports of sexual abuse were ignored or dismissed by authority figures.

Three former students at the Pius X pre-seminary testified before the city state’s court on February 24 that the environment was “unhealthy”, indicating that taunts of a sexual nature were common and that they had witnessed one of the accused grope the genitals of other students.

The three witnesses also alleged that reports of abuse were known by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica, who dismissed them as “false and calumny”.