In Brief

In Brief Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako
Iraqi cardinal: Pope Francis gave $350,000 for poor during Iraq trip

During his recent visit to Iraq, Pope Francis gave a donation of $350,000 to the Chaldean Catholic Church to support local families affected by conflict and the pandemic.

Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako told Agenzia Fides that the Pope’s gift was “intended to be a sign of how real and concrete is the Pope’s love for all the Iraqi people”.

Cardinal Sako, who is the Patriarch of Babylon and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, said that $250,000 will be managed by the Chaldean Archdiocese of Baghdad. The remaining $100,000 has been divided between the Chaldean Archdiocese of Mosul and Syriac Catholics in Bakhdida, also known as Qaraqosh.


Chilean chapel follows design by Sagrada Familia architect

Plans by architect Antonio Gaudi are the basis for a new chapel in Chile dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels. The project could resume this year, some 95 years after his death.

The chapel was originally intended to be part of Gaudi’s famous unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia Basilica of Barcelona. However, it was never added.

The Gaudi de Triana Corporation was launched in 1996 with the goal of building the chapel.

Beatriz Valenzuela, the corporations executive secretary, said there is “hopeful news” of progress on the chapel, which has faced several delays.

In February, Raúl Irarrázabal, the architecture ministry’s National Director of Architecture, announced the reactivation of the construction project.

The project is in its administrative phase to evaluate its social and economic viability.


Only ‘patriots’ can stand in Hong Kong elections

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has consolidated its grip on Hong Kong by approving an overhaul of its quasi-democracy to ensure only “patriots” get to govern the Chinese territory.

Resolutions that drastically curb democratic representation were endorsed unopposed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on March 30, while the next election, already delayed because of the pandemic, was rescheduled for December.

That follows last June’s passage of the national security law, widely seen by critics as a means of crushing dissent and effectively ending any vestiges of the promises guaranteeing self-rule for 50 years made before Hong Kong’s 1997 handover from Britain to China.

A powerful new vetting committee will ensure candidates picked for public office are loyal to Beijing. The committee will be backed by national security authorities.


Catholic priest and six others killed in Nigeria church attack

A Catholic priest and at least six others were killed by gunmen in an attack on St Paul’s Catholic Church in Benue State, Nigeria, the Diocese of Katsina-Ala confirmed last Wednesday.

Fr Ferdinand Fanen Ngugban had just offered Mass in his parish church of St Paul Ayetwar in eastern Nigeria and was preparing to leave for the Holy Week Chrism Mass when he was shot in the head by gunmen on March 30.

According to a statement by Fr Fidelis Phelle Akjmbul, chancellor of the Diocese of Katsina-Ala, the body of the priest and those of six other victims were recovered after “there was pandemonium among the internally displaced persons who took refuge in the parish premises”.