In Brief

In Brief Cardinal Philippe Barbarin
French cardinal pleads innocence in abuse trial

A French cardinal took the stand in court on Monday, the first day of a civil trial for Church officials accused of covering up abuse by a priest. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin (68) testified on January 7 about accusations of covering up abuse by Fr Bernard Preynat. Fr Preynat has admitted to abusing minors at Lyon’s Saint-Luc Parish, where he ran a large Catholic Scout group in the 1970s and 1980s.

French newspapers said Fr Preynat had been moved to a new parish in Neulise after his crimes were reported to Lyon Cardinal Albert Decourtray, who died in 1994. He was removed from parish work in August 2015.


Christians arrested for worship in Laos

Seven Christians in a Laotian village were arrested and detained for several days for holding a church service deemed illegal.

They were arrested on December 29 and released four days later, according to local media.

The detainees are from Nakanong village in the Phine District of Savannakhet Province. Three of those arrested were church leaders, and the rest were members of the church.

Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom told media that local authorities “demolished the [church’s] stage, cut off the power line, destroyed the sound system, and seized three mobile phones”.


Radical Indian Jesuit academic dies

Jesuit Fr Samuel Rayan, a pioneer of theology with an Asian perspective that colleagues and Church leaders considered a “radical interpretation of the Bible”, has died aged 98.

Before his death last week, Fr Rayan had been living in retirement and dealing with dementia. Jesuit Fr M.K. George, provincial of the order’s Kerala province, said Fr Rayan had been under medical care for age-related illness for several years.

The elderly priest became a professor at the Jesuit theology seminary at Vidyajyoti College in New Delhi in 1972. He also served as its principal from 1972 to 1976. After more than three decades of teaching there, he returned to Kerala in 2010.


US parish scramble to repair after severe earthquake

A parish in Alaska which was 10 miles from the epicentre of a magnitude 7 earthquake that shook the region on November 30, is facing steep repair bills as it suffered the greatest damage of any church in the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

The cost to fully repair the building will exceed the parish’s insurance deductible of about $650,000 (€570,300), according to Fr Arthur Roraff, parochial administrator at 
St Andrew, who noted that the repair bill could approach 
$1 million.

The parish has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for the repair costs.


Doctors warn against children using hormone-suppressant drugs

Paediatric endocrinologists are warning that despite a lack of medical tests to determine its safety, US doctors are increasingly injecting children who identify as the opposite sex with a powerful hormonal suppressant normally used to treat prostate cancer.

Leuprorelin, sold under the brand name Lupron, has never been green-lighted by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat gender dysphoria, nor have there been any peer-reviewed studies done on the drug’s long-term physical and psychological side effects on children, The Christian Post reports.

The newspaper interviewed several doctors in a recent report who said synthetic hormones could put children on a pathway to permanent sterilisation, and other long-term repercussions.

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