In Brief

In Brief The Church of the Visitation in Westphalia
Fire destroys ‘treasured’ historic church in Texas

The Church of the Visitation in Westphalia, a nearly 125-year-old wooden church with bell towers on each side, burned to the ground last week. The fire, which began in the morning, is still under investigation. Parishioners ran into the burning church to save what they could, including its tabernacle.

“We got some stuff out, but it wasn’t near enough,” parishioner Marvin Meyer said. “We just saw the smoke, and everyone came. Everyone just tried to do what you could to save what you could, but it went so fast. In like 15 minutes, it was over.”

The church, which is in the Austin Diocese, serves 244 families.


Denounce plague of human trafficking – Mexico bishops

The Catholic bishops of Mexico encouraged the faithful in the country not to become indifferent to the suffering of human trafficking victims, but to take action to fight corruption and exploitation.

“We cannot accept exploitation, we cannot grow accustomed to the suffering. Let us denounce exploitation! Because as long as human trafficking remains hidden, the traffickers will continue to act with impunity,” the Mexican Bishops’ Conference said in a statement.

The statement, released for World Day Against Human Trafficking last week, asked Catholics to pray for those who are suffering exploitation and to boldly “denounce corruption and complicity”.


Glasgow archbishop appeals for asylum seekers being evicted

The Archbishop of Glasgow has written a letter to the UK Home Secretary calling the forced evictions of refugees and asylum seekers in his city “regrettable and harsh”. Those being evicted have failed in their asylum claims.

Serco, a provider of public services, began changing locks last week on housing it provides free of charge to asylum seekers in the city. The residents had been given eviction notices a year ago.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow wrote to Priti Patel, the UK’s Home Secretary, saying that “this measure is regrettable and harsh, bringing indignity and suffering on the refugees and asylum seekers, and dismay to the citizens of Glasgow”.


Cardinals visit Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Two cardinals from the Philippines and Burma visited a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh this week, meeting with refugee families as well as relief agency personnel and government officials.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila and Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon travelled to refugee camps in south-eastern Bangladesh last week, according to

The cardinals talked to refugee families in the camps and met with Caritas volunteers and staff, who are helping provide necessities to the refugees. In 2017 the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group, faced a sharp increase in state-sponsored violence in Burma, also known as Myanmar.


Nun alleges tampering in Indian bishop rape case

A nun representing a reported rape victim of Bishop Franco Mulakkal has accused the defence of evidence tampering in the case and is demanding that the real evidence be presented.

Sr Anupama of the Missionaries of Jesus said the tampering was part of a campaign to “sabotage” the case and protect Mulakkal.

She made the accusation after a court in Pala, Kerala found “discrepancies” between copies of cyber forensic evidence submitted by a forensic laboratory and those submitted by police.

“If real evidence is not handed over to the police, I will file a complaint against the lab. This is a bid to prolong the trial,” Sr Anupama said.