In Brief

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China harvesting organs from minority groups, activists say

The Chinese government is harvesting organs from religious and ethnic minorities, a human rights organisation told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last week.

The China Tribunal, which calls itself an “independent, international people’s tribunal” that investigates allegations of organ harvesting in the country, said they found evidence that China is continuing to forcibly collect organs from political and religious prisoners, despite saying they stopped the practice four years ago.

“Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uighurs, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale, and that it continues today,” said Hamid Sabi, a lawyer for the China Tribunal speaking at the UN meeting.

Australia: New abortion law defeat for humanity

The archbishop of Sydney has lamented a controversial new law decriminalising abortion in New South Wales, and stressed that the Church will work to offer support for women facing difficult pregnancies.

“Today is a very dark day for New South Wales,” said Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney in a September 26 statement. He called the new law “a defeat for humanity”. “The Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 may be the worst law passed in New South Wales in modern times, because it represents such a dramatic abdication of responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our community,” he said.

“Since the abolition of capital punishment in New South Wales in 1955, this is the only deliberate killing ever legalised in our state.”

Burundi govt accuses bishops of spreading ‘hate and division’

Government officials in Burundi have accused the country’s bishops of spreading hatred and division following a message from the bishops warning of violence and corruption in the country’s election preparations.

According to AFP, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Burundi released a letter voicing concern over efforts to “suffocate” certain political parties ahead of the May 20 presidential election.

The letter, which was read in churches over the weekend, warned that “criminal acts go as far as murders with political motives…perpetuated against those with different opinions of the government,” AFP reported.

6% of US seminarians experience sexual harassment – study

A new study has found that 6% of US seminarians have experienced some form of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct; another 4% said they might have experienced misconduct but were not sure; while 89% report none.

The survey comes amid heightened scrutiny of seminary culture in the wake of revelations of grooming behaviour and years of sexual harassment by high-profile Church figures such as former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Michael Bransfield.


US priest cleared of sexual misconduct allegations

A priest of the Archdiocese of New York has been cleared of accusations of sexual abuse after the judge dismissed the case at the request of District Attorney’s office.

“We were pleased today to learn that the charges against Fr Thomas Kreiser have been dismissed,” said a statement from the Archdiocese of New York. “Fr Kreiser has steadfastly maintained his innocence, and it is good to see justice has been done.”

Fr Kreiser had served as a priest in Bronxville, a village near Manhattan, until he was accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl in October, 2018. He was facing three felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse as well as three misdemeanour counts of endangering the welfare of a child.