World News in Brief

Cardinal Nichols welcomes Prime Minister May’s appointment

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has welcomed the new British premiership of Theresa May. In a letter sent to Mrs May as she assumed her duties at 10 Downing Street, the cardinal pledged his personal support and said: “I am personally delighted at your appointment. I know from the work we have done together that you have so many qualities to bring to the service of our countries at this time. I appreciate the maturity of judgement, the steely resolve, the sense of justice and the personal integrity and warmth you have always shown.”

In her former role as Home secretary, Mrs May worked with Cardinal Nichols in combating human trafficking, something he acknowledges in his letter.

“I thank you for the remarkable work you have accomplished for the victims of human trafficking, including your strong personal support for the establishment of the Santa Marta Group, demonstrated through your presence at its first meeting in Rome. This is a clear indication not only of your determination to use high political office for the protection of some of the world’s most vulnerable people but also of your willingness to work with the Catholic Church at its highest levels.”


US seminarian drowns saving woman

A young seminarian in the US state of Kansas is believed to have drowned as he saved the life of a woman struggling the Arkansas river. Brian Bergkamp, 24, was part of a group boating on the river when turbulent water caused difficulties. 

Bergkamp reportedly entered the water without a life jacket to assist a woman of the group to make it to shore, but he disappeared in the waters. Archbishop William Lori, in whose Diocese of Baltimore Brian Bergkamp was studying for the priesthood, said the young man’s actions spoke to the “great character and to the wonderful priest I’m sure he would have become”. 


Venezuelan Bishops sound warning on state of the nation

“We are on the brink of a food and health security crisis, with social consequences.” This was the impassioned message issued by the Bishops of Venezuela in closing their Ordinary Assembly last week. 

Making the dramatic deterioration of the nation’s economic health central to their discussions, the prelates issued a closing exhortation in which they said: “There is an urgent priority: the government has to allow the entry of medicines in the country, given their severe shortage. 

“For the collection and distribution, the Church offers its services and infrastructure of Caritas, as other forms of cooperation open to other faiths and private institutions. This service is not the ultimate solution, but it is a significant help”.

President Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly ignored pleas from the Catholic Church in Venezuela to react positively and definitively to the country’s rapidly declining stability. Most recently he has granted extra powers to the army in the hope of maintaining order as food shortages become more pronounced, a move unlikely to bring stability.