World News in Brief

Puerto Rico’s archbishop tackles debt

Puerto Rico’s Archbishop Robert Gonzales Nieves of San Juan, accompanied by the country’s Bible Society president Revd Heriberto Martinez Rivera, has met with congressional leaders and the White House in order to work towards a resolution to the US territory’s debt crisis. 

“We want to create more awareness of the urgency of the situation in Puerto Rico and the dangers that more austerity measures would create,” the archbishop said, continuing, “In terms of affecting human lives, we already have 50% of our people living under the poverty level.”


Nigerian Church leaders plea to media

Nigerian Church leaders have sought to distance themselves from the country’s anti-gay laws, with the country’s bishops’ conference asking the media to stop claiming that the Church believes gay people should be imprisoned or subjected to other serious punishments. 

“Nigerian Catholic bishops are very responsible pastors who do not seek the punishment or jailing of persons who err, but to help them unto salvation,” according to Fr Chris Anyanwu, the conference’s social communications director, who complains that “here is certainly an obsession by some journalists about ‘severe punishment of gays or lesbians’ and they try to twist the bishops’ statements to articulate their views”.


Forgive, urge Bogota priests

400 priests in the Columbian capital Bogota gathered at the Gran Estacion shopping centre over October 6-7 to offer the sacrament of reconciliation to those who want it. This event, called “Confesatón” took place in advance of the Holy Year of Mercy and in connection with the country’s third clerical football championship, the “Cup of Faith”.

“It is important to receive forgiveness to learn to forgive those who have trespassed against us,” says the event’s coordinator, Fr Elver


Maronites get Abbas’ backing

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has expressed his solidarity with the Maronite Church following a September 30 arson attack on the Mar Charbel monastery in Bethlehem’s Wadi Maali neighbourhood.

The president contacted Antioch’s Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, head of the Maronite Church, to say he supported the Maronite Church and was committed to finding the perpetrators of what is believed to have been an act of criminal retaliation.

Investigators believe the attack was a response to the government having provided $100,000 (€89,000) last month for repairs and restoration at the monastery.