Be brave enough to dialogue, pope tells Thai religious leaders

Pope Francis meets with Christian leaders and the leaders of other religions at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 22, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

BANGKOK (CNS) — Meeting Thai religious leaders and then celebrating Mass with Catholic young adults, Pope Francis encouraged them to strengthen a culture that treasures the past, holds fast to faith, is unafraid of differences and always seeks a way to promote dialogue and cooperation.

No single nation or religious or ethnic group can guarantee itself a future “in isolation from or immune to others,” the pope told Thai Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh and Muslim leaders at Chulalongkorn University Nov. 22.

The global migration phenomenon, climate change, technological advances, conflict and war all “require us to be bold in devising new ways of shaping the history of our time without denigrating or insulting anyone,” Pope Francis insisted at his meeting with the religious leaders. Continue reading

Posted in World

Federal judge blocks scheduled executions of federal death-row inmates

U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks at the White House in Washington Sept. 9, 2019. (CNS photo/Erin Scott, Reuters)

By Carol Zimmermann 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A federal judge Nov. 20 temporarily blocked the executions of four federal death-row inmates scheduled for December and January, saying the lethal injections they were to receive goes against the Federal Death Penalty Act.

When U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced in July that the government was reinstating the federal death penalty after a 16-year hiatus, he said the executions would use a single drug instead of a three-drug protocol used in recent federal executions and used by several states. Several of the inmates have challenged the use of the single lethal injection.

In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan of the District of Columbia said that since the inmates were likely to win their case, their executions should be blocked until their legal challenge is resolved. The 1994 Federal Death Penalty Act says federal executions should be carried out “in the manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence is imposed.”

Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Church becomes improvised morgue as Bolivian violence continues

A group of forensic surgeons prepare for an autopsy of a protester in St. Francis Church in El Alto, Bolivia, Nov. 20, 2019, after protesters started to bring corpses into the church. The people were killed in clashes between Bolivia’s military and supporters of former President Evo Morales. (CNS photo/Marcelo Perez del Carpio)

By Manuel Rueda 
Catholic News Service

A church located on the outskirts of Bolivia’s capital city became an improvised morgue Nov. 20, following another deadly day of protests in the South American country.

Father Gechi Revelin of St. Francis Parish in El Alto said protesters started to bring corpses into his small church late Nov. 19 following intense clashes between Bolivia’s military and supporters of former President Evo Morales at a nearby gasoline depot.

Protesters said they brought the corpses to the brick and mortar church in an effort to stop government officials and the military from getting ahold of the bodies and “hiding the truth” about what happened to those killed.

Continue reading

Posted in World

Mission is seeking family members you don’t know yet, pope tells Thais

A gift given by Pope Francis to St. Louis Hospital is pictured as the pope meets with the hospital’s medical personnel in Bangkok Nov. 21, 2019. Also pictured are Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu, retired archbishop of Bangkok, and Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

BANGKOK (CNS) — Missionaries are not mercenaries, but beggars who recognize that some brothers and sisters are missing from the community and long to hear the good news of salvation, Pope Francis told the Catholics of Thailand.

Celebrating Mass Nov. 21, the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Bangkok’s National Stadium, Pope Francis looked at the meaning of what he calls “missionary discipleship.”

Pope Francis’ visit was part of the celebrations of the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam Mission, the first Catholic jurisdiction in what was to become Thailand.

Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World

Students collect soil from lynching site in act to achieve racial justice

People collect soil during a Nov. 1, 2019, ceremony in Leonardtown, Md., to remember St. Mary’s County lynching victim Benjamin Hance. (CNS photo/Michael Hoyt, Catholic Standard)

By Mark Zimmermann 
Catholic News Service

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (CNS) — In the dark of night June 17, 1887, a mob lynched Benjamin Hance, hanging the 22-year-old African American man from the branch of a witch-hazel tree near the road to Newtown Neck in Leonardtown.

Hance, a Catholic who worked on an oyster boat, had been accused of making an “improper proposal” to a white woman and attempting to attack her.

Three weeks after he had been jailed, but before he faced trial, the mob stormed the jail house, held the jailer at gunpoint and kidnapped Hance, leading him away on horseback. The coroner’s report later noted that a rope with a hangman’s knot had been placed around Hance’s neck.

Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

After U.S. reversal, Vatican reiterates two states needed in Holy Land

The construction of the Israeli settlement of Ramat Givat Zeev is seen Nov. 19, 2019, in the occupied West Bank. The Vatican reiterated its call for a two-state solution in the Holy Land after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would no longer recognize the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. (CNS photo/Ammar Awad, Reuters)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican reiterated its call for a two-state solution in the Holy Land after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the United States would no longer recognize the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

In a statement released Nov. 20, the Vatican said that in the “context of recent decisions that risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the already fragile regional stability, the Holy See reiterates its position of a two-state solution for two peoples as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict.”

The Vatican also reiterated that it supports Israel’s right “to live in peace and security within the borders recognized by the international community.” However, it also “supports the same right that belongs to the Palestinian people, which must be recognized, respected and implemented.”

Continue reading

Posted in U.S., Vatican, World

Welcoming pope after long flight, Thais keep it warm and informal

Pope Francis embraces a girl in traditional dress as he arrives at Military Air Terminal 2 in Bangkok Nov. 20, 2019. The pope is visiting Thailand and Japan Nov. 20-26. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

BANGKOK (CNS) — Arriving in Thailand after an 11-hour flight, Pope Francis was greeted by 11 children — one for each of the country’s dioceses.

Pope Francis caressed the faces of the shy little ones and reciprocated a hug with the bolder, older girls. All of the children were dressed in traditional costumes and held a Thai flag and a Vatican flag.

Also on hand was Pope Francis’ second cousin, Salesian Sister Ana Rosa Sivori, a missionary in Thailand for more than 50 years and the official translator for the pope’s stay Nov. 20-23.

Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World