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Priest stabbed on altar now brain dead
MEXICO CITY (SE): Father José Miguel Machorro, who was stabbed at the end of Mass in Mexico City cathedral on May 15, is now considered to be brain dead.
The archdiocese announced that Father Machorro had shown signs of recovery and was moved out of an intensive care unit at the end of June. But he suffered a reversal and was transferred back into intensive care.
On August 2 the director of the intensive care unit had pronounced him brain dead, so the only thing now is to wait for the heart to stop beating.
Canonisation for brother killed in Cambodia?
MANILA (UCAN): The Society of Jesus is backing the canonisation of a Filipino Jesuit, Brother Richard Fernando, killed in a grenade explosion in Cambodia in 1996.
Brother Fernando went to Cambodia in 1995 and worked among people with polio, as well as those maimed by landmines or accidents.
At 26-years-of-age he died when a grenade exploded inside the Technical School for the Handicapped in Phnom Penh on 17 October 1996.
The blast occurred as he was trying to pacify an agitated student who was threatening to hurl the grenade into a classroom.
Eight churches closed in Baghdad
BAGHDAD (SE): International Christian Concern reported that the eight churches have been closed in Baghdad, with the most recent two in May this year.
The advocacy agency on behalf of persecuted Christians reported that the Vatican recently approved the closure of eight parishes in Baghdad.
Two more churches were closed this year after nearly seven years of low or no attendance as Catholics fled Iraq. “After the regional Catholic Church authority visited the churches, the Vatican decided that it was best to close the doors for good. While this makes logistical sense, it represents a symbolic defeat for the Church in Baghdad.
Free education welcomed
MANILA (SE): The president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has okayed free tuition at all state colleges and universities into law.
Bishop Ruperto Santos praised the decision, calling it a great help to migrant workers struggling to provide for their children’s education.
While universally regarded as a good thing, worries are being expressed about how a financially pressed government with an expensive war in Mindanao can finance it.
Massacre at Sunday Mass
ABUJA (SE): Gunmen burst into a Catholic church in Ekwusigo state in Nigeria during Sunday Mass on August 6, killing at least 11 people and wounding many others.
State police initially reported that eight people had been killed and 10 others wounded, but eyewitnesses put the figures much higher, saying that as many as 35 had died.
The shooting was reportedly linked to drug trafficking in the area. Neither police nor diocesan officials were prepared to comment on the violence.
Pastor jailed in Tajikistan
DUSHANBE (SE): Reverend Bakhrom Kholmatov, a pastor in Khujand, Tajikistan, has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Forum 18 reported that secret police detained him in April and tortured members of his congregation. Police charged that hymns based on biblical verses like “our fight is not against flesh and blood” are “extremist and call on people to overthrow the government.”
Although largely a Muslim nation, the president, Emomali Rahmon, has been critical of beards and the hijab.
Korea prays for peace
SEOUL (SE): As political tensions mount on the Korean peninsula, religious leaders held an interreligious prayer meeting for peace in Seongju on July 27, the anniversary of the cessation of violence in the Korean war.
“The Korean peninsula is a powder keg ready to explode and cause another war,” Bishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong said. He added that as the violence of the Korean War ended in a truce rather than a treaty, a renewal of conflict would “collapse the whole of northeast Asia.”
He called the anti-missile defence system being deployed by the United States of America an illusion of peace.
Pint of Thirsty Priests please
CARDIFF (SE): The City Arms pub in Cardiff that initially refused entry to a group of seminarians after mistaking them for a stag party in fancy dress has renamed The Rev James ale Thirsty Priests in their honour.
“We wanted to do something as a thank you to the priests for taking the misunderstanding in such good spirits,” public relations officer, Tim Lewis, said.
Running under the slogan, Saving souls and satisfying thirsts, the Thirsty Priests went on tap on August 5, La Croix reported.
The seminarians were celebrating the ordination of Father Peter McClaren when they dropped in for a pint (or two).

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