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Abuse case of Chilean bishop to be reviewed
VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis asked Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a longtime expert in handling abuse allegations, to gather new information in Chile concerning Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.
 
The Vatican said in a communiqué on January 30 that Pope Francis decided to send the archbishop to the Chilean capital of Santiago “to listen to those who expressed a willingness to submit information in their possession,” the communiqué said. 
 
Archbishop Scicluna is president of a board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which handles appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse or other serious crimes. 
 
The archbishop also had 10 years’ experience as the Vatican’s chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases at the doctrinal congregation. 
 
Some have accused Bishop Barros of having been aware of abuse perpetrated by his former mentor, Father Fernando Karadima, who was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.
 
Targeting vulnerable migrants is cynical and cruel
WASHINGTON (CNS): Hours before the first State of the Union address by the president of the United States (US), Donald Trump, on January 30, immigrant supporters expressed concern with his administration’s “systematic targeting of vulnerable populations.” 
 
In particular, they were bothered by the portrayal of migrant children, young people and families as gang members and criminals. 
 
Trump and the US Congress are haggling over how to fix some of the country’s most urgent immigration woes. Immigrants have been caught in the verbal crossfire. 
 
Urgent issues include finding a solution for some 800,000 young adults brought into the country illegally as minors by their parents and who now face a March 5 deadline that may see the end of an Obama-era protection that gave them some legal relief to remain in the country. 
 
In September, Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme and charged Congress with passing a bill to save it. 
 
Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, or KIND, moderated a panel that included representatives of faith communities who say the administration and “anti-immigrant members of Congress are relentlessly targeting children and families in a cynical, cruel strategy that plays politics with the lives of the most vulnerable.”
 
Nearly 2,000 churches damaged in Mexico quakes
MEXICO CITY (CNS): A report from the Mexican Bishops’ Conference has catalogued 1,850 churches—including 17 cathedrals—damaged by the twin earthquakes that shook the country in 7 September 2017. 
 
The report, released on January 29, found that 1,603 of damaged church buildings were catalogued as historic. Some 220 churches remain closed, while 38 places of worship collapsed. Churches in at least 26 of Mexico’s dioceses suffered some sort of structural damage. 
 
The magnitude 8.1 earthquake caused widespread in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca state and in neighbouring Chiapas state. 
 
The quake claimed nearly 100 lives, and the region is still badly damaged and rebuilding. 
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake also struck Mexico City and some central states such as Puebla and Morelos on September 19, claiming 370 lives. 
 
The Diocese of Cuernavaca, which serves Morelos, just to the south of Mexico City, reported damage to almost of all its churches. 
 
Muslim leaders declare Marawi zone of peace
Cotabato (UCAN): The 100-member the Federated Royal Sultanate League of the Philippines has declared Marawi, devastated by a five-month armed conflict last year, a darussalam or zone of peace instead of a killing field. The group vowed to assist in the reconstruction of the war-torn city.
 
Bishop Edwin de la Peña of Marawi, said he would support the Muslims in accordance with Islamic principles.
 
“We can assure you that we will be with you all the way. We will accompany you all the way in rebuilding Marawi.” he said. 
 
On January 30, the presidential palace said at least 20 per cent of the 6,400 housing units targeted for people affected by the fighting have already been built.
 
However, Moro groups have criticised a government plan to set up another military facility along with homes in Marawi.
 
Drieza Lininding, chairperson of the Moro Consensus Group, said the camp would intimidate people from speaking out against military abuse.
 
“[It] is meant to silence forever the affected residents. It is the highest form of suppression,” Lininding said.

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