CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Around the Traps

Italian bishops provide humanitarian aid to South Sudan
NAIROBI (CNS): An infusion of US$1.1 million ($8.5 million) will benefit humanitarian initiatives, the resettlement of refugees and internally displaced people and peacebuilding efforts in violence-ravaged communities in South Sudan under a programme initiated by the Italian Bishops’ Conference. 
 
Spread over three years, the gift coincides with South Sudan’s eighth anniversary of independence and will aid the country’s recovery from a deadly civil war, Nicoletta Sabbetti, East Africa regional coordinator for Caritas Italy, said. 
 
The programme will be coordinated through Caritas South Sudan and Caritas Internationalis. Sabbetti said that the funds will help vulnerable communities recover from conflict, overcome food shortages and promote peacebuilding in the seven dioceses of South Sudan. 
 
Archbishop’s condemnation of attacks on LGBT parade to little too late
WARSAW (CNS): Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda of Bialystok, Poland, condemned attacks on a gay pride rally by protesters claiming to be defending his cathedral. Some, however, said his remarks were too little, too late, and that his earlier remarks incited violence against the LGBT community. 
 
“Acts of violence and scorn are incompatible with the attitude of a Christian and disciple of Christ,” Archbishop Wojda said on July 22, adding, “At the same time, I encourage prayer and care for the family and its internal purity, so our families, strong in God, can offer an example of beautiful love in the pattern of the Holy Family. These latest incidents show we still have much to do.” 
 
The archbishop issued the statement following violent reactions to a July 20 Equality March in Bialystok in which several marchers and at least 20 counter-protesters were arrested. 
 
A commentator in Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza daily, Agnieszka Sadowska, accused Archbishop Wojda of “blessing hatred,” and said his earlier message, calling on Catholics to resist “the depravation of youth,” had been “a disgrace.”
 
Mexican shelters harassed since deal on migrants
MEXICO CITY (CNS): Soldiers appeared at the diocesan migrant shelter in the northern Mexican city of Saltillo on July 23 and demanded to see the identifications of its guests. Video shared on social media shows that shelter director, Alberto Xicotencatl, confronted them, shouting that Mexican law forbids demanding immigration documents from any person at a migrant shelter or within a three-mile radius of such places. 
 
Xicotencatl attributed the army’s visit to stepped-up migrant enforcement since the government of Mexico struck a deal with the United States (US) to increase immigration enforcement and avoid tariffs, a move it says protected more than a million jobs at a time when the economy is showing signs of slowing. 
 
But in exchange, Xicotencatl said, “(Mexico) is pursuing and detaining migrants so they don’t get to the US border.” He added, “There’s no other explanation” for the army’s visit—and one by the federal police three days earlier, when they, too, asked to check migrants’ documents. 
 
Salvadoran bishops concerned over treatment of migrants
WASHINGTON (CNS): For weeks, Salvadoran bishops have remained largely silent about the deaths of a little girl and her father, both natives of El Salvador, who drowned in the Rio Grande River in late June trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States (Sunday Examiner, July 7). 
 
But a heartfelt letter issued on July 21 shows the two have been clearly on the minds of the Catholic bishops of the country as they used the pair’s death to express sorrow over the fate of migrants and their suffering. The photo of the lifeless bodies of Valeria and her father, Oscar Martinez Ramirez, on the banks of the Rio Grande, is “evidence of the painful drama of migration,” said yhe statement issued by the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador. 
 
“This young father and his little daughter symbolise the countless number of our brothers and sisters who suffer inhumane situations including, in some cases, death,” the statement said. It was also was read at a news conference July 21 by Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador in the country’s metropolitan cathedral. 
 
The image of the father and daughter, they wrote, is “a silent and heartbreaking cry that moves us deeply.” 
 
The bishops called attention to the mistreatment of migrants, particularly children. They offered solidarity to Salvadorans making the immigration journey and those who have already made it and are worried about being deported, and they spoke against the causes that have forced their fellow Salvadorans to flee: violence, lack of opportunities at home, corruption.

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