New Orleans

Centre to promote African-American sainthood candidates

Xavier University of Louisiana has announced that its Institute for Black Catholic Studies will become a centre for promoting the Causes of African-American Catholics, pursuing scholarship into their lives and work. Among the candidates it plans to focus on are Fr Augustus Tolton, the first recognised African-American priest, and Sister Thea Bowman, a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration who taught at the Institute. Both have the title “Servant of God”, as their Causes have already been formally opened. Another candidate for sainthood is Venerable Pierre Toussaint – a former slave turned hairdresser who turned his New York home into an orphanage.

Managua

Stop abduction of protesters, urges cardinal

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes of Managua has disputed a claim by President Daniel Ortega that Nicaragua has “returned to normal” after weeks of protests left hundreds dead. The cardinal said the country would reach a “true normality” when protesters stopped being persecuted. “It is sad that, when people talk about the country being normal, these cases [threats or kidnappings] occur, because that does not mean there is normalcy,” he told reporters. The Nicaraguan Pro-Human Rights Association says 600 protesters have been kidnapped and hundreds more are missing. The Catholic Church is seeking to restart talks with Ortega’s government.

Tucumán

Province in Argentina declares itself to be pro-life

A province in northern Argentina has joined a number of cities in declaring itself to be pro-life ahead of a vote on legalising abortion on demand. The declaration by legislators in Tucumán is symbolic, as any law passed would apply nationwide. It was backed by 39 elected officials out of a total of 43. Sandra Mendoza, who proposed the declaration, said most of the 1.5 million inhabitants of the province were pro-life. As we went to press, the senate was due to vote on Wednesday on a bill broadly legalising abortion until the 14th week of pregnancy. It was expected to be rejected by senators. The bill passed through congress last month by 129 votes to 125.

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