Nation and World News

Annual audit of Church’s abuse allegations shows cautious improvement

WASHINGTON — The 15th annual report on the implementation of the U.S. bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" shows a decrease in allegations of clergy sex abuse from the two previous years but also indicates the need for continued vigilance since charges were raised by more than 650 adults and 24 minors.

Church leaders threatened amid violence in Nicaragua

Demonstrators in Managua, Nicaragua, stood behind a barricade during clashes with police May 30. Nicaragua’s bishops issued an urgent statement May 31 calling for an end to police and paramilitary attacks on protestors.

MEXICO CITY — The Jesuits' Central America province has warned that the rector of Jesuit-run University of Central America in Managua, Nicaragua, has received death threats for his participation in a national dialogue convened by the country's Catholic bishops to reach a peaceful end to weeks of unrest and government repression of protesters.

‘Ninja Warrior’ priest finds a way to proclaim Gospel

Father Stephen Gadberry posed for a portrait after swinging up into a tree at St. John Center in Little Rock, Ark. He tried out for the NBC reality show “American Ninja Warrior,” which premiered May 30.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas priest is finding ways to take his appearance on the NBC reality show "American Ninja Warrior" — where his ninja name is "Father Flex" — and relate it to his role as a pastor.

Father Stephen Gadberry, pastor of St. Mary Church in Batesville and St. Cecilia Church in Newport, applied last December to be on the show, which allows everyday "warriors" to show off their skills in a series of challenging obstacle courses. The season began May 30.

New Vatican document on economy given high marks in U.S.

WASHINGTON — A new Vatican document on the economy, which contains a strong emphasis on financial transactions and maneuvers, is getting a warm welcome among U.S. Catholics who observe the economic scene.

"I think they did OK," said Father Seamus Finn, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate who is chairman of the board of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and head of his order's Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office.

State Department releases annual report on international religious freedom

Rohingya refugee children gathered in a playground Dec. 18 at the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The plight of Rohingya refugees was mentioned in the U.S. State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report.

WASHINGTON — Everyone has "a stake in this fight" for religious freedom, said the U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.

"One person's bondage is another person's burden to break," he told reporters May 29. "We're all people with beautiful and undeniable human dignity. Our lives are sacred. Our right to choose the road our conscience takes is inalienable."

Brownback joined U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference to release the annual International Religious Freedom Report, which covers the period between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2017.

At prayer breakfast, Abp. Naumann warns of ‘God crisis’ in nation

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast May 24 in Washington. Archbishop Naumann warned that the nation’s most serious crisis is “a God-crisis — a crisis of faith.”

WASHINGTON — This year's National Catholic Prayer breakfast took on a decidedly Kansas flavor, as Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City and Sam Brownback, a former House and Senate member and governor of Kansas, addressed nearly 1,000 at a Washington hotel May 24.

Also speaking was outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, who was a staffer for Brownback in the latter's early days in Congress.

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