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World and National News Briefs

Chinese release captured bishop

HONG KONG (CNS) — A young bishop whose episcopal ordination is not recognized by the Chinese government was released five days after being taken away by plainclothes security officers who broke into the cathedral compound. After his Sept. 16 release, Bishop Joseph Wu Qinjing of Zhouzhi was hospitalized because of a concussion, reported UCA News, an Asian Church news agency based in Thailand. A Church source close to the 38-year-old bishop told UCA News Sept. 19 that before Bishop Wu’s release he was forced to write a statement saying his episcopal status was illegal. The statement said he was ordained without an election. It added that his management of the diocese and presiding over Church activities as bishop have violated the Chinese government’s religious affairs regulations. The Church source added that Bishop Wu also was forced to promise in the statement that he would not wear a miter or bishop’s vestments during liturgies or appear as a bishop at large-scale Church activities.

Bishop says death sentence is ‘revenge’

FARGO, N.D. (CNS) — Imposing the death penalty on convicted murderer Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. "reinforces the false perspective of revenge as justice," Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo said Sept. 22. "It diminishes respect for all human life, both the lives of the guilty and the innocent," he said after a federal jury in Fargo decided Rodriguez should be executed by lethal injection. Rodriguez, 53, was convicted of the 2003 kidnap, rape and murder of 22-year-old University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin. Sjodin, from Pequot Lakes, Minn., was abducted from the parking lot of a shopping mall in Grand Forks Nov. 22, 2003. In April 2004, after winter snows melted, her body was found in a ravine outside Crookston, Minn., near the home of Rodriguez, a registered sex offender. U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson set Jan. 5 as the date for Rodriguez’s official sentencing. It will be the first federal death sentence handed down in North Dakota and the first death sentence issued by any court in the state in more than a century. North Dakota state laws have excluded capital punishment for decades.

Abp. Milingo, 4 others excommunicated

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Recent ordinations made without papal approval have placed Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and the four prelates he recently ordained under automatic excommunication, the Vatican said. Starting with his "attempted marriage" in 2001 until his Sept. 24 ordinations of four bishops in Washington, Archbishop Milingo’s actions have led him to "a condition of irregularity and progressive breach in communion with the Church," said a written statement by the Vatican press office. Various Church officials tried "in vain" to contact the retired archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia, and "dissuade him from continuing acts that provoke scandal," the Sept. 26 press statement said. It said that despite the "patient vigilance" shown by the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI in hoping the retired archbishop would return to full communion with the Church, the archbishop's Sept. 24 ordinations "have dashed such hopes." The Vatican statement also said "the Church does not recognize nor does it intend to recognize in the future such ordinations."

Riots follow executions in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNS) — The three Catholic men convicted of murdering 200 Muslims during sectarian riots in Central Sulawesi province in 2000 were executed by firing squad Sept. 22, triggering rioting in other provinces. Father Jimmy Tumbelaka, spiritual counsel for Fabianus Tibo, 60, Dominggus da Silva, 39, and Marinus Riwu, 48, said the men were handcuffed and tied to chairs. Da Silva and Tibo allowed themselves to be blindfolded, but Riwu refused, added Father Tumbelaka, parish priest for Poso, the town where the 2000 riots occurred. Father Tumbelaka recounted that the men were taken out of solitary confinement in Palu’s Petobo jail at 11:30 p.m. Media reported the execution was carried out amid tight security on the outskirts of Palu. Father Tumbelaka said police and prosecutors rejected the men’s last request, that their bodies be taken to St. Mary Church in Palu for a Mass to be said by Bishop Joseph Suwatan of Manado.

Sex-abuse expert: Church raised bar for all

The response of the Catholic Church in the United States to its child sexual-abuse problem has raised the bar on sex-abuse prevention for all organizations that serve children, said Monica Applewhite, an expert in abuse prevention strategies.

Pope continues direct approach

Two of Pope Benedict XVI

Screenwriters have chance for awards

The Kairos Prize, intended to be given every other year for spiritually uplifting screenplays, will now be awarded annually.

Amnesty Int’l urged not to support abortion

Amnesty International would risk

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