Nation/World news briefs: Jan. 23, 2023


“By being with Jesus, we discover that his pastoral heart always beats for the person who is confused, lost, far away. Jesus never said, ‘Let them sort themselves out,’ he went out to find them.”
— Pope Francis, speaking at his weekly general audience Jan. 18

Historically Black Catholic university announces new medical college to dire meet shortage

Xavier University of Louisiana, which for decades has placed the most African American graduates into medical schools across the country each year, will open a College of Medicine in a partnership with Ochsner Health, executives of Xavier and Ochsner announced Jan. 17. The new medical school, expected to open within four to five years, has as its primary goals building a pipeline of African American doctors for a health-care field in which people of color are underrepresented and extending the founding mission of St. Katharine Drexel “to promote a more just and humane society,” said Xavier President Reynold Verret. According to a Human Resources for Health analysis, African Americans comprise about 5% of the nation’s physicians while accounting for 13% of the U.S. population. Hispanic Americans comprise 6% of the country’s physicians while accounting for 19% of the population.

Lawyers seek to prove disgraced former cardinal not competent to stand trial

As Theodore McCarrick faces criminal charges for allegedly sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy, the disgraced former cardinal’s legal defense team is now claiming he is in steep mental and physical decline and therefore not able to stand trial. McCarrick’s lawyers filed a motion in Massachusetts’ Dedham District Court Jan. 13, citing a December examination conducted by David Schretlen, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. According to the motion, Schretlen found the 92-year-old McCarrick has neurological defects and impaired memory and cognition.

Pope prays God will strengthen commitment to defending all human life

As the Biden administration and state governments look at ways to expand or restrict access to abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, Pope Francis prayed that God would strengthen people’s commitment to protecting human life at every stage. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said Pope Francis is “deeply grateful for the faithful witness shown publicly over the years by all who promote and defend the right to life of the most innocent and vulnerable members of our human family.” The message was sent to the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese of the Military Services, to be read at the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 19 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

Pope advances sainthood causes of six candidates, including poet

Pope Francis has advanced the sainthood cause of a Spanish poet-priest who was a member of the Spanish Royal Academy. The pope Jan. 19 signed decrees recognizing that each of the six candidates heroically lived the Christian virtues. Beatification will require a miracle attributed to the candidate’s intercession, and canonization — a declaration of sainthood — will require an additional miracle. Among the causes that were advanced was that of the Spanish poet and priest, Father Miquel Costa i Llobera who was born in 1854 and died in 1922. He wrote predominantly in Catalan and his poetry was highly praised; he was made a member of the Spanish Royal Academy in 1902.

Ecumenical delegation of bishops visits Holy Land

An ecumenical delegation of bishops from 11 countries participated in the annual pilgrimage of the Holy Land Coordination, which took place Jan. 14-19 in Jordan. Catholic bishops from Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States said they wanted to bring their solidarity to the local Christian community by visiting parishioners and young people during Sunday Mass throughout Jordan Jan. 15. They also met lawmakers and diplomats as well as Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria sheltering in Jordan, who have escaped years of conflict and sectarian violence in their neighboring homelands.

Catholic priest burned to death in Nigeria; other Christians in Congo killed

Deadly violence hit Christians in Africa Jan. 15, with a Catholic priest in northern Nigeria burned to death and as many as 17 Christians killed in a blast in eastern Congo. In Nigeria, Father Isaac Achi was burned to death at his residence in Paikoro, a local government area of Niger state. The armed men had set his house ablaze after a failed break-in at 3 a.m. Another priest who was at the house, identified only as Father Collins, was shot and injured as he tried to escape. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the death toll from a Jan. 15 church attack is an estimated 17 people, according to figures provided by DRC’s government spokesman, with some sources however saying 10 people were killed and 39 others were injured. People were killed in a bomb explosion during a service in a Pentecostal church in the eastern town of Kasindi, near the DRC border with Uganda. They had been gathered in the church for baptism.

Sister André (OSV News photo/courtesy EHPAD Sainte Catherine Labouré)


Sister André, a Daughter of Charity and the world’s oldest known person, died at age 118, a spokesman of the nursing home where she died told AFP agency on Tuesday. Sister André, a Catholic convert raised in a Protestant family, was born Lucile Randon Feb. 11, 1904. It was 10 years before World War I, Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States, New York opened its first subway line and U.S. Army engineers began work on the Panama Canal. She also lived through the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and through 10 pontificates. Sister André died Jan. 17 in her sleep at her nursing home in Toulon, on France’s Mediterranean coast.

Top photo: Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, the only remaining historically Black Catholic university in the U.S., announces Jan. 17, 2023, the partnership with Ochsner Health to build a new medical college in New Orleans. (OSV News photo/courtesy Xavier University of Louisiana)

Author: OSV News

OSV News is a national and international wire service reporting on Catholic issues and issues that affect Catholics.

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