Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

YANGON, Myanmar – Church officials have expressed disappointment over the refusal of Myanmar's government to grant visas to three members of a U.N. fact-finding mission to investigate alleged human rights abuses by security forces against the Rohingya minority.

VATICAN CITY – Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who spent 22 years as director of the Vatican press office, died at home in Rome July 5 at age 80 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

HANOI, Vietnam – A Vietnamese court sentenced a Catholic blogger to 10 years in prison for propaganda against the Communist government. Rights activists described the sentence as "heavy."

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield has issued a decree that people in same-sex marriages should not present themselves for holy Communion nor can they receive the sacrament of anointing of the sick or have a Catholic funeral unless they "have given some signs of repentance."

KINSHASA, Congo – Catholic bishops in Congo accused their government of suppressing civil liberties and demanded free elections envisaged under a church-brokered New Year accord.

DAGUPAN, Philippines – The Catholic bishop in the southern Philippine city of Marawi dismissed as "ridiculous" proposals to negotiate for the release of a priest held captive by terrorist gunmen.

FATIMA, Portugal – Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai consecrated Lebanon and all the Middle East to Mary in Fatima, praying for peace and stability.

VILNIUS, Lithuania – A Catholic archbishop who was murdered by Soviet police to prevent him attending the Second Vatican Council became the first communist-era martyr beatified in Lithuania.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian Catholics have made a greater-than-usual effort to help Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr this year amid heightened religious tensions in the country, reported ucanews.com.

JUBA, South Sudan – The heads of the member churches of the South Sudan Council of Churches criticized the country's political leaders "on all sides" for placing political and personal interests above the needs or ordinary people, which they said has led to economic decline, famine and ongoing violence.