Weekly roundup: Refugee migrants, indebted clergy, and Ebola in Africa

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It’s August, and the birthday of Francis Scott Key, who was born on August 1, 1779. So go ahead and hum the Star-Spangled Banner. This is your weekly roundup.

The Good:

Faith groups are stepping up the pressure for lawmakers in Washington to do something about the waves of migrant children flooding the borders.  On Thursday, more than 100 activists and religious leaders were arrested outside the White House, where they were gathered to advocate the cessation of deportations of minors back to violent countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

The Jesuits are doing their part, too, calling for members of Congress who are alumni of Jesuit institutions to pass aid for the refugee children at the borders. “I ask you, as a leader, a parent, and a Catholic, to uphold an American tradition of which we are all proud,” the Rev. Thomas Smolich, head of the U.S. Jesuit conference, wrote to House Speaker John Boehner and 42 other House members who graduated from Jesuit high schools and colleges.

Also in good news, Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy has arrived in the United States, where she will settle with her husband and their two children in New Hampshire. Last week, Ibrahim met with Pope Francis and stayed in Rome for a week before her travels to the U.S.

The Bad:

Holy Family Catholic Church in Chicago has fired longtime music director Colin Collette after the pastor learned that he was engaged to his same-sex partner.

Twin Cities Archbishop John C. Nienstedt has apologized for mishandling sex abuse cases, but has unequivocally stated that he will not resign. This comes at the 25th anniversary of SNAP, the survivors network for clergy abuse victims.

According to our friends over at Sojouners, people who are studying to become clergy leave seminary deeply in debt, and face low earning potential. This piece at the Atlantic highlights part-time pastors who are taking on secular work as a way to pay the bills. (This mostly applies to our Protestant brothers and sisters, but still, worth noting.)

Despite pressure from faith groups and activists, Congress has scuttled a bill that would provide aid for refugee kids on the border. Then they’re on vacation until the middle of September. So much for that.

The Ugly:

In Africa, the Ebola virus is spreading at an unstoppable rate, consuming now three African countries. The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning against any nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone.   

The Middle East continues to melt into violence, with a 72-hour cease-fire between Israel and Hamas dissolving with rockets being fired into Israel, and clashes between Israeli and Palestinian soldiers erupting.

 

And now for the rapid fire papal roundup:

This week Pope Francis:

And now I’ll share my one secret for happiness: relax on the weekends. Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to take our survey on marriage and family life.

 

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