National Catholic Reporter

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Cape Town, South Africa

Church beatifies South African teacher killed for resisting witchcraft

South African Benedict Daswa, who was bludgeoned to death 25 years ago for resisting witchcraft, now has the title of blessed.

The schoolteacher was beatified Sunday in ceremonies that drew about 30,000 people to the remote northern South Africa village of Tshitanini, near his home in Limpopo province.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, said during the beatification Mass that Blessed Daswa "gave historic witness to the Gospel, even to the shedding of blood" and that "from now on will be called 'blessed.'"

CRS manages 'safe and dignified' burials of Sierra Leone Ebola victims


Burials that are dignified and safe are urgently needed for Ebola victims in West Africa, where corpses are frequently left unattended for days and then thrown into graves without ceremony, a U.S. church aid official said.

"So many people are dying that there has not been the capacity to respond" to burial needs in an appropriate way and "we are now making this a priority," Michael Stulman, regional information officer for the U.S. bishops' Catholic Relief Services, said in a telephone interview from Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Church workers fight fear, myths as Ebola worsens in Sierra Leone

It is hard for people in Sierra Leone not to lose hope as the death toll rises and worldwide fear grows over the worst Ebola outbreak on record, said the head of Caritas in the archdiocese of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

"Our situation is desperate," said Fr. Peter Konteh, executive director of Caritas.

In a telephone interview Wednesday from Freetown, Konteh said the mood of the West African country was bleak following the death Tuesday of the doctor who had been leading the country's fight against the highly contagious disease.

Bishops in southern Africa take fight against corruption into the pews


The bishops of southern Africa said corruption is rampant in the region and called on all Catholics to take a pledge not to pay or offer bribes.

"If you experience corruption, report it," the bishops of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland urged in a pastoral letter, noting that "bribery, collusion and all other forms of corruption thrive in conditions of secrecy and concealment, and they persist because we allow them to continue."

South Africa's bishops say state secrets bill fails to promote openness


The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference said it regrets that South Africa's parliament passed a bill expanding protection for state secrets Thursday, noting that the country needs more openness, not more secrecy, to fight corruption.

The bishops urged President Jacob Zuma, who must sign the Protection of State Information Bill before it becomes law, to refer it to the Constitutional Court for deliberation in order to protect the democracy that "we all cherish."

Bishop in Zanzibar says church workers terrified after priest's murder


Zanzibar's bishop said priests and other clergy in his diocese are terrified after a priest was murdered outside his parish church in what is seen by many as a terrorist attack.

"We are very afraid," Bishop Augustine Shao said, noting that clergy "were warned of attacks" before and after the Feb. 17 murder of 56-year-old Fr. Evaristus Mushi.

Mushi's car was followed by two men on motorcycles who blocked his way, shot and killed him, Shao said in a telephone interview Thursday from Zanzibar, a group of Indian Ocean islands that is part of Tanzania.


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November 20-December 3, 2015


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