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Bishop of Las Cruces retires; San Antonio auxiliary named successor

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Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., and named as his successor Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu of San Antonio.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, announced the changes Thursday in Washington.

The Diocese of Las Cruces was established in 1982 and Ramirez, now 76, was named its first bishop. Canon law requires bishops to submit their resignations when they turn 75.

Cantu, 46, has been an auxiliary bishop in San Antonio since 2008.

Africa rises, China falls on Christian persecution list

The persecution of Christians "vastly rose" in 2012 as radical Islamists consolidated power in Africa, according to Open Doors, a Christian missionary organization that publishes an annual list of offending nations.

Increasing threats to African Christians can be seen in focused attacks, such as the killings of Christians in Nigerian churches by the radical Muslim group Boko Haram, but also in the greater prevalence of radical Muslims in government, according to the California-based Open Doors.

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April 11-24, 2014

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