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Issue Date:  December 28, 2007


A court in the northeastern Brazilian state of Para upheld a 27-year prison sentence for Rayfran das Neves Sales, who was convicted of gunning down environmentalist Sr. Dorothy Stang in 2005. Das Neves Sales was sentenced in May, but according to Brazilian law, since the sentence was longer than 20 years, he was automatically granted an appeal.

-- CNS

Pope Benedict XVI has advanced the sainthood cause of a 6-year-old Italian girl who wrote letters to Jesus in the final stages of her illness. If she is eventually canonized, Antonietta Meo would become the youngest nonmartyr saint to be recognized under modern saint-making procedures. The girl, known by the nickname “Nennolina,” lived in Rome in the 1930s and had bone cancer. She died five months before her 7th birthday, and the letters were later cited as the record of a young mystic.

Latin American human rights activists working to bring to justice leaders of Plan Condor, an intelligence-sharing initiative that united military dictatorships in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay from the 1970s and ’80s, are seeing progress. In Uruguay, trials against former dictator Gregorio Álvarez (1981-85) and ex-military officers Juan Carlos Lacebeau and Jorge Tróccoli began Nov. 12. A judge in Argentina announced Nov. 28 that trials could begin against dictator Jorge Rafael Videla (1976-81) and 16 of his officers.

-- CNS

Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding, China, who is not recognized by the government-sanctioned church, was released from detention Dec. 14. Jia, 72, was detained Aug. 23, when he reportedly removed a sign displaying the words “Catholic Patriotic Association” that government officials placed outside his cathedral.

National Catholic Reporter, December 28, 2007

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