PODCAST: Roman Catholic Church to sell some assets to compensate victims sexual abuse (Urban Christian News 11.09.21)

This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to the New York Times, The Roman Catholic Church in France will sell some of its assets to compensate victims of sexual abuse, French bishops announced on Monday, one month after the release of a sweeping report on sexual abuse by the clergy that has fueled growing calls for reform. “We will ensure that no one is left behind,” Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, the archbishop of Reims and the president of the Bishops’ Conference of France, told reporters after a meeting of bishops over the past week in Lourdes, a popular Catholic pilgrimage site in southwestern France. The measure, one of several approved near unanimously on Monday by the bishops, was greeted by victims groups as a significant step in the French church’s reckoning of sexual abuse in its ranks, which accelerated after the release of the report last month. But they cautioned that they would keep a watchful eye on the implementation of the measures announced Monday, which also included the creation of an independent reparations body to process victims’ claims. The bishops also said they planned to set up working groups, presided over by laypeople, that will draw up concrete proposals by 2023 on issues like the training of priests. The devastating church-ordered report last month estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 children or vulnerable people had been abused over the past 70 years by clergy members or people affiliated with the church — a projection based on a general population survey, a public call for victims’ testimony, archival analysis and other sources.
According to Reuters, At least 25 primary school children were killed when their thatched-roof classrooms caught fire in southern Niger on Monday, the council of ministers said in a statement. Fourteen more children were injured, including five in a critical condition, the statement said. The school is in the town of Maradi, more than 370 miles east of the capital Niamey. “For the moment we cannot state the origin of the fire,” regional director of education Maman Hdi said. Classes have been suspended and three days of mourning declared in Maradi, he said. It was the second time this year that a fire has killed pupils in their classrooms in the West African country. Twenty preschool children were killed in April in Niamey.
According to Christian Headlines, The Liberty University board of trustees voted Friday for an “independent and comprehensive review of its Title IX policies and processes.” According to WSLS 10 News, the vote came after complaints that the university mishandled sexual abuse allegations from students. As part of the decision, the university will hire a third party to investigate the allegations and “to make things right with the Jane Doe Title IX plaintiffs, regardless of how long it has been.” As was previously reported, Liberty University is facing a lawsuit from 12 Jane Does that allege the school violated Title IX rules, repeatedly threatened victims with honor code violations and downplayed sexual assault allegations. President Jerry Prevo also announced at the board meeting that the college would install up to 1,000 security cameras across the university campus, and emergency “blue light boxes” would also be placed in key locations on campus. The initiative costs about $8.5 million. The advocacy group for sexual abuse survivors, Justice for Janes, had asked the university for an in-depth investigation and enhanced security measures on campus.
According to Evangelical Focus, once again, the church will unite worldwide to pray on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Christians. The World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission officially launched the first IDOP in 1996, encouraging local churches worldwide to dedicate a Sunday of November to pray for the persecuted Christians. “For over two decades, every November, the global Church has united in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Today, more than 300 million Christians live in places where they face persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. Staggeringly, this is one in eight Christians, globally”, says WEA Secretary General Thomas Schirrmacher in this year’s invitation to join. According to Godfrey Yogarajah, Ambassador for Religious Freedom of the WEA “The IDOP is a time set apart to remember all those who share our faith, but not our freedom”. The theme of this year is “Blessed are the persecuted”, inspired by Matthew 5:10. The IDOP will take place on November 7 and 14. It aims “to call the global Church to pray that our brothers and sisters would know that they are blessed when they face persecution because of righteousness and that they would not lose heart, knowing that their reward is great in heaven”.
According to the New York Daily News, A Nashville pastor is being hailed as a hero for saving his congregation from a man with a gun. Dezire Baganda, 26, was sitting in the front row of Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church Sunday afternoon when he pulled out a gun, according to the Nashville Metro Police Department. Baganda allegedly walked up to the alter, where the pastor was praying with several members, and began waving the gun and telling everyone to stand up. That’s when the pastor, identified by WKRN as Ezekiel Ndikumana, tackled Baganda. Several congregants helped hold Baganda down until police arrived, according to officials. Baganda has been charged with 15 counts of felony aggravated assault, but police said more charges are expected. During his arrest, Baganda reportedly told officers that he was Jesus and that “all churches and schools need to be shot up,” according to the affidavit obtained by WKRN. “He wanted to kill, that’s what first came to my mind,” Ndikumana told the station. “I would say that God used me… by trying to go behind him. And then I felt the feeling that I would go and grab him… and that’s what happened.”
According to BBC, US rapper Travis Scott is facing multiple lawsuits after at least eight people were killed and hundreds injured in a crush at his festival Astroworld. The lawsuits include allegations that Scott and surprise performer Drake incited the crowd, and that concert producer Live Nation failed to provide adequate safety measures. The rappers and Live Nation have not responded directly to the suits. Scott has said he is working to help the families of the victims. The youngest of those killed at the Texas festival was just 14 years old. The surge began at about 9:15 local time on Friday, when panic broke out as the crowd pressed towards the front of the stage during Scott’s headline set. Lucas Naccarati told BBC Radio 5 Live that within three minutes of the rapper coming on stage, he “was pretty sure people [were] going to be dying”. “You couldn’t move, you couldn’t scratch your own face, [that’s how] tight it was,” he said. In a statement posted to Twitter, Houston police chief Troy Finner said he met with Scott and his head of security “for a few moments” prior to the event to express his concerns about safety. As part of their investigation, police in the Texas city are looking into separate reports that somebody in the audience was injecting people with drugs. Several concertgoers had to be revived with anti-drug overdose medicine, including a security officer who police said appeared to have an injection mark in his neck.
According to CBS Sports, Joel Embiid has tested positive for COVID-19 and is expected to miss several games. The star big man was already slated to miss Monday’s game against the New York Knicks as a planned rest day with the Philadelphia 76ers on the first half of a back-to-back, but now, he could be out a fair bit longer. He has already missed one game this season due to lingering knee issues. While a significant number of team staffers had already received their COVID-19 booster shots, players were slated to receive them this week, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Embiid is now expected to miss at least 10 days, but could return sooner if he registers two negative COVID tests in 24 hours. Embiid is just the latest Sixer to miss time due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Matisse Thybulle, Isaiah Joe and Tobias Harris are all also in the protocols, and Harris has also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
You can read these stories and more at UrbanChristianNews.com
In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!

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