Closing of Canada’s religious freedom office could spell trouble for human rights

Quebec City, Canada, Mar 29, 2016 / 06:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Canada’s decision to defund its Office of Religious Freedom will harm the country’s ability to defend religious minorities and human rights in general, said religious freedom ad… Read more

How the ‘pirate nun’ changed a gay man’s life

Birmingham, Ala., Mar 27, 2017 / 12:02 pm (CNA).- Paul Darrow went to his first gay beach when he was 15. Soon after, he hitchhiked his way to New York, where there was a thriving gay scene and where he could pursue a career in modeling. Once there, he landed a high-end job as an international model and rubbed elbows with celebrities at clubs in the city. When he wasn’t at the studio or at the gym, Darrow spent his time looking for partners. He found himself going through dozens, and then hundreds, and then thousands of lovers. “It became frantic, and it was never my intention…but I became insensitive to what it means to be with a partner, both body and soul,” he said in the documentary film, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.” But after the AIDS epidemic claimed around 90 percent of his friends, a disease he himself narrowly and miraculously escaped, Darrow decided to move to San Francisco for a fresh start. He met his partner, Jeff, there and they moved to a cabin in Sonoma County. It was in their shared home that Darrow accidentally discovered a one-eyed, straight-talking “pirate nun” wearing an eye-patch who would change his life forever. “It was so strange that I said ‘Jeff Jeff come in here! You gotta see this!’” he said, pointing to the image on the T.V. Unbeknownst to them at the time, it was Mother Angelica on EWTN. She had just had a stroke, which pulled the left side of her face into a slump and required her to wear a black eye patch over one eye. “So (Jeff) comes in and I’m laughing mockingly at this nun with a patch over her eye, a distorted face…and a complete old fashioned habit,” Darrow said. “We both mocked her and laughed at her, you know, ‘Gosh these crazy Christians.’” Jeff left the room and Darrow was about to change the channel, when Mother Angelica “said something so intelligent, so real, and so honest, that it really struck me,” he said. “You see God created you and I to be happy in this life and the next,” Mother Angelica said through slumped lips, her good eye still twinkling behind her glasses. Mother Angelica’s words struck a chord with Darrow that day, and he found himself secretively snatching glimpses of her episodes every chance he got. “He cares for you. He watches your every move. There’s no one that loves you can do that.” Mother Angelica’s words struck a chord with Darrow that day, and he found himself secretively snatching glimpses of her episodes every chance he got. Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, foundress of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), passed away on March 27, 2016 after a lengthy struggle with the aftereffects of a stroke. She was 92 years old. “She really had…a huge influence on my life, and I learned to love her,” he said, “but at the same time, I had to hide her.” “So when I turned off the TV, I would always change the channel so that when Jeff or whoever was watching that TV came in, they would never see that I was watching Mother Angelica. And it reminded me as I was doing this of when I used to turn the channel when I was watching porn because I didn’t want Jeff or anyone else to see a porn station come up.” Eventually, Mother Angelica’s influence convinced Darrow to go back to church after decades of absence. It was a move that made Darrow very wary; he was sure he would lose friends and clients if they saw him going into a Catholic Church. And in some ways, he was right. “I lost clients, I lost friends,” he told CNA in a 2014 interview, at the premiere of the documentary. “People were in shock that an educated, relatively intelligent man could believe in Jesus Christ. These were the few friends that were aware that I was back in the Church.” But it’s a move that he’s never regretted. Since his conversion, Darrow has shared his experience through talks and conferences. Mother Angelica also led Darrow to discover Courage International, the Vatican-approved apostolate that reaches out to Catholics with same-sex attraction with the goals of growing closer to God, engaging in supportive friendships, and learning to live full lives within the call to chastity. It was through Courage International that Darrow became involved with the film “Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” which he saw as a chance to share his story and to give others the same hope that he found in the Catholic Church. “I was not discriminated against at the beginning of my journey back to the Catholic Church, I was never told that I was a bad person, that I was doing something wrong, even in confession,” he said. “The Catholic Church really is, according to its teachings, open to everybody.” Darrow said he felt he owed it to God to share his story through courage and through the film because of all that God had done in his life. “I wanted to express my love to God and my appreciation for all that He has done for me,” Darrow said, “that He had never forgotten me during the decades that I had forgotten him or turned against him.” The full documentary is available for free online at: https://everlastinghills.org/movie/  This article was originally published March 29, 2016. Read more

Survivor of Brussels terror attack writes letter of hope to unborn baby

Brussels, Belgium, Mar 29, 2016 / 12:47 am (CNA).- “…I just want to tell you that life is a wonderful thing, and the world is really full of remarkable people.” So starts a letter written by one of the survivors of the bomb attacks at the Brussels Zaventem international airport last week, according to CNN. The author of the letter, Sneha Mehta, penned those words to her child, who was only 16 weeks old in utero. When Sneha and her husband Sameep Mehta arrived in Brussels from Abu Dhabi last Tuesday, they were abruptly greeted with screams and chaos as the ceiling of the airport started to collapse. The couple was faced with the split-second decision to either remain in the shambles of the arrival section, or try to leave for the hospital to check on their baby. “I absolutely didn’t know which direction to run in,” Sneha told CNN. Amidst all the uncertainty, Sneha said that she knew one thing “for sure” – that she would survive for the sake of their unborn baby. Sneha and Sameep fled the airport and ran straight to the highway, where a cab driver stopped to take them to the Sint Augustinus hospital. Despite the traumatic chaos of the day, the ultrasound exam showed the Mehtas’ baby peacefully sucking its thumb – almost unaware of the terror happening outside the womb. Unlike many memories from that day, Sneha recalled not the hatred and violence that broke loose upon the city, but rather the kindness she encountered from complete strangers. She remembered the police and rescue crews who were quick to aid the wounded. She recalled the cab driver who not only brought them to the hospital, but talked to them the whole way there. She thought of the traumatized victims scattered along the highways who were helped by random drivers. “People are still coming together, regardless of race, color or background,” Sneha said, according to CNN. Now that she is a survivor, and safely back home in Antwerp, Sneha decided to write a letter to her unborn baby as a reminder of all that had happened. According to CNN, the letter reads:   “Hi Sweetheart, I don’t know if we already acknowledged this with you in person, but when you were 16 weeks old, mum and dad were in an explosion at Brussels Airport. And no matter where humanity is today, I just want to tell you that life is a wonderful thing, and the world is really full of remarkable people. You didn’t just give mum and dad faith and reason to live, you gave the awareness and presence of mind like never before.  I felt more alive than I ever have, and I knew I had to protect you, so I was calm, composed and fully aware that we will survive. When we reached Sint-Augustinus emergency, and we saw you oblivious and sucking at your thumb at the ultrasound, and doing your general acrobatics, all the mistrust, hate and angst for the terrorist attack vaporized. I do hope with all my heart that you are born into a better world, and if not, then you do absolute best to make it that. You are absolutely precious to us, and have already been a hero today. I guess the world has sent so much love and hope your way, you owe your life to reciprocating that goodness.  May you always be brave and healthy. We love you beyond words, Mum and Dad.” CNN reported that Sneha might give the sealed letter to their child at age 16, or they may wait until a later time. Either way, Sneha wants her child to know that love is victorious over hatred. “It’s a very unfortunate event. But it’s still largely a beautiful world.” Read more

Horrific Easter bombing seen as a crossroad for Pakistan

Lahore, Pakistan, Mar 28, 2016 / 04:56 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Religious freedom advocates have condemned the Easter Sunday bombing in Pakistan that killed more than 70, while insisting upon reform within the country to prevent future such attacks. &ldqu… Read more

Benedict XVI responds to Mother Angelica’s death

Vatican City, Mar 28, 2016 / 02:54 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Benedict XVI had a special response to Mother Angelica’s death falling on Easter Sunday: “it’s a gift.” Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, told CNA about the Pope emeritus’ comment March 28. Mother Angelica, an Ohio-born Poor Clare nun, founded EWTN Global Catholic Network in Alabama in 1981. It has since become the largest religious media network in the world. She passed away March 27, Easter Sunday, at the age of 92. Her death prompted memorials, eulogies and remembrances from around the world. In Rome, Monsignor Dario Vigano, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, pledged that he would pray for the repose of her soul. Many other priests, religious, and laity in Rome are praying for her. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said Mother Angelica was an “extraordinary woman, devout believer and media pioneer.” “Mother Angelica reflected the Gospel commission to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19), and like the best evangelists, she used the communications tools of her time to make this happen,” he said March 28. “She displayed a unique capacity for mission and showed the world once again the vital contribution of women religious.” Archbishop Kurtz praised Mother Angelica’s role in founding EWTN, Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and the Knights of the Holy Eucharist. “Her work, begun in the cloister, reached across the globe. She was a convincing sign as to how even the humblest of beginnings can yield abundant fruit.” Kristina Arriaga, executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, remembered the nun as “a shining example of courage and faith.” “We mourn her loss, but her legacy lives on in EWTN and in the lives of all those she touched,” Arriaga said. The Becket Fund is defending EWTN in its legal fight against the federal government’s requirement that its insurance coverage include drugs and procedures that violate Catholic faith and morals, including provision of drugs that can cause abortions. Refusal to comply could result in heavy fines. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in June could impact the fate of Mother Angelica’s network. Other Catholic bishops reflected on the nun’s life. “In founding and growing EWTN into a major media resource for the global Church, she achieved things almost everyone thought impossible,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, a past EWTN board member, said March 27. “She will be sorely missed, but she has left us an on-going gift in the men and women who continue the great service of the EWTN apostolate.” Bishop Robert Barron, an auxiliary of Los Angeles, remembered Mother Angelica as “one of the most significant figures in the post-conciliar Catholic Church in America.” She was “the most watched and most effective Catholic evangelizer of the last fifty years.” He said that during the 1980s and 90s, some of her critics mocked her as a “crude popularizer,” an “arch-conservative,” and a “culture warrior.” “And yet while her critics have largely faded away, her impact and influence are uncontestable. Against all odds and expectations, she created an evangelical vehicle without equal in the history of the Catholic Church.” Bishop Barron praised Mother Angelica for “her trust in God’s providence, her keen sense of the supernatural quality of religion, and her conviction that suffering is of salvific value.” He lauded her emphasis on prayer, liturgy, the sacraments, the saints, Eucharistic Adoration, and spiritual warfare. “Mother endured tremendous suffering, both physical and psychological, most of her life, and she appreciated these trials as opportunities for spiritual growth,” he said. The bishop granted that Mother Angelica would have recognized she was not perfect. Sometimes her comments were “insufficiently nuanced and balanced,” while her “hot temper” could lead her to characterize her opponents unfairly. However, the bishop said Mother Angelica will have “a very honored place” in Catholic history. Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, the diocese where EWTN is headquartered, said Mother Angelica was a pioneer in using the media as a force for good. “Her greatest gift was her strong reverence for the Lord of the Holy Eucharist and devotion to the Blessed Mother,” he said March 28. “Mother Angelica has left the Church and world a great legacy through her Eternal Word Television Network and family, which have brought a multitude of people closer to the Lord and his Church,” he continued. “How providential that her death occurred on Easter Sunday, our celebration of Our Lord’s victory over sin, suffering and death!” Read more

Benedict XVI responds to Mother Angelica’s death

Vatican City, Mar 28, 2016 / 02:54 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Benedict XVI had a special response to Mother Angelica’s death falling on Easter Sunday: “it’s a gift.” Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, told CNA about the Pope emeritus’ comment March 28. Mother Angelica, an Ohio-born Poor Clare nun, founded EWTN Global Catholic Network in Alabama in 1981. It has since become the largest religious media network in the world. She passed away March 27, Easter Sunday, at the age of 92. Her death prompted memorials, eulogies and remembrances from around the world. In Rome, Monsignor Dario Vigano, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, pledged that he would pray for the repose of her soul. Many other priests, religious, and laity in Rome are praying for her. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said Mother Angelica was an “extraordinary woman, devout believer and media pioneer.” “Mother Angelica reflected the Gospel commission to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19), and like the best evangelists, she used the communications tools of her time to make this happen,” he said March 28. “She displayed a unique capacity for mission and showed the world once again the vital contribution of women religious.” Archbishop Kurtz praised Mother Angelica’s role in founding EWTN, Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and the Knights of the Holy Eucharist. “Her work, begun in the cloister, reached across the globe. She was a convincing sign as to how even the humblest of beginnings can yield abundant fruit.” Kristina Arriaga, executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, remembered the nun as “a shining example of courage and faith.” “We mourn her loss, but her legacy lives on in EWTN and in the lives of all those she touched,” Arriaga said. The Becket Fund is defending EWTN in its legal fight against the federal government’s requirement that its insurance coverage include drugs and procedures that violate Catholic faith and morals, including provision of drugs that can cause abortions. Refusal to comply could result in heavy fines. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in June could impact the fate of Mother Angelica’s network. Other Catholic bishops reflected on the nun’s life. “In founding and growing EWTN into a major media resource for the global Church, she achieved things almost everyone thought impossible,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, a past EWTN board member, said March 27. “She will be sorely missed, but she has left us an on-going gift in the men and women who continue the great service of the EWTN apostolate.” Bishop Robert Barron, an auxiliary of Los Angeles, remembered Mother Angelica as “one of the most significant figures in the post-conciliar Catholic Church in America.” She was “the most watched and most effective Catholic evangelizer of the last fifty years.” He said that during the 1980s and 90s, some of her critics mocked her as a “crude popularizer,” an “arch-conservative,” and a “culture warrior.” “And yet while her critics have largely faded away, her impact and influence are uncontestable. Against all odds and expectations, she created an evangelical vehicle without equal in the history of the Catholic Church.” Bishop Barron praised Mother Angelica for “her trust in God’s providence, her keen sense of the supernatural quality of religion, and her conviction that suffering is of salvific value.” He lauded her emphasis on prayer, liturgy, the sacraments, the saints, Eucharistic Adoration, and spiritual warfare. “Mother endured tremendous suffering, both physical and psychological, most of her life, and she appreciated these trials as opportunities for spiritual growth,” he said. The bishop granted that Mother Angelica would have recognized she was not perfect. Sometimes her comments were “insufficiently nuanced and balanced,” while her “hot temper” could lead her to characterize her opponents unfairly. However, the bishop said Mother Angelica will have “a very honored place” in Catholic history. Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, the diocese where EWTN is headquartered, said Mother Angelica was a pioneer in using the media as a force for good. “Her greatest gift was her strong reverence for the Lord of the Holy Eucharist and devotion to the Blessed Mother,” he said March 28. “Mother Angelica has left the Church and world a great legacy through her Eternal Word Television Network and family, which have brought a multitude of people closer to the Lord and his Church,” he continued. “How providential that her death occurred on Easter Sunday, our celebration of Our Lord’s victory over sin, suffering and death!” Read more

There is no confirmation that Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified on Good Friday

Aden, Yemen, Mar 28, 2016 / 10:24 am (CNA).- Reports claiming that a kidnapped priest in Yemen was crucified over the weekend are likely false and irresponsible, the local bishop told CNA Monday. Several blogs and media outlets are reporting that Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified by ISIS on Good Friday. However, there has been no confirmation of the event by friends, family or Fr. Uzhunnalil’s community. The original reports were based on a statement Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna allegedly made during Easter vigil services. On March 4, four gunmen attacked a Missionaries of Charity-run retirement home in Aden, Yemen, killing 16 people including four Missionary of Charity sisters. Fr. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped by the gunman during the attacks, which are thought to have been perpetrated by Islamic terrorists, though no specific group has claimed responsibility for the incident. Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia (a region in Saudi Arabia, the country just north of Yemen where Fr. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped), told CNA on Monday that he has “strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers,” but could not give further information in order to protect the life of the priest.  Bishop Hinder added that Cardinal Schönborn has since corrected his alleged statement, which was made on the basis of an incorrect statement from Archbishop Moras in Bangalore. “Cardinal Schönborn has already corrected his statement which he had made on the basis of the wrong statement of Archbishop Moras in Bangalore. Certain media in India are too nervous and curious and not aware that they are playing with the life of Fr. Tom. I cannot say more for the reason I gave in my first sentence (to protect the life of Fr. Tom),” Bishop Hinder told CNA. Rumors of a possible impending crucifixion spread last week on the basis of an unconfirmed e-mail and were dismissed by Fr. Uzhunnalil’s Salesian community as hearsay. “We have absolutely no information” on Fr. Uzhunnalil, said Father Mathew Valarkot, spokesman for the Salesians’ Bangalore province to which the kidnapped priest belongs. His comments were reported last week by both by ANS news, a Salesian news agency, and UCA News, an independent Catholic news source in Asia.Correction (3/28 11:02 a.m.): A previous version of this story said Bishop Hinder was from Southern Arabia, the country just north of Yemen where Fr. Tom was kidnapped. Southern Arabia is a region in Saudi Arabia, the country just north of Yemen. The story has been changed to reflect this correction. Read more

There is no confirmation that Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified on Good Friday

Aden, Yemen, Mar 28, 2016 / 10:24 am (CNA).- Reports claiming that a kidnapped priest in Yemen was crucified over the weekend are likely false and irresponsible, the local bishop told CNA Monday. Several blogs and media outlets are reporting that Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified by ISIS on Good Friday. However, there has been no confirmation of the event by friends, family or Fr. Uzhunnalil’s community. The original reports were based on a statement Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna allegedly made during Easter vigil services. On March 4, four gunmen attacked a Missionaries of Charity-run retirement home in Aden, Yemen, killing 16 people including four Missionary of Charity sisters. Fr. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped by the gunman during the attacks, which are thought to have been perpetrated by Islamic terrorists, though no specific group has claimed responsibility for the incident. Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia (a region in Saudi Arabia, the country just north of Yemen where Fr. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped), told CNA on Monday that he has “strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers,” but could not give further information in order to protect the life of the priest.  Bishop Hinder added that Cardinal Schönborn has since corrected his alleged statement, which was made on the basis of an incorrect statement from Archbishop Moras in Bangalore. “Cardinal Schönborn has already corrected his statement which he had made on the basis of the wrong statement of Archbishop Moras in Bangalore. Certain media in India are too nervous and curious and not aware that they are playing with the life of Fr. Tom. I cannot say more for the reason I gave in my first sentence (to protect the life of Fr. Tom),” Bishop Hinder told CNA. Rumors of a possible impending crucifixion spread last week on the basis of an unconfirmed e-mail and were dismissed by Fr. Uzhunnalil’s Salesian community as hearsay. “We have absolutely no information” on Fr. Uzhunnalil, said Father Mathew Valarkot, spokesman for the Salesians’ Bangalore province to which the kidnapped priest belongs. His comments were reported last week by both by ANS news, a Salesian news agency, and UCA News, an independent Catholic news source in Asia.Correction (3/28 11:02 a.m.): A previous version of this story said Bishop Hinder was from Southern Arabia, the country just north of Yemen where Fr. Tom was kidnapped. Southern Arabia is a region in Saudi Arabia, the country just north of Yemen. The story has been changed to reflect this correction. Read more

There is no confirmation that Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified on Good Friday

Aden, Yemen, Mar 28, 2016 / 10:24 am (CNA).- Reports claiming that a kidnapped priest in Yemen was crucified over the weekend are likely false and irresponsible, the local bishop told CNA Monday. Several blogs and media outlets are reporting that Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified by ISIS on Good Friday. However, there has been no confirmation of the event by friends, family or Fr. Uzhunnalil’s community. The original reports were based on a statement Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna allegedly made during Easter vigil services. On March 4, four gunmen attacked a Missionaries of Charity-run retirement home in Aden, Yemen, killing 16 people including four Missionary of Charity sisters. Fr. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped by the gunman during the attacks, which are thought to have been perpetrated by Islamic terrorists, though no specific group has claimed responsibility for the incident. Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia (a region in Saudi Arabia, the country just north of Yemen where Fr. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped), told CNA on Monday that he has “strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers,” but could not give further information in order to protect the life of the priest.  Bishop Hinder added that Cardinal Schönborn has since corrected his alleged statement, which was made on the basis of an incorrect statement from Archbishop Moras in Bangalore. “Cardinal Schönborn has already corrected his statement which he had made on the basis of the wrong statement of Archbishop Moras in Bangalore. Certain media in India are too nervous and curious and not aware that they are playing with the life of Fr. Tom. I cannot say more for the reason I gave in my first sentence (to protect the life of Fr. Tom),” Bishop Hinder told CNA. Rumors of a possible impending crucifixion spread last week on the basis of an unconfirmed e-mail and were dismissed by Fr. Uzhunnalil’s Salesian community as hearsay. “We have absolutely no information” on Fr. Uzhunnalil, said Father Mathew Valarkot, spokesman for the Salesians’ Bangalore province to which the kidnapped priest belongs. His comments were reported last week by both by ANS news, a Salesian news agency, and UCA News, an independent Catholic news source in Asia.Correction (3/28 11:02 a.m.): A previous version of this story said Bishop Hinder was from Southern Arabia, the country just north of Yemen where Fr. Tom was kidnapped. Southern Arabia is a region in Saudi Arabia, the country just north of Yemen. The story has been changed to reflect this correction. Read more

There is no confirmation that Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified on Good Friday

Aden, Yemen, Mar 28, 2016 / 10:24 am (CNA).- Reports claiming that a kidnapped priest in Yemen was crucified over the weekend are likely false and irresponsible, the local bishop told CNA Monday. Several blogs and media outlets are reporting that Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified by ISIS on Good Friday. However, there has been no confirmation of the event by friends, family or Fr. Uzhunnalil’s community. The original reports were based on a statement Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna allegedly made during Easter vigil services. On March 4, four gunmen attacked a Missionaries of Charity-run retirement home in Aden, Yemen, killing 16 people including four Missionary of Charity sisters. Fr. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped by the gunman during the attacks, which are thought to have been perpetrated by Islamic terrorists, though no specific group has claimed responsibility for the incident. Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia (a region in Saudi Arabia, the country just north of Yemen where Fr. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped), told CNA on Monday that he has “strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers,” but could not give further information in order to protect the life of the priest.  Bishop Hinder added that Cardinal Schönborn has since corrected his alleged statement, which was made on the basis of an incorrect statement from Archbishop Moras in Bangalore. “Cardinal Schönborn has already corrected his statement which he had made on the basis of the wrong statement of Archbishop Moras in Bangalore. Certain media in India are too nervous and curious and not aware that they are playing with the life of Fr. Tom. I cannot say more for the reason I gave in my first sentence (to protect the life of Fr. Tom),” Bishop Hinder told CNA. Rumors of a possible impending crucifixion spread last week on the basis of an unconfirmed e-mail and were dismissed by Fr. Uzhunnalil’s Salesian community as hearsay. “We have absolutely no information” on Fr. Uzhunnalil, said Father Mathew Valarkot, spokesman for the Salesians’ Bangalore province to which the kidnapped priest belongs. His comments were reported last week by both by ANS news, a Salesian news agency, and UCA News, an independent Catholic news source in Asia.Correction (3/28 11:02 a.m.): A previous version of this story said Bishop Hinder was from Southern Arabia, the country just north of Yemen where Fr. Tom was kidnapped. Southern Arabia is a region in Saudi Arabia, the country just north of Yemen. The story has been changed to reflect this correction. Read more