Washington DC

Ambassador returns 500-year-old letter to the Vatican

A stolen copy of a letter by Christopher Columbus has been returned to the Vatican by the US ambassador to the Holy See.

The 500-year-old document, worth $1.2 million, is a Latin translation of a letter Columbus sent to his patrons, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, detailing the discoveries of the New World. It had been given to Benedict XV in 1921. But in 2011 the US Department of Homeland Security received a tip that the document in the Vatican library was a fake – the original had been replaced with a forgery. It traced the real document to a collector in Atlanta, Georgia, who agreed to hand it over to the US authorities on the condition that it be returned to the Vatican.

Fort Lauderdale

Bishop suggests ‘canonical penalties’ for officials

An American bishop has proposed “canonical penalties” for those involved in separating families at the US-Mexico border.

Dozens of parents are being taken away from their children every day because of a policy of prosecuting illegal immigrants. At a plenary assembly in Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, bishops’ conference president, called the policy “immoral”. Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson, Arizona, said canonical penalties, which can range from denial of sacraments to excommunication, were “in place to heal”.

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