Religion news in brief

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 8:23 PM

-- Obama visits tomb of slain Salvadoran archbishop

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) - On the final stop of his Latin American journey, President Barack Obama has visited the tomb of slain Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Obama closed his eyes and bowed his head by Romero's crypt in San Salvador's Metropolitan Cathedral.

Next to the crypt was a kneeler used by Pope John Paul II during a 1983 visit.

Romero spoke out against repression by the U.S.-backed Salvadoran army during El Salvador's 12-year civil war and was gunned down on March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel.

During the 24-minute cathedral visit, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes gave Obama a memento of Romero's life and ministry.

Rights activists and others welcomed Obama's decision to visit the tomb as a gesture of recognition of Romero's cause.


Cross-burning shocks prosperous California town

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (AP) - An 11-foot cross that was stolen from a church has been set on fire next to the home of a black family, igniting anger and disbelief in a mostly white California community.

Police assigned extra patrols to the neighborhood in Arroyo Grande and rewards were offered for information leading to an arrest. Church leaders were urged to mention the family in their prayers.

Police say the cross was stolen from a garden at Saint John's Lutheran Church weeks ago and set ablaze Friday in a lot behind the house where the family lived.

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