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Pope Francis has rejected the resignation of German Cardinal Reinhard Marx over the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis.

Cardinal Marx wrote a letter to the Pope last week offering to resign as the archbishop of Munich and Freising over the Church’s mishandling of abuse cases.

He is not under investigation himself, either for abuse or for covering it up.

In the letter, he said: “It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decade.”

However, Francis responded saying he must continue in his role and “shepherd my sheep”.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx attends a press conference by Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi at the Vatican's press center. Pope Francis refused Thursday, June 10, 2021 to accept the resignation offered by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx over the sex abuse scandal in the church, but said a process of reform was necessary and that every bishop must take responsibility for the “catastrophe” of the crisis. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file)
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German Cardinal Reinhard Marx offered to resign last week. Pic: AP

He said what was necessary instead was a process of reform “that doesn’t consist in words but attitudes that have the courage of putting oneself in crisis, of assuming reality regardless of the consequences”.

Declaring that “the whole Church is in crisis”, Francis said it could no longer take a “head-in-sand policy” over the scandal.

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A report commissioned by the Catholic Church itself, in 2018, found more than 3,600 people in Germany had been sexually assaulted by priests between 1946 and 2014.

More than half of the victims were 13 or younger when the abuse took place, and nearly a third of them were altar boys, according to the report.

Cardinal Marx, who is one of Roman Catholicism’s most influential liberal figures, is a member of the pope’s kitchen cabinet, a small group of cardinals from around the world who advise the pontiff on various issues.

The letter from the Pope appears to give Cardinal Marx papal backing to continue with reforms in Germany, launched as a response to the abuse crisis.

The so-called “Synodal Path” which aims to give lay Catholics more influence over the running of the Church has come under fire in Germany, mainly by those opposed to opening debates on issues such as homosexuality and priestly celibacy.

There has also been criticism of the German reform process from the Vatican and bishops elsewhere, including church leaders in the United States.

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Nashville school shooting: Bodycam video shows moment attacker was shot dead by police

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Nashville school shooting: Bodycam video shows moment attacker was shot dead by police

Graphic video has been released of the moment the Nashville school attacker was shot dead by police.

Audrey Hale, who identified as a transgender male and was a former student of the private Christian school, killed three pupils aged nine and three adults before being stopped.

Footage from Officer Rex Engelbert’s bodycam shows him opening fire with a rifle several times on Hale before the perpetrator falls to the ground injured.

Audrey Hale. Pic: Metro Nashville Police Department
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Audrey Hale. Pic: Metro Nashville Police Department

Police then head towards the 28-year-old just a few metres away as officers shout “move, move”, and “watch out, watch out”.

The attacker, now on the floor, is hit by several more police gunshots before an officer yells to the suspect “stop moving, stop moving”, with the killer appearing to be still alive as one of their arms moves.

An officer screams “throw your hands away from the gun, get your hands away from the gun”, while another says “suspect down, suspect down”.

Hale’s body is then shown lying next to the weapons, including a rifle, the assailant used in the deadly Monday morning attack on the second floor of the Covenant School in Tennessee.

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Footage shows the attacker just before they were shot
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Footage shows the attacker just before they were shot
The attack's body is shown lying on the ground after officers opened fire
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The attacker’s body is shown lying on the ground after officers opened fire

A second clip shows what happened from a different angle with footage from Officer Michael Collazo’s bodycam. He is shown firing his pistol at Hale in the second volley of shots after the suspect was already on the ground.

Minutes earlier, the officers had stormed the building as video showed several going from empty classroom to empty classroom before making their way to the second floor.

(L-R) Officer Rex Engelbert and Officer Michael Collazo
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(L-R) Officer Rex Engelbert and Officer Michael Collazo both opened fire on the perpetrator

Multiple gunshots are heard in the footage as officers run down a hallway – past what appears to be a victim – and into a lounge area, where the suspect is seen dropping to the floor after being shot.

Police said the suspect was killed after a confrontation with officers.

Read more:
What we know about killer Audrey Hale
Video of Nashville school killer entering building
Why Nashville tragedy could have been even worse

The start of the six-minute police video shows Officer Engelbert retrieving a rifle from his car boot before a member of staff directs him to the entrance, telling him that the school is locked down but at least two children are not accounted for.

“Let’s go! I need three!” the officer yells as he uses a key to unlock a door and enter the building, where alarms can be heard ringing.

Hale was described by officials as a “lone zealot”, who lived in Nashville, and was armed with two assault-type weapons, and a handgun.

Audrey Hale
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Hale identified as transgender

Hale had a manifesto and detailed maps of the school, and entered the building by shooting through its doors before the killings.

Police have also released video of the moment the attacker entered the school.

The six victims have been named as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged nine, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak and school custodian Mike Hill, both 61, and 60-year-old Katherine Koonce, who was the headteacher.

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Nashville school shooting: First pictures emerge of victims of attack, including nine-year-old girl and headteacher

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Nashville school shooting: First pictures emerge of victims of attack, including nine-year-old girl and headteacher

Images of four victims of a shooting at a school in Nashville have been released.

Six people, including three children, were all shot dead by Audrey Elizabeth Hale after the former student opened fire in the private Covenant School in the Tennessee state capital.

The six victims have been named as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged nine, 61-year-olds Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill, and 60-year-old Katherine Koonce.

Pictures have so far been released of Mr Hill, Ms Koonce, Ms Peak and nine-year-old Hallie.

Read more:
Video shows moment attacker was shot dead

Why tragedy could have been even worse

Hallie was the daughter of the pastor whose church runs the school.

The three adults were all staff, Ms Koonce was the headteacher, Ms Peak a substitute teacher and Mr Hill was a caretaker.

Headteacher Katherine Koonce was among the six victims. Pic: The Covenant School
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Headteacher Katherine Koonce was among the six victims. Pic: The Covenant School
Michael Hill - Facebook
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Mike Hill was 61. Pic: Facebook
Cynthia Peak
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Cynthia Peak was also 61

“We love the Scruggs family and mourn with them over their precious daughter Hallie,” Park Cities Presbyterian Church senior pastor Mark Davis said in a statement.

“Together, we trust in the power of Christ to draw near and give us the comfort and hope we desperately need.”

The Covenant School in Nashville has about 200 students from preschool through sixth grade, as well as roughly 50 staff members.

Hale had a manifesto and detailed maps of the school, and entered the building by shooting through its doors and starting on a killing spree.

Read more:
Video of Nashville school killer entering building released
What we know about killer Audrey Hale

Police chief John Drake said: “We have a manifesto. We have some writings that we’re going over that pertain to this day, the actual incident. We have a map drawn out about how this was all going to take place.”

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Nashville shooting: Police kill school attacker

Officers started receiving reports of an attack at 10.13am (4.13pm UK time) and as police began clearing the ground floor of the school they heard gunfire coming from the second floor.

Two officers from a five-member team opened fire in response and fatally shot the suspect at 10.27am (4.27pm).

Hale’s motive for the attack is not yet known.

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How a US aircraft carrier is part of a high-stakes stand-off in the South China Sea

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How a US aircraft carrier is part of a high-stakes stand-off in the South China Sea

There are few greater displays of US military might than its aircraft carriers – when they move, the world pays attention. They are huge floating cities of sorts.

The US has 11 and they are still the best in the world.

The USS Nimitz is one of them. It’s a warren of cabins and control rooms, beneath an enormous flight deck. It can carry around 5,000 military personnel and as many as 7,000 when you include the accompanying “strike force” of war ships and jets.

We went aboard when the ship was docked temporarily in South Korea but had just completed a deployment in the South China Sea.

Deployments like this are routine, but they are undertaken in the knowledge they will be noticed by one power in particular, and that power is China, the US’ increasingly assertive competitor.

Lt Ben Bushong, who served in the US navy for seven years – much of it as a helicopter pilot – showed us around.

He and his colleagues know things are tense, as they have been for some time.

“The big picture is helping keep a free and open Indo-pacific,” he said.

“I would just say we’re always ready and we’re always training, so if we ever get called we’re ready to respond.”

Lt Ben Bushong told Sky News said the aircraft carrier is 'always ready to respond'
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Lt Ben Bushong told Sky News the aircraft carrier is ‘always ready to respond’

And rarely has being ready felt more pressing.

The US’ face-off with China has multiple fronts and almost all are becoming more fraught.

Just a few weeks ago, China’s new foreign minister said that if the US does not “hit the breaks” on what it sees as provocations then “conflict will surely follow”.

China has increasingly been making a point of flexing its muscles in the seas that surround it.

For many years it has been accused of militarising islands in the contested South China Sea and engaging in illegal fishing, but recently it has also been sailing and flying much closer to the self-governing island of Taiwan.

There have also been more specific incidents of concern – just last week, China said it chased away a US vessel that had “illegally” entered waters around the contested Paracel Islands, a claim the US denied.

And then there was declassified footage shot by a US jet of a Chinese fighter flying just feet away from it, in a move the US has described as aggressive and dangerous.

Read more:
Chinese foreign minister warns ‘reckless’ US risks ‘catastrophic’ conflict
Analysis: China-US tensions set to be defining issue of our time
China threatens ‘further actions’ over US downing of suspected spy balloon

The reality is that China can now afford to flex these muscles because it has rapidly developed the largest navy in the world, increasing 10-fold in just the last 20 years.

But it is the reason that US presence here is so important, according to the Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney who leads the Nimitz’s strike fleet.

“First, we are going to sail operate and fly wherever international law allows,” he said.

“And my message to the PRC (People’s Republic of China) would be that we’re resolute in that, we’re not going to be bullied, we’re not going to be coerced and we are going to stay here and fly and operate in international norms.”

Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney leads the Nimitz' strike fleet
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Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney leads the Nimitz’s strike fleet

China sees the US efforts here as part of a broader effort to contain it. Fundamentally, it sees this region as its back yard.

But in answer to that allegation the admiral was resolute.

“We do not seek to contain China, we do not seek conflict with China, we seek to set international norm that we all prosper from”.

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If fighting did break out in this region, it would most likely be over the island of Taiwan, the self governing democracy China sees as its own.

China has not ruled out taking the island by force and deterring this is one of the US’ key objectives.

In the meantime, China’s increasing assertiveness is pushing many other Asian nations closer to the US and each other.

The show of allegiance with South Korea was front and centre – the two are undertaking joint drills this week and will work with Japan too next month.

While much of the tension between the US and China is invisible and covert, this is a region that is increasingly fractured and there is a high-stakes stand-off playing out.

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