World Council of Churches general secretary Samuel Kobia has congratulated Fernando Lugo, the former Catholic bishop in Paraguay known as the “bishop of the poor,” on his victory in Paraguay’s recent presidential election. “We have been moved by your statements, both during the election campaign and after being elected, that reflect the rich tradition of a Latin American Christianity that has struggled to follow Jesus amidst a reality marked by inequality and injustice,” Kobia said in a message published April 30. Lugo, who will be inaugurated August 15 for a five-year term, won with promises to redistribute income and undertake land reform. His success broke the political tradition of Paraguay, where the Colorado Party had ruled for 61 years. That party’s candidate, Blanca Ovelar, conceded defeat April 20. The Vatican opposes clergy members holding political office and had demanded that Lugo halt his pursuits.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).