Don't use migrants as pawns in political strategies, Pope tells governments (Reuters) On November 29, Pope Francis issued a message to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the International Organization for Migration. In his message, the Pope criticized the effects of Covid-related lockdowns on migrants. “On the one hand, in the markets of upper-middle-income countries, migrant labor is in high demand and welcomed as a way to compensate for the lack of it,” he wrote. “On the other, migrants are generally rejected and subject to resentful attitudes by many of their host communities.” “Unfortunately, this double standard stems from the prevalence of economic interests over the needs and dignity of the human person,” he continued. “This tendency was particularly evident during the Covid-19 ‘lockdowns,’ when many of the ‘essential’ workers were migrants, but they were not granted the benefits of the Covid-19 economic aid programs or even access to basic health care and immunization.”
Papal greetings to Orthodox Patriarch on patronal feast day (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis has sent a message of greetings to Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of the Constantinople see.
In his message the Pope spoke of “our shared commitment to addressing issues of crucial significance for our whole human family, including the care of creation, the education of future generations, dialogue among the different religious traditions and the pursuit of peace.”
Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, led a Vatican delegation to Istanbul to join the Orthodox prelate for the celebration.
Cardinal Parolin raps 'anti-vax' movement (CNA) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has criticized protesters who demonstrated against mandatory vaccination, suggesting that the only responsible option is to be vaccinated as “an act of love.”
Cardinal Parolin was responding to fiery statements by Father Floriano Pellegrini, who, in an open letter to the Italian bishops, said that “the vast majority of the Italian Catholic faithful have been disconcerted and scandalized by your incomprehensible silence.”
Pope sends video message ahead of journey to Cyprus and Greece (Vatican News) The Pope’s apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece begins on December 2. “I come with joy, precisely in the name of the Gospel, in the footsteps of the first great missionaries, especially the Apostles Paul and Barnabas,” the Pope said. “It is good to return to the origins and it is important for the Church to rediscover the joy of the Gospel. It is with this spirit that I am preparing for this pilgrimage to the wellsprings, which I ask everyone to help me prepare with their prayers.” The Pope then discussed three wellsprings: “the wellsprings of fraternity,” “the ancient wellsprings of Europe,” and “the wellsprings of humanity.”
New survey finds drop in US priests' morale (CNA) A new survey of American Catholic priests has found a “turn toward pessimism about the current state and trajectory of the Catholic Church in America.
The 2021 Survey of American Catholic Priests found that younger priests are more conservative than their older colleagues—particularly those ordained in the 1960s and 1970s. The younger priests were more likely to voice concern about the near-term future of the Church in the US.
Bolivian bishops decries feminist violence at cathedral, bishops' conference office (CNA) The Archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra has denounced radical feminists who “viciously and violently” beat a woman outside the city’s cathedral.
In a related development, a surveillance camera captured footage of someone planting an explosive device outside the offices of the Bolivian bishops’ conference last week. The explosion damaged the door of the building.
Vatican welcomes EU decision to drop manual discouraging mention of Christmas (Vatican News) The European Commission has withdrawn a guide for the use of ‘inclusive’ language, which had drawn protests because it recommended referring to the “holiday period” rather than Christmas.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in a Vatican News interview, welcomed the decision to revise the manual. He said that although “the concern to erase all discrimination is right,” “this is now the way to achieve this goal.”
'Abyss of inequalities': Vatican newspaper laments lack of vaccination in Africa (L'Osservatore Romano (Italian)) In a front-page op-ed in the Vatican newspaper’s November 29 edition, Father Giulio Albanese, a missionary and journalist, linked the spread of the Omicron variant in Africa to the low vaccination rate there. 6.7% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people, he wrote, have been fully vaccinated, and 9.9% have received one dose. “In view of what is happening, Pope Francis has repeatedly called for the temporary suspension of the property right on vaccines,” Father Albanese continued. “But his appeals . . . have fallen on deaf ears.” The priest contrasted this situation with the decisions of Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk not to patent the polio vaccines they had developed in the 1950s.
'I am always close to you, in prayer and action,' Pope says following migrants' deaths (Vatican News) At the conclusion of his November 28 Angelus address, Pope Francis expressed his deep sorrow at the death of migrants in recent days.
“I think of those who died crossing the English Channel, those on the borders of Belarus, many of whom are children, and those who drown in the Mediterranean,” he said. “There is so much sorrow when thinking about them. Of those who are repatriated to North Africa, they are captured by traffickers who turn them into slaves: they sell the women and torture the men.” “I assure my prayers to the migrants who find themselves in these crisis situations,” he added. “Know also that from my heart I am always close to you, in prayer and action.”
9 sainthood, beatification causes advance (CWN) In an audience with Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the promulgation of decrees that advance nine sainthood and beatification causes.
Paraguay's bishops demand respect for rights of indigenous people (Fides) “We demand respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and the laws that govern them; we demand that priority be given to the right to land and property for all Paraguayans,” the nation’s bishops said in a message to the nation’s government. “We turn to you to express our deep concern over the forced evictions and threats of expulsion of indigenous and peasant communities in various areas of the country.” The bishops’ statement follows a reported wave of evictions in the South American nation of 7.2 million (map).
Vatican Secretary of State encourages pollution-free vehicles (Vatican News (German)) On November 25, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, addressed Global e-Mobility Forum , a series of webinars sponsored by Poland’s National Centre on Climate Change. “We must recognize that environmental threats, including air pollution, are not limited by borders,” the prelate said. “Therefore, countries need to work together.”
Papal donation to Baghdad hospital (Vatican News) Pope Francis has donated an oxygen-generating machine to a Catholic hospital in Baghdad. “The oxygen produced is not used only at Saint Raphael, but also to supply other hospitals, including state hospitals and hospitals in other cities,” according to Vatican News.L’Osservatore Romano reported that the machine was purchased with funds from the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, and the Office of Papal Charities.
Leader of Afghanistan's Catholic community longs to return to the country (CNS) “I hope that, as soon as possible, we can return to a situation of normality — which means peace, stability, security — and that, therefore, foreign personnel can return to the country and can also live their faith without limitations,” said Father Giovanni Scalese, who has led the Afghan Catholic mission since 2014. “We do not care who is in government: it is enough that no obstacles are placed to religious freedom.” Father Scalese’s mission was headquartered in the Italian embassy, which Italy abandoned as the Taliban conquered Kabul.
Opus Dei leaders meet with Pope (Opus Dei) The Prelate of Opus Dei and his auxiliary vicar met with Pope Francis for 30 minutes on November 29. The meeting came weeks after 42 Argentine and Paraguayan women, claiming labor exploitation, lodged a complaint with the Vatican. Opus Dei, which was founded by St. Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975) in 1928, stated in a press release that “the Pope expressed his desire that the faithful of Opus Dei be faithful to the founding spirit, while at the same time adapting to the challenges that today’s culture presents to Christian life.” The current prelate, Father Fernando Ocáriz, has held that position since 2017. Pope Francis has not ordained him a bishop—in contrast to Pope St. John Paul II, who ordained the previous two Opus Dei prelates to the episcopate.
'Jesus is our friend,' Pope emphasizes in message to persons with disabilities (Vatican Press Office) In a message for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s words to His disciples on Holy Thursday night: “You are my friends” (John 15:14).
The message, dated November 20, was released at a November 25 press conference. The message has four sections: “Jesus, our friend,” “The Church is your home,” “In times of hardship,” and “The Gospel is for everyone.”
“I ask you to pray,” the Pope said in his concluding remarks to persons with disabilities. “Prayer is a mission, a mission accessible to everyone, and I would like to entrust that mission in a particular way to you. There is no one so frail that he or she cannot pray, worship the Lord, give glory to his holy Name, and intercede for the salvation of the world.”
Archbishop of Paris offers resignation after report of improper relationship (Reuters) Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris has offered to resign, after publication of a report about his relationship with a woman.
Although he shied away from the use of the word “resignation,” the archbishop said that he had written to Pope Francis, putting his future in the Pontiff’s hands. He acknowledged an improper relationship, dating back to 2012. According to the daily Le Figaro, the archbishop had offered to step down when reports about that relationship first surfaced in 2012, while he was serving as an auxiliary bishop in Paris. He was named Bishop of Nanterre in 2014, then appointed Archbishop of Paris in 2017.
Prepare to welcome Christ with a vigilant heart, Pope says as Advent begins (Vatican Press Office) In his Angelus address for the First Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis called for vigilance in the Christian life to help guard against apathy.“The secret to being vigilant is prayer,” he said. “Even during our busiest days, we must not neglect prayer. The prayer of the heart can be helpful for us, repeating often brief invocations. For example, during Advent, we could make a habit of saying, ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’”“And now we pray to the Madonna: may she who awaited the Lord with a vigilant heart accompany us during our Advent journey,” Pope Francis concluded.
Papal commission to assess reform of marriage nullity process in Italy (CNA) Pope Francis has issued an apostolic letter establishing a Pontifical Commission for the Verification and Application of Mitis Iudex in Italy.
Issued in 2015, Mitis Iudex [The Gentle Judge] reformed and simplified the annulment process.
“The task of the Commission will be to ascertain and verify the full and immediate application of the reform of the process of matrimonial nullity,” in Italian dioceses, so that they “may show themselves to the faithful as generous mothers, in a matter closely linked to the salvation of souls, as was urged by the majority of my brothers in the episcopate in the Extraordinary Synod on the Family,” Pope Francis said in his letter, issued motu proprio [by his own initiative] on November 17 and made public November 26.