A weary Pope urges Greek, Turkish Cypriots to heal division (AP) Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of Cyprus in 1974. On the first day of an apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece, during his address to political leaders and members of the diplomatic corps, Pope Francis called on the nation to be a “workshop of peace” (full text of address).
The Pope also expressed his “desire that the good news of the Gospel may bring from here to Europe a message of joy, under the banner of the Beatitudes.”
“For what the earliest Christians gave to the world with the gentle power of the Spirit was an unprecedented message of beauty.” he said. “It was the amazing newness of the Beatitudes, addressed to everyone, that won hearts and bestowed freedom upon many. This country has inherited a particular responsibility in that regard, namely, to be a messenger of beauty among the continents.”
Follow St. Barnabas' example of patience and brotherhood, Pope tells Catholics of Cyprus (Vatican News) On the first day of his apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece, during which he has put a focus on migration, Pope Francis addressed clergy, religious, catechists, and lay movements at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace in Nicosia, the nation’s capital. According to Vatican statistics, only 4.5% of Cypriots are Catholic; the eastern Mediterranean nation (map) is 67% Orthodox and 23% Muslim.
“I thank you for what you are and what you do, for the joy with which you proclaim the Gospel and for the effort and sacrifice with which you strive patiently to embody and spread its message,” the Pope said. “This was the path traced out for you by the holy Apostles Paul and Barnabas” [who visited Cyprus].
“It is my hope that you will always be a patient Church that discerns, that is never frightened, but discerns, accompanies and integrates, a fraternal Church that makes room for others, and can disagree while always remaining united and that grows through such disagreements,” the Pope added.
Ethiopian government is engaged in an 'ethnic cleansing war' in Tigray, bishop says (Fides) Ethiopian and Eritrean troops are fighting against a rebel coalition (the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederalist Forces) in the Tigray War, which began in November 2020.
“Like all Tigrayans, the Catholic Church has been seriously affected by this genocidal war waged against us by the local army and by foreign armies,” said Bishop Tesfaselassie Medhin of Adigrat. “Physical, psychological and spiritual attacks on our laity, priests, nuns and on our structures, places of worship, parish residences, schools, health centers, offices.”
Pope accepts resignation of Archbishop of Paris, appoints administrator (Vatican Press Office (Italian)) Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris. The 70-year-old prelate, who was appointed Archbishop of Paris in 2017, offered to resign following the publication of a report about his relationship with a woman.
The Pontiff appointed Archbishop Georges Pontier, 78, retired Archbishop of Marseille and former president of the French episcopal conference, as apostolic administrator.
Vancouver archbishop: Add Masses rather than inquire about vaccination status (The B.C. Catholic) British Columbia now permits houses of worship to operate at 50% capacity, though more worshipers are permitted if everyone has been vaccinated.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver told his pastors, “We must avoid any attempt to establish a segregated or divisive system for Mass attendance. If your parish has Masses where attendance is higher than 50% of capacity, it is recommended that you provide at least one additional Mass at up to 50% capacity.”
Pope addresses Orthodox Synod in Cyprus (Vatican News) “Paul traversed Cyprus and went on to Rome,” Pope Francis reminded the bishops of the Orthodox Synod in Cyprus on December 3. “We are thus heirs of the same apostolic zeal.”
The Pontiff said that sharing the faith means “seeking ever greater fraternity and full unity.” He said that the bishops of the Catholic Church hope to explore that form of communion, through synodality.
Archbishop Cordileone reveals he is not vaccinated (ABC) Although he has encouraged Catholics to be vaccinated against Covid, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has disclosed that he has not been vaccinated himself. He said that his physician told him “it’s probably not necessary for me to be vaccinated.”
Press coverage of the archbishop’s disclosure concentrated on the opinions of public-health officials who disagreed with the archbishop’s physician—a marked violation of the usual argument that the state should not interfere with the relationship between doctor and patient.
Former Paris archbishop asks 'forgiveness from those I might have hurt' (Reuters) Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris. The 70-year-old prelate, who was appointed Archbishop of Paris in 2017, offered to resign following the publication of a report about his relationship with a woman.
Archbishop Aupetit denied the existence of “a relationship in love or a sexual relationship,” but said that he “managed the situation badly with a certain person” when he was vicar general of the archdiocese.
“I have been deeply troubled by the attacks on me ... I pray for those who, maybe, have wished bad things onto me, as Christ has taught us,” he said on the day of his resignation.
“I ask forgiveness from those I might have hurt.”
Pro-life leaders react to President Biden's statements about Dobbs abortion case (CNA) On December 1, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, which offers legal protection to most unborn children after the 15th week of pregnancy. Some justices appeared willing to uphold the constitutionality of the act— angering others.
“I support Roe v. Wade,” President Biden said of the case. “I think it’s a rational position to take. And I continue to support it.”
Christian home in Iraq is fire-bombed (Aid to the Church in Need) The attack took place in the capital of Maysan Governorate (map) on November 28.
“The country has become like a jungle,” said Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church since 2013. “We wonder, who cares about us and our suffering, as we are citizens among the people of this country.”
School board settles with Virginia teacher who opposed transgender rules (The Hill) The Loudoun County school system has reinstated an elementary school gym teacher who was suspended after he expressed disagreement with a policy requiring teachers to refer to transgender students by preferred pronouns. Following the suspension, the teacher filed suit; in the settlement, the school system has also agreed to pay the teacher’s legal expenses.
Evangelization, not Christendom's restoration, should be Church's focus, Florida bishop says (National Catholic Reporter) Bishop William Wack of Pensacola–Tallahassee recently wrote a pastoral letter on evangelization in which he called for “inviting everyone within our 18 counties to consider joining us in full communion with the Catholic Church.”
“Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said we have this relationship with Jesus, and that changes the whole direction of our life,” Bishop Wack said in an interview. “But if you look around, it doesn’t look like we believe or we’re living that. We’re caught up in so many things going on.”
“Share your faith,” he added. “Pray in public. Give people hope. Comfort people. Point them toward something greater than all this stuff that we’re dealing with today.”
Pope recalls World AIDS Day, asks for prayers for apostolic journey (Vatican News) World AIDS Day “is an important occasion to remember the many people who are affected by this virus,” Pope Francis said following his December 1 general audience.
“For many of them, in some areas of the world, access to the necessary treatment is not available,” he continued. “My hope is that there might be a renewed commitment in solidarity to guarantee fair and effective health care.”
Liberal justices angry as Court hears landmark abortion case (Washington Times) Liberal Supreme Court justices employed fiery rhetoric—and betrayed a remarkable ignorance of science—as the Court heard arguments in the Dobbs case on December 1.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned whether the Court would “survive the stench” if, as widely expected, the majority upholds the Mississippi law that bans abortion after the fetus is viable.
Justice Elena Kagan made the claim that “not much has changed” regarding fetal viability since the Roe decision in 1973. In fact, at the time of Roe, the accepted standard for fetal viability was 28 weeks into pregnancy; it is now 23 weeks, with some babies surviving birth as early as 21 weeks.
Pope, in Cyprus, puts focus on migration (Crux) Pope Francis arrived in Cyprus on December 2, and told a welcoming crowd: “Walls do not and should not exist in the Catholic Church.”
The Pope’s arrival in Cyprus was the first stop in a trip that will take him next to Greece. He will return to Rome on Monday.
Dutch bishops cancel Christmas Midnight Masses (CNA) The Dutch government has barred public gatherings between 5:00 PM and 5:00 AM at least through December 19, and the bishops have cancelled Christmas Midnight Masses as a precaution, according to the report.
84% of people in the Western European nation of 17.3 million (map) have been fully vaccinated, according to the report, and 587 are hospitalized with Covid in intensive care units.
Cyprus prepares for Pope Francis's visit (Custody in the Holy Land) On December 1, the Franciscan Custody in the Holy Land—the Franciscan province that includes the Holy Land and Cyprus—released additional details about the Pope’s apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece.The Pope will be staying at the Franciscan convent of the Holy Cross in Nicosia, the nation’s capital. “To avoid the Holy Father having to climb stairs, we have prepared a room for him on the ground floor,” a friar said.
Nigerian bishop criticizes Biden administration for removing Nigeria for religious-freedom blacklist (Vatican News) In November, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken designated China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as “countries of particular concern,” as they “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.”In not including Nigeria—which had previously been on the annual list—Blinken has attracted criticism from a number of religious-freedom advocates. “There is nothing on the ground to suggest that Christians have an easier time practicing their faith in Nigeria today than they did one or two years ago,” said Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Oyo.