Vatican tribunal convicts three laymen in financial scandal (AP) A Vatican tribunal has convicted two former executives of the Institute for Religious Works (the IOR, commonly known as the Vatican bank) on embezzlement and money-laundering charges. Angelo Caloia, who was president of the IOR from 1999 to 2009; and two lawyers who had acted as IOR consultants, were found guilty of arranging to profit from the sale of Vatican properties. Caloia was sentenced to a prison term of just under nine years. His attorney said that the former IOR chief would appeal, charging that the Vatican’s judicial system had not provided a fair trial.
Hundreds reportedly dead after massacre at church in Ethiopia (CNA) The attack on the Ethiopian Orthodox parish took place in Axum, an historic city in the northern part of the nation. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (CNEWA background) is among the Oriental Orthodox churches that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451).
Pope Francis sends message to President Biden (Vatican Press Office) “At a time when the grave crises facing our human family call for farsighted and united responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom, together with unfailing respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice,” the Pontiff said in his message. Similar papal messages were sent for the inaugurations of President Obama in 2009 and President Trump in 2017.
Biden, Harris underline commitment to abortion on Roe anniversary (CNA) On the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement proclaiming their firm commitment to unrestricted legal abortion, which they said “has been under relentless and extreme attack.” Biden has promised to issue an executive order reversing the “Mexico City policy,” which bars the use of taxpayer funds to promote abortion.
Abortion zealots disrupt Mass in Ohio cathedral on Roe anniversary (Columbus Dispatch) An annual “Respect Life Mass” in Columbus, Ohio, on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, was disrupted on January 22 by pro-abortion activists who burst into the cathedral, chanting slogans and carrying signs. Ushers and police eventually escorted the activists out of the church building.
Ironically, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law of 1994 makes it a federal crime to disrupt a service in a house of worship.
Fauci assures WHO: Biden will protect abortion (CNS) Dr. Anthony Fauci has assured the World Health Organization (WHO) that President Biden will protect abortion rights “and advance gender equality at home and around the world.” Fauci, heading a US delegation to WHO as the Biden administration renewed ties with the group, said that Biden would soon overturn the Mexico City policy, thus allowing taxpayer funding for abortion advocacy.
Archbishop Gomez repeats: Abortion is the 'most fundamental' injustice (@ArchbishopGomez) “Friends, there are many injustices in our society, but the most fundamental is the one our society rarely acknowledges — the routine taking of innocent human life every day through abortion. So let us pray and work for an end to this injustice,” the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops tweeted after his Inauguration Day statement, which placed some emphasis on abortion, and was met with unusual public criticism from Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago.
Pope, due to visit Iraq in March, condemns Baghdad attack (Vatican Press Office) At least 32 people died, and 110 were injured, in a pair of suicide bombings. “In deploring this senseless act of brutality, he [the Holy Father] prays for the deceased victims and their families, for the injured and for the emergency personnel in attendance,” the Vatican’s Secretary of State said in a telegram to Iraqi President Barham Salih.
Cardinal sees Danish legislation as threat to religious freedom (CNA) The president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has warned that proposed legislation in Denmark would be an “undue hindrance on the fundamental right to freedom of religion.” Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich made the comment on a bill that would require all homilies to be translated into Danish. Catholics make up just a bit more than 1% of the population of Denmark, with nearly a third born in other countries.
At inaugural prayer service, faith leaders pray for nation, its leaders (CNS) As is customary, the Washington National Cathedral (Episcopal Church) hosted the post-inaugural National Prayer Service. Catholics who offered prayers at the service (video) included Sister Carol Keehan, former president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, and Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
Portugal: bishops suspend public Masses (CNA) The Catholic bishops of Portugal have announced that the public celebration of Mass will be stopped, beginning on January 22, because of “the extreme gravity of the pandemic.” The Portuguese bishops had suspended the public celebration of Mass last summer, but lifted than ban during the summer.
Malaysian bishops extend ban on public Masses (Fides) The Catholic bishops of Malaysia have announced that a suspension of the public celebration of Mass, which began in December, will continue “in compliance with the government’s health protocols.” The announcement came after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin imposed strict new emergency measures, saying that “our health system is at the breaking point.”