Papal visit to southern Italy, praise for late Bishop Bello (Vatican News) On April 20, Pope Francis traveled to two southern Italian towns, Alessano and Molfettato, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Bishop Tonino Bello (1935-1993). Bishop Bello—an advocate for the poor who served as president of Pax Christi—was a “true saint,” the Pontiff said.
CDF rejects German bishops' policy on intercommunion (OnePeterFive) The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has rejected a policy approved by the German bishops’ conference, which would have allowed Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Communion in some cases. The CDF decision, which was approved by Pope Francis, was originally reported on the German news site Kathnet.
Ukraine's government seeks autocephalous status for Orthodox church (Reuters) Ukraine’s Orthodox faithful are divided into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Only the first is canonically recognized by other Orthodox churches; the second body is the largest of the three. President Petro Poroshenko met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to seek autocephalous status for the first—in effect, a canonically recognized independence from the Moscow Patriarchate.
Chilean cardinal: Bishop Barros should resign 'without doubt' (The Tablet) Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago has said that Bishop Juan Barros, the prelate at the center of a sex-abuse scandal in Chile, should resign “without a doubt.” However, the cardinal added that “I am not a judge to say” whether or not Bishop Barros is guilty of covering up abuse. Pope Francis, who had long defended the accused bishop, announced that week that he had made made “serious mistakes in the assessment and perception of the situation.”
Pope Francis pays tribute to Benedictine order's spirituality, legacy (Vatican Press Office) “If St. Benedict was a luminous star,” said Pope Francis, “this was because he was able to discern between the essential and the secondary in spiritual life, placing the Lord firmly in the center. May you, his children in our time, practice discernment to recognize what comes from the Holy Spirit and what comes from the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil.”
Leading EU official meets with head of EU bishops' commission (COMECE) Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, “acknowledged the positive role of the Church in the society,” while Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, “recalled the need to base the political process on dialogue and harmony between all political, social, cultural and religious actors.”
Syria probe mission on hold amid security fears (Agence France-Presse) Devoting front-page coverage to this story, L’Osservatore Romano (4/19 Italian edition) also reported on a leading EU official’s defense of the recent airstrike on Syria, Angela Merkel’s discussion with Vladimir Putin, the halting of US sanctions against Russia, and the US invitation to Arab nations to send troops to Syria.