Pope Francis criticizes those who have 'exploited' Pope Benedict's death (Vatican News) Returning to Rome from South Sudan, Pope Francis was joined by the leaders of the Church of England and Church of Scotland at his in-flight press conference. The Pope described the arms trade as a “plague” and said that God accompanies persons with same-sex attractions.
“I believe that Benedict’s death has been exploited by people who want to add grist to their mill,” he added, as he said he “was able to talk about everything with Pope Benedict. [Also] to change opinion. He was always by my side, supporting me, and if he had any issue, he would tell me and we would talk.”
“And those who exploit such a good person, such a man of God, I would say a holy father of the Church, well I would say they are unethical people, they are people belonging to a party, not to the Church,” Pope Francis continued. “You can see everywhere the tendency to make theological views parties. These things will fall on their own, or if they don’t they will go on as has happened many times in the history of the Church. I wanted to say clearly who Pope Benedict was: he was not embittered.”
Europe's synodal continental assembly begins in Prague (Pillar) Bishops from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland are expected to favor women’s ordination, a change to the Church’s discipline of clerical celibacy, and/or the blessing of homosexual unions. Bishops from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, the Nordic countries, and Poland are expected to oppose these changes.
“But beyond that, the delegations’ stances are hard to decipher,” according to the Pillar’s analysis of the meeting. “Where do the French, Irish, Portuguese, and Spanish stand?”
New convent beckons Christians to return to Iraq (Aid to the Church in Need) In 2014, the Islamic State destroyed Batnaya, a Chaldean Catholic village in northern Iraq.
“Your name and identity are in Batnaya and your roots are in Batnaya, not in the places of emigration,” Archbishop Paul Thabet said of those who had to flee, but have not returned. “I also encourage you to support the village and be present in it, because otherwise these roots will dry up, and if that happens then the branches will surely die.”
Teacher says Denver Catholic school fired her because of her same-sex relationship (9 News) “The school was made aware that one of their teachers is in a same-sex relationship, and after discussing this with the teacher, learned that she intends to persist in violating the standards she previously agreed to uphold,” the Archdiocese of Denver said in a statement. “That a Catholic school employee experiences same sex attraction in itself is not a cause for termination.”
Pope arrives in South Sudan, beginning 2nd leg of African voyage (Vatican News) Pope Francis arrived in South Sudan in the mid-afternoon (local time) of February 3, beginning a long-awaited 3-day visit to the war-torn young nation.
The Pope had long hoped to visit South Sudan, to make an appeal for peace in a country that has been torn by fighting between rival factions since shortly after it won independence in 2011. In 2019 he had invited the political and religious leaders of the country to Rome for a spiritual retreat.
Thousands of people lined the streets from the airport to the capital city of Juba as the Pope’s motorcade passed.
Be prophets of hope, Pope asks Congo's bishops (Vatican Press Office) Meeting with the country’s Catholic bishops before his February 3 departure from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pope Francis called upon them to be “prophets of hope for the people.”
In his remarks before leaving for South Sudan, the Pope said that the rich resources of the Congo “remind us that we are called to protect the beauty of creation.” At the same time, he said, the struggles of the impoverished nation have left a “people crucified and oppressed, devastated by ruthless violence, marred by innocent suffering, forced to live with the tainted waters of corruption and injustice.” He urged the bishops to remain close to their people, avoiding the temptations of worldliness.
Top Vatican diplomat: reform UN to improve peacemaking power (Vatican Press Office) At a February 2 conference on Vatican diplomacy, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States, called for a reorganization of the United Nations, to strengthen its peace-making capability.
The top Vatican diplomat observed that it is wrong that a permanent member of the UN Security Council—Russia—could be the aggressive party in a major European war.
Pope pleads for peace at Mass in Congo (Vatican News) Celebrating Mass for an estimated 1 million people in Kinshasa on the 2nd day of his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pope Francis made a plea for peace in the war-torn country.
In his homily the Pope encouraged the country’s people to maintain their hope for peace, assuring them that “evil never wins; evil never has the last word.” He reminded them of the bitter sorrow that Christ’s followers felt as they saw Him crucified. Their greatest joy came, he said, after “everything seemed to be over for them, without even a glimmer of peace.”
The Pope made a special appeal to “all of you in this country who call yourselves Christians but engage in violence.” To them, he said: “The Lord is telling you: ‘Lay down your arms; embrace mercy.’”