Key synod cardinal: 'The Pope has nothing against conservatives if they learn from life' (National Catholic Register) Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, of Luxembourg has been appointed the relator general at the 2023 Synod of Bishops, whose theme is “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.”
Commenting on the ordination of women as deacons, Cardinal Hollerich said, “I would have nothing against it. But reforms need a stable foundation. If the Pope were now simply to allow [the priestly ordination of married men] and deaconesses, the danger of schism would be great ... In Africa or in countries like France, many bishops would possibly not go along with it.”
“The Pope has nothing against conservatives if they learn from life,” he added. “In the same way, he has nothing against the reformers if they keep the whole Church in mind. And the Pope does not like infighting in the Church.”
150 African Orthodox clergy have now joined Russian Orthodox Church, prelate says (Interfax) The number of Orthodox clergy in Africa who have transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate’s has increased from 102 (from 8 nations) to 150 (from 12 nations) over the past month, according to Moscow’s Patriarchal Exarch of Africa, Metropolitan Leonid.
Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria, who has led the Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria since 2004, recently issued an encyclical letter comparing the Moscow Patriarchate’s leadership to “savage wolves.” Both patriarchates are among the autocephalous churches that make up Eastern Orthodoxy.
Catholic adoption agency in Michigan wins $550K settlement (CNA) The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to pay $550,000 to St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing. In 2019, the state had threatened to close adoption agencies that did not place children with same-sex couples.
“The teaching of the Catholic Church and, hence, the adoption policy of St. Vincent is rooted in both faith and reason: that children, on the whole, do best in life when they grow up with a mom and dad who are married to each other,” said Rich Budd, Director of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Lansing.
Marian grotto desecrated at DC suburban parish (WJLA-TV) Four statues at the Fatima grotto at Nativity Catholic Church in Burke, VA, have been vandalized and damaged beyond repair.
“The Grotto is a place of prayer, peace, and healing,” the parish said in a statement. “We pray for the person or persons who desecrated this sacred space and for peace in our world and the end of violence.”
Since May 2020, there have been at least 117 acts of vandalism, arson, and other destruction at parishes and other Catholic sites in the United States.
On day of prayer for Ukraine, Pope recalls country's historical suffering (Reuters) “I ask you to pray the Our Father for peace in Ukraine, now and throughout this Day,” Pope Francis said on January 26. “Let us ask the Lord to grant that the country may grow in the spirit of brotherhood, and that all hurts, fears and divisions will be overcome.”
“We have spoken about the Holocaust,” he continued. “But let us think too that [in Ukraine] millions of people were killed [1932-1933]. They are a people who have suffered; they have suffered from hunger, suffered from much brutality and they deserve peace.”
“May the prayers and supplications that today rise up to heaven touch the minds and hearts of world leaders, so that dialogue may prevail and the common good be placed ahead of partisan interests. Please, no more war.”
Poverty seen as greatest challenge facing Armenia's Catholics (Aid to the Church in Need) 94% of the Caucasus nation’s 3 million people (map) are Christian, and 82% are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, an
Oriental Orthodox church that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451).
Marco Mencaglia of Aid to the Church in Need said in an interview that “in Armenia, the Catholic Church can be found almost exclusively” in “poor and inhospitable regions ... In this kind of situation, it is understandable that the Church has committed itself to providing extensive social services to the weakest in society in order to give them hope and an alternative to leaving their homelands.”
Vatican defends former Pope Benedict after German report faults abuse record (CBC News) Warning against “easy scapegoats and summary judgments,” Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication, said that “it cannot be forgotten that [Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger] ... had already fought the phenomenon [of clerical abuse] in the last phase of the pontificate of St. John Paul II, with whom he had been a close collaborator, and once he became Pope, promulgated very harsh norms against clerical abusers.”
Pope seeks 'synodal spirit' on marriage tribunals (Vatican Press Office) In a January 27 address to officials of the Roman Rota, which was opening its judicial year, Pope Francis suggested that “the administration of justice needs a synodal spirit.”
Referring to the preparations for the Synod on Synodality, the Pontiff said that the Roman Rota—which handles appeals on marriage cases—should be guided by the same principles as the synod: a focus on listening, discernment, and then judgment.
“Synodality in trials implies a constant exercise in listening,” the Pope said. He stressed that all parties should make a special effort to listen to each other, in order to discern the truth about the existence of a marital bond.
Cardinal Marx pushes for reforms in Church (Deutsche Welle) Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich used the recent report on sexual abuse in the archdiocese as an occasion to press for fundamental reforms in the Church.
“There is no future for Christianity in our country without a renewed Church,” the cardinal told an audience at the Catholic Academy. “For me, the reappraisal of sexual abuse is part of a fundamental renewal.”
Cardinal Marx and the leaders of the German episcopal conference have explained their “synodal path”—calling for dramatic changes in Church teaching and discipline—as a necessary response to the scandal caused by the sex-abuse crisis.
The cardinal acknowledged his own “unforgivable” failure to act against sexual abuse in the past, and said that he was serious in his offer to resign (which Pope Francis declined). However, he said that the abuse scandal reflects “systemic causes,” and insisted on the “need for reform of the Church’s positions and its structures.”
Vatican diplomat: 'Constrain the use of explosive weapons' to protect civilians (Holy See Mission) Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, made his remarks at a UN debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, citing the Second Vatican Council, teaches that “every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation” (2314).
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith shelved draft USCCB LGBT pastoral ministry document (Pillar) “Draft guidelines from the US bishops’ conference urge meaningful relationships with people who identify as LGBT, and call for discerning complex pastoral and sacramental situations carefully, while upholding the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church,” according to the report. “But the guidelines, drafted in 2018, have not been released by the bishops’ conference, or even put to a vote, at the direction of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
The Pillar reported that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked the US bishops to wait because the Congregation was planning to release its own document. The “draft Vatican text was actually written in 2018, but has also not been published.”