In meeting with French PM, Vatican Secretary of State says sacraments must be respected (Vatican News (Italian)) French Prime Minister Jean Castex met with Pope Francis as he visited the Vatican to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.Castex also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, who spoke of “a climate of cordiality” that has marked the past century of Vatican-French relations.Echoing the Pope’s call for a “healthy European secularity” in which “God and Caesar are distinct but not opposed,” Cardinal Parolin told Castex that the Church in France is “even stronger and more determined, in full collaboration with the civil authorities,” to combat sexual abuse, but always “respecting the nature, mission, and sacramental structure of the Church”—a clear reference to the dispute in France over the secrecy of the confessional.
Holy See backs Serbia on Kosovo, foreign minister says (Tanjug) The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, and Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic took part in an event at the Pontifical Lateran University marking the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations.In a tweet, Selakovic announced the “intensification” of Vatican-Serbian relations, and he told the state news agency Tanjug that “the Holy See was providing principled support to Serbia in terms of the preservation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.” Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and half the world’s nations, including the US, recognize Kosovo’s independence.Serbia (map), which has 7.1 million people, is 85% Orthodox, 5% Catholic, and 3% Muslim. Kosovo (map), which has 1.9 million people, is 93% Muslim and 6% Christian.
Trudeau says Canada's bishops must 'step up' morally, financially for residential school survivors (CBC News) “We have seen, unfortunately, from the Catholic Church, a resistance to taking on responsibility, either financial or moral, for its role in residential schools,” the Canadian prime minister said during an October 18 visit to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc in British Columbia. “I think the millions of Catholics like me across this country expect the Church to step up and fulfil its moral responsibilities, its legal and economic responsibilities, its historic responsibilities, but also to practice what it quite literally preaches.”
Religious fanatics gain strength in Muslim-majority Bangladesh (UCANews) The South Asian nation of 163 million (map)—the world’s 8th most populous—is 89% Muslim and 9% Hindu, with a small Christian population. Violence against Hindus has swept the nation in recent days, leading to a Hindu counter-protest. On October 19, the Vatican newspaper devoted its most prominent front-page coverage to the situation there.
Catholic primate says he raised concerns about focus of Armagh event (Irish Times) Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the Primate of All Ireland, expressed concerns about the tone of an Anglican cathedral service marking the 100th anniversary of Northern Ireland’s political separation from the Republic of Ireland, which had gained its independence from the UK.“I got a lot of emails and letters saying, ‘listen, we want nothing to do with the year 2021, 1921, for us it is simply something that we regret, we see it as a terrible moment of grief and separation’, and I, in many ways, share those,” said the Primate.
Pilgrimages to the Holy Land are slowly resuming (Fides) “Since September 19, the Israeli authorities have only allowed entry to groups participating in trips organized by local travel agencies authorized by the government,” the Fides news agency reported. “Groups of pilgrims must be made up of a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 30 people. Tour operators based in the Palestinian Territories, including Bethlehem, are still excluded from participating in this small resumption of tourist activities in the Holy Land.”
We are not condemned to exclusion and inequality, Pope tells popular movements (Vatican Press Office) The Pope’s address to the 4th World Meeting of Popular Movements is significant for several reasons:
his impassioned pleas, issued “in the name of God”—including pleas to pharmaceutical companies to release Covid vaccine patents, to financial groups to cancel debts to poor nations, and to extractive industries to stop polluting his statement that the principles he mentions are rooted in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2001) his criticism of “indifference, meritocracy and individualism” on the one hand, and “any authoritarian mindset, any forced collectivism or any state-centric mindset” on the other: “the common good cannot be used as an excuse to quash private initiative, local identity or community projects” his reference to “the protests over the death of George Floyd”: “it is clear that this type of reaction against social, racial or macho injustice can be manipulated or exploited by political machinations or whatever, but the main thing is that, in that protest against this death, there was the Collective Samaritan who is no fool! This movement did not pass by on the other side of the road when it saw the injury to human dignity caused by an abuse of power” his call for serious consideration of “a basic income (the UBI) or salary so that everyone in the world may have access to the most basic necessities of life. It is right to fight for a humane distribution of these resources, and it is up to governments to establish tax and redistribution schemes so that the wealth of one part of society is shared fairly, but without imposing an unbearable burden, especially upon the middle class” his call for serious consideration of a shorter workday: “working fewer hours so that more people can have access to the labor market is something we need to explore with some urgency”
Vatican unveils synod prayer app, website (CNS) “Synodality requires both personal and community conversion which originates in and is sustained by prayer,” Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, said at a press conference on the prayer initiative. “Our prayer, which springs from silence and contemplation, can be of immense help to the entire Church.”
US bishops have 'snuffed out' message of Laudato Si' and deny climate change, authors charge (Environmental Research Letters) The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has engaged in frequent climate advocacy, issuing three dozen statements and letters since the 2015 publication of Laudato Si’, the papal encyclical on care for our common home.Nonetheless, two Creighton University professors and a doctoral student write in a journal article that “our quantitative and qualitative content analyses show that US Catholic bishops responsible for leading the Church were silent and denialist about climate change around Laudato Si’.” The scholars argue that American bishops show a “conservative political identity,” noting that the bishops mention abortion more frequently than climate change.
Diocesan phase of synod on synodality begins (Exaudi) The theme of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is For a synodal church: communion, participation, and mission. The synod began in Rome on October 9 and in local dioceses on October 17. The diocesan phase concludes in April 2022, and the entire synod concludes in Rome in October 2023.
English bishop rues police block on last rites for slain lawmaker (CNA) Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has challenged the decision by police to block a priest who attempted to administer the last rites to Sir Davis Amess after the noted lawmaker was fatally stabbed by an assailant on October 15. “Every Catholic Christian hopes to receive the Sacraments and be accompanied by the prayer of the Church in the final crisis of our lives,” the bishop said. He remarked that hospitals recognize the urgency of allowing priests to administer the sacraments, but “this is not always comprehended in emergency situations.”
Pope shares survivor's letter pleading for clergy to face truth of abuse (CNS) “Please, do not sweep things under the carpet, because then they start to stink, putrefy, and the rug itself will rot away,” an abuse survivor said to seminarians in an Italian letter sent to Pope Francis. “Let us realize that if we hide these facts, when we keep our mouths shut, we hide the filth and we thus become a collaborator.”
Vatican sets new rules for postulators of sainthood causes (CNA) The Vatican has issued new rules for the postulators who promote the causes of candidates for beatification and/or canonization. The new rules are designed to guard against conflicts of interest, limiting the postulator’s access to funds collected to advance a cause.
The new rules are part of a reform of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. A review of Vatican finances in 2015 found a near-total lack of control on the finances involved in promoting causes. In 2016, Pope Francis approved interim rules to address the problem.
Indian archbishop rejects 'dangerous' government bid to study church workers (Fides) Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore is resisting a government plan to survey the staff of church institutions, saying that the plan is “pointless, unnecessary, and dangerous.”
The proposed survey, ordered by the government of the Karnataka state, is seen by the Christian minority as part of a larger drive by Hindu activists to restrict religious conversions. Charges that missionaries are engaged in “forced conversions” have led to violent attacks on Christian targets.