Insomnia cause for resignation of Benedict XVI? (AFP) The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI may have been prompted by severe insomnia that left the Pope unable to work, according to a letter made public recently.
In an October 2022 letter to Peter Seewald, with whom he had collaborated on several book-length interviews, the retired Pontiff explained that doctors had prescribed sleeping pills for him, but the medications had “reached their limits,” and doctors said they would help only “for a short time.”
The former Pope revealed that his condition was responsible for a fall that he suffered during his return trip to Rome after a visit to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012. Doctors then insisted that he cut back on his work schedule.
Pope-emeritus Benedict wrote to Seewald that the medication was necessary to combat “constant” insomnia that he suffered during his pontificate.
The letter from the retired Pope was made public by Focus, a German news magazine.
'Admonishment and change': Pope concludes Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Vatican News) Pope Francis concluded the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with the celebration of Vespers on the January 25 at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (video, booklet).
“The theme of this Week of Prayer was chosen by a group of Christians from Minnesota, conscious of the injustices perpetrated in the past against native peoples and in our own day against African-Americans,” the Pope preached.
“Before the various forms of contempt and racism, before indifference, lack of understanding and sacrilegious violence, the word of God admonishes us: ‘learn to do good, seek justice’ (Is 1:17),” he continued. “It is not enough to denounce, we need also to renounce evil, to pass from evil to good. In other words, admonishment is meant to change us.”
Cardinal Kasper backs German laity's effort to block Synodal Path (Neueranfang) Cardinal Walter Kasper has given his support to an initiative by German lay Catholics to reject the German bishops’ bid to form a permanent “Synodal Council,” in defiance of Rome.
“I fully agree with the statement of the lay initiative New Beginning (Neuer Anfang),” said Cardinal Kasper. The group had protested a statement by Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the German bishops’ conference, downplaying the importance of a letter from Pope Francis warning against the establishment of the Synodal Council.
Bishop Bätzing indicated that the German hierarchy would move forward with the initiative, awaiting clarification. The New Beginnings group insisted that the papal directive itself was quite clear in saying that the Church did not allow for diocesan bishops to surrender their proper authority to a committee.
Cardinal Kasper agreed, saying:
Each bishop was conferred the pastoral office in his diocese at his episcopal ordination in the succession of the apostles. He cannot subsequently renounce the exercise of this sacramentally conferred authority, in whole or in part, by self-commitment to a Synodal Council, without violating the responsibility conferred upon him personally.
Cardinal Kasper said that efforts to reconcile the Synodal Council proposal with the bishop’s authority relied on “dishonest and self-contradictory trickery.”
Rediscover marital bond, Pope says in address to Vatican tribunal (Vatican Press Office) “The permanent reality of marriage needs to be rediscovered, and it is marriage as a bond,” Pope Francis said in a January 27 address to the tribunal of the Roman Rota, which is opening its judicial year.
The Pope spoke of “a strong need to rediscover the meaning and value of the conjugal union between man and woman on which the family is based.” He emphasized that the Church should strive to help couples having difficulties in their marriages, to strengthen and protect the bond.
Immigrant arrested after machete attacks on churches in Spain (AP) A Moroccan man was arrested by Spanish police on January 26 and charged with two attacks on Catholic churches, which left one man dead another wounded.
Wielding a machete, the suspect—who had been living under a deportation order for months—wounded a priest at one parish church in the city of Algeciras. He then went to another church, jumped on the altar, and chased a carekeeper out of the church, killing him in the town square.
US bishops' pro-life chairman praises Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act (USCCB) Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington (VA), chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, thanked Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) for introducing the Protecting Individuals with Down Syndrome Act, which would outlaw the killing of an unborn child following a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Bishop Burbidge wrote, “How can our society claim to value, respect, and protect the dignity and rights of persons with disabilities when we allow babies to be aborted simply because they have a disability? Are we not communicating to those who live with Down syndrome, and indeed to all persons with disabilities, that our society thinks they are better off dead, not to have been born, to have no life at all rather than a life with disabilities?”
Seven killed by gunman at Jerusalem synagogue (AP) Seven people were killed and ten others wounded when a lone attacker opened fire on a synagogue in Jerusalem on January 27: Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Police shot and killed a Palestinian man, the suspected gunman.
Defense urges dismissal of case against Philadelphia pro-life activist (CNA) After federal prosecutors presented their case against Mark Houck, lawyers for the pro-life activist asked the court to dismiss the charges, saying that the prosecution had failed to establish a case against Houck.
Houck was charged with violation of the FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinics) act after a confrontation outside an abortion clinic. The Biden administration arrested and charged him after local prosecutors had declined to pursue the case.
After hearing the defense motion to dismiss the charges, Judge Gerald Pappert asked prosecutors, ““Doesn’t that statute seem to be stretched a little thin here?” The judge is expected to rule soon on the defense motion.
Confusion abounds in Pope's AP interview [News Analysis] (CWN) Another month, another papal interview, another spate of confusion. In a lengthy session with the Associated Press, Pope Francis made a series of puzzling and/or misleading statements about topics including homosexuality, priestly abuse, the Vatican’s policy toward China, and papal resignation.
Abuse victim welcomes Pope's statement on homosexuality (NPR) In a statement featured by National Public Radio (NPR), an advocated for clerical abuse victims has welcomed the statement by Pope Francis that homosexuality is not a crime.
Juan Carlos Cruz said that the release of the Pope’s statement, in an AP interview, was “an incredible day.” However Cruz, who is openly homosexual, said that the Church’s teaching that forbids homosexual acts is “shameful.”
Cruz was inaccurately identified in a NPR headline as a “papal aide.” He was appointed by Pope Francis in 2021 to be a member of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors.