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Background: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (CWN)

Sat, 01/18/2020 - 10:01 AM

In 1908, Rev. Paul Wattson, then an Anglican religious in Graymoor, New York, began a Church Unity Octave with the support of Anglican and Catholic prelates, including Cardinal William O’Connell of Boston.

Italian bishops decry anti-Semitism (SIR)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 8:01 AM
“Anti-Semitism is the most tragic manifestation of a form of exclusion that in our society is expressed in the hatred of strangers, intolerance of immigrants, racism, rejection of the weakest, the poorest, the elderly,’ said Bishop Ambrogio Spreafico of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino, president of the Italian Bishops’ Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue.

'The blasphemy law is like a sword,' Pakistani prelate says (UCANews)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 8:01 AM
“The unjust law has been misused a hundred times to bring death and destruction,” said retired Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore. “I also fear that Christians in Pakistan will have to deal with greater pressures and opposition.”

Cardinal Sarah: no confusion on Benedict's role in new book (Cardinal Sarah- Facebook)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 8:01 AM
Cardinal Robert Sarah has announced that he met with Pope-emeritus Benedict, and “we have been able to see how there is no confusion between us” about the retired Pontiff’s role as co-author of a new book defending clerical celibacy. Cardinal Sarah said that he wanted to meet privately with Benedict because of the “incessant, unpleasant and false controversy that has never stopped since the beginning of the week.”

Turkmenistan police raid Christmas gathering of Protestant women (Forum 18)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 8:01 AM
The Central Asian nation of 5.4 million (map) is 89% Muslim and 9% Eastern Orthodox.

German court affirms pharmacist's conscience rights (Observatory on Intolerance against Christians)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 8:01 AM
The pharmacist refused to stock or sell the morning-after pill, which can cause an abortion of a newly conceived human being.

Nicaraguan police record license plates of those attending Mass (Fides)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 7:01 AM
“Members of the police take note of the plate of the cars of the faithful only for the fact that they go to Mass,” the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Managua said. “But the Church had this experience of persecution already in the 80s. We, despite this, do not stop in our work and in our mission, to evangelize and be next to the people.”

Marxist communism is being reborn in Spain, cardinal warns (Catholic Register)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 7:01 AM
“Marxist communism, which seemed destroyed with the fall of the Berlin Wall, has been reborn and is certain to govern Spain,” warned Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Valencia, vice president of the Spanish bishops’ conference. “The sense of democracy is substituted for the imposition of a single way of thinking and by authoritarianism and absolutism incompatible with democracy.”

Trump administration issues updated guidance on prayer in public schools (US Department of Education)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 7:01 AM
“President Trump is committed to making sure that people of faith, particularly children, are not subjected to illegal punishment or pressure for executing their constitutionally protected right,” said White House Domestic Policy Council Director Joe Grogan.

Iran bulldozes grave of pastor hanged by regime (Jerusalem Post)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 7:01 AM
Hossein Soodmand, a convert from Islam, was tortured and executed in 1990.

Pope, at weekday Mass, reflects on 'the little prayer that moves God' (Vatican News)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 7:01 AM
At a Mass celebrated in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae on January 16, Pope Francis preached on Mark 1:40-45, which recounts the leper’s prayer to Christ (“If you wish, you can make me clean”).

Leading Australian archbishop rejects breaking seal of confession for abusers (CNS)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 7:01 AM
Under proposed legislation in Queensland (map), priests would face up to three years in jail for failing to report a confession of child sexual abuse.

Virginia Episcopalians cancel plan for bishop's consecration in Catholic church (Richmond diocese)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 7:01 AM
The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia has decided not to hold the ordination of a female bishop at a Catholic church. Because of concerns raised by Catholics in the diocese, Episcopalian leaders announced that they would find another venue for the ceremony. Catholic Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, who had approved the plan for the Episcopalian ordination, accepted the change “with great sadness.”

Bishops call for the application of international law in the Holy Land (Holy Land Co-ordination)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 6:01 AM
“We implore our governments to help build a new political solution rooted in human dignity for all,” a group of European and North American bishops said following a visit to the Holy Land. “There is an urgent need for our countries to play their part by insisting upon the application of international law [and] following the Holy See’s lead in recognizing the State of Palestine.”

USCCB Martin Luther King Day statement: 'We have not come nearly far enough' (USCCB)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 5:01 AM
“Too many young African American men are still being killed in our streets or spending their best years behind bars,” said Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. “There has been a rise of anti-Semitic attacks and also ugly displays of white nationalism, nativism, and violence targeting Hispanics and other immigrants.”

Protecting unborn is a preeminent priority, Pope Francis tells US bishops (CNS)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 5:01 AM
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City (KS) said that Pope Francis “was truly kind of stunned” when he was told there have been 61 million abortions in the US since Roe v. Wade. On January 16, the Pope received bishops from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

67,000 Austrians left Church in 2019 (SIR)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 5:01 AM
67,583 Austrians left the Church in 2019, up from 58,807 in 2018; the number of priests and religious declined, while the number of deacons rose.

Vatican, Congo, reach bilateral accord (Vatican Press Office)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 3:01 AM
Pope Francis met on January 17 with President Felix Tshilombo Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The meeting marked the ratification of a diplomatic accord between the Holy See and the African nation, governing the legal standing of Church institutions in the country. During their meeting, the Pope and the Congolese president spoke about the humanitarian crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo, caused by the continuing bloodshed in the eastern part of the country and the spread of the Ebola virus.

Pope greets Lutherans, emphasizes common Baptism (Vatican Press Office)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 3:01 AM
At a January 17 meeting with a delegation from the Lutheran Church in Finland, Pope Francis said that ecumenical alliances should grown naturally from an understanding of the importance of Baptism. “The community of the baptized is not mere ‘standing beside one another,’ and certainly not a ‘standing against one another,’” he said, “but wants to become an ever fuller ‘standing together.’”

260 million Christians face persecution worldwide (CNA)

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 3:01 AM
260 million Christians live with persecution in the world today, according to a new study by Open Doors. The number of Christians living under persecution has risen by 6% in the past year. The study named North Korea as the most dangerous country for Christians, followed by Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, and India.