Vatican Secetary of State opens academic year at John Paul II Institute (Zenit) “The constitution of the new Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and the Family, decided by the Holy Father Francis, re-launches the timeliness of that inspiration and invites to elaborate and update its identity to correspond to the new exigencies of the theological culture and of the ecclesial mission,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin said. In 2017, Pope Francis gave the Institute a new name and focus.
New potential abuse payouts could surpass $4 billion (AP) The brief report notes that “New York state opened its one-year window allowing sex abuse claims no matter how old, and already hundreds of lawsuits have been filed. A two-year window in New Jersey opens this week, then a three-year window in California opens in the new year that allows triple damages if the Church tried to cover up the abuse.”
Vatican Christmas tree illuminated (Vatican Press Office) The Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square was illuminated on December 5, and the Nativity scene unveiled. Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of the governorate of Vatican City, presided at the tree-lighting ceremony. Later Pope Francis met with representatives of Italy’s Triveneto region, who donated the tree this year, to thank them.
Pope calls on world's nations to act decisively to address climate change (Vatican Press Office) “Numerous studies tell us that it is still possible to limit global warming,” Pope Francis said in a message to participants in the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference. “To do this we need a clear, far-sighted and strong political will, set on pursuing a new course … We are facing a ‘challenge of civilization’... There remains a window of opportunity, but we must not allow it to close.”
Vatican postpones Archbishop Fulton Sheen's beatification (Peoria Catholic Post) “On December 2nd, the Holy See decided to postpone the date of beatification, at the request of a few members of the [US] Bishops’ Conference who have asked for further consideration,” the Diocese of Peoria announced; the Illinois diocese is Sheen’s home diocese, and the beatification was scheduled to take place there on December 21. Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria “is deeply saddened by this decision. In particular, Bishop Jenky is even more concerned for the many faithful who are devoted to Sheen and who will be affected by this news. He is firmly convinced of the great holiness of the Venerable Servant of God and remains confident that Sheen will be beatified.”
What new CDC numbers tell us about abortion in America (National Right to Life News) “The abortion rate and ratio reported by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] for 2016 are the lowest it has recorded since the Supreme Court declared abortion on demand legal in the US in 1973.” However, the annual federal report “does not include any abortion data from California, the nation’s most populous state, nor any numbers from Maryland, New Hampshire, and for 2016, the District of Columbia.”