Cardinal Sarah: no confusion on Benedict's role in new book (Cardinal Sarah- Facebook) 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.”
260 million Christians face persecution worldwide (CNA) 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.
Marxist communism is being reborn in Spain, cardinal warns (Catholic Register) “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.”
Vatican, Congo, reach bilateral accord (Vatican Press Office) 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.
Virginia Episcopalians cancel plan for bishop's consecration in Catholic church (Richmond diocese) 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.”
Nicaraguan police record license plates of those attending Mass (Fides) “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.”
Pope greets Lutherans, emphasizes common Baptism (Vatican Press Office) 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.’”
Italian bishops decry anti-Semitism (SIR) “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.
Chinese 'underground' bishop evicted, homeless (AsiaNews) Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin, who has resisted pressure to join the government-backed Patriotic Association, has been evicted from his residence and is now homeless. Bishop Guo agreed to step down as head of the Mindong diocese, as part of the secret accord between Beijing and the Holy See. (He was succeeded by Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu, who had previously been excommunicated.) Government officials said that the bishop’s residence was illegally occupied—although all relevant permits had been granted.