Catholic ethicists decry lax 'brain-death' standards [Exclusive] (CWN) Current medical criteria for diagnosing “brain death” are woefully inadequate, and more than half of organ donors who have been declared “brain dead” are still alive. These are the conclusions of a group of 151 Catholic doctors, ethicists, theologians, and others, in a statement released on February 27.
Pope condemns bloodshed in Burkina Faso and calls for peace (Vatican News) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, has sent a French-language telegram of condolence in the Pope’s name to the president of the bishops’ conference of Burkina Faso and Niger following an attack on a church in Burkina Faso.
The Pontiff also expressed his sorrow for an attack on a mosque that also took place in the West African nation.
Stating that “hatred is not the solution to conflicts,” the Pope called for “respect for sacred spaces” and for a “struggle against violence in order to promote the values of peace.”
Ethiopian monastery attacked; 4 monks slain (Borkena) Members of the Oromo Liberation Army, a separatist group founded in 1974, attacked an Ethiopian Orthodox monastery and kidnapped and killed four of its monks, according to Borkena, a Toronto-based Ethiopian news site.
The African nation of 116 million (map)—the 12th most populous in the world—is 60% Christian (41% Orthodox, 16% Protestant), 34% Muslim, and 5% ethnic religionist. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is among the Oriental Orthodox churches that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451.
Papal appeal for just and lasting peace in Ukraine, prayer for nations suffering from violence, cold (Vatican News) At the conclusion of his February 25 Angelus address, Pope Francis lamented the suffering caused by the war in Ukraine.
“While renewing my heartfelt affection for the tormented Ukrainian people, I keep praying for everyone, especially for the countless innocent victims,” he said. “I earnestly plead that the little humanity needed to create the conditions for a diplomatic solution in seeking for a just and lasting peace be sought.”
The Pope then called for prayer “for Palestine, for Israel, and for the many peoples torn apart by war,” and spoke of his concern for the rising violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and kidnappings in Nigeria.
“I am also close to the population of Mongolia, affected by a wave of intense cold, which is causing serious humanitarian consequences,” he added. “This extreme phenomenon is also a sign of climate change and its effects.”
Gunmen open fire during Mass in Burkina Faso village; at least 15 dead (AFP) Suspect Islamist militants opened fire on worshipers during Mass in Essakane, a village in Burkina Faso. At least 15 people were killed.
Burkina Faso, a West African nation of 22.5 million (map), is 57% Muslim, 23% Christian (15% Catholic), and 19% ethnic religionist. A jihadist insurgency began there in 2015.
Women Synod participants share reflections in webinars (WUCWO) The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations has announced a “school of synodality”: a series of webinars, open to the public, in which eight women who took part in the October 2023 session of the Synod on synodality will share their experiences and reflections.
Participants in the October 2023 session will also take part in the Synod’s concluding session in October 2024.
Brazilian study warns Catholic 'digital influencers' spurn bishops (Crux) A study commissioned by a Brazilian bishop warned that the “Catholic digital space is increasingly being dominated by voices often in open conflict with the bishops and official ecclesiastical structures,” Crux reported.
“Those influencers’ particular point of view – a fragment of Catholic teaching – ends up creating parallel churches and a parallel magisterium,” said Alzirinha Souza, one of the study’s authors.
The study, commissioned by Auxiliary Bishop Joaquim Mol Guimarães of Belo Horizonte, examined the social media posts of a priest described as a “left-wing activist,” as well as supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro.
Cardinal reinstates lay charismatic leader who admitted abuse (La Croix) Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan (Ivory Coast) has lifted his 2020 suspension of Do Oulaï Franklin Delaneaux, the founder of Royal Priesthood, an evangelization apostolate.
The lay leader, also known as Abraham Marie Pio, was accused of sexual abuse, psychological manipulation, and extortion.
Cardinal Kutwa said that Delaneaux “acknowledged and regretted the facts attributed to him, all things considered,” and “made use of this time of suspension by participating in spiritual retreats, taking courses in theological, pastoral, and psychological training.” The prelate also said that Delaneaux has made a “commitment to serve our mother Church in the future with more prudence.”
Appointed archbishop of Abidjan in 2006, Kutwa, now 78, was named a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2014.
USCCB committee chairman calls for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, rues Russian persecution of Church (USCCB) In a statement marking the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has called on the US government to “do all that it can to provide much needed humanitarian assistance quickly.”
“There are reports of religious communities, particularly the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, being attacked by Russian forces in territories they have seized,” added Bishop A. Elias Zaidan, the Maronite bishop of Los Angeles. “Over 600 religious structures have been damaged, some occupied by Russian forces and turned into military bases. Clergy have been harassed, persecuted, kidnapped, and even killed.”
Philippine shrine designated an international shrine (Vatican News) Archbishop Rino Fisichella, one of the two pro-prefects of the Dicastery for Evangelization, celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving at Antipolo Cathedral in the Philippines following its designation as the International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.
Approval of the Holy See is required for a shrine to be designated as an international shrine (Canon 1231). The Philippine shrine, according to Vatican News, is the eleventh international shrine; among the others are shrines in Knock (Ireland), Elele (Nigeria), and Haemi (South Korea).
Angelus address: 'Never direct your eyes away from the light of Jesus' (Vatican Press Office) A day after canceling an audience for health reasons, Pope Francis delivered his Angelus address on February 25 to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Reflecting on Mark 9:2-10, the Gospel reading of the day, the Pope emphasized, “This is today’s message: never direct your eyes away from the light of Jesus.”
“So let us ask ourselves: do I keep my eyes fixed on Christ who accompanies me?” he said. “And in order to do so, do I make space for silence, prayer, adoration? Finally, do I seek out every little ray of Jesus’ light, which is reflected in me and in every brother and sister I encounter? And do I remember to thank him for this?”
“May Mary, who shines with the light of God, help us to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus and to look at each other with trust and love,” the Pope concluded.
Ailing Pope again cancels audiences (Vatican News) Pope Francis canceled his audiences for Monday, February 26, because of what the Vatican press offices described as “flu-like symptoms.”
The Pontiff had also cancelled an audience on Saturday, February 24. But he had held his regular Sunday audience the following day, without showing any noteworthy signs of illness.
The Vatican specified on Monday that the Pope was not running a fever. His next scheduled public appearance is for his Wednesday public audience.
India's bishops urge voters to keep country secular (National Catholic Reporter) As voters in India, the world’s most populous nation, prepare for the 2024 general election, the nation’s bishops warned of “unprecedented religious polarization which is harming the cherished social harmony in our country and endangering democracy itself.”
Narendra Modi, head of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been prime minister since 2014.
“Divisive attitudes, hate speeches, and fundamentalist movements are eroding the pluralistic, secular ethos” of India, the bishops warned, as they declared March 22 to be a day of prayer and fasting for “peace and harmony in our country.”
Cardinal Sarah urges unity within Church (ACIAfrica) Cardinal Robert Sarah underlined the need for unity within the Catholic Church in a talk to a theological symposium min Kenya.
The retired prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship said that disunity among Catholics leaves the Church “vulnerable to exploitation.” He saw a danger that differences among Catholics could be used by “corrupt politicians or even foreign powers.”
Vatican diplomat advocates for women (Vatican News (Spanish)) Msgr. Juan Antonio Cruz Serrano, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States, called upon member states to “become aware of the gift and value of women and encourage best practices to promote their role within society, as well as to prevent any type of violence and exclusion in the Americas.”
The Holy See, he said, values womanhood “not only for being a source of life, a vocation without which humanity could not fulfill itself, but also for the unique contribution that it makes ... enriching and enlarging our society and all the institutions where women participate.”
The Vatican diplomat made his remarks as the organization commemorated the Day of Women of the Americas.
Church mediates truce in Mexican drug-cartel conflict (AP) Catholic Church officials have brokered a fragile truce between rival drug cartels in the state of Guerrero, Mexico.
Father José Filiberto Velazquez, a spokesman for the Church, acknowledged that the agreement “hangs by a thread,” but said the open fighting between two notoriously violent gangs has stopped. Church officials had sought to mediate between the two cartels in hope of reducing casualties.
Bishop explains Christian vision at Dubai interfaith event (Fides) Bishop Paolo Martinelli, the apostolic vicar for southern Arabia, offered a summary of the Christian vision of inter-faith cooperation at a “Day of Harmony” in Dubai that featured the opening of a Hindu temple.
Speaking to a mostly Muslim audience, the bishop said that “harmony can be achieve only by welcoming God’s forgiveness, which makes us all new creatures.” He told his listeners that Jesus Christ reveals “the ultimate destiny of all creatures: to enter divine life.”
Malawi president's leadership has failed, bishops say (BBC) The bishops of Malawi have issued “The Sad Story of Malawi,” a 16-page pastoral letter denouncing nepotism, corruption, and other failures under the leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera.
Chakwera is the former national leader of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination.
Malawi, a southeastern African nation of 21.3 million (map), is 80% Christian (32% Catholic), 15% Muslim, and 5% ethnic religionist.