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Nation and world briefs


Laudato Si’ Action Platform set to integrate encyclical into Church life

SAN DIEGO — The Vatican’s seven-year plan to widen the reach of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the environment is just what the Church needs in a time of global climate change in the mind of Father Emmet Farrell, a retired priest living in San Diego. “The Church is very serious about what we need to do to address climate change,” Father Farrell, volunteer director of the Creation Care Ministry of the Diocese of San Diego, said of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform that launched Nov. 14. The pope introduced the initiative in a video May 25, asking the world to join a new global grassroots movement to create a more inclusive, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world. Coordinated through the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, the platform is “a seven-year journey that will see our communities committed in different ways to becoming totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology,” the pope said. Father Farrell is working on the effort with a team of lay leaders. The diocesan ministry has developed a “Creation Care Action Plan” that includes numerous actions — from the simple to more complex — that individuals, parishes and wider society can take to promote sustainability.


Peace requires global disarmament, pope says

VATICAN CITY — Criticizing the “abused idea” of deterrence through the stockpiling of weapons, Pope Francis called for integral disarmament worldwide in his message sent to the Paris Peace Forum. The concept of deterrence, which aims to use limited force or the threat of force in order to deter or dissuade an actor from taking a certain course of action, “does not guarantee the construction and maintenance of peace,” Pope Francis said. “The idea of deterrence, in fact, has turned out to be false in many cases, leading to far-reaching humanitarian tragedies,” he said in a written message addressed to those attending the forum, both online and on-site Nov. 11-13. The Vatican released a copy of the message Nov. 11. The annual forum invites hundreds of speakers from around the world to discuss solutions to challenges and promote collective action. In his message, the pope repeated his call that the post-pandemic world avoid “going back to normal,” when the norm has been severe economic disparity and inequality, “nearsighted” exploitation of natural resources and wasteful consumerism.

At Vatican trial, lawyers accuse prosecution of withholding evidence

VATICAN CITY ­—­ Lawyers representing six defendants, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, on charges of financial crimes accused Vatican prosecutors of omitting evidence and testimony they said are crucial in preparing their defense. During the trial’s fourth session, Nov. 17, Luigi Panella, the lawyer representing Italian investment manager Enrico Crasso, said the prosecution’s interrogation of Msgr. Alberto Perlasca included a reference to statements made by Pope Francis that were not included in the evidence. At the previous session of the trial, Oct. 6, Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the Vatican City State criminal court, ordered Vatican prosecutors to give defense lawyers video and audio recordings of the testimony of Msgr. Perlasca, the former head of the Secretariat of State’s administrative office. Panella said that in the video, Msgr. Perlasca seemed to be “shocked” when prosecutors countered one of his statements with a comment made by the pope regarding the investigation. Since Msgr. Perlasca changed his statement after that, Panella questioned whether the pope’s words amounted to his involvement in the investigation.

Vatican, Roma community to play friendly soccer match

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican and the World Roma Organization are set to go toe-to-toe at a friendly soccer match to promote fraternity and an end to racial discrimination. The initiative, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture, received support from Pope Francis who will meet with both teams the day before the Nov. 21 match. According to a statement Nov. 11 by the pontifical council, the Vatican team, “Fratelli Tutti” is comprised of Swiss Guards, Vatican employees and their children, as well as priests “who carry out their service in the Secretariat of State, the Roman Curia and the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy,” the school for priests who will become Vatican diplomats. And, “to bear witness to the concrete commitment to inclusion and the true meaning of sportsmanship, three young migrants welcomed by the Sant’Egidio Community will play on the ‘pope’s team,’” as well as Filippo Montemurri, a Special Olympics athlete with Down syndrome.

Pope urges Ratzinger Prize winners to hold fast to truth like Pope Benedict

VATICAN CITY — Honoring an Australian theologian, a French philosopher and two German theologians, Pope Francis prayed that they may continually be inspired by retired Pope Benedict XVI’s episcopal motto, “Cooperatores veritatis” — co-workers in the truth. During a midday meeting in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace Nov. 13, Pope Francis awarded the Ratzinger Prize to Tracey Rowland, an Australian theologian; French philosopher Jean-Luc Marion; and German theologians Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz and Ludger Schwienhorst-Schönberger. After the ceremony, the four awardees visited Pope Benedict at his home in the Mater Ecclesia monastery in the Vatican Gardens. Rowland and Marion won the prize in 2020, but the ceremony was not held because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ratzinger Prize recognizes theologians, specialists in sacred Scripture or artists, scientists or philosophers who have enriched theological studies by their work. The pope chooses the winners from a short list of candidates recommended by a five-person committee of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Foundation, which was established in 2010 to support theological research and to promote studies on the theology and teaching of the retired pope. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, president of the foundation, said the award is not a recognition of a particular book or project, but considers “the long and in-depth work” of the winners.

Look to families as a new, or ancient, model of Church, Ghana bishops say

ACCRA, Ghana — The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of life in Ghana and caused the Church to rethink its current model, the nation’s bishops said at the end of their fall meeting. The pandemic, the West African prelates said, offered an opportunity to revisit the concept of the “domus ecclesia,” (the domestic Church), which was the feature of the first three centuries of Christianity. “Here in Ghana, when parishes could not meet, the family quickly reemerged as the most resilient unit of the Church. A post-COVID-19 Church will do well to reengage this model of Church and expend the necessary resources to promote and strengthen the Christian family as the building block of the parish community and society,” the bishops said in their Nov. 13 message at the end of their meeting in Wa. “The experience of COVID-19 calls for a radical appraisal of every pastoral strategy and a rethinking of every missionary engagement,” they said. They noted the increase in streaming services and said the inability to be physically present should no longer be an obstacle to participation in the life of the parish community.

Portugal’s bishops create national commission to confront abuse

ROME — The Portuguese bishops’ conference announced the creation of a national commission to support local dioceses in their investigations into current and historic cases of sexual abuse. The new commission, which was announced Nov. 11 at the end of the bishops’ four-day plenary assembly in Fatima, was established after a discussion devoted to “the protection of vulnerable minors and adults in the ecclesial sphere and in society as a whole,” the conference said. “Recognizing the work of the diocesan commissions, made up especially of laypeople qualified in various areas such as law, psychiatry and psychology, the assembly decided to create a national commission to strengthen and expand the handling of cases and the respective follow-up at the civil and canonical level,” the bishops said.

— Catholic News Service

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