Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pope says it is too early to judge President Trump

He tells reporters jumping to conclusions is unwise
Pope Francis talks to El Pais. (El Pais)
The Pope who has become famous for his words "who am I to judge?" is not judging the new president of the United States just yet.
"I think that we must wait and see. I don’t like to get ahead of myself, nor to judge people prematurely. We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will form an opinion."
Pope Francis sat down for an interview with Spanish daily El Pais on Jan. 20, the day Donald Trump was sworn into office.
"Being afraid or rejoicing beforehand because of something that might happen is, in my view, quite unwise. It would be like prophets predicting calamities or windfalls that will not come to pass. We will see what he does and will judge accordingly."

Reporters asked him about a variety of other topics, too, including the refugee crisis, Vatican relations with China, and a promise Pope Francis made 25 years ago to stop watching television. Read it all here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New leader of Opus Dei confirmed by Pope Francis

Monsignor Fernando Brana plans for a bright yet simple future for the prelature

Spanish Msgr. Fernando Ocariz, the newly elected head of Opus Dei, is pictured during a media opportunity at the University of the Holy Cross in Rome Jan. 24. His appointment was approved the previous day by Pope Francis. (CNS photo/courtesy of Opus Dei)
The new Opus Dei head prepares for his office with a simple plan for the future.
"I have the desire that the prelature of Opus Dei continues to do the good it has done and is increasingly doing in service of the world, which is really the only thing that interests us: the good of the person. The good of the person which, in the final moment, is the encounter with Jesus Christ," Monsignor Fernando Ocariz Brana told reporters.
His nomination was formally accepted by Pope Francis Jan. 23. The Pope acted "with great affection… the affection he has for us, the hope for the work the premature does in the world," the monsignor told journalists Jan. 24.

Msgr. Brana previously acted as the vicar general of Opus Dei from 1994 to 2014, becoming the auxiliary vicar afterwards. For more information, read the Catholic News Agency article here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Christmas celebrations filled with hope in Erbil

Liberated villagers in the Nineveh Plains gather Christian spirit
Father Luis Montes, who has lived in Iraq since 2010, stands beside a Nativity scene.  A majority of villages on the Nineveh plains have been liberated from the Islamic State, allowing them to celebrate their Christian traditions once again.
Refugees are overjoyed to hear their homes have been liberated from the Islamic State (IS), and celebrate Christmas together.
The refugees, many who live in Erbil, the capital city of semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, have lost much during their lives. "Despite everything, Iraqis have lost neither their smiles nor their hope," said Father Luis Montes, episcopal vicar of the Latin bishop for Kurdistan. He has lived in Iraq since 2010, and spoke with the international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about the current situation in the refugees from the Nineveh plains.
"When we received the news that IS was retreating, a spontaneous celebration broke out in the refugee camps. The people went out into the streets to dance and sing, as though they did not have any other problems in their lives," Father Montes told ACN. More than 120,000 people fled their villages from the jihadist threat, and are eager to return to their homes after more than two years away.

"Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go before the refugees can return to their homes. The region is riddled with bombs," said Father Montes. The area has been "riddled with land mines" and reports of "bombs in with children's toys" have caused further delay for the returning refugees.

Father Montes noted the mines required to be cleared up and villages restored. "Approximately 60% of the homes on the Nineveh plains were burned down," he said. "Everything still needs to be done, the people have nothing left."

Nonetheless, they are happy to hear the news of their liberated villages, and many Christian refugees living in Erbil celebrated the Christmas season in an even grander scale. The houses and streets were decorated with trees and lights, and chocolate and gifts donated from all around the world were passed around the refugee camps. "I find it quite impressive to look into the faces of the children when they see the presents," said Father Montes. "Not only because of the things in and of themselves, but because people who live very far away were thinking of them."

"They know that Christians from other countries have kept them alive."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First Filipino to head U.S. diocese will supervise Salt Lake City

Auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles appointed after 20-month vacancy
Pope Francis appointed Auxiliary Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Los Angeles as bishop of Salt Lake City. (Photo Credit: CNS / J.D. Long-Garcia, The Tidings)
The first Filipino bishop of the United States will become the first to head a diocese.

The Vatican announced the appointment of Bishop Oscar A. Solis as the new head of the Diocese of Salt Lake City Jan. 10. The Philippines-born bishop, who is currently an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, will be covering a 20-month vacant spot left in Salt Lake City by the previous bishop John Charles Wester, who was moved to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M. in April 2015.
Solis considered his role as the 10th bishop of Salt Lake City "a recognition of the diversity of the Church in America and the universality of the Church. I know what it means to be a pastor, a shepherd of a particular diocese," he told the L.A. diocesan newspaper Angelus News. "It is a tremendous blessing and a responsibility and a privilege to be a service to the local Church in the United States of America, coming from the Philippines."
For more information on Bishop Solis, visit Catholic News Agency's article here.

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