Background: World Day of the Poor (CWN) On November 18, the Sunday before the Solemnity of Christ the King, the Church commemorates the Second World Day of the Poor. The theme of the message (full text), released on June 13 (the memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, is “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him.”
Pope asks Knights of Holy Sepulcher to support oppressed Christians (Vatican News) Speaking to representatives of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher on November 16, Pope Francis spoke of “the dramatic situation of Christians who are persecuted and killed in ever-greater numbers.” He added that many Christians suffer “white martyrdom,” unable to practice their faith “in democratic countries when religious freedom is limited.” The Pope urged support—in material aid and in prayer—for suffering Christians.
Pope Francis, Israel's president discuss Jerusalem (Vatican Press Office) In summarizing the audience, the Vatican press office referred to Jerusalem’s “religious and human dimension for Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as the importance of safeguarding its identity and vocation as City of Peace.” President Reuven Rivlin tweeted, “Jerusalem has been a holy city for the three monotheistic religions for centuries. For the Jewish people, Jerusalem has been the spiritual center since the days of the First Temple over 3000 years ago, but it is also a microcosm of our ability to live together.”
New class-action lawsuit by abuse victims against Church (CNA) A group of six sex-abuse victims have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Catholic Church, charging that the hierarchy—including the Vatican—covered up evidence of “endemic, systemic, rampant, and pervasive rape and sexual abuse.” The suit was filed just after the Vatican directed the US bishops’ conference not to proceed with plans for an independent investigation—a move that could undermine legal arguments that the Vatican is not responsible of the policies of American diocesan bishops.
Italian bishops set new abuse policies (Crux) The Italian bishops’ conference has approved new guidelines for handling charges of sexual abuse by clerics, and set up a National Advisory Center to support their response. The Italian bishops voted in their new policy just days after the Holy See instructed American bishops not to proceed with new policy responses.
Church leaders rap Trump for stopping migrant caravan (Fides) As a caravan of migrants reached the US border with Mexico, Bishop Joseph Vasquez, who chairs the US bishops’ committee on migration, joined other Catholic leaders in a statement arguing: “It is not a crime to seek asylum.” The statement criticized President Trump for saying that members of the caravan would not be allowed into the US.
Kenyan Jesuit murdered in South Sudan (East African Jesuits) Father Victor-Luke Odhiambo, SJ, was the principal of Mazzolari Teachers College in Cueibet and acting superior of the Jesuit community there. Father Odhiambo was the first native Kenyan Jesuit. Cueibet is the capital of South Sudan’s Gok State (map).
Angolan police close 34 churches (The East African) The report did not state whether any of the closed churches are Catholic parishes. The southern African nation of 29 million is 41% Catholic and 38% Protestant; Pope Benedict XVI made an apostolic journey to Cameroon and Angola in 2009.
Christian homes seized in Nineveh Plains region, bishop complains (AsiaNews) Chaldean Catholic Bishop Shlemon Warduni has revealed that dozens of properties in the Nineveh Plains region have been seized from their Christian owners. “The numbers are unclear, but this is real and serious,” he said. One television news broadcast reported that 350 Christian homes had been expropriated. The illegal actions complicate efforts by Christian families to return to their villages, from which they had been driven by the Islamic State.
Bishop Trautman criticizes media, attorney general report (GoErie.com) “We should not be so naive as to accept every government report, every attorney general report as being totally accurate or honest,” said the retired Pennsylvania bishop, once a leading critic of the more accurate translation of the Roman Missal. “And I would not cite the Philadelphia Inquirer or the Boston Globe as sources of confident information.”