Did Australian police use Pell investigation to distract from internal scandal? (CNA) An investigation into abuse charges against Cardinal George Pell was seen by senior police officials as a way to shift attention from a major scandal brewing in the police department itself. In an email memo on the internal scandal, the deputy police commissioner in Victoria wrote that the Pell charges “will knock this way off the front page.”
Prelate foresees 'hard times' for Church in Lebanon (Aid to the Church in Need) “We are living like in an earthquake,” said Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop George Bacouni of Beirut, the capital of the Middle Eastern nation of 6.1 million (map). “We’re facing enormous economic problems, including a failing banking system … There’s a risk of losing the young generation: they don’t want to stay in Lebanon.”
CDF official: No link between celibacy or homosexuality and pedophilia (Revista Palabra (Spanish)) While denying a link between homosexuality and pedophilia, Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that “a certain homosexual subculture typical of some clerical groups and present in certain seminaries or novitiates, with the consequent tolerance of active homosexual behaviors, may lead to pederasty.” The priest also criticized the notion that clerical celibacy was a medieval innovation; instead, he said, scholars have shown that it dates from the time of the Gospels.
No eulogies at funeral Masses, Cardinal Cupich affirms (National Catholic Reporter) “Eulogies, stories, and favorite songs are most appropriately shared during this time of visitation at the Evening Vigil,” the Archdiocese of Chicago’s revised guidelines state. During the funeral Mass, “the pastor of the parish may allow a reflection by one individual. This is to take place between the Post-Communion prayer and the end of Mass. The personal reflections should be limited to 3 minutes and are to be presented in writing to the pastoral minister assisting the family in advance of the service.”
No permits for Gaza residents to visit shrines for Christmas (AsiaNews) Christian residents of the Gaza Strip will not be allowed permission to visit Bethlehem or Jerusalem during the Christmas season. The Israeli army has announced that residents of Gaza, currently controlled by the Hamas movement, will be allowed to go abroad but not to enter other parts of Israel.
God's works are unpredictable, Pope tells musicians (Vatican Press Office) The Incarnation is a “disconcerting mystery,” Pope Francis observed during a December 13 audience with musicians who will take part in the Vatican’s Christmas concert. He thanked the musicians for helping people to develop an appreciation for beauty, and thus to appreciate how God “unpredictable and constantly acts in unforeseeable ways.”
Pope recalls suffering of Ukrainian Catholics under Soviet rule (Vatican Press Office) The Byzantine-rite Eparchy of Mukachevo “is the mother of many martyrs, who with their own blood confirmed their fidelity to Christ, to the Catholic Church, and to the Bishop of Rome,” Pope Francis said in a December 11 audience marking the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the eparchy from hiding. “In particular, let us remember the Blessed Martyr Bishop Teodor Romzha, who in the darkest moments of your history was able to guide God’s people with evangelical wisdom and courage.”
Jews return to prayer near mosque on Temple Mount (Jerusalem Post) Jewish worshippers have been allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, despite a longstanding agreement that sets the site aside for Muslims, the Jerusalem Post reports. The paper reports that police are not currently enforcing a rule that bars Jews from gathering to pray on the Temple Mount.