New lay leader for Vatican Economics secretariat (CNA) Pope Francis has named a Spanish layman, Maximino Caballero Ledo, to head the Secretariat for the Economy, after the resignation of Father Juan Antonio Guerrero, who had held that post since 2019.
The Vatican announced only that Father Guerrero was stepping down “for personal reasons.” But in a message to his staff, the Jesuit priest explained that he had recently undergone major surgery and “I am undergoing medical treatment that has side effects that make it particularly difficult for me to carry out a task as demanding as the one I am entrusted with.”
Caballero has been secretary-general of the Secretariat, the second-ranking official in the office, since 2020. He previously had a long record of corporate leadership.
Becciu meets with Pope Francis to 'clarify' secret recording amid mounting scandals (Pillar) A prosecutor revealed during the Vatican financial trial that Cardinal Angelo Becciu had secretly recorded a phone call with Pope Francis. Becciu then met with the Pope to “clarify” matters.
Becciu oversaw the internal affairs of the Roman Curia as Substitute (Sostituto) of the Secretariat of State from 2011 to 2018. Pope Francis created him a cardinal in the 2018 consistory and named him Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In 2020, Becciu resigned from the “rights connected to the cardinalate.”
Pope urges daily examination of conscience (Vatican News) At his weekly public audience on November 30, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to make a daily examination of conscience—a practice that he described as “the valuable effort of rereading experience from a particular point of view.”
The Pope suggested following the advice of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who called for examining all thoughts and actions carefully, to see whether they are oriented toward the good in their beginning, middle, and end.
Senate passes same-sex marriage bill, sending it back to the House (CNA) Following an earlier procedural vote, the US Senate has approved the Respect for Marriage Act in a 61-35 vote.
Echoing earlier statements from the USCCB, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester (MN), chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, had urged the Senate to reject the measure.
Chinese government spokesman speaks of 'friendly consensus' amid Vatican complaints (AP) Without Vatican consent, the Chinese government recently transferred Bishop Peng Weizhao, by Pope Francis’s appointment the underground bishop of Yujiang, to Jiangxi, where he will serve officially as an auxiliary bishop. A statement from the Vatican press office expressed “surprise and regret” at the event.
Zhao Lijian, the deputy director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Department, told reporters that “China is willing to continuously expand the friendly consensus with the Vatican side and jointly maintain the spirit of our interim agreement.” He added that he was unaware of the specifics of Bishop Peng’s transfer.
'Perversion': Russia condemns Pope's remarks on cruelty of soldiers in Ukraine (BBC) In an interview with the Jesuit periodical America, Pope Francis said that he has received “much information about the cruelty of the troops” in Ukraine, and that “generally, the cruelest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryats and so on.”
Maria Zakharova, director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that “this is no longer Russophobia, it’s a perversion on a level I can’t even name. We are one family with Buryats, Chechens, and other representatives of our multinational and multi-confessional country.”
Warm papal message to Orthodox Patriarch on feast of St. Andrew (Vatican News) In a message to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, for the Orthodox prelate’s patronal feast (the feast of St. Andrew), Pope Francis said: “We can be thankful to God that our Churches are not resigned to past and current experiences of division.”
The Pope went on to say that he and Patriarch Bartholomew long for the day when they can be united in the Eucharist. Until that time, he said, they can work and pray together. In particular he mentioned their cooperation in the quest for peace, saying: “Dialogue and encounter are the only viable path for overcoming conflicts and all forms of violence.”
This year, as is now traditional, the Vatican sent a delegation to Constantinople to join in celebration of the feast of St. Andrew. The Orthodox prelate sends his own delegation to Rome for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Christians now a minority in England and Wales (AP) 46.2% of residents of England and Wales described themselves as Christians on the 2021 census—down from 59.3% in 2011.
In 2021, 6.5% said they were Muslim, and 1.7% said they were Hindu; 37% said they had no religion, up from 25% in 2011.
More Russian government, religious officials condemn Pope's remarks on Chechens, Buryats in Ukraine (AP) In an interview with the Jesuit periodical America, Pope Francis said that he has received “much information about the cruelty of the troops” in Ukraine, and that “generally, the cruelest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryats and so on.”
Maria Zakharova, director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, described the Pope’s remarks as “perversion on a level I can’t even name.”
Alexander Avdeev, Russia’s ambassador to the Holy See, has lodged a formal protest with the Vatican. “I expressed indignation at such insinuations and noted that nothing can shake the cohesion and unity of the multinational Russian people,” he said.
Konstantin Kosachev (the chairman of the Russian senate’s foreign relations committee) also condemned the remarks, as did the leader of Russia’s Buddhists. (The Buryat people are primarily Buddhist.)
Vatican web site hacked again (CNA) Vatican officials shut down the “Vatican.va” web server on November 30, after an apparent hacking attempt.
Access to the Vatican site was gradually restored during the day, but the Vatican press office remained offline. Spokesman Matteo Bruni said that site was shut down early in the day because of “abnormal attempt to access the site.”
Although there was no evidence pointing to the source of the attack, both China and Russia—nations notorious for computer hacking—have recently been annoyed by public statements from the Holy See.
Pope grieves for 'wise and gentle pastor' Cardinal Baawobr (Vatican News) Cardinal Richard Baawobr of Wa (Ghana) died on November 27 at the age of 63. “I willingly join the faithful in praying that our merciful Father may grant to this wise and gentle pastor the reward of his labours and welcome him into the light and peace of heaven,” the Pontiff wrote in a telegram of condolence.
COMECE publishes its contribution to EU's consultation on the social economy (COMECE) The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE) has published an 8-page contribution to the European Commission’s consultation on developing a framework for the social economy. The European Commission is the EU’s executive branch.
In its contribution, COMECE noted similarities between Catholic social teaching and the EU’s vision of the social economy. COMECE also suggested that the “creation of relational wealth” should be seen as the central idea of a social economy and offered proposals with that idea in mind.
Indian archbishop arrested in protest over development (Crux) Archbishop Thomas Netto of Thiruvananthapuram has been arrested for his part in a protest against a major business development in the port of Vizhinjam.
Protestors said that the development would aggravate the problems of poor fishermen in the Kerela state. After police arrested several protestors, the archbishop and other priests intervened, trying to free them, and were themselves arrested.
The protest was marred by violence. Civil officials said that protestors had assaulted police officers. A spokesman for the archdiocese countered: ““What happened in Vizhinjam is a police atrocity.”
Disgraced former USCCB official named pastor (Diocese of La Crosse) Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill resigned as general secretary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2021 after the Pillar reported that he had frequently used the hookup app Grindr on his mobile phone to arrange homosexual encounters. Bishop William Callahan of La Crosse (Wisconsin) has now named him pastor of a parish; in June, he had named Burrill the parish’s temporary administrator.
Jimmy Lai as a witness to truth--and Nobel Prize candidate? (Wall Street Journal) Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong publisher and democracy activist, now faces near-certain conviction of violating China’s draconian “security” law, in a court where he has been deprived of any real chance for due process.
Lai, a man of great wealth, could easily have fled Hong Kong and escaped prosecution. But he chose to stay—writes his friend, Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn—to bear public testimony to the falsehoods and injustices of the Chinese regime. “All he asks is for the world to hold China to its promises,” McGurn says.
The court verdict is predictable, McGurn says, but he asks whether it will “only increase the chances that Jimmy wins a Nobel Peace Prize.”
Pope encourages pastoral outreach of priests from Latin America (Vatican News) On November 28, Pope Francis received members of the Pontifical Latin American College in Rome.
“Let us not forget that ‘being’ with Jesus and ‘going out’ to proclaim Him also means accompanying the poor, migrants, the sick, prisoners, the least and most forgotten in society, to share life with them and to announce God’s unconditional love,” the Pope told the young priests. “Because Jesus is present in our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, and there He waits for us in a special way.”
The Pope also encouraged the priest to “be addicted to the encounter with Jesus” rather than to their cell phones.
'Your pain is my pain': Pope Francis pens letter marking 9 months of war in Ukraine (CNA) In his November 25 letter to the Ukrainian people, which the Vatican has not yet released in English, Pope Francis wrote that “despite the immense tragedy they are suffering, the Ukrainian people have never been discouraged or given over to pity.”
“The world has recognized a bold and strong people, a people that suffers and prays, cries and struggles, resists and hopes: a noble and martyred people,” he added.