Said Nursi (1878-1960) sought a modernization of Islam through Sufism, in dialogue with science and with other religions. He also inspired Fethullah Gülen, now despised by the Turkish political leadership. The incomprehensible charge of "extremism" used to ban his works. In the past he had proposed an alliance with the patriarch of Constantinople against atheism.
In a letter to Francis, Tsai Ing-wen writes that Taiwan has actively embraced a spirit of compassion and empathy since the start of the pandemic, sharing its successful disease management skills with other countries.
Healthcare and public safety personnel, seniors and staff most frequently in contact with the public get priority. Cardinals and retired Holy See officials, as well as their families, will also be vaccinated. Some 5,000 Holy See employees should be vaccinated, including 618 people with Vatican citizenship, 246 of whom are local residents. Overall, some 10,000 people might get the vaccine.
"The Saints show us that we can always give praise, in good times and bad, because God is the faithful Friend, and His love never fails ", " In the future of the world and in the hopes of the Church there are the "little ones": those who do not consider themselves better than others, who are aware of their own limitations and their sins, who do not want to lord it over others, who, in God the Father, recognize that we are all brothers and sisters.”
In his message for the 29th World Day of the Sick, Francis notes that health is a primary common good. The pandemic has shown shortcomings in healthcare systems and the elderly and the most vulnerable are not always guaranteed access to treatment in an equitable manner. Still, the crisis has also highlighted the dedication and generosity of so many.
Francis has changed the rule in canon law that limited these offices to men. Thus, “the awareness will grow, through a liturgical act (of institution) as well, of the precious contribution that many lay persons, including women, have been offering for some time to the life and mission of the Church.”
The pontiff turns his thoughts to the victims of 6 January in Washington. “I urge government authorities and the entire population to maintain a high sense of responsibility, in order to soothe tempers, promote national reconciliation, and protect the democratic values rooted in American society.”
Two lawmakers from Putin's party question Kazakhstan’s right to its northern territories, sparking an irate response from the Kazakh foreign minister, slamming Russia for the famine of the 1920s. Former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is awarded the Orthodox Order of Gratitude.
Foreign faithful and missionaries are singled out as the source of the new Covid-19 epidemic in Hebei. In reality, the accused villages have no Christians and the Church's religious activities have been blocked since Christmas Eve. Like Nero, looking for a scapegoat. The result: churches closed down in the name of prevention.
Despite the start of vaccinations, death from COVID-19 still haunts the Russian Orthodox clergy. Orthodox Church leaders are disappointed by the failure of many to respect health guidelines during Christmas services. Putin visited the church on Lipno Island, a place of great value in the country's Christian history.
The new apostolic administrator of Minks was auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Pinsk and he turned 75 last May. He too is a witness of the "silent" Church of the Soviet years. He attended clandestine seminaries and was a personal friend of the former Metropolitan of Minsk-Mogilev. He kept the faith of several villages alive, touring three Russian provinces to meet and support the faithful. He committed himself to reconstruction, to the fall of communism.
On the solemnity of Epiphany, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Altar of the Chair. Worshippers, cardinals, bishops, and choir kept at a distance because of COVID-19. It Is urgent “to understand more fully what it means to be worshippers of the Lord.” We must ‘lift up our eyes,’ ‘set out on a journey’ and ‘see’.” We must “cast off the dictatorship of the self, the constant temptation to withdraw into ourselves and our own concerns.” “Herod and the leading citizens of Jerusalem represent a worldliness enslaved to appearances and immediate attractions.”
At the Angelus, Pope Francis extended his wishes to the Orthodox who celebrate Christmas tomorrow. “Christ’s light shine[s] in every place and at every moment [. . .] through the proclamation of the Gospel,” Francis said. “The star is Christ, but we too can and must also be the star for our brothers and sisters,” he added. The pontiff also expressed hope for peace in Central Africa.