Attacks against Christians in this part of Indonesia have historical, geographical and economic roots. Arab merchants settled on the coast; the Dutch Protestant missionaries evangelized the plateau; different ethnic groups have often clashed with each other. At the turn of the year 2000, the arrival of jihadists from the Philippines stocked tensions in the region. Islamist terrorism resists, but the people seem to desire to live in peace.
Francis sends a message to the Ecumenical Patriarch on the feast day of Saint Andrew, teh Patriarchate’s patron saint. The "primary duty" of Christians is to offer an example of dialogue, mutual respect, and cooperation to a world where war will end when people realise that they are brothers and sisters.
During the Angelus, Pope Francis noted that "The Lord never abandons us" and this can help overcome "fear and discouragement" along with "pessimism, closure, and apathy" at this time of pandemic. The pontiff urged the faithful to pray for the new cardinals.
Commentary (in Italian) on the Gospel of the Sunday before Advent B (Mark 13:33-37).
At the Altar of the Chair in St Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the new cardinals created in yesterday’s consistory. “[W]hy should we be caught up with earthly concerns?” “Why should we look for ‘patrons’ to help advance our career?” “Some people seem to think that being compassionate, helping and serving others is for losers. Yet these are the only things that win us the victory”. “When the Church worships God and serves our neighbour, she does not live in the night. However weak and weary, she journeys towards the Lord.”
During the consistory held at the Altar of the chair, Pope Francis placed the biretta on 13 new cardinals. Those from the Philippines and Brunei were absent due to problems related to the pandemic. All the cardinals wore masks and stood at a distance from each other. One of the new cardinals, Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, delivered the opening greetings.
The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life is launching a campaign to invite young people to spread the "virtual hugs" exchanged with the elderly online with the initiative "The elderly are your grandparents".
Protesters rallied in front of the country’s main investment bank, controlled by the monarch, to avoid clashes with police and loyalist groups. The pro-democracy movement wants limits on the monarch’s political role and crown assets. A dozen anti-government leaders are under investigation for "lèse majesté".
At the general audience, Francis recalls that the Church it consists of listening to the teaching of the apostles, custody of shared communion, the breaking of bread and prayer. If these "coordinates" are missing, there is no ecclesiality.
First recourse to the draconian law in three years. Sentences of up to 15 years’ prison for those who insult the king. The young democrats want the resignation of the "coup leader" Prayuth, a democratic constitution and limits on the powers of the monarch. Another major protest is scheduled for today.
The Central Office of Church Statistics looked at the evolution of the number of priests in the world between 2013 and 2018. Over this period, the number dropped by 0.3 per cent to around 414,000. The number of diocesan priests rose by + 0.5 per cent, whilst the number of religious priests dropped by around 2 per cent.
At least 2500 infected employees out of 5800 tests for Top Glove, the world’s most important manufacturer of latex gloves. In recent months, record earnings due to the increase in demand for personal protective equipment. The conditions of the workers, mostly immigrants from Nepal, are being blamed. In the past the company was accused of labour exploitation by activists and NGOs.
Francis asks young economists and entrepreneurs for a "pact" for a new economic model, because "we can't go on like this". Three days of discussion in Assisi.
The recent, devastating floods highlight the fragility of the country's natural environment. Deforestation, expanded farming, timber harvesting, and hydroelectric dams are the main culprits. In four years, 7,300 hectares of forest have been lost. So far, about 800 large, medium and small plants have been built with another 450 on their way.
"The art of choosing well, especially today, means not seeking approval, not plunging into a consumerist mentality that discourages originality, and not giving into the cult of appearances." The young people of Panama “passed” the WYD cross to the young Portuguese. The diocesan celebration of WYD will take place on the Sunday of Christ the King.