Pope arrives in South Sudan, beginning 2nd leg of African voyage (Vatican News) Pope Francis arrived in South Sudan in the mid-afternoon (local time) of February 3, beginning a long-awaited 3-day visit to the war-torn young nation.
The Pope had long hoped to visit South Sudan, to make an appeal for peace in a country that has been torn by fighting between rival factions since shortly after it won independence in 2011. In 2019 he had invited the political and religious leaders of the country to Rome for a spiritual retreat.
Thousands of people lined the streets from the airport to the capital city of Juba as the Pope’s motorcade passed.
Be prophets of hope, Pope asks Congo's bishops (Vatican Press Office) Meeting with the country’s Catholic bishops before his February 3 departure from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pope Francis called upon them to be “prophets of hope for the people.”
In his remarks before leaving for South Sudan, the Pope said that the rich resources of the Congo “remind us that we are called to protect the beauty of creation.” At the same time, he said, the struggles of the impoverished nation have left a “people crucified and oppressed, devastated by ruthless violence, marred by innocent suffering, forced to live with the tainted waters of corruption and injustice.” He urged the bishops to remain close to their people, avoiding the temptations of worldliness.
Top Vatican diplomat: reform UN to improve peacemaking power (Vatican Press Office) At a February 2 conference on Vatican diplomacy, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States, called for a reorganization of the United Nations, to strengthen its peace-making capability.
The top Vatican diplomat observed that it is wrong that a permanent member of the UN Security Council—Russia—could be the aggressive party in a major European war.
Pope pleads for peace at Mass in Congo (Vatican News) Celebrating Mass for an estimated 1 million people in Kinshasa on the 2nd day of his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pope Francis made a plea for peace in the war-torn country.
In his homily the Pope encouraged the country’s people to maintain their hope for peace, assuring them that “evil never wins; evil never has the last word.” He reminded them of the bitter sorrow that Christ’s followers felt as they saw Him crucified. Their greatest joy came, he said, after “everything seemed to be over for them, without even a glimmer of peace.”
The Pope made a special appeal to “all of you in this country who call yourselves Christians but engage in violence.” To them, he said: “The Lord is telling you: ‘Lay down your arms; embrace mercy.’”
Over Catholic protests, Minnesota lawmakers enact extreme abortion law (Our Sunday Visitor) The new law “is part of the most extreme abortion legislative agenda in Minnesota history, allowing for abortion for any reason and at any time without regulation,” said Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “How disturbing that a pre-born child whose heart is beating, who can feel pain and who may even be viable outside the womb is treated with such disdain.”
Cardinal George Pell's funeral, in 6 magnificent dimensions (National Catholic Register) “In its 150-plus years, St. Mary’s [Cathedral in Sydney] has never been witness to an event quite like the funeral of the late Cardinal George Pell, a great drama in its own right,” writes Father Raymond de Souza. “It was a sacred pageant which unfolded in six magnificent dimensions — liturgical, musical, spiritual, historical, hagiographical and memorial.”
USCCB president announces legislative priorities (USCCB) In a letter to all members of Congress, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, outlined the USCCB’s legislative priorities, under the headings “Strengthen support for women, children, and families,” “Address the needs of the poor and marginalized at home and abroad,” and “A humane response to newcomers and a commitment to fixing our broken immigration system.”
Under the first heading, he discussed abortion, gender ideology, pornography, parental choice in education, human trafficking, and drug abuse, as well as “a strengthened child tax credit, paid family leave, and stronger maternal and child healthcare.”
+Metropolitan John Zizioulas, 92 (Orthodox Times) Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon, a leading Greek Orthodox theologian, died at the age of 92.
In 2015, he spoke at the Vatican press conference for the presentation of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si’. The following year, he retired as co-president of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.