Pope pleads for peace in message to Syria's Assad (Vatican News) Pope Francis has sent a personal message to Syria’s President Hafez al-Assad, urging an end to violence and resumption of negotiations to end the country’s bloodshed. “What is happening is intolerable and inhuman,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, briefing reporters on the papal message. The papal plea—calling for protection of civilians, release of detainees, and efforts to resettle refugees—was delivered to Assad by Cardinal Peter Turkson on July 22.
Vatican real-estate agency held hundreds of millions in offshore accounts? (National Catholic Register) In a summary of lingering questions about financial transactions by Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA), the agency that manages the Vatican’s real-estate holdings, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reveals that Cardinal George Pell tried but failed “a hub of corruption within APSA,” but was thwarted in his bid to obtain information offshore accounts that might have held as much as $100 million in undisclosed funds.
Argentine priest says Benedict XVI wanted Cdl Bergoglio as Secretary of State (Crux) Pope Benedict XVI asked Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to become his Secretary of State, but the future Pontiff declined the offer, according to a priest who know Cardinal Bergoglio in Buenos Aires. Father Fernando Miguens told the Crux site that Pope Benedict thought Cardinal Bergoglio would be well suited to help him uproot corruption at the Vatican.
Combine contemplation and action, Pope advises pilgrims (Zenit) During his July 21 Sunday Angelus address (video), Pope Francis reflected on Luke 10:38-42, the Gospel reading of the day. The Pope concluded, “May Mary Most Holy, Mother of the Church, give us the grace to love and serve God and our brothers with Martha’s hands and Mary’s heart, because, remaining always listening to Christ, we can be architects of peace and hope.”
British bishop weighs in as Tafida Raqeeb faces prospect of death by starvation, dehydration (Bishops' Conference of England and Wales) Doctors at the Royal London Hospital informed the five-year-old girl’s parents that it is in the child’s “best interests” to withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration; the parents want her to be treated in Italy. “Those of us not in possession of all the relevant information might best be reserved in our judgement,” said Bishop John Sherrington, lead bishop for life issues for the bishops’ conference. “I trust that the doctors from the Gaslini Children’s Hospital in Genoa will be given time and opportunity to come to a well-informed view and to share their prognosis with their colleagues here in London.”
Pope recalls 50th anniversary of moon landing (Zenit) “50 years ago yesterday, man set foot on the moon, realizing an extraordinary dream,” Pope Francis said following his July 21 Angelus address. “May the memory of that great step trigger the desire to progress together to even greater goals: more dignity to the weak, more justice between peoples, more future for our common home.”
UN, Vatican team up at Nairobi youth conference on environment (UN Environment Programme) The conference (“Laudato Si’ Generation: Young People Caring for Our Common Home”) was named in honor of Pope Francis’s second encyclical letter. “The world needs more of your prophetic witness to denounce the inter-generational injustice that is underway and demonstrate that change is possible,” Father Bruno Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, told participants. “The healthy pressure by the student mobilizations is being noticed by politicians, who are the ultimate decision-makers that need to show the political courage needed to implement the Paris Agreement fully.”
Bishops decry intimidation of Christians in Israel (Fides) The Catholic bishops of the Holy Land have issued a statement denouncing the actions of Jewish extremists who have targeted Christians. Recent incidents in Galilee and in Jerusalem prompted the statement, but the bishops noted that violence and intimidation against Christians—often by the group known as “Price Tag”—have occurred for several years, without prompting criminal prosecution.
Prelate laments possible elimination of US refugee resettlement program (USCCB) “The world is in the midst of the greatest humanitarian displacement crisis in almost a century,” said Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration. “I strongly oppose any further reductions of the refugee resettlement program. Offering refuge to those fleeing religious and other persecution has been a cornerstone of what has made this country great and a place of welcome.”
Cardinal Müller rips working document for Amazon Synod (CNA) Cardinal Gerhard Müllehr as issued a strong statement criticizing the working document for the Amazon Synod. The former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sees the document as making “a radical U-turn from the hermeneutics of Catholic theology.” In particular he decries the references to “cosmovision,” and rejects the suggestion that “there are new sources of Revelation.” He also criticizes the document for “flattery” aimed at Pope Francis, and says “the text could easily be cut down to half the length or less.”