Cardinal Re elected new Dean of College of Cardinals (Vatican Press Office) Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, 85, was Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops from 2000 to 2010; he succeeds Cardinal Angelo Sodano. The dean, considered first among equals in the College of Cardinals, presides over the cardinals’ meetings between the death of a Pope and the conclave to elect the next Pope. The new vice-dean of the College of Cardinals is Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 76, since 2007 the Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
'Life becomes history' is theme of Pope's Message for World Day of Social Communications (Vatican Press Office) The Pope’s annual message is traditionally released on January 24, the memorial of St. Francis de Sales (patron of journalists); in 2020, the day will be celebrated on May 24. Pope Francis writes, “I would like to devote this year’s Message to the theme of storytelling, because I believe that, so as not to lose our bearings, we need to make our own the truth contained in good stories. Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together.”
Cardinal Cupich rejects partisan politics, touts 'consistent ethic' (Crux) Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich has warned against involving the Catholic Church in partisan politics. Speaking in the wake of the March for Life, he called for “an integrated and consistent approach” to issues involving the dignity of human life, rather than concentration on one political issue.
Covington Catholic students' bus involved in crash after March for Life (Citizen Free Press) A bus carrying students from Covington Catholic high school home from the March for Life was involved in a fatal accident. A car—apparently traveling on the wrong side of the road—crashed into the bus on a Kentucky highway. The driver of the car was killed; some passengers in the bus required medical attention.
Students from the same school were involved in controversy last year at the March for Life, when multiple media outlets inaccurately reported that the students had taunted pro-abortion demonstrators. Videos subsequently showed that the students had responded quietly to deliberate provocations.
8 sainthood causes advance (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis approved decrees on the causes of the martyrdoms of 3 Capuchin Franciscans (Spain, 1936) and 10 priests and lay faithful slain in Guatemala (1980-1991), paving the way for their beatification. In addition, the Pontiff approved decrees recognizing the heroic virtues of a bishop, a cathedral canon, 3 diocesan priests, and a nun; each may now be called “venerable.”
Indian bishop seeks dismissal of rape charges (AsiaNews) Bishop Franco Mulakkal has asked an Indian court to dismiss rape charges against him. The bishop—who has denied the charge, but stepped down from his leadership post in the Jalandhar diocese to defend himself—says that charge was lodged by the former superior of a women’s religious congregation who was seeking revenge after he removed her from office.
'We are not making an impact,' leading South African prelate says (SACBC) Launching a new pastoral plan (“Evangelizing Community, Serving God, Humanity and all Creation”), Bishop Sithembele Sipuka, president of the bishops’ conference, spoke of “the realization by the bishops that as a Church in this region, we are not making an impact, both on the people we serve and in society. There is no growth in faith and spirituality, the furthest most of our faithful go is confirmation and they remain there. With regard to witnessing for Christ and continuing the work of evangelization, the majority of our Catholics do not see these as their task … Our faith does not influence society, it is as if the Catholic Church does not exist.”
Sex-selection abortion rising in US? (Institute for Family Studies) New statistics indicate that among first-generation American immigrants from some Asian countries, the proportion of boys among newborn infants is remarkably high. The data suggest that the preference for boys, which has led to a severe imbalance of births in countries such as China and India, is now becoming noticeable in the US.
Pope prays for those affected by coronavirus (Vatican News) “I wish to be close to and pray for the people who are sick because of the virus that has spread through China,” Pope Francis said on January 26 in reference to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. “May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, comfort families and sustain the great commitment by the Chinese community that has already been put in place to combat the epidemic.”
Vice President Pence meets Pope Francis (CNA) US Vice President Mike Pence met on January 24 with Pope Francis, and told reporters after the meeting that they had discussed the March for Life, which took place in Washington the same day. Pence said that he had also spoken with the Pontiff about the persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East; and about the suffering of the people in Venezuela.