On anniversary of landmark documents, Pope decries grave human rights violations (Zenit) On the anniversary of two landmark human rights documents commemorated at a Vatican conference, Pope Francis lamented grave human rights violations: “I think, among other things, of the unborn who are denied the right to come to the world; of those who do not have access to the indispensable means for a fitting life; of all those who are excluded from an adequate education, and who are unjustly deprived of work or constrained to work as slaves; of those who are detained in inhuman conditions, who suffer torture ... of the victims of forced disappearances and of their families.”
Holy See offers praise as 164 nations adopt Global Compact on Migration (Holy See Mission) 164 nations adopted the non-binding Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration on December 10. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said that Pope Francis’s emphasis on welcoming, protecting, promoting, and integrating migrants pervades the Compact. He added that the Pope has said that governments should “prudently determine their actual capacity for meaningful integration,” that “migrants should respect the local laws, culture and customs,” and that there is a “prior right to live in dignity and safety in the country of origin.” The Holy See, he continued, “will present its reservations in due time” to peripheral “ideological” language in the Compact.
Human rights are not derived from governments, EU bishops' commission says in statement (COMECE) On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the president of the COMECE (Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union) legal affairs commission said that “there is a clear need to overcome current tendencies, according to which the interdependence between human rights can be broken and human rights themselves can be selectively placed in a hierarchy ... Human rights are not conceded by governments, but derive from the inherent human dignity of each person.”
Ecumenical Patriarch 'not intimidated' by critics of his decision to recognize Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Ecumenical Patriarchate) In a luncheon toast during his visit to South Korea, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor among the Orthodox churches, said, “The Ecumenical Patriarchate, though, continues to be a target for those who claim that its mission supersedes its privileges and, thus, constantly seek to supplant its authority. This is exactly what we are currently witnessing as a reaction to our endeavors to resolve and heal schisms in order to bring much desired peace to Ukraine. And yet, the Mother Church is not intimidated by threats.”
Cambodia arrests, releases 32 women involved in surrogacy (AsiaNews) Authorities in Cambodia have arrested 32 women who were reportedly serving as surrogate mothers, then released them when the women promised to keep the babies. Surrogacy is illegal in Cambodia, but many women consent to bear children for couples in other countries, particularly China.
Austrian diocese withholds results of investigation of bishop's spending (Kath.net) On orders from the Vatican, the Diocese of Gurk cancelled a press conference, scheduled for December 11, at which officials were to report on the results of an investigation into questionable spending by Bishop Alois Schwarz. Bishop Schwarz headed the Gurk diocese from 2001 until May of this year, when he was transferred to the Sankt Polten diocese. The Vatican Congregation for Bishops instructed diocesan officials not to make the results of the investigation public, but send a full report to Rome.
As 'yellow vest' protests continue, Normandy's bishops appeal for calm (Vatican News) As 136,000 people took part in “yellow vest” protests originally motivated by opposition to a fuel tax increase, the bishops of Normandy (French-language statement) appealed for calm, dialogue, a commitment to ecology and solidarity, and a concern for all that transcends economics. The president of the bishops’ conference also issued a statement.
Central African Republic: cardinal calls for international inquiry into November massacre (Fides) Two priests, including the vicar general, were killed in a November attack on the Diocese of Alindao in the Central African Republic. Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the nation’s leading prelate, told Le Monde (French-language link) that the UPC (Union for Peace in the Central African Republic), a predominantly Fulani Muslim group, committed the attack with UN peacekeepers looking on.
Israeli authorities deny Christmas travel permits to most Christian applicants from Gaza (Middle East Concern) “In previous years, Christians living in Gaza (map) were privileged to be able to apply through the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem to receive travel permits from Israel to visit family and friends in the West Bank (map) over the Christmas period,” according to the report. “This year, however, nearly all the Christmas permit applications have been refused by the Israeli authorities, with only Christians over the age of 55 being allowed to travel.”
Leading Italian cardinal: Italy should not be on collision course with EU (SIR) The president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, also called upon the EU to be “close to its people, promote sharing and social fraternity, and support those in difficulty ... I dream of a Europe as a family of families, as a place of solidarity and charity, as a peaceful community of peoples that can overcome selfishness and national resentment—in other words, a united, peaceful and solidarity-based Europe.”
Kenyan priest killed in robbery (Fides) Father John Njoroge was shot and killed by robbers who stopped him as he traveled to a bank to deposit church funds. The robbers approached the priest’s car on motorcycles, forced him off the road, and shot him when he hesitated to surrender the money.