Taiwan president tells Pope of China's religious persecution (UCANews) In her letter to Pope Francis, President Tsai Ing-wen spoke of “authorities dispatching armed police to fire tear gas and suppress and arrest people expressing the wish to pursue democracy and human rights … religious practitioners facing detention and persecution by public security officers when they, following their conscience, refuse to be coerced into signing documents to join an organization that violates their religious doctrines.”
International finance watchdog re-admits Vatican (Vatican Press Office) The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) has been re-admitted to full membership in the Egmont Group. The Egmont Group, an international consortium that shares information about possible financial crime, had suspended the AIF in October, after Vatican police removed documents from the AIF office. The Vatican agency was re-admitted after Egmont leaders were assured that confidential documents would remain secure.
Supreme Court appears split on Montana's ban on vouchers for religious schools (Washington Times) The Becket Fund has published background information on the case. “The case before the Supreme Court today concerns whether the Constitution offers states a license to discriminate against religion,” the USCCB said in a statement. “It is about whether our nation will continue to tolerate this strain of anti-Catholic bigotry. Blaine Amendments, which are in 37 states’ constitutions, were the product of nativism … We hope that the Supreme Court will take this opportunity to bring an end to this shameful legacy.”
Pope Francis offers greetings for Chinese New Year (Vatican News) On “25 January next, in the Far East and in various other parts of the world, many millions of men and women will celebrate the Lunar New Year,” the Pope said following his January 22 general audience. “I send them my cordial greetings, wishing them in particular to be places of education in the virtues of welcome, wisdom, respect for each person, and harmony with creation.”
President Trump proclaims National Sanctity of Human Life Day (White House) “Our Nation proudly and strongly reaffirms our commitment to protect the precious gift of life at every stage, from conception to natural death,” President Trump wrote in his proclamation. “My Administration is also building an international coalition to dispel the concept of abortion as a fundamental human right.”
Cleveland bishop named new Archbishop of Philadelphia (Vatican Press Office) Bishop Nelson Perez, 58, succeeds Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., 75. Bishop Perez was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1989, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre (N.Y.) in 2012, and was named Bishop of Cleveland in 2017. Philadelphia is one of the United States’ leading sees: Archbishop Chaput’s five predecessors were named cardinals.
As numbers fall, Franciscans withdraw from 9 East Coast parishes (Holy Name Province) “In 1985, just 35 years ago, Holy Name Province had 708 friars, a number that dropped to 443 in 2001, and currently stands at a little less than 300,” according to an announcement from the Franciscan province, which had a presence in 12 East Coast states. “While there are a number of men in the initial formation process, just three friars have professed their solemn vows since August 2018.”
Study finds US bishops are satisfied with their life and ministry (CNS) Based on responses from 213 bishops, the study found that “the average workday for respondents was 9.8 hours. On average, bishops sleep 6.5 hours per night … Bishops spend an average of 108 minutes per day in prayer. Overall, 97% are either somewhat or strongly satisfied with their life as a bishop.”
Could majority of Russians one day be Muslim? (AsiaNews) Currently, 82% of Russia’s 142 million people are Christian (79% Orthodox), and 13% are Muslim. Citing “various analyses,” the author of this report writes that “in 2030 the number of followers of Muhammad in the country will reach 30%, and in 2050 could exceed 50% of the population.”