Pope Francis sent a message to the participants in the International Conference “Human Rights in the Contemporary World: conquests, omissions negations“. In this message, the pontiff invokes several groups of human beings deprived of their basic human rights, namely the unborn child: “I am thinking, among other things, of the unborn children who are denied the right to come into the world; to those who do not have access to the indispensable means for a dignified life; to those who are excluded from adequate education; to those who are unjustly deprived of work or forced to work as a slave; to those who are detained in inhuman conditions, who are subjected to torture or who are denied the opportunity to redeem themselves, to the victims of enforced disappearances and their families.

Vatican envoy at a UN summit discussing migration, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, is interviewed by Crux about the Holy See’s contribution to the summit, about its concerns both with the final document being approved and with the fact that some countries (Italy and USA) seem to have left negotiations, about the media’s role in not propagandizing partisan or negative stereotypes on migrants, and about Church Social Doctrine on the topic of migration: “[M]igrants represent the human face of the process of globalization. They come with courage, hope and resilience; they can serve as instruments of peaceful relations among countries thus demonstrating the truth that we are one human family. It is important that we never lose sight of this human face of migration.Most of those in an irregular migratory situation live a grim everyday reality. They find themselves ignored and neglected, gripped by constant fear of expulsion or deportation. Out of desperation, they are compelled to accept dangerous work conditions, and often end up being exploited and abused.

Fr. Matthew Schneider provides an excellent reflection on Pope Francis’ alleged change to the Our Father prayer and its adoption by the Italian bishops. A very good contextualization of the Pope’s proposal from a linguistic and historical point of view… it is not, as has been alleged by papal critics, a novelty or an attack on tradition.

Proeminent apologist Stephen Walford gets yet another interview about his book on Amoris Laetitia, this time from Rome Reports.

Christmas papal stories! Pope Francis makes surprise “Mercy Friday” visit to Rome’s institution for sickly children. Also, Pope Francis invites a group of poor people being taken care for by Rome Diocese’s Caritas to a lunch provided by athletes of the Italian military finance police. Finally, the moving story of the Pope’s unwitting Christmas gift to a National Geographic photographer with his dad on his deathbed (check the photo, it’s inspiring.)

Do also check the Vatican’s international exhibition of Nativity Scenes:

 


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Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

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