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.

Links of interest (week Dec 9 – 15)

6 Responses

  1. Pat says:

    no homoerotic naked shepherds this year???

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      I know right? But don’t despair! I’m certain you guys will find something to pick on! The year is still not over yet … Surprise us 😉

  2. Pete Vickery says:

    Pedro, I’m glad you’re helping bring attention to Stephen Walford. I named one of my sons Stephen, in honor of the first Christian martyr. My son has turned out to be a great man of God, similar to his namesake. His personality and integrity is mirrored in Stephen Walford. Both Stephens have had to withstand spiritual stoning from those that hate them, just like Saint Stephen, yet both stand strong. I am grateful to God for both of them.

  3. pat says:

    Maybe, just once, it would be nice to see the pope or someone from the Vatican say that abortion is wrong because it is against the law of God, and not just let’s stop it because it seems to violate some arbitrary list of human rights the powers that be are allowing us to go with today. But, no… heaven forbid you bring God into a UN meeting.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      «But how can an action that ends an innocent and defenceless life in its blossoming stage be therapeutic, civilized or simply human? I ask you: is it right to ‘do away with’ a human life in order to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hit man in order to solve a problem? One cannot. It is not right to ‘do away with’ a human being, however small, in order to solve a problem. It is like hiring a hit man to solve a problem.
      Let us think, for example, about when it is discovered that a new life has a disability, even a serious one. In these tragic cases, parents need true closeness, true solidarity to face the reality and overcome the understandable fears. However, they often receive hasty advice to interrupt the pregnancy, which is an expression: ‘interrupting the pregnancy’ means ‘doing away with someone’, directly.

      A sick child is like any other needy person on earth, like an elderly person who needs assistance, like many poor people who struggle to get by. He or she who is seen as a problem is in reality a gift from God
      Indeed, what is the positive meaning of the Word “you shall not kill”? That God is a “lover of life”, as we heard a short time ago in the Bible passage.»

      Pope Francis
      General Audience Oct 10th, 2018
      Source: http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/audiences/2018/documents/papa-francesco_20181010_udienza-generale.html

    • Pedro Gabriel says:


      «Creation is compromised “where we ourselves have the final word… The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any instance above ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves” (ID. Address to the Clergy of the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, 6 August 2008, cited ibid.). Consequently, the defence of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman (cf. Laudato Si’, 155), and absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions (cf. ibid., 123, 136).

      Without the recognition of certain incontestable natural ethical limits and without the immediate implementation of those pillars of integral human development, the ideal of “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war” (Charter of the United Nations, Preamble), and “promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom” (ibid.), risks becoming an unattainable illusion, or, even worse, idle chatter which serves as a cover for all kinds of abuse and corruption, or for carrying out an ideological colonization by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people’s identity and, in the end, irresponsible.»

      Pope Francis
      Address to the United Nations
      Source: http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/speeches/2015/september/documents/papa-francesco_20150925_onu-visita.html

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