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St. Charles of Sezze

St. Charles of Sezze

Feast date: Jan 18

Saint Charles was born John Charles Marchioni in Sezze, Italy on October 19, 1613.  His family was extremely pious. They lived in a rural area and as a child Saint Charles worked as a shepherd.  Due to his lack of education, it is said he learned only the basics and could barely read and write. He joined the Franciscans as a lay brother in Naziano, where he served as a cook, porter, and gardener.

Saint Charles was known for his holiness, simplicity, and charity.  He was generous to travelers and sought out spiritual advice.  In 1656 he worked tirelessly with victims of the plague. He also wrote several mystical works including his autobiography entitled "The Grandeurs of the Mercies of God". Tradition states he was called to the bedside of the dying Pope Clement IX for a blessing. St. Charles told the Pope that they would meet again on January 6.

Saint Charles died on January 6, 1670 in Rome of natural causes, fulfilling his promise to meet Pope Clement IX, and he is buried in Rome in the Church of Saint Francis. He was Canonized by Pope John XXIII on April 12, 1959.

University's 'gender inclusion' policy creates uproar in North Dakota (Our Sunday Visitor)

The North Dakota Catholic Conference warned of the University of North Dakota’s plans “to force all university faculty, staff, students and student organizations to use an individual’s preferred pronoun, regardless of biological sex.’ according to the report. “Also, the proposal could require university housing to room students with those of opposite sex.”

Ukrainian priests appeal for prayers, support as Russian threat grows (CNS)

“While our TV news shows tanks and army units deployed on our borders, the war in eastern Ukraine is continuing — but the Church in the West is saying little,” said Msgr. Gregory Semenkov, chancellor of the Diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia. (The war in eastern Ukraine is the War in Donbass, which began in 2014.)

Pope encourages Franciscans to tell the story of the Holy Land, foster fraternity (Vatican Press Office)

On January 17, Pope Francis received a delegation from the Custody of the Holy Land, the Franciscan province there.

“To make known the Holy Land, means communicating the ‘Fifth Gospel,’ that is, the historical and geographical environment in which the Word of God was revealed and incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth, for us and for our salvation,” said Pope Francis. “It also means making known the people who live there today, the life of the Christians of the various churches and denominations, but also that of Jews and Muslims, to attempt to build a fraternal society in a context as complex and difficult as that of the Middle East.”

Russian Orthodox Church against lifting moratorium on death penalty (Interfax)

Since 1996, there has been a moratorium on capital punishment in Russia. Valery Zorkin, chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, said recently that Russia could lift the moratorium, though he opposed doing so.

“I don’t think we should return to what was in the past and resume the death penalty, because this institution will lead neither to fewer crimes, nor any positive shift in public consciousness whatsoever,” said Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.

“I don’t think this is something we should return to, at least for the sake of memory for those who fell innocent victim to the flywheel of Stalinist repressions,” he added. “It seems to me that our own sad history, with mass executions and later rehabilitations, should teach us that we must not repeat these mistakes.”

Polish diocese apologizes for asking in court if abuse victim is gay (AP)

The Diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec “said that its letter to the court should not have included questions about the victim’s sexuality or have suggested that he drew pleasure from contact with the priest,” according to the report. “Poland’s Catholic bishops had already strongly criticized the southern Polish diocese.”

“The issue of sexual orientation or the way a child reacts emotionally to an offense of sexual abuse cannot constitute an argument against the injured person and diminish the responsibility of the perpetrator,” said Father Piotr Studnicki, who leads the Polish bishops’ child-protection office. “It must be clear to everyone that a child never bears responsibility for violence experienced.”

Background: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (CWN)

In 1908, Rev. Paul Wattson, then an Anglican religious in Graymoor, New York, began a Church Unity Octave with the support of Anglican and Catholic prelates, including Cardinal William O’Connell of Boston.

Pope met privately with Pfizer chief (National Catholic Register)

Pope Francis met privately with Albert Bourla, the chief executive officer of Pfizer, twice last year, the National Catholic Register reports.

The Vatican has provided the Pfizer vaccine for Covid to staff since early last year. Vatican policy now requires all staff members and visitors to show proof of vaccination.

The Pope’s meetings with Bourla were not listed on the Vatican’s official calendar.

Democrats favor penalties for unvaccinated, poll shows (Tampa Free Press)

Most Americans who identify with the Democratic party would favor enforced penalties for those who are not vaccinated, according to a new Rasmussen poll.

The poll also found that many Democrats—although not a majority—would favor prison terms for the unvaccinated, and even removing children from their custody.

Rasmussen found that 77% of self-identified Democrats support President Biden’s campaign for vaccine mandates, but only 22% of Republicans.

Among the poll results:
  • 55% of Democrats favor fines for the unvaccinated;
  • 59% say the unvaccinated should be “confined to their homes”—essentially under house arrest—except in emergencies;
  • 48% say government should be allowed to fine or imprison people who question the effectiveness of Covid vaccines;
  • 45% would approve a plan to let the unvaccinated “temporarily live in designated facilities or locations” (internment camps?) and
  • 29% would endorse “temporarily removing parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Vatican tells dioceses to include Protestants, Orthodox in Synod preparation (CNA)

The Vatican has asked the world’s Catholic bishops to include Orthodox and Protestant officials in their consultations during the diocesan phases of preparation for the next worldwide meeting of the Synod of Bishops.

Cardinal Mario Grech, the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; and Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, joined in a letter to bishops, asking them to recognize the “ecumenical dimension” of preparations for the Synod on Synodality. They urged bishops to issue personal invitations to other Christian leaders, asking them to join in local discussions to prepare for the 2023 Synod meeting.