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Pope, in weekly general audience, reflects on prayer for Christian unity (Vatican Press Office)

January 18-25 is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Pope Francis delivered his January 20 address (video) in the Library of the Apostolic Palace.

Title IX applies only to biological sex, US Education Department says (Education Week)

Title IX, enacted in 1972, forbids sex discrimination in schools. “We believe the ordinary public meaning of controlling statutory and regulatory text requires a recipient providing separate athletic teams to separate participants solely based on their biological sex, male or female, and not based on transgender status or homosexuality, to comply with Title IX,” the US Department of Education said in a memo.

Supreme Court case unites ACLU, USCCB (Deseret News)

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski. In 2016, campus police at Georgia Gwinnett College prevented Chike Uzuegbunam from distributing religious literature. The American Civil Liberties Union, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and other organizations filed briefs in support of Uzuegbunam.

Colombian prelate decries 'another pandemic': 'irrational violence' (Fides)

“Every human life is sacred,” said Bishop Juan Carlos Cárdenas Toro of Pasto, the capital of Nariño Department (map). The prelate called on authorities to “do their utmost to guarantee the fundamental right to life of every person, in particular those whose rights have been violated and who are vulnerable: women, children of both sexes, adolescents, ethnic and peasant communities.”

Trump signs anti-Semitism bill into law, creating ambassadorial post (CNS)

“Anti-Semitism is on the rise in many countries around the globe over the past 10 years,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who sponsored the legislation. “We’ve seen members of the Jewish community harassed, intimidated, assaulted and even killed. We’ve seen sacred places like synagogues and graves desecrated.”

President-elect Biden has appointed 7 Catholics as Cabinet nominees (National Catholic Reporter)

Among the seven is HHS Secretary-designee Xavier Becerra, who sued the Little Sisters of the Poor over the HHS contraception coverage mandate.

Maronite Patriarch appeals for greater separation of civil, religious spheres (Fides)

Born in 1940, Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi has led the Maronite Church since 2011. Based in Bkerké, Lebanon, the church (CNEWA profile) is among the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See.

'Time to heal wounds in the United States,' Vatican spokesman writes in op-ed (Vatican News)

“There are, in fact, great expectations for a ‘return’ to multilateralism in foreign policy and a recovery of the relationship of trust with international organizations, starting with the UN,” said Alessandro Gisotti, deputy director of the Editorial Directorate at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication. “As Joe Biden prepares to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, what has happened on Capitol Hill in recent days reminds us that democracy and its institutions are precious and should not be taken for granted simply because they have existed for so long.”

Pope urges Venezuelan clergy to unite love and service (Vatican Press Office)

On January 19, Pope Francis issued a Spanish-language video message to participants in a virtual meeting of bishops and priests.

'Climate of fear': Philippine bishops condemn killings of Tumandok indigenous (The Philippine Star)

“We condemn in the strongest possible term, all the killings and especially, the killings of our brothers—the Tumandoks,” the bishops of Western Visayas (map) said in a pastoral letter.