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English, Welsh bishops say vulnerable do not yet need to return to Mass (Crux)

“When the Church speaks of the Sunday obligation, it reminds us that attending Mass is a personal response to the selfless offering of Christ’s love,” the bishops said in their statement (Honouring Sunday). “At this time, we recognize that for some people there may be certain factors which hinder attendance at Sunday Mass. The pandemic is clearly not over.”

“The risk of infection is still present,” they added. “For some, there is legitimate fear in gathering together. As your bishops, we recognize that these prevailing circumstances suggest that not everyone is yet in the position to fulfil the absolute duty to attend freely Sunday Mass.”

Pope calls for renewed biblical humanism, enriched by classical tradition and other cultures (Pontifical Council for Culture)

On November 23, Pope Francis sent a video message to the members of the Pontifical Council for Culture as they held a virtual plenary assembly on the theme of “rethinking anthropology: toward a new humanism.”

In the 1960s, “a secular, immanentist, materialist humanism came face to face with a Christian one, open to transcendence,” Pope Francis said in his message. “Both, however, could share a common basis, a fundamental convergence on some radical questions related to human nature. This has now disappeared because of the fluidity of the contemporary cultural vision.”

The Pope called for a renewed “biblical and classical humanism” that draws on the ancient Greek and Latin tradition as well as on contemporary cultures. The Pope cited the “holistic vision of Asian cultures,” the “solidarity of African cultures,” the sense of family and celebration in Latin America, and the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world.

After McWilliams, Cleveland seminary faces questions (Pillar)

Father Robert McWilliams, 41, was sentenced to life in prison for sexually exploiting boys in Confession and collecting a large cache of child pornography. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland in 2017.

“The seminary’s rector told a reporter last month there were no red flags in the priest’s file,” writes JD Flynn, editor-in-chief of The Pillar. “But that claim may not hold water with Catholics looking for ecclesial reform, in the wake of the McCarrick scandal, and with two Cleveland priests, ordained in the same 2017 class, both now accused of aberrant sexual behavior.”

Papal telegram for victims of Wisconsin Christmas parade car rampage (Vatican Press Office)

Following the Waukesha Christmas parade car rampage that killed six and injured 62, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, sent a telegram in the Holy Father’s name to Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee.

The tragedy deeply affected Waukesha’s Catholic community. In a brief video statement, Archbishop Listecki called for prayer.

Pittsburgh priest receives Vatican promotion (Vatican Press Office)

Pope Francis has named Father Thomas G. Schluep as office head of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The priest was ordained in 2014 for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The 'beatitudes of the bishop': Pope offers guidance to Italian episcopate (CNS)

Pope Francis met privately with Italy’s bishops for two hours on November 22 as they began a four-day special assembly on “the synodal journey of the Church in Italy.”

The meeting took place in the Ergife Palace Hotel, where the bishops are holding their assembly.

Printed on a prayer card which the Pope distributed to the Italian episcopate, the “beatitudes of the bishop” were not written by Pope Francis, but by Archbishop Domenico Battaglia of Naples. They begin, “Blessed is the bishop who makes poverty and sharing his way of life, so that by his witness he is building up the kingdom of heaven.”

'Work and dignity from waste': Vatican newspaper highlights Benin company (L'Osservatore Romano (Italian))

The most prominent front-page story in the November 23 edition of L’Osservatore Romano was devoted to Coleur Indigo, a company in the West African nation of Benin (map). The company’s 30 employees, one-third of them with disabilities, turn waste fabric scraps into merchandise.

Coleur Indigo was featured in a recent Agence France-Presse article.

Christmas tree arrives in St. Peter's Square (Vatican News)

The 2021 Vatican Christmas tree hails from Andalo, a village of 1,000 in Italy’s Trentino province (map). The tree weighs eight tons and is 113 feet tall, the Vatican newspaper’s Italian edition reported.

Archbishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, LC, the president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, will preside at a tree-lighting ceremony on December 10. The tree will remain lit until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the conclusion of the Christmas season.

Catholic universities show bond between faith and science, Pope writes in book preface (Vatican News)

Pope Francis has written a preface to Il Magistero della Chiesa per l’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore [The Magisterium of the Church for the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart], the third volume of a six-volume history of the Italian university founded by Father Agostino Gemelli, OFM, in 1921.

Pontifical academy laments approval of Italy's 1st assisted suicide (Pontifical Academy for Life)

The Pontifical Academy for Life has issued a statement following an ethics committee’s approval of Italy’s first assisted suicide.

In a 2019 decision, Italy’s Constitutional Court approved assisted suicide in certain cases. A 43-year-old man who was paralyzed in an accident a decade ago sought an assisted suicide, and his request was initially denied.

“What happened to the doctors’ oath to care for the suffering?” the Pontifical Academy said following the approval of the assisted suicide. “Can giving death to someone else become normal?”

The Academy added, “We must ask ourselves how to be truly responsible for the lives of all. The most convincing way seems to us to take care of others according to the logic of palliative care, which also envisages the possibility of stopping all treatments that are considered disproportionate by the patient, within the relationship with the healthcare team.”