A partner of Jesuit Missions in South Sudan was murdered in the early hours of today (15 November) at the Daniel Comboni Jesuit Residence in Cueibet where he lived. Fr Victor-Luke Odhiambo SJ was in the TV room when the gunmen broke into the compound. When his companions heard gunshots, they pressed the alarm and the killers ran off leaving Fr Victor-Luke for dead.
News in Church Issues
Despite reports of a shortage of priests and dwindling congregations, the number of new Catholics grew by an estimated 14 million from 2015 to 2016. The news was released just ahead of World Mission Day on Oct. 21 and is based on the “Church’s Book of Statistics,” according to a report by Agenzia Fides, the Vatican news agency.
The Tablet sponsored a group of students and their principal from the English Martyrs Catholic School in Leicester to visit Rome for their own "mini-synod" during the last week of the Synod of Bishops on Young People. The aim was for students to engage with the Youth Synod and respond with how relevant the content of the synod was to them; how relevant the Church is to them and to report back about their experience.
The youngest members of the family are certainly having a say. In the synod hall, a group of 18- to 29-year-olds sit at the back. They cannot vote, but they are making their voices heard. They have developed a “clap-o-meter” where each bishop’s intervention in the gathering is greeted with whoops, cheers or just polite applause. It is a slightly cheeky example of the organic “synodality” in action so loved by this Pope.
With the launch of a new book, Pope Francis is calling for a new alliance — between young and old — to change the world. In an effort to counteract today's "culture of waste" that too easily marginalizes or ignores the young and the elderly, the book by Loyola Press creates a model of storytelling, dialogue, connection and reflection to help inspire these two groups to come together and rediscover older people's lost "treasure of their wisdom."
The only way out of this mess is to admit that Catholicism is not basically about popes and bishops, rules and teachings. It is about Jesus Christ, the love of God incarnate in a human being. And the church itself is not an institution, but the People of God. Like all people, we use institutions to regulate our lives, but the institution is not our definition.
Pope canonized Paul VI and Oscar Romero on Sunday. Pope Francis often quotes his predecessor in his texts, and considers his apostolic exhortation Evangelii muntiandi as "the greatest pastoral document written to this day." The two men have a great deal in common. Francis also has much in common with Archbishop Oscar Romero, even above and beyond the fact that they both are from Latin America. "What they have in common, above all, is their love for the poor".
Cardinal Vincent Nichols reflects on lessons from the Synod on Youth. A spirit of humble confession of fault and realism about our failures has marked the first days of the Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment, taking place in Rome. There is an undercurrent of anger – especially directed at us bishops – at the damage done to so many and dismay at the many ways in which this is seriously inhibiting the work of the Gospel.
Chinese officials have ordered the demolition of crosses and some other church structures in three dioceses in China. Dioceses in Zhejiang, Henan and Guizhou provinces have this month been subjected to a new campaign to remove public symbols of Christianity.
What needs to be done today is to accompany the Church in a deep spiritual renewal and to help in implementing the Second Vatican Council, says Pope Francis. Speaking to Jesuits from the province of Lithuania and Latvia during his visit to the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Francis reiterated the need for prayers to make progress to move the Council forward in the Church.
The goal of the synod, Pope Francis said, is not to prepare a document — synod documents, he said, generally are "only read by a few and criticized by many " — but to identify "concrete pastoral proposals" that would help all church members reach out to, walk with and support the faith of young people.
Canonisation - Oscar Romero: It was a horrific re-enactment of the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket in 1170. On 24 March 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was murdered by an assassin’s bullet as he celebrated the Eucharist. For the previous three years, he had denounced injustices in his country and defended human rights.
Pope Francis has spoken with the Welsh and English Catholic bishops of how vulnerable priests are feeling in the difficult circumstances of today's critical environment. In a two-hour meeting with the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales at the end of their "ad limina Apostolorum" visit to Rome last week, he urged them to live their faith with joy.
Speak honestly and offer constructive criticism about the Church’s attempts to connect with younger generations, Pope Francis told the first sit-down session of the youth synod.
Francis’ lifting of the excommunications means that all of China’s bishops are now in communion with Rome for the first time in many years. Two bishops from mainland China, including one whose excommunication was lifted just over a week ago, will become the first from their country to attend a Synod of Bishops when they participate in this month’s gathering in the Vatican.
A campaign to reform laws governing church property and finances has gained momentum in India's southern Kerala state, where a rape case against a bishop has created a furore. Church activists, including theologians, have for more than a decade sought greater lay participation in managing the temporal wealth of the Catholic Church, purportedly to check embezzlement.