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Apostolic nuncio to EU dies of Covid (Vatican News)

Archbishop Aldo Giordano, the Holy See’s representative to the European Union, has died of Covid at the age of 67. The prelate contracted Covid while attending the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, the Italian Catholic news agency SIR reported, citing a statement from the apostolic nunciature to the EU.

'Let us stop this shipwreck of civilization,' Pope warns on Lesvos (Vatican Press Office)

In its coverage of the final days of the Pope’s apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece, L’Osservatore Romano emphasized that his visit to refugees on the island of Lesvos “represents without doubt the most significant moment of the journey.”

“The Mediterranean, which for millennia has brought different peoples and distant lands together, is now becoming a grim cemetery without tombstones,” Pope Francis warned. “This great basin of water, the cradle of so many civilizations, now looks like a mirror of death. Let us not let our sea (mare nostrum) be transformed into a desolate sea of death (mare mortuum).”

The Associated Press reported that “a maskless Francis took his time walking through the camp Sunday, patting children and babies on the head and posing for selfies.”

In addition to the visit to Lesvos, the Vatican newspaper highlighted the Pope’s request for forgiveness during his meeting with Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens; the Pope’s remarks to clergy, religious, and catechists at the Catholic cathedral in Athens; his Sunday Mass in an Athens concert hall; and his meeting with young people.

After oral arguments in landmark 'Dobbs v. Jackson' abortion case, experts say Roe's days are numbered (National Catholic Register)

The National Catholic Register published an additional article focusing on comments made by Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Helen Alvaré, a law professor at George Mason University and a member of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, commented that “the oral argument was promising for the pro-life cause, but it would be impossible to cram into the few minutes of an oral argument all the reason, facts, principles, analyses — and hopes — of 50 years of pro-life argumentation. There was no time to call out abortion advocates’ lies, more lies, and made-up statistics. . . . God willing, the briefs of Mississippi and dozens of ‘friends of the court’ will fill in the gaps and the right decision will issue next June.”

Major Archbishop Shevchuk says Pope plans to visit Ukraine (Crux)

In a meeting that was not included in the Holy See Press Office’s official list of audiences, Pope Francis received Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, on November 13.

“Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to personally communicate with Pope Francis about Ukraine,” the Eastern Catholic leader said at the Kyiv Security Forum. ““We have good news. We expect his visit to Ukraine to take place. This has not yet been announced, but we are already living in anticipation and preparation.”

Pope asks pardon for sins that drove Catholic, Orthodox apart (CNS)

“Worldly concerns poisoned us, weeds of suspicion increased our distance and we ceased to nurture communion,” Pope Francis said in a meeting with Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Greece (CNEWA profile). “Shamefully — I acknowledge this for the Catholic Church — actions and decisions that had little or nothing to do with Jesus and the Gospel — but were instead marked by a thirst for advantage and power — gravely weakened our communion.”

Pope St. John Paul II spoke similar words during his own apostolic journey to Greece in 2001.

Pope arrives in Athens, warns of 'retreat from democracy' (Vatican Press Office)

Pope Francis arrived in Athens during the third day of his five-day apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece.

In an address in which he cited Homer, Aristotle, and the Hippocratic Oath, the Pope emphasized that participatory democracy arose in Greece. “Yet we cannot avoid noting with concern how today, and not only in Europe, we are witnessing a retreat from democracy.” Threats to democracy, he said, include authoritarianism, populism, the “distance of institutions,” and bureaucracy.

“Politics is, and ought to be in practice, a good thing, as the supreme responsibility of citizens and as the art of the common good,” he continued. “So that the good can be truly shared, particular attention, I would even say priority, should be given to the weaker strata of society.”

Pope Francis also discussed a number of other topics, from truth, beauty, and the Logos, to the pandemic, climate change, and refugees, to Greece’s Christian heritage, abortion, and euthanasia. The Pontiff called for “safeguarding life at every moment, particularly in the mother’s womb. The right of all to care and treatment must always be respected, so that those most vulnerable, particularly the elderly, may never be discarded: that the elderly may not be subject to a ‘throwaway culture’. . . . For life is a right, not death. Death is to be accepted, not administered.”

Lamenting West's indifference to refugees, Pope departs from Cyprus (CWN)

The Pope’s final address in Cyprus during his five-day apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece took place at an ecumenical Christian prayer service with migrants.

On return to Rome, Pope visits St. Mary Major (Vatican News)

Following his regular custom at the conclusion of a trip abroad, Pope Francis stopped at the basilica of St. Mary Major upon his return to Rome on December 6. The Pope prayed before the icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani in thanksgiving for a successful weekend visit to Cyprus and Greece.

Pope talks to reporters about democracy, Paris archbishop, EU Christmas document (Vatican News)

In an exchange with reporters who accompanied him on his return flight to Rome on December 6, Pope Francis spoke about dangers to democracy, the resignation of Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris, and an European Union document that had suggested avoiding references to the Christmas season.

The European document “is an anachronism,” the Pope said, and conveys only “watered-down secularism.”

Regarding Archbishop Aupetit, whose resignation he had accepted, the Pope said that charges of an improper relationship deserved investigation, “but it should not be the public that condemns.” He reminded reporters that they knew little or nothing about the charges against the archbishops, and “if we don’t know the accusation, we can’t condemn him.”

Enlarging on his talk in Athens about dangers to democracy, the Pope said: “The weakening of democracy is caused by the danger of populism.” He went on to refer to “the danger of these references to international economic and cultural powers.” However, he closed by saying: “That’s what comes to mind, but I’m not a political scientist.”

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Expresses Concern Over Reimplementation of Migrant Protection Protocols

WASHINGTON - On December 2, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico,” would restart the week of December 6. This announcement follows an agreement reached between the United States and Mexico to reimplement the program with certain modifications. In October, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memorandum to terminate MPP, following a federal district court ruling vacating his earlier termination of the program. The federal government’s appeal of that ruling is pending. In the meantime, DHS is complying with the court’s order to reinstate MPP. Its revival comes as the Biden Administration continues to use Title 42 of the U.S. Code to expel asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants, bypassing normal immigration proceedings and skirting due process protections.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has opposed MPP since it was first introduced in 2019. Reaffirming that position, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“We are deeply dismayed by the reimplementation of MPP. Unfortunately, attempts by the Administration to make this program ‘more humane’—however well intentioned—will not cure its inherent faults, nor will they alleviate its inevitable toll on human lives. We are especially concerned that this will perpetuate the existing tragedy of family separation, since many mothers and fathers are likely to feel compelled to part ways with their children in a desperate attempt to ensure their safety.

“On the First Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis prayed for migrants and renewed his appeal for leaders to find solutions that respect their humanity. In solidarity with the Holy Father, we strongly urge the Administration to take all necessary action to end MPP and replace it with an approach that respects human dignity, exemplifies our national values, upholds the rule of law, and embraces Christ’s call to welcome the newcomer.”

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