November 29, 2023 // National

News Briefs: December 3, 2023

Pope Recovering After ‘Pulmonary Inflammation’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis is breathing easier after undergoing intravenous antibiotic treatment for pulmonary inflammation, the director of the Vatican Press Office said in a statement on Monday, November 27. “The pope’s condition is good and stable; he has no fever, and his respiratory situation is clearly improving,” Matteo Bruni said. On Saturday, November 25, Pope Francis canceled his meetings because of “flu-like” symptoms, and that afternoon he went to Rome’s Gemelli Isola Hospital for a CT scan of his lungs. “The CT scan ruled out pneumonia but showed pulmonary inflammation that was causing some respiratory difficulties,” Bruni said on November 27. The previous day, in a direct broadcast to St. Peter’s Square, where thousands of people were waiting for the pope’s customary Sunday Angelus, the 86-year-old Pope Francis told them, “Today I cannot come to the window because I have this inflammation problem in my lungs.” While some of his appointments were postponed, Pope Francis met early on November 27 with Paraguay’s President Santiago Peña Palacios, his wife, and entourage.

Pope: Threat of Church in Germany Moving Away from Rome

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis expressed his concern about concrete initiatives individual dioceses and the Catholic Church in Germany as a whole are taking, including the establishment of a synodal council, which, he said, threaten to steer it away from the universal Church. “Instead of looking for ‘salvation’ in always-new committees and always discussing the same issues with a certain self-referentiality,” Catholics need to turn to prayer, penance, and adoration as well as reach out to the marginalized and abandoned, the pope wrote in a recent letter. “I am convinced (it is) there the Lord will show us the way,” he wrote in the letter dated Friday, November 10. Typewritten in German and signed by the pope, it was published in full by the German newspaper Die Welt on Tuesday, November 21. The letter was a response to four German laywomen who had written the pope expressing their “doubts and fears” about the outcomes of the Synodal Path, which began in December 2019 and concluded in March 2023. “I, too, share this concern about the numerous concrete steps that are now being taken by large parts of this local Church that threaten to move further and further away from the common path of the universal Church,” he wrote.

Annual Collection to Help Elderly Religious

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – Most U.S. dioceses will take up an annual collection on the weekend of December 9-10 to help approximately 24,000 elderly religious sisters, brothers, and religious order priests pay for retirement necessities, including health care. Through the National Religious Retirement Office, the Retirement Fund for Religious collection supports religious men and women who historically dedicated their lives to Church ministries, often with little to no compensation. Consequently, many men and women religious have insufficient retirement funds, especially in the face of rising health care costs. NRRO data shows just 6 percent of reporting religious communities say they have sufficient retirement funding. The collection raised $27.6 million last year, with more than $975 million raised since the collection began in 1988.

U.S. Bishops Say Parishes Play ‘Vital Role’ in Evangelization

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – Parishes play a “vital role” in bringing Christ’s transformative love to the world, said two U.S. bishops as a key document on social ministry marks its 30th year. “Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish” was approved by the U.S. Catholic bishops in November of 1993, and continues to serve as a roadmap for parish social ministry. The document’s title points to Jesus’ likening of the disciples to salt and light, called to season and illuminate the world with the Gospel message (Mt 5:13-16). “Three decades after its release, we see the enduring importance of this guiding document,” said Archbishop Borys A. Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, who in mid-November completed his three-year term as Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace. “We continue to invite faith communities to integrate social ministry throughout the life of the parish, and to take up the call to be communities of salt and light, forming and sending the faithful to protect the least of these,” said Archbishop Gudziak and Bishop Malloy in a statement issued on Monday, November 20.

Real Bishop Behind ‘Les Misérables’ Is on Path to Sainthood

PARIS (OSV News) – The real bishop behind Victor Hugo’s famous “Les Misérables” character is likely to be beatified. The French bishops, gathered in Lourdes from November 3-8 for their plenary assembly, voted in favor of opening the diocesan process for the beatification of Bishop Bienvenu de Miollis (1753-1843), who was the Bishop of Digne from 1805 to 1838 and an inspiration for Victor Hugo’s character Bishop Myriel in the novel “Les Misérables,” published in 1862. Ordained a priest in 1777, he was bishop of Digne for 33 years during the troubled times that followed the French Revolution and in the era of Napoleon. He was particularly concerned about catechizing in rural areas and with educating the poorest. Renowned for his kindness, Bishop de Miollis was very attentive to the poor and beggars, whom he gathered together at the Hospice of Charity, and lived very modestly himself. In 1806, Bishop de Miollis took in a freed convict by the name of Pierre Maurin and looked for ways to help him regain his dignity – a story that inspired Hugo’s “Les Misérables.”

CDC: Abortions Increased During Last Year with Roe in Place

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – The number of abortions in the United States increased in 2021, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For nearly 50 years following the Roe decision, abortion was legally considered a constitutional right. The Supreme Court overturned the Roe decision in June of 2022 with its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, allowing both recent and long-established state laws restricting abortion access to take effect. The CDC’s annual report on abortion studies both the profiles of those undergoing abortions and by what means. The study only accounts for legal abortions in states that report their data to the federal government. Although the CDC requests data from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., it excludes California, Maryland, New Hampshire, and New Jersey because they did not provide data. New York City provided its own data. The report documented a total of 625,978 abortions in jurisdictions that reported their data, an uptick from the previous year. The data reflects the last full calendar year with Roe still in place.

Maryknoll Lay Missioners Honor Missionary for Work in Brazil

LOS ANGELES (OSV News) – Angel Mortel, a returned lay missioner and community organizer, is the 2023 recipient of the Bishop McCarthy Award conferred by Maryknoll Lay Missioners. The award is presented annually to “a returned missioner who demonstrates ongoing passion and dedication to living out their mission vocation, which is the joyful story of God’s love,” said Elvira Ramirez, Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ interim Executive Director. Together with her husband, Chad Ribordy, Mortel joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1997. They served for 16 years in the São Paulo area of Brazil, 12 of them with Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Their two daughters, Cecilia and Elisa, were born during their time in mission there. Mortel’s ministries in Brazil involved organizing community health volunteers, coordinating an income generation project for women, and fundraising for the national prison ministry of the Brazilian Catholic Church, according to officials with Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Since returning from Brazil, Mortel has continued “to work tirelessly to help people advocate for and bring about change,” the officials said. The award was presented during a Mass at Dolores Mission Church in Los Angeles, where Mortel is a parishioner, on World Mission Sunday, October 22.

Released Palestinian prisoner Khalil Zamareh embraces his mother Nov. 26, 2023, as he is received by his family outside his house near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel. (OSV News photo/Mussa Qawasma, Reuters)

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.