#ShortNews: Church credibility damaged by scandal, Cardinal Parolin admits

On the clerical sexual abuse scandals that have rocked Catholicism anew in recent months, the pope’s top aide has said the Church must do “everything possible, and even the impossible, to eliminate this phenomenon.”

Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, conceded that the scandals have damaged the Church’s moral authority.

“We have to recover credibility and authoritativeness,” said Parolin. “The Church has taken notable steps … but we have more work to do so that the faithful and the baptized can find anew in the Church an ambit of life and of witness.”

Read more: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/01/03/popes-top-aide-says-church-must-do-the-impossible-to-fight-abuse/

#ShortNews: Parolin: True message of Christmas is peace, goodness for all

Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Erbil, Iraq, on Thursday. The Holy See’s Cardinal Secretary of State is visiting Iraq during the Christmas season, with a journey that began in Baghdad on Christmas Eve.

In his homily, Cardinal Parolin recognized the “great generosity” displayed by the local community in welcoming Christian refugees, especially from Mosul and the Plain of Nineveh. “Hatred and intolerance,” he said, “were countered by solidarity and closeness” on the part of all those who supported suffering Christians and other Iraqis.

“You are a Church of martyrs,” Cardinal Parolin said to the local community. “The blood of your martyrs and the witness of faith given by so many of your brothers and sisters represent a treasure for the Church and a seed of new vitality.”

Read full article here; https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2018-12/cardinal-pietro-parolin-erbil-christmas-homily-chaldean-catholic.html

#ShortNews: Bethlehem hosts largest Christmas celebration in years

Hundreds of locals and foreign visitors milled in Manger Square as bagpipe-playing Palestinian Scouts paraded past a giant Christmas tree. Crowds flooded the Church of the Nativity, venerated as the traditional site of Jesus’s birth, and waited to descend into the ancient grotto. Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maaya said all Bethlehem hotels were fully booked, and the city was preparing to host an “astounding” 10,000 tourists overnight.

Palestinian security personnel and vehicles stationed around the square reminded visitors that amid the merriment, they couldn’t quite escape the city’s political reality. Bethlehem is located in the Palestinian-controlled area of the West Bank, and much of the city lies behind Israel’s separation barrier.

In anticipation of the midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity, the climax of Christmas Eve celebrations, Palestinians and pilgrims huddled in groups, some singing “Silent Night” and carrying candles.

Read full article here; https://www.apnews.com/f2d8c4bc0cd14410890982739d1e2941

#ShortNews: Welcome God’s Christmas surprises, Pope tells audience

Pope Francis’ catechesis on Christmas was focused on the idea of “surprises.” While the world insists on exchanging presents, the Holy Father asked, “what gifts and surprises would God want?”

Looking back at the first Christmas, the Pope said it was “full of surprises,” for Mary, for Joseph. From the Angel’s announcement of Mary’s pregnancy, to the Flight into Egypt, that first Christmas “brought unexpected changes” to their lives.

“But it was in the middle of the night of Christmas,” Pope Francis said, “that the biggest surprise of all arrived: The Most High is a little baby.” Christmas, he said, means celebrating the “unprecedented things of God,” or rather, “the unprecedented God.”

Read whole story: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-12/pope-francis-general-audience-christmas-surprises.html

#ShortNews: Chaldean Catholic patriarch publishes Christmas message

The birth of Jesus Christ represents the birth of a new human being as a son of God: in His lifestyle, works and words. So that, every human being finds in Jesus a perfect example of mankind to follow and achieve the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1/26). Jesus Christ lived, loved, served, and worked as a man “but has been put to the test in exactly the same way as ourselves, apart from sin” (Hebrews 4/15).

In spite of the evil that lies in “man”, the Christian person has enough graces to achieve the project of internal renewal (the new birth), by joining the mystery of the Passover of Jesus Christ, in and with which he understands the actual “but rich” meaning of suffering, death and resurrection. Therefore, as Christians we should realize that in practicing every sacrament of the Church, such as the baptism and the Eucharist, etc. we are receiving the great grace of “unity” with Jesus Christ and incorporating to Him: “since every one of you that has been baptized has been clothed in Christ” (Galatians 3/27). This call requires daily commitment, effort, courage and hard work. Even though, the air we breathe is the joy of the Gospel, and that our strength and consolation are in the Holy Spirit who guides and accompanies us.

Read the full Christmas Message here: https://saint-adday.com/?p=27283

#ShortNews: Pope invites poor people to Christmas lunch

In the spirit of Christmas, Pope Francis is inviting a group of poor people to a lunch offered by the athletes of Italy’s military finance police, said the Office of Papal Charities.

On behalf of Pope Francis, the Office headed by the Pope’s official Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, has invited the poor people to the Christmas lunch on December 18 hosted by the Gruppo Sportivo Fiamme Gialle (Yellow Flames Sporting Group) at the sports centre of the Guardia di Finanza (Finance Police), at Castelporziano, close to the seaside.

The lunch, it said, is a witness of charity and fraternity through the language of sport which, by its very nature, fosters inclusion and respect for the dignity of the least. Often, Pope Francis pops in at these get-togethers unannounced, surprising everyone.

Read full story: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-12/pope-francis-poor-christmas-lunch-fiamme-gialle-finance-police.html

#ShortNews: Holy Land tourism up 14% in 2018

Holy Land tourism, including religious tourism, has hit “unexpected levels” this year. The flow of pilgrims “has topped forecasts”, especially the many visitors “from Asia – in particular, China, South Korea, India – many of whom are Christians,” said Sobhy Makhoul, of the Maronite Church of Jerusalem and administrator of the Christian Media Center.

Some 3.8 million tourists visited Israel in the first 11 months of this year, 14 per cent more than in the corresponding period last year. The goal is to exceed four million. “In October alone, there were 483,000 tourists, 40 per cent over the same month in 2017,” Sobhy Makhoul said.

Bethlehem is one of the places that is benefitting from the tourist boom with hotel occupancy expected to exceed 95 per cent by the end of December. Bethlehem businesses also said they were benefiting from a surge of visitors to Israel for its 70th anniversary year.

Read full article here: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Christian-leader:-Pilgrims-and-Asian-tourists-boost-Holy-Land-tourism-45722.html