UN leader renews 'deep appreciation' for Pope Francis (Vatican News) “I would like to renew my deep appreciation to Pope Francis for his support for my global ceasefire appeal and the work of the United Nations,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in an interview with Vatican Media. “His global engagement, compassion and calls for unity reaffirm the core values that guide our work: to reduce human suffering and promote human dignity.”
Bethlehem's Basilica of the Nativity reopens (AsiaNews) The basilica “will be accessible only to those who have no fever and have no flu symptoms,” according to the report. “There is also an obligation to wear personal protection measures, including masks, and to maintain a safety distance of at least two meters. Finally, it is forbidden to touch or kiss stones or religious symbols.”
'Diverse and United': Vatican publishes new book by Pope Francis (Vatican News) The book (Diverse and United: I Communicate, Therefore I Am) includes a preface by Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury. In the book, the Pope reflects on Jesus’ gaze of love upon the rich young man: the “gaze of Jesus, who looks upon us with eyes of gratuitous and generous love to the point of total self-giving.”
Federal appeals court upholds California's restrictions on religous gatherings (Religion Clause) In a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the restrictions on public worship put in place by California and San Diego. “We’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure,” the majority ruled. “In the words of Justice Robert Jackson, if a ‘[c]ourt does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.’”
Accept economic meltdown to save lives, says Argentine cardinal (Crux) Cardinal Mario Poli of Buenos Aires has urged his people to accept the government’s lockdown regulations, even while acknowledging that they will cause “an economic meltdown.” Choosing otherwise, he said, would cause many deaths—a choice that he characterized as “viral genocide.”
England's bishops respond to new 'presumed consent' organ-donation law (CBCEW) “The act of donating organs before or after death has been considered a gift and an intrinsic good, the bishops’ conference said in a statement. “However, a system of presumed consent risks taking away the right of the individual to exercise this decision, and therefore potentially undermines the concept of donation as a gift.” The Anscombe Bioethics Center, a British Catholic think-tank, has also questioned the law.
Laudato Si' can help us look to the post-pandemic future, Vatican spokesman says (Vatican News) The encyclical Laudato si’ “can guide us as we reshape a society where human life, especially that of the weakest, is defended, where everyone has access to healthcare, where people are never discarded, and where nature is not indiscriminately plundered, but cultivated and preserved for those who come after us,” said Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication.