Nation/World news briefs: Feb. 13, 2023


“God loves us first, freely, taking the first step towards us without us deserving it; and so we cannot celebrate his love without in our turn taking the first step towards reconciliation with those who have hurt us.”
— Pope Francis, on Twitter Feb. 12

People in chronic pain need someone to listen, acknowledge them, pope says

Caring for the sick and suffering includes drawing attention to those who suffer in silence, struggling to find someone who will acknowledge they are in pain and try to help, Pope Francis said. “It is important to give voice to the unheard suffering of those who, in illness, are left alone, lacking financial and moral support, easily exposed to despair and loss of faith, as can happen to those with fibromyalgia and chronic pain,” the pope said Feb. 9 during a meeting with representatives of the medical office of the Diocese of Rome’s health care ministry. The meeting with health care professionals, chaplains and people who are sick was scheduled to coincide with the World Day of the Sick, which the Catholic Church celebrates Feb. 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

World must work with Indigenous people to fight climate change, pope says

Indigenous people have a “fundamental role” in protecting the planet from “unprecedented” social and environmental threats, Pope Francis said. Meeting with participants from the Forum of Indigenous Peoples, organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development — a U.N. agency based in Rome — the pope praised the theme of this year’s forum, “Leadership of Indigenous peoples on climate issues: Community-based solutions for improving resistance and biodiversity.” All people should listen to the wisdom of Indigenous people to understand the human roots of the environmental crisis and take steps toward developing sustainable practices, the pope said. “If we really want to care for our common home and better the planet we live in, profound changes in lifestyle, production and consumption are essential.”

Never stop growing in sport or spirit, pope tells amateur athletes

The training, discipline and motivation needed even by amateur athletes are also tools for spiritual growth, Pope Francis said. Speaking to members of the “Sport in Vaticano” Association Feb. 9, the pope asked the athletes to be examples of teamwork and collaboration. “Sports are a metaphor for life,” he said, and “healthy competition can contribute to making one’s spirit mature.” The association sponsors competitions between Vatican employees representing different departments. The group met with the pope to mark 50 years since it first organized a sporting competition in the Vatican in 1972.

Cardinal Collins retires from Toronto; Montreal’s Bishop Leo appointed as successor

The Holy See announced Feb. 11 that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Thomas Collins as archbishop of Toronto and named Bishop Frank Leo of Montreal as his successor. Archbishop-designate Leo will be installed as archbishop of Toronto at St. Michael’s Cathedral on a date to be announced. It has only been a year since Archbishop-designate Leo was named vicar general of Montreal on Feb. 1, 2022; six months later Pope Francis named him one of two auxiliary bishops of Montreal. He was consecrated a bishop in mid-September.

Church of England allows priests to bless same-sex civil marriages, bans same-sex church weddings

The Church of England banned church weddings for same-sex couples while allowing priests to bless same-sex marriages and partnerships. The General Synod of the Church of England decided Feb. 9 that gay couples would be allowed to come to church after a civil marriage or civil partnership to give thanks, dedicate their relationship to God and receive God’s blessing. Majorities in the houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity agreed on the move after a landmark debate over two days. Synod members also voted to “lament and repent” of “the failure of the church to welcome LGBTQI+ people and for the harm that LGBTQI+ people have experienced — and continue to experience — in churches,” said the news release from the General Synod, held in London Feb. 6-9.


Over 550 people attended the 41st annual Mardi Gras Jan. 28 at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud in support of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud. The event raised more than $350,000 for Catholic Charities Emergency Services, with efforts that include a food shelf, clothing program and financial assistance program; and Catholic Charities Domus Transitional Housing, a facility for single women and their children.

Top photo: Cardinal Thomas Collins preaches at an ordination Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto in this 2019 file photo. (OSV News Photo/Michael Swan, The Catholic Register)

Author: OSV News

OSV News is a national and international wire service reporting on Catholic issues and issues that affect Catholics.

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