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Cardinal Parolin: Pope's Dubai visit cancelled to ensure full recovery

Speaking on the sidelines of an event at the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin confirms that Pope Francis is getting better and that his scheduled journey to Dubai for COP28 was cancelled to ensure his full recovery.

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War continues to rage in Ukraine as NATO meets

Ukraine says it has killed five high-ranking Russian officials in an area that Russia's military has partly occupied. The strike comes as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has entered its 22nd month and the NATO military alliance holding talks on the challenges ahead.

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When Hamas kidnaps Muslims

Among the hostages taken by Hamas militants in their incursion into Israel on October 7 there are several Bedouins, including 16-year-old Aisha who was kidnapped along with her father and two siblings.

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Pope encourages Franciscans to live out their charism in the world

As the Franciscan Family marks the 8th Centenary of the confirmation of the Rule of St. Francis, on 29 November 1223, Pope Francis invites Franciscan friars and sisters to renew their vocation of bringing the Gospel of poverty and fraternity to today’s world.

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Hopes for extension of truce in Gaza

As the Pope calls for the extension of the truce in Gaza, international mediators appear to be making progress on that front, encouraging Hamas militants to keep freeing hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners. The cease-fire will otherwise end within a day.

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Pope, still suffering from the flu, urges prayers for peace at audience

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With a soft and raspy voice, Pope Francis began his weekly general audience by making the sign of the cross and explaining that "I'm still not well with this flu, and my voice isn't great," so he would have an aide read his catechesis and greetings.

The gathering, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall Nov. 29, was held the morning after the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted his doctors' advice and canceled plans to travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 1-3 to join world leaders in addressing COP28, the U.N. climate conference.

Before the general audience, the pope met briefly with members of the Scottish soccer team Celtic F.C. There, too, he apologized for having an aide read his prepared text. "With this cold," he said, "I can't speak much, but I'm better than yesterday."

Pope Francis with Celtic F.C. soccer team
Pope Francis poses for a photo with players and staff from the soccer team Celtic F.C., from Scotland, in a meeting room in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall Nov. 29, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

The pope's main general audience talk, part of a yearlong series about evangelization, was read by Msgr. Filippo Ciampanelli, an official of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

But at the end of the audience, the pope took the microphone back to urge people to pray for peace.

"Let's continue to pray for the serious situation in Israel and Palestine. Peace, please, peace," the pope said. "I hope that the cease-fire in Gaza continues so that all the hostages (taken by Hamas) are released, and access is allowed for the necessary humanitarian aid" in Gaza.

Pope Francis, who speaks regularly by telephone with priests at Holy Family parish in Gaza City, told people at the audience, "I've heard from the parish there. There is a lack of water, a lack of bread. The people are suffering. The simple people. The people are suffering, not those who are making the war. We ask for peace."

"And speaking of peace, let's not forget the dear Ukrainian people who still are suffering so much because of the war," he said. "Brothers and sisters, war is always a defeat. Everyone loses. Well, not everyone; there is one group that earns a lot -- those who manufacture weapons. They make a lot off the death of others."

Pope Francis also used the opportunity to thank a group of circus performers -- acrobats, skaters, clowns and jugglers -- who had entertained the pope and the crowd for a few minutes. They train hard and bring joy to people, the pope said.

Pope Francis watches circus performers
Pope Francis watches circus performers entertain him and the crowd at the end of his weekly general audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall Nov. 29, 2023. (CNS photo/Pablo Esparza)

In his main talk, read by Msgr. Ciampanelli, Pope Francis focused on how salvation in Jesus is as necessary as ever and that people today need to hear the Gospel proclaimed even if society tries to convince them that "God is insignificant and useless."

Simply repeating formulaic expressions of faith will convince no one, the pope said. And neither will shouting.

"A truth does not become more credible because one raises one's voice in speaking it, but because it is witnessed with one's life," the pope's text said.


Pope, struggling with illness, prays for wars to end

Pope, struggling with illness, prays for wars to end

Pope Francis held his weekly general audience Nov. 29, but told the crowd he was still suffering from the flu so an aide read his prepared text.

COP 28: U.S. Bishops Call for International Climate Policies that Promote Justice

WASHINGTON – The United Nations will convene their annual meeting on climate, COP28, on November 30. In advance of the meeting, Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop A. Elias Zaidan of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, released the following statement:

“We pray for all leaders and participants of COP28 as they work to care for our climate. As Pope Francis emphasized in Laudate Deum, the climate crisis is an opportunity to reconfigure international relations toward the common good, ‘demonstrat[ing] the nobility of politics,’ where, as brothers and sisters all, we can achieve ‘a decisive acceleration of energy transition’ (nos. 60, 54).

“Despite the tremendous growth of renewable energy worldwide, the global economic system remains largely powered by fossil fuels. Decarbonization of the economy—through the replacement of fossil fuels with secure, reliable, affordable, and clean energy—is the preeminent environmental challenge faced by all nations. While we are encouraged by recent decarbonization efforts in the United States, supported by the USCCB, to direct historic investment towards climate infrastructure and technological development, this tremendous challenge cannot be achieved alone through the efforts of individual persons or even nations and will require long-term cooperation by all.

“No government will be successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the long run if it requires a significant increase of the energy costs of middle- and low-income citizens. In other words, climate goals must represent both the ‘cry of the earth’ and the ‘cry of the poor,’ and include the financial support by developed nations for adaptation, resilience, and recovery of the most vulnerable. Justice for the poor, including the 3.3 billion people worldwide with limited energy and 700 million without any electricity, constitutes an essential test of ethical climate policy.”

Previous USCCB advocacy related to the Paris Agreement can be found at the following links:


Conference puts pope's call for 'outgoing theology' into action

BOGOTÁ, Colombia (CNS) -- Theologians, social scientists, historians and artists, including an Indigenous Mexican rapper, met in Bogotá to discuss how religion is represented in popular culture today. 

Pope Francis "says that new theology cannot be a dialogue between theologians because that is self-referential, rather it must be an interdisciplinary dialogue," Emilce Cuda, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America told Catholic News Service Nov. 27 during a three-day conference in Bogotá on religious expressions in popular culture at the headquarters of the Latin American bishops' council, known as CELAM. 

Theologians, she said, "must be among the people and listen to the language they use to express the faith today, to express their needs and dreams," and to engage with popular expressions of faith conveyed through tattoos and rap music, for instance. 

The conference, titled "Theology on the Peripheries: The Symbolic Language of Popular Culture," featured panels on the use of religion in forming ideologies, media narratives surrounding religion, the appropriation of religious symbols and their representation in art.

Cuda said the conference was motivated by the need for an "outgoing theology" that aligns with a vision of an "outgoing church" as Pope Francis requested in a letter Nov. 1 approving new statutes for the Pontifical Theological Academy. 

A journalist speaks at a conference.
Aníbal Pastor, a Chilean journalist, speaks during a theology conference on religious expressions in popular culture at the headquarters of the Latin American bishops' council, known as CELAM, in Bogotá, Colombia, Nov. 27, 2023. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

Jesuit Father Felipe Legarreta, a biblical scholar at Loyola University of Chicago and conference participant, told CNS that studying the modern-day use of religious symbols follows the example of the early church fathers, who "appropriate symbols, appropriate languages to translate and interpret the Gospel message in new contexts."

Father Legarreta said he hoped the conference would support a "new epistemology and methodology for theology that is in dialogue with the other sciences and with the peoples of the earth, above all those who are on the peripheries."

Miguel Ángel Pérez Gómez, a rapper from Chiapas, Mexico, known by his stage name "Sebsor," said that his participation in the CELAM conference as an artist and as an Indigenous person was important "so that academics look at us, so they see that we exist, that we have a spirituality and to dialogue about it."

Pérez's songs incorporate both Spanish and his native Tzeltal, a Mayan language spoken by some 590,000 people. He told CNS that his music blends Mayan culture, Catholic spirituality and the message of resistance found in American hip-hop.

"If you're at a desk, you cannot understand the spirituality of a group of original peoples that was never conquered and continues to exist," he said. "Why hip-hop? Why has art saved us? Because it has been a means of social transformation in the peripheries."

Miguel Ángel Pérez Gómez, a rapper from Chiapas, Mexico, poses for a photo.
Miguel Ángel Pérez Gómez, a rapper from Chiapas, Mexico, and participant in a theology conference on religious expressions in popular culture, poses for a photo at the headquarters of the Latin American bishops' council, known as CELAM, in Bogotá, Colombia, Nov. 27, 2023. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

Theology today can be overly concerned with "certain ways of preserving doctrine that place more attention on preservation than on proclamation" of the Gospel, Argentine Father José Carlos Caamaño told CNS. 

A systmatic theologian at the Catholic University of Argentina, Father Caamaño said that preserving the faith through theology "cannot be motivated by tending to a body of work so that I can take decisions about others from a position of power."

"Knowing the challenges of our times is fundamental to be able to articulate a language that communicates the Gospel, otherwise what we communicate is a hollow doctrine, a dehumanizing doctrine," he said. "If you are worried about the salvation of people, you have to gain knowledge about them by using disciplines that know how to capture a concrete, historical reality," such as through collaboration with historians and sociologists.

Cuda said such an approach "is the way of understanding theology in part of Latin America, particularly in Río de la Plata," the region which encompasses Montevideo, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

"In Latin America, theology of the peripheries is not a theology of philosophical categories, it is a theology mediated by culture," she said.

St. Saturninus: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, November 29, 2023

St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr November 29 A.D. 257 St. Saturninus went from Rome by the direction of pope Fabian, about the year 245, to preach the faith in Gaul, where St. Trophimus, the first bishop of Arles, had some time before gathered a plentiful harvest. In the year 250, when Decius and Gratus were consuls, St. Saturninus fixed his episcopal see at Toulouse. Fortunatus tells us, that he converted a great number of idolaters by his preaching and miracles. ...

Pope Francis tells football players winning isn’t everything

Pope Francis meets with the Celtic Football Club on Wednesday, encouraging them to be good examples and not to lose their ‘amateur’ spirit.

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