1. Vatican’s top diplomat offers mediation to end ‘war unleased by Russia against Ukraine’, By Inés San Martín, Crux, February 28, 2022 Pope Francis’ top diplomat on Monday confirmed what many suspected: The Vatican is ready to “facilitate dialogue” between Russia and Ukraine to “avoid any escalation, stop the clashes and negotiate” amidst what he called “a military attack.” “Above all the military attack must stop immediately. We are all witnesses to its tragic consequences,” Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin told a handful of Italian newspapers. He said the Vatican believes that “despite the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine” there is “always room for negotiations.” https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2022/02/vaticans-top-diplomat-offers-mediation-to-end-war-unleased-by-russia-against-ukraine___________________________________________________________ 2. Ukraine, the Political and the Personal, By Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing, February 28, 2022, Opinion Awoman I’ve known quite well for years, who was born abroad, is half-Ukrainian and half-Russian. We have breakfast together often, almost every morning, and regularly talk over public affairs. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has us both deeply agitated, which is only to be expected – I suppose – since we’re married, and our children have both Ukrainian and Russian blood in their veins. This isn’t just a distant geopolitical crisis for us. It’s also a family matter. There’s been a lot of analysis of the situation that explores the large historical factors that have led to the present moment. We’ll be bringing you some reports on them in coming days and weeks. But people often exaggerate these days large impersonal social factors, as if individuals hardly matter. Our family background has forced me to think again about more personal, more human elements that are much overlooked and yet are very much in play. Would any other Russian leader, to take the central case before us, have perpetrated this atrocity besides Vladimir Vladirimovich Putin?  Ukrainians are quite religious: Catholic in the West, and Orthodox in the East. There have often been tensions between the two churches, but they’re united now in resistance. Part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has become autocephalous since 2019 when the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople allowed it to become independent from the Moscow patriarchate – the latter, a collaborator with the Putin regime, as earlier with the Soviets. Putin built the Main Cathedral for the Russian Military Forces, which opened just two years ago, and – politics notwithstanding – is one of the most stunning modern churches anywhere. It’s a monument to the massive sacrifices Russian forces made to defeat regimes like Hitler’s. But it’s unfortunately also now tainted by its association with a figure whom history will judge to be a war criminal.  It’s difficult to know where things will stand when most of us wake up Monday morning. But the Ukrainian theologian Taras Tymos at the Ukrainian Catholic University offers good guidance. He remarks that, while Ukrainians know what they need to do to defend their nation, as Christians they must also love their enemies. And the people are now praying the psalms, with a deepened sense of the meaning of those pleas to the Almighty for protection against unjust aggressors. May those prayers bear fruit. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2022/02/28/ukraine-the-political-and-the-personal/___________________________________________________________ 3. Church must do better at valuing elderly, Vatican official says, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, February 28, 2022 Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the Vatican’s top official on life issues, has praised the pope’s decision to launch a new weekly catechesis on “old age,” saying it is especially timely and voicing his belief that the Church itself still struggles with seeing the elderly in a positive light. “The two great problems of the twenty first century are on one hand migration, and on the other old age,” Paglia told Crux, noting that thanks to medical advances, the number of elderly people has grown, “but a political, economic, cultural, and even spiritual thought is still lacking.” https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2022/02/church-must-do-better-at-valuing-elderly-vatican-official-says___________________________________________________________ 4. Inward and Outward, By Fr. Paul D. Scalia, The Catholic Thing, February 27, 2022 A bitter irony of Original Sin is that it has made us simultaneously more self-focused and less self-aware. Despite our thinking so much about ourselves, we have little self-knowledge to show for it.  So the Christian life, in its constant fight against our wounded human nature, should be a constant inward and outward progression. First inward, to know ourselves as we really are and not as we superficially think ourselves to be. Then outward, to genuine regard and love for the other as other and not as an extension of our own self-love. This is the paradox of the Christian life: the more inward we go in self-knowledge, the more capable we become of going outward in love of neighbor. With Ash Wednesday coming, we can approach the disciplines of Lent with this inward/outward progression in mind. We can engage our Lenten prayer, fasting, and almsgiving with a view to lessening self-focus and growing in the self-knowledge that enables self-giving.  Inward and outward. This is the pattern of the saints. It is the Apostle Paul disappearing for years in prayer and then spending his life as a missionary. It is Saint Catherine of Siena retreating to her “cell of self-knowledge” and then bursting forth in apostolic action. It is Mother Teresa first adoring Christ in the Eucharist and then serving him in the poorest of the poor. May it be our pattern as well. https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2022/02/27/inward-and-outward/___________________________________________________________ 5. Pope Francis opens special process to canonize 16 Carmelite martyrs of the French Revolution, By Kelsey Wicks, Catholic News Agency, February 25, 2022, 1:40 PM Their voices sang out from the scaffold as they went to their death on July 17, 1794, during the Reign of Terror, the frightening period of the French Revolution which oversaw the execution of at least 17,000 people. At the request of the bishops of France and the Order of Carmelites Discalced (OCD), Pope Francis agreed on Feb. 22 to open a special process known in the Catholic Church as “equipollent canonization” to raise the 16 Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne to the altars. Equipollent, or “equivalent,” canonization is, like the usual canonization process, an invocation of papal infallibility where the Pope declares that a person is among the saints in heaven. It avoids the formal process of canonization as well as the ceremony, since it occurs by the publication of a papal bull. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250496/pope-francis-opens-special-process-to-canonize-16-carmelite-martyrs-of-the-french-revolution___________________________________________________________ 6. Why supporters of religious liberty should care about Ukraine, By Bob Smietana, The Washington Post, February 25, 2022, 5:00 PM The news that Russian troops had invaded Ukraine was of deep concern for Bradley Nassif, a theologian and expert on Orthodox-evangelical dialogue who spent years as a tenured professor of religion at an evangelical university. The status of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine has long been a source of tension. While Ukraine is home to millions of Orthodox Christians, they are divided in loyalties, with ties to rival leaders in Eastern Orthodoxy, including the Russian Orthodox Church with its Moscow patriarch and an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the leader of Orthodoxy worldwide.  [Interviewer:] What should Americans know about how this conflict could affect religious people in Ukraine? [Nassif:] The religious consequences of the Russian occupation of Ukraine are enormous. There has been a long dispute, recently revived since 2018, between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey over the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The question centers on who has the ecclesiastical authority to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. If Russia should establish itself in Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church will have much more power to control the fate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. As a result, the political conflicts we are now watching on television could soon become a major religious conflict as well. [Interviewer:] There are some Americans, in particular some evangelicals, who are taking a “who cares” response or, in some ways, are supportive of Russia. What would you say to them? [Nassif:] Evangelicals who take a “who cares” attitude to what is going on now in Ukraine will be in for a big surprise once the dust settles. One needs only to look at what the Russians did to evangelicals after they annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Evangelicals may well face similar governmental penalties for church gatherings, preaching and evangelistic campaigns. The growing concern is over evangelicals who allegedly “sheep steal” members of the Orthodox Church into their own Protestant ranks. https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2022/02/25/religious-liberty-ukraine-invasion/___________________________________________________________ 7. Pope Francis to Ukrainian Catholic leader: ‘I will do everything I can’ to help end conflict, By Catholic News Agency, February 24, 2022, 9:58 AM Pope Francis told the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church on Friday that he would do everything he can to help end the Ukraine conflict. The pope called Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who is based in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, in the late afternoon on Feb. 25, according to the Secretariat of the Major Archbishop in Rome. “During the phone call, Pope Francis was concerned about the situation in the city of Kyiv and in general throughout Ukraine. Pope Francis told His Beatitude: ‘I will do everything I can,’” the secretariat said. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250497/ukraine-conflict-pope-francis-to-ukrainian-catholic-leader-i-will-do-everything-i-can-to-help-end-war___________________________________________________________ 8. Interview Upon Departure from Seven Years of Service at the Holy See Mission, By Fr. Roger J. Landry, Catholic Preaching, February 5, 2022 Father Roger Landry, a native of Lowell, Massachusetts, arrived as Attaché at the Mission at the beginning of March 2015, after serving for 16 years as a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, where he had been a high school chaplain, the pastor of two parishes, and the Diocesan newspaper editor for many years. He was originally recruited by Archbishop Auza to serve as a negotiator on the human rights and development team, but upon his arrival, Archbishop Auza asked him instead to serve as Director of Special Events, an omnibus position that included coordinating the many conferences the Holy See Mission runs each year at the United Nations, assisting on the drafts of UN interventions and the other speeches of the Nuncio, improving the communications of the Mission (website, newsletter, social media, etc.), engaging in external relations for the Mission with the NGO community, the Catholic community and other religious groups, as well as various other activities. Eventually he would also be asked to direct the enhanced internship program of the Mission, take charge of the Path to Peace Gala, and serve as the Executive Director of the Path to Peace Foundation.  His next position will be Catholic chaplain at Columbia University in New York City, an appointment he said was a big surprise. “Without my knowledge, Cardinal Dolan [Archbishop of New York] called Bishop da Cunha in Fall River to ask if he’d consider allowing His Eminence to appoint me to serve the Columbia community. My bishop called me, we spoke about it, and together made the decision.” As an alumnus of Harvard College, he is excited to return to an Ivy League campus, “where I know I will learn a lot and have a chance to propose to students, faculty and staff the exciting adventure of Catholic life as disciples of Jesus in communion. In an age of rampant loneliness, individualism, materialism and relativism, Catholics are able to show that there’s a different way to live, and I’m excited to take what I’ve learned at the Mission and bring it to the challenging work of campus ministry.” Before he takes up his new post, he will have a few months of sabbatical, starting February 28, during which he will have the chance “hopefully” to finish two books he has been working on, preach retreats for cloistered sisters, priests and lay people, lead three scheduled pilgrimages, and do some travel for Aid to the Church in Need USA, for which he was appointed ecclesiastical assistant last October by the Vatican. He’s happy to have a chance to remain in New York, where he will be able to continue some of the apostolates he has been engaged in and stay close to the Mission, “where some of my closest friends in the world are.” He also expressed hope that his new position may also profit the Mission. “I hope to send many bright Columbia students as future interns,” he quipped. https://catholicpreaching.com/wp/interview-upon-departure-from-seven-years-of-service-at-the-holy-see-mission-february-5-2022/___________________________________________________________

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