1. Pope Says Fake News Is Devil’s Work: First papal document on the subject calls for greater accuracy by journalists. 

By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2018, 7:36 AM

Pope Francis denounced the spread of “fake news” as the divisive work of the devil and called on journalists to serve as “protectors of news” by practicing accuracy and fairness, which he called essential to promoting world peace.

The pope’s remarks, published Wednesday, came in his annual message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Social Communications, May 13. It was the first papal document on the subject of fake news.


2. Pope calls attacks on Yazidis ‘senseless and inhuman barbarism’.

By Claire Giangravè, Crux, January 24, 2018

Just as Turkish planes and tanks hammered the Kurdish population in Syria, with other minority groups caught in the crossfire and fearing for their lives, Pope Francis called the international community not to forget the plight of Christian and Yazidi communities both in Syria and in Iraq.

“The international community cannot remain as a quiet and inert spectator before your drama,” the pope said in an audience at the Vatican with representatives of the Yazidi community from Germany.

“I therefore encourage institutions and people of good will belonging to other communities to contribute to the reconstruction of your homes and your places of worship.”

Francis is scheduled to meet with Erdogan in the Vatican on Feb. 5.


3. Dolan and Naumann: Optimistic depsite obstacles for pro-life cause. 

By Christopher White, Crux, January 24, 2018

As Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York prepares to hand over the reins of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee to Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, both men are in agreement that the pro-life work of the bishops’ conference serves as the cornerstone of its public policy work.

“It’s been a constant, consistent, and potent part of the bishops’ advocacy for a century,” Dolan told Crux on the eve of the March for Life, which draws tens of thousands of people to the nation’s capital each January to protest the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade to legalize abortion.

Dolan was elected in 2014 as head of the USCCB’s Pro-Life Activities committee – an appointment for a three-year term that commenced in November 2015. Naumann was elected at the fall assembly of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore this past November and will succeed him later this year. Both men are longtime members on the committee and consider it among their defining ecclesial commitments.


4. The complicated case of China’s Catholic bishops.

By Catholic News Agency, January 23, 2018, 3:48 PM

The Vatican’s efforts to resolve the split between underground Chinese bishops and the government-recognized Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association face another challenge, as an aging bishop faithful to Rome has reportedly declined a Vatican request to retire, to be replaced by a bishop favored by the Chinese government.

The Church in China is split between an underground Catholic Church and the officially recognized Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Every bishop recognized by Beijing must be a member of the association.

The Holy See’s negotiations with the Chinese government could eventually lead to Vatican recognition of seven illicitly ordained bishops aligned with Beijing. The Holy See could be pursuing China’s official recognition of 20 bishop candidates appointed by the Holy See, some of whom have already been secretly ordained, in addition to state recognition of up to 40 bishops in the underground Catholic community.

In December 2017, the Holy See asked 88-year-old Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou in southern Guangdong province to retire so that an illicitly ordained excommunicated bishop could take his place and be recognized by the Vatican, Asia News reports.

However, the Vatican-recognized bishop reportedly refused the delegation’s request that he retire.

The Holy See had previously asked Bishop Zhuang to resign in an Oct. 26, 2017 letter. A church source in Guangdong, who asked not to be named, told Asia News that at the time of the letter Bishop Zhuang “refused to obey and rather ‘carry His Cross’ for being disobedient.”


5. Economic models should be centered on human dignity, says Pope Francis.

By Catholic News Agency, January 23, 2018, 1:01 PM

Pope Francis encouraged global delegates at the 2018 World Economic Forum to promote economic models that create the proper conditions for the human person to thrive.

“The recurring financial instabilities have brought new problems and serious challenges that governments must confront, such as the growth of unemployment, the increase in various forms of poverty, the widening of socio-economic gaps and new forms of slavery, often rooted in situations of conflict, migration and various social problems,” Pope Francis wrote on Jan. 12.

“In this context, it is vital to safeguard the dignity of the human person, in particular by offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development and by implementing economic policies that favor the family,” the Holy Father continued.

Pope Francis’ words were addressed to Professor Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, which is meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland from Jan. 23-26. The theme of the 48th annual meeting is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” – a topic that Pope Francis called “timely.”

According to the forum’s website, the goal of the event is to “rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world.”

At the center of the Pope’s speech was an overarching theme of placing human dignity at the center of global development, despite the barriers of suffering, poverty and injustice.

“Economic models, therefore, are also required to observe an ethic of sustainable and integral development, based on values that place the human person and his or her rights at the center,” he said.