Pope reorganizes government of Vatican City State (Holy See (Italian)) In an Italian-language motu proprio dated November 25 and released December 6, Pope Francis reorganized the government of the Vatican City State. “From the beginning of my ministry in the See of Peter, I sensed the need of a comprehensive reorganization,” the Pope wrote, adding that he has made “systematic legislative reform in light of the principles of rationalization, cost effectiveness, and simplification and pursuing criteria of functionality, transparency, normative coherence and organizational flexibility.”
Retiring head of Catholic Health Association proud of role in promoting Obamacare (Crux) Sister Carol Keehan, who will soon step down from her post as president of the Catholic Health Association, spoke with the Crux news site about her satisfaction with the results of Obamacare. Sister Keehan, who played an instrumental role in securing passage of the legislation, said: “It wasn’t perfect, it is still not perfect, but it was a major step forward.” She denied that the program has increased government funding for abortion.
Russian, Vatican foreign ministers meet in Vienna (Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2004, met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States since 2014. The two “focused on the prospects for cooperation on the issue of bringing Christians and the Christian faith back to the Middle East, which is becoming increasingly important in the context of the Syrian settlement.”
Philippine president accuses leading bishop of drug abuse (Philippine Star) Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, the vice president of the bishops’ conference, responded, “No sir, I’m not into drugs of any sort, whether legal or illegal ... I only take vitamins with fruit shake.” Bishop David is a strong critic of the extrajudicial murder of drug traffickers, a practice associated with President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime.
CAFOD on climate change: 'we need action and we need it quickly' (Vatican News) CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The 24th UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) is taking place in Katowice, Poland. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, spoke at the conference and said there was an “urgent need for swift action.” L’Osservatore Romano (12/7 Italian edition) devoted its most prominent front-page coverage to the conference, with the headline “Noxious emissions increase.”
Papal preacher reflects on 'constant and reassuring presence' of God (Vatican News) In his first Advent Sermon, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, observed that “we risk losing sight” of God’s presence in our daily lives. In the first of his weekly sermons, preached in the presence of Pope Francis and leaders of the Roman Curia, he offered reflections a line from Psalm 42: “My soul thirsts for God, the living God.”
Pope thanks donors of Vatican Christmas tree (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis held a private audience on December 7 with representative of the Italian regions of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto—the regions that provided this year’s Christmas trees for the Vatican.
Each year the Vatican receives Christmas trees—including the giant tree displayed in St. Peter’s Square—from a different European region.