Academics, lawyers and human rights activists from Hong Kong have described the possible agreement between the Vatican and the Chinese government as “an irreversible and regrettable mistake”. These Catholic personalities asked the Vatican to demand greater guarantees of freedom in the appoint­ment of bishops and religious freedom in the country.

In an open letter addressed to bishops worldwide they ask them to petition the Vatican not to proceed with the agreement and to reset it with precise guarantees on the Pontiff’s freedom to appoint bishops and with guarantees of true religious freedom for Christians and society.

‘Jesus feels compassion’

“Jesus feels compassion” sums up the Pope’s reflection on the healing of the leper from the Gospel of Mark. Pope Francis said that in Jesus’s time leprosy was considered a serious impurity. This is why the leper used the words: “If you want to, you can purify me!”

Francis said that this cry provoked Jesus to feel compassion. We can never understand Christ’s work or Christ himself unless we “enter his heart full of compassion”. For it is this compassion that prompted Jesus to touch the leper and say: “I want to be cleansed!”

The Pope said that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, approached “with a repentant heart, the Lord repeats to us too: ‘I want to be cleansed!’ Thus, the leprosy of sin disappears, we return to live with joy our filial relationship with God and we are readmitted fully into the community.” He concluded with a prayer asking for Mary’s intercession to “heal our inner wounds with his infinite mercy, to give us back hope and peace in our hearts”.

Cupich defends Pope Francis

In a context of criticism of the Pope’s comments (he since apologised) on abusers in Chile, Cardinal Blase Cupich has defended Pope Francis’s record and called for a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice. He said the Pope recognised the need to ‘listen’ to abuse survivors.

The cardinal said the Church was “moving forward” in implementing Benedict XVI’s reforms on child protection and that the Pope had set up the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors “to do everything to keep people on the track”.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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