'Welcomed by many, devastating for others': Australian bishops react to Pell decision (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference) “Today’s outcome will be welcomed by many, including those who have believed in the Cardinal’s innocence throughout this lengthy process,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the bishops’ conference, said following the Australian High Court decision that overturned Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse conviction. “We also recognize that the High Court’s decision will be devastating for others.” Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney struck a different tone: “I welcome today’s exoneration of Cardinal George Pell in a unanimous decision of the High Court of Australia. The Cardinal has always maintained his innocence and today’s decision confirms his conviction was wrong.”
Pope establishes emergency CO19 fund, donates $750,000 (Vatican News) “This fund has the aim of supporting the presence of the Church in mission territories, which also suffers the consequences of coronavirus,” said Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, president of the Pontifical Mission Societies. “Through the Church’s activity of preaching the Gospel and of practical aid through our vast network, we can show that no one is alone in this crisis.”
Chinese authorities imprison priest, cut off bishop's water, utilities (AsiaNews) “After the signing of the provisional agreement between the Vatican and China, the government launched a campaign to eliminate the unofficial communities by requiring each priest to sign a document with which they adhere to the ‘independent Church,’ [and] refuse relations with foreigners, prohibit religious education to young people under the age of 18,” the report notes.
'Powerful nations are brought to their knees,' leading Asian prelate says (Catholic Outlook) “This angel of death, like the Seventh Seal of the Book of Revelation, brings a shattering message,” Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Myanmar, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, said in his Easter message. “World powers that arrogantly negate all transcendent powers, learn with humility that life is fragile and that we all need one another. More than anything, all powers can learn to acknowledge the presence of a Power that is above all.”
Orthodox 'fanatics' fined for breaking Greek quarantine (Orthochristian) More than 100 Orthodox worshippers have been fined for breaking a quarantine imposed by the government in Greece. Authorities cited participants in two liturgical services, in the towns of Agia Varvara and Patras. A government spokesman, noting that the Orthodox hierarchy had agree to abide by the quarantine, said that the services “have nothing to do with the faithful but with the fanatics.”
Congo cardinal: 'We are terrified' of CO19 (Fides) “We are terrified of the possible spread of COVID-19 here in Congo; we have no means or logistical solutions to deal with it and it would be a disaster,” said Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa. “Here, the slogan ‘stay home’ in many cases would make no sense, because houses are precarious, up to about 10-15 people live in a small room, and the vast majority of our population lives on the street all day.”
Head of Iran's Muslim seminaries writes letter to Pope, calls for greater collaboration with Church (Hawzah News) Alireza Arafi wrote, “I take this opportunity to announce that the Seminary and its professors, scholars, and students are ready to exchange scientific, cultural and relief experiences, especially in the virtual field, and to open a new chapter of collaboration with International scientific centers, universities, religious centers, leaders of divine religions, official organizations of countries, and specifically the institution of Catholic Christianity in order to form a community of divine religions to serve humanity.”
Colombia's bishops welcome truce (Fides) Over 175,000 civilians have lost their lives in the Colombian conflict, which began in 1964. The National Liberation Army (ELN), which declared the 1-month truce, has continued to wage war despite a 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian government and the main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Jerusalem archbishop blesses city with relic of Holy Cross (Custodia Sanctae Terrae) “The city is closed, the world is closed,” Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa said on Palm Sunday at the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. The prelate also published a Palm Sunday message that began, “Today we have not celebrated the solemn and beautiful entrance of Jesus to the city of Jerusalem like every year, with faithful from all the parishes of the diocese and with pilgrims from all over the world … What is the Lord saying to us? Why all this?”