We begin in Rome today, where the Pope met with Jordan's King Abdullah II, just weeks after the US President's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital provoked outrage in the Middle East.
According to Vatican sources, the conversations focused on the theme of the promotion of peace and stability in the Mideast, with particular reference to the question of Jerusalem and the role of the King of Jordan, as the custodian of the holy places.
Pope Francis spent 20 minutes speaking alone with the King after which, a statement of their renewed commitment to "encourage negotiations as well as promoting interreligious dialogue”, was issued.
Jordan is the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem under a 1994 peace treaty with Israel. It’s only one of two treaties that Israel has with an Arab country. According to Reuters, the Jordanian king warned Trump that such a declaration will have dangerous repercussions, and undermine any peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine.
The Knights of Columbus announced that it is committing 1.4 million dollars to rebuild and repair churches damaged by the hurricanes that recently hit Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico."Getting parishes up and running again doesn’t JUST meet a practical need," Carl Anderson, the CEO of the Knights, said in a recent statement. "The people in the affected areas, see the revival of their churches as a spiritual joy and as, an important signal of recovery for the communities that surround these churches."
Just days before this announcement three churches in Texas and two synagogues in Florida sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency over being denied disaster-relief funds because current US federal law prohibits houses of worship from receiving disaster relief.
“The Knights of Columbus”, Carl Anderson said, “is committed to building up Catholic families and strengthening parish life. The effort to restore these much-needed churches is appropriate for the Knights, who are most effective within the local parish structure of prayer and service to others."
The Knights have raised over $3.8 million for disaster relief in the months following the disasters. More than $720,000 dollars was used to pay for food, water and other critical supplies in the immediate aftermath.
Meanwhile, in Washington, efforts are underway in the House of Representatives to allow houses of worship to receive federal disaster assistance as part of the: Disaster Recovery Reform Act, which was approved by the US House Committee on Nov. 30th.
“Why impose a morality that is no longer working and is almost passé?” This is the statement and argument that Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, is using to bring same-sex marriage to his country, in a move that will bring his government into even deeper conflict with the Church.
The Japan Times is reporting that Duterte, speaking in his home city of Davao on Sunday, said: “I want same-sex marriage. The problem is we’ll have to change the law. But we can change it. The law says marriage is a union between a man and a woman. I don’t have any problems making it marrying a man, marrying a woman or whatever.”
The Philippines maintains strongly Catholic laws where divorce and abortion are illegal. The president has a history of clashes with the Church. He has openly attacked the Church on several occasions, accusing the clergy of sex abuse and hypocrisy.
And finally tonight, Father Patrick Peyton famously known as "The Rosary Priest" and founder of the Family Rosary Crusade has moved one step closer to Sainthood. Pope Francis has advanced his sainthood cause by recognizing his heroic virtues along with seven others in a decree yesterday.
Father Peyton was a Catholic media pioneer in the 1940s, using radio and later television to produce popular programs featuring Hollywood stars and other celebrities to promote family prayer. His ministry produced more than 600 radio and television programs and 10,000 broadcasts. He coined the famous mottos: "The family that prays together stays together" and "A world at prayer is a world at peace." He founded Holy Cross Family Ministries, which includes Family Rosary, Family Theater Productions, Father Peyton Family Institute and Family Rosary International.
After the Pope's decree in recognizing “ heroic virtues”, a miracle is needed for his beatification and a second one for his canonization. For more on the extraordinary life of Fr.Peyton, you can visit the website listed below.
That is all that for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.