CNS is reporting today that the Vatican is denying reports that retired Pope Benedict is a suffering from a paralyzing illness, after his older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, told a German magazine that Pope Benedict has a debilitating neurological disease.
In an interview published on Tuesday in the German magazine, Neue Post, Msgr. Ratzinger said that his brother is suffering from a nerve disease that is slowly paralyzing him. "The greatest concern,” Msgr. Ratzinger said, “ is that the paralysis could eventually reach his heart and then, everything could end quickly. I pray every day to ask God for the grace of a good death, at a good moment, for my brother and I”.
Although news about the interview was also published on the German edition of the Vatican News website, the Holy See press office said in a statement on February 15 that "the alleged news reports of a paralyzing or degenerative illness are false."
We go to the US now where Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to the Archbishop of Miami, expressing his deep sadness over the mass shooting that took place, at a high school in the US state yesterday.
In a late-night telegram to Archbishop Wenski, Pope Francis assured, "all those affected by this devastating attack of his spiritual closeness, with the hope that such senseless acts of violence may cease." The Pope invoked "divine blessings of peace and strength" on the South Florida community.
At least 17 people were killed and others wounded after a 19-year-old former student, who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons, opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus in Florida.
The Pope was "deeply saddened to learn of the tragic shooting," Cardinal Parolin, said in a telegram. "He prays that Almighty God may grant eternal rest to the dead and healing and consolation to the wounded and those who grieve."
This incident is the sixth school shooting this year that has either injured or killed students in the US.
Here in Canada, Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver is granting a special dispensation to the city's Chinese Catholics in the city, as they celebrate the Chinese New Year, which happens to begin on the first Friday of the Lenten season, a day of fasting and abstinence.
Now, despite this dispensation, Archbishop Miller is asking the Chinese-Catholic community to keep in mind the Lenten spirit of charity and to pray for the ongoing talks between the Vatican and China.
Archbishop Miller isn’t the only one offering this special dispensation, Cardinal Luis Tagle from Manila has also granted a dispensation from the Lenten Friday observance for the Filipino-Chinese Catholics in the Archdiocese of Manila.
And finally, some great news coming from our friends at the Knights of Columbus.
The Knights have been recognized as one of 2018's, "World’s Most Ethical Companies", by the Ethisphere Institute. And who better to share the details than the Supreme Knight himself, Carl Anderson.
The Knights of Columbus’ commitment to be leaders in ethical business practices has earned them the distinction of ranking among the world’s most ethical companies, five years in a row.
That is all that we have time for this week. Join us again on Monday, when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic Lens.