At his first General Audience of the new year, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of the penitential rite in preparation for the Mass. Addressing the pilgrims who gathered at the Paul VI Hall earlier today, he continued his reflections on the Mass, where he said that the penitential rite helps us to prepare our hearts to receive God’s mercy. "A presumptuous heart", the Pope said," is full of its own self-importance and is not capable of receiving God’s pardon. Confessing one's sins to God helps people understand that sin not only separates us from God but also, from our brothers and sisters". Here now the full report from from CNS.
To central Africa now, where the Catholic Bishops in the Congo expressed shock after security forces fired on Catholic protesters, leaving eight people dead and another 120 detained during an end-of-year march organized by the Kinshasa archdiocesan lay committee. Over a dozen priests were among those detained.
"We condemn with utmost vigor this unjustified violence!" the Congo's Bishops' Conference said in a statement yesterday. "We similarly denounce this attack on freedom of worship, which is guaranteed in every democratic state, as well as the desecration of churches and physical aggression against the faithful and their priests."
Police used tear gas and batons against Mass goers on December 31st, at some of the countries churches, and violently broke up marches where protesters demanded fresh elections for the country. The bishops are insisting that the current leader, President Kabila, step down, which he refuses to do. The President’s second and final term ended back in December 2016.
Here in Canada, a Catholic program for abandoned babies may have just saved a newborn’s life in Edmonton Alberta. According to the Edmonton Journal, a baby was dropped off within the past few months at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital in Edmonton under the Angel Cradle program.
This program allows parents to drop off a newborn between the doors marked with the Angel Cradle sign, after which, an alarm goes off after 60 seconds notifying a caregiver, giving the mother or father time to protect their identity. Now, this was the first time the program has been used since it began in Edmonton in 2013 but it’s proof that the program is working, said a spokesman for Covenant Health.
Sadly, this is in sharp contrast to the latest case of an abandoned baby in that province where a newborn was found dead in a parking lot in Calgary on Christmas Eve. Currently, Calgary has no venues for parents to drop off an unwanted child. Covenant Health is a Catholic-based organization that runs two hospitals in Edmonton that offers the Angel Cradle program.
That is all that we have time for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.
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