Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service

Josephine McKenna writes for Religion News Service.

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Pope Francis Seeks Forgiveness From Clergy Abuse Victims

Image via RNS/Reuters/Stefano Rellandini

Pope Francis has condemned clerical sex abuse as an “absolute monstrosity,” and asked victims and their families for forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church.

In an unusual move, the pontiff’s comments were published as a preface to a new book by Daniel Pittet, a Swiss victim who was sexually abused for four years by a priest when he was a child.

Pope Decries Treatment of Rohingya Muslims

Image via RNS/Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Pope Francis has called for prayers for the Rohingya, the Muslim minority group forced to flee violence and persecution in Myanmar.

 

Catholic Professor Says Trump's Border Wall Challenges America's Moral Values

Image via RNS/Reuters/Mike Blake

President Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico raises serious questions about America’s moral standing, as the poor would bear the brunt of the suffering, a leading Catholic theologian says.

The Rev. Daniel G. Groody, an associate professor of theology at Notre Dame University in Indiana, said the wall would lead to a loss of life, as migrants are forced to find other ways to escape poverty across the border.

“What Trump fails to see is that state sovereignty is not an absolute privilege, but a moral responsibility,” said Groody.

Pope Francis on Refugees: 'Don't Abandon Them'

Image via RNS/Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Pope Francis called for greater compassion for refugees and marginalized people less than a week after President Trump ordered a temporary immigration ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Trump's Refugee Ban Keeps Human Rights Leader From Receiving Award

Image via Creative Commons/Dragan Tatic

As the only female Yazidi in the Iraqi Parliament, Dakhil fought tirelessly for international assistance to stop the violence, including sexual slavery, targeting her beleaguered people.

Now she has been awarded the Lantos Human Rights Prize in Washington, D.C. But she is unlikely to make the ceremony on Feb. 8, since President Donald Trump banned all travelers from Iraq.

Christian Refugees Will Suffer From Trump Ban, Say Iraqi Catholic Leaders

Image Via Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

In other comments published Monday, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad also said Trump’s policy of preferential immigration for Christians was a “trap” and would “create and feed” tensions with Muslims. 

Pope Francis Urges Media to 'Engage in Constructive Forms of Communication'

Image via  Giulio Napolitano/ Shutterstock 

In a powerfully worded message, the pope said he wanted to encourage media professionals to engage in “constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice” and help create a world of “realism and trust.” 

The pope’s message came days after President Trump launched a bitter attack on news media over its reporting on the size of his inauguration crowd. 

In his message, Francis said he was concerned about the focus on “bad news” that included “wars, terrorism, scandals and all sorts of human failure” by a media industry that thinks good news doesn’t sell and where the “tragedy of human suffering and the mystery of evil” easily become entertainment. 

Pope Francis: Jesus Was a Migrant Like Today's Refugees

Image via RNS/Reuters/Umit Bektas

As Pope Francis officially opened this year’s Christmas Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, he said Jesus was a “migrant” who reminds us of the plight of today’s refugees.

Francis told donors who contributed both the Nativity set and an 82-foot tree that the story of Jesus’ birth echoes the “tragic reality of migrants, on boats, making their way toward Italy,” from the Middle East and Africa today.

Outcry Greets Vatican Decision to Reaffirm Ban on Gay Priests

Image via RNS/Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

“Pope Francis has a lot of explaining to do by approving the newest Vatican instruction,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which campaigns for LGBT rights in the church.

“Francis’ famous ‘Who am I to judge?’ statement in 2013 was made in response to a question about gay men in the priesthood,” DeBernardo said. “That response indicated very plainly that he did not have a problem with a gay priest’s sexual orientation.

Vatican Launches Website in Response to Clergy Sex Scandals

Image via RNS/Creative Commons image by Stefano Rellandini

The Vatican has launched a website as part of its efforts to protect children from clerical sexual abuse and promote healing and reconciliation.

It’s the first time that the Vatican has published resources and documents on the issue, and the site is sponsored by the commission set up by Pope Francis to protect minors.

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