He was 85 years old. He had been hospitalized for a month, suffering from Covid-19. He was in the group of "Brezhnevian hierarchs". As bishop he had been an agent of the KGB, with the code name of "Ostrovskij". He revived theological studies, catechesis, the formation of the clergy, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. The last years of his ministry saw him in close collaboration with the Catholic archbishop Msgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz.
Call to "work with determination to promote the conditions necessary for a world without nuclear weapons". "To pray means to fight for unity. Yes, to fight, because our enemy, the devil, as the word itself says, is the divider. The devil always divides, it is convenient for him”.
In a message on Martin Luther King Day, Francis writes that the leader for civil rights of African Americans is still relevant in a world “which increasingly faces the challenges of social injustice, division and conflict that hinder the realisation of the common good.”
Commentary on the Gospel of the second Sunday per year, B (John 1, 35-42).
Pope Francis comments on Jesus' meeting with the first disciples before the Angelus prayer. “Their hearts grow warmer and warmer as the Master speaks. They sense the beauty of words that respond to their greatest hope”. “The light that only God can give explodes in them … this light overflows from their hearts like a raging river”. The Day for the deepening of dialogue between Catholics and Jews. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
In a letter to Francis, Tsai Ing-wen writes that Taiwan has actively embraced a spirit of compassion and empathy since the start of the pandemic, sharing its successful disease management skills with other countries.
Healthcare and public safety personnel, seniors and staff most frequently in contact with the public get priority. Cardinals and retired Holy See officials, as well as their families, will also be vaccinated. Some 5,000 Holy See employees should be vaccinated, including 618 people with Vatican citizenship, 246 of whom are local residents. Overall, some 10,000 people might get the vaccine.
"The Saints show us that we can always give praise, in good times and bad, because God is the faithful Friend, and His love never fails ", " In the future of the world and in the hopes of the Church there are the "little ones": those who do not consider themselves better than others, who are aware of their own limitations and their sins, who do not want to lord it over others, who, in God the Father, recognize that we are all brothers and sisters.”
In his message for the 29th World Day of the Sick, Francis notes that health is a primary common good. The pandemic has shown shortcomings in healthcare systems and the elderly and the most vulnerable are not always guaranteed access to treatment in an equitable manner. Still, the crisis has also highlighted the dedication and generosity of so many.
Francis has changed the rule in canon law that limited these offices to men. Thus, “the awareness will grow, through a liturgical act (of institution) as well, of the precious contribution that many lay persons, including women, have been offering for some time to the life and mission of the Church.”
The pontiff turns his thoughts to the victims of 6 January in Washington. “I urge government authorities and the entire population to maintain a high sense of responsibility, in order to soothe tempers, promote national reconciliation, and protect the democratic values rooted in American society.”
Foreign faithful and missionaries are singled out as the source of the new Covid-19 epidemic in Hebei. In reality, the accused villages have no Christians and the Church's religious activities have been blocked since Christmas Eve. Like Nero, looking for a scapegoat. The result: churches closed down in the name of prevention.
On the solemnity of Epiphany, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Altar of the Chair. Worshippers, cardinals, bishops, and choir kept at a distance because of COVID-19. It Is urgent “to understand more fully what it means to be worshippers of the Lord.” We must ‘lift up our eyes,’ ‘set out on a journey’ and ‘see’.” We must “cast off the dictatorship of the self, the constant temptation to withdraw into ourselves and our own concerns.” “Herod and the leading citizens of Jerusalem represent a worldliness enslaved to appearances and immediate attractions.”
At the Angelus, Pope Francis extended his wishes to the Orthodox who celebrate Christmas tomorrow. “Christ’s light shine[s] in every place and at every moment [. . .] through the proclamation of the Gospel,” Francis said. “The star is Christ, but we too can and must also be the star for our brothers and sisters,” he added. The pontiff also expressed hope for peace in Central Africa.