Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to re-establish sea, land and air links. The GCC summit on Tuesday in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, was decisive. Host Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman welcomed Emir al-Thani with a hug. Trade relations can resume, but it will take some time for full diplomatic relations.
In his message for the 55th World Communications Day, Pope Francis suggests that communications should be based on direct encounter with reality, people, and experiences. He criticises “standard, often tendentious narrative” found in today’s communications. Pandemic reporting should also speak about the “long wait for treatment in the poverty-stricken villages of Asia, Latin America and Africa,” the unequal distribution of vaccines, and families sliding into destitution. Francis warns against the “empty rhetoric [that] abounds, even in our time, in all areas of public life, in business as well as politics.” The mission is also about “come and see”.
Commentary (in Italian) on the Gospel of the 3rd Sunday for the Year B (Mark 1:14-20).
The wishes underline the desire to mend relations after the turbulent years of the Trump presidency. The Pope asks for "unfailing respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice ". Iranian Javad Zarif: The Trump presidency ended up "in the garbage of history". The enthusiasm of Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen. The hopes of China.
Others will follow in the coming days. Due to the epidemic, “this year it will not be possible to experience the Spiritual Exercises of the Roman Curia in community at the Casa Divin Maestro in Ariccia.”
In 2021, not enough people will be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Over 15 billion doses will be needed to immunize the world. China and India plan to help poor countries, but only after their own citizens. Developing countries face logistical problems. The UN has its work cut out.
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.”