In Brief

In Brief Fr Gabriele Martinelli
Vatican criminal trial begins against priests accused in abuse case

Fr Gabriele Martinelli, 28, has heard a Vatican criminal court accuse him of repeatedly sexually abusing a younger student at a minor seminary inside the Vatican.

Msgr Enrico Radice, 71, former rector of the seminary, heard the court accuse him of obstructing the investigation by helping Father Martinelli “in different times and places, in Italy and abroad”.

The trial in the Vatican City State criminal court opened October 14 with the reading of charges related to abuse that allegedly occurred at the St Pius X Pre-Seminary, a minor seminary operated by the Diocese of Como inside the Vatican.

Both priests on trial are incardinated in the Como diocese. Boys in middle school and high school live at the pre-seminary and serve Mass at St Peter’s Basilica and attend a Catholic school in Rome while considering applying to a seminary when they are older.

Cardinal tells diplomats: 11 million Syrians need aid

The apostolic nuncio to Syria met with diplomats accredited to the Vatican Thursday to inform them that an estimated 11 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Cardinal Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria since 2008, said that, after nearly 10 years of war, the Syrian people had now been hit with a “poverty bomb” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cardinal Zenari explained that “many Syrians have lost hope,” while lamenting that Syria seemed to have disappeared off the “media radar.”

A statement from the Holy See press office said that the cardinal met with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See in the Vatican’s new synod hall to “rekindle attention toward the situation in Syria.”

“What, unfortunately, is dying in Syria, in the hearts of different people, is hope: many people, after 10 years of war, no longer seeing economic recovery, reconstruction, are losing hope.”


Addition of China, Russia, Cuba to UN Human Rights Council draws criticism

A human rights group in Cuba criticised the election of China, Cuba, and Russia to the UN Human Rights Council, despite the history of authoritarianism and significant human rights abuses in each country.

Regis Iglesias, a spokesman for the Christian Liberation Movement, lamented that “solidarity with those who are suffering isn’t a value” in the modern world.

“Relativism, the lack of values, the indifference and the lack of leadership in countries of the free world have caused in recent years, perhaps decades, international organisations and governments to unfortunately forget their commitment to the human person and the peoples suffering under dictatorial regimes,” he said.


Bring loved ones’ urns to church for blessing, Manila Archdiocese says

The Manila Archdiocese said it would bless urns containing the ashes of coronavirus victims every Sunday after each Mass until November 8. reported the archdiocese said the Rite of Blessing for the Dead would be recited and urns would be sprinkled with holy water after Sunday Masses.

“We will be having the Rite of Blessing of cremated remains,” the archdiocese said in a social media post. “The family may bring the urn and a picture of their beloved dead, and we will celebrate a worthy liturgical blessing for them.

“This is in response to the call of [apostolic administrator] Bishop Broderick Pabillo to make our churches welcome places of prayer and consolation, especially for families who have lost a loved one during this pandemic.”