Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup

Pope Francis wanted to go to Morocco in December to draw attention to the need for international cooperation in assisting migrants and in alleviating the situations that force people to seek a better life outside their homeland.

Protocol dictated that he could not fly to Marrakech just for the United Nations meeting on migration, so instead migrants will be one group that receives his special attention during a more formal visit to Morocco on March 30-31.

His meeting on March 30 with migrants at the Rabat archdiocesan Caritas centre will also highlight the very practical form Catholic-Muslim relations take in the country of more than 35 million people, almost all of whom are Muslim.

“This is the dialogue of solidarity,” said Fr Daniel Nourissat, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Rabat. Christians and Muslims work together to assist the migrants both at Caritas’ Migrant Reception Center, which the Pope will visit, as well as in the neighbourhoods and informal settlements where many migrants live.

Perhaps 80,000 migrants are currently in Morocco, Fr Nourissat said. The numbers have been increasing steadily since 2017 when Italy and Libya began cooperating to prevent migrants from setting off from Libya to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe.


Create culture
 health, Pontiff

Meeting with paediatricians at the Vatican on March 21, Pope Francis encouraged the medical professionals to be “promoters of a culture of solidarity and inclusive health”.

“In our time, in fact, increasingly often prevention and treatment become the prerogative of those who enjoy a certain standard of living, and therefore can afford it,” he told members of the Italian Federation of Primary Care Paediatricians during a papal audience.

“I encourage you to work to ensure that this inequality is not added to the many others that already afflict the weakest, but rather that the health system assure assistance and preventative care to all, as rights of the person.”

The Pope met with the group, which has been active in the country for some 40 years and offers support to over 5,500 family paediatricians.

Noting the range of talent and training required to care for children from birth through adolescence, Pope Francis praised those present for their commitment to remain constantly up-to-date with developments in the medical field, while also promoting “a culture more capable of protecting the health of people, especially little ones”.




The Vatican declared last week the martyrdom of seven Greek-Catholic bishops killed by the communist regime in Romania in the mid-20th Century.

Bishops Valeriu Traian Frentiu, Vasile Aftenie, Ioan Suciu, Tito Livio Chinezu, Ioan Balan, Alexandru Rusu, and Iuliu Hossu were declared to have been killed “in hatred of the faith” between 1950 and 1970, during the Soviet occupation of Romania and the rule of Nicolae Ceausescu.

Each of the bishops was arrested and held in prisons and camps until he died, often from isolation, cold, hunger, disease, or hard manual labour. Most were never tried or convicted and were buried in unmarked graves, without religious services.

A year before his death, Bishop Iuliu Hossu was named a cardinal “in pectore”. After spending years in isolation, he died in a hospital in Bucharest in 1970. His last words were: “My struggle is over, yours continues.”

Bishop Vasile Aftenie was tortured at the Interior Ministry, later dying from his wounds May 10, 1950.