World News in Brief

Burma can hope for a blessed year

The coming year can be a year of blessing for Burma, also known as Myanmar, Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon has said in his Christmas message. 

“With the general election of November 8, our nation sees the dawn of a change,” the cardinal said, calling on “all men and women of goodwill to join forces”, building peace and “never spreading hate speeches”.

Praising the election winners for proposing “a government of national reconciliation”, the cardinal urged those who had lost to accept the people’s decision and appealed to the military to become a  “guardian of the democratic transition”. 

The Church, he said, is one of Burma’s few organisations “that has a truly national character because within the Church there are people who belong to every tribe, language and ethnicity”, highlighting its call “to be with the most marginalised, to ensure that democracy is inclusive, addressed to the most vulnerable”. 


Technical expert to analyse Vatileaks case

A Vatican court has appointed an expert technical consultant to examine digital communications between three defendants in the so-called Vatileaks 2 trial.

Between January 11 and February 20, Paolo Atzeri will analyse emails, text messages and Whatsapp communications between Msgr Lucio Vallejo Balda, his former assistant Nicola Maio, and PR expert Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui in connection with allegations about their involvement in document leaking.

Ms Chaouqui’s lawyer requested the examination, claiming that communications presented as evidence have been incomplete, with deletions and omissions. The trial will remain in recess during the examination. 


Pope accepts European integration prize

Pope Francis has accepted the 2016 Charlemagne Prize as “an encouragement for Europe to work for peace”.

The organisers of the award, which has been annually awarded since 1950 to people who have distinguished themselves in working for European integration, cited the Pontiff’s Strasbourg address to the European Parliament, in which he called for European politicians to rediscover the ideals of the founders of the European movement, and his constant commitment to migrants and human rights, protecting the environment and fighting poverty.

Although Pope Francis has previously said he is against accepting awards and honours, he would accept it to encourage others, according to Vatican press officer Fr Federico Lombardi SJ.

“It is above all for peace that I accept it, for those who work for peace in Europe and the world,” Fr Lombardi quoted the Pope as saying, “In these moments of talk of a piecemeal third world war, I receive this prize to dedicate it to Europe as an encouragement to work for peace”. 


Francis to meet abuse survivors

Pope Francis is to meet with survivors of clerical child sexual abuse and their relatives when he visits Mexico in February, Archbishop Jesus Carlos Cabrero Romero of San Luis Potosí has confirmed. 

Details of the meeting, which will be kept as private as possible as when he met with abuse survivors in Philadelphia while visiting the US in September, have not been released. 

The Pope is expected to arrive in Mexico on February 12.