Things are moving very precipitously in Hong Kong and I am worried for all who live there, Catholic and not. The following is an excellent piece by UCAN staff and indicates the reasons why Catholics and the Church in Hong Kong are and should be worried, as we should be worried for these our brothers and sisters.


The Holy See warns that religiously-motivated hate crimes are on the rise, as the Covid-19 pandemic increases intolerance and inequality.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

Msgr. Janusz Urbańczyk took part this week in an OSCE conference aimed at raising awareness about intolerance and discrimination. The Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe focused his remarks at the 25-26 May event on the impact that intolerance has on Christians.

The OSCE is an intergovernmental organization whose members include most countries of the Northern Hemisphere and is concerned with conflict prevention and crisis management.

Religious intolerance on the rise
Hate crimes against Christians and members of other religions, said Msgr. Urbańczyk, negatively impact the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. “These include threats, violent attacks, murders and profanation of churches and places of worship, cemeteries and other religious properties,” he said.

The Vatican representative expressed “great concern” about a divide between religious belief and religious practice.

“The false idea that religions could have a negative impact or represent a threat to the well-being of our societies is growing,” he warned.

Believers are frequently told that prayer and religious convictions are a private matter that have no place in the public sphere.

Discrimination in digital space
The Internet and social media, said Msgr. Urbańczyk, often become a place to put others down or incite hatred of cultural, national, and religious groups.

The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the trend, since people are spending more time online during lockdowns.

Discrimination on social media, he noted, can lead to violence, the final step in a “slippery slope which starts with mockery and social intolerance.”

Dignity and unity
Msgr. Urbańczyk also urged OSCE member states to promote the inherent dignity of every person and the fundamental unity of the human race. He said these two principles form the basis of all truly democratic societies. National minorities, he added, should be free to profess and practice their religion.

Rising inequalities
Lockdowns to stem the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to rising inequalities and “de facto discriminatory treatment.” “Rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Msgr. Urbańczyk, “have been limited or derogated throughout the whole OSCE area.” These include the closure of churches and restrictions on religious services.

Tolerance and freedom
In response to these threats, the Holy See’s representative urged OSCE member states to promote both tolerance and fundamental freedoms, which include religious liberty.

“Tolerance,” said Msgr. Urbańczyk, “cannot be an alibi for denying or guaranteeing fundamental human rights.”


ROME: PANTHEON TO LIVE STREAM ROSE PETAL CEREMONY: Thousands of rose petals will rain down into the Pantheon on 31 May 2020 but this year the event takes place behind closed doors. The spectacular tradition of rose petals fluttering down through the oculus of the Pantheon is scheduled on Sunday 31 May from 10.00 following Mass for the Feast of Pentecost. However, due to the covid-19 crisis, this year the annual tradition will take place behind closed doors for the first time, broadcast live from the Pantheon’s official website, beginning at 10.00. The ancient ceremony involves fire-fighters dropping tens of thousands of rose petals 43 metres into the interior of the Pantheon, symbolising the Holy Spirit’s descent to Earth. Hopefully we will be able to return to witness the fascinating spectacle in person next year but in the meantime we can be grateful to modern technology and watch from afar. For full details see Pantheon website.

HERE’S HOW MUCH TOURISM ITALY CAN EXPECT TO GET THIS YEAR: Italy is hoping to restart tourism again from June, but how many visitors will actually come back this year? The Local spoke to the president of Italy’s National Tourism Agency to find out. Italy’s tourism sector, and its economy as a whole, has taken a major hit as visitors stay away this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Huge losses were reported as travellers cancelled their bookings even before Italy shut down in early March, when all but the most essential travel to Italy became impossible. The resulting economic hit to one of the world’s most-visited nations is profound. Tourism employs an estimated 4.2 million people in Italy – just under a fifth of the entire official workforce. The tourism sector accounts for 13 percent of Italian GDP. Up to 420 million people visited Italy annually in the past few years, and until the coronavirus outbreak, that figure was only expected to keep growing. With Italy now planning to restart tourism in June, many hope this will be enough to keep tourist businesses afloat. But will visitors return in the same numbers? And if so, when? Giorgio Palmucci, President of Italy’s National Tourism Agency (ENIT), told The Local that hundreds of thousands of people are already planning to return to Italy in the second half of 2020 – with Brits and Americans leading the charge. “At the moment there are 300,000 reservations, a provisional figure which we hope will keep growing,” he said. can-expect-to-get-this-year

ITALY’S FRECCE TRICOLORI JETS GO ON NATIONWIDE TOUR: Italy cancels Festa della Repubblica parade in Rome. Italy’s Frecce Tricolori fighter jets are conducting a nationwide tour ahead of the 74th anniversary of the nation’s proclamation as a republic on 2 June. The tour, which began on 25 May with Trento, Codogno, Milan, Turin and Aosta, will fly over all the Italian regions over the coming days, culminating in an aerobatic display in Rome on 2 June, Festa della Repubblica. To celebrate Italy’s national day the jets will fly over the capital as Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella places a wreath at the Altare della Patria in the centre of Rome. The tour, which sees the jets emit plumes of the green, white and red of the Italian tricolour, is designed as a symbolic embrace of all regions during the coronavirus emergency in a sign of “unity, solidarity and recovery.”

AIR FRANCE-KLM GROUP TO RESUME FLIGHTS TO ITALY: Fiumicino, May 28 – The Air France-KLM Group will gradually resume links with Rome, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Naples and Bari from June 1, the group said Thursday. By the end of the month, 78 weekly flights will be operational by Air France and KLM to Italy, a statement said.  “Resuming flights to the Bel Paese is cause for great pride for us and confirms the importance of the Italian market for the Air France-KLM Group,” the statement said.

BOY, 18, GETS NEW LUNGS AFTER COVID-19 ‘BURNED’ HIS: May 28 – An 18-year-old Italian boy had a successful lung transplant 10 days ago after both of his were ‘burned’ by COVID-19, leaving him in a life-threatening condition, medical sources said Thursday. It is the first operation of its kind in Europe. The organs were rendered incapable of breathing in a few days, medical sources said. The operation was carried out at Milan’s Policlinico Hospital, under the coordination of the National Transplant Centre, with the regional transplant…Such an operation had only been tried before in some rare cases in China, while another one was carried out in Vienna a few days after the Milan one, which took place on May 18. The boy was put on an urgent waiting list on April 30 and less than two weeks ago suitable organs were found, donated by a person who died in another region, and who was negative for the coronavirus. centre and the northern Italy transplant program. The boy, who was named as Francesco, started suffering a fever on March 2 and on March 6 was taken into intensive care at Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital.

DAVID BACK ON SHOW JUNE 2: Florence, May 27 – Michelangelo’s David will be back on show on June 2 as Florence’s Accademia Gallery reopens after almost three months of lockdown, the gallery said Wednesday. The gallery will boast a new airing system while tickets will be discounted from 12 to eight euros, it said. Another novelty is the app The Right Distance, downloadable onto visitors’ smartphones, which will beep when they get too close to anyone else.

(Sources: Wanted in Rome, The Local, ANSA)


Pope Francis and his colleagues in the Roman Curia who were in Arricia since last Sunday for a six-day retreat, have returned to Rome. They arrived in Vatican City in late morning and attended the fourth Lenten sermon given by the preacher of the Papal Household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa.

It was exactly 58 years ago today, March 11, that Jorge Mario Bergoglio – Pope Francis – entered the Society of Jesus.

Bergoglio family: Jorge Mario, his 4 siblings and parents:

Bergoglio family

He was ordained a priest on December 13, 1969, consecrated a bishop on June 27, 1992, created a cardinal on February 21, 2001 and elected to the papacy on March 13, 2013.

Francis election

Last year, on the second anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff, Francis surprised everyone by announcing an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that would start December 8, 2015.

Will he have a surprise for us this Sunday?!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, HOLY FATHER! Wishing you many more years as the Successor of Peter!


My special guest this weekend in the interview segment is Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. He was recently in Rome with several faith leaders from Baltimore in support of their work together to improve relations and conditions in Baltimore in anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the unrest in that city.

A look back: The mysterious death last April 19 of Freddie Gray due to injuries allegedly sustained while in police custody in Baltimore brought the city from peaceful protests to an outbreak of riots, the first since 1968, on the afternoon of Gray’s funeral — a day that protest leaders and Gray’s family had called to be demonstration-free. The outrage surrounding Gray’s death showed the wounds suffered by the African-American community, ranging from crushing poverty to gang violence and other crime.


Hear Abp. Lori talk about the delegation’s Rome visit and also the March 23 appearance before the Supreme Court of Priests for Life and other plaintiffs (EWTN, Little Sisters of the Poor, Catholic dioceses, Christian colleges, etc) as they ask the court to safeguard religious freedom by not holding religious organizations to a specific requirement of the HHS mandate: Under federal law (known as Obamacare), health insurers and employer-sponsored group health plans generally must cover certain preventive health services, including contraceptive services, abortifacents, etc. prescribed for women by their doctors. Petitioners object to providing contraceptive coverage on religious grounds and ask for exemptions from the mandate similar to exemptions given to VISA and other non-religious companies.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives:


(Vatican Radio) How does one German Jesuit perceive the pontificate of Pope Francis three years on from his election to the See of Peter? That’s what Veronica Scarisbrick attempts to find out in an interview with Father Bernd Hagenkord, head of the German programme of Vatican Radio.

Listen to Father Bernd Hagenkord SJ, in an interview with Veronica Scarisbrick:

In this interview Father Hagenkord outlines his take upon some of the Pope’s first words upon his election on the13th of March 2013, namely when he said he had been chosen from ‘the ends of the earth’. But also what Pope Francis brings with him to the papacy highlighting his effort to make the world a better place both at a personal and social level. In a special way Father Hagenkord sheds light on the importance the Pope gives to mercy.


(Vatican Radio) The Holy See on Thursday said “crimes against women and girls…cannot anymore go unheard, unseen, overlooked or treated as an inevitable consequence in the horrible reality of armed conflict.”

Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Presentative to the OSCE, was speaking on Thursday about the commemoration on Tuesday of International Women’s Day.

“The Holy See is highly concerned about women who are discriminated against or undervalued solely on the ground of their gender and will continue to work with other stakeholders in promoting a culture that recognizes the equivalent dignity that belongs to women and men, in law and in concrete reality,” the Vatican diplomat said.

“The Holy See welcomes the progress already made in favour of women’s advancement but regrets, however, that, at a time when sensitivity to women’s issues appears stronger than ever, the world is still confronted with old and new forms of violence and slavery directed at women,” said Msgr. Urbańczyk.

“These include the use of rape as a weapon of war during conflicts; the trafficking of girls (who are treated as merchandise); the abuse of domestic workers (that remains, at times, unpunished); kidnapping of young women, forced marriage, forced conversion and forced abortion” – he continued – “All these types of violence occur more frequently where poverty and social instability are prevalent or even where some legal systems and traditions continue to condone them and they cause serious and long-lasting physical, psychological and social effects.”

His entire talk can be found here: