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Vaticaleaks-2: Court charged five people for “procuring and revealing” confidential material
November 21, 2015. A Vatican Court formally charged a pair of journalists, two officials, and a secretary to one of the officials for "procuring and revealing” confidential documents and information. They are Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, -who recently wrote books regarding mismanagement in the Vatican-, as well as the Msgr. Lucio Ángel Vallejo Balda, Francesca Chaouqui and Vallejo’s secretary, Nicola Maio. While all five are charged with criminal misappropriation and misuse of Vatican confidential documents; Vallejo, Chaouqui, and Maio, are charged with criminal conspiracy "to divulge information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the State”. A hearing has been scheduled for next November 24th, 2015 in the Vatican criminal court.
New archbishop in Barcelona (Spain)
November 6, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach as Archbishop of Barcelona (Spain). He has named Monsignor Juan Jose Omella in his place. He was until now Bishop of the Diocese of Calahorra and La Calzada-Logroño.
Vatican arrests two people for allegedly leaking confidential documents
November 2, 2015. The Vatican Police have arrested two people, reportedly linked to the leak of confidential Holy See documents. They are: Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui, both of whom were members of COSEA, which stands for the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic Administrative Structure of the Holy See. After her arrest, Francesca Chaouqui was released, after giving her testimony to the Vaticans District Attorneys office. But Msgr. Vallejo Balda is still in custody. He is accused of leaking secret Vatican documents. His arrest comes just days before the release of a book which allegedly contains private conversations between the Pope and COSEA officials. The Holy See describes the release and publication of the documents as a violation of the Popes trust. The Vatican continues to investigate the source of the document leaks. It also adds that if needed, it will seek the assistance of international entities to clarity the allegations. The Vatican also adds that leaking documents in no way helps the mission of the Church or that of the Pope.
Vatican sends condolences to Putin and Russian people after plane crash
November 2, 2015. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has sent a telegram on behalf of Pope Francis to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He offers his condolences for the recent plane crash in which more than 200 Russians died. The full text is here: Having learned with sadness of the tragic crash of the Russian airline in the Sinai Peninsula, His Holiness Pope Francis conveys his condolences to you and the Russian people. He offers the assurance of his prayers for all who have died and for those who mourn their loss. Upon the nation and all involved in the recovery efforts His Holiness invokes the strength and peace of Almighty God.
New bishop in France
October 30, 2015. Pope Francis has named Renauld de Dinechin bishop of Soissons. Until now he was the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Paris.
New bishop in Spain
October 30, 2015. PopeFrancis has accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Burgos,Francisco Gil Hellin. He has named in his place Fidel Herraez Vegas,who has been an auxiliary bishop of Madrid since 1996.
New archbishops in Italy
October 27, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Matteo Maria Zuppi, who was auxiliary bishop of Rome, to be the Archbishop of Bologna (Italy). He takes the place of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra. Also, Msgr. Corrado Lorefice has been appointed Archbishop of Palermo (Italy). He succeeds Cardinal Paolo Romeo.
Pope Francis
Pope Francis"deeply affected" by the earthquake that shook Afghanistan and Pakistán
October 27, 2015. The Secretary of State Pietro Parolin telegraphed the nuncio in Pakistan on behalf of Pope Francis. Full text of the message: "His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the earthquake in the region. He expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this disaster, and he offers the assurance of his prayers for the dead, as well as for the injured and those still missing. Upon all those who mourn the loss of loved ones and upon the civil authorities and emergency personnel involved in the relief efforts, Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.”

Christmas Tree: A timeless tradition with Christian roots


They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Along with Nativity scenes, the Christmas tree stands out as one of the most emblematic symbols of the Holiday season. 

But, where does this tradition come from? There are many theories, but history points to ancient civilizations.

Professor, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"There are some people who think, for example, that the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol, and it's not! Its meaning is rooted in some very old traditions from ancient civilizations. Back then, the Chinese and Egyptians had already used trees to decorate their homes.”

During the Renaissance, Christians adopted this symbol and gave it new meaning to celebrate the birth of Jesus

The challenges was finding trees that kept their leaves during the cold winter, so they began using fir and pine trees.

Professor, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"It was a symbol of eternity and the life of God, which is never ending. So by comparing it to the life of God, which never ends, and the Son of God, who comes to us every Christmas, it gives it this meaning of God, who makes Himself present to all of humanity.”

Decorations came next. The first signs of ornaments used on trees come from Germany. Martin Luther supported this trait

Professor, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"Luther was a fan of this and in a way he led the tradition. He would set up his tree and as decorations he would add fruit. This was done as a reminder of the Tree of Paradise. 

Centuries later, ornaments replaced apples and oranges. And with electricity, it was only a matter of time before Christmas lights appeared. Today, the Christmas tree is more than a Holiday decoration. Around the world, it's a symbol of joy and a simple way to honor the birth of Jesus.