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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.

Pope's Urbi et Orbi Blessing: A Call for Peace


Thousands of people flocked to St. Peter's Square to see Pope Francis' first Urbi et Orbi Christmas blessing. As expected, the Pope put his personal style in the message.

"God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.”

It's a time of joy, but the Pope also understands that many people face stark challenges during this time of year.  In particular, Christians who live in the Holy Land, where Jesus was born.

"Looking at the Child in the manger, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!  Bless the land where you chose to come into the world, and grant a favorable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence."

The Pope isn't very fond of speaking languages he's not completely fluent in. Usually Popes say a Christmas greeting in dozens of languages, but the Pope stuck to the basics.

To you, dear brothers and sisters, gathered from throughout the world in this Square, and to all those from different countries who join us through the communications media, I offer my cordial best wishes for a merry Christmas!

Along with his blessing, the Vatican's Bavarian Christmas tree and nativity scene, from Naples,  shinned bright in St. Peter's Square, surrounded by thousands of people who made their way to the Vatican to celebrate Christmas.


- BN