#ShortNews: Pope, ahead of Epiphany: ‘We like the Magi must look up, so that we can see the star’

Pope Francis stressed this in his greetings to Italian pilgrims and also reminded that beauty always brings us closer to God, “Beauty makes us better, everyone; beauty leads us to goodness, it also leads us to God.”

Acknowledging January 6, 2019, marks the Epiphany, Francis said: “Like the Magi, we also raise our gaze to the heavens; only in this way, will we be able to see the star that invites us to walk the paths of goodness.”

Read more: https://zenit.org/articles/pope-ahead-of-epiphany-we-like-the-magi-must-look-up-so-we-can-see-the-star/

#ShortNews: House churches shuttered in northeastern China

Authorities shut down a more than 20-year-old house church located in Yaopu town of the prefecture-level city of Tieling, in the northeastern province of Liaoning, after it refused to join the state-sanctioned Protestant Three-Self Church. A source speaking on condition of anonymity, told Bitter Winter that the closure comes after officials for the United Front Work Department of Diaobingshan city, which is under Tieling’s administration, convened a meeting of more than 30 employees of neighborhood committees to begin an intense crackdown on home gatherings of all religious persuasions – from Christians to Buddhists to Muslims.

It was decided at the meeting that religious believers are only allowed to attend gatherings at religious venues that have a government-issued religious activity permit; other gathering places will be shut down. The official claimed that Tieling city has already become a focus of the crackdown on religious house gatherings.

Read full article: https://bitterwinter.org/house-churches-shuttered-in-northeastern-china/

#ShortNews: Church credibility damaged by scandal, Cardinal Parolin admits

On the clerical sexual abuse scandals that have rocked Catholicism anew in recent months, the pope’s top aide has said the Church must do “everything possible, and even the impossible, to eliminate this phenomenon.”

Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, conceded that the scandals have damaged the Church’s moral authority.

“We have to recover credibility and authoritativeness,” said Parolin. “The Church has taken notable steps … but we have more work to do so that the faithful and the baptized can find anew in the Church an ambit of life and of witness.”

Read more: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/01/03/popes-top-aide-says-church-must-do-the-impossible-to-fight-abuse/