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Duterte names new envoy to the Vatican
MANILA (SE): Grace Relucio-Princesa, has been named as the new Philippine ambassador to the Holy See by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, Vatican News reported on January 23.
Relucio-Princesa is currently the assistant secretary of the Department Legislative Liaison Unit and the president of the Department of Foreign Affairs Ladies Foundation.
The mother of five was the first female Philippine ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and had previous postings in Iraq, the United States of America, Egypt and Switzerland. She has been in the Philippine diplomatic service for more than 20 years.
Bishop Ruperto Santos chairperson of the Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines remarked that it was an added blessing for Relucio-Princesa “to work in Vatican and for the Vatican.”
Bishops criticise excessive force to break up Congo protests
KINSHASA  (CNS): In a January 22 report, the National Episcopal Conference of Congo condemned the “excessive and disproportionate use of force” by security forces that dispersed protesters demanding the president, Joseph Kabila. hold fresh elections in line with a Church-brokered accord.
The report said peaceful marches had been “violently repressed and smothered with tear gas and bursts of fire” in 95 Catholic parishes, leaving six dead and 127 injured, some by police bullets.
It added that peaceful protests had been prevented after Mass at more than 60 other parishes, while 210 people had been detained; most were freed after a few hours. 
“Once again, the Church deplores the excessive and disproportionate use of force against demonstrators with nothing in their hands but bibles, rosaries and palms,” the bishops said. 
Possible communion for diivorced and remarried in Portugal?
Hong Kong (SE): The Archdiocese of Braga in Portugal has released the most in-depth response yet to Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). The Catholic Herald reported on January 26.
The archdiocese recommended a lengthy, six-month process of discernment in which each person reflects on their past actions and how they have affected their spouse, children and community after which they may receive communion. They will also meet regularly with a priest.
The blog reported that the archdiocese’s presbyterial council had previously approved the creation of a pastoral care group in November 2017 to “accompany the divorced who live in a new union” to be composed of of lay people and priests, The group would inform and advise on “procedures for declaration of nullity of marriage” and would “follow up on each case so that, after a process of personal discernment, access to the sacraments … can be reassessed.”
Also in November, Manuel Cardinal Clemente of Lisbon, urged the Church to adopt a “fundamental attitude of ‘welcoming’, of ‘accompaniment’ and ‘discernment’ with those who are divorced and remarried,” reported.
The cardinal said that “once these conditions have been met, in some cases – and with the discretion and authorization of the bishop – some sacramental life may be resumed,” he stressed, however, “it’s not a quick thing, immediate or simple: it’s a serious thing.”
Time for European governments to commit to social rights
Hong Kong (SE): Caritas Europa issued a statement in support of a call to the nations of Europe commit to social rights as by agreeing to the Revised European Social Charter and recognising it as the social constitution of Europe on January 24.
Caritas Europa came out in support of the recommendation of the Conference of International non-governmental Organisations (INGO) of the Council of Europe for all European states to commit to the charter. 
“European governments must seize the opportunity that the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights brings about and start detailing a roadmap to promote the effective guarantee of social rights for all,” said Peter Verhaeghe, Caritas Europa’s expert in social policies and representative at the INGO Conference.
“It is high time for national governments and the European Union to put people first. We need to address inequalities between and within countries. Putting people first also means going beyond employment. People are not just workers but human beings”, said Jorge Nuño Mayer, secretary general of Caritas Europa.

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