Welcome to Starting 7, The Pillar’s new daily newsletter.
I’m Luke Coppen and I seek to guide you each weekday morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.
😇 Today’s feast: St. Abraham the Poor.
📜 Today’s readings: Eph 6:10-20 ▪ Ps 144:1B, 2, 9-10 ▪ Lk 13:31-35.
🗞 Starting seven
6: Cardinal Charles Bo has said that the Christian presence in Asia is “very effective,” despite accounting for just 2% of the continent’s population.
7: James Franklin describes Catholic life in a 19th-century Australian colony.
🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino
Papal audiences with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle; Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar, Bahrain’s ambassador to the Holy See, on the occasion of the presentation of letters of credence; bishops of Madagascar on their ad limina visit; priests and religious of Madagascar living in Rome.
Briefing on Oct. 28 for journalists covering the papal trip to Bahrain.
🧐 Look closer
Vatican peace push Pope Francis devoted his first Angelus address in October to the Ukraine war. He issued a threefold appeal, to Russian President Vladimir Putin to “stop this spiral of violence and death,” to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to “be open to serious proposals for peace,” and to world leaders to “do everything possible to bring an end to the war.”
The appeal seemed to generate little reaction at the time, but there’s been a notable flurry of diplomatic activity in recent days.
Macron’s message The upsurge follows French President Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Oct. 24, the day after Macron spoke at a Sant’Egidio Community peace conference in Rome.
In an interview with Le Point magazine, published on Oct. 25, Macron said that he had encouraged the pope to call Putin, Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill, and U.S. President Joe Biden in pursuit of peace in Ukraine.
“We need the United States to come to the table to promote the peace process in Ukraine,” Macron said, suggesting that the pope and Biden enjoyed “a real relationship of trust.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Oct. 25 that Russia welcomed Macron’s proposal. “If it is all in the vein of finding a possible solution, we can evaluate it as a positive one,” he said, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
Peskov noted that Zelenskyy had issued a decree ruling out talks with Putin, but added that Russia was “ready to discuss all of these issues with the Americans, the French, or the pontiff.”
“You have to find the right way, you have to look for the way in which everyone can identify with some solution,” he said. “You have to find a way to give everyone a chance to talk to each other, but first of all the war should end, the weapons should be silenced, and then Russians and Ukrainians can talk to each other,” he said.
Parolin explained that so far the Vatican had been unable to talk to Biden. “We did, however, send him the pope’s message of peace, the appeal he made when he asked the Russians to stop the war, Zelenskyy to accept peace proposals, and the international community to facilitate the path, but we didn’t get any response,” said the Vatican’s top diplomat.
What’s next Attention is now likely to focus on the Biden administration’s reaction to the proposal. Its response should show whether Macron’s proposal has any chance of succeeding or will join the long list of failed initiatives to end the devastating war.
🔍 Stories to watch
🇨🇦 Canadian authorities have said that France rejected a request for the extradition of a priest accused of abusing Inuit children (French report).
🇻🇦 A Vatican diplomat has said it is “essential that outer space remain non-militarized permanently.”
📅 Coming soon
Nov. 1 All Saints.
Nov. 5 Beatification of Italian sister Maria Carola Cecchin in Kenya
Have a happy feast of St. Abraham the Poor.