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In Burkina Faso trial, Oxford vaccine proves highly effective at preventing malaria — a disease that kills 400,000 children every year …

A vaccine against malaria has been shown to be highly effective in trials in Africa, holding out the real possibility of slashing the death toll of a disease that kills 400,000 mostly small children every year. The vaccine, developed by scientists at the Jenner Institute of Oxford University, showed up to 77% efficacy in a trial of 450 children in Burkina Faso over 12 months. The hunt for a malaria vaccine has been going on the best part of a century. One, the Mosquirix vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline, has been through lengthy clinical trials but is only partially effective, preventing 39% of malaria cases and 29% of severe malaria cases among small children in Africa over four years. It is being piloted by the World Health Organization in parts of Kenya, Ghana and Malawi. The Oxford ...

What’s the difference between a cardinal priest and a cardinal deacon?

In a consistory of the College of Cardinals yesterday, Pope Francis approved seven new men and women who will be declared saints in the coming weeks.  At the same meeting, eight cardinals formally received a change in rank within the college’s three tiers of seniority.  As of Monday, Cardinal Angelo Amato, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, and Cardinal Robert Sarah moved from the rank of cardinal deacons to become cardinal priests. —Wait. There are ranks of cardinals? What does that even mean? The Pillar explains: Credit: Ross Dunn (CC BY-SA 2.0) The College of Cardinals’ best known and most important function is to elect the next Bishop of Rome after the deat...

Police called after Argentine priest holds outdoor Mass for First Communion…

ROME – Despite knowing that religious ceremonies that lasted more than 30 minutes and included more than 20 people in his diocese were banned due to Argentina’s second COVID-19 wave, a local priest on Saturday challenged both his bishop and civil authorities by holding a First Communion Mass in an open-air space with close to 100 participants. The incident took place in the Diocese of Lomas de Zamora, in the greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area. The priest justified his decision by arguing that he had “read in the newspaper” that the latest measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the state of Buenos Aires, by far Argentina’s most populated region, allowed for 30 percent occupancy. According to Father Tito Robles math, the outdoor space where he celebrated the Mass could hold 40...

Things to know: Cardinals have ranks, abortion debate continues, and the new St. Lazarus…

Hey everybody, Lazarus Devasahayam Pillai was born in 1712, the son of an influential Hindu priest from an influential family, close to the king of the southern Indian kingdom of Travancore. Before he was 30, Devasahayam was an important minister of state in the king’s palace. He was expected to rise even higher, until he met the Dutchman who commanded Travancore’s military. Through him Devasahayam heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and found the meaning and purpose of his life. When Devasahayam was 34, he was baptized a Catholic. He took the name Lazarus. His faith put a stop to his political career. Though Christianity is thought to have come to India less than 100 years after Christ was born, Devasahayam’s faith offended some of his highest-ranking countrymen. They were suspicious of it,...

Lengthening the Litany of St. Joseph…

COMMENTARY: For the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship added seven new invocations to the Litany of St. Joseph. Of the lengthening of litanies, there is no end. For the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship added seven new invocations to the Litany of St. Joseph.  Given in Latin, the translations will be up to the national bishops’ conferences. The seven new additions were approved by Pope Francis and are taken from the writings of the recent popes. They are (with an unofficial translation): · Custos Redemptoris (Guardian of the Redeemer), the title of Pope St. John Paul II’s 1989 apostolic exhortation on St. Joseph. · Serve Christi (Servant of Christ), taken from the homily of Pope St. Paul VI for St...

Vatican releases confidential files to shed light on 1998 murder of Swiss Guard commander…

ROME (AP) — The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally to shed light on one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life. Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the confidential court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999. Parolin cited the “understandable desire that animates the relatives to know the details of a particularly painful event,” according to a March 30 letter from the cardinal to the mother’s lawyers. Parolin’s involvement was announced by attorney...

“No one can fight nature”: A strange undersea phenomenon called an “internal wave” might explain the April 21 sinking of the Indonesian submarine…

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In the darkness we see farther — pondering the paradox of the “dark knowing” of faith…

As human beings we are very visual and there is a certain demand of our flesh to see on its own terms. But of course God, who is pure spirit, will not be seen in this way. How can the human eye perceive what is spiritual? It is not designed to do so. We cannot see God, as God, any more than we should expect to be able to see justice sitting down to lunch with humility. These are not physical concepts; they are metaphysical ones. We may see evidence of their existence, but we do not physically see them. And so also with God. We see lots of evidence of His existence, but we do not see Him with our earthly eyes. There is a well-known (but inaccurate) saying, “Seeing is believing.” But actually it is not; seeing is only seeing. When we see physical things or events, one of ...

Pope announces canonization of Charles de Foucauld, Lazarus Pillai, and five others…

The planned announcement in today’s ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blessed. Francis in the encyclical Fratelli tutti indicates him as heir to the legacy and dream of Francis of Assisi. Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Charles de Foucauld, the apostle of the desert, will be proclaimed saint, the “universal brother” indicated by Pope Francis in the encyclical Fratelli tutti as heir to the legacy and dream of Francis of Assisi. Today, in fact, the Pope presided over the ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blessed: Lazarus, called Devasahayam, lay, martyr; César de Bus, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine; Luigi Maria Palazzolo, priest, founder of the Institute of the Poverelle Sisters – Pala...

A South Sudanese bishop-elect was attacked and shot in both legs. Here’s what happened…..

Fr. Christian Carlassare, Bishop-elect of Rumbek, South Sudan is recuperating in a Nairobi hospital after he was shot in his home by intruding gunmen early Monday morning. Three priests and nine other people have reportedly been arrested in connection with the shooting. Here’s what happened: Bishop-elect Christian Carlassare recovers in a Nairobi hospital after being shot April 26. Credit: Comboni Missionaries. The shooting Just after midnight April 26, two gunmen entered the home of Fr. Christian Carlassare, near the Holy Family Cathedral in the South Sudanese city of Rumbek. They fired 13 bullets at the priest.  Carlassare, 43, is the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Rumbek. The priest is an Italian member of the Comboni Missionaries religious order and a long-time missionary in South...

Vatican approves new invocations for Litany of St. Joseph…

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Updating the Litany of St. Joseph, approved in 1909, the Vatican has added seven invocations, including two that address the guardian of Jesus and husband of Mary as “support in difficulty” and “patron of refugees.” The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments published the additions May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. The additions were approved by Pope Francis, the congregation said, and drew the new invocations mainly from modern papal texts about St. Joseph, including Pope Francis’ December apostolic letter proclaiming a Year of St. Joseph and St. John Paul II’s 1989 apostolic exhortation, “Redemptoris Custos” (“Protector of the Redeemer”). Since Pope Francis wanted, as he wrote in his letter, “to increase our love for this great saint, to encourag...

Venezuela’s “doctor of the poor,” José Gregorio Hernández, beatified in austere ceremony…

BOGOTÁ, Colombia (CNS) — A Venezuelan doctor who treated patients during the Spanish flu pandemic and was one of the first to introduce microscopes to his nation’s hospitals was beatified April 30 in an austere ceremony held in Caracas, the city where he spent much of his life tending to the sick. Blessed José Gregorio Hernández led a pious life marked by science, faith and public service. He was a founding member of Venezuela’s academy of medicine and tried unsuccessfully to become a priest. Along with his colleagues, Blessed Hernández resisted a dictator’s plans to shut down a university in Venezuela at the turn of the 20th century, while introducing the study of pathological anatomy. But Blessed Hernández was known most of all for being a kind doctor who refused to charge his poorest pa...