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VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has instituted a new agency to monitor all Vatican financial operations and make sure they meet international norms against money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The pope issued an apostolic letter on Dec 30 that established the Financial Information Authority as an independent agency to oversee the monetary and commercial activities of all Vatican-related institutions, including the Vatican bank.

At the same time, the Vatican promulgated a detailed new law that defined financial crimes and established penalties – including possible jail time – for their violation. The list of transgressions includes corruption, market manipulation, fraud and virtually any activity that facilitates or provides funding to acts of terrorism.
MANILA – A bishop in the northern Philippine city of Baguio has rejected President Benigno Aquino III’s offer of using gambling money for economic development.

“I told President Aquino we oppose casino and all forms of gambling,” said Bishop Carlito Cenzon of Baguio in an interview with Church-run Radio Veritas 846.

Bishop Cenzon said the president (right) asked him if he was willing to accept money from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) for his diocese.

“I had to say ‘no’. I said I’m not alone in this; the whole community, the mayor and local government officials are against gambling,” the bishop said.
A canon prays in a Westminster Cathedral chapel. Three Anglican bishops were received into the Catholic Church during Mass at this cathedral. CNS file photo

LONDON – Three former Anglican bishops were received into the Catholic Church just hours after they officially gave up their ministries in the Church of England.

Bishops Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet, John Broadhurst of Fulham and Keith Newton of Richborough will be soon ordained as priests for a special Anglican ordinariate that will be set up in England later in January.

Their resignations took effect at midnight on Dec 31, and they were received into the Catholic Church the afternoon of Jan 1 during a Mass in London’s Westminster Cathedral.

They will be ordained as Catholic deacons at Allen Hall seminary, London, on Jan 13, then as priests at a ceremony in the cathedral on Jan 15. They will be incardinated into the English ordinariate, similar to a military diocese, which is expected to be formed by papal decree the second week of January, when Pope Benedict XVI is also expected to appoint its leader.
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has named a Hong Kong theologian as the second highest-ranking official of the Vatican’s evangelisation congregation.

Salesian Fr Savio Hon Tai-Fai (right) will serve as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the Vatican announced on Dec 23. With the appointment, he will become an archbishop.

Fr Hon, 60, is a member of the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Academy of Theology. He has taught theology at the Hong Kong seminary and also at a seminaries in China.

Fr Hon said he anticipates that the Roman Curia may consult him on China Church affairs because of his experience on the mainland. - CNS, UCAN