World- Bubonic plague hits Madagascar at least 20 dead. The Bubonic Plague best known as the Black Death which ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages is still around and now is creating havoc on the small island Nation. Bubonic plague is transmitted by fleas on rat and it seems that the overcrowding in the prisons in Madagascar is causing the rat population to explode. It might seem like something that couldn’t happen in the world today but the plague is real and we should all be careful.
Religion– Time magazine named it’s Person of the Year earlier this week and to some people’s surprise it is Pope Francis who took home the honor this year. Francis is the third Pope to be honored this way following the soon to be Saints John XXIII and John Paul II. Pope Francis has had a breakout year ever since his election in March it has seemed like everyone is a big fan of His Holiness. The Person of the Year honors the individual(s) who have had the largest impact this year and it seems like they made a good selection this year.
A spokesman for the Vatican has said of the honor “it is a positive sign that one of the most prestigious acknowledgements in the field of the international press has been attributed to one who proclaims spiritual, religious and moral values in the world, and who speaks effectively in favor of peace and greater justice. For his part, [Francis} does not seek fame and success, since he carries out his service for the proclamation of the Gospel and the love of God for all. If this attracts men and women and gives them hope, the Pope is content. If this nomination as ‘Person of the Year’ means that many have understood this message, at least implicitly, he will certainly be glad.”
It seems at least in the articles that I’ve been reading that Francis has made many people have a more positive impression of the Catholic Church. On top of that there is the Francis effect, where more lapsed Catholics are coming back to the church. This is something that we all need to continue to monitor and see if there is also a spike in those joining the Church at Easter.
- Madagascar hit by ‘deadlier plague’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Pope Francis Is Time’s Person of the Year (abcnews.go.com)
- Pneumonic “deadlier-than-bubonic” plague reported in Madagascar (io9.com)