The year 2020 was one which many people say they would like to erase from memory. Yet, many good people did many good things in the year 2020, and Inside the Vatican recognizes here just a few of them.
We begin our list with a somewhat unknown Vatican official, a Belgian layman who is also an academic and an author, the Vatican’s chief archivist, Dr. Johann Ickx. It has been Dr. Ickx’s work, pre-eminently, which has brought the world new understanding of Pope Pius XII’s key role in helping to save countless Jews from Nazi persecution.
Then we turn to a less obscure veteran of the Vatican, Australian Cardinal George Pell, who in 2020 was released from prison after the dramatic reversal of an unfounded conviction on charges of so-called “historic sexual abuse” dating back decades. Cardinal Pell confirms that many, including himself, suspect he may have been framed by enemies, both within and outside the Vatican.
Catholic book editor John Moorehouse passed away unexpectedly on December 4, 2020, at the age of 51, leaving a widow and five children. He was not only a talented editor for Catholic publisher TAN Books, but also a dedicated family man and a man of God.
2020 saw more tragedy than just that caused by the coronavirus. On August 4, a powerful explosion tore apart the harbor of Beirut, Lebanon — especially the part of the city where its dwindling Christian population dwells. But two young Lebanese Catholics, Aya Naimeh and Georges Assaf, have organized a group to bring relief — and hope — to the Christians who were victims of the unimaginable devastation.
Hong Kong was in the news throughout 2020 as the monolithic Chinese Communist Party, which formally took control of the island in 1999 and is now aggressively imposing its political will there, was challenged by a group of young — and a few not-so-young — crusaders for freedom, bolstered by their Christian, and in some cases, Catholic, beliefs. And Agnes Chow, Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Jimmy Lai have all been sentenced to prison for it.
The story of clerical sexual abuse is a long-running and multi-layered one, which unfortunately is still being revealed today even as the Church strives to end it. Dr. Jane Adolphe, originally from Canada, is a veteran civil and canon lawyer who spent years at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State assisting the Church’s leadership to prepare statements on morality and justice.
Belarus, a small nation once subsumed into the Communist Soviet Union, with its Christians, including a small Catholic minority, has seen a resurgence of freedom of religion along with democratic political reforms. Yet the Church continues to experience attacks in a struggle of ideas involving the current government. The Archbishop of Minsk, Belarus, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, has been in the middle of the struggle.
“Justice” was a popular word in 2020, but what exactly it meant, and means, is not so clear. In the U.S. system, the last word in “justice” is the Supreme Court; interestingly, at this time six of the nine Supreme Court justices happen to be Catholics. The newest is 2020 Donald Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett, who had to brave animosity and insults because of her faith at her difficult confirmation hearings.
Eighteen-year-old Ugandan Michael Nnadi was kidnapped along with three fellow seminarians by militant Islamicists in 2020. Michael was murdered for continuing to preach the Gospel even in his captivity.
His killer, now in jail, praised his “outstanding bravery.” Sadly, he is one of hundreds, even thousands, of martyrs for Christ in 2020.
In a world which sometimes seems to have gone mad, one of the most lamentable tragedies is a new epidemic of adolescent girls who have undergone, sometimes without parents’ knowledge or consent, “gender transition” using drugs and surgery. Many of them regret it when they mature. Braving widespread criticism from the “LGBTQ community,” Abigail Shrier in 2020 sent out the alarm in her book Irreversible Damage. Although she is not a Christian, her book points the way back to common sense and an appreciation of human nature as God created it.
Join ITV in recognizing the contributions of our “Top Ten of 2020,” and pray for their continued work, each in his or her own way, for the Kingdom of God.