Home » Archive by category 'Vatican News'

Living the Gospel is risky, embrace challenges with courage, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Better to take risk of carrying the freshness of the Gospel to others than to be a “museum Christian” afraid of change, Pope Francis told Serra International.

“When Christians go about their daily lives without fear, they can discover God’s constant surprises,” he said June 23. Read more »

Pope accepts early resignation of Vatican’s first independent auditor

By

 

Catholic News Service

 

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Just two years after being hired to help with the Vatican’s efforts in finance reform, Libero Milone — the Vatican’s first independent auditor who answered only to the pope — handed a request for his resignation to Pope Francis.

The pope accepted Milone’s request, the Vatican announced June 20, after Milone personally presented it to the pope a day earlier.

“While wishing Milone the best in his future endeavors, the Holy See wishes to inform (everyone) that the process of naming a new director of the auditor-general’s office will be underway as soon as possible,” the Vatican’s written statement said. Read more »

Comments Off on Pope accepts early resignation of Vatican’s first independent auditor

Eucharist is reminder of God’s love, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

ROME — The Eucharist is a tangible reminder of God’s love, and receiving Communion is a call to work to build the body of Christ by loving others and shunning all that sows division within a community, Pope Francis said.

The Eucharist should “heal our ambition to lord it over others, to greedily hoard things for ourselves, to foment discord and criticism,” he said June 18, celebrating the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. “May it awaken in us the joy of living in love, without rivalry, jealousy or mean-spirited gossip.”

Pope Francis holds a monstrance on the feast of Corpus Christi June 18 at Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran. (CNS/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Pope Francis holds a monstrance on the feast of Corpus Christi June 18 at Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran. (CNS/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Pope Francis celebrated the Mass outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome. With an almost constant breeze cooling the warm Rome day, thousands of people, including children who made their first Communion this spring, gathered outside the basilica for the evening Mass and for the Corpus Christi procession later from St. John Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, about a mile away.

The 2017 feast day included two major changes from past practices. First, although Italian dioceses, like many around the world, moved the feast from a Thursday to a Sunday in the late 1970s, the Mass and procession with the pope at St. John Lateran remained on the Thursday until this year.

Second, instead of transporting the Blessed Sacrament on a truck in the Corpus Christi procession this year, it was carried on a platform held aloft on the shoulders of four men. Eight other men carried tall poles holding a canopy over the platform, a task made more difficult by the breeze.

The truck had made its first appearance in 1994 when St. John Paul II began having difficulty walking. He and now-retired Pope Benedict XVI would ride on the truck, kneeling or sitting before the monstrance.

Elected at the age of 76, Pope Francis walked behind the truck for the 1-mile procession in 2013. But beginning in 2014, because of his difficulty walking long distances and in order to avoid drawing attention away from the Eucharist, he met the procession at St. Mary Major instead of participating in it.

In his homily at the Mass, the pope said the Eucharist “is the sacrament of memory, reminding us, in a real and tangible way, of the story of God’s love for us.”

Just as the Israelites were called to remember how God led them safely through the desert, he said, “remembering all that the Lord has done for us is the foundation of our own personal history of salvation.”

“Remembrance is essential for faith, as water is for a plant,” Pope Francis said.

Remembering, he said, keeps people “mindful, never forgetting who it is who loves us and whom we are called to love in return.”

Pope Francis said it seems that today people’s ability to remember and be mindful is weakening.

“Amid so much frantic activity, many people and events seem to pass in a whirl,” he said. “We quickly turn the page, looking for novelty while unable to retain memories.”

But the focus on living for the moment, he said, often means living superficially and without a focus on “who we are and where we are going.”

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the pope said, reaches people even in their “fragmented lives,” reminding them how Christ was broken for their salvation and continues to offer himself in the “loving fragility” of the Eucharist.

“In the Bread of Life, the Lord comes to us, making himself a humble meal that lovingly heals our memory, wounded by life’s frantic pace of life,” he said.

“The Eucharist is flavored with Jesus’ words and deeds, the taste of his passion, the fragrance of his Spirit,” he said. “When we receive it, our hearts are overcome with the certainty of Jesus’ love.”

At the same time, the pope said, the Eucharist is a reminder that Christians are not isolated individuals but are called to receive Christ’s body together and to build up the body of the church.

“In experiencing this Eucharist,” he told those at the Mass, “let us adore and thank the Lord for this greatest of gifts: the living memorial of his love that makes us one body and leads us to unity.”

Comments Off on Eucharist is reminder of God’s love, pope says

Vatican statistics: 1.28 billion Catholics in world, 1,808 Catholics per priest in U.S.

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The health of the Catholic Church can be measured in many ways, and the Vatican has a special office just for that purpose.

The Central Statistics Office, which operates under the Vatican Secretariat of State, conducts a variety of studies for the Roman Curia throughout the year. But one of the office’s biggest projects is compiling the annual, 500-page Statistical Yearbook of the Church. Read more »

Comments Off on Vatican statistics: 1.28 billion Catholics in world, 1,808 Catholics per priest in U.S.

Pope and cardinals study ‘healthy decentralization’ proposals

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and members of his international Council of Cardinals discussed the possibility of allowing local bishops rather than the Vatican decide on certain matters, including the marriage or priestly ordination of permanent deacons.

It is “what the pope calls a ‘’healthy decentralization,” said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office. Read more »

Comments Off on Pope and cardinals study ‘healthy decentralization’ proposals

Vatican supports new elections to solve Venezuelan crisis

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Negotiations between government and opposition groups in Venezuela, followed by free and fair elections, are needed to put an end to violence and bring relief to the suffering people, a Vatican official said.

In a letter June 13 to six former Latin American heads of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the Holy See continues to follow Pope Francis’ directives and is “trying to help find a solution to the current serious difficulties.”

An opposition supporter holds a rosary as she prays with others during a June 14 rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas. (CNS photo/Christian Veron, Reuters)

An opposition supporter holds a rosary as she prays with others during a June 14 rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas. (CNS photo/Christian Veron, Reuters)

“The Holy See continues to consider that a serious and sincere negotiation between the parties, based on very clear conditions, beginning with the celebration of constitutionally scheduled elections, can solve the serious situation in Venezuela and the suffering to which the population is subjected,” said Cardinal Parolin’s letter.

The Vatican did not release the cardinal’s letter, but it was posted on the blog Sismografo.

Pope Francis had met June 8 with the leadership of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference, which requested the meeting as the country’s political and economic crisis became increasingly violent. Since April, anti-government protests have led to the death of some 70 people, both government and opposition supporters.

Cardinal Parolin’s letter came one day after the pope received a letter from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The letter was posted on Twitter June 12 by the Venezuelan government’s press secretary, Ernesto Villegas Poljak.

Although his government’s violent tactics against protesters have been denounced by the Catholic Church in Venezuela, Maduro has tried to claim he had the support of Pope Francis.

In his letter, Maduro defended the government’s handling of the protests, claiming that the violence was caused by an “extreme right-wing” opposition that was “increasingly smaller and, therefore, more and more insane.”

“The forces of darkness have carried out all kinds of vandalism under the sign of the most abject and brutal terrorism, trying to impose a climate of widespread violence on Venezuela,” he said.

Maduro’s accusations contradict statements by Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas, who told Vatican Radio that “the repression” exercised by Maduro’s government “has been increasingly cruel.”

In addition to official security forces, there are pro-government, armed civilian groups, “which is absolutely criminal, so that the situation is extremely serious and that is why we are here,” he said at the Vatican June 7.

However, the Venezuelan president said his government’s crackdown against protesters was justified following the death of a 17-year-old boy.

Citing Pope Francis’ own words in his letter, Maduro said children should not “be robbed of joy,” and he was certain the pope’s “active and guiding counsel would open a new stage in national dialogue.”

Asking for the pope’s blessing, Maduro said he would follow the example of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in dealing with the opposition.

“There are those who have diverted toward the field of destabilization, terrorism and coup. My task is to bring them toward the field of the constitution and political debate. In this, I am rigorously following the example of Commander Chavez,” Maduro said.

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Vatican supports new elections to solve Venezuelan crisis

Pope names members for renewed Pontifical Academy for Life

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — After broadening the scope of and issuing new statutes for the Pontifical Academy of Life, Pope Francis appointed new members to the advisory body and included scientists, professors and experts in medicine and ethics from both religious and secular backgrounds.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy of Life, says new members appointed by Pope Francis to the academy, will offer the church and the world a “deep and wise vision in the service of human life, especially life that is weakest and most defenseless.”(CNS  file/Carol Glatz)

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy of Life, says new members appointed by Pope Francis to the academy, will offer the church and the world a “deep and wise vision in the service of human life, especially life that is weakest and most defenseless.”(CNS file/Carol Glatz)

Seven of the members come from the United States and Canada, including Dr. Kathleen M. Foley, a neurologist at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Dr. William F. Sullivan, a Toronto family physician and ethicist, who serves as president of the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists in Canada.

In a statement released following the Vatican’s announcement June 13, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the academy, said the appointments of clergy, scientists and medical experts, both religious and secular, will offer the church and the world a “deep and wise vision in the service of human life, especially life that is weakest and most defenseless.”

“Among them are a number of non-Catholics, either belonging to other religions or nonbelievers, a sign that the protection and promotion of human life knows no divisions and can be assured only through common endeavor,” Archbishop Paglia said.

The appointments included Rabbi Fernando Szlajen, an Argentine rabbi with an extensive background in bioethics, and the Rev. Nigel Biggar, an Anglican priest who teaches pastoral and moral theology at Oxford University.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, a professor of bioethics and moral theology, and Dutch Cardinal Willem Eijk of Utrecht, a former medical doctor who worked at the Amsterdam university hospital before he became a priest, were also named members of the pontifical academy by Pope Francis.

Founded in 1994 by St. John Paul II, the Pontifical Academy for Life is charged with defending and promoting “the value of human life and the dignity of the person.”

In November 2016, Pope Francis issued new statutes for the pontifical academy to widen the scope of its activity and research on life issues.

The new statutes added that the pontifical academy’s defense of life must include “the care of the dignity of the human person at different stages of life,” as well as “the promotion of a quality of human life that integrates its material and spiritual value with a view to an authentic human ecology that helps recover the original balance of creation between the human person and the entire universe.”

The new members named by Pope Francis hail from 27 countries, including Italy, Spain, Japan, Tunisia, Israel and Burkina Faso.

The nominations include 13 members who served on the academy before its statutes and membership were renewed.

Five past leaders of the Pontifical Academy for Life were named honorary members, including Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, retired archbishop of Bologna, Italy, and Birthe Lejeune, vice president of the foundation honoring her late husband, Jerome Lejeune, the first president of the academy.

Archbishop Paglia said the honorary members “represent the history of the academy and a passion for human life for which we must all be grateful.”

In addition to Foley and Sullivan, the members from the U.S. and Canada are: Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus; John Haas, president, National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia; Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, bioethics professor at Georgetown University; John Keown, professor of Christian ethics at Georgetown University; and Bishop Noel Simard of Valleyfield, Quebec, spokesman for the Canadian bishops’ conference on bioethical issues related to euthanasia.

In a statement, Anderson quoted “Evangelii Gaudium,” Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the church’s mission to evangelize the modern world, and said he looked forward to supporting an authentic human ecology and building a culture of life based on a proper understanding of the right to life and the dignity of each person.

Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life are nominated for five-year terms, which can be renewed. Membership ceases once an academician turns 80.

 

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Pope names members for renewed Pontifical Academy for Life

Poverty requires action, not empty words, pope says

By

 

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — People cannot sit back and be indifferent or unresponsive to growing poverty in the world as a privileged minority accumulates “ostentatious wealth,” Pope Francis said.

“God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded,” the pope said in a message for the first World Day of the Poor.

Homeless Filipinos rest in late April on a street in Manila. World Day of the Poor, to be celebrated Nov. 19 this year, will focus on the apostle John's call to love "not with words, but with deeds." (CNS photo/Francis R. Malasig, EPA)

Homeless Filipinos rest in late April on a street in Manila. World Day of the Poor, to be celebrated Nov. 19 this year, will focus on the apostle John’s call to love “not with words, but with deeds.” (CNS photo/Francis R. Malasig, EPA)

The newly established commemoration and the period of reflection and action preceding it are meant to help Christians develop and maintain a more consistent and sincere lifestyle built on sharing, simplicity and the essential truths of the Gospel, the pope said in the message released June 13, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

The World Day of the Poor, to be marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary time, will be celebrated Nov. 19 this year and will focus on the Apostle John’s call to love “not with words, but with deeds.”

There are so many forms of material and spiritual poverty that poison people’s hearts and harm their dignity, the pope said in his message, and “we must respond with a new vision of life and society.”

Too often Christians have taken on “a worldly way of thinking” and forgotten to keep their gaze and goals focused on Christ, who is present in those who are broken and vulnerable.

An admonition by St. John Chrysostom “remains ever timely,” the pope said, quoting: “If you want to honor the body of Christ, do not scorn it when it is naked; do not honor the eucharistic Christ with silk vestments and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness.”

“Poverty has the face of women, men and children exploited by base interests, crushed by the machinations of power and money,” he said. “What a bitter and endless list we would have to compile were we to add the poverty born of social injustice, moral degeneration, the greed of a chosen few and generalized indifference.”

“Tragically, in our own time, even as ostentatious wealth accumulates in the hands of the privileged few, often in connection with illegal activities and the appalling exploitation of human dignity, there is a scandalous growth of poverty in broad sectors of society throughout our world,” Pope Francis wrote. “Faced with this scenario, we cannot remain passive, much less resigned.”

Christians must reach out to the poor as Christ did and commanded, the pope said. The poor, in fact, “are not a problem, they are a resource” rich in dignity and God-given gifts that can help Christians better understand the essential truth of the Gospel.

“Blessed, therefore, are the open hands that embrace the poor and help them: They are hands that bring hope,” he said. “Blessed are the hands that reach beyond every barrier of culture, religion and nationality and pour the balm of consolation over the wounds of humanity. Blessed are the open hands that ask nothing in exchange, with no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ or ‘maybes’: They are hands that call down God’s blessing upon their brothers and sisters.”

Pope Francis said a good role model was his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, who kept his gaze fixed on Christ so as to be “able to see and serve him in the poor.” The pope took the name of this saint during the conclave that elected him in 2013 after another cardinal told him, “Don’t forget the poor.”

“If we want to help change history and promote real development, we need to hear the cry of the poor and commit ourselves to ending their marginalization,” the pope wrote in his message.

Just a few days before the end of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis spoke of his desire to have a special day dedicated to the poor.

As the doors of mercy were set to be closed around the world, “let us ask for the grace not to close our eyes to God, who sees us and to our neighbor who asks something of us,” the pope said in that homily in November 2016. However, straying from his prepared text that day, the pope told those gathered, “I would like today to be the ‘day of the poor” to underline everyone’s responsibility “to care for the true riches, which are the poor.”

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, told reporters the pope envisioned the day as a way for the whole church to reflect on the Gospel sense of poverty, seeking and receiving only the essential, and then to act and concretely share the essential treasure of God’s love and mercy.

Local churches should dedicate the week preceding the World Day of the Poor to creative initiatives fostering encounter, friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance, the papal message said. The pontifical council will release a pastoral guide in September to help parishes in their planning, the archbishop said.

The idea is to stir people’s consciences and to understand more deeply what the Gospel teaches, he said.

It’s not about handing out change in order to feel better about oneself, the archbishop said; it’s about becoming truly concerned and invested in the other and seeing him or her as a brother or sister in God.

The pope will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Nov. 19 with the poor and volunteers and will offer lunch afterward for “at least 500 poor” in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall, Archbishop Fisichella said, adding that many local churches and Catholic organizations in Rome would be offering similar gestures of a shared meal.

Comments Off on Poverty requires action, not empty words, pope says

Vatican bank reports $40 million profit in 2016

June 13th, 2017 Posted in Vatican News Tags: , , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The Institute for the Works of Religion, often referred to as the Vatican bank, made a profit of 36 million euros (about $40 million) in 2016, according to its annual report.

The institute held assets worth 5.7 billion euros at year’s end, which included deposits and investments from close to 15,000 clients, mostly Catholic religious orders around the world, Vatican offices and employees, and Catholic clergy.

The main entrance of the Institute for the Works of Religion, known colloquially as the Vatican bank, is seen at the Vatican May 31. Ernst von Freyburg, president of the bank, said its operations are sound but "our biggest issue is our reputation." (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The main entrance of the Institute for the Works of Religion, known colloquially as the Vatican bank, is seen at the Vatican May 31. Ernst von Freyburg, president of the bank, said its operations are sound but “our biggest issue is our reputation.” (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Before the report’s release, the 2016 financial statements were audited by the firm Deloitte & Touche and were reviewed by the Commission of Cardinals overseeing the institute’s work.

According to a statement from the bank June 12, all of the profits will be turned over to the Holy See, with none being placed in the institute’s reserve account.

According to the report, most of the institute’s clients “are active in missions or perform charitable works at institutions such as schools, hospitals or refugee camps.” That work is conducted all over the world, including “in countries with very basic infrastructure and underdeveloped banking and payment systems,” which means they rely on the institute, particularly in transferring donations from wealthier nations to poorer ones.

“Measured by assets entrusted, the most important group of clients was religious orders. They accounted for more than half of our client base in 2016 (54 percent), followed by Roman Curia departments, Holy See Offices and nunciatures (11 percent),” the report said. Cardinals, bishops and other clergy make up about 8 percent of the client base, and another 8 percent is comprised of bishops’ conferences, dioceses and parishes.

In addition to deposits in money, the institute also holds “gold, silver, medals and precious coins” valued at close to 33 million euros. “Gold is mainly deposited with the U.S. Federal Reserve, while medals and precious coins are kept in the IOR vaults,” it said. IOR is the Italian acronym for the Institute for the Works of Religion.

 

Comments Off on Vatican bank reports $40 million profit in 2016

Vatican: Failure to protect child migrants an insult to human dignity

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Too often, national and international policies leave migrant children at the mercy of traffickers and sexual predators and are signs of a widespread failure to protect the innocent, a Vatican official said.

A migrant mother holds her child outside at a transit camp in early February in Gevgelija, Macedonia. (CNS photo/Georgi Licovski, EPA)

A migrant mother holds her child outside at a transit camp in early February in Gevgelija, Macedonia. (CNS photo/Georgi Licovski, EPA)

In addition, policies that involve criminalizing and detaining child migrants “are an insult to human dignity” and are “the dramatic evidence of existing inequalities and failing systems,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva.

“The grave error of the detention model is that it considers the children as sole, isolated subjects responsible for the situations in which they find themselves and over which they have little, if any, control,” the archbishop said. “This model wrongly absolves the international community at large from responsibilities that it regularly fails to fulfill.”

Archbishop Jurkovic spoke about the plight of child migrants during a U.N. Human Rights Council panel discussion June 9 on “Unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents and human rights.”

Children forced to flee without the protection of their parents or family members, he said, are given no options for a better life and are often “left at the lower levels of human degradation” due to lack of education and health care.

“They must be considered children first and foremost, and their best interest must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning them,” Archbishop Jurkovic said.

The practice of detaining and criminalizing migrant children should “never be an option” given that such a practice, even if for a brief period, “can have lifelong consequences on a child’s development,” he said.

While the protection of all migrating people is “vital and essential, it is not enough,” Archbishop Jurkovic added. The international community must step up its efforts to address the situations that force children to flee their homelands, situations that include war, violence, corruption, poverty and environmental disasters.

“A farsighted approach is urgently needed to tackle the tragic and intolerable situations that drive such a drastic increase in the number of children who abandon their lands of birth and search alone for refuge and hope for the future,” he said.

Archbishop Jurkovic urged world leaders to promote an integral human development for the “hundreds of millions of children who are living in appalling conditions.”

“Even while we are engaged in discussion and debate today, any number of these children will have joined the already huge odyssey of children on the move, simply in search of safety, peace and of a fair chance in life,” he said.

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Vatican: Failure to protect child migrants an insult to human dignity
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.