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The World Seen From Rome
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‘The Our Father Is the Best Preparation to Receive Jesus,’ Says Pope

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:13 AM

The “Our Father” is the prayer for the children of God, Pope Francis reminds, noting: “It’s the best way to prepare ourselves to receive Jesus in Communion.”

The General Audience was held in St. Peter’s Square, on March 14, 2018, the day after the fifth anniversary of Francis’ pontificate. During his catechesis on Wednesday morning, he spoke of the Mass’ Communion Rites and, specifically, of the “Our Father” prayer.

The Holy Father pointed out that, in this prayer to the Lord, we ask Him for “our daily bread,” with particular reference to the “Eucharistic Bread that we need to live as children of God,” and we implore Him to “forgive us our trespasses, and we commit ourselves, at the same time, to forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

“Thus, opening ourselves to God’s forgiveness, we dispose ourselves to live fraternal love,” continued the Pontiff.

“Finally, we ask Him to deliver us from evil, which separates us from Him and divides us from our brothers.”

Expressed with the rite of peace, is our union and mutual love before approaching the Sacrament, clarified the Pope.

The breaking of the Bread, which takes place after the praying of the “Our Father,” is “the gesture that Jesus carried out in the Last Supper, which enabled the disciples to recognize Him after the Resurrection, as in Emmaus, explained His Holiness.

The breaking of the Bread is accompanied by the invocation of the “Lamb of God,” which is the biblical image used by John the Baptist to identify Jesus as “He who takes away the sin of the world.”

Pope Francis concluding, inviting those gathered to ask Mary, in this Lenten journey, “to not fail to look at us with love so that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, she makes fruitful our resolutions for greater dedication and generosity in our Christian life.”

British Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Dies at 76

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:04 AM

Vatican media announced the death at 76, in Cambridge on March 14, 2018, of British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.

Author of the scientific theory that the creation of the universe “doesn’t require the intervention of a supernatural being or a god,” Hawking was elected member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on January 9, 1986.

He was decorated by the Academy with the Pius XI medal for his studies on “black holes” on April 19, 1975.

The famous scientist met Pope Francis on November 28, 2016, during the Academy’s Plenary Session.

Hawking also met three other Popes: Paul VI, on April 9, 1975, John Paul II on October 3, 1981, and Benedict XVI on October 31, 2008.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up,” said the chair-ridden theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who struggled for decades with motor neuron disease, which was diagnosed at the age of 21, reported Vatican News.

Substitute of Secretariat of State Msgr Angelo Becciu’s Address at Presentation of Book “Francis the Rebel”

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 9:15 AM
 On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, the book Francesco il Ribelle (“Francis the Rebel”) by Father Enzo Fortunato, Director of the Press Room of the Sacred Convent of Assisi, was presented Tuesday in Rome, at the Luigi Sturzo Institute. The book, a new biography of the Saint of Assisi, is introduced by a preface by the Vatican Secretary of State, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The following is the Vatican-provided translation of the intervention by Msgr. Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, given during the presentation:


I gladly consented to present the book Francesco il Ribelle, edited by Fr. Enzo Fortunato, for two reasons: firstly, because you can not remain indifferent to the figure of Saint Francis of Assisi. Despite having read other biographies, one is always intrigued to know new details about his life. Indeed, the history of Francis of Assisi continues to fascinate even today, almost eight centuries after his death (1226), because it is a captivating story not only for those who are more advanced in years and who are in a position to better understand human experience, but also and above all, for many young people who see in Francis an example of the inner freedom to which they aspire, and also a model to refer to in order to live their own religious experience.

Secondly, because with today’s presentation we wanted to pay tribute to Pope Francis on the anniversary of his election to the papal throne. Indeed, in this book of his Fr. Fortunato also wanted to offer a glimpse of the topicality of thought and action of Pope Francis who is linked to the Poverello of Assisi in a very special way. He has continually given us his testimony, with his words and deeds, from the first moment of His election, when to general surprise he assumed the name of Francis. The Holy Father has often cited Saint Francis of Assisi: in his speeches, homilies, Messages, documents, interviews, meetings, audiences and in the Sunday Angelus. His frequent reference to Saint Francis, his remembering of the poor, the weak and the sick in every circumstance of his ministry, in every situation, event, journey, his building of bridges to all men of good will, believers and not, for a constructive dialogue to build peace, show that his life and his teaching are inspired by the teachings of the Poverello.

Coming to the book, I wish to thank the author, Fr. Enzo Fortunato, whom I knew as a dynamic conventual friar, creator of various initiatives and successful media events based always on the figure of his Master and of the convent of Assisi, but it is the first time I have come across one of his writings of particular importance such as this publication. I have to admit, and for this I congratulate him, that his flowing, captivating, engaging style helps one love the character he describes. It is true that Saint Francis, as I said before, is appealing by himself, but the desire to know him better is supported by the readable style of our author.

As we enter the pages of the book, it seems to me that the reader’s desire is to find evidence confirming what is announced by the title of the work: Francesco il Ribelle, Francis the Rebel. What meaning did this description have, and does it have today, applied to Saint Francis? According to the common categories the rebel is one who eternally rages against everything and against everyone, very often wishing to destroy violently that which, and those who, oppose his plans. Alas! History is littered with such wicked examples. The rebellion of Francis is of a different dimension. It has been so “sui generis” that, unlike other rebellions, it still remains and becomes a model of life for thousands of his followers, in every corner of the earth. The non-conformism of Francis can not be explained if you do not look at the crucial moment of his life, when he denounces his past and challenges the right-minded of the time (life companions, civil authorities, ecclesiastics, his own family) and throws himself into the adventure that will lead him to live the Gospel “sine glossa”. Francis experiences the beauty of the Gospel that, lived “without ifs and buts”, transforms one’s life and, by contagion, that of others. Eloquent is the page in which our Fr .Fortunato mentions the passage from the inner struggle that tormented the young Francis for a long time, his use of distractions of all kinds, and the peace of the soul he found in embracing the lepers. The Gospel word that had inspired him to make such a gesture was “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. From then on his life was guided only by the Gospel, lived radically. This resulted in a revolution in the Church and in society itself, the effects of which are still felt.

As Fr. Fortunato writes, he showed himself to be “a rebel against his time, which tended towards the victory of individualism and of the ‘owning society’, rebel not against the Church or even against the hierarchy” (pg. 10). Francis did not “wage war” (that is, rebel) against anyone, ever: he never rebelled by opposing a law or a constituted authority. Reform yes, for giving a new order, a better form, to transform a situation, a society, but by his example. Authority and veneration came to him precisely from his way of living. By this point the die had been cast: he had crossed the Rubicon that held him back in the past and went on to live a life filled only with God. With God, chosen as his only ideal and as his only wealth, it was logical to challenge the opulence of the rich, embracing poverty, overcoming discriminatory barriers, extending his love for all, distinguishing himself from the protesters of time, and bowing to the provisions of ecclesiastical authority, seen as an expression of God’s will. A true restorer, his desire was to bring back to its original state the divine image and likeness in those whom he met and considered his brothers, so as to revive broken spirits, restore values, and re-establish a better world around him.

Saint Francis still provokes us and teaches us to do like him: not to presuppose the beauty of the Gospel, but to live its pages with radicality.

I would like to conclude with the words that Cardinal Parolin writes in the Preface to the book: “Assisi is a special sanctuary, because normally in shrines we go to ask for a grace, a miracle. In Assisi no, in Assisi we go to meet Francis … a man who lived the Gospel. I would say that one goes there to meet the Gospel itself, sine glossa”.

Thank you, Fr. Fortunato, for giving us the opportunity to turn again to Assisi to draw the ever fresh water of the great saint.

[Original Text: Italian] [Vatican-provided text]

FORUM: Archbishop Chaput on Occasion of Pope Francis’ 5th Anniversary in Petrine Ministry

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 8:20 AM

Below is a reflection of Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM, of Philadelphia, on the occasion of Pope Francis’ 5th Anniversary in Petrine Ministry’ from the Archbishop’s column on Catholic Philly:


“On behalf of the priests, deacons, consecrated religious, and lay faithful in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I offer prayerful best wishes to Pope Francis as he marks the 5th anniversary of his Petrine ministry. I’ve admired and respected his keen focus on service to the poor since we first met as young bishops delegated to the 1997 Special Assembly for the Americas.

The people of our local Church will always have a special bond with this pope and remember with great joy his presence here at the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families in 2015. His time with us was filled with powerful public moments and deeply grace filled intimate gatherings hallmarked by an overarching spirit of mercy, compassion, and charity. Those moments were special gifts that we can all use to build a stronger society and a stronger Church.

From a broader perspective, Pope Francis has consistently spoken in a style appealingly his own and has gained the attention of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He’s grasped that our modern world is morally fractured and that it’s mission territory.

He’s repeatedly challenged us to bear witness to Christ through concrete action—by serving the poor, by helping immigrants, by preserving families, and by protecting the sanctity of life. It’s the kind of challenge we can and should answer with a hearty yes each day.

May God bless Pope Francis and may the Holy Spirit grant him wisdom as shepherd of the Universal Church.”

 Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia


On the NET:

To the original post: http://archphila.org/statement-of-archbishop-charles-j-chaput-o-f-m-cap-on-the-occasion-of-pope-francis-5th-anniversary-in-petrine-ministry/

Asia Bibi: ‘Now I Will Finally Be Able to Pray with the Rosary the Pope Gave Me’

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 7:57 AM

“A miracle,” said Asia Bibi — the woman sentenced to death for blasphemy — to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), commenting on the decision of the Multan prison, in Pakistan, where she is held at present, to allow her to have the Rosary that Pope Francis gave her. “It’s the first time in nine years that they allow me to have a religious object in the cell.”

Last March 12, Asia Bibi was able to meet with her husband, Ashiq, and her daughter, Eisham, on the return from their trip to Italy with ACN, during which the Pontiff received them in private audience. On that occasion, the Pope gave Eisham an extra Rosary to take to her mother, and assured her of his prayers. Eisham recounted to her mother the touching words of the Pope and described their emotional meeting, in the course of which the young girl embraced the Pope on behalf of her mother, as the latter had requested.

“I receive this gift with devotion and gratitude. This Rosary will be of great consolation to me, just as it comforts me to know that the Holy Father prays for me and thinks of me in these difficult conditions,” said Asia.  

Moreover, the daughter and husband described to Asia the evening of February 24, when ACN illuminated the Colosseum in red in memory of the Christian martyrs, and remembered her in a particular way through the testimony of her dear ones. “The international attention on my case is fundamental for me. In fact, it’s because of it that I’m still alive. Thank you ACN for all that you do, not only for me, but for all the other victims of the anti-blasphemy law, whose abuse strikes especially the religious minorities.”

Archbishop Auza: Women at Forefront of ‘Revolution of Tenderness’

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 8:00 PM

“Women, through their feminine genius, are at the forefront of the ‘revolution of tenderness’ that Pope Francis has said the world needs,” according to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

His comments came on March 14, 2018, during the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women dedicated to the theme of “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” In New York.

In his intervention, Archbishop Auza said that women, rural women in particular nurture lives, relationships and whole rural societies, showing that we are at our best when we serve one another. The revolution of tenderness begins with ensuring the conditions necessary for women and girls to flourish and fulfill their potential in society. Economically, that involves ensuring that women have equal rights and access to land, water, seeds, legal contracts, markets, and financing. Their health and nutritional needs must be met and their irreplaceable contribution to society through motherhood must be supported and praised. They must have access to quality and equitable education and training. The international community must collaborate to help women carry out the revolution of tenderness and unleash the power of women to serve others for the common

The statement follows.

Madam Chair,

The Holy See is pleased to participate in this Sixty-Second Session of the Commission on the Status of Women as we address the topic of “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.”

Women are at the forefront of the “revolution of tenderness” that Pope Francis has insisted the world needs. “Tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility.”[1] Through their special gifts, described as “feminine genius” by recent Popes, women have “an incredible ability to adapt to new circumstances and move forward.”[2] Rural women, in particular, unceasingly nurture lives, relationships and entire rural societies, and are able to bring order out of chaos, community out of division, and peace out of conflict. They teach and give witness to how we are at our best when we serve one another and see the good of the other even before we see our own. This year’s priority theme gives us an opportunity to acknowledge, appreciate, defend and ultimately unleash these qualities.

Women everywhere should not only be beneficiaries but above all dignified protagonists of their own development and the development of their families and societies. In rural settings, women make great contributions to agriculture and the economy as a whole, particularly in developing countries where women represent a large part of the agricultural workforce. They make significant contributions to food production, food security, and nutrition, to land and natural resource management, and to building resilience to climate change. Unfortunately, this indispensable work is often undervalued and can even be a vehicle for the exploitation and violation of their dignity and fundamental rights.

Acknowledging women’s special capacities and necessary contribution to society and to the common good requires that domestic legal systems, national institutions and policies, cultural models and religious mindsets recognize the equal rights and access of women to land ownership, control over livelihood resources such as land, water resources and seeds, property contracts, markets, agricultural inputs, credit and finance, loans and grants. It necessitates protecting them from greedy exploitations, such as the commodities of their production being diverted to distant markets, with minimal or no benefit for their families and for their rural communities.

Due to local or regional armed conflicts, climate change, natural or manmade disasters and forced human mobility, women often become solely responsible for farming while at the same time needing to manage household and family life and care for children. The impact of climate change and environmental degradation, which often results in forced displacement or rural-urban migration in search of security, work and access to basic services, make rural women considerably more vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and trafficking in persons.

Madam Chair,

As for every human being, hunger and nutrition, morbidity and overall fitness may strongly impact a woman’s cognitive development, ability to work, and capacity to care for her family and society. The nutritional needs of women, especially to iron and folate supplies during pregnancy and lactation, are often inadequately addressed. Moreover, the geographical distribution of preventive screening, clinics, and health-workers, poor infrastructure and transportation are an additional hurdle to effective care for rural women and girls. It is essential that adequate health-care avoid any violation of their human dignity. In that regard, it is contradictory to seek to promote women’s empowerment while suppressing their natural potentialities in the name of some particular interests or those of an ideological agenda. It is also incoherent when women’s irreplaceable contribution to society through motherhood is stigmatized as an obstacle to their integral human development, instead of being acknowledged, supported and accompanied with measures aimed at alleviating the difficulties that they may encounter in marginalizing societies. My Delegation wishes to avail itself of this occasion to express grateful appreciation for all those rural women who, sometimes heroically, have raised and educated generations of responsible daughters and sons. The world owes them esteem, support, and solidarity.

Rural women similarly are called to lead the revolution of tenderness the world needs and to become protagonists of their own development also through an adequate education. Access to quality and equitable education, technical, vocational and workplace training, agricultural extension services, coaching in new technologies, literacy and numeracy instruction are critical and part of the right to education that must be guaranteed to each and every one of them. Improving access to education for rural women will not only redound to a fuller realization of their potential and to greater opportunities but is also a key to better-educated future generations.

Madam Chair,

The revolution of tenderness begins with ensuring the conditions necessary for women and girls to flourish and fulfill their potential in society with the support of men and in harmonious complementarity with them. Tenderness is not a show of weakness or softness, but a transformative strength capable of spurring people to act in a way that no one is excluded or left behind. Tenderness, therefore, becomes for rural women an enormous power to serve others for the common good. The international community must work together to help unleash that power.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

1. Pope Francis, Video Message on the occasion of the TED Conference, Vancouver, 26 April 2017.
2. Pope Francis, Visit to the “Female Central Penitentiary” of Santiago, Chile, 16 January 2018.

Copyright © 2018 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.

Pope Thanks Taoist Delegation for Dialogue, Good Will, and Invitation to Taiwan

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 9:58 AM

At 8:45 this morning, before the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father Francis met with the Taoist Delegation of the Bao’an Temple of Taipei, Taiwan.

Here is a translation of the words of greeting that the Pope addressed to those present at the Audience:

The Holy Father’s Words

Thank you so much for your visit and for your words. I’m happy about this joint work with the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue. It’s a dialogue not only of ideas; it’s a human dialogue, from person to person, which helps all to grow, to grow as persons, in our path of search for the absolute, for God. Thank you so much, thank you for your good will. Thank you for the visit and thank you for the invitation to visit Taiwan. I appreciate this so much. May the Lord bless you all, and pray for me.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]


GENERAL AUDIENCE: On the Our Father and ‘the Breaking of the Bread’

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 9:31 AM

This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:25 in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.

Continuing with the catechesis on the Holy Mass, in his address in Italian the Pope focused his meditation on the Eucharistic Liturgy: III “Our Father “ and breaking of the Bread.

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.

The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

Here is a Zenit working translation of the Holy Father’s words:

* * *

The Holy Father’s Catechesis

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

We continue with the Catechesis on the Holy Mass. In the Last Supper, after Jesus took the bread and the chalice of the wine, and rendered thanks to God, we know that He “broke the bread.” In the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Mass, the breaking of the Bread corresponds to this action, preceded by the prayer that the Lord taught us, namely, the “Our Father.”

And so we begin the rites of Communion, prolonging the praise and supplication of the Eucharistic Prayer with the communal recitation of the “Our Father.” This isn’t one of the many Christian prayers, but the prayer of the children of God; it’s the great prayer that Jesus taught us. In fact, consigned to us in the day of our Baptism, the “Our Father” makes resound in us the same sentiments that were in Christ Jesus. When we pray the “Our Father,” we pray as Jesus prayed. It’s the prayer that Jesus did, and He taught it to us, when the disciples said to him: “Master, teach us to pray as you pray.” And Jesus prayed thus. It’s so good to pray like Jesus! Formed to His divine teaching, we dare to address God calling Him “Father,” because we are reborn as His children through water and the Holy Spirit (Cf. Ephesians 1:5). No one, in truth, would be able to call Him familiarly “Abba”—“Father” — without being generated by God, without the inspiration of the Spirit, as Saint Paul teaches (Cf. Romans 8:15). We must think: no one can call Him “Father” without the inspiration of the Spirit. How many times there are people that say “Our Father,” but don’t know what they say. Because yes, He is the Father, but when you say “Father” do you feel He is Father, your Father, Father of humanity, Father of Jesus Christ? Do you have a relationship with this Father? When we pray the “Our Father,” we connect with the Father who loves us, but it’s the Spirit that gives us this connection, this sentiment of being children of God.

What better prayer, than that taught by Jesus, can dispose us to sacramental Communion with Him? In addition to being prayed in the Mass, the “Our Father” is prayed in the morning and in the evening, in Lauds and in Vespers; in this way, the filial attitude to God and of fraternity with our neighbour contribute to give a Christian form to our days.

In the Lord’s Prayer – in the “Our Father” — we ask for our “daily bread,” in which we make a particular reference to the Eucharistic Bread, of which we are in need to live as children of God. We also implore “the forgiveness of our trespasses,” and to be worthy to receive God’s forgiveness, we commit ourselves to forgive those that have offended us. And this isn’t easy; it’s a grace we must request: “Lord, teach me to forgive as you have forgiven me.” It’s a grace. We can’t <forgive> with our own strength; to forgive is a grace of the Holy Spirit. So, while we open our heart to God, the “Our Father” disposes us also to fraternal love. Finally, we also ask God to “deliver us from evil,” which separates us from Him and divides us from our brothers. We understand well that these are very apt requests to prepare us for Holy Communion [Cf. Ordinamento Generale del Messale Romano, (OGMR),  81].

In fact, what we request in the “Our Father,” is prolonged by the prayer of the priest who, in the name of all, prays: “Deliver us, O Lord, from all evils and grant peace in our days.” And then it receives a sort of seal in the rite of peace: invoked from Christ first of all is the gift of his peace (Cf. John 14:27)) – so different from that of the world – it makes the Church grow in unity and in peace, according to His will; then, with the concrete gesture exchanged between us, we express  “ecclesial communion and mutual love before communing with the Sacrament” (OGMR, 82). In the Roman Rite the exchange of the sign of peace, placed since antiquity before Communion, is ordered to Eucharistic Communion. According to Saint Paul’s admonition, it’s not possible to commune with the one Bread, which renders us one Body in Christ, without recognizing ourselves pacified by fraternal love (Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:29). The peace of Christ can’t root itself in a heart incapable of living fraternity and of recomposing it after having wounded it. The Lord gives peace; He gives us the grace to forgive those that have offended us.

The gesture of peace is followed by the breaking of the Bread, which since apostolic times has given the name to the entire celebration of the Eucharist (Cf. OGMR, 83; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1329). Carried out by Jesus during the Last Supper, the breaking of the Bread is the revealing gesture that enabled the disciples to recognize Him after His Resurrection. We recall the disciples of Emmaus who, speaking of the encounter with the Risen One, recount “how they recognized Him in the breaking of the bread” (Cf. Luke 24:30-31.35).

The breaking of the Eucharistic Bread is accompanied by the invocation of the “Lamb of God,” figure with which John the Baptist indicated Jesus “He who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The biblical image of the lamb speaks of the Redemption (Cf. Exodus 12:1-14; Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 7:14). In the Eucharistic Bread, broken for the life of the world, the praying assembly recognizes the true Lamb of God, namely, Christ the Redeemer, and begs Him: “Have mercy on us . . . grant us peace.” “Have mercy on us,” “grant us peace” are invocations that, from the “Our Father” prayer to the breaking of the Bread, help us to dispose our spirit to take part in the Eucharistic feast, source of communion with God and with brothers.

Let us not forget the great prayer: that which Jesus taught, and which is the prayer with which He prayed to the Father. And this prayer prepares us for Communion.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s Working translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

In Italian

A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking faithful.

I’m happy to receive the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians; the parish groups, in particular those of Castellaneta, accompanied by the Bishop, Monsignor Claudio Maniago, of Bitritto and of Mesagne. I hope that for you all the visit to the Eternal City becomes an occasion to rediscover the faith and to grow in charity.

I greet the school institutes; the former Salesian pupils of Livorno and the Group of the “Livio Tempesta” Prize for Goodness in school, hoping that you will be able to pick up the many positive examples and to finalize formative efforts to generous service of the common good.

A special thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Dear friends, Christ has promised to remain always with us and He manifests His presence in many ways. Up to each one is the responsible and courageous task to proclaim and witness His love, which sustains us in every occasion of life. Don’t tire, therefore, of entrusting yourselves to Christ and of spreading His Gospel everywhere.

TONIGHT: Sant’Egidio Hosts Vigil With American University Students in Rome to Remember Florida Shooting Victims

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 9:09 AM

Tonight in Rome, the Community of Sant’Egidio is holding a prayer vigil with American university students in Rome at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere to remember the victims of the tragic shooting rampage at a high school in Florida and to express closeness to their families.

Last February 14, at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 17 students and teachers were killed during the most serious school shooting carried out in the United States, fostered also by the extreme ease of the circulation of weapons.

The ceremony, being held one month after the massacre, will be attended in particular by Roman young people and American students enrolled in American Universities in Rome.

The names of the victims will be read during the Vigil and a candle will be lit for each one, so that no one is forgotten and a strong message will be launched against violence.

Benedict XVI on Pope Francis’ Magisterium: “There Is An Interior Continuity Between The Two Pontificates”

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 6:52 AM

A personal letter of Benedict XVI on the continuity with the pontificate of Pope Francis was made public by the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, Monsignor Dario Edoardo Vigano, who received it on the occasion of the presentation of the ‘Theology of Pope Francis’ collection, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV), which took place Monday in the course of a press conference at Rome in the Marconi Hall of the Palazzo Pio.

“I welcome this initiative – writes Benedict XVI – which intends to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice by which Pope Francis is only a practical man deprived of particular theological or philosophical formation, whereas I was only a theoretician of theology who understood little of the concrete life of a Christian today.”

The Pope Emeritus is grateful for having received the gift of eleven books written by, among others, theologians of international fame, who make up the collection edited by Father Roberto Repole, President of the Italian Theological Association. “The small volumes – adds Benedict XVI – show with reason that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation and, therefore, they help to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, although with all the differences of style and of temperament.”

During the event, the new Chief Editor of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Friar Giulio Cesareo , OFM Conv., specified that negotiations are underway with publishers around the world. Up to now, agreements have been signed for the distribution of the collection in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Polish and Romanian.

‘The Lord Indicates to Us the Path of Hope,’ Pope Tells Arabic-speaking Pilgrims

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 6:22 AM

The Lord indicates to us the journey of hope to follow.

Pope Francis encouraged Arabic-speaking Christians, especially those from the Middle East present in St. Peter’s Square, to do so during today’s General Audience of Wednesday, March  14, 2018.

After his catechesis on Communion Rites, the Pope stressed, that in this penitential time, “The Lord indicates to us the path of hope to follow.”

“Let yourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, in order to make a real conversion, to be purified of sin and to serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters, according to each’s own capacities and roles.”

Pope Francis concluded, saying: “May the Lord bless you all! “

General Audience: Pope: the Eucharist, the Sacrament of our Communion With God

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 5:52 AM

Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of the Pope’s address at the General Audience this morning:


Speaker: Dear brothers and sisters: In our catechesis on the Mass, we now turn from the Eucharistic Prayer to the Communion Rites, which begin with our common recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The prayer we offer to the Father as his adoptive children in Christ, disposes us to receive the Lord’s body and blood in Holy Communion. We ask the Father for “our daily bread”, for the forgiveness of our sins and for deliverance from evil. These petitions are then expanded in the following prayers, which invoke God’s peace and unity upon the Church and our world. In the exchange of the sign of peace, we demonstrate our commitment to be reconciled with one another, so as to worthily approach the altar to receive the Lord’s gift of himself. The rite of the breaking of the bread, accompanied by our invocation of Christ as the Lamb of God, acknowledges the saving presence of the risen Lord among us and implores the peace he won for us on the Cross. May our conscious celebration of these rites help us to experience ever more fully the Eucharist as the sacrament of our communion with God and with all our brothers and sisters.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Ireland, Norway, Australia, China, Indonesia and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that this Lent will be a time of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!

© Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Holy See Urges World Cooperation to Combat Drugs

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 7:01 PM

The Holy See continued to push for global action in the war on drugs on March 13, 2018, in a statement by Monsignor Janusz S. Urbańczyk head of the Holy See delegation to the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna.

The Monsignor emphasized the need to strengthen the family: “The family: stakeholder and ally The family remains for the Holy See not only a stakeholder in our efforts to combat the world drug problem but an ally without which these efforts cannot properly advance.”

He continued by stressing the need for states and non-state actors to assist families, providing information about drugs, improving life skills and giving special attention to children and young people.

“This forming of young people reflects what Catholic social teaching identifies as ‘integral human development’,” Monsignor Urbańczyk concluded. “It takes as its foundation the inherent human dignity of every woman and man, girl and boy, ensuring prevention efforts that are truly balanced, avoiding a permissive attitude towards drugs, as well as avoiding a punishment-centered approach devoid of mercy and compassion.”

Statement by Monsignor Janusz S. Urbańczyk:

Madam Chair,

The Holy See is pleased to participate in this 61 st Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. My Delegation would like to congratulate you, Madam Chair, and the Bureau of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the extensive work you all have carried out in preparing for and now leading this session.

Common efforts in combating the world drug problem

The Holy See reiterates once more its profound gratitude for the continued efforts by States – ably assisted by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – in combating the world drug problem by promoting “the health, welfare and well-being of all individuals, families, communities and society as a whole, and facilitating healthy lifestyles through effective, comprehensive, scientific evidence-based demand reduction initiatives at all levels”. 1

It has long been a key principle of all efforts aimed at combating the world drug problem that “universal action calls for international co-operation guided by the same principles and aimed at common objectives”. 2 Echoing this principle, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs affirmed last year that “addressing and countering the world drug problem remains a common and shared responsibility that requires effective and increased international cooperation and demands an integrated scientific evidence-based, multidisciplinary, mutually reinforcing and balanced approach”.3 My Delegation welcomes this recognition, since, among other things, it presents the key features of such a coordinated effort. The broad and encompassing nature of a scientific evidence-based, multidisciplinary, mutually reinforcing and balanced approach ensures not only that all efforts come together and pull in the same direction, but also that all resources are utilized to their full potential.

It also follows from such a broad and encompassing approach that efforts are made to engage all stakeholders as allies. While States play the principal role, we would be remiss – and indeed foolish – not to acknowledge and unite with the multifaceted work undertaken by local and regional communities, schools and educational institutions, civil society organizations and associations of various forms, religious organizations and communities, as well as the family.

The family: stakeholder and ally The family remains for the Holy See not only a stakeholder in our efforts to combat the world drug problem but an ally without which these efforts cannot properly advance. Pope Francis has highlighted the important formative role of the family by describing it as “the first school of human values”, 4 and such an understanding would surely imply that it has a role in promoting our ultimate goal: a world free of drugs.

The 1961 Single Convention reminds us that “addiction to narcotic drugs constitutes a serious evil for the individual and is fraught with social and economic danger to mankind”. 5 A serious evil cannot be conquered by well-intentioned government programmes alone; it must be challenged by the values and knowledge passed on to every man and woman, every boy and girl. This was acknowledged by this Commission last year, when it stated that “the purpose of community, family and school drug prevention programmes is to equip children and adolescents with information about drugs, the life skills and resilience necessary to enable them to deal with different situations without turning to drugs and the ability to resist pressure to use drugs”.6

The Holy See would welcome further encouragement of efforts where States and non-state actors collaborate to assist the family in handing on such “information about drugs, the life skills and resilience” that enable everyone to say “no” to drugs. Youth and comprehensive education

In advancing such family-based prevention work, special attention must be given to children and young people, reflecting this Commission’s recognition that “the world drug problem continues to constitute a serious threat to public health and safety and the well-being of humanity, in particular children and young people and their families and communities”.7 While it remains important to help young people to avoid falling into the web of drugs and become enslaved by drug addiction, 8 it should be accompanied by a truly comprehensive approach to forming them. Such formation should seek to place them squarely on the path away from drugs and from the allure of drugs, through employment, training and schooling, sport and recreational activities, in short, – through a healthy life. 9

This forming of young people reflects what Catholic social teaching identifies as “integral human development”. It takes as its foundation the inherent human dignity of every woman and man, girl and boy, ensuring prevention efforts that are truly balanced, avoiding a permissive attitude towards drugs, as well as avoiding a punishment-centered approach devoid of mercy and compassion. The Holy See applauds those States and stakeholders who are able to provide such true balance in their anti-drug efforts.

In closing, the Holy See assures this Commission of its collaboration in every just effort to tackle the world drug problem and actively promote a society free of illicit drugs, as well as of its interest in next year’s CND Ministerial Segment and the extensive review that 2019 offers, marking the 10th anniversary of The Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation Towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

1 UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (2016 UNGASS), Outcome document “Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem”, art. 1.

2 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, preamble.


4 POPE FRANCIS, Ap. exhortation Amoris lætitia, 274.

5 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, Preamble.



8 Cf. Pope Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting Sponsered by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on: “Narcotics: Problems and Solutions to this Global Issue”, 24 November 2016.

9 Cf. Pope Francis, Address to Participants of the 31 Edition of the International Drug Enforcement Conference, 20 June 2014

Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.

Cardinal Parolin Reflects on Pontificate of Pope Francis

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 11:59 AM

In an interview with Vatican News published March 13, 2018, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, reflected on the five years of the Pontificate of Pope Francis,

“I would like to say that the fundamental characteristic of this Pontificate is precisely joy, a joy that does not arise evidently from carelessness, but from the fact of knowing that one is loved by the Lord,” Cardinal Parolin said.  The other features of the Pontificate, he said, are mercy and evangelization.

The cardinal stressed the “outward looking” focus of today’s Church, noting this “can be the cause of different, conflicting and sometimes even opposing judgments”. This can lead to criticism.

“In a sense it is normal, I think, the fact that all the pontificates have been criticized,” Cardinal Parolin continued. “Then as regards the criticism I would distinguish between those that are destructive, aggressive, really bad criticisms – we use this word – and those that are constructive criticisms.”

Cardinal Parolin pointed out that the aggressive and destructive criticisms must be accepted “in Cruce”: “consider them as part of that crown of thorns that we all have to bear, especially those who have responsibilities in the Church and therefore also have a public role.”

As for constructive criticism: “I believe that it must be taken into account because it can help, be an aid to improvement, and even improve one’s service. I think that constructive criticism is that which arises from fundamentally an attitude of love and that aim of building communion in the Church.”

New Film: ‘Pope Francis – A Man of His Word’

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:42 AM

A new documentary film featuring face-to-face conversations with Pope Francis was released March 13, 2018, the 5th anniversary of the Holy Father’s election.

Pope Francis – A Man of His Word, written and directed by three-time Academy Award® nominee Wim Wenders, is intended to be a personal journey with Pope Francis, rather than a biographical documentary about him. A rare co-production with the Vatican, the pope’s ideas and his message are central to this documentary, which sets out to present his work of reform and his answers to today’s global questions from death, social justice, immigration, ecology, wealth inequality, materialism, and the role of the family, according to Focus Features, distributors of the film, which will be in theaters May 18, 2018.

There is the film’s official trailer:

The film’s direct-to-camera visual and narrative concepts engage the audience face-to-face with the pope, creating a dialogue between him and, literally, the world. Taking questions from people of all walks of life, Pope Francis responds to farmers and workers, refugees, children and the elderly, prison inmates, and those who live in favelas and migrant camps. All of these voices and faces are a cross-section of humanity that join in a conversation with Pope Francis.

While this “symphony of questions” provides the backbone for the film, it also shows the pope on his many journeys around the world, with footage of him speaking at the United Nations, addressing the Congress of the United States, mourning with those gathered at Ground Zero and at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. He speaks to prisoners in correctional facilities and to refugees in Mediterranean camps. We see him travel to the Holy Land (Palestine and Israel) as well as to Africa, South America, and Asia.

Throughout the film, Pope Francis shares his vision of the Church and his deep concern for the poor, his involvement in environmental issues and social justice, and his call for peace in areas of conflict and between world religions. There is also a presence of Saint Francis in the film, connecting back to the pope’s namesake, through accounts of legendary moments in the Saint’s own life as a reformer and ecologist.

In an era of deep distrust of politicians and people in power, when lies and corruption and alternative facts are the order of the day, Pope Francis – A Man of His Word shows us a person who lives what he preaches and who has gained the trust of people of all faith traditions and cultures across the world.

Pope Francis – A Man of His Word is produced by Wenders with Samanta Gandolfi Branca, Alessandro Lo Monaco (The World’s Smallest Army), Andrea Gambetta and David Rosier (The Salt of the Earth). The film is a production of Célestes Images, Centro Televisivo Vaticano, Solares Fondazione delle Arti, PTS Art’s Factory, Neue Road Movies, Fondazione Solares Suisse, and Decia Films.

“Not in my wildest dreams would I have expected to make a film about Pope Francis,” Wenders told Vatican News in a March 13, 2018, interview. “It turned out that he offered me Carte Blanche, let me write a concept and define myself the film I could imagine. And the Vatican would not interfere, and would open its archive for us.”

IOR: First Hearing in Criminal Case Delayed

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:20 AM

The first hearing in the criminal trial at Vatican City State Tribunal against Professor Angelo Caloia and Mr. Gabriele Liuzzo will be held on May 9, 2018, at 9.00 a.m., according to Vatican Press Secretary Greg Burke.

The hearing, initially set for March 15, was postponed at the request of the counsel for the defendants and the lawyers of the IOR, the plaintiff.

On Five-Year Anniversary, A ‘Lexicon’ to Understand Pope Francis

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 9:19 AM

‘A Pope Francis Lexicon,’ Cardinal Kevin Farrell says, is a wonderful tool for understanding the Argentine Pontiff. Two American journalists have edited this special book, which compiled essays from powerful cardinals, bishops, theologians and journalists.

The book, which Rome Bureau Chief of Catholic News Services, Cindy Wooden, and Rome correspondent of National Catholic Reporter, Joshua McElwee, brought to life, features a preface by Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

The volume is composed of 54 essays on various themes by prominent figures such as Cardinals Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C., and Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras and many others such as Massimo Faggioli, Andrea Tornielli, Austen Ivereigh and Doctor Phyllis Zagano.

During the presentation in Rome at the Jesuit Headquarters in March, Cardinal Farrell, the Irish-born American Cardinal leading the Vatican’s Dicastery for Family, Laity, and Life, stressed: ‘Anyone who wishes to understand Pope Francis must read this book.” He underscored that if they were to do so, it would be much less likely that Pope Francis be misunderstood. Encouraging all present to buy copies, he praised the work of the two American journalists who arduously worked compiling and editing all the essays.

Also during the launch, Cardinal Maradiaga discussed Pope Francis’ reform, his ‘word’, along with author and academic, Dr. Phyllis Zagano, of Hofstra University in New York, and Sister Norma Seni Pimentel, who works with refugees and migrants on the southern border of Texas, who shared their reflections on their words of ‘service’ and ‘immigrants’ respectively.

Zenit spoke with Joshua McElwee about their work and what he found to be most meaningful.

“It’s hard for me to choose which of the words were most meaningful. I think the book is a really wonderful resource for anyone looking to better understand Pope Francis’ vision for the Catholic church. Because our Lexicon is a compilation of 54 essays from different authors, readers will benefit from 54 different streams of insight into what Francis is doing. “ “Among some of the most powerful essays,” he shared, “are those from Argentine Archbishop Victor Fernandez, who sheds new light about why the Pope speaks so often about ‘encounter;’ from Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, who sees the ‘field hospital’ as the place for the practice of mercy; from U.S. theologian Katie Grimes, who carefully considers the question of Francis’ understanding of ‘episcopal accountability;’ and from Indian bishops’ advisor Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, who evaluates the good and the bad about how the Pope speaks about ‘women.'” The essay that moved him the most personally, he said, was the foreword by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. “It is such an honor to have a piece in the book by the patriarch, who speaks of his deep esteem and affection for his ‘brother’ Francis.”

The idea for the book was inspired by the Italian ‘Vocabolario di Papa Francesco‘ (The Vocabulary of Pope Francis) (published by Elledici). Liturgical press, interested in creating a similar product, but by means of a broader scope of important participants engaged the two journalists to bring the idea to fruition in English.

The French version of the book ‘Pape Francois Lexique,’ published by Cerf, came out last week. There is also a UK edition, published by Bloomsbury, titled ‘Key Words of Pope Francis.’

FORUM: ‘Pope Francis … Five Years Later’

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 7:59 AM

Much has been written about the first five years of Pope Francis’ Petrine Ministry. Having accompanied him, literally, into the conclave that elected this Argentine Jesuit Bishop of Rome on March 13, 2013, I have followed him closely over the past five years of his remarkable impact on the Church and on the entire world. I have listened to his admirers, his disciples and his critics. I wish to offer these brief reflections, fully aware that so much more can be said.

By choosing the name Francis, he is also affirming the power of humility and simplicity. This Argentine Jesuit is not simply attesting to the complementarity of the Ignatian and Franciscan paths. He is pointing each day to how the mind and heart meet in the love of God and the love of neighbor. And most of all, Francis reminds us day in and day out how much we need Jesus, and also how much we need one another along the journey.

Having served as one of the official spokespersons at the Vatican during the historic Papal transition of 2013, I must return to a very programmatic text for the Pontificate now unfolding before our very eyes. It is a Cardinal’s intervention during the pre-conclave meetings of Cardinals on the morning of March 7, 2013. It was entitled: The Sweet and Comforting Joy of Evangelizing. The Cardinal began by reminding his brother Cardinals in that upper room, “Evangelization is the raison d’etre of the Church — “the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing”. It is Jesus Christ himself who impels us from within. The Cardinal offered four simple yet profound points.

– To evangelize implies apostolic zeal. To evangelize implies a desire in the Church to come out of herself. The Church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries not only in the geographic sense but also the existential peripheries: those of the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance, of doing without religion, of thought and of all misery.

– When the Church does not come out of herself to evangelize, she becomes self-referent and then she gets sick. (cf. The hunchback woman of the Gospel). The evils that over the course of time happen in ecclesial institutions have their root in a self-reference and a sort of theological narcissism. In the book of Revelation, Jesus says that he is at the door and knocks. Evidently the text refers to his knocking from outside in order to enter but I think of the times in which Jesus knocks from within so that we will let him come out. The self-referent Church keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not let him come out.

– When the Church is self-referent without realizing it, she believes she has her own light. She ceases to be the mysterium lunae and gives way to that very great evil which is spiritual worldliness. The self-referent Church lives to give glory only to one another. In simple terms, there are two images of the Church: the evangelizing Church that comes out of herself: “Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith” – the first words of the Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, and the worldly Church that lives within herself, of herself, for herself. This must give light to the possible changes and reforms which must be made for the salvation of souls.

– Thinking of the next Pope, he must be a man that from the contemplation and adoration of Jesus Christ, helps the Church to come out to the existential peripheries, that helps her to be the fruitful mother who lives from the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing.

That Cardinal was the Archbishop of Buenos Aries whose name was Jorge Mario Bergoglio. His new name is Francis. He is a Jesuit. His humility has impressed many people around the entire world. His style has truly become substance. It is the most radically evangelical aspect of his spiritual reform of the papacy, and he has invited all Catholics, but especially the clergy, to reject success, wealth and power. Francis’ spiritual father, Ignatius of Loyola, insisted that a Jesuit is never to have an anti-ecclesial spirit, but always be open to how the spirit of God is working. The Jesuit commitment not to seek ecclesiastical office, even in the Society is an outgrowth of that experience. Francis has so interiorized those values that without hesitation he applies it to clerical and curial reform today.

In Ignatius’ eyes, humility is the virtue that brings us closest to Christ, and Pope Francis appears to be guiding the church and educating the clergy in that fundamental truth. Francis teaches us that precisely this humility is essential to make the New Evangelization real and effective both within the church and in her encounter with the world. Pope Francis models for us each day a Church of humility, tenderness and mercy, an incarnational Church that walks with people on the journey. A Church that listens, discerns, accompanies, forgives, blesses, speaks boldly and courageously; a Church that weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice. A Church that does everything she can to resist the temptation to reduce the faith to moralism; a Church that resists all attempts to disincarnate the message and the person she holds deep within her heart: Jesus Christ. A Church that strives to integrate people back into the community of faith. In the heart and mind of Pope Francis, we need “a church that is again capable of restoring citizenship to so many of its children that walk as if in exodus.”

Nor can I ever forget his parting words to his brother bishops of the United States of America in September 2015, as he took leave of them in St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, DC. Francis spoke of the Church and priestly ministry that he envisions for America and for the world:

“…a Church which can gather around the family fire remains able to attract others. And not any fire, but the one which blazed forth on Easter morn. The risen Lord continues to challenge the Church’s pastors through the quiet plea of so many of our brothers and sisters: “Have you something to eat?” We need to recognize the Lord’s voice, as the apostles did on the shore of the lake of Tiberius (Jn 21:4-12). It becomes even more urgent to grow in the certainty that the embers of his presence, kindled in the fire of his passion, precede us and will never die out. Whenever this certainty weakens, we end up being caretakers of ash, and not guardians and dispensers of the true light and the warmth which causes our hearts to burn within us (Lk 24:32).”

The playbook and script for Francis’ Petrine Ministry do not emanate from Buenos Aires, nor from Rome, Loyola or Assisi. They come from Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Galilee and Emmaus where the whole story began in the first place! If various groups and individuals in the Church seem to have difficulty with Pope Francis, I wonder if their difficulties are not with Francis, but rather with his script, and the author of that script.

On the late afternoon of March 13, 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio received the call to go, rebuild, repair, renew and heal the church. There are those who delight in describing the new Pope as a bold, brazen revolutionary sent to rock the boat. Others think he has come to cause a massive shipwreck. But the only revolution that Pope Francis has inaugurated is a revolution of tenderness, the very words he used in his recent major letter on “The Joy of the Gospel.” [Evangelii Gaudium #88]

Many are calling Francis the great revolutionary. The only time he uses the word ‘revolution’, is in Evangelii Gaudium paragraph 88, when he speaks about the revolution of tenderness of the Son of God who took on our flesh. I also think that there is another revolution that Francis is offering us: the revolution of normalcy. What Francis is showing us and modeling for us is normal Christian, pastoral behavior. Whenever we are confronted by such normal, simple Christian behavior, it throws some of us for a loop, because it’s more of a reflection on our own abnormal behavior and human cravings for ways of the world rather than the path of Gospel living that leads to holiness here below and in the life to come. Pope Francis’ normal Christian behavior is for each of us a challenge, a consolation, and a form of tenderness that we’ve desired for, for a long time. He demands a lot while preaching about a God of mercy, by engaging joyfully with nonbelievers, atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and those sitting on the fences of life – many who thought that Christianity has nothing left to add to the equations of life. Through the powerful and provocative messages deep within Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Sì and Amoris Laetitia, and daily reflections flowing from simple, Eucharistic celebrations in the chapel of a Vatican Guest House, Francis has connected with and encountered a humanity that hungers and thirsts for a message of hope and consolation.

We need the Francis revolution of tenderness, mercy and normalcy now more than ever before. I can only hope and pray that we learn from him and imitate him.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB

CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation

March 13, 2018


On the NET:

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Vatican Issues Series on Theology of Pope Francis

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 1:43 AM

‘Theology of Pope Francis”, has been released by the Vatican Publishing House (LEV). Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, the Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication, presented the series of books in Italian and discusses them and the positive reaction of Pope Benedict XVI to the series in a video released by the Vatican on March 12, 2018.

Liturgy Q & A: Multiple Communions on Good Friday

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 1:00 AM

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: Given that a priest may, in some cases, celebrate the Good Friday liturgy multiple times (per Paschalis Solemnitatis, No. 43); given that the Good Friday liturgy is not a Mass and thus is not a sacrificial act requiring the celebrant’s consumption of the victim for its integrity by divine law; and given the norm of Canon 917 (as authentically interpreted): “A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 921, §2” — may/must the priest take Communion during the second Good Friday celebration? May others (e.g., a deacon who assists in both services) also receive Communion a second time? — G.S., Washington, D.C.

A: Paschalis Solemnitatis, No. 43, says:

“43. It is fitting that small religious communities, both clerical and lay, and other lay groups should participate in the celebration of the Easter Triduum in neighboring principal churches.

“Similarly, where the number of participants and ministers is so small that the celebrations of the Easter Triduum cannot be carried out with the requisite solemnity, such groups of the faithful should assemble in a larger church.

“Also, where there are small parishes with only one priest, it is recommended that such parishes should assemble, as far as possible, in a principal church and participate in the celebration there.

“On account of the needs of the faithful, where a pastor has the responsibility for two or more parishes in which the faithful assemble in large numbers, and where the celebration can be carried out with the requisite care and solemnity, the celebrations of the Easter Triduum may be repeated in accord with the given norms.

“So that seminary students ‘might live fully Christ’s paschal mystery, and thus be able to teach those who will be committed to their care,’ they should be given a thorough and comprehensive liturgical formation. It is important that during their formative years in the seminary, they should experience fruitfully the solemn Easter celebrations, especially those over which the bishop presides.”

With respect to Good Friday it also says:

“59. On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist: Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the celebration of the Lord’s passion alone, though it may be brought at any time of the day to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration.”

We are dealing with a special, indeed unique, case. However, I would say that in my opinion, the answer would be negative and that the pastor would not receive Communion twice on this day.

First of all, as our reader points out, except in danger of death, canon law foresees the possibility of a second Communion only within the context of a Mass, and this is not a Mass.

Second, whereas at Mass the priest must always communicate in virtue of his ministry, in this case there is no intrinsic need to take a second Communion. Likewise, in the rare case that he celebrated a third celebration of the Passion, it would be clear that a third Communion would go against the law. Therefore, the priest’s reception is not essential to the Good Friday celebration.

Third, in 1955 Pope Pius XII restored the possibility of receiving Communion during the celebration of the Passion on Good Friday after many centuries in which it was not distributed. The intention for this change was: “[A]bove all: that, devoutly receiving the Body of the Lord, delivered up for all on this day, they [the faithful] may obtain more abundantly the fruits of Redemption.” The faculty, however, was, and still is, restricted to participation within this celebration except for the sick. Because of these restrictions it would appear that the Church’s mind on this matter would not favor multiple Communions on this day.

Finally: if a priest must celebrate more than one celebration of the Passion it is: “On account of the needs of the faithful.” Although he probably derives much spiritual profit from his dedication, his primary motivation is that of serving the faithful.

* * *

Follow-up: Prayer Over the People

Pursuant to our February 27 response regarding the Lenten prayers over the people, a Missouri reader asked: “You stated, ‘The deacon’s invitation to the people to bow the head for the blessing is also very ancient.’ I question whether the bow there is a bow of the head or a profound bow. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) No. 275b states that the deacon makes a profound bow before the priest when receiving the blessing to proclaim the Gospel, so it would seem to be the same for the assembly when they receive the final blessing from the priest at the end of Mass. Nowhere does the GIRM or missal specify that I have found. What do you think?”

The full text of GIRM 275 says:

“275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bow: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.

“a) A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.

“b) A bow of the body, that is to say, a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (With humble spirit); in the Creed at the words et incarnatus est (and by the Holy Spirit … and became man); in the Roman Canon at the Supplices te rogamus (In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God). The same kind of bow is made by the Deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the Priest bows slightly as he pronounces the words of the Lord at the Consecration.”

As mentioned by our reader, the GIRM does not specify the nature of the bow made by the faithful at this moment.

However, since the “bow of the head” mentioned in 275a is evidently a very brief bow lasting barely a couple of seconds, then the bow for the solemn blessing would fall naturally into the category of the profound bow. This would be like that of the deacon or that of the whole assembly during the creed.

At the same time, since nothing specific is determined, there is no particular standard as to how deep this bow should be, and each person can decide what constitutes the appropriate gesture at this moment.

* * *

Readers may send questions to zenit.liturgy@gmail.com. Please put the word “Liturgy” in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.