After his summer pause of a month that included colon surgery exactly a month ago, Pope Francis today resumed the weekly general audiences and continued a catechesis he had started on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. The audience was held in the air conditioned Paul VI Hall and, though the hall was not filled to capacity, there did not always seem to be social distancing among the enthusiastic pilgrims.

When the Pope entered the hall to great applause, he was wearing a mask but that came off rather quickly. He did not put it back on when he met some of the bishops in attendance at the audience. (photos Daniel Ibanez EWTN)

He began the catechesis by stating, “we now consider Paul’s insistence on complete fidelity to the Gospel. For Paul, the proclamation of the Christian message was his very life. What he preached to the Galatians was in fact the apostolic kerygma, which summarized the fulfilment of all God’s promises in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, was buried, rose on the third day, and appeared to Peter.”

Kerygma come from an ancient Greek word and means “proclamation,” the proclaiming of the Gospel. It is used in the New Testament.

“When it comes to the Gospel and to the mission to evangelize, Paul is enthusiastic! Everything in him is dedicated to this proclamation, and has no interest other than the Gospel.”

Francis said, “This explains why, at the beginning of the Letter, Paul urges the Galatians so forcefully not to turn away from the freedom brought by the Gospel. For that Gospel, entrusted to the apostles, offers to all – ourselves included – the assurance of new life and freedom flowing from the cross of Christ and the gift of his Holy Spirit.”


At the end of the audience catechesis in eight languages, the Holy Father had greetings for various groups, as well as a heartfelt appeal for Lebanon:

“In these days, I think especially of the beloved country of Lebanon a year after the terrible port explosion in its capital, Beirut, with its toll of death and destruction. I think above all of the victims and their families, the many injured, and those who lost their homes and livelihoods. So many people have lost the desire to go on.

“During the Day of Prayer and Reflection for Lebanon last July 1st, together with Christian religious leaders, all of us listened to the hopes and aspirations, the frustrations and weariness of the Lebanese people, and we prayed for God’s gift of hope to overcome this difficult crisis.

“Today I would also appeal to the international community to offer Lebanon concrete assistance, not only with words but with concrete actions in undertaking a journey of ‘resurrection’. It is my hope that the current International Conference hosted by France with the support of the United Nations will prove productive in this regard.

“Dear Lebanese friends, I greatly desire to visit you and I continue to pray for you, so that Lebanon will once more be a message of peace and fraternity for the entire Middle East.”



As you may have seen on my Facebook page and on Twitter yesterday, I posted a link to a piece by Aleteia entitledAll your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church on August 2.”

Since my place is a 5-minute walk from a Franciscan church I frequent – San Gregorio VII – I made plans to go in early evening as there were confessions from 6 to 7pm and Mass at 6:30 so I could fulfil all the conditions for a plenary indulgence that is granted on August 2, the day of the famed “Pardon of Assisi.”

The “Pardon of Assisi” can be obtained from vespers of August 1 to midnight of August 2. This is a plenary indulgence (elimination of temporal punishment due to sin) that may be received by going to Confession, attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist (August 2), visiting a parish or Franciscan church, reciting the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and praying for the Pope and his intentions. (A link to my video on the Porziuncula is below)

Things were not well-organized for the many people who wanted to go to confession so I will go asap to St. Peter’s where a portion of the basilica is always dedicated to priests who hear confessions in many languages from the basilica’s opening until it closes. Confessions are often heard during Mass in Italy but I don’t like missing even a moment of Mass so that is not a choice for me. The conditions needed for a plenary indulgence may be fulfilled for a week before or a week after the special date, such as August 2.

The story of the “Pardon of Assisi” and the Indulgence of Porziuncula is a wonderful story, all the more so if you have a great love for the saint of Assisi or bear his name – Francis (my middle name is Frances).

St. Francis of Assisi – a statue on a hillside on the way to the church of San Damiano –

That Porziuncula website tells us that a small abandoned chapel, situated in an area known in Latin as “Portiuncula” – which means “small piece of land” – was given by Benedictine monks to St. Francis who, having promised the abbot to make it the mother house of his new order, promptly restored it with his own hands. It was here that he came to understand his vocation clearly and here he founded the Order of the Friars Minor in 1209, entrusting it to the protection of the Virgin Mother of Christ, to whom the little church is dedicated.

The Porziuncula is one of the first churches that St. Francis rebuilt after hearing God’s voice from the San Damiano cross say, “Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins”.  It is also where he received St. Clare and where he died.

He died here:

One night in 1216, while Francis was immersed in prayer, a radiant light spread through the little church and he saw above the altar Christ and his Mother Mary, surrounded by a multitude of Angels. They asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis’ reply was immediate; “I ask that all those persons who have repented and confessed their sins who will come to this church, may obtain a full and generous pardon, and a complete remission of all their faults.”

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Francis was told he had to get permission for this from Pope Honorious III. He did get permission but when the Pope asked him for how many years he wanted the indulgence, Francis is said to gave responded: “Not for a number of years but for all souls!”

Though Honorious did agree, he stipulated that the indulgence would only be received in the chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, the immense basilica that houses the Porziuncula, and only on August 2, the date the chapel was dedicated. That was soon extended to included Franciscan churches throughout the world.

St. Mary of the Angels –

Before St. Francis’ request for an indulgence, a plenary indulgence could only be gained by visiting the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, St. Peter’s in Rome or Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Because not everyone could travel to these faraway places, Francis thus asked that the Porziuncula be designated such a place.

See more on my Joan’s Rome video: A VISIT TO THE PORZIUNCULA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbPFdmSTOcY




Pope Francis released the prayer intention for the month of August, inviting everyone to work for a transformation of the Church – a work that begins with “a reform of ourselves” through an experience of prayer, charity and service, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

In his video message for his prayer intention for August, Pope Francis reminds the faithful that “the vocation of the Church is evangelization,” and even more, “the Church’s identity is evangelization.”

In this month, the Holy Father reflects on the situation of the Church, its vocation and its identity, and calls us to renew it “by discerning God’s will in our daily life,” and “embarking on a transformation guided by the Holy Spirit.”

“Our own reform as persons is that transformation,” the Pope said. This allows the “Holy Spirit, the gift of God in our hearts, to remind us what Jesus taught and helps us to put into practice.”

For more, including the video of Pope Francis with his message: Pope’s prayer intention for August: Church on the way – Vatican News



POPE TO YOUTH IN MEDJUGORJE: FOLLOW CHRIST WITH COURAGE AND JOY: Pope Francis sends a message to young people gathered at Mladifest, the annual international prayer meeting being held from 1-6 August in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Entrusting them to the example of Mary, the Pope invites them to believe in the fullness and true happiness giving oneself to God brings. The guiding theme of the youth festival underway in Medjugorje until August 6 is: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” They cite the words of the rich young man of whom the Synoptic Gospels speak when he set out, or rather, ran to meet the Lord, to inquire about gaining eternal life, that is, happiness. Pope Francis sent his good wishes to the participants with a message offering some reflections on the theme. Mladifest, the Pope reminds his readers, is in fact a “week of prayer and encounter with Jesus Christ, especially in his living Word, in the Eucharist, in adoration and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” which has the power to “set us on our way to the Lord.” And so this young man of the Gospel, whose name we do not know but whose soul we do know, becomes the symbol of all those who participate in this event. News about Pope Francis – All the latest news – Vatican News

VATICAN UNVEILS OFFICIAL IMAGE FOR X WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES: The official image for the upcoming World Meeting of Families has been released. Produced by Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, the image is dedicated to the Wedding at Cana. The eagerly awaited 10th World Meeting of Families will take place in Rome from June 22 to 26 June 2022, after the event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Sacramental love between a man and a woman is a reflection of the indissoluble love and unity between Christ and the Church: Jesus sheds His blood for Her.” This is the meaning behind the official image of the Tenth World Meeting of Families.Vatican unveils official image for X World Meeting of Families – Vatican News

US BISHOPS APPLAUD GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR AFGHAN HELPERS: Bishops in the US welcome government efforts to evacuate and save Afghan nationals who helped US troops during the two decades of US military campaign in Afghanistan. They insist that the sacrifices that these people have made “should not go unacknowledged.” Bishops in the US have hailed government efforts to provide refuge for Afghans who assisted US forces during the 20-year-long war in Afghanistan. The Biden administration launched “Operation Allies Refuge,” an initiative to relocate thousands of Afghans who worked as interpreters and translators during the military campaign and who now fear for their safety. “We are proud to have the opportunity to welcome and assist those who have kept Americans safe in Afghanistan,” said a statement signed by USCCB President Archbishop José Gomez and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, Bishop Mario Dorsonville. US Bishops applaud government support for Afghan helpers – Vatican News


Where on earth has July gone?! So hard to believe this Sunday is August 1st! Because the Holy Father is still convalescing from his July 4 surgery, it was fairly quiet in the Vatican this week except for Sunday’s Mass for the First World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, and an unprecedented trial that began in the Vatican on Tuesday.

For Pope Francis, July is traditionally the month in which he takes a kind of working vacation, remaining in the Vatican but reducing public appearances to the Sunday Angelus. He sends the occasional telegram or message to a group but in-person meetings are reduced to the minimum.

Today, for example, the Holy Father sent a telegram of condolences for the death on Thursday in Rome of French Jesuit Cardinal Albert Vanhoye. Vanhoye had turned 98 on July 24. An eminent biblical scholar, the cardinal was rector emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and former secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. He led the 2008 Lenten Retreat for the Curia. The cardinal’s funeral in St. Peter’s Basilica is Saturday, July 31.


I had the great joy of interviewing two dear friends, a dynamic duo – Catherine Wiley and Marilyn Henry – this week to talk about the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. Catherine founded the Catholic Grandparents Association in the UK and Marilyn Henry coordinates CGA in the U.S. Grandmothers themselves, they tell us the riveting tale of how CGA came about and how a lot of work by Catherine over 12 years led to this new World Day! You will be very inspired by their remarkable story!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.


(Franciscanmedia.org: Blessed Solanus Casey’s Story (November 25, 1875 – July 31, 1957) – a story I really had to share as it is so inspirational!)

Barney Casey became one of Detroit’s best-known priests even though he was not allowed to preach formally or to hear confessions!

Barney came from a large family in Oak Grove, Wisconsin. At the age of 21, and after he had worked as a logger, a hospital orderly, a streetcar operator, and a prison guard, he entered St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee—where he found the studies difficult. He left there, and in 1896, joined the Capuchins in Detroit, taking the name Solanus. His studies for the priesthood were again arduous.

On July 24, 1904, Solanus was ordained, but because his knowledge of theology was judged to be weak, he was not given permission to hear confessions or to preach. A Franciscan Capuchin who knew him well said this annoying restriction “brought forth in him a greatness and a holiness that might never have been realized in any other way.”

Photo from Solanus Casey Center

During his 14 years as porter and sacristan in Yonkers, New York, the people there recognized Solanus as a fine speaker. James Derum, his biographer writes, “For, though he was forbidden to deliver doctrinal sermons, he could give inspirational talks, or feverinos, as the Capuchins termed them.” His spiritual fire deeply impressed his listeners.

Father Solanus served at parishes in Manhattan and Harlem before returning to Detroit, where he was porter and sacristan for 20 years at St. Bonaventure Monastery. Every Wednesday afternoon he conducted well-attended services for the sick. A co-worker estimates that on the average day 150 to 200 people came to see Father Solanus in the front office. Most of them came to receive his blessing; 40 to 50 came for consultation. Many people considered him instrumental in cures and other blessings they received.

Father Solanus’ sense of God’s providence inspired many of his visitors. “Blessed be God in all his designs” was one of his favorite expressions.

The many friends of Father Solanus helped the Capuchins begin a soup kitchen during the Depression. Capuchins are still feeding the hungry there today.

In failing health, Solanus was transferred to the Capuchin novitiate in Huntington, Indiana, in 1946,  where he lived for ten years until needing to be hospitalized in Detroit. Father Solanus died on July 31, 1957. An estimated 20,000 people passed by his coffin before his burial in St. Bonaventure Church in Detroit.

At the funeral Mass, the provincial Father Gerald said: “His was a life of service and love for people like me and you. When he was not himself sick, he nevertheless suffered with and for you that were sick. When he was not physically hungry, he hungered with people like you. He had a divine love for people. He loved people for what he could do for them—and for God, through them.”

In 1960, a Father Solanus Guild was formed in Detroit to aid Capuchin seminarians. By 1967, the guild had 5,000 members—many of them grateful recipients of his practical advice and his comforting assurance that God would not abandon them in their trials. Solanus Casey was declared Venerable in 1995, and beatified on November 18, 2017.


His biographer James Patrick Derum writes that eventually Father Solanus was weary from bearing the burdens of the people who visited him. “Long since, he had come to know the Christ-taught truth that pure love of God and one’s fellowmen as children of God are in the final event all that matter. Living this truth ardently and continuously had made him, spiritually, a free man—free from slavery to passions, from self-seeking, from self-indulgence, from self-pity—free to serve wholly both God and man” (The Porter of St. Bonaventure’s, page 199).



Vatican News has prepared a detailed report of the first phase of a trial in the Vatican in which 10 people, including a cardinal, have been indicted for embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money laundering and self-laundering, fraud, and abuse of office, among other charges.

I have edited in two ways only: I divided a few single paragraphs that were very long into two paragraphs, and I corrected the name of one defendant that was spelled correctly in several paragraphs and incorrectly in others.

This is long but provides a great deal of information that I have not seen elsewhere in a single report.


Vatican press office director, Matteo Bruni, today confirmed the July 28 Episcopal ordination in the cathedral of Pingliang, Chinese province of Gansu, of Rev. Antonio LI Hui, appointed by Pope Francis as Coadjutor of Pingliang on 11 January 2021. Li is 5th Chinese Bishop appointed and ordained in the regulatory framework of the Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops in China.


The trial over the use Secretariat of State funds began on Tuesday in the courtroom of the Vatican Museums. The defense attorneys for the ten defendants presented preliminary motions. The next hearing is scheduled for October 5.

Salvatore Cernuzio – Vatican City

The large courtroom set up in the Vatican Museums hosted, on Tuesday, 27 July, the first hearing in the Vatican over the illicit deals made with Secretariat of State funds, starting with the sale of the Sloane Avenue Building in London. Judge Giuseppe Pignatone with Judges Venerando Marano and Carlo Bonzano at his side, presided over the hearing, which lasted seven hours from 9:41 to 16:45. About thirty lawyers, journalists, and gendarmes were present, although only two of the ten defendants were present: Msgr. Mauro Carlino, already in the courtroom early in the morning, and Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the former Substitute of the Secretariat of State, who is accused of embezzlement, abuse of office and subornation. (photo: Vatican media)

The cardinal, from whom the Pope revoked the prerogatives of the cardinalate in September 2020, attended the entire hearing, sitting. And at the end of the hearing, he recalled that he had always been “obedient to the Pope, who sent me to trial”, saying he was “not worried”: “I have the confidence that the judges will see the facts clearly and my great hope is the certainty that they will recognize my innocence”. He also announced that he had given a mandate to his lawyers to denounce Msgr. Alberto Perlasca and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui for slander.

Marogna and Torzi’s lawyers ask for a postponement

At the beginning of the hearing, Pignatone communicated the extension of the terms for the presentation of evidence and petitions for the respective defenses and joined to the main trial the position of the former president of AIF (now ASIF), René Brülhart, who, through his lawyer, made it known that he was prevented from coming from Zurich but agreed to the continuation of the trial.

Pignatone then gave the floor to the lawyers. The first one was Fiorino Ruggio, defender of Cecilia Marogna, the manager from Cagliari, who was not present. The lawyer made a request for a postponement since the DIS (Dipartimento delle informazioni per la sicurezza) had ordered an investigation and therefore the testimony of Marogna has to be freed from secrecy first.

Ambra Giovene, Torzi’s lawyer, deposited a copy of the request for “legitimate impediment” of his client to attend the hearing. Torzi is the recipient of a precautionary measure, which also includes an electronic bracelet, issued on April 28, 2021 with a request for extradition from Great Britain: “He cannot move from London,” his lawyer said. And the other lawyer Marco Franco replied: “Torzi, even when he would receive the authorization from the British judge to come to court, would be arrested at Fiumicino airport”. The defense then insisted on the postponement: “It is not in the interest of this defense to hold a trial on its own”.

The defender of Crasso

Over an hour was spent by the lawyer Carlo Panella, defending the financier Enrico Crasso and his three companies (Prestige Family Office Sa, Sogenel Capital Investment, Hp Finance), who presented some objections. The first related to the establishment of a civil action by APSA and the IOR, which, according to the lawyer, should be “inadmissible” as they presented “a generic formula” with the request for compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage, including damage to reputation, without explaining the reasons.

Panella then stated that: “It is not possible that three parties are constituted expressions of the same state and that each one asks for compensation. The risk is to triple the compensation”. The lawyer then complained about the lack of “numerous acts” – among the 28,000 documents deposited – which to date have not been made available to the defence or were illegible, including nine USB pen drives containing bank statements and bank documentation from Switzerland. The lawyer has also pointed out that the defendants have not been guaranteed the necessary time to prepare their defence.

Challenges on the Pope’s rescripts

Panella also contended that there would be a lack of jurisdiction over the crimes of money laundering and self-laundering charged against Crasso and his companies abroad and not on Vatican territory. Finally, he challenged the fact that by virtue of a Rescript dated 2 July 2019 by Pope Francis, the office of the Promoter of Justice was authorized to proceed in the manner of a summary process and to take measures, including precautionary measures.

According to the lawyer, a rescript is an “administrative act”, and so there is a “doubt concerning whether is appropriate that an administrative act should derogate from existing legislation.” Three other Rescripts of the Pope would have introduced criminal procedures “only for this process”, which, according to Crasso’s defender, would make the Vatican “a special Tribunal”.

Tirabassi’s Defense

All the other attorneys joined in the requests of attorney Panella, asking that the indictment be declared null and void. In particular, Cataldo Intrieri, a lawyer for Fabrizio Tirabassi (formerly an official of the Secretariat of State) pointed out that the acts lack documentation concerning his client, such as the search and seizure order that took place in October 2019 in the Secretariat of State and the experts’ report on the examination of Tirabassi’s computers: “The contents were extracted without our being consulted.” And he recalled that money was seized from Tirabassi’s and his father’s home that, according to the lawyer, should not have been possible to sequester “because it was there before 2013”. Moreover, according to what Intrieri pointed out, the file of the appeals court in Rome that had established the illegitimacy of the seizure and ordered the restitution of the goods to the owners appears to be missing.

Perlasca and the trial

This was followed by the intervention of attorney Salvino Mondello, who stated that his client, Msgr. Carlino, had been accused in the two interrogations of “completely different crimes from those that had been referred”.

Then it was the turn of Fabio Viglione, Cardinal Becciu’s lawyer, who complained about the lack of recordings of Msgr. Alberto Perlasca’s interrogations (including videos of the interrogations), as well as “a series of acts that refer to forensic copies of numerous computer devices in use” by Perlasca himself. This was echoed by deputy Leonardo Mazza, according to whom the five interrogations of Perlasca – of which, he said, traces had been lost – are null and void, as well as “the result of an obvious procedural violation of the rights of guarantee”. In particular, this regards the first interrogation of August 31, 2020, to which the Perlasca presented himself voluntarily and without a defence attorney.

On the other hand, Giandomenico Caiazza, defense counsel for broker Raffaele Mincione, said that in the acts they learned “almost by chance” of the existence of an arrest warrant issued on 19 June 2020 against Mincione. “This warrant was never executed, but it was issued with the same logic as that of Torzi”. The lawyer hinted that if Mincione had shown up for questioning that day, he would have been arrested: “This is a method that will call for appropriate prudence towards similar citations to interrogations at the Vatican City State”.

Severino: “The Pope is the legislator”.

The lawyers’ remarks were answered by Paola Severino, former Italian Minister of Justice and attorney for the Secretariat of State for the civil process, who reiterated the legitimacy of APSA’s incorporation as a civil plaintiff by virtue of the Pope’s Motu proprio of December 26, 2020, which transferred funds and investments of the Secretariat of State to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See: “In the case of compensation to the Secretariat of State, no longer holders of assets, there were fears of objections of legitimacy. Hence the establishment of the APSA”. As for the fact that the Vatican is a “special tribunal”, the professor reiterated the “strong moral connotation” of the trial underway and, on several occasions; the validity of the rescripts of the Pontiff, stressing that “the Pope is the legislator, as is the case in all the processes in the Vatican”.

Also present in the courtroom on behalf of the IOR was lawyer Roberto Lipari, who stressed that the Istituto per le Opere di Religione is “an injured party”: “The task of the IOR is to safeguard the assets destined for works of religion and charity. The illicit use of IOR assets damages the ability of the IOR – which is not part of either the Holy See or the Vatican City State – to make new contacts and relationships.”

The Promoter of Justice

For his part, the promoter of justice (effectively, the chief prosecutor), Gian Piero Milano, returned to the question of the papal rescript which, he explained, is an act that expresses “the supreme power” of the Pope: “If we look at this hearing with the eyes of a jurist, we have a deformed vision of this order and we can attribute non-compliant meanings of the civil orders,” he clarified. Referring to the “special” character of the Vatican Tribunal for the ongoing process, he said instead: “It would become a special tribunal if it arrogated to itself the prerogative of reviewing acts that are the expression of a power removed from any evaluation”.

The explanations of the assistant promoter

The response of the assistant promoter, Alessandro Diddi, was more extensive. He began by saying, “If we have made mistakes, we are ready to amend them”. Then he replied, point by point, to each of the objections of the lawyers. First of all, he made it clear that the defense should not be based on the differences between the Italian and Vatican systems: “Let’s clarify the rules: making continuous reference to a system that is not the one in force distracts attention from what we are going to do from here in the coming months”. Reiterating the effectiveness of the Pope’s rescripts, Diddi explained that it is precisely because of this papal provision that the arrest warrant for Torzi and Mincione was issued. The latter mandate was decided because during those days in June 2020, at a “crucial” phase of the investigations, there was “an attempt to mislead” by the two brokers. “We felt we had to intervene with precautionary measures”.

The adjunct promoter also explained that all the computer items seized are currently kept in a safe in the office of the Promoter of Justice and that if some acts have not been produced it is because the laws in force establish that it is possible to deposit acts of proceedings and not seized acts: “The only material that cannot be included is a huge amount of computer items kept in a small location, a small building, in a room full of devices”. However, Diddi reiterated his willingness, subject to authorization by the Court, to reproduce any documentation requested. Finally, he said he was proud of the fact that “in a year and a half of investigations there has been no leakage of information”.

The decision of the Tribunal

After an hour and twenty minutes of council chamber, President Pignatone revoked the Vatican’s arrest warrant against Mincione and reserved the right to decide on the objections and requests of the lawyers. He then established the judgment in absentia of all those absent from the first hearing, with the exception of broker Gianluigi Torzi, who is not participating due to a legitimate impediment; as well as Cardinal Becciu and his former secretary Msgr. Carlino who had appeared in court.




As I write, a trial of 10 people, including a cardinal, is underway in the Vatican with the ten accused of embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money laundering and self-laundering, fraud, and abuse of office, among the charges.

A pool of vaticanisti is following the trial. When today’s session is over, they will together write a report for the rest of the journalists accredited to the Holy See who will then be able to ask questions and write their own stories.

(shuttercock photo-CNA)

Until we get that, I offer the following, the announcement made by the Vatican on July 3 about this trial and reported in Vatican news (bold is in original):

On July 3, 2021, the President of the Vatican Court ordered the summons for the judgment of the defendants in the context of the financial investments of the Secretariat of State in London. The trial will begin at the hearing on July 27th.

The request for the summons for trial was submitted in recent days by the Office of the Promoter of Justice, in the persons of the Promoter Gian Piero Milano, the Deputy Alessandro Diddi and the Applicant Gianluca Perone, and regards ecclesiastical and lay personnel of the Secretariat of State and senior figures of the then Financial Intelligence Authority, as well as external figures active in the world of international finance.

They are:

– René Brülhart, who is accused of abuse of office;

– Msgr. Mauro Carlino, who is accused of extortion and abuse of office;

– Enrico Crasso, who is accused of embezzlementcorruptionextortionmoney laundering and self-launderingfraudabuse of officeforgery of a public deed committed by a private individual and forgery in a private document;

– Tommaso Di Ruzza, who is accused of embezzlementabuse of office and breach of confidentiality;

– Cecilia Marogna, who is accused of embezzlement;

– Raffaele Mincione, who is accused of embezzlementfraudabuse of officeembezzlement and self-laundering;

– Nicola Squillace, who is accused of fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and self-laundering;

– Fabrizio Tirabassi, who is accused of corruptionextortionembezzlementfraud and abuse of office;

– Gianluigi Torzi, who is accused of extortionembezzlementfraudembezzlementmoney laundering and self-laundering;

and against the companies:

– HP Finance LLC, referable to Enrico Crasso, to whom the indictment alleges the crime of fraud;

– Logsic Humanitarne Dejavnosti, D.O.O., attributable to Cecilia Marogna, accused of embezzlement;

– Prestige Family Office SA, attributable to Enrico Crasso, who is accused of fraud;

– Sogenel Capital Investment, which can be traced back to Enrico Crasso, to which the indictment alleges the crime of fraud.

Some of the aforementioned offences are also alleged to have been committed “in complicity.”

The investigations, launched in July 2019 following a complaint by the Institute for the Works of Religion and the Office of the Auditor General, involved full collaboration between the Office of the Promoter and the Judicial Police Section of the Gendarmerie Corps. The investigations were also carried out in close and fruitful cooperation with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Rome and the Economic and Financial Police Unit – G.I.C.E.F. of the Guardia di Finanza of Rome. The cooperation of the Public Prosecutor’s Offices of Milan, Bari, Trento, Cagliari and Sassari and their respective judicial police sections was also appreciated.

Elements also emerged against Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, who is being prosecuted, pursuant to the law, for the crimes of embezzlement and abuse of office, also in collaboration, as well as subornation**.

The investigations, carried out also with rogatory commissions in several other foreign countries (United Arab Emirates, Great Britain, Jersey, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Switzerland), have brought to light a vast network of relationships with operators in the financial markets that have generated substantial losses for the Vatican finances, having also drawn on the resources intended for the personal charitable works of the Holy Father.

The judicial initiative is directly related to the indications and reforms of His Holiness Pope Francis, in the work of transparency and rehabilitation of Vatican finances; work that, according to the accusation, was countered by speculative illegal activities and detrimental to reputation in the terms indicated in the request for trial.

Vatican City, 3 July 2021

(**JFL: subornation is inducing someone to commit an unlawful act or to commit perjury

For background, here is a July piece by CNA’s Andrea Gagliarducci: In London deal indictment, what is missing has a meaning, too (catholicnewsagency.com) And this today from CNA: Vatican finance trial: Here’s what you need to know about the case centred on a London property deal (catholicnewsagency.com)

Posted 4:55 pm, Rome time



There is no better time to write a “day after” story than today, July 26, the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, grandparents to a young man from Nazareth named Jesus. The parents of Mary, Joachim and Anne were the grandparents par excellence and surely on everyone’s mind as the Church yesterday celebrated the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly.

I’ve had this feast day on my mind for quite some time, well before, in fact, Pope Francis announced on January 31 at the Angelus that he had instituted such a feast day.

You see, two of my dear friends, two amazing women, both of whom are grandmothers, are Catherine Wiley from the UK and Marilyn Henry from Houston, Texas. Catherine founded CGA, the Catholic Grandparents Association some years ago after she became a grandmother and Marilyn coordinates CGA offices in the US. CGA is in 63 nations today!

Here we are celebrating this world day at La Vittoria (all roads lead to Rome and in Rome, all roads lead to La Vittoria) – Marilyn on the L and Catherine on the R in a post-prandial moment!

Catherine opposite her husband Stewart, and Marilyn across from her husband Deacon Ken Henry

The idea for a world day was born after Catherine met so many grandparents on pilgrimages she organized for them in the early years of CGA. Pilgrimages were to Our Lady of Knock in Ireland and to Our Lady of Walsingham in England, near Catherine’s home, at first, then eventually to other shrines, other countries.

CGA and the pilgrimages were Catherine’s passion and even more so was her desire to see the Church celebrate a World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. Over the years – always with Marilyn by her side, in person or in prayer – she had a number of meetings in Rome with Curial officials, especially the dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. She wrote to Pope Benedict, asking him to write a prayer for Grandparents (which he did!) and, over time, all the people who could make such a world day a reality – not least of all Pope Francis! – made that happen. Above all, Pope Francis!  As we found out on Sunday, January 31.

And here we are – the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly is now in the history books!

To say Catherine and Marilyn – who were in Rome with their wonderful, very supportive husbands – were over the moon at this World Day becoming a reality and then to be present for the celebratory Mass, is an understatement. (You’ll hear more about their work, the CGA, the World Day and their reaction on Vatican Insider. I asked them to make time during their short stay in Rome to talk to me).

Marilyn and Catherine had VIP seating for the Mass Sunday and, as they looked around the basilica, they saw not only grandparents and elderly, they saw many of their Roman Curia friends who had made this day possible.

Brunch with Marilyn and Ken Henry –

Pope Francis was still convalescing from his July 4 surgery so did not preside at Mass yesterday. In his stead was Abp. Rino Fisichella, president of the Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, who read the Pope’s touching homily.

Francis did, however, appear at his study window overlooking St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus. He called on everyone to applaud grandparents: “Grandparents and grandchildren, young and old together show the beautiful face of the Church and the covenant between the generations.”

The 10am Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica brought together some 2,000 plus people from the diocese of Rome and some of its associations that carry out pastoral activities for the elderly. There were grandparents with their grandchildren and there were also some elderly, many of whom for the first time were able to leave the homes in which they have been isolated for over a year because of the many pandemic-related precautions.

At the end of the Mass, Abp. Fisichella blessed flowers carried by young people and offered to grandparents with the Pope’s message, “I am with you always,” the theme of this world day!

It was a day that naturally made me think about my own grandparents (on Mom’s side we are Swiss and German and on Dad’s side we are Irish and Welsh!), so many special moments and places and events coming to mind about three of them. We always lived close to all grandparents so that was an extra bonus. One grandmother died when I was three and I have no real memory of her. I thought of my own parents as they became grandparents and lived that role with such zest and joy! SO many stories came to mind! I am not a grandmother but hope I am a spiritual grandmother to my 9 nieces and nephews and my 26 great-nieces and nephews!


L’Osservatore Romano in the weekly English edition: I’m not sure if this link will work because, as of July 1, the Vatican newspaper requires a paying subscription. I have paid but am not sure if it works if I merely post a link or if you will be asked to sign in. ING_2021_030_2307.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)


Because of the repercussions heard around the world since the July 16th release by the Vatican of Pope Francis’ Motu proprio TRADITIONIS CUSTODES On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970, I am dedicating the interview segment of Vatican Insider to a Special about this papal document. I will try to examine the whys and wherefores of TRADITIONIS CUSTODES – which is Latin for Guardians of Tradition – and look at its reception.

As you probably know by now, the motu proprio was accompanied by a lengthy letter to the world’s bishops in which the Pope explained the reasons behind his decision to abrogate previous norms for the Latin Mass. I will look at both the motu and the papal letter to bishops and then examine some of the questions that have arisen since the papal document’s publication.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.


This Sunday the Vatican will inaugurate the very first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, a day that Pope Francis established at the end of January this year. He will not, however, be presiding at Sunday’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as he continues to recover from his July 4 surgery in a Rome hospital for diverticular stenosis of the colon. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, will celebrate the July 25th World Day Mass.

Princess Leonore, held by Sweden’s Queen Silvia, gives a papal key chain to Pope Francis during her grandmother’s private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican in this April 27, 2015, file photo. The pope has chosen the theme, “I am with you always,” for the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated July 25, 2021. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis selected the fourth Sunday of July for this annual celebration as the nearest date to the July 26 feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents. The theme of this first World Day is “I am with you always.”


For a well-balanced presentation of Pope Francis’ motu proprio on the Traditional Latin Mass that abrogated most previous norms on this Mass, read this by Abp. Augustine Di Noia, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2021/07/20/vatican-latin-mass-traditionis-custodes-pope-francis-241086


This is one of my favorite feast days for a number of reasons! A few years ago I began to research Mary Magdalene’s life and story immediately after I visited the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, very close to my home, where there is a reliquary containing bones from the left foot of Mary Magdalene. I’d gone to San Giovanni a number of times before learning of the relic, principally to attend Mass and it was only one day when I decided to actually visit the church, its side altars, etc, that I discovered the reliquary! A priest there gave me a small booklet to read on the relic and that, and additional research, led me to the following story, a truly amazing tale.

San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini – St John the Baptist of the Florentines – is known as the regional church for expatriates from Florence whose patron saint is John the Baptist. There was a flourishing expat Florentine community in Rome in the mid-15th century, featuring the bankers and artists for which the city was famous. This community was concentrated on a bend of the Tiber river where the church stands today.

San Giovanni was built for the first Medici Pope, Leo X, who started a competition for the church’s construction. Great numbers of famous artists participated in the project but the building was on-again off-again for a few centuries. Two of the most celebrated artists are buried here – Carlo Maderno and Francesco Borromini.

However, San Giovanni dei Fiorentini is most well known for its relic of bones of the foot of St. Mary Magdalene that rests in a shrine to the left of the main sanctuary.

Historians seem to agree that Mary Magdalene died and was buried in Ephesus and that, given historical vicissitudes, her body – or parts of it, what we will call relics – was brought to Constantinople, then to the south of France and, finally Rome. How the relics got to the south of France seems to be the biggest mystery – not all legends agree.

One story, in fact, says Mary Magdalene lived in a cave in the south of France where she died.

In any event, the historical account found in the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini says her body was sent by ship from Sainte Baume in Provence to Rome where her left foot was removed according to the Greek tradition that this is always the first foot that rises when you enter the after life. Her foot came to rest in St. Peter’s Basilica with other passion relics. For many years, pilgrims who came to Rome to visit the tomb of Peter would first stop to venerate the foot of St Mary Magdalene who was the first person to enter the tomb of the risen. This foot was first kept in a precious reliquary made by master silver- and gold-smith Benvenuto Cellini.

More historical vicissitudes and the foot finally came to rest in San Giovanni dei Fiorentini – but only in 1984   – where it was buried away in a closet, to be discovered only in the year 2000 when San Giovanni began work on its Museum of Sacred Art! You really want to see Mary Magdalene’s foot and the Museum next time you are in Rome.

Indeed an amazing story! And here’s another one….

The Sunday before Memorial Day 2018, after the 6 pm Mass in the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini I had one of the most moving and amazing experiences of my life. Ambassador Callista Gingrich and her husband Newt were also at this Mass and I asked them afterwards if they knew the church housed an astonishing relic – the left foot of St. Mary Magdalene.

I brought them to the shrine and explained the story, which I had recently researched for one of my “Joan’s Rome” videos. As we were about to leave, the sacristan came up to me and, with a huge smile and holding a key in one hand, asked if we’d like to see the relic up close. Well, of course we wanted to!

He opened the shrine and then – the truly amazing moment of the evening! He took the Cellini reliquary out, showed it to us and handed it to me! What is not visible when the reliquary is inside the shrine is the glass-covered opening that reveals the bones of Mary Magdalene’s foot!

Photos by Amb. Gingrich:

A close-up of the reliquary. On top of the foot is a small opening, protected by glass and suitably covered by a kind of seal, under which are the bones of St. Mary Magdalene’s foot.-



I am holding the reliquary –