THIS BOY INVITED POPE FRANCIS ON A PILGRIMAGE – AND HERE’S HOW HE RESPONDED – EXCLUSIVE CHURCHPOP 360° VIDEOS REVEAL THE BEAUTY OF ROME IN A NEW WAY

I am finally back home and sitting at my desk – though just briefly these first days – trying to get back in the groove of things. The serious infection is gone and we’re now working on getting the tendon to 100 percent. I’ll certainly have a new appreciation of tendon issues whenever I read of athletes who injury the Achille’s tendon and need a lot of time and therapy to heal it.

I certainly spent a lot of time thinking about the healthcare bill in the U.S. Congress – or at least attempts to create a new bill to replace Obamacare. Two things are important for me – and probably for millions. Healthcare must cover pre-existing conditions and insurance companies must be allowed to compete in order to offer good policies at reasonable, affordable prices – not prices that will put families in the poor house with a single hospital stay.

The clinic I was in is run by the marvelous Sisters of St. Joseph of Gerona, a Spanish order of nursing nuns. I saw five of them at Mass in the clinic chapel the first weekend I was there – they all remembered me from a prolonged stay 15 years ago, as I did each of them! Loving, caring, ever-smiling sisters.  And Sr. Guadalupe still plays the organ at the 10:30 Mass.  Her real life sister, Sr. Isabella, accompanied the priest who brought me communion every morning at 7.

I had my iPad so could keep up with news during my stay. Today I offer a story by my EWTN colleagues that I found delightful, and then some stunning video images of Rome. Hope you enjoy both!

I cannot leave you with expressing my heartfelt thanks for all the prayers and rosaries and emails that came my way these past days. You’ll never know what they meant! Mille grazie! Thanks a million!

THIS BOY INVITED POPE FRANCIS ON A PILGRIMAGE – AND HERE’S HOW HE RESPONDED

Loreto, Italy, Jul 23, 2017 / 03:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Nine-year-old Andrea is an Italian boy who joined 130 children last month for a “Pilgrimage of Joy” to the Marian Shrine of Loreto, Italy.

He was so moved by the experience that he wrote a letter about it to Pope Francis, inviting the Pope to accompany him and the other children for another pilgrimage next year.

And the Pope offered a surprising response, leaving the door open to the possibility in a letter of reply.

“Thanks for the invitation you have made me to go on a pilgrimage with you, being with children is for me the greatest joy. A proverb says: ‘Never say never.’ Therefore let us entrust this dream into the hands of Providence,” the Pope wrote.

Andrea’s letter to Pope Francis was sent on behalf of himself and the 130 other children who traveled to the Marian Shrine of Loreto from June 22-26. The letter was reprinted by several Italian media outlets.

The pilgrimage was organized by the Rome-Lazio chapter of the National Italian Union of Transportation of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines (UNITALSI) with the goal of teaching young children the importance of prayer and closeness to God, while at the same time allowing them to play, have fun, and make new friends.

We are more than 130 children, and many are sick, others in wheelchairs and others are going alone and are accompanied by some nuns,” Andrea said in his letter, adding that they are praying for the Pope every day.

Andrea also included a group photo of all the children, and asked for the Holy Father’s blessing.

Pope Francis responded saying that “it was so nice to receive your letter and to hear about the enriching adventure you experienced with UNITALSI during the Pilgrimage of Joy to Loreto for children.”

“Thanks also for the group photo you sent me, where I could see that there are a lot of you, and you all look so nice. As I was looking at each face in the photograph, I was praying to Our Lady of Loreto for you, and I blessed you straight from the heart, along with your parents, volunteers, priests and the UNITALSI leaders,” the Pope said in his reply.

EXCLUSIVE CHURCHPOP 360° VIDEOS REVEAL THE BEAUTY OF ROME IN A NEW WAY

https://churchpop.com/2017/07/22/exclusive-churchpop-360-videos-reveal-beauty-rome-new-way/

 

SAYING GOODBYE TO A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

There will be no updates on this page for a few days as I’m going to the hospital tomorrow morning in the hopes of resolving the problem of the infection in my right ankle, and the difficulty and pain I’ve had walking for weeks now as a result. The main issue is that I have severe allergic relations to every antibiotic I’ve ever taken, save one, Ciproxin. I had been put on Ciproxin for the infection but learned, when I finally saw an orthopedic doctor, that it was very bad for tendons so we stopped the daily doses. At the moment, the doctors I have seen feel the only way for me to heal is to have antibiotics in a controlled medial environment in the event of a reaction. My big hope is that I will finally find an effective antibiotic that I’m not allergic to!

I enter the Pio XI clinic tomorrow, July 11. It will be 15 years to the day that one of their best doctors performed a lengthy, life-saving surgery on me. I felt things would turn out well at the time as July 11 was my Dad’s birthday and he was where he could do some good!

By the way, hospitals/ospedali are state-run in Italy and clinica are private institutions, usually run by religious orders. Pio XI is run by a Spanish Order of nursing nuns – beautiful people.

So if you have an extra Ave in coming days, send it my way!

SAYING GOODBYE TO A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, doctor, diplomat, journalist and confidante to Popes was laid to rest on Friday, July 7, remaining in his adopted city of Rome.

With his many talents, his phenomenal ability to listen, to see both the big and the small picture, to “read the signs of the times,” to work out the knots in a tough situation or conversation, he truly was a man for all seasons. This charming Spaniard was a diplomat through and through, a skilled professional – both as physician with a specialty in psychiatry and journalist – and a man whose Catholic faith was his true identity card. Above all, he was, at all times, a consummate gentleman.

And he had a great sense of humor, laughing easily and often. He loved a joke and could tell as good story as well as anyone. And did I mention his love for sports, tennis in particular. I  was told you want to play a game with Navarro-Valls, not against him!

Joaquin was unique in so many ways, large and small, not the least of which was being a superb, loyal friend to so many people, people from all walks and stations of life, people of diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds. His warm smile and ability with languages always opened doors. I am blessed to have been among his friends. He was a dear friend and, in countless ways a mentor.

As so many of you know, Joaquin led the Holy See Press Office for 22 years, from 1984 to 2006.

In November 1984, Joaquin was president of the Foreign Press Club in Rome and was presiding at a press conference with the late Gianni Agnelli of FIAT when he was summoned to be at the Vatican by 1:30 pm. That summons turned out to be lunch with Pope John Paul who asked him how the press office was functioning. Was it serving the media well? Was it serving the Church well? What could and should be improved?

Joaquin told me that story over dinner one night when we were in China with a Holy See delegation, adding that the Holy Father insisted that Joaquin answer his questions truthfully, not tell him what he thought the Pope might want to hear.

Not long after that meal, Joaquin was named to head the press office. And did he make changes!  Both John Paul and Navarro-Valls were very aware of the power of the media, of communications. Years later, Joaquin told journalists that before he came to the Vatican only about 15 percent of the news about the Pope and the Church originated in the Vatican, that is, briefings or press conference or publication of Vatican documents. Several years after Navarro-Valls began redoing things, it turned out that 85 percent of the news about the Church came from the press office.

Some of the big changes? Bulletins and other documents started to come out in different languages. The press office was totally remodeled in 1994 and ready for all the electronic innovations of the future. When needed, translators were present for press conferences, settling into the new booths provided in the press office renovation. After I showed him around the press office one day, a former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See told me that the White House correspondents would have every reason to be jealous of such a terrific structure and setting!

In 1984 I was covering the Vatican for the National Catholic Register and Joaquin and I first became friends soon after his nomination. That was the beginning of so many wonderful adventures. I could write a mini volume, not just a Joan’s Rome column!

I was honored and privileged to have been a member of four Holy See delegations to very important United Nations conferences in the 90s: Cairo in September 1994 on Population; Copenhagen March 1995, an economic summit; Beijing September 1995, the conference on Women, and June 1996 Istanbul, a conference on human settlements.

Cairo and Beijing in particular were extraordinary experiences in so many ways, both personal and professional.

Joaquin was added to the Cairo delegation a bit over a month before it was due to depart. He told me that he told the secretary of State that he would go if he was allowed to have Joan Lewis as his assistant as liaison with the press! And thus it was that I got my first diplomatic passport! The rest, as they say, is history.

Those were heady times and experiences and some day I hope to find the time to write in depth about those adventures.

On the rare occasions that we had time to eat a meal during those conferences, I asked Joaquin a thousand questions – about his family, his work before Rome, his work at the press office, how he came to be named, etc. Obviously lots of questions about the Holy Father! They were very close and that relationship was mutually beneficial throughout St. John Paul’s pontificate.

At the end of our time in Beijing (the conferences were usually about 3 weeks long) Joaquin gave me a small gift. He said he went shopping for the staff of the press office and simply did not know what to get for me. He choose a small pair of silk embroidered slippers, and told me when he saw these elegant slippers, he immediately thought of me. They are on my desk as I write. Gracias, amigo!

In August 1993, a year before the Cairo conference, World Youth Day was celebrated in Denver and Joaquin made sure I was part of the papal party. For starters, I spent five days at Regis University for the Youth Forum that preceded WYD. My main job was to liaise with the press. I did my best to honor the oly See, Joaquin as spokesman and the Coun tilHoly See, Joaquin and the press office and the (now former) Council for the Laity who organizes youth days.

Again, very heady and historic days with lots of interesting stories.

Joaquin’s birthday was November 16 and, for the 15 years I was at the press office, I always spent the night before preparing a cake for the office party. For 15 years I came up with a new theme for the decoration. Once I decorated the cake as a Spanish passport, another time as a Holy See passport, another time as St. Peter’s dome or the Spanish flag or a radio studio. I can’t even remember them all right now. No one got to see the cake until it was unveiled at the office party.  I always got a thank you note from Joaquin who once wrote that he never slept the night before his birthday, wondering exactly what theme Joan would choose for the decoration!

On another occasion I invited the staff of the Vatican Information service for a pre-Christmas luncheon at my home. I had roast turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes – the whole Thanksgiving/Christmas menu – AND a cake that was shaped and decorated like a Christmas wreath! When Joaquin arrived he went directly into the kitchen, asked if he could help and then spotted my electric carving knife. He asked if I would allow him to carve the turkey, “given that I am a doctor and know how to cut things up!” and he proceeded with skill and dexterity to perfectly carve our main course!

In December 2001, upon returning to Rome from a nephew’s funeral in Oregon, I noticed something was seriously wrong with my left eye. I went to the Vatican eye doctor who seemed worried and he said I should go to the eye hospital in Rome immediately to verify what he suspected – a detached retina.

It was just that and I informed my colleagues where I was, that I was having multiple tests and would be admitted to the hospital. As I was waiting to go into what would be a two-hour exam, who walked into the waiting room but Joaquin! I was scared speechless that I would lose my sight and burst into years as I saw a friendly face. The eye surgeon who examined me was a very talented woman from Genoa, very motherly and caring. She spent much of the time explaining everything she was doing, including an extraordinarily detailed drawing of my eye. She answered my questions and Joaquin’s – he spent the entire two hours with us. I am not sure I ever conveyed to him what those two hours meant to me. That is what Joaquin did for friends, who he was for friends.

In December 2014, having just marked 20 years at the press office, Joaquin arranged for all of us at the press office to have an audience with the Holy Father, clearly ailing at this point. I had met John Paul quite a number of times but was very emotional about this meeting for, in my heart, I felt it would be the last time I’d see him.

I spent the first part of the morning in my office, learning how to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Polish. I wrote the phrases down on a yellow Post-it note and almost glued it to my left hand, repeating the phrases many times to myself. I kept glancing at it when we were in the papal library, each of us awaiting our turn to greet our beloved Holy Father.

John Paul was barely able to keep his head up at this stage of his Parkinson’s disease and smiling had become close to impossible. I felt like we were intruding in a moment when he should have been resting. However an aide read a statement and we knew the Pope wanted to do this for Joaquin.

When it was my turn, I knelt to touch his outstretched hand, recited my Polish version of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and immediately was looking into John Paul’s wonderful blue eyes. No one knew I was going to do this, and later Joaquin told me that was the nicest gesture I ever could have made for John Paul. “Did you notice,” Joaquin pointed out, “that the Pope raised his head only when you spoke Polish?”

Many years, many stories – these are just a few – and countless memories of time spent with a very great man, the Church’s Man for All Seasons.

 

PEOPLE MUST BE AT THE CENTER OF ALL ACTIVITY, POPE TELLS G20

It has been a very different, and at many moments difficult, week for me, given the continuing problems with my right ankle, problems that almost pale by comparison to the loss of my very dear friend of 33 years, Joaquin Navarro-Valls. As you know by now – and some of you may well remember – this charismatic and talented Spaniard led the Holy See Press Office for 22 years in an historic and remarkable fashion.

I will pray tribute to him as soon as I can. I have a thousand stories to tell, and have already shared some of them on radio.

Family and friends were able to pay tribute to Joaquin as of 4 pm yesterday in the basilica of Sant’Eugenio in Rome. This is also where his funeral took place this morning at 11. A pain almost larger than learning of his death was what I felt at being unable to go to eiether event to say my final arrivederci and grazie.

I’ve spent most mornings and part of one afternoon this week (and many of the preceding weeks) at the Vatican’s health care center, seeing doctors and having additional tests to determine the specific nature (we have no idea of the cause) of the infection in my right ankle. The final test and final visit to a specialist in infections determined that the best option is several days in a hospital with antibiotics administered under medical supervision, given that I normally have very severe allergic reactions to antibiotics.

I’ve been working with my insurance company but do not know, as I write, when I will be admitted. Hopefully I will have to post a note here when that day comes.

The hardest part of my ankle problem has been having to cancel a one week Danube River cruise with my sister! We have never gone on a vacation together! We’ve had family vacations, etc, but never just the two of us! We consider it just postponed, not cancelled. (My advice to travellers, by the way, never say ‘no’ to travel insurance!)

Work has been beneficial for me and I’ve enjoyed doing “Catholic Connection” with Teresa Tomeo, preparing my twice weekly contributions to “At Home with Jim and Joy,” and posting some items on this page. Sitting on my sofa with my laptop (on my lap) has been workable.

VATICAN INSIDER this weekend, however, has been prepared by my radio colleagues given that I simply did not have the time this week to dedicate to the three segments – News, the Q&A and the weekly interview. You will hear “The best of” with Kishore Jayabalan, director of the Action Institute’s Rome office. We talk about the mission and work of the Institute but our focus was principally on one of our favorite people and friends, the late, great Michael Novak, and his impact on the world, on Acton and on our personal lives.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

PEOPLE MUST BE AT THE CENTER OF ALL ACTIVITY, POPE TELLS G20

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the participants in the G20 meeting taking place in Germany July 7-8. The Message is addressed to the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and details what the Holy Father recognizes as four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.

To Her Excellency Mrs Angela Merkel Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Following our recent meeting in the Vatican, and in response to your thoughtful request, I would like to offer some considerations that, together with all the Pastors of the Catholic Church, I consider important in view of the forthcoming meeting of the G20, which will gather Heads of State and of Government of the Group of major world economies and the highest authorities of the European Union.  In doing so, I follow a tradition begun by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2009 on the occasion of the London G20.  My Predecessor likewise wrote to Your Excellency in 2006, when Germany held the presidency of the European Union and the G8.

In the first place, I wish to express to you, and to the leaders assembled in Hamburg, my appreciation for the efforts being made to ensure the governability and stability of the world economy, especially with regard to financial markets, trade, fiscal problems and, more generally, a more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth (cf. G20 Leaders Communiqué, Hangzhou Summit, 5 September 2016).  As is evident from the Summit’s programme, such efforts are inseparable from the need to address ongoing conflicts and the worldwide problem of migrations.

In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the programmatic document of my Pontificate addressed to the Catholic faithful, I proposed four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.  These lines of action are evidently part of the age-old wisdom of all humanity; I believe that they can also serve as an aid to reflection for the Hamburg meeting and for the assessment of its outcome.

Here is full text of Pope Francis’ Message, in its official English translation; http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/07/07/pope_francis_message_to_g20/1323678

PAPAL PRAYER FOR FAITHFUL WHO HAVE STRAYED FROM THE FAITH – CARDINAL MEISNER, ONE OF THE 4 “DUBIA” CARDINALS, HAS DIED

PAPAL PRAYER FOR FAITHFUL WHO HAVE STRAYED FROM THE FAITH

The Holy Father’s July Prayer Intention has been released in writing and on video by the Apostleship of Prayer. The July 2017 intention is: “That our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the beauty of the Christian life.”

The text of the video message: “Let us never forget that our joy is Jesus Christ — his faithful and inexhaustible love.When a Christian becomes sad, it means that he has distanced himself from Jesus.But then we must not leave him alone! We should offer him Christian hope — with our words, yes, but more with our testimony, with our freedom, with our joy.Let us pray that our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the beauty of the Christian life.”

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed the “Pope Video” initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.

CARDINAL MEISNER, ONE OF THE 4 “DUBIA” CARDINALS, HAS DIED

(CNA/EWTN) – BAD FUSSING, Germany – Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop emeritus of Cologne, Germany and one of four cardinals who sent the “dubia” to Pope Francis last year, passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 83.

According to a press release from the archdiocese pf Cologne, the cardinal died July 5 while on vacation in Bad Füssing, Germany. Recently, the prelate had lived in Cologne.

Archbishop of Cologne from 1989-2014, he retired with the permission of Pope Francis in February 2014, at the age of 80, the same year his age made him ineligible to vote in a conclave.

Cardinal Meisner, alongside Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Raymond Leo Burke, submitted five “dubia,” or doubts, about the interpretation of Amoris laetitia to Pope Francis on Sept. 19, 2016.

The letter, made public in November, asked for clarification on Chapter 8 of the document, which touches on the reception of communion for divorced and remarried couples.

In May, the four – dubbed the “dubia cardinals” – sent a letter to the Pope requesting a private audience to discuss the content of the “dubia,” since they have yet received no response.

Cardinal Meisner, considered a leading conservative Catholic figure in Germany, stood in contrast to other German prelates who have propagated one of the more liberal interpretations of Chapter 8 of the post-synodal document.

Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cardinal Rainer Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne, July 5, expressing his sorrow at the death of Cardinal Meisner, as well as his closeness to Cardinal Woelki and the faithful of the archdiocese.

“With profound emotion I heard the news that suddenly and unexpectedly Cardinal Joachim Meisner has been called from this earth to the God of mercy,” he said.

“With profound faith and sincere love for the Church, Cardinal Meisner dedicated himself to the announcement of the good news,” it continued. “May Christ our Lord reward him for his faithful and courageous commitment on behalf of the people of the east and west, and make him a participant in the communion of saints in heaven.”

The telegram concluded with the Pope’s bestowal of the apostolic blessing on all those “who remember the deceased pastor with prayer and sacrifice.”

Born in Breslau, Germany on December 25, 1933, Cardinal Meisner was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Erfurt-Meiningen in 1962. Later he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, receiving his doctorate in theology in 1969.

He was appointed auxiliary bishop to the Apostolic Administrator of Erfurt Meiningen in 1975, and elected a delegate to the fourth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in 1977, where he renewed a friendship with then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla.

Cardinal Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II one year later, and appointed Meisner Bishop of Berlin in 1980, elevating him to the position of cardinal in 1983.

In 1988 Cardinal Meisner was made Archbishop of Cologne, serving in this position until his retirement at age 80 on Feb. 28, 2014.

He participated in the 2005 and 2013 papal conclaves which elected Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. He had close relationships with both Pope St. John Paul II as well as Joseph Ratzinger, now-Benedict XVI, whom he would visit at the Vatican.

(Catholic News Agency)

 

POPE FRANCIS SIDES WITH PARENTS OF BABY CHARLIE GARD – CARDINALS OF THE ROMAN CURIA AND TERM LIMITS – THE GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS STORIES FROM MOSUL

Given the huge numbers of greetings and best wishes and promises of prayers and Masses that I received for my birthday it is virtually impossible to thank each and every one of you individually. Please know I read every word and appreciated every thought as I read your greetings. May God bless you abundantly. He has already blessed me with your friendship!

POPE FRANCIS SIDES WITH PARENTS OF BABY CHARLIE GARD

On June 29th, the Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement on the case of Baby Charlie Gard, with remarks by academy president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

The Academy has been under scrutiny for a number of months and for a number of reasons since the archbishop was appointed to lead it. Not the least of these is the composition of new members – appointed by Pope Francis – some of whom support euthanasia and abortion up to a certain period. In addition, the statement that every academy member in the past was required to sign, stating they would adhere to and promote the Church’s teaching on life issues, is no longer required of new members.

The academy statement on Baby Charlie is here: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/06/29/vaticans_academy_for_life_issues_statement_on_charlie_gard/1322138

Moments after it came out, the statement was labeled “dubious,” “a disgrace,” and “disconcerting”.

Seems Pope Francis must have been a bit disconcerted as he read the Academy statement because, on June 30th, he tweeted: “To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.”

And he has been keeping tabs on the Baby Charlie case as we see in the following Vatican Radio report from Sunday, July 3:

Pope Francis has expressed his “affection and emotion” at the situation of Charlie Gard and “his own closeness to his parents”.

A statement Sunday from Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office, said the Pope prays for 10-month old Charlie Gard’s parents and hopes “that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”

Charlie was born with a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

The European Court of Human Rights last week rejected a plea from the baby’s parents to be allowed to move him to the United States for experimental medical treatment.

 The press ofice statenent: “The Holy Father follows with affection and emotion the case of little Charlie Gard and expresses is own closeness to his parents. For them he prays, hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”

CARDINALS OF THE ROMAN CURIA AND TERM LIMITS

Cardinals have traditionally led the nine congregations of the Roman Curia with the title of prefect. They are always appointed by the Pope.

As you know, Sunday, July 2, it was announced that Pope Francis had replaced Cardinal Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the CDF – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – with the CDF’s Secretary, Jesuit Archbishop Luis Ladaria.

Cardinal Mueller-

In essence the Pope did not renew the cardinal’s five-ear mandate which expired precisely on Sunday. A mandate is not renewed usually for one of two reasons: the title holder has reached or gone over the age of 75 or there are reasons of health to consider. Neither is the case of Cardinal Mueller who is 69.

Since the rumor began circulating the day before the news, there has been much speculation – and a lot of interesting media headlines – to why the Pope took this action. A number of the stories are well written and even handedly present the situation. Others are not, as some of the headlines suggest.

The people I was with when the rumor broke, and others I saw and have spoken to since, to a person said they were ‘mystified’, even saddened, by Pope Francis’ decision.

If what was reported in the cardinal’s interview with a German paper, Allgemeine Zeitung, is accurate, the Pope told him he would not be renewing curia terms after their five year expiration date.

Here is a look at current prefects, when they were appointed and, in parentheses, the year their mandate will expire:

Cardinal Angelo AMATO (Congregation for Causes of Saints) – July 2008 (July 2018)

Cardinal Leonardo SANDRI (Cong. for Oriental Churches) – June 9, 2007 (June 2017)

Cardinal Beniamino STELLA (Cong. for Clergy) – Sept. 21, 2013  (Sept 2018)

Cardinal Robert Sarah (Cong. for Divine Worship) – Nov 23, 2014 (2019)

Abp. Luis Ladaria, SJ, (Doctrine of the Faith) – July 2, 2017 (2022)

Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi (Catholic Education) – March 31, 2015 (2020)

Cardinal Fernando Filoni (Evangelization) – May 10, 2011 (2021)

Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz ( Inst. of Consecrated Life) – January 4, 2011 (2021)

Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Bishops) – June 30, 2010 (2020)

ALSO: Cardinal Giusepe Bertello, (“Governor” of Vatican City) – Sept 3, 2011 (2021)

THE GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS STORIES FROM MOSUL

The miracle of the church of St. Thomas, spared of Isis bombs – by Jérémy André

It is the oldest church in the city, located two streets from the destroyed al-Nouri mosque. Outside it has only “a few scuff marks”, while the interior was devastated during its occupation. St Thomas’s relics were saved three years ago when the city fell into the hands of Isis.

Mosul (AsiaNews) – It’s a miracle. Mosul’s historic center has been torn apart by bullets and mutilated by the Islamic State (Isis or Daesh) explosives. In this surreal landscape, where the interweaving of white stones and black metal reminiscent of Picasso’s Guernica, one thick-walled building has only a few scuff marks: St. Thomas is the oldest church in the city, more than 12 centuries old! It has existed since the end of the eighth century, but is considered much older and was founded in the place where the Apostle of the East is believed to have lived while passing through the city. The interior was devastated by the occupants who had made it a military base. But the monument, whose structure dates back to at least the 13th century, survived the battle.

“They are crazy”

The al-Nouri mosque, two streets further north, was not so fortunate. The ISIS terrorists blew it up on Wednesday, June 21, at sunset. Its ruins now form a lunar chaos, bleached by powdered plaster. Only the green dome emerges, balancing on pillars partially damaged by the explosions, and the base of the minaret, 12 meters high, with finely carved geometric bas-reliefs.

For the rest of this AsiaNews story (with photos): http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Mosul:-The-miracle-of-the-church-of-St.-Thomas,-spared-of-Isis-bombs-41183.html

 

VATICAN INSIDER AND BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION: PART II – VATICAN’S ACADEMY FOR LIFE ISSUES STATEMENT ON BABY CHARLIE GARD

When you get hundreds of emails, snail mail cards, FB Messages and Whatsapp notes expressing lovely and heartfelt wishes for a splendid and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you know you are truly blessed!

And that is how I feel right now – blessed beyond telling with wishes from my beautiful and more-than-special family members, my many colleagues, lifelong friends who live all over the globe, and FB friends, some of whom I have met here in Rome while others are mainly penpals.

You all enrich my life in so many ways – some ways you already know, others only I know. But you all bring a smile to my face! For that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Rest assured you will be remembered in prayer over the weekend.

When someone says to me, “Joan, God bless you!” my usual response is: “He already has!”

VATICAN INSIDER AND BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION: PART II

According to weather reports, this weekend again promises to be, in many places around the world, a scorcher weather-wise. But you can stay cool in your home or car as you listen to this week’s “Vatican Insider” in Part II of my conversation with John Schlageter, director of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

In the midst of the violence and conflicts and religious persecution in the Middle East, including, of course, the Holy Land, there is one oasis of peace – Bethlehem University in Bethlehem, Palestine. John and I both know and love this university so tune in as we talk about his work.

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VATICAN’S ACADEMY FOR LIFE ISSUES STATEMENT ON BABY CHARLIE GARD

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life has issued a statement regarding the case of the terminally-ill English baby, Charlie Gard.

On Tuesday the European Court of Human Rights rejected a plea from the baby’s parents to be allowed to move him to the United States for experimental medical treatment.

Philippa Hitchen’s report:

10-month old Charlie was born with a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

He is being kept alive on a life support system, but Britain’s Supreme Court also ruled earlier in June that it was not in the baby’s interest to move him or continue treatment. Specialists at London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital believe Charlie has no chance of survival.

Limits of medicine

In a statement, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life says the interests of the patient must be paramount, but adds “we must also accept the limits of medicine and […..] avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family.

Pain of the parents

Quoting comments from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Vatican statement speaks of the “complexity of the situation, the heartrending pain of the parents, and the efforts of so many to determine what is best for Charlie”.

It reaffirms that “we should never act with the deliberate intention to end a human life, including the removal of nutrition and hydration” but adds that “we do, sometimes, however, have to recognize the limitations of what can be done, while always acting humanely in the service of the sick person until the time of natural death occurs.”

Risks of ideological manipulation

Warning of the risks of ideological or political manipulation, as well as media sensationalism, the statement stresses that “the wishes of parents must be heard and respected, but they too must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation and not be left to face their painful decisions alone”.

Please see below the full statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life

The matter of the English baby Charlie Gard and his parents has meant both pain and hope for all of us.  We feel close to him, to his mother, his father, and all those who have cared for him and struggled together with him until now.  For them, and for those who are called to decide their future, we raise to the Lord of Life our prayers, knowing that “in the Lord our labor will not be in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58)

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued a statement today that recognizes above all the complexity of the situation, the heartrending pain of the parents, and the efforts of so many to determine what is best for Charlie.  The Bishops’ statement also reaffirms that “we should never act with the deliberate intention to end a human life, including the removal of nutrition and hydration, so that death might be achieved” but that “we do, sometimes, however, have to recognize the limitations of what can be done, while always acting humanely in the service of the sick person until the time of natural death occurs.”

The proper question to be raised in this and in any other unfortunately similar case is this:  what are the best interests of the patient?  We must do what advances the health of the patient, but we must also accept the limits of medicine and, as stated in paragraph 65 of the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family.  Likewise, the wishes of parents must heard and respected, but they too must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation and not be left to face their painful decisions alone.  If the relationship between doctor and patient (or parents as in Charlie’s case) is interfered with, everything becomes more difficult and legal action becomes a last resort, with the accompanying risk of ideological or political manipulation, which is always to be avoided, or of media sensationalism, which can be sadly superficial.

Dear Charlie, dear parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates, we are praying for you and with you.

✠ Vincenzo Paglia President

Vatican City, June 28th 2017