Instead of writing this column, I’d actually like to cross the street and go into St. Peter’s Basilica for some quiet prayer. I’d like to spend some time at the Altar of St. Joseph, that saintly, humble man who was the head of the Holy Family and putative father of Jesus. I’d then cross to the right aisle of the basilica to spend some time in meditation before Michelangelo’s Pieta, the magnificent statue that depicts a sorrowful Mary holding the body of her crucified Son.

After talking to Mary, I’d move on down the right aisle just a few feet to the Chapel of St. Sebastian and kneel in prayer before the tomb of St. John Paul, the pontiff who wrote so magnificently about the family, about marriage, about “Love and Responsibility,” and who instituted the World Meetings of Families.

And how could I not spend time in prayer at the tomb of the first Pope I ever saw, St. John XXIII! He wrote so lovingly and beautiful about the family and marriage – and it is the question of marriage – the utter, total redefining of marriage –  that is tearing my heart apart today.

This is why I want to pray so badly – pray for our nation where the Supreme Court has just decided that same sex marriage must be allowed in all 50 U.S. states.

I cannot write a reasonable and well-thought-out column on this subject today.  I have seen television commentary and I have downloaded Chief Justice Roberts’ dissent and have started to read that 6,033 word document.  I not only have fears about traditional marriage, I have fears about religious freedom, fears that Chief Justice Roberts expresses in his dissent.

For now, here are Chief Justice Roberts’ final words in his dissent:

“If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor     expanding same-sex mar­riage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the oppor­tunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it. I respectfully dissent.”

On June 29, 1959, St. John XXIII’s Encyclical “Ad Petri cathedram” was published. In that beautiful document, which should be read and re-read as it addresses truth, unity, the moral life and peace in what has been called “a fatherly message … addressing (these) issues with warmth and concern.”

In that document, St. John wrote:All the evils that poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth—and at times even more than ignorance, a contempt for truth and a reckless rejection of it.”

Ora pro nobis!


Pope Francis on Monday, June 29, the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, in St. Peter’s Basilica will give the pallium to the 46 new metropolitan archbishops whom he has named since July 1, 2014.  June 29 is a holiday in Rome as well as the Vatican.

Earlier this year Francis changed the traditional ceremony in which the prelates receive the pallium, deciding that the public ceremony of investiture of the pallium on metropolitan archbishops will henceforth take place in their home dioceses and not in the Vatican as has been the case under recent pontiffs. The Holy Father will concelebrate Mass with the archbishops on June 29 and afterwards will give each metropolitan the pallium “in a private manner,” not placing it on their shoulders as seen here.

POPE- Pallium

Guido Marini, Master of Liturgical Ceremonies of the Supreme Pontiff, broke the news in a January 12 letter to nuncios in countries where metropolitan archbishops had been named to receive the pallium from the Pope in the Vatican on June 29.

Msgr. Marini, in an interview with Vatican Radio, said: “Pope Francis believes that this new custom can serve to advance that journey of synodality in the Catholic Church which, from the beginning of his pontificate, he has constantly emphasized as particularly urgent and precious at this time in the history of the Church.”

The pallium will be blessed during the Mass on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul in the Vatican, but placed on the metropolitan archbishop in his own diocese by the papal representative, the apostolic nuncio, in the country. The ceremony is to be determined individually with each new metropolitan.

The pallium, which is placed on the shoulders of each archbishop and worn at all liturgical ceremonies in his own archdiocese, is a band of white wool with two hanging pieces, front and back, that is decorated with six black crosses and represents the authority of a metropolitan archbishop and unity with the Holy Father.  The Pope also wears a pallium. The wool used in weaving the palliums comes from baby lambs  – lambs under one year of age – that are blessed each year in the basilica of St. Agnes in Rome on her January 21 feast day and then brought to the apostolic palace to the Holy Father.


Pope emeritus Benedict XVI explained “the symbolism of the pallium” in a very concrete way in his homily when he inaugurated his Petrine ministry on April 24, 2005 and said, “the lamb’s wool is meant to represent the lost, the sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders to carry to the waters of life.”

Click here to see the names of those who will reeive the pallium:  http://www.news.va/en/news/metropolitan-archbishops-to-receive-the-pallium


On Friday, June 26, 2015 at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, and Dr. Riad Al-Malki, minister of Foreign Affairs, of the State of Palestine, signed a Comprehensive Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine.

-Sala dei Trattati-Firma Accordo tra la Santa Sede e la Palestina   26-06-2015  - (Copyright L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO - Servizio Fotografico - photo@ossrom.va)

-Sala dei Trattati-Firma Accordo tra la Santa Sede e la Palestina 26-06-2015
– (Copyright L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO – Servizio Fotografico – photo@ossrom.va)

The accord follows on the Basic Agreement that was signed between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on February 15, 2000 and is the result of the negotiations undertaken by a bilateral working commission over the past number of years.

Others who took part in the ceremony include, for the Holy See: Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Archbishop Antonio Franco, Apostolic Nuncio, and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal; Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States; Fr. Lorenzo Lorusso, O.P., Under-Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Msgr. Alberto Ortega, Official of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; Msgr. Paolo Borgia, Official of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State; and Fr. Oscar Marzo, O.F.M., member of the Custody of the Holy Land and Official of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

For the State of Palestine: His Excellency Dr. Ramzi Khoury, Advisor to the President, Deputy Head of the Presidential Higher Committee on Church Affairs in Palestine; Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, Representative of the State of Palestine to the Holy See; Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs; Mrs. Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem; Mr. Moussa Abu Hadeed, Mayor of Ramallah; Mr. Ammar Hijazi, Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs; Mr. Azem Bishara, Legal Advisor of the PLO; Mr. Ammar Nisnas, Counselor of the Diplomatic Representation of the State of Palestine to the Holy See.

The Agreement is comprised of a Preamble and 32 Articles distributed in 8 Chapters. It deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in the State of Palestine, while reaffirming support for a negotiated and peaceful resolution of the situation in the region.

The Agreement shall come into force when both Parties have notified each other in writing that the constitutional or internal requirements for the coming into force of the Agreement have been met.

Archbishop Gallagher, welcomed the delegations, saying the Agreement “marks an important step on the path of good relations which for some time have happily existed between the Parties.”

He noted that, in contrast with the February 2000 Agreement, “the present one is being signed by the Holy See and the State of Palestine; this is indicative of the progress made by the Palestinian Authority in recent years, and above all of the level of international support, which culminated in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 29 November 2012, which recognized Palestine as a non-member Observer State at the United Nations.

“In this context,” said the archbishop, “it is my hope that the present Agreement may in some way be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both Parties. I also hope that the much desired two-State solution may become a reality as soon as possible. The peace process can move forward only if it is directly negotiated between the Parties, with the support of the international community. This certainly requires courageous decisions, but it will also offer a major contribution to peace and stability in the region. “

Archbishop Gallagher went on to note that, “the Comprehensive Agreement, while constituting an understanding between two subjects of international law, basically concerns the life and activity of the Church in Palestine. In this respect, I am pleased that juridical recognition is clearly established and that guarantees have been given for the work of the Catholic Church and her institutions. Catholics do not seek any privilege other than continued cooperation with their fellow-citizens for the good of society. I am also pleased to say that the local Church, which has been actively involved in the negotiations, is satisfied with the goal attained and is happy to see the strengthening of its good relations with the civil Authorities.

“In the complex reality of the Middle East, where in some countries Christians have even suffered persecution, this Agreement offers a good example of dialogue and cooperation, and I earnestly hope that this may serve as a model for other Arab and Muslim majority countries. With this in mind, I would like to emphasize the importance of the chapter dedicated to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. (source: news.va)