Pope Francis tweeted today. The time has come for new messengers of Christ, ever more generous, more joyful and more holy.

This will be a rather abbreviated column as, in the midst of busyness on so many upcoming projects – WHAM! –  I received an email with a pdf copy of my about-to-be-released book, “A Holy Year in Rome.” and that changed my afternoon agenda a bit! I was very moved and excited to check this out and I’m afraid I lost some time in exploring what promises to be (all modesty aside!) a real best seller! I’ll let you know very soon when and how it will be available!

Today’s projects included researching and writing some material for “At Home with Jim and Joy,” preparing for my three weekly radio shows and editing an interview for “Vatican Insider” this weekend.

Be sure to tune in tonight to “At Home” when I will be bringing news from Rome about Pope Francis’ amazing, just completed six-day, three-nation apostolic trip to Africa.  As you know, “At Home” airs Mondays and Thursdays at 2 pm ET.

One of Pope Francis’ most important moments in the conflict-ridden Central African Republic took place this morning when he met with Muslims at the Grand Mosque of Koudoukou in Bangui. The sad thing about the CAR conflict is that is is a question of a Muslim-Christian conflict. The Pope’s remarks today were very important so I bring you Vatican Radio’s report on that encounter.

Hopefully the Holy Father will rest a bit tomorrow and then tell us all about his remarkable days in Kenya, Uganda and the Central Africa Republic at the Wednesday general audience.

By the way, things are progressing quite nicely in St. Peter’s Square for Christmas. I was briefly in the square this afternoon but did not have my camera so will return tomorrow to take some photos of the building of the Nativity scene – il presepio – in St. Peter’s Square, just in front of the obelisk, and the very colorful decorations on the Christmas tree which is to the right of the obelisk. In past years there have been only silver and gold-colored ornaments but this year they are multi-colored and delightful.

This seems to be an afternoon of gifts.  I just received a lengthy phone call from a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre regarding my investiture as a Lady into the Order on December 18 and 19!  I am very excited and also very humbled to have been invited into the Order, but more than anything I am overjoyed to be able to play some small part in helping Christians in the Holy Land that I love so much!

More later about all of these exciting events!


(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Monday morning visited the Grand Mosque of Koudoukou in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, meeting with the city’s Muslim community.

The Holy Father was welcomed to the mosque by the Grand Imam Nehedi Tidjani, along with four other Imam, who accompanied him to the podium.

CAR - Grand Mosque

In his address, Pope Francis recalled the recent violence which has rocked the country, saying “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.”

“We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace. Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years. […] Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself.  God is peace, God salam.”

Recalling the upcoming national consultations, the Holy Father said, “We cannot fail to express hope that the forthcoming national consultations will provide the country with leaders capable of bringing Central Africans together, thus becoming symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one or another faction.  I strongly urge you to make your country a welcoming home for all its children, regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religious confession.  The Central African Republic, situated in the heart of Africa, with the cooperation of all her sons and daughters, will then prove a stimulus in this regard to the entire continent.”

Below, please find Pope Francis’ prepared remarks to the Muslim Community of Bangui:

Address of Pope Francis

Meeting with the Muslim Community

Bangui, Central Mosque

30 November 2015

Dear Muslim friends, leaders and followers of Islam,

It is a great joy for me to be with you and I thank you for your warm welcome.  In a particular way I thank Imam Tidiani Moussa Naibi for his kind words of greeting.  My Pastoral Visit to the Central African Republic would not be complete if it did not include this encounter with the Muslim community.

Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.  We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such.  We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives.  Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace.  Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years.  They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means, to the detriment of the common good.  Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself.  God is peace, God salam.

In these dramatic times, Christian and Muslim leaders have sought to rise to the challenges of the moment.  They have played an important role in re-establishing harmony and fraternity among all.  I would like express my gratitude and appreciation for this.  We can also call to mind the many acts of solidarity which Christians and Muslims have shown with regard to their fellow citizens of other religious confessions, by welcoming them and defending them during this latest crisis in your country, as well as in other parts of the world.

We cannot fail to express hope that the forthcoming national consultations will provide the country with leaders capable of bringing Central Africans together, thus becoming symbols of national unity rather than merely representatives of one or another faction.  I strongly urge you to make your country a welcoming home for all its children, regardless of their ethnic origin, political affiliation or religious confession.  The Central African Republic, situated in the heart of Africa, with the cooperation of all her sons and daughters, will then prove a stimulus in this regard to the entire continent.  It will prove a positive influence and help extinguish the smouldering tensions which prevent Africans from benefitting from that development which they deserve and to which they have a right.

Dear friends, dear brothers, I invite you to pray and work for reconciliation, fraternity and solidarity among all people, without forgetting those who have suffered the most as a result of recent events.

May God bless you and protect you! Salam alaikum!



I would like to wish all of you – my family, my friends, my online family of blog and Facebook readers, my radio listeners and television viewers – a blessed, happy and healthy Thanksgiving! And I wish safe travels for all who will be driving or flying to join family for this beautiful holiday!

I’ll be off for two days, Thanksgiving and “Black Friday,” but check these pages anyway! You never know when there may be breaking news or a wonderful story or some great photos!


Tune in this weekend to “Vatican Insider” for Part II of my conversation with Dr. Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 programs at the Cardinal Newman Society. He is an educator who has worked at every level of Catholic education for 25 years from K-12 to university president. We spoke when he was in Rome for the World Congress organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education to commemorate two Vatican Documents on Education. The congress theme was “Educating today and tomorrow: a renewing passion.”

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=


Tuesday evening, the vigil of his 11th foreign apostolic trip and his first ever trip to Africa, Francis traveled to St. Mary Major Basilica to pray for the success of his trip to Africa.  As is customary before he travels, he prayed before the ancient image of image of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary on his travels and upon the peoples he will visit in Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. His most recent visit to this Roman Basilica was on September 28, 2005, upon return from his apostolic visit to Cuba and the United States. This is his 27th visit to St. Mary Major

Wednesday morning, at the Santa Marta residence, shortly before going to Fiumicino Airport, the Holy Father received eleven women and six children from a refuge house for victims of domestic violence and trafficking for the purposes of prostitution. According to the announcement from the Apostolic Almoner, the women were Italian, Nigerian, Romanian and Ukrainian. They are currently housed in a structure managed by a religious congregation in a village in the Lazio region.

At 8 am this morning, Pope Francis and his entourage boarded an Alitalia plane at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport amid tight security and departed shortly thereafter. The plane arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya at 3:00 p.m. (Rome time) for the beginning of Pope Francis’ six-day Apostolic Visit to three African nations. One in six of the world’s Catholics are in Africa.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is named after Kenya’s first president. Kenya’s current President Uhuru – whose name means “freedom” in Swahili – is Jomo Kenyatta’s son and he was on the tarmac to meet the Pope, together with Nairobi’s Archbishop, Cardinal John Njue, the president of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and a small group of faithful who sang and danced for the Pope as he set foot for the very first time on African soil.


After the brief welcome ceremony at the airport, Pope Francis was taken to the State House, where he was formally and officially welcomed with full military honors and the twenty-one gun salute.

Afrter a greeting by President Uhuru, Pope Francis spoke to the Kenyans, addressing them in English.

Thanking the president and people for their warm welcome, Francis said, “I look forward to my stay among you. Kenya is a young and vibrant nation, a richly diverse society that plays a significant role in the region. In many ways, your experience of shaping a democracy is one shared by many other African nations. Like Kenya, they too are working to build, on the solid foundations of mutual respect, dialogue and cooperation, a multiethnic society that is truly harmonious, just and inclusive.”

To great applause the Pope said, “Yours too is a nation of young people. In these days, I look forward to meeting many of them, speaking with them, and encouraging their hopes and aspirations for the future. The young are any nation’s most valuable resource. To protect them, to invest in them and to offer them a helping hand, is the best way we can ensure a future worthy of the wisdom and spiritual values dear to their elders, values which are the very heart and soul of a people.”


Addressing one of the main topics of his encyclical Laudato si, He noted that, “Kenya has been blessed not only with immense beauty, in its mountains, rivers and lakes, its forests, savannahs and semi-deserts, but also by an abundance of natural resources. The Kenyan people have a strong appreciation of these God-given treasures and are known for a culture of conservation that does you honor. The grave environmental crisis facing our world demands an ever-greater sensitivity to the relationship between human beings and nature.”

“In effect,” added Francis, “there is a clear link between the protection of nature and the building of a just and equitable social order. There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature, without a renewal of humanity itself. To the extent that our societies experience divisions, whether ethnic, religious or economic, all men and women of good will are called to work for reconciliation and peace, forgiveness and healing. In the work of building a sound democratic order, strengthening cohesion and integration, tolerance and respect for others, the pursuit of the common good must be a primary goal.

“Experience shows that violence, conflict and terrorism feed on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration. Ultimately, the struggle against these enemies of peace and prosperity must be carried on by men and women who fearlessly believe in, and bear honest witness to, the great spiritual and political values that inspired the birth of the nation.”

The Pope concluded his talk by referring to the Kenyan “tradition for young schoolchildren to plant trees for posterity. May this eloquent sign of hope in the future, and trust in the growth which God gives, sustain all of you in your efforts to cultivate a society of solidarity, justice and peace on the soil of this country and throughout the great African continent. Mungu abariki Kenya! God bless Kenya!



A good friend, Fr. Steven Lopes, was just named today to a very important post in the United States – a good news/bad news announcement. Good news, obviously, for Fr. Steven but bad for those of us here in Rome who have enjoyed his friendship for so many years. I will talk about the Ordinariate to which he was named in the story below and give you some background on the Personal Ordinariate, its history and early beginnings in the UK.

I met with the very first Ordinary, Msgr. Keith Newton, exactly two weeks after the big announcement was made on January 15, 2011 in London. I’ve followed the Personal Ordinariate since its institution by Pope Benedict in 2009, as you may remember from these pages and my interviews on Vatican Insider.  I spent 5 days in London in January 2011 researching the newly established Ordinariate and interviewing people.

Part of my report comes from the columns I wrote in London and part from the Ordinariate media office which published a news letter immediately after the announcement today in Rome. I also feature a Q&A from 2011 that explains the Personal Ordinariate quite well. The Ordinariate has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CSPOrdinariate

God speed, Bishop-elect Steven!  May God sit on your shoulder! May we meet again at “La Vittoria” to break bread before your permanent departure for Houston!  Our paths crossed last week at La Vittoria: Fr. Steve and a friend were leaving and I was arriving and Fr. Keyes took a photo and posted it on my Facebook page on Nov. 20.



A brief Vatican communique this morning noted that, about 10:30 today, Pope Francis visited IOR, the Institute for the Works of Religion commonly called the Vatican bank. He met with the Board of Directors for approximately twenty minutes, at which time he announced the appointment of Dr. Gian Franco Mammi as the new director general. He will be assisted by Dr. Giulio Mattietti, pending the selection of a new deputy director. (photo: L’Osservatore Romano)IOR - Pope


The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Steven Lopes as the first bishop Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of The Chair of St. Peter. The bishop-elect was born in Fremont, California and was ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and is currently an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Personal Ordinariate is a structure equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were raised in the Anglican tradition. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established by Pope Benedict on January 1, 2012, with its headquarters in Houston, Texas. Instituted to serve Roman Catholics across the U.S. and Canada, it is the first diocese of its kind in North America. The Ordinariate was created to provide a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage in their union with the Holy Roman Church.

The first such Ordinariate was the Personal Ordiniariate of our Lady of Walsingham. On Saturday, January 15, 2011 the Vatican announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith erected a Personal Ordinariate within the territory of England and Wales for those groups of Anglican clergy and faithful who have expressed their desire to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church. This was in accordance with the provisions of Pope Benedict’s November 4, 2009 Apostolic Constitution ‘Anglicanorum coetibus’ that provided for the erection of such an ordinariate and came after careful consultation with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

The Vatican statement announcing the first Ordinariate noted that, “For doctrinal reasons, the Church does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as bishops. However, the Apostolic Constitution does provide, under certain conditions, for the ordination as Catholic priests of former Anglican married clergy.” Keith Newton, a married bishop in the Anglican tradition, was named as the first ordinary of Walsingham. He may wear his episcopal attire but has the title ‘Monsignor’.

Bishop-elect Lopes’ appointment comes just five days before the Ordinariate begins using Divine Worship: The Missal, a new book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Personal Ordinariates around the globe. The texts were approved by the Vatican for use beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2015.

Bishop-elect Lopes was directly involved in developing these texts for worship: since 2011, he has served as the executive coordinator of the Vatican commission, Anglicanae Traditiones, which produced the new texts. The new missal is a milestone in the life of the Ordinariate, since the Ordinariate’s mission is particularly expressed through the reverence and beauty of its worship, which shares the treasury of the Anglican liturgical and musical traditions with the wider Catholic community.

The Ordinariate news release explained that Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, who headed the Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter since 2012, introduced Bishop-elect Lopes at a news conference today at the Chancery Offices of the Ordinariate in Houston. “With this appointment,” it says, “Pope Francis affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church.”

By naming Bishop-elect Lopes, the Pope has confirmed that the Ordinariate is a permanent, enduring part of the Catholic Church, like any other diocese – one that is now given a bishop so that it may deepen its contribution to the life of the Church and the world.


The following Q&A was part of a lengthy communiqué issued by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales at the historic announcement of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham on January 15, 2011:

Why did Pope Benedict XVI publish Anglicanorum coetibus?

As the Holy Father stated when he published “Anglicanorum coetibus,” he was responding to petitions received “repeatedly and insistently” by him from groups of Anglicans wishing “to be received into full communion individually as well as corporately” with the Catholic Church. During his address to the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales at Oscott last September, Pope Benedict was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution “should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.”  In this way, the establishment of the Ordinariate is clearly intended to serve the wider and unchanging aim of the full visible unity between the Catholic Church and the members of the Anglican Communion.

Will members of the Ordinariate still be Anglicans?

No. Members of the Ordinariate will be Catholics. Their decision is to leave the Anglican Communion and come into the Catholic Church, in full communion with the Pope. The central purpose of Anglicanorum coetibus is “to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared”. Members of the Ordinariate will bring with them, into full communion with the Catholic Church in all its diversity and richness of liturgical rites and traditions, some aspects their own Anglican patrimony and culture. It is recognised that the term Anglican patrimony is difficult to define but it would include many of the spiritual writings, prayers, hymnody, and pastoral practices distinctive to the Anglican tradition which have sustained the faith and longing of many Anglican faithful for that very unity for which Christ prayed. The Ordinariate will then bring a mutual enrichment and exchange of gifts, in an authentic and visible form of full communion, between those baptised and nurtured in Anglicanism and the Catholic Church.

Do all Anglicans who wish to become Catholics now have to be members of the Ordinariate?

No. Any individual former Anglican who wishes to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church, may do so without becoming a registered member of the Ordinariate. As stated above, the Ordinariate is being established essentially for groups of former Anglican faithful and their clergy who wish to maintain as members of the Catholic Church, within the canonically approved and structured ecclesial life of the Ordinariate, those aspects of their Anglican spiritual, liturgical and pastoral tradition which are recognised as authentic by the Catholic Church.

What is the ‘Ordinariate’ then?

The Ordinariate will be a specific ecclesiastical jurisdiction that is similar to a diocese and will be led by its own ‘Ordinary’ … who will be a bishop or priest. However, unlike a diocese its membership will be on a ‘personal’ rather than a ‘territorial’ basis; that is, no matter where a member of the Ordinariate lives within England and Wales they will, in the first instance, be under the ordinary ecclesial jurisdiction of the Ordinariate and not the diocese where they are resident. The Ordinariate will be made up of laity, clergy and religious who were formerly members of the Anglican Communion. Following reception into full communion with the Catholic Church, the laity and religious will become members of the Ordinariate by enrolment in a register; with ordination as priests and deacons, the clergy will be directly incardinated into (placed under the jurisdiction of) the Ordinariate.”




So much bad news these days – growing security concerns in Europe and around the world, terrorism rearing its ugly head day after day, violence and conflict in a nation soon to be visited by Pope Francis. With that in mind, I thought I’d start this column with a good news story, an illuminating one, to say the least”


ACEA, one of the companies in Rome that furnishes electricity and gas, has taken on an important assignment for the Jubilee of Mercy: replacing the current lighting on the 28 obelisk-like street lights on Via della Conciliazione, the broad avenue leading from the Tiber river to St. Peter’s Square.


The new lamps will feature LED lighting, such as that revealed last December on the facade and dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and on the dome of St. Mary Major, illuminated just before the January 6 Epiphany. The intention is to improve visibility, reduce energetic consumption and costs and to underline the beauty of this entire monumental and historical area. All new fixtures are expected to be up by the end of November.

Neighborhood storekeepers and residents were initially worried when they saw the beautiful lamp tops being removed (seen in the first photo) and replaced by what they described as “rather ugly” street lights that “ruined the aesthetic look of the entire neighborhood.”  (second photo)



Not to worry folks! The original lights will soon be back, more beautiful than ever with improved lighting!


Sunday, amid massive security, including police cars circling St. Peter’s Square, uniformed officers, plainclothesmen and additional airport-style security machines, Pope Francis presided at the Angelus from his study overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Sunday was the feast of Christ the King. Pope Francis noted that, “The kingdoms of this world sometimes build themselves on arrogance, rivalry, oppression, and conytrasted that to the kingdom of Christ which is, he said, is ‘a kingdom of justice, love and peace’. … To reign as Christ does means serving God and our brethren.”

The Holy Father called for all the faithful everywhere to pray for persecuted Christians, highlighting Saturday’s beatification in Barcelona of 26 including priests, friars awaiting ordination, and Franciscan lay brothers who were martyred during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, The Pope said, “let us entrust to their intercession our many brothers and sisters who, sadly still today, in many different parts of the world, are persecuted because of their faith in Christ.”

Pope Francis also asked the faithful to pray for the success of his visit to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, starting Wednesday. He sent a video message to the faithful of Kenya and Uganda, and a separate one to the Central African Republic in which he noted how this country “has for too long been affected by a violent situation and by insecurity of which many of you have been innocent victims.” He said he hopes to bring “consolation and hope” and that his visit “may contribute, in one way or another, to alleviate wounds and to favor conditions for a better, more serene future for Central Africa.”

Closely studying the situation in the CAR, Vatican security officials will decide the night before Francis’ scheduled departure for Central Africa if the trip will go as planned.


(Vatican Radio) The director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said on Monday he has “utmost confidence” in the Italian authorities to ensure the safety of Rome and St. Peter’s Square during the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy.

“On the part of the Vatican, there was not a specific demand to increase security measures during the Jubilee,” Fr. Lombardi said. “It depends on the Italian authorities, and how they rate the situation.” He was speaking at a press conference at the headquarters of the Province of Rome, explaining the “InfoJubilee” initiative, a collaboration of Vatican Radio, Roma Servizi per la Mobilità, ACI Infomobility and the Italian State Railway.

The collaborative initiative will include radio programs, announcements at train stations, online services tracking street traffic, and other services helping pilgrims make their way around the city.

Also attending the press conference was the prefect of Rome, Franco Gabrielli, who said Italian authorities had already been putting measures in place to increase security for the Jubilee before the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13.

“The difference is not made by the numbers of military and police officers put into the field, but by the ability to arrange them so you can control the territory, and for activities of prevention,” Gabrielli said. “The things you see are not the most important,” he added. “The most important activities are invisible, such as intelligence.”

Gabrielli said measures will be decided based upon the events taking place, with the most difficult period being the Spring, beginning with the Easter celebrations.

“The Spring season is the time of year in Rome which brings in the most tourists, with school children on field trips and pilgrims, which will be even more numerous in the Jubilee,” he said. Gabrielli said during this period the police presence will be especially visible, but added care was being taken to not infringe on the rights of citizens.

Father Lombardi also took the opportunity to say the Jubilee will not “succeed or fail” based on the number of pilgrims who come to Rome.

“The spirit of the Jubilee extends throughout the world,” Fr. Lombardi said. “You do not have to come to Rome to access the spiritual benefits of the Jubilee… Everyone can celebrate in their (home diocesan) cathedral. There will be many Holy Doors opened, and anyone who wants to receive the fruits of the Jubilee Holy Door can do so in their own city, and with the same spiritual benefits.”

Father Lombardi added, “this is not to say do not come to Rome.” “For those who are comfortable coming, come if you like to, and be happy to see the Pope. There is total freedom in living the Jubilee.”

The Holy Year begins on December 8, 2015, and ends November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King.


ANSA news agency reports that over 2,000 security agents are to be deployed in Rome as part of tougher security measures for the upcoming Jubilee made necessary after last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Rome police commissioner Nicolò D’Angelo said Friday. The new measures will come into effect on Monday, two weeks ahead of the start of the Holy Year on December 8.

The security plan provides for police patrols on local buses and Rome’s video surveillance system will be beefed up. There will also be more police patrols in outlying areas of the capital, D’Angelo said. The services aim to “increase the perception of our presence,” he explained.

Rome will be divided into “three important areas: from the outlying area to the one where security is highest” D’Angelo continued. “All the pilgrim routes will be strengthened with further additional services,” he added. The police commissioner also said Rome’s Olympic stadium – the location of football matches – was “obviously” a potential target and that security would be tightened there with additional, stricter controls.

In related news over the weekend, ANSA reported that Muslims on their way out of Rome’s Great Mosque after Friday prayers had harsh words for the Islamic terrorists who murdered 130 people last Friday in Paris. “They must be taken out, because they use the name of Allah in order to kill,” said one.

“I’m afraid because they can hurt me if I say the wrong thing,” said one woman. “But I want to speak my mind anyway, because I’m ashamed of being a Muslim”. “Those who go against peace are not Muslims,” said one young man in broken Italian.

“Italy has given me a lot,” said an older man. “I’ve lived here 37 years, I’ve had work and peace. Now I hope what happened won’t damage the image of Islam, which is always against violence.”



Tune in this weekend to “Vatican Insider” when I welcome Dr. Dan Guernsey, director of K-12 programs at the Cardinal Newman Society. He is an educator who has worked at every level of Catholic education for 25 years from K-12 to university president.


Dr. Guernsey is in Rome for the World Congress organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education to commemorate two Vatican Documents on Education, the 50th anniversary of “Gravissimum educationis” and the 25th of “Ex corde Ecclesiae (Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities). The congress theme is “Educating today and tomorrow: a renewing passion.”


In 2012, some fifty experts from around the globe met in Rome to identify problems regarding education in Church-run schools and universities all over the world, and to make some suggestions to relaunch important educational activities carried out by many Catholic institutions. The Rome Congress is four days long, and Pope Francis meets participnats on Saturday.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=


Pope Francis today welcomed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who later met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

The Vatican communqiue on the meeting said discussions were “cordial” and “were dedicated principally to matters connected with the situation of conflict in the country. In this respect the hope was shared that, with the commitment of all the interested Parties, political solutions may be favored, starting with the full implementation of the Minsk Accords.”

The Vatican noted that, “at the same time, concern was expressed regarding the difficulties of facing the humanitarian crisis, with particular reference to access for specialised organisations to areas affected by hostilities, to healthcare, to the exchange of prisoners, and the economic and social repercussions of the conflict, experienced throughout the territory.

Lastly, said the communique, “the meeting provided an opportunity to highlight the important role of the Church in society, as well as the contribution of the Greek Catholic and Latin rite communities to the life of the country.”


Every morning that he says Mass in the Santa Marta chapel, Pope Francis’ homilies are recorded by Vatican Radio, which transcribes them into Italian and translates them into other languages. Those translations are then put on the News.va website. The Holy Father had a powerful homily yesterday that I placed here in its entirety, a talk about Jesus who weeps at man’s inhumanity to man, at his desire for war, at his seeming lack of desire for peace.

In his homily today, the Pope said the Church must not be obsessed by money or power, nor worship “holy bribes.” Instead her strength and joy should come from the words of Christ. Following are extracts from Vatican Radio’s report.

POPE - MASS nov 20

The Holy Father reflected on the reading from Maccabees, which tells of the people’s joy following the reconsecration of the Holy Temple that had been destroyed by pagans and those obsessed by worldliness. The people of God celebrated, they rejoiced because they had rekindled “their true identity.” Francis explained that “those who indulge in worldliness do not know how to celebrate – they can’t celebrate! At most, the worldly spirit can provide amusement, it can provoke excitement, but true joy can only come from faith in the Covenant.”  Pope Francis noted that at the time of the Maccabees, worldly desire “displaced the Living God,”adding that now, it is happening “in another way altogether.”

“The Gospel says the chief priests and scribes had changed things. They had dishonored and compromised the Temple. They had dishonored the Temple! The Temple was a symbol of the Church. The Church will always – always! – be subject to the temptation of worldliness and power. Jesus did not say ‘No, do not do this inside. Go outside instead.’ He said ‘You have made it a den of thieves!’ And when the Church enters into such a state of decline, the end is bad. Very bad indeed.”

“There is always a danger of corruption within the Church,” continued the Pope. “This happens when the Church, instead of being devoted to faith in Our Lord, in the Prince of Peace, in joy, in salvation, becomes dominated by money and power. This is exactly what happens here, in this Gospel reading.”

Pope Francis noted that “Jesus did not chase the priests and scribes away from the Temple; he chased away those who were doing business there, the businessmen of the Temple. The chief priests and scribes were involved in their dealings: this is ‘holy bribery’! The Gospel is very clear. It says: “The chief priests and scribes wanted to kill Jesus, along with the elders of the people’. …Jesus’ strength is to be found in his words, in his love. And where Jesus is, there is no room for worldliness. There is no room for corruption! This is a challenge for each and every one of us; this is the struggle the Church has to face every day.”

“We must pray for the Church,” said Francis. “We must hold in our hearts today’s martyrs, who suffer and die, so as not to be ensnared by worldly desires, by obsession, by apostasy. Today! Today, there are more martyrs of the Church than there ever were before. Let’s think about that. It does us good to think about them. And also to pray that we may never fall into the trap of worldliness, where we will be obsessed only by money and power.”




The big news in Italy today concerned the potential for terrorist attacks and how the city, the country, is handling security in view of the announcements ISIS has made about future attacks, including targets in Italy. The FBI sent an alert to Italy overnight (and I believe similar alerts are sent to countries where threats were received) and I received the following email this morning:


Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Potential for Terrorist Attacks

November 18, 2015

“U.S. Embassy Rome informs U.S. citizens that the following locations have been identified as potential targets in Rome and Milan for terrorist attacks:

  • St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Rome)
  • the Duomo and La Scala in Milan
  • General venues such as churches, synagogues, restaurants, theatres, and hotels in both cities are possible targets as well.

“Terrorist groups may possibly utilize similar methods used in the recent Paris attacks.  The Italian authorities are aware of these threats.

“U.S. citizens are advised to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.  We encourage U.S. citizens to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.”

What horrific times we live in!  How extraordinarily sad that emails like this must be sent out!

We may weep these days but, as we read Pope Francis’ homily at Mass, we see that God also weeps!


(Vatican Radio) “The whole world is at war,” and the rejection of the “path of peace” means that God Himself, that Jesus Himself, weeps. This was the message of Pope Francis to the faithful following the readings of the day at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta.

“Jesus wept.” This is how the Holy Father began his remarks following the readings of the day in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, echoing the words of St. Luke the Evangelist, from whose Gospel the Gospel reading was taken.


A world festively bedecked

Jesus approaches Jerusalem and, seeing the city on a hill from a distance, weeps, and says, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Pope Francis repeated the words of Our Lord to the Holy City, and then added:

“Today Jesus weeps as well: because we have chosen the way of war, the way of hatred, the way of enmities. We are close to Christmas: there will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war. The world has not understood the way of peace.”

War lines the pockets of the traffickers

Pope Francis went on to recall the recent commemorations of the Second World War, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his visit to Redipuglia last year on the anniversary of the Great War: “Useless slaughters,” he called them, repeating the words of Pope Benedict XV. “Everywhere there is war today, there is hatred,” he said. Then he asked, “What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now?”

“What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims: and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers. Jesus once said: ‘You can not serve two masters: either God or riches.’ War is the right choice for the one who would serve wealth: ‘Let us build weapons, so that the economy will right itself somewhat, and let us go forward in pursuit of our interests. There is an ugly word the Lord spoke: ‘Cursed!’ Because He said: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers!.’ The men who make war, are cursed, they are criminals. A war can be justified – so to speak – with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war – piecemeal though that war may be – a little here, a little there, and everywhere – there is no justification – and God weeps. Jesus weeps.”

The world weeps over its crimes

The Holy Father went on to say that, while the arms dealers go about their business, there are the poor peacemakers who, perforce to help another person, and another and another, spend themselves utterly, and even give their lives – as did Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, against whom the powerful, worldy cynic might say, “But what did she ever accomplish? She wasted her life helping others on their way to death?” He repeated, “We do not understand the way of peace.”

“It will do us well to ask the grace of tears for ourselves, for this world that does not recognize the path of peace, this world that lives for war, and cynically says not to make it. Let us pray for conversion of heart. Here before the door of this Jubilee of Mercy, let us ask that our joy, our jubilation, be this grace: that the world discover the ability to weep for its crimes, for what the world does with war.”



Based on a story by an Italian news agency, reports – not confirmed by the Vatican – have been circulating today that Blessed Mother Teresa will be canonized in September of the Jubilee Year.

The Associated Press writes, however, “A Vatican official says it’s too soon to say if Blessed Mother Teresa will be made a saint during the 2016 Holy Year of Mercy. There’s been speculation the nun who worked with the destitute and dying in India would be made a saint by Pope Francis in a ceremony during the Holy Year, which runs from Dec. 8 till Nov. 20, 2016. The Italian bishops conference daily Avvenire on Wednesday, citing Italian news agency AGI, called Sept. 4 a “probable” date.

“Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi stressed that Francis still needs to approve a miracle attributed to Mother Teresa’s intercession before she can become a saint. Lombardi said canonization ‘would be lovely’ and called the possibility she would be made a saint next year a ‘reasonable hypothesis, desire’ by admirers.”