The Vatican today released a summary of the three days of work by the C9, the Council of 9 cardinals who are advisors to the Pope:


The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father from Monday, April 11 to Wednesday, April 13. All members were present apart from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India, who was unable to attend for health reasons. The Pope participated in all the meetings aside from this morning’s session, due to the usual Wednesday general audience.

The conversations focused mostly on the various dicasteries of the Curia that have been the subject of reflection in previous meetings, with a view to the new apostolic constitution. These included the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and others.

The texts regarding the Holy Father’s proposal for the two new dicasteries referred to on other occasions – “Laity, Family, Life” and “Justice, Peace, Migrations” (also including Charity and Health Pastoral Care) were reread and submitted to the Holy Father for his decisions.

Other issues were considered: in particular, the criteria for gathering information for the appointment of new bishops, in the light of their identity and pastoral mission. The cardinals also reflected on the meaning and role of the nuncio.

Updates were also presented in the form of reports from the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy on issues within its sphere of competence, and from Cardinal O’Malley on the activity of the Commission for the Protection of Minors.

On the final day the Council worked to gather, order and integrate the various contributions that have emerged from the meetings so far, so as to begin to structure an overall proposal to offer to the Pope from the Council in view of the new Constitution.

The next meetings of the Council this year are scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 June, 12 to 14 September, and 12 to 14 December.


THE 30,000 FAITHFUL IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE for the weekly General Audience included Spanish film star Antonio Banderas. Accompanied by his girlfriend, Nicole Kimpel, Banderas was greeted personally by Pope Francis at the end of his catechesis and after having made an appeal for prayers for his upcoming visit to the Greek island of Lesbos in solidarity with refugees fleeing conflict. After the meeting Banderas tweeted: ‘nice chat with Pope Francis before we start filming in Rome’. Ahead of the audience he had let his followers know he was excited and looking forward to the meeting. Antonio Banderas is United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador. (Vatican Radio)

THE TRIAL FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF RESERVED INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS resumed today at 10 am in Vatican City State Tribunal, according to the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi.. It was attended by the 4 members of the Tribunal, the 2 Promoters of Justice and the defendants Ángel Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, Nicola Maio, (journalists) Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, with their respective legal representatives. The hearing was dedicated entirely to the interrogation of the defendant Gianluigi Nuzzi by the President, the Promoter of Justice, and the counsels for the defence of the other defendants. Some lawyers requested that the Court admit certain witnesses other than those already previously requested and admitted. The Court retired to the Counsel Chamber and subsequently refused the requests for new witnesses. The hearing ended at around 2.15 p.m. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on April 26 at 3.30 p.m. Since the interrogation of the defendants has now been concluded, the examination of witnesses will take place. (Press Office Bulletin)



PAPAL TWEET – April 13, 2016: The Lord’s presence dwells in families, with all their daily troubles and struggles, joys and hopes.

As you know, Pope Francis will travel to the Greek island of Lesbos this Saturday to assess the situation of the huge numbers of migrants and refugees who have arrived there and are taxing not only the local economy but the reserves of hospitality of the people. I will bring you more in coming days about that trip, including input from Caritas, which is present on the ground.


Pope Francis told the tens of thousands of faithful at today’s general audience that, “in our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider the Gospel account of the calling of Saint Matthew.  Jesus not only invites a tax-collector, a public sinner, to be his disciple, but also sits at table with him, thus scandalizing the Pharisees.  The Lord then explains that he has come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

The Pope went on to say that, “the calling of Matthew reminds us that when Christ makes us his disciples, he does not look to our past but to the future.”

The Holy Father then interrupted his own catechesis by quoting what he said was “a wonderful saying I heard long ago: ‘There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future!’” In fact, he repeated these words several times, to great applause from the faithful.

“We need but respond to (Jesus’) call with a humble and sincere heart,” explained Francis. “Jesus invites us to sit with him at the table of the Eucharist, in which he purifies us by the power of his word and by the sacrament unites us ever more deeply to himself.  Citing the prophet Hosea, he tells us that what God desires is ‘mercy, not sacrifice’, true conversion of heart and not merely formal acts of religion.

“May all of us,” urged the Pope, “in acknowledging our sins, respond more generously to the Lord’s invitation to sit at table with him, and with one another, with immense gratitude for his infinite mercy and saving love.”

At the end of the catechesis, Pope Francis remarked that he was united with the Church in Poland in marking the 1050th anniversary of the “baptism of the nation” an he asked God to bless the Polish people both at home and abroad.

“Together with the pastors and faithful, I give thanks to God for this historic event, which over the centuries has formed the faith, the spirituality, and the culture of your country, in the community of peoples  whom Christ has invited to participate in the mystery of His death and resurrection,” he told Polish pilgrims, many of whom wore traditional dress.

“Give thanks to the Lord – according to the words of Saint John Paul II – for the gift of having been – over 1000 years ago – baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to be baptized in the water which, through grace, perfect in us the image of the living God; the water which is a wave of eternity: a spring of water welling up to eternal life. I ask God that the present generation and future generations of Poles remain faithful to the grace of baptism, giving witness to the love of Christ and the Church.,”

According to a note by Vatican Radio, a joint session of both chambers of the Polish Parliament will meet in Poznań on Friday to mark the acceptance by Polish ruler Mieszko I of Christianity in 966, which is considered the foundational event of the nation.


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday issued an appeal for prayers for his upcoming trip to the Greek island of Lesbos, where he will meet with some of the tens of thousands of refugees who have passed through the island. (photo news.va)


“Next Saturday I will go to the island of Lesbos, where many refugees have passed in recent months,” the Pope said, speaking during his 13 April general audience at the Vatican. “I will go, together with my brothers, Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and of all Greece, to express my closeness and solidarity to the refugees and citizens of Lesbos, and all the Greek people – who are very generous in their welcoming.”

“I ask you to please accompany me with prayer, invoking the light and strength of the Holy Spirit and the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary.”

Pope Francis will travel to Lesbos Saturday, 16 April at the invitations of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and of Greek President, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the Vatican announced 7 April.

One million refugees have made their way to Greece over the past year. Lesbos is a major entry point for refugees, which has received tens of thousands of people, many of them fleeing the war in Syria.


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ appeal to pray for his upcoming journey to Lesbos on Saturday shines a spotlight on the plight of hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants fleeing conflict and poverty.

Internationally acclaimed photojournalist Aris Messinis, the chief photographer for Agence France Presse in Athens, is currently on assignment in Lesbos. Messinis recently gained attention in the media not for a photo he captured, but rather for an image taken of him in which he set his camera aside to help a refugee child struggling to get out of the water. (photo: news.va)


Messinis has been on assignment in Lesbos for over a year now. Vatican Radio’s Antonella Palermo speaks with him about the situation there and his thoughts on the upcoming papal visit.

“Lesbos is only one part of a difficult journey,” Messinis explains. There are many risks involved with travelling by ocean. Many refugees do not know how to swim. The dinghies they are using are designed for lakes and made to hold a maximum of 18 people, though they try to fit up to 80 in one. Because they are so overcrowded, the risk for drowning or going missing is much higher.

As a photojournalist, Messinis feels it is his job to show people the reason why there is a migrant crisis. “We need to understand that it is not the migrants’ fault,” he says. “Someone else created this war, and it is just a survival instinct for them to escape the danger.”

When asked about the now iconic photo of himself, he said it was a “natural instinct” to help the refugee. “When you see someone in danger asking for help, what will you do – take their picture? No way.”

Messinis is thrilled to be present for Pope Francis’ visit, calling it a “big step.” He hopes it will inspire people to take action in aiding the thousands of suffering migrants risking their lives for the pursuit of a better future.