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.

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=

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

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POPE GRANTS CARDINAL PELL LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO ANSWER CHARGES IN AUSTRALIA

POPE GRANTS CARDINAL PELL LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO ANSWER CHARGES IN AUSTRALIA

Very early in the morning, the Holy See Press Office sent out a notice that Cardinal George Pell would address journalists at the press office at 8:30am, about an hour before the start of the papal Mass on the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Sitting to the cardinal’s left was press office director Greg Burke. The cardinal’s statement – which was videoed but not live streamed – was in reaction to charges made against him relative to decades-old accusations of sex abuse. No questions were allowed.

Greg Burke read the following statement, after which Cardinal Pell spoke.

“The Holy See has learned with regret the news of charges filed in Australia against Card. George Pell for decades-old actions that have been attributed to him.

“Having become aware of the charges, Card. Pell, acting in full respect for civil laws, has

decided to return to his country to face the charges against him, recognizing the importance of his participation to ensure that the process is carried out fairly, and to foster the search for truth.

“The Holy Father, having been informed by Card. Pell, has granted the Cardinal a leave of absence so he can defend himself. During the Prefect’s absence, the Secretariat for the Economy will continue to carry out its institutional tasks. The Secretaries will remain at their posts to carry forward the ordinary affairs of the dicastery, donec aliter provideatur.

“The Holy Father, who has appreciated Cardinal Pell’s honesty during his three years of work in the Roman Curia, is grateful for his collaboration, and in particular, for his energetic dedication to the reforms in the economic and administrative sector, as well as his active participation in the Council of Cardinals (C9).

“The Holy See expresses its respect for the Australian justice system that will have to decide the merits of the questions raised. At the same time, it is important to recall that Card. Pell has openly and repeatedly condemned as immoral and intolerable the acts of abuse committed against minors; has cooperated in the past with Australian authorities (for example, in his depositions before the Royal Commission); has supported the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; and finally, as a diocesan bishop in Australia, has introduced systems and procedures both for the protection of minors and to provide assistance to victims of abuse.”

BACKGROUND FROM CNA/EWTN – Jun 28, 2017 / 07:47 pm (UPDATED June 29 9:12 am) (CNA/EWTN News).- After years of fighting allegations of sexual abuse and negligence in handling abuse cases, Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s top finance man, will be charged on multiple counts of abuse, Australian police announced Wednesday.

Pell, who has fervently denied the allegations, will be charged on summons, and will be required to return to Melbourne in July order to answer the charges.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Victoria police were the ones who decided to charge the cardinal. In a June 29 statement, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said Pell is facing “multiple charges in respect to historic sexual offenses,” which multiple complaints in each of the charges.

Due to heavy media speculation surrounding the investigation, Patton clarified that “the process and the procedures that have been followed in the charging of Cardinal Pell have been the same that have been applied in a whole range of historical sex offenses whenever we investigate them.”

“There has been no change in any procedures whatsoever,” he said, noting that Pell has been treated the same as anyone else.

The deputy commissioner stressed the importance of remembering that “none of the allegations that have been made against Cardinal Pell have, obviously, been tested in any court yet.”

Cardinal Pell, like any other defendant, has a right to due process and so therefore it’s important that the process is allowed to run its natural course,” he said.

“Preserving the integrity of that process is essential to all of us, so for Victoria police it’s important that it’s allowed to go through unhindered, and its allowed to see natural justice is afforded to all the parties involved, including Cardinal Pell and the complainants in this matter.”

Pell has been summoned to appear before the Melbourne Maginstrate’s court July 18 for a filing hearing to face the charges, which were served to his legal team Wednesday (Thursday Australian time).

The charging of Cardinal Pell, who in 2013 was tapped to oversee the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy and is a member of the Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis, makes him the most senior Vatican official to ever be charged with abuse.

Cardinal Pell was ordained in the diocese of Ballarat in 1966, where he served as a priest and later as a consulter to Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, who oversaw the diocese from 1971-1997. Pell was appointed auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese of Melbourne in 1987, and was named archbishop in 1996.

In February 2016, he testified for the third time before Australia’s Royal Commission regarding claims that surfaced in 2015 accusing the cardinal of moving “known pedophile” Gerald Ridsdale, of bribing a victim of the later-defrocked priest, and of ignoring a victim’s complaint.

Established in 2013, the Royal Commission is dedicated to investigating institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Despite having testified before the commission twice before on the same charges, Pell was again summoned to return to Australia for deposition in December. However, the cardinal’s doctor advised against the long flight, due to health issues.

As a result, Cardinal Pell volunteered to appear by way of video conference from Rome. His proposal for the video conference was accepted, and he gave his testimony again with abuse survivors present, who crowd-funded in order to attend the hearing in person.

Shortly before the hearing, abuse allegations surfaced accusing the cardinal of multiple counts of child sexual abuse dating as far back as 1961, which he fervently denied at the time.

In a statement released after the accusations arose, Pell said “the allegations are without foundation and utterly false.”

At the close of the hearing, the cardinal admitted that he should have done more to protect the children of Australia during his time as a bishop.

“One of the things I regret as a Catholic priest is the damage that these crimes do to the faith of survivors, of the victims, and their friends and family, and generally throughout the society,” he said, and voiced his willingness to work with authorities.

In a June 29 statement following the announcement of the Victoria police department’s decision to charge him, Cardinal Pell’s office said he has “again strenuously denied all allegations.”

The statement said Pell would return to Australia as soon as possible “to clear his name” after consulting with his doctors, who will advise him on his travel arrangements, and that he looks forward to “vigorously” opposing the charges in court

Pell is set to give a statement to journalists in Rome at 8:30a.m. local time in the Holy See Press Office regarding the announcement of the charges.

The CNS video of the press office statement and Cardinal Pell’s remarks can be found here:

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/7386/0/vatican-financial-chief-pell-takes-leave-of-absence-to-fight-sex-abuse-charges-

Also this: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2017/cardinal-pell-professing-innocence-will-face-charges-in-australia.cfm

 

THE LIFE OF AN APOSTLE: CONFESSION, PERSECUTION AND PRAYER

THE LIFE OF AN APOSTLE: CONFESSION, PERSECUTION AND PRAYER

As is traditional in Rome on the June 29th Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, during Mass this morning in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis blessed the pallia (palliums) worn by metropolitan archbishops as a symbol of their authority and their link with the Pope. At the end of Mass, he handed each new metropolitan archbishop appointed during the year his own pallium. The pallium will be formally placed on the shoulder of each metropolitan by the papal representative in the country of the respective metropolitan see.

The pallium, placed on the shoulders of the recipient, is a band of white wool with two hanging pieces, front and back, that is decorated with seven black crosses and represents the authority of a metropolitan archbishop and unity with the Holy Father.

The wool used in weaving the palliums comes from baby lambs that are blessed by the Pope each year in his private apartment on the January 21 feast of St. Agnes, whose symbol is a lamb. St. Agnes died about 350 and she is buried in the basilica named for her on Rome’s Via Nomentana. The lambs are raised by Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains and the palliums are made from the newly-shorn wool by the sisters of St. Cecilia and brought to St. Peter’s Basilica where they are stored in a special coffer in the ‘confessio’ below the main altar.

This morning’s Mass was concelebrated by the five new cardinals and the new metropolitan archbishops. Saints Peter and Paul are the patron saints of Rome and both the Vatican and Rome mark the day as a holiday.

Today’s Eucharist was attended by a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent by His Beatitude Bartholomew and led by His Eminence Job, archbishop of Telmessos, accompanied by the Rev. Frs. Ambrosios Chorozidis and Agathanghelos Siskos.

Getty images:

Following is Pope Francis’ homily:

The liturgy today offers us three words essential for the life of an apostle: confession, persecution and prayer.

Confession. Peter makes his confession of faith in the Gospel, when the Lord’s question turns from the general to the specific. At first, Jesus asks: “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” (Mt 16:13). The results of this “survey” show that Jesus is widely considered a prophet. Then the Master puts the decisive question to His disciples: “But you, who do you say that I am?” (v. 15). At this point, Peter alone replies: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). To confess the faith means this: to acknowledge in Jesus the long-awaited Messiah, the living God, the Lord of our lives.

Today Jesus puts this crucial question to us, to each of us, and particularly to those of us who are pastors. It is the decisive question. It does not allow for a non-committal answer, because it brings into play our entire life. The question of life demands a response of life. For it counts little to know the articles of faith if we do not confess Jesus as the Lord of our lives. Today He looks straight at us and asks, “Who am I for you?” As if to say: “Am I still the Lord of your life, the longing of your heart, the reason for your hope, the source of your unfailing trust?” Along with Saint Peter, we too renew today our life choice to be Jesus’ disciples and apostles. May we too pass from Jesus’ first question to his second, so as to be “His own” not merely in words, but in our actions and our very lives.

Let us ask ourselves if we are parlour Christians, who love to chat about how things are going in the Church and the world, or apostles on the go, who confess Jesus with their lives because they hold Him in their hearts. Those who confess Jesus know that they are not simply to offer opinions but to offer their very lives. They know that they are not to believe half-heartedly but to “be on fire” with love. They know that they cannot just “tread water” or take the easy way out, but have to risk putting out into the deep, daily renewing their self-offering. Those who confess their faith in Jesus do as Peter and Paul did: they follow Him to the end – not just part of the way, but to the very end. They also follow the Lord along His way, not our own ways. His way is that of new life, of joy and resurrection; it is also the way that passes through the cross and persecution.

Here, then, is the second word: persecution. Peter and Paul shed their blood for Christ, but the early community as a whole also experienced persecution, as the Book of Acts has reminded us (cf. 12:1). Today too, in various parts of the world, sometimes in silence – often a complicit silence – great numbers of Christians are marginalized, vilified, discriminated against, subjected to violence and even death, not infrequently without due intervention on the part of those who could defend their sacrosanct rights.

Here I would especially emphasize something that the Apostle Paul says before, in his words, “being poured out as a libation” (2 Tim 4:6). For him, to live was Christ (cf. Phil 1:21), Christ crucified (cf. 1 Cor 2:2), Who gave his life for him (cf. Gal 2:20). As a faithful disciple, Paul thus followed the Master and offered his own life too. Apart from the cross, there is no Christ, but apart from the cross, there can be no Christian either. For “Christian virtue is not only a matter of doing good, but of tolerating evil as well” (Augustine, Serm. 46,13), even as Jesus did. Tolerating evil does not have to do simply with patience and resignation; it means imitating Jesus, carrying our burden, shouldering it for his sake and that of others. It means accepting the cross, pressing on in the confident knowledge that we are not alone: the crucified and risen Lord is at our side. So, with Paul, we can say that “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken” (2 Cor 4:8-9).

Tolerating evil means overcoming it with Jesus, and in Jesus’ own way, which is not the way of the world. This is why Paul – as we heard – considered himself a victor about to receive his crown (cf. 2 Tim 4:8). He writes: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (v. 7). The essence of his “good fight” was living for: he lived not for himself, but for Jesus and for others. He spent his life “running the race”, not holding back but giving his all. He tells us that there is only one thing that he “kept”: not his health, but his faith, his confession of Christ. Out of love, he experienced trials, humiliations and suffering, which are never to be sought but always accepted. In the mystery of suffering offered up in love, in this mystery, embodied in our own day by so many of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted, impoverished and infirm, the saving power of Jesus’ cross shines forth.

The third word is prayer. The life of an apostle, which flows from confession and becomes self-offering, is one of constant prayer. Prayer is the water needed to nurture hope and increase fidelity. Prayer makes us feel loved and it enables us to love in turn. It makes us press forward in moments of darkness because it brings God’s light. In the Church, it is prayer that sustains us and helps us to overcome difficulties. We see this too in the first reading: “Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church” (Acts 12:5). A Church that prays is watched over and cared for by the Lord. When we pray, we entrust our lives to Him and to His loving care. Prayer is the power and strength that unite and sustain us, the remedy for the isolation and self-sufficiency that lead to spiritual death. The Spirit of life does not breathe unless we pray; without prayer, the interior prisons that hold us captive cannot be unlocked.

May the blessed Apostles obtain for us a heart like theirs, wearied yet at peace, thanks to prayer. Wearied, because constantly asking, knocking and interceding, weighed down by so many people and situations needing to be handed over to the Lord; yet also at peace, because the Holy Spirit brings consolation and strength when we pray. How urgent it is for the Church to have teachers of prayer, but even more so for us to be men and women of prayer, whose entire life is prayer!

The Lord answers our prayers. He is faithful to the love we have professed for Him, and He stands beside us at times of trial. He accompanied the journey of the Apostles, and He will do the same for you, dear brother Cardinals, gathered here in the charity of the Apostles who confessed their faith by the shedding of their blood. He will remain close to you too, dear brother Archbishops who, in receiving the pallium, will be strengthened to spend your lives for the flock, imitating the Good Shepherd who bears you on his shoulders. May the same Lord, Who longs to see His flock gathered together, also bless and protect the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, together with my dear brother Bartholomew, who has sent them here as a sign of our apostolic communion.

 

COLLEGE OF CARDINALS WELCOMES 5 NEW MEMBERS

COLLEGE OF CARDINALS WELCOMES 5 NEW MEMBERS

For the fourth time in his four year papacy, Pope Francis today held the fourth Public Ordinary Consistory for the creation of 5 new Cardinals. The ceremony, which is not a liturgy, includes the the imposition of the scarlet zucchetto and beretta, the presentation of the ring and the assignment of a Title or Diaconia to a church in Rome.

The consistory began with a greeting by Cardinal Omella Omella of Barcelona, one of the five new eminences, then a prayer, and reading a passage of the gospel according to Mark. Pope Francis read the formula of creation of a cardinal in Latin, solemnly proclaiming the names of the new cardinals. The cardinals then recited the profession of faith in Latin as well as the oath of fidelity and obedience to Pope Francis and his successors.

One by one, the new cardinals ascended the steps to the main altar, ascending in the order in which they were named last May 21 by Pope Francis. As they knelt before the Pope, he placed the zucchetto or skull cap and the cardinal’s beretta, a square cap with three raised peaks, followed by the cardinalatial ring.

The final act by the Holy Father was to assign to each cardinal a church of Rome as a sign of participation in the pastoral care of the Pope in the diocese of Rome. This was followed by the exchange of peace between the Pope and the new cardinals.

Cardinal Jean ZERBO, Title of Sant’Antonio da Padova in Via Tuscolana (St. Anthony of Padua in Via Tuscolana)

Cardinal Juan José OMELLA OMELLA, Title of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Holy Cross in Jerusalem)

Cardinal Anders ARBORELIUS, O.C.D., Title of Santa Maria degli Angeli and Martiri (St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs)

Cardinal Louis-Marie Ling MANGKHANEKHOUN, Title of San Silvestro in Capite (St. Silvester in Capite)

Cardinal Gregorio ROSA CHÁVEZ, Title of Santissimo Sacramento a Tor de’ Schiavi (Most Holy Sacrament at Tor de’ Schiavi)

Following is the homily given during the consistory by Pope Francis. It was similar in content to much the general audience held earlier in the morning in St. Peter’s Square on the catechesis of Christian hope:

“Jesus was walking ahead of them”. This is the picture that the Gospel we have just read (Mk 10:32-45) presents to us. It serves as a backdrop to the act now taking place: this Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals.

Jesus walks resolutely towards Jerusalem. He knows fully what awaits him there; on more than one occasion, he spoke of it to his disciples. But there is a distance between the heart of Jesus and the hearts of the disciples, which only the Holy Spirit can bridge. Jesus knows this, and so he is patient with them. He speaks to them frankly and, above all, *he goes before them*. He walks *ahead *of them.

Along the way, the disciples themselves are distracted by concerns that have nothing to do with the “direction” taken by Jesus, with his will, which is completely one with that of the Father”. So it is that, as we heard, the two brothers James and John think of how great it would be to take their seats at the right and at the left of the King of Israel (cf. v. 37). They are not facing reality! They think they see, but they don’t. They think they know, but they don’t. They think they understand better than the others, but they don’t…

For the reality is completely different. It is what Jesus sees and what directs his steps. The reality is the cross. It is the sin of the world that he came to take upon himself, and to uproot from the world of men and women. It is the innocent who suffer and die as victims of war and terrorism; the forms of enslavement that continue to violate human dignity even in the age of human rights; the refugee camps which at times seem more like a hell than a purgatory; the systematic discarding of all that is no longer useful, people included.

This is what Jesus sees as he walks towards Jerusalem. During his public ministry he made known the Father’s tender love by healing all who were oppressed by the evil one (cf. Acts 10:38). Now he realizes that the moment has come to press on to the very end, to eliminate evil at its root. And so, he walks resolutely towards the cross.

We too, brothers and sisters, are journeying with Jesus along this path. I speak above all to you, dear new Cardinals. Jesus “is walking ahead of you”, and he asks you to follow him resolutely on his way. He calls you to look at reality, not to let yourselves be distracted by other interests or prospects. He has not called you to become “princes” of the Church, to “sit at his right or at his left”. He calls you to serve like him and with him. To serve the Father and your brothers and sisters. He calls you to face as he did the sin of the world and its effects on today’s humanity. Follow him, and walk ahead of the holy people of God, with your gaze fixed on the Lord’s cross and resurrection

And now, with faith and through the intercession of the Virgin Mother, let us ask the Holy Spirit to bridge every gap between our hearts and the heart of Christ, so that our lives may be completely at the service of God and all our brothers and sisters.

 

THE CHURCH TO WELCOME FIVE NEW CARDINALS JUNE 28 – POPE FRANCIS MARKS 25 YEARS AS A BISHOP

THE CHURCH TO WELCOME FIVE NEW CARDINALS JUNE 28

Tomorrow, June 28, as you know, Pope Francis will hold a consistory to name 5 new cardinals, bringing the members of the College of Cardinals to 225. Of these, 121 are under 80 years and can participate in a conclave.  The ceiling for the number of cardinal electors is 120 but popes have gone over that number a handful of times.

The new cardinals are from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos and El Salvador.

After Wednesday’s consistory, the 4th of Francis’ papacy, of the cardinal electors, 19 will have been appointed by St. John Paul II, 53 by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and 49 by Pope Francis.  Compared to the College of Cardinals in March 2013 when Francis was elected, today there are fewer cardinals from Europe and North America and slightly more in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.  Italy still has the greatest number of cardinal electors with 24. Next, with 10 electors, is the United States, then France with 5, and Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Poland and India, with four each.

I was privileged to interview one of the new cardinals this afternoon, Sweden’s Cardinal Anders Arborelius. He is a lovely, down to earth person whom you feel you have known for a long time, and he speaks six languages! He has been the bishop of Stockholm since 1998. He is not only the first ever cardinal from Sweden, he is the first ever cardinal from Scandinavia.

He was born in Switzerland of Swedish parents, grew up Lutheran, converted to Catholicism, wanted to be a diocesan priest but became a Discalced Carmelite, after reading Saint Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography, The Story of a Soul.

KTLA photo of Pope and Bishop Arborelius during visit to Sweden – Mass at Swedbank:

I’ll let you know when that interview will air on “Vatican Insider”!!

POPE FRANCIS MARKS 25 YEARS AS A BISHOP

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Tuesday morning in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, together with the members of the College of Cardinals present in the city, in order to mark the 25th jubilee of his ordination to the episcopacy.

The Dean of the College of Cardinals offered greetings and best wishes to Pope Francis on the occasion, recalling the words of St. Paul the Apostle in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, “Make room for us in your hearts,”

Cardinal Sodano said. “Holy Father, you need not tell us to make room for you in our hearts,” pledging all the love and reverence due the Successor to Peter.

In remarks following the Readings of the Day, the first of which was taken from the Book of Genesis, recounting the episode in which Abraham and Lot part ways, Pope Francis focused on the three imperatives that God gives the Father of Faith: “Arise!” “Look out!” “Be hopeful!”

“When Abraham was called, he was more or less our age,” Pope Francis said to the elder statesmen of the Church. “He was going to retire, to go into retirement for some rest – he started out at that age.” “An old man,” the Pope continued, “with the weight of old age, old age that brings pain, illness – but [God said to him], as if he were a young man, ‘Get up, go, go! As if he were a scout: go! Look and hope!’”

The Holy Father went on to say that the message God gave to Abraham in that day, He also gives to each of those present in this day: to be on the way, about the journey; to look toward the ever-retreating horizon, and to hope without stint, despite it all.

“There are those, who do not love us, who say that we are the ‘Gerontocracy’ of the Church. This is mere mockery. Whoever says so knows not what he says. We are not tired old fools [It. geronti]: we are grandfathers. And if we do not feel this, we must ask the grace to feel that it is so. We are grandfathers, to whom our grandchildren look – grandparents who, with our experience, must share with those grandchildren a sense of what life is really about – grandparents not closed off in melancholy over our salad days, but open to give this [gift] of meaning, of sense. For us, then, this threefold imperative: ‘Arise! Look outward! Hope!” is called ‘dreaming’. We are grandfathers called to dream and to pass on our dream to today’s youth: they need it, that they might take from our dreams the power to prophesy and carry on their work.”

After the Mass, the Holy Father greeted the Cardinal-concelebrants one-by-one. He also greeted members of the household staff and the professional staff of the Secretariat for Communications, who had done the live Vatican Radio commentary for the liturgy in several languages, including English.

 

PAPAL SCHEDULE FOR LAST WEEK IN JUNE – VATICAN STATEMENT ON MISSING CHINESE BISHOP

PAPAL SCHEDULE FOR LAST WEEK IN JUNE

MONDAY morning was Pope Francis’ last Mass in the chapel of the anta Marta Residence before his summer break. Masses will resume in September after the Pope’s trip to Colombia scheduled for September 6 to 11.

TUESDAY at 8 am in the Pauline Chapel. Pope Francis will concelebrate Mass with the cardinals present in Rome on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his Episcopal ordination.  At 9:30 he will meet with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople as it visits Rome for the June 29th feast of St. Peter and Paul, Apostles. At 10 am he is scheduled to meet with Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

WEDNESDAY at 9 am in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father will meet with a delegation of about 1,000 members of the Confederation of Italian Labor Unions. At 10 in St. Peter’s Square he will preside at the final general audience before the summer break. Audiences will resume August 2.

At 4 pm Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope will preside at an ordinary public consistory for the creation of five new cardinals. From 6 to 8 pm that day, courtesy visits to the new cardinals will take place in the Paul VI Hall.

THURSDAY, June 29, feast of St. Peter and Paul, Apostles, patron saints of Rome, is a holiday in both the Vatican and Rome. At 9:30 am in St. Peter’s Square, Mass with the rite of the blessings of palliums for the new metropolitan archbishops. The 5 new cardinals will be present, as will members of the College of Cardinals, bishops and priests. Pope Francis will recite the Angelus at noon.

FRIDAY, the Pope will have a series of private audiences in the morning and at 12:30, in the Clementine Hall welcome 200 members of the Italo-Latin American International Organization

VATICAN STATEMENT ON MISSING CHINESE BISHOP

From Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke:

In response to questions from journalists regarding the case of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou (Continental China), I can state the following:

The Holy See is observing with grave concern the personal situation of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, forcibly removed from his episcopal see some time ago.

The diocesan Catholic community and his relatives have no news or reasons for his removal, nor do they know where he is being held. In this respect, the Holy See, profoundly saddened for this and other similar episodes that unfortunately do not facilitate ways of understanding, expresses the hope that Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin may return as soon as possible to the diocese and that he can be assured the possibility of serenely exercising his episcopal ministry. We are all invited to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and for the path of the Catholic Church in China.

A recent chronology by AsiaNews:

June 8:

The bishop disappeared after being called for a meeting with the Office for Religious Affairs. Bishop Shao is recognized by the Vatican, but not by the government. The bishop’s mother, 90, asks to be able to see her son. Catholics in Wenzhou ask for prayers for their shepherd, so he may be “strong” in faith and witness. In the past some underground bishops were killed while in police hands.

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – There is still no news of Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang). The diocese’s faithful are very concerned, and with them also the bishop’s mother, a 90-year-old woman who has already asked several times to see her son. Msgr. Shao, 54, disappeared last May 18, after being invited at 9 am to the office for religious affairs in the city. His whereabouts remain unknown.

On May 22, he made a request to his co-workers to have wine for the celebration of Mass, but since then nothing has been heard. Priests and faithful say they do not know where he is and the authorities will tell them nothing.

A message sent to AsiaNews by a member of the faithful asks for “prayers to God to guide him to have a strong faith and a clear witness.” Msgr. Shao had been kidnapped already in April, a few days ahead of Easter, perhaps to prevent him from commemorating the rites of Holy Week with the faithful and his priests. Bishop Shao is a member of the underground community and as a bishop is not recognized by the government. The Holy See, however, confirmed him as ordinary bishop of the diocese, after the death of his predecessor, Msgr. Vincenzo Zhu Weifang, on September 7th. It is most likely that his forced disappearance aims to persuade the prelate to enroll in the Patriotic Association (PA), the party body that wants to build an independent Church, which is “inconsistent with Catholic doctrine “as Benedict XVI affirms in his 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics, a position confirmed by Pope Francis.

June 19:

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, a bishop not recognised by the overnment, is missing again. The bishop apparently arrived at Wenzhou airport, but did not go home.  Government officials took him to an unknown place. His priests did not see him at home. According to the latest figures, Wenzhou Catholics number 130,000.

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, ordinary bishop of Wenzhou, is still in the hands of the police held at an unknown location. A report AsiaNews received two days ago was only partially right.

Three days ago, the bishop was seen at Wenzhou Airport waiting for luggage. A Catholic who was there by chance took a photo of him.

This led some Catholics to believe that the bishop had finally been brought back to his city.  However, a day later, some priests in the diocese noted that the bishop had not been seen at his home.

When he was getting his luggage at the airport, the prelate was accompanied by government officers, perhaps plain-clothes police, who drove him in a Volkswagen, not home, but to an unknown location.

Bishop Shao, 54, belongs to Wenzhou’s unofficial Catholic community, which is not recognised by the government. He is the ordinary bishop of the local diocese. He was taken on 18 May by police and was held for almost a month until he was seen at the airport.

It is thought that his absence, like previous disappearances, was part of an attempt to persuade him to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association so that he can be under its control. For the latter, “underground” bishops are regarded as “unreliable”.

June 26:

The last 10 years of the Church in China: from the Letter of Benedict XVI to the silence on the arrest of Msgr. Shao Zhumin – by Joseph

The silence on the persecution of Chinese Catholics and their bishops in Wenzhou and Shanghai. The organisms that Benedict XVI did not accept (Patriotic Association and Chinese Bishops’ Conference) because “incompatible with Catholic doctrine” now govern the Church. Dialogue between China and the Vatican must address the issue of underground bishops out in the open and not under the shroud of secrecy. An analysis from a northeast Chinese Catholic, as the Vatican celebrates a new round of China-Holy See talks.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-last-10-years-of-the-Church-in-China:-from-the-Letter-of-Benedict-XVI-to-the-silence-on-the-arrest-of-Msgr.-Shao-Zhumin-41118.html