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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Cardinal Mueller-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

“They are crazy”

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

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