Today is the feast day of Hawaii’s own St. Marianne Cope, also know as Saint Marianne of Moloka’i, for her decades spent in Hawaii – 30 years alone on Kalaupapa, Moloka’i with the victims of Hansen’s disease or leprosy. Marianne was born on January 23, 1838 and died August 9, 1918. She arrived in Hawaii in 1883 and began her mission on Moloka’i in 1888.

Her first grave on Kalaupapa –

A mosaic on a gatepost on Kalaupapa –

A statue in a Honolulu park-

An image in Our Lady of Peace cathedral –

Thus, 2018 marks 3 significant dates for St. Marianne: the 100th anniversary of her death, the 130th anniversary of her arrival on Kalaupapa and the 180th of her birth. The diocese of Honolulu will be celebrating these dates, as well as the 175th anniversary of Honolulu’s cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. Marianne’s remains were transferred here in July 2014, a ceremony I attended, videoed and wrote about.

St, Marianne was both the first beatification and the last canonization under Pope Benedict XVI.

Marianne’s mortal remains in a chapel of the Franciscan Sisters the day before her remains were placed in the cathedral –

In the cathedral –

Bishop Larry Silva and seminarians –

Bishop Silva and some of the Franciscan Sisters (and yours truly) –

In a spirit of ecumenism, St. Marianne is honored jointly with St. Damien of Moloka’i on April 15 on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.


Following is the Message sent by the Holy Father Francis to Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, taking place in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, from 23 to 26 January, on the theme “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”:

To Professor Klaus Schwab
Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum


am grateful for your invitation to participate in the World Economic Forum 2018 and for your desire to include the perspective of the Catholic Church and the Holy See at the meeting in Davos. I thank you also for your efforts to bring this perspective to the attention of those gathered for this annual Forum, including the distinguished political and governmental authorities present and all those engaged in the fields of business, the economy, work and culture, as they discuss the challenges, concerns, hopes and prospects of the world today and of the future.

The theme chosen for this year’s Forum – Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World – is very timely. I trust that it will assist in guiding your deliberations as you seek better foundations for building inclusive, just and supportive societies, capable of restoring dignity to those who live with great uncertainty and who are unable to dream of a better world.

At the level of global governance, we are increasingly aware that there is a growing fragmentation between States and Institutions. New actors are emerging, as well as new economic competition and regional trade agreements. Even the most recent technologies are transforming economic models and the globalized world itself, which, conditioned by private interests and an ambition for profit at all costs, seem to favour further fragmentation and individualism, rather than to facilitate approaches that are more inclusive.

The recurring financial instabilities have brought new problems and serious challenges that governments must confront, such as the growth of unemployment, the increase in various forms of poverty, the widening of the socio-economic gap and new forms of slavery, often rooted in situations of conflict, migration and various social problems. “Together with this, we encounter certain rather selfish lifestyles, marked by an opulence which is no longer sustainable and frequently indifferent to the world around us, and especially to the poorest of the poor. To our dismay we see technical and economic questions dominating political debate, to the detriment of genuine concern for human beings. Men and women risk being reduced to mere cogs in a machine that treats them as items of consumption to be exploited, with the result that –as is so tragically apparent–whenever a human life no longer proves useful for that machine, it is discarded with few qualms” (Address to the European Parliament, Strasbourg, 25 November 2014).

In this context, it is vital to safeguard the dignity of the human person, in particular by offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development and by implementing economic policies that favour the family. “Economic freedom must not prevail over the practical freedom of man and over his rights, and the market must not be absolute, but honour the exigencies of justice” (Address to the General Confederation of Italian Industry, 27 February 2016). Economic models, therefore, are also required to observe an ethic of sustainable and integral development, based on values that place the human person and his or her rights at the centre.

“Before the many barriers of injustice, of loneliness, of distrust and of suspicion which are still being elaborated in our day, the world of labour is called upon to take courageous steps in order that ‘being and working together’ is not merely a slogan but a programme for the present and the future”(Ibid.).

Only through a firm resolve shared by all economic actors may we hope to give anew direction to the destiny of our world. So too artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological innovations must be so employed that they contribute to the service of humanity and to the protection of our common home, rather than to the contrary, as some assessments unfortunately foresee.
We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people whose dignity is wounded, nor can we continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice had no cause. It is a moral imperative, a responsibility that involves everyone, to create the right conditions to allow each person to live in a dignified manner. By rejecting a “throwaway” culture and a mentality of indifference, the entrepreneurial world has enormous potential to effect substantial change by increasing the quality of productivity, creating new jobs, respecting labour laws, fighting against public and private corruption and promoting social justice, together with the fair and equitable sharing of profits.

There is a grave responsibility to exercise wise discernment, for the decisions made will be decisive for shaping the world of tomorrow and that of future generations. Thus, if we want a more secure future, one that encourages the prosperity of all, then it is necessary to keep the compass continually oriented towards “true North”, represented by authentic values. Now is the time to take courageous and bold steps for our beloved planet. This is the right moment to put into action our responsibility to contribute to the development of humanity.

I hope, therefore, that this 2018 meeting of the World Economic Forum will allow an open, free, and respectful exchange, and be inspired above all else by the desire to advance the common good.
In renewing my best wishes for the success of the meeting, I willingly invoke upon you and all participating in the Forum the divine blessings of wisdom and strength.

From the Vatican, 12 January 2018


Today the United States observes National Sanctity of Human Life Day! As President Trump’s proclamation for this day says, we mark this “to affirm the truth that all life is sacred, that every person has inherent dignity and worth, and that no class of people should ever be discarded as ‘non-human’.”

That proclamation goes on to say, “Reverence for every human life, one of the values for which our Founding Fathers fought, defines the character of our Nation. Today, it moves us to promote the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children. It animates our concern for single moms; the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled; and orphan and foster children. It compels us to address the opioid epidemic and to bring aid to those who struggle with mental illness. It gives us the courage to stand up for the weak and the powerless. And it dispels the notion that our worth depends on the extent to which we are planned for or wanted.”

On another matter: In answer to a journalist’s question at the end of his time in Chile, some words pronounced by Pope Francis caused quite a bit of consternation for victims of clerical sex abuse.

In this regard, Cardinal O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and a key papal advisor (one of the C9, that is, the Council of Cardinals that advises the Holy Father) released a statement that appeared in the online version of thebostonpilot.com. The cardinal was in Peru for another event but did concelebrate at Pope Francis’ final Mass in that nation.

The last story is again from thebostonpilot.com: it was reported by a CNS correspondent aboard the papal flight from Lima, Peru to Rome. The Pope landed about 2:15 this afternoon in Rome.


From The Boston Pilot, January 20, 2018:

(Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley released the following statement Jan. 20 after Pope Francis’s response to a journalist in which he defended the 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to lead the Osnoro Diocese in Chile. Bishop Barros had been accused by abuse advocates of covering up abuse perpetrated his friend Father Fernando Karadima. — Ed.)

It is understandable that Pope Francis’ statements yesterday in Santiago, Chile were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy or any other perpetrator. Words that convey the message “if you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed” abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile.

Not having been personally involved in the cases that were the subject of yesterday’s interview I cannot address why the Holy Father chose the particular words he used at that time. What I do know, however, is that Pope Francis fully recognizes the egregious failures of the Church and its clergy who abused children and the devastating impact those crimes have had on survivors and their loved ones.

Accompanying the Holy Father at numerous meetings with survivors I have witnessed his pain of knowing the depth and breadth of the wounds inflicted on those who were abused and that the process of recovery can take a lifetime. The Pope’s statements that there is no place in the life of the Church for those who would abuse children and that we must adhere to zero tolerance for these crimes are genuine and they are his commitment.

My prayers and concern will always be with the survivors and their loved ones. We can never undo the suffering they experienced or fully heal their pain. In some cases we must accept that even our efforts to offer assistance can be a source of distress for survivors and that we must quietly pray for them while providing support in fulfilment of our moral obligation. I remain dedicated to work for the healing of all who have been so harmed and for vigilance in doing all that is possible to ensure the safety of children in the community of the Church so that these crimes never happen again.


In a statement, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, says, “Pope Francis fully recognizes the egregious failures of the Church and its clergy who abused children.”


(From BostonPilot.com) ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM PERU (CNS) — Pope Francis apologized to victims of clergy sex abuse, saying he unknowingly wounded them by the way he defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse by his mentor.

Speaking with journalists on his flight to Rome from Lima, Peru, Jan. 21, the pope said he only realized later that his words erroneously implied that victims’ accusations are credible only with concrete proof.  (CNA photo)

“To hear that the pope says to their face, ‘Bring me a letter with proof,’ is a slap in the face,” the pope said.

Pope Francis was referring to a response he gave in Iquique, Chile, Jan. 18 when local reporters asked about his support for Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, given accusations that the bishop may have been aware of abuse perpetrated by his former mentor, Father Fernando Karadima. The priest was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.

“The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I will speak. There is not one piece of evidence against him. It is calumny. Is that clear?” the pope had told the reporters in Iquique.

His response provoked further outrage, especially from Father Karadima’s victims who said the pope’s response made his earlier apologies for the church’s failure to protect sex abuse victims seem hollow.

Asked about the incident during the flight back to Rome, Pope Francis said he meant to use the word “evidence,” not “proof.” The way he phrased his response, he said, caused confusion and was “not the best word to use to approach a wounded heart.”

“Of course, I know that there are many abused people who cannot bring proof (or) they don’t have it,” he said. “Or at times they have it but they are ashamed and cover it up and suffer in silence. The tragedy of the abused is tremendous.”
However, the pope told reporters on the papal flight he still stood firmly behind his defense of Bishop Barros, because he was “personally convinced” of the bishop’s innocence after the case was investigated twice with no evidence emerging.

Pope Francis said that while “covering up abuse is an abuse in itself,” if he punished Bishop Barros without moral certainty, “I would be committing the crime of a bad judge.”

During the inflight news conference, Pope Francis answered eight questions over the course of an hour, although the conference was interrupted by turbulence, which forced the pope to sit for about five minutes.

As he did in November on his return from Bangladesh, he said he only wanted to respond to questions related to the trip.

Pope Francis told reporters he appreciated the statement made Jan. 20 by Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, acknowledging the pain survivors of abuse felt because of the pope’s statement about Bishop Barros.

“Words that convey the message ‘If you cannot prove your claims then you will not be believed’ abandon those who have suffered reprehensible criminal violations of their human dignity and relegate survivors to discredited exile,” the cardinal wrote.

He also said, “Pope Francis fully recognizes the egregious failures of the church and its clergy who abused children and the devastating impact those crimes have had on survivors and their loved ones.”

The pope said he was grateful for Cardinal O’Malley’s statement because it struck the right balance between listing what he has done to show his support for sex abuse victims and the pain experienced by victims because of the pope’s remarks.

Pope Francis also spoke about the scandal-plagued Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Catholic movement based in Peru.

The movement’s founder, Luis Fernando Figari, has been accused of the sexual and psychological abuse of members; he has been ordered by the Vatican to remain in Rome and not have any contact with the movement.

“He declared himself innocent of the charges against him,” Pope Francis told reporters, and he has appealed his cause to the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s supreme court. According to the information the pope has received, he said, “the verdict will be released in less than a month.”

Pope Francis also was asked about the status of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which he set up in 2014. The three-year terms of its members expired in December and some have questioned whether child protection really is a priority when the commission’s membership was allowed to lapse.

Before the terms ended, he said, the members decided to recommend who should serve a second term and offering the names of possible new members.
The final list, he said, arrived on his desk a week before the trip began “and now it is going through the normal channels in the Curia.”


I am dedicating today’s column to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., given the enormous impact it always has on the city and our nation, and the even bigger issue it represents – the pro-life movement in America! You will find out how to gain a plenary indulgence by participating in the March, learn about President Trump’s participation, his proclamation of Religious Freedom Day and about the new department in the government for religious freedom.

By the by, President Trump has also proclaimed January 22 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day!!

Last year I participated in the March for Life and it was a thrill and an honor – I clearly remember ever moment of that day! Hope to do it again! I remember telling Teresa Tomeo, as we listened to Vice President Mike Pence address the rally, that I hoped next year (this year) for the 45th March for Life, we would have the just-inaugurated 45th president of the United States! And so it is – via a live White House linkup! http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/01/17/donald-trump-be-first-sitting-president-address-march-life

(Am watching White House feed now – 6:30 pm, Rome time, 12:30 noon in D.C.!)

In addition, my weekend radio program, “Vatican Insider” will focus on pro-life issues with a special guest. So take your time to read these special reports and then to listen to VI – unless, of course, you are in D.C. and marching and, in that case, God sit on your shoulder! When you get some down time, then you can put your feet up, relax and ready today’s column!

There’s a lot to digest so take it easy. The prolife movement should be rejoicing this week!


As you know, last Monday was Martin Luther King Day in America and Friday, January 19, marked the 45th March for Life in Washington D.C., following the Supreme Court’s legalization of abortion in 1973. This weekend, therefore, seemed the perfect occasion to re-air the interview I did not long ago in Rome for Vatican Insider with Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., and an ardent pro-life activist. I tell you more about her life, and background in that conversation.

Alveda King is a niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and the founder of Alveda King Ministries. She is an American activist, author, former college professor and former state representative for the 28th District in the Georgia House of Representatives. Alveda currently serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, the African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Among her many talents and ministries, she is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God’s forgiveness, and healing.

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 http://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=


I think the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago would have loved the symbolism of January 16 being named religious Freedom Day – this year he would have been 81 on that day! He was a stirring and sterling voice that fought, taught and spoke against the incursions on religious freedom in our country in recent years!

Saying emphatically that “No American — whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner — should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law,” President Trump’s proclamation was issued on January 16.

It begins: “Faith is embedded in the history, spirit, and soul of our Nation. On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate the many faiths that make up our country, and we commemorate the 232nd anniversary of the passing of a State law that has shaped and secured our cherished legacy of religious liberty.”

“Today,” states the Proclamation, “Americans from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds remain steadfast in a commitment to the inherent values of faith, honesty, integrity, and patriotism. Our Constitution and laws guarantee Americans the right not just to believe as they see fit, but to freely exercise their religion. Unfortunately, not all have recognized the importance of religious freedom, whether by threatening tax consequences for particular forms of religious speech, or forcing people to comply with laws that violate their core religious beliefs without sufficient justification. These incursions, little by little, can destroy the fundamental freedom underlying our democracy. Therefore, soon after taking office, I addressed these issues in an Executive Order that helps ensure Americans are able to follow their consciences without undue Government interference and the Department of Justice has issued guidance to Federal agencies regarding their compliance with laws that protect religious freedom. No American — whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner — should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law.

“The free exercise of religion,” writes the president, “is a source of personal and national stability, and its preservation is essential to protecting human dignity. Religious diversity strengthens our communities and promotes tolerance, respect, understanding, and equality. Faith breathes life and hope into our world. We must diligently guard, preserve, and cherish this unalienable right.”

You can read the full text from the White House here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-january-16-2018-religious-freedom-day/

There’s also this: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims January 22, 2018, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-january-22-2018-national-sanctity-human-life-day/


Washington D.C., Jan 18, 2018 / 04:21 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A new division at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will work to ensure the protection of religious freedom and conscience rights for Americans, government officials announced Thursday.

The state should not force people to go against their integrated view of humanity,” said the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, Roger Severino, at a Jan. 18 press conference.

This new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which falls under the HHS Office for Civil Rights, will focus on the enforcement of existing laws on rights of conscience and religious freedom. It will also provide an outlet to field Americans’ complaints of any discrimination they have experienced in the field of healthcare.

For examples, doctors or nurses who have been forced to participate in an abortion or an assisted suicide that violates their moral convictions will be able to file a complaint directly on the HHS website.

Sarah Hellwege, a nurse-midwife, spoke at the press conference announcing the new division. She said that she experienced discrimination in an interview process because of her membership in a pro-life medical association.

The number of these types of conscience complaints to HHS has increased dramatically since President Donald Trump’s election. Ten complaints were filed with HHS during the eight years of the Obama administration, whereas there have been 34 since November 2016.

Severino told EWTN News Nightly that he attributes this surge in complaints to “pent up demand” and that this new division has been established “to assess complaints, see which ones are meritorious, and to vindicate the interests of justice as the law requires.”

Also speaking at today’s announcement was Montse Alvarado, the Executive Director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who explained to CNA what this new division will mean for Catholic healthcare professionals across the country.

“For the past 10 years we have had attacks on conscience that manifested themselves particularly for the Catholic community in the area of healthcare and healthcare providers with individuals and institutions,” she said.
“Because Catholics play such a large role, they finally will have a place to bring their grievances to try to solve things and bring common sense solutions that are so important without having to resort to litigation. And if they do need to litigate them, they will have a partner in this division.”

Several other government officials and religious figures spoke at the press conference announcing the new division.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy noted a concern from his state of California, where a new law forces pregnancy centers to provide information about local abortion providers. This Supreme Court will hear this case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, this year.

Representatives from HHS cited President Trump’s executive order last May as an impetus for the new HHS division. The executive order called on all executive departments and agencies to “respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech” to the extent permitted by law. The order specifically requested that the Secretary of Health and Human Services address conscience-based objections.

Earlier this week, President Trump recognized National Religious Freedom Day, saying in a Jan. 16 proclamation, “No American – whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner – should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law.”

When asked by EWTN News Nightly about the likelihood of the new department surviving in future administrations, Severino responded, “It would be very difficult to undo the division. This is a foundational civil right.

Everybody should be in favor of civil rights for all and that includes our first civil right, which is our right to free expression of religion and conscience. This is enforced through our laws that have been passed by bipartisan congresses and presidents in both parties that have been with us for decades. Those are not going to go away and we have to enforce those laws fully.”

The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division will enforce existing protection statutes over which the Office of Civil Rights already has authority. This includes the Weldon Amendment, which stipulates that states receiving federal funds cannot discriminate against health plans that do not cover or pay for abortions. The division will also enforce Section 1553 of the Affordable Care Act on assisted suicide.

“Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced. No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions,” said Severino in a press release.

For Americans who are concerned that they have experienced a violation of their conscience rights, Severino told CNA, “We are going to make it as user-friendly as possible, so that people know that the doors are open and that every complaint will be treated appropriately and given the attention it deserves and then those that require enforcement will be handled appropriately.”

“We encourage anyone who believes that their conscience rights have been violated in a healthcare context to reach out to us. They are free to file a complaint. To get more information from our website, just google ‘Office for Civil Rights HHS’ and just add the word ‘conscience.’”


Washington D.C., Jan 7, 2018 / 04:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholics participating in the 45th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 19 will be able to receive a plenary indulgence for doing so, the local Church has announced.

“In virtue of the authority granted by our Holy Father, Pope Francis… a plenary indulgence can be obtained under the usual conditions…by the Christian faithful who are truly penitential and compelled by charity, if they take part in the sacred celebrations, along with the great assembly of people, throughout the whole course of the annual event that is called ‘March for Life,’” announced a Dec. 20 letter from the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington.

The document was signed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, who together encouraged their brother bishops with the hope “that you will share this information with those entrusted to your pastoral care.”

Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the indulgence may be obtained “by participating in the National Prayer Vigil for Life or the other sacred celebrations surrounding the March for Life.”

Individuals who wish to obtain the plenary indulgence must engage in the events hosted by the March for Life in Washington, D.C.: the youth rally, Mass at Capital One Area, the adult and family rally at St. Matthews Cathedral, or the Prayer Vigil for Life at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
In addition, the usual conditions for a plenary indulgence must be met: that the individual be in the state of grace by the completion of the acts, have complete detachment from sin, and pray for the Pope’s intentions. The person must also sacramentally confess their sins and receive Communion, up to about twenty days before or after the indulgenced act.

The letter also noted that “the aged, sick and all those who due to grave reason are not able to leave home” are also able to receive the plenary indulgence so long as they “spiritually join themselves to the holy ceremonies, while also having offered prayers and their sufferings or the ailments of their own life to the merciful God.”

An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sins which have already been forgiven.




Pope Francis traveled to the heart of Chile’s centuries-old conflict with indigenous peoples Wednesday, celebrating Mass at a former military base that not only lies on contested Mapuche land but also was a former detention center used during Chile’s brutal dictatorship. Leading around 150,000 people in a moment of silent prayer, Francis said the fertile green fields and snow-capped mountains of Araucania were both blessed by God and cursed by man, the site of “grave human rights violations” during the 1973-1990 dictatorship. “We offer this Mass for all those who suffered and died, and for those who daily bear the burden of those many injustices,” he said.

Francis also referred to recent violence that has flared in southern Araucania as radical Mapuche factions press for the return of their lands He said violence isn’t the answer to their grievances. “You cannot assert yourselves by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division,” he admonished in his homily. “Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation. Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie.”

FRANCIS MEETS WITH YOUTH – Wednesday, at the National Shrine of Maipu dedicated to Our Lady of Carmel in Santiago, the Pope urged young Chileans to be “protagonists of change” in the nation and in the Church by staying “connected” to Christ and doing what He would do in their place. Using the analogy of a mobile phone, the Pope explained the importance of always ‎staying “connected” to Christ and charging the batteries of their hearts. ‎He improvised amply in his native Spanish, underscoring the importance and experience of young people, saying he wants them to help the Church “to be more faithful to the Gospel,” and “draw closer to Jesus.” Speaking of a mobile phone with battery running down and losing internet connection, his message was how to stay connected to Christ when faith begins to waver. “Without a connection, a connection to Jesus,” the Pope said, “we end up drowning our thoughts and ideas, our dreams and our faith, and so we get frustrated and annoyed,” and our hearts begin to falter. But the Pope cautioned, “Never think that you have nothing to offer or that nobody cares about you.” Citing Chilean St. Albert Hurtado, he said it is the devil who makes us feel worthless.

Concluding his second full day in Chile on Wednesday, Pope Francis addressed over 1,000 staff and prominent Chilean intellectuals and academics at the PONTIFICAL CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF CHILE IN SANTIAGO,urging them to take up the challenge of generating a new culture of dialogue and social cohesion. He also urged them to sensitize the nation as to the importance of showing special care and respect for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. Francis underscored the responsibility of educators in creating the conditions for peaceful coexistence in the country. At the conclusion of a day spent mostly in the southern Araucania region, the contested homeland of the indigenous Mapuche peoples where centuries-old conflicts have resulted in grave human rights violations and abuse, Pope Francis said indigenous peoples are “not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed”. The accelerated pace and sense of disorientation before new processes and changes in societies call for new educational processes that are transformative, inclusive and that favour encounter and coexistence.

Full text HERE: http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-mass-at-iquique-pope-francis0.html


Vatican News: Pope Francis performs the first-ever papal marriage ceremony aboard a plane, during his trip to Iquique on Thursday, the final day of his Apostolic Visit to Chile. The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, says the wedding Pope Francis performed aboard the papal plane bound for Iquique on Thursday was “totally legit” and “doctrinally OK”. The newly-weds – Paula Podest Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga – are flight attendants for LATAM and met 8 years ago aboard a plane.  (CNA photo)

They were married civilly in 2010. However, they were unable to follow up with a Sacramental marriage because their church was destroyed before the ceremony by an earthquake, which hit Chile that year. Greg Burke said, “Doctrinally it’s OK, because to be married the actual ministers are the people themselves. You just need a witness. There are a couple other things, normally there are publications. And there were things that had to passed over, but it’s totally legit, and everyone’s happy!” He said it “was not the Pope’s idea; it was their idea, but the Pope was happy to do it.”

The official marriage certificate reads: “On 18 January 2018, aboard the papal plane from Santiago to Iquique, Mr. Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga and Ms. Paula Podest Ruiz contracted marriage, in the presence of the witness, Ignacio Cueto. The Holy Father Pope Francis received their consent.


As you know, EWTN is featuring the papal visit on TV and in its news reports so hopefully you have been able to spend some time with the Pope in Chile. Following are more news reports from the Vatican News and reporters on the ground with the Holy Father.

If you’ll allow me, I have very special prayer request to make. My six-month old niece Maren (the 23rd of my 23 great-nieces and –nephews) is having surgery tomorrow morning in Chicago to repair a hole in her heart. Doctors are optimistic and that is good but even better is prayer! Heartfelt thanks!


Announcement from Holy See Press Office Tuesday evening: Today at the Apostolic Nunciature in Santiago, Pope Francis met alone and privately with several victims of sexual abuse by clergy. The Pope prayed and cried with them after hearing their experiences.


(Vatican News – Linda Bordoni) – Pope Francis has urged bishops in Chile to be on guard against the temptation of Clericalism. Meeting his brother bishops in the Sacristy of Santiago Cathedral, the Pope recalled the ad limina visit in the Vatican about a year ago and said he wished to reiterate some of the points made during that meeting in Rome.

“I can sum them up in the following phrase: the consciousness of being a people” he said. Warned against the sense of not belonging He said “one of the problems facing our societies today is the sense of being orphaned, the feeling of not belonging to anyone”.

It’s a “postmodern” feeling, he continued, that can seep into us and into our clergy and make us think that we belong to no one: “we forget that we are part of God’s holy and faithful people and that the Church is not, nor will it ever be, an élite of consecrated men and women, priests and bishops”.

Priests are servants, not masters

Without this consciousness of belonging to God’s people as servants, not masters, the Pope said, “can lead us to one of the temptations that is most damaging to the missionary outreach that we are called to promote: clericalism, which ends up as a caricature of the vocation we have received”. He said that a failure to realize that the mission belongs to the entire Church, and not to the individual priest or bishop, limits the horizon, and even worse, stifles all the initiatives that the Spirit may be awakening in our midst. Clericalism extinguishes the prophetic flame to which we are called to bear witness

Francis reminded the bishops that, “laypersons are not our peons, or our employees” and said that “Clericalism, far from giving impetus to various contributions and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame to which the entire Church is called to bear witness”. He strongly invited those present to be on guard against this temptation, especially in seminaries and throughout the process of formation.

The gift of dreaming

He implored the Holy Spirit for “the gift of dreaming and working for a missionary and prophetic option capable of transforming everything, so that our customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and ecclesial structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of Chile rather than for ecclesiastical self-preservation”

“Let us not be afraid,” Pope Francis concluded, “to strip ourselves of everything that separates us from the missionary mandate”.


Click here for a slide show from CNS story in Boston Pilot on papal encounter with priests, Religious in Santiago: https://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?utm_source=ConstantContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Dailynewsletter&ID=181278

(Vatican News – Robin Gomes)

Reflecting on the transformation of St. Peter the Apostle, Pope Francis urged Chilean priests, religious and seminarians to be a prophetic Church, which washed of her sins is not afraid to go out and serve a wounded humanity. Speaking to them in the Cathedral of Santiago, Tuesday evening, the Pope dwelt on John’s Gospel where Peter, disillusioned after the Resurrection, goes back to fishing but catches nothing. However, at the Lord’s behest, he casts the net on the right side and comes up with a miraculous haul of fish.

Transformation of Peter

Pope Francis reminded the priests and religious about the personal and communitarian dimensions of their vocation. He thus reflected on Peter and the community ‎disheartened,  Peter and the community shown mercy, and Peter and the community transfigured. Speaking about the “hours of dismay and confusion” in the life of Peter in the aftermath of the ‎Resurrection, the Pope acknowledged that in times “when the tempest of persecutions, tribulations, doubts, and so forth, is raised by ‎cultural and historical events, it is not easy to find the path to follow.” ‎But, he said, the “worst temptation of all is to keep dwelling on our own unhappiness”

Pain of abuse of minors

Alongside the “fidelity of the immense majority” of priests and religious, the Pope admitted there are also “weeds of evil and their aftermath of scandal and desertion”. Pope Francis particularly spoke about the “pain resulting from cases of abuse of minors” in the Church of Chile, which he said cause harm and sufferings to the victims and their families, to ecclesial communities and also to priests and religious themselves. He thus urged them to ask God for the grace of “clear-sightedness to call reality by its name, the strength to seek forgiveness and the ability to listen to what He tells us.”

Journey of conversion

Amidst changes taking place in Chilean society, Pope Francis urged the priests and religious to fight the temptation of being closed and isolated and defending their ways, forgetting that the “Gospel is a journey of conversion.”

Pointing out that Peter experienced his limitation, his frailty and his sinfulness, Pope Francis said that as disciples and Church “we have to face not our success but our weakness”. Jesus wants to save Peter from self-centredness and isolation, from bring downcast and negative.

Wounded Church heals world’s wounds

The one thing that sustains his apostles, the Pope said, is that they have received mercy. Priests and religious, he said are not superheroes or better than others, but “are sent as men and women conscious of having been forgiven.” Just as Jesus did not hide his wounds, so too we are “not asked to ignore or hide our wounds,” the Pope said, adding, “a Church with wounds can understand the wounds of today’s world and make them her own, suffering with them, accompanying them and seeking to heal them.” “A wounded Church does not make herself the centre of things,… but puts at the centre the one who can heal those wounds, whose name is Jesus Christ.”

The acknowledgement that we are wounded, the Pope said, frees us from becoming self-referential and thinking ourselves superior.” Our wounds that are risen in Jesus, inspire solidarity; they help us to tear down the walls that enclose us in elitism and they impel us to build bridges and to encounter all those yearning for that merciful love which Christ alone can give.

Kingdom of heaven

The problem the Pope said, is not feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting the sick, but rather recognizing that the poor, the naked, the sick, prisoners and the homeless have the dignity to sit at our table, to feel “at home” among us, to feel part of a family. “This is the sign that the kingdom of heaven is in our midst. This is the sign of a Church wounded by sin, shown mercy by the Lord, and made prophetic by his call,” the Pope added.


(Vatican News – Linda Bordoni) – Pope Francis greeted the inmates of Santiago’s San Joaquin Women’s Penitentiary Center and encouraged them to resist everything that might rob them of their identity and end up by killing their hope. He also appealed to authorities to promote projects that render jail sentences opportunities for personal growth.

It was one of those meetings that are clearly at the top of Pope Francis’ agenda. Taking his time to hold hands and kiss babies as he made his way to the podium set up in a simple space decked with coloured ribbons and hundreds of paper origami doves, each one bearing the name of a prison inmate, the Pope set a gentle and joyful mood with simple gestures, eye contact and a smile.

Never lose hope or dignity

He told the some 650 inmates, many of them with babies and small children, never to lose their hope or their dignity just because they’ve lost their freedom.

Everyone is a sinner

Quoting from the Gospel of John in which Jesus says: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone” Pope Francis told the women that everyone is a sinner, and that change is always possible.

Prison sentences must offer opportunity for growth

Setting aside his prepared speech, to the applause of the women he said: “No one can take away your dignity” and called for prison sentences to not just serve as punishment, but to be a chance for inmates to learn new trades so they can re-enter society when they have completed their sentences.

And turning to Janeth, the woman who addressed him on behalf of “the almost 50,000 men and women deprived of their liberty in Chile,” the Pope said: “thank you for your courageous request for forgiveness, for reminding us that without this attitude we lose our humanity. We forget that we did wrong and that every day is an invitation to start over”.

An appeal to women to bring forth the future

Pope Francis, the friend of the poor and of the discarded frequently visits detention centers during his apostolic journeys. Tuesday’s visit to San Joaquin in Santiago was his first-ever visit to a women’s facility, and to his all-female audience he said: “As women, you have an incredible ability to adapt to new circumstances and move forward. Today I appeal to that ability to bring forth the future that is alive in each one of you. That ability enables you to resist everything that might rob you of your identity and end up by killing your hope. A hope, Janeth said in her speech, that hangs on the fact that “We know that God forgives us, but we ask that society does so as well”.


TEMUCO, Chile (AP) — Pope Francis traveled to the heart of Chile’s centuries-old conflict with indigenous peoples Wednesday, celebrating Mass at a former military base that not only lies on contested Mapuche land but also was a former detention center used during Chile’s brutal dictatorship.

Leading around 150,000 people in a moment of silent prayer, Francis said the fertile green fields and snow-capped mountains of Araucania were both blessed by God and cursed by man, the site of “grave human rights violations” during the 1973-1990 dictatorship.

“We offer this Mass for all those who suffered and died, and for those who daily bear the burden of those many injustices,” he said.

Francis also referred to the more recent violence that has flared in southern Araucania as radical Mapuche factions press for the return of their lands, including a recent spate of church burnings that preceded his visit. No one has claimed responsibility for the 10 firebombs that have damaged, or in some cases burned churches to the ground in recent days.

The Argentine Jesuit pope took those factions to task, saying violence wasn’t the answer to their grievances.

“You cannot assert yourselves by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division,” he admonished in his homily. “Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation. Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie.” https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/pope-goes-to-restive-area-in-chile-where-churches-are-burned/



Following are several reports on Pope Francis’ fourth trip to Latin America, his 22nd foreign apostolic trip, that started yesterday evening when he landed in Chile. This is the first leg of his January 15 to 21 apostolic voyage that concludes with several days in Peru. Stories are from vaticannews.va, from reporters accompanying the Holy Father from Rome and are on papal flights or reporters on the ground in Chile.

Later in the day, local time, the Pope will visit a women’s prison and will meet with bishops at Santiago’s cathedral.


LA STAMPA – “The fruit of war…”. To the journalists who accompany him on his flight from Fiumicino to Santiago de Chile, the first stop of his apostolic journey to Chile and Peru, the Pope wanted to distribute the photo of the child who, after the atomic bombardment of Nagasaki, in 1945, is carrying his dead brother on his shoulders to a crematorium. A brutal image taken by American photographer Joseph Roger O’ Donnell, that the Pope already wanted to be printed and distributed at end of this year. His bitter caption were the words, “The fruit of war”. Followed by another caption in Spanish that emphasized the despair of the child “in his gesture of biting the lips that ooze blood”. Finally, his signature: “Franciscus”. http://www.lastampa.it/2018/01/15/vaticaninsider/eng/news/on-the-flight-to-chile-the-pope-distributes-to-journalists-the-picture-of-the-child-from-nagasaki-j7Aitjo30yCJnWwLWnB4AO/pagina.html


(CRUX) ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — As he did during the Christmas season, Francis circulated an image of a young boy carrying his dead brother on his back, taken after the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, on the plane full of journalists accompanying him on his Jan. 15-21 trip to Chile and Peru. Through his spokesman, Francis handed each of the journalists a copy of the 1945 picture by American journalist Joseph Roger O’Donnell, portraying a boy who’s waiting for his turn at the crematory to hand in his younger brother’s body. The pope told reporters that he found it by chance, and was moved upon seeing it. On the other side, it has the phrase “…the fruit of war,” and his signature. https://cruxnow.com/pope-in-chile-and-peru/2018/01/15/pope-uses-flight-chile-urge-end-nuclear-war/


VaticanNews.va – Pope Francis has arrived in Chile, beginning a week-long Apostolic journey that will take him to 6 cities in as many days in Chile and Peru. This his 6th apostolic visit to Latin America. The Pope was met at Santiago International airport by Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, and the President of the country’s Bishops’ Conference. There were no official discourses as the Pope went immediately to the Apostolic Nunciature to rest. The official programme of the visit begins today with his meeting with civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps. http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-arrival.html


LATIMES – Pope Francis arrived here in the Chilean capital Monday evening to start a weeklong swing through Chile and Peru in which he is expected to highlight the plight of indigenous peoples, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the precarious status of immigrants and the poor. In an eleventh-hour schedule shift, Francis stopped in Santiago at the tomb of a Chilean prelate who was known as the “bishop of the poor” and who aided those seeking loved ones detained during Chile’s former military dictatorship. arrived here in the Chilean capital Monday evening to start a weeklong swing through Chile and Peru in which he is expected to highlight the plight of indigenous peoples, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the precarious status of immigrants and the poor. In an eleventh-hour schedule shift, Francis stopped in Santiago at the tomb of a Chilean prelate who was known as the “bishop of the poor” and who aided those seeking loved ones detained during Chile’s former military dictatorship. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-chile-pope-20180115-story.html


CRUX – SANTIAGO, Chile-Pope Francis apologized for the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by priests during his first public remarks on Tuesday in Chile, where the credibility of the Catholic Church has been badly marred by scandals involving clergy. “I feel bound to express my pain and shame, shame I feel for the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church,” Francis said. “I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and to make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again.” The pope’s words came during the first speech of his Jan. 15-18 trip to Chile, as he was addressing public authorities, members of civil society and the diplomatic corps in the country’s government house, La Moneda Palace, on Tuesday. https://cruxnow.com/pope-in-chile-and-peru/2018/01/16/pope-opens-chile-trip-apology-clerical-sexual-abuse/


SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Pope Francis expressed “pain and shame” on Tuesday over a sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Chile, seeking forgiveness for a crisis that has scarred its credibility and left many faithful skeptical of reform. Francis spoke as the number of Catholic churches that have been attacked in the country in the past week rose to eight, both in the capital and in southern regions that are home to indigenous people. Police in riot gear dispersed some 200 demonstrators trying to make their way to a park where the pope said Mass for some 400,000 people after making his remarks about abuse. “Here I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church,” he said in the presidential palace, drawing sustained applause, including from President Michelle Bachelet and diplomats. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-chile-shame/pope-in-chile-expresses-pain-and-shame-over-church-sex-abuse-scandal-idUSKBN1F51BZ?il=0


VaticanNews.va – Pope Francis apologizes to victims of clerical abuse in his address to members of the government, the diplomatic corps, and the civil authorities in Chile. He also told them they are a nation that has grown and thrived, but reminded them that it’s also important not to forget those who suffer situations of injustice. But he noted that “each new generation must take up the struggles and attainments of past generations, while setting its own sights even higher.” “Goodness, together with love, justice and solidarity, said the Pope are not achieved once and for all; they have to be realized each day.” The Holy Father added that there was no room for complacency when many people still endure situations of injustice. http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-meeting-with-authorities.html


VaticanNews.va – Pope Francis delivered the first homily during his Apostolic Visit to Chile at Mass celebrated in Santiago’s O’Higgins Park. The Gospel for the votive Mass for Peace and Justice introduces Christ’s Sermon on the Mount with the words, “When Jesus saw the crowds…” The Holy Father took these words as the starting point for his own homily. God’s profound love, he said, is awakened not by “ideas or concepts, but by faces, persons.” It is this encounter with the people, the Pope said, that led to the proclamation of the Beatitudes “that horizon towards which we are called and challenged to set out.” He said the Beatitudes are not “the fruit of passivity in the face of reality, nor of a mere onlooker gathering grim statistics” but are rather “born of the compassionate heart of Jesus, which encounters the hearts of men and women seeking and yearning for a life of happiness.” http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-mass-o-higgins-park.html


VaticanNews – Later today, Tuesday, the first full day of his pastoral visit to Chile, Pope Francis will meet with women and young children in the overcrowded ‘San Joaquin’ Penitentiary Center. Pope Francis on Tuesday visits a women’s prison in Santiago, during the first leg of his pastoral journey to Chile and Peru. He’ll meet with around five hundred prisoners, together with the chaplains and a religious sister in charge of pastoral care for the inmates. The ‘San Joaquin’ Penitentiary Center was built over a hundred and fifty years ago to accommodate around 850 prisoners. Today it houses over 1.400 women charged with a variety of offenses, from theft or drug trafficking to murder and other more serious crimes. http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-01/chile-journey-women-s-prison-martinez-interview.html



Pope Francis celebrated Mass yesterday in St. Peter’s Basilica for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, urging the faithful to “overcome fear and to welcome the other’.” The papal liturgy seemed even more international than usual given the music from the young, multilingual voices of the Latin American choirs, the colorful flags and multicultural costumes of the 49 countries represented at the papal Mass, and the presence of ambassadors from 70 countries. In addition, some 460 priests from all over the world concelebrated with the Holy Father. Francis said he wanted to celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees with a Mass of invitation and welcome.

Later, at the Angelus, the Holy Father again spoke of this World Day and quoted from his Message: “Every stranger who knocks on our door is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ, who identifies himself with the foreigner who has been accepted or rejected in every age.” He also announced that, “for pastoral reasons,” this World Day will henceforth be commemorated on the second Sunday in September.

Francis asked the faithful in St. Peter’s Square to pray for his trip to Chile and Peru and, later Sunday, visited St Mary Major basilica to pray before the beloved icon of Mary, entrusting his trip to her maternal heart.

In fact, Pope Francis departed Rome at 8:55 this morning, Monday, for the 16-hour flight to Santiago, schedule to arrive about 8 pm local time. Rome is 4 hours ahead of Chile.

This may well be one of the Pope’s most difficult trips. There have been attacks on Churches in Chile, including some fire bombs, and in Peru, the country’s replica of the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro was set on fire days ago. In one case, the perpetrators of a church firebombed in Santiago, left a note that read: “Pope Francis, the next bomb will be in your robe.”

Needless to say, security will be uppermost in the minds of Vatican officials, gendarmes and Swiss Guards as well as the police and security officials of both Chile and Peru.

(Vatican News – Devin Watkins) Churches attacked in Chile ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit – Four churches are vandalized on Friday in Chile’s capital, just ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the country, and the Apostolic Nunciature is briefly occupied to protest against money spent on welcoming the Holy Father.(http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2018-01/chile-journey-churches-attacked-before-popes-arrival.html)

There is also anger over sexual abuse cases and the fact that Pope Francis, against advice, appointed a bishop who has been accused of turning a blind eye to abuse cases. Some fear these cases might overshadow the Pope’s desire to focus on the light of indigenous peoples.

In fact, the Holy Father intends to place the situation of indigenous peoples on the front pages of the world’s newspaper and he will focus on them in both Chile and Peru. A sample case of the problems faced by the indigenous is that of large pieces of land that were originally theirs but had been taken forcefully over the centuries, without any compensation. Others own land that criminal gangs are trying to take over – or have succeeded – in an attempt to grow lucrative palm oil or drug-related products.

In a story reported from Peru by the Guardian, for example, tribal leaders, who hail from four Amazon river basins, accuse the government of refusing to carry out a consultation process even though it is negotiating a new 30-year contract for oil block 192 with Frontera Energy, a Canadian firm, whose current contract expires in early 2019.

The so-called prior consultation law, passed in 2011 in Peru, requires the government to seek free, prior and informed consent from indigenous people before approving any development plans that might affect them.

But officials from Peru’s energy ministry refused to confirm if a new consultation process would be undertaken, stating that a 2015 process was still valid. Indigenous leaders representing more than 100 communities in the Marañon, Pastaza, Corrientes and Tigre river basins said that process had been carried out in “bad faith”.

Some say such stories are just the tip of the iceberg vis-à-vis indigenous peoples.

This is Francis’ 4th trip to Latin America but his fellow Argentinians are perplexed – and some angry – that he has not set foot in his homeland since his election in March 2013.

The itinerary for Pope Francis’ six days in Chile and Peru includes several Masses, meetings with civil and religious authorities, meetings with bishops, priests and men and women religious, a visit to a women’s prison, a private meeting with his fellow Jesuits, and encounters with indigenous peoples. A visit to Trujillo in northern Peru to visit those affected by the El Niño rains that left 100 dead and 141,000 displaced in early 2017.

The final event on the papal agenda next Sunday is Mass at Las Palmas Air Base in front of the image of the Lord of the Miracles. Francis and his entourage and the journalists covering this trip will depart for Rome that afternoon, arriving in the Eternal City about 2 p.m. on January 22.

Click here for the full itinerary: http://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2017-11/programme-of-pope-francis–apostolic-visit-to-peru-and-chile-rel.html