FROM ADMIRAL TO AMBASSADOR, A CHANGE OF COMMAND

FROM ADMIRAL TO AMBASSADOR, A CHANGE OF COMMAND

An acquaintance of mine, four-star Admiral Harry Harris, Jr. CINCPAC (Commander in Chief Pacific) yesterday at a Change of Command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, turned command over to Navy Adm. Philip Davidson.

As are most military ceremonies, I could attest how inspiring it was because a friend sent me the DOD link to the video of the ceremony and I enjoyed “returning” to a base I know well, having a number of Navy friends in Honolulu. It was also fun to see another friend, Fr. John Shimotsu as he gave the invocation.

I first met Admiral Harris when he commanded the Sixth Fleet and was based in Naples and Gaeta. We met on a day that was dedicated to a former Navy Chaplain, Fr. Vincent Capodanno, who was killed in Vietnam on September 4, 1967. Ceremonies were held in Gaeta (where the Capodanno family had roots) in September in 2011 to mark that anniversary and there was a large component of the Sixth Fleet present for the daylong events that began with a Mass presided by Cardinal Raymond Burke.

Actually the day began with breakfast at a hotel garden where many of the guests were staying who had come from Rome for the occasion. That was the first time I met Adm. Harris and his wife Bruni – we shared a few other moments during the day and then had lunch aboard the USS Mount Whitney. Not a lot of time but enough to begin to understand what a thoroughly delightful person Harry Harris was, as well as one of the most brilliant people to ever command a Navy fleet. A bit of that came out in conversations but I had also started to follow his career through a mutual friend of ours – and it was Ted who sent me the link to the Change of Command ceremony.

We next met several years ago at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. I was in Honolulu on my by-now annual retreat to this island paradise. I knew Adm. Harris had been here for a few years and I emailed him and asked if I could come by and say “aloha,” and so it was that we re-connected in his office. I remember quite well that part of our conversation focused on the cause for canonization of Fr. Capodanno: the admiral wanted to understand what a cause was and asked at what stage was Fr. Vincent’s cause.

“Souvenirs” of the visit:

Also present was out mutual friend, Navy chaplain Fr. Shimotsu.

Admiral Harris’ illustrious 40-year career with the Navy ended yesterday, but President Trump has nominated him to be the U.S. ambassador to Korea, thus a life of service will continue.

I am sure that, at some point in his time as ambassador, he will be able to meet the Holy See’s new ambassador to Korea. Archbishop Alfred Xuereb.

I’ll be praying for both of them.

PS. Following is a link to the DOD video of the Change of Command ceremony. If you have military in your family, you might enjoy this. I found it riveting because I know Admiral Harris, I know the Navy base and I know Honolulu. What is really worthwhile are the speeches of the outgoing and incoming commanders and that of Defense Secretary James Mattis, especially if you are interested in US foreign and defense policy.
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/603673/pacom-change-command-ceremony

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POPE APPOINTS APOSTOLIC VISITOR FOR MEDJUGORJE PARISH – FRANCIS SENDS SEX ABUSE INVESTIGATORS BACK TO CHILE

POPE APPOINTS APOSTOLIC VISITOR FOR MEDJUGORJE PARISH

The Holy See Press Office issued a statement noting that today, May 31, 2018, the Holy Father named Archbishop Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., emeritus of Warszawa-Praga, Poland, as Apostolic Visitor for the parish of Medjugorje, for an indeterminate period of time ‘ad nutum Sanctae Sedis’ (at the pleasure of the Holy See).

“This is exclusively a pastoral assignment in continuity with the mission of Holy See Special Envoy to the parish of Medjugorje that was entrusted to Abp. Hoser on February 11, 2017, and concluded by him in recent months. The aim of the Apostolic Visitor is to assure a stable and continuous accompaniment of the parish community of Medjugorje and of the faithful who travel there in pilgrimage whose needs call for a particular attention.”

(JFL: Archbishop Hoser, a Pallottine missionary priest and a trained physican, was sent to Medjugorje in 2011 to assess the pastoral needs of this immensely popular pilgrimage site. He was not tasked to judge the veracity of alleged appearances by the Blessed Virgin on this site as that is a doctrinal issue. However, Abp. Hoser’s final report is expected to be added to conclusions reached by the Ruini International Commission – a study and evaluation of Medjugorje entrusted to the former vicar of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini – that took place over several years.)

FRANCIS SENDS SEX ABUSE INVESTIGATORS BACK TO CHILE

Statement from Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke:

This coming weekend, as scheduled, the Holy Father will host a group of Chilean priests at the Santa Marta residence: https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/pope-to-meet-with-second-group-of-chilean-abuse-victims/

With the aim of going forward with the process of reparation and healing of the victims of abuse, once again in coming days Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Bishop Jordi Bertomeu will go to Chile, this time on a mission in the diocese of Osorno, in agreement with Pope Francis.

In the meantime, as he had promised the bishops of Chile, the Holy Father will send the president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile a letter personally written by him and addressed to the People

(JFL: In 2015 Pope Francis appointed Bishop Juan Barros to the Diocese of Osorno, an appointment that was extremely controversial in Chile as Barros had been accused of covering up sexual abuse by a close priest friend, Fr. Fernando Karadima. Victims tried for years to convince authorities of Karadima’s crimes and Barros’ coverup. In 2011, Karadima was proniunced guilty and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.)

WEBSITE STANDS BEHIND STORY ABOUT BOLIVIAN CARDINAL-ELECT – NEW APOSTOLIC NUNCIO ARRIVES IN SOUTH KOREA

WEBSITE STANDS BEHIND STORY ABOUT BOLIVIAN CARDINAL-ELECT

This is a follow-up to what I posted yesterday about the news broken in a tweet by Edward Pentin that the Bolivian cardinal-elect, retired Bishop Toribio Ticona, is reported to have a “wife” and “children.” The original story appeared in Adelante La Fe. Pentin has asked the Vatican to respond to this: no answer as I write these words. (https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/vatican-asked-to-confirm-if-bolivian-cardinal-elect-is-married-with-children/)

I re-read the original article in Spanish and also followed the comments and tweets on the story. One reader asked: what is the source for this story?

I saw an answer to this question written by one Miguel Angel Yanez who is, it seems, the director (editor, moderator)) of Adelante La Fe. Following is his tweet – and following that is my translation:

Miguel Angel Yáñez Moderador emma • hace 2 días
Las fuentes somos nosotros, que hemos dado la noticia en exclusiva. Está totalmente documentada, sólo por motivos de confidencialidad no podemos publicar ni revelar las fuentes. Esto es un tema sobradamente conocido en su diócesis y del cual tienen pleno conocimiento las autoridades, incluida la nunciatura en Bolivia.

YANEZ: “We are the sources who gave that news in exclusive. It is totally documented, only for reasons of confidentiality we cannot publish or reveal the sources. This is a matter that is more than well known in his diocese, about which the authorities are fully aware, including the nunciature in Bolivia.”

I tried to tweet the following in response to his tweet: This is too important not to have the truth – la verdad. Faithful Catholics have a right to know. Please furnish concrete details. At this point, confidentiality could be damaging to far more people than just one “family.”

I also tried to reach him via Facebook but had to send a friend request – no answer as I write these words. (Just about to hit POST when I heard from Yanez – in a word, he stands 100% behind the Adelante La Fe story)

In the meantime Adelante la Fe has posted an update in answer to the statement made yesterday afternoon by Bishop Ticona (see below).

To summarize and translate just the first lines, the update says: “The information is totally truthful and has been in the public domain at all levels in the diocese of Oruro for many years now. The nunciature in Bolivia (and the site shows a photocopy of a page of a nunciature document with names blacked out to protect confidentiality) for some days now has a detailed two-page report made under oath that details the names of witnesses, houses where the couple lived and including the school of the children. This is not a question of rumors but of first hand witnesses, including neighbors.”

Specific school names and home addresses are then outlined, as is the name of the pharmacy where the family bought medicines (witness given by the pharmacist). The website notes that, since the publication of this news, there are many who are trying to silence the witnesses.

The last sentence before the photo of the nunciature document (with a seal); “This is the truth and only the truth, no matter who may disagree.”

Yesterday, the Bolivian Episcopal Conference released a statement by Bishop Toribio Ticona. Here is the CNA story from Bolivia:

La Paz, Bolivia, May 29, 2018 / 12:25 pm (CNA).- In a statement Tuesday, Bolivian bishop and Cardinal-elect Toribio Ticona strongly denounced rumors that he has a wife and children.

“As a result of the false accusation which is being spread in the media regarding my private life, it is my duty to declare and emphatically make clear that its content does not correspond to the truth,” Bishop Ticona said in a statement released by the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference.
The bishop said he interprets the rumors as an attack not only against himself, but against Pope Francis, who recently chose him to be elevated to the position of cardinal.

“If these accusations persist, I will have no problem filing a libel lawsuit against those promoting or propagating this,” he said.

Ticona said that similar rumors surfaced in 2011, but “ended up being simple calumny.”

“Personally, I am happy that these accusations should come out at this time, in order to definitively close the case,” he added.

Earlier this week, the blog Adelante la Fe reported that “It is a well-known fact that while (Ticona) was serving his office in Corocoro, he was living (as husband and wife) with a lady in Oruro’s chancery. She and her children are proud to be called wife and children of the Patacamaya bishop, as Bishop Toribio Ticona is also known.”

However, in a May 29 article in Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, journalist Franca Giansoldati reported that the Vatican has carried out “deep investigations” of the claims, which found that “nothing is true” regarding the rumors.

The Vatican has not yet responded publicly to the claims.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis announced that he would be holding a June consistory to create 14 new cardinals who express the “universality” of the Church. Francis made particular note of his election of Bishop Ticona along with two other bishops, saying that they “have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church.”

Ticona, 81, is Bishop Emeritus of the Cora Cora Prelature in Bolivia, and has been described as a charismatic figure and an advocate for the poor.
Upon being named a cardinal by Pope Francis, Ticona said it was “a great surprise” and that he thanked God for the honor.

Ticona was born to a poor Bolivian family in 1937, and worked as a shoe shiner, newspaper vendor and a mayor. Influenced heavily by the Belgian priests at his home parish, Ticona entered San Cristóbal seminary in 1960 and on January 29, 1967 was ordained a priest.

He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Potosí in 1986, and in 1992 was made the Prelature of Cora Cora in La Paz.

After learning of his election as a cardinal, the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference said that, “Bishop Toribio embodies the vocation of a humble priest who serves. Our Church joins in giving thanks to the Lord for this gift.”

NEW APOSTOLIC NUNCIO ARRIVES IN SOUTH KOREA

A news story on a happier note by Robin Gomes (Vatican news):

Archbishop Alfred Xuereb of Malta, Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea conveyed Pope Francis’ blessing and wishes for the Church and for peace and reconciliation on the peninsula, and pledged to further the unity of the country’s Catholics and pastors with the Holy See.

Archbishop Xuereb, the Holy See’s new Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia, arrived in Seoul on May 27 at the start of his diplomatic mission in South Korea.

Korean bishops and representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) welcomed him at Incheon International Airport where he addressed a press conference.

Commitment to Church

“The prime role of a nuncio,” he said, “is to help worshippers and pastors at local churches. I will meet with bishops in Korea as soon as possible and listen to what they have to say.”

“I will also work to more closely unify the Holy See and the Korean church,” the Maltese archbishop said.

He said that during a farewell Mass with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Thursday, the Holy Father send his apostolic blessing to the Korean bishops and faithful.

Korean peace and reconciliation
He said that the Pope is well informed about the situation on the Korean peninsula and has great hopes that the peace and reconciliation talks that started with the April 27 summit at the Truce Village of Panmunjom will continue and be successful so that future generations will have a peaceful and prosperous future.

“He told me, ‘Please assure the Korean people and also the bishops that he will continue praying that future generations will have a future of stability and prosperity,’” the 59-year old archbishop said during Sunday’s press conference. “As a papal representative in South Korea,” he said, “I will convey his thoughts and wishes to authorities in Korea.”

In the Vatican since 2000, Archbishop Xuereb has served Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. On February 26, Pope Francis appointed him archbishop and Apostolic Nuncio to South Korea and Mongolia. Pope Francis consecrated him bishop on March 19 in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica.

UPDATE ON JUNE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS FOR POPE FRANCIS

UPDATE ON JUNE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS FOR POPE FRANCIS

The Vatican today released the papal schedule of liturgical celebrations for June, July and August. There are a few notable changes in June.

This coming Sunday, June 3, solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi – Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in the seaside town of Ostia, not at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome as has been customary. Mass will be at the church of St. Monica and the Corpus Christi procession from that church to Our Lady of Bonaria for the Eucharistic Benediction.

A note from the vicariate of Rome relative to this year’s celebration of Corpus Christi says: “’For more than 40 years Corpus Christi has been celebrated at St. John Lateran,’ writes the bishop responsible for the southern quarter of the diocese of Rome. ‘One tradition is interrupted but another resumes. In fact, until 1978, with Paul VI this feast took part in various parts of the city and it was precisely in 1968 that Pope Montini celebrated it in Ostia’.”

JUNE 28 – CONSISTORY TO CREATE NEW CARDINALS: Although Pope Francis announced June 29 as the day he would hold a consistory to create new cardinals, that consistory will now be held on Thursday, June 28 at 4 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In the past, a consistory to create new cardinals has taken place in the morning and the traditional courtesy visits to the new cardinals take place that afternoon. We’ll have to see what the Vatican has in mind for these visits.

JUNE 29 – PALLIUMS BLESSED FOR NEW METROPOLITAN ARCHBISHOPS:  What will take place on June 29, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, is the traditional papal Mass and blessing of the palliums that the new metropolitan archbishops named in the last year will receive. The palliums will be formally placed on the shoulders of the metropolitans in their home dioceses at a date to be determined.

CARDINAL NICHOLS ON ABORTION VOTE IN IRELAND

CARDINAL NICHOLS ON ABORTION VOTE IN IRELAND

Cardinal Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, said:

“Today I offer my prayerful support to the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, Eamon Martin and Diarmuid Martin, and their statements following the Referendum in Ireland on changes to its Constitution.

“Our commitment to mothers and their unborn children remains unchanged. We must do all we can to ensure that the deliberate taking of an unborn human life is not an option that anyone would choose. The denial of life to another human being, a brother or sister, is an wrong that harms our fragile humanity. We work and pray for the day when this truth is widely accepted and laws permitting abortion are seen for what they are.

“Our pro-life convictions have to be consistently expressed in action, in support of women who are trapped in difficult and painful circumstances and in support of the children they are carrying.

“May God bless Ireland and its generous hearted people. May that love, in every family, be a protection for the unborn, whatever the law may now permit.”

 

VATICAN ASKED TO CONFIRM IF BOLIVIAN CARDINAL-ELECT IS MARRIED WITH CHILDREN

VATICAN ASKED TO CONFIRM IF BOLIVIAN CARDINAL-ELECT IS MARRIED WITH CHILDREN

A tweet this morning from Edward Pentin: Edward Pentin‏ @EdwardPentin

In response to reports (https://adelantelafe.com/escandalo-francisco-nombra-cardenal-a-obispo-casado-y-con-hijos/ …) that Bolivian Cardinal-Designate Bishop Toribio Ticona, 81, has a “wife” and “children,” I’ve asked #Vatican to confirm whether story is true, and if so, whether the #Pope knew of it before he named him Cardinal. Will post updates

Reactions are obviously pouring from many parts of the world, with most people asking the same questions: 1. is this actually true? 2. how did the Vatican, the Pope, not know this before today? 3. If they did not know, why not? Seems this prelate has been “married” for some time.

I re-tweeted Edward’s news this morning after reading the Spanish piece in adelantelafe (Forward with the faith). Here now is their translation into English of the original news story (I have not changed any words, though there are some mistakes, for example. I am sure they meant to say he was “ordained” a bishop, not “ordered”. Also; alcalde means “mayor”):

“On May 20th, 2018, Pope Francis announced that in the consistory to be celebrated on June 29 this year, Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, he will raise to the cardinalship Bp. Toribio Ticona, titular bishop of Timici and prelate emeritus of Corocoro, Bolivia. The 81-year-old bishop was born on April 25, 1937. He was ordered priest in 1967 and consecrated as Timici’s bishop and axiliary bishop of Potosí, Bolivia, on May 31st, 1986. In 1992 he was appointed prelate of Corocoro, retiring in 2012.

“During his frequent visits to Oruro at the beginning of his office, the then bishop of Oruro and future Third World ideologist cardinal, Julio Terrazas Sandoval, CSsR, boasted visiting Oruro’s bishop and called him his “padrino” or sponsor, since he said he had been promoted to the bishopric thanks to Terrazas,who on several occasions as president of the Bolivian Conference of Bishops, and obviously was very influential on the other bishops and the apostoloic Nunciature.

“Ticona participated in two Ad Limina visits, in 2008 and 2017. He served as alcalde, according to the local traditional customs of a 12-person community in Bolivia. During his 10-year tenure in the Corocoro prelaturre, the Catholic flock went down from 94.6% to 87.6%, while the Protestant sects’s following grew. It is a well-known fact that while he was servirng his office in Corocoro, he was living more uxorio with a lady in Oruro’s chancery. She and her children are proud to be called wife and children of the Patacamaya bishop, as Bishop Toribio Ticona is also known.

”The family of Bp. Toribio Ticona, Patacamaya bishop, lived in up to three different places of residence in Oruro.

”Since the 9th and 10th centuries, known as the Iron Century of Papacy, there has been no sure, reliable news of a concubinarian bishop being rewarded with the title of cardinal. Being a Prince of the Church entails an important responsibility for the office holder, since he serves directly the petrine ministry. Therefore, a concubinarian cardinal’s promotion sends two messages: 1, the Pope’s wish to eliminate priestly celibacy, and 2, that he has a scapegoat foro working against Bolivia’s bishops hierarchy. 2 bishoprics and 3 other church circumscriptions are to be renewed this year. We can be sure that Bishop Barros’ case will be repeated in Bolivia, thanks to which Pope Francis would have, with Evo Morales’ backing, control over Bolivia’s Church, which would then have a marked leftist tone.

”Adelante la Fe

”P.S. We have used the term, married, because his co-cohabitant partner properly speaks of “her husband”.

A WELL-KEPT SECRET: ROME’S RELIQUARY WITH FOOT OF MARY MAGDALENE

I have the day off as it is Memorial Day but I do want to share with you one of the most moving and amazing experiences of my life that occurred after the 6 pm Mass last night in the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. Ambassador Callista Gingrich and her husband Newt were also at this Mass and I asked them afterwards if they knew the church housed an astonishing relic – the left foot of St. Mary Magdalene.

I brought them to the shrine and explained the story (which I had recently researched for one of my “Joan’s Rome” videos – see story below). As we were about to leave, the sacristan came up to me and, with a huge smile, and holding a key in one hand, asked if we’d like to see the relic up close. Well, of course we wanted to!

He opened the shrine and then – the truly amazing moment of the evening! – he took the Cellini reliquary out, showed it to us and handed it to me! What is not visible when the reliquary is inside the shrine is the glass-covered opening that reveals the bones of Mary Magdalene’s foot!

Photos by Amb. Gingrich:

I held the reliquary for dear life and slowly, prayerfully, moved one hand across the top of the reliquary. I think my breathing slowed as I held the relic! Several others were standing near us in total silence, also relishing uniqueness of the moment.

Just writing about this experience leaves me breathless again.

A WELL-KEPT SECRET: ROME’S RELIQUARY WITH FOOT OF MARY MAGDALENE

San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini – St. John the Baptists of the Florentines – is known as the regional church for expatriates from Florence whose patron saint is John the Baptist. There was a flourishing expat Florentine community in Rome in the mid-15th century that featured the bankers and artists for which the city was famous. That expat Florentine community was concentrated on a bend of the Tiber river where the church stands today.

San Giovanni was built for the first Medici Pope, Leo X, who started a competition for the church’s construction. Great numbers of famous artists participated in the project but the building was on-again off-again for a few centuries. Two of the most celebrated artists are buried here – Carlo Maderno and Francesco Borromini.

Only in recent years, however, has San Giovanni dei Fiorentini made a singular claim to fame: it possesses relics of the foot of St. Mary Magdalene that rest in a shrine to the left of the main sanctuary.

Historians seem to agree that Mary Magdalene died and was buried in Ephesus and that, given historical vicissitudes, her body – or parts of it, what we will call relics – was brought to Constantinople, then to the south of France and, finally Rome.

How the relics got to the south of France seems to be the biggest mystery – not all legends agree. One, in fact, says Mary Magdalen lived in a cave as a hermitess in the south of France where she died.

The historical account found in the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini says her body was sent by ship from Sainte Baume in Provence to Rome where her left foot was removed according to the Greek tradition that this is always the first foot that rises when you enter the after life. her foot came to rest in st. peter’s basilica with other passion relics.

For many years, pilgrims who came to Rome to visit the tomb of Peter would first stop to venerate the foot of St Mary Magdalene who was the first person to enter the tomb of the risen. This foot was first kept in a precious reliquary of Benvenuto Cellini.

More historical vicissitudes and the foot finally came to rest in San Giovanni dei Fiorentini – but only in 1984 – where it was buried away in a closet with other forgotten relics and historical pieces. Amazingly enough it was discovered only in the year 2000 when San Giovanni began work on its Museum of Sacred Art!