A bit of Vatican trivia: October 31 marks the 506th anniversary of the reopening of the Sistine Chapel after the works carried out by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the ceiling vault. (October 31, 1512, All Saints’ Eve)


Pope Francis again spoke of the sixth commandment today in his continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments at the weekly general audiences. He said “the sixth commandment: ‘You shall not commit adultery’ deals specifically with marital fidelity, yet it also speaks to every human relationship and vocation.”

“In the light of Christ,” he said, “we see that all love is meant to be pure, faithful, generous and fruitful. True love enables us to find ourselves by giving ourselves away. Hence, authentic love is always spousal, life-giving and self-sacrificing.”

The Pope explained that, “the undying love of Christ that is the basis of marital fidelity is likewise reflected in the spousal love and spiritual parenthood that mark the vocations to priestly ministry and consecrated virginity.

Continuing, Francis said, “In the mystery of Christ and his love, we come to understand the full meaning of the gift of our human sexuality and the fidelity demanded by the marriage covenant. As men and women, body and spirit, we are called to love in ways that leave no room for lust or promiscuity.”

“The command – ‘You shall not commit adultery’ – is thus an invitation to live fully our original calling to that pure and faithful spousal love revealed in Jesus Christ.”


Before the general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis greeted a delegation from the American Bible Society in the Paul VI Hall.

The American Bible Society’s mission statement is “to transform lives through God’s word,” he noted in his remarks. He encouraged the Society, currently meeting in Rome, “to pursue and even intensify their commitment to that mission.”

The Pope went on to stress that “truly the word of God has the power to transform lives” and, quoting from the Letter to the Hebrews, he said, it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” He underlined that “no other book has the same power.”

In its word, he continued, “we recognize the Spirit who inspired it: for only in the Spirit can Scripture truly be received, lived and proclaimed, for the Spirit teaches all things and reminds us of all that Jesus said.”

The Pontiff explained to those present that God’s word “is honey, offering the comforting sweetness of the Lord, but also a sword bringing a salutary unrest to our hearts. For it penetrates to the depths and brings to light the dark recesses of the soul. As it penetrates, it purifies.”

The double edge of this “sword”, he said, may at first wound, but it proves beneficial, for it cuts away everything that distances us from God and his love.

The Holy Father noted that God’s word judges thoughts and intentions. “The word of life is also truth and His word ‘creates’ truth in us, dissipating every form of falsehood and duplicity. Scripture constantly challenges us to redirect our path to God.”

”Letting ourselves ‘be read’ by the word of God,” said the Pope, “enables us to become in turn ‘open books’, living reflections of the saving word, witnesses of Jesus and proclaimers of his newness.” (vaticannews)



Last evening, just before 10:30, the Holy See Press Office released the following statement:

“During some restoration work in a space annexed to the Apostolic Nunciature in Italy, in Via Po 27 in Rome, some human bone fragments were found.

“The Vatican’s Gendarmerie promptly intervened on the site, informing their Holy See superiors that they immediately informed the Italian authorities for the appropriate investigations and the necessary collaboration in the affair.

“At present the Chief Prosecutor of Rome, Dr. Giuseppe Pignatone, has delegated the scientific police and the mobile squad of the Rome’s police headquarters in order to establish the age, sex and date of death of the bones found.”( ANSA photo)

Villa Giorgina, sede della Nunziatura apostolica a Roma, 31 ottobre 2018. ANSA/FABIO FRUSTACI

It is rather unusual, almost unheard of, in fact, for the Vatican to release a statement at that hour.

Media here immediately surmised that the bones – found on Monday – might be those of Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee who went missing in 1983, or of Mirella Gregori, another minor who disappeared that same year.

Investigators will be comparing the cranium and teeth with DNA of the two girls in their possession.

Orlandi’s disappearance has been one of Italy’s biggest mysteries for the past 35 years. There have been as many theories as to why she disappeared – or was kidnapped – as there are Agatha Christie novels.

Emanuela’s father worked for IOR, the Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank. The family lived inside Vatican City.

The Orlandi family, Vatican officials, including the gendarmes and Rome police have followed every lead that came to them over the years, including numerous reports of sightings of Emanuela, both in Italy and abroad.

If the remains prove to be those of Orlandi (and/or Gregori), the bigger question is then: How did they get there?



Declaration made today, October 30, by Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke:

“Regarding the meeting held yesterday by the Secretary of State of the Holy See and the Vice President of the Government of Spain, I would like to state the following: Cardinal Pietro Parolin does not oppose the exhumation of Francisco Franco, if the competent authorities have so decided, but at no time did he say anything about the place of burial. It is true that Mrs. Carmen Calvo expressed her concern about the possible burial in the cathedral of Almudena and her desire to explore other alternatives, also through dialogue with the family. The Cardinal Secretary of State thought this solution was appropriate. ”

(JFL: Francisco Franco was a Spanish general who ruled over Spain as a military dictator from 1939, after the nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War, until his death in 1975. This period in Spanish history is commonly known as Francoist Spain.

By the 1950s, the nature of his regime changed from being openly totalitarian and using severe repression to an authoritarian system with limited pluralism.[18] During the Cold War, Franco was one of the world’s foremost anti-Communist figures: his regime was assisted by the West, and it was asked to join NATO. After chronic economic depression in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Franco presided over the Spanish miracle, abandoning autarky and pursuing economic liberalization, delegating authority to liberal ministers.[19]

Franco died in 1975 at the age of 82. He restored the monarchy before his death, which made King Juan Carlos I his successor, who led the Spanish transition to democracy. After a referendum, a new constitution was adopted, which transformed Spain into a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy. H was buried in the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen), a colossal memorial built by the forced labour of political prisoners in order to honour the casualties of the Spanish Civil War

On 24 August 2018, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez approved legal amendments to the Historical Memory Law stating that only those who died during the civil war will be buried at the Valle de los Caídos, resulting in plans to exhume Franco’s remains for reburial elsewhere. Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo Poyato stated that having Franco buried at the monument “shows a lack of respect … for the victims buried there”. The government gave Franco’s family a 15-day deadline to decide Franco’s final resting place, or else a “dignified place” will be chosen by the government.[104] The family finally agreed.[105] On 13 September 2018, the Congress of Deputies voted 176-2, with 165 abstentions, to remove Franco’s body from the monument. (wikipedia)



In off-the-cuff remarks to the synod plenary about 8 pm Saturday evening, at the end of a gruelling final day of work on the Final Document, Pope Francis spoke briefly.

He began: “I too have to say thank you to everyone. To Cardinal Baldisseri, Monsignor Fabene, the delegated presidents, speakers, the undersecretaries who I said had ‘left their skin’ in the preparatory document, now I believe that they leave the bones to us … thanks to the experts and we saw how we pass from a martyr text to the commission martyr, that of editorial staff, who has done so much effort so much penance have done this. Thanks to all of you, the listeners, and especially the young people who brought their music to the classroom – music is the diplomatic word to say noise.”

He then said he had “two little things to say”.

“First: to reiterate once more that the Synod is not a Parliament. It is a protected space for the Holy Spirit to implement. This is why the information that is given is general, and not the most particular things – the names, the way of saying things – which are those with which the Holy Spirit works in us … and this was a protected space … it was Spirit at work here.

“Second, the result of the Synod is not a document, we are full of documents. I do not know if this document out something, but yes I know what it must do in us, it must work in us. We have made the document, we have studied it, we have approved it. Now the Spirit gives us the document to work in our heart. We are the recipients of the document. Not people … For this document to work, to pray with the document, to study, to ask others for light, but it is mainly for us. We are the first recipients, there is the spirit that has done all this and returns to us. Do not forget that.”

Francis then added a third item:

“The third thing. I think of our Mother, the Holy Mother Church. The last three numbers (of the final document) on holiness show what the Church is, our mother is holy, but children are sinners. We are all sinners. And do not forget that expression of the fathers, the caste meretrix, the Holy Church, the Holy Mother with sinful children. And because of our sins, always the great accuser who takes advantage of the first chapter of Job turning, looking for who to accuse, in this moment he is accusing us and this accusation becomes persecution as well (…) the president of today says it, his persecuted people (…)and also becomes another type of persecution, constant accusations to dirty the Church. The Church does not get dirty. Yes children, we are all dirty, but Mother does not. Now is the time to defend the Mother, and the Mother defends herself from the great accuser with prayer and penance because of this I asked to pray the Rosary, to pray to St. Michael the Archangel (…) is a difficult time because the accuser through us attacks the Mother and you don’t touch the Mother.”

Some have seen this third item as a reference to the devil, to Satan, infiltrating the Church in a number of ways. Others saw this as a reference to the evils of the clerical sex abuse cases that have surfaced over the years, becoming especially painful after the Pennsylvania Report and the McCarrick case in the U.S.

And yet others saw this as a clear reference to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano whose three missives with accusations against those in the Vatican – even at the highest level – who knew about and covered up McCarrick, were seen as “attacks” on the Church.

Interesting to ponder as these were off-the-cuff remarks.


Tune in tonight to EWTN’s “At Home with Jim and Joy” when I talk of the papal condolences for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the just-concluded synod of bishops.


Pope Francis remembers the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighbourhood of Pittsburgh.
By Christopher Wells (Vaticannews)

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the city of Pittsburgh, USA, and especially to the Jewish community there.

Eleven people were killed, and several others were wounded, on in a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the neighbourhood of Squirrel Hill. A suspect was taken into custody after the attack.

In his remarks at the Angelus, Pope Francis prayed that, “the Most High might welcome into His peace those who have died; comfort their families; and sustain those who were wounded. In reality we are all wounded by this inhuman act of violence.”

Pope Francis prayed that the Lord might “help us to extinguish the hotbeds of hatred that are developing in our societies, strengthening the sense of humanity, respect for life, moral and civil values, and the holy fear of God, who is Love and the Father of all.”


(Informative note by the Fabbrica di San Pietro in Vaticano) – Cardinal Angelo Comastri, President of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, explains: “The new lighting, also taken care of from a scientific point of view, allows us to admire and better understand the universal value of Michelangelo’s work. The ‘Pietà’ in fact is the faith of Michelangelo carved on marble. The Artist wanted to highlight in the young face of Mary an ever present message: avoiding sin is the only true cure of beauty and perennial youth. Now the work can be enjoyed even more.”

Pietro Zander, director of the Office of conservation and restoration of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, underlines: “The light factor is very important. Michelangelo had thought it out carefully, with very low values of illumination, carefully smoothing the marble surfaces so that even a few candles could make the marble group shine. It is the first time that the Fabbrica di San Pietro lights it up with such great attention.”

In addition to replacing the previous fixtures with others using the latest generation of LED sources, the new lighting project uses compact solutions with minimum visual encumbrance of warm white tones (equal to 3000 K) with very high color rendering. The iGuzzini Illuminazione company has made available a system of lighting units, divided into groups that power on and off in luminous intensity to allow for the different lighting scenarios.

North scenario – sculptural scenario:
Light focuses on the sculpture, while the floor, ceiling and background are illuminated to a minimum. No prevailing directionality is perceived; on the other hand, there is a balance of chiaroscuro that restores the plasticity of the work and allows one to dwell on both the single detail and the harmony of the whole.

East scenario – A beam of light:
A beam of light illuminates the La Pietà. The direction of incidence is evident, the marked shadows. The peaceful lighting of the vaults and the background frame the entire marble group. Luminous beams of the headlamps, with different degrees of dimming; times and almost obscured floor.


South scenario – full light:
All the devices are switched on. The sculpture is absolutely dazzling and becomes itself a source of light. The vaults and the floor have a slightly lower illumination because everything is concentrated in the band in which there is the sculpture. The light of the central vault, of the arches and of the side vaults is more sustained.

West scenario – daily light
Designed for the pilgrim or visitor to the Basilica who enjoys the work through the protective window. For this reason, the lighting is frontal: the beams of light intersect with symmetrical angles to give the viewer the plasticity of the work. The central vault is evenly lit, while the arches and the side vault vaults receive a lower intensity light.

This video was produced by the Vatican in Italian only. It opens with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the basilica of St. Peter , as he explains this magnificent piece of art, unique in the world, that Michelangelo sculpted at the age of 23!

The lighting company explains the four basic scenarios of the new lamps (see above), noting that each light is directional and each has its own task.

By Robin Gomes (Vatiannews)

Pope Francis has expressed his sadness for the victims of a low-cost Indonesian aircraft that crashed into the sea on Monday with 189 people on board soon after taking off from the capital, Jakarta.

“Having learned with sadness of the recent plane crash in Jakarta, His Holiness Pope Francis conveys his condolences to all those affected by this tragedy,” read a condolence telegram signed on the Pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“He offers the assurance of his prayers for all who have died and for those who mourn their loss. Upon the nation and all involved in the rescue and recovery efforts His Holiness invokes the strength and peace of Almighty God,” the cardinal wrote in the message to Archbishop Piero Pioppo, Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia.

No survivors
Lion Air flight JT610 heading to Pangkal Pinang, in Bangka Island off Sumatra coast, lost contact with ground officials shortly after its pilot had asked to turn back to base about 13 minutes after takeoff, and crashed into the sea, officials said.



The Final Document of the 2018 synod was voted on last evening by the synod fathers. It was distributed in Italian only, even though many synod participants requested that it be made available in several languages. You may have seen Edward Pentin’s tweet last night: +Chaput: “Many bishops were frustrated by the lack of advance translations for important issues they were expected to vote on. As one of the synod fathers argued, it’s actually immoral to vote ‘yes’ on significant issues if you can’t even read and reflect on what the text says.”

Media received the Italian-only document as well as a sheet that showed how voting went on each single paragraph of the document, indicating ‘placet’ (it pleases) or ‘non placet’ (it does not please). Not a single paragraph escaped a ‘nay’ vote.

Following is an analysis by Sandro Magister. He presented the original Italian language paragraphs and I used google to translate them, re-reading and editing where needed. If I had left those paragraphs in Italian, you’d have had the same problem as some (many?) of the synod fathers had!

Here is his analysis:

In voting point by point on the final document of the synod on young people, on the afternoon of Saturday, October 27, in almost every case the synod fathers approved the text by a wide majority.

Out of 167 points put to a vote, fully 125 times the votes against were fewer than 10 and the votes in favor equal to or more than 240.

On only fifteen points were the votes against equal to or more than 30. And in only two cases were the votes against more than 50, in any case far from the threshold of the 83 “non placet,” equivalent to one third of the voters, which if crossed would have entailed the non-approval of the paragraph.

In the first case, with 51 votes against, the question in play concerned the increase of “synodality” in the Church. Actually, the six subsequent paragraphs concerning this issue all received more than 30 votes against.

In the second case, with 65 votes against, the point under discussion concerned sexuality, and in particular homosexuality, a word that occurs only twice in the entire document – in paragraphs 39 and 150, which refer respectively to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the 1986 letter of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith – but in realty was the elephant in the room for the whole synod, even where the document is silent on it, for example with regard to the seminaries and the formation of future priests.

Presented here below are eight paragraphs from the final document, each of them the recipient of a few dozen votes against. With the caution that the votes against cannot be automatically attributed to one side or the other, progressive or conservative, but can also be the expression of both, for different and sometimes opposite reasons.

But first it is also helpful to point out that in the run-up to the vote on the final document the synod fathers elected 16 members of the 21 who will make up the new council of the secretariat of the synod that will prepare the next assembly.
They are:

For Africa: Dieudonné Nzapalainga, cardinal archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic;
Gabriel Mbilingi, archbishop of Cubango, Angola;
Andrew Ikea Fuanya, bishop of Mamfe, Cameroon.

For Latin America:
Daniel Fernando Sturla Berthouet, cardinal archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay;
Jaime Calderón Calderón, bishop of Tapachula, Mexico;
Sérgio de Rocha, cardinal archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil.

For North America:
Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, cardinal archbishop of Québec, Canada;
Joseph W. Tobin, cardinal archbishop of Newark, United States.

For Asia:
Luis Antonio G. Tagle, cardinal archbishop of Manila, Philippines;
Oswald Gracias, cardinal archbishop of Bombay, India;
Charles Maung Bo, cardinal archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar.

For Europe:
Christoph Schönborn, cardinal archbishop of Vienna, Austria;
Matteo M. Zuppi, archbishop of Bologna, Italy;
Juan José Omella Omella, cardinal archbishop of Barcelona, Spain.

For Oceania:
Anthony Colin Fisher, archbishop of Sydney.

For the Eastern Churches:
Ignatius Joseph III Yonan, patriarch of Antioch of the Syriacs

In addition to these, one head of a curial dicastery and four prelates of pontifical appointment will be part of the new synod council.

The Final Document of the Synodal Assembly
3. It is important to clarify the relationship between the Instrumentum laboris and the Final Document. The first is the unitary and synthetic frame of reference that emerged from the two years of listening; the second is the fruit of discernment achieved and gathers the generative thematic nuclei on which the Synodal Fathers concentrated with particular intensity and passion. We therefore recognize the diversity and complementarity of these two texts. This document is offered to the Holy Father (see Francis, Episcopalis communio, No. 18, Instruction, Article 35 §5) and also to the whole Church as the fruit of this Synod. Since the synodal journey has not yet ended and foresees an implementation phase (see Episcopalis communio, No. 19-21), the Final Document will be a map to guide the next steps that the Church is called to move. Votes in favor 191, against 43

I Part
Chapter II – Three crucial junctions
Recognize and react to all types of abuse
Go to the root
30. There are different types of abuse: power, economic, conscience, sexual. The task of eradicating the forms of exercise of authority on which they are grafted and of countering the lack of accountability and transparency with which many cases have been managed is evident. The desire for domination, the lack of dialogue and transparency, the forms of double life, the spiritual emptiness, as well as psychological fragility are the terrain on which corruption flourishes. Clericalism, in particular, “arises from an elitist and excluding vision of vocation, which interprets the ministry received as a power to be exercised rather than as a free and generous service to offer; and this leads us to believe that we belong to a group that has all the answers and no longer needs to listen and learn anything, or pretends to listen “(Francesco, Discourse to the General Congregation of the XV General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 3 October 2018). Votes in favor 204, against 31

Chapter III – Identity and relationships Body and affectivity The questions of young people
39. The Church has a rich tradition on which to build and from which to propose its own teaching on this subject: for example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the theology of the body developed by St. John Paul II, the Encyclical Deus caritas est of Benedict XVI , the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia di Francesco. But young people, even those who know and live this teaching, express the desire to receive a clear, human and empathetic word from the Church. In fact, sexual morality often causes misunderstanding and estrangement from the Church, as it is perceived as a space of judgment and condemnation. Faced with social changes and ways of experiencing affectivity and the multiplicity of ethical perspectives, young people are sensitive to the value of authenticity and dedication, but are often disoriented. They express more particularly an explicit desire for comparison on issues related to the difference between male and female identity, to the reciprocity between men and women, to homosexuality. Votes in favor 195, against 43

Part II Chapter IV – The art of discerning The Church, environment to discern Ecclesial conscience
109. The conscience of every believer in his most personal dimension is always in relation with the ecclesial conscience. It is only through the mediation of the Church and her tradition of faith that we can access the authentic face of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Spiritual discernment therefore presents itself as the sincere work of conscience, in its commitment to know the possible good on which to decide responsibly in the correct exercise of practical reason, within and in the light of personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Votes in favor 205, against 34

Part III Chapter I – The Synodal Missionary of the Church A constitutive dynamism The synodal form of the Church

121. The lived experience of the Synod participants aware of the importance of a synodal form of the Church for the proclamation and transmission of the faith. Synonymous with “awaken” synodality, which is a “constitutive dimension of the Church. […] As St. John Chrysostom says,” the Church and Synod are synonymous “- because the Church is nothing other than the “walking together” of the Flock of God on the paths of the history of Christ the Lord “(Francis, Speech for the Commemoration of the Synod of Bishops, 17 October 2015). Synodality characterizes both the life and the mission of the Church, which is the People of God formed by young and old, men and women of every culture and horizon, and the Body of Christ, in which we are members of each other, starting from those who are marginalized and trampled. During the exchanges and through the testimonies, the Synod brought out some fundamental features of a synodal style, towards which we are called to convert. Votes in favor 191, against 51

Chapter III – A renewed missionary impulse – Women in the Synodal Church
148. A Church that seeks to live a synodal style can not but reflect on the condition and role of women within it, and consequently also in society. Young people and young people ask for it with great force. The reflections developed require to be implemented through a work of courageous cultural conversion and change in daily pastoral practice. An area of particular importance in this regard is that of the presence of women in the ecclesial bodies at all levels, also in functions of responsibility, and of women’s participation in ecclesial decision-making processes while respecting the role of the ordained ministry. It is a duty of justice, which finds inspiration both in the way in which Jesus was related to men and women of his time, and in the importance of the role of some female figures in the Bible, in the history of salvation and in the life of the Church. Votes in favor 201, against 38

Sexuality: a clear, free, authentic word
150. There are questions concerning the body, affectivity and sexuality that need a more in-depth anthropological, theological and pastoral elaboration, to be carried out in the most convenient modalities and levels, from local to universal. Among these emerge in particular those related to the difference and harmony between male and female identity and sexual inclinations. In this regard, the Synod reaffirms that God loves every person and so does the Church, renewing its commitment against any discrimination and violence on a sexual basis. Equally it reaffirms the determinant anthropological relevance of the difference and reciprocity between man and woman and considers it reductive to define the identity of people starting only from their “sexual orientation” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on pastoral care of homosexual persons, October 1, 1986, No. 16).

In many Christian communities there are already paths of accompaniment in the faith of homosexual persons: the Synod recommends encouraging these paths. In these ways people are helped to read their own story; to adhere freely and responsibly to one’s baptismal call; to recognize the desire to belong and contribute to the life of the community; to discern the best forms to make it happen. In this way we help every young person, no one excluded, to increasingly integrate the sexual dimension into his personality, growing in the quality of relationships and walking towards the gift of self. Votes in favor 178, against 65

Chapter IV – Integral formation The formation of seminarians and consecrated persons
163. The specific task of the integral formation of candidates for the ordained ministry and for the consecrated life of men and women remains an important challenge for the Church. The importance of a solid cultural and theological formation for consecrated and consecrated persons is also recalled. As for the seminars, the first task is obviously the assumption and operational translation of the new Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis. During the Synod some important emphases emerged, which should be mentioned. In the first place the choice of formators is not enough that they are culturally prepared, they must be capable of fraternal relations, of an empathic listening and of profound inner freedom. Secondly, for a proper accompaniment serious and competent work will be needed in differentiated educational teams, which include female figures. The formation of these formative teams in which different vocations interact is a small but precious form of synodality, which affects the mentality of young people in initial formation. Thirdly, formation must aim at developing in future pastors and consecrated persons the ability to exercise their leadership role in an authoritative and non-authoritarian manner, educating young candidates to give themselves for the community. Particular attention should be paid to some formative criteria such as: overcoming tendencies to clericalism, ability to work in a team, sensitivity for the poor, transparency of life, willingness to be accompanied. Fourthly, the seriousness of initial discernment is decisive because too many young people who present themselves at seminaries or formation houses are welcomed without adequate knowledge and a thorough re-reading of their history. The question becomes particularly delicate in the case of “wandering seminarians”: relational and affective instability, and the lack of ecclesial roots are dangerous signals. To neglect ecclesial legislation in this regard constitutes irresponsible behavior, which can have very serious consequences for the Christian community. A fifth point concerns the numerical consistency of the training communities: in those too large there is a risk of depersonalisation of the path and of inadequate knowledge of young people on the way, while those too small risk being suffocating and subject to the logic of dependence; in these cases the best solution is to set up inter-diocesan seminars or training houses shared among several religious provinces, with clear training projects and well-defined responsibilities. Votes in favor 217, against 22


Pray for all the synod participants as they end their work of 25 days in the Vatican. May each one of them, from the Holy Father to the lay auditors, bring the gift of a synod that many have called “grace-filled days” to their home dioceses and parishes. The closing Mass is this Sunday at 10 am in St. Peter’s Basilica. Safe travels to all who came to the Eternal City for this important meeting.

Also this weekend: Tune in to Vatican Insider as I look back at the synod and other Vatican news and then present a special interview. IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on 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.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


The Primate of all Ireland said at Friday’s Synod of Bishops press briefing that he that has not engaged with and encouraged young people enough.
By Russell Pollitt, SJ (vaticannews)

A graced month

Both Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Austria and Archbishop Eamon Martin of Ireland said that the Synod has been a time of grace – despite their personal apprehension before it started.

Synod Fathers are shown here after the Mass yesterday morning in St. Peter’s Basilica following the pilgrimage along the Via Francigena to the tomb of the first Pope. The Pope, in the center, is not vested as he did not celebrate Mass but was present. In the background you can see three archways over three altars in the south aisle of the basilica. The center altar – the Altar of St. Joseph –  has the relics of two of the 12 Apostles, Sts. Simon and Jude. Not many people know that St. Peter is not the only Apostle buried in St. Peter’s Basilica. By the way, their feast day is this Sunday, October 28!

Cardinal Schönborn said that when appointed he was concerned about being away from Vienna for such a long time. Now, he says, he realises what a good experience it was for bishops to come from all over the world so that they could listen to young people and share with them. He said that they heard more about the experiences and life situations of youth. He said that here is no other comparable social body of leaders in the world who will take the time – a whole month – to listen to young people with empathy and true attention.

The Vienna cardinal said that the atmosphere was not one in which the bishops had answers but simply one in which they gave attention to the vision and dreams of young people. He said that at the Synod they laughed a lot and that there was an excellent atmosphere and real communion. He said that he will be more determined in his missionary spirit because the courage and willingness of young people.

Archbishop Martin echoed this. He said that it was a graced-filled month. He too said that he was skeptical before arriving. He said that in Ireland they have to connect with young people but they haven’t done a great job. He said that the Church connects with families and schools but after that they struggle to engage young people. He said that the Synod has offered him much for reflection on how to go about connecting with youth. The communion at the Synod, with the Holy Father, bishops and young people was a real grace, he said.

Archbishop Anthony Muheria from Kenya said that the Synod was an exceptional experience of the universality of the church, its diversity and also of collegiality. He says that the Synod has been like a flame, a fire, which reignited the desire of the bishops to engage young people and in so doing give new life to the Church.

The Church must preach a counter-cultural message

Archbishop Martin said that this Synod was not talking about a particular doctrinal issue. The Synod touched on many issues from the point of view of young people. In the first week the gathering identified the pressures that young people were under. The reality of poverty, human trafficking, migration, how many young people are lost, the increase in depression, mental illness and their yearning for a stable reference point. The Archbishop said that the bishops felt the importance again of the Church presenting a counter-culture message to the world, a world, he added, in which young people are drowning and feel suffocated. He said that the Church gives people a reason to hope, to hold on to life, to live with passion. If anything, he said, the Church mustn’t chase after fashions but fearlessly speak and go against the grain of what society proposes. We need a Church that is counter-cultural, he said.

The future challenge

Archbishop Muheria said that the challenge is now for the bishops to pass the flame of the Synod on to young people. We need to instill hope. He said for him it is now about what will happen when the Synod ends on Sunday. He said that the Church needs to help young people face hurdles so that they can have great dreams for the future – great dreams which are calling the whole Church forward, he added. He said this will mean a change in approach and therefore a new adventure. He said that the majority of Catholic youth are in Asia and Africa and the Synod must connect with them despite their particular challenges.

Archbishop Martin said that he is nervous as he has to go home and bring the power and joy and life of the Synod back to the particular Churches in Ireland. “I have to be an ambassador of the Synod,” he said.

He said that young people have to be involved in the contemporary Church. In society they are in politics, education, policing, government and the legal system. For this reason, too, he said, the Church must engage with them so that they can transform society from within the places they are already working and involved.

Archbishop Martin said that he came to the realisation that young people are not the object of ministry, young people are themselves agents of evangelisation. He said that he realises that he must engage more with young people so that they can become missionary disciples. He said he sees now that he has not engaged with and encouraged young people enough. He said that he must go and reimagine his diocese and parishes. A question, for himself, he said, was how he facilitates making faith-filled young people part of the decision-making of the Church back in Ireland.

Mr Erduin Alberto Ortega Leal from Cuba, said that the Church does try and help young people find answers but that the Church of the future must also be involved and active with all people. He said that sometimes people in the Church don’t understand the mistakes of the past but, thanks to the Synod, he feels that there is a better understanding now.