Did you hear about this great real estate deal in Sicily! “Local officials on southern Italy’s island of Sicily have put dozens of hilltop homes on the market for €1 ($1.29 USD). Yes, that translates to just over one American dollar – for villas with panoramic views of the Mediterranean on a fertile patch of land dubbed the “Earthly Paradise.” This shocking real estate proposition is aimed at reviving a community that, like many other rural spots in Italy, has suffered from depopulation in recent years as locals relocate to metropolitan areas.”

What’s the catch? Maybe a lot of us should get together and do this! https://www.foxnews.com/real-estate/homes-in-sicily-are-selling-for-1


In a video message sent on Thursday, Pope Francis greets the people of the United Arab Emirates, and looks forward to marking a new step in the history of inter-religious relations.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

Pope Francis travels to Abu Dhabi from February 3 to 5 to participate in an inter-religious meeting and to celebrate Mass.

In his video message, the Pope said he is looking forward to visiting the UAE, calling it “a land that seeks to be a model of coexistence, human brotherhood, and encounter between different civilizations and cultures”.

In the UAE, the Holy Father said, many people “find a safe place to work and live freely, while respecting diversity.”

Gratitude for invitation
Pope Francis thanked the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for inviting him to participate in an interreligious meeting on “Human Brotherhood”.

He then expressed his gratitude to other UAE Authorities for their “generous hospitality and fraternal welcome”.

“I thank my friend and dear brother the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and all those who aided in the preparation of the meeting, for their courage and desire to affirm that faith in God unites and does not divide,” he said.

Faith brings people closer
Pope Francis said faith in God brings people closer despite their differences, and “distances us from hostility and aversion.”

The Pope said he looks forward to writing “a new page in the history of relations between religions, confirming that we are brothers and sisters, even though we are different.”

Finally, Pope Francis called the UAE “a land of prosperity and peace, a land of sun and harmony, a land of coexistence and encounter”. And he invited the people of the United Arab Emirates to pray for him.

To listen to video as Pope speaks in Italian, with several words in Arabic: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-01/pope-francis-uae-videomessage-before-visit.html#play


I want my many friends and family members who live in the States struck by the polar vortex that I am praying for you every day, principally that you remain healthy and do not encounter any life-threatening moments during what some media are calling a historical time. Prayers especially for those alone, for the elderly, the newborn and the very young!

FYI: This is what I saw when I just clicked on a link to an article about the NFL in the Baltimore Sun: “Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.”

This is due to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.

Happens to me daily with a lot of U.S. papers whose articles I might want to read online – Chicago Tribune, etc. VERY annoying!


As is customary for a Pope after completing a trip, at today’s general audience in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis spoke about his just-completed journey to Panama for World Youth Day 2019.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began, “Today I ask you to join me in thanking God for the graces he bestowed on the Church and on the people of Panama during my recent visit for World Youth Day. I thank the President and other authorities and particularly the volunteers for their warm welcome. The groups of people gathered there formed a great symphony of faces and languages typical of this event and the sight of the waving of so many flags was a prophetic sign that young Christians are a leaven of peace for the world.”

He noted that “one of the elements of World Youth Day is always the Way of the Cross. In Panama, the youth carried with Jesus and Mary the suffering of many brothers and sisters in Central America and beyond, especially those affected by forms of slavery and poverty, and by HIV/Aids.”

The Holy Father then turned to the Mass on Sunday, saying “the Risen Christ spoke afresh to young people, calling them to live the Gospel today, because they are the ‘today’ of the Church and the world.”

Then, in reference to his consecration of the new altar of Panama’s 400-year old cathedral, he noted that, “the oil of Chrism was used to consecrate the altar in the restored Cathedral in Panama, that which also anoints those being baptized, confirmed or ordained, and enables families to draw life from the Holy Spirit so as to continue their pilgrimage throughout the world as young missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.”

At the end of the English summary of his catechesis, via an interpreter, Pope Francis said, “I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!”


Pope Francis has just completed his first major trip and event of the New Year, returning 48 hours ago from Panama where he celebrated World Youth Day 2019 with an estimated five million plus young people.

He barely unpacked one suitcase and is now getting ready to pack for his second foreign trip of the year, three days in the United Arab Emirates.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights on the papal agenda for 2019. And there’s always room to add something important, so stay tuned.

United Arab Emirates
February will be particularly busy for the Holy Father. From February 3 to 5, Pope Francis becomes the first Pope to visit the United Arab Emirates. The Journey’s central theme surrounds inter-religious dialogue and solidarity among members of different faiths. The leaders of the UAE declared 2019 as a “Year of Tolerance” with the goal of promoting a culture free of religious fundamentalism.

Council of Cardinals and Curial reform
From February 18 to 20, the 28th meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place in the Vatican. The focus will be on the revision of the Constitution of the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus. A new proposal was presented last December to Pope Francis, under the title “Praedicate evangelium”. Its goal is to help the Vatican’s governing body become more responsive to the need of a missionary Church.

February meeting against abuse
Probably the most-awaited papal event of 2019 takes place in the Vatican from February 21 to 24 February when Pope Francis will meet all Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences to discuss how to prevent the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. It promises to be a pivotal meeting in the fight against sexual abuse, as well as abuse of power and conscience, which are carried out by some members of the Church. Speaking to the Roman Curia in December 2018, Pope Francis said no excuse for following the path of truth and justice will be tolerated.

Journey to Morocco
On March 30 and 31, Pope Francis travels to Morocco, 33 years after Pope St. John Paul II’s historic visit on August 19, to Casablanca. The Pope will continue in his predecessor’s path of promoting mutual comprehension and inter-religious dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

Bulgaria & Macedonia
After a short rest in April, the Holy Father heads across the Adriatic Sea to visit Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on May 5 to 7. In Bulgaria he will visit the cities of Sofia and Rakovski. Then he travels to the Macedonian city of Skopje, where Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was born. Catholics in these two Balkan nations are a tiny minority amidst the Orthodox majority, so promoting ecumenism will be high on the Pope’s to-do list.

Pope’s visit to Japan
Pope Francis openly told a group of Japanese visitors to the Vatican in September 2018 that he hopes to travel to Japan in 2019. He confirmed that he will travel there in November 2019 during remarks to journalists on the January 23rd flight from Rome to Panama for World Youth Day. During the encounter, the Pope recalled that, in 1585, a group of 4 Japanese young people arrived in Rome with several Jesuit missionaries to visit Pope Gregory XIII.

Amazonian Synod
Later in the year, the Synod of Bishops meets in October to discuss the Pan-Amazonia region. The Pope called for the special assembly on the theme “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology”. Many themes, not limited to ecology, form the center-of-attention for the 7 Bishops’ Conferences and 9 nations involved.

(source: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-01/pope-francis-agenda-2019-journeys-abuse-reform.html)


Every year, at the start of the judicial year, the Holy Father addresses the members of the Roman Rota, one of three Vatican tribunals or courts, and his speech is always closely watched by officials of the equivalent tribunals in the dioceses of the world.

The other Vatican tribunals are the Apostolic Penitentiary and the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s equivalent of a Supreme Court. The Apostolic Penitentiary (from the Latin for penance) is responsible for issues relating to Confession, to the forgiveness of sins, and has jurisdiction only over matters in the internal forum.

The name Rota – from the Latin word for wheel – seems to refer to either the circular room or enclosure where the auditors in the early years of the tribunal were assembled or the round table at which they sat to study and judge cases.

“The Rota’s main function is that of an appellate tribunal, ordinarily reviewing decisions of lower courts if the initial court (first instance) and the first appellate court (second instance) do not agree on the outcome of a case; however, any party to an initial decision before a court of the Latin Church (and also some Eastern Churches) has the right to file a second-instance appeal directly to the Rota. Dominating its caseload are petitions seeking the issuance of a decree of nullity of a marriage, although it has jurisdiction to hear any other type of judicial and non-administrative case in any area of canon law.” (from Pastor Bonus)

The word “rotation” also comes from rota, and is defined as “the passing of a privilege or responsibility to each member of a group in a regularly recurring order.”


By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

Pope Francis met Tuesday with members of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, and highlighted the importance of unity and fidelity in the Sacrament of Matrimony.

“Fidelity is possible, because it is a gift, both for spouses and for priests.”

In his address on Tuesday, Pope Francis praised the virtues of unity and fidelity, which he said members of the Roman Rota frequently experience in their service. The Roman Rota tribunal is the Catholic Church’s highest court, and primarily hears cases regarding the nullity of matrimony, though its jurisdiction extends to any type of judicial and non-administrative case related to Canon Law.

Unity and fidelity

The Holy Father said the two “marital goods” of unity and fidelity first of all pertain “to the essence of the Church of Christ.” Society, he said, frequently does not help couples live these virtues.

“The society in which we live is becoming more and more secularized, and doesn’t promote growth in faith, with the result that the Catholic faithful must struggle to witness to a way of life modelled on the Gospel.”

Pope Francis said unity and fidelity are necessary, not only in a married couple’s relationship, but also in all interpersonal and societal relations. “We are all aware of the inconveniences that arise in civil society when promises are not kept,” he said.

Adequate preparation

The Church’s ministers, said the Pope, need to help prepare couples for a life of generous unity and faithful love. This preparation should be done long before marriage and as couples near their wedding date, as well as throughout their married life.

“Pastors are the main actors in this matrimonial formation, by virtue of their office and ministry,” he said, though all layers of the Church community need to be involved in preparing couples.

Saints Aquila and Priscilla

Pope Francis then turned to the example of Saints Aquila and Priscilla, a married couple who helped St. Paul in his evangelizing mission. The Apostle to the Gentiles calls them his synergoi, or fellow workers. “We are struck and moved by Paul’s high recognition of the missionary work of these spouses, and at the same time we recognize how this synergy was a precious gift of the Spirit to the first Christian communities.”

Pastoral care

The Pope also listed several ways in which the Church can help married couples live in unity and fidelity: nearness to the Word of God, catechesis, frequent reception of the Sacraments, spiritual direction, and charitable works towards other families and those most in need. Married couples who live generous unity and faithful love, said Pope Francis, are a special resource for the Church’s pastoral work. “They offer everyone an example of true love and become witnesses and co-workers in the fruitfulness of the Church itself.” This type of married couple, he said, “reflects the image and likeness of God.”

Promote spiritual health of couples

Pope Francis invited members of the Roman Rota tribunal to deliver justice with their juridical sentences. Their rulings, he said, help “to correctly interpret Marriage law” and promotes the spiritual health and faith of spouses.


By Vatican News

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, accepted the resignation of Father Hermann Geissler on Monday, 28 January.

In a press release on Tuesday, the CDF said Fr. Geissler “decided to take this step to limit the damage already done to the Congregation and to his Community.”

Fr. Geissler is a member of the Opus spiritualis Familia religious community.

Doris Wagner, a former member of the same community, has accused Fr. Geissler of improper conduct that allegedly took place in 2009.

Fr. Geissler, the communique reads, “affirms that the accusation made against him is untrue, and asks that the canonical process already initiated continue. He also reserves the right for possible civil legal action.”

A Catholic News Agency (CNA) story on the resignation gives additional background:

VATICAN CITY — An Austrian priest and theologian has resigned from his position at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), amid charges that he made sexual advances toward a woman in the confessional several years ago.
The priest maintains his innocence.

Father Hermann Geissler, 53, has been an official within the CDF since 1993, and in 2009, he became the head of the congregation’s teaching office.
A statement released Jan. 29 said that Father Geissler “affirms that the accusation made against him is untrue and asks that the canonical process already initiated continue. He also reserves the right for possible civil legal action.”

Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office, confirmed to CNA that allegations against Father Geissler are being examined by the CDF, which is the Vatican office charged with reviewing allegations of this kind.

CDF prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria accepted the priest’s resignation, which was submitted Jan. 28. The statement said Father Geissler decided to step down “to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community.”

Father Geissler is a prominent scholar of Blessed John Henry Newman and a member of the Familia Spiritualis Opus, informally known as “Das Werk.”

The accusations against him became public at the end of September, when a (now-former) member of Das Werk, Doris Wagner, claimed in a lengthy piece in the German newspaper Die Ziet that she had been sexually harassed in the confessional by a member of the religious community she then belonged to, identified in the article as “Hermann G.”

Wagner again spoke of the accusations last November, saying at a conference in Rome that she had received unwanted sexual advances and been “groomed” for sex by “a priest working to this day as capo ufficio at the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith,” according to La Croix International.

The solicitation of a sin against the Sixth Commandment within the context of confession is considered in Church law to be a “grave delict,” or offence, for a which a priest can be dismissed from the clerical state.


This is a long read but take your time. There are a lot of themes and the Pope answers all questions.


Jan 28, 2019 / 07:52 am (CNA).- Please read below for CNA’s full transcript of the Pope’s July 28 in-flight press conference from Panama City to Rome:

Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office: Good evening! Holy Father, we can still hear in our ears the cry of “La Juventud del Papa” [Ed. note: a chant in Spanish translated to “The Young People of the Pope”], the Youth of Jesus Christ, as Monsignor Ulloa said, this great joy, these intense days, which nevertheless g-ave you so much energy. And, I believe that we have all seen in your face so much joy, the joy of this meeting, as well as the joy of the youth.

Photo from CNA correspondent on papal plane, Mercedes De La Torre:

I brought something that I think many of the journalists here know about. This will not be a document that enters the Magisterium of the Pope, but it is a document that you care so much about. This here is a song written by a girl from Honduras, Marta Avila, whose image I gave you yesterday, and this song is practically a song against bullying, which was a bit like the meeting with Scholas Occurrentes. This is to say that there was also the element of pain of these young people, as well as that of joy that we have seen on many occasions. I just want to say one image that struck me a lot, Holy Father, when you passed with the popemobile and said goodbye, I saw so many young people, perhaps for a single moment, embraced each other after greeting you. This touched me, the sharing of joy: that is, young people who hugged each other after seeing you even just for a moment, and this is perhaps a lesson for us adults. When young people are happy, they share joy, they don’t keep it to themselves. This is something I wanted to share with you and the journalists. Here, Holy Father, you also had – among the many surprises that you had in these days – a meeting with UNICEF in the nunciature, just in the last moments before your departure. I don’t know if you want to say a few words before giving the floor to the journalists for questions and before greeting them.

Pope Francis: Good evening, and then rest well because certainly everyone is tired after such an intense trip. Thank you for your work. Also for me, there were things I did not imagine, surprises, like this one that Gisotti said of the 16-year-old girl from Honduras, a victim of bullying, who sang with a beautiful voice and who wrote this song. Then the meeting before leaving the nunciature with people from the UNICEF of Central America, some testimonies of two young people and then those who work there. I heard things that touch the heart…It was an intense trip! You have the floor!

Gisotti: This is a trip that has many journeys within it, so please stay within the theme of this great voyage that has represented the world through the young people who were present. Obviously, the first word goes to the local press from Panama. Edwin Cabrera Uribe of Radio Panama will ask you two questions on behalf of the whole group of journalists from Panama. He will ask you one question, then after your answer another question. Thank you, Edwin.

Edwin Cabrera Uribe, Radio Panama: On behalf of the six Panamanian colleagues, the journey you gave to the Panamanian people is very big. You spoke to the volunteers about the fact that they have lived a mission. They know how the heart beats when you live a mission. What was your mission for the Central American WYD?

Pope Francis: My mission in a World Youth Day is the mission of Peter, which is to confirm in our faith. And this is not done with cold commands and orders but by letting oneself be touched by the heart and responding to what comes to you. I do not conceive, because I live it like this in me, I find it hard to think that someone can accomplish a mission only with the head. To fulfill a mission you have to feel it, and when you feel it, it strikes you. Life strikes you. Thoughts strike you.

At the airport, I was greeting the president and they brought me a child, a nice little boy… such a child… They told me that [when] this boy was crossing the Colombian border his mother died and he was left alone. He must be about 5 years old. He is from Africa but they don’t know what country, because he doesn’t speak English, Portuguese or French, but only his tribal language. They adopted him. He was a very lively child, he moved very well. It’s the abuse of a boy abandoned by life because his mother died there, the policeman handed him over to the authorities to be taken care of. This is like a slap in the face and makes the mission take on color. The mission involves me. Maybe because I am… and it comes from inside me. I tell young people what they have to do in life they have to do by walking and using the three languages: head, heart and hands. Three harmonious languages, so that they do what they feel and what they think, think what they feel and what they do, feel what they think and what they do.

I don’t know how to take stock of the mission. With all this I go to prayer and stay there before the Lord, sometimes I fall asleep, but I entrust him with the things I have lived in the mission and ask him to confirm in faith through me. This is how I conceive the pope’s mission and how I live it.

There have been cases in which difficulties of the dogmatic type have been presented and I do not have to respond only with reason but in another way.

Cabrerà: Were the expectations of the WYD of Panama fulfilled?

Pope Francis: Evidently, the thermometer to understand it is tiredness. And, I am destroyed.

Cabrerà: There is a problem throughout Central America, Panama and much of Latin America: girls get pregnant early. Only in Panama have there been [unintelligible] Detractors of the Church say that it is the responsibility of the Church because it opposes sex education. The Catholic Church has many schools in Latin America and in universities. I would like to know the opinion of Pope Francis on sex education…
Pope Francis: I believe that in schools we must give sex education. Sex is a gift from God, it is not a monster, it is a gift from God to love. That some people use it to earn money or exploit is another problem. But we need to give an objective sexual education, that is without ideological colonization. If you start by giving sexual education full of ideological colonization you destroy the person. But sex as a gift from God must be taught. To educate is to educate, to make the best of people emerge and to accompany them along the way.

The problem is with those responsible for education, whether at the national, provincial or unit level (…), which teachers are chosen for this task and which textbooks, etc.. I have seen some books that are a little dirty. There are things that mature and things that do harm. I don’t know if it’s objective or not, that you don’t have sex education in Panama. I say this without putting myself in the political problem of Panama. We need to have sex education for children. The ideal is to start from home, with the parents. It is not always possible because there are so many different situations in families, and because they do not know how to do it. And so the school makes up for this, because otherwise it will remain a void that will then be filled by any ideology.

Javier Martinez Brocal, Rome Reports: Holy Father, first of all I would like to congratulate you because you have set the record; in just four days you’ve become a Panamanian. It was just four days to fill your heart with Panama. And I would like to ask you a question in Italian.

These days, you have spoken with many young people. Surely, you have also spoken with young people who are fallen away from the Church or who have difficulties. In your opinion, where do young people find these difficulties, what are the reasons that drive them away from the Church? Thank you!

Pope Francis: There’s a lot! Some are personal, but most general. I believe that first, it is the lack of Christian witnesses, priests, bishops. I’m not saying that of the popes because that’s too much… but it is also! The lack of witness! If a pastor is an entrepreneur or an organizer of a pastoral program, or if a pastor is not close to the people, this pastor does not give witness of a true pastor. The pastor must be with the people, shepherd and flock we say. The shepherd must be ahead of the flock, to show the way in the midst of the herd, to smell the people, and to understand what they feel, what they need, how they feel, and to guard the flock from behind. But if a shepherd does not live with passion, people feel abandoned or in a certain sense feel despised [Ed. ignored], or when one feels orphaned and where orphanhood exists, I believe this…

I emphasized pastors, but also Christians, the hypocritical Catholics, right? Hypocritical Catholics, you know? They go to mass every Sunday but they don’t pay a bonus and they pay you under the table, using people, then they go to the Caribbean on vacation all through the exploitation of people. “But I’m a Catholic, I go to mass every Sunday.” If you do that, you give a counter-witness. This, in my opinion, alienates people from the Church the most. Even the laity, all of them. But I would say: don’t say that you’re a Catholic if you don’t bear witness. Say ‘I am from a Catholic upbringing, but I’m lukewarm, I’m worldly, forgive me, don’t look at me as a model,’ this must be said.

I’m afraid of Catholics like that, huh? That they believe themselves to be perfect! But history repeats itself. The same with Jesus and the doctors of the law, no? “I thank you Lord because I am not like this poor sinner…” This is the lack of a witness. There are others, like personal difficulties, but this is the most general.

Gisotti: Holy Father, now Caroline Pigozzi of Paris Match will ask you a question.

Pope Francis: First of all I want to thank you, I tracked down Father Benoist de Sinety, he concelebrated with me, good man, and with also 200 young people from Paris.

Caroline Pigozzi, Paris Match: There is another letter for you, Holiness, I will give it to you next week because he must write it.

Pope Francis: Very good.

Pigozzi: For four days, we have seen many young people praying with such intensity. Among them there is maybe a certain number that intend to embrace the religious life, you can think that a certain number have a vocation. But maybe someone is hesitating because he thinks that it will be a difficult path not being able to marry. Is it possible to think that in the Catholic Church, following the Eastern rite, you will permit married men to become priests?

Pope Francis: In the Eastern rite of the Catholic Church they may do it. The celibate option is given before diaconate [ordination].

Pigozzi: But now, with the Catholic Church of the Latin rite, do you think that you will reconsider the decision [of priestly celibacy]?

Pope Francis: For the Latin rite, I am reminded of a phrase of St. Paul VI: “I prefer to give my life before changing the law of celibacy.” This came to me and I want to say it because it is a courageous phrase. In a moment more difficult than this — it was in the years 1968-1970. Personally, I think that celibacy is a gift to the Church. Secondly, I would say that I do not agree with permitting optional celibacy, no. There remains only some possibility for very far places. I think of the Pacific islands, when there is a pastoral necessity, the pastor should think of the faithful.

There is an interesting book by Fr. Lobinger [Ed. note: Fritz Lobinger, bishop emeritus of Aliwal, South Africa] [on this topic] — this is an issue of discussion between theologians, it is not yet my decision — my decision is: optional celibacy before the diaconate, no. It is my thought, personally, but I would not do it. And this remains clear. It is only my personal thought. Am I narrow-minded, maybe? I do not want to put myself before God with this decision.

Fr. Lobinger says that the Church makes the Eucharist and the Eucharist makes the Church. But where there is not the Eucharist, do you think Caroline, in the Pacific islands, maybe there… In many places, says Lobinger, who does the Eucharist? The directors, the organizers of those communities are deacons or sisters, or directly, the laity. And Lobinger says: you can ordain an older married man, it is his thesis, but only that exercise the munus santificandi, that is, that celebrate the Mass, that administer the sacrament of reconciliation and of unction.

Priestly ordination gives three munera [functions]: regendi [governing], that that commands; docendi [teaching], that that teaches, and santificandi [sanctifying]. This comes with ordination. But the bishop gives them [the viri probati] only the license of santificandi. The book [of Lobinger] is interesting. And maybe it could help to think about the problem. I believe that the problem should be open in this sense: where there is a pastoral problem due to the lack of priests. I do not say that it should be done, because I have not reflected, I have not prayed sufficiently on this. But the theology should be studied.

For example, Fr. Lobinger is an example, is a fidei donum of South Africa. [The potential candidate for priesthood] is already a mature man. I make this example to show the places where it should be done. I was speaking with an official of the Secretary of State, a bishop, that had worked in a communist country at the beginning of the revolution. When he had seen the crisis of the Revolution arrive it was the 1950s. The bishops secretly ordained peasants, of good religious faith. The crisis passed and 30 years later the thing was resolved. And he told me the emotion that he had when during a concelebration of the Mass he saw these farmers with their farmer hands put on their shirts to concelebrate with the bishops. This has been given in the history of the Church. It is something to study, think, rethink, and pray about.

Pigozzi: But there are also married Protestant clergy that have become Catholic?

Pope Francis: You ask me a question about that which Benedict did, that it is true, I had forgotten this. Benedict XVI made the “Anglicanorum coetibus” [Ed. creating personal ordinariates for the reception of former anglicans]. Anglican priests that have become Catholic and maintain the life an Eastern priest would. I remember in a Wednesday audience that I saw many men with a collar, but many women and children with them, in the hands of the priests, and they explained it to me… it’s true, thank you for reminding me of this.

Gisotti: Lena Klimkeit of the DPA will now ask you a question.

Lena Klimkeit, DPA: Holy Father, during the Stations of the Cross on Friday a young man spoke very strong words about abortion. I want to repeat them for a moment. [Ed. note: The reporter repeats the comment in Spanish] ‘There is a tomb that cries out to heaven and denounces the terrible cruelty of humanity. It is the tomb that opens in the womb of the mothers from which innocent life is plucked. May God grant us to truly humanize ourselves, to defend life fervently, to make the laws that kill life not feel erased forever.’ This is a very radical position, in my opinion. I wonder and would like to ask you if this position also respects the suffering of women in this situation and if it corresponds to your message of mercy.

Pope Francis: The message of mercy is for everyone. Also for the human person who is in gestation. It is for everyone. After this failure, there is mercy as well. But a difficult mercy because the problem is not in giving forgiveness. The problem is to accompany a woman who has become aware of [what it means to have had] an abortion. These are terrible tragedies. Once I heard a doctor talking about a theory that a cell of the newly conceived fetus goes to the marrow of the mother and there is also a physical memory. This is a theory, but to say, a woman when she thinks about what she did… but I tell you the truth, you have to be in the confessional and you have to give comfort there, you can’t say anything. That is why I have opened up the power [for priests] to absolve abortion out of mercy, because many times, but always, they have to meet with their child. I advise many times when they call, they have this anguish: “Your child is in heaven, talk to him. Sing to him the lullaby that you have not sung… you have not been able to sing to him”. And there is a way for the mother to reconcile with her child. With God there is already forgiveness, God always forgives. But mercy also, that you elaborate this. The tragedy of abortion, to understand it well, one must be in a confessional. Terrible.

Gisotti: Thanks, Holy Father. The next question is from Valentina Alazraki of Televisa. Valentina, come. Valentina is coming up. If I remember well, it’s her 150th Apostolic Trip. I believe.

Valentina Alazraki, Televisa: Pope Francis, you have said these days here in Panama that you were very close to Venezuela, that you felt very close to the Venezuelans and today you asked for a just, peaceful solution, in respect of the human rights of all. The Venezuelans want to know what this means. They await your word. They want to know if this solution passes through the recognition of Juan Guaido, who has been backed by many countries. Others are asking for elections in the short term, free elections so the people can vote. They feel that you are a Latin American Pope and they want to hear your support, your help, your counsel. Thanks.

Pope Francis: I support in this moment all of the Venezuelan people – it is a people that is suffering – including those who are one side and the other. All of the people are suffering. If I entered to say, “listen to these countries,” or “listen to these others who say this,” I would be putting myself in a role I don’t know. It would be a pastoral imprudence on my side, and it would do damage. The words. I thought about them and thought about them again. And I think with this I expressed my closeness, what I feel. I suffer for what is happening in Venezuela right now. And for this I desire that they come to an agreement. I don’t know, not even saying to come to an agreement is okay. A just and peaceful solution. What is it that scares me? The shedding of blood. And there I also ask greatness to help, to those who can help and resolve the problem.

The problem of violence terrifies me. After all the effort made in Colombia, what happened in the cadets’ school the other day was terrifying. Blood is not the solution. That why I have to be… I don’t like the word “balanced.” I have to be a shepherd, to all. And if they need help, from a mutual agreement, may they ask for it. That’s it, to help. Thanks.

Gisotti: Thank you, Holy Father. It is the turn of Junno Arocho Estevez of Catholic News Service. Junno.

Junno Arocho Estevez, CNS: Good evening, Holiness. During her lunch with a group of young pilgrims, a young American girl told us that she had been asked about the pain and indignation of so many Catholics, particularly of the United States, for the crisis of abuse. Many American Catholics pray for the Church, but many feel betrayed and downcast after recent reports of abuse and cover-up by some bishops and have lost faith in them. Holiness, what are your expectations or hopes for the meeting in February so that the church can begin to rebuild trust between the faithful and their bishops?

Pope Francis: This is sneaky, he left (the) WYD (theme) and he arrived (at a new one). My compliments. But thank you for the question.
The idea of this was born in the G9 [Ed. note: he means “C9”] because we saw that some bishops did not understand well or did not know what to do or did something good or wrong and we felt the responsibility to give a “catechesis,” in quotation marks, on this problem to the episcopal conferences. That is why we called upon the presidents.

First, a catechesis: that we become aware of the tragedy, what is an abused boy, an abused girl. I regularly receive abused people [in audience]. I remember one… 40 years without being able to pray. It is terrible, the suffering is terrible. That first, [the bishops] become aware of this.

Second: that they know what must be done, the procedure, because sometimes the bishop does not know what to do. It is something that has grown very strong and has not arrived at all angles, so to speak. And then, let them make general programs, but they will come from all the episcopal conferences: what the bishop must do, what the archbishop who is the metropolitan must do, what the president of the episcopal conference must do. But it must be clear in that… that they are – let’s say it in terms [that are] a little juridical – that there are protocols that are clear. This is the main thing. But, before [talking of] what must be done, is that which I said before, raising awareness.

Then, there we will pray. There will be testimonies to help to become aware and then a penitential liturgy to ask forgiveness for the whole Church. But they are working well in preparation for this. I permit myself to say that I’ve perceived a bit of an inflated expectation. We need to deflate the expectations to these points that I’m saying. Because the problem of abuse will continue. It’s a human problem, but human everywhere. I read a statistic the other day, there are those statistics that say that 50 percent is reported, of this 50 percent, 20 percent is listened to… and it goes down, and it finished like this: five percent is condemned. Terrible. Terrible. It’s a human tragedy and we need to become aware. Also us, resolving the problem in the Church, but becoming aware will help to resolve it in society, in the families where shame covers everything, and the victim… in so many others… or in so many other societies. But first, we must become aware, have the protocols [in place] and move forward. This is the thing.

Gisotti: So, I’m not sure there is time for another question. Maybe another quick question would be possible… Yes. Manuela Tulli. Please, if you could be brief because they are about to serve dinner. Thank you, Manuela.

Manuela Tulli, ANSA: Good evening, Holy Father. During this WYD, you said that it’s absurd and irresponsible to consider migrants as bearers of social problems. In Italy the new immigration policies have led to the closing of the CARA facility at Castelnuovo di Porto, which you know well. That was an experiment where you could see seeds of integration, the children were attending school, and people are at risk of being evicted. You have chosen that precise facility to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass back in 2016. Therefore, I would like to ask you what your opinion about the closing of the CARA facility in Castelnuovo di Porto is.

Pope Francis: I did not understand the question. What was ultimately decided?

Tulli: to close the CARA facility of Castelnuovo di Porto, where you celebrated Holy Thursday Mass in 2016 and now there is the risk that the people involved in the experience will be sent away.

Pope Francis: I did hear rumors about what was happening in Italy, but I was immersed in the WYD preparations, so I am not well aware of the circumstances, but I can imagine what is going on, I can imagine. It is true that the issue regarding the arrival of migrants is a very complex situation, a problem that wants memory, to ask ourselves what would happen if my country was made of immigrants. We, the Argentinians, for instance, we are all migrants. The United States was all made of immigrants. It takes recalling and… Recently, one bishop, a cardinal actually, I can’t remember his name, but he has written a beautiful article about the ‘problem of our lack of memory,’ that was the article’s title.

Then, the words that I use to express myself… is to receive, to have a heart willing to receive, to welcome, to accompany, to help grow and integrate. And I also say: the ruler must use prudence because prudence is the ruler’s most proper virtue. I said that in my last flight. With these words, yes. It is a tough equation. It comes to my mind the example of Sweden, a country that back in the 1970’s has received many, many immigrants due to a situation of dictatorship in Latin American countries and managed to integrate all the people who migrated. It is what I see that the Sant’Egidio Community [in Rome] does: they integrate migrants very fast. But the Swedish have said a few years ago that they should take this process more slowly so they can finish it, and this is the prudence of the rulers. It is a problem of charity, of love, of solidarity, and I praise the nations that have been more generous to welcome migrants, but we have other countries that did not manage to do as much, nevertheless, we have the example of Italy and Greece, and Turkey on a lesser scale. Greece was extremely generous and so was Italy.

When I went to Lampedusa, that was just the beginning…. But it is true that it’s important to think realistically. Then there’s another important aspect, something we should all consider: one way of helping migrants is to offer help to the countries where they come from. Migrants often flee because of famine or because of wars. It’s necessary to invest where there’s starvation. Europe is capable of doing it and it is a way of fostering growth. But, speaking again about the case of Africa, there is always that unconscious thought: Africa is to be exploited. This remains in our history and it causes a large damage. The migrants from the Middle East on the other hand, they have found another way out. In Lebanon, generosity is outstanding: there are over one million citizens from Syria living there. Jordan is the same thing, they are open, they do what they can, hoping to reintegrate everyone. And also, Turkey has received quite a few [migrants], right? And so did we in Italy. But it’s a complex problem, that we must speak about without prejudice. Considering all these things that just came to my mind.

Gisotti: Thank you, Holy Father. So, have a good dinner and a good trip and within in a week we’ll see you again for another very important trip, so…

Pope Francis: I thank you so much for you work. I would just like to say a thing about Panama. I felt a new feeling. I know Latin America but not Panama. And this word came to me: Panama is a noble nation. I found nobility. This I wish to say, and I want to say another thing that I said when I came back from Colombia, speaking of the experience in Cartagena and the other cities, a thing that we don’t see in Europe, that is, the pride, in this case of the Panamanians. You lift up the children and they say to you, “this is my victory,” “this is my future,” “this is my pride.” This in the midst of the demographic winter we’re living in Europe. In Italy, below zero. It has to make us think. What is my pride? Tourism? The villa [home]? The dog? Or lifting up a child? Thanks! Pray for me, I need it.



FYI: Sixty years ago today, January 25, Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Pope John XXIII announced the Second Vatican Council at the Basilica of St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls in Rome.


Be sure to tune in this weekend to Vatican Insider when my guest is Alessandro Biciocchi, secretary general of the Bartolucci Foundation. We talk about a fascinating project developed by the Foundation but first: Who is the Bartolucci of the Bartolucci Foundation? We’re talking about Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, who died at age 96 in December 2013. He was director of the Sistine Chapel Choir under six popes for almost five decades and was a prolific composer of liturgical music.

Very importantly, he is the only cardinal of the Catholic Church to have composed an opera – “Brunellesco.” Has that opera been performed? If not, what are the plans?
Tune in and you’ll be find out!

The late Cardinal Bartolucci at work:

Alessandro Biciocchi with Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, head of the Honor Committee of the Bartolucci Foundation:

The Foundation offices – almost a museum:

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


Today, I want to provide some information for those of you – hundreds, probably many thousands – who wrote on your own Facebook page or commented on the pages of others about the law enacted two days ago in New York that now allows abortion up to and through the ninth month of pregnancy, literally the last hours of pregnancy.

The word “excommunication” came up many times in postings, most referring to Gov. Cuomo of New York who says he is a Catholic. There were other Catholic legislators in New York who helped pass this horrendous, inhuman legislation.

What does the Catholic Church teach about excommunication? Might a bishop or priest refuse communion to an excommunicated Catholic?

The following information is from or about the Church’s Code of Canon Law. I studied Canon Law for a while at the Dominican University here in Rome known as the Angelicum. I signed up for this course many years ago when I began to work at the Vatican, doing so not to get a degree but to increase my knowledge in this field. I truly hope this helps.

By the way, if you want to post something on this topic, please make it clear that either you have some background in Canon Law or what you write is merely your opinion. That helps all of us.

It would be enormously helpful to many people if you would share this! That helps in evangelization. Thanks!


Some definitions:

Latae sententiae from the Latin meaning “sentence (already) passed”, used in Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church. A latae sententiae penalty is one that follows ipso facto or automatically, by force of the law itself, when a law is contravened. (simply put a personally automatically excommunicates himself or herself by committing a specific crime or delict.)

Ferendae sententiae, also from Latin, is a penalty that binds a guilty party only after it has been imposed on the person (simply put, excommunication is imposed on an individual by a proper authority who committed a specific crime or delict)


Unless the excusing circumstances outlined in canons 1321–1330 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P4W.HTM) exist, the Code of Canon Law imposes latae sententiae excommunication on the following:

· an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic;
· a person who throws away the consecrated Eucharistic species or takes and retains them for a sacrilegious purpose;
· a person who uses physical force against the Pope;
· a priest who absolves his accomplice in a sin against the commandment against adultery;
· a bishop who ordains someone a bishop without a papal mandate, and the person who receives the ordination from him;
· a confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal of confession;
· a person who procures a completed abortion;
· accomplices without whose assistance a violation of a law prescribing latae sententiae excommunication would not have been committed.

Can the proper ecclesial authority refuse the sacraments to a Catholic he knows to be excommunicated, be it through latae sententiae or ferendae sententiae?

– According to Canon 1331 of the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 1331 §1. An excommunicated person is forbidden:
1/ to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever;
2/ to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments;
§2. If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the offender:
1/ who wishes to act against the prescript of §1, n. 1 must be prevented from doing so, or the liturgical action must be stopped unless a grave cause precludes this;
2/ invalidly places acts of governance which are illicit according to the norm of §1, n. 3;
3/ is forbidden to benefit from privileges previously granted;


This has to be the saddest, most unimaginable story possible about U.S. legislators! I have a few comments at the end.


ALBANY, N.Y., JAN 23, 2019 / 03:27 PM (EWTN NEWS/CNA)

Catholic leaders in New York have spoken out against the passage of an expansive new abortion law in the state. The Reproductive Health Act was passed on Tuesday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade.

In a statement from the New York State Catholic Conference, the state’s bishops called the passage of the law a new “sad chapter” on a date that already carried tragic associations for supporters of life.

The New York State Senate voted 38 to 24 to bring the act into law after a 12-year legislative battle.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a Catholic, said earlier this month that he would sign the legislation if it were to be passed, and that he hopes to add abortion rights to the state’s constitution. This process could begin next year.

The bill was passed on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that found a woman had a legal right to receive abortion in the United States.

“Our beloved state has become a more dangerous one for women and their unborn babies,” read a statement from the NYSCC.

The act codified into law the finding of Roe v. Wade, meaning that abortion would remain legal in New York even if the case were to be overturned by the Supreme Court.

While the law officially limits abortion to the first 24 weeks gestation, abortion is permitted at a later gestational age for reasons related to the well-being of the mother. Additionally, the bill removes act of abortion from the criminal code, and instead places it in the public-health code, and strips most safeguards and regulations on the procedure. Non-doctors will now be permitted to perform abortions.

TO CONTINUE READING: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=18751

About the last Paragraph above: “While the law officially limits abortion to the first 24 weeks gestation, abortion is permitted at a later gestational age for reasons related to the well-being of the mother. Additionally, the bill removes act of abortion from the criminal code, and instead places it in the public-health code, and strips most safeguards and regulations on the procedure. Non-doctors will now be permitted to perform abortions.”

Whew! So abortion is now part of public health care!

Here are some definitions of the word ‘Care’:


1. the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something: “the care of the elderly”
SYNONYMS: safe keeping, supervision, custody, charge, protection, keeping, keep, control, management, ministration, guidance, superintendence, tutelage, aegis, responsibility;

2. serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk: “he planned his departure with great care”
SYNONYMS: caution, carefulness, wariness, awareness, heedfulness, heed, attention, attentiveness, alertness, watchfulness, vigilance, circumspection, prudence, guardedness, observance


1. feel concern or interest; attach importance to something: “they don’t care about human life”
SYNONYMS:  be concerned, worry (oneself), trouble oneself, bother, mind;

2. look after and provide for the needs of: “he has numerous animals to care for”
SYNONYMS:  look after, take care of, tend, attend to, mind, minister to, take charge of, nurse, provide for, foster, protect, watch, guard;

Whew again! “Non-doctors will now be able to perform abortions.” I don’t even know what to say about this!!

I just don’t get it. Killing a human being in the womb is perfectly legal but if someone shot the governor, another human being, that would be murder and they’d go to jail.

The article says Cuomo is a Catholic but that is obviously up for debate. Or does he think the Fifth Commandment is not a commandment but a suggestion?

I’d hate to have to meet my Maker with that on my conscience!