Check your local listings for EWTN’s coverage tomorrow, Saturday, May 18, of Italy’s 9th March for Life

Here’s a lovely story: Before the terrorist attack, Sri Lankan Catholics were remembered for their beautiful religious art. Five hundred years ago, the Christian converts of Sri Lanka earned considerable respect from the Portuguese missionaries. This was partly due to their enthusiasm for the new faith, but mostly because of their creative skills.

PS. Did you know that Sri Lanka (Serendib as it used to be, then Ceylon) gave its name to the English word “serendipity”?


My guest this week in the interview segment is Archbishop Francisco Javier Lozano, apostolic nuncio or papal ambassador. Ordained a priest in Rome in 1968, he has Doctorates in Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law. He was called to Rome to study at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy of Rome and in his early years worked in the nunciatures of Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia and Guatemala.

In his Rome home with many of his famous Russian icons –

From 1984 to 1994 he was Head of the Latin America-Spain Department of the Vatican’s Secretary of State under Pope John Paul II. Abp. Lozano was eventually Apostolic Nuncio in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Romania and Moldova. He speaks Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, English, Serbo-Croatian, German, Russian and Romanian.

This is a bike that Pope John Paul gave him after his apostolic voyage to Uruguay, Chile and Argentina March 31-April 12, 1987:

Biking, tennis and golf were his sports preferences!

Listen to Part I to learn more about the Vatican’s celebrated diplomatic corps.

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)


POPE FRANCIS MET WITH PARTICIPANTS IN THE SOCIETY OF AFRICAN MISSIONS ongoing General Assembly, and praised their “courageous missionary zeal.” The Society of African Missions is a missionary order of priests who serve Catholics in Africa, often in rural areas, as well as communities of African origin in other parts of the world. Francis urged them to persevere in serving victims of war and human trafficking, and he prayed with the priests for Fr. Pierluigi Maccalli, who was abducted last year in Niger. The Pope thanked the missionaries for their “great work of evangelization” in places where the Christian community is still fragile and for their special attention to migrants. “These new pastoral horizons are a sign of the vitality of the Holy Spirit at work in you.”

THE HOLY FATHER RECEIVED MEMBERS OF THE CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS on the 40th anniversary of its founding. “I am pleased to meet you,” said Francis, “and to share with you the intent to defend and promote life, starting from those who are most defenseless or in need of assistance because they are sick, or elderly, or marginalized, or because they face existence and ask for be welcomed and looked after. To all of them, in different ways, you provide an irreplaceable service whenever, as health workers, you offer them the care they need or the closeness that sustains them in their fragility.”


“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith communicated on January 29, 2019 the resignation of Rev. Fr. Hermann Geissler, FSO, to the office at the same Congregation and the request of the same (person) that the canonical process be continued, deeming the accusation against him not true. At the Apostolic Signatura, to which the Holy Father, at the request of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had entrusted that cause, the administrative penal process was celebrated. A College was formed consisting of five Members of the Supreme Tribunal itself, who, meeting on May 15th, issued the decree of acquittal of the accused, not having been proven with due moral certainty, after a careful examination of the matter, the configuration of the alleged serious crime.”

(JFL: The Apostolic Signatura is one of the Church’s three tribunals and is similar to a supreme court as it is the highest judicial authority in the Church, although the Pope “is the supreme ecclesiastical judge and final point of appeal for any ecclesiastical judgment.” The responsibilities of this tribunal are laid out in Pope John Paul’s 1988 Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus”:
Pope Francis and his cardinal advisors are currently writing a new constitution, and it will be interesting to see of the competencies of the Signatura remain or if they are in some way changed or added to)



Pope Francis invited the Brothers of the Christian Schools to continue in their passion to educate those discarded by society and to promote a “culture of the resurrection” that offers hope for a new life.

By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

The Brothers of the Christian Schools, also known as Lasallians, are commemorating the 300th anniversary of the death of their founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. He established the institute of religious brothers in France in 1680 to provide quality education for poor.

In an address on Thursday, Pope Francis praised St. de La Salle as “a pioneer in the field of education, who created an innovative education system for his time.” He said the saint’s legacy is still remarkable today for its vision of the school, the concept of the teacher, and innovative teaching methods.

Right to education
Considering these three elements separately, Pope Francis said de La Salle’s vision of the school made clear that all people, even the poor, have a right to education.

“He gave life to a community of lay people to carry out his ideal, and was certain that the Church cannot remain a stranger to the social contradictions of its times,” he said.

Most education in 17th century France was done by priests. The formation of the laity as teachers was therefore revolutionary, and the Lasallians became a type of “lay monk” dedicated to teaching poor children.

Teaching as a mission
Pope Francis then reflected on St. John Baptist de La Salle’s concept of the teacher. “He was certain that schooling was an important reality, which requires adequately-prepared instructors,” said the Holy Father.

Taking stock of the structural deficiencies of the educational system of his day, de La Salle decided that teaching is not just a job, but a mission, and he surrounded himself with people who had natural qualities conducive to education and formed them in the “dignity of the teacher.”

Revolutionary teaching methods
The Pope said the saint also put into practice new teaching methods, enlightened by “an extraordinary pedagogical realism.”

He held lessons in French – rather than the Latin that was widely used at the time – and divided pupils into homogeneous groups in order to better educate them. De La Salle even held seminars to form teachers in the countryside and founded Sunday Schools for adults.

“He dreamed of a school open to all,” said Francis, “and thus dealt with even the most extreme educational needs, introducing a method of rehabilitation through school and work.”

Offer hope through education
Concluding, Pope Francis urged the Brothers of the Christian Schools to “imitate his passion for the least and discarded” and to contrast the culture of death with a “culture of the resurrection. … Never tire of seeking those who find themselves in the modern ‘graves’ of bewilderment, degradation, discomfort, and poverty to offer hope for a new life.”


Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN, was recently in town for a number of events and he announced to the staff in our meeting with members of EWTN’s board, that an EWTN news agency had been formed for and in Africa – ACI Africa. The story was carried by FIDES, the news arm of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, It featured the words of Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, president of the Pontifical Mission Societies, in his homily during Mass for EWTN:

On another topic: As you will see in the photo below, the weather in Rome did no favors to those attending the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. It is quite chilly here (48 degrees as I write at 3 pm) and coats and heavy jackets, perhaps even layered clothing, are the order of the day! We have been averaging only one entirely sunny day every week – days that verge on being warm but generally offer cloud cover, light showers or torrential downpours. Feels a lot more like October, especially since heat has been turned off in most buildings for over a month, and there are no warm temps to compensate for the chill and humidity in the air.


The Holy Father, making his way to the podium in front of St. Peter’s Basilica before the general audience this morning, asked the popemobile driver to stop to allow eight children to jump aboard for a ride. The 8 children had come from Libya on a boat several different nationalities, including Syria, Nigeria and Congo, and are currently hosted with families in the “Mondo Migliore” (Better World) Center of Rocca di Papa and followed by the “Auxilium” Cooperative. They were all wearing T-shirts that said, “Welcome, protect, promote and integrate” the appeal coined by Pope Francis in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

The self-funded “Humanitarian Corridors” project, which Pope Francis has repeatedly upheld, is carried out by the Community of Sant’Egidio in collaboration with the Federation of Evangelical Churches and the Waldensian and Methodist Churches. It aims to avoid migrant journeys on boats in the Mediterranean in which so many – usually trafficked people – have died, and at the same time fight human trafficking. (photo by Daniel Ibanez EWTN-ACI)


Following is the English summary of Pope Francis’ catechesis on the “Our Father.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the “Our Father”, we now consider the final petition: “Deliver us from evil”. This recognizes that life is fraught with difficulties, that evil is present in all of our lives, and so this final cry of the “Our Father” powerfully confronts the complete range of evil. Jesus himself, moreover, has experienced the full impact of evil in his passion: not only death but death on a cross; not just loneliness but scorn; nor merely bad-will but cruelty.

The Holy Father reflected at length on the presence of evil in the world. He said the word used in the original Greek (πονηρός) evokes “the presence of evil that seeks to grab hold and bite at us, and from which we ask God for delivery. … History books are a bleak catalogue of how our existence in this world has often been a failed adventure.”

Francis noted, “There is a mysterious evil which is surely not the work of God, but which silently penetrates the folds of history.”

But, the Pope noted, the person who prays is not blind and sees clearly that evil is in contradiction with the mystery of God.

“The last cry of the Our Father is hurled against this evil,” he said, “which encompasses the most diverse experiences, including mourning, the suffering of innocents, slavery, the exploitation of others, and the cries of innocent children.”

Francis stated that, “the ‘Our Father’ resembles a symphony that seeks to be fulfilled in each one of us, for however much we may be subjected to wickedness, Jesus will come to our aid.”

“Jesus’ prayer on the cross – ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’ – bequeaths us the most precious patrimony: the presence of the Son of God who delivers us from evil. Indeed, from here flows the gift of his peace, which is stronger than every evil; and herein lies our hope!” (source: Vaticannnews)



In an unprecedented interview with an English-language Chinese newspaper – the Global Times – a sub-publication of the People’s Daily, the Vatican Secretary of State talks of positive developments in diplomatic relations between China and the Holy See, and of the mutual will to face and resolve problematic issues and questions.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

In a long Q&A conducted by an Italian correspondent for the Chinese publication, Parolin spoke of progress in the Provisional Agreement between China and the Holy See, he recalled some salient memories of his negotiations with Chinese representatives and he offered his perspective on China’s sinicization of religions, the process whereby non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture.

Inevitable criticism
Having reiterated the will, on both sides, to look for practical solutions which concern the lives of real people who desire to practice their faith peacefully and offer a positive contribution to their own country, the Cardinal noted that there should not be a surprise if there is criticism, which can arise either in the Church or in China or from elsewhere, of an opening which can appear unprecedented after such a long period of confrontation.

Indeed, Parolin added, “it seems to me human and Christian to show understanding, attention and respect for those who express such criticism.”

The Cardinal acknowledged that not all problems have been resolved, and said that many questions still need to be addressed, adding that we are facing them with “willingness and determination.”

Sinicization and Inculturation
Regarding China’s sinicization of religions, Parolin said “Inculturation is an essential condition for a sound proclamation of the Gospel which, in order to bear fruit, requires, on the one hand, safeguarding its authentic purity and integrity and, on the other, presenting it according to the particular experience of each people and culture.”

He said that, “in the future it will certainly be important to deepen this theme, especially the relationship between ‘inculturation’ and ‘sinicization,’ keeping in mind how the Chinese leadership has been able to reiterate its willingness not to undermine the nature and the doctrine of each religion.”

Parolin went on to explain that, “These two terms, ‘inculturation’ and ‘sinicization,’ refer to each other without confusion and without opposition: in some ways, they can be complementary and can open avenues for dialogue on the religious and cultural level.”

Personal memories
Regarding his own memories and experience in dealing with Chinese representatives for many years, the Vatican Secretary of State recalled numerous hiccups, concerns and fears that inevitably have arisen throughout the process, but said the will to move forward prevailed on both sides.

He said that particularly important in creating a favorable atmosphere during negotiations, were the many moments of familiarity and friendship that arose, allowing the parties “to share the humanity that unites us beyond the differences that exist between us.”

Pope Francis
Cardinal Parolin concluded with an appeal from the Pope to Chinese Catholics “to undertake with courage the path of unity, reconciliation and a renewed proclamation of the Gospel.”

“He sees China not only as a great country but also as a great culture, rich in history and wisdom,” he said, reiterating the Holy See’s hope that “China will not be afraid to enter into dialogue with the wider world.”

“In the words of Pope Francis,” he said, “we would say that only by being united can we overcome the globalization of indifference, working as creative artisans of peace and resolute promoters of fraternity.”

For full interview in the Global Times:


May 13, a remarkable day in history –

Today, we mark the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima on May 13, 1917 to the three small shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta.

Also, it was 38 years ago today that John Paul II was shot in St. Peter’s Square!


Do you know where you were 35 years ago today, May 13, 1981?

Well, let me tell you about that day, one I’ll never forget, a day the world, the Church will never forget. A day the world stood still.

I was on my way to St. Peter’s Square for the 5:00 pm general audience that Pope John Paul had just begun to preside. The weather had been very warm and the Vatican had moved the audiences from the hot noonday sun to a later time in the afternoon.

As I walked towards the square after having coffee in a small coffee bar nearby, I saw a group of Italian students, perhaps 30 of them, perhaps 10-years old, walking away from St. Peter’s Square with their teachers. They were not running so there was no reason to worry and I didn’t give them a second thought, except to wonder why they were leaving the papal audience, instead of attending it.

And then I heard a scream! A voice shouted in Italian, “they’ve shot the Pope.” My mind could not process those words together. My feet seemed nailed to the sidewalk, I was momentarily paralyzed – it may have been five seconds or less but I couldn’t move! When I finally absorbed the shock, I ran towards St. Peter’s Square where people were not quietly listening to what should have been a papal catechesis, rather they were going in all directions, asking each other what they heard, asking each other what they had seen. There were a lot of tears, so many people holding their heads, shaking their heads in disbelief, but always the tears.

My mind still could not conceive the words “they’ve shot the Pope.” It was unbelievable, unimaginable. Who in their right mind would want to shoot a man of such magnificent spirituality, such great teaching, such wisdom and humanity and humor, a man whose entire life was a life of prayer, of service, of dedication, of singular love for his Church love for his people, for all people.

Where was that life now – 5:30 in the afternoon of Wednesday, May 13? Had it ended? Was it hanging in the balance? Was it possible to go from joy to sorrow in only a nanosecond?

As I was running towards the square to see what had happened, one of the more amazing things happened.

I had entered St. Peter’s Square and, walking around, had asked in as many languages as I knew what people had heard and what they had seen. At a certain point, a very tall American priest, with an obviously worried expression on his face, came up and asked me if I knew the whereabouts of the two women in his pilgrimage group who had been shot along with Pope John Paul!

Naturally, I was absolutely floored and asked him their names and if he thought they had been taken to a hospital. To this day, 38 years later, I remember those names: Ann Odre was a senior citizen in Father’s group and Rose Hall was the wife of a military man who had just come from – or was perhaps going to – Germany to see him. I made inquiries and found that both women had been taken to the nearby Santo Spirito hospital where, a day or two later, I visited Ann Odre.

Obviously the confusion in the square surpassed understanding. And, in a way, the relative silence surpassed understanding. There was probably more silence than there should have been with a crowd of that size but people were praying, people were not talking, so many were struck dumb by the idea someone would want to shoot a Pope.

John Paul of course became the focus of everyone’s attention: the faithful in the square, the people of Rome whose bishop had just been shot and, thanks to the media, people around the world. As a member of the media, I ran back to the press office to tell my colleagues what I had learned. I worked for a weekly newspaper in Rome at the time – the International Daily American – and also wrote a weekly column for the National Catholic Register as the Rome bureau chief. Working for a weekly it was tough to have a scoop but what I had discovered in the square, especially the information about the two American women, had to be shared with all of my fellow journalists.

For hours we were on the phone. We all called our contacts to ask who might have been in the square, what they saw, what they heard. Bit by bit, information was pieced together. We learned that a man with a gun, had raised it, pointed it at the Pope and fired shots and was immediately wrestled to the ground by a nun. The man, we later discovered, was a Turkish citizen named Ali Agca who was immediately taken into custody.

No one even thought of leaving the press office: Throughout the evening, and into the first hours of the new day, we all had our eyes on the television sets in the press office. There was nothing at that time like today’s social media – no Internet, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and videos made with cell phones (no cell phones at that time, either!), iPads, etc., so we relied on our land line phones and Italian television.

It was an amazing evening. The hours dragged on and on, restaurants closed and yet no one had had dinner. At best, some colleagues went to a few coffee bars before they closed to get a sandwich and some coffee for what we knew would be a long night. We all knew that no matter what we were writing, the final story line could not be written until we heard from the Gemelli hospital if the Pope had survived his surgery or if indeed a final line have been written in the life of Pope John Paul.

Given God’s great love – and surely his Mother Mary’s love as well – for this special man, given Pope John Paul’s belief in Divine Mercy and his unshakeable belief in Divine Providence, we all received the gift of a Pope who survived and a long papacy, following this potentially fatal day.

I got to bed in the wee small hours of the morning after dictating my story on the phone to the Register, based at the time in Los Angeles. I was exhausted when I went to bed and only slept a few hours because all of us were anxious to return to work the next morning and find out what had happened to the Pope overnight.

You all know the rest of the story: Pope John Paul survived, had a long recovery period and eventually had other surgeries: There would be another 24 years of a fruitful pontificate by a traveling Pope, a Pope who wrote documents and poetry, a Pope who influenced the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

As I write these words 38 years later, that Pope is now Saint John Paul II.

Now, do you remember where you were 38 years ago today, May 13, 1981, feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the gentle lady whose loving hand, as John Paul said, deflected the bullet that could have killed him?

I met the Holy Father many times over the years and have an album of photos and a bigger album of memories.


I don’t want to read too much into the date on which the announcement was made but when you think of it, we consider Mary, the Blessed Virgin, Our Mother and today, May 12, 2019, is Mother’s Day!


From Holy See Press Office:

“As announced jointly this morning by Msgr. Henryk Hoser, Apostolic Visitor of a special character for the parish of Medjugorje and from the Apostolic Nunciature in Sarajevo, the Holy Father ordered that it be possible to organize pilgrimages to Medjugorje.

This (to be done) always taking care to avoid that these pilgrimages are interpreted as an authentication of the known events, which still require an examination by the Church. It must therefore be avoided that such pilgrimages create confusion or ambiguity under the doctrinal aspect. This also concerns pastors of every order and degree who intend to go to Medjugorje and celebrate or concelebrate there also in a solemn manner.

Given the considerable flow of people who go to Medjugorje and the abundant fruits of grace that flow from it, this provision is part of the particular pastoral attention that the Holy Father intended to give to that reality, aimed at favoring and promoting the fruits of good.

In this way, the Apostolic Visitor will have greater ease in establishing – in agreement with the Ordinaries of the places – relations with the priests charged with organizing pilgrimages to Medjugorje, as safe and well-prepared persons, offering them information and indications to be able to lead fruitfully such pilgrimages.”




Welcome to another edition of Vatican Insider on this beautiful weekend when we celebrate Mother’s Day. Congratulations to all who are mothers and grandmothers and godmothers and everyone who is in some way a mother’s helper!

This weekend, instead of an interview, I have prepared a special for you on the just released Apostolic Letter by Pope Francis, a motu proprio on new norms for the entire church on sex abuse cases. The special presentation is taken from an explanation of the motu proprio by the editorial director of the Dicastery for Communications, a piece featured on the Vaticannews site. When you think of the topic of this papal letter – the sex abuse scandal that has convulsed the Church around the world – I felt it fitting to bring you this news. It is a very important document that I want everyone to know about.

Entitled “NEW NORMS FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH AGAINST THOSE WHO ABUSE OR COVER UP”, Pope Francis’ Motu proprio, “Vos estis lux mundi”, establishes new procedures for reporting abuse and violence, and ensures that Bishops and Religious Superiors are held accountable for their actions. It includes the obligation for clerics and religious to report abuse. Every Diocese must have a system that allows the public to submit reports easily.

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).