POPE CHANGES ARCHIVES NAME TO VATICAN APOSTOLIC ARCHIVES
With an Apostolic Letter motu proprio dated October 22, 2019 and released today by the Vatican, Pope Francis has changed the name of the Vatican Secret Archives to the Vatican Apostolic Archives.
The motu proprio starts: “Historical experience teaches that every human institution, even born with the greatest care and with vigorous and well-founded hopes of progress, fatally touched by time and yet, wanting to remain faithful to itself and to the aims of its nature, feels the need, not to change its proper appearance, but rather to bring its inspiring values into different eras and cultures and to make those updates that are convenient and sometimes necessary.”
The Apostolic Letter then outlines a history of the Vatican library, the archives, their mission and purpose and the priceless service both have given to the Church over the centuries:
“This long service rendered to the Church, to culture and to scholars all over the world has always earned the Vatican Secret Archives esteem and gratitude, growing all the more growing from Leo XIII to our day, and because of the progressive ‘openings’ of the documentation made available to the consultation (which from next March 2, 2020, at my disposal, will extend until the end of the pontificate of Pius XII), both because of the increase in researchers who are admitted to the Archive on a daily basis and helped in every way in their research.”
Pope Francis then writes: “However, there is one aspect that I think may still be useful to update, reaffirming the ecclesial and cultural goals of the Archive’s mission. This aspect concerns the very name of the institute: Vatican Secret Archives.
“Born, as mentioned, from the Bibliotheca secreta of the Roman Pontiff, or rather from the part of codes and scriptures more particularly owned and under the direct jurisdiction of the Pope, the Archive was first titled Archivum novum, then Archivum Apostolicum, then Archivum Secretum (the first attestations of the term date back to around 1646).
“The term Secretum, which came to form the proper denomination of the institution, prevailed in the last few centuries and was justified because it indicated that the new Archive, wanted by my predecessor Paul V around 1610-1612, was none other than the private archive, separate, reserved by the Pope. So this is how Popes wanted to define it and scholars today still call it, without any difficulty. This definition, moreover, was widespread, with a similar meaning, in the courts of the sovereigns and princes, whose archives were properly defined as secret.”
Thus, writes the Holy Father, “Solicited in recent years by some esteemed prelates, as well as by my closest collaborators, I also heard the opinion of the Superiors of the same Vatican Secret Archive, (and) with this my Motu Proprio, I decide that: from now on the current Vatican Secret Archives, while changing nothing in its identity, its structure and its mission, is called the Vatican Apostolic Archives.”
Francis closes the Apostolic Letter by noting that, “the new name highlights the close link of the Roman See with the Archive, an indispensable tool of the Petrine ministry, and at the same time underlines its immediate dependence on the Roman Pontiff, thus as already happens in parallel for the name of the Vatican Apostolic Library.”
ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS: NO TO EUTHANASIA, ASSISTED SUICIDE, YES TO PALLIATIVE CARE
Representatives of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions condemn euthanasia and assisted suicide, and encourage palliative care everywhere and for everyone.
By Robin Gomes (vatiannews)
“We oppose any form of euthanasia – that is the direct, deliberate and intentional act of taking life – as well as physician-assisted suicide – that is the direct, deliberate and intentional support of committing suicide -because they fundamentally contradict the inalienable value of human life, and therefore are inherently and consequentially morally and religiously wrong, and should be forbidden without exceptions.”
Representatives of the Abrahamic religions made the statement in a position paper that they signed and released in the Vatican on Monday regarding end-of-life issues, such as euthanasia, assisted suicide and palliative care.
The term, Abrahamic monotheistic religions, derives from the Old Testament biblical figure Abraham who is recognized by Jews, Christians, Muslims and others.
Euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide – morally and religiously wrong
“Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide,” they declared, “are inherently and consequentially morally and religiously wrong and should be forbidden with no exceptions.” As such, they categorically condemned any pressure upon dying patients to end their lives by active and deliberate actions.
They wrote, “Care for the dying, is both part of our stewardship of the Divine gift of life when a cure is no longer possible, as well as our human and ethical responsibility toward the dying (and often) suffering patient.”
“Holistic and respectful care of the person,” they said, “must recognize the uniquely human, spiritual and religious dimension of dying as a fundamental objective.”
The person behind the declaration is Rabbi Avraham Steinberg of Israel who proposed the idea to Pope Francis, who in turn entrusted it to the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Academy, involved and coordinated a mixed inter-faith group to draft the declaration.
After the release of the position paper, the 30 signatories were received in audience by Pope Francis in the Vatican. Among them were some cardinals, rabbis, including David Rosen and Syamsul Anwar of Indonesia’s second-largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah.
Palliative care for all
The Abrahamic religions encouraged and expressed support for qualified palliative care everywhere and for everyone. “Even when efforts to continue staving off death seems unreasonably burdensome,” they wrote, “we are morally and religiously duty-bound to provide comfort, effective pain and symptoms relief, companionship, care and spiritual assistance to the dying patient and to her/his family.”
While calling for laws and policies that protect the rights and the dignity of the dying patient to avoid euthanasia and promote palliative care, they committed themselves to involve other religions and all people of goodwill.
Archbishop Paglia stressed the importance of the ecumenical and interreligious dimension of the joint initiative. He said it allowed them to discover areas of convergence and bring fruits of communion in order to render a service to all people in whom “we all see sons and daughters of God”.