VATICAN INSIDER: EWTN, THE CHURCH AND VR – COURT RULES FOR EWTN IN HHS MANDATE CASE – ON THE PAPAL AGENDA TODAY – VATICAN CITY/HOLY SEE JOIN SINGLE EURO PAYMENTS AREA

VATICAN INSIDER: EWTN, THE CHURCH AND VR

My guest this week on Vatican Insider is one of EWTN’s own in Rome – Ben Crockett – or, as the Register described him in a headline “Meet the Millennial Who Is Taking Virtual Reality to the Front Lines of the Church. Harvard graduate student pursues his dreams in Rome.”

Ben is one of the most amiable, talented, hard-working and creative people of the many like people on EWTN’s Rome staff! In the fairly short time he has been with us, he has revolutionized so much in the area of social media, but especially his expertise in VR – virtual reality. You’ve surely seen some of his amazing VR work and maybe did not know he was responsible for it. Well, this weekend you will have the chance to meet this remarkable young man by tuning in to Vatican Insider! (EWTN photos)

Ben in Malawi with JRS – Jesuit Refugee Service

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)

COURT RULES FOR EWTN IN HHS MANDATE CASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A court ruling yesterday ensures Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the world’s largest religious media network, can freely follow the religious teachings that drive its mission. In Eternal Word Television Network v. Azar, the previous administration’s HHS mandate tried to force the Catholic network to provide services such as the week-after pill in its healthcare plan. Yesterday’s decision, which comes on the heels of a settlement with the federal government, ends EWTN’s seven-year legal battle.

To read more: https://www.becketlaw.org/media/worlds-largest-religious-media-network-wins-right-follow-faith/

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/ewtn-wins-lawsuit-over-hhs-contraception-mandate

ON THE PAPAL AGENDA TODAY

Friday was a busy day for the Pope as he met with various groups including some youngsters with cancer from Wroclaw, Poland and members of the International Theological Commission.

Pope Francis also met with members of the “Shahbaz Bhatti Mission Association, expressing the hope that they can extend their activity to those areas of Pakistan where Christians and other minorities continue to be discriminated against. In March 2011 Shahbaz Bhatti, a Pakistani politician and the country’s first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs was assassinated in Islamabad for his struggle to promote human equality, social justice and interfaith harmony in Pakistan. Inspired by the thought and vision of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Association was founded to continue the tireless he did as a politician to create a society where everyone can live with dignity and respect.

The Holy Father also met with members of the Sardinia United Service Center for Volunteers, encouraging them to give a human and Christian touch through volunteer service. He expressed his appreciation for their efforts to help some of the poorest people in the world and the welcome they extend to newcomers in Sardinia.

Also Friday: The Vatican released Pope Francis’ letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I for the November 30 feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The letter was given to the patriarch by Cardinal Kurk Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who led the Holy See delegation to ceremonies in Istanbul, Turkey. Despite differences between Catholics and Orthodox Christians, said a Vatican news story, Pope Francis said the two communities are called to be a sign of hope by working together for peace, human dignity and care of creation.

VATICAN CITY/HOLY SEE JOIN SINGLE EURO PAYMENTS AREA

A communique today from the Holy See Press Office announced that Vatican City State/Holy See join the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA):

The Board of the European Payments Council (EPC) approved last week the extension of the geographical scope of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) to Vatican City State and the Holy See. It is foreseen that as of 1 March 2019, the SEPA schemes are open to the financial institutions of the Vatican City State/Holy See, once they have joined. SEPA harmonises the way electronic euro payments are made across Europe. It allows European consumers, businesses and public administrations to make and receive credit transfers as well as direct debit under the same basic conditions and makes all cross-border payments in euro as easy as domestic payments. As of 1 March 2019, the geographical scope of the SEPA schemes will consist of the following 36 countries: the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, the Principality of Andorra and the Vatican City State/Holy See. “The successful application to SEPA is a very positive sign” said René Bruelhart, President of AIF (Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria). “It helps to facilitate payments and harmonises such services. Furthermore, it demonstrates the Holy See’s efforts to enhance financial transparency.”

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MAY FRANCE FOSTER SEARCH FOR PEACE, HUMAN DIGNITY, RESPECT FOR LIFE AND COMMON GOOD – BE MODELS OF LOYALTY, HONESTY, HARMONY, HUMANITY, POPE TELLS ATHLETES – VATICAN FINANCIAL INFORMATION AUTHORITY ISSUES 2016 REPORT

Pope Francis tweeted today: Jesus asks to be looked in the eye, to be acknowledged, to be loved.

MAY FRANCE FOSTER SEARCH FOR PEACE, HUMAN DIGNITY, RESPECT FOR LIFE AND COMMON GOOD

The Holy Father sent the following telegram to Emmanuel Macron, the newly-elected president of the French Republic. Elected on May 7, President Macron, 39, was sworn in last Sunday. (photo news.va)

“On the occasion of your investiture as president of the French Republic, I send you my very cordial wishes for the exercise of your high office in the service of all your compatriots. I pray that God support you so that your country, faithful to the rich diversity of its moral traditions and its spiritual heritage marked also by the christian tradition, may always endeavor to build a more just and fraternal society. With respect for difference and attention to those in situations of vulnerability and exclusion, may it contribute to the cooperation and solidarity between nations. May France continue to foster, in Europe and throughout the world, the search for peace and the common good, respect for life and the defense of the dignity of every person and of all peoples. I heartily invoke the Lord’s blessing upon you and all the inhabitants of France. Francis

BE MODELS OF LOYALTY, HONESTY, HARMONY, HUMANITY, POPE TELLS ATHLETES

Pope Francis Tuesday welcomed the players, coaches and staff of Italian football teams, Juventus and Lazio as they are about to meet in the final game of the national soccer championship, and told them they have a big responsibility towards their fans, especially the youngest.

As public fgures, you have a certain responsibility, said Francis, who is a big fan of the sport called soccer in the U.S, and football is most of the rest of the world. He explained that “champions are role models for many young fans,” and thus, in every game, he said, you must show discipline, balance and respect for rules and regulations. (photo news.va)

“He, who through his behavior, puts all of this into practice, provides a good example for his followers, and this is what I wish for each of you: to be witnesses of loyalty, honesty, harmony and humanity” he said. He did note that violence sometimes occurs in football stadiums, disrupting games and spoiling what should be enjoyable moments: for all.

He wished both teams a “great match” when they play Wednesday evening in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.

VATICAN FINANCIAL INFORMATION AUTHORITY ISSUES 2016 REPORT

This morning at the Holy See Press Office, a press conference presented the 2016 Annual Report of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria – AIF) on supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism as well as prudential supervision. Presenters included René Brülhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza, respectively president and director of AIF.

Following is the press release that reviews the activities and statistics of AIF for the year 2016. It includes a significant fostering of international cooperation of the Vatican competent authority with its foreign counterparts to fight illicit financial activities, and a consolidation of the reporting system as well as a further strengthening of the regulatory framework have been some of the key achievements in 2016.

“International cooperation is a precondition to fight financial crimes and the Vatican is fully committed to it,” said René Brülhart, AIF president. “In 2016, AIF has seen a significant increase of bilateral cooperation with competent authorities of other jurisdictions and will continue to be an active partner to combat illicit financial activities globally.”

“The number of suspicious activity reports (SARs) by different reporting subjects decreased in comparison to 2015 (207 in 2016, 544 in 2015). But the number of SARs was still higher than in previous years, indicating an ever-increasing and effective implementation of reporting requirements by supervised entities,” said Tommaso Di Ruzza, AIF director. “In parallel, SARs show an improvement in terms of quality with a positive impact on the reports AIF disseminated to the Vatican Promoter of Justice, which are leading to domestic prosecution, and on the international cooperation with foreign FIUs, registering a notable development.”

In 2016, 22 reports have been submitted for further investigation by Vatican judicial Authorities. The number of cases of bilateral cooperation between AIF and foreign FIUs has increased from 81 in 2013, to 113 in 2014, to 380 in 2015 and 837 in 2016.

Furthermore, the transitional period to implement the requirements established by the prudential regulatory framework expired in 2016 and the domestic system – based on Title III of Law n. XVIII dated 8th October 2013 and AIF Regulation on “Prudential supervision of entities carrying out financial activities on a professional basis” n. 1 dated 13th January 2015 –, has been further strengthened with the issuance of new Circulars on accounting standards and statistical reporting requirements.   About AIF The Financial Information Authority is the competent authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State for supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism as well as prudential supervision.

Established by Pope Benedict XVI with the Apostolic Letter in form of Motu Proprio of 30 December 2010, AIF carries out its institutional activities in accordance with its new Statute introduced by Pope Francis with Motu Proprio of 15 November 2013 and Law No. XVIII of 8 October 2013.

In 2016, AIF signed MOUs with supervisory Authorities and FIUs of Austria, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Panama, Poland and Russia. In previous years, AIF had already signed MOUs with Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Cuba, Cyprus, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania, San Marino Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

AIF has been a member of the Egmont Group since 2013.