So much news today – the nuncio to Hungary speaks on the Holy Father’s weekend visit to Budapest, the end of the two-day meeting of the new C9 (the Council of Cardinals who are advisers to the Pope), the announcement that lay people and women will be able to vote in the October synod (historical!), the weekly general audience and a speech by Francis to the Chicago-based Catholic Extension Society!
I especially enjoyed the interview with a longtime friend of mine, Abp. Michael Banach, a luminary of Vatican diplomacy whom I’ve known for many years, now the Vatican nuncio to Hungary.
It was also interesting to read the Pope’s remarks to the Catholic Extension Society, an institution I learned about as a child as various relatives dedicated philanthropic resources to this body. Last night, after dinner at Taverna Agape in Pza. San Simeone I was walking on Via dei Coronari to a nearby taxi stand and ran into Cardinal Cupich from Chicago. He said he was in town for today’s meeting with the Holy Father. I’ve also known Extension President, Fr. Jack Wall, for a few years and he has been a dinner guest of mine.
As I always do in IN BRIEF, I’ll give just a few lines about each story and then the link to read the full piece, should it interest you.
IN BRIEF (RELATIVELY SPEAKING!)
HUNGARIANS LOVE POPE FRANCIS’ JOY AND SINCERITY: The Apostolic Nuncio to Hungary, Archbishop Michael Wallace Banach, insists that Hungarians love Pope Francis’ joy and sincerity, and appreciate his maintaining his promise to return to visit them after his brief 12 September 2021 stay in Budapest for the closing Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress. In an interview granted to Vatican News – Vatican Radio for the occasion of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Journey to the country, the long-serving American diplomat, who has served in several continents, granted his insight into the realities for the faithful in the country and the meaning of the Pope’s return to Hungarian soil, marking his 41st Apostolic Journey abroad. Apostolic Nuncio: Hungarians love Pope Francis’ joy, sincerity – Vatican News
THE VATICAN ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY THAT THERE WILL BE LAY PEOPLE PARTICIPATING AS VOTING MEMBERS IN THE SYNOD ON SYNODALITY’S OCTOBER ASSEMBLY, a break with past custom, which allowed laypeople to participate without the right to vote. Pope Francis will also approve every member in advance. The general assembly of the Synod on Synodality will take place in two sessions, in October 2023 and October 2024. After the vote on a final document for the assembly, the pope alone decides whether to take any actions based on the recommendations in the final text or whether to adopt it as an official Church document…According to the synod leadership, it is requested that “50% of [the selected people] be women and that the presence of young people also be emphasized.” Vatican announces laypeople, including women, will vote in Synod on Synodality assembly | Catholic News Agency
NEW COUNCIL OF CARDINALS ENDS TWO-DAY MEETING. Vatican news announced today the end of a two-day meeting of the new C9, Council of Cardinals, stating the next meeting will be in June, without specifying a date. (I listed the cardinal members, new and returning, here: POPE PRESIDES OVER THE FIRST MEETING OF THE NEW COUNCIL OF CARDINALS – ARCHBISHOP PAGLIA CLARIFIES STANCE ON ASSISTED SUICIDE | Joan’s Rome (wordpress.com) Past meetings, since the first one in 2013, usually took place over three days, with the Pope always participating, except on Wednesday mornings when he presided over the general audience. Summaries of those meetings, released on the final day, Wednesday, usually went on at some length in describing the topics discussed. Today’s announcement, much briefer, was summarized by Vatican news: Council of Cardinals discusses ongoing wars and need for peace-building – Vatican News
“IN OUR CONTINUING CATECHESIS ON APOSTOLIC ZEAL,” SAID POPE FRANCIS AT THE GENERAL AUDIENCE IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE, “we now turn to the example of the saints of every age, beginning with those who embraced the monastic life. Their witness of following Christ in poverty, chastity and obedience was combined with unceasing intercessory prayer for the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the Church. Today we consider Saint Gregory of Narek, a medieval Armenian monk and Doctor of the Church, whose writings embody the profound Christian tradition of the Armenian people, the first to embrace the Gospel. In the hiddenness of his monastery, Gregory sensed a profound solidarity with the whole Church and her mission of preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ to all nations and peoples. Identifying with sinful humanity, he devoted his entire existence to interceding for sinners, the poor and those in need of the Lord’s healing and forgiveness. The example of Saint Gregory of Narek reminds us of our responsibility to cooperate, by our own intercessory prayer, in the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel message of reconciliation, redemption and peace for the entire human family. General Audience – Activities of the Holy Father Pope Francis | Vatican.va
“I OFFER A CORDIAL WELCOME TO ALL OF YOU FROM THE CATHOLIC EXTENSION SOCIETY WHO HAVE GATHERED THIS WEEK IN ROME,” said the Holy Father. “Your presence gives me the opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude for your efforts in providing assistance to missionary Dioceses, particularly in the United States, and in caring for the needs of the poor and most vulnerable. I thank you, too, for your valuable contributions to the rebuilding of the Church and the broader society in Puerto Rico, following the various hurricanes and earthquakes which brought such devastation to the island in recent years….In striving to build up the Body of Christ, the Church, by giving a voice to those who are frequently voiceless, you bear witness to the God-given dignity of every person. …I encourage you as well to continue to express ‘God’s style’ in the work that you do. God’s style is never distant, detached or indifferent. Instead, it is one of closeness, compassion and tender love. This is God’s style: closeness, compassion and tender love. God is like this, this is his style.” To a delegation from the “Catholic Extension Society” – Activities of the Holy Father Pope Francis | Vatican.va