I received an email asking me to explain the meaning of the words Bull of Indiction – words mentioned often this past weekend in news stories when the official Bull for the forthcoming Jubilee of Mercy was read. Read on for the answer…..
WHAT IS A BULL OF INDICTION?
During his March 13 surprise announcement of the upcoming extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said the official proclamation of this Jubilee would take place with the publication of the Bull of Indiction on Saturday 11 April, at 5.30 pm in St. Peter’s Basilica. (a Getty image)
That took place, of course, last Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica when Pope Francis celebrated the First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday, telling the faithful that there will be a Jubilee “because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.”
Vespers followed a reading of part of the papal Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy that will open on December 8, 2015 and conclude on November 20, 2016. To one side of the Holy Door, the Regent of the Papal Household, Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, as apostolic protonotary, read various extracts from the official document convoking the extraordinary Holy Year.
The Bull of Indiction was then handed to the four cardinal archpriests of the papal basilicas of Rome: Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican; Cardinal Agostino Vallini, archpriest of the Basilica of St. John Lateran; Cardinal James Michael Harvey, archpriest of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls; and Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
In addition, to expressing his wish that the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy be celebrated in Rome and throughout the world, Pope Francis gave a copy of the Bull – thus presenting it symbolically to all bishops – to Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; and to Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
What is a Bull of Indiction?
The term bull (from the Latin bulla = bubble or, more generally, a rounded object) originally indicated the metal capsule used to protect the wax seal attached with a cord to a document of particular importance, to attest to its authenticity and, as a consequence, its authority. Over time, the term began to be used first to indicate the seal, then the document itself, so that nowadays it is used for all papal documents of special importance that bear, or at least traditionally would have borne, the Pontiff’s seal.
The Bull for the Indiction (formal announcement or proclamation) of a jubilee, for instance in the case of an extraordinary Holy Year, aside from indicating its time, with the opening and closing dates and the main ways in which it will be implemented, constitutes the fundamental document for recognising the spirit in which it is announced, and the intentions and the outcomes hoped for by the Pontiff, who invokes it for the Church.
POPE FRANCIS TO MAKE ONE-DAY TRIP TO SARAJEVO
(VIS) – On June 6 Pope Francis will make an apostolic trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, departing Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 7.30 a.m., and arriving at Sarajevo International Airport an hour later. A welcome ceremony will be held in the square adjacent to the presidential palace, during which he will meet with the presidency of the country and the local authorities, to whom he will address his greetings. (Lonely Planet image)
At 11 a.m., in the Kosevo Stadium, he will celebrate Holy Mass, after which he will transfer to the apostolic nunciature for lunch with bishops. Following a short rest, at 4.20 p.m. he will meet with priests, men and women religious, and seminarians. An hour later he will participate in an ecumenical and interreligiouseeting in the International Centre for Franciscan students.
The Holy Father will meet with young people at 6.30 p.m in the “John Paul II” diocesan youth centre, and at around 8 p.m. will return to the airport to embark on his return flight for Rome, where he is expected to arrive at 9.20 p.m.
The official website for the papal visit: http://www.papa.ba/en/
HOLY FATHER’S LITURGICAL CALENDAR: APRIL – JUNE
The Master of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, Msgr. Guido Marini has issued the following calendar of celebrations to be presided by Pope Francis from April to June 2015: (news.va)
26 IV Sunday of Easter : St. Peter’s Basilica, 9:30 a.m. – Holy Mass with priestly ordinations to be followed at 12 noon by the Regina Coeli.
3 V Sunday of Easter: Pastoral visit to the parish “Santa Maria Regina Pacis” in Ostia, an ancient coastal town outside Rome, 4:00 p.m.
12 Tuesday: St. Peter’s Basilica, 5:30 p.m. – Holy Mass for the opening of the General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis
17 VI Sunday of Easter: St. Peter’s Square, 10:00 a.m. – Canonizations of Giovanna Emilia De Villeneuve, Maria Cristina dell’Immacolata Concezione Brando, Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas and Maria di Gesù Crocifisso Baouardy.
24 Pentacost Sunday: St. Peter’s Basilica, 10.00 a.m. – Holy Mass.
4 Thursday, Solemnity of the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ: St John Lateran Square, 7:00 p.m. – Corpus Domini Mass and Procession to Saint Mary Major Basilica and Eucharistic Blessing
6 Saturday: Apostolic visit to Sarajevo (Bosnia)
21-22 Sunday/Monday : Pastoral visit to the northern Italian city of Turin
25 Saturday: Hall of the Consistory, 10:00 a.m. – Consistory for a number of canonization causes 29 Monday: St Peter’s Basilica, 9:30 a.m. – Pallium Mass
PAPAL ACADEMIES LAUNCH ANTI-TRAFFICKING WEBSITE
(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Science Academies have launched a new website aimed at combatting the worldwide scourge of human trafficking. The website builds on the success achieved over the past year by the ecumenical Global Freedom Network, including a joint declaration against modern slavery signed by Pope Francis and leaders of different faith communities in countries around the world. (news.va)
The new site, www.endslavery.va includes Catholic and Anglican resources, as well as links to international anti-trafficking legislation and details of upcoming events organised by the Pontifical Academies for Sciences and Social Sciences.