LENT, A PILGRIMAGE OF EXPECTATION AND HOPE – ABUSE SURVIVOR RESIGNS FROM VATICAN COMMISSION TO PROTECT MINORS – COMMISSION MEMBER EXPLAINS HER REASONS FOR LEAVING

Pope Francis tweeted today: Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death.

A bit of trivia about Ash Wednesday from an Aleteia article by Gerith Gardner: This year, Ash Wednesday falls on the March 1 feast day of Saint David, and there couldn’t be a more fitting saint to share this day with. David founded a monastery in Wales, where both he and his monks drank no beer or wine, as he practiced extreme asceticism—abstaining from all forms of indulgence.

Today’s Station Church in Rome – Santa Sabina: https://www.pnac.org/station-churches/week-of-ash-wed/ash-wednesday-santa-sabina/

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LENT, A PILGRIMAGE OF EXPECTATION AND HOPE

Pope Francis marked Ash Wednesday by presiding at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square and, later in the afternoon, by processing from the Benedictine church of Sant’Anselmo to the nearby Dominican basilica of Santa Sabina where he celebrated Mass and received ashes. (file photo: Ash Wednesday)

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His catechesis at the audience focused on Lent and he opened his weekly lesson by noting that “today, Ash Wednesday, we begin our Lenten journey towards Easter.  Lent is essentially a pilgrimage of hope, a season of penance and spiritual renewal that prepares us to share more fully in the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Francis said, “We relive the experience of the Exodus, in which the Chosen People journeyed towards the Promised Land and, through spiritual discipline and the gift of the Law, learned the love of God and neighbor.”  The Scriptures tell of a tormented journey that symbolically lasted forty years, the time span of a generation, and difficulties and obstacles represented continuous temptations to regret Egypt and to turn back. But the Lord stayed close to the people who finally arrived in the Promised Land guided by Moses.

“Easter is Jesus’ own exodus, his passover from death to life, in which we participate through our rebirth in Baptism.”

Francis explained that in order to open this passage for us, Jesus had to cast off his glory, he had to humble himself, he had to be obedient until death on the cross. “This doesn’t mean that he did everything and we don’t have to do anything… it doesn’t mean he went through the cross and we will go to heaven in a carriage. That is not how it works.”

He stated that “our salvation is Jesus’ gift, but it is part of a love story and requires our ‘yes’ and our participation.”

“By following Christ along the way of the Cross,” continud the Holy Father, “we share in his victory over sin and death; by living the new life bestowed by the Holy Spirit in the communion of the Church, we are united more fully to the Lord in the sacraments, prayer and adoration.

ABUSE SURVIVOR RESIGNS FROM VATICAN COMMISSION TO PROTECT MINORS

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) issued the following statement after the resignatiuon of commission member and abuse survivor, Mrs. Marie Collins:

On Monday, February 13, 2017, Mrs. Marie Collins, a Member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] advised Cardinal Sean O’Malley, President of the PCPM, of her intent to resign from the Commission effective March 1, 2017.

Mrs. Collins, a Member of the Pontifical Commission since its inception in 2014 is a survivor of clerical abuse, and consistently and tirelessly championed for the voices of the victims/survivors to be heard, and for the healing of victims/survivors to be a priority of the Church.  In discussing with the Cardinal, and in her resignation letter to the Holy Father, Mrs. Collins cited her frustration at the lack of cooperation with the Commission by other offices in the Roman Curia.

Mrs. Collins accepted an invitation from Cardinal O’Malley to continue to work with the Commission in an educational role in recognition of her exceptional teaching skills and impact of her testimony as a survivor.

The Holy Father accepted Mrs. Collins resignation with deep appreciation for her work on behalf of the victims/survivors of clergy abuse.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was established by Pope Francis in March of 2014. The Chirograph of His Holiness Pope Francis states specifically, “The Commission’s specific task is to propose to me the most opportune initiatives for protecting minors and vulnerable adults, in order that we may do everything possible to ensure that crimes such as those which have occurred are no longer repeated in the Church. The Commission is to promote local responsibility in the particular Churches, uniting their efforts to those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults.”

At the bottom of the letter on Commission letterhead, they listed two contacts: info@tutelaminorum.va and www.protectionofminors.va

The Holy See Press Office released the following Statement from PCPM President, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, OFM Cap.

“On behalf of the Members of the Commission I have expressed to Marie Collins our most sincere thanks for the extraordinary contributions she has made as a founding member of the Commission.  We will certainly listen carefully to all that Marie wishes to share with us about her concerns and we will greatly miss her important contributions as a member of the Commission.  As the Commission gathers for the plenary meeting next month we will have an opportunity to discuss these matters.  With the members of the Commission I am deeply grateful for Marie’s willingness to continue to work with us in the education of church leaders, including the upcoming programs for new bishops and for the dicasteries of the Holy See.  Our prayers will remain with Marie and with all victims and survivors of sexual abuse.”

COMMISSION MEMBER EXPLAINS HER REASONS FOR LEAVING

Marie Collins, in a piece she wrote for ncronline, said she intended “to respect the confidentiality of my former colleagues on the Commission and the work they are doing,” although some has already been made public.

She outlined some of the stumbling blocks the commission has run into: “lack of resources, inadequate structures around support staff, slowness of forward movement and cultural resistance. The most significant problem has been reluctance of some members of the Vatican Curia to implement the recommendations of the Commission despite their approval by the pope.”

She said she could “no longer be sustained by hope. As a survivor I have watched events unfold with dismay.”

Collins wrote: “The Commission’s recommendation for a Tribunal to be put in place whereby negligent bishops could be held accountable was approved by Pope Francis and announced in June 2015. Yet it was found by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as Baroness Sheila Hollins stated to the Royal Commission, to have unspecified “legal” difficulties, and so was never implemented.”

Marie Collins, who was harsh in her criticism of various Vatican offices, wrote: “When I accepted my appointment to the Commission in 2014, I said publicly that if I found what was happening behind closed doors was in conflict with what was being said to the public I would not remain. This point has come. I feel I have no choice but to resign if I am to retain my integrity.”

“In the past three years,” the former commission member wrote, “I have never had the opportunity to sit and talk to the pope but if I had I would ask him to do three things:

  1. Give the Commission the responsibility and the power to oversee implementation of the recommendations when they are approved. No matter how much work is put into the recommendations given to the Holy Father and no matter how much he supports them they must be properly implemented to have any effect.
  2. Give the Commission an adequate, independent budget to do its work without having each item of expenditure go through the internal Vatican approval process.
  3. Remove the restriction on the recruitment of professional staff from outside the Vatican.

She did write that, “Despite everything I have said, I do believe there is value in the Commission continuing its work. The members are sincerely putting every effort into very important projects with the intention of moving things forward.”

TRAVELS AND TRIVIA – REPORT FROM PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS – POPE CONFIRMS AILING ITALIAN YOUTH BEFORE SATURDAY AUDIENCE

TRAVELS AND TRIVIA

I leave tomorrow morning for Alabama to spend some days with my EWTN colleagues at our studios in Irondale and to attend the September 17 and 18 Family Celebration at the Jefferson Convention Center in Birmingham. I’ll be with Jim and Jim Pinto on Thursday to do a live edition of “At Home!” I’ll be on “At Home” tonight from Rome!

The weekend events will feature EWTN Radio Live, Main events (Mass, speakers, etc) each day in the auditorium, Meet the Author, Family Corner, Faith Factory for Kids, Religious Catalogue Shop, the National Catholic Register and Media Missionaries. If you are in the vicinity, come and put a face to a name! I leave for Rome on September 19 – will try post some news and photos while I am away!

The answer to Friday’s Question of the Week: Pope Urban VII was elected Pope on September 15th, 1590 but died just 12 days later – making his papacy the shortest in history.

Joan’s Advice for Tourists, Pilgrims and Visitors: As you walk to St. Peter’s Square, be it from Via della Conciliazione or either of the two colonnades, you will probably be approached (assailed?) by dozens of people trying, in multiple languages, to sell you tickets to Vatican sights and urging you to “avoid the lines” to the Museums, etc. They can be aggressive and follow you for 10 or more feet, trying to get you to listen. Many of them wear large vests that are white or, in most cases, chartreuse (lime green) and have the word STAFF on them. These are NOT Vatican people. The official Jubilee Year Vatican staff wear large YELLOW vests that say “Volunteer.” Help me help others – tell your friends!

Avoiding lines? SOOOOO easy! Just reserve in advance to visit the Museums: https://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/index.html   There might be a little wait for security to enter the Basilica but these lines move rather quickly.

REPORT FROM PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS

I saw this news today on the Vatican website and immediately posted it on Twitter and tried to put it on my Facebook page but was blocked! This appeared on my screen: “This message contains content that has been blocked by our security systems. If you think you’re seeing this by mistake, please let us know.”

Of course, I let them know and I have not heard back all day. I sent them the following URL: http://www.news.va/en/news/pontifical-commission-for-the-protection-of-mino-4,

This is a very interesting but somewhat lengthy report: Click on the above link for the complete Commission statement.

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) met in Plenary Assembly last week, September 8-11 focusing their attention on the three key areas of education: a Day of Prayer and the Holy Father’s MOTU PROPRIO “As a Loving Mother,” the accountability of Church leadership. The Plenary also recognised the importance of digital technology and announced the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors will be going live with its own website. The Working Group meetings focused on the updates for current projects, and developing draft proposals for Pope Francis.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley heads this Commission. He is also a member of the C9 Council of Cardinals that advises Pope Francis. They are all in Rome, meeting for three days this week, for the 16th time, with the Holy Father in the Vatican.

POPE CONFIRMS AILING ITALIAN YOUTH BEFORE SATURDAY AUDIENCE

What a great story this is!

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to a seriously ill young man before his Saturday Jubilee audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Sixteen-year-old Giuseppe Chiolo, a patient of the oncological department of the Meyer Hospital in Florence, travelled to the Vatican on Saturday morning aboard an ambulance.

The Pope embraced Giuseppe before confirming him, and gifted him with a rosary as he asked the boy not to forget to pray for him.

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Giuseppe had recently written a letter to Pope Francis in which he revealed his strong desire to meet him and he was immediately invited to come to the Vatican.

The Pope also had words of encouragement and comfort for Giuseppe’s parents and for his sister and aunt who were present in St. Peter’s Square together with the chaplain of the Meyer Hospital and the vice-director of the local Florentine Caritas office. He also thanked the three volunteers of Mercy who accompanied Giuseppe on his journey to Rome.

During the special Jubilee audience, Pope Francis had words of greeting for other sick and disabled persons, including Laura Salafia who was shot by mistake six years ago and has undergone a series of operations and rehabilitation, and Pompeo Barbieri, a survivor of the 2002 earthquake in the southern Apulia region who has managed to become a swimming champion notwithstanding a disability that constrains him to a wheelchair.

BOSTON CARDINAL O’MALLEY’S STATEMENT ON “SPOTLIGHT”

BOSTON CARDINAL O’MALLEY’S STATEMENT ON “SPOTLIGHT”

From the Boston Pilot, the archdiocesan newspaper:

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley released the following statement to The Pilot March 1, after the film Spotlight won two awards at the 2016 Oscar ceremony that took place in Los Angeles February 28. The movie describes the Boston Globe’s investigation into the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Archdiocese of Boston that led to a series of stories that ran in 2002:

Spotlight is an important film for all impacted by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse. By providing in-depth reporting on the history of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, the media led the Church to acknowledge the crimes and sins of its personnel and to begin to address its failings, the harm done to victims and their families and the needs of survivors. In a democracy such as ours, journalism is essential to our way of life. The media’s role in revealing the sexual abuse crisis opened a door through which the Church has walked in responding to the needs of survivors.

Protecting children and providing support for survivors and their families must be a priority in all aspects of the life of the Church.

We are committed to vigilant implementation of policies and procedures for preventing the recurrence of the tragedy of the abuse of children. These include comprehensive child safety education programs, mandatory background checks and safe environments training, mandatory reporting to and cooperating with civil authorities with regard to allegations of abuse, and caring for survivors and their families through the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach. The Archdiocese consistently provides counselling and medical services for survivors and family members who seek our help and we remain steadfast in that commitment. We continue to seek the forgiveness of all who have been harmed by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse and pray that each day the Lord may guide us on the path toward healing and renewal.

(JFL: Cardinal O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, is one of the Council of 9 Cardinals that advises Pope Francis, and he also heads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors)

COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS HOLDS SECOND PLENARY

STAY TUNED TO “JOAN’S ROME” AND TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE TODAY AS  THERE IS A LOT OF NEWS AND I WILL BE POSTING SEPARATE STORIES AS THEY OCCUR.

COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS HOLDS SECOND PLENARY

(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has completed its second plenary assembly, focusing on formation of candidate for priesthood and religious life,  the use of forensic assessments for people accused of sex abuse crimes and the use of liturgical support materials for the pastoral care of survivors. (photo L’Osservatore Romano)

COMMISSION ON ABUSE-MEMBERS

The Commission met in Rome from October 9th to 11th, beginning their plenary with a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in his Santa Marta residence. Members then focused their sessions on listening to and discussing progress reports presented by the Working Groups formed in the February 2015 Plenary.

Please find below the full press statement from the Commission:

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors gathered in Plenary Assembly, October 9-11, 2015 in Rome.  It is the second time that the full Commission has gathered together.

The Plenary Assembly began with Mass with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in Santa Marta. Members then focused their sessions on listening to and discussing progress reports presented by the Working Groups formed in the February 2015 Plenary.

These Working Groups cover key areas of the mission that has been entrusted to the Commission by the Holy Father, namely to advise him, his collaborators and the local church on the protection of minors.  The Working Groups are:

  • Guidelines for the safeguarding and protection of minors;
  • Healing and care for victims, survivors and their families;
  • Formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life and the education of Church leadership;
  • Education of families and communities;
  • Theology and spirituality;
  • Canonical and civil norms.

Particular areas of focus of these working groups include research into the assessment and ongoing formation of candidates to the priesthood and religious life; the use of forensic assessments with people accused of a crime; the provision of liturgical support materials for the pastoral care of victims, survivors and communities. The Commission does not address individual cases, it does not exercise oversight, and is not a decision-making body.

Since its establishment, the Commission for the Protection of Minors has been invited by Church leaders to place the inter-disciplinary expertise of its members at the service of Church in various parts of the world.

Commission members have taken part in workshops, conferences and seminars on the protection of minors in Ireland, the UK, France, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and recently in the Philippines, where 76 bishops attended.  Next month, Commission members will also address all of the bishops of Central America.

Very positive feedback has been received from our participation in these initiatives.  The Commission’s contribution has been seen as a resource for the local Church worldwide as Bishops’ Conferences continue to develop sound and culturally effective guidelines that reflect the local reality.

The Commission plans to hold its next Plenary Assembly in February, 2016.

Commission members in attendance:

Cardinal Seán O’MALLEY, OFM Cap. (United States), President; Mons. Robert OLIVER (United States), Secretary; Rev. Luis Manuel ALI HERRERA (Colombia); Catherine BONNET (France); Marie COLLINS (Ireland); Gabriel DY-LIACCO (Philippines); Sheila BARONESS HOLLINS (United Kingdom); Bill KILGALLON (New Zealand); Sr. Kayula LESA, RSC (Zambia); Sr. Hermenegild MAKORO, CPS (South Africa); Kathleen McCORMACK (Australia); Claudio PAPALE (Italy); Peter SAUNDERS (United Kingdom); Hanna SUCHOCKA (Poland); Krysten WINTER-GREEN (United States); Rev. Humberto Miguel YÁÑEZ, SJ (Argentina) and Rev. Hans ZOLLNER, SJ (Germany).

PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS, ABORTION AND THE THROWAWAY CULTURE – VATICAN PAPER ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW IN UAE: A COURAGEOUS DECISION

Another great papal tweet on marriage today: The most powerful witness to marriage is the exemplary lives of Christian spouses.

The official Jubilee of Mercy site today published the calendar of events for this special year called by Pope Francis that will start December 8, 2015. Click here to see events so that you can plan your pilgrimage to Rome – and don’t forget to explore the other parts of this site: http://www.im.va/content/gdm/en/calendario.html

If by chance you will be flying into Rome in a day or two – or perhaps even next week – you should know that Rome’s Fiumicino Airport is in the throes of yet another crisis as a blackout that lasted about 20 minutes Thursday struck the main terminal. The good news is that the outage did not affect the air-traffic control towers so flights were able to land and takeoff, officials told ANSA news agency. The power outage lasted about 20 minutes but control towers have a particular system supported by the ENAV civil aviation authority that allowed operations to continue, officials added.

ANSA said the cause of the power outage, reported shortly before noon, was not immediately known. This marked the latest crisis at the airport, which was forced to temporarily close its runways on Wednesday by smoke blown in from pine-forest fires nearby. Delays and disruptions because of the smoke-blocked runways continued Thursday morning, with delays of up to three hours for some domestic and European flights.

And all this on top of damages caused by a fire in Terminal 3 in early May that has caused major disruptions since then.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS, ABORTION AND THE THROWAWAY CULTURE

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), responded on Wednesday to recent videos showing leaders from Planned Parenthood discussing the provision of fetal organs, tissues, and body parts from their abortion clinics.

CARDINAL O'MALLEY

Below is the full text of Cardinal O’Malley’s statement:

Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a “widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many.” The recent news stories concerning Planned Parenthood direct our attention to two larger issues involving many institutions in our society. The first is abortion itself: a direct attack on human life in its most vulnerable condition. The second is the now standard practice of obtaining fetal organs and tissues through abortion. Both actions fail to respect the humanity and dignity of human life. This fact should be the center of attention in the present public controversy.

If the Planned Parenthood news coverage has caused anyone to experience revived trauma from their own involvement in abortion, be assured that any and all persons will be welcomed with compassion and assistance through the Church’s post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel. If you or someone you know would like confidential, nonjudgmental help, please visit www.projectrachel.com. (Source: USCCB)

VATICAN PAPER ON ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW IN UAE: A COURAGEOUS DECISION

In an article entitled, “Courageous decision,” L’Osservatore Romano highlighted the anti-discrimination law recently enacted in the United Arab Emirates that advances religious liberty.

“Under the new law, all forms of discrimination based on religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin’ are outlawed. This means that in the UAE, discrimination based on Islam is banned. The Sunni-Shia divide has been a fault-line around which many wars have been fought in the Arab world. With the new law, equality will be guaranteed among people, largely inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is a step forward.”

The above statement was made by the noted Islamic scholar. Jesuit Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, who spoke to AsiaNews about the new law against discrimination recently passed in the United Arab Emirates.

Fr. Samir explained that this act goes against the current, especially in comparison to other countries in the region, which are locked in Islamic totalitarianism. There are 24 churches in the region, which were built by the people themselves. Christians are treated with respect and it is not uncommon to see believers living in Saudi Arabia move to Abu Dhabi to celebrate Christmas or Easter.

“It is important to note,” Fr Samir continues, “that another positive element is the fact that the law’s anti-discrimination provisions will also cover written communication, broadcasting (TV) and social medial. UAE leaders are well aware of the ubiquitous presence of such media; hence, they have decided to deem ‘a criminal act’ all forms of discrimination in them or hate spread by them. With the new law, calling someone else ‘infidels’ (takfir) is punishable. Why? Because under Islamic law, someone who is an ‘infidel’ or an ‘unbeliever’ (kafir) could be put to death.

“Although the same law prohibits the killing of Christians and Jews because they are ‘dhimmi,’ or protected, “ continues Fr. Samir, “this does not apply to pagans, atheists or members of other religions. Under Islamic rule, infidels enjoy no protection. He or she can either convert to Islam or be killed. The Islamic State group has used this principle, and used it to kill Christians (even if it is against Islamic law).”.

Another new step, the Jesuit explains, is the fact that provoking religious hatred is also banned. “In the past, hate crimes were not banned under the law. Now this is the case, and this is something of a daring step to take. And we in the West might have a thing or two to learn. Consider all the contempt people have for migrants in Europe, or blacks in the United States. In your countries, hate is mostly racial in nature. In our region, in the Middle East, hate is always about religion.” The law also“outlaws support for violent foreign groups, especially by making monetary donations.”

 

DIFFERENCES AND COMPLEMENTARITY BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN – BACKGROUND ON C9 COUNCIL OF CARDINALS – C9 MEETS, WORKS ON NEW CONSTITUTION, CURIA REFORM

Tons of news about and from the Vatican today so I’ll be posting two separate blogs. This first one is all about Pope Francis’ wonderful talk at today’s general audience as he continues a series of  catecheses on the family.

The second article from VIS is about the ninth meeting of the C9 – The Council of Cardinals who are papal advisors – and summarizes their work from three days of meeting with the Pope in the Santa Marta residence.

But first a sad note today in the Vatican:  Jesuit Cardinal Roberto Tucci died last night at the age of 93, just five days before what would have been his 94th birthday.

Born in Naples on April 19, 1921, Cardinal Tucci joined the Jesuits and was ordained a priest in 1950 at the age of 29 after having earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University.  He took part in the drafting of some of the documents of the Second Vatican Council and served as director of La Civiltà Cattolica from 1959 to 1973.  His contribution was considered invaluable for the final edition of the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes. (photo: news.va)

 CARDINAL TUCCI and JOHN PAUL

He served as director general of Vatican Radio from 1973 to 1985, and also served as the “advance man” and organizer of all Pope John Paul II’s papal visits. He was made a cardinal by Pope St. John Paul II on February 21, 2001.

When I worked at the Vatican Information Service, I interviewed then Father Tucci for an article I was going to write about the behind-the-scenes preparations for a papal trip. He was obviously filled with wonderful facts and tidbits and our conversation was immensely enjoyable. As I was about to leave with a mountain of information, I said, “Father, I never thought about it, but does Pope John Paul have special dietary requirements or needs?”  Without hesitation, he replied, “No ice, no spice.”

Father Tucci explained that if John Paul happened to be served a very cold beverage, he simply wrapped his hands around the glass a bit to warm it up, never inconveniencing any of his hosts.

He also told me that he had traveled so often to so many places for papal trips that when people saw him – even when he was someplace on vacation – they automatically assumed the Pope was coming!

DIFFERENCES AND COMPLEMENTARITY BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN

(VIS) – Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family by dedicating this morning’s general audience to the difference and complementarity between man and woman, recalling first of all that the Book of Genesis insists that both are in the image and likeness of God. “Not only man as such, not only woman as such, but rather man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between them is not a question of contrast or subordination, but instead of communion and generation, always in the image and semblance of God”.

POPE FRANCIS - Ag - GENDER

“Experience teaches us that for the human being to know him- or herself well and to grow harmoniously, there is a need for reciprocity between man and woman”, said the Pope to the thirty thousand faithful present in St. Peter’s Square. “When this does not happen, we see the consequences. We are made to listen to each other and to help each other. We can say that, without mutual enrichment in this relationship – in terms of thought and action, in personal relationships and in work, and also in faith – the two cannot even fully understand what it means to be a man and a woman”.

“Modern and contemporary culture has opened up new spaces, new freedoms and new depths for the enrichment and understanding of this difference. But it has also introduced many doubts and much scepticism. I wonder, for example, if so-called gender theory is not an expression of frustration and resignation, that aims to cancel out sexual difference as it is no longer able to face it. Yes, we run the risk of taking step backwards. Indeed, the removal of difference is the problem, not the solution. To solve their problems in relating to each other, men and women must instead speak more, listen more, know each other better, value each other more. They must treat each other with respect and cooperate in friendship. With these human bases, supported by God’s grace, it is possible to plan a lifelong matrimonial and family union. The marriage and family bond is a serious matter for all, not only for believers. I would like to encourage intellectuals not to ignore this theme, as if it were secondary to our efforts to promote a freer and more just society”.

“God has entrusted the earth to the alliance between man and woman; its failure makes our emotional life arid and obscures the heaven of hope. The signs are already worrying, and we can see them. I would like to indicate due points, among many, that I believe must concern us with greater urgency”.

“Undoubtedly we must do far more in favour of women, if we want to strengthen to the reciprocity between men and women. Indeed, it is necessary for a woman not only to be listened to, but also for her voice to carry real weight, recognised authority, in society and in the Church. The way in which Jesus Himself regarded women, in a context that was far less favourable than our own, casts a powerful light illuminating a road that takes us far, on which we have travelled only a short distance. It is a road we must travel with more creativity and boldness”.

He added, “a second point relates to the theme of man and woman created in God’s image. I wonder if the crisis of collective trust in God, that is so harmful to us, that causes us to ail with resignation to incredulity and cynicism, is not also connected to the crisis in the alliance between man and woman. In effect, the biblical account, with the great symbolic fresco of earthly paradise and original sin, tells us precisely that communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple, and the loss of trust in the heavenly Father generates division and conflict between man and woman”.

“This leads to the great responsibility of the Church, of all believers, and above all of Christian families, to rediscover the beauty of the Creator’s plan that inscribes the image of God also in the alliance between man and woman. The earth is filled with harmony and trust when the alliance between man and woman is lived well. And if men and women seek this together between them and with God, without doubt they will find it. Jesus explicitly encourages us to bear witness to this beauty, which is the image of God”, concluded the Pontiff.

BACKGROUND ON C9 COUNCIL OF CARDINALS

On September 30, 2013,  the Vatican published a Chirograph written by Pope Francis in which he institutes a Council of Cardinals to assist him in the governance of the universal Church and to draw up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus” on the Roman Curia.

A chirograph is a papal document or decree that, unlike an apostolic constitution or encyclical, regards some or all parts of the Roman Curia. The papal document begins: “Among the suggestions that emerged from the General Congregations of Cardinals prior to the Conclave, mention was made of the expediency of instituting a limited group of Members of the Episcopate, from various parts of the world, with whom the Holy Father could consult, individually or collectively, on specific matters. Once elected to the See of Rome, I have had the opportunity to reflect on this issue on a number of occasions, and consider that such an initiative would be of significant use in fulfilling the pastoral ministry of Peter’s Successor entrusted to me by my brother cardinals. “For this reason, on April 13 I announced the constitution of the aforementioned group, at the same time indicating the names of those who had been called to participate. Now, following reflection, I consider it opportune that such a group, by means of the present Chirograph, be instituted as a ‘Council of Cardinals’ with the task of assisting me in the governance of the Universal Church and drawing up a project for the revision of the Apostolic Constitution ‘Pastor bonus’ on the Roman Curia.

It will be composed of the same persons previously nominated, who may be called upon, both in Council and singly, on matters that I will from time to time consider worthy of attention. The aforementioned Council that I will compose in the most appropriate way, with regard to the number of members, will constitute a further expression of Episcopal communion and of the aid to the ‘munus petrinum’ that the Episcopate, disseminated throughout the world, may offer.”

The chirograph is dated September 28, 2013, the first year of Francis’ pontificate.

C9 MEETS, WORKS ON NEW CONSTITUTION, CURIA REFORM

(VIS) – The ninth meeting of the Council of Cardinals (C9), which began on 13 April, was brought to a close this afternoon, according to a briefing by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. (ANSA file photo)

C9 Cardinals - ANSA

The Council of Cardinals dedicated the majority its work regarding reform of the Roman Curia to two aspects: reflections on the methodologies to be followed for work during 2015 and 2016 in order to be able to effectively accomplish the task of preparing the new Constitution, and a rereading of the interventions by the Cardinals in relation to reform of the Curia made during the recent Consistory (there were over sixty interventions on this theme with useful indications and cues, both for the prologue of the constitution and for specific aspects of reform).

The orientation towards the constitution of two dicasteries – one competent in fields of charity, justice and peace, the other regarding the laity, families and life – would appear to be confirmed.

The Council also focused on the issue of the reorganisation of Vatican media, following the submission of the final report of the Commission presided over by Lord Chris Patten.

It is expected that the Pope will constitute a Commission to consider how the recommendations of the report can be put into practice. This body will also include members of the Patten Commission, to ensure continuity.

Finally, Cardinal O’Malley, president of the new Commission for the Protection of Minors, under the auspices of the same Commission, has proposed that the Pope and the Council consider the theme of “accountability” with regard to the protection of minors, in order to establish appropriate procedures and methods for evaluating and judging cases of “abuse of office” in this area, especially on the part of persons holding responsibility within the Church.

Further meetings of the Council of Cardinals are scheduled to take place from June 8-10, September 14-16 and December 10-12,  2015

PAPAL ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETS FOR NINTH TIME – NEW CARDINALS ASSIGNED MEMBERSHIPS IN ROMAN CURIA

PAPAL ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETS FOR NINTH TIME

The C9 – the nine-member Council of Cardinals that meets four or five times a years with Pope Francis to advise him on Church and Vatican business – began its ninth meeting this morning. The cardinals are meeting together with the Holy Father through Wednesday, although Pope Francis will preside at the weekly general audience on Wednesday morning.  The C9 last met in February 2015. (file photo: news.va)

C) CARDINALS

The C9 members are Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State; Francisco Javier Errazuria Ossa, archbishop-emeritus of Santigo de Chile; Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay; Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa; Sean Patrick O’Malley OFM Cap, archbishop of Boston; George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;  Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, SDB, archbishop of Tegucigalpa and Pietro Parolin, secretary of State.

C9 member Cardinal Sean O’Malley was also busy Sunday when he met with several members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors who had requested a special meeting with him as head of that Commission. The three – Peter Saunders, Catherine Bonnet, and Sheila Hollins –  are part of a Commission subcommittee and asked to discuss the appointment of Chilean Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, previously a military chaplain, to lead the diocese of Osorno. (JFL photo)

CARDINAL O'MALLEY

Bishop Barros’ appointment angered many and triggered wide protests in Chile because, although he was never formally charged, he was accused of protecting Fr. Fernando Karadima, a prominent priest in Chile whom the Vatican sentenced in 2011 to a life of solitude and prayer after being found guilty of sexually abusing minors in the 1980s and 1990s. The population of Chile is 70 percent Catholic.

When the Barros appointment was made public, Catholic faithful objected and tried to get Pope Francis to withdraw the name. His installation went ahead in March but was shortened in nature.

The three members of the papal Commission for the Protection of Minors, in comments to various media, said the meeting with Cardinal O’Malley on Sunday “went very well” and they feel assured he will bring their comments to Pope Francis during the C9 meetings.

A statement was issued Sunday by Msgr. Robert Oliver, Commission secretary. It noted that members were able “to discuss their concerns about the appointment of Bishop Barros in Chile.” It said; “Although we are not charged with dealing with individual cases, the protection of minors is our primary concern. The process of appointing bishops who are committed to, and have an understanding of child protection is of paramount importance.” The statement said additionally that, “In the light of the fact that sexual abuse is so common, the ability of a bishop to enact effective policies, and to carefully monitor compliance is essential. Cardinal O’Malley agreed to present the concerns of the subcommittee to the Holy Father.”

NEW CARDINALS ASSIGNED MEMBERSHIPS IN ROMAN CURIA

All cardinals are assigned membership in one or more of the Church’s 9 congregations and 12 pontifical councils or other dicasteries of the Roman Curias. The Vatican today published the congregations or councils to which the cardinals created in the February 14 public consistory have been named:

1) In the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, His Eminence Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;

2) in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, His Eminence Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez, Archbishop of Valladolid (Spain);

3) in the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Eminent Cardinals: Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, Archbishop of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); Edoardo Menichelli, Archbishop of Ancona-Osimo (Italy);

4) in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, His Eminence Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;

5) in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, His Eminence Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;

6) in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Eminent Cardinals: John Atcherley Dew, Archbishop of Wellington (New Zealand); Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, Archbishop of Hanoi (Vietnam); Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, Archbishop of Bangkok (Thailand); Arlindo Gomes Furtado, Bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde (Cape Verde); Soane Patita Paini Mafi, Bishop of Tonga (Tonga);

7) in the Congregation for the Clergy, the Eminent Cardinals: Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon (Portugal); Alberto Suarez Inda, Archbishop of Morelia (Mexico);

8) in the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Most Eminent Cardinals: Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon (Myanmar); Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, Archbishop of Montevideo (Uruguay);

9) in the Congregation for Catholic Education, His Eminence Cardinal José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, Bishop of David (Panama);

10) in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, His Eminence Cardinal John Atcherley Dew, Archbishop of Wellington (New Zealand);

11) in the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Most Eminent Cardinals: Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, Archbishop of Hanoi (Vietnam); Alberto Suarez Inda, Archbishop of Morelia (Mexico);

12) in the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” the Eminent Cardinals: Francesco Montenegro, Archbishop of Agrigento (Italy); Arlindo Gomes Furtado, Bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde (Cape Verde); Soane Patita Paini Mafi, Bishop of Tonga (Tonga);

13) in the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People the Most Eminent Cardinals: Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, Archbishop of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); Francesco Montenegro, Archbishop of Agrigento (Italy);

14) in the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Healthcare workers, His Eminence Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, Archbishop of Ancona-Osimo (Italy);

15) in the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Eminent Cardinals: Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon (Myanmar); Ricardo Blazquez Perez, Archbishop of Valladolid (Spain); José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, Bishop of David (Panama);

16) in the Pontifical Council for Social Communications,  the Eminent Cardinals: Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon (Portugal); Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, Archbishop of Bangkok (Thailand);

17) in the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, his Eminence Cardinal Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, Archbishop of Montevideo (Uruguay).