POPE FRANCIS: GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS SOURCE OF HOPE – C9 OFFERS SERIOUS PROPOSALS FOR DECENTRALIZATION OF ROMAN CURIA

One of my favorite days during the years has always been June 14 when we celebrate Flag Day in America. Maybe because it was just as summer began and summer was marked by vacation time, bar-b-ques, beach parties and cookouts, July 4th and our independence. Everywhere you went, you’d find an American flag; wherever a flag could be hung or unfurled or simply placed in the sand at a beach, there it was, the Stars and Stripes.

There were then and are today rules for displaying the flag. I remember always having a flag on our home. We took it down at night because a flag could not be displayed at night unless a light was shining on it.

My heart breaks today when I read of people being unable to display the US flag at their home because of homeowers association regulations, or regulations from some other group.

Today I wish all my fellow Americans a Happy Flag Day, whether it is waving in the wind at your home or you are wearing a flag pin.

POPE FRANCIS: GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS SOURCE OF HOPE

Before he began today’s general audience just before 9:30 in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis paid a visit to the Paul VI Hall to greet sick people and their family members.

According to Vatican Radio which records such papal remarks, the Holy Father greeted to the sick, “Good morning to you all! Please be seated, be seated… Today we will hold the audience in two different places, but we will be joined by the maxi-screen, and so you will be more comfortable here, because in the square it is very hot! It will be a Turkish bath today!

“Thank you very much for coming,” continued the Pope, “And afterwards, listen to what I will say, but with the heart joined to those who are in the square: the Church is like this. A group here, a group there, but all united. And who unites the Church? The Holy Spirit. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to unite us all here today, in this audience. Veni, Sancte Spiritus … Our Father… Hail Mary…

”And now, I give you my blessing……Thank you, and pray for me! Do not forget! And we will continue to see each other…

A half hour later, Francis reached St. Peter’s Square, addressing groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and around the world on the theme of Christian hope.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” he began. “In our catechesis on Christian hope, we have found the source of that hope in God’s unconditional love, revealed for us in the coming of the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  None of us can live without love. Happiness comes from the experience of knowing love, freely given and received.

Francis went on to say, in very comforting words, “So much unhappiness in our world is born of the feeling of not being loved for our own sake.  Faith teaches us that God loves us with an infinite love, not for any merit of our own, but out of his sheer goodness.  Even when we stray from him, God seeks us out, like the merciful father in the parable of the prodigal son, offers us forgiveness, and restores us to his embrace.

The Pope explained that, “In the words of Saint Paul: ‘While we still were sinners, Christ died for us’ so that we might become beloved sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.  Through the resurrection of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Spirit, we become sharers in God’s own life of love.  May all of us find in God’s embrace the promise of new life and freedom.  For in his love is the source of all our hope.”

C9 OFFERS SERIOUS PROPOSALS FOR DECENTRALIZATION OF ROMAN CURIA

 At 13.00 today, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, gave a briefing on the twentieth meeting of the Council of Cardinals attended by the Holy Father Francis. The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for three days: Monday 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June. All members of the Council were present apart from Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Pope Francis was absent this morning owing to the general audience.

The working sessions took place in the morning from 9.00 to 12.30, and in the afternoon from 16.30 to 19.00, and were dedicated to further consideration of the ways in which the Roman Curia can better serve the local Churches. For example, a larger consultation board made up also of members from consecrated life and the laity, for candidates proposed for appointment as bishop.

Among other proposals, the possibility of transferring some functions from the Roman Dicasteries to the local bishops or episcopal councils, in a spirit of healthy decentralization. For example, the transfer from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Episcopal Conference for examination and authorization for: the priestly ordination of an unmarried permanent deacon; the passage to new marriage for a widowed permanent deacon; the request for priestly ordination by a widowed permanent deacon.

The Cardinals gave further consideration to various Dicasteries of the Curia, in particular the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The Council studied and reread texts proposed for submission to the Holy Father regarding the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue; the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches; the Dicastery for Legislative Texts; and three tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

Cardinal George Pell provided an update on the work of the Secretariat for the Economy, of which he is the president. Particular attention was paid to the steps ahead made in the process of planning of economic resources and in monitoring financial plans for the first trimester of 2017 which have substantially confirmed, with few exceptions, the budget data. Shortly the budget process will begin for 2018, and the monitoring for the second trimester of 2017.

The prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, presented a report on the state of the reform of the communication system of the Holy See; he illustrated the economic and management progress of the SPC, demonstrating positive results. He then explained the projects in the realization phase of the new communication system, in accordance with the Holy Father’s recent address on the occasion of the Dicastery’s first Plenary.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place on 11, 12 and 14 September 2017. (Holy See Press Office)

 

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POPE FRANCIS, A SURPRISE VISITOR TO VANCOUVER TED CONFERENCE – BRIEFING HELD AS C9 CARDINALS END THREE-DAY MEETING

POPE FRANCIS, A SURPRISE VISITOR TO VANCOUVER TED CONFERENCE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has broken new ground in the way he communicates his message when the first-ever papal TED Talk went on line.

TED is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of short talks. What began in 1984 as a conference covering Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED), today provides talks from a wide range of different speakers – except popes. Until today,according to Sean Lovett of Vatican Radio.

He wrote that, “those of us following TED’s annual Conference in Vancouver had been promised a surprise ‘world figure’ who would deliver his 18-minute message on the conference theme, ‘The Future You’, alongside tennis superstar, Serena Williams, entrepreneur, Elon Musk, and chess champion, Garry Kasparov.

But no one expected to see the Pope’s face appear on the screen. (photo) news.va)

“I very much like this title – ‘The Future You’”, began Pope Francis, “because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at the future through a ‘you’…The future is made of you’s…because life flows through our relations with others”.

Speaking in his typically personal and informal style, the Pope reminded us of how “everything is connected” and of how “life is about interactions”. “None of us is an autonomous and independent ‘I’”, he said. “We can only build the future by standing together, including everyone”.

His second message regarded “educating people to a true solidarity” in order to overcome the “culture of waste” that puts products at the centre of techno-economic systems, instead of people. “The other has a face”, he said. “The ‘you’ is…a person to take care of”.

The Pope illustrated his point by quoting Mother Teresa and the parable of the Good Samaritan, before going on to talk about Hope – which he described as “a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree”. “A single individual is enough for hope to exist”, he said. “And that individual can be you”.

Pope Francis’ third and final message was dedicated to what he called “the revolution of tenderness”. Tenderness means “being on the same level as the other”, he said. It is not weakness, but strength: “the path of solidarity…of humility”. And through humility, even power becomes a service and a force for good.

The Pope concluded by affirming that the future of humankind is not in the hands of politicians or big companies but, most of all, in the hands of those people “who recognize the other as a ‘you’ and themselves as part of an ‘us’”. Because: “We all need each other”.

Listen to the English-dubbed version of the Pope’s TED talk (appears at end of written summary of papal talk): http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-gives-ted-talk-we-build-future-togeth

BRIEFING HELD AS C9 CARDINALS END THREE-DAY MEETING

(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, held a briefing for the press on the 19th meeting of the cardinals who are advisors to Pope Francis.

The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for three days, starting on Monday. All of the members of the council were present. Pope Francis was absent from the morning meeting on Wednesday due to the general audience.

The working sessions took place from 9 am to 12:30 pm and again from 16:30 to 19:00. They were dedicated to further considerations on the various dicasteries of the Roman Curia. In particular, discussions continued on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide), and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. The Cardinals also considered texts to propose to the Holy Father regarding the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; and three tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

During the meetings, the council also studied the selection and formation of the personnel in the service of the Holy See, both clerics and members of the lay faithful. Officials and superiors from the Secretariat of State, from the Council for the Economy, and from the Labor Office of the Holy See took part in the discussions. Archbishops Angelo Becciu, Paul Richard Gallagher, and Jan Romeo Pawłowski were present on behalf of the Secretariat of State. For the Council for the Economy, in addition to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Prof. Franco Vermiglio, a member of the Council, spoke at the meeting. Bishop Giorgio Corbellini and a lawyer, Salvatore Vecchio addressed the cardinals for the Labor Office.

Another important theme treated by the council was the relationship between the Episcopal Conferences and the Roman Curia. Cardinal George Pell gave an update on the work of the Secretariat for the Economy, of which he is the President, with special attention to the review of the budget for the current year. Cardinal Seán O’Malley updated the council on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of minors, focussing especially on the programme of global education, the last plenary assembly, and the visits to various dicasteries.

The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place June 12-14.

C9 CARDINALS EXPRESS FULL SUPPORT FOR PERSON, TEACHING OF POPE – AT ANGELUS, POPE LOOKS AT MURDER, ADULTERY, OATH-TAKING

C9 CARDINALS EXPRESS FULL SUPPORT FOR PERSON, TEACHING OF POPE

The Cardinals Council today began its eighteenth session. They will be meeting until Wednesday of this week. At the beginning of this morning’s meetings at the Domus Sanctae Marthae Cardinal, Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the group, after greeting the Holy Father, thanked him on behalf of all the Members for his words in the Christmas address to the Roman Curia last December 22, 2016, expressing gratitude for the Pope’s encouragement of the work of the Council of Cardinals. Regarding recent events, the Council of Cardinals expressed its full support for the work of the Pope, while ensuring full adhesion and support of His person and His Magisterium.

December 2016 address: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2016/12/22/0927/02060.html

AT ANGELUS, POPE LOOKS AT MURDER, ADULTERY, OATH-TAKING

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered a meditation on the Sermon on the Mount, speaking about how Jesus wishes to help his listeners to reflect on the Mosaic Law.

“What was said in the ancient Covenant was not everything,” the Holy Father explained. “Jesus came to fulfil and promulgate God’s law definitively, to the last iota. He manifests its original purposes and fulfils the authentic aspects, and He does all this through His preaching and, even more so, with the offer of Himself on the cross. In this way Jesus teaches how to carry out fully the will of God, with a ‘higher justice’ than that of the scribes and the Pharisees. A justice inspired by love, charity and mercy, and therefore capable of realising the substance of the commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism. Formalism: I can do this, I can’t do that; I can up to this point, up to here I can’t… No. It is more, more”.

With regard to the commandment, “You shall not kill, He affirms that it is violated not only by effective homicide, but also by behaviour that offends the dignity of the person, including insulting words. “Certainly, these do not have the same gravity and culpability as killing, but they are on the same line, as they are its premises and reveal the same malevolence,” the Pope observed.

“Jesus invites us not to establish a scale of offence, but rather to consider them all harmful, inasmuch as they are motivated by the intention to do harm to our neighbour.

And Jesus gives us an example. Insulting: we are used to insulting; it is like saying ‘hello’ And this is along the same lines as killing. When we insult our brother, we kill him in his heart. Please, do not insult! We gain nothing by insulting.”

Another fulfilment is related to matrimonial law. “Adultery was considered a violation of a man’s right of ownership over a woman. Jesus instead goes to the root of the evil. Just as one arrives at homicide through insults and offence, one arrives at adultery through the intentions of possession with regard to a woman other than one’s wife. Adultery, like theft, corruption and other sins, is conceived first within and, once the wrong decision is made in the heart, it is made manifest in concrete behaviour. And Jesus says: he who looks at a woman who is not his own with the spirit of possession is an adulterer in his heart. He has already set out on the path to adultery. Let us think a little about this: the evil thoughts that head in this direction”.

”Jesus also says to His disciples not to take an oath, in as much as the oath is a sign of the insecurity and duplicity of human relations. God’s authority is exploited to guarantee our human affairs. Instead, we are called to establish among us, in our families and in our communities, an atmosphere of clarity and mutual trust, so that we can be considered sincere without resorting to higher interventions to be believed. Diffidence and mutual suspicion always threaten serenity!”

“May the Virgin Mary, woman of docile listening and joyous obedience”, he concluded, “help us draw ever closer to the Gospel, to be Christians of substance, not superficial. “And this is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Who enables us to do everything with love, and thereby to carry out fully the will of God”.

C9 CARDINALS FOCUS ON MISSIONARY THRUST, SYNODALITY – POPE DEDICATES AUDIENCE TO HOPE, THANKS WELL-WISHERS FOR BIRTHDAY GREETINGS

Pope Francis tweeted today: Now is the time to unleash the creativity of mercy, to bring about new undertakings, the fruit of grace.

Some special news: In a video that lasts only seconds but is quite meaningful, Pope Francis wished Merry Christmas in sign language to all those hard of hearing, asking them to pray for him. The video can be found on the Twitter account of Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, one of the Holy Father’s private secretaries. Msgr. Yoannis is Coptic Catholic and is from Egypt. Previously, in the May 26 general audience, Pope Francis greeted the deaf in sign language. About 60 people from Italy’s national association for the deaf were present that day. (https://twitter.com/AbunaYoannis)

C9 CARDINALS FOCUS ON MISSIONARY THRUST, SYNODALITY

(Vatican Radio) The Council of 9 Cardinals met this week in the Vatican from Monday, December 12 to Wednesday, December 14. Holy See Press Office director, Greg Burke held a briefing on Wednesday to inform journalists of the work done during the sessions.

c9-cardinals

Two key issues emerged as guidelines for the reform of the Curial dicasteries: missionary thrust and synodality.

The cardinals have concluded their study of other departments (Doctrine of the Faith, Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Causes of Saints and Promotion of Christian Unity) and delivered their final proposal to the Holy Father.

Considerable time was devoted to the projects of the two new dicasteries.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell spoke of the Congregation for Laity, Family and Life as of which he is Prefect. The discussion focused on the role of the laity, with an invitation to all to re-read the letter of Pope Francis to Card. Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Cardinal Peter Turkson presented the work plan for the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, which combines four offices: Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Health Care, and Migrants and Itinerant People. Card. Turkson was accompanied by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, who explained the new department as an implementation of the conciliar Constitution Gaudium et Spes.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley presented the most recent activities of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, while Cardinal George Pell reported on the latest developments related to the Secretariat for the Economy.

The afternoon of Wednesday, December 14th, was to be devoted to a presentation by Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, detailing the steps taken and those coming for the reform of the Holy See’s communications apparatus, with particular attention to personnel training.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for February 13 – 15, 2017.

POPE DEDICATES AUDIENCE TO HOPE, THANKS WELL-WISHERS FOR BIRTHDAY GREETINGS

Pope Francis Wednesday at the general audience in the Paul VI Hall continued his new catechesis on the virtue of Christian hope, saying the Kingdom brought by Jesus at his birth calls us to be joyful heralds in a world that “yearns for justice, truth, and peace.”

Citing the words of the prophet Isaiah: “How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of the one bringing good news,” the Pope said these words help us prepare for the coming feast of Christmas by opening ourselves to the hope of salvation. Isaiah, said Francis, “calls God’s people to rejoice, for the Lord is near, bringing freedom from exile and the promise of renewal and redemption for the faithful “remnant” who continued to hope in his word.

The Holy Father explained that God’s kingdom means that, “God has not abandoned His people and has not let them be overcome by evil, because He is faithful and His grace is greater than sin… And the fulfillment of so much love will be exactly the Kingdom established by Jesus, that Kingdom of pardon and peace, which we celebrate at Christmas and which is manifested conclusively in Easter.”

“These,” he said, “are the reasons for our hope. When all seems over, when in the face of so many negative realities faith grows weary and the temptation to say that all has lost meaning comes, rather, [look to] the good news brought by those quick feet: God is coming to make something new, to establish a kingdom of peace. God has ‘extended His arm’ and brings liberty and consolation.”

“This,” he concluded, “is the surprise of a child God, of a poor God, of a weak God, of a God who abandons His greatness in order to draw near to each of us.”

At the end of the weekly audience, in off the cuff remarks during his greetings to Italian pilgrims, Pope Francis thanked those who had sent greetings and best wishes to him for his upcoming 80th birthday on Saturday.

ag-dec-14

He also joked that that, in his native Argentina, it is thought that, “Those, who offer birthday congratulations ahead of time, are jinxes!”

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.

pope-confirms

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.

C9 CARDINALS WORK TOWARDS NEW APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION – THERE WAS ALSO THIS…..

C9 CARDINALS WORK TOWARDS NEW APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION

The Vatican today released a summary of the three days of work by the C9, the Council of 9 cardinals who are advisors to the Pope:

C9

The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father from Monday, April 11 to Wednesday, April 13. All members were present apart from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India, who was unable to attend for health reasons. The Pope participated in all the meetings aside from this morning’s session, due to the usual Wednesday general audience.

The conversations focused mostly on the various dicasteries of the Curia that have been the subject of reflection in previous meetings, with a view to the new apostolic constitution. These included the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and others.

The texts regarding the Holy Father’s proposal for the two new dicasteries referred to on other occasions – “Laity, Family, Life” and “Justice, Peace, Migrations” (also including Charity and Health Pastoral Care) were reread and submitted to the Holy Father for his decisions.

Other issues were considered: in particular, the criteria for gathering information for the appointment of new bishops, in the light of their identity and pastoral mission. The cardinals also reflected on the meaning and role of the nuncio.

Updates were also presented in the form of reports from the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy on issues within its sphere of competence, and from Cardinal O’Malley on the activity of the Commission for the Protection of Minors.

On the final day the Council worked to gather, order and integrate the various contributions that have emerged from the meetings so far, so as to begin to structure an overall proposal to offer to the Pope from the Council in view of the new Constitution.

The next meetings of the Council this year are scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 June, 12 to 14 September, and 12 to 14 December.

THERE WAS ALSO THIS…..

THE 30,000 FAITHFUL IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE for the weekly General Audience included Spanish film star Antonio Banderas. Accompanied by his girlfriend, Nicole Kimpel, Banderas was greeted personally by Pope Francis at the end of his catechesis and after having made an appeal for prayers for his upcoming visit to the Greek island of Lesbos in solidarity with refugees fleeing conflict. After the meeting Banderas tweeted: ‘nice chat with Pope Francis before we start filming in Rome’. Ahead of the audience he had let his followers know he was excited and looking forward to the meeting. Antonio Banderas is United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador. (Vatican Radio)

THE TRIAL FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF RESERVED INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS resumed today at 10 am in Vatican City State Tribunal, according to the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi.. It was attended by the 4 members of the Tribunal, the 2 Promoters of Justice and the defendants Ángel Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, Nicola Maio, (journalists) Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, with their respective legal representatives. The hearing was dedicated entirely to the interrogation of the defendant Gianluigi Nuzzi by the President, the Promoter of Justice, and the counsels for the defence of the other defendants. Some lawyers requested that the Court admit certain witnesses other than those already previously requested and admitted. The Court retired to the Counsel Chamber and subsequently refused the requests for new witnesses. The hearing ended at around 2.15 p.m. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on April 26 at 3.30 p.m. Since the interrogation of the defendants has now been concluded, the examination of witnesses will take place. (Press Office Bulletin)

 

SHAKESPEARE TO BE PERFORMED IN VATICAN FOR FIRST TIME

FYI-1: This morning, the C9, the Council of 9 Cardinals who are advisors to the Pope, met for the 14th time with the Holy Father Francis. The council is scheduled to meet for three days.

FYI-2: Many of you have written me and some have even phoned, to ask why VIS, Vatican Information Service, is no longer part of the news.va website. I do know that an avalanche of protests and questions about the defunct daily news service, so very necessary to so very many people, have also come in to the Vatican.

To access the press office bulletin in English:

  1. Go to www.vatican.va
  2. In the upper right hand corner, select ENGLISH.
  3. Click on DAILY BULLETIN OF THE HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE
  4. In the top right hand corner of the Bulletin, you will see IT / EN / ES. If you then click on ‘EN’ this will take you to a summary of the Bollettino in English – the same as the VIS we all know.

FYI-3: By the way, when you go to http://w2.vatican.va the first thing you will see is a picture with Pope Francis and a family and the words AMORIS LAETITIA. Click on the image to access the entire Apostolic Exhortation.

SHAKESPEARE TO BE PERFORMED IN VATICAN FOR FIRST TIME

(Vatican Radio) For two years, a production of Hamlet has been travelling the world to mark the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. The tour is a project of the Globe theatre in London, and is called, appropriately enough, Globe to Globe.

So far Hamlet has been performed in over 170 countries, to more than 100,000 people and travelled over 180,000 miles. (http://globetoglobe.shakespearesglobe.com/)

And this Wednesday, it is scheduled to be performed in the world’s smallest country: The Vatican.(Hamlet rehearsal, photo news.va)

HAMLET rehearsal

The performance has been arranged by the British Embassy to the Holy See with the cooperation of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

“They approached the Holy See about the possibility of finding a venue, and the possibility of putting on Hamlet,” said Bishop Paul Tighe, adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. “There was immediately a very warm response to the initiative.”

This is the first time Shakespeare has been performed in the Vatican, and the performance will take place in the extraterritorial Palazzo della Cancelleria, which houses the Holy See’s main judicial offices.

Bishop Tighe said the performance recognizes the significance Shakespeare has for world culture.

“I think it is fair to say that Shakespeare is one of the classics,” he told Vatican Radio.

“He is one of the people who has helped to form global culture” – Bishop Tighe said. – “His work is recognized as something that raises the real questions about what does it mean to be human, about the potential of human beings to achieve greatness, at the same time the tragedy of when human life goes badly.”

Even when his work is not overtly religious, Shakespeare helps draw viewers and readers to consider the questions that can lead to spiritual matters.

“He opens up extraordinary universal themes, and I think in opening up those themes, even for people who mightn’t be explicitly religious, or mightn’t even  be open to religious ideas, they are inevitably obliged to confront larger questions about the meaning and purpose of life,” Bishop Tighe said.

“I think I would say it’s not so much what he gives to religious culture, as he asks the right questions and provokes and stimulates the right sort of questions, that then allow people to go that little bit deeper, which is where probably we can begin to talk about religion and views of transcendence,” he continued.

Moreover, Bishop Tighe said William Shakespeare was formed by the culture in which he lived, and this is reflected in his work.

“I think he was profoundly Christian,” he said. “His worldview was shaped by his Christian beliefs.”

(FYI-4: As background, here is an article by UK Ambassador Nigel Baker for L’Osservatore Romano on Shakespeare at the Vatican: http://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/news/almost-diplomatic-incident

The Hamlet performance on April 13 is open to invited guests only. There is a press conference for media the afternoon of the play. Follow Shakespeare at the Vatican on twitter, via @UKinHolySee @WorldHamlet; hashtag  #GlobeToVatican)