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)

 

POPE GIVES FINAL CATECHESIS ON MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY, ASKS FOR PRAYERS FOR APOSTOLIC TRIP – PAPAL ADVISORS LOOK AT CREATING NEW CONGREGATIONS – POPE FRANCIS AND MOSES IN THE U.S. CONGRESS

POPE GIVES FINAL CATECHESIS ON MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY, ASKS FOR PRAYERS FOR APOSTOLIC TRIP

We are just days away from Pope Francis’ departure for Cuba and the United States on what will be his 10th foreign trip and his longest apostolic trip to date. Remarkably, at the age of 78, this marks his first ever visit to both countries. He was in Cuba only once before but, as he said in a recent interview, it was only a stopover in the Havana airport.

The Holy Father Wednesday at the general audience spoke about his impending trip, saying, “it is a mission to which I am going with great hope. The principle reason for the voyage is the Eighth World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Philadelphia. I will also be going to the central headquarters of the United Nations on the 70th anniversary of its institution. I greet the Cuban and the American people who, guided by their Pastors, have prepared themselves spiritually for the visit.” He invoked the “light and strength of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of Mary Most Holy, the Patroness of Cuba under the title of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, and the Patroness of America under the title of the Immaculate Conception.” (photo news.va)

AG  SEPT 16

The Holy Father opened the general audience by noting that, “today we conclude our series of catecheses on marriage and the family.” He began the lengthy series on the family on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, shortly after the October extraordinary synod on the family and ends it now, just weeks before the 2015 ordinary synod on the family.

Pope Francis mentioned two significant international events during today’s catechesis: the World Meeting of Families next week in Philadelphia, and the Synod of Bishops here in Rome. “Both have a global reach, which corresponds both to the universal dimension of Christianity and to the universal scope of the fundamental and indispensable human community of the family.”

“In these past months,” he said, “guided by God’s Word, we have reflected on the perennial value of the covenant between man and woman for the future of the entire human family. In the Creator’s plan, marriage and the family have an essential role in shaping an ever more humane political, economic and social life. This role is all the more critical today, in a society increasingly subject to technology and to forms of economic colonization which subordinate ethics to profits. From the beginning, God entrusted His creation to man and woman.”

“A new alliance of man and woman would seem not only necessary,” said the Pope, “but also strategic for the emancipation of peoples from their colonisation by money. This alliance must once again guide politics, the economy and civil coexistence. It decides the habitability of the earth, the transmission of the sentiment of life, and the bonds of memory and hope.”

“Of this alliance, the matrimonial-familiar community of man and woman is its generative grammar, its ‘golden bond’, so to speak. Faith draws upon knowledge of God’s creation: He entrusted to the family not only the care of intimacy for its own sake, but also the project of making the entire world domestic. It is precisely the family that is at the origin and the base of this worldwide culture that saves us: it saves us from many attacks, many forms of destruction, and many forms of colonisation, for instance by money and ideologies, that so threaten the world. The family is a base from which we defend ourselves.”

Pope Francis concluded: “The promise God makes to man and woman, at the origin of history, includes all human beings, up to the end of history. If we have enough faith, the families of the peoples of the world will recognize themselves in this blessing. In any case, may whoever allows him- or herself to be moved by this vision, regardless of the people, nation, or religion to which he or she belongs, walk with us and become our brother or sister, without proselytism. Let us walk together under this blessing and with God’s aim to make us all brothers and sisters in life in a world that goes ahead and that is born precisely of the family, the union of man and woman.”

PAPAL ADVISORS LOOK AT CREATING NEW CONGREGATIONS

(Vatican Radio) During a press briefing this morning, Fr. Federico, Lombardi, SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office presented the following summary of the 11th Meeting of the Council of Cardinals – the so-called C9 – with the Holy Father.  The meeting took place from Monday to Wednesday of this week. The proposal for a new Congregation, provisionally entitled “Laity, Family and Life,” was again taken into consideration. In this regard Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, designated by the Holy Father in recent months to prepare a study on the feasibility of the project, was heard. At the end of their reflections the Council presented to the Pope a proposal orientated towards the implementation of the project.

Consideration of the proposal for a second new Congregation dedicated to “Charity, Justice and Peace” was resumed and further reflections were made without yet reaching, however, a conclusive proposal by the Council.

The cardinals went on to reflect on the procedures for the appointment of new bishops, specifically on the qualities and requisites for candidates in view of the needs of today’s world, and on the related issue of information gathering. Naturally the theme will need to be explored further and developed in collaboration with the competent dicasteries concerned.

Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the new Secretariat for Communication reported to the Council on the first steps taken so far and in particular on the appointment of a group to draw up the statutes for the new dicastery. The working group has been constituted and has already commenced activity. It is made up of representatives of the institutes variously involved. The statutes, while taking into account the progressive phase of consolidating the different entities that will form the Secretariat, defines the structure of the dicastery as “definitive,” Particular attention will be given to evaluating legal and administrative aspects of the communication activities of the Holy See. The regulations will subsequently be drafted and issued.

The cardinal advisors expressed their unanimous appreciation and stressed that, despite the progressive nature of the work, precise guidance must be given to the institutions involved so that, as the Motu Proprio requires, the reform can make decisive progress towards integration and unitary management.

The theme proposed during the last session of the C9 regarding issues linked to the abuse of minors was again taken into consideration. The matter of how to implement proposals was explored in further depth, especially with regard to the possibility of accelerating the resolution of the many cases still pending.

A draft Preamble of the new Constitution was also re-evaluated. Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga was absent for health reasons. The next session of the Council is scheduled to be held from December 10 to 12.

POPE FRANCIS AND MOSES IN THE U.S. CONGRESS

Father Federico Lombardi, at a briefing yesterday for the media on Pope Francis’ trip to Cuba and the United States, at one point made a comment about an email he received from a journalist who wrote that when Pope Francis addresses a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber next week, he will be facing a portrait of Moses.

I found that rather curious so explored the matter further and found an extemely interesting website about the Architect of the Capitol (http://www.aoc.gov/facts/capitol-hill#question-531) and the 23 relief portrait plaques found in the Chamber of the House of Representatives. Here is what I learned:

The 23 marble relief portraits over the gallery doors of the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol depict historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law. They were installed when the chamber was remodeled in 1949-1950.

Created in bas relief of white Vermont marble by seven different sculptors, the plaques each measure 28 inches in diameter. The 11 profiles in the eastern half of the chamber face left and the 11 in the western half face right, so that all look towards the full-face relief of Moses in the center of the north wall.

MOSES - US congress

The subjects of the reliefs were chosen by scholars from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia Historical Society of Washington, D.C., in consultation with authoritative staff members of the Library of Congress. The selection was approved by a special committee of five Members of the House of Representatives and the Architect of the Capitol.

The plaster models for these reliefs are on display on the walls in the Rayburn House Office Building subway terminal.

The 23 Relief Portraits: You will note that 22 are in profile, 11 looking east and 11 looking west, while Moses looks on, full face. The historical lawgivers depicted in these portraits are George Mason, Robert Joseph Pothier, Jean Baptiste Colbert, Edward I, Alfonso X, Gregory IX, Saint Louis, Justinian I, Tribonian, Lycurgus Hammurabi, Moses, Solon, Papinian, Gaius, Maimonides, Suleiman, Innocent III, Simon de Montfort, Hugo Grotius, Sir William Blackstone, Napoleon I, and Thomas Jefferson. (not all 23 are in this photo I took from the website of the Architect of the Capitol. How many of the names do you know? I could not identify some of these lawmakers):

LAWMAKER RELIEFS

 

 

 

IN BRIEF (MORE OR LESS)

Today was a very busy day for Pope Francis, and will only end when his 6 p.m. meeting with the Cursillos Movement (underway as I write) ends. A lot of news today so I offer the top stories in a more or less shortened form.

Tomorrow, May 1, feast of St. Joseph, is Labor Day in Italy and a huge holiday in both Italy and the Vatican. Pope Francis’ sole scheduled activity is a video link at noon with Expo Milan 2015 to participate in opening this 184-day long exposition on the theme: “Feeding the Planet, energy for life.” I’ll bring you that story and any other breakling news and will update you on this week’s “Vatican Insider.”

And now, on to the news:

IN BRIEF (MORE OR LESS)

POPE FRANCIS ON THURSDAY ADRESSED members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission – known as ARCIC – and told them the cause of unity is not an option undertaking. The 18 Anglican and Catholic members of the commission, known as ARCIC III, are holding their annual meeting this week outside Rome. ARCIC was founded after an historic meeting in 1966 between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury – the first since the Reformation and the Church of England’s breakaway from Rome. And thus the Anglican-Catholic dialogue was started. (photos: news.va)

ARCIC

The Pope said: “There is a strong bond that already unites us which goes beyond all divisions. It is the testimony of Christians from different Churches and traditions, victims of persecution and violence simply because of the faith they profess. And not only now, that there are many of them; I think also of the martyrs of Uganda, half Catholics and half Anglicans. The blood of these martyrs will nourish a new era of ecumenical commitment, a fervent desire to fulfil the last will and testament of the Lord: that all may be one. The witness by these our brothers and sisters demands that we live in harmony with the Gospel and that we strive with determination to fulfil the Lord’s will for his Church. Today the world urgently needs the common, joyful witness of Christians, from the defence of life and human dignity to the promotion of justice and peace.”

NEW COMMISSION INSTITUTED TO STUDY REFORM OF VATICAN COMMUNICATIONS (VIS) – During the April 13-15 meeting of the Council of Cardinals who assist the Holy Father in the governance of the universal Church and the reform of the Roman Curia, the final report of the committee charged with proposing a reform of Vatican communications, the so-called Vatican Media Committee (VMC), was examined. The C9 subsequently proposed to Pope Francis the institution of a commission to study this final report and to suggest feasible approaches to its implementation. The Pope accepted the proposal and, on April 23, instituted the commission and appointed its members. Commission chairman is Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Center.

MSGR DARIO VIGANO

Members are Paolo Nusiner, director general of “Avvenire” daily newspaper, Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, head of the Vatican Internet Service, Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” and Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

POPE FRANCIS SENT A TELEGRAM of condolences to Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar for Rome, upon learning of the death Thursday at the age of 97 of Cardinal Giovanni Canestri. He was archbishop of Genoa, Italy from 1987 to 1995. Originally from the diocese of Alessandria, the late cardinal belonged to the clergy of Rome and was at one point an auxiliary bishop there. Francis wrote, in part: “The passing of the venerated cardinal elicits in my heart profound emotion and sincere admiration for an esteemed man of the Church who lived with humility and devotion his long and fruitful priesthood and episcopate in the service of the Gospel and of the souls entrusted to him.”

THURSDAY MORNING POPE FRANCIS WELCOMED TWO CATHOLIC ASSOCIATIONS, the Community of Christian Life in Italy and the Missionary League for Italian Students.  He asked them – and Italian Catholics, through these organizations –  to spread a culture of justice and peace, support families in difficulties and show solidarity with the world’s poorest and most needy.  In fact, the two have come together to work on a joint project calling for greater support on the part of Europe in welcoming migrants from overseas and to help Christians in Syria.

THE POPE ALSO WELCOMED President James Alix Michel of the Republic of the Seychelles.

POPE-SEYCHELLES

AT 6 P.M. THURSDAY IN THE PAUL VI HALL, the Pope met with members of the Cursillos in ChristianityCursillos de Cristiandad (meaning “short course in Christianity”). Cursillos is an apostolic movement founded in Majorca, Spain by a group of lay people in 1944 seeking to refine a technique to train pilgrimage Christian leaders. The Cursillo focuses on showing Christian lay people how to become effective Christian leaders over the course of a three-day weekend. The weekend includes fifteen talks – known as “rollos” – some given by priests and some by lay people. The major emphasis of the weekend is to ask participants to take what they have learned back into the world, on what is known as the “fourth day.” The method stresses personal spiritual development, as accelerated by weekly group reunion (after the weekend). Cursillos always operates within a diocese with the permission and blessing of the bishop.

VATICAN PRESS CONFERENCE (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the concert organized to support the Pope’s charitable work. It will take place on May 14, solemnity of the Ascension, at 6 p.m. in the Paul VI Hall. The concert will be conducted by Maestro Daniel Oren and performed by the Philarmonic Orchestra of Salerno, Italy, together with the choir of the diocese of Rome led by Msgr. Marco Frisina. The event is sponsored by the Papal Almoner, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, and the St. Matthew Foundation, in memory of Cardinal Van-Thuan, and unites culture with charitable concerns. For the occasion, the donations gathered will be entirely donated to the office of the Apostolic Almoner, the dicastery responsible for the Pope’s charity. The evening’s protagonists are the most needy, the poor and the sick, who will occupy the front rows and have been invited through charitable and voluntary associations: the Great Priory of Rome and the Order of Malta, the Circle of St. Peter, diocesan Caritas, the Sant’Egidio Community and the Centro Astalli, which assists migrants and refugees, the Daughters of Charity and other associations present in the diocese of Rome.