Pope Francis has been meeting today with his council of cardinal advisors, now numbering 6 prelates instead of the original 9. It has been a quiet day here (including a public transportation strike), and pretty much the only noise you hear are fans and AC running to combat the high temperatures.

Warnings are out about high temps expected this week in France in particular where the 2019 FIFA women’s soccer tournament is being played.

A months-long super heat wave in 2003 went down in the history books, as you can see from this wikipedia report from various news sources: The 2003 European heat wave led to the hottest summer on record in Europe since at least 1540.France was hit especially hard. The heat wave led to health crises in several countries and combined with drought to create a crop shortfall in parts of Southern Europe. Peer-reviewed analysis places the European death toll at more than 70,000. The predominant heat was recorded in July and August, partly a result of the western European seasonal lag from the maritime influence of the Atlantic warm waters in combination with hot continental air and strong southerly winds.

I have actually not been out of the house today. I am awaiting confirmation of a late afternoon or early evening appointment but other than that will probably not venture out.

I did go to a concert last night at the Anglican church of St. Paul’s Within the Walls with my friend, Marie, who works for Air Canada and was in town for the night. We were treated to some opera arias and then listened to a stunning rendition of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with a wonderfully talented stringed sextet.

(Someday, one of the systems I try to use to enlarge photos will work!)

There were fans but no AC inside the church. The fans were turned off for the soprano but back on (mercifully!) for Vivaldi! The doors for the 8:30 concert opened at 7:30 and guests were served a very small plate of pasta “arrabbiata” as soon as you stepped inside. That was included in the ticket price but water or wine was extra. The water was a blessing, for sure! A late and light meal at La Vittoria, sitting outside with a hint of a breeze, topped off the day,


The following communiqué was issued yesterday afternoon by D.VA, Women in the Vatican, an official Vatican association, regarding the incident in Austria that occurred between the Vatican women’s soccer team and a team from Austria on June 22:
“Following the ugly episode that took place on Saturday 22 June in Vienna, which saw the cancellation of the (soccer) match between the female team of the Vatican and its Austrian rival, the Women in the Vatican Association expresses regret and regret over the incident.

“As you know, the newly-formed Vatican team was forced to give up the scheduled game with the FC Mariahilf team due to an unfortunate and unpleasant provocation. The exploitation of the sports meeting not only offended the components of the Vatican formation, and the Vatican itself represented by it, but damaged the very idea of sport, fair competition between opponents, not enemies.

“Taking advantage of a football match to contest the well-known positions of the Catholic Church in support of life and sexuality with gestures, writings and banners was in fact an entirely inappropriate choice. But in what happened, we see something more: because it was women, even if not only, who put themselves against other women. We, women, would like to say to them that acceptance, capacity for dialogue, respect also for those with different ideas are qualities we must never give up, because they are part of our richness and diversity as women. A football field is certainly not the right place to lead an ideological battle but rather, as it has always been conceived, sport must be experienced as a place for meeting and promoting fraternity and peace. Otherwise the consequences are further closures and increasingly deeper separations.”


(EWTN/CNA).- Vienna’s FC Mariahilf (FCM) football team has issued a statement of regret after a friendly with the Vatican women’s football team was cancelled Saturday after several FCM members lifted their jerseys while the Vatican anthem was playing, displaying painted ovaries and pro-abortion messages.

The Vatican soccer team, who had been invited to Vienna by FCM, decided not to go ahead with the June 22 match.

“The action of the three players was independently organized and carried out,” FCM stated. “We sincerely apologize to the Vatican team’s players and guests from near and far that the game was not played.”

The club noted that, “tolerance, diversity, of life forms, and peaceful coexistence are important to us, as we have pointed out with rainbow symbols. We therefore understand the demands and message of our players, but we find the timing of their expression inappropriate and therefore understand the emotion it caused.”

The friendly was scheduled to kick off in the early afternoon in a sports arena in Wien-Simmering. Beforehand, both sides had participated in a prayer service and blessing of the pitch.

Austrian state broadcaster ORF quoted one of the FCM players involved in the protest as saying the activists were “not aware of the consequences of their action in any way and would have liked to play the football match”.

The activists also handed out leaflets to journalists attending the match. These stated that the activists did not assent to the Church’s teaching on abortion and same-sex marriage.

“They were not aware that the timing of the action during the playing of the Vatican anthem and in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio could be detrimental to the idea of sport and ruin many weeks of preparation,” reported the ORF.

When announcing the upcoming game, the German section of Vatican News reported FCM founder Ernst Lackner as saying he had initially not expected that the Vatican team would really accept the invitation, but that the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, had assured the Vatican team that FC Mariahilf was a serious team that was also strongly committed to charity.

The papal women’s football team had its first appearance in 2018 and immediately received an invitation from FCM, which is currently playing in the Wiener Landesliga, the third highest league in domestic women’s football



Yesterday afternoon some members of D.VA – Donne in Vaticano (Women in the Vatican) – met for Mass in the Church of Our Sorrowful Lady that is part of the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery. Our spiritual advisor, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, former head of Vatican Radio, Vatican Television and the Holy See Press Office, celebrated Mass.

Earlier in the morning, Pope Francis had named Fr. Lombardi as the moderator for the February 21-24 meeting in the Vatican of the heads of the world’s Episcopal conferences to discuss the clerical abuse scandal.

The pictorial sides of the main altar by Macrino d’Alba show the theme of the Pietà at the centre and sides – from left to right Saint Paul with Saint John the Baptist, Saint Anne with Mary, Jesus and the apostles Peter and James. The stone slab at the front part of the main altar is a typical example of a late archaic medieval style and most likely was originally part of an altar barrier.

Our Sorrowful Lady –

I have been to this church a number of times, occasionally just as part of a visit to this beautiful and historic cemetery, a few times for Mass and two years ago when I attended an ecumenical Christmas concert here in support of Christian refugees from Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. The guest of honor was Eliyo, the professional name of Sarah Ego, a Syrian Orthodox singer who was born in Augsburg, Germany. Sarah sang traditional German Christian chorals as well as several songs in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and the Apostles, Schubert’s Ave Maria in Latin and several Christmas carols in English.

Photos from that night in the Teutonic cemetery

The Teutonic Cemetery is found in the Vatican between St. Peter’s Basilica and the Paul VI Audience Hall. It is the oldest German establishment in Rome. The entire area is surrounded by a high wall and does not immediately draw one’s attention. However, even a rushed visitor will quickly be drawn by the charm of this plot of land so rich in history. In ancient Roman times Nero’s circus was found here and it was the site where many Christians were martyred. In 799 a Schola Francorum was spoken of for the first time. For this reason, on the wall of the building there is a ceramic depiction of Charlemagne as the founder. A clearer idea of its history came only in the mid-15th century when the Holy Year 1450 brought many pilgrims to Rome.

The cemetery and the church were in bad shape at that time, but both were soon rebuilt. In 1454 the German members of the Curia gathered together as a special as a confraternity that still exists today in a different form and is owner of the foundation.

In the last quarter of the 15th century the current structure of the church was built according to a style widely used in Germany at the time. In 1597 the confraternity was promoted to the “Archconfraternity of Our Lady” at the German Cemetery next to St. Peter’s. In 1876 a residence was built for priests studying Christian archaeology, church history and other similar fields. In 1888 the Roman Institute of the Goerres Society took up residence there with a library of around 35,000 books.

I try when possible to accompany friends to this beautiful final resting place.

Access to the church is by way of the cemetery and was completely renovated in restoration work from 1972-1975. The entryway was designed by Elmar Hillebrand (Cologne, Germany) and donated in 1957 by the President of the Republic of Germany Theodor Heuss. On the left door is a Madonna and Child underneath the Archconfraternity’s coat of arms, a mix of a two-headed eagle with the Pietà. The Resurrection is depicted on the right side.

The Swiss Chapel served as a burial place for the fallen guards after the Sack of Rome. The frescoed walls were painted by Polidor Caldara, a disciple of Raffaello, and are of very high quality. This is curtently being renovated

Given its special location, the Teutonic Cemetery has always received many requests for burial. According to the statutes, those who have a right to be buried here include members of the Archconfraternity, members of many religious houses of German origin and members of the two German colleges in Rome (the Anima and the Germanico). Prayer is open to all although visitors most often come to find the graves of famous people of ecclesiastical, artistic, political or diplomatic backgrounds:

Josef Anton Koch, landscape painter (+ 1839)
Ludwig Curtius, archaeologist (+ 1954)
Johann Baptist Anzer, first missionary bishop of the Divine Word Missionaries (+ 1903)
Joseph Spithöver, key promoter of German culture in Rome during the 19th century (+ 1870)
Stefan Andrei, writer (+ 1970)
Johann Martin von Wagner, archaeologist and artist (+ 1858)
Anton de Waal, first rector of the College (+ 1917)
Engelbert Kirschbaum, S.J., Archaeologist, key colleague in the discovery of Peter’s tomb (+ 1970)
Card. Gustavo von Hohenlohe (+ 1896)
Augustin Theiner, Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives (+ 1874).