The 10th World Meeting of Families (WMOF) opens on a diocesan level around the world tomorrow, including the diocese of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, and will run through Sunday, June 26. Concluding events are the papal Mass in St. Peter’s Square Saturday afternoon,  June 25 and the Angelus on Sunday, June 26.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, the principal organizing body, told Vatican news: “I believe that the pandemic certainly caused a great disruption in the pastoral life of the Church at all levels. And it was impossible for two years to gather groups of people together. It was impossible to organize in our churches, prayer meetings, conferences. It is therefore my hope that the World Meeting of Families that will take place in Rome will be an injection of vitamins into the Church.

“In the past,” he continued, “we invited many families. We knew that many families would not travel during this time, and especially if they had young children, out of fear… And so, we invited representatives from all the dioceses in the world. We have representatives from every continent. These are the people who were in charge of family life ministry in the different dioceses, churches, parishes, lay movements, organizations who work in the field of marriage and family life. And so, it is our hope to inject a new sense of the importance of this change, in the way of doing things within the Church, in preparation for marriage and family life.”

In fact, the Rome celebration, except for the concluding papal Mass on Saturday afternoon, will be on a far smaller scale than past WMOF.

Cardinal Farrell noted that Pope Francis wanted the WMOF “to be celebrated in every cathedral in the world. Because even with the world gathering and the families, you’ve got to remember always that the most attended world gathering of the families that we’ve had was in Dublin. That was 34,000 or 35,000 people. That’s not even a small little diocese in the world. Large dioceses around the world could gather that number of people in their own diocese. That’s what we want. And that’s why we invited all the leaders of it to this event here in Rome.”

EWTN will have a privileged part throughout this 2022 World Meeting of Families. For days EWTN staff and other workers have been setting up the media platform in Pza. Pio XII, just off of St. Peter’s Square, where three of the network’s anchors will offer commentary, translations and special guests for interviews in English, Spanish and German.

The patrons of this 2022 WMOF are Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi from Rome: They were beatified by Pope John Paul in Rome in 2001.

An impressive program is planned for tomorrow, starting at 6:15 pm Rome time. Pope Francis will be present for most of the program and speak at the end. There will be music, testimonials and a linkup with families in Ukraine.

A press release from the diocese of Rome notes that at 8:30 pm on Thursday evening, June 23, in the splendid setting of the internal courtyard of the Lateran Palace, the classical music concert “La Gioia della Musica” (The Joy of Music) will take place, performed by the FORM – Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana – and the resident team of the Macerata Opera Festival, with the participation of soprano Francesca Benitez and first violin conductor first violin Alessandro Cervo. Eleonora Daniele, journalist and Rai (Italian state TV) presenter, and Andreas Thonhauser, EWTN Rome bureau chief, will present the concert. It will be broadcast live on Telepace (in Italy) and streamed on the official website, as well as on various international broadcasters.

(Check EWTN website for days and times)




According to Belgian media La Libre, in an unprecedented gesture, Bishop Luc Van Looy, SDB, emeritus of Ghent, has asked the pope not to make him a cardinal. Pope Francis accepted his request. Named by Francis on May 29 at the Regina Coeli, he has chosen to refuse the red hat. (…/luc-van-looy-eveque-emerite…/

From stories known so far, none of the 21 cardinals-elect named on May 29 were informed by Pope Francis before the public announcement that they were to be named to the red hat.


EWTN held another of its popular “Roman Nights” series last evening on the amazing terrace of the building on Via della Conciliazione that houses our Rome bureau offices as well as those of other media outlets. Held periodically, Roman Nights are set in many different historical and artistic locations of Rome.

Drinks and a buffet were set up for the guests to enjoy before the guest panel began its discussion. It was a hot, humid evening but the strong winds and some rain that seemed a possibility never materialized

These nights are always a wonderful time to catch up with colleagues and, more importantly, to make new friends among people whose work is in some way associated with the Church. A theme is chosen for each Roman Night and the guest speakers last night, moderated by EWTN Rome bureau chief Andreas Thonhauser, focused on the upcoming 10th World Meeting of Families. The celebration this year is multi-faceted as it takes place not only in Rome but in dioceses throughout the world from June 22 to 26.

Msgr. Walter Insero, head of the communications office of the Diocese of Rome, introduced the evening and highlighted the Rome celebration of the WMOF where a highpoint will be the closing Mass with Pope Francis on Saturday afternoon, June 25, and the Angelus the following day. It was a truly Roman Night in a magnificent setting and just yards from St. Peter’s Basilica!

The highlight of the evening was meeting a young priest whom I had not seen for 10 years but recognized immediately, Fr. Stefano Cascio! The story of his vocation was made into a movie in 2012 , “Sept Ans de Conviction” (Seven Years of Conviction) and won the Mirabile Dictu Catholic film award in 2013. I saw the film, one of the most riveting movies I have ever seen, and then attended the awards dinner where Stefano and I first met and chatted. We briefly stayed in touch when he became an assistant pastor at a church in the first neighborhood I lived in in Rome, a church where I attended daily Mass.

The years passed – and then last night happened!. Stefano is now in another parish but also works with Msgr. Insero at the diocesan communications office! More to come on that story!



(Irondale, AL) – EWTN Global Catholic Network has launched a new Arabic language news service headquartered in Erbil, Iraq. EWTN Chairman & CEO Michael P. Warsaw announced the opening of the new agency on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The Association for Catholic Information Middle East and North Africa or ACI-MENA will publish original news content in Arabic using a network of correspondents across the region. The news agency will operate from the campus of Erbil’s Catholic University (CUE). A ceremony marking the occasion was held in Erbil, which included His Excellency, Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil.

“I am pleased to announce that EWTN has begun a service reporting news from the embattled and underserved Christian communities in the Middle East,” Warsaw said. “This is an important milestone in the growth of EWTN News around the globe, and I am pleased that we are taking this significant step to better serve our courageous brothers and sisters in the region who have endured so much.”

“Because it is published in Arabic, this agency will also augment the service offered by ACI-Africa, our Nairobi, Kenya-based Catholic news agency, which EWTN launched in 2019 and which publishes content in English, French and Portuguese,” added Warsaw. “ACI-MENA will provide a new voice to help spread the Gospel and news of the Church to these Christian communities in their own language.”

ACI-MENA will be headed by Mr. Bashar Jameel Hanna, a Chaldean Catholic layman originally from Baghdad.

Hanna studied philosophy and theology for nine years at the Babel College in Iraq and graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Nantes in France. Hanna speaks Arabic, French, English and Aramaic fluently, and has a significant understanding of classic Arabic.

ACI Group is part of the larger EWTN News, Inc. division, which also includes Catholic News Agency (CNA), the German language news service CNA Deutsch, and several other Catholic news outlets, including the National Catholic Register, EWTN News Nightly, EWTN News In Depth and several other television news programs.

In its 41st year, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 390 million television households in more than 150 countries and territories


Today is the feast of Pope St. John Paul II! On this day in 1978, October 22, his papacy of almost 27 years began and the world was forever changed. 1978 – the Year of Three Popes – Paul VI, John Paul (the Roman numeral I was added to his name only after John Paul II chose that name). The former Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, whom many today call St. John Paul the Great, had been elected 6 days earlier following the premature death of his predecessor, John Paul I, after 33 days of papacy. Saint John Paul II | Franciscan Media

Vatican Youtube Oct 22, 1978 – 22 October 1978: the Pontificate of John Paul II begins – YouTube


This week, in the interview segment of Vatican Insider, I bring you a fascinating conversation I had with Alvaro Pereira and Fr. Robert White as they tell us more about the amazing program they work for and with, Food for the Poor – how and when it was founded, how FFTP works to help the poor, not just through providing food but through building homes, teaching people how to earn a living and much more!   Some astonishing numbers will leave you speechless. The more you hear, the more you’ll want to become involved!

Full disclosure for a personal moment: I was living in California from 1986 to 1990 and first met Fr. Bob in the mid-1980s when, as a San Diego priest, he was named pastor of a new parish, St. Thomas More in Vista, California. There was no church but there were a lot of Catholics, including my parents and I, who were anxious for this new church to be a reality. Sunday Mass for years was celebrated in the chapel of neighboring Oceanside’s Eternal Hills mortuary. When the parish hall and multi-purpose rooms were built, Mass was held in the auditorium.

Dinner at La Vittoria!


Weekday Masses on Tuesdays and Thursdays were held for several years in parishioners’ homes. We usually stayed a bit after Mass when, fortified by coffee and sweets and often wonderful home-grown fruit, we would talk about building the church, how to raise funds and who in the parish was sick and needed our help and prayers. It was an extraordinarily special time for all of us and made us feel like the first Christians did when there were no formal churches and people met in the homes of wealthier Christians.

Fr. Bob and I recently had a reunion in Rome when he and Alvaro, representing Food for the Poor, were attending a Vatican conference. This was the first time we’d seen each other since 1993!


IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.


by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. 10 . 21 . 21

(First Things) Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century saint and Doctor of the Church who renewed the Western monastic tradition, once warned that “The most grievous danger for any pope lies in the fact that, encompassed as he is by flatterers, he never hears the truth about his own person and ends by not wishing to hear it.”

Every pontificate has its courtiers. The current one is no exception; quite the opposite. Thus, St. Bernard’s words came easily to mind as I read a recent Austen Ivereigh article for America magazine. In it, Ivereigh claimed that “over the last eight years, a powerful U.S.-based media conglomerate has used its formidable wealth and power to turn a large portion of the people of God against Rome and its current occupant. And for good measure, against key reforms of the Second Vatican Council.”

Frightening stuff; so where might this muscular wickedness spring from: Comcast? Facebook? George Soros’s Open Society Foundations? No. Today’s spirit of schism—Mr. Ivereigh describes it as “the diabolos, and calling it something else is just putting lipstick on a pig”—is the work of those iniquitous devils at . . . EWTN. Yes, that’s the network founded by that arch-troublemaker and woman religious, Mother Angelica, and funded largely by tens of thousands of small donations from ordinary, faithful Catholic individuals and families.

To be fair, Ivereigh’s article simply elaborates on comments that Pope Francis made recently to Jesuits in Slovakia. Pope Francis didn’t name the offending media organization, but as journalists quickly confirmed, he meant EWTN. It’s surprising to hear any pope be so publicly and personally sensitive to perceived ill will from a few commentators at a modest network (by secular standards) based on another continent. Conflict, a lot of it, both within and beyond the Church, comes with the job of every bishop. The bishop of Rome is not excused from that unhappy burden. And EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, whom Ivereigh seems to regard as a special tool of the diabolos, does not pose quite the same fearsome threat to the Church as, say, China’s Xi Jinping. Or significant figures in America’s current leadership.

Mr. Ivereigh is right to see mean-spirited ecclesial criticism from anyone as poisonous to the unity of the Church. But he might take his own words to heart in examining some of his own past work.  Moreover, not all criticism in a family is ill-intended or disloyal or inaccurate. Some anger, even anger at legitimate authority, is righteous. The virtue of Christian obedience is rooted in speaking the truth—with love, but frankly and firmly—and true religion has nothing to do with a posture of servility.

As an EWTN board member for many years before retiring, I’m well acquainted with the network’s shortcomings. It can always improve. But it has managed to serve the gospel for decades now with skill and endurance where many others have failed. Thus, it’s hard to read critics of the network without also sniffing their peculiar cologne of faux piety, jealousy, and resentment. EWTN’s achievements deserve praise and warrant pride. I admire the dedication of its leaders and staff. I’m grateful for the network’s service to the Word of God. And any suggestion that EWTN is unfaithful to the Church, the Second Vatican Council, or the Holy See is simply vindictive and false.

TO CONTINUE READING _ A Little Wisdom From Bernard | Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. | First Things


AN UPDATE ON PAOLO, POPE FRANCIS AND A ZUCCHETTO: In my report Wednesday on the 10-year old disabled boy who paid an impromptu visit to Pope Francis on the stage area of the Paul VI Hall at the general audience, I noted how very much he seemed to want a papal skull cap or zucchetto but saw no evidence that he actually received one. I had dinner that night with a priest friend from Chicago who was at the audience and he gave me an update. It seems that when the general audience catechesis was over, a “spare” zucchetto was found and given to Paolo who jumped for joy and happily wore it for the rest of the morning. It seems there is always a zucchetto or two on reserve so one was given to Paolo. Both Paolo and his mother later had a chance to speak to the Holy Father.

PAPAL LITURGIES FOR NOVEMBER – The Vatican today posted liturgies on the papal calendar for the month of November, While no mention was made of traditional activities for the Holy Father on the Vatican holy days and holidays of November 1, All Saints, and November 2, All Souls, the schedule included the following: Thursday November 4 St. Peter’s Basilica Altar of the Chair, Holy Mass for the deceased Cardinals and Bishops during the year; Friday, November 5, Mass at 10:30 at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome; Sunday, November 14, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, St. Peter’s Basilica, 10.00 Holy Mass,





In the fall of 2005, a dream held for years by EWTN’s Mother Angelic was realized. This global network was finally going to open a Rome office and I had the honor, the great privilege, to be asked by the network to be the first EWTN Rome Bureau Chief.

On August 22, the very beautiful day I signed my contract in Alabama, I visited the shrine in Hanceville and met Mother Angelica, purely by chance! She was praying at the tomb of her mother in the lower chapel of the shrine. Though she had had a stroke and lost her ability to speak, when Doug Keck explained to her that I would be the EWTN Rome bureau chief – her dream! – she gave me her blessing and placed her hands on my eyes, ears, mouth and hands, moving her lips in prayer as she did so. I met her one other time in subsequent visits to EWTN offices in Irondale, Alabama.

To this very day, from starting the first office in my home, all the intervening years were heady times – papal trips, two conclaves, the canonizations of three Popes, Mother Teresa and Cardinal John Henry Newman, as well as a thousand front page stories about the Vatican, about Popes John Paul, emeritus Benedict XVI and Francis.

Alan Holdren came to Rome in 2009 and was soon bureau chief for CNA News and in 2016 succeeded me as Rome Bureau Chief. More heady years! Years of great growth in technology, in personnel and in opening offices in many cities and countries in Europe.

I was delighted when Alan was hired by EWTN and, in these past years, have been doubly delighted by his friendship and that of his wife Susanna and their four beautiful children.

Yesterday was Alan’s final day as head of the Rome office: here’s a glimpse of his story as he told it last night on EWTN News Nightly: Vatican Chief Bureau for EWTN Says Goodbye to the Network | EWTN News Nightly – YouTube

Andreas Thonhauser from Germany will succeed Alan in Rome, arriving in August with his wife and family. A formal announcement and welcome to come from EWTN.

In the meantime, here’s an historic photo, if I don’t say so myself! First EWTN bureau chief Joan Lewis, outgoing bureau chief Alan Holdren and the newest members of our global family, Andreas!

I love the photo and said, when I saw it: “You’ve heard of the Three Tenors? Well, we are the Three Tenured!”



I was with these amazing ladies last night during and after the Vatican premiere of the film, “Hope, Our Lady of Knock,” a riveting docudrama produced by EWTN in Ireland. I met Marilyn Henry (to my right) and Catherine Wiley (second from left) last year in Rome: Catherine founded the Catholic Grandparents Association and Marilyn founded the American branch of this association.

Catherine and Marilyn are in Rome for the three-day conference that starts tomorrow in the Paul VI Hall entitled “The Richness of Many Years of Life,” about the pastoral care for the elderly. The conference was organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Jane is involved with the American association and we met only last night but she told me she’s a great follower and fan of Joan’s Rome TV spots on EWTN! She had just arrived Rome after participating in the March for Life in Washington.

The film starts by looking at the dramatic years of the potato famine in Ireland when 1 million Irish died of hunger and 1 million emigrated, but it is above all a story of hope as it principally tells the story of the beloved Shrine of Knock. “Hope” weaves a beautiful tapestry that joins the two moments of Irish history – the 1840s famine and the appearance of the Virgin Mary at Knock August on 21, 1879. Hope was always the main ingredient in the hearts of the Irish and was greatly aided by Our Lady’s 1879 appearance.

“Hope” was shown in the small theatre, the Vatican Filmoteca, a former chapel, in Vatican City that is part of the communications dicastery. It brought together the writer and producer Campbell Miller, his parents, Fr. Richard Gibbons, Knock shrine rector, a number of the shrine staff and parishioners, several of the actors and Bishop Michael Neary of Tuam. There was quite the Irish contingent at the filming in addition to the principals I just mentioned and members of the Rome EWTN bureau.

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Woven throughout the film are riveting interviews with Fr. Gibbons, several bishops, the staff of the shrine and the story of just one of the many ‘miracolata’, a woman cured at the shrine – as they recount this impelling story.

The Irish who had come to Rome for the premiere also attended Pope Francis’ Mass Sunday as the Church celebrated the first ever Sunday of the Word of God. The Holy Father blessed the new pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Knock, present at the papal altar during Mass. Another special moment for the Irish pilgrims was when the Schola Cantorum Basilicae choir from Knock Shrine performed the much-loved ‘Our Lady of Knock’ hymn.

EWTN and the Irish visitors, especially from our Ireland office, arranged a reception after the premiere and, as they say, a good time was had by all. Fascinating conversations among the protagonists and new insights into people, the Knock shrine and so many issues. We were joined by Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell of Los Angeles (he is in Rome for the ad limina visit by the bishops of California, Nevada and Hawaii). (photos by Daniel Ibanez of EWTN/CNA: Knock Shrine group photo by JFL)

When I have more information on when, where and at what time this film will be shown I will let you all know. In the meantime, check this out:



I saw this story in and had it confirmed by EWTN Alabama! Seems July will be a test period in preparation for an August launch so I hope all goes well in Macau!

Macau Cable Television Company Limited (MCTV) and Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) will announce today the beginning of EWTN broadcast in Macau.

Details of the project will be announced by Edwin Lopez, International Marketing Manager of EWTN for Asia-Pacific, and José Miguel Encarnação, EWTN Media Cooperator for Macau.

EWTN was founded in 1981 by Mother Angelica, a poor St. Clare nun, in Alabama, United States. In its 38th year, it is today the largest religious media network in the world. Its 11 networks broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 290 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories.

Platforms include direct broadcast satellite television and more than 6,000 television affiliates as well as ROKU, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and multiple social media platforms.

Radio services are transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates and a worldwide shortwave radio station.

EWTN also owns news services such as National Catholic Register (NCR), Catholic News Agency (CNA) and Church Pop.

The Macau Cable TV will broadcast EWTN on channel 28.(Macaunews)

EWTN to be broadcasted in Macau



You’d think this was a week dedicated to prisons. Just yesterday I published the Pope’s remarks to the staff of a Rome prison and also added a story on the historical Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia – a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Who knows if that might now happen at the Shawnee Correctional Center in Illinois!

On Monday Feb 11, EWTN will launch on Channel 76 at the Shawnee Correctional Center located in Vienna, Johnson County, Illinois. This facility in southern IL is a medium-security state prison for men and has a population of about 1,600 inmates.

While this may be a small launch in the bigger picture of EWTN, you know that Mother always cherished the value of a single soul; therefore, praise God for the opportunity to touch these 1,600 souls (and thanks to Christine Schicker for pursuing)!



My guest this week on Vatican Insider is one of EWTN’s own in Rome – Ben Crockett – or, as the Register described him in a headline “Meet the Millennial Who Is Taking Virtual Reality to the Front Lines of the Church. Harvard graduate student pursues his dreams in Rome.”

Ben is one of the most amiable, talented, hard-working and creative people of the many like people on EWTN’s Rome staff! In the fairly short time he has been with us, he has revolutionized so much in the area of social media, but especially his expertise in VR – virtual reality. You’ve surely seen some of his amazing VR work and maybe did not know he was responsible for it. Well, this weekend you will have the chance to meet this remarkable young man by tuning in to Vatican Insider! (EWTN photos)

Ben in Malawi with JRS – Jesuit Refugee Service

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


WASHINGTON, D.C. – A court ruling yesterday ensures Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the world’s largest religious media network, can freely follow the religious teachings that drive its mission. In Eternal Word Television Network v. Azar, the previous administration’s HHS mandate tried to force the Catholic network to provide services such as the week-after pill in its healthcare plan. Yesterday’s decision, which comes on the heels of a settlement with the federal government, ends EWTN’s seven-year legal battle.

To read more:


Friday was a busy day for the Pope as he met with various groups including some youngsters with cancer from Wroclaw, Poland and members of the International Theological Commission.

Pope Francis also met with members of the “Shahbaz Bhatti Mission Association, expressing the hope that they can extend their activity to those areas of Pakistan where Christians and other minorities continue to be discriminated against. In March 2011 Shahbaz Bhatti, a Pakistani politician and the country’s first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs was assassinated in Islamabad for his struggle to promote human equality, social justice and interfaith harmony in Pakistan. Inspired by the thought and vision of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Association was founded to continue the tireless he did as a politician to create a society where everyone can live with dignity and respect.

The Holy Father also met with members of the Sardinia United Service Center for Volunteers, encouraging them to give a human and Christian touch through volunteer service. He expressed his appreciation for their efforts to help some of the poorest people in the world and the welcome they extend to newcomers in Sardinia.

Also Friday: The Vatican released Pope Francis’ letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I for the November 30 feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The letter was given to the patriarch by Cardinal Kurk Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who led the Holy See delegation to ceremonies in Istanbul, Turkey. Despite differences between Catholics and Orthodox Christians, said a Vatican news story, Pope Francis said the two communities are called to be a sign of hope by working together for peace, human dignity and care of creation.


A communique today from the Holy See Press Office announced that Vatican City State/Holy See join the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA):

The Board of the European Payments Council (EPC) approved last week the extension of the geographical scope of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) to Vatican City State and the Holy See. It is foreseen that as of 1 March 2019, the SEPA schemes are open to the financial institutions of the Vatican City State/Holy See, once they have joined. SEPA harmonises the way electronic euro payments are made across Europe. It allows European consumers, businesses and public administrations to make and receive credit transfers as well as direct debit under the same basic conditions and makes all cross-border payments in euro as easy as domestic payments. As of 1 March 2019, the geographical scope of the SEPA schemes will consist of the following 36 countries: the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, the Principality of Andorra and the Vatican City State/Holy See. “The successful application to SEPA is a very positive sign” said René Bruelhart, President of AIF (Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria). “It helps to facilitate payments and harmonises such services. Furthermore, it demonstrates the Holy See’s efforts to enhance financial transparency.”


The unrelenting pace I have kept since March 29 when I flew to New York finally caught up with me, as it always does. I had a dinner party Monday night for Michael Warsaw of EWTN, the latest on a merry-go-round of events, invitations, hosting friends, attending meetings, researching, writing, editing and trying to memorize and then filming new episodes of Joan’s Rome videos, etc. etc.

Michael is in town for the annual three-day communications conference hosted by the Pontifical University of Holy Cross as EWTN this year is the principal sponsor of the event. I was there this morning for Michael’s talk entitled “Religious Information in a ‘fake news’ Society.”

I felt a cold coming on Monday, found the strength to continue activities and appointments but it hit me with a bang yesterday, the morning I was to do the commentary for the Pope’s weekly general audience. I asked the Holy Sprit to be with me for at least an hour and to make sure I could stop sneezing and coughing so that I could actually speak and do the commentary. I spoke to the right person and for an hour was fine (although there were microphone issues in Alabama for a short period of time). In any event, I came home, everything hit me and I spent the rest of the day in bed, except for my usual Wednesday appearance on Catholic Connection, Teresa Tomeo’s radio show.

I wanted to be in fine fettle for Michael’s talk today and a parish council meeting this evening, then dinner with priest friends from Chicago.

I was sorry to hear of Bishop Foley’s death but knew he had been suffering. Even more than that, he was totally ready to meet the Lord. Below is Michael Warsaw’s message.

On the other hand, I was delighted to hear what seems to be good news from the CDF – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

And I was truly delighted to hear of the documentary about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that explains “the truth about his resignation.” It is the same truth, the same story I have been telling people since the day Benedict resigned on February 11, 2013. I have written about it and have talked about the “real reason” on TV and radio. In fact, my first TV appearance on February 11, 2013 was with Shep Smith on FoxNews: “So, Joan, tell us why Pope Benedict really resigned.” My answer – and a bit more – could have been summed up in the piece you’ll read below.


Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN network, issued the following statement on the death Tuesday night of Bishop emeritus Foley of Birmingham, AL:

“All of us at EWTN are saddened by the death of The Most Reverend David Foley who served the Diocese of Birmingham as Bishop for over a decade. I had the privilege of first knowing Bishop Foley thirty years ago when he was a pastor in the Archdiocese of Washington. Throughout his life and wherever his service to the Church took him, he was always known for his keen intellect, pastoral sensitivity and powerful preaching.

During his time as Bishop of Birmingham, he served as a member of the EWTN Board of Governors. He also took great joy in hosting “Pillars of Faith”, a weekly live call-in television program that examined the Catechism of the Catholic Church from cover to cover.

Despite their occasional disagreements, when Mother Angelica suffered her stroke and brain hemorrhage in 2001, Bishop Foley was one of the first to be at her bedside and he remained a frequent visitor to pray for her. He never waivered in his respect for all that Mother had accomplished and was always supportive of the Network she founded.

May God reward him for his life of service to the church, and may he rest in peace.”


(CNA/EWTN News).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has reportedly rejected a planned proposal by the German bishops’ conference to publish guidelines permitting non-Catholic spouses of Catholics to receive the Eucharist in some limited circumstances.

Austrian news site has reported that Vatican sources say the CDF, with papal approval, has suspended the German bishops’ proposal, and sources close to the congregation have confirmed this to CNA.

It is not clear whether the Vatican has asked the bishops’ conference to modify the contents of the draft guidelines, whether they have suspended the development of a draft while the matter is considered further, or whether it has been entirely rejected.

In February, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising announced that the German bishops’ conference would publish a pastoral handout for married couples that allows Protestant spouses of Catholics “in individual cases” and “under certain conditions” to receive Holy Communion, provided they “affirm the Catholic faith in the Eucharist”.

The announcement was made “after intensive debate” at the conclusion of the general assembly of the German bishops’ conference, which was held Feb. 19 – 22 in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, and attended by 62 members of the bishops’ conference under the leadership of conference chairman Cardinal Marx.

Last month, seven German bishops sent a letter to the CDF and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity asking for clarification on the matter. The signatories did not consult beforehand with Cardinal Marx.

The seven bishops asked whether the question of Holy Communion for Protestant spouses in interdenominational marriages can be decided on the level of a national bishops’ conference, or if rather, “a decision of the Universal Church” is required in the matter.

The letter was signed by Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Bishop Gregor Hanke of Eichstätt, Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg, Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, and Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz.

“From the view of the signatories, the goal in a question of such centrality to the Faith and the unity of the Church must be to avoid separate national paths and arrive at a globally unified, workable solution by way of an ecumenical dialogue,” the Archdiocese of Cologne told CNA Deutsch April 4.

The Code of Canon Law already provides that in the danger of death or if “some other grave necessity urges it,” Catholic ministers licitly administer penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick to Protestants “who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.”


His closest collaborators deny that the cause was the leaking of documents to the press or the issue of sexual abuse (From a story on Aleteia by Sylvia Costantini)

It was February 11, 2013, when Benedict XVI communicated to the world his decision to resign from the exercise of the papal ministry. This historic event has left many open questions.

Five years later, on the occasion of the Pope Emeritus’ 91st birthday, a documentary has been presented in the Vatican, called “Benedict XVI: in Honor of Truth,” precisely in order to clarify the reasons for that decision.

Some of the people closest to Joseph Ratzinger relive that moment—including his brother, Georg; Fr. Federico Lombardi, former spokesman of the Holy See; and the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who was his personal secretary for years.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna and one of the theological disciples of Professor Joseph Ratzinger, is visibly moved when he shares some of his memories.

Cardinal Schönborn, remembering the Pope’s deceased sister, Maria, who was particularly beloved by the Pope Emeritus, reveals: “The day after the conclave [in which he was elected Pope], when he entered the Casa Santa Marta for breakfast, in the morning, dressed in white… —our beloved professor, our friend, yes, dressed in white…—he greeted each one of us personally, and I said to him, ‘Holy Father, yesterday, during your election, I thought about your sister, Maria, and I asked myself if she had said to the Lord, “take my life, but leave my brother here.”‘ And he answered me, ‘I think so.’”

One decisive moment of the documentary helps us to understand Ratzinger’s decision to retire. It is explained by Stephan Horn, who had been his assistant at the University of Regensburg, and is his disciple and friend: “The doctor had told him he wouldn’t be able to travel to Brazil to participate in the World Youth Day. So, he decided to resign before the event.”

Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, describes the impressive responsibility proper to a Pope, and the daily marathon of commitments, both public and private, that characterize it (liturgical ceremonies, journeys, long meetings, audiences…). Pope Ratzinger would not have been able to face such exertion, with his inexorable natural loss of strength due to age. According to the Jesuit priest, it is clear that this was the true motive for Benedict’s resignation.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein categorically denies that the motive for Pope Benedict’s resignation was the leak to the press by his butler (the famous “Vatileaks”), a betrayal which caused his heart profound suffering, or the burden of having to face the crisis caused by sexual abuse by Church representatives.

The documentary, which is 48 minutes long, was produced by the Rome Reports television agency, in collaboration with the Italian episcopate’s television channel, TV2000, and the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation of the Vatican, thanks to the patronage of the Doctor Ramón Tallaj Foundation.
During the presentation of the documentary at the Vatican Film Library in the presence of Archbishop Gänswein, Dr. Ramón Tallaj—president of SOMOS, a network of doctors in the New York area particularly committed to humanitarian causes—emphasized the continuity between the pontificate of Pope Benedict and that of Pope Francis, at the service of the Church and of humanity.

Gänswein confirmed that Pope Benedict retains all his intellectual lucidity, and acknowledged the gradual loss of his physical strength. He underlined the peacefulness of the Pope Emeritus’ life in retirement, spent with the small community of the monastery where he lives in the Vatican.

The documentary “Benedict XVI: In Honor of Truth” was produced in English, Spanish, and Italian, and will now be distributed around the world.