I stole some time today to watch some of the royal events in London marking Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary on the throne, her Platinum Jubilee. Beautiful tradition, pageantry and protocol – and a unique, remarkable woman at the center! Such fun to watch! As I watched, I thought back to 1980: I remember being in the San Damaso courtyard in Vatican City when Queen Elizabeth came to the Vatican in 1980. I took a few photos but also had a video camera and started filming but had to stop as I was not accredited at the time as a photographer!  I wonder where on earth that video is!  Will try to find it!  I remember being VERY impressed with the car that brought the Queen and Prince Philip into the courtyard, especially because it had both the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom and the flag of Vatican City State!  I did not know if that was usual protocol but I remember being impressed!

Now, read on…

Muslim and Protestant politicians receive Communion at German Catholic event | Catholic News Agency

How excruciatingly sad!

No wonder that the faithful are confused about the Catholic Church. The basic teachings of the Catholic faith today appear to vary from country, from diocese to diocese!

We profess to be the “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.”

Nota bene that that line in the Creed begins with the word “one.”

Right now it does not seem that we are “one.”

So people are asking: Who is right? Who (priest, bishop or cardinal) is following and teaching the Church’s Magisterium? Canon Law?   Who is not? Who is tweaking that teaching to be something else?

If we are “one,” can we have a bishop who cites Canon 915 (“Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion”) to ban a member of the faithful from communion, and other bishops who allow those who “persist in manifest grave sin” to go to communion?

What am I to think as a Catholic? Is that not beyond confusing for faithful Catholics who follow the Church’s Magisterium?

The Church’s teaching, her orthodoxy, her Magisterium are out there for all to see, read and know. It’s called Canon Law. It’s called the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s even called the Bible!

The vatican.va website offers a resource page: The Holy See – Archive (vatican.va)

Don’t be put off by the amount of materials offered here for your study. If you have a specific question, choose a resource (most likely, Canon Law or the catechism) and ask that question. You might actually find that reading a bit of Canon Law is not only instructive, it can be very interesting! Those are the materials I use when I prepare articles for this page, explain papal documents, homilies or other communications as well as answer your questions.


Today, the start of four days of celebration for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee for her 70 years on the throne, Pope Francis sent a telegram of congratulations and prayers to the monarch.

“On this joyful occasion of your Majesty’s birthday,” began the Holy Father, “and as you celebrate this Platinum Jubilee year, I send cordial greetings and good wishes, together with the renewed assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will bestow upon you, the members of the Royal Family and all the people of the nation blessings of unity, prosperity and peace.”

Vatican news added that, “The Pope also said he joined with those expressing appreciation for her persevering and steadfast service to the good of the nation, “the advancement of its people, and the preservation of its illustrious spiritual, cultural and political heritage.”

The Vatican report also noted that, in recognition of the monarch’s commitment to the care of God’s creation, Pope Francis is donating a Cedar of Lebanon to the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. This invited people throughout the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee.”

Pope Francis met the Queen and her late husband Prince Philip, in 2014. She first visited the Vatican in 1951 as a princess and met Pope Pius XII. (Vatican photo)

As Queen, Elizabeth has met four Popes. On May 5, 1961, she was received by Pope John XXIII at the Vatican. In 1980, on a state visit to the Vatican, she met Pope John Paul II for the first time. In 1982, John Paul visited Great Britain where the two met again. In 2000, for the Great Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth again visited the Vatican and John Paul II. She met Pope Benedict on his 2010 visit to Great Britain: the two met in Edinburgh, Scotland. As noted, the Queen and Prince Philip were welcomed by Pope Francis in 2014.


In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Canonization of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini on 7 July 1946, the First American Citizen Saint, this special Jubilee Year will begin on Saturday November 13, 2021 and conclude on Sunday November 13, 2022. Click here to visit the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in Chicago for information on today’s opening Mass for the Jubilee and other information about the Jubilee Year: Jubilee | The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (cabrininationalshrine.org)


(franciscanmedia.org) – Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first United States citizen to be canonized. Her deep trust in the loving care of her God gave her the strength to be a valiant woman doing the work of Christ.

Refused admission to the religious order that had educated her to be a teacher, she began charitable work at the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadogno, Italy. In September 1877, she made her vows there and took the religious habit.

When the bishop closed the orphanage in 1880, he named Frances prioress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Seven young women from the orphanage joined her.

Since her early childhood in Italy, Frances had wanted to be a missionary in China but, at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, Frances went west instead of east. She traveled with six sisters to New York City to work with the thousands of Italian immigrants living there.

She found disappointment and difficulties with every step. When she arrived in New York, the house intended to be her first orphanage in the United States was not available. The archbishop advised her to return to Italy. But Frances, truly a valiant woman, departed from the archbishop’s residence all the more determined to establish that orphanage. And she did.

In 35 years, Frances Xavier Cabrini founded 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick. Seeing great need among Italian immigrants who were losing their faith, she organized schools and adult education classes.

As a child, she was always frightened of water, unable to overcome her fear of drowning. Yet, despite this fear, she traveled across the Atlantic Ocean more than 30 times. She died of malaria in her own Columbus Hospital in Chicago.


The compassion and dedication of Mother Cabrini is still seen in hundreds of thousands of her fellow citizens who care for the sick in hospitals, nursing homes, and state institutions. We complain of increased medical costs in an affluent society, but the daily news shows us millions who have little or no medical care, and who are calling for new Mother Cabrinis to become citizen-servants of their land.

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is a Patron Saint of:

Hospital Administrators
Impossible Causes



Join me this weekend on Vatican Insider for Part II of my conversation with my guest of honor, Fr. Ramil Fajardo, rector of the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini National Shrine in Chicago. Having talked last week about the life, times, and work of Mother Cabrini, America’s First Citizen Saint, and the migrants whom she helped, and about today’s migrants and refugees, Fr. Ramil, joined by Fr. Ryan Brady, looks at how Chicago will celebrate a Cabrini Jubilee Year! When will it start? What are some of the plans? Tune in this weekend to Vatican Insider!

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini died Dec. 22, 1917, after spending much of her life working with Italian immigrants in the United States.

Canonized on July 7, 1946, by Pope Pius XII, this year marks the 75th anniversary of her sainthood.

Fathers Ramil and Ryan joined me for dinner after our interview in the brief time I spent in Chicago during my recent, very wonderful, U.S. vacation.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive 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.


Pope Francis on Friday received in audience Prime Minister Robert Abela of Malta who later met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Paul Richard Gallagher. (Vatican photo)

A communique by the Holy See Press Office said, “During the cordial discussions in the Secretariat of State, the good bilateral relations and fruitful collaboration between the Church and the State were underlined. The parties focused on the contribution of Christianity to the history, culture and life of the Maltese people, and on the Church’s commitment to the human and social development of the country, especially in the fields of education and welfare.

“Issues of common interest were then discussed, such as migration, to which the Church and the Government are strongly committed, and some ethical issues. Attention then turned to the European and international situation, with particular attention to the Mediterranean region, as well as the importance of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in building peace and brotherhood among peoples.”

A Vatican media report noted that the population of the tiny island nation is estimated at 516,000 people, over 90 per cent of whom are Catholics.  They are spread across the country’s two dioceses – the Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo.


The German weekly edition of the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano was started in 1971 with the blessing of Pope Paul VI.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Pope Francis has felicitated the weekly German-language edition of the Holy See’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano (Italian for The Roman Observer), for its 5 decades of service in “edifying” its readers with an inside look into the Church of Rome and the world.

“With affection, I have taken note of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano which is being celebrated in these days. I gladly accompany the collaborators, as well as the German-speaking readers, with my prayers.” the Pope wrote in a brief letter to the newspaper.

Edifying readers
“For half a century,” he noted, “the newspaper has been edifying its customers week by week with a look inside the events of the Church of Rome and that of the world; it reports on the Word of the Successor of Peter and provides a rich variety of cultural contributions.” All this, Pope Francis said, makes it possible for the faithful of local Churches to know the Universal Church better.  He concluded imparting his apostolic blessing on all those contributing to “this service of mediation” and to all its readers.

An initiative of Paul VI
The German edition was started in 1971, under the initiative of Saint Pope Paul VI.  “With joy We welcome the new weekly edition of the LOsservatore Romano in German and accompany its appearance with Our good wishes,” the Pope wrote in a letter dated October 1, 1971. “May it contribute to fostering the spirit of fraternal communion among the People of God.”  He imparted his blessing on “those who meritoriously contributed to the realization of this initiative”, as well as to all the collaborators and readers of the newspaper.

The German edition
The German edition consists of two instalments or segments. The first provides information and news of the Holy See, the Universal Church, and the local Churches, as well as cultural sections and in-depth doctrinal and historical reflections.  The second one is devoted to the activities of the Pontiff, including the translation of his discourses and interventions.  Since 1986 it has been printed in Germany by the publishing house Schwabenverlag that also is responsible for its distribution and subscriptions. It is also available in digital form.

Other language editions
The original edition of L’Osservatore Romano is the Italian daily, which was started 160 years ago in 1861. The daily is published 6 days a week (except for Monday). The weekly editions are available in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and also Italian.  A Polish edition is published monthly.  There is also a weekly edition printed in the Malayalam language in India, and a biweekly edition in Hungarian printed in Hungary.



I had a fairly amazing evening last night but I should never really be surprised at what happens or whom I should meet when I go to La Vittoria restaurant!

At 7:30, I met a friend from the States who was in Rome for a few days of work at the Order of Malta. It was fairly quiet at La Vittoria but at one point, a bit late, a group of 8 men came in and sat down together. I was trying to understand what language they spoke but without success. They were enjoying dinner and conversing in low tones and I kept wondering about the dialect or language.

As Margaret and I were leaving, Valentino, one of the waiters told us these men were from the Maltese island of Gozo and were building the Vatican’s Nativity scene (It has a Malta theme)!! Well, I pivoted as fast as I could and went back into the main room to their table, introduced myself – they all knew EWTN! – and got the story and a few photos! We spoke in English. Manuel, who seemed to be the head builder or at least spokesperson, told me they start building today and the scene will be unveiled December 9th. They invited me to come ‘behind the scenes’, so to speak and I will do that as soon as possible. Of course I can’t do any photos before the 9th but what fun it would be in any case.

Shortly before I met the Maltese crew, a young man came to my table and introduced himself as a big fan of my work on EWTN, telling me in particular how his brief, 36 hours in Rome had benefited greatly by my book on the Holy Year. Paul is from Kansas City, MO., and when he learned of the Nativity scene builders, he took one of these photos.



As I’ve written so many times on this page, “life in the fast lane!”


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Monday with religious and civil authorities who organized the recently concluded Jubilee Year of Mercy, including members of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization, headed by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, as well as police chiefs and Italian officials in charge of local and regional security.

Pope Francis spoke of the origin of his idea for a year of mercy, describing it as “a simple intuition” which the Lord transformed into a celebration of faith and joy for Christian communities throughout the world.


The opening of doors of mercy in so many cathedrals and shrines, he went on, enabled people to freely experience the love of God in their lives. The fruits of this extraordinary event must now become part of our daily living, he said, so that mercy truly becomes a permanent lifestyle for all Christians.

The Pope went on to thank all those individuals and organizations who worked hard to guarantee the safety and smooth running of the jubilee, which officially concluded on November 20th, the final Sunday of the liturgical year.

In particular, he mentioned Italy’s Home Affairs minister, the regional Lazio authorities and local chiefs of police who worked together with the Swiss Guards,  Vatican police and other offices of the Holy See to ensure a positive experience for the millions of pilgrims who travelled to Rome over the past year.

Last, but not least, he thanked members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and all the volunteers from different parts of the world who worked so hard to transform this event into a real moment of grace. “May your efforts,” he concluded, “be rewarded by the experience of mercy which the Lord will not fail to grant you.”


POPE FRANCIS HAS SENT A TELEGRAM TO the newly-elected superior general of the Jesuit Order, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, upon learning of the death of Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the former head of the Society of Jesus, who died in Beirut on Saturday, just days short of his 88th birthday. The Pope sent the telegram in his own name, recalling Father Kolbach’s career. His fidelity to the Gospel: Hearing the news of the pious death of the Reverend Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., the former Superior General of the Company of Jesus, I desire to express to you and to the whole Jesuit family my heartfelt condolences. Recalling the integral fidelity of Father Kolvenbach to Christ and His Gospel, joined to a generous commitment in exercising his office with a spirit of service for the good of the Church, I lift up my prayers of suffrage, invoking, from the divine mercy, eternal peace for his soul. Spiritually present at the funeral rites, I cordially impart to you, to your brothers, and to those who share the sorrow for this loss, the Apostolic Blessing.

POPE FRANCIS RECEIVED IRELAND’S PRIME MINISTER Enda Kenny on Monday. A Vatican communiqué said the two “evoked the historical ties between the Holy See and Ireland, and underlined the continued contribution ensured by the Catholic Church in the fields of education and social service.” They also “spoke of the importance of the role of Christians in the public sphere, especially in promoting respect for the dignity of every person, beginning with the weakest and most defenseless.” Other topics included “an exchange of views on Europe, with particular reference to migration, youth employment and the main challenges that the continent has to deal with, from the political point of view and institutional.” Dublin, Ireland was chosen by Francis as the site of the next World Meeting of Families in 2018.



There was a beautiful Mass Sunday morning in a sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square for the Jubilee of Catechists with tens of thousands of them from around the world filling the Square.


“On this Jubilee for Catechists,” said the Pope in his homily, “we are being asked not to tire of keeping the key message of the faith front and center: The Lord is risen! Nothing is more important; nothing is clearer or more relevant than this. Everything in the faith becomes beautiful when linked to this centerpiece, this beating heart which gives life to everything is the Paschal proclamation, the first proclamation: the Lord Jesus is risen! The Lord Jesus loves you, and he has given his life for you; risen and alive, he is close to you and waits for you every day.  We must never forget this.”

Francis reminded the catechists that, “Jesus loves us personally! May he give us the strength to live and proclaim the commandment of love, overcoming the blindness of appearances, and worldly sadness. May he make us sensitive to the poor, who are not an afterthought in the Gospel but an important page, always open before all.”

In addressing the faithful in St. Peter’s Square following Mass and ahead of the Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for the two Mexican priests who had been abducted and killed the previous Sunday – and just hours before hearing of the same fate for a third Catholic priest.  He prayed that ongoing violence in Mexico might end.

In fact, the archdiocese of Morelia announced that the body of a priest abducted in Mexico a week ago and shot at point blank range has been found, just hours after Pope Francis had issued a heartfelt appeal for an end to the violence in that country. Fr. Jose Lopez Guillen had, like the two priests last week, been robbed and abducted in the western Mexican State of Michocan on the very same day the bodies of the other two priests were found.

The Holy Father also expressed his support for the pro-family and pro-life efforts of the Mexican bishops. Saying: “I am very happy to associate myself with the Bishops of Mexico, in supporting the commitment of the Church and civil society in favor of the family and of life, which in this time require special pastoral and cultural attention in all the world.”

The abduction and murders of the three priests in the space of a week occurs at a time when Church leaders have been requesting increased protection for clergy. The violence against clergy takes place as the Church in Mexico takes a strong stance in defense of traditional marriage, at he same time that the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto wants to change laws so that to allow legal recognition of same-sex unions and equate them as marriage.

The Catholic Multi-Media Center notes that 15 priests have been murdered in Mexico in less than four years.


The press office today released the declaration that you can read below about the visit by President Joseph Kabila of the Congo to Pope Francis. However, members of the press pool attending the audience noted that the atmosphere seemed decidedly different from other papal audiences with heads of State. AP reported: “The audience Monday was a brief 20 minutes, with interpreters. The pope didn’t greet Kabila in the reception room where, according to Vatican protocol, Francis would normally greet a visiting head of state. Rather, a glum-looking Francis waited for Kabila in his library.” (AP photo)


Here is the Vatican report:

Today, Monday 26 September 2016, the Holy Father received in audience, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, His Excellency Joseph Kabila, who subsequently met with His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.

In a statement, the Holy See’s Press Office said during the “cordial discussions,” the good relations between the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were evoked, “with particular reference to the important contribution of the Catholic Church in the life of the nation, with its institutions in the educational, social and healthcare spheres, as well as in development and the reduction of poverty. In this context, mutual satisfaction was expressed for the signing of the framework Agreement between the Holy See and the State, which took place on 20 May this year.”

Particular attention was paid, the comunique continues, “to the serious challenges placed by the current political challenge and the recent clashes that have occurred in the capital. Emphasis was placed on the importance of collaboration between political actors and representatives of civil society and religious communities, in favor of the common good, through a respectful and inclusive dialogue for the stability of peace in the country.”

Finally, the Parties focused on the persistent violence suffered by the population in the east of the country, and on the urgency of cooperation at national and international levels, in order to provide the necessary assistance and to re-establish civil co-existence.