On this day in 1506, Pope Julius II laid the cornerstone for what would be the new St. Peter’s basilica. It was completed 120 years later.

The Motu proprio released yesterday on the voting age limit for bishops in Eastern Churches was the 62nd of Pope Francis’ pontificate.   Interestingly enough, Pope John Paul II, whose papacy lasted just under 27 years, issued only 30 motu proprio in that time (source: Motu Proprio | John Paul II (


POPE SETS EASTERN CHURCHES BISHOPS’ AGE LIMIT FOR VOTING AT SYNODS: In an Apostolic Letter issued in the form of a ‘Motu proprio’, Pope Francis amended the Canon Law of the Oriental Churches by providing that the bishops emeritus who have reached the age of 80 will no longer be able to vote in the Episcopal Synods of which they are members, though the rule does not apply to those who are already in office. The Pope’s decision meets a longstanding request made by “some Patriarchs, Major Archbishops and Bishops”, as reads the Latin title of the Motu proprio “Iam pridem” (“For some time now”). The text specifies that the new legislation, which will come into force in a month’s time, “will not apply to the Patriarchs, Major Archbishops, Eparchial Bishops and Exarchs” currently in office “despite them having reached the age of eighty.” (FULL TEXT: Pope sets Eastern Churches Bishops’ age limit for voting at Synods – Vatican News

POPE: 2024 OLYMPICS A CHANCE TO BEAR JOYFUL WITNESS TO CHRIST: As France prepares to host the 33rd Olympic Games in the summer of 2024, Pope Francis has sent a message to French Catholics to urge them to get involved in the sporting event. Paris hosts the Summer Olympics from July 26 to August 11, 2024, along with 16 other cities across metropolitan France and Tahiti, an island within French Polynesia. In his message, Pope Francis expressed his hopes that the Olympics may be “an occasion for profound and fruitful encounter between people from all walks of life, belonging to different peoples, cultures, and religions.”   The Pope said it should be a “joy to welcome the whole world” to France for the Games, as well as a “responsibility.” FULL STORY: Pope: 2024 Olympics a chance to bear joyful witness to Christ – Vatican News




Pope Francis began this week’s general audience catechesis on apostolic zeal, by noting that “we have been reflecting on the example of the Apostle Paul. From his earlier experience as a persecutor of the Church, Paul was well aware of the danger of misguided zeal, or a zeal motivated not by love of Christ but by vanity or self-assertion. Authentic zeal for the Gospel is instead, Paul teaches, completely centred on Christ and the power of his resurrection.

“By virtue of his own experience,” explained the Pope to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, “Paul is not unaware of the danger of a distorted zeal, oriented in the wrong direction. He himself had fallen into this danger before the providential fall on the road to Damascus. Sometimes we have to deal with a misdirected zeal, doggedly persistent in the observance of purely human and obsolete norms for the Christian community.”

The square was still decorated with the tens of thousands of flowers brought from Holland by Dutch florists for the Easter liturgies.

“We cannot ignore the solicitude with which some devote themselves to the wrong pursuits even within the Christian community itself; one can boast of a false evangelical zeal while actually pursuing vainglory or one’s own convictions or a little bit of love of self.”

The Holy Father underscored how, “In his Letters, Paul uses the imagery of putting on the ‘armour of God’ and exhorts his listeners to have their ‘feet shod’ in readiness to proclaim the Gospel of peace. The image is eloquent, since the feet of an evangelist must be solidly planted yet constantly in movement, ever ready to confront new situations in the effort to proclaim the Good News with creativity and conviction.”

Francis adds, “we find reference to the feet of a herald of good news. Why? Because the one who goes to proclaim must move, must walk! But we also note that Paul, in this text, speaks of footwear as part of a suit of armour, following the analogy of the equipment of a soldier going into battle: in combat it was essential to have stability of footing in order to avoid the pitfalls of the terrain – because the adversary often littered the battlefield with traps – and to have the strength to run and move in the right direction. So the footwear is to run and to avoid all these things of the adversary.”

The Pope insisted on the idea that “there is no proclamation without movement, without walking. One does not proclaim the Gospel standing still, locked in an office, at one’s desk or at one’s computer, arguing like ‘keyboard warriors’ and replacing the creativity of proclamation with copy-and-paste ideas taken from here and there. The Gospel is proclaimed by moving, by walking, by going.”

“May each of us,” said Pope Francis in conclusion, “in the circumstances of our daily lives, prove zealous in discerning when and how best to proclaim the risen Jesus and his promise of the fullness of life and peace.

(For more photos: General Audience – Activities of the Holy Father Pope Francis |


In yet another Motu proprio, Pope Francis once again is making changes to the penal legislation and judicial system of Vatican City State.

The juridical and very technical motu proprio was sent to journalists this morning. No summary yet on the English Vatican news site. The following are some of the opening paragraphs from the Italian that I translated:

In the light of the “needs that have emerged over the last few years in the Vatican’s sector of the administration of justice, Pope Francis has established some changes to the penal legislation and the judicial system of the Vatican City State, in force from tomorrow, April 13.

Defining them in the new motu Proprio, Francis wrote “Further adjustments” were also made necessary by the “multiplying” of issues that require “a prompt and just definition in the procedural field” and therefore with the “increasing workload” for the judiciary.” A reference is made to the various ongoing judicial proceedings, starting with the one for the management of the Holy See’s funds that began on July 27, 2021 and is still in full swing.

The changes introduced today by the Pope are aimed at simplifying the mechanisms and ensuring that “the functionality of the system” is maintained and, if possible, improved. Among the innovations, a more precise classification of the investigative and prosecutorial functions of the Office of the Promoter of Justice; the possibility of adding a substitute to the college of three magistrates – who must remain the only one – in the event one of the members has to leave; the possibility for the Pope to appoint an additional president of the Vatican Tribunal in the event that the one in office is in the year of his resignation; the repeal of the full-time presence of at least one judge in the judging panel. The latter was a novelty introduced in Law number CCCLI of March 16, 2020, with which the Pope promulgated a new judicial system.


Tuesday, December 6, 2022  –  Feast of St. Nicholas

A somewhat puzzling motu proprio written by Pope Francis was published today by the Vatican.   I read the original in Italian several times in an effort to understand the focus and scope of the motu. I also read the English-language Vatican news story.

Questions still abound.

The Italian words, for example, “persone giuridiche strumentali” were translated as “instrumental juridical persons.” I went online and could not find a definition for those words. Google had one reference – the Vatican news story!

I then sought translations of just two words – “persone giuridiche” – and this resulted in “legal entities” and this somewhat clarified matters.

But the big mystery remains. Specifically who, what are these entities of which the motu speaks? What bodies, foundations, offices or organizations will henceforth be subject to the control of the Roman Curia’s economic bodies, as you see in the title of the Vatican news story?

No specific names of “entities” were given in either of the two documents published today (the second being the promulgation of a law by the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State): hopefully there will be an update from the press office or another office.

The Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook), under the category Fondazione (Foundations) lists the following: Centesimus Annus-Pro Pontefice; Fundacja Jana Pawla II; Giovanni Paolo II per il Sahel; Giovanni Paolo II per la Gioventu; Giustizia e Pace; Gravissmus Educationis; Il Buon Samaritano; Nostra Aetate; Popolorum Progressio; Per i Beni e le Attivita Culturali e Artistiche della Chiesa; San Giovanni XXIII; Scienze e Fede-STOQ; Fond. Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI; Fond. Vaticana “Centro Internazionale Famiglia di Nazareth.”

By the way, Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals have been meeting in the Vatican for two days.

File photo: Pope Francis signing Motu proprio “Aperuit illis” instituting Sunday of the Word of God


Pope Francis issues a Motu Proprio concerning entities established within curial institutions and hitherto enjoying a certain administrative autonomy, extending the new regulations also to entities based in the Vatican City State.

By Andrea De Angelis

“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones.”

Pope Francis quotes Lk 16:10 at the start of the Motu Proprio released on Tuesday concerning instrumental juridical persons, including funds, foundations and entities that refer to the Holy See, and are registered in the list referred to in Article 1 § 1 of the Statute of the Council for the Economy, and having their headquarters in Vatican City State.

Control and supervision

“Although these entities have a formally separate juridical personality and a certain administrative autonomy, it must be recognized,” the Pope says, “that they are instrumental in the realization of the ends proper to the curial institutions at the service of the ministry of the Successor of Peter and that, therefore, unless otherwise stated by the norms establishing them in some way, they too are public entities of the Holy See.”

Therefore, since their temporal goods are part of the patrimony of the Apostolic See, “it is necessary,” reads the Motu proprio, “that they be subject not only to the supervision of the Curial Institutions from which they depend, but also to the control and surveillance of the Economic Bodies of the Roman Curia.”

In this way, instrumental juridical persons will be “clearly distinguished from other foundations, associations and nonprofit entities” that are “born from the initiative of private individuals and are not instrumental to the realization of the ends proper to the Curial Institutions.”

Existing instrumental juridical persons will have to comply with the provisions of the Motu Proprio within three months of its entry into force, which is scheduled to begin on Dec. 8, 2022.

The role of the Secretariat for the Economy

The Motu Proprio consists of eight articles. The third deals with supervision and control in economic and financial matters, establishing that the Secretariat for the Economy exercises supervision and control over instrumental juridical persons in accordance with its statutes and, within its competence, adopts or recommends the adoption by instrumental juridical persons of appropriate measures for the prevention and combating of criminal activities.

The fourth and fifth articles regulate accounting records and the exchange of information, stipulating, among other things, that instrumental legal persons must submit the budget and the final financial statements to the Secretariat for the Economy within the deadlines set by the same Secretariat, and providing that the Secretariat for the Economy and the Office of the Auditor General may always access accounting records, supporting documents, and information on financial transactions.

Article 6 deals with the dissolution and devolution of assets, and specifies how an instrumental juridical person is suppressed and placed in liquidation by decree of the curial institution from which it canonically depends, when its purpose has been fulfilled or it has become impossible or contrary to the law, or, in the case of associations, when the reduction in the number of their associates prevents their functioning.

In view of the need to provide an organic and up-to-date discipline to legal persons based in the Vatican, the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State also promulgated a law – which enters into force on 8 December 2022 – that extends the application of the Motu Proprio to entities of the Vatican City State.

However, curial institutions and offices of the Roman Curia, institutions connected with the Holy See, the Governorate of Vatican City State, and entities professionally engaged in activities of a financial nature are excluded from the scope of the law.

These measures are in line with the reforms outlined by Pope Francis in the Apostolic Constitution Predicate Evangelium.




Forty years after St. John Paul established Opus Dei as a personal prelature in his Apostolic Constitution Ut Sit, Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter Motu proprio Ad charisma tuendum, published today, confirmed the charism of Opus Dei but ordered the transfer of jurisdiction from the Dicastery of Bishops to the Dicastery for Clergy and also established that the Prelate can no longer be awarded the episcopal order. This enters into force August 4.

The Holy Father modified some of Opus Dei’s structures on the basis of the March 19, 2022 constitution on reform of the Roman Curis, Praedicate Evangelium, in order to “protect the charism” and “promote the evangelizing action that its members carry out in the world” by spreading “the call to holiness in the world, through the sanctification of work and commitments to family and society.”

Here’s a translation of some of the salient paragraphs:

“To protect the charism, my predecessor Saint John Paul II, in the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit, of 28 November 1982, erected the Prelature of Opus Dei, entrusting it with the pastoral task of contributing in a particular way to the evangelizing mission of the Church.” (Vatican file photo, Pope, prelate)

“With this Motu Proprio we intend to confirm the Prelature of Opus Dei in the authentically charismatic context of the Church, specifying its organization in harmony with the testimony of the Founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, and with the teachings of the conciliar ecclesiology regarding personal prelatures.”

By means of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium of March 19, 2022 that reforms the organization of the Roman Curia to better promote its service in favor of evangelization, I have deemed it convenient to entrust to the Dicastery for the Clergy the competence for all that pertains to the Apostolic See regarding the personal prelatures, of which the only one erected up to now is that of Opus Dei, in consideration of the pre-eminent task carried out in it, according to the norm of law, by clerics (cf. can. 294, CIC).

In Article 1, the Pope moves the jurisdiction for Opus Dei from the Dicastery for Bishops to the Dicastery for Clergy.

Article 2. The text of art. 6 of the Apostolic Constitution Ut sit is, starting from now, replaced by the following text: “Each year the Prelate will submit to the Dicastery for the Clergy a report on the state of the Prelature and on the carrying out of its apostolic work.”

(That original Ut sit article VI read: “Through the Sacred Congregation for Bishops, the Prelate will present to the Roman Pontiff, every five years, a report on the state of the Prelature, and on the development of its apostolic work.”

Art 4. In full respect of the nature of the specific charism described by the aforementioned Apostolic Constitution, we intend to strengthen the conviction that, for the protection of the particular gift of the Spirit, a form of government based more on charism than on hierarchical authority is needed. Therefore the Prelate will not be awarded or eligible to be awarded the episcopal order.

Art. 5. Considering that the pontifical insignia are reserved for those awarded the episcopal order, the Prelate of Opus Dei is granted, by reason of his office, the use of the title of Apostolic Protonotary supernumerary with the title of Reverend Monsignor and therefore may use the insignia corresponding to this title.

This motu proprio will enter into force on August 4, 2022 and be published in the official commentary of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

Given in Rome at St. Peter’s on July 14, 2022, the 10th year of pontificate, Francesco


The Bishops write, among other things: “Since the beginning of the Synodal Path, the Synodal Committee has endeavoured to find direct ways of communication with the Roman bodies. In our opinion, this would be the right place for such clarifications. Unfortunately, the Synodal Committee has not been invited to a discussion to date. We regret with irritation that this direct communication has not yet taken place. In our understanding, a synodal Church is something else!”

An English translation of the full response from the German episcopacy on the July 21 Vatican communique on the “synodal path” underway in Germany is here (scroll down to bottom of page): 21.07.2022: Statement by the Presidents of the Synodal Path on the statement presented by the Holy See


Grazie to those of you who sent ‘thank you’ replies to the Jacquie Lawson Valentine card I posted here yesterday! Great to hear from you!

There was a technical issue with “Vatican Insider” last weekend and the News segment did not make it through cyberspace from Rome to EWTN Alabama!   However, the interview with Deacon Brad Easterbrooks made it safe and sound – as you will find out here: Vatican Insider 021222 Deacon Brad Easterbrooks Pt2 by EWTN Catholic Radio (</a


Pope Francis released the theme for the second World Day for Grandparents and Elderly, which aims to reconsider and value grandparents and the elderly who are too often kept on the margins of families, civil and ecclesial communities

By Francesca Merlo (vaticannews)

Pope Francis, on Tuesday, announced the theme for the Second World Day for Grandparents and Elderly with a tweet:

“In old age they will still bear fruit” (Psalms 92:15). I have chosen this theme for the Second World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly to be held on July 24, 2022 to promote dialogue among the generations, especially between grandparents and grandchildren. @LaityFamilyLife  (vatican file photo)

The Day

The explanation of the theme came shortly prior to the Pope’s tweet, in a statement from the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life that organises the day.

The World Day for Grandparents and the elderly was established by Pope Francis, one year ago, in 2021. Last year, during Holy Mass marking the day, the Pope reflected on three moments in the Gospel involving bread: “Jesus sees the crowd’s hunger; Jesus shares the bread; Jesus asks that the leftovers be collected.” He summed up these three passages with three verbs: to see, to share, to preserve, thus inaugurating the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly by describing them as “the bread that nourishes our life.”

Now, preparations begin for the second World Day, celebrated annually on 24 July throughout the universal Church.

The theme

In its statement, the dicastery writes that the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the occasion “intends to emphasize how grandparents and the elderly are a value and a gift both for society and for ecclesial communities.”

“The theme,” continues the statement, “is also an invitation to reconsider and value grandparents and the elderly who are too often kept on the margins of families, civil and ecclesial communities. Their experience of life and faith can contribute, in fact, to building societies that are aware of their roots and capable of dreaming of a future based on greater solidarity.” It add, “the invitation to listen to the wisdom of the years is also particularly significant in the context of the synodal journey that the Church has undertaken.”

The statement concludes by stressing that the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life “invites parishes, dioceses, associations and ecclesial communities throughout the world to find ways to celebrate the Day in their own pastoral context, and for this purpose, it will later make available some appropriate pastoral tools.”

The Pope and the elderly

Pope Francis has often expressed the importance of protecting and looking up to grandparents and the elderly.

Notably, as the world started suffering the first consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, of which the elderly were amongst the most affected, Pope Francis urged all young people to be close to them. He has also claimed, on the eve of his birthday two years ago, that “prayers of the elderly are powerful.” Old age is a blessing, he has said, adding that the elderly “have a role in God’s saving plan!”


Pope Francis on Tuesday issued a new Apostolic Letter “motu proprio” – on his own initiative – modifying the Code of Canon Law (CIC) and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO) to favour greater decentralization.

By Christopher Wells (Vaticannews)

With a new motu proprio published on Tuesday, Pope Francis has modified canon law for both the Latin Church and the Eastern Churches, changing the areas of competence for various bodies within the universal Church. Specifically, with the Apostolic Letter Assegnare alcune competenze (“Assigning certain competencies,” taken from the opening words, or inciit of the document), Pope Francis transfers certain responsibilities from the Vatican to local bishops.

Fostering collegiality

The new norms deal with different areas of Church life, in each case specifying the authorities competent to make decisions with regard to those issues. “The intention,” of the changes, writes Pope Francis at the beginning of his Letter, “is above all to foster a sense of collegiality and pastoral responsibility on the part of Bishops […] as well as Major Superiors, and also to support the principles of rationality, effectiveness, and efficiency.” For more: Pope Francis transfers responsibilities to bishops – Vatican News


The Vatican Monday published upcoming liturgical and other events on the papal calendar for March:

On Ash Wednesday, March 2, at 4:30 pm, the Holy Father will lead the statio orbis and a penitential procession from the basilica of Sant’Anselmo to the basilica of Santa Sabina where he will celebrate Mass with the blessing and imposition of ashes. Last year’s celebration of Ash Wednesday Mass took place in St. Peter’s basilica.

On Friday, March 4 at 10:30 am, the Pope will preside at an Ordinary Public Consistory for the vote on various causes for canonization

On Friday, March 25 Pope Francis will preside at a Penitential celebration at 5:00pm at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Once again, the annual curial retreat or spiritual exercises, will not take place outside of the Vatican due to the continuing health emergency caused by Covid-19. In January, the Holy Father asked ranking members of the curia, who usually gather together with the Pope for the retreat, to make their own, individual plans for a retreat from Sunday afternoon, March 6 to Friday, March 11.




By means of a motu proprio entitled Fidem servare (“preserving the faith”; cf. 2 Tim. 4:7), Pope Francis has modified the internal structure of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) by establishing two distinct sections, a doctrinal and a disciplinary section, each with their own secretary. Henceforth, the Cardinal prefect of the Dicastery will have two chief deputies. The aim of the reform is to give due importance to the doctrinal section and its fundamental role of the promotion of the faith, without diminishing the disciplinary activity, after decades in which a great deal of effort and human resources have been committed to examining abuse cases. With the new structure, each section, with its own secretary, will have greater authority and autonomy. Pope modifies CDF: Two sections with distinct secretaries – Vatican News


An international inter-university congress in March shines the light on the relevance of Women Doctors of the Church and Patron Saints of Europe in today’s world.Therese of Lisieux, Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Ávila, Edith Stein, Bridget of Sweden and Catherine of Siena are just some of the women chosen, by the Church, to offer hope and inspiration in times of daunting challenges and fear. Upholding the relevance of their work and the testimonies provided by their lives, Catholic academics believe these remarkable figures can be seen as beacons of light and can provide much-needed hope and help restore momentum as humanity searches for the best way forward. Organized by the Pontifical Urbaniana University, the Institute for Advanced Studies on Women of the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum, and the Catholic University of Avila, the congress scheduled for 7 and 8 March is entitled “Female Doctors of the Church and Patron Saints of Europe in Dialogue with Today’s World”. The female genius inspiring the Church and the world in difficult times – Vatican News

Hildegard of Bingen


As the trial against four alleged accomplices in the heinous assassination of Father Jacques Hamel began in Paris on Monday, the Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, says he hopes that it will shed light on one of the most gruesome jihadist attacks that has occurred in France in recent years and that it will spur fraternal relations between Muslims and Christians in France. The 85-year-old French priest’s throat was slit with knife whilst he stood on the altar celebrating Mass on 26 July, 2016, at his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, a suburb of Rouen in northwest France. Hamel’s murder came as the country was grappling with an unprecedented wave of jihadist terrorist attacks that began with the massacre at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015 and which have claimed more than 250 lives. Trial over jihadist murder of Father Hamel begins in Paris – Vatican News


L’Osservatore Romano in the weekly English edition: I’m not sure if this link will work because, as of July 1, the Vatican newspaper requires a paying subscription. I have paid but am not sure if it works if I merely post a link or if you will be asked to sign in. ING_2021_030_2307.pdf (


Because of the repercussions heard around the world since the July 16th release by the Vatican of Pope Francis’ Motu proprio TRADITIONIS CUSTODES On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970, I am dedicating the interview segment of Vatican Insider to a Special about this papal document. I will try to examine the whys and wherefores of TRADITIONIS CUSTODES – which is Latin for Guardians of Tradition – and look at its reception.

As you probably know by now, the motu proprio was accompanied by a lengthy letter to the world’s bishops in which the Pope explained the reasons behind his decision to abrogate previous norms for the Latin Mass. I will look at both the motu and the papal letter to bishops and then examine some of the questions that have arisen since the papal document’s publication.

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.


This Sunday the Vatican will inaugurate the very first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, a day that Pope Francis established at the end of January this year. He will not, however, be presiding at Sunday’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica as he continues to recover from his July 4 surgery in a Rome hospital for diverticular stenosis of the colon. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, will celebrate the July 25th World Day Mass.

Princess Leonore, held by Sweden’s Queen Silvia, gives a papal key chain to Pope Francis during her grandmother’s private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican in this April 27, 2015, file photo. The pope has chosen the theme, “I am with you always,” for the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will be celebrated July 25, 2021. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis selected the fourth Sunday of July for this annual celebration as the nearest date to the July 26 feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents. The theme of this first World Day is “I am with you always.”



The Motu proprio TRADITIONIS CUSTODES” On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970″ was issued today by Pope Francis that modifies in many ways and greatly restricts in others the norms regulating the use of the 1962 missal granted 14 years ago by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, as the “extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.” The motu was accompanied by a letter to the world’s bishops in which he explains the reasons behind his decision.

The celebration of the TLM, Traditional Latin Mass, was called by Pope Benedict the “extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.”

To understand some of the changes, it is important to read Benedict XVI’s 2007 Apostolic Letter Given Motu Proprio SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM On The Use Of The Roman Liturgy Prior To The Reform Of 1970.

The Pope emeritus wrote: “Given the continued requests of these members of the faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and having listened to the views expressed by the Cardinals present at the Consistory of 23 March 2006, upon mature consideration, having invoked the Holy Spirit and with trust in God’s help, by this Apostolic Letter we decree the following:

“Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. The Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V and revised by Blessed John XXIII is nonetheless to be considered an extraordinary expression of the same lex orandi of the Church and duly honoured for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite.

“It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy. The conditions for the use of this Missal laid down by the previous documents Quattuor Abhinc Annos and Ecclesia Dei are now replaced as follows: TO CONTINUE:…/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio…

The two documents named in the above paragraph are from St. John Paul.

The conditions set out by Benedict XVI in 2007 are easy to read and succinctly written. When you read these, you will understand the changes in today’s motu proprio.

One of the things that prompted Benedict to write this document was the growing love, in many places a yearning, for what is known as the TLM. What was really notable was that very often the love and appreciation for this rite was growing not among those who grew up with it in the 1960s and earlier but among the young generations who saw it beauty and reverence. So it was not a nostalgic look back for many. It was the desire for a Eucharistic celebration that was marked by beauty, reverence and awe.

Let’s see what happens after today……Oremus!



At the request of Pope Francis, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, with a decree dated February 11, 2018, ordered the inscription of the memory of the “Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church” in the General Roman Calendar. The memorial, mandatory for the entire Church of the Roman Rite, is celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost.

I’ve been asked quite often about the mosaic of Mary that is located fairly high up on the exterior of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square – about 1 o’clock if the basilica is noon. Many have noted it did not seem to fit in with the architecture of the building. In fact the apostolic palace is a complex of buildings with over 1,000 rooms and halls that date from various historical periods, many of which are, however, from the Renaissance.

The mosaic is indeed more modern and has quite a lovely story, almost a love story, if you will. For the story, we enter St. Peter’s Basilica and walk down the left aisle to the very end where we will find the Chapel of the Column. It is just beyond the Prayer Door entrance to the basilica and, most unfortunately, is not available to visitors as this area has been roped off.

Over the altar in the Chapel of the Column is an image of the Blessed Virgin painted on a column that came from the first basilica. In 1607 the image was placed on this altar designed by Giacomo Della Porta and is framed by stunning marble and priceless alabaster columns. On November 21, 1964, Pope Paul VI bestowed on this image the title of “Mater Ecclesiae” – Mother of the Church. (jfl photos)

St. John Paul II had always wondered how on earth Mary – whom he dearly loved – was not among the 140 statues atop the basilica facade and the monumental colonnades that were designed by Bernini. When he was shot in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, the Pope credited the hand of the Virgin – his mosaic Mary – with deflecting the bullet that would have killed him.

Dissuaded from eliminating one of the 140 statues to replace it with Mary, he had a mosaic reproduction of it set on the external wall of the Apostolic Palace facing St. Peter’s Square. St. John Paul’s motto – Totus tuus – all yours – is on this mosaic.


The big story today at the Vatican was the publication of a motu proprio by Pope Francis with specific, enforceable guidelines for those engaged in the fight against corruption, cost overruns and unfair competition in the awarding of contracts for services and goods in the mini State. Such measures are long overdue and the current document is the result of four years of work by the Pope and a team of advisors from various Vatican offices seeking to bring transparency, control and competition in the procedures for the award of public contracts of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State.

The motu proprio (meaning of the pope’s own initiative and hand) was published in today’s Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano and will enter into force in 30 days. The document is 34 pages long.

A Vatican communiqué said, “The document is the result of a synergistic work coordinated by the Secretariat of State between the various entities of the Roman Curia, including the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Governorate of the Vatican City State. It is a unique code, which goes beyond the regulation currently in force in some individual realities and now applies to all entities referable to the Holy See and the Vatican City State.”

The communique added that, “The legislation is part of the most advanced international legislation on the subject. The guiding principle of the new text is the diligence of the good father of a family who wants an effective and ethical management of his resources, which at the same time promotes transparency, control and fair treatment of real competition between those who wish to establish an economic relationship with the interested bodies.”

In its report of the Motu proprio, Vatican news wrote that “Article 1 explains the purposes of the new law, which are: the sustainable use of internal funds, transparency of award procedures, “equal treatment and non-discrimination of tenderers, in particular through measures to combat illegal competition agreements and corruption.”

“Article 5,” continued Vatican news, “lists the fundamental principles which are founded on “ethicality orienting the economic choices and the interlocutors upon parameters of respect for the Social Doctrine of the Church; administrative autonomy, and subsidiarity in the management choices of the Body; loyal collaboration between the Entities and the different sections of the Governorate.”

“The goal is to obtain “cost-savings, effectiveness, and efficiency” through “planning and rationalization of expenditure,” while avoiding unnecessary operations, and in particular an award procedure which “must be transparent, objective, and impartial.”

“Measures are taken against conflicts of interest, illegal competition agreements, and corruption. These serve to avoid ‘any distortion of competition and ensure equal treatment of all economic operators.’

“Economic operators who become subject to investigation, prevention measures, or convictions at first instance for ‘participation in a criminal organization, corruption, fraud, terrorist offences,’ ‘laundering of the proceeds of criminal activities,’ and ‘he exploitation of child labour’ must be excluded from the Register and participation in tenders.

“One of the causes of exclusion is the failure to fulfill ‘obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the regulations of the country in which the operator is incorporated’, as well as residing or having settled in States ‘with privileged tax regimes.’

“Except in certain cases established as exceptions, ‘all goods and services, under penalty of nullity of the relevant contract, are ordinarily acquired by the Entities in a centralized manner.’ The ‘centralized authorities’, reads Article 15, include both APSA ‘in matters concerning the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia’ and institutions connected to the Holy See, as well as the Governorate. There are exceptions to centralization, but they must be duly justified.”

“Every six months, the Secretariat for the Economy, having consulted with APSA, will publish and update ‘the list of prices and the reference fees for goods and services’, together with the labour costs of the professionals registered in the Register. These will take into consideration prices and fees in the markets where the Vatican institutions are supplied. Vatican Entities are required to plan their purchases by 31 October of each year.”


Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Apostolic Almoner, announced today in a communique that yesterday morning, Pentecost Sunday, before he celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Altar of the Chair, Pope Francis blessed an ambulance for the poor of Rome. The Pope entrusted this new gift to the Apostolic Almoner for the very poor of Rome, “especially the homeless who live the difficulties of the road and who seek refuge in the surroundings of the Vatican or in makeshift shelters in Rome. The ambulance, registered SCV, is part of those used for rescue within the Vatican State and was made available by the Governorate exclusively to assist and help the poorest, who remain almost invisible to the institutions.” (photos from Almoner’s office)

The ambulance is only part of the medical assistance of the Apostolic Almone for the poor and homeless that this office, with the approval of Pope Francis, has set up including, the Mobile Polyclinic that brings treatment to the poorest and marginalized in the suburbs of Rome and the Mother of Mercy Outpatient Clinic under the right hand colonnade of St. Peter’s Square that offers medical care. This remained open throughout the Covid-19 emergency.



In an historical and unprecedented move, the Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has abolished the pontifical secret for cases of sexual abuse.

Following, in their entirety, are the two papal documents (AMENDMENTS TO “NORMAE DE GRAVIORIBUS DELICTIS” and INSTRUCTION ON CONFIDENTIALITY OF LEGAL PROCEEDINGS), an interview by Vatican News Editorial Director Andrea Tornielli with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and an editorial commentary by Tornielli.


His Holiness Pope Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Secretary of State and the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 4 October 2019, has decided to introduce the following amendments to the “Normae de gravioribus delictis” reserved to the judgement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in accordance with the Motu proprio of Saint John Paul II “Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela” (30 April 2001), as amended by the Rescriptum ex Audientia SS.mi dated 21 May 2010 and signed by the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada:

Article 1

Art. 6 § 1, 2° Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela is replaced in its entirety by the following text: “The acquisition, possession or distribution by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of eighteen, for purposes of sexual gratification, by whatever means or using whatever technology”.

Article 2

§ 1 – Art. 13 Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela is replaced in its entirety by the following text: “The role of Advocate or Procurator is carried out by a member of the faithful possessing a doctorate in canon law, who is approved by the presiding judge of the college”.

§ 2 – Art. 14 Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela is replaced in its entirety by the following text: “In other Tribunals, for the cases under these norms, only priests can validly carry out the functions of Judge, Promoter of Justice and Notary”.

The Holy Father has ordered that the present Rescriptum be published in L’Osservatore Romano and in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, and take effect on 1 January 2020.

From the Vatican, 3 December 2019


His Holiness Pope Francis, in the Audience granted to His Excellency Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, on 4 December 2019, has decided to issue the Instruction On the Confidentiality of Legal Proceedings, attached to the present Rescriptum, of which it forms an integral part. The Holy Father has determined that the Rescriptum shall have firm and stable application, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention, that it shall be promulgated by publication in L’Osservatore Romano, with immediate force, and then be published in the official commentary Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

From the Vatican, 6 December 2019


INSTRUCTION On the Confidentiality of Legal Proceedings

1. The pontifical secret does not apply to accusations, trials and decisions involving the offences referred to in: a) Article 1 of the Motu proprio “Vos estis lux mundi” (7 May 2019); b) Article 6 of the Normae de gravioribus delictis reserved to the judgement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in accordance with the Motu proprio “Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela” of Saint John Paul II (30 April 2001), and subsequent amendments.

2. Nor does the pontifical secret apply when such offenses were committed in conjunction with other offences.

3. In the cases referred to in No. 1, the information is to be treated in such a way as to ensure its security, integrity and confidentiality in accordance with the prescriptions of canons 471, 2° CIC and 244 §2, 2° CCEO, for the sake of protecting the good name, image and privacy of all persons involved.

4. Office confidentiality shall not prevent the fulfilment of the obligations laid down in all places by civil laws, including any reporting obligations, and the execution of enforceable requests of civil judicial authorities.

5. The person who files the report, the person who alleges to have been harmed and the witnesses shall not be bound by any obligation of silence with regard to matters involving the case.


Interview by Vatican News Editorial Director Andrea Tornielli with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the publication of the Rescriptum of the Holy Father Francis On the Instruction Sulla Riservatezza delle cause (On the privacy of legal proceedings)

Published in Vatican News and L’Osservatore Romano – 17 December

Scicluna: “An epochal decision that removes obstacles and impediments” – “The bishops had spoken about it at the February meeting on the protection of minors”.

«An epochal decision». This is how the archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna, adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, described the rescriptum published on Tuesday 17 December 2019, in this interview with Vatican Radio – Vatican News.

What importance does the Pope’s decision to abolish pontifical secrecy in cases of sexual violence in child abuse have?

I remember when the bishops were called to the Vatican by the Holy Father Francis in February 2019, that there was a full day of discussion on the question of transparency in cases of sexual misconduct. In May 2019 we have a new law which also gave an important impact and also development in the same line, and now we have another law by the Holy Father that says that cases of sexual misconduct are not under the Pontifical secret, that would be the highest level of confidentiality. That means, of course, the question of transparency now is being implemented at the highest level.

What does this decision change in concrete terms?

It opens up, for example, avenues of communication with victims, of collaboration with the state. Certain jurisdiction would have easily quoted the pontifical secret because that was the state of the law, in order to say that they could not, and that they were not, authorized to share information with either state authorities or the victims. Now that impediment, we might call it that way, has been lifted, and the pontifical secret is no more an excuse. However, the law goes further: it actually says, as also does Vos estis lux mundi, that information is of the essence if we really want to work for justice. And so, the freedom of information to statutory authorities and to victims is something that is being facilitated by this new law.

Does the abolition of pontifical secrecy mean that documents will become public?

The documents in a penal trial are not public domain, but they are available for authorities, or people who are interested parties, and authorities who have a statutory jurisdiction over the matter. So I think that when it comes, for example, to information that the Holy See has asked to share, one has to follow the international rules: that is, that there has to be a specific request, and that all the formalities of international law are to be followed. But otherwise, on the local level, although they are not public domain, communication with statutory authorities and the sharing of information and documentation are facilitated.


Following is a Comment by Editorial Director, Andrea Tornielli on the publication of the Rescript of the Holy Father Francis on the Instruction Sulla riservatezza delle cause (On the confidentiality of legal proceedings)

Published in Vatican News and L’Osservatore Romano – 17 December 2019

Historic decision, fruit of the February summit

With the abolition of the pontifical secret for cases of sexual abuse against minors, Pope Francis continues on the path of transparency.


Convened by Pope Francis in the Vatican in February 2019, the summit on the protection of minors continues to bear fruit. In fact, today, Tuesday, 17 December, an important decision is being announced. It would not be hazardous to define it as historical. That decision regards the pontifical secret. The Pope, in fact, via a Rescript has decided to abolish it in cases of the sexual abuse of minors, of sexual violence and child pornography.

This means that any reporting, testimony and documents produced in canonical trials related to such cases of sexual abuse – those kept in Vatican Dicastery archives as well as those found in diocesan archives – which until now were subject to the pontifical secret, can now be handed over when requested to lawful authorities in their respective countries. This is a sign of openness, transparency, and the willingness to collaborate with the civil authorities.

In the case of Vatican Dicasteries, the request must be forwarded through the international rogatory process customary in the context of relations between States. The procedure is different, instead, for cases where the documents being requested are kept in diocesan Chancery archives: the competent legal authorities in each respective country must forward the request directly to the bishop. Particular arrangements provided for in agreements between the Church and State remain unaffected.

Connected to last May’s Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi, the breadth of Pope Francis’ decision is evident: the well-being of children and young people must always come before any protection of a secret, even the “pontifical” secret. The Rescript obviously does not affect the sacramental seal in any way, that is, the secret of confession, which is completely different from the pontifical secret, which covers documentation and testimony. Neither does it mean that in these cases those documents produced in canonical trials should enter into the public domain or that they should become matter for public disclosure. The right of the victims and the witnesses to confidentiality must always be protected. Now, however, the documentation must be placed at the disposal of the civil authority for the purpose of investigating cases for which canonical proceedings have already begun.