I certainly hope that all the men reading this who are Fathers had a splendid celebration yesterday in the United States. Father’s Day in Italy is a wonderful celebration as it falls on the March 19 feast of St. Joseph! Every Father’s Day since Christmas 1992 when my Dad died, I actually spend a good deal of time going over more than half a century of memories.
Just a few highlights from those memories! Dad worked long hours for his own Dad but the family was all he knew when he came home – time to play with us, help us with homework, etc. He was an engineer and a great repairman and I have very vivid memories of how, as soon as I could walk, I’d follow him around the house to each project. And I always asked a lot of questions! And he always answered with just enough info for whatever age I was so that I’d understand (why, for example does a light bulb go on when you press a switch on a wall several feet away?!)
One of my favorite memories was when he’d occasionally have to go to work at the plant on a Sunday and I’d go with him and he’d teach me songs as we drove there, singing one line which I would then repeat, an so on. He had a wonderful voice, as did my Mom, and played the saxophone. I did not inherit those musical abilities and that’s why I am a lector in my parish, not in the choir!
He tried to reach me to dance when I was a toddler by putting on some danceable music and than I’d stand on his feet (shoeless, of course) and he’d hold my hand and guide each step. Oh, how I cherish that memory!
Dad was a great listener and a great teacher – almost always by example. As I said at the recent award ceremony at my university, I got my PhD at an early age – I got it from my parents: PhD – Passion, Hard work and Dreams. Dad exemplified each of those!
One of the truly unforgettable special memories I have of my Dad is the letter he wrote me on my 21st birthday when I was studying overseas. I still have that letter! He wrote how important it was to be a lady, to be feminine, to dress well, to have a moderated voice when speaking, to be interested in others, even how to use my eyes – it seemed like a how-to-flirt moment!
How great when Fathers have that kind of tenderness but also know how to show tough love!
Now to the news stories I’ve posted….
I guess we should not be surprised at the title and content of today’s first news story below – the publication of the Instrumentis Laboris (IL) or working document of the October 2019 synod for the Amazon. After all, didn’t Cardinal Walter Kasper tell a German publication (Frankfurter Rundschau) in an interview on June 4 that, if the Amazon bishops propose ordaining viri probati, married men of proven virtue, to the priesthood, the Pope would probably accept that in principle. His words traveled widely.
The IL was surely all written and translated by June 4 so the cardinal actually knew what it said. And he seemed to be telling the bishops, “All you have to do now is ask the Pope…he will probably consent.” So a done deal?!
Cardinal Kasper is the former head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It seems that he, Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro (editor in chief of the Jesuit-affiliated journal La Civiltà Cattolica for the past 8 years) and Andrea Tornielli (editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication) are the three voices that most influence Pope Francis and also speak for him.
As to the second story, I found the title quite telling. Of all the quotes one could have taken from Cardinal Parolin’s address to apostolic nuncios, Tornielli chose “Cardinal Parolin To Nuncios: “We Must Be United With The Pope.”
I am surely not the only one who believes (actually, I feel certain) that those words are a swipe at publications by former nuncio to the United States, Abp. Carlo Maria Vigano!
AMAZON SYNOD TO CONSIDER POSSIBLE ORDINATION OF MARRIED MEN
Vatican City, Jun 17, 2019 / 07:30 am (CNA).- The working document for the special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region, released Monday, recommends study of the possibility of ordaining married men in remote areas for the priesthood. (Vatican media photo)
“Stating that celibacy is a gift for the Church, we ask that, for more remote areas in the region, study of the possibility of priestly ordination of elders, preferably indigenous … they can already have an established and stable family, in order to ensure the sacraments that they accompany and support the Christian life,” paragraph 129 of the document released June 17 states.
This opens the door for the discussion of the ordination of viri probati — a term referring to mature, married men — during the Special Synod of Bishops from the Pan-Amazonian region to be held at the Vatican Oct. 6-27.
Canon law for the Latin Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of married men to the priesthood, with limited exceptions regarding the ordination of formerly Anglican and Protestant ecclesial leaders who have converted to Catholicism.
The working document, which calls for “a Church with an indigenous face,” further recommends that the synod identify “an official ministry that can be conferred upon women, taking into account the central role they play in the Amazonian church.”
Monsignor Fabio Fabene, Under-Secretary for the Synod of Bishops highlighted the document’s call for new lay ministries.
“In this sense, one wonders what official ministry can be conferred to the woman,” Fabene said at a Vatican press conference June 17.
He continued, “the document does not speak of the female diaconate, since the pope has already expressed himself on the subject in the Assembly of the Superiors General, declaring that the topic needs further study. In fact, the study commission set up in 2016 did not reach a unanimous opinion on the issue.”
The synod working document, entitled “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology,” is divided into three sections on the Amazonian cultures, environmental and economic problems, and pastoral approaches for the Church in the region.
Calling for “an integral ecological conversion,” the document touches on the issues of migration, deforestation, urbanization, corruption, health, education, and Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation (PIAV).
The document stresses the importance of inculturation of indigenous cultures in the Catholic faith and the liturgy in the region, starting with engagement with indigenous spiritualities.
“It is necessary to grasp what the Spirit of the Lord has taught to these peoples over the centuries: faith in God the Father-Mother Creator, the sense of communion and harmony with the earth, the sense of solidarity with one’s companions … the living relationship with nature and ‘Mother Earth,’ the resilience of women,” paragraph 121 of the document states.
Recommending that the Church “recognize indigenous spirituality as a source of wealth for the Christian experience,” and the document calls for dialogue with “the Amazonian cosmovision” to be included in formation for religious life.
Monsignor Fabene described inculturation in the liturgy in the region as “a better integration of the symbols and celebratory styles of indigenous cultures … taking into account music and dance, languages and native clothes.”
“Recognition and dialogue will be the best way to transform the ancient relations marked by exclusion and discrimination,” paragraph 35 states. In several places, the document refers to “the wounds caused during long periods of colonization.”
“For this Pope Francis asked ‘humbly for forgiveness, not only for the offenses of his own Church, but for crimes against indigenous peoples during the conquest of so-called America.’ In this past, the Church has sometimes been complicit in the colonization and this has stifled the prophetic voice of the Gospel,” paragraph 38 states.
The document also stresses the importance of having greater respect for the dignity and rights of indigenous populations in the area today.
“The Church cannot but worry about the integral salvation of the human person, which involves promoting the culture of indigenous peoples, talking about their vital needs, accompanying movements and joining forces to defend their rights,” paragraph 143 states.
The synod document therefore recommends that Catholics in the region, “join the basic social movements, to prophetically announce a program of agrarian justice that promotes a profound agrarian reform, supporting farming organic and agroforestry.”
Participants in the special synod of the Amazon will include residential bishops and ordinaries of the nine Pan-Amazonian ecclesiastical territories in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname; the presidents of the seven bishops’ conferences of the Pan-Amazonian Region; members for the Roman Curia; the president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM); and the members of the pre-Synodal Council.
Upon the working document’s publication June 17, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, said:
“The image of a Church with an Amazonian face, courageous in its prophetic proclamation of the Gospel in defense of Creation and of indigenous peoples, is the horizon towards which we are walking under the guidance of Pope Francis.”
CARDINAL PAROLIN TO NUNCIOS: “WE MUST BE UNITED WITH THE POPE”
In an interview with Vatican Radio the Cardinal Secretary of State speaks of the Pope’s recent meeting with Papal representatives.
By Andrea Tornielli (editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication)
Cardinal Pietro Parolin described Pope Francis’ meeting this week with Apostolic Nuncios and Permanent Observers as having taken place in a simple, positive and fraternal atmosphere.
Asked to assess the encounter, Cardinal Parolin said, “The balance sheet is certainly positive”.
He expressed his opinion that these meetings have a value in themselves because they are a moment of encounter between people who work with the same purpose, with the same spirit and in the service of the Church, and in particular of the Pope, “even if they do so at great distances from each other”.
He remarked on how the themes dealt with aroused much interest on the part of the participants, as manifested by the numerous interventions that took place.
Parolin also recalled a moment of “intense participation for the death of the apostolic nuncio to Argentina, Léon Kalenga, which saw us all united in prayer with the Holy Father during the celebration of the funeral”.
The Cardinal also pointed out that Pope Francis considers these meetings as so fruitful, that in 2013 he expressed his desire they be held every three years, thus the tradition continues.
Decalogue of dos and don’ts
Regarding the content of the Pope’s address to the nuncios during which he issued a series of recommendations, some of which were seen by the media as reprimands, Cardinal Parolin noted that the media are always on the look-out for anything that might appear to contain controversy.
He said he doesn’t personally believe that one should limit oneself to focusing only on some aspects of a whole, and he pointed out that during his words of greeting to the Pope, he expressed the openness of those present to receive “every encouragement and also every correction that can serve to improve our service to the Church, to the Pope and to mankind”.
So, Parolin said, in this sense the Pope’s words must be read in a positive context, just as they were “welcomed and experienced by the participants”.
Unity, freedom, love
Regarding the part of his speech in which the Pope said a nuncio is called to be a “man of God”, a representative of the Church and of the Pontiff, thus it is inherently incompatible with his mission to “criticize the Pope, write blogs or join groups that are hostile to the Pope and to the Church.” Cardinal Parolin said there can never be a total uniformity of thought, and that there are issues that need to be discussed as upheld by the ancient axiom that says in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas (“unity in necessary things; freedom in doubtful things; love in all things”).
He pointed out that as representatives of the Pope the nuncios feel free to say things to the Pontiff and, he said, Pope Francis is very open and well-disposed to receive comments, observations and reflections on various questions.
At the same time, he said, “we must try to maintain unity, which is the condition for the effectiveness of our action in the world”.
“We will be all the more effective if we are really united in the fundamental things. Therefore, above all as pontifical representatives, we must have this unity with the Pope and this adherence to his teaching that must then be translated concretely into attitudes of sharing his thought and his direction,” he said.
Finally, Cardinal Parolin described the part of dialogue that took place behind closed doors as very “open and frank.”
He said various topics were addressed and said the nuncios appreciated the Pope’s input “because he was not afraid to tackle delicate themes, talking about them with much frankness and openness”.
(JFL: And the Pope enjoyed lunch with the nuncios during their time in Rome – seemed to really enjoy it: