VATICAN INSIDER: CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR IN ROME AND THE VATICAN – POPE EMERITUS RESTED WELL OVERNIGHT, HEALTH SITUATION STABLE

Allow me to wish all of you who follow me – my blog readers, radio listeners and TV viewers – a happy, healthy, fulfilling, peaceful and joy-filled New Year!. May it be better in every way possible than the year we are leaving!

I’ll be back on this page – save for breaking news – on January 2, 2023! So, see you next year!

VATICAN INSIDER: CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR IN ROME AND THE VATICAN

Welcome to Vatican Insider on this Christmas and New Year’s weekend. After all, don’t forget that it is still the Christmas season! In what is usually the interview segment after the News, I have prepared what I hope is a fascinating Christmas story, a Special in which I bring you to Italy to learn how the Vatican and Rome and Italians celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. Christmastide is as wonderful here as you can imagine, and I think you’ll want to invite family members, especially children, to sit around and listen!

POPE EMERITUS RESTED WELL OVERNIGHT, HEALTH SITUATION STABLE

The Director of the Holy See Press Office on Friday said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s health condition remains stable.

By Vatican News

In a response to questions from journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, on Friday confirmed that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s health condition remains stable at this time. He added that yesterday evening Benedict XVI was able to have a good rest, and earlier in the afternoon he participated in the celebration of Mass in his room.

Vatican news file photo of Benedict XVI and his personal secretary, Abp. Georg Gaenswein –

In related news, at 5:30 pm Rome time on today, Mass was celebrated at the basilica of St. John Lateran, remembering in prayer Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his health. Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar of the Diocese of Rome, presided over the celebration.

The Diocese of Rome encouraged “parish communities, chaplaincies, religious men and women, all the faithful of the diocese and all the men and women of good will who live in Rome,” to gather in prayer for Benedict XVI,  “remembering with gratitude the road travelled together with our bishop emeritus,” and accompanying him now “in this time of suffering and hardship, praying to the Lord that He may console him and sustain him in his witness of love for the Church until the end.”

 

FRANCIS ASKS PRAYERS FOR POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI – POPE REFLECTS ON ST. FRANCIS DE SALES, ISSUES APOSTOLIC LETTER ON PATRON OF JOURNALISTS

In his Apostolic Letter, The Holy Father quotes St. Francis de Sales innumerable times but this one sounds like it could be for us today: “Towards the end of his life, this is how he saw his time: “The world is becoming so delicate that, in a little while, no one will dare any longer to touch it except with velvet gloves, or tend its wounds except with perfumed bandages; yet what does it matter, if only men and women are healed and finally saved?  Charity, our queen, does everything for her children.”

FRANCIS ASKS PRAYERS FOR POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI 

Pope Francis at the end of the general audience: “I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is supporting the Church in silence. Remember him – he is very ill – asking the Lord to console him and to sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end.”

Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni issued the following communique this morning: “Regarding the health conditions of the Pope Emeritus, for whom Pope Francis asked for prayers at the end of this morning’s general audience, I can confirm that in the last few hours there has been an aggravation due to advancing age. The situation at the moment remains under control, followed constantly by the doctors. At the end of the general audience, Pope Francis went to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery to visit Benedict XVI. We join him in praying for the Pope Emeritus.” (Vatican photo)

POPE REFLECTS ON ST. FRANCIS DE SALES, ISSUES APOSTOLIC LETTER ON PATRON OF JOURNALISTS

During the general audience today in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis reflected on the birth of Christ as seen in some of the thoughts of St. Francis de Sales who died 400 years ago today. He also announced that he had written an Apostolic Letter on the saintly patron of journalists, ‘Totum amoris est’ (‘Everything Pertains to Love’), that the Vatican published today.

“In this Christmas season,” began the Holy Father, our reflections on Jesus’ birth can be enhanced by some thoughts of the great Doctor of the Church, Saint Francis de Sales. Today, on the fourth centenary of his death, I have published a new Apostolic Letter to recall some of the richness of his teaching.

“For Francis de Sales,” continued the Pope, “the mystery of Christmas directs our gaze to the poverty and simplicity of the manger as the sign of Christ’s true identity as God among us. God, who knows our weaknesses, our sins and our hardness of heart, chose to draw us to himself by bonds of love, coming into our world as a newborn child. The birth of Jesus thus reveals God’s utterly free, gracious and indeed ‘disarming’ love.”

“We see this mystery concretely in the focal point of the crib, namely in the Child lying in a manger. This is ‘the sign’ that God gives us at Christmas: it was at the time for the shepherds in Bethlehem (cf. Lk 2:12), it is today, and it will always be so. When the angels announce the birth of Jesus, [they say,] ‘Go and you will find Him’; and the sign is: You will find a child in a manger. That is the sign. The throne of Jesus is the manger or the street, during His life, preaching; or the Cross at the end of His life. This is the throne of our King.”

“This sign, continues Pope Francis, “shows us the “style’ of God. And what is the style of God? Don’t forget, never forget: the style of God is closeness, compassion, and tenderness. Our God is close, compassionate, and tender. This style of God is seen in Jesus. With this style of His, God draws us to Himself. He does not take us by force. He does not impose His truth and justice on us. He does not proselytize us, no! He wants to draw us with love, with tenderness, with compassion.”

The Pope underscored how “Saint Francis teaches us to welcome the Lord into our hearts by joyfully imitating his detachment from worldly wealth and power, and, like the infant Jesus, by learning ‘to desire nothing and to refuse nothing, to accept everything that God sends us’, with complete confidence in his loving providence.”

In conclusion, the Holy Father said, “May the lowly manger of Bethlehem inspire us to imitate that boundless love of God, made flesh in the Child of Bethlehem, the Savior of the world.”

Click here to read a summary of Totum Amoris est: Pope: St. Francis de Sales was ‘great reader of Signs of the Times’ – Vatican News

Click here for entire Apostolic Letter: Apostolic Letter <i>Totum amoris est</i> of the Holy Father Francis on the Fourth Centenary of the Death of Saint Francis de Sales – Activities of the Holy Father Pope Francis | Vatican.va

 

POPE FRANCIS ON HIS UPCOMING TRIP TO CANADA, HEALTH ISSUES – POPE FRANCIS: DIGITAL MEDIA RAISES SERIOUS ETHICAL ISSUES

POPE FRANCIS ON HIS UPCOMING TRIP TO CANADA, HEALTH ISSUES

Sunday, July 17, 12,000 faithful populated St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus with Pope Francis, standing close at times to the two fountains in the square to cool off from the sweltering heat that has enveloped Italy for many weeks.

After the Angelus, Francis asked for prayers, saying, “I’m about to make a penitential pilgrimage that I hope, with God’s grace, will contribute to the journey of healing and reconciliation already undertaken.” He explained that, “unfortunately, in Canada, many Christians, including some members of religious institutes, contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have severely harmed indigenous communities in various ways.”

The Holy Father leaves Sunday, July 24 for a multi-city visit to Canada, arriving back in Rome on July 30.

Addressing Canadians specifically, the Pope Sunday recalled a series of meetings he held in the Vatican in April with delegations from Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, listening to stories about life in the residential school system. As Vatican news reported, this was the forcible integration of indigenous children into Canadian culture by separating them from their families and communities and placing them in boarding schools.

On April 1, Pope Francis expressed his profound sorrow to the delegations, asking for pardon for the suffering inflicted by some members of the Catholic Church. He also mentioned he wanted to travel to Canada.

The fact the Canada trip is still on the papal agenda seems to be positive news about the Pope’s health.

In a recent interview, he spoke about his cancelled July trip to Africa: “I suffered so much for not being able to do this trip, but the doctor told me not to do it because I was not able to do it yet. I’ll go to Canada because the doctor told me at that time, ‘With 20 more days you will recover.’

Francis further explained his knee problem: “A ligament became inflamed and, because I walk badly (due to sciatica), this …. moved a bone and caused a fracture…and that’s the problem. …I am slowly improving, and technically the calcification has already occurred, thanks to all the work done with the laser … and magnet therapy. Now I have to start moving because there’s a danger of losing muscle tone if one doesn’t move.”

POPE FRANCIS: DIGITAL MEDIA RAISES SERIOUS ETHICAL ISSUES

Pope Francis says SIGNIS “can play an important role” in meeting the challenge of “toxicity, hate speech, and fake news” in the media.

By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

Although modern means of communication can be “a powerful means of fostering communion and dialogue within our human family,” they can also become “places of toxicity, hate speech, and fake news,” warns Pope Francis, in a message to the lay communications network SIGNIS, which is holding its annual World Congress in Seoul in August.

“It is appropriate,” the Pope says, “that, in these days marked by new outbreaks of violence and aggression in our world, you have chosen as the theme of your World Congress ‘Peace in the Digital World.”

Serious ethical issues

Pope Francis notes, “The use of digital media, especially social media, has raised a number of serious ethical issues that call for wise and discerning judgment on the part of communicators, and all those concerned with authenticity and the quality of human relationships.” SIGNIS, he continues, “can play an important role” in meeting this challenge, especially through “media education, networking Catholic media, and countering lies and misinformation.”

In his message, the Pope encourages SIGNIS members to persevere in their efforts by helping people “develop a sound critical sense, learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil, and to appreciate the importance of working for justice, social concord, and respect for our common home.” At the same time, recognizing that many communities have limited access to “the digital space,” he calls on SIGNIS communicators to make “digital inclusion a priority” in their planning.

The value of listening

The Holy Father also calls attention to the importance of listening “as the first and indispensable ingredient of dialogue and good communication,” an issue he highlighted in his message for World Communication Day 2022.

“Communication is not just a profession, but a service to dialogue and understanding between individuals and larger communities in the pursuit of a serene and peaceful coexistence.”

Listening, he says, “is likewise essential to the synodal journey that the whole Church has undertaken in these years,” recalling the ongoing Synod on Synodality that will culminate at the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

“It is my hope,” Pope Francis says, “that, in your communication, you will contribute to this process by assisting the holy and faithful people of God in our commitment to listen to one another, to the Lord’s will, and to grow in the awareness that we participate in a communion that precedes and includes us.”

“In this way, your efforts to foster ‘Peace in the Digital World’ will help to create an ever more ‘symphonic’ Church, whose unity is expressed in a harmonious and sacred polyphony.”