VATICAN ABUSE SUMMIT ENDS, THE REAL WORK BEGINS – POPE FRANCIS, UAE FOREIGN MINISTER MEET, SHARE LUNCH – POPE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: TECHNOLOGY IS A HUMAN CHARACTERISTIC – MEETING IN VATICAN DISCUSSES FOLLOW-UP TO ABUSE SUMMIT

I did post daily news about the abuse summit on Saturday and Sunday, but only on my Facebook page. There were a few exceptional moments, including press briefings, and I have to say that I personally felt that the three best talks of the four-day summit were from three women, Linda Ghisoni, undersecretary for the Dicastery for Family, Laity and Life, Sr. Veronica Openibo from Nigeria,, superior of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus and celebrated vaticanista (long before the summit!) Valentina Alazraki who has covered the Vatican for 45 years and been on 150 – yes, 150! – papal flights.

Go to facebook.com/joan.lewis.10420 for their words and stories and my comments. I gave Valentina an Oscar – see why! If you had read or heard her talk online, you’d have personally handed her the Oscar!

Also go there to see the question one journalist asked the final day of briefings about Pope Francis and cover up!

VATICAN ABUSE SUMMIT ENDS, THE REAL WORK BEGINS

The four-day Vatican meeting on the Protection of Minors, called by the Pope to reflect on the “brutality” of the worldwide problem of clerical sex abuse, ended in dramatic fashion with a penitential liturgy on Saturday and Mass on Sunday after which Pope Francis delivered a 3,500 word major address declaring that the Church will lead an all-out battle against abuse.

Earlier, Saturday afternoon in a striking penitential liturgy in the Apostolic Palace’s Sala Regia, there was a collective confession by Pope Francis and Church leaders attending the abuse summit: “We confess that bishops, priests, deacons, and religious in the Church have done violence to children and youth – that we have shielded the guilty – that we have not acknowledged the suffering of many victims – that we bishops did not live up to our responsibilities. … Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy.”

Sunday, in his lengthy speech following the summit’s concluding Mass, The Holy Father said, “The meaning behind child sex abuse comes from the present-day manifestation of the spirit of evil,” adding that consecrated persons who commit such crimes become “tools of Satan.” He outlined an 8-point program the Church will undertake to fight abuse.

Abp Mark Coleridge gave the homily at Mass and Pope Francis spoke afterwards

On Sunday at the final press briefing, Fr. Federico Lombardi, conference moderator, announced some concrete initiatives underway in the Vatican, including a new Motu Proprio from the Pope “on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons,” and a Vademecum or manual, to be published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to help bishops around the world clearly understand their duties and tasks.

Also, added Fr. Lombardi, “in a spirit of communion with the universal Church, the Pope has expressed the intention of creating task forces of competent persons to help episcopal conferences and dioceses that find it difficult to confront the problems and produce initiatives for the protection of minors.”

POPE FRANCIS, UAE FOREIGN MINISTER MEET, SHARE LUNCH

The Holy See Press Office interim director announced today that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness the Sheikh Abdallah Ben Zayed Al Nahyan, was received today in a private manner at the Casa Santa Marta at 12.30 pm by the Holy Father Francis with whom he stayed and conversed for 45 minutes.

Minister Ben Zayed wanted to tell the Pope of the decisions that the government of the United Arab Emirates has undertaken to promote the application of the intentions of the document on “Human Brotherhood for World Peace and common coexistence” signed by the Holy Father and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahamad al-Tayyib (Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019), some of which have already been implemented and others being implemented.

The delegation gifted the Holy Father a small box containing some stones with inscriptions in Arabic that express messages related to love, tolerance and brotherhood. The Pope gave a copy of an engraving dating from the 17th century that shows the construction work in St. Peter’s Square, and four large photo albums intended for the president and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, containing a selection of the best images of the visit of the Pontiff in the country earlier this month.

At the end of the encounter the Holy Father had lunch together with the minister and the delegation from the UAE.

POPE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: TECHNOLOGY IS A HUMAN CHARACTERISTIC

By Francesca Merlo (vaticannews)

Despite all of the potential that science has, the accumulation of it all does not always obtain the results hoped for, said Pope Francis as he addressed the çPontifical academy for Life that is marking its 25th anniversary, created by Pope John Paul II in 1994.

All that science could offer

We know the problems our world is facing, said the Pope, and one of them is that we seem to be closing in more and more on ourselves. This underlines a “dramatic paradox”: that at the point in which science could offer the equal well-being that God wished for to all people, “we observe an embittering of conflicts and a growth of inequality.”

There are two sides to technology, said Francis. On the one hand, we cannot go without it; on the other hand, it imposes its logic upon us. “Yet, technology is a human characteristic”.

However, what we must understand, added Francis, is that the artificial devices that simulate human capacities, are in fact, lacking in human qualities. These machines cannot take into consideration the phenomena of experience or that of conscience.

Benefits of science on every person

This must be taken into account, the Holy Father told his guests, when imposing the regulations for the use of these machines and in researching them. In order to work towards a constructive interaction between humans and the most recent versions of these machines, which he says, “are radically transforming the scenario of our existence.” The Pope explained that, “if we are able to make use of these references in practice, the extraordinary potential of new discoveries can radiate their benefits on every person and on humanity as a whole.”

Sharing in order to benefit

Pope Francis noted that the task of the Academy for Life is an honorable one in “the ethical alliance in favor of human life.” Now that we are surrounded by more and more sophisticated machinery, and they directly involve human qualities, both physical and of the psyche, the sharing of information between those working in the field becomes more and more important.

He urges the participants at the plenary assembly to take the example of the faithful masters of this technology “who have wisely and boldly entered into the processes of their contemporaneity, with a view to an understanding of the heritage of faith at the height of a reason worthy of humanity”.

MEETING IN VATICAN DISCUSSES FOLLOW-UP TO ABUSE SUMMIT

From interim Holy See Press Office director Alessandro Gisotti:

In the Sala Bologna of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a restricted interdicasterial meeting was held this morning from 9.00 to 13.00, focusing on the fight against child abuse. This meeting is a first concrete effect of the meeting on “The Protection of Minors in the Church” that ended yesterday. Also at the meeting, together with some superiors of the Secretariat of State and the heads of the dicasteries who are particularly committed to this topic,were members of the organizing committee and the moderator of the meeting, Father Federico Lombardi SJ, who focused on the meeting as it unfolded, initial reactions to the meeting and follow-up.

Above all, and unanimously, accent was placed on how necessary the just ended meeting was, so desired by Pope Francis. It was also highlighted that this event must now be followed by concrete measures as strongly requested by the People of God. In this context, the fundamental principles that inspire the documents and task forces, announced in the final press conference of the meeting, were illustrated. These initiatives, it has been affirmed, will have to be communicated in the clearest, most timely and detailed way possible.

In the interventions of the dicastery heads, who reaffirmed their commitment to follow the example of Pope Francis in the fight against abuse, the accent was placed on the need to listen to the victims as a starting point for this commitment. Other points underlined: the greater involvement of the laity on this front and the need to invest in training and prevention, taking advantage of those realities with a consolidated experience in this field. Lastly, it was highlighted that the progress of the follow-up of the meeting should be verified with interdicasterial meetings in the name of synodality and synergy.

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TRUE PRAYER IS SILENT DIALOGUE WITH GOD – MICROSOFT, ACADEMY FOR LIFE TO PROMOTE PRIZE ON ETHICS IN AI

TRUE PRAYER IS SILENT DIALOGUE WITH GOD

Pope Francis told the faithful during his weekly general audience that prayer with God is a silent dialogue with love at its core, where there is no pretence. In his ongoing catechesis on the “Our Father,” Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI hall for the Wednesday audience that, “true prayer is made in the intimate depths of a heart visible only to God. “It is a silent dialogue”, he said, with love at its core. “To look at God and to let oneself be looked at by God is to pray.

Compassion for others

The Pope commented that in this way, the Christian does not forget the world, but rather brings its people and its needs into prayer. He continued by saying that the person who prays, tells God about the pain of someone he or she met that day. “If you don’t realize that there’s so many people who suffer,” the Pontiff underlined, “that means one’s heart is withered. … Feeling compassion …is one of the key verbs of the Gospel.”

“Let us ask ourselves,” said Francis, “when I pray, do I open myself to the cry of so many people near and far? Or do I think of prayer as to some kind of anaesthesia so I can relax?”

No hypocrisy

He stressed that, “Jesus doesn’t want hypocrisy. …True prayer is that which is accomplished in the secret of conscience, of the heart: inscrutable, visible only to God… It avoids falsehood: with God it is impossible to pretend.” Before God, he said, tricks have no power.

No room for individualism

Pope Francis noted that in the Our Father there is the absence of the word “I.” Jesus, he explained, teaches us instead to pray: “your kingdom come, your will be done”. The second half of the prayer then moves from “your” to “our”: “give us our daily bread; forgive us our trespasses”. “This use of the plural, he added, shows us that Christian prayer never asks bread for just one person, but always on behalf of others.” There is no room for individualism in dialogue with God.”

Jesus makes us pray, the Pope emphasized, even for those “who apparently do not seek God,” because God seeks these people “more than anyone else.”

MICROSOFT, ACADEMY FOR LIFE TO PROMOTE PRIZE ON ETHICS IN AI

A statement this afternoon from interim director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, said that, in a private audience this afternoon at the Vatican, the Holy Father received Microsoft President Brad Smith, accompanied by the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

During their meeting, Mr. Smith discussed the topic of artificial intelligence at the service of the common good and activities aimed at bridging the digital divide that still persists at the global level. With Abp. Paglia, he informed the Holy Father that Microsoft, together with the Pontifical Academy for Life, will promote an international prize on ethics in artificial intelligence, the theme of the Academy’s 2020 plenary assembly.

This year the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life will take place in the Vatican from February 25 to 27 to discuss the theme, ‘Roboethics: Humans, Machines and Health’, whereas the plenary assembly in 2020 will focus on artificial intelligence.

POPE TO ACADEMY FOR LIFE: PROMOTE HUMANISM OF FRATERNITY

The Pontifical Academy for Life was originally instituted by St. John Paul on February 11, 1994 with the Motu proprio “Vitae mysterium.” It was dedicated to “study, information and formation on the principal problems of biomedicine and of law, relative to the promotion and defense of life, above all in the direct relation that they have with Christian morality and the directives of the Church’s Magisterium”.

In 2016 and 2017 Pope Francis overhauled one of the stars of his predecessor’s pontificate, creating a new academy, statues and members, including at least one who is pro-abortion. Remarkably the original requirement for members to sign a “Declaration of the Servants of Life” was removed. This aimed at making explicit the members’ willingness to follow Church teaching on the sacredness of human life and to defend life on the Magisterium’s teaching.

Pope Francis also included the idea of “human ecology” and creation in outlining the focal points of the academy.

Today’s papal message comes just before 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 18, and the 13th edition of the March for Life in Paris on Sunday, January 20.

The Vatican news portal on Monday published a Message from Francis to the Paris March with words of encouragement.

As I read – and re-read – today’s Message I noted something interesting: the words “right to life,” “pro-life” and “unborn” do not appear. “Abortion” appears once. Humanism 5 times, humanity 5 times, human 9 times (separate from humanity and humanism).

POPE TO ACADEMY FOR LIFE: PROMOTE HUMANISM OF FRATERNITY

On the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis calls on its members to promote human fraternity and a humanism of life.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

Pope Francis made the “human community” the focus of a letter addressed to the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life on the 25th anniversary of its foundation by Pope St John Paul II. (vaticannews photo)

God’s dream
“The human community is God’s dream even from before the creation of the world,” the Pope said, emphasizing that we must “grow in the awareness of our common origin in God’s love and creative act.” He explained that “in our time, the Church is called once more to propose the humanism of the life that bursts forth from God’s passion for human beings.”

A state of emergency
After briefly reviewing the history of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis went on to outline the “serious obstacles” facing humanity today. In particular, he noted the “state of emergency existing in our relationship with the history of the earth and its peoples.” This emergency, rooted in concern for oneself at the expense of the common good, has led to a paradox: despite rapid economic and technological progress, humanity finds itself “creating our most bitter divisions and our worst nightmares.”

A difficult task for the Church
In response, the Pope said, the Church is called to react against the negativity that “foments division, indifference, and hostility.” This is a difficult task for the Church, which is in danger of failing to recognize the gravity of the contemporary emergency. “It’s time,” he said, “for a new vision aimed at promoting a humanism of fraternity and solidarity between individuals and peoples.”

Speaking of the future of the Academy, Pope Francis said, “We need to enter into the language of men and women today, making the Gospel message incarnate in their concrete experience.” He expressed his hope that the Pontifical Academy for Life might be “a place for courageous dialogue in the service of the common good.” In particular, the Pope spoke of the importance of seeking universal criteria for making decisions, as well as a deepening understanding of the relationship between rights and duties. He called, too, for continued study of “emergent” and “convergent” technologies, mentioning specifically information and communication technologies, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and robotics.

The unkept promise of modernity
Finally, Pope Francis said, “The kind of medicine, economy, technology, and politics that develop within the modern city of man must also, above all, remain subject to the judgment rendered by the peripheries of the earth.” We should remember, he said, “that fraternity remains the unkept promise of modernity.”

“The strengthening of fraternity,” he said in conclusion, “generated in the human family by the worship of God in spirit and truth, is the new frontier of Christianity.”

Read the full text of Pope Francis’ Letter to the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life for the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Academy.  http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190106_lettera-accademia-vita.html

 

POPE FRANCIS: “RESPECT FOR THE WORLD BEGINS WITH RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN BODY” – POPE: “CATHOLIC EDUCATION GIVES SOUL TO WORLD”

In case you were unaware, the Rome Bureau of EWTN has its own Twitter account, FB page and Instagram account – enjoy!:

https://www.instagram.com/ewtnvatican/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/ewtnvaticano/

Two important talks today from Pope Francis – one to the Pontifical Academy of Life, a body whose membership and statutes the Pope has restructured over the past year, and a second talk to the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation which he founded in October 2015.

POPE FRANCIS: “RESPECT FOR THE WORLD BEGINS WITH RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN BODY”

Pope Francis addresses the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Life on Monday focusing his remarks on the theme of the two-day workshop: situating human life within the wider context of the globalized world.

Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews.va)

The Pontifical Academy of Life is holding a two-day workshop June 25 and 26.. Pope Francis met with the participants on Monday and shared his thoughts with them regarding the theme: “Equal Beginnings. But then? A global responsibility.”

Science at the service of life
Pope Francis began saying that “human ecology” needs to be encouraged to consider “the ethical and spiritual quality of life in all of its phases”. Scientific studies on the human person are important, but need to be integrated within the broader realization of the person’s origins. Human life “burst on the world scene with the wonder of word and thought, of affections and spirit”, the Pope said.

The “dirty work” of death
When babies are exposed to privation and war; when the old are abandoned—“we instead perform the ‘dirty’ work of death”, Pope Francis continued. Christians must be strong in their inspiration and commit themselves ever more vigorously to work against such works sustained by sin, he said.

Dignity of the human person
Christian bioethics must not define the value of a person beginning from illness. It must begin with the “profound conviction of the irrevocable dignity of the human person, just as God loves each person” through every phase and in every condition of life, Pope Francis said.

Holistic vision
A holistic vision should situate the person within the context of both the connections and differences we live, beginning with the human body. “It is through our body that the human person is in relationship with the environment and other living beings”, the Pope said, quoting Laudato Si’. Those who understand the world as God’s gift have first accepted their bodies as God’s gift, he said.

Global bioethics
Relying on purely legal regulations or technical assistance in the bioethics field will never guarantee the dignity of the human person. That can only come from the “adequate support of a responsible human proximity”, Pope Francis said.

Life’s ultimate destination
A culture of life always looks toward life’s ultimate destination, Pope Francis concluded. Christian wisdom must passionately contribute to the thought that “humankind is destined to share in God’s life” after death where we will remain in eternal awe before all things “ ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’, hidden in the Creator’s womb”.

POPE: “CATHOLIC EDUCATION GIVES SOUL TO WORLD”

Inviting the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation to offer hope, Pope Francis says Catholic education gives soul to our globalized world and radiates the promise of Christian salvation.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews.va)

Pope Francis on Monday spoke to participants in the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation’s conference entitled, “To Educate is to Transform”. He encouraged the group in their efforts to coordinate between Catholic educational institutions, and offered them three suggestions.

Increase networking

Pope Francis first urged the Foundation to network among institutions, so as to make them more effective by drawing on each one’s intellectual and cultural strong points.

He said networking means uniting fields of study, creating spaces for cultural encounter and dialogue, and making schools “educating communities”. This, he said, means uniting students and teachers in mutual sharing through “a curriculum of life and experience.”

Given the global challenges facing the human family, Pope Francis said Catholic education “recognizes that humankind’s moral responsibility today does not just extend through space, but also through time, and that present choices have repercussions for future generations.”

Face social change optimistically

Secondly, Pope Francis invited the Foundation’s members to teach people to face social change optimistically. The goal, he said, is for men and women to “immerse themselves in reality with the light that radiates from the promise of Christian salvation.”

The Pope said Catholic educators must not lose hope but offer it to today’s world.

“We need to give a soul to the global world through an intellectual and moral formation that can support the good things that globalization brings and correct the harmful ones,” he said.

Focus on: identity, quality, common good

Finally, Pope Francis offered the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation three criteria in order to be effective. Identity, quality, and care for the common good, he said, are essential to the Catholic educator’s task.

Schools and universities need to be consistent and show continuity between their foundational mission and the Church’s mission of evangelization, the Pope said. By focusing on the quality of their education and the common good, he said educators can help all understand that “we belong to one human family”.

“To fulfill your mission, therefore, you must lay its foundations in a way consistent with our Christian identity; establish means appropriate for the quality of study and research; and pursue goals in harmony with service to the common good.”

About Gravissimum Educationis Foundation

Pope Francis established the Gravissimum Educationis Foundation at the request of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education in October 2015. Its purpose is to renew the Church’s commitment to Catholic education in step with the historical transformations of our time.

LAITY-LED JOHN PAUL II ACADEMY FOR LIFE AND FAMILY IS ANNOUNCED IN ROME

LAITY-LED JOHN PAUL II ACADEMY FOR LIFE AND FAMILY IS ANNOUNCED IN ROME

Interesting news from Rome over the weekend from Voice of the Family as it held a daylong meeting Saturday to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical on birth control, “Humanae vitae.”

Voice of the Family, as it explains on its website, is a coalition of 25 pro-life and pro-family groups that was born as an initiative of Catholic laity in order to offer expertise and resources before, during and after the 2014-2015 Synods on the Family. The meeting took place at the Pontifical Thomas Aquinas University and was opened by Walter Cardinal Brandmüller, one of the two remaining signatories of the dubia submitted to Pope Francis to request clarification of Amoris Laetitia.

Saturday, it was announced at the Voice of the Family meeting that Catholic academics have banded together to form a new laity-led Academy for Life, in the wake of many changes Pope Francis made in the Pontifical Academy for Life – changes that puzzled and upset many people. Last December, for example, he dissolved the entire membership. In the spring he reappointed some former members and also named new members, some of whom have written or spoken against Catholic teachings on life, issues such as abortion.

In new statutes for the Vatican body, Pope Francis also expanded its mandate to include a focus on the environment:

  • 3 – The (Pontifical) Academy has a primarily scientific role, for the promotion and defence of human life (Cf. Vitae Mysterium, 4). In particular, it studies various matters dealing with care for the dignity of the human person at different stages of life, mutual respect between the sexes and generations; the defence of the dignity of each individual human being; and the promotion of a quality of human life that integrates material and spiritual values. It does so in the context of a genuine “human ecology” that seeks to recover the original balance in creation between the human person and the whole universe (cf. Chirograph of 15 August 2016).

Called the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family, the new academy, say members – many of whom were members of the Pontifical Academy for Life – will serve the same goals as the original Pontifical Academy, founded by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1994. This consists of the “interdisciplinary study and defense of human life in all its stages” and the “study of marriage and the human family.” It intends to offer the Church studies and explanations of the “most important anthropological and ethical truths about human life, human death, and about the family.”

Voice of the Family says that the following truths are at the heart of its work:

  • Marriage, the exclusive, life-long union of one man and one woman, is the foundation of a stable and flourishing society and is the greatest protector of children, born and unborn.
  • The separation of the procreative and unitive ends of the sexual act, which is intrinsic to the use of contraception, has acted as a major catalyst of the culture of death.
  • Parents are the primary educators of their children and the protection of this right is essential for building a new “culture of life”.

Following are some resources for further study of the newly re-formed Pontifical academy for Life:

POPE JOHN PAUL’S MOTU PROPRIO ESTABLISHING THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE: http://www.academiavita.org/about_us_motu_proprio.php#panel2

STATUTES of the Pontifical Academy for Life: http://www.academiavita.org/_image/about_us/_documents/_statute/academy_statute.pdf

SERVANTS OF LIFE: Declaration signed by all those who are nominated Members of the Academy (http://www.academiavita.org/about_us_declaration.php#panel2)

To understand why some people were, as I wrote above, “puzzled and upset” at some of the changes made by Pope Francis in the Pontifical Academy for Life, especially in its membership, here are two pieces that explain the reasons for the perplexity:

A clear and well-reasoned piece for the National Catholic Register by Edward Pentin: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pro-abortion-theologian-picked-as-pontifical-academy-for-life-member

Vaticanista Sandro Magister offered an interesting analysis of the people included by Pope Francis in the re-formed pontifical academy, as well as those left off the list, names of former members not brought back into the academy: http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2017/06/13/name-by-name-the-metamorphosis-of-the-pontifical-academy-for-life/

VATICAN INSIDER AND THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE – VATICAN SPONSORS THREE-DAY CONFERENCE: “CATECHESIS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES”

This might be the last column for a few days as the three-day conference I am in Honolulu to attend and speak at starts tomorrow morning and runs through Sunday afternoon. I will be bsuy every waking moment and what I can post, I will, although text and photos will more likely appear on my Facebook page.

Monday morning at 7:30 am I will be joining Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu and other pilgrims for a visit to Kalaupapa – we’re scheduled to be back in late afternoon. We fly to Kalaupapa on Makani Kai Airlines from a small airport adjacent to the Honolulu international airport. In any case, as you can see, my time for writing lengthy posts will be limited in coming days.

I do want to share a nice story with you – a happy ending, if you will.

The parish office of St. Augustine Church is just meters from my condo and this is where I had copies of my speech printed as I have no facilities in the condo. I know Fr. Lane Akiona, the pastor and Sr. Cheryl Wint who is one of the organizers of the Damien and Mariane conference, and Sister was kind to make the copies.

I decided late this afternoon that I wanted a larger font for my speech as I have no idea how high or low my podium will be. The parish office was closed when I made this decision so I went to the Marriott hotel right across the street. I am a Marriott Rewards member and was sure they might help me out in the business office by printing some pages. The smiling gal at the front desk heard my story and, smiling but firm, said, “I’m sorry we can only do this for hotel guests.”

I truly was very surprised.  I naturally intended to pay for this service! Maybe I should have asked for the manager but I left the hotel, exiting through a large courtyard that has many stores. I stopped in a Segway office to ask if they knew where I could have some copies made – was there a Kinko’s nearby, perhaps? With huge smiles and in the typical Hawaiian friendly manner, they replied, “we’d be happy to do that for you!”

And they printed my speech – color parts and all –and would not let me pay a cent! I will find something very nice to do for them – in additon to promoting Segway!

The staff asked what my speech was about and I said, “I’m telling people how they can become saints!” They were amazed and then asked – quite naturally! – how does one becomes a saint. I stole a few lines from my talk and we spent a few interesting minutes together.

You never know in life, right?

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And now a few words about the conference that starts tomorrow in the Vatican. If bi-location was a fact of life, that’s also where I’d be this weekend. I know Kairos and its leader, Cris Gangemi and have covered other conferences they’ve held in Rome and have interviewed Cris. I hope this weekend is a huge success for the organizers!

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Here are some photos I took last evening – Waikiki by night:

 

VATICAN INSIDER AND THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE

Tune in to “Vatican Insider” this weekend when my guest on the interview segment is Vicki Thorn, a recently re-appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. You have heard Vicki before as she is the founder of Project Rachel and also Executive Director of the National office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing in Milwaukee.

The academy, founded by Pope St. John Paul II and professor Jerome Lejeune in 1994, is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic and carries out research on bioethics and Catholic moral theology. Over the years it has promoted and developed the Church’s teaching on various areas of medical ethics, including procreation, in vitro fertilization, gene therapy, euthanasia and abortion.

The academy’s entire membership was completely dissolved last December by Pope Francis. He has since re-appointed some former members, appointed new ones and ordered that the statutes be completely re-written.

Tune in to Part II of our interview and listen to Vicki as she talks about the first meeting of the newly reconstituted Academy.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

VATICAN SPONSORS THREE-DAY CONFERENCE: “CATECHESIS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES”

(Vatican Radio) A global conference will open in Rome on Friday looking at best practices to help people with disabilities fully engage in the life of the Church.

The event is entitled “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church.” It is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization and partnered by The Kairos Forum, a UK based organization that focuses on the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities.

Over the course of the three-day gathering 450 experts from around the world will share their insights.

Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane spoke to Monsignor Geno Sylva, English language official at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, about the goals of the conference.

Speaking about how the conference came about, Msgr. Sylva said, “this international conference is the fruit that was sewn during the Jubilee (of Mercy) with all the other discussions that took place afterwards.”

He underlined that, “the aim and the goal is for us as a Church and for this Pontifical Council to really learn what are the best practices that are already taking place throughout the world in catechizing people with special needs …”

The Church and Disability

Msgr. Sylva stated that this conference is also meant to “highlight the responsibility that we have as a Church to take into account the special needs for each of the baptized, so that we can present to him or her the catechism, the catechesis of our Church in a way that they can receive it; they can grasp the elements of it .”

The global conference, “Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities: A Necessary Engagement in the Daily Pastoral Life of the Church,” will run from the 20th to the 22nd of October at the Urbaniana University in Rome.

 

 

VATICAN INSIDER: A LOOK AT THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE – POPE SENDS TELEGRAM OF CONDOLENCES AND PRAYERS FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Pope Francis tweeted the following on this historical day – 100 years ago, the final Marian apparition to the three shepherd children at Fatima: In this centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, we thank God for the countless blessings we have received under her protection.

It’s probably far-fetched to say “If you happen to be in Honolulu next week….” but I will say that to the many friends (and fans!) I have in the Hawaiian capital, inviting one and all to come to the Hawaii Convention Center on October 20, 21 and 22 for the Saints Damien and Marianne Conference (www.dmcchawaii.org) . I’ll be there to write about the conference, interview guests (including Cardinal Mafi of Tonga!) and post some videos on Facebook Live. I’ve also been asked to speak and have been working on what I hope will be an informational and inspirational talk that I’ve titled, “A PhD in Sainthood.”

I leave Sunday and, after a very long trip, expect to spend Monday researching and writing and preparing several televised segments for “At Home with Jim and Joy.” Catholic TV in Honolulu has kindly agreed to tape those segments for us!

Aloha – until we meet again!

VATICAN INSIDER: A LOOK AT THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY FOR LIFE

Tune in to “Vatican Insider” this weekend when my guest on the interview segment is Vicki Thorn, a recently re-appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. You have heard Vicki before as she is the founder of Project Rachel and also Executive Director of the National office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing in Milwaukee.

The academy, founded by Pope St. John Paul II and professor Jerome Lejeune in 1994, is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic and carries out research on bioethics and Catholic moral theology. Over the years it has promoted and developed the Church’s teaching on various areas of medical ethics, including procreation, in vitro fertilization, gene therapy, euthanasia and abortion.

The academy’s entire membership completely was dissolved last December by Pope Francis. He has since re-appointed some former members, appointed new ones and ordered that the statutes be completely re-written Listen to Vicki as she talks about the first meeting of the newly reconstituted Academy.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. 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.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE SENDS TELEGRAM OF CONDOLENCES AND PRAYERS FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Pope Francis has sent a telegram expressing his condolences to the families of victims of widespread wildfires in northern California, and promising prayers for all those affected.

Signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and jointly addressed to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the Holy Father expresses his prayerful solidarity with everyone affected by the fires.

The wildfires sweeping through California have killed at least 31 people and damaged thousands of homes, businesses and other buildings. More than 20,00 people have been displaced by 21 fires, and as many as 400 people remain missing amid the chaos of displacement and the ongoing battle to bring the blazes under control.

Following is the papal telegram:

The Most Reverend Salvatore Joseph Cordileone ,Archbishop of San Francisco

The Most Reverend José Horacio Gómez ,Archbishop of Los Angeles

Informed of the tragic loss of life and the destruction of property caused by the wildfire in California, the Holy Father assures you of his heartfelt solidarity and his prayers for all those affected by this disaster.  He is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and who fear for the lives of those still missing.  His Holiness offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this tragedy. To all he sends his blessing.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Secretary of State