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.

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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

 

POPE FRANCIS MOURNS VICTIMS OF LAS VEGAS MASSACRE – WATCH FOR THESE EVENTS……

Early on the morning of Saturday, September 16, my final day of vacation in Honolulu, I was awakened in my hotel room by a noise that I thought was fireworks. I thought of fireworks for a nanosecond as it was still dark outside – nighttime, I thought – but then almost immediately recognized the noise as gunshots. The siren of a police car arriving nearby confirmed that I had heard shots. I did not count but if I had to estimate, I’d have said I heard 8 or so gunshots.

Normally when something suddenly wakes me, as earthquakes have done in the past, I look at the alarm clock but did not do so that morning. Only later, when I looked out my sixth floor window beyond my balcony and saw police car lights flashing, did I learn that, at about 6 am, three men had been shot in a small courtyard I saw every morning as I had breakfast on my balcony.

I never went back to sleep but spent time wondering what had happened, had anyone been hit or hurt on the ground and first floor rooms of the hotel and/or adjacent buildings, and so on. At least half a dozen police cars were still on Kuhio Street, outside my hotel and on the cross street, Seaside, when friends came at noon to pick me up for lunch.

News updates arrived in bits and spurts but I learned eventually that a man was arrested, one of three, after the shooting that left one man dead and two others wounded.

Whether that shooting was drug-fueled or part of a gang killing, I do not know.

And, as horrible as any shooting is, what happened last night in Las Vegas leaves me breathless. I’m a wordsmith by profession but words fail me at this moment. To use “massacre,” “senseless tragedy,” “horrifying,” “unspeakable,” to describe last night’s killing spree just doesn’t seem to be enough.

I’ve followed events on Foxnews all day and even the expression, “an image is worth a thousand words,” doesn’t seem to do it.

As President Trump said, this was “an act of pure evil.” The evil of the killer in fact defies description. The numbers of dead and injured are mind-boggling: 58 dead and over 500 injured as I write.

Two of my nieces and one nephew and his wife (my sister’s two daughters and one son) went to a U-2 concert in San Diego on September 22 – yet another big venue and enormous crowd. All went well, of course, but that’s all I could think of today as I followed the news from Las Vegas. I though about that San Diego concert, of all the people who went home that night, tired but very happy, of seeing my nieces and nephew who could tell me about the concert.

And the people last night who will never go home again.

The best we can do now is pray. I know there are moments in life – such as now – when those words might seem almost trivial to some, but to people of real faith, praying is now the best way we can help those who mourn, especially prayers for the repose of the souls of those who died.

Requiescat in pace!

POPE FRANCIS MOURNS VICTIMS OF LAS VEGAS MASSACRE

Following is the telegram sent by Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in the name of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to the Most Reverend Joseph Anthony Pepe, Bishop of Las Vegas:

Deeply saddened to learn of the shooting in Las Vegas, Pope Francis sends the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this senseless tragedy. He commends the efforts of the police and emergency service personnel, and offers the promise of his prayers for the injured and for all who have died, entrusting them to the merciful love of Almighty God.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State

The attack in Las Vegas is being described as the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. The gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock,64, died at the scene. Police said he fired from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino onto an outdoor country music festival Sunday night.

WATCH FOR THESE EVENTS……

Two very important meetings will take place in Rome this week. Members of the Child Protection Center of Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University will meet October 3 to 6 for a global conference on “Child Dignity in the Digital World.”

This is the result of an initiative launched by the European Union called ONE IN FIVE, referring to the fact that that one boy or girl of every five, that is, 20% of all children in Europe, are victims of sexual abuse. Father Hans Zollner, president of the Child Protection Center, said, ahead of the first global conference on “Child Dignity in the Digital World, “These are horrifying figures.”

This phenomenon circulates on the web via sextortion, sexting, cyberbullying, etc. The victims are children and adolescents in particular. Moreover, 25% of over 3.2 billion Internet users worldwide are children.

Fr. Zollner said, “The purpose of the meeting is to elicit a discussion and sharing platform, and, above all, to launch a set of actions against the sexual abuse of minors online and for the protection of minors in the digital.”

The conference will bring together people and institutions involved in countering this problem in different ways. Government representatives, business executives – especially CEOs of companies linked to the Internet world – law-enforcement authorities, NGOs, international organizations such as UNICEF, along with representatives of media outlets and religious communities: Christians, Jews and Muslims, and experts in the digital world.

The second big meeting this week is that of the Pontifical Academy for Life as members gather in Vatican City for the 23rd General assembly and the October 5 to 7 Workshop, “Accompanying Life: New Responsibilities in the Technological Era.” This is the first meeting of the Academy since the statutes were revised and new members appointed by Pope Francis.

 

VATICAN INSIDER AND BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION: PART II – VATICAN’S ACADEMY FOR LIFE ISSUES STATEMENT ON BABY CHARLIE GARD

When you get hundreds of emails, snail mail cards, FB Messages and Whatsapp notes expressing lovely and heartfelt wishes for a splendid and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you know you are truly blessed!

And that is how I feel right now – blessed beyond telling with wishes from my beautiful and more-than-special family members, my many colleagues, lifelong friends who live all over the globe, and FB friends, some of whom I have met here in Rome while others are mainly penpals.

You all enrich my life in so many ways – some ways you already know, others only I know. But you all bring a smile to my face! For that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Rest assured you will be remembered in prayer over the weekend.

When someone says to me, “Joan, God bless you!” my usual response is: “He already has!”

VATICAN INSIDER AND BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION: PART II

According to weather reports, this weekend again promises to be, in many places around the world, a scorcher weather-wise. But you can stay cool in your home or car as you listen to this week’s “Vatican Insider” in Part II of my conversation with John Schlageter, director of the Bethlehem University Foundation.

In the midst of the violence and conflicts and religious persecution in the Middle East, including, of course, the Holy Land, there is one oasis of peace – Bethlehem University in Bethlehem, Palestine. John and I both know and love this university so tune in as we talk about his work.

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’S ACADEMY FOR LIFE ISSUES STATEMENT ON BABY CHARLIE GARD

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life has issued a statement regarding the case of the terminally-ill English baby, Charlie Gard.

On Tuesday the European Court of Human Rights rejected a plea from the baby’s parents to be allowed to move him to the United States for experimental medical treatment.

Philippa Hitchen’s report:

10-month old Charlie was born with a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

He is being kept alive on a life support system, but Britain’s Supreme Court also ruled earlier in June that it was not in the baby’s interest to move him or continue treatment. Specialists at London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital believe Charlie has no chance of survival.

Limits of medicine

In a statement, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life says the interests of the patient must be paramount, but adds “we must also accept the limits of medicine and […..] avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family.

Pain of the parents

Quoting comments from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Vatican statement speaks of the “complexity of the situation, the heartrending pain of the parents, and the efforts of so many to determine what is best for Charlie”.

It reaffirms that “we should never act with the deliberate intention to end a human life, including the removal of nutrition and hydration” but adds that “we do, sometimes, however, have to recognize the limitations of what can be done, while always acting humanely in the service of the sick person until the time of natural death occurs.”

Risks of ideological manipulation

Warning of the risks of ideological or political manipulation, as well as media sensationalism, the statement stresses that “the wishes of parents must be heard and respected, but they too must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation and not be left to face their painful decisions alone”.

Please see below the full statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life

The matter of the English baby Charlie Gard and his parents has meant both pain and hope for all of us.  We feel close to him, to his mother, his father, and all those who have cared for him and struggled together with him until now.  For them, and for those who are called to decide their future, we raise to the Lord of Life our prayers, knowing that “in the Lord our labor will not be in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58)

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued a statement today that recognizes above all the complexity of the situation, the heartrending pain of the parents, and the efforts of so many to determine what is best for Charlie.  The Bishops’ statement also reaffirms that “we should never act with the deliberate intention to end a human life, including the removal of nutrition and hydration, so that death might be achieved” but that “we do, sometimes, however, have to recognize the limitations of what can be done, while always acting humanely in the service of the sick person until the time of natural death occurs.”

The proper question to be raised in this and in any other unfortunately similar case is this:  what are the best interests of the patient?  We must do what advances the health of the patient, but we must also accept the limits of medicine and, as stated in paragraph 65 of the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family.  Likewise, the wishes of parents must heard and respected, but they too must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation and not be left to face their painful decisions alone.  If the relationship between doctor and patient (or parents as in Charlie’s case) is interfered with, everything becomes more difficult and legal action becomes a last resort, with the accompanying risk of ideological or political manipulation, which is always to be avoided, or of media sensationalism, which can be sadly superficial.

Dear Charlie, dear parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates, we are praying for you and with you.

✠ Vincenzo Paglia President

Vatican City, June 28th 2017

“VATICAN INSIDER” WELCOMES FR. SCOTT BORGMAN – POPE FRANCIS SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF CARDINAL EGAN – POPE TO NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY: I CONFIRM YOUR CALL – VATICAN SPOKESMAN CONFIRMS TRANSPARENCY DISCUSSIONS – NEW DIRECTOR FOR IOR

I was heartbroken last night, as Fr. Frank Pavone and Janet Morana and I were having dinner, to learn that Cardinal Egan, archbishop emeritus of New York had died suddenly of cardiac arrest. I have a lot of wonderful memories of this man whom I met a number of times over the years, a man with whom I shared a birth place, Oak Park, Illinois. I’ll post my own photos and memories in short order but for now, you might enjoy hearing from a classmate of CardinalEgan, Msgr. Roger Roensch. Many of you might have met him if you ever visited the Casa Santa Maria and the U.S. Bishops Office for Visitors to Rome where you got tickets for the Wednesday general audience.

Click here to listen to Msgr. Roensch’s story: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/03/06/remembering_cardinal_egan_msgr_roensch/1127603

“VATICAN INSIDER” WELCOMES FR. SCOTT BORGMAN

My guest in the interview segment this weekend is Fr. Scott Borgman, the coordinating secretary for the Pontifical Academy for Life. The Academy is meeting in plenary session on the theme, “Assisting the Elderly and Palliative Care.”  Fr. Borgman talks about the academy and its work, the plenary and the great audience that the members and guests had with Pope Francis on Thursday!  Some surprises there!

Father Scott and I had our conversation in the synod hall, part of the Paul VI Hall. Afterwards, as we walked down a hallway to the stairs that lead to the atrium, we passed an exquisite little chapel that I had never seen, notwithstanding all the times I’d been in the synod hall. We said a brief prayer and then Father took the following photos inside the chapel, including the amazing panorama shot!

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FYI: As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live 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 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE FRANCIS SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR DEATH OF CARDINAL EGAN

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, upon learning of the death of his predecessor, Cardinal Edward Egan at the age of 82.  The former leader of the New York archdiocese died of cardiac arrest on Thursday. (photo from news.va)

CARDINAL EGAN

“Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal Edward M. Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to the faithful of the Archdiocese. I join you in commending the late Cardinal’s noble soul to God, the Father of mercies, with gratitude for his years of episcopal ministry among Christ’s flock in Bridgeport and New York, his distinguished service to the Apostolic See, and his expert contribution to the revision of the Church’s law in the years following the Second Vatican Council. To all assembled in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for the Mass of Christian Burial, and to all those who mourn Cardinal Egan in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.”   FRANCIS PP.

The Vatican published a brief biography: Cardinal Egan was born on April 2, 1932, in Oak Park, Illinois and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on December 15, 1957. He was consecrated a bishop in 1985. From 1985 to 1988, he served as auxiliary bishop and vicar for education of the Archdiocese of New York. In 1988 he was appointed the bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport by Pope John Paul II. In the year 2000, he was appointed archbishop of New York and made a cardinal in 2001. He retired in 2009. Cardinal Egan’s death brings the number of cardinals in the College of Cardinals down to 226.

POPE TO NEOCATECHUMENAL WAY: I CONFIRM YOUR CALL

Friday morning in the Paul Vi Hall, Pope Francis met with members of the Neocatechumenal Way, including families that are about leave on missionary diuty in various parts of the world.

Heartfelt laughter greeted part of the Pope’s opening remarks to the organizers and families who will leave on mission. He said, “Peter’s task is to confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith. So you too have wanted with this gesture to ask the Successor of Peter to confirm your call, to support your mission, to bless your charism. And I want to confirm your call, support your mission and bless your charism.  I’m doing that not because I’ve been paid to: No!  – and the audience laughed – I’m doing it because I want to.  You will go forth in the name of Christ into the world to bring His Gospel: Christ will precede, Christ will accompany and Christ will fulfill the salvation of which you are bearers!”

He said that the communities, “called by the Bishops, are formed by a priest and four or five families, with children including grown-up ones, and are a ‘missio ad gentes’, with a mandate to evangelize non-Christians. Non-Christians who’ve never heard about Jesus Christ and the many non-Christians who’ve forgotten who Jesus Christ was, who is Jesus Christ: baptized non-Christians but who have forgotten their faith because of secularization, worldliness and many other things. Re-awaken that faith!”

“Today’s world,” said Pope Francis, “badly needs this great message. How much solitude, how much suffering, how much distance from God in the many peripheries of Europe and America, and in many cities of Asia! Today, in every latitude, humanity greatly needs to hear that God loves us and that love is possible! These Christian communities, thanks to you missionary families, have the essential task of making this message visible. And what is this message? ‘’Christ is risen, Christ lives. Christ lives amongst us’.”

For more: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-addresses-members-of-the-neocatechume

VATICAN SPOKESMAN CONFIRMS TRANSPARENCY DISCUSSIONS

(Vatican Radio)  Vatican press spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi has confirmed that discussions on financial transparency are ongoing between the Holy See and Italy.  Fr. Lombardi released a brief statement late Thursday in which he said discussions are underway “to collaborate with Italy and go towards the goal of greater and more complete transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.”

The statement follows comments made by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who, in a lengthy interview with the Italian magazine L’Espresso, spoke of Italy’s efforts to combat tax evasion.  Renzi said he hoped to reach an accord similar to those struck with Switzerland, Montecarlo and Liechtenstein to “recover a little bit of money also from the Vatican.”

NEW DIRECTOR FOR IOR

A press release from IOR, Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank, announced today that the Board of Superintendence of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione has appointed Gianfranco Mammi as Deputy-Director with immediate effect for an indefinite term. The appointment has been approved by the IOR Supervisory Commission of Cardinals and the regulator AIF.

Gianfranco Mammi, 59, says the press release, started his career at IOR in 1992 at the cashier desk. Over the past 23 years he has gained vast experience in various positions working with the Institute’s Italian and Latin American clients in subsequent roles as Client Relationship Manager or later as Deputy Head of the Succession Office. Most recently he served as Head of Purchasing Office.

In his new position as Vice Director, he reports to the Board of Superintendence and is jointly responsible with the Institute’s Director General Rolando Marranci for all operational activities. Rolando Marranci has been confirmed as Director General. The position of Vice Director had been vacant.

The press release added an explanatory note about IOR:  Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR) is an institute founded on 27 June 1942 by papal decree. Its origins date back to the “Commissione Cardinalizia ad Pias Causas” (The Cardinals’ Commission for Pious Causes) established in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII. The purpose of IOR is to serve the global mission of the Catholic Church by providing for the custody and administration of its customers’ assets, and rendering dedicated worldwide payment services to its customers. The Institute’s mission was confirmed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on 7 April 2014.

IOR operates from a single location – its headquarters in the Vatican City State – and is regulated by the “Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria” (AIF), the financial supervisory body for the Vatican City State. IOR serves approximately 15,500 customers. As of 31 December 2013, the Institute was entrusted with customers’ assets totalling EUR 5.9bn.