How many times in his papacy, has Pope Francis asked us: “Do you know the date of your baptism? And why not? Find out!”
Well, I’ve known ever since I was rather little that the anniversary of my baptism is today – July 21st. It was written in our family Bible, which I have right here in my office, along with a lot of other important dates!
I went to the Paul VI Hall today in search of Mayor William Bell of Birmingham, Alabama as he is attending the Vatican workshop on “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities.” It was a delight to meet him and I will present our conversation on “Vatican Insider”this weekend, so set aside a few minutes to listen to that on Saturday or Sunday. I’ll remind you Friday.
As I exited the Paul VI Hall and was walking towards the Petriano Gate (the entrance pilgrims use when they attend a Wednesday general audience in the Paul VI Hall), I saw a very large contruction site going up right inside the gate and next to the Vatican building housing the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I asked a worker what it was and he said the site would be temporary bathrooms as they are fixing, remodeling, updating the bathrooms off St. Peter’s Square in preparation for the Jubilee Year.
There was some really big news today for three men and for the archdiocese of Los Angeles: Pope Francis today named three new auxiliary bishops to the archdiocese of Los Angeles in the United States. Among them was Father Robert E. Barron, the Rector of the University of St. Mary and Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. Father Barron is also the founder of the multimedia “Word on Fire Catholic Ministries”, which produces programs which have been broadcast regularly on WGN America, EWTN, Relevant Radio and the Word on Fire YouTube Channel. Also named as auxiliaries were Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan, the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Irish-born Msgr. David G. O’Connell, pastor of Saint Michael Parish in Los Angeles.
As many of you wrote on my Facebook page, the seminarians in Chicago have to be devastated so this is both a good news/bad news story. However, I am sure we will see Bishop-elect Barron on EWTN as we have great new studios on the West Coast!
Our affection for you, Fr, Robert, and our prayers, have just been doubled. As they have for the other future bishops whom I do not know but intend to know!
THE WORLDS MAYORS DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE, POVERTY, TRAFFICKING
(Vatican Radio) Ways to combat climate change and its effects on society’s most vulnerable: some sixty mayors and local administrators from around the world are brainstorming on that topic in the Vatican Tuesday and Wednesday. Pope Francis is expected to greet them in an audience Tuesday evening.
In his recently released environment encyclical “Laudato Si,” the Pope said caring for the Earth is an urgent moral imperative and that fossil fuel-based global warming puts the poor most at risk. Urban centers are considered some of the biggest contributors to climate change.
Hailing from cities in North and South America, Europe and from developing nations like India and Gabon, many of the officials are committed to environmentally friendly policies aimed at bringing down the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
The two-day Vatican climate conference comes ahead of the Paris COP-21 climate negotiations in December. Click here to see the YouTube coverage of the events.
In presenting this week’s meeting, the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences said “global warming is one of the causes of poverty and forced migrations, and it favours human trafficking, forced labour, prostitution and organ trafficking.”
Mayors and Local Administrators at the Vatican summit are expected to urge global leaders to take bold action to curb global warming, and to press for approval of the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals this fall.
Speaking to participants Tuesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his city’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a further 40 percent over the next fifteen years. He described Pope Francis’ as “the most powerful voice on this earth for those whose voice is not being heard…he did not convene us here to accept the status quo but to indict it.”
Speaking of the fast-approaching Paris climate summit, de Blasio added, “we need to see it as the finish line of a sprint, and take every local action we can in the coming months to maximize the chance that our national governments will act boldly.”
Governor Jerry Brown, whose state of California has enacted some of the most stringent carbon emissions policies in the U.S., decried “powerful” opposition groups at home which deny global warming and “spend billions on trying to keep from office” people who believe scientific evidence proves the phenomenon exists.
The Mayor of New Orleans on Tuesday (July 21st) hailed Pope Francis’ words and actions on climate change and said he believes the upcoming papal visit to the U.S. will be transformational and in particular his address to Congress will be “very challenging.” Mayor Mitch Landrieu was among the participants at a 2-day workshop of mayors from around the world who came to the Vatican to discuss the issues of climate change and human trafficking. Most of New Orleans is under the sea level and 10 years ago the U.S. city suffered devastating flooding when it was hit by Hurricane Katrina
In a previous press conference announcing this climate meeting, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said the climate crisis and modern slavery were “interconnected emergencies,” stating that “although the poor and the excluded have the least effect on climate change… they are the most exposed to the terrible threat posed by human-induced climate disruption.”
He said, “in this fundamental moral context, cities and their mayors play a key role. “Currently, most of humanity is concentrated in formal and informal urban settlements and this trend is set to increase,”
“We intend for the mayors to commit to promoting the empowerment of the poor and of those who live in vulnerable conditions in our cities and in our urban settlements, reducing their exposure to extreme weather events caused by radical environmental, economic and social instabilities, which create fertile ground for forced migration and human trafficking.”
Francis newest encyclical “Laudato si’, was mandatory reading for the conference participants, as they prepared to attend and speak at the Vatican meeting.
In his remarks to the press, Bishop Sorondo said, “the Pontifical Academy of Sciences agrees with the Holy Father that there is a clear link between the two human-induced emergencies of the climate crisis and the social crisis. Following the Encyclical, our commitment is to make the whole of society aware of these phenomena and of the human responsibilities of these crises and to react firmly, as a new moral imperative for all of humanity in favour of the common good.”
POPE FRANCIS TO MAYORS, CARE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FIGHT TRAFFICKING
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged mayors from big cities to direct their efforts towards the care for the environment and the fight against human trafficking.
The Pope was speaking to some 70 mayors from around the world who are in the Vatican for a two-day workshop entitled “Modern Slavery and Climate Change” organized by the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences. (Linda Bordoni reported for Vatican Radio).
Telling those present he has “a lot of hope” that negotiators at Paris climate talks will reach an ambitious agreement to reduce global warming, Pope Francis said he places great trust in the United Nations to bring about a good agreement. But – he stressed – he also wants U.N. nations to prioritize fighting both human trafficking and the exploitation of the world’s most vulnerable people.
And referring to his recently published encyclical “Laudato Si”, Pope Francis made it quite clear that the document is not an encyclical on the environment.
It’s a social encyclical – he explained – because the state of the environment is directly and intimately linked to the life and wellbeing of humankind.
And this is not the only connection Pope Francis made in his off-the-cuff greeting in which he chose to speak in his native Spanish.
He said huge migratory waves of peoples across the globe are triggered by environmental issues such as desertification and deforestation which leave people and entire communities without the possibility of seeking a livelihood.
Thus – he said – the exodus that takes them into urban centers gives life to human trafficking which brings with it diverse forms of exploitation (be it economical or sexual) of women, children and vulnerable people.
Pope Francis concluded his address with a series of quotes and references to theologian Romano Guardini and his theology of the human person.
And he issued a strong call to all the Mayors present at the event to be aware of these problems and to seek solutions working – he said – from the peripheries towards the center.
JUBILEE TO BRING 33 MILLION PILGRIMS TO ROME
(ANSA) – Rome, July 21 – As many as 33 million tourists and pilgrims are expected to visit Rome during the Jubilee year that begins in December, Censis said Tuesday. The research firm said that about 70% of the visitors will come from abroad, spending an estimated eight billion euros. According to Censis, about 25 million tourists came to Rome for the Jubilee of 2000, and it expects a sizeable increase for this Holy Year.
“The extraordinary flow of tourists will be part of the great wave seeing the growing attractiveness of Rome,” said Censis. It added that includes “a proliferation” of visitors who now see Rome as a day trip rather than a place worth staying overnight or longer.
On the second anniversary of his election last March Pope Francis Francis announced the special Jubilee year to begin December 8 and end November 20, 2016 in order to underscore a central spiritual theme of his pontificate. The Jubilee has been dedicated to the theme of Mercy. http://popefrancisnewsapp.com/
ANSA also reported today that there are nearly 4,000 “irregular” tourist lodgings currently on offer in the Eternal City, making up a total of about 36,000 beds, with unregulated or “under the table” structures totaling about 75% of those, said Censis on Tuesday. The think tank said the city government loses around 40 million euros annually due to the phenomenon. Censis conducted the study, called “Rome Towards the Jubilee,” in light of the special Jubilee year announced by Pope Francis, which will begin in December and is expected to attract up to 33 million tourists and religious pilgrims to Rome.