POPE AT MASS: “WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO REMAIN IN FEAR”

Today has been a busy one in many respects, although the first part of the day remained unchanged – prayer time, rosary, Mass, followed by breakfast and time online to check emails, the latest news and a variety of websites.

I realized that I’ve not had a lot of exercise lately (I usually walk a lot each day, going to destinations on foot when possible) and I decided to remedy that by cleaning the house. My goal each day is to clean one room at a time – thoroughly, completely, not just the topical dusting that momentarily makes you feel better and like you’ve actually accomplished something!

I tackled the living room first where, among other things, I have a 50-plus bell collection from all over the world. Not only did the glass shelves have to be cleaned, but each bell lovingly cleaned. That was an enormous amount of fun as each bell represented a place I had travelled to and each bell has many memories attached. As did those bells that have been given to me over the years. I so enjoyed reliving those memories! I could write a whole column “For whom the bells toll” just about my collection!

I needn’t go into more detail about cleaning (a sure way to bore people) and certainly will not so that every day with every room I tackle. I also have an amazing collection of plates from around the world but cleaning most of those means getting on a ladder so I’ll do that when someone else can help me.

I also decided to spend a bit more time in the kitchen today and right now I am savoring the aroma of a delicious beef bourgignon as it simmers! I made enough for several dinners so the effort was worth it. The hard part is having my table beautifully set for 6 people and eating alone! It just makes me look forward to future dinners with guests!

I posted a Facebook live video yesterday to tell my story – similar to millions here in Italy – of life in quarantine. I’ve had an avalanche of emails, FB messages and many other types of communication and just could not answer everyone individual so I hope the video helped as I tried to answer your questions: Joan, how are you doing? What is life like in Italy these days? Thanks SO much for your love and concern and friendship!

Apologies for the last two or three minutes of the FB live. When I touched FINISH, nothing happened. I must have touched it 6 times before the video actually closed, during which time I kept studying all the little icons I had not noticed before on my screen when I’d do a FB live. Pazienza!

Now, some Vatican news:

Each day of the coronavirus pandemic, as he celebrates his 7 am morning Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis has prayed for special intentions relative to the virus. His intentions have included prayers for those suffering hunger, for people in difficulty, for those who are weeping and for families facing financial problems. He has also said prayers of thanks to God for medical personnel and their “heroic example.” Today, Monday, March 30, Francis prayed for those in fear:

POPE AT MASS: “WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO REMAIN IN FEAR”

Pope Francis prayed for those overcome by “fear because of the pandemic,” and reflected on the two women from Monday’s readings during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. (playback included )
By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

The Pope’s intention for Mass on Monday morning at the Casa Santa Marta was “for the many people who are not succeeding in coping and remain in fear because of the pandemic. May the Lord help them to have the strength to cope for the good of society and the entire community.”

The Pope’s homily was a reflection on Psalm 23. He applied it to the two women presented in the readings for the Fifth Monday of Lent: Susanna and the woman caught in adultery (Daniel 13; John 8:1-11).

Two women
Pope Francis began his homily reciting the first half of Psalm 23, the Responsorial Psalm for the day. Both Susanna and the woman caught in adultery experienced the Lord’s presence in the dark valley, he said. Innocent Susanna had been falsely accused, the other had committed sin. Both had a death sentence hanging over their heads.

“The Fathers of the Church saw a figure of the Church in these women: holy but with sinful children. … Both women were desperate…. Susanna trusts in the Lord.

Two groups of men
The Pope went on to comment on the two groups of men present. Both groups “had positions in the church”. The group of judges, and the doctors of the law. Those who condemned Susanna were corrupt; those who condemned the woman caught in adultery were hypocrites.
en to our report

The women’s reaction
“One woman fell into the hands of hypocrites, the other into the hands of the corrupt. There was no way out…. Both women were in a valley of darkness…heading toward death. The first, explicitly entrusts herself to the Lord, and the Lord intervened. The second…knows she’s guilty. She’s ashamed in front of all the people…. The Gospel doesn’t say it, but surely she was praying inside, asking for some type of help.”

The Lord intervenes
Both the men and the women receive the Lord’s intervention. He justifies Susanna and forgives the adulterous woman, the Pope said.
“He condemns the corrupt ones, He helps the hypocrites convert themselves. He does not forgive the corrupt ones, simply because the corrupt person is incapable of asking for forgiveness…. They are sure of themselves, they destroy, and continue to exploit people…. They put themselves in place of God.”

“The Lord responds to the women. He frees Susanna from the corrupt men… To the other He says, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.’ “

Lessons learned

In Susanna’s case, the Pope continued, the people praised God. Those present with Jesus and the woman caught in adultery “learn about God’s mercy”. These are lessons we all need to learn because “each one of us has our own story, our own personal sins”, the Pope said. If we don’t recognize our own sins, then “you are corrupt”, he said.

“Let’s look to the Lord, who does justice, but who is extremely merciful… May each one of us, seeing how Jesus acted in these cases, entrust ourselves to God’s mercy and pray, trusting in God’s mercy, asking forgiveness, because God ‘guides me along the right path. He is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness’ the valley of sin, ‘no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.”

For playback (the papal Mass can be seen live each morning on Vatican media) : https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2020-03/pope-fear-coronavirus-adulterous-woman-susanna-judges-hypocrites.html

LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER….

LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER….

Following is the English text of Pope Francis’ heartfelt reflections at the Urbi et Orbi prayer and blessing last night from both a dark, rain-drenched St. Peter’s square and the well-lit atrium of the basilica. Inside we were able to stay for some time in prayerful, powerful adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus truly among us, Jesus truly with us!

Each paragraph, indeed each sentence could be for each of us a powerful moment of prayer and reflection every remaining day of Lent. Let’s re-read this, a line at a time, and talk to God as we do so, begging His intercession, His forgiveness, His grace to “grow in wisdom, age and grace.”

I took the photos (obviously) from the television –

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“When evening had come” (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.

It is easy to recognize ourselves in this story. What is harder to understand is Jesus’ attitude. While his disciples are quite naturally alarmed and desperate, he stands in the stern, in the part of the boat that sinks first. And what does he do? In spite of the tempest, he sleeps on soundly, trusting in the Father; this is the only time in the Gospels we see Jesus sleeping. When he wakes up, after calming the wind and the waters, he turns to the disciples in a reproaching voice: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (v. 40).

Let us try to understand. In what does the lack of the disciples’ faith consist, as contrasted with Jesus’ trust? They had not stopped believing in him; in fact, they called on him. But we see how they call on him: “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” (v. 38). Do you not care: they think that Jesus is not interested in them, does not care about them. One of the things that hurts us and our families most when we hear it said is: “Do you not care about me?” It is a phrase that wounds and unleashes storms in our hearts. It would have shaken Jesus too. Because he, more than anyone, cares about us. Indeed, once they have called on him, he saves his disciples from their discouragement.

The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities. The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anesthetize us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us. We deprive ourselves of the antibodies we need to confront adversity.

In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, your word this evening strikes us and regards us, all of us. In this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick. Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: “Wake up, Lord!”. “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith. Which is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you. This Lent your call reverberates urgently: “Be converted!”, “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing. It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others. We can look to so many exemplary companions for the journey, who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives. This is the force of the Spirit poured out and fashioned in courageous and generous self-denial. It is the life in the Spirit that can redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people – often forgotten people – who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines nor on the grand catwalks of the latest show, but who without any doubt are in these very days writing the decisive events of our time: doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves. In the face of so much suffering, where the authentic development of our peoples is assessed, we experience the priestly prayer of Jesus: “That they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer. How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all. Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons.

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“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”? Faith begins when we realise we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we flounder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.

The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side. The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled.

Embracing his cross means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our eagerness for power and possessions in order to make room for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring. It means finding the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity. By his cross we have been saved in order to embrace hope and let it strengthen and sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others. Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”? Dear brothers and sisters, from this place that tells of Peter’s rock-solid faith, I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People and Star of the stormy Sea. From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world, may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace. Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:5). And we, together with Peter, “cast all our anxieties onto you, for you care about us” (cf. 1 Pet 5:7).

POPE’S UNIVERSAL PRAYER, URBI ET ORBI, STREAMED ALSO IN SIGN LANGUAGE

POPE’S UNIVERSAL PRAYER, URBI ET ORBI, STREAMED ALSO IN SIGN LANGUAGE

A streaming channel in sign language for the hearing impaired is activated by Vatican News on the occasion of Pope Francis’ Extraordinary Universal Prayer for the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis has called for global participation “to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the universality of prayer.”

The ceremony takes place today, Friday, March 27 at 6pm Rome time and will be broadcast live to the world by Vatican Media.

In an effort to make that participation as universal as possible, Vatican News has created new online streaming channel in sign language for people with hearing challenges.

For approximately one hour all believers are invited to join Pope Francis for the extraordinary ceremony which consists in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who follow live through the various forms of communication. This plenary indulgence will also be extended to those who may not be able to participate in the prayer through the media due to illness but who unite themselves in spiritual communion with the prayer.

You can join through all the Vatican Radio communications platforms including a dedicated channel on YouTube with translation into Sign Language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCONID8PEOo.

This service will be curated by Sr. Veronica Donatello, coordinator of Italian Bishops’ Conference Catechesis Section for people with disabilities. It will be broadcast in collaboration with the Bishops’ TV2000 network.

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER TO ST JOSEPH ON HIS FEAST DAY

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER TO ST JOSEPH ON HIS FEAST DAY

Dear brothers and sisters, I join in the prayer that the Episcopal Conference wanted to promote, as a sign of unity for the whole country. In this unprecedented situation, in which everything seems to falter, let us help ourselves to remain firm in what really matters. It is an indication of the path that I find in many letters from your Pastors who, in sharing such a dramatic moment, try to support your hope and your faith with their word.

The prayer of the Rosary is the prayer of the humble and of the saints who, in its mysteries, contemplate with Mary the life of Jesus, the merciful face of the Father. And how much need we all have to be truly consoled, to feel enveloped by his presence of love! The truth of this experience is measured in the relationship with others, who at this moment coincide with the closest family members: let’s get close to each other, exercising first of all charity, understanding, patience, forgiveness.

By necessity our spaces may have shrunk to the walls of the house, but have a bigger heart, where the other can always find availability and welcome.

Tonight we pray together, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St. Joseph, Custos, Guardian, of the Holy Family, Custos of each of our families. The carpenter of Nazareth also experienced precariousness and bitterness, concern for tomorrow; but he was able to walk in the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided unreservedly by the will of God.

Protect, Holy Guardian, this country of ours.

Enlighten those responsible for the common good, so that they – like you – can take care of the people entrusted to their responsibility.

Give the intelligence of science to those who seek adequate means for the health and physical well-being of the brothers.

Support those who spend themselves on the needy: the volunteers, nurses, doctors, who are at the forefront of treating the sick, even at the cost of their own safety.

Bless the Church, St. Joseph, starting with her ministers, make her a sign and instrument of your light and your goodness. Accompany families, St. Joseph, with your prayerful silence, build harmony between parents and children, especially the little ones.

Preserve the elderly from loneliness: ensure that no one is left in despair of abandonment and discouragement.

Comfort those who are most fragile, encourage those who vacillate, intercede for the poor.

With the Virgin Mother, beg the Lord to free the world from any form of pandemic. Amen.

https://wetransfer.com/downloads/4d1a2d93ed2001af5831eef3e6065b3320200319091420/d1de2ea8ed3a4dc1c7f0addc2206f6c020200319091420/a7c9eb

 

JOAN’S ROME, POPE GREGORY AND WHAT POPE FRANCIS DID TODAY…

JOAN’S ROME, POPE GREGORY AND WHAT POPE FRANCIS DID TODAY…

On my March 9 blog, I wrote: “Days ago at dinner with three friends, we were talking about the need for a very special prayer service or liturgy because of the coronavirus situation. I told them the story of Pope Gregory I who, in 591, for the plague that struck Rome, organized a procession of faithful to pray for an end to the plague.

“I said, for those of us who are believers in Our Lord and in the power of prayer and in miracles, think how inspiring it would be if the Holy Father were to pray the rosary for an end to the coronavirus scourge before the image of his (and our) beloved icon Salus populi romani at St. Mary Major Basilica and have faithful throughout the world pray with him for a miracle!

“Corona, by the way, means crown in Italian and is also another word for rosary!

“This could be done via Vatican media, the Vatican’s YouTube page, Facebook Live and transmissions by the world’s television. Millions praying with Pope Francis!“ https://joansrome.wordpress.com/2020/03/09/pope-st-gregory-the-great-and-the-plague-of-rome/

And, as you saw, Francis did indeed pray before his beloved Mary today!

Photos – Vatican media:

 

POPE FRANCIS MEETS U.S. BISHOPS IN ROME FOR THEIR AD LIMINA – POPE FRANCIS AND CELIBACY

An interesting note on the press office’s weekly calendar of notable events in the Vatican, Rome, Italy and throughout the world:

Rome, January 17-26: On the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the first Sunday of the Word of God, which this year falls on the day on of the liturgical memory of Saints Timothy and Titus (January 26, 2020), there will be a pilgrimage of the body of Saint Timothy to the basilicas of Saint Paul and Saint Peter from the cathedral basilica of Termoli. A stone document, found on May 11, 1945 in the crypt of the cathedral, certifies that the body is that of Saint Timothy, hidden by Bishop Stefano in 1239 whose provenance was Constantinople.

Will have to get more info!

POPE FRANCIS MEETS U.S. BISHOPS IN ROME FOR THEIR AD LIMINA

The American bishops of Regions VIII and IX are in Rome, continuing the ad limina visits that U.S. prelates began last fall. The bishops from Region VIII , which includes Minnesota and North and South Dakota, were received in audience this morning by Pope Francis.

All bishops, when they are in Rome for their mandatory ad limina visit, celebrate daily Masses at each of the four papal basilicas: St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. The Latin phrase ad limina apostolorum means “to the threshold of the Apostles,” and refers specifically to Saints Peter and Paul.

The week the bishops spend in Rome is dedicated to visiting offices of the Roman Curia, for which they have prepared extensive reports on their respective dioceses. Reports must be handed in to Rome six months prior to the actual ad limina visit.

Pope Francis instituted a new way of meeting with bishops while in Rome for an ad limina, deciding to meet them all as a group (by region, etc) and to have an off the cuff, “all holds barred” talk session with them instead of delivering a prepared speech. He introduces each session by telling them all topics are in the table, they are free to ask any questions they wish and he also points out where coffee, water are bathrooms are to be found!

POPE FRANCIS AND CELIBACY

Two stories out today on Pope Francis and celibacy. The first is a statement from Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni as he answers questions from several journalists:

The position of the Holy Father on celibacy is known. In the course of his conversation with journalists on his return from Panama, Pope Francis said: “A phrase from Saint Paul VI comes to mind: ‘I prefer to give my life before changing the law of celibacy'”. And he added: “Personally I think celibacy is a gift for the Church. I don’t agree to allow optional celibacy, no. Only a few possibilities would remain in the most remote locations – I think of the Pacific Islands … […] when there is a pastoral need, there, the pastor must think of the faithful “.

Regarding the way in which this topic fits into the more general work of the recent Synod on the Pan-Amazon region and its evangelization, during the final session the Holy Father said: “I was very pleased that we did not fall prisoners of these selective groups who, of the Synod, want to see only what has been decided on this or that other intra-ecclesiastical point, and deny the body of the Synod which are the diagnoses we have made in the four dimensions of pastoral, cultural, social and ecological) .The second is an editorial today in vaticannews.va

A CONTRIBUTION ON PRIESTLY CELIBACY IN FILIAL OBEDIENCE TO THE POPE

A book by the Pope emeritus and the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship** addresses a theme on which Pope Francis has expressed himself several times.
Andrea Tornielli

A book on the priesthood that bears the signatures of Pope emeritus Joseph Ratzinger and of Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, will be released in France on 15 January. The pre-publication material provided by Le Figaro shows that with their contribution, the authors are entering into the debate on celibacy and the possibility of ordaining married men as priests. Ratzinger and Sarah — who describe themselves as two Bishops “in filial obedience to Pope Francis” who “are seeking the truth” in “a spirit of love for the unity of the Church” — defend the discipline of celibacy and put forth the reasons that they feel counsel against changing it. The question of celibacy occupies 175 pages of the volume, with two texts — one from the Pope emeritus and the other from the Cardinal — together with an introduction and a conclusion signed by both.

In his text, Cardinal Sarah recalls that “there is an ontological-sacramental link between priesthood and celibacy. Any weakening of this link would put into question the Magisterium of the [Second Vatican] Council and Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I implore Pope Francis to protect us definitively from such a possibility by vetoing any weakening of the law of priestly celibacy, even if limited to one region another”. Further, Sarah goes so far as to describe the possibility of ordaining married men as “a pastoral catastrophe, an ecclesiological confusion and an obscuring of the understanding of the priesthood”.

In his brief contribution, Benedict XVI, reflecting on the subject, goes back to the Jewish roots of Christianity, affirming that from the beginning of God’s “new covenant” with humanity, which was established by Jesus, priesthood and celibacy are united. He recalls that already “in the ancient Church”, that is, in the first millennium, “married men could receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders only if they committed themselves to sexual abstinence”.

Priestly celibacy is not, and has never been, a dogma. It is an ecclesiastical discipline of the Latin Church that represents a precious gift, as all the recent Pontiffs have affirmed. The Catholic Eastern-Rite Churches allow the possibility of ordaining married men as priests. Exceptions have also been admitted in the Latin Church by Benedict XVI himself in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, dedicated to Anglican priests who seek communion with the Catholic Church, which provides for “the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See”.

It is also worth remembering that Pope Francis has also expressed himself several times on the subject. While yet a Cardinal, in the book conversation with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, he explained that he was in favor of maintaining celibacy: “with all the pros and cons entailed, in ten centuries there have been more positive experiences than there have been errors. Tradition has a weight and validity”.

In dialogue with journalists on the flight back from Panama last January, the Pope recalled that in the Eastern Catholic Churches the option of either celibacy or marriage before the diaconate is possible; but he added, regarding the Latin Church: “I am reminded of that phrase of Saint Paul VI: ‘I would rather give my life than change the law on celibacy. It came to mind and I want to say it, because it is a courageous phrase, in a more difficult moment than this, 1968 / 1970… Personally, I think that celibacy is a gift for the Church. Second, I don’t agree with allowing optional celibacy, no.” In his reply, he also spoke about the discussion among theologians about the possibility of granting exemptions for some remote regions, such as the Pacific islands. He specified, however, “there’s no decision on my part. My decision is: optional celibacy before the diaconate, no. That’s something for me, something personal, I won’t do it, this remains clear. Am I ‘closed’? Maybe. But I don’t want to appear before God with this decision”.

The Synod on the Amazon was held in October 2019, and the topic was debated there. As can be seen from the final document, there were bishops who asked for the possibility of ordaining married permanent deacons as priests. It is striking, however, that on 26 October, in his concluding speech, the Pope, after having followed all the stages of the speeches and discussion in the hall, did not mention in any way the subject of the ordination of married men, not even in passing. Instead, he recalled the four dimensions of the Synod: that of inculturation; the ecological dimension; the social dimension; and finally the pastoral dimension, which “includes them all”. In that same speech, the Pontiff spoke about creativity in new ministries, and the role of women; and referring to the scarcity of clergy in certain mission areas, he recalled that there are many priests from a certain country who have gone to the first world, for example, the United States and Europe, and “there are not enough of them to send them out to the Amazon region of that same country”.

Finally, it is significant that Pope Francis, while thanking the media, also asked a favour of them at the same time: “that in their dissemination of the Final Document, they would focus above all on the diagnosis which is the more significant part, the part in which the Synod truly expressed itself best: cultural diagnosis, social diagnosis, pastoral diagnosis and ecological diagnosis”. The Pope then invited them not to fall into the danger of focusing on “which party won and which one lost” when looking at what was decided concerning disciplinary issues.

** The book referred to is entitled “From the Depths of Our Hearts” and is co-authored by Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah who write on priesthood, celibacy, and crisis, It will be released January 15 and available in English on February 20.

IS THIS WHAT REALLY HAPPENED NEW YEAR’S EVE IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE?

IS THIS WHAT REALLY HAPPENED NEW YEAR’S EVE IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE?

This is one of the most fascinating and also credible summaries I have read of what happened New Year’s Eve in St. Peter’s Square when a woman grabbed Pope Francis hand, would not let go, he slapped her wrist and then walked away with a provoked expression on his face.

There were no eyewitnesses who clearly heard, saw and understood everything that night so news reports to this point have been lacking that major element. Conjecture has been the main ingredient thus far.

A friend made me aware of this Facebook post and I read it with bated breath, She sent this to me because of my various news stories and posts about China, knowing full well I am mystified about the Vatican’s 2018 agreement with China over the appointment of bishops and that I sympathize with Chinese Catholics of the so-called “underground” who feel they have been betrayed by Rome.

You will understand what I just wrote in the previous paragraph as soon as you click on and start reading this link. And you will understand why the Holy Father’s expression last December 31 was seemingly one of anger or deep frustration.

From the Thursday, January 9 blogspot Clay Testament: “Why destroy their faith?”: What the Asian woman said to Pope Francis before he slapped her –

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