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 –

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fclaytestament.blogspot.com%2F2020%2F01%2Fwhy-destroy-their-faith-what-asian.html%3Fm%3D1%26fbclid%3DIwAR22OCxP45pvLZvJFwUAHqohwDCbAcAKt6eFsfRFEMucZ70410gR326umVU&h=AT00lY24V84my9EyajcrVQFpLalTiExFlWL-sE-QApUafLvKZrOvQYUEjMeqhgV5XegKBMI3QuQcmVeG76GCUdHtDk-8IiYs75fsH1-ocHR0bJdjqvTwLLQuJapPA-ldbNUIpw

POPE FRANCIS: 50 YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD SERVING GOD AND HIS PEOPLE -POPE NAMES BISHOPS FOR LOCAL CHURCHES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

Two interesting things about today’s Vaticannews posts:

– The daily press office bulletin notes that, among those the Pope received today in audience were U.S. bishops from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana (Region VII), on their ad limina visit. Notably missing was the name of Bishop Jenky of Peoria, the diocese that was to have hosted the beatification of Venerable Fulton Sheen on December 21.

– As you will see below, the Vatican today published a list of names of resignations Pope Francis has accepted and appointments he has made. We did this in our daily bulletins for over 21 years when I worked at the Vatican Information Service. VIS was shut down several years ago as part of the Pope’s reorganization of Vatican communications. I’d love to have a euro for every time I have been asked when VIS will come back! I’d love to have collected a euro during those 21 years when bishops and nuncios in particular told us VIS was the best thing the Vatican had ever done in communications! AND I heard from those same folks (and others, over the years) that the first thing they did was scroll down the page to the Nominations section (it was always at the bottom of our news reports)!

Pope Francis, as I write, is celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the liturgical feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. He has done this for several years now. Journalists have been informed that he will deliver an off-the-cuff homily as there is no prepared written text. I am not sure but believe the US bishops from Region VII will concelebrate at this Mass.

Unless you are fluent in Italian, you will not be able to enjoy the new website of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (www.causesanti.va), available now only in Italian. A congregation communique says the site offers the bios of 700 saints, has a search engine, presents the saint of the day, and has interactive information on the canonical procedures leading up to beatification and canonization.

POPE FRANCIS: 50 YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD SERVING GOD AND HIS PEOPLE

Tomorrow, December 13th marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Francis’ ordination to the priesthood. Vatican News celebrates this milestone recalling some of Pope’s reflections regarding priests and the priesthood.
By Sergio Centofanti

On December 13, 1969, just four days before his 33rd birthday, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained a priest. His vocation dates back to September 21, 1953, the Feast of St. Matthew, the tax collector converted by Jesus: it was during a confession that day, that the future Pope had a profound experience of God’s mercy. The Pope was born in December 17, 1936

To read some highlights and explore a photo gallery, click here:
https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-12/pope-francis-50-years-of-priesthood-serving-god-and-his-people.html

POPE NAMES BISHOPS FOR LOCAL CHURCHES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

Pope Francis has named new Bishops for dioceses in South Sudan, the Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, the United States, and Poland.

By Vatican News

On Thursday, the Holy See announced the following resignations and appointments for various episcopal sees around the world.

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has:
– accepted the resignation of Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro, M.C.C.J., from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Juba, South Sudan; and at the same time, named Bishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla, until now Bishop of Torit, as Archbishop of the same Metropolitan See;
– accepted the resignation of Bishop Jean Gardin, C.S.Sp., from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Impfondo, Republic of Congo; and at the same time, named Father Daniel Nzika, of the clergy of Ouessa, and until now Vicar General, as Bishop of the same Diocese;
– named Father Julius Yakubu Kundi, of the clergy of Zaria, and until now Pastor of Saint John in Muchia, as Bishop of the Diocese of Kafanchan, Nigeria;
– named Bishop Sedundo René Coba Galarza, until now Military Ordinary of Ecuador, as Bishop of Ibarra, Ecuador;
– accepted the resignation of Bishop Carlos Germán Mesa Ruiz from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Socorro y San Gil, Colombia; and named Father Luis Augusto Campos Flórez, of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Bogotá, Colombia, and until now Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocesan Zone of the Holy Spirit, as Bishop of the same Diocese;
– named Father Giorgio Barbetta, of the clergy of Gubbio, Italy, as titular Bishop of Isola and Auxiliary of the Diocese of Huari, Peru, where he has been serving as a fidei donum priest, and Rector of the Señor de Pomallucay Seminary;
– accepted the resignation of Bishop Paul Joseph Swain from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, United States; and named Father Donald Edward DeGrood, of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, until now Pastor of St John the Baptist Parish in Savage, Minnesota, as Bishop of the same Diocese;
– named Father Adrian Jósef Galbas, S.A.C., until now Provincial of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate of the Province of Poznań, as Auxiliary of the Diocese of Ełk, Poland, assigning him the titular see of Naisso

POPE PAYS SURPRISE VISIT TO 100 CRIBS EXHIBIT

POPE PAYS SURPRISE VISIT TO 100 CRIBS EXHIBIT

Pope Francis this afternoon paid a visit to the exhibit called “100 Cribs in the Vatican” that had been officially inaugurated yesterday in the Pius X Hall of a Vatican building just off Via della Conciliazione. The exhibit will remain open until January 13.

You will recall that last Sunday, when he visited the town of Greccio where in 1223 St. Francis set up the first living Nativity scene, Pope Francis signed his Apostolic Letter Admirabile signum on the meaning and importance of the Nativity scene. Today’s visit, according to vaticannews, showed that the Pope wanted to give a further sign of your attention to this tradition of faith. (Vatican photo)


He was welcomed by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, who accompanied him to explain the works represented. The Pope also met the artists accompanied by their families, recited a prayer and blessed those present.

The Chamber Choir of the Chorus School “Kodály” in Budapest, visiting the Vatican with a Hungarian delegation, performed some Christmas songs. The Pope spent about 40 minutes at the exhibit, leaving just before 5 pm.

For a history of the 100 Cribs exhibit: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-01/christmas-10-cribs-vatican-exhibition.html

POPE FRANCIS ON VATICAN FINANCES, INVESTMENTS AND PETER’S PENCE

POPE FRANCIS ON VATICAN FINANCES, INVESTMENTS AND PETER’S PENCE

Scrolling down the transcript from the Q&A session between Pope Francis and journalists aboard the papal flight from Tokyo to Rome, the reader comes to questions about Vatican finances, questionable transactions, possible corruption, and the use of Peter’s Pence funds for investments such as buying real estate.

Below is that exchange (not always an easy read in translation but you will get the general idea). Some of the names and terminology may not be clear unless you have followed reports in recent months and years about Vatican finances, the Vatican Bank, etc.  The Vatican’s AIF is mentioned many times (Financial Information Authority): a new director was named yesterday – see previous blogs.

At the end of the papal exchange with the media, I look at what Peter’s Pence is, was meant to be and how it is apparently being used, at least in part.

Cristiana Caricato (TV2000, Italy): Holy Father, people read in the newspapers that the Holy See has acquired an apartment for hundreds of thousands of euros in the heart of London and they become a bit disconcerted, because of this use of Vatican finances. Also, in particular, because it involves Peter’s Pence. Did you know of these financial things? And above all, in your opinion, is it correct to use Peter’s Pence in that way? You have often said that money should not be made with money. You have often denounced the unscrupulous use of finances. However, we see that this operation involves the Holy See. This scandalizes in some way. How do you see this whole event?

Pope Francis: Thank you. First of all, in good administration it is normal for a sum to come from the Peter’s Pence, and what do I do? Put in a drawer? No, this is bad administration. But I look to make an investment, and when there is the need, to give… when there is the necessity, in one year, you take it. Your capital you do not devalue, if it maintains or if it grows a little. This is good administration.

If [it is] an administration of the drawer, it is bad. But you should try to make a good administration, a good investment. Is that clear?

Also an investment, as we say, an investment by widows? What do widows do? [Ed.note: An Italian saying] Two or three here, five here, if one falls, one of the others so that they are not ruined is always on security, this is always moral.
If from Peter’s Pence you invest in a weapons factory, the pence is not a pence there, eh?

If you make an investment and for years, without touching it, the capital does not go, Peter’s Pence should be spent in one year, one year and a half, until the other collection arrives which is made world-wide. And this is good management.

On security, and also, yes, you can buy a property, rent it, and then sell it. But, on security, with all of the securities, for the good of the people of the Pence. This one. Then, what happened, happend: A scandal. They have done things that do not seem ‘clean.’

But, the report did not come from the outside. That reform of the economic methodology, that Benedict XVI had already started, is going forward. And it was the auditor of the internal accounts to say’Here there is a bad thing. Here there is something that is not working.’ And he came to me. And I said, but are you sure? ‘Yes.’ And he let me see the numbers. ‘What should I do?’ [he asked]. [I said:] There is the Vatican justice. Go and give the report to the Promoter of Justice. And in this I remained content, because you see that the Vatican administration now has the resources to clarify the bad things which happen inside, like in this case, that — if it is not the case of the apartment in London, because this is not yet clear — but in that [other instance] there were cases of corruption.

And the Promoter of Justice studied the accusations, consulted, and saw an imbalance in the budget. And then, he asked me for permission to make the searches. I said: ‘Is it clear, your report?’ He told me, ‘yes, there is a presumption of corruption in these cases. I should carry out searches in this office, this office, and this office.’ And I signed the authorization.

The searches were done in five offices. And up to today, we have the presumption of innocence, but there is capital that is not administered well, also with corruption.

I believe that in less than two months they will begin questioning the five people who are blocked [suspended from the Vatican], because there were indications of corruption. You will ask me: ‘And these five are corrupt?’ No, the presumption of innocence is a guarantee, a human right. But, there is corruption, and you will see. With the searches you will see if they are guilty or not.

It’s a bad thing, it’s not good what is happening in the Vatican. But it is clear that the internal mechanisms are beginning to work, those that Benedict XVI had already started to make. And I thank God. I do not thank God that there is corruption, but I thank God that the Vatican monitoring system is working well.

Bruni (Holy See Press Office): The next question is from Phil Pullella of Reuters.
Pope Francis: [small talk]
Philip Pullella (Reuters): [small talk] If you permit me, I would like to follow a little on the question Cristiana asked, with a few more details.

There is a lot of worry in the last few weeks about what happened and about the finances of the Vatican. And according to some people, there is an internal war over who should control the money, according to some people. The majority of the members of the council of the AIF administration are dismissed. The Egmont Group, a group of these financial authorities have suspended of the Vatican, the secure communication […] The director of AIF is still suspended, as you said, and still there is no general revisore.

What can you do or say to guarantee to the international financial community, and to the faithful in general, who are called to contribute to Peter’s Pence, that the Vatican will not return to be considered a pariah, that is, to have trust you will continue and not return to the habits of the past?

Pope Francis: Thank you for the question. The Vatican has made steps forward in its administration, for example, the IOR today has the acceptance of all the banks and can act like the Italian banks, normal. Something that was not there a year ago. There is progress.

Then, the Egmont Group, that is not an official international group, a group to which the AIF belongs. And the international control does not depend on the Egmont Group, a private group that has its weight. It is a private group. And MONEYVAL will carry out the inspection it has scheduled for the first months of the next year and it will do it, it will do it.

The director of the AIF is in suspension because there were suspicions of bad administration. The president of AIF was strong with the Egmont Group to take back the documentation. And this the justice cannot do.

In the face of this, I consulted with an Italian judge of a high level. ‘What should I do?’ Justice in front of an accusation of corruption is sovereign in a country. It’s sovereign. And no one can involve themselves there inside. No one can say to the Egmont Group, ‘your papers are here.’ No, the papers should be studied, that they add up to what seems a bad administration, in the sense of a bad control.

It was AIF that did not control, it seems, the crimes of others. And therefore [it failed] in its duty of controls. I hope that they prove it is not so. Because there is, still, the presumption of innocence.

And for the moment, the magistrates, the magistrate is sovereign. He should study how it went. Because on the contrary, a country should have a superior administration that would harm the sovereignty of the country.

And the [term of the] president of AIF was expiring [November] 19th. I would call him a few days before and he was not in agreement that I was re-calling him [as president of AIF] and he announced that the 19th he was leaving. I found a successor, a judge of the highest juridical and economic level, national and international, and at my return, he takes charge of AIF and things will continue like so.

It would have been a contradiction for the monitoring authority to be sovereign over the state. It is something which is not easy to understand, but what is a little disturbed is the Egmont Group, which is a private group. It helps a lot, but it is not the monitoring authority of MONEYVAL. MONEYVAL will study the numbers. It will study the procedures. It will study how […] the Promoter of Justice. And how the judges have determined the things.

I know that in these days the interrogation of the five who were suspended will begin or has already begun. It is not easy, but we should not be naive. We should not be slaves. Someone told me — but I do not believe it — but they said, ‘yes, with this, we have touched the Egmont Group. You scare the people . We are creating a little terrorism…’ Let’s leave that aside. We go forward with the law, with MONEYVAL, with the new president of AIF, and the director was suspended but maybe he is innocent. I would like that, because it is a beautiful thing [if] one is innocent and not guilty. I felt a little bit of noise with this group that was not wanting that the papers be touched that belong to the group.

Pullella: And a guarantee for the faithful that…?

Pope Francis: To guarantee this? Look, it’s the first time that in the Vatican the pot is discovered from the inside, not from the outside, From the outside many times. And they said look there and we had so much embarrassment. … But in this Pope Benedict was wise. And he began a process that matured and now the institutions that the auditor had the courage to make a written report against five people. …The auditor is working. Really, I do not want to offend the Egmont Group, because they did so much good, help, but in this case the state has sovereignty. And even justice is more sovereign then the executive power, more sovereign. It is not easy to understand but I ask you all to understand this difficulty.

PETER’S PENCE. Since the news was first published that some of Peter’s Pence donations were being used by the Vatican in real estate investments and possibly in some questionable dealings, the faithful have been wondering if they should continue to donate to what they thought was a Vatican office that assisted papal charities.

It is clear from media reports that the faithful have been talking about this to their pastors and bishops, and making comments via blogs, emails to columnists (such as myself), etc.

Below is the full link to the Vatican website about Peter’s Pence but here are a few of the main points of what the Vatican considers “An ancient custom still alive today,” and a collection “derived from the primitive Church. … This is in harmony with a tradition dating back to the Gospel (cf. Lk 10:7) and the teaching of the Apostles (cf. 1 Cor 9:11-14)” (Letter of Pope John Paul II to the Cardinal Secretary of State, 20 November 1982).”

In particular, the website notes that, “In the first year of his Pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the proper meaning of this offering: ‘Peter’s Pence’ is the most characteristic expression of the participation of all the faithful in the Bishop of Rome’s charitable initiatives in favor of the universal Church. The gesture has not only a practical value, but also a strong symbolic one, as a sign of communion with the Pope and attention to the needs of one’s brothers; and therefore your service possesses a refined ecclesial character”. … The ecclesial value of this gesture becomes evident when one considers how charitable initiatives are connatural to the Church, as the Pope stated in his first Encyclical Deus caritas est (25 December 2005).”

Pope St. John Paul’s words to St. Peter’s Circle in 2003 are also quoted: “You are aware of the growing needs of the apostolate, the requirements of the ecclesial communities, especially in mission countries, and the requests for aid that come from peoples, individuals and families in precarious conditions. Many expect the Apostolic See to give them the support they often fail to find elsewhere. In this perspective the Peter’s Pence Collection is a true and proper participation in the work of evangelization, especially if one considers the meaning and importance of concretely sharing in the concerns of the universal Church.”

We also read: “The faithful’s offerings to the Holy Father are destined to Church needs, to humanitarian initiatives and social promotion projects, as well as to the support of the Holy See.”

Thus, if one looks at the historical aspect as well as the current meaning of Peter’s Pence, it is clear why the faithful might be confused about the ultimate destination of their contributions: will the money go to papal charities or real estate purchases (however much revenue they might bring to the Vatican, as the Pope noted) ?

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/obolo_spietro/documents/actual_en.html

STATUES THOWN IN TIBER RECOVERED BY ITALIAN POLICE

STATUES THOWN IN TIBER RECOVERED BY ITALIAN POLICE

Following is a communique from the Holy See Press Office with a transcription of words pronounced off the cuff by Pope Francis this afternoon during the 15th General Congregation at the end of the prayer:

“Good afternoon, I would like to say a word about the statues of the pachamama that were removed from the Traspontina church which were there without idolatrous intentions and were thrown to the Tiber. First of all this happened in Rome and as a bishop of the diocese I ask forgiveness from the people who have been offended by this gesture.

I want to announce that the statues, which have created so much media hype, have been found in the Tiber. The statues are not damaged. The commander of the Italian carabinieri asked that he be informed of this news before it became public. At the moment the news is confidential and the statues are kept in the office of the Italian carabinieri commander.

The carabinieri commander will be happy to follow up on any indication regarding how the news is published and about other initiatives in this regard, for example, “the display of the statues during the closing Mass of the Synod.” We will see. I delegate the Secretary of State to respond to this. This is good news, thanks.

ST. JEROME’S OPUS MAGNUS, TRANSLATING THE BIBLE INTO LATIN – POPE FRANCIS INSTITUTES “SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD”

ST. JEROME’S OPUS MAGNUS, TRANSLATING THE BIBLE INTO LATIN

Aware that today is the feast day of St. Jerome, one of the Church’s greatest saints and a Doctor of the Church, I wanted to share one of my experiences related to this 4th-5th century saint.

I well remember visiting and taking photos of what today, in Bethlehem, is known as St. Jerome’s Cave, the place where he spent over 30 years translating the Bible into Latin, what is known as the Vulgate. I could see the photos in my mind’s eye as if I had taken them an hour ago. However, I could not remember on which of my trips to the Holy Land I took the photos, and thus spent considerable time this afternoon going through my tens and tens of thousands of photos. Patience paid off and I am posting a few of those with Jerome’s story.  You can see how moved our pilgrimage group was by being in these caves, in St. Jerome’s Cave, adjacent to the cave of the Nativity!

I found my blogs from that trip but did not given an extended description of St. Jerome’s Cave, so, along with my photos, I offer some brief descriptions from a website about the Cave:

After many years in Rome and what today we call Turkey, St. Jerome, late in the summer of 388 was back in Palestine, and spent the remainder of his life working in a cave near Bethlehem, the very cave where Jesus was born, surrounded by a few friends, both men and women (including Paula and Eustochium), to whom he acted as priestly guide and teacher.

From a cave beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem came the most enduring version of the Bible ever translated.

In this underground study — pleasantly cool in summer but chilly in winter — St Jerome spent 30 years translating the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin.

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The scholarly Dalmatian priest had begun his task around AD 386. The text he produced in St Jerome’s Cave was the first official vernacular version of the Bible. Known as the Vulgate, it remained the authoritative version for Catholics until the 20th century.

This version, asserts the historian G. S. P. Freeman-Grenville, was “assuredly heard by more Christians than any other”.

St Jerome (also known as Hieronymus, the Latin version of Jerome) spent more than 36 years in the Holy Land. He was well-known for his ascetic lifestyle and his passionate involvement in doctrinal controversies.

Access to St Jerome’s two-room cave is from the Church of St Catherine. On the right hand side of the nave, steps lead down to a complex of subterranean chambers. At the end, on the right, are the rooms where Jerome lived and worked.

The adjacent caves have been identified as the burial places of Jerome (whose remains were later taken to Rome), his successor St Eusebius, and Sts Paula and Eustochium.

Jerome died in 420. His body was later transferred to Constantinople and then to Rome, where his bones rest today in the Basilica of St Mary Major.

POPE FRANCIS INSTITUTES “SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD”

With the Apostolic Letter “Aperuit illis” – Opened to Them” – Pope Francis has instituted Sunday of the Word of God to be celebrated annually on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. This Sunday will be dedicated to the celebration, reflection and spreading of the Word of God.

Given in Rome, at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, on 30 September 2019, the liturgical Memorial of Saint Jerome, on the inauguration of the 1600th anniversary of his death. FRANCIS

The full Letter was made public this morning in 7 languages. St. Jerome is known for having translated the whole of the Bible into the Latin version which is known as the Vulgate.

POPE ESTABLISHES SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD

Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio “Aperuit illis”, published today by the Vatican, established that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”. Following I the report by Vatican News.

The timing of the document is significant: September 30 is the Feast of Saint Jerome, the man who translated most of the Bible into Latin, and who famously said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. This year also marks 1600 years since his death.

The title of the document, “Aperuit illis”, is equally important. They are its opening words, taken from St Luke’s Gospel, where the Evangelist describes how the Risen Jesus appeared to His disciples, and how “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”.

A response to requests
Recalling the importance given by the Second Vatican Council to rediscovering Sacred Scripture for the life of the Church, Pope Francis says he wrote this Apostolic Letter in response to requests from the faithful around the world to celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God.

An ecumenical value
In the Motu proprio (literally, “of his own initiative”), Pope Francis declares that, “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”. This is more than a temporal coincidence, he explains: the celebration has “ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity”.
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A certain solemnity
Pope Francis invites local communities to find ways to “mark this Sunday with a certain solemnity”. He suggests that the sacred text be enthroned “in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s Word”. In highlighting the proclamation of the Word of the Lord, it would be appropriate “to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due”, writes the Pope.

“Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with Sacred Scripture”.

The Bible is for all
The Bible is not meant for a privileged few, continues Pope Francis. It belongs “to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words”. The Bible cannot be monopolized or restricted to select groups either, he writes, because it is “the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity”.

The importance of the homily
“Pastors are primarily responsible for explaining Sacred Scripture and helping everyone to understand it”, writes Pope Francis. Which is why the homily possesses “a quasi-sacramental character”. The Pope warns against improvising or giving “long, pedantic homilies or wandering off into unrelated topics”.

Rather, he suggests using simple and suitable language. For many of the faithful, he writes, “this is the only opportunity they have to grasp the beauty of God’s Word and to see it applied to their daily lives”.

Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments
The Pope uses the scene of the Risen Lord appearing to the disciples at Emmaus to demonstrate what he calls “the unbreakable bond between Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist”. Since the Scriptures everywhere speak of Christ, he writes, “they enable us to believe that His death and resurrection are not myth but history, and are central to the faith of His disciples”.
When the sacraments are introduced and illumined by God’s Word, explains the Pope, “they become ever more clearly the goal of a process whereby Christ opens our minds and hearts to acknowledge His saving work”.

The role of the Holy Spirit
“The role of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is primordial”, writes Pope Francis. “Without the work of the Spirit, there would always be a risk of remaining limited to the written text alone”. The Pope continues: “This would open the way to a fundamentalist reading, which needs to be avoided, lest we betray the inspired, dynamic and spiritual character of the sacred text”. It is the Holy Spirit who “makes Sacred Scripture the living word of God, experienced and handed down in the faith of His holy people”.

Pope Francis invites us never to take God’s Word for granted, “but instead to let ourselves be nourished by it, in order to acknowledge and live fully our relationship with Him and with our brothers and sisters”.

Practicing mercy
The Pope concludes his Apostolic Letter by defining what he describes as “the great challenge before us in life: to listen to Sacred Scripture and then to practice mercy”. God’s Word, writes Pope Francis, “has the power to open our eyes and to enable us to renounce a stifling and barren individualism and instead to embark on a new path of sharing and solidarity”.

The Letter closes with a reference to Our Lady, who accompanies us “on the journey of welcoming the Word of God”, teaching us the joy of those who listen to that Word – and keep it.