I will have more to say tomorrow morning about the stunning news of what seems to be the mass resignation of the editorial board and founder of the Vatican’s monthly magazine on and for women that is published by the Vatican paper “L’Osservatore Romano.” Tune in tomorrow morning to Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo as we have our weekly radio chat. You can tune in starting at 9 am ET by going to ewtn.com and clicking on LISTEN LIVE.

If for some reason you did not already know this, Teresa Tomeo is the host of Catholic Connection, which is a co-production of Ave Maria Radio and the EWTN Global Radio Network and is broadcast on over 500 radio stations worldwide. It can be heard weekdays 8-10am ET on Ave Maria Radio, and from 9-10am ET on EWTN Radio.

Tune in tomorrow!


Pope Francis changes the Code of Canon Law, to provide for the dismissal ‘ipso facto’ of religious who are illegitimately absent from their religious house for a full year.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

Pope Francis has made several changes to ecclesial canons concerning the dismissal of consecrated persons from the religious institutes to which they belong.

According to the revised canons, religious who have been “illegitimately absent” from their religious house for a full twelve months are dismissed ipso facto from their Institutes. The new canons also stipulate that the superior of the institute must gather evidence of facts and issue a declaration, which must be confirmed, for the dismissal to be legally recognized.

In his letter, with the incipit Communis vita, Pope Francis notes that “community life is an essential element of religious life”, and that religious cannot leave the common life without permission from their superior. In recent years, however, the Pope says there have been cases where religious have left their communities without that permission, and sometimes cannot be traced. Although canon law had provided for such cases, the Pope said it was sometimes difficult to provide a legal remedy, especially when the whereabouts of the religious was unknown.

It was for that reason, Pope Francis said, that he has decided to make changes to canon law by making a prolonged illegitimate absence from one’s religious house one of the reasons for dismissal, ipso facto, from one’s religious institute. In order for this dismissal to have legal effect, the declaration of the fact must be confirmed by the Pope, for institutes of pontifical right; or by the Bishop of the principal See, for institutes of diocesan right.

The new regulations were promulgated by publication in L’Osservatore Romano, and will go into effect on 10 April 2019. Subsequently, they will be published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

Click here to read Latin text of papal letter: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-03/pope-francis-new-rules-for-religious-life.html


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Claiming a lack of support for open dialogue and for an editorial line run by women, the director and editorial staff of a Vatican women’s magazine have resigned.

But the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, which publishes the magazine, countered that he has given the staff “the same total autonomy and freedom” that have marked its work since it began.

“There is a return to the clerical self-referentiality and an abandonment of that ‘parrhesia’ (courage) so often asked for by Pope Francis,” said Lucetta Scaraffia, founder and director of “Women-Church-World,” a monthly supplement to L’Osservatore Romano.

In December, Pope Francis appointed Andrea Monda, an Italian journalist and religion teacher, to be editor of L’Osservatore Romano.

The new management at the newspaper has not shown support for the magazine’s mission and has tried to “weaken” it by launching initiatives that “seem competitive, with the result of pitting women against each other, instead of encouraging open discussion,” Scaraffia wrote in an editorial that was to be published in the supplement’s April 1 issue.

Scaraffia sent Catholic News Service a copy of the editorial March 26 and a copy of an open letter to Pope Francis, explaining their resignation.
Monda’s choice of new writers for L’Osservatore Romano and his suggestion of new writers for the supplement, Scaraffia said, suggests she and the editorial board are no longer seen as trustworthy and has closed the door to any chance of “true, free and courageous dialogue among women who love the church in freedom and with men taking part,” she said in the editorial.

Responding in a note published by the Vatican press office, Monda said he never tried to weaken the magazine, underlining how its budget had been fully approved and translations guaranteed despite the need to cut costs within the curia.

“My commitment was and remains strengthening the daily edition of the Osservatore Romano, certainly not in terms of competition but of complementarity with the supplement,” he wrote.

“In no way have I selected anyone, man or woman, according to the criterion of obedience. If anything, on the contrary, avoiding any interference with the monthly supplement, I pushed for the daily newspaper to create discussion that was truly free, not built on a dynamic of one side against another” or closed cliques, he wrote.

Monda added the monthly supplement will continue “without clericalism of any kind.”

The publication began as a monthly insert in the Vatican newspaper seven years ago to give attention to women’s voices. When it was relaunched in 2016 as a magazine, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said, “If we do not listen attentively to the voice of women in the great decisive moments in the life of the church, we would lose” the crucial contribution of the feminine genius in the church.

Scaraffia said the April 1 issue would be the last for her and the all-female editorial board, in order to “safeguard their dignity.”

The publication, which had the support and encouragement of Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, she said, was founded to be autonomous and run by women.

In her letter to Pope Francis dated March 21, Scaraffia said they were “throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and continuous delegitimization.”

Because of their openness to exploring the world of women in the church and of other faiths, Scaraffia said they were able to cover and explore many new subjects and experiences, including the abuse of women religious.

“Now it seems that a vital initiative has been reduced to silence and returns to the antiquated and arid custom of choosing, from the top, under the direct control of men, women who are deemed trustworthy.”

(JFL: following ios thebstatement of Editor-in-Chief of “L’Osservatore Romano” Prof. Andrea Monda

I acknowledge Prof. Scaraffia’s free and autonomous decision to discontinue her coo peration with L’Osservatore Romano, and to consider as closed her editorship of “Donna Chiesa Mondo” (“Women Church World”). Along with our very best wishes, we offer her our sincere thanks for the valuable work she has done in these years, with great commitment and in full freedom.

In these few months since my appointment as Editor-in-Chief, I have guaranteed Prof. Scaraffia and the group women on the editorial staff the same complete autonomy and the same total freedom that have characterized the monthly insert since its inception, by refraining from interfering in any way in the the printing of the daily newspaper’s monthly supplement, and limiting my contribution (to suggesting topics and persons to engage) to be freely evaluated by Prof. Scaraffia and the editorial staff.

In no way did my efforts undermine the scope of the Donna Chiesa Mondo monthly. Indeed, its budget was entirely confirmed and its translation and circulation in other countries always guaranteed, notwithstanding the Curia’s general need for cost-containment. My commitment has been and continues to be that of empowering the daily edition of L’Osservatore Romano (certainly not in terms of competition, but of complementarity with the supplement) as is natural and right as it may be.

In no way have I chosen anyone, man or woman, with the criterion of obedience. If anything, on the contrary, forbearing to intervene in the monthly supplement, in creating the daily edition I sought comparisons that were truly free, not built on the mechanism of one against the others, or of closed groups. And I did so precisely in the sign of the openness and parrhesia requested by Pope Francis, with whose words and with whose Magisterium we all identify.

If, on the basis of current ecclesial and cultural events, I have devoted attention to topics such as that of plurality and difference in the world of the Church, this derives solely from the centrality that these topics have acquired, thanks precisely to the role of women.

This coming Monday, 1 April — just to offer an example — a round-table on the publication of an essay, signed by 17 highly regarded theologians and scholars, entitled “La voce delle donne” (“The voice of women”) (Ed. Paoline), will be held in the editorial offices. I can offer my assurances that the future of L’Osservatore Romano’s monthly supplement has never been under discussion; and therefore, that its history will continue uninterrupted. Without clericalism of any kind.