Three important stories for today (supposedly the first day of a monthlong “working” vacation for Pope Francis). The big story today, however, is from the Apostolic Penitentiary and regards the seal of confession and I’m posting that in a separate column.
POPE TO CELEBRATE MASS FOR MIGRANTS, REFUGEES JULY 8
From Holy See Press Office July 1: In memory of the 6th anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa, on Monday, 8 July, the Holy Father Pope Francis, will celebrate a Mass for Migrants, at 11:00, in St Peter’s Basilica. Around 250 people will participate in the celebration, among whom will be migrants, refugees and those who are dedicated to saving their lives. Taking part in the Mass, presided over by the Pope at the Altar of the Chair of St Peter, will be only those persons invited by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, to whom the Holy Father has entrusted the organization of the event.
While Vatican Media will provide a live broadcast of the Mass, the presence of the press in the Basilica is not anticipated. The Holy Father desires that the moment be as recollected as possible in the remembrance of how many have lost their lives fleeing war and misery, and so as to encourage those who strive day after day to sustain, accompany and welcome migrants and refugees.
POPE TO CANONIZE CARDINAL NEWMAN AND FOUR OTHERS OCTOBER 13
The Vatican announced the date of the canonization of Blessed John Henry Newman along with four others on the second Sunday of October 2019.
By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)
At a consistory of cardinals on Monday, July 1 Pope Francis formally approved Blessed John Henry Newman’s canonization along with that of Sister Mariam Thresia, Giuseppina Vannini, Dulce Lopes Pontes and Margarita Bays.
In February, the Pope signed a decree recognizing a second miracle attributed to Blessed John Henry Newman, the inexplicable healing of a woman with a “life-threatening pregnancy.”
Blessed John Henry Newman was one of the most prominent converts to Catholicism from Anglicanism of the 19th century. He was already an esteemed Anglican theologian when he founded the Oxford Movement to return the Church of England to its Catholic roots, before himself converting to the Catholic faith. He was renowned as a brilliant thinker and was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. He died in Birmingham in 1890, aged 89, after founding the Birmingham Oratory (of St. Philip Neri).
MOSCOW ARCHBISHOP: POPE-PUTIN MEETING A QUEST FOR DIALOGUE, PEACE
Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican on July 4. According to the Catholic Archbishop of Moscow Paolo Pezzi, issues such as dialogue, peace and the environment are likely to dominate the talks but he is not optimistic about a possible papal visit to Russia.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)
Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, Russia, is enthusiastic about the next meeting between Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin, scheduled for Thursday in the Vatican.
Dialogue, peace, common home
“Even though we are not aware of the program of the meeting, I can imagine that themes dear to the Holy Father such as peace and safeguarding our common home, are likely to be on the agenda of discussion,” the Italian-born archbishop told FM radio Radio Vaticana Italia.
The July 4 meeting will be the third between Pope Francis and Putin in the Vatican. They first met on November 25, 2013, and in less than two years they met again on June 10, 2015.
The Holy See and the Russian Federation re-established bilateral relations in 1990 and re-established full diplomatic relations in 2009.
While underscoring Russia’s importance in the quest for world peace, Arch. Pezzi noted the pope’s deep commitment to peace among peoples. What the Church expects from this third meeting between Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said, is to be able to continue to dialogue.
Even though the agenda of the upcoming meeting is unknown, the 58-year old archbishop hopes that issues very dear to Pope Francis, such as peace in the world and the defense of our common home, creation, will be on the table.
Commenting on the style of dialogue of the Holy Father, he said the Argentine pope wants to know about and listen a lot to the other while at the same time allowing himself to be questioned and be challenged by what he hears. At the same time, without being verbose, he prefers to go to the heart of the matter with gestures and few words.
Possible papal visit?
Even though everyone would greatly wish that Putin’s visit would result in a possible invitation for the Pope to visit Moscow, Archbishop Pezzi believes it is not likely. Even though it is the political power that formally invites the pope, most importantly it is the religious authority of the place that seeks to have the Pope as a guest.
“As it appears up till now,” the archbishop said, “there hasn’t been any official invitation from the part of the Russian Orthodox Church, the most important religious element of the country, and it is not likely the Russian president will invite the pope on his own without the backing of the Orthodox Church.
Pope Francis and Putin are meeting this week amid improving relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The two leaders will be meeting for the first time since the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in 2016, regarded as a major step in healing the bitterness of the Great Schism of 1054 that split the followers of Christ into Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Catholicism.
With 165 million faithful out of some 250 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest in the Orthodox world.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, and Boris Yeltsin, the first president of post-Soviet Russia, had invited the late Pope St. John Paul II to visit Russia.
Pope Francis has made several trips to countries with predominantly Orthodox populations.