“THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE” (JN 8:32) FAKE NEWS AND JOURNALISM FOR PEACE

“THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE” (JN 8:32) FAKE NEWS AND JOURNALISM FOR PEACE

“’The truth will set you free’ (JN 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace” is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 2018 World Day of Social Communications.

The text of the Holy Father’s Message for the World Day of Social Communications is traditionally published on the January 24 feast day of Saint Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

A statement from the Secretariat for Communications notes that the theme chosen for the 52nd World Day of Social Communications 2018 relates to so-called “fake news,” namely, baseless information that contributes to generating and nurturing a strong polarisation of opinions. It involves an often misleading distortion of facts, with possible repercussions at the level of individual and collective behaviour.

In a context in which the key companies of the social web and the world of institutions and politics have started to confront this phenomenon, the Church too wishes to offer a contribution, proposing a reflection on the causes, the logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media, and helping to promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth, and therefore a journalism of peace that promotes understanding between people.

World Day of Social Communications, the only world day established by Vatican Council II (“Inter Mirifica”, 1963), is celebrated in many countries, by recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday preceding Pentecost (in 2018, 13 May).

 

Advertisements

RADIO, AN ANTIDOTE TO FAKE NEWS

Many changes are coming to what we know today as Vatican Radio, and I mentioned one of these in yesterday’s column – the disappearance of the 15-minute Italian, French and English-language morning news programs, replaced by Italian commentary and news, and the fact that whoever wants to listen to English news and reports in the evening can only do so via digital radio.

I found this talk today by Msgr Dario Vigano interesting, although he does not refer to any specifics in the ongoing reform of Vatican communications, specifically the radio. I personally know of a number of changes in personnel – people transferred from Vatican Radio to another office someplace in the Vatican, perhaps a pontifical council, even if their skills are in broadcasting. I’ve seen radio people transferred from an office where they have worked for years to another room where there are already personnel and small spaces have to be shared.

Is the building that houses all the offices of the 40 or so languages at Vatican Radio about to be used to house other Vatican offices – perhaps a new entity about to be created by the Pope? Perhaps in the long run we will learn what these changes mean.

RADIO, AN ANTIDOTE TO FAKE NEWS

(Vatican Radio) The prefect of the  Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò on Thursday addressed a workshop in Milan entitled “Journalism in the age of Fake News. The frontier of radio.”

Facts versus fiction

In remarks prepared for the occasion,  Msgr. Viganò began by stressing the importance of fact and source checking in this era of fake news, saying that it was “worth remembering that the verification of sources is the primary rule of journalism, adding that, in the age of contemporary information truth runs the risk of becoming a secondary aspect.”

The prefect went on to say that, “because of a continuous technological evolution, it is difficult to use the conceptual categories of the past,” and he noted the role of the internet and social media which have played their part in changing the media boundaries that people have become accustomed to.

Msgr. Viganò said that what was required in this era of fake news was “to reiterate the need to recover the foundations of ethics and the ethics of the journalistic profession that are based precisely on the verification of sources as well as on other principles.” He also commented that there was a need for critical thinking on the part of social media users who often share information on their own profiles without paying too much attention to the text.

Radio and Fake news

Turning his attention to radio, he said that in this age of fake news, “…radio is a strategic key to ‘anti fake news’,” which can not only counteract this phenomenon but can facilitate an opposing logic.

By exploiting the new media, he said, “radio has strengthened its identity at all times and has kept its appeal intact both in terms of audience, advertising and economic investments.”

Msgr. Viganò underlined that radio enjoys consistent credibility among young people who put it in pole position among the traditional media, such as TV and newspapers.

In short, he said radio involves an extraordinary narrative immediacy that has a fundamental value.

Msgr.Viganò was participating at the workshop ahead of the 69th edition of Gran Prix Italia, the Rai International Competition dedicated to innovative radio and TV programs and high-quality cultural and artistic programs.

 

FRANCIS GREETS DELEGATION FROM NFL HALL OF FAME – THE SAINTS ARE WITNESSES AND COMPANIONS OF HOPE – WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT VATICAN DICASTERIES?

As you will see in the third story, I mention the SPC, the Secretariat for Communications. I had reason to look up a name today in the Vatican’s 2017 phone directory and was surprised to see that the SPC has 11 pages of phone numbers (Secretariat of State has only 4 and a half), having combined all the Vatican communications offices (newspaper, CTV, radio, press office, etc) under one umbrella. Took me quite a while to find the one name I needed!

FRANCIS GREETS DELEGATION FROM NFL HALL OF FAME

Before today’s general audience, Pope Francis received a delegation from the National Football League Hall of Fame, including six previous inductees, one team owner who will be inducted in August, and members of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees.Francis said. “I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame, and to welcome you to the Vatican.  As many of you know, I am an avid follower of ‘football’, but where I come from, the game is played very differently!”

The Pope highlighted the “traditional values of sportsmanship that you (NFL) seek to embody, both on the field and in your own lives, your families and your communities.  Our world, and especially our young people, need models, persons who show us how to bring out the best in ourselves, to use our God-given gifts and talents, and, in so doing, to point the way to a better future for our societies.”

The Holy Father, as he has done on many occasions when addressing sports figures and groups and young people in general, stressed the importance of “teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence” saying these “are the values – in the religious sense, we can say virtues” that are also “urgently needed off the field, on all levels of our life as a community.  They are the values that help build a culture of encounter, in which we anticipate and meet the needs of our brothers and sisters, and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family.  How greatly our world needs this culture of encounter!”

THE SAINTS ARE WITNESSES AND COMPANIONS OF HOPE

The Holy Father Wednesday, contin uing his series of catecheses on Christian hope, reflected on the Saints as witnesses and companions of Hope.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began Francis, “we now look to the saints, to ‘those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith’.  The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the saints as ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ who support us on our pilgrim way through this present life.  In the sacraments of baptism, marriage and ordination, we pray the Litany of the Saints to implore their intercession and help in the particular vocation we have received.”

The Pope went on to note that, “the lives of the saints remind us that the Christian ideal is not unattainable.  Despite our human weakness, we can always count on God’s grace and the prayers of the saints to sustain us in faith and in hope for the transfiguration of this world and the fulfilment of Christ’s promises in the next.”

“May the Lord enable all of us,” concluded Francis, “to become saints, to be living images of Christ in our time.  May he strengthen us to be his witnesses and to bring the Gospel to all our brothers and sisters, especially the suffering and those most in need of its message of undying hope.”

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT VATICAN DICASTERIES?

Click on (then save) the following link and you’ll see the chart I posted below. I’ve not visited every site before posting this today, just a few, however some of them are still from the http://www.vatican.va site and have not been updated in quite some time. Other are quite interesting. I’m guessing this is all part of the Secretariat for Communication’s (SPC) planned reform in the area of communications and that some day there will be a totally new website that will be updated frequently, if not daily.

ttp://www.vatican.va/siti_va/index_va_en.htm

   
CONGREGATIONS
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith www.doctrinafidei.va www.memoriafidei.va www.acdf.va
Pontifical Commission for Latin America (Congregation for Bishops) www.americalatina.va
Pontifical Mission Societies (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.ppoomm.va
Museum of Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.museopropagandafide.va
Historical Archive “de Propaganda Fide” (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) www.archiviostoricopropaganda.va
Congregation for the Clergy www.clerus.va
Congregation for Catholic Education (for Institutes of Study) www.educatio.va
Congregation for the Causes of Saints www.causesanti.va
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life www.congregazionevitaconsacrata.va
TRIBUNALS
Apostolic Penitentiary www.penitenzieria.va
Roman Rota www.rotaromana.va
PONTIFICAL COUNCILS
Pontifical Council for the Laity www.laici.va
Pontifical Council for the Family www.familia.va
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace www.iustitiaetpax.va www.laudatosi.va
Pontifical Council for Culture www.cultura.va
Pontifical Council for Social Communications www.pccs.va www.intermirifica50.va
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization www.novaevangelizatio.va www.annusfidei.va www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts www.delegumtextibus.va
Pontifical Council Cor Unum www.corunum.va www.corunumjubilaeum.va
DICASTERIES
Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life www.laityfamilylife.va
SYNOD OF BISHOPS
XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Holy See Press Office’s Communications Channel) synod15.vatican.va
XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops youth.synod2018.va
OFFICES
PONTIFICAL COMMISSIONS
Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors www.protectionofminors.va
OTHER INSTITUTIONS
Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel: www.cappellamusicalepontificia.va
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation www.centesimusannus.va
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem www.oessh.va
Campo Santo Teutonico www.camposanto.va www.camposantoteutonico.va www.erzbruderschaft.va www.paepstlichespriesterkolleg.va www.pontificiocollegioteutonico.va www.deutscherfriedhof.va www.cimiteroteutonico.va www.priesterkolleg.va www.collegioteutonico.va
OTHER COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses www.congressieucaristici.va
Pontifical Swiss Guard www.guardiasvizzera.va
Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences www.historia.va
INSTITUTIONS CONNECTED WITH THE HOLY SEE
Vatican Secret Archives asv.vatican.va (www.archiviosegretovaticano.va) www.scuolavaticanapaleografia.va
Vatican Library www.vaticanlibrary.va
L’Osservatore Romano www.osservatoreromano.va
Vatican Publishing House www.libreriaeditricevaticana.va
Vatican Radio www.radiovaticana.va
Photografic Service of L’Osservatore Romano www.photo.va
Office of Papal Charities www.elemosineria.va
Holy See’s Agency for the Evaluation and Promotion of Quality in Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties (AVEPRO) www.avepro.va
Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) www.aif.va
Vatican Television Center (CTV) www.ctv.va
Excavations Office (Fabric of St. Peter) www.scavi.va
LABOUR OFFICE OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE
ULSA (Labour Office of the Apostolic See) www.ulsa.va
VATICAN CITY STATE
Vatican City State www.vaticanstate.va
Vatican Museums www.museivaticani.va
Online Ticket Office of the Vatican Museums biglietteriamusei.vatican.va
The Vatican Observatory 2014 Summer School www.voss2014.va
Vatican Observatory www.vaticanobservatory.va
PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES
Pontifical Academy of Sciences www.casinapioiv.va www.endslavery.va
Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences www.pass.va
Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas www.past.va
INSTITUTES OF STUDIES
Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music www.musicasacra.va
SECTIONS OF THE OFFICIAL SITE
Abuse of minors. The Church’s response www.resources.va
Pontifical Council Cor Unum www.corunum.va
Photo Galleries www.photogallery.va
FOUNDATIONS
The Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation www.fondazioneratzinger.va
Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation www.centesimusannus.va
Paediatric Medical Foundation of Santa Marta www.dispensariosantamarta.va
OTHER
Pontifical Parish of St Anne in the Vatican www.santanna.va
Institute for Religious Works (IOR) www.ior.va
PONTIFICAL DELEGATIONS
Pontifical Delegation for the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua

 

MYANMAR AND HOLY SEE ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES – POPE TO VATICAN MEDIA PERSONNEL: “ACCEPT CHALLENGES WITHOUT FEAR AND APOCALYPTIC SCENARIOS”

Ever since the Holy Father announced he intended to institute a reform of the Roman Curia a few years back – a reform that naturally included all the offices whose work is communications (Vatican Radio, CTV, Holy See Press Office, L’Osservatore Romano newspaper, the publishing house, etc), there has been a state of nervousness and uncertainty along the employees who staff those offices.

As a former Vatican employee (Vatican “retiree”?), except for my weekly program, “Joan Knows” at Vatican Radio, I have heard many of my former colleagues in all of the above offices wonder where the reform will take them. I’ve read many an article that focussed on the question of the future, the post-reform Vatican communications world.

Pope Francis was clear that he did not want any employees to be dismissed in order to meet the new goals. But that has not prevented people from being moved around, being moved from an office where they had a certain expertise to an office that simply needed “another laborer in the vineyard.”

In his speech today to representatives of the plenary of the Secretariat for Communications (see below), Pope Francis tried to allay the fears of Vatican and Roman Curia employees but, in a few instances, he raised new questions.
He concluded his remarks by saying: “Let us resist the temptation of being attached to a glorious past; let’s all be team players in order to better respond to the new communication challenges posed by culture today without fear and without foreseeing apocalyptic scenarios.”

MYANMAR AND HOLY SEE ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC TIES

Following Pope Francis’ audience this morning with Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Vatican announced that, “The Holy See and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, keen to promote bonds of mutual friendship, have jointly agreed to establish diplomatic relations at the level of Apostolic Nunciature, on behalf of the Holy See, and Embassy, on the part of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.”

No statement was made about the nature or content of the meeting between the Holy Father and Aung San Suu Kyi.

POPE TO VATICAN MEDIA PERSONNEL: “ACCEPT CHALLENGES WITHOUT FEAR AND APOCALYPTIC SCENARIOS”

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged members of Vatican media platforms not to be afraid of reform, and to embrace the challenge of change that will enable them to bring the message of the Gospel to all.

Addressing representatives of the Secretariat for Communications (SPC) gathered for its first Plenary Assembly, the Pope said that to “reform is not just to whitewash things; it’s to give them a different form and organization”.
“It’s something, he said to those charged with overhauling the Vatican’s different news and media outlets, to be done with intelligence and what he called a good kind of ‘violence’.”

Headed by the prefect, Msgr. Dario Viganò, the new Dicastery was created by Pope Francis exactly two years ago with the mandate to unify all Vatican communications platforms: the Vatican Television Center, the Vatican Publishing House, The Osservatore Romano newspaper, Vatican Radio, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Photographic Service, the Vatican Internet Service, the Vatican Printing Press and the former Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Describing the issues addressed during the Plenary are “very dear to his heart,” Pope Francis said the work taken on by the SPC aims to “find new criteria and new ways of communicating the Gospel of mercy to all peoples and cultures making use of the new digital culture at our disposal”.

He highlighted the fact that – as specified in his ‘Motu proprio’ which established the new Dicastery – the reform is not about coordinating or merging the various platforms, but sets up something completely new with a single and unified management which will be able to better respond to the needs of the Church’s mission.

Reflecting on the fact that in the past each platform had its own channels and mediums of communication (the written word, images, audio) the Pope said that “all these forms of communication today are transmitted with a single code that uses the binary system.”

Thus, he said, the Vatican newspaper is called to find a new and different way to reach a much higher number of readers that it does through its printed format.
He said that through the years Vatican Radio has become an ensemble of portals and “must be reshaped according to new models so it can conform to modern technologies and to the needs of our contemporaries”.

And regarding the Vatican’s radiophonic service, the Pope had special words of appreciation for the efforts being made in consideration of countries that are not technologically developed – “I think of Africa” he said – praising the “rationalization of Short Wave frequencies that have never been dismantled.

“History undoubtedly represents a precious patrimony of experience to be safeguarded and used as a push towards the future” he said, pointing out that otherwise it would be a mere museum: “interesting and nice to visit, but unable to provide the strength and courage for the continuation of the journey.”

Pope Francis concluded his address encouraging the SPC to courageously bring the reform to completion with an apostolic and missionary spirit, and asked there be a special regard and attention for situations of need, poverty and difficulty within the knowledge that they must be faced with adequate solutions:

“Let us resist the temptation of being attached to a glorious past; let’s all be team players in order to better respond to the new communication challenges posed by culture today without fear and without foreseeing apocalyptic scenarios.”

AN UPDATE ON THE POPE FRANCIS LAUNDROMAT…. – VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE SHROUD OF TURIN: PART II – POPE TO COMMEMORATE NEW MARTYRS IN LITURGY OF THE WORD – EWTN CEO WARSAW NAMED CONSULTOR TO VATICAN SECRETARIAT

May I take this occasion to send heartfelt wishes to all my listeners for a very holy and blessed Triduum and a Happy Easter of the Resurrection!

EWTN employees will have time off for Mass on Holy Thursday and all day Good Friday. I’ll be off those days as well, participating in Triduum liturgies with the American Catholic community of Santa Susanna in Rome but I’ll be back for Pasquetta, Little Easter as we say in Italy, the Monday after Easter (also known as Monday of the Angel) and a very big holiday in Italy and much of Europe. I fly to the U.S. on Holy Saturday but am never more than a keyboard and a camera away from work, posting stories, blogs, photos, etc.

AN UPDATE ON THE POPE FRANCIS LAUNDROMAT….

In a news story on the Pope Francis Laundromat for the poor and homeless that just opened in Rome, moneyish.com reported that Whirlpool donated six washers and dryers, as well as a number of irons. “We are proud to partner with the Papal Charities Office to make laundry services available to the homeless in Rome with the donation of Whirlpool appliances,” the brand’s senior direct of communications Alessandro Magnoni told Moneyish. “This is perfectly aligned with Whirlpool’s mission to give back to local communities.”

In addition, the story noted that Procter & Gamble has also volunteered to give detergent and fabric softener. “P&G wants to help bring comforts of home to those who need them the most,” a rep told Moneyish.

It seems that the Vatican also hopes to bring shower facilities, barbers and medical care to the same area in Trastevere on Via San Gallicano that now houses the papal Laundromat. Such facilities are now available for the homeless in the Vatican near the right hand colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE SHROUD OF TURIN: PART II

Join me if you can on Vatican Insider this Easter weekend for a somewhat shorter addition as EWTN employees have time off for Mass on Holy Thursday and all day Good Friday. To commemorate Good Friday, I offer Part II of my special on the Man of the Shroud – the Shroud of Turin, of course, allegedly the linen that wrapped Our Lord’s body as he lay in the tomb after his passion and death.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. Outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE TO COMMEMORATE NEW MARTYRS IN LITURGY OF THE WORD

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis will celebrate a special Liturgy of the Word in memory of the “New Martyrs” of the 20th and 21st centuries on Saturday, April 22.

A communique from the Holy See Press Office said the prayer will take place in the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Tiberina Island, which is located in the heart of Rome on the Tiber River.

The Liturgy of the Word celebration is organized by the Sant’Egidio Community and takes place at 5 PM.

A separate communique released by the Sant’Egidio Community said the Basilica of St. Bartholomew held special significance: “The Pope’s prayer in a place, which – since the Jubilee of 2000, at John Paul II’s behest – contains the memoirs of contemporary martyrs, takes on a very special significance in these times marked by the suffering of so many Christians in the world and by the light of Easter.”

EWTN CEO WARSAW NAMED CONSULTOR TO VATICAN SECRETARIAT

Pope Francis has appointed EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw as a Consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications. The appointment was announced at the Vatican on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. As a consultor, Warsaw will have a role in advising the Pope and the Holy See on matters related to media and communications. The appointment comes as part a broad restructuring of the media operations of the Vatican.

“I am extremely humbled and honored by the Holy Father’s appointment,” said Warsaw. “This is a tremendous recognition of the role which EWTN plays in the life of the Church throughout the world. I am grateful to Pope Francis for his confidence and look forward to serving the universal Church in this post.”

Warsaw joined EWTN in 1991 and has held senior management positions in the areas of television production, satellite operations and technical services. He became President of EWTN in 2000 and assumed the post of chief executive officer in 2009. Warsaw was named chairman of the board of EWTN in 2013. In that capacity he oversees the Network’s strategic direction and mission around the world. With the Network’s 2011 acquisition of the National Catholic Register, Mr. Warsaw assumed the role of publisher of that newspaper.

Prior to joining EWTN, Mr. Warsaw was employed by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.   He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Catholic Distance University.

The Secretariat for Communications was established by Pope Francis in an apostolic decree on June 25, 2015. Among its responsibilities, it has the task of carrying out the restructuring, reorganization and consolidation of the various communications outlets of the Holy See including the Vatican Television Center, the Vatican Publishing House, L’Osservatore Romano newspaper, Vatican Radio, the Holy See Press Office, Photographic Service and the Vatican Internet Service.  The office is headed by Monsignor Dario Vigano, who serves as Prefect.

“TEACH PRAYER BY PRAYING, ANNOUNCE THE FAITH BY BELIEVING; OFFER WITNESS BY LIVING!” – POPE FRANCIS CREATES SECRETARIAT FOR COMMUNICATIONS – PRAYERS AND SOLIDARITY WITH VICTIMS OF TERROR ATTACKS – PARENTS OF ST THERESE OF LISIEUX TO BE CANONIZED

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI today celebrates the 64th anniversary of his priestly ordination! What a beautiful milestone! I would like to express my congratulations as well as my affection, esteem and many prayers.  The same for his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger who was ordained the same day.

RATZINGER BROTHERS OPRDINATION

Lots of important news over the weekend and today, given the Pope’s beautiful homily at the Mass for the solemnity of St. Peter and Paul.

“TEACH PRAYER BY PRAYING, ANNOUNCE THE FAITH BY BELIEVING; OFFER WITNESS BY LIVING!”

Today, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles and patrons of Rome, Pope Francis blessed 46 palliums that he handed to 46 metropolitan archbishops as a sign of their union with the Successor of Peter, with their brother bishops  as well as a sign of their authority in the archdiocese where they are shepherds.

POPE - PALLIUM 2015

The Pope began his homily by commenting on the passage from the Acts of the Apostles, that “speaks to us of the first Christian community besieged by persecution. A community harshly persecuted by Herod who “laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church… proceeded to arrest Peter also… and when he had seized him he put him in prison.”

“However,” said Francis, “I do not wish to dwell on these atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world today, often under the silent gaze of all.  I would like instead to pay homage today to the courage of the Apostles and that of the first Christian community.  This courage carried forward the work of evangelization, free of fear of death and martyrdom, within the social context of a pagan empire; their Christian life is for us, the Christians of today, a powerful call to prayer, to faith and to witness.”

The Holy Father noted that, “the first community was a Church at prayer. …And if we think of Rome, the catacombs were not places to escape to from persecution but rather, they were places of prayer, for sanctifying the Lord’s day and for raising up, from the heart of the earth, adoration to God who never forgets his sons and daughters.”

He also noted how the first reading of the day tells us that, “Sentries before the door were guarding the prison; and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side… And the chains fell off his hands,”

“Let us think about how many times the Lord has heard our prayer and sent us an angel,” said Francis. “An angel who unexpectedly comes to pull us out of a difficult situation?  Who comes to snatch us from the hands of death and from the evil one; who points out the wrong path; who rekindles in us the flame of hope; who gives us tender comfort; who consoles our broken hearts; who awakens us from our slumber to the world; or who simply tells us, ‘You are not alone’.

“How many angels he places on our path, and yet when we are overwhelmed by fear, unbelief or even euphoria, we leave them outside the door, just as happened to Peter when he knocked on the door of the house and the “maid named Rhoda came to answer.  Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the door” (12:13-14).

Highlighting the importance of prayer, the Pope said, “No Christian community can go forward without being supported by persistent prayer! Prayer is the encounter with God, with God who never lets us down; with God who is faithful to his word; with God who does not abandon his children.”

Speaking on the call to faith, the Holy Father said,God does not take his children out of the world or away from evil but he does grant them strength to prevail.  Only the one who believes can truly say: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want’.”

He asked, “How many forces in the course of history have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains alive and fruitful! She remains inexplicably solid, so that, as Saint Paul says, she may acclaim: ‘To him be glory for ever and ever’.

“Everything passes, only God remains.  Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ.  Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul.

Francis then highlighted his third point, a call to witness:”A Church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile; like a dead person who thinks they are alive; like a dried up tree that produces no fruit; an empty well that offers no water!  The Church has overcome evil thanks to the courageous, concrete and humble witness of her children.  She has conquered evil thanks to proclaiming with conviction: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’.”

The Pope then addressed the archbishops who today receive the pallium; “It is a sign which represents the sheep that the shepherd carries on his shoulders as Christ the Good Shepherd does, and it is therefore a symbol of your pastoral mission.  …Today, by these palliums, I wish to entrust you with this call to prayer, to faith and to witness.

“The Church wants you to be men of prayer, masters of prayer; that you may teach the people entrusted to your care that liberation from all forms of imprisonment is uniquely God’s work and the fruit of prayer; that God sends his angel at the opportune time in order to save us from the many forms of slavery and countless chains of worldliness.  For those most in need, may you also be angels and messengers of charity!

“The Church desires you to be men of faith, masters of faith, who can teach the faithful to not be frightened of the many Herods who inflict on them persecution with every kind of cross.  No Herod is able to banish the light of hope, of faith, or of charity in the one who believes in Christ!

“The Church wants you to be men of witness. Saint Francis used to tell his brothers: ‘Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words!’ There is no witness without a coherent lifestyle!  Today there is no great need for masters, but for courageous witnesses, who are convinced and convincing; witnesses who are not ashamed of the Name of Christ and of His Cross; not before the roaring lions, nor before the powers of this world.”

“This is not so straightforward,” concluded Francis, “because the most effective and authentic witness is one that does not contradict, by behaviour and lifestyle, what is preached with the word and taught to others!

Teach prayer by praying, announce the faith by believing; offer witness by living!”

After Mass this morning, Pope Francis went to his study in the apostolic palace and , speaking from the window, he prayed the Angelus with the faithful inSt. Peter’s Square. He asked for prayers for his July 5 to 12 pilgrimage to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay: “I ask you all to accompany me with prayer, that the Lord will bless my journey on the continent of Latin America so dear to me, as you can imagine. I express to the dear peoples of Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay my joy at being in their homelands, and I ask you, in a particular way, to pray for me and for this trip, that the Virgin Mary might give us the gift of accompanying all of us with her maternal protection.”

POPE FRANCIS CREATES SECRETARIAT FOR COMMUNICATIONS

This entire story will be very interesting to follow. Having worked for many years at the Vatican Information Service (VIS), I am familiar with all the communications offices that the Pope refers to in this document. However, I did not see VIS mentioned by name in the Motu proprio which notes. “the following Organizations will be incorporated: Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Televisi… Radio, the Vatican Television Center (CTV), the Osservatore Romano, Vatican Typography, Photograph Service, and the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana). VIS was considered an office within the Holy See Press Office so perhaps that is the answer to my observation.

No mention was made of the future of the men who now lead CTV, the radio, the council for social communications, etc, though several are near retirement age.

,At the end of the Motu, Pope Francis notes: The new Department, in agreement with the Secretary of State, will assume the institutional website of the Holy See: www.vatican.va and the Twitter account of the Supreme Pontiff: @pontifex The Secretariat for Communications will begin its duties on June 29, 2015, having as a provisional headquarters Palazzo Pio, Piazza Pia, 3, 00120 Vatican City.

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis promulgated on Saturday, 27 June 2015, a Motu Proprio instituting the Secretariat for Communications and nominating Rev. Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò as Prefect of the new Secretariat.

The Motu Proprio establishes that all communications offices will be incorporated under the direction of the new Secretariat for Communications, including the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center (CTV), the Osservatore Romano, Vatican Typography, Photograph Service, and the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana).

The new Dicastery will also work in union with the Secretariat of State for the direction of the institutional website of the Holy See, http://www.vatican.va and the Twitter account of the Holy Father:  @pontifex

Please find below a Vatican Radio translation of the Motu Proprio: “The current communicative context”

APOSTOLIC LETTER IN THE FORM OF ‘MOTU PROPRIO’ OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF FRANCIS

Establishment of the Secretariat for Communications

The current communication context, characterized by the presence and the development of digital media, by the factors of convergence and interactivity, requires a rethinking of the information system of the Holy See and dedication to a reorganization which, recognizing the history of internal development of the asset of communications of the Apostolic See, must proceed decisively towards integration and a unified management.

For these reasons, I desire that all organizations which, thus far have dealt with communications in different ways, be brought together in a new Dicastery of the Roman Curia, to be called the Secretariat for Communications. Thus, the communication system of the Holy See will respond in an ever more efficacious manner to the needs of the mission of the Church.

Therefore, after reviewing reports and studies, and recently having received the study on feasibility and having heard the unanimous opinion of the Council of Cardinals, I institute the Secretariat for Communications and establish the following:

Art. 1

Into the Dicastery, as presented by the Commission of Vatican Media, instituted on April 30, 2015, the following Organizations will be incorporated: Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center (CTV), the Osservatore Romano, Vatican Typography, Photograph Service, and the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana).

Art. 2

These organizations, from the date of publication of this Motu Proprio, must continue their own activities, in accordance, however, with the indications given by the Secretariat for Communications.

Art. 3

The new Department, in agreement with the Secretary of State, will assume the institutional website of the Holy See: http://www.vatican.va and the Twitter account of the Supreme Pontiff: @pontifex

Art. 4

The Secretariat for Communications will begin its duties on June 29, 2015, having as a provisional headquarters Palazzo Pio, Piazza Pia, 3, 00120 Vatican City.

Everything which I have deliberated with this Apostolic Letter issued under the form of Motu Proprio, I prescribe it to be observed in all its parts, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention, and I establish that it be promulgated by publication in the newspaper L ‘ Osservatore Romano and, subsequently, in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on June 27 of the year 2015, the third of my Pontificate.

Francesco P.P.

PRAYERS AND SOLIDARITY WITH VICTIMS OF TERROR ATtACKS

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on Saturday sent telegrams of condolences in the Holy Father’s name to France, Kuwait and Tunisia for the victims of the terror attacks in those countries on Friday. The Pope expressed solidarity, saying he was united in prayer with the relatives of the victims, and praying for the souls of those who perished in the attacks. Pope Francis offered his condolences to those who were wounded and to their families.

In each of the messages, Pope Francis condemned yet again “the violence that causes so much suffering” and prayed that God “might grant the gift of peace.”

PARENTS OF ST THERESE OF LISIEUX TO BE CANONIZED

Saturday, during an Ordinary Consistory in the apostolic palace, it was announced that the Holy Father has approved  the decrees allowing for the canonization of Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus of Lisieux. They will be the first to be canonized together as husband and wife