I have read the same reports that many of you have that Pope emeritus Benedict is suffering from some kind of a rash, possibly shingles, on his face that has in past days been very painful. The papal biographer Peter Seewald, about to release his latest book on the Pope emeritus, told a German paper that he saw Benedict last Saturday and, “at the meeting the emeritus Pope, despite his illness, was optimistic and declared that if his strength increased again he would possibly take up his pen again.” Seewald also used the word “frail” to describe the Pope emeritus.
I hesitated to write about something without having confirmed facts but about 5:30 this afternoon, the Holy See Press Office, after persistent requests by journalists: had this to say: “According to reports from the personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the health conditions of the Pope Emeritus are not of particular concern, if not those for a 93-year old who is going through the most acute phase of a painful, but not serious, disease.”
THE “PARDON OF ASSISI”
Sunday at the Angelus, day, Francis invited everyone to receive the “Pardon of Assisi” which can be obtained from vespers of August 1 to midnight of August 2. He explained this “is a plenary indulgence that may be received by going to Confession, attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist (August 2), visiting a parish or Franciscan church, reciting the Creed, the Lord’s prayer and praying for the Pope and his intentions.”
The story of the “Pardon of Assisi” and the Indulgence of Porziuncula is a wonderful story, all the more so if you have a great love for the saint of Assisi or bear his name – Francis (my middle name is Frances).
That Porziuncula website tells us that a small abandoned chapel, situated in an area known in Latin as “Portiuncula” – which means “small piece of land” – was given by Benedictine monks to St. Francis who, having promised the abbot to make it the mother house of his new order, promptly restored it with his own hands. It was here that he came to understand his vocation clearly and here he founded the Order of the Friars Minor in 1209, entrusting it to the protection of the Virgin Mother of Christ, to whom the little church is dedicated.
One night in 1216, while Francis was immersed in prayer, a radiant light spread through the little church and he saw above the altar Christ and his Mother Mary, surrounded by a multitude of Angels. They asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis’ reply was immediate; “I ask that all those persons who have repented and confessed their sins who will come to this church, may obtain a full and generous pardon, and a complete remission of all their faults.”
I have read that this was the first plenary indulgence in the history of the Church, other indulgences up to that year being partial indulgences.
See more on my Joan’s Rome video: A VISIT TO THE PORZIUNCULA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbPFdmSTOcY
FUROR OVER REQUEST TO REMOVE ST. DAMIEN STATUE FROM CAPITOL ROTUNDA
Anyone who knows me and who has followed me on my Youtube page, my blog Joan’s Rome or on Facebook knows of my great love for Hawaii and her two Saints, Father Damien and Mother Marianne Cope, You probably also know that I am on a guild in the diocese of Honolulu that is looking into the cause for canonization of a third saint, Brother Joseph Dutton who worked brief with St. Damien and many years with Mother Marianne, spending 44 years on Kalaupapa.
I focus on St. Damien today because he is at the center of an avalanche of news stories due to an Instagram post by New York congresswoman Alessandra Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, who has asked that his statue in the Capitol Rotunda be removed as he was part of colonialism. She said, “This is what patriarchy and white supremacist culture looks like! It’s not radical or crazy to understand the influence white supremacist culture has historically had in our overall culture & how it impacts the present day.”
St. Damien, born in Belgium in the 19th century, is known worldwide as the priest who for the last 16 years of his life, in the worst imaginable circumstances, served and cared for victims of leprosy who were exiled to the peninsula of Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i. He died there after contracting the disease.
The Washington Times reported that, “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez experienced instant blowback on Friday after calling a statue of a Catholic saint who died caring for lepers an example of the ‘patriarchy’ and ‘white supremacist culture’ at work. The New York Democrat’s comments about Hawaii’s tribute to St. Damien of Molokai in the U.S. Capitol came just days after National Catholic Reporter touted her in a story titled, ‘AOC is the future of the Catholic Church’.”
I saw a brief video by Bishop Robert Barron on Facebook and re-posted it, saying, “This is FAR too important to ignore! Thank you Bishop Barron! Congresswoman AOC has definitely gone over the edge, wanting to take down the statue of Saint Damien in the Rotunda!” https://www.facebook.com/BishopRobertBarron/videos/231380727981938
I went to my Youtube page and saw ever so many videos I’ve done from Hawaii – from stories about saints to professional hula dancing to tours of the island to the Arizona monument in Pearl Harbor to a story about the Japanese who worked in a consular office in Honolulu and fed information back to Japan that allowed the Japanese to attach Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Here are two Damien-related videos:
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST DAMIEN ON KALAUPAPA, MOLOKA’I
KALAUPAPA, MOLOKA’I, HOME TO STS DAMIEN AND MARIANNE…IN SEARCH OF A NEW SAINT, JOSEPH DUTTON