If you are an American history buff, you may be interested to know that 158 years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln delivered what we know as the Gettysburg address, a brief, 278-word speech that has resounded loudly ever since, in particular the opening words: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

If you are an aficionado of trials and have been following the Vatican financial trial, below you will find a Vatican news story on the fourth hearing that took place November 17th. There is a pool of Vatican-accredited print journalists allowed in the tribunal to cover the proceedings for international media.

For background on that trial: (CNA) – The trial is the culmination of more than two years of investigation by the Vatican into what happened in and around the Secretariat of State’s 350 million-euro purchase of an investment property in London between 2014 and 2018. The Vatican maintains that the deal was problematic and designed to defraud the Secretariat of State of millions of euros. The defendants in the trial have been adamant their actions were above board, and that Vatican authorities were in the know.


Welcome to a new edition of Vatican Insider. Before I look at the new highlights, I invite you to stay tuned afterward when, in what is usually the interview segment, I present a special on the basilica of St. Paul in light of the November 18th liturgical feast of the dedication of the basilicas of Sts. Peter and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. Both churches were built in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine. Interestingly enough, as you will hear, at one point a colonnade linked the two basilicas notwithstanding the fact they are separated by just under 3 miles! I will also dedicate a Special to St. Peter’s Basilica.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on 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.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.


In the fourth hearing of the proceedings on the alleged illegal activities carried out with funds from the Secretariat of State, the proceedings were suspended due to procedural issues. The defense attorneys requested nullity due to redaction of the material submitted. Enrico Crasso’s lawyers said that the Pope was interviewed as a witness but the promoter of Justice denied it. The next hearing is set for 1 December.

By Salvatore Cernuzio (vaticannews)

The trial in the Vatican regarding alleged illicit dealings with the funds of the Holy See has not yet come to a head and will probably still take some time. After the partial restitution of documents to the Office of the Promoter of Justice, there are only six remaining defendants out of the initial ten: Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the former director and president of AIF, Tommaso Di Ruzza and René Brüllhart, the financiers Enrico Crasso, Gianluigi Torzi, and the manager Cecilia Marogna (the positions of the four companies have also been eliminated)

“It will take time to start, if we ever manage to start,” said the president of the Vatican Tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, opening the fourth session in the multipurpose room of the Vatican Museums. The hearing – which lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes, with a one-hour break in between – was entirely dedicated to the issue of cuts and omissions by the Promoters of Justice on the documents submitted on 3 November.

Postponed to 1 December
There were procedural disagreements with the defense attorneys who, on the one hand, objected once again arguing that the trial was null and void due to a “mutilation” of the evidence and an “inadmissible” method of investigation that prevented the full exercise of the right of defense.

On the other hand, the Promoters of Justice asserted that the cuts to the submitted material were related to new and ongoing areas of investigation, raising the question of investigative secrecy. Having heard both sides, Pignatone did not pass a ruling and postponed the hearing to 1 December, at 9:30 am.

A new substitute judge
At the beginning of the hearing, only Cardinal Becciu was present from among the defendants. President Pignatone announced the appointment of a substitute judge, Lucia Bozzi.

Pignatone explained that this decision was made given the number of charges, defendants and witnesses involved in this trial that “will not be short-lived.”

An enormous amount of material
The entire session focused on the material that the Office of the Promoter of Justice filed last 3 November, following the Court’s order of 29 July, which was repeated on 6 October. The material consists of more than 115 hours of recorded conversations, contained in 53 DVDs: one DVD with telephone taps, the other 52 with the audio and video files of the five interrogations of Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, who, at the time of the facts was the head of the administrative office of the first section of the Secretariat of State, and is now considered a “key witness.”

The defense attorneys protested the “obvious inadequacy of the time to examine the enormous amount of material.” They then strongly criticized the fact that large excerpts of the declarations, including those of Perlasca (involving, for example, cuts of up to 60 minutes), were omitted by the promoter of Justice due to “investigative needs”.

Request for nullity
Fabio Viglione, Cardinal Becciu’s lawyer, spoke of a “falsified, mutilated nature” of the evidence – of both the audio-video evidence and the so-called forensic copies of the seized computer devices. He explained that there was no desire to raise controversy with the Vatican magistrates, but they would rather prefer to have the complete material available in order “to be able to defend ourselves.” According to the lawyer, “this system is inadmissible”, as what is being objected to is a “nullity that cannot be remedied”.

Viglione also asked for a further verification of Monsignor Perlasca’s trial status, since the Office of the Promoter clarified that for the monsignor from Como “a separate procedure has been carried out,” but without other details such as dates, eventual charges or termination of the case, information that is useful to know “out of necessity and not curiosity”.

Interrogation of Monsignor Perlasca
The same requests were collected and reiterated by lawyer Luigi Panella, the defender of Enrico Crasso, who stated that the redaction of the deposited materials constitute an “absolute and irremediable nullity” and that “from the examination of more than one hundred hours emerges a profile of incompleteness of the written transcripts, drawn up in summary form that does not give an accurate account of what was said”.

With his computer in hand, the lawyer then tried to play over the microphone, the clip of the 29 April 2020 video interrogation of Monsignor Perlasca, on the alleged extortion of 15 million euros on the purchase of the property on Sloane Avenue, alleged against Torzi, Crasso, Monsignor Mauro Carlino and Fabrizio Tirabassi. At one point during the interrogation, the Promoter of Justice interrupted the witness saying, “Monsignor, this has nothing to do with it! Before doing what we are currently doing, we went to the Holy Father and asked him what happened.”

Panella’s deduction that the Holy Father was interviewed as a witness but there was no statement by the Pope in the records. From the video, the lawyer insisted that, Perlasca’s “supreme bewilderment” was clearly visible, and he was so “shocked” that on 31 August 2020, he spontaneously presented himself to the magistrates without a defender. Panella added that the direct intervention of the Pope, as a person informed of the facts in the proceedings was “unheard of.” He also noted that he had commissioned a technical assessment of the censored material (about 28 pages) from which several critical issues emerged, in particular the lack of some minutes of the recordings.

The reply of the promoter of Justice
After a break of about an hour, the Promoter of Justice, Alessandro Diddi, intervened and began by describing the questions raised by the defense as “specious”. Regarding the involvement of Pope Francis, he said: “Let me be clear, this office has never questioned the Holy Father, and has never contested the statements of the Holy Father to Monsignor Perlasca.” He explained that there was a moment in which Monsignor Perlasca was saying things that led him to hit a wall and the Office of the Promoter pointed it out to the Monsignor, saying “Look, you are going against a wall, because we were aware of what the Holy Father – I say this with emotion – testified long ago about this affair.”

The reference was to Pope Francis’ response to reporters at a press conference on the plane from Thailand to Japan in November 2019, in which he explained how the beginning of the proceedings came about and why the office had a meeting with the Holy Father.

New elements of the investigation
Refuting requests for nullity, the representative of the prosecution also justified the audio-video redaction and the “investigative secrecy” as an “unquestionable” choice since other elements parallel to the investigation of the purchase and sale of the London Palace had arrived in the course of the investigation. In addition, the defense was present for the most part for the redacted materials.

As to the more than 115 hours of video recordings deposited, Diddi explained that they “are faithful transcriptions of what was verbalized.” He said that he did not think that the theme of the trial is how we made the video recordings and we need to be clear about what we want from the process. “If there are those who think that the Promoter’s Office has produced fakes, denounce us for ideological falsification,” he said, adding that, “these insinuations are a disgrace.”

Complex issues
At the conclusion of the hearing, Pignatone announced that the Vatican Tribunal reserves the right to “provide for the complex issues raised.” However, he added, “we will not begin the examination of the questions of this process until the defense has complete knowledge of the acts.”


The Saint of the Day, St. Isidore the Farmer, has a fascinating story that is told on There is also an audio version of the story on the website and kids as well as adults will appreciate this. And you can sign up to get their emails with The Saint of the Day story. Isidore has become the patron of farmers and rural communities. In particular, he is the patron of Madrid, Spain, and of the United States National Rural Life Conference. He died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622, with Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri. Together, the group is known in Spain as “the five saints.


In this week’s edition of Vatican Insider I bring you some news updates, take a look at Pope Francis’ special prayer intentions this week at his private morning Masses and then bring you on a tour of a major Roman basilica in what is normally the interview segment. As you know, Coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Italian government and by Vatican City that adheres to those rules have kept me home for months now, unable to go out an interview people but some day soon I am sure I’ll be able to do that again.

So this week, be a tourist for a few minutes! Come to Rome! You know that’s where you want to be!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on 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.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)


Those in charge of the four major Roman papal basilicas (St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls) met on Thursday to study and discuss what needs to be done to re-open the basilicas to the faithful to once again assist at a liturgy. Each basilica has an archpriest, who is a cardinal, who oversees the basilica for its day-to-day life, normal maintenance, repairs and, naturally its liturgical life.

The Thursday meeting was organized by the Secretariat of State.

The meeting allowed the prelates to discuss the “new aspects of Phase 2,” a period of gradual re-openings in Italy and resumption of activities in stores, factories, etc. that began on May 4. As part of Phase 2, churches will be allowed to open their doors to the faithful once again for the celebration of Holy Mass beginning on May 18.

Among the items discussed by the archpriests of the basilicas were the “necessary measures most suitable to guarantee the safety of the faithful.” One specific measure would be the use a thermoscanner to take the temperature of those who wish to participate in liturgical celebrations.


By Christopher Wells (Vatican Radio and news)

As is traditional, Pope Francis presided over an ecumenical Vespers service at the Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls for the conclusion of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The end of the Week coincides with the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.

The Song of Moses and Miriam

During the liturgical service, a cantor proclaimed a reading from the Book of Exodus, the “Song of Moses and Miriam,” which Pope Francis took as the starting point for his homily. The hymn was sung by the Israelites after they had been saved from the Egyptians by God, an event that many of the Church Fathers saw as an image of Baptism. “All of us Christians,” the Pope said, have passed through the waters of Baptism; and the grace of the Sacrament has destroyed our enemies, sin and death.” Precisely for this reason, he continued, together we are able to sing God’s praise.

Called to community

But, the Pope said, as with Moses, “our individual experiences bind us to an even greater story, that of the salvation of the people of God.” Saint Paul, he said, whose conversion is celebrated in this liturgical feast, likewise had a “powerful experience of grace,” and this experience led him “to seek out communion with other Christians.” This, the Pope said, is also our experience as believers: “As soon as we grow in the spiritual life, we understand ever better that grace reaches us together with others, and is to be shared with others.”

The Pope explained that in recognizing the Baptisms of Christians of other traditions, we acknowledge that they too have received forgiveness, and that God’s grace is at work in them too. “And even when divergences separate us,” he said, “we recognize that we pertain to the same people of the redeemed, to the same family of brothers and sisters loved by the only Father.”

United in suffering

Our growth in the spiritual life, however, is often a difficult one, the Pope said, and pointed to the suffering of Christians endured for the Name of Jesus. The Holy Father argued that “when their blood is shed, even if they belong to different [Christian] Confessions, together they become witnesses of the faith, martyrs, united in the bond of baptismal grace.”

Even with other religious traditions, the Pope said, “Christians today confront the challenges that demean human dignity: flying from situations of conflict and misery they are victims of human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery; they suffer hardships and hunger, in a world that is ever more rich in means and poor in love, where inequality continues to grow.” But, he said, Christians are called to remember the history of what God has done for us, and to help and support one another, and “to face every challenge with courage and hope, armed only with Jesus and the sweet power of His Gospel.”


On Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 9 am, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major on the occasion of the feast of the Translation of the Salus Populi Romani icon that depicts the Madonna with the Child Jesus in her arms in a blessing position.

This solemnity, that takes place every year on the last Sunday of January, hopes to be a choral thanksgiving for the presence of the centuries-old sacred image in the Liberian Basilica, says a communiqué from the papal basilica.

Salus Populi Romani is among the most famous and venerated Marian icons and, as is well-expressed by its very name, is particularly venerated by Romans who, with trust invoke her protection in various moments of daily life and in especially critical moments.

After restoration –

Pope Francis is particularly devoted to her and, as happened immediately after his election to the papacy when he came to pay homage to her, he does so now on every one of his international trips.

The liturgical celebration will coincide with the exposition of the icon that has been restored following a delicate and challenging intervention done by the restoration laboratories of the Vatican museums and coordinated by Museum director, Dr. Barbara Jatta, with the supervision of a commission presided over by the archpriest of the Liberian Basilica, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko.

The sophisticated technology of the research undertaken before the restoration and the extraordinary expertise of the Vatican restorers allowed for the recovery of the original beauty and the historical reality of this work that had been hidden by centuries of varnish, repainting and the effects from devotional use.

Thus, says the communiqué, the intimate conversation of souls is able to re-emerge without barriers in the intense look on the face of the Mother of God and our Mother.



We are now in the first full week of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Pope Francis, of course, as we all witnessed, opened the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday, December 8, thus officially inaugurating the yearlong Jubilee. And this past weekend we saw some of the first events on the Holy Year agenda, including the Holy Father’s Eucharistic Celebration for Latin America in St. Peter’s on Saturday, December 12, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and his opening of the Holy Door at St. John Lateran, his cathedral church as the Bishop of Rome.

Also on Sunday, Cardinal James Harvey, archpriest of the basilica of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls opened the Holy Doors of this papal basilica. The only basilica yet to have its Holy Door opened is St. Mary Major, and that event will take place on January 1,  solemnity of the Mother of God.

At Saturday’s Mass for Latin America, Pope Francis said Mary “experienced the divine mercy, and hosted the very source of this mercy in her womb: Jesus Christ.” He said he hoped the Jubilee Year “will be a planting of merciful love in the hearts of individuals, families and nations.” Francis stressed that, “no sin can cancel [Jesus’] merciful closeness or prevent him from unleashing the grace of conversion, provided we invoke it.” He called on Christian communities be “oases and sources of mercy, witnesses to a charity that does not allow exclusions.”

Francis explained that the word “mercy” – “misericordia” – is composed of two words: misery and heart. The heart indicates the capacity to love; mercy is that love, which embraces the misery of the person. It is a love that “feels” our poverty as if it were its own, so as to free us of it.

At the end of his homily the Pope announced his February trip to Mexico, saying he will be at the Guadalupe shrine on February 13. After the homily and during the Prayer of the Faithful, Pope Francis moved everyone present when he prayed for his parents Mario and Regina, “who gave me life and transmitted faith to me,”and who were married eighty years ago.

Sunday, at St. John Lateran, as he opened the Holy Door, Francis remarked on the fact that this very same day bishops were opening Holy Doors in cathedrals throughout the world. He said that, “Doors of Mercy” will also be opened in places of poverty, need and marginalization.

The Holy Father said in his homily that this third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday, draws our gaze towards Christmas, which is now close. We cannot let ourselves be taken in by fatigue; sadness in any form is not allowed, even though we have reason to be, with many concerns and the many forms of violence that hurt our humanity. The coming of the Lord, however, must fill our hearts with joy.”

In a few off-the-cuff remarks, Pope Francis stressed the importance of God’s tenderness.

“God does not love rigidity. He is Father; He is tender; everything (is) done with the tenderness of the Father.”

Pope Francis called those who will cross the door to be “instruments of mercy, knowing that we will be judged on this.”

“The joy of crossing through the Door of Mercy is accompanied by a commitment to welcome and witness to a love that goes beyond justice, a love that knows no boundaries.”

To see where the Jubilee Doors of Mercy are in individual countries, click here:


Pope Francis Monday received the participants in a major pastoral initiative aimed at young people and sponsored by the Bishops Conference of Italy – the CEI. The Progetto Policoro began twenty years ago as a program to help unemployed young people of southern Italy to develop skills, find work, and most importantly, nurture a healthy sense of dignity and self-worth by creating and developing ties to the larger ecclesial and social community.

The Holy Father remarked that, in seeking to combine the Gospel with the reality of life, the Project represented an important initiative for the promotion of youth and a true opportunity for local development at national level. “Its key ideas have guided its success: the formation of the young, the establishment of cooperatives, the creation of mediation figures such as ‘community animators’ and a long series of concrete gestures, a visible sign of commitment throughout these twenty years of active presence.”

He told his guests, “You represent without doubt a sign of real hope for many people who have not resigned themselves but have instead decided to commit themselves courageously to creating or improving their opportunities for work”, and he invited them to “continue to promote initiatives for participation for young people in a community and participatory form.”

(sources:, Vatican Radio, VIS)



Pope Francis gave a beautiful homily this morning during his daily Mass in the Santa Marta Chapel and focussed on the indispensable role of women in the tranmission of the faith. The Vatican Radio translation into English (which they do daily for the papal Masses) is the third news story today.


It was a busy weekend for Pope Francis who met with a number of groups on Saturday, including participants in a three-day seminar on consecrated life and the search for Christian unity, and then on Sunday not only prayed the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square but later that afternoon presided at vespers in the basilica of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls to end the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The Pope Saturday highlighted the vital role played by men and women religious of different Christian Churches in the ecumenical journey, saying “men and women religious who pray for unity are like ‘an invisible monastery’ bringing together Christians of different denominations from different countries around the world.” (photos from FRANCIS - CONSECRATED PEOPLE

Participants in this three-day meeting concluded each day with Vespers in the Orthodox, Anglican and Catholic traditions, and participated Sunday in the liturgy presided over by Pope Francis in St Paul’s.

Quoing from the Vatican Council II document “Unitatis Redintegratio” that stressed that spiritual ecumenism is the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, Francis said, “consecrated people like yourselves therefore have a particular vocation in this work of promoting unity.”

He then named three conditions at the core of the search for Christian unity : 1. no unity without conversion of heart, which includes forgiving and asking for forgiveness; 2. no unity without prayer and 3. “no unity without holiness of daily life. so the more we put our search for unity into practise in our relations with others, the more we will be modelling our lives on the message of the Gospel.”

Sunday evening at St. Paul’s, the Pope presided at the second Vespers on the solemnity of the conversion of St. Paul, bringing to a close the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, whose theme this year was “Give me to drink” (John, 4.7). Present at the liturgy were representatives from other Churches and ecclesial communities in Rome.

The focus of the Holy Father’s homily was the Gospel pasage about the Samaritan woman. He explains that, “On his way from Judea to Galilee, Jesus passes through Samaria. He has no problem dealing with Samaritans, who were considered by the Jews to be heretics, schismatics, separate. His attitude tells us that encounter with those who are different from ourselves can make us grow.”


“Jesus is patient, respectful of the person before him, and gradually reveals himself to her. His example encourages us to seek a serene encounter with others. To understand one another, and to grow in charity and truth, we need to pause, to accept and listen to one another. In this way, we already begin to experience unity. Unity grows along the way; it never stands still. Unity happens when we walk together.

Francis said, “So many past controversies between Christians can be overcome when we put aside all polemical or apologetic approaches, and seek instead to grasp more fully what unites us, namely, our call to share in the mystery of the Father’s love revealed to us by the Son through the Holy Spirit. Christian unity, we are convinced, will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions. When the Son of Man comes, he will find us still discussing! We need to realise that, to plumb the depths of the mystery of God, we need one another, we need to encounter one another and to challenge one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who harmonizes diversities and overcomes conflicts, reconciles differences.”

“In the call to be evangelizers,” stated Pope Francis, “all the Churches and ecclesial communities discover a privileged setting for closer cooperation. For this to be effective, we need to stop being self-enclosed, exclusive, and bent on imposing a uniformity based on merely human calculations. Our shared commitment to proclaiming the Gospel enables us to overcome proselytism and competition in all their forms. All of us are at the service of the one Gospel.”

“In this moment of prayer for unity, I would also like to remember our martyrs, the martyrs of today. They are witnesses to Jesus Christ, and they are persecuted and killed because they are Christians. Those who persecute them make no distinction between the religious communities to which they belong. They are Christians and for that they are persecuted. This, brothers and sisters, is the ecumenism of blood’.”

He noted the presence at vespers of the group he met Saturday, “men and women religious from various Churches and ecclesial communities who have taken part in an ecumenical meeting organized by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, in conjunction with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to mark the Year for Consecrated Life.” He said, “the pursuit of Christian unity cannot be the sole prerogative of individuals or religious communities particularly concerned with this issue. A shared knowledge of the different traditions of consecrated life, and a fruitful exchange of experiences, can prove beneficial for the vitality of all forms of religious life in the different Churches and ecclesial communities”.


At the end of Sunday’s Angelus prayer, the Pope was joined at his study window by a two young people from Italian Catholic Action of the diocese of Rome as the group concludes its traditional January journey of the “Caravan of Peace.” The youth were from two Roman parishes and the girl read a message of peace from ACI. In the past, each young person released a dove – the symbol of peace – after words by the Holy Father. However, last year two bigger birds – a crow and a seagull – attacked the smaller birds and, though captured on film, it was never known whether they survived the attack.

This year, the young people of Catholic Action in St. Peter’s Square released a mini hotair balloon containing messages of peace, as well as smaller balloons. (If you have visited the Vatican’s website, you can be excused for thinking that doves were released this year. The photo of Pope Francis and the two ACI youngsters releasing doves is from last year, albeit the two young people this year look like twins to last year’s boy and girl!)

In earlier remarks, Francis had noted “with deep concern the escalation of the clashes in east Ukraine, which continue to claim many victims among the civilian population. While I assure my prayers to those who suffer, I renew my heartfelt appeal for the resumption of attempts at dialogue in order to bring an end to the hostilities.”

He also mentioned that Sunday marked World Leprosy Day, and expressed his closeness to “all those who suffer from this disease, as well as those who care for them and those who fight to eradicate the causes of contagion, that is, living conditions that are not worthy of mankind. Let us renew our commitment to solidarity with these brothers and sisters.”

Finally, the Pope addressed the large contingent in St. Peter’s Square fom the Filipino community in Rome. “The Filipino people are wonderful for their strong and joyful faith. May the Lord also support those of you who live far from your homeland. Many thanks for your witness, and thank you for all the good you do for us, as you sow faith among us and offer a beautiful witness of faith.”


(Vatican Radio) The primary and indispensable role of women in transmitting the faith to new generations: this was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks to the faithful following the readings of the day at Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. On the day when the Church celebrates the memory of Saints Timothy and Titus – bishops and disciples of St Paul the Apostle – Pope Francis commented in particular on the second letter of Paul to Timothy.

Mothers and Grandmothers transmit the faith

Paul reminds Timothy, said the Pope, that his “sincere faith” comes from the Holy Spirit,  “through his mother and grandmother.” Pope Francis went on to say, “Mothers and grandmothers are the ones who, in the first place [in primis]  transmit the faith.” The Holy Father went on to say:

It is one thing to pass on the faith, and another to teach the matters of faith. Faith is a gift: it is not possible to study Faith. We study the things of faith, yes, to understand it better, but with study [alone] one never comes to Faith. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which surpasses all [“academic”] formation.


Faith, moreover, is a gift that passes from generation to generation, through the “beautiful work of mothers and grandmothers, the fine work of the women who play those roles,” in a family, “whether they be maids or aunts,” who transmit the faith:

It occurs to me: why is it mainly women, who to pass on the faith? Simply because the one who brought us Jesus is a woman. It is the path chosen by Jesus. He wanted to have a mother: the gift of faith comes to us through women, as Jesus came to us through Mary.

Cherish the gift of faith  – don’t let it become watered down

“We need,” said Pope Francis, “in our own day to consider whether women really are aware of the duty they have to transmit the faith.” Paul invites Timothy to guard the Faith, the deposit of Faith, avoiding “empty pagan chatter, empty chatter of the world.” He went on to say, “We have – all of us – received the gift of faith: we have to keep it, at least in order that it not become watered down, so that it remains strong, with the power of the Holy Spirit who gave it to us.” We keep the faith by cherishing and nurturing it every day:

If we do not have this care, every day, to revive this gift of God which is Faith, but rather let faith weaken, become diluted, Faith ends up being a culture: ‘Yes, but, yes, yes, I am a Christian, yes yes,’ – a mere culture – or a gnosis, [a specialized kind of] knowledge: ‘Yes, I know well all the matters of Faith, I know the catechism’. But how do you live your faith? This, then, is the importance of reviving every day this gift: to bring it to life.”

Timidity and shame do not increase the faith

Saint Paul says that there are two things in particular that contrast with a living Faith: “the spirits of timidity and of shame”:

God has not given us a spirit of timidity. The spirit of timidity goes against the gift of faith: it does not let faith grow, advance, be great. Shame, in turn, is the following sin, [which says]: ‘Yes, I have faith, but I cover it up, that it not be seen too much’. It’s a little bit here, a little bit there – it is, as our forebears called it, a “rosewater” faith – because I am ashamed to live it powerfully. No: this is not the faith: [Faith knows] neither timidity nor shame. What is it, then? It is a spirit of power and of love and of prudence: that is what faith is This is the faith.”

Faith is not negotiable

Pope Francis explained that the spirit of prudence is knowing that we cannot do everything we want: it means looking for the ways, the path, the manners by which to carry the faith forward, cautiously. “We ask the Lord’s grace,” he concluded, “that we might have a sincere faith, a faith that is not negotiable depending on the opportunities that come, a faith that every day I try to revive or at least ask the Holy Spirit to revive it, and make it bear much fruit.”