VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO DEACON HAROLD BURKE-SIVERS – POPE RAISES MEMORIAL OF MARY MAGDALENE TO LITURGICAL FEAST – VATICAN STATEMENT ON AGREEMENT WITH AUDITING FIRM – VATICAN TO ISSUE €2 COIN TO MARK GENDARME ANNIVERSARY

Here is Pope Francis’ daily tweet at the start of the three-day Jubilee for the Sick and Disabled: The tenderness of God is present in the lives of all those who attend the sick and understand their needs, with eyes full of love.

VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO DEACON HAROLD BURKE-SIVERS

My special guest this weekend on Vatican Insider is Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Portland and, as his card says, a Catholic Evangelist and Speaker. Deacon Harold, as he is known on EWTN and in many parts of the world, is a very charismatic speaker who, in fact, gave a talk during the recent three-day Jubilee of Deacons in Rome.

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With Deacon Dan Borne and his wife Lissette

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Three permanent deacons and their wives joined Deacon Harold at my home for what I called a “mini Jubilee of Deacons and they shared their experiences with each other, in what was a mutual learning experience – also for me. Deacon Harold’s schedule included time for the interview you will hear this weekend. I think the sub-title could be “all you ever wanted to know about permanent deacons but were afraid to ask!”

It is surprising what people do not know about permanent deacons so this will be my focus in coming weeks.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider 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. If you live 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 9:00 am (Eastern time). 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 FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE RAISES MEMORIAL OF MARY MAGDALENE TO LITURGICAL FEAST

(Vatican Radio)  It was announced on Friday that Pope Francis has decided to raise the celebration of the memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to the dignity of a liturgical Feast.

In the modern Church calendar, saints may be commemorated with a memorial (optional or obligatory), feast, or solemnity. (news.va photo)

MAry Magdalene

The decree was signed on June 3, 2016, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.

In a letter announcing the change, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Arthur Roche, writes the decision means one “should reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the New Evangelization, and the greatness of the mystery of Divine Mercy.”

Archbishop Roche drew attention to the fact Mary Magdalene was the first witness to the Resurrection, and is the one who announced the event to the Apostles.

“Saint Mary Magdalene is an example of true and authentic evangelization; she is an evangelist who announces the joyful central message of Easter,” he writes.

“The Holy Father Francis took this decision precisely in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy to signify the importance of this woman who showed a great love for Christ and was much loved by Christ,” writes Archbishop Roche.

He also notes Saint Magdalene was referred to as the “Apostle of the Apostles” (Apostolorum Apostola) by Thomas Aquinas, since she announced to them the Resurrection, and they, in turn, announced it to the whole world.

“Therefore it is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same grade of feast given to the celebration of the apostles in the General Roman Calendar, and shines a light on the special mission of this woman, who is an example and model for every woman in the Church.”

VATICAN STATEMENT ON AGREEMENT WITH AUDITING FIRM

(Vatican Radio) The Press Office of the Holy See released a statement on Friday, clarifying the reason for which the independent audit of some areas of Vatican finances being conducted by the financial services agency, PricewaterhouseCoopers, had been suspended, and announcing a new agreement between the parties, under which the accounting firm shall resume its work. Below, please find the full text of the official English-language statement.

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As previously noted, with respect to the relationship between the Holy See and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) it was deemed useful to suspend auditing activity to examine the meaning and scope of certain contract clauses, as well as to examine the manner in which the contract was executed. Together with PwC, those issues were duly examined in an atmosphere of serene collaboration, resolving the questions originally identified. In particular, it was recognized that, by law, the task of performing the financial statement audit is entrusted to the Office of the Auditor General (URG), as is normally the case for every sovereign state.  Given that, in conformity with the legal framework in force this institutional responsibility falls upon the URG, PwC will play an assisting role and will also be available to those dicasteries that wish to avail themselves of its support and consulting services. It is important to clarify that, contrary to what has been reported by some sources, the suspension was not due to considerations regarding the integrity or the quality of PwC’s work, nor is it attributable to the desire of one or more entities of the Holy See to hinder reforms. The path towards a correct and appropriate implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) is normally complex and prolonged. That path requires a series of legislative choices as well as the adoption of administrative and accounting procedures, which are presently under development. Keeping in mind the valued activity already carried out by PwC, the Holy See announces that the parties, have entered into a new agreement which, in conformity with the institutional framework, provides for a broader collaboration with PwC that is adaptable to the Holy See’s needs. This agreement permits all of the entities of the Holy See to participate more actively in the reforms under way. With this initiative, the Holy See will promptly reassume its collaboration with PwC. The commitment to the economic-financial audit of the Holy See and of the State of Vatican City has been, and remains, a priority.

VATICAN TO ISSUE €2 COIN TO MARK GENDARME ANNIVERSARY

(From coinworld.com) – The Vatican City is issuing a €2 coin to mark the bicentennial anniversary of the local police force.

The Vatican City in June will celebrate the the 200th anniversary of the Vatican Guard with a commemorative €2 coin.

Honored on this coin are the members of the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City, the police for Vatican City. The Vatican Guard should not to be confused with the more well known Swiss Guard, which serves as the de facto military of Vatican City.

Though the coin is a circulating denomination, the Vatican City issues few of its coins actually into circulation, and all 105,000 of these Vatican Guard coins are intended for collector sales.

In 1816, after the dissolution of the Napoleonic empire, Pope Pius VII founded the Papal Carabinieri Corps for the service of the Papal States. It has been renamed several times, most recently in 2002, with the current name being Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City.

The obverse of the coin features a singular Vatican guard in front of the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. At the top, in semi-circle is an inscription translating to “police force” with the 1816 and 2016 dual dates.

The name of the issuing entity and the designer name, D. LONGO, also appear. The ringed-bimetallic coin has a copper-nickel core and copper-aluminum-nickel ring.

The coin’s outer ring depicts the 12 stars of the European flag. The common reverse shows a map of the European Union.

The €2 coin weighs 8.5 grams and measures 25.75 millimeters in diameter.

Each nation is allowed to issue up to two different circulating commemorative designs annually, with designs of their choosing, though few nations issue the maximum number of designs.

Joint euro programs like the 2015 coins honoring the 30th anniversary of flag of the European Union do not count toward this limit.

 

SAINTS ARE AMONG US IN OUR DAILY LIVES, OUR FAMILIES, OUR NEIGHBORS – VATICAN ARRESTS TWO PEOPLE, INCLUDING HIGH RANKING MONSIGNOR

Pope Francis tweeted on October 31:   Vanity not only distances us from God: it makes us look ridiculous.

As I re-read that papal tweet before writing the following story on the arrest of a priest and lay woman in the Vatican over the weekend, it almost seemed fitting for today’s news. One could, however, add another adjective or two after the word “ridiculous.”

I fully intended to dedicate this column to Pope Francis’ marvelous Angelus yesterday, the Solemnity of All Saints, as well as his afternoon Mass at Verano cemetery but feel that this story – which falls into the journalism “creed” of “if it bleeds, it leads” – needed some background information.

So as not to leave you bereft of the lovely papal thoughts, below is a very small nutshell version of the Angelus – enough to start you seriously thinking about how you can become a saint. You see, I am sure that most people want to be good, holy people and perhaps even saints someday, and so his words at the Angelus become meaningful and encouraging.

As I wrote those words, I had a sudden flashback to the visit a few years ago of one of the sisters of my freshman year college roommate at St. Mary’s of Notre Dame. At the end of freshman year I had gone to California to visit Mary, her folks and her 7 siblings for several weeks. Mary’s sister Kathy said she was always struck by how I answered her Dad at the dinner table one night when he asked what I wanted to be, and I replied, “a saint.” And now, Pope Francis has encouraged me!

By the way, today, the feast of All Souls is a holiday in the Vatican. At 6 pm today, Pope Francis went down to the Vatican Gottoes to pray at the tombs of deceased Roman Pontiffs (I believe there are 19).

VATICAN GROTTOES

SAINTS ARE AMONG US IN OUR DAILY LIVES, OUR FAMILIES, OUR NEIGHBORS

As is tradition in Rome on the November 1 Solemnity of All Saints, Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated Mass at Verano cemetery, Rome’s largest, where he spiritually joined all who, throughout the world in these days, pray on the tombs of their loved ones. In his homily on the Gospel account of the Beatitudes, the Pope said the Beatitudes are “the path of holiness, and the same path of happiness. It is the path Jesus has taken; indeed, Jesus Himself is this path.” (photo: news.va)

VERANO

Earlier, as he recited the Angelus with the tens of thousands of faithful in St. Peter’s Square on a slendid, springlike November day, hee explained that saints lived their lives in the grace of Baptism, behaving like children of God, trying to imitate Jesus. In fact, the Pope ad libbed “We are all children of God. Thus, we bear his name. His name is part of ours!  Isn’t that marvelous!”

ANGELUS - ALL SAINTS

Francis noted that saints are not only those who have been canonized, but can be anyone from our next door neighbors, to members of our own families or others we have met as we live our ordinary lives. “How many good people have we met in our lives; how often do we exclaim: ‘this person is a saint!’… These are the saints who live next door, not the ones who are canonized, but the ones who live with us.” He sytressed that “we must be grateful to these saintly people and to God for having given them to us as examples of how to live and die in fidelity to God and to the Gospel.”

What can one do to become a saint? The Hoy Father surely answered when he said: “Acts of tenderness, of generous help, of closeness can appear insignificant, but in God’s eyes they are eternal, because love and mercy are stronger than death.”

VATICAN ARRESTS TWO PEOPLE, INCLUDING HIGH RANKING MONSIGNOR 

A statement was released today by the Holy See Press Office regarding the arrests over the weekend of two people, including a high ranking monsignor, who have been accused of removing and disseminating private and confidential Vatican documents. By Vatican law, this is an offense.

Following is the English language translation of that statement in Italian by Fr. Tom Rosica, English language assistant to the press office:

“As part of criminal investigations carried out by the Vatican Gendarmerie that have been underway for several months involving the removal and dissementation of news and confidential documents, last Saturday and Sunday two individuals were called in for questioning on the basis of the evidence gathered.

The individuals are an ecclesiastic, Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallegjo Balda and Doctor Francesca Chaouqui, who in the past were respectively secretary and member of COSEA (Commission charged to study and address the organization of Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, established by the Pope in July 2013 and subsequently dissolved after the completion of its mandate).

Following the results of the interrogation the two people were held in detention in view of the continuing investigation. Today the Office of the Promoter of Justice, in the persons of Professor Advocate Gian Piero Milano, Promoter of Justice, and Professor Roberto Zannotti, Assistant Promoter of Justice, has validated the arrest of the above individuals, but they released Dr. Chaouqui, against whom there were no precautionary requirements and also due to the fact that she cooperated with the investigation.

“The position of Msgr. Vallejo Balda remains under consideration of the Office of the Promoter of Justice.

“One should remember that disclosure of information and confidential documents is an offense under the Law no. IX of the State of Vatican City (13 July 2013) Article 10 (art. 116 bis C.P. ).

“As for the books ****announced for publication in the the next few days, let it be clearly stated at this time, as in the past, that such actions are a serious betrayal of trust granted by the Pope and, as to the authors, an operation that takes advantage of a seriously unlawful act unlawful delivery of confidential documents – an operation whose legal implications and possibly penalties are under study by the Office of the Promoter of Justice in view of possible further measures that will, if necessary, involve international cooperation. Publications of this kind do not contribute in any way to establishing clarity and truth, but rather they create confusion and partial and tendentious interpretations. We must absolutely avoid the mistake of thinking that this is a way to help the mission of the Pope.”

**** JFL notes: Two books are due out on November 5 that purport to show, via confidential and private Vatican documents and interviews, growing opposition in the Vatican to Pope Francis’ ongoing reforms in the Roman Curia, as well as allege excesses in spending, especially on residences for some prelates.

One book, “Merchants in the Temple,” is by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi who, in 2012, penned a book, “His Holiness,” that reproduced confidential letters and memos to and from Benedict XVI and his personal secretary and others that, according to the Vatican, violated the Pope’s right to privacy. He had previously aired these on an Italian television program. It was revealed in May 2012 that the Pope’s personal butler was the author of the thefts and the person who gave the documents to Nuzzi. This eventually led to the affair being called “Vatileaks.” The butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested, underwent a trial and was subjected to house arrest, but later pardoned by Pope Benedict.

The second volume is “Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church.” It was written by Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi who writes for the Italian weekly, L’Espresso, which has previously published leaked Vatican documents, including the letter by 13 cardinals to Francis at the start of the 2015 synod. That was leaked by L’Espresso staffer Sandro Magister but later proven not to be the original letter. Nor were all 13 signatories names correct.

Saturday, May 19, 2012, Holy See Press Office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi released a statement about the publication that morning of additional confidential Vatican documents, the so-calle Vatileaks documents. He said at the time:The latest publication of documents of the Holy See and private documents of the Holy Father can no longer be considered a questionable – and objectively defamatory – journalistic initiative, but clearly assumes the character of a criminal act.”

The Commission of which the two persons arrested were members, was instituted in July 2013 by Pope Francis and publicly announce a day later: “The Holy Father, by a chirograph dated 18 July, has established a Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the economic-administrative structure of the Holy See.

“The Commission will gather information, report to the Holy Father and co-operate with the Council of Cardinals for the study of the organisational and economic problems of the Holy See, in order to draft reforms of the institutions of the Holy See, with the aim of a “simplification and rationalisation of the existing bodies and more careful planning of the economic activities of all the Vatican Administrations.”