VATICAN INSIDER, A SPECIAL ON THE SUMMIT FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS – DAY TWO: CARDINAL GRACIAS: COLLEGIAL CHURCH STANDS FOR JUSTICE, HEALING – CARDINAL CUPICH: “SYNODALITY, JOINTLY RESPONSIBLE” – LINDA GHISONI, UNDERSECRETARY FOR LAITY, FAMILY AND LIFE: COMMUNION: ACT TOGETHER

VATICAN INSIDER, A SPECIAL ON THE SUMMIT FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS

The news segment this week of Vatican Insider will be unusually brief because the special I have prepared in what is normally the interview segment is unusually long. I am taking a look at the four-day meeting in the Vatican that began on Thursday February 21 and is dealing with the scandal of clerical sex abuse, in particular focussing on the protection of minors. I look at the background, the composition of the organizing committee, the speakers and topics scheduled for each day, the Holy Father’s reason for choosing to have such an event and a look at what the Church, the Pope, and the summit attendees hope to achieve.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

DAY TWO: CARDINAL GRACIAS: COLLEGIAL CHURCH STANDS FOR JUSTICE, HEALING

Accountability was the main theme of the second day of the protecting minors conference. Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay (Mumbai) was the first to speak in the morning. His talk was entitled “Accountability in a Collegial and Synodal Church.”

He began by saying, “Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the subsequent failure to address it in an open, accountable, and effective way has caused a multifaceted crisis that has gripped and wounded the Church, not to speak of those who have been abused. Although the experience of abuse seems dramatically present in certain parts of the world, it is not a limited phenomenon. Indeed, the entire Church must take an honest look, undertake rigorous discernment, and then act decisively to prevent abuse from occurring in the future and to do whatever possible to foster healing for victims.
Finally, he said, we must “be willing to pay the price of following God’s will in uncertain and painful circumstances.”

The cardinal went on: “No bishop should say to himself, “I face these problems and challenges alone.” Because we belong to the college of bishops in union with the Holy Father, we all share accountability and responsibility. Collegiality is an essential context for addressing wounds of abuse inflicted on victims and on the Church at large. We bishops need to return to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council often, in order to find ourselves in the larger mission and ministry of the Church.”

He asked for the clarification of several points in order to make progress:

· For me, this raises the question: do we really engage in an open conversation and point out honestly to our brother bishops or priests when we notice problematic behaviour in them? We should cultivate a culture of correctio fraterna, which enables this without offending each other, and at the same time recognise criticism from a brother as an opportunity to better fulfil our tasks.
· Closely related to this point is willingness to personally admit mistakes to each other, and to ask for help, without feeling the need to maintain the pretence of own perfection
· For a bishop, the relationship with the Holy Father is of constitutive significance. Every bishop is obliged to directly obey and follow the Holy Father. We should ask ourselves honestly, whether on this basis we don’t sometimes think that our relationship with the other bishops is not so important, especially if the brothers have a different opinion, and/or if they feel the need to correct us.
· If in such contexts we ourselves always refer back to Rome, we shouldn’t wonder if a certain Roman centralism does not sufficiently take into account the diversity in our brotherhood, and our local church competencies and our skills as responsible shepherds of our local churches are not appropriately used, and thereby the practically lived collegiality suffers.

Under what he called “The Challenge of sexual abuse in the Church,“ Cardinal Gracias spoke of justice and healing and said, relative to healing: “For effective healing to happen, there must be clear, transparent, and consistent communication from a collegial Church to victims, members of the Church, and society at large. In that communication, the Church offers several messages.”

Those messages are, he explained, “a respectful outreach and an honest acknowledgement of their pain and hurt,” “an offer to heal,” “to identify and implement measures to protect young and vulnerable people from future abuse,” and fourthly, “to society at large.”

On the fourth point he said: “Our Holy Father has wisely and correctly said that abuse is a human problem. It is not, of course, limited to the Church. In fact, it is a pervasive and sad reality across all sectors of life. Out of this particularly challenging moment in the life of the Church, we – again in a collegial context -can draw on and develop resources which can be of great service to a larger world. The grace of this moment can actually be our ability to serve a great need in the world from our experience in the Church.”

For Cardinal Gracias’ full address http://www.pbc2019.org

CARDINAL CUPICH: “SYNODALITY, JOINTLY RESPONSIBLE”

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, was the second speaker of the second day of the protection of minors meeting.

He opened his talk by saying, “From what we just heard from Cardinal Gracias, we are to understand our gathering in these days as an exercise in collegiality. We are here, as the universal episcopate in affective and substantive union with the successor of Peter, to discern through spirited dialogue where our ministry as successors of the apostles calls us to confront effectively the scandal of clergy sexual abuse that has wounded so many little ones.

“While we share a unique responsibility in this regard as the college of bishops, it is also imperative that we consider the challenge we face in the light of synodality, especially as we explore with the entire Church the structural, legal and institutional aspects of accountability.”

The cardinal explained that, “For a Church seeking to be a loving mother in the face of clergy sexual abuse, four orientations, rooted in synodality, must shape every structural, legal and institutional reform designed to meet the enormous challenge which the reality of sexual abuse by clergy represents at this moment.”

Those orientations are: radical listening, lay witness, collegiality and accountability.

Cardinal Cupich then outlined what he called a framework for institutional and legal structured for accountability, stating, “The task before us is to focus these principles upon the design of specific institutional and legal structures for the purpose of creating genuine accountability in cases related to the misconduct of bishops and religious superiors, and their mishandling of cases of child abuse.”

The archbishop of Chicago mentioned, “We already, of course, have a guide in the Apostolic Letter Come una madre amorevole, which sets forth procedures that address, among other things, bishops who mishandle abuse cases.”

Looking at the task ahead for the Church and the world’s bishops, the cardinal grouped his remarks under three headings: 1. Setting Standards for Investigation of Bishops, 2. Reporting Allegations and 3. Concrete Procedural Steps.

At this point he made references to mechanisms already in place for reporting allegations of abuse or mishandling of abuse against a bishop, explaining the path normally taken for such reports.

Cardinal Cupich then listed 12 principles that he said should find their way into any proposed legislation in this area.

In conclusion, he said: “We must move to establish robust laws and structures regarding the accountability of bishops precisely to supply with a new soul the institutional reality of the Church’s discipline on sexual abuse.”

For Cardinal Cupich’s full presentation http://www.pbc2019.org

LINDA GHISONI, UNDERSECRETARY FOR LAITY, FAMILY AND LIFE: COMMUNION: ACT TOGETHER

The first woman to give an address to the Meeting for the Protection of Minors, Dr. Linda Ghisoni talked about the importance of all aspects of the Church working together to confront the worldwide crisis of the sexual abuse of children. She is the Undersecretary for the Laity at the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.

Speaking on the subject of accountability – the theme for the second day of the meeting for the protection of minors – Ghisoni highlighted the aspect of communion vis-a-vis accountability.

With respect to Religious Superiors and Bishops, she said it was important, “to foresee an ordinary procedure of verification that should not be misunderstood as a lack of trust towards the Superior or the Bishop. Rather to be considered as an aid that allows him to focus, first at himself and at the best moment, that is when all the elements are clear and concurrent, the reason for a certain action taken or omitted.

“To say that the Bishop must always give a report of his work to someone does not mean subjecting him to a control or putting him in a priori distrust, but engaging him in the dynamics of ecclesial communion where all the members act in a coordinated way, according to their own charisms and ministries.

“If a priest gives report to the community, to the priests and to his Bishop for his work, to whom does a bishop give a report? What accountability is he subject to?

“Identifying an objective method of accountability not only does not weaken his authority, but values him as shepherd of a flock, in his own function that is not separated from the people for whom he is called to give life. It may also happen, as for each of us, that from “giving report” springs awareness of an error, it becomes obvious that the path taken was wrong, perhaps because at that moment one thought – wrongly – of acting for the good. This will not constitute a judgment from which to defend oneself in order to recover credit, a stain on one’s own honourability, a threat to one’s own ordinary and immediate power.

“On the contrary, this will be the witness of a journey made together, which alone can find the discernment of truth, justice and charity. The logic of communion does not stand an accusation and a defence, but working together (“con-correre” precisely, only in communion) for the good of all. Accountability is therefore a form, today even more necessary, in this logic of communion.”

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“VATICAN INSIDER” EXPLORES VENERABLE ENGLISH COLLEGE – “BE NOT AFRAID” OF “OTHERS,” FOREIGNERS, OUTCASTS AND STRANGERS – NUNCIO TO FRANCE INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT

“VATICAN INSIDER” EXPLORES VENERABLE ENGLISH COLLEGE

Join me this weekend on Vatican Insider for Part II of my conversation with my special guest and friend, Msgr. Philip Whitmore, rector of the Venerable English College, the English seminary in Rome. It is truly a venerable institution with a history of over 600 years!

Msgr. Whitmore, rector since June 2013, is from the Archdiocese of Westminster, and before 2013 served in the Roman Curia, working first at the Congregation for Bishops and then at the Secretariat of State. He tells fascinating stories about the college, its amazing and very long history, the young men studying here, the historical Archives project, the summer residence of Pallazola and much more. Some very surprising facts as well.

This photo is from an audience in 2018 with Pope Francis – Msgr. Whitmore is to the Pope’s right as we look at the photo:

In case you missed them last week, here are photos of the seminary’s stunning chapel!

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“BE NOT AFRAID” OF “OTHERS,” FOREIGNERS, OUTCASTS AND STRANGERS

“Free from fear”: that is the theme of a 3-day meeting organized by the Migrantes Foundation, Italian Caritas, and the Jesuit-run Astalli Center for Refugees, to discuss reception structures for migrants.

The meeting is being held at the Fraterna Domus, a Welcome and Retreat Center near the town of Sacrofano, about 20 kilometers outside Rome. Consistent with his commitment to welcoming migrants, Pope Francis chose to open the meeting on Friday afternoon by celebrating Mass at the Fraterna Domus Center.

Do not be afraid
In his homily, the Pope focused on the readings chosen for the celebration, which he summed up in a single sentence: “Do not be afraid”.

Pope Francis used the image of the Israelites at the Red Sea, in the Book of Exodus, to illustrate how we are “called to look beyond the adversities of the moment, to overcome fear and to place full trust in the saving and mysterious action of the Lord”.

Free from fear
Turning to the Gospel of St Matthew, the Pope described the disciples crying out in fear at the sight of Jesus walking on the waters, and His response to them: “Courage, it is I, do not be afraid”. Reminding his listeners that “Free from fear” is the theme chosen for this meeting, Pope Francis said it is “through these biblical episodes that the Lord speaks to us today and asks us to let Him free us from our fears”.

Fear of others
“Faced with the wickedness and ugliness of our time”, said Pope Francis, we too, “are tempted to abandon our dream of freedom”. We are tempted to “shut ourselves off within ourselves”, he said, “in our fragile human security…in our reassuring routine”.
The Pope called this retreat into oneself, “a sign of defeat”, one that increases our fear of “others”, foreigners, outcasts and strangers. “This is particularly evident today”, he continued, with the arrival of migrants and refugees “who knock on our door in search of protection, security and a better future”.

Fear is legitimate
While recognizing that fear is legitimate, Pope Francis said it can lead us to “give up encountering others and to raise barriers to defend ourselves”. Instead, he continued, we are called to overcome our fear, knowing “the Lord does not abandon His people”. The encounter with the other”, said the Pope, “is also an encounter with Christ…even if our eyes have difficulty recognizing Him”. He is the one, said Pope Francis, “with ragged clothes, dirty feet, agonized faces, sore bodies, unable to speak our language”.

Overcoming fear
The Pope concluded his homily by suggesting we should “begin to thank those who give us the opportunity of this meeting, that is, the ‘others’ who knock at our door, and offer us the possibility of overcoming our fears, meeting, welcoming and assisting Jesus”.
And those “who have had the strength to let themselves be freed from fear”, he said, “need to help others do the same”, so they too can prepare themselves for their own encounter with Christ.

NUNCIO TO FRANCE INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT

Responding to the questions of journalists, interim director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, said: “The Holy See has learned in the press that an investigation has been initiated by the French authorities towards Monsignor Luigi Ventura, Apostolic Nuncio in Paris. The Holy See is awaiting the outcome of the investigations “.

CNA/EWTN news reports that Bishop Luigi Ventura, apostolic nuncio to France since 2009 and a long-time Vatican diplomat, is under investigation for alleged sexual assault.
The French newspaper Le Monde reported Friday that Ventura, 74, is being investigated by Paris authorities after he was accused late last month of having inappropriately touched a young male staffer of Paris City Hall.

A Vatican statement Feb. 15 said that it was made aware of the French authorities’ investigation of the envoy through the press and is “awaiting the outcome of the investigations.”
The alleged assault is said to have taken place in Paris’ City Hall Jan. 17, during a reception for the annual New Year address of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. The address is usually given to diplomats, religious leaders, and civil society members, with a role by the apostolic nuncio.
The claim against Ventura was brought to French authorities by Paris City Hall six days after it allegedly took place. The alleged victim has not been identified. (To continue: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-ambassador-under-investigation-for-sexual-assault-71198)

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE VENERABLE ENGLISH COLLEGE – POPE: DUTY OF CHRISTIANS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING – VENEZUELA: POPE WANTS TO VERIFY WILL OF BOTH PARTIES FOR MEDIATION

Below you will find Pope Francis’ talk this morning to the Galileo Foundation, remarks that focussed on human trafficking. Human trafficking is an issue that is of great concern to President Trump and to the United States Embassy to the Holy See, as you will note when you visit the website (https://va.usembassy.gov/).

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS THE VENERABLE ENGLISH COLLEGE

Join me this weekend on Vatican insider for my conversation with my special guest and friend, Msgr. Philip Whitmore, rector of the Venerable English College, the English seminary in Rome. You will learn that the VEC is one of the oldest and most venerable institutions in the Eternal City. Msgr. Whitmore, rector since June 2013, is from the Archdiocese of Westminster, and before 2013 served in the Roman Curia, working first at the Congregation for Bishops and then at the Secretariat of State. He tells fascinating stories about the college, its amazing and very long history, the young men studying here, the historical Archives project, and much more. Some very surprising facts as well.

How historic are the ties between the English and Rome? As we learn from the website – http://www.vecrome.org: The links between England and Rome go back to 597 when Pope Gregory the Great sent St. Augustine to convert the English. In the centuries that followed English pilgrims travelled to Rome in ever-greater numbers, staying in hostels known as Hospices. In 1362 a Guild of English residents bought a house owned by John and Alice Shepherd, rosary bead sellers, in via di Monserrato and turned it into a pilgrim Hospice dedicated to the Trinity and St Thomas of Canterbury. Up to 100 pilgrims could lodge there, usually for 3-8 days, or if they fell ill until they recovered or succumbed to illness.

Here’s Msgr. Whitmore in the stunning St. Thomas of Canterbury Chapel at the college that today, as centuries ago, is on Via Monserrato!

More photos of the chapel including one picture of a large reliquary below the altar with relics of English martyrs. The panels you see on some of the side walls commemorate previous rectors, the founder of the College and other notable figures in its history. The statue of Our Lady came to the College in Rome in 2015 from the English seminary in Portugal which was closed a number of years ago.

Behind the altar is the Martyrs’ Picture, painted in 1583 by Durante Alberti. Msgr. Whitmore will tell you the story of the English martyrs. Every year on December 1 students celebrate the traditional singing of the Te Deum beneath the painting (my photo did not turn out that well, sorry to say):

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IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE: DUTY OF CHRISTIANS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Pope Francis on Friday received in audience members of the Galileo Foundation, telling them on the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron of victims of human trafficking, that Christians can follow her great example.
By Lydia O’Kane (vaticannews)

The aim of the Galileo Foundation is “to strive for a society where no one is left behind or deprived through poverty.” It also places particular emphasis on the elimination of modern slavery and human trafficking in all its forms.

Human trafficking and Christian duty to raise awareness
In his prepared remarks to members of the foundation, Pope Francis told them that they had “an essential part to play in making known the saving message of the Gospel to the people of our time, and especially to the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.” He then encouraged the group “to keep on generously offering such important witness”, before adding, that it was an essential duty for Christians today to highlight the plight of those who suffer from exploitation, and “the deadly crime of human trafficking.”

Saint Josephine Bakhita
The 8th of February marks the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking and is also the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron of victims of human trafficking. Reflecting on this 21st century Saint, the Pope said, “she knew from painful experience the reality of slavery and its humiliating and violent consequences. Yet, by God’s grace, she also came to know true freedom and joy.”

Attend the poor with gentleness and compassion
He underlined that her holiness of life was “a summons not only to fight with greater determination against modern forms of slavery which are an open wound on the body of society, a scourge upon the body of Christ and a crime against humanity, but also to learn from her great example.” “She teaches us”, he added, “how to attend to the poor with tenderness, gentleness and compassion.”

Concluding his address the Pope prayed that the members of the Galileo Foundation would be sustained “by an ever deeper rootedness in prayer, by the intercession of Saint Josephine Bakhita and by the strength, the Holy Spirit alone can give.”

VENEZUELA: POPE WANTS TO VERIFY WILL OF BOTH PARTIES FOR MEDIATION

Responding to journalists’ questions regarding the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, and the possibility of a mediation on the part of the Holy See, the interim Director of the Vatican Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, said: “The Holy Father reserves the right to verify the will of both parties by ascertaining whether the conditions exist for following this path”.

Mediation if requested by all parties
On the flight back from Abu Dhabi to the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke to journalists on board, in similar terms: “We will see what can be done”, said the Pope. “But for a mediation to happen, you need the will of both sides: both sides need to request it. This is a condition must make them think first, before asking for help or for the presence of an observer, or for mediation. Both sides, always”.

Thinking of Venezuela while in Panama
The crisis in Venezuela reached a turning point on January 23rd when the Leader of the National Assembly, Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez, declared himself interim President of the country. It was the same day of the Pope arrived in Panama to celebrate World Youth Day. He addressed the people of Venezuela during the Angelus on January 27th: “Here in Panama I have thought a lot about the Venezuelan people, to whom I feel particularly united these days”, said the Pope. “In the face of the current serious situation, I ask the Lord that a just and peaceful solution be sought and reached to overcome the crisis, with respect for human rights and seeking exclusively the good of all the inhabitants of the country. I invite you to pray, placing this intercession under the protection of Our Lady of Coromoto, Patroness of Venezuela”.

The Pope’s appeals
This is not the first appeal Pope Francis has made on behalf of Venezuela. When the crisis began in 2014, he sent a message encouraging dialogue, speaking of “the heroism of forgiveness and mercy”: elements we need, said the Pope, to free ourselves “from resentment and hatred” and to take “a truly new path”, one that requires patience and courage”, but “the only one that can lead to peace and justice”, he said.

More recently, in May 2017, Pope Francis wrote to the Venezuelan Bishops, urging them to build bridges. He expressed his “deep sorrow for the clashes and violence” that, according to recent estimates of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have cost the lives of 43 people and about 850 arrests, in the last few days alone.

A country on its knees
The humanitarian situation in Venezuela is the greatest cause of concern of the Bishops of the country, which has been on its knees for years, despite its massive oil reserves. The latest figures tell the story: according to the FAO, 12% of the population is undernourished, and the rate of malnutrition is at its highest in 25 years. The UN estimates that about 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015.

The voice of the Venezuelan Bishops
Bishop José Trinidad Fernández is auxiliary bishop of Caracas and secretary general of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference. “We don’t want bloodshed, for any reason in the world”, he says. “We know the people of Venezuela are peaceful”, so “a negotiated and peaceful solution is needed, one that respects everyone. The commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is particularly valid at this moment and this must be a process of peace, not of war”, he says. Bishop José Trinidad Fernández continues, by saying: “Ours is a request for dialogue that we have reiterated many times in our pronouncements. A dialogue that must lead to that peaceful transition and that political change the people are asking for. A political change, to go to clear and transparent elections”.

The humanitarian situation
The Church in Venezuela is also deeply concerned about the dramatic situation of the population, the lack of food and medicine: “We must open the country to humanitarian aid”, they say, emphasizing the “dramatic and unprecedented situation” in which the country finds itself. Speaking on behalf of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference, the Secretary General says: “We bishops are inspired by the recent Message of the Pope for the world Day of Peace, in which he speaks of the need for a good policy in the service of peace”. This is what we are trying to do at this moment, he continues, because “we no longer want to see people being arbitrarily detained, or children looking for food in the garbage”. (vaticannews)

VATICAN INSIDER TAKES YOU TO THE SCAVI AND ST. PETER’S TOMB – UAE MINISTER OF STATE HAILS POPE’S VISIT AS MILESTONE EVENT

Stay tuned to Joan’s Rome this weekend as I will be offering a fact-filled column on the papal trip to the UAE (United Arab Emirates) with information about the lives of Christians in these Muslim-majority countries, and some interesting statistics and links.

VATICAN INSIDER TAKES YOU TO THE SCAVI AND ST. PETER’S TOMB

This weekend, for what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider, I’ve prepared a Special on the famous scavi in Vatican City just below St. Peter’s Basilica. I had a once in a lifetime experience in 2013 and share that with you this weekend because it is directly related to this Special.

In fact, one of the most special visits you will make in the Eternal City, and possibly all of Italy, is to the scavi in Vatican City. Scavi is Italian for excavation and I am referring to the pre-Constantine necropolis – city of the dead – or burial area beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, a necropolis that brings us to the tomb of the first Pope, St. Peter. I mention Constantine as he became the Western emperor in 312 and the sole Roman emperor in 324. Constantine was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict in February 313 that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.

Listen carefully to the advice I give on how to apply for a scavi visit, what is allowed and not allowed during the visits, etc. Most of what you’d need to know is also right here: http://www.scavi.va

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes).

Here’s a link to last week’s Vatican Insider: https://soundcloud.com/ewtn-radio/vatican-insider-012619-bartolucci-foundation

UAE MINISTER OF STATE HAILS POPE’S VISIT AS MILESTONE EVENT

The Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates says the first Papal visit to the Arabian Gulf confirms UAE’s longstanding record of acceptance, coexistence and inclusion. Pope Francis leaves Sunday for the UAE.

From vaticannews.va

When His Holiness Pope Francis arrives in Abu Dhabi next week, it will be the first ever papal visit to the Arabian Gulf. While this represents a milestone event in its own right, it is also a powerful testament to the longstanding values of acceptance, coexistence, inclusivity, tolerance and humanity that are embedded in the very core of the United Arab Emirates. Since the UAE’s foundation, the rights and liberties of all creeds, sects and beliefs have been safeguarded. Our constitution protects freedom of spiritual expression and explicitly prohibits any form of discrimination based on religion or race.

Pope Francis will find a country where over one million Christians practice their religion without hindrance alongside a majority Muslim population. Throughout the UAE, over forty churches welcome believers for prayers next door to Mosques, as well as Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist Temples. The UAE’s acceptance of all religions is an expression of our leadership’s commitment to an open society, one that welcomes people representing over 200 nationalities and ethnicities to work, live and thrive within our borders. This generous attitude toward others is a core tenet of our values, a key characteristic of our culture and a fundamental pillar of the vision of our founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan. He realized that both his country and the wider region would benefit by building bridges and making cultural connections with the international community. This philosophy underpinned a foreign policy that seeks to create partnerships promoting prosperity around the world, based on mutual respect. And it is mirrored by a domestic policy that treats differing cultures equally.

In this spirit, when the remains of a seventh century Christian monastery were discovered on Sir Bani Yas Island in 1992, Sheikh Zayed insisted that it be preserved both as a relic of shared spiritual history and a present day, potent symbol of cross-cultural harmony.

The UAE first established diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 2007, and, since then, relations with the Catholic Church have only strengthened. A high level visit to the Vatican followed in 2016 by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Then, last year, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, hand delivered the invitation for Pope Francis to make his historic visit to the UAE.

During his visit, which will include a public mass, the Pope will meet with Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and the chairman of the Council of Muslim Elders. Bringing together the spiritual leaders of the Sunni and Catholic faiths, this meeting will demonstrate a shared commitment to the principles of mutual respect, and peaceful coexistence.

Coming in the “year of tolerance”, the papal visit helps define what we mean by this term. The visit reinforces the UAE’s ethos of active inclusiveness and reminds us that tolerance is not a passive state, but requires constant, consistent action. It is the same principle that drives our focus on a fairer society, where gender balance within our leading institutions is being realized by being prioritized.

It is in this context that we should view next week’s landmark events. By hosting Pope Francis, we are sending a message to all those living among us, regardless of creed or culture, that they should not merely feel accepted, but are welcomed as active participants and celebrated for the positive contribution they make to the UAE.

The UAE is made stronger by the diversity of the communities that have chosen to make our country their home. In embracing this diversity, the UAE will continue to prosper, extend a positive influence throughout the wider region and encourage peaceful coexistence globally.

The Author is UAE Minister of State, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

VATICAN INSIDER: A CARDINAL, A DOME AND AN OPERA

FYI: Sixty years ago today, January 25, Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Pope John XXIII announced the Second Vatican Council at the Basilica of St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls in Rome.

VATICAN INSIDER: A CARDINAL, A DOME AND AN OPERA

Be sure to tune in this weekend to Vatican Insider when my guest is Alessandro Biciocchi, secretary general of the Bartolucci Foundation. We talk about a fascinating project developed by the Foundation but first: Who is the Bartolucci of the Bartolucci Foundation? We’re talking about Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, who died at age 96 in December 2013. He was director of the Sistine Chapel Choir under six popes for almost five decades and was a prolific composer of liturgical music.

Very importantly, he is the only cardinal of the Catholic Church to have composed an opera – “Brunellesco.” Has that opera been performed? If not, what are the plans?
Tune in and you’ll be find out!

The late Cardinal Bartolucci at work:

Alessandro Biciocchi with Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, head of the Honor Committee of the Bartolucci Foundation:

The Foundation offices – almost a museum:

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

VATICAN INSIDER CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS IN ROME

VATICAN INSIDER CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS IN ROME

Welcome to my holiday edition of Vatican Insider!

We now have Christmas just behind us and the start of the New Year 2019 just ahead of us. I hope your days have been beautiful and blessed by health, happiness and the holiness and joy of the season. The next time you read or hear someone say the word JOY, remember that J is for Jesus, O is for others and Y is for you – the order of our priorities!

In place of an interview this weekend, I have prepared a special on Christmas in the Vatican. I know you are busy with family and friends and holiday events and perhaps a few football games but if you have time, tune in to Vatican Insider.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

VATICAN INSIDER RETURNS TO THE “ANGELICUM” – WHAT GIFTS WOULD GOD LIKE AT CHRISTMAS?

Had an interesting Vatican experience this morning. Every year at Christmas Vatican employees receive a panetone and a bottle of spumante. I learned only last week that retirees also receive this gift and was told where to go on Via della Conciliazione. I went this morning, showed my ID, said yes, I am a Vatican retiree, that my pension goes to the Vatican bank, etc. MY name was not on any list and I learned that only retirees with 20 or more years of service get the panetone and spumante…..under 20, even 19 years, will not get you a Christmas gift. I wonder if Pope Francis knows this!

VATICAN INSIDER RETURNS TO THE “ANGELICUM”

Tune in this weekend to Vatican Insider for Part II of my conversation with Dominican Father Benedict Croell, director of Development and Mission Advancement atSt. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University, known by its friends here in Rome as the Angelicum. Part I aired last weekend.

Fr. Croell hails from Broomfield, Colorado. Among his university studies was time at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He has served in parish, university and itinerant preaching ministries as well as in the Order’s East African missions where he was novice master for friars in their initial stage of formation from 7 countries. He was Director of Vocations for the Eastern Province Dominicans from 2010-18 at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. He was named a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s along with 21 other U.S, Dominican Friars during the Ash Wednesday Mass.

Here are a few more photos of the breathtaking views from the Angelicum

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. 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 http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

WHAT GIFTS WOULD GOD LIKE AT CHRISTMAS?

At today’s general audience in the festive setting of the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis catechesis on Christmas focused on the idea of “surprises.” While the world insists on exchanging presents, he asked, “what gifts and surprises would God want?”

“Dear brothers and sisters,” Francis began. “In a few days it will be Christmas. In this busy season, we might ask ourselves how the Lord himself would like us to keep this feast. If we look at the first Christmas, we see that it is full of God’s surprises. Mary is visited by an angel; Joseph is told to take her in, to become a father to her Child and to flee with the Holy Family to Egypt. But the greatest surprise of all is that God himself becomes a little Child, born in humility and poverty.

“Christmas changes our world,” the Holy Father continued. It speaks to us of God’s self-giving love that should inspire the way we live and relate to one another. It tells us that we best celebrate the Savior’s birth by imitating Mary’s trusting faith and Joseph’s quiet openness to God’s will, and by opening our hearts to the Lord, who asks us to make room for him in our busy lives.”

“Amid the bustle of our Christmas preparations,” stressed Francis, “may we not forget the very One whose birth we are celebrating! And in worshiping the Son of God, born in the poverty of our flesh, may we be mindful of the poor and those in need all around us. This Christmas, may you and your families experience the joy and peace proclaimed by the angels, and be ever more open to God’s wonderful surprises!”