Cardinal Pietro Parolin. / Claude Truong-Ngoc via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0). Vatican City, May 19, 2022 / 05:12 am (CNA). Speaking at a conference on reform of the Roman Curia on May 17, Cardinal Pietro Parolin outlined how the Vatican Secretariat of State will change under the new constitution Praedicate evangelium. But underlying the Vatican Secretary of State’s words was the message that the Curia’s oldest dicastery will remain central when the constitution comes into full force on June 5, the feast of Pentecost.Parolin was speaking at a “Praedicate evangelium study day” at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University. Other speakers included Father Antonio Guerrero Alves, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, and Bishop Marco Mellino, secretary of the Council of Cardinals.Each of the speakers addressed different aspects of the reform, with Parolin focusing on changes to the Vatican Secretariat of State since Pope Francis’ election.The 67-year-old cardinal, who helped to draft the new constitution as a member of the pope’s Council of Cardinals, said there had been two main changes. First, the Secretariat of State has lost its oversight of personal administrative management. This has been transferred to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) and is controlled by the Secretariat for the Economy.The second significant development is the creation in 2017 of the Third Section of the Secretariat of State, to manage the pope’s diplomatic representatives. The section functions alongside the two older departments: the Section for General Affairs and the Section for Relations with States. Parolin emphasized that the Third Section was formed because the pope perceived a need to “take care of what concerns the service relationship of diplomatic staff.”The cardinal noted that Praedicate evangelium asks the Secretariat of State to converge with the other departments, bodies, and offices in a dynamic of mutual collaboration. It is up to the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest judicial authority, “to resolve any conflicts of competence with the other curial institutions.”But, Parolin added, “the Secretariat of State retains a particular status in law” due to its “specific task of closely assisting the Supreme Pontiff in the exercise of his mission.”From 2020, however, it was established that the Secretariat for the Economy “would perform the function of the papal secretariat for economic and financial matters.” Parolin explained that the provision “involved, on the one hand, the transfer to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See of the investments and funds that had previously been entrusted to the management of the Administrative Office of the Secretariat of State and, on the other, to the configuration, as I said, of a second Papal Secretariat, exclusively dedicated to ‘economic and financial matters.’”Beyond these changes, the Secretariat of State maintains its prerogatives, and everyone is called to coordinate with it.Parolin gave various examples of this dynamic. He said that the newly formed Dicastery for Evangelization must collaborate with the Secretariat of State in “promoting religious freedom in every social sphere.”The newly titled Dicastery for Bishops, meanwhile, is “asked
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Giovanni Angelo Becciu, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, pictured June 27, 2019. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA. Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 13:33 pm (CNA). Cardinal Angelo Becciu said Wednesday that he is blameless in the forced resignation of a Vatican auditor, because it came at Pope Francis’ request.Becciu was said to be responsible for the sudden firing in 2017 of the Vatican’s first auditor general, Libero Milone, as well as the cancelation of an internal audit.But during a May 18 hearing in the Vatican’s finance trial, Becciu denied this, stating that in June 2017, Pope Francis called him to a meeting in his Santa Marta residence, where he claimed that he longer had trust in Milone, and therefore wanted Becciu to call the auditor and tell him he must resign.According to Becciu, the pope also expressed regret for entrusting the then-sostituto of the Secretariat of State with “these thankless tasks.”At a May 5 hearing, the 73-year-old Becciu had declined to respond to a question from a prosecuting attorney about his involvement in Milone’s firing, claiming “for love of the Holy Father” he could not answer. But during Wednesday’s interrogation, Becciu said he had since received Pope Francis’ permission to speak freely about the situation.The cardinal said the motivation for ousting Milone was the same one cited by the Vatican in a Sept. 24, 2017 press release, which stated that Milone had “illegally commissioned an external firm to carry out investigative activities on the private lives of representatives of the Holy See.”Milone has maintained that he was falsely accused with “staged” allegations and that Pope Francis was “blocked by the old guard” which “felt threatened” by him in his role as auditor general.Becciu was questioned by Vatican prosecutor Alessandro Diddi for nearly eight hours on May 18 as part of the Vatican’s trial to prosecute Vatican officials and collaborators for financial malfeasance, mainly in connection with the controversial purchase of a London investment property.The interrogation, which will be continued on May 19, was characterized by combative questioning from Diddi, who was rebuked by court president Giuseppe Pignatone more than once.Becciu, the second-ranking official of the Secretariat of State until 2018, frequently said he could not remember the answer to questions the prosecutor posed, once making reference to his age, claiming that the stress of the trial “has influenced my memory greatly.”President Pignatone called for a five-minute recess after Diddi got aggressive with Becciu, accusing the cardinal of pretending not to remember.Becciu, who has been charged with embezzlement, abuse of office, and witness tampering, also responded to questions about whether the London building was purchased using money from Peter’s Pence, a fund used to finance the pope's charitable activities and the operations of the Roman Curia.According to 2019 reports, Peter’s Pence funds, which are donated by Catholics around the world, were used to help finance the Secretariat of State's purchase of the property at 60 Sloane Avenue in London — an investment the secretariat now claims was designed
Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, May 18, 2022. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA. Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 10:25 am (CNA). Pope Francis has changed the Church’s regulations to allow religious brothers who are not priests to lead their religious communities with Vatican permission.In a “rescriptum ex audientia” issued May 18, the pope said that the Vatican congregation overseeing religious orders can, in individual cases and at its own discretion, grant permission for non-priest religious members to assume the role of major superior.The change includes the derogation of the second paragraph of canon 588 in the Code of Canon Law, which says that clerical institutes are under the direction of ordained priests.Pope Francis said that the council of an institute of consecrated life, or a society of apostolic life of pontifical rite, may now nominate or elect a “non-cleric member” as major superior after receiving written permission from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.The congregation, the rescriptum said, “reserves the right to evaluate the individual case and the reasons given by the Supreme Moderator or the General Chapter.”A non-cleric member can be nominated as a local superior without the Vatican’s permission.The change marks a shift from a requirement that only an ordained brother or friar can be the head of a religious community, mirroring a recent innovation by Pope Francis allowing not just clerics but “any member of the faithful” to lead a dicastery of the Roman Curia.
Pope Francis meets members of the Charles de Foucauld Spiritual Family Association in the study of the Paul VI Hall, May 18, 2022. / Vatican Media. Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 06:03 am (CNA). Pope Francis said on Wednesday that learning about St. Charles de Foucauld’s spirituality helped him during a period of crisis as a theology student.“I would like to thank St. Charles de Foucauld, because his spirituality did me so much good when I was studying theology, a time of maturation and also of crisis,” the pope said on May 18, during a meeting with members of the Spiritual Family of Charles de Foucauld.The association’s members were in Rome for the May 15 canonization of the French explorer who became a hermit and missionary in Algeria, where he was killed in 1916.Pope Francis said he learned about St. Charles de Foucauld from the Italian priest Father Arturo Paoli and books by René Voillaume, which he said he had read often.Charles de Foucauld “helped me so much to overcome crises and to find a way of Christian life that was simpler, less Pelagian, closer to the Lord,” the pope said. “I thank the saint and bear witness to this, because he did me so much good.”During the meeting, held in a room off of the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall before his general audience, Francis did not offer more details about the crisis he experienced as a theology student.The pope studied theology as a seminarian from 1967 to 1969. In 1986, he spent three months at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, where he began a doctoral dissertation on Romano Guardini, an Italian-born German priest. His studies were cut short when the Jesuits called him back to Argentina to be a spiritual director in Córdoba and his dissertation was never finished.At the meeting on Wednesday, Pope Francis called Charles de Foucauld “a prophet of our time, who was able to bring to light the essentiality and universality of faith.”The Trappist priest condensed the meaning of belief, the pope said, “into two simple words, in which there is everything: ‘Jesus — Caritas.’”Francis quoted a letter of the martyred saint, who wrote to his cousin Marie de Bondy in 1915, while “in the silence of the hermit life,” that “we are inclined to put first works, whose effects are visible and tangible, God gives first place to love and then to sacrifice inspired by love and obedience resulting from love.”“As a Church,” the pope said, “we need to return to the essentials, not to get lost in so many secondary things, at the risk of losing sight of the simple purity of the Gospel.”
Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, May 18, 2022. / Vatican Media. Vatican City, May 18, 2022 / 04:20 am (CNA). Pope Francis urged Catholics on Wednesday to feel free to protest spontaneously to God when faced with suffering and injustice.Reflecting on the Book of Job in his general audience address in St. Peter’s Square on May 18, the pope said that “God is not afraid of our prayer of protest.”“Sometimes I meet people who approach me and say: ‘But, Father, I protested against God because I have this and that problem…’ But, you know, friend, that protesting is a way to pray when it is done like that,” he said.“When children, when young people object against their parents, it is a way of attracting their attention and of asking that they take care of them.”“If you have some wound in your heart, some pain, and you want to object, object even to God. God will listen to you. God is a Father. God is not afraid of our prayer of protest, no! God understands. But be free, be free in your prayer. Don’t imprison your prayer within preconceived paradigms.”The live-streamed catechesis was the 10th in a cycle on old age that the 85-year-old pope began in February. He entered St. Peter’s Square in a white jeep, stopping to invite a group of children in red hats to join him for part of his journey past rows of pilgrims. After touring the square, the jeep pulled up behind a raised platform in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope, who suffers from knee pain, was helped to exit the vehicle and walk slowly to the white chair where he gave his address.Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, May 18, 2022. Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.The pope described the Book of Job as “a universal literary classic” and meditated on how the prophet Job lost everything but retained his belief in God’s justice, despite being surrounded by spiritually ignorant friends.He said: “On our catechetical itinerary, we meet Job when he was an old man. We encounter him as a witness of a faith that does not accept a ‘caricature’ of God, but protests loudly in the face of evil until God responds and reveals his face.” “And in the end, God responds, as always, in a surprising way — He shows Job His glory without crushing him, or better still, with sovereign tenderness, tenderly, just like God always does.” “The pages of this book need to be read well, without prejudices, without stereotypes, to understand the power of Job’s cry. It would be good for us to put ourselves in his school to overcome the temptation of moralism due to the exasperation and bitterness of the pain of having lost everything.”The pope noted that Job reached a turning point at the height of his “venting,” when he proclaimed: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25-27). “This passage is really beautiful,”
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, pictured in summer 2017. / EWTN/Paul Badde. Vatican City, May 16, 2022 / 10:40 am (CNA). Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said that receiving congratulatory messages from around the world on his 95th birthday made him “very happy.”The retired German pope received almost 3,000 greetings in 24 languages via the website benedictusXVI.org, CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported.On the website of the Tagespost Foundation, originally launched by Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus thanked well-wishers.He said: “On the occasion of my 95th birthday, I received a great number of messages from around the world wishing me a happy birthday. These many expressions of devotion and solidarity have made me very happy. In my gratitude, I feel united with everyone in prayer.“The messages were mainly written in German, English, Italian, and Polish. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the private secretary of the pope emeritus, showed Benedict XVI the messages on a tablet at his residence, the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery. “The pope emeritus has asked me to express his heartfelt gratitude to everyone who wished him a happy birthday on the website benedictusXVI.org,“ Gänswein said. “He was filled with great joy and deeply touched by the many warm and affectionate messages that were sent to him there.“ The retired pope’s birthday fell this year on Holy Saturday, as it did when he was born on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, a small Bavarian town not far from Austria.Looking back to his birth in his memoir, he wrote: “The fact that the birthday was the last day of Holy Week and the eve of Easter was always noted in the family history, because it was connected with the fact that I was baptized right on the morning of my birthday with the water that had just been consecrated in the ‘Easter Vigil’ celebrated at that time in the morning. To be the first baptized with the new water was considered a significant providential event.”He continued: “The fact that my life was thus immersed in the Paschal Mystery from the beginning in this way has always filled me with gratitude, for this could only be a sign of blessing.”“Admittedly — it had not been Easter Sunday, but only Holy Saturday. But the longer I think about it, the more it seems to me to be in keeping with the essence of our human life, which is still waiting for Easter, not yet in full light, but nevertheless confidently moving toward it.”Among those congratulating Benedict XVI on his 95th birthday was Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz, eastern Germany.He wrote: “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given to the Church in your writings. I am sure that you have helped many people to find God and to know and love Christ more deeply. May the Lord reward you for this effort one day in His glory!”BenedictusXVI.org said that the birthday wishes would also be presented to the pope emeritus in a printed and
A detail from a portrait of Pauline Jaricot (1799-1862). / Photo des Œuvres Pontificales Missionnaires de France via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0). Vatican City, May 16, 2022 / 09:55 am (CNA). Pope Francis on Monday praised the courage of Pauline Jaricot, the laywoman who founded the Society for the Propagation of the Faith when she was just 23 years old.Jaricot will be beatified in Lyon, east-central France, on May 22. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will preside over the ceremony.The Society for the Propagation of the Faith is the oldest of four Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), an umbrella group of Catholic missionary societies under the pope’s authority. The first three bodies were granted the title “Pontifical” 100 years ago.The PMS is holding its general assembly on May 16 to 23 in Lyon, during a year with several significant missionary anniversaries.“So you are meeting in Lyon because there, 200 years ago, a young woman of 23, Pauline Marie Jaricot, had the courage to found a work to support the missionary activity of the Church,” Pope Francis said in his May 16 message.“A few years later,” he noted, “she started the ‘Living Rosary,’ an organism devoted to prayer and the sharing of offerings.”“From a wealthy family, she died in poverty: with her beatification, the Church attests that she knew how to accumulate treasures in heaven,” he said.Jaricot established the Association of the Propagation of the Faith in 1822 as a way for all Catholics to assist the missions through prayer and small donations. “Pauline Jaricot liked to say that the Church is missionary by nature and that therefore every baptized person has a mission; indeed, is a mission,” the pope said.He emphasized that the “evangelizing thrust has never waned in the Church and always remains its fundamental dynamism,” explaining that this was why he gave a “special role” to the new Dicastery of Evangelization in the new apostolic constitution, Praedicate evangelium.When the constitution comes into full effect on June 5, the the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization will be merged into the Dicastery for Evangelization, presided over directly by the pope.Francis pointed out three aspects of the Pontifical Mission Societies which he thinks, together with the action of the Holy Spirit, have contributed to the success of the missions over time.“First of all, missionary conversion: the goodness of mission depends on the journey of exit from self, the desire not to center life on self, but on Jesus, on Jesus who came to serve and not to be served,” he said.“In this sense, Pauline Jaricot saw her existence as a response to God’s compassionate and tender mercy: from her youth she sought identification with her Lord, even through the sufferings she went through, in order to kindle the flame of his love in every man,” he said. “Therein lies the source of the mission, in the ardor of a faith that is not satisfied
Pope Francis meets with members of Chemin Neuf Politics Fraternity at the Vatican’s Clementine Hall, May 16, 2022. / Vatican Media. Vatican City, May 16, 2022 / 08:20 am (CNA). Pope Francis on Monday urged young Christians engaged in politics to promote fraternity, while shunning “violent confrontation” and ideology.The pope outlined his vision for the renewal of politics in a May 16 address to members of the Chemin Neuf Politics Fraternity, an international group of people aged 18 to 35 who want to “be active in politics according to the heart of God.”He gave the young people present in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall three watchwords — encounter, reflection, and action — and encouraged them to show “unconditional acceptance and respect” for others. “Without such a change of heart, politics often risks turning into a violent confrontation, where people try to impose their own ideas and pursue particular interests over the common good, contrary to the principle that ‘unity prevails over conflict,’” he said, referring to a maxim in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium.The pope, who has been making his public appearances in a wheelchair since May 5 due to a torn ligament in his right knee, invoked the 18th-century statesman Edmund Burke.He recalled that the author of “Reflections on the Revolution in France” told his constituents after his election to the British Parliament that he would not only serve their interest but also “the interest of the entire country, the general good.”The pope said: “As Christians, we recognize that politics is practiced not only through encounter, but also through shared reflection in the pursuit of this general good, not simply through the clash of differing and often opposed interests.”He added: “Our own compass for advancing this common project is the Gospel, which brings to the world a profoundly positive vision of humanity as loved by God.”The Chemin Neuf Politics Fraternity is part of the Chemin Neuf Community, which was founded in Lyon, France, in 1973 and describes itself as a Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation. Members of the Politics Fraternity issued a manifesto in Poland in 2016 recalling that Pope Pius XI described politics as “the highest form of charity” and committing themselves to strive “for justice and peace, through our political commitment.”The pope highlighted the group’s “efforts on behalf of migrants and ecology,” as well as an initiative in which members “have chosen to live together in a working-class quarter of Paris, in order to listen to the voices of the poor.”“That is a Christian way of engaging in political life,” he commented. “Don’t forget these things, that realities are more important than ideas: politics cannot be practiced with ideology. That the whole is greater than the part, and that unity prevails over conflict. Always seek unity and do not get lost in conflict.”
Canonization Mass on May 15, 2022 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA Vatican City, May 15, 2022 / 05:40 am (CNA). On Sunday, Pope Francis declared 10 holy men and women to be saints of the Catholic Church before around 45,000 people during a canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square.At the end of Mass, the pope led people from all over the world in praying the Marian antiphon, Regina Caeli, in honor of the Virgin Mary.Before the prayer, he said: “It is good to see that, through their evangelical witness, these saints have fostered the spiritual and social growth of their respective nations and also of the entire human family.”“While sadly,” he continued, “distances grow in the world and tensions and wars increase, may the new saints inspire solutions of togetherness, ways of dialogue, especially in the hearts and minds of those who hold positions of great responsibility and are called to be protagonists of peace and not of war.”Below is the full text of Pope Francis’ homily at Mass:We have heard what Jesus told his disciples before leaving this world and returning to the Father. He told us what it means to be a Christian: “Even as I have loved you, so you must love one another” (Jn 13:34). This is the legacy that Christ bequeathed to us, the ultimate criterion for discerning whether or not we are truly his disciples. It is the commandment of love. Let us stop to consider two essential elements of this commandment: Jesus’ love for us —“as I have loved you” — and the love he asks us to show to others — “so you must love one another.”First, the words “as I have loved you”. How did Jesus love us? To the very end, to the total gift of himself. It is striking to think that he spoke these words on that night of darkness, when the atmosphere in the Upper Room was one of deep emotion and anxiety: deep emotion, because the Master was about to bid farewell to his disciples; anxiety because he had said that one of them would betray him. We can imagine the sorrow that filled the heart of Jesus, the dark clouds that were gathering in the hearts of the apostles, and their bitterness at seeing Judas who, after receiving the morsel dipped for him by the Master, left the room to enter into the night of betrayal. Yet at the very hour of his betrayal, Jesus reaffirmed his love for his own. For amid the darkness and tempests of life, that is the most important thing of all: God loves us.Brothers and sisters, may this message be the core of our own faith and all the ways in which we express it: “…not that we loved God but that he loved us” (1 Jn 4:10). Let us never forget this. Our abilities and our merits are not the central thing, but rather the unconditional, free and unmerited love of God. Our Christian lives begin not with doctrine and
Canonization Mass on May 15, 2022 / Daniel Ibanez/CNA Vatican City, May 15, 2022 / 03:00 am (CNA). Pope Francis on Sunday recognized 10 new saints of the Catholic Church during a canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square.It was the Church’s first canonization since that of St. John Henry Newman and four others in October 2019.Soon there will be 10 new saints in the Catholic Church! pic.twitter.com/acANLcQlUf— Hannah Brockhaus (@HannahBrockhaus) May 15, 2022 Religious men and women, priests, and a lay man are among the 10 people who are recognized to be in heaven after living lives of exemplary holiness on earth.“Holiness does not consist of a few heroic gestures, but of many small acts of daily love,” Pope Francis said during his homily on May 15, a sunny, warm day in Rome.Pope Francis, who has been suffering from knee pain and has used a wheelchair to avoid walking in recent days, was able to stand for a short time and walk short distances during the Mass. He had assistance and walked visibly slower than in the recent past.The Mass began with the rite of canonization, which included the reading of short biographies of each blessed, read by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.A litany of saints was sung before Pope Francis recited the formula of canonization.He declared: “For the honor of the Blessed Trinity, the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian life, by the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own, after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed Titus Brandsma, Lazarus known as Devasahayam, César de Bus, Luigi Maria Palazzolo, Giustino Maria Russolillo, Charles de Foucauld, Marie Rivier, Maria Francesca di Gesu Rubatto, Maria di Gesù Santocanale, and Maria Domenica Mantovani to be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”We have 10 new saints! Alleluia! pic.twitter.com/joxnixZXcs— Hannah Brockhaus (@HannahBrockhaus) May 15, 2022 “To serve the Gospel and our brothers and sisters, to offer our lives without expecting anything in return, or any worldly glory: this is our calling. That was how our fellow travelers canonized today lived their holiness,” Pope Francis said.“By embracing with enthusiasm their vocation — some as a priest, others as a consecrated woman, as a lay person — they devoted their lives to the Gospel,” he said. “They discovered an incomparable joy and they became brilliant reflections of the Lord of history. For that is what a saint is: a luminous reflection of the Lord of history.”“May we strive to do the same — the path of holiness is not barred; it is universal and it begins with baptism. It is not barred. May we strive to