Category Archives: Vatican News

Pope begins seven-day pilgrimage to Chile, Peru

Pope Francis arrives at the international airport in Santiago, Chile, 15 Jan 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

SANTIAGO, Chile – Pope Francis arrived in Santiago, the first stop on a seven-day, six-city visit to Peru and Chile, where he will take his message of hope to people on the margins of society.

Arriving in Santiago after more than 15 hours in the air on 15 Jan 2018, Pope Francis was greeted by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and a young Chilean girl. He told the crowd he was happy to be in Chile, and he blessed the workers at the airport before being transported to the papal nunciature, where he will stay the three nights he is in Chile.

On Jan 17, the pope will travel to Temuco and meet with residents of the Mapuche indigenous community. Members of the Mapuche have called for the government to return lands confiscated prior to the country’s return to democracy in the late 1980s.

“Chile won’t be too difficult for me because I studied there for a year and I have many friends there and I know it well, or rather, well enough. Peru, however, I know less. I have gone maybe two, three times for conferences and meetings,” the pope told journalists aboard the papal flight.

There was no mention of increased security for the Chilean visit. Three days earlier, several Chilean churches were firebombed, and police found other, unexploded devices at two other churches in Santiago. Some of the pamphlets included the phrase, “The next bombs will be in your cassock” and spoke of the Mapuche cause.

Before flying to Peru Jan 18, Pope Francis will visit Iquique, where he will celebrate Mass on Lobito beach.

In Peru Jan 18-21, he will visit Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.

He will also meet with the indigenous people of the Amazon during his visit to Puerto Maldonado. The Amazon rainforest includes territory belonging to nine countries in South America and has experienced significant deforestation, negatively impacting the indigenous populations in the area and leading to a loss of biodiversity.

In both countries, he will work to restore trust and encourage healing after scandals left many wounded and angry at the Catholic Church.

Shortly after take-off from Rome, Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, distributed a photo card the pope wished to share with journalists aboard his flight from Rome.

The photo depicted a young Japanese boy shortly after the bombing in Nagasaki, waiting in line, carrying his dead baby brother on his back to the crematorium. On the back of the card, the words “The fruit of war” were written along with Pope Francis’ signature.

Before greeting each of the 70 journalists, the pope said that he found the photo “by chance” and “was very moved when I saw this.”

“I could only write ‘the fruit of war.’ I wanted to print it and give it to you because such an image is more moving than a thousand words,” he said.

Responding to a journalist’s question about nuclear war, Pope Francis said: “I think we are at the very limit. I am really afraid of this. One accident is enough to precipitate things.”

The Peru-Chile trip is Pope Francis’ fourth to South America. In July 2013, he visited Brazil for World Youth Day. In July 2015, he traveled to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. His trip to Colombia in September was his third visit to the continent as pope. – Junno Arocho Esteves, CNS

Pope Francis stresses on moments of silence during Mass

Pope Francis speaks during the general audience on 10 Jan 2018. Credit: Daniel Ibez, CNA.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis said Wednesday that moments of silence in the Mass should be intentional times of prayer, recollection, and communion with God, rather than being viewed as times to just be quiet or not speak.

“Silence is not reduced to the absence of words, but (is) the availability to listen to other voices: that of our heart and, above all, the voice of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope said on 10 Jan 2018.

In silence, then, we discover “the importance of listening to our soul and then opening it to the Lord.”

Continuing his general audience catechesis on the topic of the Mass, Pope Francis reflected on the nature of the different moments of silence found within the celebration, especially in the recitation of the collect.

The collect, which is prayed after the Gloria, or if the Gloria is omitted, following the Penitential Act, is a short prayer which goes from praise to supplication, and is generally inspired from the day’s Scripture passages, the Pope said.

This prayer, which varies according to the day and time in which the Mass is being said, begins with the priest saying to the people, “Let us pray,” followed by a brief silence.

“I strongly recommend priests observe this moment of silence, which without wanting to, we risk neglecting,” Francis noted.

In this moment the congregation is exhorted to come together in silence, to become aware of the presence of God, and to bring out, “each one in his own heart, the personal intentions with which he participates in Mass.”

“Perhaps we come from days of toil, of joy, of sorrow, and we want to tell the Lord, to invoke his help, to ask that he be near us; we have family members and friends who are ill or who are going through difficult trials; we wish to entrust to God the fate of the Church and the world.”

“For this we need the brief silence beforehand, that the priest, gathering the intentions of each one, expresses in a loud voice to God, in the name of all, the common prayer that concludes the rites of introduction, making, indeed, a ‘collection’ of individual intentions.”

These silences are written right into the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Pope pointed out. There it says that in the Penitential Act and again after the invitation to pray, everyone is supposed to spend a moment in recollection.

And in the silences following a reading or the homily, everyone is called to meditate briefly on what they have heard. After Communion they should praise and pray to God in their hearts.

The Gloria, another kind of prayer, is either recited or sung before the collect on Sundays – except during Lent and Advent – and on feasts and solemnities.

Here, “the feelings of praise that run through the hymn are intertwined with the confident pleading of divine benevolence, to end with the Trinitarian doxology, which characterises the whole liturgical celebration,” he said.

The recitation or singing of the Gloria, the Pope emphasised, “constitutes an opening of the earth to heaven.”

By meditating on the prayers of the Mass, the liturgy can become for us, the Pope concluded, a “true school of prayer.” – CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis offers advice on how to start 2018

Pope Francis welcomes people dressed as wise men as he presides the holy Mass to mark the world day of peace, in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 1 January  2018.  Photo credit: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is advising people to jettison life’s “useless baggage” in 2018, avoiding the “banality of consumerism” and “empty chatter.”

Francis offered his reflections on how to savour the real meaning of life as he celebrated New Year’s Day Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

His recipe for getting down to the essentials includes setting aside a moment of silence daily to be with God.

He said doing so would help “keep our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting.”

Pope Francis recommended leaving behind “all sorts of useless baggage” to “rediscover what really matters” — and start over from that. – AP, catholic herald.co.uk

Vatican newspaper: ‘post-truth’ media are constructing image of ‘progressive and permissive pope’

VATICAN CITY – In a front-page L’Osservatore Romano op-ed, Italian historian Lucetta Scaraffia wrote that relativism, which the Church has had to confront in recent decades, has given way to the phenomenon of “post-truth,” which is more difficult to confront because it is “elusive and pervasive.”

Citing the French historian Marcel Guachet, Scaraffia described “post-truth” as “the adulterous daughter of the politically correct.”

Scaraffia, a frequent contributor to the Vatican newspaper, said that “post-truth” media are constructing the “image of a progressive and permissive Pope” by quoting Pope Francis out of context, emphasizing these quotations in headlines, and passing over statements that are “consistent with Christian tradition.” Social media are also circulating Spanish-language speeches that are falsely attributed to the Pontiff.

The effect, said Scaraffia, is that Pope Francis is portrayed as “ever more revolutionary and unpredictable,” while the Roman Curia is “obviously demonized.”

While the Pope’s texts are readily available for those who wish to read them, “very few do so because the majority blindly entrust themselves to the media.” – CWN, 29 Dec 2017

Urbi et Orbi: Pope Francis laments ‘winds of war’ blowing around the world

Vatican launches new website

Screenshot of new VaticanNews website

ROME – The Holy See launched its new VaticanNews (www.vaticannews.va) website at precisely 4.42pm on Saturday, 16 Dec 2017,  in the latest step in the process of reforming Vatican communications.

Twenty IT specialists have worked tirelessly for several months on the project, which had been announced previously several times.

The launch date was chosen to coincide with the eve of the 81st birthday of Pope Francis, who launched the reform of Vatican communications in 2015.

“We should not confuse the reform process with the portal, which is just one aspect of it,” warns Mgr Dario Vigano, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications.

Mgr Vigano decided to launch the website in an effort to unify Vatican communications which were previously split into several brands and sometimes almost unreadable.

The new VaticanNews site is fluid and easy to navigate and is well integrated with social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

It makes extensive use of multimedia, particularly audio and video, the great strengths of the former Radio Vaticana and the Vatican Television Centre (CTV).

Currently, in a “beta” version, the site is operated by a single editorial team divided into six language groups (Italian, English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese).

It also contains sections in the 33 other languages that Vatican Radio transmits in.

Another newly introduced brand, VaticanMedia, will aggregate the various services for media professionals (direct telecasts and radio broadcasts of papal celebrations, for example) while the Radio Vaticana brand will in the future be reserved for a digital radio station broadcasting in Italy and in FM in Rome.

However, the prestigious legacy of Radio Vaticana, which was founded in 1931 by Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the radio, is not yet over.

It will continue despite a series misunderstandings that occurred at the beginning of the reform programme between radio station personnel and the heads of Vatican Communications, who are more involved in communications than news.

“Everyone has taken time out to listen and analyse. Some understood the need for change while others insisted on the importance of radio media in certain countries such as France,” comments Jean-Charles Putzolu, a former editor for the French section of Vatican Radio, now a strategic service of the Secretariat for Communications.

Once threatened, the shortwave station will not be abolished but “redeployed” towards more disadvantaged countries. Thus, it will disappear in Europe where it has lost most of its audience but will continue it is transmitted on relay via 80 partner radio stations.

“At the same time, we are in contact with Facebook and Google who are working to improve internet connections in Africa,” says Putzolu.

Finally, while VaticanNews insists that it is a Vatican “communications” body rather than a news service, the general editorial line remains unchanged.

“There will be no change in the content of the three daily radio news broadcasts,” insists Hélène Destombes, head of the francophone section of the new portal, which aims “to speak to everyone” and “to be heard everywhere.”

While it evidently emphasises events and items involving the pope, VaticanNews will continue to provide an overview of local churches – with which the Secretariat for Communications intends to work more closely.

It will also include international news in an effort “to provide keys for understanding based on the Gospel.”

This is an important aspect at a time when world political and economic powers are investing in news services to promote their own vision of the world.

The next stage in the Vatican communications reform will be the integration on 1 January  2018, of the Vatican Printing House and L’Osservatore Romano.

This will take place progressively maintaining the identity of the historic Holy See daily but working to increase its circulation. – la croix international

Pope Francis: media sin by dredging up and sensationalising old news

Pope Francis meets the Italian media on 16 Dec 2017.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has criticised journalists who dredge up old scandals and sensationalise the news, saying it’s a “very serious sin” that hurts all involved, according to an Associated Press report on 18 Dec 2017.

Francis, who plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to “fake news,” told Catholic media on Dec 16 that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic societies.

But he reminded them to provide precise, complete and correct information and not to provide one-sided reports.

The pope said: “You shouldn’t fall into the ‘sins of communication’: disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalised, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today.”

He called those actions a “grave sin that hurts the heart of the journalist and hurts others.” – catholic herald

Vatican communications department will unveil new website soon

Msgr Dario Vigano, secretariat for communications, 5 Apr 2016. Credit: Daniel Ibanez, CNA

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals met at the Vatican here on 11-13 Dec 2017 to continue discussions on reform of the Roman Curia and unveiled a new communications system for the Secretariat for Communications.

All members were present for the meetings, apart from Cardinal George Pell. Pope Francis was present except for Wednesday morning during the general audience, as is ordinary.

Father Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, presented the new communications system, including a new website and logos, during the 22nd round of meetings.

According to a Dec 13 statement, the “the Vatican media system adopts a new production model based on integration and unified management, in full harmony with the reform desired by Pope Francis.”

The center of the communications system will be new multimedia publishing centre, which will present a unified structure for the daily production of content, including audio, text, video, and graphics, in multiple languages.

This system is the result of consolidation on both an economic and technical level, and will be available soon (in a beta version) at vaticannews.va, the press release stated. This replaces the previously used informational websites and aims to streamline the image and channels of communication.

Starting 1 Jan 2018, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s photo service, and the Vatican Typography will merge with the secretariat.

It will start with a team of 70 people divided into six language divisions – English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese – in four thematic areas: Pope, Vatican, Church, and world. It will all be overseen by an editorial directorate in coordination with other support groups.

The new system draws its inspiration from the words of Pope Francis to the Secretariat for Communication during their first plenary earlier this year: that “reform is not ‘whitewashing’ things: reform is to give another form to things, organise them in another way.”

Viganò also reported on the final stretch of the reform of Holy See communications, including the achievement of goals to reduce costs and consolidate personnel.

The meetings also included an update from Cardinal Kevin Farrell on the work of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, which is preparing for the 2018 synod on youth.

The cardinals also listened to presentations by Father Michael Czerny and Father Fabio Baggio, the under-secretaries of the Migrant and Refugee section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The section is developing a global strategy to implement in cooperation with the Secretariat of State, bishops’ conferences, NGOs, and religious congregations.

As usual, Cardinal Sean O’Malley also provided an update on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Members of the commission are appointed for a term of three years, which may be reconfirmed. The terms of the present 15 members of the commission end Dec 17. Pope Francis will decide whether to reconfirm current members and whom to appoint as new members.

Peter Saunders, founder and former Chief Executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood and a member of the commission since Dec 2014, told the Tablet Dec 13 he plans to step down from the commission at the end of the week. He has been on a leave of absence from the advisory body since early 2016.

Established by Pope Francis shortly after his pontificate began in 2013, the Council of Cardinals – also known as the “C9” – serves as an advisory body on Church governance and reform, with special emphasis on the reform of Pastor bonus, the apostolic constitution which governs the Roman Curia.

The council’s next round of meetings will take place Feb 27-29. – CNA/EWTN News

Pope renews appeal for wisdom and prudence over Jerusalem

VATICAN CITY – The Holy See is following with great attention the developing situation in the Middle East, with special reference to Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims all over the world.

In a press statement released on 10 Dec 2017, the Holy See Press Office reiterated the Pope’s concerns regarding the volatile situation in and around Jerusalem. [This came about after US President Donald Trump announced on Dec 6 that US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city.]

In expressing sorrow for the clashes of the past few days that have left people dead, the Holy Father renews his appeal for wisdom and prudence and prays earnestly that leaders of Nations, in this moment of particular gravity, may do everything to avert a new spiral of violence, and may respond, with words and deeds, to the longing for peace, justice and security felt by the people of that suffering land.

Concerns about peace prospects in the region are the subject of various initiatives over these days, including urgent meetings convened by the Arab League and the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation. The Holy See is sensitive to these concerns and, recalling the heartfelt words of Pope Francis, reiterates its well-known position regarding the unique nature of the Holy City and the indispensability of respecting the status quo, in accordance with the agreements of the international community and repeated requests of the hierarchies of the Churches and Christian communities of the Holy Land.

At the same time, the Holy See reiterates its conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can lead to a stable and lasting peace and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognised borders. – vatican radio

 

Pope Francis: Healthcare is part of the Church’s mission

Pope Francis greets people with disabilities following the General Audience on 15 Nov 2017. Credit: Daniel Ibez, CNA

VATICAN CITY – Just as Jesus healed people during his earthly mission, care for the sick is a mission the entire Church is called to take part in, Pope Francis said in a message published Monday for the World Day of the Sick.

“Jesus bestowed upon the Church his healing power…The Church’s mission is a response to Jesus’ gift, for she knows that she must bring to the sick the Lord’s own gaze, full of tenderness and compassion,” the Pope wrote in a message published on 11 Dec 2017.

“Health care ministry will always be a necessary and fundamental task, to be carried out with renewed enthusiasm by all, from parish communities to the largest healthcare institutions.”

“Doctors and nurses, priests, consecrated men and women, volunteers, families and all those who care for the sick, take part in this ecclesial mission.”

The World Day of the Sick will be celebrated on Sunday, 11 Feb 2018, with the theme: “Mater Ecclesiae: ‘Behold, your son… Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home (John 19:26-27).”

Reflecting on the scripture passage from which the theme was taken, Francis explained how John, as a close disciple of Jesus, could testify to the fact that Christ healed many people suffering from both spiritual and physical illnesses.

Jesus, he said, “healed the sick as a sign of the abundant life of the Kingdom, where every tear will be wiped away.”

The disciples know that Jesus’ heart is “open to all and excludes no one. The Gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed to all, and the charity of Christians must be directed to all, simply because they are persons, children of God.”

Pointing to the Church’s long history of care for the sick, including innumerable initiatives, Francis said we cannot forget this “history of dedication,” which continues “to the present day throughout the world.”

In countries with adequate public health care systems, Catholic religious congregations and dioceses and their hospitals provide quality medical care that puts the human person at the centre, also carrying out scientific research that fully respects life and Christian moral values, he said.

And in countries with inadequate, or even non-existent, health care systems, the Catholic Church works to improve health, eliminate infant mortality and combat widespread disease.

“In some parts of the world, missionary and diocesan hospitals are the only institutions providing necessary care to the population,” he noted.

This is all a cause for rejoicing within the Christian community, the pope stressed, ” but we also need to take note that long legacy and use it to help us build a better future. Especially in cases where Catholic hospitals fall prey to the business mentality that seeks to turn health care into a profit-making enterprise, which ends up discarding the poor.”

“Wise organisation and charity demand that the sick person be respected in his or her dignity, and constantly kept at the centre of the therapeutic process,” he said.

“May our prayers to the Mother of God see us united in an incessant plea that every member of the Church may live with love the vocation to serve life and health.” – CNA/EWTN News

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