Posts Tagged ‘vatican’

Do not be ‘afraid of joy,’ Pope encourages

Vatican City, Apr 24, 2014 / 11:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis rebuked Christians who are “afraid of joy” and “mournful,” encouraging them to remember that Jesus Christ accompanies them.

“We’re afraid of bei…

Vatican’s Message for Buddhist Feast of Vesakh

Here is the message from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, to Buddhists on their feast of Vesakh. The English-language message was released by the Vatican today. * * *
Dear Buddhist Friends,
1. In the name of the Pontifical Cou…

Doubts increase over Pope’s alleged phone call on divorce

Vatican City, Apr 24, 2014 / 05:14 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Media frenzy over an alleged phone call Pope Francis made to a divorced and remarried woman allowing her to receive Communion has seen a rise in conflicting details – and has been lamented by the Vatican as causing “confusion.”

Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said today that the Holy See will not officially comment on the alleged phone call Pope Francis made to an Argentinean woman this week, as the pontiff’s “personal pastoral” relationships “do not in any way form part of the Pope’s public activities.”

“That which has been communicated in relation to this matter,” he stressed in an April 24 statement, “and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion.”

The story of a woman in Argentina that allegedly received a phone call from Pope Francis on Easter Monday, giving her “permission” to receive Communion since she is married with a divorced man, has become more complex and doubtful in some of its details.

The situation involves Jaquelina Lisbona, 47, and Julio Sabetta, 50, of San Lorenzo – a small city 185 miles North West from Buenos Aires.

Sabetta was married into the Catholic church in 1985, but got legally divorced in 1992. In 1994, he was re-introduced to Jaquelina – they had been boyfriend and girlfriend in their teens – and the two started to live together in a civil union. Since then, they had two children, Candela and Josefina, aged 17 and 14, respectively.

Six years ago, during Candela’s preparation for her confirmation – both daughters have been baptized, received first Holy Communion and have been confirmed – the local pastor at that time, who has been erroneously described as having left the priesthood by some news sources, told Jaquelina that she could not receive Communion because of her marital status.

Last September, encouraged by a friend, she decided to write Pope Francis about her situation and her desire to receive Communion.

The story of the Pope’s “permission” to Jaquelina to receive Communion was first posted on Monday evening by Sabetta on his Facebook Page when he wrote: “Today one of the most beautiful things happened to me since the birth of my two daughters, I got a call in my home from none other than Pope Francis, it was a big emotion, we cannot figure it out yet, this call was originated by my wife who sent him a letter and he took his time to call her and talk to her and I can assure you that we he talks, he gives you total peace. Thanks God for this blessing!”

The story was originally picked up by local radio station “La Red,” and local newspaper “La Capital.” It was then mentioned by the national Argentinean News Agency TELAM and by Wednesday the news story spread globally, including the Drudge Report.

What the Pope exactly told Jaquelina is a matter of controversy. Speaking to La Red, Jaquelina said that after talking for about ten minutes with the Pope, he allegedly told her that there are some priests that are “more Papist than the Pope” and that she should “go to confession and start taking communion at a different parish.”

In a second interview, overwhelmed by the international attention and the phone calls from around the world, she confirmed that she received “permission” to receive Communion by the Pope, but she complained: “this was supposed to be discrete, now I don’t think I will be able to go anywhere now.”
Since Wednesday, Jaquelina has not been available for comments.

A call from CNA at their home was responded by her daughter Candela, who confirmed that “Pope Francis called, we are overjoyed and humbled as a family.” But she said that her mother was overwhelmed and was neither taking calls nor working at the small grocery store that the family owns across the street.

Sabetta instead has been happy to respond to the press. According to his version: “Francisco told my wife that she was free from all sin, that she should go to communion, that she should go with peace of mind, since a divorced who goes (to Communion) is doing nothing wrong.”

“He only told her to go to communion to another parish to avoid frictions (with the pastor.)”

But the pastor of San Lorenzo’s church, Fr. José Ceschi, said late on Wednesday that the alleged “permission” to receive communion given by the Pope is “absurd.”

Speaking to local radio station La Ocho, Fr. Ceschi said that “first of all, I am very happy to know that the Pope called someone in San Lorenzo, the Pope surprises with these calls and people is so surprised, and that makes me happy. I do believe in the call, but what is hard to believe is that he gave her permission to go to communion.”

“The Pope would never do that, is impossible. If he is coming from a previous sacrament and they are living together is absolutely impossible,” Fr. Ceschi told the radio station.

“What happens is that the Pope, like all bishops and priests, needs to be father, mother and teacher, always with an open heart, while telling things as they are.”

Speaking of his predecessor, who told Jaquelina that she could not receive communion, the priest noted that “Fr. Sergio was right, if a previous sacrament of marriage is involved, the Church cannot go beyond what Jesus has taught.”

“If Fr. Sergio would have given absolution, it would have been like someone writing you a check for an empty bank account, is worthless!” he said.

“Again, I believe that the call happened, I just don’t believe the Pope would go over the head of the (local) bishop – it is absurd,” he reiterated.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi concluded his statement Thursday emphasizing that “consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from these occurrences.

Friends, scholars recount sanctity of ‘Good Pope John’

Vatican City, Apr 23, 2014 / 04:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- At a conference held at the Vatican Wednesday, a scholar on Bl. John XXIII and the Pope’s one-time butler both spoke about his kindness and charity ahead of his canonization, which will occur April 27 along with that of John Paul II.

Guido Gusso, who was John XXIII’s personal butler, was present at the April 23 event, recounting several personal stories. Gusso began working for Angelo Roncalli when he was Patriarch of Venice.

Gusso said that when he got a girlfriend, he went to the cardinal to make the case that he wasn’t being paid enough.

Roncalli considered what Gusso said, and replied, quoting Christ, that even the birds of the air are taken care of, “so you needn’t worry.”

Gusso remained in Roncalli’s service.

While Roncalli was cardinal, Gusso made a habit of kneeling before him and kissing his ring. But Roncalli eventually reacted, telling him, “You can kiss my ring in the morning and in the evening, but I don’t like all of this kneeling. Go to the chapel and kneel before the Sacrament, but not in front of me.”
    
Another moment Gusso remembered distinctly was the night Roncalli was elected Bishop of Rome.

Explaining how it was decided not to announce his election immediately, Gusso said the new Pope asked him to go to his office to retrieve for him some papers and cards.

On attempting to leave the area, Gusso was encountered by a cardinal who threatened him with excommunication for potentially breaking the seal of silence.

Returning to John XXIII to tell him what had transpired, Gusso said John told him to simply tell the cardinal that he would immediately lift the excommunication.

Telling the cardinal this on his second try, Gusso was permitted to leave for the papers and cards.

Gusso concluded by noting the “beautiful continuity” between John XXIII and Pope Francis. He pointed in particular to Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium,” and John’s address opening Vatican II, “Gaudet Mater Ecclesia,” or “Mother Church Rejoices.”

He said both tell “the story of the Gospel” and that both documents have a beautiful continuity in both “ideas and spirituality.”

Monsignor Battista Angelo Pansa, a scholar who has written extensively on John XXIII, said the Pope “was a man who was a pastor, a shepherd of peace who was able to work with the east and the west; a man of great dialogue.”

Msgr. Pansa is pastor of Transfiguration parish in Rome, and is a priest of the Bergamo diocese – the same Church for which Roncalli was ordained a priest in 1904.  

He reflected that the blessed displayed “great docility and openness to the Holy Spirit” throughout his life.

John XXIII’s life, he said, can be summed up in the expressions “a blessed and happy poverty,” and “the art of encounter.”

Emphasizing how the late Pope learned his values from a family environment, Msgr. Pansa recalled that when Roncalli entered seminary at the age of 20, he wrote to his mother explaining that “I am not becoming a priest for honors … or for money,” but “for the most poor.”

Msgr. Pansa noted that while on retreat before entering the seminary, Roncalli titled his diary “Journal of a Soul,” scribbling on the inside cover “inflame my heart” – showing his life-long desire for sanctity.

The priest discussed Roncalli’s decision to take the name John upon his election as Bishop of Rome: it was the name of the parish church in which he was baptized, and of his cathedral, St. John Lateran.

In his discourse upon accepting the supreme mandate, Bl. John XXIII said, “the name John … is that given to two of the men who were nearest” to Christ, John the Evangelist and John the Baptist.

The name, in fact, of St. John Lateran is in full, the “Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran.”

Moving on to discuss the good works done by Good Pope John, Msgr. Pansa recounted his visit to Bambino Gesu hospital on Christmas Day, 1958 – the children, seeing the hat he wore, mistook him for Santa Claus.

The following day he traveled to Regina Coeli prison, telling the inmates that “since you cannot come to me, I came to you,” and encouraging them to tell their families that “the Pope came to see you and to bless you.”

Msgr. Pansa told of how, prior to convoking the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII visited both Loretto and Assisi, so as to entrust the council to the intercession of Mary and St. Francis.

Going on, he recalled how the Pope worked to unify east and west during the Cuban Missile Crisis, explaining that after visiting him, the daughter of Nikita Khrushchev, Rada, went to the White House, where she saw a rosary hanging from the bedpost of President Kennedy’s youngest daughter, Caroline.

It was identical to the rosary John XXIII had given to Rada’s two children when they met with him in Rome, the priest observed, emphasizing how John wanted to unite the two sides through the rosary.

John XXIII was also the first Pope to address an encyclical to “all men of good will” with his “Pacem in terris,” on establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity, and liberty.

Reflecting on how the Blessed become known as the “Good Pope,” Msgr. Pansa recalled his visits to parishes of his diocese during Lent in 1962 and 1963; it was during his visit to St. Basil that the moniker was given him: the church was still under construction, and so he had to stand in a makeshift theater outside.

Postulators reflect on humanity of John Paul II, John XXIII

Vatican City, Apr 23, 2014 / 06:26 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The postulators of the canonization causes for both John Paul II and John XXIII told journalists at the Vatican that the soon-to-be-saints also had faults which show their “humanity.”

At the Holy See Press Office April 22, Monsignor Slawomir Oder and Father Giovangiuseppe Califano discussed both the innate signs of holiness as well as the limitations of the pontiffs.

Msgr. Oder recalled that John Paul II “was a man with blood in his veins,” and as such “had no problem in showing his feelings” – sometimes “he was angry, which demonstrated his humanity.”

The Polish priest noted that in one of his trips, Pope John Paul II was told to use a bullet proof vest. However, the pontiff strongly and negatively rejected the move, “because he trusted in another type of protection.”

Fr. Califano indicated that Pope John XXIII, known as the “good” Pope, also had faults and “used to worry too much about things.”

But, he added, the late pontiff also “had a sense of simplicity and wisdom that helped him to be ironic with himself.”

The priest recounted how one day a newly-appointed bishop confessed to John XXIII “that he could not sleep at night due to an anxiety which was caused by the responsibility of his office.”

“The Pope told him, ‘You know, I also thought the same when I was elected Pope. But one day I dreamed about my Guardian Angel and it told me not to take everything so seriously.’”

Both postulators concurred that “all of us have faults, but true holiness is the one in which man responds to the grace of God correcting their mistakes.”

The two also reflected on the saintly characteristics of both men, which they said could be seen from the time both Popes were young.

As a fifteen-year-old seminarian, Angelo Roncalli not only exhibited the qualities of his future episcopal motto – “obedience and peace” – but showed his deep humility and paternal care for others, Fr. Califano said.

University friends of Karol Woytyla were struck by the future saint’s prayer habits and profound understanding of the value of human life, Msgr. Oder added.

Resurrection pours ‘fresh hope’ on the world, Pope reflects

Vatican City, Apr 23, 2014 / 05:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his general audience Wednesday Pope Francis emphasized the certainty of Christ’s presence in the world today, noting how his resurrection invites us to reject sin and open ourselves to joy and hope.  

“In these days we celebrate with joy the great mystery of the Resurrection of Christ,” he told the crowds packed into St. Peter’s Square April 23.

“With the resurrection, all has been made new and fresh hope has been poured out upon our world.”

During his remarks, the Pope commented on the Gospel reading from Luke chapter 24, where the angel appears to the women at Jesus’ tomb and says to them: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

“Its not easy to accept the presence of the resurrected in the midst of us,” the Pope reflected. “The question that the angel directed to the women, that Easter morning, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’ we must also ask ourselves.”

Pope Francis outlined the relevance of the angel’s words today, explaining that we seek the living among the dead “every time we enclose ourselves in selfishness or complacency.”

“When we are seduced by power and the things of this world, forgetting God and neighbor, when we put our hope in worldly vanities, in money or in success,” he added.

“Each time we lose hope or do not have the strength to pray, each time that we feel alone of abandoned by friends, and even God, each time we feel like prisoners of our sins.”

The pontiff said that the angel’s warning “helps us to go outside of our sadnesses and to open ourselves to joy and to hope,” which remove “the stones from the grave and pushes us to announce the Good News to others.”

Pope Francis also noted how the Gospel account shows three examples “of a life-changing encounter with the Risen Lord,” – Thomas, Mary Magdalene and the travelers on the road to Emmaus – which all invite us to the same experience.

“Like Thomas, we need to grasp the reality of Christ’s rising to new life,” he said. “Like Mary Magdalene, we need to hear Jesus’ voice calling our name.”

“And like the travelers on the road to Emmaus, we need to find renewed joy and hope by recognizing that the Lord is ever at our side.”

The Pope observed that although these disciples “sought the living among the dead,” Jesus “led them, by different paths, to faith in him and the power of his resurrection.”

“Today he challenges each of us to seek him, the Living One, and to leave behind everything that holds us back from encountering him and sharing in the rebirth, the freedom and the hope which he alone can give.”

Cardinal: dedication to God links John XXIII, John Paul II

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2014 / 04:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The papacies of John XXIII and John Paul II are connected in their dedication to God and to lives of priestly service, a cardinal who worked with both of the pontiffs stressed.

“The two P…

Philippines issue new stamps of Blessed John Paul II, John XXIII

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2014 / 04:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Following the presentation of a new stamp of Pope Francis, Philippine postmaster Maria De la Cruz revealed that they will also release stamps honoring Bl. John Paul II and John XXIII for their can…

Coptic priest appointed personal secretary to Pope Francis

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2014 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- It was made known Thursday that Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, a priest of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, has been made second personal secretary to Pope Francis.

The position is among t…

Spread ‘joyous wonder’ of Easter, Pope tells Christians

Vatican City, Apr 21, 2014 / 11:46 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Monday exhorted the Christian faithful to spread the joy of Easter to others.

“Happy Easter!” he said. “Christ is Risen! He is truly risen.”

The Pope …

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