March 2015

Vatican Appointments: Cardinal Versaldi to Congregation for Catholic Education

Vatican City, Mar 31, 2015 / 11:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Tuesday’s appointment of Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, together with Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki’s commission as a member of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, signals that Vatican financial reform continues and that curial reform will need time to become effective.

Cardinal Versaldi, 71, has served as president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See since 2011, and was transferred to the Congregation for Catholic Education March 31.

The prefecture has lost many of its competences since the Secretariat for the Economy, the Council for the Economy, and the Office for the General Auditor were established with the February 2014 motu proprio Fidelis Dispensator et Prudens.

Previously entrusted with oversight of the Vatican’s balance sheets, the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs had seen most of its competences taken over by the Secretariat for the Economy.

The secretariat issued a “Financial policy management” handbook and started training Vatican employees so that they could conform to the new standards for balance sheets.

On the other hand, the Council for the Economy took over the competences of financial address and programming entrusted to the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs.

A source who works in Vatican finances told CNA March 31 that “the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs should be suppressed in May.”

Cardinal Versaldi replaces Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, 75, who had served as prefect of the dicastery for 14 years and was appointed by St. John Paul II.

The appointment confirms that the Congregation for Catholic Education will remain a key body in the ranks of the Roman Curia, despite speculation about a new “super-Congregation” comprised of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Catholic Education – an option that is not seemingly being considered anymore.

On the other hand, Cardinal Versaldi’s promotion leaves the field open to carry forward the financial reform.

Another Vatican body going toward a financial reform is the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

In October 2013, a reform of APSA’s statute assimilated the functions of the consultors to those of the members of an advisory board, the first step of a reform that is intended to make of APSA a sort of Vatican central bank.

APSA’s ordinary section was transferred to the Secretariat for the Economy in July, while the extraordinary section will be responsible of maintaining relationships with all the main central banks, in order to – a July 9 Holy See press office bulletin reads – “continue guaranteeing the Holy See’s liquidity and financial stability.”

However, the appointment of Cardinal Woelki as APSA member is meaningful, as the Archbishop of Cologne’s views are quite far from those of Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Muniche and Freising, who serves as Coordinator of the Council for the Economy and a member of the Council of Cardinals.

Cardinal Woelki comes as well from the wealthy and influential Church in Germany, and his appointment is likely intended to balance Cardinal Marx’ views.

Jn 12:1-11 Believe Now?

Monday of Holy Week

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?”
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.  And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.
While it is very true that it is difficult to be a Christian today, we must remember that followers of Jesus have always been subject to ridicule, even during Christ’s earthly ministry. There is just something about the true expression of Christianity that people have always misunderstood, and thus mocked. However, even when we feel as though nobody around us understands us, we can take courage from this Gospel reading in knowing that being persecuted and misunderstood is not at all a new phenomenon for Christians.
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” This sounds like a familiar battle cry of those who mock Catholics: “Why does the Church have so many palaces when that money could go to the poor?”  People who ask this question usually stand very smugly and wait for us to stumble in our response, all so they can win whatever petty argument they were looking to get into. However, we can look to the Bible and see that nothing has changed about these peoplevery rarely is their concern actually for the poor. They overlook the thousands of charitable institutions that the Church has founded, and do not bother to look at the specifics of their claims. Instead, their primary concern is usually for their own pride, or to appear superior to believers in some way.
I was absolutely appalled by a viral video that circulated a few years ago called “Sell the Vatican, Feed the World.” In it, a popular American comedienne sits and gives a two-minute pitch for why the Vatican should be sold and the money given to solve world hunger. A philanthropic intention, one might ask? Not even close—the comedienne then goes on to make horribly inappropriate remarks about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and claim that the Church was somehow the driving force behind the Holocaust. In fact, she even says at one point that she only wants to feed the poor to “get them off of the commercials on her 42 inch plasma screen TV.” Just as Jesus said, we can tell the goodness of a ‘prophet’ by his/her fruits, and the only fruits of this woman’s claim are bitterness and contempt. The point is that we must be wary of those who claim to be charitable, but really only want to attack and undermine what is holy. These people are just the same and just as wrong as those in ancient Jerusalem who were shocked by Mary’s actions. “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial.  You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.  Unfortunately, as we know, the buildings of the Church are not under fire as much as the Christians themselves, who are the body of Christ. Every day in the Middle East, churches are getting burned to the ground and people are being killed for refusing to renounce their face in Christ. Right now, refugees are pouring into our own city of Dallas toflee communist and dictatorial governments that do nottolerate their faith. These leaders kill Christians because they cannot stand not being the highest power in the land. Even so, persecution should not cause us to lose heart as Christians. One of the strangely beautiful things about our faith is the more that it is torn down by others, the more it is validated. Jesus promised that those who radiated faith and love would have trouble in this life. Thus, those who persecute us are only proving our point. Those who make insulting comments or videos about our faith are only proving our point.
In Holy Week, we must commit to praying for those who do not yet know that Christ died for them, or cannot bring themselves to believe it.
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