Fri, 23 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Young people want trusted guides as they explore their faith and their vocation, said five young adults from the United States attending the Vatican's pre-synod meeting. The U.S. delegates to the Vatican meeting March 19-25 also said the 305 young adults from around the world want to see young people consulted more often in their parishes and dioceses. And, one said, in conversations with other delegates, he discovered that Catholics in other countries are not experiencing the sharp divisions that U.S. Catholics are. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent three delegates to the meeting: De La Salle Christian Brother Javier Hansen, who teaches at Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas; Nick Lopez, director of campus ministry for the University of Dallas; and Katie Prejean-McGrady, a wife, new mother, youth minister, and a popular speaker from the Diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Chris Russo, a 23-year-old working in Boston, represented the Ruthenian Catholic Church. And Nicole Perone, director of adult faith formation for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, represented Voices of Faith, an international group that highlights the contributions of women in the church. A topic that came up consistently at the meeting, Prejean-McGrady said, was young people's desire "to find companions on the journey, to look for people to walk with them." "When you have personal relationships with people who are vibrantly living their faith, then you yourself are inspired to live your faith," she said. And the relationship also provides a trusted source for dealing with concerns about topics such as sexuality or church teachings that may be difficult to understand, she said. "'Here's a book; believe it' -- that doesn't work with young people anymore, and we know that because they are consuming far too much media to where they are not going to read that book," Prejean-McGrady said. "You have to talk with them, you have to walk with them, you have to love them and really spend time with them." Lopez noted that Pope Francis opened the meeting March 19 by telling the delegates that the church wanted to hear their opinions and their questions, even those they thought might make church leaders uncomfortable. In ministry to young people, they need to know they can ask those questions and that "we are going to discuss them. Nothing is too radical. Nothing is out of left field," he said. If a young person is struggling with something, that is all the reason needed to discuss it. "Human issues are church issues, and we aren't going to get anywhere unless we begin the conversation," Lopez said. "Young people seem to live in this age of anxiety, meaning that in a world of seemingly endless possibilities, they are almost paralyzed because they have all of these different options and they want to go forth, but they want to make the right decision, and they want to do so without the fear of failure," Russo said. "My hope is that just as Christ walked with the apostles, the church will walk with young people as they are discerning all these different thoughts and considering different paths." The accompaniment discussion was key for Perone, who counts herself blessed to have had the guidance and friendship of "a number of people, but especially women, really bright, faithful women who love the church and have dedicated their lives in service to the church." The preparatory document for the synod, which will be held in October, talks about "role models, guides and mentors," she said, but a lot of young people do not know how to ask for such accompaniment, and many people do not realize they can offer that to young people. Faith mentors to young people, she said, first must be "faithful Christians, people who are living their lives faithfully and are committed to walking the journey of holiness." And, she said, "it has to be a person who is not afraid to acknowledge they are human and make mistakes. The words 'authenticity' ...
Wed, 21 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After a very public controversy involving the use of a letter by retired Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. Dario Vigano as prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication. Announcing the move March 21, the Vatican published Msgr. Vigano's letter to Pope Francis asking to resign and Pope Francis' reply accepting it. However, Pope Francis asked Msgr. Vigano, 55, to remain at the secretariat as "assessor" to "make your human and professional contribution" in assisting whoever is named the new prefect as the Vatican continues its long and complicated work of unifying its communications efforts and various media outlets. The controversy began March 12 at the presentation of a 11-volume series of books, "The Theology of Pope Francis." Msgr. Vigano had asked the retired pope for a theological reflection on the series. At the book presentation, Msgr. Vigano read selected sentences from Pope Benedict's letter declining to write the reflection. The Secretariat for Communications also published a photograph showing the first page of the letter, with several lines purposefully blurred, and the second page, except for the signature, covered by a book. An uproar ensued over the intentional blurring of the photograph and questions were raised in the media about what exactly the letter said. In the end, the Vatican released the full text March 17. It showed that not only had Pope Benedict said he was unable to read the full series, but that he objected to one of the authors chosen to write one of the volumes. In his letter of resignation, Msgr. Vigano told Pope Francis that although it was not intentional, his actions had "destabilized the complex and great work of reform" with which the pope had entrusted him. "I think that for me stepping aside would be a fruitful occasion for renewal," the monsignor wrote. Pope Francis had named Msgr. Vigano prefect of the secretariat when it was created in June 2015. The monsignor had been director of the Vatican Television Center. The new secretariat was charged with unifying into one the offices and tasks previously handled by nine entities: the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; the Vatican press office; the Vatican internet office; Vatican Radio; the Vatican television production studio, CTV; the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano; the Vatican printing press; the Vatican photograph service; and the Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Tue, 20 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis once again will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper in a prison and will wash the feet of 12 inmates. The pope will celebrate the evening Mass on March 29 at Rome's Regina Coeli prison, the Vatican announced March 20. Before Mass, the pope will visit sick inmates in the prison infirmary, the Vatican said. He will celebrate the Mass and wash the feet of 12 inmates in the prison's central rotunda and, afterward, will meet some inmates in the prison's Section VIII, a protected section of the prison for inmates convicted of sexual crimes and other inmates who could be in danger in the general population. A former convent built in the 1600s, Regina Coeli has operated as a prison since the 1890s. Although the government says the capacity is just over 600 inmates, the monthly census since March 2017 has been more than 900. More than half of the inmates are non-Italians. The prison is just over a mile from St. Peter's Square. From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has celebrated the annual Holy Thursday evening liturgy at a place of particular suffering. His immediate predecessors celebrated the Mass either in either St. Peter's Basilica or the Basilica of St. John Lateran. In 2013, for his first papal celebration of Holy Thursday, he went to Rome's Casal del Marmo juvenile detention center, where he washed the feet of young male and female offenders. The next year, he presided over the Mass and foot-washing ritual at a rehabilitation facility for the elderly and people with disabilities on the outskirts of Rome. In 2015, he went to Rome's main prison, Rebibbia, where he celebrated the Mass with the male prisoners there and women from a nearby women's detention facility. In 2016, he celebrated with refugees at a center north of Rome. And, in 2017, he went to a prison in Paliano, some 45 miles from Rome.
Tue, 20 Mar 2018
ROME (CNS) -- The Catholic Church needs the enthusiasm, daring and hope of young people so that it can preach the Gospel energetically and respond to the questions men and women raise today, Pope Francis told some 300 young adults. "We need to rediscover in the Lord the strength to get up after failure, to move forward, to strengthen hope for the future," the pope said March 19, opening a weeklong meeting in preparation for October's Synod of Bishops. Most of the young people gathered with the pope at the Legionaries of Christ's Maria Mater Ecclesia College in Rome were chosen as delegates by their national bishops' conferences. Others represented a variety of Catholic movements or ministries, including religious life. But the Vatican also invited delegates from other Christian churches, other religions, including Islam, and young people who describe themselves as nonbelievers. Pope Francis told the young people that they are the ones who can help the church fight "the logic of 'it's always been done this way,'" which he described as "a poison, a sweet poison that tranquilizes the heart and leaves you anesthetized so you can't walk." The church and its members must continue to go out, continue asking what God is calling them to and continue finding new ways to respond, the pope said. Of course, he said, everyone must "keep an eye on the roots" of the church and preserve its essential teachings, but they also must find creative ways to share those teachings and reflect on how the Gospel responds to people's questions today. Spending the morning with the young people, Pope Francis heard directly from 10 of them, who represented every region of the world. Some lamented the amount of time their peers spend on social media, while others spoke of how technology helps connect young people and rally them in support of good causes. Some talked of a need for better catechesis and support in fighting the "culture of relativism," while others asked for an open and honest discussion of the church's teaching on sexuality and on the role of women in the church. And one, a seminarian from Ukraine, asked about tattoos. Yulian Vendzilovych, a seminarian at Holy Spirit Seminary in Lviv, asked the pope how a young priest is to judge which parts of modern culture are good and which are not. He used the example of tattoos, which many young people believe "express true beauty," he said. "Don't be afraid of tattoos," the pope responded, noting that for centuries Eritrean Christians and others have gotten tattoos of the cross. "Of course, there can be exaggerations," the pope said. But a tattoo "is a sign of belonging," and asking a young person about his or her tattoos can be a great place to begin a dialogue about priorities, values, belonging, "and then you can approach the culture of the young." A young man from France, Maxime Rassion, told the pope he has not been baptized, but he has questions about the meaning of his life and his relationship to the world and to God, if God exists. He said he is not sure if he wants to approach the Catholic Church for help because it is so big and he doesn't want to give up his freedom. But he asked the pope where he should start. "You have already begun," the pope told him. "The danger is not allowing the question to come up." Young people must have "the courage to tell themselves the naked truth" about their hopes and weaknesses, the pope said, and then they must find a wise person -- someone patient, "who won't be frightened by anything" -- with whom they can talk through their questions. Blessing Okodion, a young Nigerian rescued from forced prostitution in Italy, asked the pope what could be done to increase awareness of human trafficking and whether the church, which is "still too chauvinistic," really is capable of helping young women and men relate to each other as equals. Noting that the vast majority of Italians are Catholic, Pope Francis said one must assume that about 90 percent of the men who use ...
Tue, 20 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Celebrating the feast of St. Joseph, Pope Francis ordained three new bishops who will serve as papal nuncios, or ambassadors. The new bishops are: Archbishop Jose Bettencourt, a priest of the Archdiocese of Ottawa and former head of diplomatic protocol for the Vatican; Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, a Maltese who was general secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy and had served as assistant personal secretary to Pope Benedict XVI; and Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag, a career Vatican diplomat from Poland. Archbishop Bettencourt will be nuncio to Georgia and Armenia; Archbishop Xuereb will take up posts as the nuncio to South Korea and to Mongolia; and Archbishop Sommertag will serve as nuncio to Nicaragua. As is his practice, Pope Francis read the ritual homily for the ordination of bishops during the Mass March 19, but he added a few comments. Reading the homily's reminder that a bishop is chosen to minister to men and women in the things related to God, the pope said they were not chosen for other tasks, "not for business, not for worldly affairs, not for politics." After the reminder that bishops are called to take the position of the least and to serve, Pope Francis urged them to "flee from the temptation to be princes." "Pray and offer sacrifice," the ritual homily urges new bishops. "Prayer is the first task of the bishop," the pope said, noting how when the widows of the early Christian community went to the apostles to complain that they were not being cared for, the apostles established the order of deacons to oversee the community's charity. St. Peter explained to the deacons, "you do this, this, and this, and we will pray and proclaim the word," the pope said. "A bishop who does not pray, does not fulfill his obligations. He does not live out his vocation." And, after reading the homily's exhortation that bishops show special care for their priests, the pope added, "be close to priests, please. May they be able to meet the bishop the same day they ask (for a meeting) or at most a day later."
Mon, 19 Mar 2018
SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy (CNS) -- Many people admire St. Padre Pio, but too few imitate him, especially in his care for the weak, the sick and those who modern culture treats as disposable, Pope Francis said during Mass at Padre Pio's shrine. "Many are ready to 'like' the page of the great saints, but who does what they do?" the pope asked March 17. "The Christian life is not an 'I like,' but an 'I give myself.'" Pope Francis celebrated the Mass outside the Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina with about 30,000 people after visiting children in the cancer ward of the hospital St. Pio founded, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (House for the Relief of Suffering). In his homily, the pope reflected on three words that both summarized the day's readings and, he said, the life of Padre Pio: prayer, smallness and wisdom. Smallness, he said, calls to mind those whose hearts who are humble, poor and needy like the young patients cared for in Padre Pio's hospital and those who in today's world are unwanted and discarded. Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis said he remembers being taught in school about the Spartans, who, "when a boy or girl was born with malformations, they would take them to the top of the mountain and throw them over." "We children would say, 'How cruel,'" the pope said. But, "brothers and sisters, we do the same. With more cruelty and more knowledge. Whatever isn't useful, whatever doesn't produce, is thrown away. This is the throwaway culture. The little ones are not wanted today." "Those who take care of children are on the side of God and defeat the throwaway culture, which, on the contrary, prefers the powerful and considers the poor useless," he said. "Those who prefer the little ones proclaim a prophecy of life against the prophets of death of every age." Only with wisdom, motivated by love and charity for others, can true strength be found, he said. Christians aren't called simply to admire great saints like Padre Pio, but rather to imitate their way of fighting evil wisely "with humility, with obedience, with the cross, offering pain for love." Prayer, he said, is "a gesture of love" that is often stifled by excuses and leads to Christians forgetting that without God "we can do nothing." "We must ask ourselves: do our prayers resemble that of Jesus or are they reduced to occasional emergency calls? Or do we use them as tranquilizers to be taken in regular doses to relieve stress?" the pope asked. Padre Pio recognized throughout his life that prayer "heals the sick, sanctifies work, elevates healthcare and gives moral strength," he said. Pope Francis began his day of tribute to St. Pio with an early morning visit to Pietrelcina, where the Capuchin saint was born in 1887. Thousands waited outside the square of the Chapel of the Stigmata which houses a piece of the elm tree Padre Pio sat in front of when he first received the stigmata -- wounds on his feet, hands and side corresponding to those Jesus suffered at the crucifixion -- in September 1918. Pope Francis entered the chapel where he prayed privately for several minutes before making his way to the square to greet the faithful. Standing in front of an iconic image of a young Padre Pio bearing the wounds of Christ's crucifixion in his hands, the pope said that it was in Pietrelcina that the future saint "strengthened his own humanity, where he learned to pray and recognize in the poor the flesh of Christ." "He loved the church, he loved the church with all its problems, with all its woes, with all its sins -- because we are all sinners; we feel shame -- but the spirit of God has brought us here to this church which is holy. And he loved the holy church and its sinful children, everyone. This was St. Pio," Pope Francis said. Recalling the time in Padre Pio's life when he returned to Pietrelcina while he was ill, the pope said the saintly Capuchin "felt he was assailed by the devil" and feared falling into sin. Departing from his prepared remarks, ...
Thu, 15 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After two years working on a documentary about Pope Francis, the noted German filmmaker Wim Wenders said he is most struck by the pope's courage. "Meeting him eye to eye, and then also seeing and hearing him every day in the editing room, not only in our own interviews, but also his many talks all over the world to refugees, prisoners, politicians, scientists, children, rich or poor or regular people made me realize how courageous he was, how fearless," the director told Vatican News March 13. Wenders' film, "Pope Francis -- A Man of His Word," is scheduled for release in theaters May 18. "Not in my wildest dreams would I have expected to make a film about Pope Francis," Wenders told Vatican News. When Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, invited him to the Vatican to discuss the project, "I first took a deep breath, and then I walked around the block," he said. "It seemed that such a project would represent a huge responsibility, at least it would be a whole different kind of task than any film I had made before." Wenders is no stranger to documentary films. His 1999 "Buena Vista Social Club" about the Cuban music scene won multiple awards. For the film with Pope Francis, he said, he had four long sit-down sessions with the pope and plied him with questions of his own as well as queries submitted from around the globe. The film includes exclusive footage shot for the documentary as well as clips of the pope speaking at the Vatican and abroad. After two years of work, Wenders said, the film "fulfilled the high hopes I had for it: that it would allow Pope Francis to speak directly to every viewer and listener, almost face to face, about all his concerns and all the issues that matter to him. This wasn't meant to be a film about him, but with him." "I was very impressed at how open Pope Francis was to each question, and how directly and spontaneously he answered," the director said. "And after each of our four long sessions, he took time to shake everybody's hands and did not make any difference between producer or director or electrician or assistant." Wenders said Pope Francis is something "rare and precious" today: "a man who is not acting for himself, but for the common good."
Wed, 14 Mar 2018
TORONTO (CNS) -- One of the Catholic Church's most outspoken leaders urged a rapt audience in St. Michael's Cathedral to embrace silence and be alert to the danger of filling their days with constant news and distraction. In silence people find God, discover who they are and equip themselves for a meaningful life, said Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. "An awesome task is given to us, a difficult task," the African cardinal told an overflow crowd of 1,200 March 12. "Every one of us is given the task to live freely, to live with dignity." His lecture had originally been scheduled for St. Basil Church on the campus of the University of St. Michael's College, but the free, online tickets were quickly snapped up, and it became apparent that church was too small to meet the demand. Cardinal Sarah has made news with pronouncements on liturgy that have not always agreed with Pope Francis. At a 2016 liturgical conference in England, he encouraged priests to celebrate Mass "ad orientem" (with their backs to the assembly), prompting a clarification from the Vatican press office. In 2017, his office released a commentary on Pope Francis' "motu proprio" in which Cardinal Sarah seemed to dispute the pope's decision to remove the authority over liturgical translations from his office and restore it to conferences of bishops. Cardinal Sarah was subsequently corrected by Pope Francis in a public letter. But the Toronto lecture left the liturgy wars aside and concentrated on the message of the cardinal's most recent book on the importance of silence in people's spiritual lives. He laid out precisely how a Christian can acquire the freedom, dignity and will to discover a deeper life in Christ. The one tool at every Christian's disposal must be silence, Cardinal Sarah said. "When we retreat from the noise of the world in silence, we gain a new perspective on the noise of the world," he said. "To retreat into silence is to come to know ourselves, to know our dignity." Silence is the space that allows God into our lives, said the cardinal. "If we give ourselves to ephemeral and insignificant things, we will understand ourselves as ephemeral and insignificant. If we give ourselves to beautiful and eternal things, we will understand ourselves as beautiful and eternal," he said. The evening began with vespers led by Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, with a pair of seminarians destined for ordination in May at his side, all in Lenten purple. Though university students were a minority in the crowd, Cardinal Sarah had prepared his remarks for a youthful audience. He challenged students to abandon their smartphones and other distractions and discover prayer and contemplation in silence. "How can we be silent together in a way that can be fruitful for our common life?" Cardinal Sarah asked. "For a Christian, it is liturgy." Marvels of technology have made it more difficult to know and to learn the value of silence. Cardinal Sarah urged his audience to keep technology in its proper place. "Technology is only ever a means. Technological development is never an end in itself. Technology does not satisfy our deepest desires," he said. "I challenge all of you, think differently about what it means to relax and unwind," he said. "Let us seek silence, for in silence we come to know God and to know ourselves." John Neary, a former firefighter, came to the cathedral in his wheelchair, eager to deepen his understanding of the faith. Neary said his key takeaway from Cardinal Sarah's lecture was: "Be silent. Sit there and appreciate everything that God has given to us."
Tue, 13 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians in the Middle East, particularly those who have been forced from their homes by violence and persecution, need the support of the Catholic Church, a Vatican official said. "Let us show them concretely our closeness, through our constant prayer and through our monetary aid," said Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches. Such support is especially key now that the Ninevah Plain in Iraq has been liberated from Islamic State and "most Iraqi Christians and Syrians want to return to their own land where their houses were destroyed, with schools, hospitals and churches devastated. Let us not leave them alone," he said in a letter sent to bishops around the world. The Vatican released a copy of the letter March 12. In the letter, the cardinal urged Catholics around the world to give to the annual collection for the Holy Land on Good Friday or on the date established by their local bishops' conference. The collection was established in 1618 by Pope Paul V to support Eastern-rite churches in communion with Rome and maintenance of holy sites under Catholic care in the Holy Land. He wrote that the traditional collection is a way for Catholics worldwide "to be one with our brethren in the Holy Land and the Middle East." "Unfortunately, from those territories, the outcry of thousands of persons who are deprived of everything, at times even of their own human dignity, continues to reach us, breaking our hearts and inviting us to embrace them through Christian charity, a sure source of hope," he wrote. The majority of the funds go to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, an administratively autonomous province of the Franciscan order that is responsible for most of the shrines connected with the life of Jesus as well as for providing pastoral care to the region's Christians: running schools, developing low-cost housing, operating charitable institutions and training future priests and religious. The congregation uses the remaining funds for the formation and support of seminarians, priests and religious, and to help cover educational costs for young students. The letter said the congregation was boosting the amount it provides for education given the thousands of school-aged youth from Syria and Iraq settling in the Holy Land. "We cannot forget the thousands of families who fled from the violence of the war in Syria and Iraq, among whom children and youth, a great number of them of schooling-age, who appeal to our generosity in order to resume their scholastic life and may dream of a better future," it said. "We hope against hope, that the schools serve as a place of encounter for the Christians and the Muslims, where they prepare a future of mutual respect and collaboration; the hospitals and clinics, the homes and meeting centers continue to welcome the suffering and those in need, refugees and displaced, persons of all ages and religions struck by the horror of war," he said. Along with Cardinal Sandri's letter, the Vatican press office released some details of how the congregation disbursed the $7.2 million raised in 2017. Nearly $900,000 was provided in emergency assistance to religious in Syria and for extra support in Jerusalem; more than $8.3 million was used to support Catholic education at every level; and about $1.6 million went to support churches in the Jerusalem, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea. "As can be seen, expenses exceed the collection, therefore, greater cooperation and a generous commitment is needed from Christians from all over the world," the letter said.
Tue, 13 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On the eve of the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis' election, retired Pope Benedict XVI defended the continuity of the church's teaching under his successor and dismissed those who criticize the pope's theological foundations. In a letter sent to Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication, Pope Benedict applauded the publication of a new book series titled, "The Theology of Pope Francis." "It contradicts the foolish prejudice of those who see Pope Francis as someone who lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation, while I would have been considered solely a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete lives of today's Christian," the retired pontiff wrote. Msgr. Vigano read the letter during a presentation of the 11-volume series March 12. Before reading the letter, Msgr. Vigano said he sent a message to Pope Francis and Pope Benedict regarding the publication of the book series. He also asked if Pope Benedict would be "willing to write a page or a page and a half of dense theology in his clear and punctual style that would have liked to read this evening." Instead, the retired pontiff "wrote a beautiful, personal letter that I will read to you," Msgr. Vigano said. Pope Benedict thanked Msgr. Vigano for having given him a copy of "The Theology of Pope Francis" book series, which was authored by several notable theologians. "These small volumes reasonably demonstrate that Pope Francis is a man with profound philosophical and theological formation and are helpful to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, even with all the differences in style and temperament," he wrote. Pope Benedict has made no secret of his affection for and admiration of Pope Francis. During a Vatican celebration for the 65th anniversary of Pope Benedict's priestly ordination June 28, 2016, the retired pope expressed his sincere gratefulness to Pope Francis, saying that his goodness "from the first moment of your election, in every moment of my life here, touches me deeply." "More than the beauty found in the Vatican Gardens, your goodness is the place where I live; I feel protected," Pope Benedict said.
Tue, 13 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In his formal documents, many speeches and unscripted morning homilies the past five years, Pope Francis has given the church plenty of "food for thought" on many issues of great importance. Here are a baker's dozen of quotes from the pope, organized by topic: -- On clerical sexual abuse: "Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness. I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves. This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused, and it endangered other minors who were at risk." (Homily at Mass with survivors, July 7, 2014). -- On communication: "Communication has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, and thus to enrich society. How beautiful it is when people select their words and actions with care, in the effort to avoid misunderstandings, to heal wounded memories and to build peace and harmony." (Message for World Communications Day 2016). -- On creation: "We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters." ("Laudato Si', On Care for Our Common Home," May 24, 2015). -- On economics: "Let us say 'no' to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth." (World Meeting of Popular Movements, July 9, 2015). -- On faith: "Please do not water down your faith in Jesus Christ. We dilute fruit drinks -- orange, apple or banana juice -- but please do not drink a diluted form of faith. Faith is whole and entire, not something that you water down. It is faith in Jesus. It is faith in the son of God made man, who loved me and who died for me." (World Youth Day, July 25, 2013). -- On the family: "No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love. ... May we never lose heart because of our limitations or ever stop seeking that fullness of love and communion which God holds out before us." ("Amoris Laetitia," April 8, 2016). -- On life: "Human life is sacred and inviolable. Every civil right rests on the recognition of the first and fundamental right, that of life, which is not subordinate to any condition, be it quantitative, economic or, least of all, ideological." (Speech to the Italian pro-life movement, April 11, 2014). -- On mercy: "Mercy: the bridge that connects God and humanity, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness." ("Misericordiae Vultus," April 11, 2015). -- On migration: "Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life far from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet's resources, which are meant to be equitably shared by all. Don't we all want a better, more decent and prosperous life to share with our loved ones?" (Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2016). -- On religious freedom: "It is incomprehensible and alarming that, still today, discrimination and restrictions of rights continue for the single fact that one belongs to and publicly professes an unwavering faith. It is unacceptable that real persecution is actually sustained for reasons of religious affiliation! Wars as well! This distorts reason, attacks peace and humiliates human dignity." (Speech, June 20, 2014). -- On Satan: "The devil exists even in the 21st century and we shouldn't be naive. ... We have to learn from the Gospel how to fight" against him. (Homily, April 11, 2014). -- On vocations: "A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well-cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service, in the context of an authentic ecclesial ...
Mon, 12 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A good confessor is a good listener, Pope Francis said. By truly listening to the penitent during confession, "we listen to Jesus himself, poor and humble; by listening to the Holy Spirit, we put ourselves in attentive obedience, becoming listeners of the Word" in order to know what God wants to be done, he said. This is how priests can offer "the greatest service" to all penitents, especially the young, because "we put them in touch with Jesus himself," he said March 9. The pope spoke to hundreds of confessors and other participants attending an annual course on the sacrament of reconciliation, sponsored by the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court that handles issues related to the absolution of sin. He warned confessors to avoid the temptation of becoming "masters" over other people's consciences, especially the young, who are very easily influenced. A confessor must never forget his is not the source of mercy or grace, but he is, however, an "indispensable instrument, but always just an instrument," the pope said. Being a conduit between the Holy Spirit and the penitent does not diminish this ministry, rather it leads to its fulfillment, he said. The more the priest "disappears and Christ, the supreme and eternal priest, appears more clearly," the more the priest fulfills his vocation as "unprofitable servants." In light of the October Synod of Bishops on young people, faith and vocational discernment, the course this year looked at the relationship between the sacrament of reconciliation and helping others discern their vocation. The pope said young people should be able to hear what God is saying to them, both in their own conscience and by listening to the word. To achieve this, young people need wise accompaniment by a confessor, he added. With priest and penitent both prayerfully listening to God's will, confession can become an occasion for discovering God's plan for the individual, he said. Vocations, he added, are never about what form they take, but are about building a life-giving and inseparable relationship with Jesus. The pope asked confessors to be witnesses of mercy, "humble listeners of young people and of God's will for them; always be respectful of the conscience and freedom of those who come to the confessional, because God himself loves their freedom."
Fri, 09 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican will host a fast-paced gathering of students, developers and entrepreneurs from around the world that aims to find high-tech solutions for complex global issues. While issues addressed at the March 8-11 "VHacks: A hackathon at the Vatican" conference include the migrant and refugee crisis, the focus will be on viewing the problem from a different perspective, said Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. "When we talk about migrants and refugees, we tend to talk about it in vast terms as if it were a huge problem or a so-called global problem. But in fact, it's a collection of very individual problems, particular problems of persons and of families," Father Czerny told Catholic News Service March 8. Several tech giants, including Google and Microsoft, are sponsoring the 36-hour hackathon, which "is a sprint-like event in which multi-disciplinary teams (including computer programmers, graphic designers, project managers, etc.) collaborate to create solutions under a time constraint," a statement from VHacks said. The 120 students attending the conference, including five students from Georgetown University, will seek to use technology to address other issues such as social inclusion and interfaith dialogue. Speaking at a press briefing about the event, Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, told journalists the idea of hosting a hackathon "was very important" for the Vatican and especially for Pope Francis. "When I spoke to him about this idea, he was so happy and he said, 'We must do it!'" Msgr. Ruiz said. "We discussed it with him and he wanted this idea, this project, to be a reality." Father Czerny told CNS that although the conference may not solve the migrant and refugee crisis on a global scale, he hoped it would use technology to come up with solutions for individuals such as apps that can help migrants find lost documents or a place to stay. "Now you may say putting up somebody for a night or getting a document is not going to solve the global migration crisis," Father Czerny said. "But then I say that's partly because we are thinking wrongly. We're not understanding it from the viewpoint of the people who really need help and who can be helped if we identify the problems." Aside from developing possible technological solutions to social issues, Father Czerny said the Vatican-sponsored hackathon helps young people become "more informed and especially more concerned about the migrant and refugee issue." "These young people are future -- you might say -- activists and even leaders in the high-tech sector," Father Czerny told CNS. "And I am counting on them to bring this sensitivity, this awareness to their future work and their future leadership and this will be an improvement and a contribution."
Fri, 09 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- St. John Paul II once called Lent a period of "spiritual training" for sharpening people's ability to recognize "the voice of God and the insidious voice of the evil one." But those skills need constant exercise, not just during Lent, exorcists have told reporters over the years. And priests, too, they've said, need to be ready with the right training to do battle with the devil and spiritually assist their people. That need is rising, one exorcist told Vatican News in February. At least half a million people seek help from the church in Italy for suspected demonic influence -- a demand that has tripled in recent years, said Franciscan Father Benigno Palilla, an exorcist for the Archdiocese of Palermo. "Very often, we priests do not know how to face concrete cases brought before us. These things don't get talked about during priestly formation," he said. Father Cesare Truqui, an exorcist who received his training from the renowned Father Gabriele Amorth in Rome, said many priests "do not believe in the existence of the true possibility of a possession, because it is very rare." But just because actual demonic possession rarely happens, every diocese in the world still needs to have at least one trained exorcist on hand for that eventuality, he said. "It's like a dentist. Thanks be to God we don't need to go to the dentist every week, but (when) we need the dentist, we need him," he told Catholic News Service in Rome in early March. Also, a trained, experienced exorcist can accurately discern whether a problem is linked to demonic action and when it is the more likely case of a person just experiencing life's inevitable difficulties or mental or emotional problems. While priests must help people understand the real presence of evil, "you also have to teach people that not every shadow is the devil," he said. Not having on staff an exorcist or an attentive, empathetic priest who can make a referral also makes people looking for help even more vulnerable, he said. "I have a case right now, a person went to African sorcerers," he said, "because he didn't find in the Catholic Church any help with what he was looking for." "I think if (the person) had found a priest that listened to him, accompanied him and helped him out, he wouldn't be possessed right now." Italy's slumping economy and uncertain job market have also driven growing numbers of people in Italy to turn to fortune tellers, card readers, healers and gurus, according to Italy's national consumer protection agency, Codacons. While many of these black-market practitioners are "fakes" and cause little harm, those who are connected with the occult "may increase the need for spiritual assistance or exorcisms" for their unsuspecting victims, Father Truqui said. People should also watch out for fake, untrained or unauthorized priests, Father Truqui said. Only a priest authorized by his bishop can perform exorcisms in his own diocese, not elsewhere. In an ongoing effort to help support this often-overlooked ministry, Father Truqui will be one of several experts teaching an international course on exorcism and prayers of liberation at the Legionaries of Christ's Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in Rome April 16-21. The course will be offered in conjunction with the Vatican-recognized International Association of Exorcists. Father Truqui explains how he unexpectedly became an exorcist in a new book, "Profession: Exorcist. The Most Disturbing Cases of Possession and Liberation," co-authored with Chiara Santomiero. The book is currently available only in Italian. He writes how he visited Father Amorth to invite him to attend the first exorcism course at the university in 2004, but found him in the middle of an exorcism, holding up a crucifix to a man threatening to kill him. Father Truqui writes that he was frozen in the doorway with his "hair standing on end," and Father Amorth casually invited him to stay -- for what ended up being a string of ...
Wed, 07 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has cleared the way for the canonizations of Blesseds Paul VI and Oscar Romero. At a meeting March 6 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, Pope Francis signed decrees for the causes of 13 men and women -- among them a pope, an archbishop, two young laywomen and a number of priests and nuns. He recognized a miracle attributed to Blessed Paul, who, according Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, will be declared a saint in late October at the end of the Synod of Bishops on youth and discernment. Blessed Paul, who was born Giovanni Battista Montini, was pope from 1963 to 1978. Pope Francis also formally signed the decree recognizing the miracle needed to advance the sainthood cause of Archbishop Romero of San Salvador, martyr. El Salvador's ambassador to the Holy See, Manuel Roberto Lopez, told Catholic News Service March 7 that the news of the pope's approval "took us by surprise." "They told us before that the process was going well and that all we needed was the approval of the miracle, and it turns out the pope approved it yesterday," he said. Lopez told CNS that he was happy that Blessed Oscar Romero's canonization was imminent and that his holiness was recognized alongside one of his earliest supporters. "To see that he will be canonized along with (Blessed) Paul VI, who was a great friend of Archbishop Romero and supported his work, is a great blessing," Lopez said. The Vatican did not announce a date for Blessed Romero's canonization. The pope also recognized the miracles needed for the canonization of: Father Francesco Spinelli of Italy, founder of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament; Father Vincenzo Romano of Italy; and Mother Maria Katharina Kasper, founder of the religious congregation, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. He recognized the miracle needed for the beatification of Maria Felicia Guggiari Echeverria, a Discalced Carmelite from Paraguay whom Pope Francis has upheld as a model for the youth of Paraguay. Affectionately called, "Chiquitunga," she died from an unexpected illness in 1959 at the age of 34 before she could make her final vows. The pope also recognized the martyrdom of a 16-year-old laywoman from Slovakia. Anna Kolesarova, who lived from 1928 to 1944 in the eastern town of Pavlovce, was murdered during Slovakia's occupation by the Soviet army in World War II after refusing sexual favors to a Russian soldier. In causes just beginning their way toward sainthood, the pope signed decrees recognizing the heroic virtues of Polish Redemptorist Father Bernard Lubienski, who entered the congregation in England and then returned to Poland to re-found the Redemptorists there in the 20th century, and Sandra Sabattini, a young Italian lay woman who was active in helping the poor with the Pope John XXIII Community. She was hit by a car and died in 1984 at the age of 22. The pope also recognized the heroic virtues of Antonio Pietro Cortinovis of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (1885-1984) and three Italian women -- two who founded religious orders and a laywoman who founded a lay fraternity.
Wed, 07 Mar 2018
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the advent of Pope Francis' fifth anniversary in the papacy, a new Pew Research poll of U.S. Catholics shows their regard of the pope is, for the first time, colored by their political leanings. The survey, released March 6, said it saw "signs of growing discontent with Francis among Catholics on the political right, with increasing shares of Catholic Republicans saying they view Francis unfavorably, and that they think he is too liberal and naive." In 2014, one year into Pope Francis' papacy, "there was no discernible difference between the share of Catholic Republicans (90 percent) and Democrats (87 percent) who expressed a favorable view of Francis," the survey said. "Today, by contrast, the pope's favorability rating is 10 points higher among Catholic Democrats (89 percent) than among Catholic Republicans (79 percent)." "In our polling about John Paul II and Benedict XVI, when we look at them we don't see any falloff from them over time," Greg Smith, a Pew senior researcher, told Catholic News Service. "What's interesting about this survey that this is the first one where this political polarization among American Catholics really stands out." The March 6 poll was the eighth time Pew had asked Catholics their views about the pope. Pew had asked Catholics about Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict eight times total over 25 years -- five times for Pope Benedict and three for Pope John Paul. Pope Francis still maintains marks any religious or civil leaders would covet: 94 percent of Catholics say he is compassionate and 91 percent say he his humble -- numbers unchanged from a 2015 Pew survey. His overall favorable rating is down one point, from 85 to 84 percent, from a 2014 poll. Those with unfavorable views of the pope were double that of 2014, but still in the single digits at 8 percent. But "the share of American Catholics who say Pope Francis is 'too liberal' has jumped 15 percentage points between 2015 and today, from 19 percent to 34 percent," the poll said. And 24 percent of U.S. Catholics now say he is naive, up from 15 percent in 2015. Since 2014, "the share of Catholic Republicans who say Francis represents a major, positive change for the Catholic Church has declined from 60 percent to 37 percent. By contrast, there has been little movement since the end of Francis' first year as pope in the share of Catholic Democrats who view him as a major change for the better," the poll said -- 71 percent today vs. 76 percent four years ago. Other groups hold Pope Francis in high esteem, although not as much as Catholics do. Of white mainline Protestants, 67 percent approve of Pope Francis' tenure, as do 58 percent of religiously unaffiliated adults. Slimmer majorities of black Protestants (53 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (52 percent) also approve of the pope. Nine percent of white evangelicals were unfavorable toward Pope Francis when he was chosen pope in 2013. That number has since tripled to 28 percent; it had been 31 percent last year. The survey introduced new questions not asked in past polls. Fifty-five percent of Catholics said the priests at their parish are "very supportive" of Pope Francis. Another 23 percent say their priests are "somewhat supportive" of the pontiff. Similar approval numbers were generated when Catholics were asked whether Pope Francis was doing an "excellent" or "good" job appointing new bishops and cardinals; 58 percent said so. And 55 percent say he is doing an "excellent" or "good" job addressing environmental issues. A somewhat larger majority -- 63 percent -- said Pope Francis "has done at least a little to promote acceptance of homosexuality," the survey said, adding he has done "about the right amount" or that they would like to see him "do more" on this issue. Also, 64 percent of Catholics say the pope has done at least a little to increase acceptance of divorce and remarriage. The survey further asked Catholics to describe the most significant thing Pope ...
Wed, 07 Mar 2018
There is a sector of the Vatican that shows great initiative, is not afflicted by press reports of its internal squabbles and attracts continually growing interest. It is also the only important Vatican sector that is run by a woman: Barbara Jatta, 55, who is married to a medical doctor and has three children. Since the beginning of 2017, she has been in charge of the Vatican Museums, which range from its painting and sculpture collections to a display of the automobiles used by the popes. They add to the Vatican’s cultural prestige, attract more than 6 million visitors annually — which, with a range in entrance fees from 4 to 21 euro, means they contribute substantially to the Vatican budget — and even collaborate with Vatican diplomacy, as shown by an upcoming exchange of exhibits with China. The statistics are impressive: an average 25,000 visitors daily; 20,000 works on display; 200 events annually and 20 books published, many of them lavish catalogues; 600 employees plus some external restorers who work full time in the Vatican. Family roots Barbara Jatta seemed destined for a career in museums and the arts. She is related to Antonio Jatta, who was a 19th-century parliamentary deputy and landowner in Ruvo di Puglia, in the heel of the Italian boot, who divided up his land among his peasants. With the findings on his property, mainly from the Hellenistic period, he established an archeological museum in his mansion. Since 1991, the private museum has been a state archeological museum in which, uniquely, his descendants’ family still have their residence. Barbara Jatta’s maternal grandfather was well-known Roman architect Andrea Busiri Vici. Born in Rome, Jatta studied the restoration and conservation of archives and books before graduating from the State University in Rome with a thesis on the history of design, engraving and graphics. After post-graduate studies in Portugal, London and three years in the United States, where she worked in the Cleveland Museum graphics section, she lectured at a Naples university and wrote several books on artists and art history. She was employed in the State Graphics Institute for 15 years until 1996 when she transferred to the Vatican Library, working in the section that is called Prints but has also photographs, maps and other visual material. She became its head. In 2007 a renowned Italian art historian, Antonio Paolucci, became director of the Vatican Museums and initiated extensive renovations. Before he retired at the end of 2016, he ensured Jatta was his successor; with this in mind she had moved from the library to the museums, as deputy director, only six months before. She is the first woman director in the museums’ 512-year history. A woman in charge Asked to explain her appointment, she has said that the museums sought someone from outside but not too far outside. In fact, it is only a walk along corridors from the museum to the library. At a Rome news conference in late January, she was asked if being a woman had been an advantage in her appointment. She said she hoped she was appointed because of her professional skills but added that the appointment of a woman reflected an evolution. “When I started working in the Vatican 21 years ago, I was only the third woman in the library, but now they constitute 50 percent of the library staff,” she said. “I have been well accepted by those who work in the museums — I had collaborated with some of them previously and, moreover, Antonio Paolucci ensured that I got to know all the staff before he left.” During her first year, the web service has been expanded, and 15 additional curators have been employed. The museums organize cultural tours to the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo. The lectures on various aspects of museology have increased, as has the use of a new exhibition area where the left-hand colonnade around St. Peter’s Square joins the basilica’s façade. Here a free exhibition on the Church in Korea was held and also a free ...
Tue, 06 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis used a meeting with thousands of Italian nurses to pay tribute to a nurse he believes saved his life by arguing with his doctors that he needed more aggressive antibiotics to treat a lung infection. "When, at the age of 20, I was on the verge of death, she was the one who told the doctors, even arguing with them, 'No, this isn't working. You must give more,'" the pope said March 3 during a meeting with members of Italy's national association of nursing professionals. With the removal of part of the infected lung and the antibiotics, "I survived," Pope Francis said. "I thank her and I want you to know her name: Sister Cornelia Caraglio." The Dominican nun from Italy was "a great woman, and courageous to the point of arguing with the doctors," he said. Like Sister Caraglio, the pope told the Italian nurses, "you are there all day and you see what happens to the patient. Thank you for that!" In hospitals and rehabilitation centers, he said, nurses are at "the crossroads" of dozens of relationships, involving patients, their families, doctors and other staff. Nurses tend to spend much more time with the patients and family members than any other staff, he said, so they usually have more information about a host of factors that must be considered when determining how best to care for the patient as a person. "The sensitivity you acquire by being in contact with patients all day," he said, "makes you promoters of the life and dignity of persons." Touch is an important factor for demonstrating respect for the dignity of the person, the pope said. When Jesus healed the leper, he said, he extended his hand and touched the man. "We must recognize the importance of this simple gesture," Pope Francis said. "Mosaic law forbid touching lepers and banned them from approaching inhabited places. But Jesus went to the heart of the law, which is summarized in love for one's neighbor." Jesus drew near to the leper, he said, and showed that God was close to him, too. Never forget the "medicine of caresses," Pope Francis told the nurses. "A caress, a smile, is full of meaning for one who is sick. It is a simple gesture, but encouraging, he or she feels accompanied, feels closer to being healed, feels like a person, not a number."
Tue, 06 Mar 2018
Pope Francis has decided that a new Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church be universally celebrated. The announcement of the new memorial’s insertion into the General Roman Calendar came after publication of a decree signed on Feb. 11 by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. While the Marian memorial had been celebrated locally in some dioceses and religious communities throughout the world, it will now be celebrated throughout the universal Church in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The new memorial has a moveable date, since it is part of the Easter cycle, and is fixed to the Monday after Pentecost. One might ask what is the point of applying such titles to Mary? And why do we celebrate them? As the old maxim states, “ de Maria numquam satis ” (about Mary, not enough can be said). The reason, as theologian and mariologist Father Hugh Rahner, S.J., explains, is that “whatever is said of God’s eternal wisdom itself, can be applied in a wide sense to the Church, in a narrower sense to Mary, and in a particular way to every faithful soul.” There are many theological implications that flow from the institution of this liturgical memorial. These are rooted in understanding the Church as the Body of Christ and Mary’s role in the life of the faithful. The role of Mary Blessed Pope Paul VI officially bestowed upon Mary the title of “Mother of the Church” at the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council in 1964. Traced back to fourth-century origins with St. Ambrose, the title “Mother of the Church” evokes Mary’s spiritual motherhood, which is tied up with the nature of the Church. Much of Vatican II’s ecclesiology, particularly found in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church ( Lumen Gentium ) is developed from the rich understanding of the Church in St. Paul’s theology. Therein the faithful learn of their union with Christ through membership in his body. St. Paul spoke clearly and eloquently of this reality, which he came to know firsthand at his conversion. When knocked to the ground and blinded, the Christian persecutor heard a voice ask him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). With this, it was made clear that Christ identified as one with his followers. Together they constitute a composite, a united whole — in what St. Augustine later described as the totus Christus , the whole Christ — for Christ and the baptized are one body. St. Augustine put this in its proper Marian context: Mary is “the mother of the members of Christ … having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.” “Mary gave birth to the One, and the Church gives birth to the Many, who through the One become one,” he said. Since Mary is the mother of Christ, we who are the members of his body — the Church — are her sons and daughters. The new annual celebration of a memorial recalling her motherhood of the Church is occasion to meditate on this significant reality of the Church’s identity and the implications that flow from it. It is by the same principle that the fathers of Vatican II chose to include a lengthy portion on Mary in Lumen Gentium rather than promulgate a separate document about her. Church’s model and help Mary’s union with her Son is inseparable. This new memorial also is intended to foster greater Marian piety because we turn to Mary who is an example for all mankind, particularly the faithful. She is a “preeminent and … wholly unique member of the Church” (LG, No. 53). Mary’s maternity is found in her obedience, faith, hope and charity. These characteristics are the fertile ground where the Word of God was planted and brought forth abundant life. Supernatural life came to the world by her “fiat,” which brought forth the Life of the World. Mary is, therefore, the New Eve since, as death came through Eve, life comes through her. Pope St. John Paul II stated that “in her new motherhood in the ...
Mon, 05 Mar 2018
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has decreed that Latin-rite Catholics around the world will mark the feast of "the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church" on the Monday after Pentecost each year. The Gospel reading for the feast, which technically is called a "memorial," is John 19:25-31, which recounts how from the cross Jesus entrusted Mary to his disciples as their mother and entrusted his disciples to Mary as her children. The decree announcing the addition to the church calendar was released March 3 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. Pope Francis approved the decree after "having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety," the decree said. Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the congregation, noted in a brief commentary published the same day, that Blessed Paul VI in 1964 had formally bestowed the title of "mother of the church" on Mary, but that recognition of her maternal care for the church and for believers had already spanned centuries. "The feeling of Christian people through two millennia of history has cultivated the filial bond which inseparably binds the disciples of Christ to his Blessed Mother in various ways," the cardinal said. The church calendars of Poland, Argentina, St. Peter's Basilica and some religious orders already set aside the Monday after Pentecost as the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. Honoring Mary as mother of the church on the day after Pentecost also highlights for Catholics that Mary was present with the disciples on Pentecost, praying with them as the Holy Spirit descended. Cardinal Sarah said that Mary, "from the awaiting of the Spirit at Pentecost, has never ceased to take motherly care of the pilgrim church on earth." Along with the decree and his comments, Cardinal Sarah also published in Latin the specific liturgical texts for use on the memorial at Mass and in the Liturgy of the Hours. Bishops' conferences "will approve the translation of the texts they need and, after receiving their confirmation, will publish them in the liturgical books for their jurisdiction," the cardinal said.