Statutes for economic reform are in force: Pell will oversee but not manage assets

The Pope promulgated them on 22 February before the Spiritual Exercises took place. They came into force as of March 1st. There will be three general revisors as per the proposals made by the Council for Legislative Texts

A general revisor assisted by two two others revisors, a Secretariat for the Economy with a strong oversight element, that is able to control and advise on the correct management of human and material resources. The body that was established a year ago and is headed by Australian cardinal George Pell is not going to become a “super-dicastery” with powers of control, investment and expenditure as was suggested on a number of occasions. In fact, the Pope has established that the Secretariat will remain a body with powers similar to those of a reinforced Prefecture for economic affairs, which has some of the powers APSA has and the ability to regularise budgets. A read of the statutes of the Secretariat, the Council for the Economy and the general Revisor which were published today but approved by the Pope on 22 February, before he set off on his Lenten retreat to Ariccia, it emerges that Francis took into account the most significant suggestions sent by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. The Council had advised increasing the number of revisors and keeping monitoring and management tasks separate.
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Pope at Audience: No Honor for Elderly Means No Future for Young People

Says It Is a Mortal Sin When Children Don’t Visit Their Elderly Parents

“Where there is no honor for the elderly, there is no future for young people.”

During his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis made this strong statement while continuing his catechesis on the family, with this and next week focusing on the elderly.

Confining this week’s address to their problematic current condition, the Holy Father said the elderly are ignored and that a society that does this is perverse.

While noting that life has been lengthened thanks to advances in medicine, he lamented that while the number of older people has multiplied, “our societies are not organized enough to make room for them, with proper respect and concrete consideration for their fragility and their dignity.”

“As long as we are young, we are led to ignore old age, as if it were a disease to be taken away.”
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Sisters offer pastoral presence through social media

Pioneers in ministry and theology

Catholic sisters have always gone to minister where the people are: they’ve crossed prairies and oceans, entered slums and prison cells, healed the sick and taught children, prayed with and counseled those discerning big decisions.

In today’s global culture linked by digital media, the people instead can come to the sisters, especially Srs. Julie Vieira and Maxine Kollasch, whose brainchild, A Nun’s Life Ministry, is an online gathering place for thousands of users from all over the world.

Nearly 5,000 Facebook fans and more than 4,000 Twitter followers find hospitality and welcome as well as answers at A Nun’s Life.

“Their website is an example of faith-sharing communication that is successful and relevant,” said Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, an assistant professor of liturgy, catechesis and evangelization at Loyola University New Orleans. “They take seriously where people are at today, and they are successful at inviting encounter between faith and culture.”
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By vassallomalta Posted in Comment

The Blessed Stepinac and the persecution of the Jews

The Archbishop of Zagrabia helped the persecuted and from the pulpit preached that there is only one race: God’s race

The Blessed Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, Archbishop of Zagreb, imprisoned, tried and convicted in 1946 by the communist regime of Tito on the basis of false documents and testimony, was made into a black legend. He was jailed for being complicit with the regime of Ante Pavelic and the ethnic massacres perpetrated by his Ustasha, which decimated the Orthodox Serbs and Jews. In fact, the only real reason for his captivity was his opposition to the project of Tito, who wanted to create a popular national Church, separate from Rome. But the idea that the archbishop of Croatia – who is celebrated today in this liturgical memorial – was aligned with the policies of the regime and pro-Nazi anti-Semitic Pavelic continue to hover. The Catholic Church, with his beatification, had examined thousands of documents and testimony, and had no doubts.
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Assyrian Christians released, but many concerned for those still held

Christians in the Middle East welcomed the release of nearly 20 Assyrian Christians abducted by Islamic State militants in northeastern Syria, but expressed concern that more than 200 others remained in captivity.

“I can confirm the release of 19 persons (17 men and 2 women) who were captured by the Islamic State in the Khabur region,” said Father Emanuel Youkhana, who heads the Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq, CAPNI.

“We pray and hope for the others to be released,” he added.

Bashir Saedi, a senior official in the Assyrian Democratic Organization, said all those released were around 50 years of age or older, suggesting that age might have been a factor.

Vatican Radio reported that Osama Edward, who heads the Assyrian Human Rights Network, said the Christians were released because jizya, an Islamic protection tax levied on non-Muslims, had been paid.
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Pope’s Morning Homily: God’s Forgiveness is Given to Those with A Cleansed Heart

Reflects on the Nature of True Conversion and Hypocrisy During Mass at Casa Santa Marta

In his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Pope Francis called on the faithful to follow Christ’s invitation to conversion.

The Holy Father began by reflecting on the first reading from the prophet Isaiah in which he calls “the princes of Sodom” and the “people of Gomorrah” to turn from their evil ways.

“Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow,” the reading states.

According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father told those present that the reading is an invitation from God to conversion by learning to do right.
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Francis: Catholics in Libya are courageous not to leave the country

During the audience with members of the Episcopal Conference of North African Bishops (CERNA), who are in the Vatican for their ad limina visit, the Pope talked about “new disciples”, relations with Islam and migration were discussed

Pope Francis praised Libya’s Catholics for not abandoning their country despite the ongoing conflict. He did so during today’s audience with members of the Episcopal Conference of North African Bishops (CERNA) who are currently on their visit ad limina apostolorum in the Vatican. Francis addressed prelates of Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, expressing his appreciation for the fact that a number of Christian sanctuaries have been restored in Algeria. Francis then emphasised the “joy” that comes with “welcoming new disciples” and encouraged Christians to support migrants who leave Africa for Europe.
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Commander of Vatican Gendarmerie: Here’s how we protect the Pope

Domenico Giani talks about papal security in an interview with Italian state police magazine “Polizia Moderna”

“The threat exists. This is what has emerged from y conversations with Italian and foreign colleagues. But the existence of a threat is one thing and a planned attack is another. I can say that at the moment we are not aware of any plans to attack the Vatican and the Holy Father.” These are the words of the Commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani, who was interviewed by Italian state police magazine Polizia Moderna.

“We are constantly on high alert, always in proportion to the circumstances,” Giani explained. “It is not just ISIS that represents a threat, there is also a risk of isolated actions which are more dangerous because they are unpredictable. I am thinking of fanatics, mentally disturbed individuals, mythomaniacs or simply individuals who may decide to do something in the Vatican to attract media attention.”
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Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘We Must Accuse Ourselves in Order to Be Merciful’

Reflects on Forgiving Others During Mass at Casa Santa Marta

“When we learn to accuse ourselves of our sins, we can become merciful with others.”

These were Pope Francis’ words during his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning. According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel from St. Luke, in which Jesus preaches on being merciful with others.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven,” Jesus says.

The Pope said that mankind is “master…in justifying ourselves.”
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Vatican spokesman denies books mailed to Synod participants were intercepted

A Vatican spokesman has denied reports that the Office of the Synod intercepted books that had been mailed to bishops participating in the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops. “I can deny it,” said Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office. He was responding to a report by journalist Edward Pentin that about 100 copies of Remaining in the Truth of Christ, a collection of essays defending Catholic teaching on marriage, had been purloined.

“The copies that arrived by mail were distributed in the mailboxes without impediment,” Father Lombardi told AP. “One person told me he even received two copies!”
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Central African Republic: Sant’Egidio launches peace appeal

Nine political leaders of the Central African Republic are making an effort to respect the election results. This is a sign of hope for one of the world’s poorest countries which has been at war since 2013

“It is time to put an end to this sad situation.” A solemn commitment has been made by four former prime ministers of the Central African Republic, the Vice President of the interim Parliament, the President for the national forum of Bangui and three more important political leaders who are running in the upcoming national elections. They met in Rome on 26 and 27 February at the Sant’Egidio headquarters in Rome and launched an appeal for peace today, addressed at the Central African and international communities.
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New Vatican leaks aim to undercut Secretariat for Economy

An Italian newspaper has printed leaked documents detailing the spending of the new Secretariat for the Economy, in an obvious effort to discredit the work of the powerful new Vatican office.

The documents published in L’Espresso showed that the Secretariat for the Economy, which has responsibility for supervision of the entire Vatican budget, had spent about €500,000 ($560,000) in its first six months. The bulk of that money was spent in an extensive review of the budgets of every Vatican office. However, L’Espresso also noted a payment of over $2,500 to a noted tailor of clerical vestments.

The leaking of these internal documents bore testimony to the mounting resistance within the Vatican against the economic reforms spearhead by Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy. The leaks also provided a reminder of the “Vatileaks” scandal, which plagued Pope Benedict XVI and led many cardinals to call for a thorough reform of the Vatican bureaucracy.
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Pope at Angelus: the Path of Jesus Always Brings Us to Happiness

Urges Faithful to Have Attitude of Detachment From Worldly Things, Interior Freedom

Even if we face trials, if we follow the way of Jesus, we will find happiness. With this message, Pope Francis addressed the faithful gathered in a sunny St. Peter’s Square on the Second Sunday of Lent.

The Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel, which recounts the event of the Transfiguration, when Jesus gives Peter, James, and John a glimpse of his glory, to confirm them in the faith and encourage them to follow Him and the path of the Cross.

“Jesus doesn’t deceive us,” Pope Francis told the faithful.

Although we, like the Apostles at times were, can be scared and doubtful, this should never deter us from following our Lord.

Francis stressed that when we follow Him, we will always find happiness.

“The Lord,” he rejoiced, “is able to transform us!”
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Father Cantalamessa’s 1st Lent Homily 2015

“The Joy of the Gospel Fills the Heart and Life”

Here is the first Lenten homily given this year by the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa.

* * *

In this first meditation of Lent, I would like to take advantage of the Holy Father’s absence, to propose a reflection on his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, which I would not have dared to do in his presence. Obviously, it will not be a systematic comment, but only a reflection together to make our own some of his qualifying points.

The Personal Encounter with Jesus of Nazareth

Written at the end of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, the Exhortation presents three poles of interest, which are intertwined: the subject, the object and the method of the evangelization: who must evangelize, what must be evangelized, how should one evangelize. In regard to the evangelizing subject, the Pope says that it is constituted by all the baptized:

“In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (Cf. Matthew 28:19). All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals, while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized” (nr. 120).
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During Lent, pope offers handy tips for preparing for confession

As Catholics are encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their lives during Lent, Pope Francis offered some quick tips to help people prepare for the sacrament of penance.

After a brief explanation of why people should go to confession — “because we are all sinners” — the pope listed 30 key questions to reflect on as part of making an examination of conscience and being able to “confess well.”
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Francis’ theological spokesman Walter Kasper publishes new book on pope

German Cardinal Walter Kasper has emerged as Pope Francis’ theological spokesman. In his recently published book, Pope Francis’ Revolution of Tenderness and Love, released Feb. 18, Kasper portrays the pope as neither conservative nor liberal but a radical who wants to bring about a revolution of mercy.

Kasper begins by describing how in a very short time the new pope managed to bring a fresh wind to the church, which soon attracted favorable attention worldwide. Within 18 months of Francis’ election, a great many books about him were published. Most were in favor, but there were also a few critical voices, Kasper wrote. And in certain circles, both open and hidden criticism of Francis has increased.

“A considerable number of people do not trust the new enthusiasm, are exercising genteel restraint and have adopted a wait and see attitude,” Kasper wrote. “What for most people seems a new spring, is for them a passing cold spell — not a new beginning but just an intermezzo.”

However, Kasper is not going to detail church political assessments, biographical details, anecdotes or inside stories about what is really or supposedly happening behind Vatican walls. “That may all be interesting but it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter,” he wrote.

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2nd Sunday of Lent B

Reading I: Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Psalm 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
Reading II: Romans 8:31b-34
Gospel: Mark 9:2-10

“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust” (First Reading)

The Anatomy of Sacrifice

What do we mean when we say that we make a sacrifice? I have sacrificed my career for my children! I sacrifice a lot for my job! Love demands that we make many sacrifices! Sometimes we must sacrifice life itself for the sake of integrity! Christ sacrificed himself for our sins! The Eucharist is a sacrifice!

From what is common in all these expressions we can extract Webster’s definition of a sacrifice: The surrender of something of value for the sake of something else.

That is a good definition, but it contains more than first meets the eye, as is evident when we look at the concept of sacrifice in the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Take, for example, the famous story where Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. What is ultimately behind God’s invitation to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on an altar?
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Norway’s leading prelate investigated for fraud

Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of Oslo is under investigation for complicity in fraud after he admitted that his diocese used telephone directories to estimate the number of Catholics and thus receive increased funding from the state.

“The Church has registered immigrants from Catholic countries as members without asking them,” the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation reported, leading to an alleged illegitimate increase of 50 million kroner ($7.5 million) in government funding.

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Papal palates: Swiss Guard cookbook to hit shelves by summer

A cookbook featuring favorite dishes of the three most-recent popes and their elite military corps will be available this summer in English.

Buon Appetito, Swiss Guard” was written by 24-year-old David Geisser, who had worked as a chef and published two popular cookbooks in his native Switzerland before joining the Swiss Guard nearly two years ago.

“Many people do not know about the Swiss Guard,” said Geisser, whose commander conceived of the coffee-table-size book as a means to make the Guard better known.

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