A guide to the heart of Pope Francis … what makes him tick?

VATICAN CITY — If you are looking to unwrap the mystery of Pope Francis, Msgr. Paul Tighe of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications says there is a new book just out that helps people “get to know this man a little better, and perhaps more importantly for him, to let us know from where he draws his strength, where is the heart of this man, this mystery.”

Pope Francis in the Vatican's apostolic library, Feb. 24, 2014. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis in the Vatican’s apostolic library, Feb. 24, 2014. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Andrea Tornielli, a Vatican expert and director of the online news site, Vatican Insider, said this new book also tells people “what is essential in the life of a Christian,” not with abstract truths, but with written examples from Pope Francis and beautiful color photographs showing “these works in action.”

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Pope Francis in Cagliari, Sardinia, Sept. 22, 2013. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The new book that Tornielli and Msgr. Tighe are praising is none other than “Pope Francis: A Guide to God’s Time,” the latest (first!) book jointly published by Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican publishing house, L.E.V. They spoke last night at special presentation marking the book’s launch.

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From the left: CNS senior correspondent, Cindy Wooden; Vatican expert, Andrea Tornielli: Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; CNS senior photographer, Paul Haring. The panel presented “Pope Francis: A Guide to God’s Time,” a new book jointly published by Catholic News Service/USCCB and LEV. Dec. 3, 2014 in Rome.

Written by senior Vatican correspondent Cindy Wooden and illustrated with 91 stunning photographs by senior photographer Paul Haring, Msgr. Tighe said the authors let the pope “tell us a little about himself and the most fundamental parts.”

This nice promotional video below has the authors themselves explaining some of their discoveries and insights about Pope Francis.

And this Vatican Radio interview with Cindy Wooden gives a lot of interesting background.

 

 

Msgr. Tighe ended his presentation with an appeal to all Catholic communicators to reflect more of what Cindy and Paul’s book does:

“We have a pope who has hope, who knows of joy, who knows of Christ. Our job is to help other people — through him — find the Christ who is the root of our joy and our hope.”

Pope Francis during the Corpus Christi observance May 30, 2013 in Rome. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis during the Corpus Christi observance May 30, 2013 in Rome. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Eeyore (and girlfriend) come to Rome

VATICAN CITY — Popes often receive unusual gifts, and today Pope Francis was given Thea and Noah — two Italian donkeys.

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Pope Francis received two donkeys at the Vatican Dec. 3, 2014 from the founder of Eurolactis, a European cooperative that supplies donkey’s milk. (CNS photo courtesy of Eurolactis via Osservatore Romano).

Eurolactis, a European cooperative that produces donkey’s milk, donated the donkeys to the pope today when the company’s founder, Pierluigi Orunesu, met with the pope during his Wednesday general audience.

In addition to its “cosmetic benefits,” donkey’s milk is used to feed children, newborns and premature infants who are allergic or intolerant to cow’s milk because it is easier to digest and rich in nutrients.

That is why Eurolactis also donated 21 gallons of donkey’s milk to the pope’s own pediatric hospital, Bambino Gesu.

According to Orunescu,  Pope Francis told him that he was fed donkey’s milk as a child!

Eurolactis says that Thea and Noah will head off to the papal farm in Castel Gandolfo, which might mean donkey’s milk could someday be added to the papal menu?

 

Pope removes Cardinal Burke from Vatican post

Cardinal Burke leaves concluding session of extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at Vatican

Cardinal Burke leaves concluding session of extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has removed U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, 66, as head of the Vatican’s highest court and named him to a largely ceremonial post with a chivalric religious order.

Cardinal Burke, formerly prefect of the Apostolic Signature, will now serve as cardinal patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, the Vatican announced Nov. 8.

The move had been widely expected since an Italian journalist reported it in September, and Cardinal Burke himself confirmed it to reporters last month.

It is highly unusual for a pope to remove an official of the cardinal’s stature and age without assigning him comparable responsibilities elsewhere. By church law, cardinals in the Vatican must offer to resign at 75, but often continue in office for several more years. As usual when announcing personnel changes other than retirements for reasons of age, the Vatican did not give a reason for Cardinal Burke’s reassignment.

A prominent devotee of the traditional liturgy and outspoken defender of traditional doctrine on controversial moral issues, the cardinal has appeared increasingly out of step with the current pontificate.

In December 2013, Pope Francis did not reappoint him to his position on the Congregation for Bishops, which advises the pope on episcopal appointments.

Cardinal Burke expressed frustration, in a February 2014 article in the Vatican newspaper, that many Americans thought Pope Francis intended to change Catholic teaching on certain “critical moral issues of our time,” including abortion and same-sex marriage, because of the pope’s stated belief that “it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

Insisting that the pope had “clearly affirmed the church’s moral teaching, in accord with her unbroken tradition,” Cardinal Burke blamed perceptions to the contrary on “false praise” of Pope Francis by “persons whose hearts are hardened against the truth.”

After Pope Francis invited German Cardinal Walter Kasper to address a meeting of the world’s cardinals in February, Cardinal Burke emerged as a leading opponent of Cardinal Kasper’s proposal to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

Cardinal Burke also warned that any efforts to streamline the marriage annulment process — the mandate of a commission the pope established in August — should not undermine the process’ rigor.

During the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, Cardinal Burke was one of the strongest critics of a midterm report that used remarkably conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to Catholic teaching, including those in same-sex unions and other non-marital relationships. The day the report was released, the cardinal told an American reporter that a statement from Pope Francis reaffirming traditional doctrine on those matters was “long overdue.”

Cardinal Burke made the news again late last month when he told a Spanish journalist that many Catholics “feel a bit of seasickness, because it seems to them that the ship of the church has lost its compass. The cause of this disorientation must be put aside. We have the constant tradition of the church, the teachings, the liturgy, morals. The catechism does not change.”

A former archbishop of St. Louis, Cardinal Burke has led the Apostolic Signature since June 2008. At the time of his dismissal he was the highest-ranking U.S. bishop at the Vatican. That distinction now belongs to Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The new head of the Apostolic Signature is French Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, till now the secretary for relations with states, the Vatican’s equivalent of a foreign minister.

Pope Francis’ top 10 secrets for living a holier life

VATICAN CITY — As children (and grown-ups) are getting ready for Halloween tonight, Pope Francis has spent the past week getting people ready for the feast of All Saints, celebrated Nov. 1.

FRESCO BY MELOZZO OF FORLI SEEN IN VATICAN MUSEUMS

A fresco of an angel by Melozzo of Forli is seen in the Vatican Museums in 2010. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

While the saints are meant to be role models for today’s men and women, the pope likes to remind people that holiness is not something completely out of reach — it’s not some “rare privilege for the few,” but an inheritance everyone receives at baptism.

The pope has said, “Saints aren’t superheroes nor were they born perfect. They are like us, each one of us,” but when they experienced the life-changing encounter with God, they never left his side.

So are you ready to be a saint!?

We’ve compiled some of Pope Francis’ Top 10 Secrets of Success for living a holy life in the slideshow below:

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Cardinal Pell calls for ‘no doctrinal back-flips’ at next family synod

By Robert Duncan
Catholic News Service

(UPDATED Monday, Oct. 27)

ROME (CNS) – Looking ahead to the October 2015 world Synod of Bishops on the family, Cardinal George Pell said the task for Catholics “over the next 12 months” is to explain “the necessity of conversion, the nature of the Mass,” and “the purity of heart the Scriptures require of us to receive holy Communion.”

Cardinal Pell (CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Pell (CNS/Paul Haring)

The cardinal’s comments came days after the conclusion of the 2014 extraordinary synod on the family, which debated making it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

“We will be counterproductive if we have anger or hate in our hearts, if we lapse into sterile polemics against a surprisingly small number of Catholic opponents,” the cardinal wrote.

Cardinal Pell’s remarks came in a homily he had prepared for a celebration of Mass in the extraordinary form Oct. 24 at Rome’s Church of the Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims.

The cardinal was unable to celebrate the liturgy, part of the Populus Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage to Rome for devotees of the traditional Latin Mass, on account of bronchitis. In an additional prepared text, he assured those present that his sickness was the only reason he was unable to attend.

In the cardinal’s absence, his personal secretary Father Mark Withoos celebrated the Mass and read the homily.

The “college of bishops and all synods work by consensus,” Cardinal Pell wrote. Before next October, Catholics have to work to build a consensus “out of the present divisions,” he wrote.

“Pastoral practice and teachings can only be change by consensus,” he wrote.

“Doctrine does develop, we understand truth more deeply, but there are no doctrinal back-flips in Catholic history,” the cardinal wrote. “The apostolic tradition announced first by Christ and founded in the Scriptures is the touchstone for truth and genuine pastoral practice.”

“We, and especially you young people, must live this in love, giving reason for your hope,” he wrote. “This is a unique opportunity, which we must seize in God’s name.”

Cardinal Pell also wrote about the importance of the papacy in defending and developing doctrine.

“The role of the successor of St. Peter has always been vital to Christian and Catholic life, especially as the touchstone of doctrinal fidelity and as a resolver of disputes, pastoral as well as doctrinal,” the cardinal wrote.

“The church is not built on the rock of Peter’s faith,” he wrote, “but on Peter himself, despite his faults and failings.”

“Pope Francis is the 266th pope and history has seen 37 false or antipopes,” he wrote.

“The story of the popes is stranger than fiction,” the cardinal wrote, and today “we have one of the more unusual popes in history, enjoying almost unprecedented popularity. He is doing a marvelous job backing the financial reforms,” he wrote

Cardinal Pell concluded his written remarks with a prayer “I was taught as a child: May the Lord preserve the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and give him life. Keep him safe on earth and deliver him not up into the hands of his enemies.”

‘Adopt a Christian’ campaign to help Iraqi refugees

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has called repeatedly for prayers and concrete aid from the world’s faithful for those hit by the continuing crises in Iraq and Syria — a call just echoed recently by hundreds of the world’s bishops attending the extraordinary synod on the family.

After convening a high-level summit of Vatican diplomats Oct. 2-4 to discuss the dramatic situation of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, the pope will be asking a formal meeting of cardinals Oct. 20 to look at the summit’s findings.

Catholics around the world have been mobilizing, too, as church leaders in the region keep speaking out for an end to the violence, propaganda and funding of terrorists.

AsiaNews, a Catholic news outlet that’s part of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (an Italy-based missionary order), launched an “Adopt a Christian” campaign this summer, for those people forced to flee from their homes in Mosul, Iraq, and the Nineveh plain because of extremist militants sweeping the region.

They’ve collected nearly $900,000 — all of it going to bishops from the Catholic and Eastern churches who have distributed it among their internally displaced and refugee parishioners.

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A displaced Iraqi child, who fled from violence by Islamic State militants in Mosul, sits with her family outside their tent at a camp in Irbil Sept. 14. (CNS photo/Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters)

The campaign is still on, said Father Bernardo Cervellera, the head of AsiaNews, and it will continue as long as the emergency lasts. He said just $6 can help feed one person a day, while $200 will last for one month.

He said the outpouring of support is a blow to the “globalization of indifference” with thousands of donations coming in from all over the world including China, Taiwan, Switzerland and Brazil.

Catholic Relief Services also gives people an easy way to support families affected by violence in Syria.

Chaldean Bishop Amel Nona of Mosul, who is with refugees in Kurdistan, has called for a permanent political solution because:

It is no longer possible to go on living in tents, or in public parks, or in schools because the season is changing and winter is knocking at the door. We have a lot of homeless people and not even a roof to cover them.

We are trying to find a solution to the housing problem, but we cannot accommodate everyone because the numbers are huge: we are not a powerful international humanitarian organization, although all our Christians insistently ask us to help them.

Our possibilities are limited because the whole country is going through a difficult phase of religious and ethnic division, accompanied by a real civil war and mutual distrust among the political and social parties. …

Once again I thank you all, praying to the Lord that our crisis is an opportunity to unite all Christians, making us active in our faith.
May the Lord bless you.


+ Amel NONA
Archbishop of Mosul of the Chaldeans
September 14, 2014

 

 

Synod work continuing in small groups

VATICAN CITY — As members, experts and observers at the Synod of Bishops on the family meet in small groups to discuss the midterm report and make suggestions — some major, some minor — for improving it, three group leaders met the press.

Jesuit Father Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the groups are formulating “a systematic reaction to the relatio post disceptationem (the midterm report) in such a way as to provide material for the drafting of the relatio sinodi,” which is scheduled to be voted upon Saturday and form the basis for preparing for the world Synod of Bishops on the family next year.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., said his group had finished its work this morning; a Vatican official said a couple other groups also finished — and so get the afternoon and evening off.

Archbishop Kurtz, Spanish Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, each said their groups insisted on improving the relatio by highlighting the beauty and the powerful witness provided by strong Catholic families who are living in accordance with church teaching.

They also insisted their groups are trying to preserve and strengthen the relatio’s missionary approach and emphasis, which consists in reaching out to all families, listening to them, affirming those qualities that are good and accompanying them in growing toward holiness.

Asked whether they were swayed by negative reaction to the relatio, particularly reaction from organized groups fearing the relatio’s language marked a watering down of church teaching, the three claimed no.

Cardinal Sistach said, “We are all working with great freedom,” speaking from the heart, listening to one another as Pope Francis had encouraged them and praying for guidance. “We are seeking the will of God, not the will of any groups.”

However, he said, his group is making some changes in every section of the relatio. In addition to adding stronger language about the beauty of marriage, he said, his group wants to see an affirmation of “the Gospel of life,” since the human person is born into a family, should be protected and raised within a family and is watched over by the family until natural death.

Archbishop Fisichella said his group is asking for the inclusion of something mentioned in the synod hall, but not in the relatio: a request that couples seeking an annulment are not charged money for the process in order to ensure that, “when speaking of a sacrament, there is not the minimum suspicion” that money is the aim of the process. A second addition, he said, is recognition that couples who adopt a child are, in fact, making an act of love and charity.

Asked if their groups are making any mention of “Humanae Vitae,” the 1968 teaching on married love affirming the church’s ban on artificial contraception, the three synod members said yes, but the problem was how to educate Catholic consciences and how to encourage more of them to learn about natural family planning.

The synod members also were asked if with all the freedom to speak and the humility of listening to others the tradition of disputatio — a disciplined, but not always sweet debate — had disappeared. Fortunately, no, Archbishop Fisichella said. Listening to about 200 four-minute speeches, disputes are “an element of growth” and are an important antidote to the discussion being “insanely boring.”