Vatican News Feed

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  1. Pope: the choice between good, evil is one we all have to make

    Vatican City, Jul 23, 2017 / 05:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Pope Francis said good and evil are often entwined, and that as sinners, we can't label any one group or institution as bad, since we all face temptation and have the ability to choose which path to follow.

    “The Lord, who is wisdom incarnate, today helps us to understand that good and evil cannot identify with definite territories or determined groups of people,” the Pope said July 23.

    Jesus tells us that “the line between good and evil passes through the heart of every person. We are all sinners,” he said, and asked for anyone who is not a sinner to raise their hand – which no one did.
     
    “We are all sinners!” he said, explaining that with his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ “has freed us from the slavery of sin and gives us the grace of walking in a new life.”

    Pope Francis spoke to the crowd of pilgrims present in St. Peter's Square for his Sunday Angelus address, which this week focused on the day's Gospel passage from Matthew, in which an enemy secretly plants weeds alongside the wheat in a master's field.

    The image, he said, shows us the good seed that is planted in the world by God, but also the bad seed planted by the devil in order to corrupt the good.

    It not only speaks of the problem of evil, but also it also refers to God's patience in the master, who allows the weeds to grow alongside the wheat, so that the harvest is not lost.

    “With this image, Jesus tells us that in this world good and evil are totally entwined, that it's impossible to separate them and weed out all the evil,” Pope Francis said, adding that “only God can do this, and he will do it in the final judgment.”

    Instead, the parable represents “the field of the freedom of Christians,” who must make the difficult discernment between good and evil, choosing which one to follow.

    This, the Pope said, involves trusting God and joining two seemingly contradictory attitudes: “decision and patience.”

    Francis explained that “decision” in this case means “wanting to be good grain, with all of it's strengths, and so to distance yourself from evil and it's seductions.”

    On the other hand, patience means “preferring a Church that is the leaven of the dough, which is not afraid to dirty her hands washing the feet of her children, rather than a Church of the 'pure,' which pretends to judge before it's time who is in the Kingdom of God and who is not,” he said.

    Both of these attitudes are necessary, he said, stressing that no one is perfect, but we are all sinners who have been redeemed by Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

    Thanks to our baptism, Jesus has also given us the Sacrament of Confession, “ because we always need to be forgiven for our sins,” Francis said, adding that “to always look at the evil that is outside of us means not wanting to recognize the sin that is also within us.”

    Jesus also teaches us a different way of looking at the world and observing reality, he said. In reflecting on the parable, we are invited to learn God's timing and to see with his eyes, rather than focusing on our own, narrow vision.

    “Thanks to the beneficial influence of an anxious waiting, what were weeds or seemed like weeds, can become a product of good,” he said, adding that this is “the prospect of hope!”

    Pope Francis closed his address praying that Mary would intercede in helping us to observe in the world around us “not only dirtiness and evil, but also the good and beautiful; to expose the work of Satan, but above all to trust in the action of God who renders history fruitful.”

    After leading pilgrims in the traditional Marian prayer, he voiced his sadness over “serious tensions and violence” in Jerusalem over the weekend, which have left seven people dead.

    The deaths were the result of protests that were prompted by the placement of metal detectors at the entrance to the compound housing al-Aqsa mosque in the city, and have prompted world leaders to call for restraint on either side before the situation boils over.

    Pope Francis invited pilgrims to join him in praying for a deescalation of the violence, and that “the Lord inspires in all proposals of reconciliation and peace.”

  2. In latest appointments, Pope names new members of Roman Rota

    Vatican City, Jul 20, 2017 / 06:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Fr. Pierangelo Pietracatella and Fr. Hans-Peter Fischer are the newest members of the Roman Rota, and mark the latest in a string of appointments Pope Francis has made this summer as part of his ongoing effort to restructure the Roman Curia.

    Hailing from the northern Italian diocese of Toronta, Fr. Pietracatella, a member of the Rota, has been named as its new Chief of Office.

    Fr. Fischer, a priest of the archdiocese of Freiburg, located in Germany's black forest region, has been named an auditor of the Rota. He is the current rector of the Pontifical Teutonic College of Santa Maria in Campo Santo, located in the Vatican.

    Composed of various auditors, the Roman Rota is one of the three courts of the Holy See, the other two being the Apostolic Penitentiary and the Apostolic Signatura.

    The Apostolic Penitentiary is the tribunal in charge of cases involving excommunication and serious sins, including those whose absolution is reserved to the Holy See, while the Signatura functions as a sort of Supreme Court. The Rota, for its part, is akin to a court of appeals or court of “last instance,” and is also where marriage nullity cases are judged.

    The Roman Rota is the Vatican's court of higher instance, usually at the appellate stage, with the purpose of safeguarding rights within the Church.

    Among its responsibilities is the trying of appeals in marriage annulment cases. The annulment process was streamlined by Pope Francis in December 2015, giving the possibility of a stronger role to local bishops and cutting the automatic appeal of initial judgments, among other things.

    Announced in a July 20 communique from the Holy See, the appointments to the Rota are the latest carried out by Pope Francis in his ongoing reform of the Roman Curia.

    Earlier this month the pontiff made waves by choosing to not renew the 5-year term of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    In his stead, the Pope Francis on July 1 named Jesuit Archbishop Luis Ladaria, former secretary of the congregation, to take the helm.

    Just over two weeks later, on July 18, he tapped the congregation's undersecretary, Father Giacomo Morandi, to take Ladaria's place as secretary. The priest was also appointed titular Archbishop of Caere, however, the date of his episcopal consecration has not yet been set.

    These latest appointments by Pope Francis are significant, since many curial officials were been named by Benedict before his resignation.

    While Francis has made several of his own appointments since his election, the terms of the officials named by Benedict are now coming to an end, giving way for a curia that is shaped more by the mind of Francis as he moves forward in his process of Church reform.

  3. Florida's abortion waiting period law awaits further testimony in courts

    Tallahassee, Fla., Jul 19, 2017 / 04:43 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The attorney general of Florida has been given 60 days to gather evidence and testimonies in defense of a 2015 state law mandating 24-hour waiting periods for abortions.

    The law's constitutionality is being challenged in the courts, and it has been on hold since its passage.

    The decision was passed down by Florida Circuit Judge Terry Lewis after a July 19 hearing that had been meant to re-evaluate the law. In February, the Florida Supreme Court had upheld a lower court’s decision to stay the law after its passage in June 2015.

    Among the plaintiffs challenging the law are the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and Gainesville Woman Care, an abortion clinic which started the lawsuit.

    When the matter came before the state Supreme Court, they issued a stay on the law while they considered the law. The temporary injunction was issued in February.

    In a brief filed last month, lawyers defending the statute on the state’s behalf said the state “must be afforded a full and fair opportunity to canvas applicable relevant literature, to consult with and retain experts as needed and appropriate, to seek discovery from plaintiffs and their experts as well as from third parties, and to marshal and present relevant facts in the context of relevant law.”

    Opponents of the law argue it is an unconstitutional violation of the state’s right to privacy, and singles out abortion from other riskier medical procedures that don’t require a waiting period.

    “No mandatory abortion delay in this country has ever survived strict scrutiny,” the plaintiff’s lawyers wrote in a June 1 statement asking for a summary judgement on the case.

    The Florida bishops' conference issued a statement supporting the law after its 2015 passage. They called it “good legislation” that “gives women one day to reflect upon the risks of abortion, one day to view the image of her unborn child’s ultrasound, and one day to consult with friends, family and faith.”

    They also noted that 26 other states have such waiting period laws, and that Florida “already requires waiting periods before marriage, divorce, and the purchase of a handgun.”

  4. Father Giacomo Morandi promoted to CDF secretary

    Vatican City, Jul 18, 2017 / 12:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed Father Giacomo Morandi secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Italian priest had been a subsecretary in the dicastery since 2015.

    Fr. Morandi was also appointed titular Archbishop of Caere July 18; the date of his episcopal consecration has yet to be determined.

    He was born in Modena in 1965, and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola in 1990, at the age of 24.

    Fr. Morandi obtained a licentiate in biblical sciences from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 1992, and a licentiate and doctorate in the theology of evangelization from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 2008. He has taught scripture at several institutions.

    In the Modena-Nonantola archdiocese he has served as a pastor, episcopal vicar for catechesis, evangelization, and culture, archpriest of the cathedral chapter, and vicar general.

    Since October 2015 Fr. Morandi has served as subsecretary at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    Fr. Morandi's promotion from within the congregation fills the vacancy left by the July 1 appointment of Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., as the office's prefect.

    Archbishop Ladaria had in turn taken the place of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, whose five-year term in the post had expired, and which was not renewed.

  5. Corruption trial of former Vatican hospital officials begins

    Vatican City, Jul 18, 2017 / 11:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- One year after Vatican City charged a priest and a laywoman in the second “Vatileaks” trial, it has begun a legal process against two laymen accused of misallocating funds from the Vatican-owned children's hospital, Bambino Gesu.

    The hearing, which began at 10 a.m. inside the Vatican July 18, focused on charges brought against the former president and treasurer, respectively, of Bambino Gesù, Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina.

    The Vatican announced July 13 it was charging the two with illicit use of hospital funds in the amount of  more than 422,000 euro ($480,000) for the refurbishment of the apartment where Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, emeritus Secretary of State, lives.

    The alleged crime is said to have been carried out between November 2013 and May 28, 2014, and to have benefited the construction firm of Italian businessman Gianantonio Bandera, which was carrying out the renovations.

    Profiti and Spina were summoned to appear before the court by a June 16, 2017, decree from the president of the Vatican Tribunal, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, with the first hearing set for July 18.

    During the hearing, Profiti and Spina were accompanied by their lawyers: Antonello Basi for Profiti, and Alfredo Ottaviano for Spina.

    The judicial board was made up of Paolo Papanti Pelletier, president, Venerando Marano, judge, and Carlo Bonzano, judge. The office of the Promoter of Justice was represented by the promoter himself, Gian Piero Milano, and by an added promoter, Roberto Zannotti.

    After the charge was read, the lawyers made an initial request that journalists be removed from the courtroom due to noise and pressure put on the defendants from their affirmation or dissatisfaction with the proceedings, suggesting that in the future, they be placed in a separate room to watch a live stream of the hearing.

    Milano refused the request, insisting it is a public hearing, and that public interest itself demands that the process be public.

    A second objection the lawyers brought, but which was also immediately dismissed, was that the Vatican had no jurisdiction over the case, since the headquarters of Bambino Gesu is located in a piazza that is not Vatican-owned, and because the money was sent to England.

    However, both Milano and the tribunal affirmed that the offense happened the moment the transfer was made, and since it was done through an APSA account, it was therefore a Vatican offense.

    APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, oversees the Vatican's real estate and investments.

    Ottaviani and Basi also argued that the defendants are not public officials, given their work for the Vatican. However, it was ruled that in the Vatican's statutes and laws, the definition of a public official does, in fact, include the responsibilities of Profiti and Spina.

    The lawyers also requested that in future proceedings, all witnesses be called on the same day in order to avoid influence and pressure from the media, which was agreed on by everyone.  

    Finally, at the request of the witnesses, a letter that in some way involves Cardinal Bertone was added to the trial documents.

    Although the nature and contents of the letter are unknown, Ottaviani held that it was essential to the trial process, asking the tribunal permission to quote it as a testimony of the emeritus Secretary of State. Milano agreed, saying, “if needed, it will be discussed.”

    The hearing closed by setting the dates for the next one: Sept. 7-9.

    Among those present at the hearing from the public was Jeffrey Lena, legal adviser to the Holy See.

    The Vatican reported it was conducting an investigation into this matter in 2016 after documents published in the “Vatileaks 2” scandal implicated there may have been an illicit transfer of funds from the hospital’s foundation.

    Earlier this month, the Vatican held a press conference on the hospital to confirm that though it has had problems in the past, the Vatican has worked to resolve them.

    The operations of the Bambino Gesù Hospital had come under scrutiny after a report by the Associated Press, which examined the hospital’s operations under its 2008-2015 administration, finding among other things that the Vatican-owned hospital had shifted its focus from its patients to profits and had subpar standards of care.  

    In 2014, the Vatican conducted its own report on the hospital after fielding several complaints, and found many of the same things, including a focus on profits and breaches in accepted medical protocols including the reuse of disposable equipment, early awakening from surgery, and risk of infection due to overcrowding.

    After the report, a widespread overhaul of the hospital staff and administration was conducted, and a 2015 report found that many of the previous issues had been resolved.

    “For what regards the problems that were found, there was serious attention and effort to resolve them,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, said at the July 4 press conference.

    The Bambino Gesù was founded in Rome in 1869 as the first pediatric hospital in Italy. In 1924 it was donated to the Holy See and became the “Pope's Hospital.” While it receives funding from the Italian government, it does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Italian government’s health authorities.