Cardinal Tauran takes oath as “Camerlengo” (Chamberlain)
In the Urban VIII Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, 72, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, took the oath as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church March 9.
In the event of the death or resignation of the Pope, the Camerlengo is one of only two officials who retain their positions in the Vatican administration. His role is to administer the temporal goods of the Church until the election of a new Pope. The Camerlengo also verifies the pontiff’s death and then destroys his ring.
Pope Francis endorses pioneering work of HIV-AIDS researcher
Pope Francis has given the “thumbs up” to the ground-breaking work of a leading Argentinian-Canadian doctor who pioneered the use of anti-retroviral drugs to treat and prevent HIV infections. Dr. Julio Montaner, who is director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS and a special advisor to the UN AIDS program, met with the Pope and other top Vatican officials to seek support for the goal of extending the life-saving treatments to as many HIV-infected people as possible over the next five years.
French finance expert wins “Centesimus Annus” Foundation Award
French economist and author Pierre de Lauzun is the winner of this year’s “Economy and Society Award” of the Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontefice Foundation. He was selected in particular for his 2013 book dedicated to a Christian perspective on finance from medieval banking to contemporary financial models, Finance: Un regard chrétien.
The prestigious international award was announced at a press conference at the Vatican.
Owing its name and birth to St. John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, the Foundation’s main aim is to promote awareness of Christian social doctrine among professionals whose work has an impact on society.
The jury’s choice for the 2015 edition of the prize was Pierre de Lauzun’s three-part volume. The work reflects on the Holy Scriptures and economic issues, on the contributions of Church doctrine in the area of finance during the period of recent Popes, and on the need for long-term vision in economic planning.
Templeton Prize awarded to L’Arche founder Jean Vanier
The 2015 Templeton Prize has been awarded to Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities for people living with intellectual disabilities.
The announcement, made at the British Academy in London, said the 86-year-old Vanier was honored for his powerful message that “love has the potential to change the world for the better, just as it has already changed the lives of countless individuals” who’ve been involved with the international L’Arche network.
The movement has now grown to include 147 residential communities for people with and without disabilities.
Pope Francis, Vanier says, has been a huge encouragement through his attitude of encountering disabled people or those living on the periphery of society and urging us to listen and learn from them.
New cardinal from violent area of Mexico has martyr St. Polycarp as patron
Alberto Suárez Inda is a new cardinal and the Archbishop of Morelia, Mexico — an area known for violence and drug trafficking.
According to the Mexican government, in 2014 nearly 2,500 murders and roughly 120 kidnappings were reported in that area alone.
Eight priests have been killed in the past two years.
“I was very happy to find out that I was assigned the titular church of St. Polycarp, who was a great martyr of the 2nd century,” the new cardinal said.
“The Pope told me, ‘May Polycarp help you when dealing with risks, especially in that hot territory.’ ”
Then-Bishop Suarez Inda submitted his resignation as required on turning 75.
It was rejected, and a year later he became a cardinal.
On his prospects for being elected the next Pope: “God knows whom he will choose in the future. But whoever has ambitions to be Pope is a bad candidate.”
Volunteer barber: helping the homeless “something money can’t buy”
The new “Vatican barbershop” is proof that there are people willing to help. Once a week, Marco Paton takes a four-hour train ride from his suburban neighborhood to Rome, to donate his services for the homeless.
“They’re really grateful to have this opportunity,” he said. “It’s a chance for them to look decent and have a moment of dignity. They’ve taught me to never make a distinction between those who have money and those who don’t. They’ve shown me to look at people with integrity because everyone deserves to be listened to.”
Marco, a professional hairdresser for the last 40 years, says helping the needy is something that “money just can’t buy.”
Scicluna named archbishop of Malta
A month after naming him president of a Vatican board hearing appeals in clerical sex abuse cases, Pope Francis tapped Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta to be the new head of the archdiocese.
At a news conference conducted mostly in Maltese on February 27, Archbishop Scicluna, 55, said that since hearing the news five days earlier, “I wouldn’t say I’ve had sleepless nights, but I’m not sleeping as peacefully as before.”
The Archdiocese of Malta has been operating at a deficit for years and Archbishop Scicluna said the first thing he will do is “listen to the people who already have done a lot of work” on restructuring chancery operations to reduce the deficit and improve efficiency.
Before he was named the auxiliary bishop of Malta in 2012, he spent 10 years as Promoter of Justice at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Longtime worker for migrants says challenges more urgent than ever
John Klink, the former president of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and a native of Wyoming, recently issued an urgent call for help for refugees — and he links the situation to that faced by the Holy Family. “When St. Joseph was awakened in the middle of the night and told that he had to flee within moments, he became a refugee, and with him Mary and the Baby Jesus.”
He added: “Think of what’s happening right now with the number of beheadings of children that ISIS is behind and the incredible trauma that all of these families are sustaining. It is again the Holy Family’s winter.”
The ICMC (www.icmc.net), founded by Pope Pius XII in 1951, works to assist and protect migrants, refugees, and internally displaced and trafficked people — more than a million since its inception.
The commission’s most urgent challenge now is assisting the 6.5 million displaced and 4 million refugees due to the Syrian civil war.
Belgian Queen —on crutches — meets Pope
Pope Francis met with Queen Mathilde and her husband King Philippe of Belgium on Monday, March 9 at the Vatican. The Queen attended the 20-minute private meeting on crutches, because of an accident which injured her knee during the winter holidays on the slopes of Verbier, Switzerland.
The royal couple brought the Pope a gift: a ceramic crib painted with the Holy Family, the Magi, oxen and a donkey.
True story of pastor’s “Drop Box” for unwanted infants reaches the screen
The Drop Box is a heart wrenching, yet, inspirational documentary about a selflessly heroic South Korean pastor, Lee Jong-rak, who is consumed by a compelling desire to love unconditionally abandoned and helpless newborn babies.
In 2009, Pastor Lee and his wife installed a drop box on the outside of their home that functions as a depository for undesired infants, many of whom possess physical and/or mental disabilities. The film opened at a limited number of Canadian theaters in early March. Yet, due to its popularity, movie goers in the United States will have a chance to view the documentary at select theaters beginning on March 16.
The award-winning documentary is directed by Brian Ivie, a 24-year-old American filmmaker.