A CALL FOR GLOBAL, ETHICAL FINANCE REFORM
Pope Francis today called for global financial reform that respects human dignity, helps the poor, promotes the common good and allows states to regulate markets.
“Money has to serve, not to rule,” he said in his strongest remarks yet as Pope concerning the world’s economic and financial crises.
The Pope made his remarks during a speech to four new ambassadors to the Vatican presenting their letters of credence. The new ambassadors from Kyrgyzstan, Antigua and Barbados, Luxembourg, and Botswana will not be residing in Rome.
The speech “is in continuity with his previous talks on these subjects” (as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina), “but as Pope it is his first powerful and explicit speech” touching on such themes in-depth, the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said.
Saturday 18 – Sunday 19
THE FEAST OF PENTECOST
On May 18, Pope Francis led a Pentecost prayer vigil with members of Catholic lay movements, sharing highlights of his personal faith journey and explaining some key points of his teaching to a crowd of representatives from Catholic lay movements.
The Pope focused on the importance of parents and grandparents educating their children in the faith, the knowledge that God wants a relationship with each person, the importance of caring for the poor, and the need to pray for people who are denied religious freedom.
On May 19, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Feast of Pentecost in St. Peter’s Square with members of Catholic lay movements and groups.
Calling for unity — not uniformity — in the Church, Pope Francis said diversity is a blessing only when all Catholics recognize and follow Church teaching.
POPE DID NOT PERFORM PUBLIC EXORCISM
When Pope Francis on Sunday solemnly laid both hands on the head of a young man in a wheelchair and prayed intently over him for several minutes, he was not performing an exorcism, said Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.
The young man, who was among dozens of people in wheelchairs greeted by the Pope at the end of Mass May 19, appeared somewhat agitated when the Pope approached. The priest with him, Legionary of Christ Father Juan Rivas, said something to the Pope, who then prayed over the man.
“The Holy Father had no intention of performing an exorcism, but — as he often does with the sick and suffering people presented to him — he simply intended to pray for the suffering person before him,” said Fr. Lombardi.
Father Lombardi issued his statement after Italian papers began reporting the story, citing TV2000, the satellite television station owned by the Italian bishops’ conference. Promoting an upcoming program on Pope Francis’ teaching about the existence of the devil and his influence on people, the station said it had asked several exorcists to watch the video clip from May 19 and they agreed, “It was a prayer of liberation from evil or a real exorcism.”
CHRISTIAN CHARITY IS WITNESS OF GOD’S LOVE
Pope Francis, visiting the Vatican City soup kitchen and women’s shelter Dono di Maria or “Gift of Mary,” run by the Missionaries of Charity, said that while unbridled capitalism has taught people that money is more important than anything else, works of Christian charity witness to God’s love for each person.
The facility marking its 25th anniversary is inside Vatican walls near the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Paul VI Audience Hall; it serves meals to about 60 people each day and offers accommodations to 25 women.
PROCLAIMING CHRIST BRINGS JOY
Selfishness only brings sadness and bitterness, while stepping outside of oneself to evangelize is the ultimate “pick me up” and source of joy, Pope Francis said.
“Let’s live the Gospel with humility and courage. Give witness to the newness, hope and joy that the Lord brings to your life,” the Pope said at his weekly general audience.
The pontiff continued a series of talks about the affirmations of faith in the Creed. He focused on the role of the Holy Spirit in the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” Church.
At the end of the audience, Pope Francis asked people to pray for Catholics in China so that they may have grace to proclaim Christ with humility and joy, and be faithful to the Church and the Pope.
A RELIC OF ARCHBISHOP OSCAR ROMERO
El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes Cartagena today presented the Pope with a large gold-colored reliquary containing a faded white bloodstained piece of the vestment Archbishop Romero of San Salvador was wearing when he was gunned down on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel.
The reliquary was a gift from the sisters of the Congregation of Missionary Carmelites of St. Theresa who run the Divine Providence Hospital where the archbishop had lived and was killed.
Pope Francis and Funes then spoke privately for 12 minutes.
A Vatican statement said the Pope and Funes talked about Archbishop Romero and “the importance of his witness for the whole nation” of El Salvador.
The two leaders also talked about the Church’s work in fostering peace and reconciliation, providing education and charity, and fighting poverty and organized crime, the Vatican said in a written statement.
POPE GIVES CHILDREN FIRST COMMUNION
Visiting an ordinary Rome parish for the first time as the city’s bishop, Pope Francis gave a group of children their First Communion and a catechism lesson on the meaning of the Trinity.
The Pope celebrated Mass on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity and went inside the church to hear the confessions of several people before celebrating Mass at an altar under a canopy in front of the church.
CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
All Catholics must ask themselves what they personally have done lately to bear witness to the holiness of the Church and ensure people feel welcomed and loved in it, Pope Francis said in his weekly general audience.
“Some people today say, ‘Christ, yes; the Church, no,’ like they say, ‘I believe in God, but not in priests,’” the Pope said. Such a position does not make sense because “it is the Church that brings us Christ and brings us to God. The Church is the great family of God’s children.”
Pope Francis also announced that he would begin a series of audience talks about the Church.
NOVENA OF ATONEMENT, HEALING
As the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi prepare for a new beginning after a Vatican-ordered reform, the groups are asking members to participate in a novena of atonement and healing in the aftermath of their founder’s misconduct.
“In each of us, the healing process has been and continues to be deeply personal,” said a letter signed by Legionary Father Sylvester Heereman, acting superior; Gloria Rodriguez, director of the consecrated women’s branch of Regnum Christi; and Jorge Lopez, director of the consecrated men’s branch of Regnum Christi.
THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI
In the Eucharist, Jesus makes himself the food that nourishes and sustains his followers, even when the road gets rough, Pope Francis said before leading a Corpus Christi procession through the streets of Rome.
Mass and participation in Corpus Christi processions are times for Catholics to reflect on how they follow Jesus and, particularly, what the Eucharist means to them, the Pope said at Mass to celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Pope celebrated the Mass outside the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and then — on foot — joined a candlelight Corpus Christi procession from St. John’s to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, just over a mile away.
POPE ENDS MARIAN MONTH
Pope Francis led a Marian prayer service in St. Peter’s Square. The pontiff prayed the rosary with the faithful at the conclusion of the Marian month of May, as well as with 22 children suffering from cancer. The Pope had invited the 22 children, who are being treated at the pediatric oncology ward of Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, after they went on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France and sent Pope Francis drawings of the shrine’s famous grotto because he had never been there.
THE FEAST OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST
Pope Francis began the day presiding at a Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, with the families of 24 Italian military personnel killed during peacekeeping missions in the past five years and with 13 members of the military injured during those missions, mostly in Afghanistan.
And, reciting the Angelus at noon with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis appealed again for peace in Syria, which has been embroiled in violent conflict for more than two years as rebels try to oust Syria’s president, Bashar Assad.
The day ended with a holy hour — 60 minutes of Eucharistic adoration marked by long periods of silence, traditional Eucharistic hymns, brief Bible readings, and prayerful meditations on the Eucharist written by Popes Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
The celebration — the Vatican’s first attempt at a worldwide hour of Eucharistic adoration with Catholics around the world gathering in cathedrals and parishes in almost every time zone — ended with Benediction.
RECALLING BLESSED JOHN XXIII
The life of Blessed John XXIII is a lesson in how obedience and trust in God lead to an interior peace that is naturally recognized by and shared with others, Pope Francis said today.
Joining a pilgrimage of 3,000 people from the late Pope’s home diocese — Bergamo, Italy — Pope Francis prayed at the tomb in St. Peter’s of Blessed John. Today, June 3, is the 50th anniversary of John’s death.
HELP THE PEOPLE OF SYRIA
Christians must help the people of Syria because “where there is suffering, Christ is present,” Pope Francis told representatives of Catholic aid agencies working in Syria and with Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.
“We cannot turn our backs on situations of great suffering,” he told participants at the meeting he convoked June 4-5. “The weapons must be silenced.”
The meeting was held under the auspices of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which promotes and coordinates Catholic charitable giving.
THE RISKS FOR ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN LIFE
Pope Francis today blamed widespread degradation of the world’s natural environment and widespread disregard for human life on an increasingly common “throwaway culture” that places no value on the needs of others.
The Pope made his remarks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Noting that the United Nations had designated June 5 “World Environment Day,” Pope Francis recalled the biblical account of creation, according to which God made man and woman to “cultivate and protect the earth.”
AGAINST “CAREERISM” AMONG PRIESTS
Using especially strong language on one of his favorite themes, Pope Francis decried a plague of “careerism” among priests and urged them to renounce their personal ambitions as they serve the Church — warning that failure to do so would make them look “ridiculous.”
“Careerism is a leprosy,” the Pope said in a speech to students from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school for future Vatican diplomats. “Please, no careerism!”
Pope Francis, quoting a statement by Blessed John, who served as a Vatican diplomat for much of his career, said that Church diplomacy “should always be permeated by a pastoral spirit; otherwise, it counts for nothing, and makes a holy mission ridiculous.”
Diplomats, he said, allow the Pope to extend his charity to “those places, often forgotten, where the needs of the Church and of humanity are greatest.”
IN DEFENSE OF CHILDREN FORCED TO WORK
Many of the hundreds of millions of child laborers around the world work under conditions of “real slavery,” Pope Francis said at his weekly general audience today.
Marking a “World Day Against Child Labor” today, the Pope told people that he hoped the international community could find more effective means to stop the exploitation of boys and girls in jobs that are often dangerous and in situations where they are subjected to all kinds of abuse.
“These people, instead of letting them play, make them slaves,” the Pope said at the end of his weekly general audience. “This is a plague.”
During the general audience, Pope Francis continued his series of audience talks about the Creed, looking at what Catholics believe about the Church.
POPE MEETS ANGLICAN LEADER
Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, today pledged to support each other with their prayers and to continue the search for full unity between their communities.
The two spent more than 30 minutes meeting privately, before giving their speeches, exchanging gifts, and joining about 100 Catholics and Anglicans from Rome for prayer in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel.
NOMINATION IN THE VATICAN BANK
Pope Francis has approved the appointment of the new interim prelate of the Vatican bank, Msgr. Battista Mario Salvatore Ricca, a Vatican diplomat who is the director of the guesthouse where the Pope is living.
Msgr. Ricca was chosen by the commission of cardinals overseeing the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal name of the Vatican bank.
Father Lombardi said the monsignor will act as an “intermediary” between the cardinals’ commission and the bank’s board of supervisors, and he will be involved with the work and running of the bank.
THREATS TO HUMAN LIFE
Ideologies and practices that destroy human life arise from false ideas of freedom without God, Pope Francis told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square. “Whenever we want to assert ourselves, when we become wrapped up in our own selfishness and put ourselves in the place of God, we end up spawning death,” the Pope said in his homily during the Mass.
The Mass was the culmination of a weekend dedicated to Evangelium Vitae (the “Gospel of Life”), a pilgrimage organized for the Year of Faith. After Mass, the Pope also offered a general greeting to hundreds of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts who attended the Mass in their biker vests during a Rome celebration of the motorcycle’s 110th anniversary.
ST. JOSEPH’S NAME IN MASS TEXTS
Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI have a special devotion to St. Joseph (the baptismal name of Pope Benedict) and have taken a step to ensure that that devotion will be regularly shared at Mass by Catholics. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in a document made public today, said that Pope Francis had confirmed a decision originally made by Pope Benedict to include St. Joseph permanently in the Eucharistic prayers used at most Masses in the Latin rite.
A decree signed May 1 by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, congregation prefect, and Archbishop Arthur Roche, congregation secretary, said Pope Benedict had received petitions and had approved adding, after the name of the Virgin Mary, the words “with blessed Joseph, her spouse.”
LOOKING FOR NEW BISHOPS
Tracing the characteristics he wants to see in candidates to serve as bishops, Pope Francis said they must be “pastors who are close to their people, fathers and brothers, who are meek, patient and merciful.”
A good prospective bishop will “love interior poverty as freedom for the Lord” and live that externally with a simple lifestyle, and he won’t have the “mindset of a prince,” the Pope said during a meeting with nuncios and apostolic delegates who were making a two-day Year of Faith pilgrimage to the Vatican. Pope Francis said one of the most important tasks of a Vatican diplomat is studying the needs of vacant dioceses and helping him find appropriate candidates for the episcopate.
A COMMISSION FOR THE VATICAN BANK
Pope Francis today created a five-person commission to review the activities and mission of the Vatican bank.
The new pontifical commission reflects the Pope’s desire to ensure the bank’s activities are in harmony with the mission of the Universal Church and the Apostolic See, said a Vatican communiqué by the Vatican Secretariat of State.
While the bank “will continue to function according to its current statutes,” Father Lombardi said, the papal commission will help the Pope decide if reforms are necessary and whether they are reforms in the way the bank operates or reforms of other kinds. Pope Francis named as president of the commission Italian Cardinal Raffaele Farina, retired head of the Vatican Library and Vatican Secret Archives, and as coordinator of the commission Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
The other members of the commission are Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and a member of the cardinals’ commission that oversees the bank’s operations; Prof. Mary Ann Glendon, who serves as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in addition to teaching at Harvard; and Msgr. Peter Wells, a priest of the Archdiocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who will serve as commission secretary.
34 NEW BISHOPS
Every bishop is called to be “a servant of communion,” working tirelessly to overcome divisions so that differences become a treasure and not a source of conflict, Pope Francis said as he celebrated the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and bestowed the pallium on 34 archbishops from 19 countries.
In the only improvised section of his homily, Pope Francis returned to a theme he had spoken about several times in late June: the need to find ways to better demonstrate and make concrete the common responsibility all bishops, working with the Pope, hold for the Universal Church.
At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis and Orthodox Metropolitan John of Pergamon, leader of the patriarchate’s delegation, descended the stairs under the main altar to pray together at the tomb of St. Peter. During his Angelus address, the Pope asked pilgrims to join him in reciting a Hail Mary for Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
RESIGNATIONS from the VATICAN BANK
A statement from the Vatican press office said the director of the Vatican bank, Paolo Cipriani, and Massimo Tulli, deputy director, today offered their resignations, saying their departure was “in the best interest of the Institute and of the Holy See.”
A Vatican statement said Ernst von Freyberg, the Vatican bank president, would assume the function of interim general director, effective immediately.