TOURIST WHO “WANTED TO SEE THE POPE” SMASHES BUSTS AT THE VATICAN MUSEUMS
A man visiting the Vatican Museums in Rome on October 5 flung two ancient Roman busts to the ground, causing moderate damage to the valuable works of art.
According to an article in the newspaper Il Messaggero, the middle-aged American tourist asked to see the Pope and became enraged when told that would not be possible. He then threw one bust to the ground and knocked the other over while trying to run away.
After the incident, he was restrained by security guards and taken to the police station for questioning. (CNA)
VATICAN RETURNS THREE ANCIENT MUMMIES TO PERU
The repatriation of three ancient mummies from Peru corresponds to the spirit of integration between cultures on which the Anima Mundi Ethnological Museum was founded.
The Anima Mundi is a section of the Vatican Museums that preserves thousands of prehistoric remains, dating back more than two million years, from all over the world.
On October 17, the president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, Cardinal Fernando Vérgez, signed an agreement with Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, César Rodrigo Landa Arroyo, formalizing the repatriation.
As Minister Landa explained in a meeting with the press following his audience with the Pope, the agreement reflects the shared feeling that, more than objects, they are the remains of human beings that should be appreciated in the place from which they came. (Vatican News)
WORLD YOUTH DAY REGISTRATION IS OPEN
On October 23, with a click on a tablet in front of the crowd gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis became the first person to register for the next World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Pope announced that registration is now open for World Youth Day 2023, the largest international Catholic youth gathering scheduled to take place August 1-6, 2023.
“Dear young people, I invite you to register for this meeting in which, after a long period of staying at a distance, we will rediscover the joy of the fraternal embrace between peoples and between generations, which we need so much,” Pope Francis said. (CNA)
POPE FRANCIS WARNS SEMINARIANS THAT THE VICE OF PORNOGRAPHY “WEAKENS THE SOUL”
On October 24, in a meeting with hundreds of seminarians studying in Rome, the Pope underlined that it is important for seminarians and priests to be very careful about the “temptation of digital pornography” because “it weakens the soul.”
“Dear brothers, be careful of this. The pure heart, the heart that receives Jesus every day, cannot receive this pornographic information,” Pope Francis said.
“And if from your cell phone you can delete this, delete it, so you won’t have temptation at hand. And if you can’t delete it, protect yourself properly so you don’t have access to this. I tell you, it weakens the soul.”
Pope Francis explained that he wanted to bring up the problem of pornography because “it is a vice that so many people have — so many lay men, so many lay women, and even priests and religious sisters.”
He added that he was not just talking about “criminal pornography, like child abuse,” but what some people might call “‘normal’ pornography.”
“The devil enters from there. It weakens the priestly heart,” the Pope repeated. (CNA)
IN BAHRAIN, POPE CALLS FOR FULL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, NO DEATH PENALTY
Traveling in Barain in the Persian Gulf, Pope Francis said today that commitments to protect tolerance and religious freedom need to be put into practice constantly so that these rights may be fully experienced.
This is important “so that religious freedom will be complete and not limited to freedom of worship; that equal dignity and equal opportunities will be concretely recognized for each group and every individual; that no forms of discrimination exist; and that fundamental human rights are not violated but promoted,” the Pope said, addressing King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, other government authorities and diplomats serving in Bahrain.
The meeting with political and cultural leaders in the vast marble-paved courtyard of the royal family’s Sakhir Palace in Awali came shortly after the Pope landed in Bahrain for his 39th international trip in his nearly ten-year papacy. He is the first Pope to visit this archipelago nation in the Persian Gulf. (CNS)
POPE FRANCIS, KING OF JORDAN DISCUSS “NEED TO ENCOURAGE CHRISTIAN PRESENCE” IN MIDDLE EAST
Pope Francis received King Abdullah II of Jordan on November 10 at the Vatican for “cordial discussions” and spoke about the presence of Christians in the region, the Holy See press office said.
The Pope and the king spoke about the need to continue to develop interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, “always ensuring that the Catholic Church in Jordan may freely exercise her mission,” according to a Vatican statement.
Both sides expressed appreciation for the good bilateral relations between the Holy See and the Hashemite Kingdom, highlighting the importance of promoting stability and peace in the Middle East — with particular reference to the Palestinian question and the issue of refugees — and the “need to preserve and encourage the Christian presence in the region was reiterated,” the statement said. (CNA)
POPE FRANCIS TRAVELS TO NORTHERN ITALY TO SHARE A SPECIAL MEAL WITH HIS COUSINS
Pope Francis traveled to northern Italy on November 19 to celebrate the 90th birthday of his second cousin Carla Rabezzana with his Italian relatives.
The 85-year-old Pope arrived by helicopter in the Italian province of Asti, 30 miles east of Turin, just before noon.
The Pope made a brief stop to pray at a local church before greeting Rabezzana at her home in the town of Portacomaro, where they were joined by five other relatives and their families to share a homecooked lunch with local delicacies from the Piedmont region.
Rabezzana, who turned 90 on November 8, told Vatican News ahead of the visit that she was looking forward to embracing her cousin (the Pope) because they had not seen each other for three years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNA)
POPE FRANCIS SAYS DIALOGUE “SLOW,” BUT ONLY WAY FORWARD WITH CHINA
Pope Francis spoke about the Vatican-China deal with America magazine on November 22, two days before the November 24 installation ceremony of Bishop John Peng Weizhao, which the Vatican said “did not occur in accordance with … what was stipulated” in the renewed provisional agreement.
A November 26 statement said that “the Holy See noted with surprise and regret” that Peng had been installed as an “auxiliary bishop of Jiangxi,” a diocese that is not recognized by the Vatican.
In the America magazine interview, published November 28, Pope Francis emphasized dialogue “up to the point that is possible.”
“Dialogue is the way of the best diplomacy,” he said. “With China I have opted for the way of dialogue. It is slow, it has its failures, it has its successes, but I cannot find another way.” (CNA)
POPE FRANCIS’ WATCH AUCTIONED OFF; PROCEEDS SET A WORLD RECORD
A watch worn by Pope Francis was sold November 30 at a charity auction and set a new world record for the brand.
The LaViolette Scholarship Foundation auctioned off a Swatch Once Again watch that Francis had worn for much of his pontificate.
The watch, which can be found at the brand’s official store for $55, was finally sold for $56,250 — more than 1,000 times its retail value — making it the Swatch watch for which the most money has ever been paid. (CNA)
POPE FRANCIS BLESSES NATIVITY SCENE MADE BY CRAFTSMEN IN GUATEMALA
Pope Francis blessed a nativity scene on December 3 that was handmade by artisan craftsmen in Guatemala.
Guatemala’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Búcaro led a delegation that traveled from the Latin American country to be present for the nativity scene’s inauguration in Vatican City’s Paul VI Hall.
“It is the first time in history that our country presents a nativity scene in the Vatican, a beautiful work of sacred art, personally delivered to Pope Francis and, therefore, also a gift from the people of Guatemala in anticipation of Christmas,” Búcaro said.
The nativity scene was made by the combined effort of more than 30 artisans. It features the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, wearing large golden crowns, in a manger surrounded by angels. (CNA)