Vatican Watch

NOVEMBER

SUNDAY 1

The Path of the Beatitudes

The beatitudes are the most direct path toward happiness and holiness, Pope Francis said during Mass on All Saints’ Day. He urged the congregation to imitate Jesus in walking the difficult, yet rewarding, road to heaven. The Pope said the beatitudes make up “the path of holiness, and it is the same path of happiness. It is the path Jesus has taken; indeed, Jesus Himself is this path.”

He told them to ask for the grace “of knowing how to weep, the grace to be meek, the grace to work for justice and peace, and especially the grace to let ourselves be forgiven by God in order to become instruments of his mercy.”

MONDAY 2

Vatican: Report on Pope and Divorce “in no way reliable”

A Vatican spokesman entirely rejected the reliability of Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari’s report suggesting that Pope Francis said all divorced people who ask will be admitted to the Sacraments.

“As has already occurred in the past, Scalfari refers in quotes what the Pope supposedly told him, but many times it does not correspond to reality, since he does not record nor transcribe the exact words of the Pope, as he himself has said many times,” spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told National Catholic Register reporter Edward Pentin.

“So it is clear that what is being reported by him in the latest article about the divorced and remarried is in no way reliable and cannot be considered as the Pope’s thinking,” Fr. Lombardi added.

WEDNESDAY 4

Unity of Martyrdom Stronger than Divisions

Despite the numerous divisions among Christians today, the followers of Christ are powerfully united in the witness of martyrdom across the globe, Pope Francis said in a message to the ecumenical Global Christian Forum.

“In various parts of the world the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals,” the Pope said. And this shared shedding of blood “is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and ecclesial communities.”

FRIDAY 6

Pope Calls Pro-Life Activists “Good Samaritans”

Pope Francis praised pro-life activists as “Good Samaritans” to the most vulnerable, citing their commitment to defending life at all stages and their role in affirming the dignity of women.

Meeting with members of Italy’s pro-life movement, the Pope called on those present “to protect the most vulnerable people, who have the right to be born into life, as well as those who ask for a healthier and more dignified existence.”

“There is a need to work at different levels and with perseverance in the promotion and defense of the family, society’s foremost resource, especially with reference to the gift of children and the affirmation of the dignity of the woman,” he said.

Pope Explains Why He Won’t Sell Church’s “treasures”

PIETA x

The “Pietà” of Michelangelo in St. Peter’s Basilica

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Straatnieuws, published by the homeless of Utrecht, Pope Francis explained that despite his strong concern for the poor, he will not sell the “riches of the Church.” “They are not the treasures of the Church, (but) the treasures of humanity,” said the Pope. “For example, if tomorrow I say Michelangelo’s Pietà is going to be auctioned, it can’t be done, because it’s not the property of the Church. It’s inside a Church, but it belongs to humanity.” This is true “for all the treasures of the Church,” he said. He added that he does sell gifts like motorcycles and cars, with the proceeds used for the poor.

SUNDAY 8

Most Recent “Vatileaks” a Deplorable Act

Pope Francis spoke out for the first time on what has been called the most recent “Vatileaks” scandal with the theft of confidential information from the Holy See, but offered his assurances that the Curia reform process would move forward.

The stealing and publication of the documents was a “mistake,” and “a deplorable act that does not help,” the Pope said, explaining that he had called for the study connected with the documents, with which he was well acquainted. Francis spoke about the scandal in his post-Angelus comments, acknowledging that many have been “troubled” by the news. Nonetheless, said Francis, “this sad fact certainly does not deter me from the reform efforts which we are pushing forward with my collaborators and with the support of all of you.” He stressed the importance of prayer for the Church.

TUESDAY 10

The Eucharist Satisfies Every Hunger

“Human beings all over the world today need nourishment. And this nourishment is not just to satisfy physical hunger,” the Pope said in his video message for the opening of India’s 50th National Eucharistic Congress, being held in Mumbai. In addition to food, human beings also hunger for love, immortality, affection, being cared for, forgiveness, and mercy, he said. All of these hungers find their satisfaction in one thing: “the bread that comes from above,” Francis stressed, explaining that “Jesus himself is the living bread that gives life to the world.”

Pope: “Our Joy is to Go Against the Tide”

At a Mass he celebrated in Florence, Pope Francis said that joy comes from discerning the real Jesus from the image offered by distorted philosophies of God, popular only for a short time.

“Our joy is to go against the tide and overcome the popular opinion, which, then as now, cannot see in Jesus more than a prophet or a teacher,” the Pope said. He said Christian joy comes from sharing the faith and responding together to what Jesus asks of us, and recognizing in Jesus “the presence of God, sent by the Father, the Son come to make himself and instrument of salvation for humanity.”

THURSDAY 12

Pope Calls on Slovak Bishops to Welcome Immigrants

Speaking to the Slovak bishops during their quinquennial ad limina visit to Rome, Pope Francis reminded them that the Church is called to welcome immigrants and to reach out to “the other,” including by ministering particularly to the Romani (“Gypsy”) people.

With globalization, he said, “at times we perceive threats to less populous nations, but at the same time elements that can offer new opportunities. One opportunity, which has become a sign of the times, is the phenomenon of migration, which demands to be understood and confronted with sensitivity and a sense of justice.”

FRIDAY 13

Dismay Over Paris Attacks

After devastating terror attacks throughout Paris that claimed more than 100 lives, the Vatican voiced its dismay over the events and urged a “decisive” response.

“We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred which we condemn in the most radical way together with the Pope and all those who love peace,” Holy See press office director Fr. Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

“We pray for the victims and the wounded, and for all the French people. This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all of its forms.”

TUESDAY 17

Pope to Visit Rome’s Great Synagogue

The Vatican announced that, “Following the invitation from the Chief Rabbi and Jewish Community of Rome, Pope Francis will pay a visit to the Great Synagogue on the afternoon of Sunday, January 17, 2016.” Known for the great emphasis he places on ecumenism, Francis will follow in the footsteps of two of his predecessors. In 1986, St. John Paul II became the first Pope to visit the synagogue. Benedict XVI imitated the gesture, making a visit of his own in 2010.

Holy Door Revealed as Jubilee Nears

Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, led a special “recognitio” ceremony, culminating in the removal of the brick wall and the extraction of a small zinc box containing mementos from the Jubilee of 2000. Opened with a type of blowtorch, the box held several documents of certification for the closure of the Holy Door in 2000. It also held the keys with which Pope Francis will open it December 8 — the Feast of the Immaculate Conception — when this year’s Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy officially begins.

WEDNESDAY 18

Mother Teresa’s Canonization Date Not YET Set…

Despite rumors that a date has been set for Mother Teresa’s canonization, the Holy See press office said that the cause for sainthood has not concluded, and no date has been officially set.

19.10.2003 Vaticano, Piazza San Pietro. Santa Messa e Beatificazione di Madre Teresa di Calcutta ( 1910-1997 ).

A tapestry showing Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) hanging from the facade of St. Peter’s during the Holy Mass for her Beatification on October 10, 2003 (Galazka photo)

Fr. Ciro Benedettini, vice director at the Holy See press office, confirmed to CNA that there is “a project, a study being carried out” on the potential future canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa. However, he said, there is nothing juridical in place yet, as the setting of a date would require the sainthood cause to be concluded and the Pope to give his consent.

FRIDAY 20

Seminary Formation

Pope Francis spoke to a conference marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s decrees, Presbyterorum Ordinis and Optatam Totius, on the ministry and life of priests and on priestly training, noting the priestly role as coming from the community and being for the community. He noted the importance of the Congregation for the Clergy having competence over seminary formation (an innovation of Benedict XVI), because “in this way the dicastery can start to deal with the life and ministry of priests from the moment of their entrance into seminary, working to ensure that vocations are promoted and cared for, and may blossom into the lives of holy priests. The path of sanctity of a priest begins in seminary!”

SUNDAY 22

Pope Sends Condolences After Mali Attack

Pope Francis condemned the “senseless violence” of Friday’s terrorist attack on a hotel which killed at least 22 people in Mali, and prayed for the “conversion of hearts.” The Pope was “appalled by this senseless violence” and “strongly condemns it,” reads the telegram, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, according to Vatican Radio’s translation from French. “The Pope implores God for the conversion of hearts and the gift of peace, and invokes the abundance of divine blessings on all those affected by this tragedy.”

THURSDAY 26

Pope in Kenya: “Interreligious Dialog Not a Luxury”

In light of recent terror attacks in Kenya and abroad, Pope Francis began the second day of his trip to Africa stressing the need for interreligious leaders to work together for peace. In a meeting with interreligious and ecumenical leaders at the apostolic nunciature in Nairobi, Kenya, Pope Francis said while ecumenical relationships can be demanding, they are not optional. “Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue is not a luxury,” he said. “It is not something extra or optional, but essential, something which our world, wounded by conflict and division, increasingly needs.”

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