Monday, May 28, 2012 3:51 AM
Q&A on the Vatican’s ‘butler did it’ story
by John L Allen
National Catholic Reporter
May. 27, 2012
Given intense interest in the arrest of a papal butler charged with being at least one of the moles responsible for the Vatican leaks scandal, I’ll list below the five most common questions I’ve fielded, along with my best stab at a response.
1. Who is this guy?
Paolo Gabriele is a 46-year-old Italian layman, with a wife and three children, who’s worked in the papal apartment since 1998. Gabriele was hired by the personal secretary of Pope John Paul II, Stanislaw Dziwisz, today the cardinal of Krakow. Gabriele’s role was mostly to see to the pope’s clothing, to serve his meals, and to be on hand for other personal needs. He performed the same functions for John Paul and Benedict when they were on the road, travelling on the papal plane.
As such, Gabriele was one of just a handful of people who enjoy direct daily access to the pope, along with Benedict’s two priest-secretaries and the four consecrated lay women belonging to the Memores Domini community who do most of the cooking and cleaning. Benedict XVI, who puts great emphasis on fostering a family spirit among his closest aides, would doubtless see Gabriele as a member of his personal family.
Gabriele, known around the Vatican as “Paoletto” (“little Paul”), has the reputation of being a devout and fairly simple person, not someone who would ordinarily be suspected of involvement in high intrigue.
2. What’s the evidence against him?
Officials familiar with the case say it’s almost a slam-dunk, given that a search of Gabriele’s Vatican apartment turned up stacks of confidential documents along with equipment for making reproductions. Because the Vatican doesn’t have a jail, Gabriele has been detained in one of three secure rooms in the offices of the Vatican gendarmes, a space more often used to accommodate pick-pockets arrested for fleecing the large crowds of tourists on Vatican grounds before they’re turned over to Italian authorities.
When the Vatican leaks scandal first erupted earlier this year, at least three different Vatican inquests didn’t make much headway. This week, however, the Italian journalist who first rolled out several of the leaks on his prime-time TV show, Gianluigi Nuzzi, published a book called His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI, collecting the previously leaked documents and adding new ones. Among the additions were apparently some documents that had never left the papal apartment, allowing investigators to narrow their search.
In terms of where things go from here, an investigation by a Vatican judge is currently on-going, which will end either in a decision to dismiss the charges against Gabriele or to bind him over for trial. Although initial news reports suggested that Gabriele might be charged with the crime of illegal possession of documents of a head of state, which under Vatican law carries a prison term of 30 years, the Vatican spokesperson said on Saturday that so far the plan is only to charge him with “aggravated theft.”
If Gabriele is eventually convicted, the Vatican would likely petition Italy to enforce any prison sentence, under diplomatic agreements that envision enforcement of one another’s laws.
For the record, some skeptics are saying that the evidence against Gabriele may be a little too strong. Given that everyone in the Vatican has known for some time that a ferocious mole-hunt was underway, some wonder how likely it is that the “deep throat” would actually keep such incriminating material in his own Vatican apartment. Under this hypothesis, there may be some innocent explanation for how the documents and equipment got into Gabriele’s apartment – for instance, that he was holding it for someone else.
3. If Gabriele did it, what were his motives?
The answer, for now, is that we simply don’t know. So far, three basic possibilities have emerged.
The “whistle blower” theory: In his now #1 best-selling book in Italy, Nuzzi referred to his source under the code name “Maria,” and depicted the person as motivated by a conviction that too many secrets had been amassed that needed to be brought into the open. So far, Nuzzi has not commented on whether or not Gabriele was that source, saying only that the individual worked “inside the Vatican.”
The “payoff” theory: Some have speculated that whoever is behind the Vatican leaks scandal was getting paid for providing the documents, either by news outlets or by someone else whose interests were served by the leaks. Most people who know Gabriele, however, say there’s little evidence that he’s had any sudden infusion of cash, and they also say he seemed an unlikely candidate to take payola.
The “put up to it” theory: Many observers believe that if Gabriele was the source of the leaked documents, he’s unlikely to have acted on his own. In part, that’s because some of the leaks seemed timed to inflict maximum damage, and it’s not clear that a simple assistant in the papal household would have such a sophisticated grasp of Vatican politics. According to this theory, someone higher up the food chain is the real director of the drama.
4. If this is really a plot, who’s the target?
Since the eruption of the leaks scandal in January, many observers have suspected that the ultimate aim is to undercut the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The Vatican has a president/prime minister structure, with the pope as the head of state and the secretary of state as the head of government. Bertone, a longtime friend and aide to Benedict XVI, has occupied that “prime minister” position since September 2006.
In terms of why Bertone would be targeted, once again there are three main theories.
The “power politics” theory: In Italian ecclesiastical circles, the job of secretary of state is often considered the ultimate prize – more sought-after, in some cases, than the papacy itself. According to this theory, the aim would be to sufficiently weaken Bertone that Benedict would feel compelled to remove him, opening the door for someone else to ascend.
The “payback” theory: Some believe that if there’s indeed a campaign against Bertone, its roots are in some contentious policy choice – perhaps the way he’s replaced the Italian bishops’ conference as the primary interlocutor with the Italian government, perhaps his attempted take-over of a major Italian Catholic hospital and university system, perhaps something else.
The “lost confidence” theory: According to this view, elements in the Vatican frustrated with what they perceive as a pattern of mismanagement under Bertone have lost confidence in him, and believe that the only exit strategy is to force him out. Elements of that supposed pattern, according to this theory, would be the holocaust-denying bishop affair of 2009, the scandals surrounding Italian journalist Dino Boffo in 2010, the handling of the sexual abuse crisis, and various other crises which have erupted on Bertone’s watch.
5. How bad is all this for the Vatican?
With respect to Gabriele, it’s too early to say how damaging his arrest may be for the Vatican, because we don’t yet know if others were involved or what his motives were. If Gabriele acted alone, and for relatively straight-forward reasons, than the worst of it may be over.
As far as the broader leaks scandal, it’s seriously damaging to the Vatican for at least three reasons.
In the outside world: The eruption of yet another scandal makes it virtually impossible to tell any other story that the Vatican might like to focus on – the suffering of Christian martyrs around the world, for instance, or Benedict’s call for a “New Evangelization.” In particular, the Vatican currently is hoping to be included on the “white list” of countries that comply with international norms in the fight against money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. The release of documents alleging corruption and cronyism in Vatican finances, even if spokespersons insist they’re exaggerated or inaccurate, doesn’t help make that case.
In the church: Perceptions of a crisis of governance in the Vatican reduce confidence across the system, so it becomes harder for the Vatican to convince bishops and other church leaders to follow their lead. Some might see that as a contribution to decentralization, but it also makes it more difficult for the Vatican to get the church moving in the same direction, or to exercise behind-the-scenes influence in a thorny local situation. Over time, it could also affect the Vatican’s ability to generate resources or to attract quality personnel.
In the Vatican itself: The Vatican is an institution that runs on trust. Personal relationships tend to drive how things get done, as opposed to flow charts or systems theory. The leaks scandal has poisoned the air, making it more difficult for Vatican personnel to know who they can really trust. If a member of the pope’s own household could be engaged in skullduggery, many may wonder if there's anyone truly above suspicion.
Monday, May 28, 2012 2:55 PM
Vatican leakers say cardinals among plotters in scandal
By Philip Pullella
May 28, 2012
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The worst crisis in Pope Benedict's pontificate deepened on Monday when Italian media said at least one cardinal was among those suspected of leaking sensitive documents as part of a power struggle at the top of the Church.
The scandal exploded last week when within a few days the pope's butler was arrested for leaking documents, the head of the Vatican's own bank was abruptly dismissed and a book was published alleging conspiracies among the cardinals or "princes of the Church".
Newspapers, quoting insiders who had themselves leaked documents, said the arrested butler was merely a scapegoat doing the bidding of more powerful figures in the scandal, which has been dubbed "Vatileaks".
Documents passed to Italian journalists accuse Vatican insiders of cronyism and corruption in contracts with Italian companies. La Stampa daily quoted one of the alleged leakers as saying the goal was to help the pope root out corruption.
On Saturday, Paolo Gabriele, 46, Pope Benedict's personal butler, was formally charged with stealing confidential papal documents. But leakers quoted by La Stampa, La Repubblica and other media said the leaking plot went much wider.
"There are leakers among the cardinals but the Secretariat of State could not say that, so they arrested the servant, Paolo, who was only delivering letters on behalf of others," La Repubblica quoted one alleged whistleblower as saying.
The Secretariat of State is run by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the pope's powerful right-hand man, and the scandal appears to involve a power struggle between his allies and enemies, reminiscent of Renaissance conspiracies in the Vatican.
It has been brewing for months, but since it burst into the open it has shaken the very heart of the Roman Catholic Church.
Aides say the pontiff is "saddened and pained" by the events. His critics say a lack of strong leadership has opened the door to infighting among his powerful aides - and potentially to the corruption alleged in the leaked documents.
Many Vatican insiders believe the butler, who had access to the pope's private apartment, could not have acted alone. He is being held in a "safe room" in the Vatican police station and has been charged with aggravated theft.
Now known in Vatican statements as "the defendant" - he was until Wednesday night the quiet man who served the pope's meals, helped him dress and held his umbrella on rainy days.
"He did not steal the documents. His role was to deliver documents," La Stampa newspaper quoted the unidentified alleged leaker it interviewed as saying.
The Vatican's announcement of the arrest of the butler came a day after the president of the Vatican bank (IOR), Italian Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was fired by its board of external financial experts, who come from Germany, Spain, the United States and Italy.
Gotti Tedeschi's ouster was is a blow to Bertone, who as secretary of state was instrumental in bringing him in from Spain's Banco Santander to run the Vatican bank in 2009.
While news of the butler's arrest has filled pages and pages of newspapers in Italy and beyond, the Vatican's own newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, has ignored the story. Some say this may be because the paper itself has been an instrument in the power struggle between Bertone's allies and foes.
Documents leaked over the last few months included letters by an archbishop who was transferred to Washington by Bertone after blowing the whistle on what he saw as a web of corruption in a memo that put a number of cardinals in a bad light. Other documents alleged internal conflicts over the Vatican bank.
"I feel very sad for the pope. This whole thing is such a disservice to the Church," said Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus charity group and a member of the board of the Vatican bank who voted to fire Gotti Tedeschi.
Anderson told Reuters the bank president was sacked because of "a fundamental failure to perform his basic responsibilities". Gotti Tedeschi has said he was ousted because he wanted the bank to be more transparent, but Anderson rejected that assertion.
"Categorically, this action by the board had nothing to do with his promotion of transparency," Anderson said. "In fact, he was becoming an obstacle to greater transparency by his inability to work with senior management."
He said the Vatican was aiming to make the OECD's "white list" of states with an adequate level of financial transparency. Vatican sources have pointed to the bank head's very public ouster as an example of the drive to achieve this.
Gianlugi Nuzzi, the Italian journalist who has received many of the documents over recent months and last week published a new book called "His Holiness", on Monday criticized the Vatican for rounding up leakers.
"Surely, arresting someone and rounding up people and treating them like delinquents to stop them from passing on true information to newspapers would cause an uproar in other countries," he said. "There would be a petition to free them."
Monday, May 28, 2012 5:20 PM
Probably in response to all the efforts of the mainstream media to characterize the theft of the papal documents as medieval machinations at the highest levels of the Church, Fr. Lombardi made these comments today:
Fr. Lombardi: “There are no cardinals being investigated”
The statement of the director of the Vatican Press Office following developments in the saga of the papal butler’s arrest
VATICAN INSIDER STAFF
May 28, 2012
The director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi has confirmed that “there are no Italian or foreign cardinals being investigated” in light of the arrest of the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele.
“This is a painful situation for many people, because of their acquaintance and closeness to Paolo and because of the negative light in which it may portray the Church and the Holy See,” the Jesuit priest and Vatican spokesman recalled. He then said that “the Pope is informed about and aware of the situation and is maintaining his faith and moral superiority.”
The Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, who was recently arrested on suspicion of leaking confidential Vatican documents, “will collaborate fully” in the investigations, his lawyer, Carlo Fusco confirmed, in a communiqué issued by the Vatican Press Office.
Fr. Lombardi specified that there is no link between the Vatican bank (IOR) affair and Gabriele’s arrest: “The two cases are considered separate” and there must be the “clues” gathered from each of these cases “must not be confused.” “Confusion arose over the fact that Paolo Gabriele’s arrest” and the IOR board meeting in which members voted unanimously in favour of a motion of no confidence in the president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi both happened “within a short space of time.”
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 3:41 AM
Reasons for dismissal of Vatican Bank boss emerge
By David Kerr
Vatican City, May 28, 2012 / 10:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican Bank’s president was dismissed for failing to carry out “basic duties,” giving people inaccurate information about the institution and “progressively erratic personal behavior,” according to board member Carl Anderson.
“What happened is source of great disappointment,” he told the Italian newspaper La Stampa on May 27. Anderson, who leads the international fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus, said the board “had come to have great expectations for this new management.”
Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was removed as president of the Vatican Bank May 24, following a no confidence vote by the other four board members. The 67-year-old Italian served as the head of the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion, since 2009.
As committee secretary, it fell to Anderson to write an explanatory note to Gotti Tedeschi who, in the words of the memo, had “abandoned the premises of the Institute without notice and without waiting to receive notice as to the results of the no confidence vote.”
Anderson’s memo outlined the nine key reasons for Gotti Tedeschi’s removal, which included his “failure to carry out basic duties,” “abandoning and failing to attend meetings,” the “dissemination of inaccurate information regarding the Institute,” “polarizing the Institute and alienating personnel,” and “progressively erratic personal behavior.”
The bank boss was also accused of failing to provide an explanation “for the dissemination of documents last known to be in the President’s possession.” Anderson stressed, however, this charge was unrelated to the recent arrest of the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, on suspicion of stealing and leaking sensitive internal Vatican documents to the press.
“That the dismissal of the president should happen at the same time as the arrest of the pope’s butler is just a coincidence, nothing more,” Anderson told La Stampa.
“The board meets approximately every three months and the problem of the vote of confidence on Gotti Tedeschi was on the agenda for a long time.”
The sacking of Gotti Tedeschi comes only weeks before the Council of Europe is expected to decide on the Vatican’s bid to be placed on the organization’s “White List” of countries that adhere to the highest standards of financial transparency.
“Whoever thinks that current events at the IOR may be an obstacle in the effort to achieve transparency is terribly wrong, because we are acting in the very name of transparency and were not pressured by the Curia in any way,” Anderson said.
Gotti Tedeschi has yet to give his side of the story, claiming on May 25 that he was “torn between the anxiety to explain the truth and not wanting to disturb the Holy Father.”
The Vatican is now seeking a new candidate to succeed Gotti Tedeschi. In the interim, the presidency will be assumed by the bank’s vice president Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 3:47 AM
Pope shocked at Babel-like confusion in the Vatican
The Pope calls for harmony as his butler begins to talk following his arrest
May 28, 2012
The Commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie was hard at work Sunday. The Vatican leak inquiry did not end with the arrest of the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele so the papal police offices are busy sifting through the “investigative material” that will help find the potential accomplices and individuals behind the leaks. There are no immediate plans for arrests but not one of the Curia’s members believed the Pope’s butler is the only one responsible. “The affair is not over yet. This is just the beginning,” they said. Behind the Vatican walls there is a growing belief that “Paoletto’s” arrest was not the finishing line but a starting point.
During his homily for Pentecost Sunday the Pope sent out a warning against any manoeuvres or clashes taking place behind his back in the Curia: the Holy See is plunging into a Babel-like chaos in which there is a growing “sense of mistrust, suspicion and mutual fear among men, to the point that they are becoming dangerous to one another.” There was a sense of distress in Benedict XVI’s words as he called for “unity, harmony and truth.” The three cardinals that direct the actions of the Vatican police (Herranz, Tomko and De Giorgi) seem convinced that that there is someone higher up, a “steering committee” that is polling the strings in the “Vatileaks” affair. If the outside world is given the impression that two different powers and double standards exist within the Holy See, this would be harmful to its image. That is, if tough measures are adopted against lay employees suspected of betraying their oath of secrecy but Church spies are simply removed and sent to carry out their ministry away from Rome instead of being placed behind bars.
Meanwhile, the Pope’s butler seems to be changing his tune during questioning. Last Wednesday he was found to be in illegal possession of a large quantity of confidential letters. “Paoletto” seems to be following the advice of his lawyer, Carlo Fusco - a member of the Focolare movement and postulator for the causes of saints in the Vatican – and abandoning the silence strategy adopted at the beginning. He is now answering questions regarding the serious charges being made against him, as the investigation moves from the preliminary phase led by the Promoter of Justice Nicola Picardi, to a formal phase led by the investigative magistrate of the Vatican Tribunal, Pier Antonio Bonnet. Investigators are keeping a list of potential moles under observation. About fifteen individuals are suspected of tampering with the top secret material that was leaked to mass media and reveals feuds and scandals going on within the Vatican.
The Pope’s butler is still being held on charges of aggravated burglary and could soon be joined by other disloyal servants of the Holy See. The positions of a number of individuals are being assessed but the definitive culprits have not yet been found. It is significant, however, that following an initial period of complete silence, now, the alleged poison pen letter writer is now talking. Authorities are now examining the possibility of other Vatican office employees and prelates being involved. The involvement of prelates is a plausible possibility given the fact that the investigative commission (headed by Opus Dei cardinal Julian Herranz) that was set up by the Pope to shed light on the Vatican document leak case is made up of cardinals and they are the only ones authorised to investigate on an equal level. One thing that led authorities to suspect the involvement of the Pope’s butler was the publication of a recent document regarding the Ratzinger Foundation, in the book “Sua Santità” (His Holiness) by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi. This document was not supposed to be filed in the Holy See’s archives as others were and so could only have come from the Pope’s desk or that of his secretary Fr. Georg.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:04 AM
Vatican pledges to restore trust, transparency in search for truth
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
May. 29, 2012
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican said it is committed to restoring a sense of trust and transparency as it seeks the truth behind leaks of letters written by Vatican officials to each other and Pope Benedict XVI.
Paolo Gabriele -- the pope's private assistant accused of having a cache of illicitly obtained Vatican documents -- was still under arrest and would face his first round of formal preliminary questioning by Vatican judges "later this week or early next week," Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Tuesday.
The spokesman confirmed that an unspecified number of other individuals also had been questioned by Vatican police recently, a process that could be expected to continue, but no one else had been charged or arrested.
Gabriele has been able to meet and speak with his lawyers and his wife regularly, and is "very serene and calm," said his chief counsel, Carlo Fusco, in a written statement released Monday.
Lombardi said Monday the Vatican "is committed to seeking to restore as soon as possible a climate of transparency, truth and trust."
"The pope is informed about everything and can't help but be saddened, however, he remains serene" concerning the latest crisis, Lombardi told journalists.
Gabriele, the dark-haired assistant often pictured sitting in the front seat of the popemobile next to the driver, was arrested the evening of May 23 by Vatican police after private Vatican documents were found in his home, which is on Vatican territory.
Gabriele, who had been serving Pope Benedict since 2006, had performed his regular duties the morning of the day of his arrest, suggesting perhaps that Vatican police did not find enough evidence until later in the day, Lombardi said.
Gabriele's arrest was part of a Vatican investigation into a series of document leaks, popularly referred to as "VatiLeaks" in the media.
The leaks began in January with the publication of letters written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano when he was secretary-general of the Governor's Office of Vatican City State. The archbishop, who now is nuncio to the United States, warned of corruption, abuse of power, a lack of transparency in awarding Vatican contracts and opposition to financial reforms.
Later leaks included a letter from a Vatican official questioning the current reform of the Vatican's finance laws.
Lombardi told journalists Monday the leaks' scandal and the recent dismissal of the president of the Vatican Bank were "distinct and separate" cases. Bank president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was fired Thursday by the bank's board of supervisors, who censured him for neglecting his duties amid worsening management problems.
"The only thing the vote of no-confidence of president Gotti Tedeschi and the arrest of Gabriele have in common is the fact that they happened around the same time," the Vatican spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Fusco, Gabriele's lawyer, said in a written statement Monday his client told a Vatican judge that he "will offer his utmost collaboration."
However, Gabriele's formal testimony will only come after his two lawyers have completed studying the case, the statement said.
"Therefore, (Gabriele) will respond as soon as possible to every question and will collaborate with investigators in order to ascertain the truth," wrote the lawyer, who added he and his client have been friends from childhood. Fusco said he holds his friend in "great esteem."
Lombardi said Tuesday that in the next few days, Piero Antonio Bonnet, a Vatican magistrate, would begin the second stage of the formal inquiry, questioning Gabriele in the presence of his two lawyers and Nicola Picardi, another Vatican magistrate, who conducted the preliminary investigation.
Lombardi said the investigation would continue until enough evidence has been collected and then Bonnet would either call Gabriele to stand trial or would acquit him, Lombardi said.
In April, Pope Benedict appointed a committee of three retired cardinals to investigate the document leaks; the cardinals turned to the Vatican gendarmes for assistance.
Dozens of private letters to Pope Benedict and other confidential Vatican correspondence and reports, including encrypted cables from Vatican embassies around the world, were leaked to an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi. He published the documents in a book, Your Holiness, which was released May 17. While some of the leaked letters are gossipy, others include allegations of serious financial misconduct.
In a statement two days later, Lombardi called the publication of the letters for commercial gain a "criminal act" and said the Vatican would take legal action. The publication, he said, violated the right to privacy and the "freedom of correspondence" of Pope Benedict, the letter writers and the pope's closest collaborators.
In the book's introduction, Nuzzi said the main source for the texts told him he was acting with a "small group" of Vatican insiders concerned about corruption and a thirst for power within the Vatican. According to his source, Nuzzi said, none of the people giving him documents knew who the others were.
Vatican leaks: Pope sees scandal as a test not as a tragedy, says Fr. Lombardi
VATILEAKS: THE POPE'S VIA CRUCIS
The director of the Vatican Press Office returns to the Vatileaks case. The Pope’s butler is to be formally questioned by Vatican magistrates for the first time this coming weekend
May 29, 2012
We will have to wait until the end of the week or possibly even next week before Paolo Gabriele’s promise to co-operate fully with Vatican magistrates investigating the Vatileaks case becomes a reality. The former papal butler’s first formal questioning by the Promoter of Justice, Nicola Picardi, in the presence of lawyers and the investigating magistrate Piero Antonio Bonnet, is yet to take place.
The director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, had no significant updates to report on following the usual briefing with journalists on the investigation’s developments. The Commission of Cardinals that was established by the Pope last March - the Jesuit explained – is continuing its work ahead of the “report” that will be presented to Benedict XVI. It will not, however, allow the fierce media interest shown in the case in recent days, to rush the investigation.
Meanwhile, Gabriele has his first “interview” with his lawyers, Carlo Fusco and Cristiana Arru. Lombardi described the discussion as “broad”, “fruitful” and “very positive”. The two lawyers stressed their intention to continue their indirect contact with the press, through the Vatican Press Office, “for the protection of professional secrecy.”
Lombardi stated that “a number of people were heard” in the investigations being carried out by the Commission of Cardinals – composed of Cardinals Tomko, Herranz and De Giorgi. Others may be called forward for “hearings” rather than questioning. But the Vatican spokesman denied that five cardinals had been heard and said the news about cratefuls of confidential documents being found in Gabriele’s home was false. According to the press, the documents were ready to be passed on to a large list of recipients, whose names were written on an envelope. If it is true that other individuals were stopped and questioned in recent days, Lombardi explained that “no other person was currently under arrest.”
The Vatican spokesman recalled that the Commission of Cardinals “works in co-ordination with the magistrates and the Vatican Gendarmerie, but with a different mandate.” Yesterday Lombardi reminded that the Commission “has a broader mandate: it also has the power to hold interrogations in the dicasteries, even if there are no concrete elements to justify legal measures being taken.”
The Pope is treating these events as a “test”, not as a “tragedy”. Neither does he see it as bickering or clashes between clans, Fr. Lombardi pointed out. This is a “test” that “is having a direct impact on him,” he added, and the Pope is particularly hurt by the fact the person involved is someone “who was close to him, someone he knew well, loved and respected.”
Fr. Lombardi recalled that Paolo Gabriele was arrested for “aggravated theft” of confidential Vatican documents. The Pope’s butler “was acting in such a way as not to arouse suspicion,” but “the possession of documents and their consequent publication is an objective fact” that has raised “serious questions”, causing great distress among people who “could never have imagined a situation like this.”
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:13 AM
“This is worse than the Church paedophilia scandal”
THE VATICAN FACES DARK DAYS
The Curia is in a state of panic as rumours circulate about camera phones potentially being banned in the Vatican
May 29, 2012
“The atmosphere is poisonous, heavy. Some claim that in the future we won’t be able to take mobile phones with inbuilt cameras into the Vatican.” The ban on camera phones is just a rumour that has been circulating around the Secretariat of State in the last few days, which have been the most difficult in the Vatican in recent years. “Somehow this is even worse than the storm caused by the Church paedophilia scandal,” said a priest who entered the great gate of Porta Angelica with brisk fearful steps.
Many outside the Vatican doubt the guilt of Paolo Gabriele, the Pope’s butler and no one seems to think he could have master-minded the leak of documents published in journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi’s book. We do not know the extent of his involvement yet. If the inquiry remains at this level, the doubts will inevitably grow. The net of moles, which allegedly includes a number of people, struck again, giving once more the same motives that had been put forward by the famous investigative reporter in the pages of “Sua santità” (His Holiness). The leak of Benedict XVI’s confidential papers could apparently have been an act to help the Pope. Few believe this to be true, mostly because the Vatileaks scandal has managed to besmirch the Holy See as a whole and its image is now in tatters.
Yesterday Fr. Lombardi claimed that there is no connection between the motion of no confidence in the Vatican Bank’s former president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and the Vatileaks issue. On Thursday the IOR’s lay supervisory council removed the banker who had been chosen by Cardinal Bertone in September 2009 and who was also a leading writer for Vatican daily broadsheet L’Osservatore Romano as well as a friend of the newspaper’s director, Gian Maria Vian. The next day the committee of cardinals met to ratify the vote, but no statement regarding their verdict has been released as yet. The very harsh letter by Carl Anderson, one of the four board members, containing the reasons behind the dismissal of Gotti Tedeschi, whose professional image has been destroyed, was intentionally published. The banker was also accused of not “ explaining the distribution of certain documents” he kept. The way he was dismissed is brand new in the history of the Holy See and could have major repercussions, if and when Gotti Tedeschi will decide to speak up.
Is it time for the cardinal to retire?
According to the moles, the real target of the Vatileaks operation, is allegedly the Vatican Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. The whole thing would have been orchestrated to pressure him into retiring. However, objectively speaking, the explosion of the Vatileaks scandal seems far too extreme for its aim to be the simple removal of a cardinal who will turn 78 in December. Unless one were to believe (and some do) that the ambitions of those who would like to take his place might be the hidden motive behind the storm that is raging inside and outside the Curia and if we were to look even further, perhaps we would find the power struggle for the succession of the ageing Pope at the root of the problems. Ratzinger wanted Bertone by his side because he trusts him and has no intention of removing him, even though the cardinal himself offered to resign. His management of the Secretariat of State has been the target of heavy criticism. However, as happened before, in times of crisis, the ecclesiastical institution has clammed up to protect its clerics.
Pope's secretary targeted
Fr. Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, is facing a difficult time, since Paolo Gabriele had worked alongside him in the papal apartments for six years. Fr. Georg’s influence has grown in the last two years as have the rumours concerning attempts to drive him away from the Pope, such as his possible appointment as bishop in Germany, now that the Diocese of Regensburg is to become vacant and its current bishop is to become cardinal in Rome and cover a different office. But there are very few who believe that the Pope will get rid of his trusted secretary.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:14 AM
Knights of Columbus to hold global prayer for Pope
Rome, Italy, May 29, 2012 / 01:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On the 35th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's episcopal ordination, the head of the Knights of Columbus has asked all 1.8 million members of the Catholic fraternal order to pray for the pontiff.
“At this important moment in the history of the Church and in the life of Pope Benedict XVI, it is important that we commit ourselves in prayer and solidarity to our Holy Father in a special way," Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said May 28.
He asked every Knight of Columbus to pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be before or after Mass this coming Sunday, June 3, for the Pope's intentions and "in honor of his 35 years as a bishop."
Pope Benedict was consecrated a bishop on May 28, 1977.
There are Knights of Columbus councils throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean, the Philippines and Poland.
Members of the charitable fraternity donated 70 million hours and nearly $155 million to charitable causes in 2011. The 130-year-old organization has a long history of working with the Church from local parishes to the Vatican.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:04 PM
Pope at weekly General Audience: the Spirit transforms our lives
May 30, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI renewed his expressions of spiritual closeness and participation in the pain of those affected by Tuesday's earthquake in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, expressing the hope that, "with the help of the whole people and the solidarity of the entire nation, there might be a return to normal life in the stricken areas as soon as possible."
The Holy Father's appeal came at the end of his weekly General Audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday, during which he continued his catechetical series on the theme of prayer in the writings of St. Paul the Apostle:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, in our continuing reflection on prayer in the letters of Saint Paul, we now consider the Apostle’s striking affirmation that Jesus Christ is God’s “Yes” to mankind and the fulfilment of all his promises, and that through Jesus we say our “Amen”, to the glory of God (cf. 2 Cor 1:19-20). For Paul, prayer is above all God’s gift, grounded in his faithful love which was fully revealed in the sending of his Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, poured forth into our hearts, leads us to the Father, constantly making present God’s “Yes” to us in Christ and in turn enabling us to say our “Yes” – Amen! – to God. Our use of the word “Amen”, rooted in the ancient liturgical prayer of Israel and then taken up by the early Church, expresses our firm faith in God’s word and our hope in his promises. Through this daily “Yes” which concludes our personal and communal prayer, we echo Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will and, through the gift of the Spirit, are enabled to live a new and transformed life in union with the Lord.
The Holy Father also had special greetings for pilgrims in many languages, including English:
I welcome the Vietnamese pilgrims from the Archidiocese of Hochiminh City, led by Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Mân. I also welcome the participants in the Buddhist-Christian Symposium being held in Castelgandolfo. My greeting likewise goes to the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation from the United States. Upon all the English-speaking visitors, including those from England, Ireland, Norway, India, Indonesia, Japan and the United States I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!
During his remarks to the faithful following the catechesis, Pope Benedict addressed the recent attention surrounding various leaks to the media. The Pope said, “Events in recent days regarding the Curia and my collaborators have brought sadness to my heart,” though, he continued, “the firm conviction that despite human weakness, despite the difficulties and trials, the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, has never diminished – and the Lord will never fail to give His aid in sustaining the Church on her journey.” The Pope went on to say, “Nevertheless, some entirely gratuitous rumors have multiplied, amplified by some media, which went well beyond the facts, offering a picture of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality.” Pope Benedict concluded, saying, “I would like therefore to reiterate my confidence and my encouragement to my staff and to all those who, day in and day out, faithfully and with a spirit of sacrifice, quietly help me in fulfilling my ministry.”
Thursday, May 31, 2012 2:59 AM
The Pope, the press and the facts
May 30, 2012
The case of the personal documents stolen from Pope Benedict XVI and published by Italian press continues to attract the interest of international media, to the point that in an impromptu speech at the end of his weekly appointment with the faithful from around the world, the Pope himself addressed it directly.
“The events of recent days”, he said, "have brought sadness to my heart, but never obscured my firm conviction that despite trials, difficulties and weaknesses, the Lord does not abandon his Church." “Nevertheless,” continued the Pope “some entirely gratuitous allegations have spread, amplified by some media, which went well beyond the facts, offering a picture of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality.” Pope Benedict concluded, saying, “I would like therefore to reiterate my confidence and my encouragement to my staff and to all those who, day in and day out, faithfully and with a spirit of sacrifice, quietly help me in fulfilling my ministry.''
One of those collaborators, Holy See Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., met with press for a third straight day Wednesday in a briefing that consisted largely in deflating many of those rumours of which the Pope had spoken in his audience.
He reiterated that they only person arrested and formally charged for the theft of the Pope’s personal documents remains Paolo Gabriele and there are no others, lay or clergy, currently detained – as reported by some press. That Gabriele met again Wednesday morning with his lawyers who have formulated a request for his release under house arrest. That his formal interrogation would take place in the coming days.
Fr Lombardi again underlined that the official investigation into the criminal act of theft is being carried out by the Vatican Gendarme (police force) and magistrates. That the Commission of Cardinals’ inquiry into the source of leaked Vatican documents was a separate if parallel effort to arrive at the truth.
Fr. Lombardi again corrected press claims that documents ready to be sent to specific recipients were found in Gabriele’s home, but – he added - the material found in the Butler’s possession is still being studied and cataloged.
Fr. Lombardi again stressed the importance of truth and objectivity in reporting on this case which is not only a source of pain for the Pope but for the faithful worldwide.
"I think that our will to reach the truth, the desire for clarity, for transparency - arrived at gradually over time – this is how we are trying to handle this new situation: in all honesty we are trying to understand what objectively happened. But first, whatever we do, we must remember respect for the privacy and protection of the person and for the truth”.
In an interview with L'Osservatore Romano, another of the Pope’s closest collaborators, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, stated that the Holy Father was not merely “robbed of letters”, but the act of stealing and publishing those letters was an act of “violence on the consciences of those who turn to him as Vicar of Christ in full confidence”.
He also dismissed the principal “that the end justifies the means”. This has been claimed by the anonymous sources who provided the leaked documents to the press and the journalists who published them, in the name of greater transparency and reform in the Church. How can any reform, he asked, be based on flouting moral laws? Stealing is immoral.
Archbishop Becciu reiterated that the Church firmly believes that “the truth will set you free”, but that the distorted image of the Vatican as presented in the press based on unfounded rumours and unproven speculation is far from the truth. He spoke of “an underlying hypocrisy” in press reporting: “On the one hand the central government of the Church is accused of being absolutist and monarchical” while on the other many of the personal documents published by Italian press reveal contrasting ideas and even complaints about the governance of the Church. Thus proving, in Archbishop Becciu’s view, that “we are not mummies; rather, different viewpoints or even contrasting evaluations are normal”.
Responding to journalists questions on reports of the Pope’s possible resignation Fr. Lombardi dismissed the rumours as some journalists' “hobbyhorse”. The Curia he concluded - "continues to express solidarity with the Pope and to operate in full communion with the Successor of Peter. At this time and in this situation we can only express our great appreciation for the Holy Father, for his ministry, his demonstration of unity, coherence and consistency in dealing with this situation."
But perhaps it was best put by Benedict XVI, who in his Wednesday audience observed: “Faced with conflict in human relationships, even within the family, often we fail to persevere in gratuitous love, which demands effort and sacrifice. Instead, God does not tire of us, He never grows tired of being patient with us and with his immense mercy He is always before us, He always comes to encounter us. "
Thursday, May 31, 2012 3:02 AM
Papal butler's lawyers ask Vatican for house arrest for their client
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
May 30, 2012
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The lawyers for Paolo Gabriele have petitioned Vatican magistrates for house arrest for their client, who is accused of illegally possessing stolen documents as part of the so-called "VatiLeaks" scandal.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said May 30 that the magistrates who have been holding Gabriele in the offices of the Vatican police were considering the formal request to allow him to return to his Vatican apartment with his wife and three children.
The papal assistant, a combination butler and valet, was arrested May 23 by Vatican police, who said they found stolen documents in his apartment.
Father Lombardi confirmed that Gabriele's lawyers had petitioned for house arrest. He said the magistrates were considering the request and "arrangements already are being made" in case they allow it.
The spokesman also confirmed that Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the pope's personal secretary, confronted Gabriele about leaking documents to a journalist when suspicions began to focus on him. "It would have been strange not to ask for an explanation" when Gabriele had worked in the private papal household with Msgr. Ganswein for six years, Father Lombardi said.
In addition to the magistrates' questioning of Gabriele, Father Lombardi said the Vatican police and a commission of cardinals appointed by Pope Benedict XVI continue to investigate the leak of private letters to Pope Benedict, encrypted cables from Vatican embassies around the world and other sensitive documents. The first documents were released by an Italian journalist in January and he published dozens of them in a book in mid-May.
Briefing reporters at the Vatican, Father Lombardi said no cardinals were being questioned in the inquiry. However, he said, "hypothetically speaking," it is unlikely that a cardinal would be interrogated by the Vatican magistrates.
"Cardinals answer to the pope," he said. "With anything involving a cardinal, the Holy Father would have to be informed and decide how to proceed."
The Vatican spokesman began his briefing by highlighting the pope's "clear and heartfelt" words during his weekly general audience that morning. The pope told an estimated 15,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's Square that he was saddened by the VatiLeaks scandal, but he firmly believes the Holy Spirit continues to guide the church. The pope also thanked the majority of Vatican employees who work with fidelity and discretion, and he said some of the media are exaggerating their coverage, painting a false picture of the Vatican.
Father Lombardi also noted that Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the No. 3 official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, had published an article in the Vatican newspaper the evening before in which he called the leaks "an immoral act of unheard-of seriousness."
The journalist who wrote the book claimed his sources were acting out of a concern for the pope and the church, hoping to promote transparency and an end to corruption, but Archbishop Becciu said leaking the letters was "unjustifiable behavior from every point of view."
In addition, he said, it is "hypocrisy" to pretend to be shocked that -- as some of the letters show -- Vatican officials disagree over how to handle different situations and bring their concerns to the pope.
People "criticize the monarchic and absolutist nature of the church's central government," he said, then they turn around and act "scandalized because someone writing to the pope expresses ideas or even complaints about how that government is organized. Many of the published documents do not reveal power struggles or vendettas, but the freedom of thought which the church is criticized for not allowing."
Archbishop Becciu said the letters show that "obedience does not mean renouncing one's own opinions, but sincerely and fully expressing one's point of view, then abiding by your superior's decision."
Unique Vatican court system tackles petty to serious crimes
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
May 30, 2012
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- From picked pockets to a 1998 double murder and suicide, the Vatican legal system has dealt with a vast array of crimes and misdemeanors over the decades.
Now it has begun a formal inquiry into the case of the pope's personal assistant who has been implicated in the media-blitzed "VatiLeaks" scandal. Paolo Gabriele, the pope's valet since 2006, was arrested May 23 by Vatican security for having unauthorized documents in his possession.
As the case unfolds in the coming weeks, many may wonder how the Vatican City State's unique judicial system works.
Its legal foundations are rooted in the Code of Canon Law, papal decrees, the Lateran Pacts, and Italian and Roman municipal laws.
Of the half-dozen different tribunal systems at the Vatican, just one deals specifically with the maintenance of law and order in the 108-acre country. The other systems tackle ecclesial matters.
When Vatican City State was created out of the Lateran Pacts in 1929, it adopted the Italian legal system for very practical reasons. Since the majority of people who are brought before the court are Italian residents, not Vatican citizens, it was believed necessary to have an established point of reference and direct link to Italian authorities.
Like the Italian system, the Vatican judicial system is an inverted pyramid. At the bottom level is the sole judge, Piero Antonio Bonnet, then there's a three-judge tribunal, followed by an appeals court and the supreme court of appeals at the top.
Lay lawyers and judges staff the bottom two courts while the appeals court includes clerics. The supreme court of appeals is led by three cardinals, and U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke is president.
The Lateran Pacts established that anyone who commits a crime on Vatican property, even if it is a Vatican employee, can be handed over to Italian authorities and be tried in Italian court.
The treaty also stipulated that crimes committed in St. Peter's Square, an open area that borders on Italian territory, fall to the Italian police. That is why Italians took over the investigation and trial of Blessed John Paul II's would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, when he shot the pope in 1981.
The Vatican legal system has modified some aspects of the Italian system it's based on. For example, it only uses civil laws that do not conflict with Catholic teaching, especially those concerning divorce and abortion.
It also fixed some of the problems that plague the Italian system -- like the glacial speed with which it addresses and resolves cases.
The Vatican has sped things up by decriminalizing a series of minor offences -- such as shoplifting in Vatican stores -- which allows the sole judge to resolve them without having to go to trial.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that in the case of Gabriele, the first phase of a preliminary investigation was completed by a Vatican tribunal judge, Nicola Picardi.
Bonnet, the sole judge, began the next step of the formal investigation, which will include a preliminary questioning of the suspect in the presence of his two lawyers and Vatican judge Picardi.
The next stage of the investigation will be to decide whether the evidence points to a possible criminal offense, in which case Gabriele would be called to stand trial. If the evidence does not indicate criminal action, he would be acquitted.
If they decide to go to trial, the court could also decide whether to turn to the Italian justice system for assistance, Father Lombardi said.
Even though no cardinals have been questioned in the initial inquiry, "hypothetically speaking," it is unlikely that a cardinal could be interrogated by the Vatican magistrates, the spokesman said.
"Cardinals answer to the pope," he said. "With anything involving a cardinal, the Holy Father would have to be informed and decide how to proceed."
The last serious crime the court and its judges had to deal with was a 10-month investigation in 1998 that determined a young Swiss Guard shot and killed the Guard's commander and the commander's wife before taking his own life.
The cases that normally come across the sole judge's desk include contested parking tickets, civil suits involving compensation for injuries suffered at the Vatican, employee theft, forgery, and the especially rare instances of small-time fraud or embezzlement.
The vast majority of penal cases handled by the court involve theft, especially by pickpockets, but the perpetrators usually are not caught.
Per capita, Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world.
According to the most recent published statistics, 226 criminal cases were reported in 2011 -- actually half the number of cases reported in 2006 when it was almost one crime per resident in a country with only 492 inhabitants.
But those figures are deceiving since the high crime rate stems from the sheer volume of people -- some 18 million each year-- that stream through the Vatican to visit St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums.
Recent reforms in Vatican norms and laws -- for instance, the 2008 creation of an agency regulating and overseeing workers' health and safety -- also have increased the number of civil suits, which counted 640 in 2011.
The Vatican also adopted new laws in 2011 as part of its efforts to meet international norms against money-laundering and financing terrorism.
As Holy See hunts for evidence, three Italians are said to be involved in Vatican leak case
Investigations into emails and phone calls and collaboration with public prosecutors continues. Meanwhile, the Secret Services have received a request for help
GIACOMO GALEAZZI & FRANCESCO GRIGNETTI
May 30, 2012
Paolo Gabriele is still the only person being investigated for the leak of documents from the papal apartments, but suspicions seem to lead to three more lay officials working in the Vatican, who reside in Italy. “The Vatican magistrates will ask for the help of the Italian justice if their inquiry found Italian citizens to be involved,” the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi stated. “These are tragic days,” the head of the Vatican Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani added.
Giani used to work for the Sisde, the Italian secret services and so far the Holy See has appealed twice to the Italian intelligence for support. First of all a month ago when the mole started leaking confidential papers to the mass media and the Vatican formally asked the Italian government for help. In that instance the secret services were authorized to collaborate with the Gendarmerie. The culprits however were not found.
The second time was when Inspector General Giani apparently called for support from the Italians again, from both police and intelligence, to intercept phone calls and emails. But the help could not be given without authorization from political authorities. The Gendarmerie continued its investigations and now we are at a turning point. As previously mentioned, at the top of the list of suspects there are three lay people working in the Vatican, who are however Italian citizens, residing in Rome. According to the Vatican inspectors their involvement is evident. Perhaps inspectors are simply waiting for them to make a wrong move. So far, the Italian magistrates were not asked to send any rogatory letters, but if necessary, it should be fairly easy for the Vatican to ask for assistance from the Judiciary system and confiscate their private computers. Moreover, emails are kept up to five years on internet servers. It should be simple, come the right time, to verify if one of them illegally handled confidential documents.
The disloyal butler met with his lawyers Carlo Fusco and Cristiana Arrù yesterday, but the formal questioning will begin in a few days. The situation appears seriously compromised. Yesterday, Fr. Lombardi explained that the evidence found in the butler’s house is enough to justify the charges against him. But perhaps Paolo Gabriele was just a pawn in this game, not even an important piece. He was probably the ‘postman’ in charge of taking the documents outside the Vatican walls.
Now, Paolo Gabriele apparently wants to collaborate with the Vatican’s investigators. His help will be “extensive, fruitful and positive” according to Fr. Lombardi. In the meantime he was moved to another cell, still inside the Vatican jail, and is being kept under constant surveillance. There are CCTV cameras working 24 hours a day in the cell and in the toilet.
The cardinals’ committee in charge of the inquiry is carrying on with its interviews. The three cardinals De Giorgi, Herranz and Tomko want to “do their job in peace” and in full coordination with the Tribunal and the Gendarmerie. The false rumours concerning the questioning of five cardinals might have originated from the interviews held by the committee.
“The committee” - Fr. Lombardi reminded - “can meet with some cardinals simply because they are the people in charge of offices in the Roman Curia,” but these interviews should not automatically be linked to the butler’s arrest. In one of the meetings reference was apparently made to a mysterious list of free masons clerics. Such mention brings back memories of the dark time of the ‘Ecclesia’ masonic lodge that was discovered 34 years ago and whose members included dozens of cardinals and bishops from the Curia.
Thursday, May 31, 2012 3:42 PM
HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE DIRECTOR: THIS IS THE MOMENT FOR FULL SOLIDARITY WITH THE POPE
Vatican City, 31 May 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, held a meeting with journalist to answer questions on the publication of reserved Vatican documents, an act for which the Pope's personal assistant has been arrested.
Regarding the questions on the pope's possible resignation, a hypothesis maintained by various media outlets, Fr. Lombardi affirmed that those were baseless creations of some journalists, which have no foundation in reality. The Curia has expressed its solidarity with the pontiff and continues to work in full communion with the Successor of Peter: "This is precisely the moment in which to demonstrate esteem and appreciation for the Holy Father and the service he carries out; to show full solidarity with him and thus, to demonstrate communion, unity, and coherence with how this situation is dealt with".
Fr. Lombardi emphasized that it is important that communication regarding this sorrowful event for the Pope and the Church be inspired by rigorous criteria for the truth: "It seems to me", he said, "that there is a line of desire for truth and clarity, a desire for transparency that, although it will take time, continues forward. I thus honestly believe that we are trying to handle this new situation: We are seeking the truth, and trying to objectively understand what may have happened. First, however, it is necessary to be sure to have understood it, in respect for persons and the truth".
Fr. Lombardi explained to the journalists that it will be necessary to wait for a complete picture of the situation, since the investigations and formal questioning are still at a preliminary stage. The agencies involved at this stage are the Vatican magistrate and a Commission of Cardinals.
The director of the Holy See Press Office also explained that yesterday morning the single defendant, Paolo Gabriele, met with his lawyers who will probably request monitored surveillance or house arrest for their client. At the same time, Fr. Lombardi denied details published in the media such as that packets of documents prepared to be sent to specific recipients were found in Gabriele's house. The material found in the personal assistant's possession is already being studied and catalogued, Fr. Lombardi said.
CELEBRATIONS FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI
Vatican City, 31 May 2012 (VIS) - On the solemnity of Corpus Christi next Thursday, 7 June at 7:00pm, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in the basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome, of which the pope is bishop. The Pope will then preside over the Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major that will travel along Via Merulana. Those taking part in the procession will include the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, confraternities and sodalities, Eucharistic associations, religious, children receiving First Communion, seminarians, priests, representatives of various parishes, chaplains and prelates of His Holiness, bishops and archbishops, cardinals, and faithful belonging to ecclesial movements and associations.
BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR JUNE
Vatican City, 31 may (VIS).- Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: “That believers may recognize in the Eucharist the living presence of the Risen One who accompanies them in daily life”.
His missionary intention is: "That Christians in Europe may rediscover their true identity and participate with greater enthusiasm in the proclamation of and participate with more enthusiasm in the Gospel".
Friday, June 01, 2012 2:51 PM
Pope: Mary a model of faith
June 1, 2012
Marking the end of the Marian month of May, which also celebrates the feast of the Visitation, Pope Benedict joined Cardinals, Bishops’ Priests and the faithful at the Grotto of Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens to honour the Mother of God.
Speaking at the Grotto, the Holy Father said that God was at the centre of Mary’s life, she abandoned herself to his will in a mark of humble obedience to his loving plan.
The Pope added that it was because of her humility of heart and spirit that she was chosen to be the Mother of God.
The Pope also noted that we have all so much to learn from Mary.
Her faith, Pope Benedict said invites us to look beyond appearances and to believe firmly that daily difficulties are preparing us for a spring that has already begun in Christ Risen.
The Holy Father prayed that the faithful through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, would be renewed by a new sense of joy, a joy he said which finds its source in the Lord, despite the trials that life brings.
FAITH INVITES US TO LOOK BEYOND APPEARANCES
Vatican City, 1 June 2012 (VIS) - "We must always learn from our heavenly Mother; her faith invites us to look beyond appearances and firmly to believe that our daily difficulties are, in fact, part of a springtime which has already begun with the risen Christ". Benedict XVI yesterday addressed these words to faithful gathered at the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens for the conclusion of the month of May, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
At 8 p.m. the traditional procession wound its way from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, presided by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican and vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City. The Pope arrived at the Grotto at 9 p.m. where, before imparting his apostolic blessing, he made a brief address.
"This evening we wish to draw from Mary's Immaculate Heart with renewed trust, allowing ourselves to be imbued with her joy which had its most profound source in the Lord. Joy, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is a fundamental distinguishing characteristic of Christians. It is founded on hope in God, it draws strength from incessant prayer and it enables us to face trials and suffering with serenity. As St. Paul reminds us: 'Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer'. These words of the Apostle are like an echo of Mary's 'Magnificat' and exhort us to reproduce, in our own selves and in our everyday lives, the sentiments of joy in the faith expressed in that Marian canticle".
In conclusion the Pope expressed his hope that, "at the end of this month of May, the spiritual joy which overflows from the grateful heart of Christ's Mother and ours, may become consolidated in our hearts, in our personal and family lives, in all places and especially in the life the family which, here in the Vatican, serves the universal Church".
Saturday, June 02, 2012 2:31 AM
Pope tells families to spread gifts of love, sacrifice to help others
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
June 1, 2012
MILAN (CNS) -- As tens of thousands of families from all over the world gathered for the World Meeting of Families, Pope Benedict XVI urged them to use their Christian values and strengths to help bring peace, joy and solidarity to everyone in their lives.
"It is within a family that one experiences for the first time how the human person was not created to live closed up in himself, but in relationship with others," the pope said as he appealed for continued help for those affected by two deadly earthquakes in northern Italy.
While the May 30-June 3 world meeting centered on the joy and celebration of families living their faith, the pope said it was impossible to not remember all those who were suffering in the world as he called for greater solidarity.
The pope arrived by plane from Rome June 1 to jubilant crowds who lined the streets from the airport to a packed square in front of the soaring spires of Milan's Gothic cathedral.
Families chanted and waved white kerchiefs, enjoying the strong breeze and shielding their heads from the bright sun with baseball caps provided in the pilgrim kits. The popemobile stopped several times en route to let babies get a papal kiss and blessing.
The city band played as the pope pulled in to his first stop of the cathedral square to greet all the city's citizens of every culture and background.
A vibrant business and economic hub, Milan represents a "crossroad of peoples and cultures," the pope said.
It has known for centuries how to welcome the best new ideas and contributions while holding strong to its unique heritage, he said.
"Still today Milan is called to rediscover this positive role of hers, to be a herald of development and peace for all of Italy," he said.
The pope emphasized the love and concern he held in his heart for all those in difficulty, those who feel isolated, the unemployed, the sick, prisoners, the homeless and those living in conditions that strip them of their dignity.
He praised the church for coming to the aid of those in need, especially during a time of continued economic crisis, and he thanked everyone for helping those hit by two earthquakes near Bologna May 20 and 29. The total toll was estimated to be at least 24 people dead, hundreds injured and thousands made homeless.
Pope Benedict said those affected by the tragedy were in his heart and prayers, and he urged people to be generous with their help. The world meeting organizers had collection boxes set up in the congress hall and were sending donations to the appropriate Caritas organization.
Later, after enjoying an evening concert featuring Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the city's famed La Scala opera house, the pope again appealed for everyone to not forget to care for those in need.
The concert, given in honor of the pope's visit by city officials, was attended by the city's glitterati and important dignitaries. The pope said the choral symphony's lyrics, "Ode to Joy," written by Friedrich Schiller, were an invitation to overcome egoism, celebrate peaceful coexistence and strive for a civilization marked by love and solidarity.
He said it was hard to fully celebrate knowing there were so many people suffering from the recent quakes, but he said he hoped the music and lyrics would inspire everyone to turn that suffering into love and concrete solidarity.
The family is the first place people become aware that the world does not revolve around just themselves, he said. It's in the family one learns that the driving force is not egoism, but self-giving, and "it is in the family that the light of peace begins to light up in the heart," a light that is meant to radiate out into the world.
Bringing Christian values to life is urgent, he said in his earlier speech to the city of Milan.
Faith in Jesus Christ must be alive and witnessed in everyday life -- both personal and social, public and private, he said -- so as to create a society that is stable and dedicated to the true well-being of people.
The city's Christian roots must spread forth and not be isolated from others, bringing hope and life to all of Italy and Europe, he said.
Secular society and people of faith are called to work together for the public good, he added.
The pope also upheld the city's most famous citizens, from Popes Paul VI and Pius XI to Sts. Ambrose, Charles Borromeo and Gianna Molla.
St. Gianna is a particularly apt model for families -- she was a wife, mother and active professional woman in church and community life, he said.
"She made shine the beauty and joy of faith, hope and charity," he said.
Benedict XVI's message to families: "Where Peter is, there is the Church"
June 1, 2012
“Faith in Christ must inspire entire fabric of personal, community, private and public life, so as to allow a real and stable sense of “well-being”, starting from the family. Today, in front of the Duomo, Milan’s Cathedral, Benedict XVI gave his recipe for overcoming the crisis. “The family must be rediscovered as a key and coefficient element of our human heritage and as the sign of a real and lasting culture in support of mankind,” the Pope said.
Thousands of faithful gathered this afternoon in Milan, the cradle of Ambrosian Catholicism, to hear the Pope’s first speech to the city. Benedict XVI was welcomed by a huge crowd as he arrived in the square in front of the Duomo Cathedral: numerous groups were singing, clapping their hands and waving flags. Crowd control barriers were used to control the crowds moving from the churchyard where the high-decked chair from which the Pope spoke, stood, to the middle of the square. Dozens of international flags, placards and banners were being waved about by faithful under the statue of the Madonna which today was flanked by the Italian and Vatican flags: “Benedict who comes in the name of the Father,” the Communion and Liberation movement’s banner read.
Numerous young people and children were gathered in the square as well. One banner held up by some children read: "La scuola nella festa. La magia è questà” (a rhyming message in Italian which means: school celebrates. This is magic) “Milan must not isolate or separate its unique identity by withdrawing itself – the Pope warned. On the contrary, by preserving the sap of its roots and the characteristic traits of its history, it is called to look to the future with hope, cultivating an intimate and propulsive link with life across Italy and Europe.” “The positive, “secular” side of Milan and the Milan of faith are called to work together towards a common good,” drawing a clear distinction between the different roles and aims, the Pope stressed. The Pope arrived in Milan for his pastoral visit on the occasion of the VII Word Meeting of Families “Family, Work and Celebration”.
Upon his arrival at Milano Linate airport, the Pope was welcomed by the Archbishop of Milan, Angelo Scola, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Ennio Antonelli and the Archbishop Emeritus of Milan, Dionigi Tettamanzi. Government representatives included Andrea Riccardi, Minister for International Co-operation and Integration. The first meeting with the Milanese people “will take place in Piazza Duomo, in the heart of Milan, where the city’s emblematic monument stands,” the Pope stressed. With its jungle of spires, the cathedral draws people’s gaze up towards God. It is this impetus towards heaven that “has always characterised Milan, allowing it to successfully respond to its vocation throughout the ages”: it is a crossroads – Mediolanum – of peoples and cultures. As such, the city was able to “wisely combine pride in its own identity with the ability to welcome all positive contributions people have offered throughout history.”
Milan is still called to rediscover this positive role “heralding development and peace throughout Italy.” Saint Ambrose, Milan’s patron saint, came from a Roman family and has aleways kept his ties with the Eternal City and the Church of Rome alive, affirming and praising the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Peter represents “the Church’s foundation and the magisterium of discipline.” He then pronounced his famous statement: “Where Peter is, there is the Church.”
The pastoral wisdom and the Ambrose’s magisterium on the orthodoxy of faith and Christian life will leave “an indelible imprint in the universal Church will mark the Church of Milan which has never ceased cultivating its memory and spirit.” This is why Joseph Ratzinger addressed the people of Milan directly: “It is up to you now as heirs of a glorious past and a priceless spiritual heritage to commit to passing on the torch of this bright tradition to future generations. You are well aware of the crucial need to add evangelical yeast to the current cultural context.”
Saturday, June 02, 2012 2:38 AM
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony sung in honour of Ratzinger
An evening of music dedicated to victims of the earthquake in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region is being held tonight at La Scala opera house, in Milan. The Pope also remembered the victims in his speech to faithful earlier today
June 1, 2012
This evening Benedict XVI is attending a concert in his honour at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. This concludes his first day at the VII World Meeting of Families. The Teatro alla Scala Orchestra and Chorus will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
When he arrived at the entrance of the “temple of lyrics”, the Pope, a music aficionado, was welcomed by the mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia and General Manager and Artisitc Director, Stephane Lissner. The Pope is watching the concert from his seat in the stalls. Official delegations for the World Meeting of Families are also currently attending the concert.
At the end of the concert, Benedict XVI will give a speech from the main stage after greeting Barenboim and the other orchestra players. He will then leave the opera house from the backstage exit that leads onto Via Filodrammatici and from there, he will take the Popemobile to the archbishopric where he is staying. Before the concert, Lissner announced that the evening was an ideal dedication to victims of the Emilia Romagna earthquake, whom the Pope spared a thought for in his speech earlier today.
Saturday, June 02, 2012 2:27 PM
LOOK TO THE FUTURE WITH CONFIDENCE, RELYING ON GOD'S FIDELITY
Vatican City, 2 June 2012 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today the Holy Father presided at the celebration of Terce in the Duomo of Milan, in the presence of priests, deacons, seminarians and religious of the local archdiocese. Following the recitation of the Psalms Benedict XVI pronounced a mediation, extracts of which are given below:
"At this moment we are experiencing the mystery of the Church in its most exalted form, that of liturgical prayer. In ecclesial prayer our lips, our hearts and our minds, interpret the needs and longings of all humankind. ... The daily prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours is an essential task of the ordained ministry of the Church. It is also through the divine office, which prolongs the central mystery of the Eucharist throughout the day, that priests have a special bond to the Lord Jesus".
"What a precious gift the priesthood is! ... If Christ, to build His Church, delivers Himself into the hands of the priest, then the priest must in turn entrust himself to Christ without reserve. Love for the Lord Jesus is both the soul of and the reason for priestly ministry. ... There is no contrast between the good of the priest's person and his mission, Quite the contrary, pastoral charity is a unifying element which, on the basis of an increasingly intimate rapport with Christ in prayer, enables us to experience the total gift of self for our flock. ... Each of our actions, in fact, has the aim of leading the faithful to union with the Lord, and of increasing ecclesial communion for the salvation of the world.
"One luminous sign of pastoral charity and an undivided heart is priestly celibacy and consecrated chastity. ... Without doubt love for Jesus regards all Christians, but it acquires particular significance for the celibate priest and for those who have responded to the vocation to consecrated life. The source and model for repeating our daily 'yes' to God's will is only and always in Christ". In the Virgin Mary "we recognise that 'chaste and detached life, which Christ the Lord chose for Himself and which His Mother also embraced', a life full of obedience to the will of God".
"Dear consecrated brothers and sisters, ... look to the future with confidence, relying on God's fidelity and the power of His grace, which is always capable of working new miracles. ... At this time I wish to render thanks unto God for the many Ambrosian priests and religious who have spent their lives at the service of the Gospel, sometimes even unto the supreme sacrifice of their lives". Among these, the Holy Father made specific mention of the priests Luigi Talamoni, Luigi Biraghi, Luigi Monza, Carlo Gnocchi and Serafino Morazzone; the religious blesseds Giovanni Mazzucconi, Luigi Monti, Clemente Vismara, Maria Anna Sala and Enrichetta Alfieri.
"Through their joint intercession, we trustingly ask the Giver of all gifts to make the ministry of priests fruitful, and to strengthen the testimony of consecrated persons, so as to show the world the beauty of giving oneself to Christ and the Church, and to renew Christian families according to God's plan, that they may become places of grace and sanctity, a fertile terrain for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life".
TO YOUNG PEOPLE: AIM AT HIGH IDEALS! BE SAINTS!
Vatican City, 2 June 2012 (VIS) - At around midday today, following the celebration of Terce in the Duomo of Milan, Benedict XVI travelled by car to the stadium of San Siro where he was greeted by a crowd of around 80,000 made up of young people who have recently received or about to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, members of their families and catechists.
"Assisted by your itinerary (of formation), you have learned to recognise the wonderful things the Holy Spirit has done and does in your lives, and in all those who say 'yes' to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You have discovered the great value of Baptism, the first of the Sacraments, the entranceway to Christian life. You received all this thanks to your parents who ... committed themselves to educating you in the faith".
"Now you have grown and can say your own 'yes' to God, a free and conscious 'yes'. The Sacrament of Confirmation confirms Baptism and infuses you abundantly with the Holy Spirit . Now you, full of gratitude, have the chance to accept His great gifts which, on life's journey, will help you to become faithful and courageous witnesses of Jesus. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are stupendous, enabling you to be formed as Christians, to live the Gospel and to be active members of the community".
"All of Christian life is a journey. It is like following a path up a mountain, sometimes a difficult path, in company with Jesus. ... With the precious gifts (of the Holy Spirit) your friendship with Him will become more authentic and closer. It is constantly nourished by the Sacrament of the Eucharist, ... for which reason I invite you to participate joyfully and faithfully in Sunday Mass, and ... to attend Confession, which is the meeting with Jesus Who forgives our sins and helps us to do good. ... Learn to enter into dialogue with the Lord, tell Him of your joys and concerns, and ask for light to support you on your journey".
"In the family, be obedient to your parents, listen to the instructions they give you so as to grow, like Jesus, 'in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour'. Finally, do not be lazy but hard-working, particularly in your studies. That is your daily duty and a great opportunity you have to develop and to prepare your future. Be open and generous towards others, vanquishing the temptation to place yourselves at the centre, because selfishness is the enemy of authentic joy.
"If you now have a taste of the beauty of being part of the community of Jesus, then you too will be able to make your contribution to help it grow. ... Every day, including here today, the Lord is calling you to great things, Remain open to what He is suggesting and, if He calls you to follow Him on the path of the priesthood or consecrated life, do not say no! ... Jesus will fill your hearts for all your lives".
"I say with conviction: Aim at high ideals! ... Be saints! Yet, you may ask, is it possible to be saints at your age? I tell you that it is, ... as is clear from the witness of many saints who were your peers, such as Domenico Savio and Maria Goretti. Sanctity is the normal path for Christians, it is not reserved for the chosen few but open to everyone, though naturally with the light and strength of the Holy Spirit ... and the guidance of our Mother, ... Mary the Mother of Jesus. ... May the Virgin Mary, then, always watch over the beauty of your 'yes' to Jesus, her Son, the great and faithful Friend of your lives".
Sunday, June 03, 2012 5:40 AM
Young people’s message to the Pope: “You are our champion”
In today’s speech at Milan’s San Siro stadium, the Pope advised young people not to be lazy, to embark on a journey with Christ, be saints and maintain high ideals
June 2, 2012
The Pope was all smiles and the stadium terraces filled with faithful singing in chorus at today’s confirmation event at the “Meazza” stadium in San Siro, which resembled a World Youth Day, Milan style. Benedict XVI embraced the children that received or are due to receive the sacrament of confirmation this year.
This morning’s meeting with confirmation candidates was introduced by the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Scola, with a welcome address by Fr. Samuele Morelli, head of the Diocese of Milan’s pastoral care for youth section and a presentation by little Giovanni who is acting as representative for his peers. This was followed by a show put on by youngsters and greetings from two Italian football players, AC Milan’s Franco Baresi and FC Inter’s Javier Zanetti. Cardinal Scola then pronounced the Gospel and the Pope concluded with a speech intended as a catechesis for youngsters of this global third millennium.
“Do not believe those who tell you that you cannot have a vocation at your age.” The Pope spoke off the cuff to the 80.000 passionate youngsters taking part in the “confirmation candidates’ celebration” in Milan’s Meazza stadium. “I myself – he said – cannot say whether I heard the call at the moment of my confirmation, but I certainly began to hear it when I was a child like you.”
The Pope appealed to youngsters to say “yes” to Jesus’ Gospel. This “yes” should be said with freedom and awareness. “The sacrament of Confirmation confirms Baptism, surrounding you with the Holy Spirit – Joseph Ratzinger explained. You yourselves are now full of gratitude; you have the possibility to embrace his great gifts which help you to become faithful and courageous witnesses of Jesus along life’s path. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wonderful things which allow you to develop as Christian, to live the Gospel and be members of the community.” Christian life is “a path, it is like going on a journey up a mountain path, alongside Jesus.”
Benedict XVI’s words were like a vademecum for young people: “Don’t be lazy, be committed children and young people, particularly to study.” This is “your daily duty and a great opportunity to grow.” So “be there for others and be generous, overcoming the temptation to put yourselves at the centre of everything, because selfishness is joy’s enemy.”
What is more, “if you experience the beauty of being part of Jesus’ community, now, you too will be able to contribute to its growth and will be able to invite others to join.” “Allow me therefore to say to you that the Lord calls you to do great things every day, even right here today.” “Be open to his suggestions and to whether he calls you to follow him along the path of priesthood or consecrated life.”
So “don’t say “no” to him” Jesus will fill your heart for the rest of your life.” “Aim for high ideals, be saints! Is it possible to be saints at your age? I say to you it certainly is possible!” the Pope went on to stress to youngsters. Even St Ambrose, “your city’s great Saint” confirms this in one of his works: “Every age is ready for Christ.” So many saints your age can testify to this; Domenico Savio and Maria Goretti, for example.” Sainthood is the natural path for Christians: “It is not limited to a select few, it is open to everyone,” “with the light and force of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of our Mother Mary. Jesus entrusted her with us before dying on the cross.” The Pope invoked the Virgin Mary to “always guard the beauty of your “yes” to Jesus, her Son, the great, faithful Friend in your life.”
Tens of thousands of young people attended the confirmation event at the Meazza stadium in San Siro, filling the stadium, referred to as “football’s La Scala” to the brim. Along with his speech, the Pope also recited the Angelus prayer here. This afternoon, a meeting will take place with Milan's Government Authorities in the Hall of the Throne at the Archbishopric of Milan. During the meeting, the Pope is expected to give another speech on the protection of the family and life and on keeping feast days as days of rest.
The day will conclude with the Evening of Witness, the vigil with families, in Bresso Park, at 20:30. Here, the Pope will speak with participants of the World Meeting of Families, in the same place where he will celebrate the event’s final mass tomorrow morning. Over a million faithful are expected to attend the final mass.
Sunday, June 03, 2012 2:37 PM
THE STATE MUST RECOGNISE THE SPECIFIC IDENTITY OF THE FAMILY FOUNDED UPON MARRIAGE
Vatican City, 3 June 2012 (VIS) - In the archbishopric of Milan yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father met with representatives from the civil and military authorities, industrialists and workers, and exponents of the world of culture in the Italian region of Lombardy.
Benedict XVI focused his remarks on the principles of good government as laid down by St. Ambrose who, based in Milan, governed the Roman provinces of Liguria and Aemilia in the fourth century. These principles "are still important" for leaders today, the Pope said. The first quality of people in power must be justice, "the public virtue par excellence because it concerns the good of the entire community". Justice has to be accompanied by love of freedom, something which distinguishes good governors from bad ones. "Freedom is ... a precious right which must be guaranteed by the civil authorities. However, freedom does not mean the will of the individual but the responsibility of everyone. One of the principle elements of the secular State is to ensure freedom so that everyone can present their own vision of social life, but always while respecting others and in the context of laws which seek the good of all".
In order to guarantee the common good the laws of State "must draw justification and strength from natural law, which is the foundation for a social order adapted to the dignity of the human person". An exclusively positivist view of law cannot provide ethical guidance. The State must serve and protect the individual in all aspects, "beginning with the right to life, which must never be deliberately suppressed". It is also called "to recognise the specific identity of the family, founded on marriage and open to life, and the right of parents freely to choose the education and formation of their children. ... The State fails to do justice to families if it does not support freedom of education for the good of all society", the Pope said.
The Church offers her collaboration to the State, each with their own role and their own goals, through her doctrine, traditions, institutions and activities, by virtue of which she places herself at the service of people. "Suffice it to think of the many shining figures of saints of charity, of schools and of culture, saints who cared for the sick and the marginalised with the same service and love with which we would serve and love the Lord. ... Christian communities promote these actions ... as a gratuitous superabundance of Christ's charity and of the all-embracing experience of their faith. Apart from courageous technical and political decisions, the crisis we are going through also has need of gratuitousness".
Finally Benedict XVI recalled the fact that St. Ambrose advised people in positions of power to ensure they were loved. "That which love does can never be done by fear", he said, quoting the saint. The reasons that move people to enter into public life "cannot but be", he told his audience, "the desire to dedicate yourselves to the good of citizens, and therefore a clear expression and evident sign of love. In this way politics is ennobled and becomes an exalted form of charity".
DIVORCED PEOPLE ARE NOT "OUTSIDE" THE CHURCH
Vatican City, 3 June 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, almost half a million people attended the "Celebration of Witnesses" at Bresso Park in Milan, Italy, one of events of the seventh World Meeting of Families. The Holy Father arrived at 8.30 p.m. to participate in the celebration during which he answered questions put to him by various families on subjects which included the economic crisis, the position of divorced people in the Church and the indissolubility of Marriage. Benedict XVI also recalled his own infancy and family life.
An engaged couple from Madagascar who are studying at university in Italy spoke of the anxiety they felt when faced with the "forever" of Marriage. The Pope explained that falling in love, being an emotion, is not eternal. "The emotion of love must be purified", he said, "it must undertake a journey of discernment in which the mind and the will also come into play. ... In the rite of Marriage the Church does not ask whether you are in love but whether you want, whether you are resolved. In other words, falling in love must become true love; it must involve the will and the mind in a journey (which is the period of engagement) of purification, of greater profundity so that it is truly all of man, with all his capacities, with the discernment of reason and the force of will, who says: 'Yes, this is my life'". The Holy Father also mentioned other important factors such as communion of life with others, with friends, the Church, the faith and God Himself.
A Brazilian family raised the issue of divorced couples who have remarried and cannot avail themselves of the Sacraments. Benedict XVI affirmed that "this is one of the the great causes of suffering for the Church today, and we do not have simple solutions. ... Naturally, one very important factor is prevention. This means ensuring that, from the beginning, the act of falling love is transformed in a more profound and mature decision. Another factor is that of accompanying people during marriage, to ensure that families are never alone but find authentic company on their journey. We must tell people in this situation that the Church loves them, but they must see and feel this love". Parishes and other Catholic communities "must do everything possible so that such people feel loved and accepted, that they are not 'outsiders' even if they cannot receive absolution and the Eucharist. They must see that they too live fully within the Church. ... The Eucharist is real and shared if people truly enter into communion with the Body of Christ. Even without the 'corporeal' assumption of the Sacrament, we can be spiritually united to Christ". It is important for divorced couples "to have the chance to live a life of faith, ... to see that their suffering is a gift for the Church, because they also help others to defend the stability of love, of Marriage; ... theirs is a suffering in the community of the Church for the great values of our faith".
A Greek family asked the Pope what families affected by the economic crisis can do not to lose hope. "Words are insufficient", the Holy Father replied. "We should do something tangible and we all suffer because we are unable to do so. First let us speak of politics. I believe that all parties should show an increased sense of responsibility, that they should not make promises they cannot keep, that they should not seek votes only for themselves but show responsibility for the common good of everyone, in the awareness that politics is also a human and moral responsibility before God and man". Moreover, each of must do everything we can "with a great sense of responsibility and in the knowledge that sacrifices are necessary if we are to prevail". The Holy Father also suggested that families help one another, and that parishes and cities do likewise, supporting one another with material assistance and never forgetting to pray.
A seven year old girl from Vietnam asked the Pope to say something about his own family and infancy. Benedict XVI recalled the essential importance Sunday had had for his family. "Sunday began on Saturday afternoon when my father would tell us the Sunday readings. ... Thus we entered into the liturgy in an atmosphere of joy. The next day we would go to Mass. I lived near Salzburg so there was always music - Mozart, Schubert, Haydn - and when the 'Kyrie' began it was as if the sky itself had opened. ... We were of one heart and soul, with many shared experiences even through difficult times because there was the war and before that the dictatorship, then poverty. But the reciprocal love that existed between us, the joy in simple things was so strong that we could bear and overcome these things. ...Thus we grew up in the certainty that it is good to be human, because we could see the goodness of God reflected in parents and siblings. ... In this context of trust, joy and love we were happy and I think that heaven must be similar to my youth. In this sense I hope 'to go home' when I go 'to the other part of the world'".
LOVE IS THE ONLY FORCE THAT CAN TRULY TRANSFORM THE WORLD
Vatican City, 3 June 2012 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today, Benedict XVI presided at an open-air Mass at Bresso Park in Milan, Italy, for the closure of the seventh World Meeting of Families. The meeting began on 30 May and has had as its theme: "The Family: Work and Celebration". Extracts of the homily delivered by the Pope to the one million faithful present are given below.
"The liturgical Solemnity of the Holy Trinity that we are celebrating today ... urges us to commit ourselves to live our communion with God and with one another according to the model of Trinitarian communion. ... It is not only the Church that is called to be the image of One God in Three Persons, but also the family, based on marriage between man and woman. ... God created us male and female, equal in dignity, but also with respective and complementary characteristics, so that the two might be a gift for each other, might value each other and might bring into being a community of love and life. It is love that makes the human person the authentic image of God. Dear married couples, in living out your marriage you are not giving each other any particular thing or activity, but your whole lives. And your love is fruitful first and foremost for yourselves, because you desire and accomplish one another’s good, you experience the joy of receiving and giving. It is also fruitful in your generous and responsible procreation of children, in your attentive care for them, and in their vigilant and wise education. And lastly, it is fruitful for society, because family life is the first and irreplaceable school of social virtues, such as respect for persons, gratuitousness, trust, responsibility, solidarity, cooperation. Dear married couples, watch over your children and, in a world dominated by technology, transmit to them, with serenity and trust, reasons for living, the strength of faith, pointing them towards high goals and supporting them in their fragility".
"Your vocation is not easy to live, especially today, but the vocation to love is a wonderful thing, it is the only force that can truly transform the world. You have before you the witness of so many families who point out the paths for growing in love: by maintaining a constant relationship with God and participating in the life of the Church, by cultivating dialogue, respecting the other’s point of view, by being ready for service and patient with the failings of others, by being able to forgive and to seek forgiveness, by overcoming with intelligence and humility any conflicts that may arise, by agreeing on principles of upbringing, and by being open to other families, attentive towards the poor, and responsible within civil society. These are all elements that build up the family. Live them with courage, and be sure that, insofar as you live your love for each other and for all with the help of God’s grace, you become a living Gospel, a true domestic Church.
"I should also like to address a word to the faithful who, even though they agree with the Church’s teachings on the family, have had painful experiences of breakdown and separation. I want you to know that the Pope and the Church support you in your struggle. I encourage you to remain united to your communities, and I earnestly hope that your dioceses are developing suitable initiatives to welcome and accompany you".
"We may recognise the task of man and woman to collaborate with God in the process of transforming the world through work, science and technology. ... In modern economic theories, there is often a utilitarian concept of work, production and the market. Yet God’s plan, as well as experience, show that the one-sided logic of sheer utility and maximum profit are not conducive to harmonious development, to the good of the family or to building a more just society, because it brings in its wake ferocious competition, strong inequalities, degradation of the environment, the race for consumer goods, family tensions. Indeed, the utilitarian mentality tends to take its toll on personal and family relationships, reducing them to a fragile convergence of individual interests and undermining the solidity of the social fabric.
"One final point: man, as the image of God, is also called to rest and to celebrate. The account of creation concludes with these words: “And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it”. For us Christians, the feast day is Sunday, the Lord’s day, the weekly Easter. It is the day of the Church, the assembly convened by the Lord around the table of the Word and of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. ... It is the day of man and his values: conviviality, friendship, solidarity, culture, closeness to nature, play, sport. It is the day of the family, on which to experience together a sense of celebration, encounter, sharing, not least through taking part in Mass. Dear families, despite the relentless rhythms of the modern world, do not lose a sense of the Lord’s Day!"
"Family, work, celebration: three of God’s gifts, three dimensions of our lives that must be brought into a harmonious balance. ... In this regard, always give priority to the logic of being over that of having: the first builds up, the second ends up destroying. We must learn to believe first of all in the family, in authentic love, the kind that comes from God and unites us to Him".
PHILADELPHIA 2015, THE NEXT WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES
Vatican City, 3 June 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, after having celebrated Mass in the presence of almost one million faithful at Bresso Park in Milan and before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father announced that the eighth World Meeting of Families will be held in Philadelphia, U.S.A. in the year 2015. "I send my warm greetings to Archbishop Charles Chaput", he said, "and to the Catholics of that great city, and look forward to meeting them there along with numerous families from all around the world".
Before bidding farewell to the participants in the seventh World Meeting of Families, Benedict XVI expressed his thanks to Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and to Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, as well as to all the organisers and volunteers.
The Pope then went on the greet pilgrims in various languages. Speaking French, he spoke of his joy at today's beatification in the French diocese of Besancon of Fr. Jean-Joseph Lataste of the Order of Friars Preachers, whom he described as an "apostle of mercy" and "apostle of prisons".
"Dear families of Milan, Lombardy, Italy and the whole world, I greet you all with affection and thank you for your participation", the Holy Father concluded. "I encourage you to show solidarity towards families experiencing the greatest difficulties. I am thinking of the economic and social crisis, I am thinking of the recent earthquake in Emilia. May the Virgin Mary always accompany and support you".
Sunday, June 03, 2012 4:34 PM
Pope: The married family can change the world
Milan, Italy, Jun 3, 2012 / 08:25 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI has told the 7th World Meeting of Families in Milan that the family based upon marriage can revolutionize modern society for the better.
“Your vocation is not easy to live, especially today, but the vocation to love is a wonderful thing, it is the only force that can truly transform the world,” he said during his homily to almost 1 million pilgrims gathered in Milan’s Bresso Park on June 3.
Pope Benedict was concluding a three-day visit to the event in northern Italy. Over the past week it has brought together families from over 150 countries to pray, celebrate and study marriage and family life. The theme for this year was “The Family: Work and Celebration.”
The Pope used his homily to provide some advice on the “elements that build up family life.”
He recommended: “maintaining a constant relationship with God and participating in the life of the Church,” “cultivating dialogue, respecting the other’s point of view, being ready for service and patient with the failings of others,” agreeing on “principles of upbringing,” “being open to other families, attentive towards the poor, and responsible within civil society.”
The Pope also stressed the importance of family life built upon a man and woman who are married to each other. This is because God “created us male and female, equal in dignity, but also with respective and complementary characteristics, so that the two might be a gift for each other, might value each other and might bring into being a community of love and life.”
He told the married couples present in the large outdoor congregation that they were “not giving each other any particular thing or activity” in marriage “but your whole lives.”
This love becomes most fruitful in its desire to “accomplish one another’s good” as well as in the “generous and responsible procreation of children,” followed by their “vigilant and wise education.”
The Pope also explained that the benefits of married families go beyond the spouses and children to include society at large, since “family life is the first and irreplaceable school of social virtues, such as respect for persons, gratuitousness, trust, responsibility, solidarity, cooperation.”
He then urged parents to transmit to their children “with serenity and trust, reasons for living, the strength of faith, pointing them towards high goals and supporting them in their fragility.”
Pope Benedict next turned his attention to the children present and encouraged them to “always maintain a relationship of deep affection and attentive care for your parents, and see that your relationships with your brothers and sisters are opportunities to grow in love.”
Towards the conclusion of his homily, the Pope addressed the damaging impact that modern economic theories based upon “a utilitarian concept of work, production and the market” can have upon the family.
Both God’s plan and experience, he said, show that this “one-sided logic of sheer utility and maximum profit” is not conducive to the good of the person, family or society.
“Indeed, the utilitarian mentality tends to take its toll on personal and family relationships, reducing them to a fragile convergence of individual interests and undermining the solidity of the social fabric.”
One of the ways in which Christian families can combat this trend is by making sure they keep Sunday as a special day for the family each week. It should be a day “of man and his values,” set aside for “conviviality, friendship, solidarity, culture, closeness to nature, play, sport,” said the Pope.
“Dear families, despite the relentless rhythms of the modern world, do not lose a sense of the Lord’s Day! It is like an oasis in which to pause, so as to taste the joy of encounter and to quench our thirst for God.”
At the conclusion of the Mass, Pope Benedict announced that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in 2015 in Philadelphia.
“I send my warm greetings to Archbishop Charles Chaput and to the Catholics of that great city, and look forward to meeting them there along with numerous families from all around the world. May God bless you all!”
Monday, June 04, 2012 6:56 AM
Roundup of World Meeting of Families: Pope says faith builds strong families; he wants to attend US gathering
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
June 3, 2012
MILAN (CNS) -- As Pope Benedict XVI closed the World Meeting of Families in Italy's capital of finance and fashion, he opened the possibility of his heading to the United States when he named the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the next venue of the world gathering.
"God willing," he said, he would attend in 2015 as he greeted Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and "the Catholics of that great city," saying he looked forward to meeting U.S. Catholics and other families from around the world there.
The surprise announcement came as the 85-year-old pope wrapped up the May 30 to June 3 world meeting, which gathers every three years to celebrate and help families live out their Christian values.
About 1 million people from 153 countries braved dawn wake-up calls, shouldered supply-laden backpacks and prodded along sleepy kids to descend on Milan's Bresso Park June 3 to take part in the event's closing Mass.
In his homily, the pope called for church unity, emphasized marriage as between a man and a woman, urged parents to keep the transcendent alive in a world that adores the high-tech over high ideals, and urged kids to respect and love their family.
Because the five-day meeting's theme was how to balance work demands, family needs and religious celebration, the pope upbraided economic theories that advocate that the best policies, markets and work ethics are those that push the most product and reap the most profit.
"The one-sided logic of sheer utility and maximum profit are not conducive to harmonious development, to the good of the family or to building of a more just society, because it brings in its wake ferocious competition, strong inequalities, degradation of the environment, the race for consumer goods and family tensions," he said.
Such a "utilitarian mentality" takes a toll on the family and social relationships "reducing them to a fragile convergence of individual interests and undermining the solidity of the social fabric," he added.
The pope spent nearly three full days at a variety of events: meeting local citizens, religious, government and business leaders and Catholic young people and families from around the world.
He also was treated to a concert of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at Milan's famed La Scala opera house.
Despite the jubilant and festive air among participants, the pope and archdiocesan leaders peppered their speeches with reminders of the thousands of people rendered homeless or destitute by a recent series of earthquakes in northern Italy.
The pope called for concrete aid to those in need, assuring victims of his prayers.
The archdiocese announced that a half-billion euro had been collected during the papal visit and would be given in the pope's name to those hardest hit. The pope's own charity recently donated a large sum and the pope met personally with a couple who lost their home and were living in tents.
Pope Benedict also hosted a lunch for 100 poor families -- about 300 people -- who live in Milan, but come from a variety of countries.
God, who suffered with humanity and for humanity, made people capable of sharing the suffering of others and of turning that pain into love, he said at La Scala June 1.
He urged faith communities and secular governments at events June 1-2 to work together for the common good by having people of faith live their values in all areas of life.
The church offers its teaching and input as a service to society, he said, as he urged governments to be just and guarantee liberty, based on natural law, for everyone "beginning with the right to life of which its deliberate suppression can never be allowed."
Inside Milan's monumental Gothic cathedral June 2, the pope met women and men religious, priests, seminarians and bishops for a prayer service in the Ambrosian rite. A religious vocation and one's personal well-being are not at odds, the pope said, but go hand-in-hand since being a good priest or sister and a happy person both find its source in drawing closer to Christ.
Later that day in Milan's San Siro soccer stadium, the pope told some 80,000 boys and girls who were or would be recently confirmed that they, too, can be saints as they let the Holy Spirit guide them to use their talents for the good of the community.
"You are called to great things," he said, so keep one's aims high. Study and work hard, obey one's parents, help others and be selfless "because egoism is the enemy of joy."
At an evening vigil marked by testimonies from families all over the world and international music by well-known artists, the pope shared the joys and sufferings of the world's families.
Five couples and families went up on stage one group at a time to ask the pope a personal question or appeal for advice.
The first, a 7-year-old girl from Vietnam, sat by the pope's feet, wanting to know what it was like growing up in his home.
Aware of the content of each question beforehand, the pope spoke off-the-cuff, saying even though Germany at the time was suffering from a dictatorship and war, his childhood was "unforgettable" and joyful as their home was always filled with music, faith, love and long walks in the woods.
"To tell you the truth, if I could imagine what it will be like in heaven, I always imagine the time of my youth, of my childhood," he said.
When a Greek family told the pope about their dire economic situation back home and asked how they could go forward in hope, the pope said words could never convey his sadness for people hit hard by the global economic crisis and the sadness over feeling unable to help.
He criticized the current political state of affairs, saying all political parties had to become more responsible and stop promising things they couldn't deliver.
Candidates need to see that the votes people invest in them are not votes for the leaders but are a call for them to fight and be responsible for the good of all people, he said.
He said one idea for people to help right away was for more financially stable parishes and families to adopt a struggling family or parish akin to the twin cities' initiative.
A Brazilian couple who work with divorced or separated Catholics asked how they could give the people they talk to hope.
The pope acknowledged the huge sense of loss and alienation divorced or remarried Catholics feel when they can no longer receive the sacraments. While preventing a marriage from breaking up is ideal through counseling and accompaniment, parishes could help divorcees still feel part of the community, experiencing the word of God and getting ongoing spiritual guidance, he said.
While they cannot receive the sacrament of the Eucharist, they can experience a spiritual form of communion, by being united in the body of Christ as church, he said.
The pope ate lunch together with seven families after the June 3 Mass. They included Allen and Janell Tuncap and their five children from Charleston, S.C.; the Green family including their seminarian son, Jack, from the diocese of Parramatta, Australia; and families from Baghdad, Iraq, Kinshasa, Congo, Mexico City, Spain and Milan.
Monday, June 04, 2012 7:33 AM
Good grief! Not more....
New Vatican documents leaked; source calls pope's butler a 'scapegoat'
By M. Alex Johnson
June 3, 2012, 10:24 pm
Pope Benedict XVI's butler, who is under arrest for allegedly leaking confidential Vatican documents, is just a scapegoat, according to the source of new secret documents published Sunday by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
The butler, Paolo Gabriele, 45, remains in a Vatican jail cell on charges of aggravated theft for possessing confidential correspondence. Publication of the new documents Sunday — which La Repubblica said it had received from an unknown person after Gabriele's arrest on May 25 — would strongly indicate that Gabriele wasn't the only person with access to the secret correspondence of the Roman Catholic Church.
The documents lay bare the political machinations among cardinals posted to the Vatican, suggesting an administration riven by infighting over which Benedict, 85, has — or chooses to exercise — little authority.
In a letter accompanying the three new documents, the shadowy provider calls Gabriele "the usual scapegoat" and says his or her intention is to "drive out the real culprits from the Vatican," whom the letter identifies as Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, Benedict's personal secretary, and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, his secretary of state.
The source warns that the new papers are just "three of the hundreds of documents in our possession" that could be damaging to the Vatican.
The documents published Sunday include two written on Gaenswein's personal letterhead. The text, however, had been whited out — a step the source said he or she had taken to protect the pope. In the accompanying cover letter, the source says the documents prove that Benedict is being served by an "inept staff."
Gaenswein has greatly increased his influence in the Vatican in recent years, according to La Republicca, and is one of the pope's closest confidants. The letters, if authenticated, could suggest that even the most sensitive Vatican documents have been compromised.
The third document is a letter to Bertone from Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, an American who is head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura — in essence, the Vatican's chief justice.
It is marked "highly confidential" and registers Burke's dismay that Benedict had approved the liturgy of a controversial lay group known as the NeoCatechumenal Way, which its critics contend violates the prescribed protocol for the Catholic Mass.
"I believe that approval of such liturgical innovations ... does not seem consistent with the liturgical teachings of the Pope," Burke wrote.
Monday, June 04, 2012 5:12 PM
The Pope Finds the Good Wine in Milan
The farther he gets from the intrigues of the Vatican, the more Benedict XVI encounters respect and affection. His three days in the economic capital of Italy were an Ode to Joy. As in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. As in the wedding at Cana
by Sandro Magister
ROME, June 3, 2012 – Far from the Vatican curia, Benedict XVI's authentic profile appears. Nothing to act as an opaque screen. His communication with the crowd is direct. His word arrives intact to those who listen.
This is what happened in Milan between Friday, June 1, and Sunday, June 3, with the pope's visit to the archdiocese of saints Ambrose and Charles, and at the seventh world meeting of families, to the rejoicing of at least a million faithful who had come together from many nations.
And it happened above all outside of the official discourses.
For example, in the moments in which pope Joseph Ratzinger responded off the cuff to questions from adults and children.
Or in the moments in which he opened autobiographical glimpses into the "paradise" of his childhood and his passion for great music.
The great music that Benedict XVI had an opportunity to listen to and meditate on in Milan was, at the Teatro della Scala on the evening of June 1, the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
The pope associated the "terrible dissonance" that introduces the final part of the symphony with the suffering and destruction that afflict men, not the least of which is the earthquake that is still shaking an area of Emilia, not far from Milan.
It is a dissonance that brings to mind a God who is blind and far away, all alone above the starry sky, indifferent to the evil in the world.
But the pope said that one must not give in to this thought. He said so in the very words of Beethoven, sung by the baritone: "Friends, not these tones! Let us intone others more pleasant and joyful." He said so with the trustful vigor of the Ode to Joy by Schiller, which crowns the symphony.
A joy that for Christians is that of knowing that God is near. The God "who suffers with us and for us, and in this way has made men and women capable of sharing the suffering of the other and of transforming it into love." The God worshiped in the Eucharist (as shortly afterward, in effect, took place in the cathedral of Milan).
As for his ad libbed remarks, Benedict XVI began on the morning of Saturday, June 2, in the stadium of San Siro packed with young people of confirmation age:
"Dear friends, do not believe those who tell you that it is not worthwhile to talk about vocation at your age. A future great painter is already painting as a child. Be attentive to the presence of the Lord. Perhaps he is calling us."
But above all, the pope filled with his spontaneous words the vigil of the seventh world meeting of families, on the evening of that same day.
Benedict XVI responded to five questions from families of different continents.
For example, in responding to a family from Greece, the pope explained how to confront the economic crisis that is weighing upon many, addressing an exhortation to the political parties as well:
"It seems to me that the sense of responsibility must grow in all the parties, which should not promise things that cannot be realized, should not seek only votes for themselves, but should be responsible for the good of all and should understand that politics is also always a human, moral responsibility before God and men."
But the pope said the most original things in the three responses presented below, the first of which was to a question from a little Vietnamese girl.
FAMILIES ASK, THE POPE RESPONDS
An interview with Benedict XVI
1. MY CHILDHOOD? A PARADISE
Q: Hi, pope! I am Cat Tien, I come from Vietnam. I am seven years old and I would like to introduce my family to you. This is my dad, Dan, and my mom's name is Tao, and this is my little brother Binh. I would really like to know something about your family and about when you were little like me...
A: Thank you, dearest, and your parents: thank you from my heart. So then, you have asked what my memories of my family are like: there are so many! I would like to say just a few things. For us, the essential point for the family was always Sunday, but Sunday already began on Saturday evening. Our father would read us the readings, the readings for Sunday, from a book very widespread in Germany at the time, in which the texts were also explained. That is how Sunday began: we were already entering into the liturgy, in an atmosphere of joy.
The next day we would go to Mass. I come from a home close to Salzburg, so we had a lot of music – Mozart, Schubert, Haydn – and when the Kyrie started, it was like heaven was opened.
And then at home it was important, of course, to have a big lunch together. And then we sang a lot: my brother is a great musician, already as a boy he made compositions for all of us, so the whole family would sing. Dad would play the zither and sing; those are unforgettable moments.
Then, of course, we went on trips and walks together; we were close to a forest and so walking in the forest was a very beautiful thing: adventures, games, etcetera.
In a word, we were of one heart and one soul, with so many shared experiences, even in very difficult times, because there was wartime, before the dictatorship, and then poverty. But this mutual love among us, this joy even over simple things was strong, and this made it possible to overcome and bear even these things.
It seems to me that this was very important: that even little things gave joy, because in this way the heart of the other was expressed. And in this way we grew up in the certainty that it is good to be a man, because we saw that the goodness of God was reflected in parents and siblings.
And to tell the truth, if I try to imagine a little of how it will be in heaven, it always seems to me like the time of my youth, of my childhood. Thus, in this context of trust, of joy, and of love, we were happy, and I think that in heaven it must be similar to what it was like in my youth. In this sense I hope to go "home," in going to "the other part of the world."
2. SPOUSES "FOREVER," LIKE THE GOOD WINE OF CANA
Q: Your Holiness, we are Fara and Serge, and we come from Madagascar. [...] The family models that dominate the West do not convince us, but we are aware that many traditional ways of our Africa must in some manner be overcome. [...] We want to get married and build a future together. We also want every aspect of our life to be guided by the values of the Gospel. But speaking of marriage, Your Holiness, there is one word that more than any other attracts us and at the same time frightens us: "forever"...
A: Dear friends, thank you for this testimony. My prayer accompanies you in this journey of engagement, and I hope that you can create, with the values of the Gospel, a family "forever." You made reference to different kinds of marriage: we know the "mariage coutumier" of Africa, and Western marriage. In Europe as well, to tell the truth, until the nineteenth century there was as now another dominant model of marriage: often marriage was in reality a contract between clans, in which there was an effort to preserve the clan, to open the future, to defend property, etcetera. The one was sought for the other on the part of the clan, hoping that the one would be suited to the other. It was this way in part in our towns as well. I remember that in a small town, in which I went to school, it was still this way in large part.
But then, beginning in the nineteenth century, there followed the emancipation of the individual, the freedom of the person, and marriage was no longer based on the will of others, but on one's own decision. First comes falling in love, then engagement, and then marriage. At that time, we were all convinced that this was the only correct model, and that love in and of itself would guarantee the "forever," because love is absolute, it wants all and therefore also the totality of time: it is "forever."
Unfortunately, reality is not like that: it can be seen that falling in love is beautiful, but perhaps not always perpetual, just as is sentiment: it does not remain forever. Therefore, it can be seen that the passage from falling in love to engagement and then to marriage demands different decisions, interior experiences. As I have said, this sentiment of love is beautiful, but it must be purified, it must become part of a journey of discernment, which means that reason and will must also enter in; there must be a union of reason, sentiment, and will.
In the rite of marriage, the Church does not say: "Are you in love?" but "Do you want?" "Are you determined?" That is: falling in love must become true love by involving the will in a journey, which is that of engagement, of purification, of greater profundity, such that really the whole man, with all of his capacities, with the discernment of reason, the power of will, says: "Yes, this is my life."
I often think of the wedding of Cana. The first wine is wonderful: it is being in love. But it does not last to the end: a second wine must come, it must ferment and grow, mature. A definitive love that really becomes "second wine: is more wonderful, better than the first wine. And we must seek this.
And here it is also important that the I not be isolated, the I and the you, but that the parish community also be involved, the Church, friends. This, all just personalization, the communion of life with others, with families that support each other, is very important, and only in this way, in this involvement of the community, of friends, of the Church, of the faith, of God himself, does a wine grow that endures forever. Best wishes to you!
3. DIVORCED AND REMARRIED, "FULLY WITHIN THE CHURCH"
Q: Your Holiness, as in the rest of the world, in our Brazil as well the failures of marriage continue to increase. My name is Maria Marta, he is Manoel Angelo. We have been married for 34 years and are already grandparents. As physician and family psychotherapist we meet so many families, noting in the conflicts of couples a more distinct difficulty in forgiving and accepting forgiveness, but in different cases we have encountered the desire and will to construct a new union, something lasting, including for the children who are born from the new union. Some of these remarried couples would like to approach the Church again, but when they are denied the sacraments their disappointment is great. They feel excluded, marked by a decision without appeal. These great sufferings wound deeply those who are involved; lacerations that also become part of the world, and are also our wounds, and of all humanity. Holy Father, we know that these situations and these persons are very close to the Church's heart: what words and what signs of hope can we give them?
A: Dear friends, thank you for your work of psychotherapy for families, which is very necessary. Thank you for all that you do to help these suffering persons. In reality, this problem of the divorced and remarried is one of the the great sufferings of the Church of today. And we do not have simple recipes. The suffering is great, and we can only help the parishes and individuals to help these persons to endure the suffering of this divorce.
I would say that prevention, of course, is very important, which means deepening the sense of being in love right from the beginning into a profound, mature decision; moreover, accompaniment during marriage, so that families are never alone but are really accompanied on their journey.
And then, as for these persons, we must say – as you have said – that the Church loves them, but they must see and feel this love. It seems to me a great task for a parish, for a Catholic community, to make it really possible for them to feel that they are loved and accepted, that they are not "outside" even if they cannot receive absolution and the Eucharist: they must see that even in this way they live fully in the Church.
Perhaps, if absolution in the confessional is not possible, nonetheless a permanent contact with a priest, with a guide of the soul, is very important so that they may see that they are accompanied, guided.
Then it is also very important that they feel that the Eucharist is true and participated in if they really enter into communion with the body of Christ. Even without the "corporal" reception of the sacrament, we can be spiritually united with Christ in his body.
And making this understood is important. That they really find the possibility of living a life of faith, with the Word of God, with the communion of the Church, and may see that their suffering is a gift for the Church, because in this way they also serve everyone in defending the stability of love, of marriage; and that this suffering is not only a physical and psychological torment, but is also suffering in the community of the Church for the great values of our faith. I think that their suffering, if it is really accepted internally, is a gift for the Church. They must know that precisely in this way they are serving the Church, they are in the heart of the Church. Thank you for your commitment.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012 3:45 AM
After three days of calm, it's back to poison pen letter writer hell
The battle in the Holy See rages on as poison pen letter writer threatens to publish more confidential documents
June 4, 2012
On the very day that the Pope was welcomed with open arms by the one million people that spent the night out in the open or walked from faraway neighbourhoods all the way to Milan’s Bresso park, the poison pen letters writer struck again with another threat.
What with the final mass and the sea of people gathered for the final few hours of the Pope’s visit, Benedict XVI’s retinue did not have much time to think about the latest warning sent by the person responsible for the confidential document leak. The poison pen letter writer sent an ultimatum published in Italian newspaper La Repubblica. It was sent in the form of two letters which contained the letterhead, date and signature of the Pope’s secretary, Fr. Georg Gänswein, but no text. The mole said he/she would publish the content of the letters if Ratzinger did not get rid of his closest collaborators. But despite the evident leap in terms of the management of the Vatileaks operation, - which appears increasingly as if it is being led by experts who are aiming to strike hard at those closest to the Pope - tensions did not affect the final events of the World Meeting of Families in Milan.
On Saturday evening, when total darkness had fallen over Bresso Park, in Milan, after what had been a very heavy-going day in terms of meetings, the Pope answered families’ questions off-the-cuff, giving accurate, succinct and assertive replies. He gave his best during his direct dialogue with families, despite not having a prepared text in front of him, disproving the rumours regarding his alleged resignation. Despite his fragility due to his age and his hip problem which make sit impossible for him to walk long distances in his papal attire, there he was all smiles yesterday morning, inside the Popemobile, surrounded by crowds of people gathered vast grounds of the flying club which was turned into a huge open air cathedral. Along the way, he sent out his blessings and greetings and gave a kiss to a number of newborn babies.
But the success of Benedict XVI’s visit to Milan went beyond the good turnout in terms of numbers present, the efficient organisation and the weather which was temperate enough to drastically reduce fainting. It was primarily a success because of the look on the faces of people who had come from nearby or faraway just to see him, respecting every single moment of the final mass by remaining silent, breaking into a standing ovation at the end of it all. Faces such as that of Karina, a business agent from Lima who has been living in Italy for twenty years. Waving a huge flag of Peru she said: “This is all so thrilling, there is so much love and you can feel that all this comes from Jesus. It is obvious how much we love the Pope. The message we are sending out here is positive; it’s beautiful…”
At the World Meeting of Families, 57 year old Kingsly Perera who works for a transport company but has become immobile because of a serious accident, came without his family. His loved ones stayed behind in Sri Lanka: “I wanted to be here as what we are experiencing here is important for the whole world.” Then there is Pia, who lives in Milan but has Southern Italian origins. She came to Bresso to find an answer to “thousands of questions.” She works in a betting shop and having been used to being alone, was struck by the air of positivity around her: “I felt moved, I even took communion…”. The pestilence of the Vatileaks scandal seems light years away. But even the crowds gathered at Bresso airport are aware of the delicate time Benedict XVI is going through. Jandiro, a Bolivian carer who has been in Italy for just a few years, said: “Poor Pope! The devil is always present. Wherever there is good, there is also evil at work.”
The affection shown by faithful came as a comfort to Benedict XVI during this difficult time. He promoted and supported not the “normal family” but the real families who accepted his invitation and travelled half way across the world, to be in Milan in the flesh. He did not make any condemnations and for the whole three days did not mention abortion, euthanasia or de facto couples. He spoke in an encouraging and positive way. Saturday evening was an example of this, when he spoke about his experience of family life. “When I try to imagine what paradise is like – he said – my mind always goes back to my youth, to my childhood. We were happy surrounded as we were by trust, joy and love and I think that paradise should be similar to what my childhood was like. As such, I hope to go “home”, going towards “the other part of the world.”
But now it is time to return to the Vatican and here, difficult days lie ahead for him. The letters sent by the poison pen letter writer, are far, far away from that paradise of harmony which the Bavarian Pope remembers with such nostalgia.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012 2:26 PM
Pope challenges US bishops to revive Christian culture
Vatican City, Jun 5, 2012 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The priest behind the recent “ad limina” visits of America’s bishops to Rome says that Pope Benedict has called on the U.S. Catholic Church to help rescue and revive Christian culture.
“The Holy Father spoke of the challenges in marriage, in family life, in growing secularization, in education, but I think there was a common theme amidst all the challenges, that where God does not exist, where he is taken out of culture, civilization itself begins to disintegrate,” Monsignor Anthony J. Figueiredo told CNA in Rome.
Over the past six months Msgr. Figueiredo has led the organization of 15 visiting delegations from the US consisting of 258 bishops.
“It was a very, very intense time of serving these bishops, really allowing them to feel that Rome was their home away from home, and I must say that they went back really very positive for a number of reasons,” he said.
“Ad limina” visits usually occur every five to seven years and give the episcopate a chance to speak with the Pope and Vatican officials about the health and future of the Church in their diocese.
“The most important part of the Ad Limina visit is not so much the administrative tasks, even though these are important, but really to come here and to pray,” he said.
It was therefore one of Msgr. Figueiredo’s key tasks to make sure that each delegation were able to say Mass at Rome’s four papal basilicas. That included making pilgrimages to the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul.
He was also the point-man with the Vatican when arranging Papal audiences for each of the delegations. These meetings, he said, allowed the bishops “to be confirmed in the mission that is entrusted to them, which is really an apostolic ministry given them by the Holy Father himself.”
Although born and bred in England Msgr. Figueiredo, or “Fr. Anthony” as he usually refers to himself, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark. For the past six years, though, has been based in Rome.
That transatlantic overview means that while he believes European culture as becoming increasingly secularized “there still exists a window of opportunity in the United States” to save Christian culture.
“If God is taken out of the equation, this is what the Holy Father was saying, then the human person has no human dignity,” he said, “and we can do with the human person whatever we feel should be done to him or to her regardless of him or her being made in the image and likeness of God.”
Tuesday, June 05, 2012 5:17 PM
Papal butler could face six years in Italian prison if found guilty
By Cindy Wooden and Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
June 5, 2012
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Paolo Gabriele, the papal assistant, has been accused of aggravated theft, a crime that under Vatican laws is punishable with a prison term of 1 to 6 years, a Vatican judge said.
Paolo Papanti-Pelletier, the judge, said under the terms of the Vatican's 1929 treaty with Italy, a person found guilty and sentenced to jail time by a Vatican court would serve his term in an Italian prison.
The judge also said that while Gabriele remains detained in a 12-foot-by-12-foot room in the Vatican police station, he was allowed to attend Mass June 3 in an unspecified "Vatican church." Two gendarmes accompanied Gabriele to the church, but he was not required to wear handcuffs, the judge said.
The judge briefed reporters June 5 on how the Vatican criminal justice system works, particularly in view of the investigation currently under way regarding Gabriele and his alleged involvement in the publication of hundreds of private letters and notes to or from Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican officials.
Life inside the Vatican is regulated by the Code of Canon Law, but also by a set of civil and penal laws and processes adopted from Italian law and partially adapted to fit Vatican circumstances, he said.
Papanti-Pelletier said that after an initial investigation by the Vatican gendarmes led to Gabriele's arrest May 23, the butler was questioned by a Vatican investigative judge and formally accused of aggravated theft. A more formal questioning of the suspect by the investigating judge, Piero Antonio Bonnet, began June 5, said Papanti-Pelletier, who has not been involved directly in the case.
While the investigating judge serves as the chief investigator, whose responsibilities include questioning witnesses, he must also make the critical determination of whether there is enough evidence to bring the accused to trial. If he decides there is not, the case is dismissed. Otherwise, he formally indicts the accused.
Papanti-Pelletier said there are several factors that make a theft "aggravated" under Vatican law. The first is that the person committing the crime steals from someone with whom he had a relationship of trust. A second factor would be if the accused worked with another person to commit the crime.
If two or more aggravating factors are found to be present, Papanti-Pelletier said, the possible prison term would be from 2 to 8 years.
The initial questioning stages of the investigation are conducted behind closed doors to protect the privacy and reputation of the accused and to "guarantee the rights of others who may be implicated," the judge said.
However, he said, if the case goes to trial, the hearings in the Vatican's Tribunal Palace, behind St. Peter's Basilica, would be open to the public and the press. However, he added, the courtroom is not enormous, so only a limited number of people could get in.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012 5:22 PM
Vatican 'Prime Minister' speaks on leaks scandal
by John L Allen Jr
National Catholic Reporter
Jun. 05, 2012
On Monday night, the Vatican press office dispatched an e-mail alert to journalists with the text of an interview given by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, in the wake of Benedict XVI’s weekend outing to Milan for the church-sponsored World Meeting of Families. The trip was considered a major success for Benedict, culminating in an open-air Mass that drew more than one million people to Milan’s Bresso Park.
The Bertone interview is noteworthy primarily because it’s the first time the Vatican’s “prime minister” has spoken at length about the leaks scandal which has engulfed the church’s central government since January, and which exploded anew in late May with the arrest of the pope’s butler. Bertone’s comments take on special significance given that many analysts believe he is the primary target of the leaks, reflecting dissatisfaction among some Vatican insiders with his leadership.
Aside from insistence that Benedict XVI will not “allow himself to be frightened by attacks, of any sort,” perhaps the most striking element of the interview is Bertone’s comment that the leaking of confidential documents seems “carefully aimed, and sometimes also ferocious, destructive and organized.”
That language would seem to lend credence to the theory that whatever the butler’s role may have been, he did not act alone, and that there’s a larger agenda behind the leaks.
The following is an NCR translation of the transcript of the Bertone interview, which took place with TG1, a news program of RAI, the Italian state television service.
* * *
Interview with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
TG1, June 4, 2012
Question: You have just returned from Milan, who you accompanied the Holy Father for the World Meeting of Families. We have all seen, on television, so many people, an immense crowd, and above such great affection toward the Holy Father, who spoke words that touched everyone, including non-Catholics …
Bertone: It’s true. We all experienced this extraordinary display of love for the pope and of accompaniment, of support for him and his magisterium, for his work, of joy and enthusiasm around him. I saw so many people who were moved, even in the streets of Milan. Think about the streets of Milan Friday and Saturday, which was the weekend, and not just the big events in the stadium or Bresso Park. It was truly everywhere. It was, therefore, a beautiful display of love for the pope in this particular moment and an act of esteem for Benedict XVI, who was called the ‘great coach’ of the universal church’s vast team for the championship of the third millennium. He got a standing ovation that no player, no coach, no protagonist of social or artistic life has ever had. The pope was therefore very happy, and also very moved.
Q: Naturally the family was discussed, because it was the World Meeting of Families, and the pope indicated some firm points. Then he surprised some people when he spoke about the family, pointing to it almost as a useful and indispensable element to overcome the economic crisis that’s gripping our country and the rest of the world …
Bertone: Yes. The family as a resource, a resource which is above all moral. A united family, a family that educates, a virtuous family which teaches the fundamental virtues to children through their tender years, which educates children in work and respect for others, and in solidarity. Moreover, a family that’s a great resource for society, which also has been confirmed by modern sociologists. I would say that the pope has also launched some concrete instruments – instruments of solidarity, of twinning between families, supporting especially those in difficulty – twinning between parishes, between communities and cities. It seems to me that he’s indicated some paths which can be concretely followed to relieve situations of need and to move forward.
Q: It was inevitable that the media would look at these three days in Milan with special attention, also for the coincidence with an internal Vatican inquest which everyone is talking about, and which is seen as a great test of transparency for the Vatican …
Bertone: This is also true. I remember that Saturday night, while we were returning from Bresso Park, from the huge event that night, toward the cathedral of Milan. I was with Cardinal Scola in the car. We saw the stained glass windows lit up, and we immediately commented: ‘This is the church, an illuminated house, notwithstanding all the defects of persons within the church.’
Transparency, however, is about commitment, solidarity one with the other, and trust. It’s not a matter of cynicism or superficiality. It’s not enough to become aware of some documents, or to publish partial documents, in order to know the full truth. Often, this is exactly what happens: Clarifications are the fruit of a work of dialogue, of personal relationships and conversion of the heart, which don’t come just from paperwork or bureaucracy. Papers are important, but personal relationships are much more so.
What’s most sad in these events and these situations is the violation of the privacy of the Holy Father and his closest collaborators. I would like to say, however, that these have not been, and aren’t now, days of division but of unity. I would also like to add that they are above all days of faith, or firm serenity, also in the decisions being made. It’s a moment of cohesion among all those who truly want to serve the church.
Q: A final question, which is the one everyone would like to ask. How has the Holy Father experienced this affair? Should we think, as someone has written, that there are inferences which have been instrumentalized in order to attack the church and the pope?
Bertone: There have always been instrumental attacks, in all times. I remember, for example, speaking of my personal experience of the church, of the times of Paul VI, which aren’t so far away. This time, however, it seems the attacks are more carefully aimed, and sometimes also ferocious, destructive and organized.
I would like to underline the fact that Benedict XVI, as everyone knows, is a mild person, of great faith and great prayer. He doesn’t allow himself to be frightened by attacks, of any sort, nor by the hard accumulation of prejudices. Those who are close to him and work by his side are sustained by the great moral strength of the pope. Benedict XVI, as I’ve said on other occasions, is a man who listens to everyone, he’s a man who keeps moving ahead faithful to the mission he’s received from Christ, and he feels great affection from the people. Especially in these days [in Milan], he’s felt complete affection from the people around him, from young people and families with children, who applauded the pope frenetically. It seems to me that the trip to Milan gave him extra strength.
Moreover, I’d like to underline a word that he’s repeated many times, including just before his departure from the Archbishop’s residence in Milan: It’s the word ‘courage.’ He said it to others, to the young, to young people who seek to form a family. He said it to families in difficulty, he said it to the civic authorities, and he says it to the whole church. He speaks this word because he’s convinced on the inside, because it’s the strength that comes to him from faith and from God’s help, and thus he says it to all: ‘Courage!’ He said it also to the victims of the earthquake. I repeat: I’d like us to interiorize this word alongside the pope, and under the guidance of the pope.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012 2:47 AM
Vatican leak scandal: Formal interrogation of Pope’s butler begins
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has confirmed that the Pope’s former butler remains the only one under investigation. He risks getting 8 years max for “aggravated theft”
June 5, 2012
A formal interrogation of the Pope’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, has begun, after he was formally charged with leaking confidential Vatican documents. The Pope’s butler, assisted by his two lawyers, Carlo Fusco and Cristiana Arru, was interrogated by the Vatican’s investigating judge, Piero Antonio Bonnet, in the presence of the Promoter of Justice - the Holy See’s public prosecutor - Nicola Picardi.
The news about the start of the interrogation was given by Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi. Nothing was said, however, about what was said during the interrogation which is bound by the secrecy concerning a preliminary investigation. In a statement which his lawyers made public the day after his arrest, Gabriele pledged full co-operation in the inquiry. For now, the Pope’s former butler is the only person being investigated, Lombardi reiterated, and Vatican judges have not sent any international rogatory letter for investigations to be carried out in Italy or into any Italian citizens.
The investigation is not likely to be over quickly. As Paolo Papanti Pelletier – one of the judges of the Vatican court of first instance who held a detailed briefing with journalists on the penal system in force in the Vatican - explained this morning, the current preliminary phase of the investigation can go on indefinitely.
Papanti Pelletier, who teaches civil law at Rome’s Tor Vergata university, has no involvement in the Gabriele case for the time being. The court in which he works – which is made up of three members and is presided over by the rector of LUMSA University, Giuseppe dalla Torre – will only be asked to intervene if investigating judge, Bonnet, decides to commit Gabriele for trial. The trial would be public but the acts of the preliminary phase remain confidential.
Gabriele will not have to stay in prison awaiting trial indefinitely: The Vatican’s maximum period for remand in custody is 50 days, which can be prolonged by another 50 days. The former butler is currently being held in one of the four secure rooms located inside headquarters of the Vatican Gendarmerie. These four-by-four metre rooms are very decent; they have a window, a bath, a bed, a desk and a crucifix.
According to the Vatican code of canon law - based on the Italian Zanardelli code of 1889 – Gabriele risks getting up to eight years for “aggravated theft” which he is currently accused of. Other accessory charges could be made against him, such as the “revelation of a political secret” which is punishable with a sentence of up to three years. If the crime is confirmed in the all three Vatican court instances, the sentence would however be served in an Italian prison, in accordance with the Lateran Treaty. Unless, of course, Pope Benedict XVI decides to pardon him. [Which is probably what he is counting on and which probably will happen.]
Wednesday, June 06, 2012 2:19 PM
Pope: no future for humanity without family, "first cell of man and civilization"
At the general audience, Benedict XVI retraces the highlights of the World Meeting of Families. Institutions need to support the person, beginning with the right to life and recognition of the identity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman ","first cell of man and civilization. "" A message of hope, which is possible and joyful, even if challenging, the experience of lasting faithful love. "The 'arrogance' of work commitments:" Sunday is the day of the Lord and of man, a day when all must be free, for the family and for God. Defending Sunday, we defend the freedom of man. "
June 6, 2012
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Humanity has no future without the family, especially young people who, in order to learn the values that give meaning to their existence, need to be born and grow up in that living community of love that God has willed for man and woman ": that is why it is important that "the legislation and the work of state institutions serve and protecting the individual in all aspects, starting with the right to life, the deliberate suppression of which can never be allowed, and the recognition of the identity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman ","first cell of man and civilization. "
The VII World Meeting of Families, as pointed out by Benedict XVI, was the focus of his general audience with 20 thousand people in St. Peter's Square. Three days - 1 to 3 June - his visit to Milan for the conclusion of the meeting itself, which, "has launched a message of hope, the world that it is possible and joyful, though challenging, to experience faithful love forever."
The Pope recalled the "warm embrace" with which he was welcomed on his "intense pastoral visit." "An expanse of families gathered in celebration, and with feelings of deep involvement in particular joined in the warm greetings and solidarity which from the start that I wanted to address to those in need of help and comfort, those who are plagued by various concerns, especially families hardest hit by economic crisis and the dear earthquake victims "in Emilia-Romagna.
Going through the moments of his stay in the city, the Pope recalled the concert at La Scala, where the notes of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony "gave voice to that instance of the universality and brotherhood, which the Church continues untiringly, proclaiming the Gospel" . And "the very contrast between this ideal and the dramas of history, and the need for a present God, who shares our sufferings, to whom I made reference at the end of the concert, dedicating it to the many brothers and sisters who are afflicted by the earthquake. I pointed out that in Jesus of Nazareth, God is close and carries us our suffering. At the end of that intense artistic and spiritual moment, I wanted to make reference to the family of the third millennium, remembering that it is in the family that we first experience how the human person is not created to live closed in on itself, but in relation to others and it is in the family that the light of peace to enlighten our world begins to kindle in our hearts. "
The next day, in the cathedral, meeting with priests and religious, "I wanted to stress the value of celibacy and consecrated virginity, so dear to the great St. Ambrose. Celibacy and virginity in the Church are a luminous sign of love for God and for others, which stem from a more intimate relationship with Christ, expressed in prayer and in the total gift of oneself. " Later, at the Meazza Stadium, the "enthusiasm" of young people who have had or are about to receive Confirmation. Benedict XVI appealed to them, "to say yes" free and informed, to the Gospel of Jesus, accepting the gifts of the Holy Spirit that help in Christian formation, to live the Gospel and to be active members of the community. There I encouraged them to be involved, especially in their study and in generous service to their neighbour. "
Again, after the meeting with political, economic and cultural institutions, the "compelling" Festival of Witness, "a rainbow of families from Italy and the whole world", where "answering some families' questions based on situations that arise from their lives and experiences, I wanted to give a sign of open dialogue between families and the Church, between the world and the Church. I was very impressed by the touching testimonies of spouses and children from different continents, on the burning issues of our times: the economic crisis, the difficulty of reconciling work and family life, the spread of separations and divorces, as well as existential questions that affect adults, children and youth. Here I would recall what I stated in defence of time for family life, threatened by a sort of 'arrogance' of work commitments: Sunday is the day of the Lord and of man, a day when everyone should be free, free for family and free for God. Defending Sunday, we defend freedom of man!".
In the concluding Mass on Sunday, finally, "in front of the myriad of faithful from different countries and deeply involved in the very well prepared liturgy, I launched an appeal to build up the ecclesial communities so there are more families, able to reflect the beauty of the Holy Trinity and to evangelize not only by word but by irradiation, with the strength of a lived love, because love is the only force that can transform the world. Furthermore, I emphasized the importance of the "triad" family, work and celebration. They are three gifts of God, three dimensions of our lives that need to find a harmonious balance to build societies with a human face ".
Former Colombian hostages thank Pope for his prayers
Bogotá, Colombia, Jun 6, 2012 / 04:04 pm (CNA).- A group of eight Colombians who were kidnapped for over ten years by the country's Marxist rebel group told Pope Benedict that his prayers sustained them during their captivity.
The group of police officers and soldiers attended Pope Benedict XVI’s general audience on June 6.
According to Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano, the former hostages came dressed in their police and military uniforms and thanked the Pope for his continual support.
The men were kidnapped by the FARC in the late 1990s and held until April of this year. “They told the Pontiff about the Calvary they lived through in the jungle, where they spent many years with chains around their necks,” the paper said.
According to the Efe news agency, Colombia’s ambassador to the Holy See, Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, said the encounter with the Pope was “moving for both the officers and their families.
They have come to thank to the Pope for his constant prayers which helped them to endure the torment of kidnapping and to regain their freedom.”
Velasquez said he hopes “this gesture will set an important example for reconciliation, because when there has been great suffering, there is also growth in love, and consequently, in the ability to forgive.”
Thursday, June 07, 2012 5:44 AM
Cardinal Sodano Discusses Vatican Leaks
by Edward Pentin
National Catholic Register
June 06, 2012
In a rare interview, Cardinal Angelo Sodano has spoken about the leaking of confidential documents from the Roman Curia.
The current Dean of the College of Cardinals, who served 16 years as Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Secretary of State, underlined the commitment among Vatican officials in serving the Pope, though said that naturally none of them are flawless, and pointed out that although diversity of opinion exists among cardinals, that does not mean division. He also praised the media for some coverage of the Holy Father but criticised it for “distortions”.
In the interview, which appears in the latest edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the 84 year-old cardinal said reports of division among cardinals in the Curia “astonished me”, even though he said he felt he should not have been surprised. “Our old philosophy professor, during studies at the Seminary of Asti, told us: ‘Do not be astonished by anything, just be surprised when you see that [River] Po has no banks.’ Yet the implication of various maneuvers did surprise me, because diversity of opinion does not mean division,” he said.
He explained the many times he has voted in meetings of cardinals but was never surprised when one voted in favor and another against. “We were friends and we remained friends,” he said. “Eventually, in light of various votes, the Holy Father could then decide freely, with all the elements of judgment that were offered him.” He added that this happens even in the consistories and during meetings of those who head the departments of the Curia or are cardinals resident in Rome.
“It is therefore understandable that among different personalities, different nationalities, cultures, social sensitivities, there are different judgements on the various methods of work,” said Cardinal Sodano. “Who does not remember that at the beginning of the Church there were discussions, for example, between Paul and Barnabas in proclaiming the Gospel? "They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company,” we read in the Acts of the Apostles (15:39). And Barnabas went to Cyprus, while Paul went to Syria. In the intervening centuries, religious orders more diverse have arisen.”
He said that among their apostolic methods are sometimes contradictions, but all then come together in “the fundamental unity of the same spirit of service to the Church of Christ.”
Asked what he thought about the press coverage, the cardinal said: “The press certainly has the mission to inform the public about the Holy See. For example, I was pleased it had given great importance to the visit of Benedict XVI in Milan for the World Meeting of Families; and the contribution of the Pope and the Church to help earthquake victims in Emilia and to support the Christians of Nigeria, tested by dramatic events.”
But he said his assessment is “naturally different when you move from information and pass to distortion of the news.” He added: “In fact, in reaction to negative phenomena there is some temptation to frame them in a false perspective that can obfuscate the beauty of everything.”
Turning to the running of the Vatican, Cardinal Sodano distinguished between the different offices of the Roman Curia and the Governorate which runs Vatican City (and to which many of the confidential documents have related).
“As is known, the Curia is a set of dicasteries and agencies that assist the Roman Pontiff in the service of the Universal Church. The Governorate is instead responsible for the leadership of Vatican City State,” he explained. “From personal experience I can assure you that in general there is a commitment to build a real working community in the service of the Pope. Of course, in a community so large, some may fulfil their duties less. Only the angels and saints in heaven are flawless!”
Cardinal Sodano was also asked about his sixteen years as Secretary of State, and what it is like to carry such a responsibility. He said that each person who fills the position “has his own personality and each meets different problems, according to the times.”
The cardinal, who allegedly has had some differences with the current Secretary of State in view of his lack of diplomatic training, said he is “now happy to collaborate, as much as I still can, with my successor, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to whom I am tied by a very old familiarity and a common spirit of service to the Roman Pontiff.” He also made a point of recalling his past acquaintances with previous Secretaries of State - Cardinals Domenico Tardini, Amleto Cicognani, Jean Villot and Agostino Casaroli.
“All of us cardinals of the Curia are trying to build an "Apostolic Upper Room " gathered around the Successor of Peter, without being surprised by the difficulties of the moment,” he said. “In this we are encouraged each day by the great goodness of Benedict XVI and his wise directives, pleased to be able to offer our service.”
He concluded the interview by recalling Monsignor Giuseppe Del Ton, a great Latin scholar, who described the dome of St. Peter's basilica as a symbol of stability during the difficult years of World War II. “The dome seemed to say to the prelate: I’ve seen other gales, I’ve seen other storms (alios saw Ventos, aliasque tempestates),” Cardinal Sodano said. “This is the serenity that history, teacher of life, also teaches us.”
Friday, June 08, 2012 3:41 AM
Pope says Vatican II did not reject Eucharistic adoration or processions
Rome, Italy, Jun 7, 2012 / 05:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI says the Second Vatican Council did not reject Eucharistic adoration outside of Mass, including the Corpus Christi procession that he led this evening in Rome.
“One unilateral interpretation of the Second Vatican Council has penalized this dimension, restricting in practice the Eucharist to the moment of celebration,” the Pope said during his homily for the Feast of Corpus Christi on June 7.
“In this case, the accentuation placed on the celebration of the Eucharist acted to the detriment of adoration as an act of faith and prayer addressed to the Lord Jesus, truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar,” he stated.
Pope Benedict offered an open-air Mass in the piazza outside his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The Feast of Corpus Christi commemorates the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist and has been celebrated universally since 1264.
The Pope told the large outdoor congregation that the way Eucharistic adoration was de-emphasized in the Church was “influenced by a certain secularizing mentality of the 1960s and ‘70s” and this had “repercussions for the spiritual life of the faithful.”
He proposed that limiting one’s relationship with the “Eucharistic Jesus” solely to the moment of the Mass risked “emptying his presence in the rest of existential time and space,” including in our daily lives.
The Pope explained that there is no contradiction or conflict between Christ worshiped in the Mass and Christ adored outside the sacred liturgy, since “communion and contemplation cannot be separated, they go together.”
“In order to truly communicate with another person, I have to know him, I need to know how to remain in silence near him, to listen to him, to look upon him with love,” he said.
“True love and true friendship,” he continued, “lives always in this reciprocity of gazes, of intense eloquent silences, full of respect and of veneration, so that the encounter is lived profoundly, in a personal and not superficial way.”
Indeed, he proposed that Eucharistic adoration prepares the hearts of both priests and lay people for a more fruitful encounter with Christ in the Holy Mass.
“In the moment of adoration, we are all on the same level, on bended knee before the Sacrament of Love,” he said.
Following tradition, the papal liturgy was followed by a Corpus Christi procession, led by the Pope towards the nearby basilica of St. Mary Major.
With the sun setting, tens of thousands of pilgrims carried candles and lanterns as they sang Eucharistic hymns and filed in procession behind the Eucharist in the monstrance, carried aloft on the decorated papal float.
The evening concluded with Benediction outside the basilica, which Pope Benedict led.
EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION AND CONTEMPLATION ARE INSEPARABLE
Vatican City, 8 June 2012 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the basilica of St. John Lateran, then led a Eucharistic procession along Via Merulana to the basilica of St. Mary Major.
During the liturgical celebration, the Pope pronounced a homily in which he focused on the sacredness of the Eucharist, and in particular on the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
"A unilateral interpretation of Vatican Council II has penalised this dimension", the Holy Father explained, "effectively limiting the Eucharist to the moment of celebrating Mass. It is, of course, very important to recognise the importance of celebration, in which the Lord calls His people, bringing them together around the table of the Word and Bread of life, nourishing them and uniting them to Himself in the sacrificial offering. This interpretation of the liturgical gathering, in which the Lord works and achieves His mystery of communion, naturally retains all its validity, but a rightful balance must be restored. ... By concentrating our relationship with the Eucharistic Christ only on Mass we run the risk that the rest of time and space is emptied of His presence. Thus our perception of Jesus' constant, real and close presence among us and with us is diminished".
"It is a mistake to establish a contrast between celebration and adoration, as if they were in competition with one another. The opposite is true. The cult of the Blessed Sacrament represents the spiritual 'environment' within which the community can celebrate the Eucharist correctly and truthfully. Only if preceded, accompanied and followed by this interior attitude of faith and adoration, can liturgical activity express its full meaning and value", the Pope said.
He then went on to explain that, at the moment of adoration, we are all at the same level, "on our knees before the Sacrament of Love. The common and ministerial priesthood come together in the cult of the Eucharist. ... By remaining together in silence before the Lord, present in His Sacrament, we have one of the most authentic experiences of being Church, one that is complementary to our celebration of the Eucharist. ... Communion and contemplation cannot be separated, they go together", and if contemplation is lacking "even sacramental communion can become a superficial gesture on our part".
Turning then to consider the sacredness of the Eucharist, Benedict XVI noted that here too, in the recent past, there has been "some misunderstanding of the authentic message of Holy Scripture. The Christian novelty of worship has been influenced by a certain secularist mentality of the 1960s and 1970s. It is true, and it remains valid, that the centre of worship is no longer in the ancient rites and sacrifices, but in Christ Himself, His person, His life, His Paschal Mystery. Yet this fundamental novelty must not lead us to conclude that the sacred no longer exists".
Christ "did not abolish the sacred but brought it to fulfilment, inaugurating a new worship which is entirely spiritual but which nonetheless, as long as our journey in time continues, still uses signs and rites. These will only fall into disuse at the end, in the celestial Jerusalem where there will be no temple".
Moreover, the Holy Father went on, "the sacred has an educational function. Its disappearance inevitably impoverishes culture, and especially the formation of the new generations. ... Our Father God ... sent His Son into the world, not to abolish the sacred but to bring it to fulfilment. At the culmination of this mission, at the Last Supper, Jesus established the Sacrament of His Body and His Blood, the Memorial of His Paschal Sacrifice. By doing so he put Himself in the place of the ancient sacrifices, but He did so in the context of a rite, which he ordered the Apostles to perpetuate as a supreme sign of the true sacrifice, which is Him. With this faith, ... day after day we celebrate the Eucharistic Mystery, and adore it as the centre of our lives and the heart of the world".