Vatican news

ACI Prensa's latest initiative is the Catholic News Agency (CNA), aimed at serving the English-speaking Catholic audience. ACI Prensa (www.aciprensa.com) is currently the largest provider of Catholic news in Spanish and Portuguese.
  1. Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 03:08 pm (CNA).- A member of the International Theological Commission has announced that she is no longer available to participate in the “binding synodal path” undertaken by the bishops’ conference of Germany.

    Marianne Schlosser, a member of the International Theological Commission, cited concerns over both the approach and methodology of the “synodal path” when she announced that she could no longer participate.

    Schlosser, a professor of theology at the University of Vienna and the recipient of the 2018 Ratzinger Prize, was invited to take part in the Synodal Way’s forum “on women in ecclesial roles and offices” as an expert.

    Saying she could not identify with the intermediate report of the preparatory group, Schlosser raised a number of issues, in particular identifying a “fixation on ordination” of women.

    This “fixation” was neither theologically and historically nor pastorally and spiritually justified, she told news agency KNA. The Catholic Church teaches that it has no authority to admit women to priestly ordination.

    Schlosser said the discussion about ordination had "been conducted for so long," all arguments had been exchanged and were on the table.

    Since it was "not a disciplinary question," the topic "could not be negotiated in a synodal forum with mixed members", i.e. between bishops and laity, she said.

    Schlosser had not been present for the two preparatory meetings held sofar.

    The theologian also expressed the fear of a progressive polarization of the church in Germany.

    On Sep 23, 2014, Pope Francis appointed  Schlosser as a member of the International Theological Commission. She was also appointed a member of the study commission investigating the female diaconate in 2016.

    The Bavarian is also an advisor to the Faith Commission of the German bishops’ conference and since January 2018 a member of the Theological Commission of the Austrian bishops’ conference.

    A version of this story was first published by CNA Deutsch.

  2. Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 10:59 am (CNA).- No one is lost to Jesus, neither should they be considered lost to the Church and her members, Pope Francis told Catholics in Albano Laziale Saturday.

    The pope reflected on the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector, whom Jesus remembered, sought out, and invited to dine with him.

    “If we avoid those who seem lost to us, we are not of Jesus,” he said Sept. 21. “We ask for the grace to meet everyone as a brother and not to see anyone as an enemy.”

    “How wonderful it would be if our neighbors and acquaintances felt the Church is their home!” he added, speaking during Mass at the Cathedral of St. Pancras in Albano Laziale, a town just south of Rome on Lake Albano.

    The pope visited the cathedral to mark its 159th anniversary of elevation to a minor basilica by Pope Pius IX in September 1865.

    In his homily, Pope Francis said it is an easy temptation to close one’s circle, to become an elite group, “but there are so many brothers and sisters who are homesick, who do not have the courage to approach, perhaps because they have not felt welcomed.”

    “The Lord wants his Church to be a home among houses, a hospitable tent where every man, a wayfarer of life, meets Him who has come to dwell among us,” he said.

    “We give freely, we love the poor and those who cannot repay us,” Francis urged, then “we will be rich in the eyes of God.”

    He explained that Zacchaeus was probably hated by the people, “in their eyes, Zacchaeus was the worst...” He added: “But not in the eyes of Jesus, who calls him by his own name, Zacchaeus, which means ‘God remembers.’ In the forgotten city, God remembers the greatest sinner.”

    And “the Lord first of all remembers us,” the pope went on. “He does not forget us, he does not lose sight of us despite the obstacles that can keep us away from him. No obstacle makes Jesus forget the essential, the man to love and save.”

    “Like Jesus, do not be afraid to ‘cross’ your city, to go to those who are most forgotten, to those who are hidden behind the branches of shame, of fear, of loneliness, to tell them: ‘God remembers you,’” he urged.

    Pope Francis also emphasized that Jesus should be the priority. As the Church, he said, let us ask ourselves if Jesus or our own structures and agendas come first.

    He advised that, “if like Zacchaeus you are looking for a meaning to life but, not finding it, [and] you are throwing yourself away with ‘surrogates of love,’ such as riches, career, pleasure, some addiction, let yourself be looked at by Jesus.”

     

  3. Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 07:15 am (CNA).- Evangelization means first helping people to know God and to know his immense love for them, which is done in part through the witness of one’s life and joy, Pope Francis said Saturday.

    “Proclaiming the Lord is witnessing the joy of knowing him, helping to live the beauty of meeting him,” the pope said Sept. 21. “God is not the answer to an intellectual curiosity or a task of the will, but an experience of love, called to become a story of love.”

    “Because – it applies to us above all – once we have met the living God, we need to look for him again,” he stated. “The mystery of God is never exhausted, it is as immense as his love.”

    Pope Francis reflected on the evangelization those who do not know God in a meeting with the participants of an event from the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, which took place Sept. 19-21, and was called “To meet God: Is it possible? Paths of the New Evangelization.”

    In his message, the pope asked how many of one’s neighbors live as if they are slaves to the very objects which should serve them.

    People forget the “flavor of life: the beauty of a large and generous family, which fills the day and the night but expands the heart; the brightness found in the eyes of children, which no smartphone can give; the joy of simple things; the serenity that prayer gives,” he said.

    “What our brothers and sisters often ask us, perhaps without being able to ask the question, corresponds to the deepest needs: to love and to be loved, to be accepted for what we are, to find peace of heart and a longer lasting joy of entertainment.”

    Those present have experienced this in one person, he said: Jesus. “We, who, though frail and sinful, have been flooded by the river in the fullness of God’s goodness, we have this mission: meet our contemporaries to let them know his love.”

    Francis said that it is important, therefore, to face and be challenged by the questions of men and women, not pretending to have easy, ready-made answers.

    Sharing God with others cannot just be speaking about him – even the devil knows God exists, the pope said – but must be the sharing of life-giving words which leave room for the work of the Holy Spirit.

    God is close to everyone, he said, but oftentimes, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, people just do not recognize him.

    Francis shared an anecdote: “It is said that once upon a time Pope John, meeting a journalist who told him he did not believe, answered him: ‘Don’t worry! You say that! God doesn’t know, and considers you a child to love just the same.’”

    “‘God is love,’ as Scripture says,” Pope Francis pointed out. “God is like that, he does not vary depending on how we behave: he is unconditional love, he does not change.”

    This is a beautiful thing to be able to announce to those who have grown lukewarm, who have lost their first enthusiasm for Jesus Christ, he said.

    Explaining that because faith is born and reborn from encountering Jesus, he said whatever is an encounter with Christ helps grow faith.

    “Draw closer to those in need, build bridges, serve those who suffer, take care of the poor, ‘anoint with patience’ those around us, comfort those who are discouraged, bless those who harm us...” he urged.

    “Thus, we become living signs of the Love we proclaim.”

     

  4. Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 06:05 am (CNA).- Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego are among those chosen by Pope Francis as synod fathers in next month’s Amazon synod.

    A full list of the 185 participants in the Special Assembly for the Pan-Amazonian Region was published by the Vatican Sept. 21. The synod is set to take place Oct. 6-27.

    Among those taking part are 33 bishops nominated by Pope Francis, including O’Malley and McElroy, the only two United States’ bishops to be synod fathers in the Amazon synod.

    The three president delegates of the synod are Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, apostolic administrator of Caracas and archbishop of Merida in Venezuela; Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, archbishop of Huancayo in Peru and vice president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM); and Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

    Cardinal Claudio Hummes, archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo in Brazil and president of REPAM is relator general.

    The special secretaries are Cardinal-elect Michael Czerny, under-secretary of the Migrant and Refugees section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Bishop David Martinez De Aguirre Guinea, apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado in Peru.

    Other pontifical nominations include heads of bishops’ conferences, commissions, or councils, such as Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna; Cardinal Bagnasco, archbishop of Genova and president of the Council of European bishops’ conferences; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising; Cardinal elect Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg and president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union; and Archbishop Marcel Madila Basanguka of Kananga, president of the Association of Bishops’ Conferences of Central Africa.

    Others nominated include Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life; Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa; Cardinal John Ribat, archbishop of Port Moresby; and Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay.

    Non-bishops nominated include religious priests from Argentina, Peru, Angola, and Italy; Fr. Anthony Spadaro, director of La Civilta Cattolica; and Fr. Mauricio Garcia Duran, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

    According to synod norms, there will also be in attendance 15 superior generals, chosen by the Union of Superior Generals (USG).

    There will be 25 experts and 55 auditors, as well as six fraternal delegates from other Christian churches, who attend the synod but do not participate in final voting.

    Pope Francis is president of the Synod of Bishops and Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri is secretary general.

     

  5. Vatican City, Sep 21, 2019 / 12:00 am (CNA).- Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Dicastery for Communications in the Vatican, said that married priests will be a subject of discussion during the upcoming synod of bishops on the Amazon, which will take place October 6-27 in Rome, but noted that the synod does not have the power to make decisions on the matter.

    “The synod will discuss the possibility, for territories like the Amazon, to propose the ordination of married men. That is, the ordination of catechists, older persons who already have a role of responsibility in several communities. But it's not a decision already made, nor is it certain that they synod will arrive at that decision.” Tornielli said in an interview Sept. 19.

    “In any case it would not be a decision of the synod but it would be a decision of the pope,” Tornielli said in the interview, which was published on the Facebook page of the Brazilian bishops’ conference.

    Tornielli referred to the working document of the synod:

    “Affirming that celibacy is a gift for the Church, it is asked, that for the most remote areas of the region, the possibility be studied of priestly ordination for older people, preferably indigenous, respected, and accepted by their community even though they still have a constituted and stable family, for the purpose  of ensuring  the sacraments that accompany and sustain the Christian life,” the working document says.

    In the interview, Tornielli explained that “the synod does not approve anything because it is a consultative body, the one who decides is the pope. We know, because we have read it, the synod's Instrumentum laboris mentions the difficulties that communities in remote areas face in receiving the sacraments, and of having priests who can celebrate Mass.”

    He also noted that “for many centuries in the Catholic Church there have been married priests. They are the priests of the Eastern Catholic Churches who have returned to full communion with Rome. But note, it's not that priests can marry but that persons already married are ordained, this is for the Easterners.”

    “The same thing exists, and perhaps this will be a surprise for our listeners, in the Latin Rite Church, as an exception, from the time of Pius XII. Pope Pacelli received former Anglican priests who wanted to enter into communion with Rome and as they were married they were ordained priests and they support their families,” he continued.

    Moreover, Tornielli then said, “Pope Benedict himself with the constitution Anglicanorum coetibus has established that this exception can continue in the case of the Anglicans. So there already are exceptions.”

    In effect, in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI approved the creation of personal ordinariates, jurisdictions created to receive the Anglicans who request by the thousands to return to full communion with the Catholic Church. In that framework, married Anglican priests can be ordained as Catholic priests.

     

    A version of this story was originally published by ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

     

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