Catholic News Agency: Vatican

Cuba, US: how the Holy See was behind the scene for 50 years

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 19, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 18, 2014 / 05:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The announcement that the US and Cuba will enjoy warmer relations follows more than 50 years of Vatican diplomacy, which was ramped up by St. John Paul II during his 1984 visit to nearby Puerto Rico. The Church’s commitment for Cuba has a twofold path: on one side, the relations that bishops, especially from the US, had with Cuba, thus ‘de facto’ creating a bridge between two worlds divided by the embargo; and on the other side, the Holy See's diplomatic effort, backed by St. John Paul II. Cuba is the only communist nation with which the Holy See never broke off diplomatic relations. The US broke off its ties with the island in 1961, and during the October 1962 missile crisis St. John XXIII wrote to both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khruschev to avert a war. And the American ecclesiastical hierarchy had always been in touch with the Cuban bishops: In 1972, the US bishops' conference backed the 1969

Pope Francis strengthens commission for the protection of minors

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 17, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 17, 2014 / 02:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis appointed eight new members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors on Wednesday, completing the ranks of the commission with a balanced geographical representation in doing so. “The commission was enlarged with the purpose of having an interdisciplinary view, with different perspectives coming from several part of the world,” Msgr. Robert W. Oliver, secretary of the Pontifical Commission, commented to CNA Dec. 17. The eight new members come from Africa, Oceania, Asia, and South America. Fr. Luis Manuel Ali Herrera comes from Colombia, where he serves as a professor of pastoral psychology and director of the psychology department in the Conciliar Seminary of the Archdiocese of Bogotá. Gabriel Dy-Liacco hails from the Philippines, and is an adult and adolescent psychotherapist and pastoral counselor for various mental health concerns, and has also worked with victims and

Tea and cake for Pope Francis as he celebrates 78th birthday

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 17, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 17, 2014 / 09:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Shouts of “Tanti auguri” – or, “Happy Birthday!” – filled St. Peter's Square Wednesday morning as Pope Francis circled around throngs of pilgrims on his popemobile during the weekly general audience. The Holy Father, who turned 78 on Dec. 17, stopped to blow out the candles on a cake given to him by group of Legionaries of Christ seminarians. He also took a sip of mate tea – a traditional South American drink popular in Argentina – offered to him by pilgrims. One of the lucky little pilgrims to receive a kiss from the Pope on his birthday was a small baby girl named Gaia who has been in Rome receiving medical treatment at the nearby Bambino Gesu' hospital. Gaia's mother, Daniella from Cortona, Italy, has tried to come every week for the Wednesday General audience since arriving in Rome several months ago – in fact, she told CNA  this is the second time

An Advent gift: God's mercy in the confessional, cardinal says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 17, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 17, 2014 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As Christmas approaches, priests and penitents should remind themselves of the “miracle” of confession and how we should approach the sacrament with “full freedom,” a Vatican cardinal says. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza called the season of Advent is a time of “particularly attentive waiting,” a time both of men awaiting God and of God awaiting men, “whom he loves.” “The Lord sets himself to search for man,” the cardinal said in a Dec. 14 letter to confessors. Jesus Christ “continually calls men to conversion and, in these days of vigil, draws hearts with a unique tenderness towards the crib: 'Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.'” The cardinal is prefect of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the tribunal of the Roman Curia whose responsibilities include the internal forum – matters of confession and spiritu

Pope: Mary and Joseph exemplify mission, vocation of family life

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 17, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 17, 2014 / 05:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis spoke today about Jesus’ choice to be born into a family, saying that it shows the importance of the vocation, which Mary and Joseph epitomized through their everyday holiness. “We can learn so much from Mary and Joseph, and especially from their love for Jesus. They help us to rediscover the vocation and mission of the family, of every family,” the Roman Pontiff told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square for his Dec. 17 general audience. Jesus, he noted, “was raised in an atmosphere of religious devotion (and) he learned from the words and example of Mary and Joseph.” In his second catechesis on the family, Pope Francis revealed that in preparation for next year’s ordinary synod of bishops on the family, the entire year’s weekly catechesis would be dedicated to that theme. Advent, he said, is a time of prayerful expectation for the Lord’s coming, and

An early Christmas present: Pope Francis to meet man serving life sentence

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 17, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 17, 2014 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As inmates are moved by a letter Pope Francis has sent to the prison of a small town in central Italy, the news broke that a man serving a life sentence will be among those at an audience with Pope Francis Dec. 20. The Saturday meeting will be between the Roman Pontiff and members of the Community Pope John XXIII, which was founded by Fr. Oreste Benzi, who died in 2007. Members of the community will be received by Pope Francis on the occasion of the opening of Fr. Benzi's cause for beatification, and the list of participants includes Carmelo Musumeci, who was sentenced to life in prison for having committed a homicide in 1991. While in prison, Musumeci completed high school and then earned a law degree. Pope Francis addressed the issue of life imprisonment in an Oct. 23 address to delegates of the International Association of Penal Law, saying that “all Christians and men of good will are … called toda

Only a repentant heart will receive salvation, Pope Francis says

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 16, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 16, 2014 / 01:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis touched on the importance of being humble and open to the Lord's correction, encouraging the faithful to offer him their sins to God in order to be saved. “The humble, poor people that trust in the Lord: these are the ones who are saved and this is the way of the Church, isn’t it?” the Pope asked during his Dec. 16 daily mass in the Vatican's Saint Martha Guesthouse. “This is the path I must follow, not the path in which I do not listen to His voice, do not accept correction and do not trust in the Lord.” Pope Francis centered his reflections on the day's readings, taken from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah and from the Gospel of Matthew, which the pontiff said both speak of a “judgment” on which both salvation and condemnation depend. While Zephaniah in the first reading talks about a “rebellious and polluted” city, there is still the pre

Final report: Vatican thanks women religious, stresses focus on Christ

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 16, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 16, 2014 / 09:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican has published the results of its apostolic visitation examining the quality of religious communities across the U.S. in a report described as realistic yet encouraging. Voicing thanks to women religious for their service to the Church, the Vatican congregation in charge of religious life also encouraged them to remember to keep Christ at the center of their communities. The congregation asked the women religious to “carefully review their spiritual practices and ministry” to ensure that they are “in harmony with Catholic teaching about God, creation, the Incarnation and the Redemption.” Launched in 2009 to examine the quality of religious communities across the U.S., the visitation included meetings, questionnaires, and visits to about one-quarter of the country’s religious communities. It involved 341 religious congregations, to which approximately 50,000 women in the U.S. bel

Vatican budgets for 2015 to be prepared by springtime

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 16, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 16, 2014 / 12:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an effort to improve the Holy See budgeting system, the Secretariat for the Economy has already trained Vatican employees in new budgeting policies, and 2015's budgets are to be released by the spring. All this, according to the latest bulletin released by the economy secretariat. After the issuance of the handbook of financial management policies, the Secretariat for the Economy trained more than 160 staff members in November and December, representing 79 entities dealing with finances within the Vatican, in order “to assist and support entities with the new budgeting process and budget template.” “Each session was organised as a meeting of collaborators rather than a classroom, and included a detailed explanation of the reasons for the new policies,” the bulletin stressed. By Jan. 9, 2015 each of these entities should have compiled their 2015 budget and given it to the Secretariat for t

US asks Vatican to help relocate Guantanamo inmates

By: CNA Daily News - Vatican
Source: Catholic News Agency: Vatican
Date: December 15, 2014
Vatican City, Dec 15, 2014 / 04:21 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Monday, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met briefly with his Vatican counterpart, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to discuss issues of common concern and to seek the Holy See's aid in relocating Guantanamo detainees. Fr. Federico Lombardi, Holy See press officer, explained Dec. 15 that Kerry noted America's commitment to closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the military prison where 136 persons are still being held by the US government as part of the “war on terror.” Fr. Lombardi said Kerry expressed a desire for “the Holy See's assistance in seeking adequate humanitarian solutions for current inmates.” Earlier this month, six men who had been held at Guantanamo for more than 10 years and who are not considered security threats were transferred to Uruguay, which took them in as a humanitarian gesture, and where they are now free men. They have received housing, medical care, do