New Vatican Instruction: Cremation Allowed But Strict Conditions Apply

Document issued in response to an increase in the number of cremations and ideas "contrary to the faith" that have become widespread.

10/25/2016 Comments (12)

Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York.

– Wikipedia

The Church allows cremation but ashes must be kept in a sacred place, cannot be divided between family members, nor can they be scattered in the air, on land, or at sea, or preserved in jewelry, the Vatican has affirmed.

The stipulation was made in a new Instruction issued today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in response to an increase in the number of cremations and “new ideas contrary to the faith” that have “become widespread.”

The document, Ad resurgendum cum Christo, begins by reaffirming that cremation is “not ‘opposed’ per se to the Christian religion” but there is a need to underline the “doctrinal and pastoral reasons for the preference of the burial of the...READ MORE

Filed under ashes, canon law, cremation, funeral

Pope Francis: Rigid People Are Sick

A person who is rigid in many cases conceals a "double life", lacks the freedom of God's children and needs the Lord's help, Pope says in morning homily.

10/24/2016 Comments (83)

Pope Francis preaching in Casa Santa Marta this morning.


Pope Francis again returned to the theme of rigidity today, saying those who unbendingly follow the law of God are "sick" and in need of the Lord’s help.

In his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope drew on today’s Gospel reading from Matthew in which Jesus’ healing of a crippled woman angered the Pharisees, leading him to denounce the leaders of the synagogue as “hypocrites”.

This is an accusation Jesus often makes to those who follow the Law with rigidity, the Pope said. “The Law was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children”, he said.

From Vatican Radio:

Concealed by rigidity, Pope Francis said, there is always something else! That’s why Jesus...READ MORE

Filed under homily, pope francis, rigid, rigidity

Italy's Bishops Give Full Support to Radical Party March for Prisoners

Bishops' backing follows two major pro-life demonstrations in which the episcopal conference chose not to participate.

10/22/2016 Comments (25)

Marco Pannella pictured at a previous march for amnesty, justice and freedom.

After choosing not to back two recent pro-life demonstrations, the Italian bishops' conference has now agreed to participate in an upcoming "March for Amnesty, Justice, Freedom" organized by the anti-clerical Radical Party.

The Nov. 6 Rome march, dedicated to Pope Francis and Marco Pannella, the party’s long-serving and recently deceased leader, will end in a call for a prisoner amnesty and coincide with the Pope’s Jubilee of mercy for prisoners that day, according to Italian media reports.

A spokesman for the Italian bishops' conference, Father Ivan Maffeis, said its general secretary, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, gives his "steadfast commitment" to the march because the bishops see it "as...READ MORE

Filed under italian bishops' conference, politics, pope francis, prisoners, radical party

Cardinal Müller Pens New Book on Benedict XVI and Pope Francis

The Vatican's doctrinal chief draws attention to the "dictatorship of relativism" and the "globalization of indifference".

10/21/2016 Comments (5)

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written a new book about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Called Benedict and Francis, Successors of Peter in the Service of the Church, the Vatican’s doctrinal chief offers a “frank analysis and reflection” on the challenges that societies and contemporary culture pose to the Church in light of the two pontificates, according to publishers Edizioni Ares.

The book, a series of essays to be released in the coming days in Italian, covers the “role of the papacy today, the value of secularism for a Christian, the apparent dichotomy between the uniqueness of the Church founded by Jesus of...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, books, cardinal gerhard muller, pope francis

McDonald's Dispute Highlights Sensitivities Over Use of Vatican Real Estate

Cardinals complain to the Pope, a Hard Rock Cafe threatens to also open nearby, but a Church historian says they should be protesting about far more serious issues.

10/18/2016 Comments (8)
Armin Schwibach

The McDonald's fast food chain is reported to have obtained a license to turn this 600 square meter, disused Vatican-owned property just yards away from St. Peter's Square into one of its restaurants.

– Armin Schwibach

Every now and again problems arise relating to how real estate around the Vatican is used.

The latest such headache concerns a bid by the McDonald’s fast food chain to open a restaurant on Vatican-owned property, just a few steps from St. Peter’s Square.  

The office responsible for managing Vatican property, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), has agreed to the idea. Some of the seven cardinals living in a block above the proposed new diner are not so keen and have protested by writing a letter to Pope Francis, asking him to intervene.

According to Il Fatto Quotidiano, Cardinals Gianfranco Ravasi, Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, Dario Castrillon Hoyos...READ MORE

Filed under amoris laetitia, mcdonald's, pope francis, real estate

SSPX's Bishop Fellay Meets Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller

Reconciliation between the SSPX and Rome still appears some way off, but those looking to the Society to come to the Church's aid is increasing, according to Bishop Fellay.

10/14/2016 Comments (26)

Palazzo Sant'Ufficio, the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Pope Francis briefly greeted the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, at the Holy Father's Santa Marta residence on Thursday.

The cursory meeting, on the 99th anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun” apparition at Fatima, took place during a visit Bishop Fellay was making to the Vatican to meet Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The SSPX head also met with Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary of the CDF, and Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, according to an SSPX statement.

The Society said the meeting with Cardinal Müller was “planned long ago, and...READ MORE

Filed under bishop bernard fellay, pope francis, society of st. pius x

First Latin American Elected Head of the Jesuits

Venezuelan Father Arturo Sosa Abascal SJ has a specialized knowledge of politics and social justice.

10/14/2016 Comments (18)
Society of Jesus

Venezuelan Father Arturo Sosa Abascal SJ has been chosen as the new head of the Jesuits.

– Society of Jesus

Venezuelan Father Arturo Sosa Abascal has been chosen as the new head of the Society of Jesus, becoming the first Latin American superior general in the history of the order.

The 68 year old Jesuit was elected at the order's 36th General Congregation and will succeed Spanish Father Adolfo Nicolas, 80, who stepped down last week after serving eight years as superior general.

Born in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, Father Sosa has a doctorate in political sciences and from 1996 until 2004 was the provincial general of the Jesuits in his native country.

In 2008, Father Nicolas chose him to be counselor general, and since 2014, he has worked in the Jesuit curia in Rome in charge of the...READ MORE

Filed under father arturo sosa abascal, jesuits, society of jesus

Declaration of Fidelity to Church Teaching on Marriage Reaches 5,000 Signatures

Priests, theology professors, men and women religious, catechists, seminary rectors and Catholic teachers from around the world are among those continuing to sign.

10/12/2016 Comments (8)

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna, is one of many who have signed the Declaration.


Five thousand people including cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and laypeople have so far signed a declaration aimed at clearing up ambiguities over the Church's teaching on marriage and the family following two recent synods on the family. 

The signatures of the Declaration of Fidelity
 to the Church’s Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline are “coming in from all over the world”, the initiative organizers, the Filial Appeal Association, said in a statement today.

Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke and Janis Pujats were among its 80 initial signatories when it was launched last month, to which have now been added “many priests, teachers of...READ MORE

Filed under amoris laetitia, chuch teaching, declaration, filial appeal, marriage and the family, pope francis, synod on the family

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About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of "The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family", published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin