Diplomacy — Where Pope Francis Has Had the Greatest Impact

03/12/2016 Comments (10)

Pope Francis meeting former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014. Photo: EMP Photos

Looking back on Pope Francis’ pontificate, which marks its third anniversary on Sunday, one of the most surprising areas where the Holy Father has made the greatest impact is on the international scene.

Despite his wish to resemble a parish priest, his emphasis on being principally the Bishop of Rome, and his preference for being a “homebody” than a traveler, the Holy Father has crisscrossed the globe, visiting 21 countries on five continents in the space of just 36 months.  

But extensive papal travel is just one unexpected international aspect of this pontificate. Another involves diplomacy.

From the time of his election, the Holy Father wanted to live up to his Latin appellation of...READ MORE

Filed under apostolic trips, china, diplomacy, international relations, middle east, pope francis, russia, syria, ukraine

Pope's Ambassador to Mexico to Be New Nuncio in Washington?

03/10/2016 Comments (4)

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to Mexico.

If media reports are correct, Pope Francis is expected to appoint a close ally, the apostolic nuncio to Mexico, as his new ambassador to the United States.

Veteran Vaticanist Sandro Magister reported today on his blog Settimo Cielo that French papal diplomat, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, is to be “imminently” promoted to the nunciature in Washington D.C., replacing the current apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who has reached the usual retiring age of 75.

The appointment of “Bergoglian” Archbishop Pierre, 70, is a crucial one given the influential role of the apostolic nuncio in helping to select bishops of the country he serves.

Although the Vatican has yet to make any...READ MORE

Filed under archbishop carlo maria vigano, archbishop christophe pierre, bishops, diplomacy, mexico, pope francis

Decentralization: Benefits and Concerns

Participant at recent Vatican symposium reveals some ideas being discussed.

03/08/2016 Comments (5)

Decentralization is a key part of Pope Francis’ reform of the Church, but what could it entail?

Some clues emerged from a meeting of theologians last month, hosted by the Synod of Bishops secretariat, in which the consensus appeared to be leaning towards a permanent synod, perhaps meeting every two months, with a greater emphasis on consulting the “People of God” ­— that is, all the baptized faithful.

"The People of God", which gained currency during the Second Vatican Council, is said to be “the new catch-word” that some believe will be used as the basis for a significant change in the synod's nature.

Such reform along these lines could bring necessary decentralization in terms of...READ MORE

Filed under decentralization, people of god, synodality

Father Ermes Ronchi: The Pope's 2016 Lenten Retreat Master

In his second meditation for the Pope and the Roman Curia, Father Ronchi speaks of the need for the Church to be liberated from fear in order to flourish and bear fruit.

03/07/2016 Comments (5)

Servite Father Ermes Ronchi. YouTube

Servite Father Ermes Ronchi was surprised when, a few months ago, Pope Francis phoned him out of the blue to ask if he could do him a “favor” and offer the meditations for this year’s Lenten retreat for the Roman Curia.

“I was moved and happy,” said Father Ronchi, 68. “It was all done with simplicity.” He initially said he was “not able to do it”, to which Francis replied: “Do you want to check your calendar to see if you’re free?”

The Italian theologian is leading this year’s spiritual exercises which, as in the previous two years, are taking place at a Pauline Fathers’ retreat and conference center in Ariccia, a town about 20 miles southeast of Rome.

The retreat began Sunday evening...READ MORE

Filed under ermes ronchi, lenten retreat, pope francis, spiritual exercises

Pope Francis Condemns 'Diabolic' Attack on Missionaries of Charity in Yemen

03/05/2016 Comments (5)

– Wikipedia

Pope Francis was “shocked and profoundly saddened” by the murder of four Missionaries of Charity and twelve other people at a home for the elderly in Aden, Yemen. Gunmen entered the building on Friday and went room-to-room, handcuffing victims before shooting them in the head.

A message signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Holy Father “sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence.”

The message said Pope Francis “prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay...READ MORE

Filed under middle east, missionaries of charity, terrorism

Guide to '24 Hours for the Lord'; Padre Pio and the Confessional

03/03/2016 Comments (2)

Pope Francis will launch tomorrow what has become an annual event during Lent: the opening of parish churches for 24 hours to encourage the faithful to go to Confession. 

To coincide with this year’s observance, the Vatican has issued a pastoral guide to help each person prepare for the Sacrament and overcome any resistance he or she might have in going to Confession.

The guide, published by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, is also for parishes and Christian communities so they can “experience the greatest possible fruitfulness during this special time of the Jubilee of Mercy.”

The short booklet, which can be read in PDF format here, is divided into four parts. The...READ MORE

Filed under confession, lent, padre pio, sacrament of penance, year of mercy

Vatican: No Plans Yet for Pope Francis to Visit Pakistan

Denial follows speculation that the Pope may travel to India to canonize Blessed Mother Teresa.

03/03/2016 Comments (1)

Contrary to media reports, Pope Francis has no plans to visit Pakistan — at least not yet.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the Register March 3 there is “currently no travel program to Pakistan being studied” after it was reported that the Holy Father had accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, extended to him by two ministers at yesterday’s weekly general audience.

Shipping minister Kamran Michael and religious affairs minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf told reporters yesterday that they had come to Rome “to ask the Holy Father to come to Pakistan and he agreed.” The Pope was grateful for the invitation but neither accepted nor declined, according to Vatican...READ MORE

Filed under apostolic journeys, pakistan, persecution, pope francis, shahbaz bhatti

Cardinal Pell Offers to Meet Abuse Survivors

03/02/2016 Comments (2)

Cardinal George Pell has said he is willing to meet privately with abuse survivors on Thursday and will assist them in meeting Pope Francis.

In a statement released by his office Wednesday morning, the Australian cardinal said he would be “happy to meet privately with survivors” if it would “be of help to them.”

The statement said the prefect for the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy hoped the meetings “might be helpful and contribute to healing” and that he would be meet them “either individually or in smaller groups, as he has done many times in the past.”

The abuse survivors have been requesting to meet the cardinal since they arrived in Rome to observe him testify to a commission...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal george pell, sex abuse

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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