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

Cardinal Müller Reasserts Church's Teaching on Divorce-Remarriage

03/01/2016 Comments (5)

In two new interviews, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Vatican’s doctrinal chief, has put to bed any speculation that he might support admitting civilly remarried divorcees to Holy Communion.

In a Feb. 27 interview with Cologne diocesan radio, Cardinal Müller stressed that the indissolubility of the marital bond “is a dogma” and that “there cannot be a second marriage.”

“How could we make a compromise with the Word of God?”, he asked, adding one cannot work out a compromise on sociological terms. “I cannot go along with this,” he said.

He stated that the “teaching of the Church is not my property, it is given to us”, and that it is “our task also to speak clearly of the teaching of the...READ MORE

Filed under apostolic exhortation, cardinal gerhard muller, divorce remarriage, synod on the family

Is Cardinal Pell Facing a Prejudiced Inquisition?

Critics say the Australian cardinal is being presumed guilty until proven innocent.

03/01/2016 Comments (14)

During the second session of testimony to an Australian commission into child sex abuse, Cardinal George Pell again reiterated that he had no knowledge of the abuse of the pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, nor of the role of Ridsdale’s bishop in covering up his crimes.

To a packed conference room in the Hotel Quirinale in central Rome late last night, the prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy repeatedly asserted, in response to a barrage of questions from the Royal Commission via video link inferring he must have known something about Ridsdale’s 130 abuses, that he had no such knowledge of them.

The cardinal served as a parish priest with Ridsdale in Ballarat diocese in the...READ MORE

Filed under australia, ballarat, cardinal george pell, royal commission, sexual abuse

Affirm Doctrine, Find Exceptions, Appeal to Conscience

Is this the pontificate's modus operandi for introducing controversial pastoral innovations?

02/26/2016 Comments (44)

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago speaking to reporters during last October's Synod on the Family. The archbishop appeared to place the importance of conscience above the Church’s teaching. Photo: EP

The controversy over the exceptional case of administering contraceptives to religious sisters at grave risk of rape in the Congo civil war of the 1960s points to a pattern in this pontificate of introducing new or exceptional pastoral approaches that give primacy to conscience, while at the same time purporting to affirm Church doctrine.

It’s an approach that could be used to promote new pastoral practices in the Holy Father’s eagerly anticipated post-synodal apostolic exhortation, expected before Easter.

On the plane back from Mexico last week, Pope Francis underscored that abortion is “a crime, an absolute evil” but went on to explain that the “lesser evil” — avoiding pregnancy — “is...READ MORE

Filed under conscience, humanae vitae, 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