ARREST IN CASE OF VATICAN PROPERTY DEAL IN LONDON
Press release of the Holy See Press Office: 9:30 pm Friday, June 5, 2020: Today, the Office of the Promotor of Justice of the Vatican Tribunal, at the end of the interrogation of Mr. Gianluigi Torzi, who was assisted by his trusted lawyers, issued an arrest warrant against him. The provision, signed by the Promotor of Justice, Prof. Gian Piero Milano, and his Deputy, Avv. Alessandro Diddi, was issued in relation to the well-known events connected with the sale and purchase of the London property on Sloane Avenue, which involved a network of companies in which some Secretariat of State officials were present. The accused is charged with various incidents of extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and self-laundering, crimes for which Vatican law provides for penalties of up to twelve years of imprisonment. At present Mr. Gianluigi Torzi is detained in special premises at the barracks of the Gendarmerie Corps.
Weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano in English: https://www.osservatoreromano.va/en/pdfreader.html/ing/2020/06/ING_2020_023_0506.pdf.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NewsletterOR-EN
If you want general news, culture, events, classifieds, travel information and a lot more from and about the Eternal City, you will enjoy reading “Wanted in Rome”:https://www.wantedinrome.com/
VATICAN INSIDER: HOLY CROSS IN JERUSALEM BASILICA
Welcome to Vatican Insider and to a special edition whereby we visit Rome’s basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem. Download and save this on podcast for the day that you can finally return to Rome and visit this magnificent church in person.
The first Christian Emperor, Constantine, played a pre-eminent role in the building of four of the five papal basilicas in Rome – St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls and St. Lawrence Outside-the-Walls. Our pilgrimage today takes us to the basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem where not Constantine but his mother, the Empress St. Helena, was the inspiration for the church we see today.
In fact, the story of St. Helena, her conversion to Christianity, her trip to the Holy Land and her recovery of relics linked to Christ’s passion and death, which she subsequently brought to Rome, is as interesting – and, in a way, beautiful – as the church itself. St. Helena’s faith, her devotion to the Cross and, of course, the relics themselves – part of the true Cross, a nail, thorns from the Crown of Thorns and the wood inscription affixed to the Cross bearing the words in three languages: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” – these are all the very raison d’etre for the basilica.
IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)
JUNE PRAYER INTENTION: COMPASSION FOR THE WORLD AMIDST COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Pope Francis, as he does every month, has released a video message to accompany his prayer intention for June: “That all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.”
June is the month the Church dedicates to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“Many people suffer due to the great difficulties they endure,” starts the Message. “We can help them by accompanying them along an itinerary full of compassion which transforms people’s lives. It brings them closer to the Heart of Christ, which welcomes all of us into the revolution of tenderness. We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.”
These monthly papal prayer intentions are prepared by the Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer.
Click here to see the video with English subtitles: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-06/pope-francis-prayer-intention-june-2020-compassion.html
POPE ON ENVIRONMENT DAY: WE CANNOT PRETEND TO BE HEALTHY IN A WORLD THAT IS SICK
On World Environment Day, Pope Francis calls for a change in attitudes, so that we may leave a better and healthier planet to later generations.
By Vatican News
World Environment Day is marked annually on 5 June.
The celebrations for this year’s Day, scheduled to take place in Colombia, were held online instead due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter addressed to Colombian President Ivan Duque on Friday, Pope Francis stresses that, “the protection of the environment and respect for the biodiversity of the planet are issues that affect us all.”
“We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick”, writes the Pope.
“The wounds inflicted on our mother earth are wounds that also bleed in us.” Pope Francis says that caring for ecosystems demands “a view to the future” that is truly concerned for life, rather than “quick and easy profit.”
Pope Francis then warns that our attitude towards the present state of our planet should “make us concerned for and witnesses to the gravity of the situation.”
“We cannot remain silent before the outcry when we realize the very high costs of the destruction and exploitation of the ecosystem,” he adds.
“This is not a time,” the Pope continues, “to continue looking the other way, indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed for profit, very often in the name of progress.”
Everything depends on us, says the Pope, stressing that “we have the chance to” commit ourselves to passing a better, healthier world on to future generations.
He then recalls the recent celebrations of the fifth anniversary of his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’. This “drew attention to the cry that mother earth lifts up to us”, he says.
Finally, the Pope expresses his trust that all deliberations and conclusions “will always foster the building of an increasingly habitable world and a more humane society, where all of us have a place and no one is ever left behind.”
Each week I bring news and other offerings from Rome to EWTN’s “At Home with Jim and Joy” that airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (check your local listings for time). I should have done this long before now but here’s a link to my contribution this week (in the last 5 or so minutes of this half hour), the first time in months that we could film this segment outdoors. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-06/vatican-museums-pontifical-gardens-covid-19-gratitude-
Every week during the pandemic months when we had to stay indoors, I prepared a video in my home on my iPad and sent that to EWTN and it aired as usual on their show. Here are two examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8FT1xqDio0
Thank the Lord for today’s technology that allows us to keep up with our family, our friends and our work – to not miss a beat, as the saying goes!
VATICAN NEWS IN BRIEF: HONORING MEDICAL WORKERS, A PEDIATRIC RE-OPENING, MIGRANT NEWS BULLETIN, A SUMMER CAMP FOR KIDS
VATICAN OFFERS TOKEN OF GRATITUDE TO MEDICAL STAFF FOR ITS WORK DURING PANDEMIC
As Holy See authorities ease restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vatican Museums and the Gardens of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo reopen their doors to welcome back the public after more than two long months of closure. Both the Museums and the papal villas will open their doors free of charge to all doctors, nurses and other medical staff in a sign of gratitude for their work on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. They will have access to the Vatican Museums for one week and to Castel Gandolfo for two weekends. The initiative will be valid at the Museums from Monday June 8 to Saturday June 13 June, while the Pontifical Villas will welcome health workers on the weekend of June 6-7 and June 13-14. The Museums were opened to the general public on June 1; the Pontifical Villas and Gardens are due to open on 6 June. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-06/vatican-museums-pontifical-gardens-covid-19-gratitude-
VATICAN’S SANTA MARTA PEDIATRIC DISPENSARY REOPENS
With the coronavirus emergency still not over altogether, the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary in the heart of Vatican City began taking all the necessary precautions on June 3, to re-start its services for needy children and pregnant women. New mothers from all over the world come to the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary, which is part of the activities of the Office of Papal Charities, the Holy See’s department charged with exercising charity to the poor in the name of the Pope. In the past few months under lockdown, the Dispensary was providing assistance by phone. From now on, access to the services will be regulated in keeping with health protocols, especially physical distancing. Booking an appointment via telephone is needed to avoid many arriving together at the same time. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-06/vatican-santa-marta-dispensary-reopening.html
DICASTERY’S MIGRANTS & REFUGEES SECTION ISSUES WEEKLY BULLETIN ON COVID-19
Because migrants, refugees and displaced persons are among the most vulnerable of peoples due to wars, violence, forced displacement, famines, hunger, and more so in a time such as the coronavirus era, the Migrants and Refugees section of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has been producing weekly bulletins with information and guidelines on how to help these vulnerable groups and communities. The theme of this week’s bulletin, # 7, is Pope Francis’s belief that “We can only get out of this situation together, as a whole humanity.” When Pope Francis merged several offices to create this Dicastery, he said he wished to personally head the Migrants and Refugee section of the office. The formation of this dicastery was announced on August 31, 2016 and it became effective January 1, 2017. https://migrants-refugees.va/2020/06/02/covid-19-no-one-must-be-forgotten-7/
VATICAN TO OPEN SUMMER CAMP FOR EMPLOYEE CHILDREN
Pope Francis is to open a summer camp in the Vatican for the children of the mothers who work for the city State. A swimming pool, tennis court, five-a-side pitch and basketball court will be set up along with a bouncy castle in the Vatican grounds. Kids will also be able to play table tennis in the Paul VI Room, and enjoy guided tours of the Vatican gardens. The camp will be run by the Salesian Brothers and will be open from July 6 to 31. Up to 100 children will be able to attend, divided into age brackets (from five to seven, from eight to 10 and from 11 to 14). “The Kids Summer project was born as an initiative of the Governorate of the Vatican City to meet the needs of the fathers and mothers who work here,” Salesian Father Franco Fontana told Vatican News. Fontana is the chaplain of the Vatican Gendarmerie and the Vatican Museums. (ANSA: May 29)
POPE PRAYS FOR GEORGE FLOYD, DECRIES SIN OF RACISM, VIOLENCE
Following his weekly general audience catechesis on the Prayer of Abraham, Pope Francis today, in language greetings for pilgrims listening via television or social media, had particular words for Americans about the death of George Floyd, racism and violence.
“Dear brothers and sisters in the United States,” began the Holy Father, “I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr George Floyd. My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that ‘the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost’.
“Today I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world. May God bless all of you and your families.” (vaticannews photos)
From a peaceful march in Houston, Texas –
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK: PELICANS, A BANK AND CHINESE GLOVES
I had some errands to run today in Vatican City and it turned out to be an interesting experience.
I took the following photos as I crossed St. Peter’s Square:
So where is everybody?
Actually, the line to visit St. Peter’s is not bad – masks, social distancing…
Are we having fun yet?
My first stop was the bank. I discovered that now we all have to make an appointment for most transactions and I was given a piece of paper with an email address. I wrote the bank and was sent some forms to fill out and return to them by taking photos of the forms with my cell phone and attaching those to the email. There is, of course, an ATM machine (called bancomat here) so money can be withdrawn without all the above rigamarole. However, if you need any other service, there is now this procedure to go through! What I needed to do would have personally taken maybe 6 minutes inside the bank! Fallout from Covid19, I imagine.
My next stop was the Vatican pharmacy. I chose to run my errands at what would normally be the Italian lunch hour because, over these last months, I have discovered those were the hours of almost no lines at supermarkets, etc, because Italians were at home having lunch!
The Vatican pharmacy has actually been under remodel for quite some time but a temporary pharmacy has been set up outside the medical building. In just minutes I was inside and got what I needed, including (finally) a box of 100 pairs of vinyl gloves….made in China!
You might recall reading the news in April that Chinese Bishops, Catholic faithful, the Hebei Jinde foundation, among others donated medical supplies, including masks gloves and ventilators, to the Vatican. The gesture was a thank-you for the 600,00 marks sent by the Pope in March as a gift from the Holy See and the Chinese Christian communities in Italy.
So it seems I am one of the recipients of the gloves arriving from Chinese bishops and faithful! Thank you! 谢谢 Xiexie (pronounced shay shay)
The saddest part of my time in and around Vatican City was trying to find an open restaurant or coffee bar to have a bite to eat. Streets normally filled with tourists were deserted – bars closed, restaurants dark. Finally, after a few blocks walk, I saw one coffee bar and, a few blocks from that at Pza. Risorgimento, a small restaurant open with tables outdoors.
MEMORIAL OF BLESSED VIRGIN MARY MOTHER OF THE CHURCH.
At the request of Pope Francis, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, with a decree dated February 11, 2018, ordered the inscription of the memory of the “Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church” in the General Roman Calendar. The memorial, mandatory for the entire Church of the Roman Rite, is celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost.
I’ve been asked quite often about the mosaic of Mary that is located fairly high up on the exterior of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square – about 1 o’clock if the basilica is noon. Many have noted it did not seem to fit in with the architecture of the building. In fact the apostolic palace is a complex of buildings with over 1,000 rooms and halls that date from various historical periods, many of which are, however, from the Renaissance.
The mosaic is indeed more modern and has quite a lovely story, almost a love story, if you will. For the story, we enter St. Peter’s Basilica and walk down the left aisle to the very end where we will find the Chapel of the Column. It is just beyond the Prayer Door entrance to the basilica and, most unfortunately, is not available to visitors as this area has been roped off.
Over the altar in the Chapel of the Column is an image of the Blessed Virgin painted on a column that came from the first basilica. In 1607 the image was placed on this altar designed by Giacomo Della Porta and is framed by stunning marble and priceless alabaster columns. On November 21, 1964, Pope Paul VI bestowed on this image the title of “Mater Ecclesiae” – Mother of the Church. (jfl photos)
St. John Paul II had always wondered how on earth Mary – whom he dearly loved – was not among the 140 statues atop the basilica facade and the monumental colonnades that were designed by Bernini. When he was shot in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, the Pope credited the hand of the Virgin – his mosaic Mary – with deflecting the bullet that would have killed him.
Dissuaded from eliminating one of the 140 statues to replace it with Mary, he had a mosaic reproduction of it set on the external wall of the Apostolic Palace facing St. Peter’s Square. St. John Paul’s motto – Totus tuus – all yours – is on this mosaic.
VATICAN UPGRADES FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION, COST OVERRUNS, DEFICITS
The big story today at the Vatican was the publication of a motu proprio by Pope Francis with specific, enforceable guidelines for those engaged in the fight against corruption, cost overruns and unfair competition in the awarding of contracts for services and goods in the mini State. Such measures are long overdue and the current document is the result of four years of work by the Pope and a team of advisors from various Vatican offices seeking to bring transparency, control and competition in the procedures for the award of public contracts of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State.
The motu proprio (meaning of the pope’s own initiative and hand) was published in today’s Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano and will enter into force in 30 days. The document is 34 pages long.
A Vatican communiqué said, “The document is the result of a synergistic work coordinated by the Secretariat of State between the various entities of the Roman Curia, including the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Governorate of the Vatican City State. It is a unique code, which goes beyond the regulation currently in force in some individual realities and now applies to all entities referable to the Holy See and the Vatican City State.”
The communique added that, “The legislation is part of the most advanced international legislation on the subject. The guiding principle of the new text is the diligence of the good father of a family who wants an effective and ethical management of his resources, which at the same time promotes transparency, control and fair treatment of real competition between those who wish to establish an economic relationship with the interested bodies.”
In its report of the Motu proprio, Vatican news wrote that “Article 1 explains the purposes of the new law, which are: the sustainable use of internal funds, transparency of award procedures, “equal treatment and non-discrimination of tenderers, in particular through measures to combat illegal competition agreements and corruption.”
“Article 5,” continued Vatican news, “lists the fundamental principles which are founded on “ethicality orienting the economic choices and the interlocutors upon parameters of respect for the Social Doctrine of the Church; administrative autonomy, and subsidiarity in the management choices of the Body; loyal collaboration between the Entities and the different sections of the Governorate.”
“The goal is to obtain “cost-savings, effectiveness, and efficiency” through “planning and rationalization of expenditure,” while avoiding unnecessary operations, and in particular an award procedure which “must be transparent, objective, and impartial.”
“Measures are taken against conflicts of interest, illegal competition agreements, and corruption. These serve to avoid ‘any distortion of competition and ensure equal treatment of all economic operators.’
“Economic operators who become subject to investigation, prevention measures, or convictions at first instance for ‘participation in a criminal organization, corruption, fraud, terrorist offences,’ ‘laundering of the proceeds of criminal activities,’ and ‘he exploitation of child labour’ must be excluded from the Register and participation in tenders.
“One of the causes of exclusion is the failure to fulfill ‘obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the regulations of the country in which the operator is incorporated’, as well as residing or having settled in States ‘with privileged tax regimes.’
“Except in certain cases established as exceptions, ‘all goods and services, under penalty of nullity of the relevant contract, are ordinarily acquired by the Entities in a centralized manner.’ The ‘centralized authorities’, reads Article 15, include both APSA ‘in matters concerning the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia’ and institutions connected to the Holy See, as well as the Governorate. There are exceptions to centralization, but they must be duly justified.”
“Every six months, the Secretariat for the Economy, having consulted with APSA, will publish and update ‘the list of prices and the reference fees for goods and services’, together with the labour costs of the professionals registered in the Register. These will take into consideration prices and fees in the markets where the Vatican institutions are supplied. Vatican Entities are required to plan their purchases by 31 October of each year.”
POPE GIFTS AMBULANCE FOR THE POOR TO APOSTOLIC ALMONER
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Apostolic Almoner, announced today in a communique that yesterday morning, Pentecost Sunday, before he celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Altar of the Chair, Pope Francis blessed an ambulance for the poor of Rome. The Pope entrusted this new gift to the Apostolic Almoner for the very poor of Rome, “especially the homeless who live the difficulties of the road and who seek refuge in the surroundings of the Vatican or in makeshift shelters in Rome. The ambulance, registered SCV, is part of those used for rescue within the Vatican State and was made available by the Governorate exclusively to assist and help the poorest, who remain almost invisible to the institutions.” (photos from Almoner’s office)
The ambulance is only part of the medical assistance of the Apostolic Almone for the poor and homeless that this office, with the approval of Pope Francis, has set up including, the Mobile Polyclinic that brings treatment to the poorest and marginalized in the suburbs of Rome and the Mother of Mercy Outpatient Clinic under the right hand colonnade of St. Peter’s Square that offers medical care. This remained open throughout the Covid-19 emergency.
Pope Francis had an unusually busy weekend with two events on the Saturday May 30 vigil of Pentecost and three more on Pentecost Sunday.
The Saturday highlight was the rosary at the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, transmitted throughout the world and in linkup with 50 Marian shrines. The Pope also sent a video message to CHARIS (Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service) on the eve of Pentecost. Francis warned that life after the pandemic will not be the same so we must take advantage of this opportunity to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. CHARIS was created by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in 2018 to foster unity and communication between the different Catholic charismatic realities. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-05/pope-francis-vide-message-charism-eve-of-pentecost.html
May 31, Pentecost Sunday and the feast of the Visitation, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Altar of the Chair with a small number of faithful mpreent, shared a video message with “The Kingdom Come,” and recited the Regina Coeli for the first time from his study window with faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Thy Kingdom Come” is an annual global ecumenical prayer movement promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby that started in 2016. The Pope’s message contrasted God “infecting” the world with life at Pentecost with the “deadly virus” that has ravaged the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-05/pope-thy-kingdom-come-pentecost-archbishop-canterbury-welby.html
PENTECOST: THE CHURCH, RECONCILED AND READY FOR MISSION
It was a thrill today to be in a warm and sun-splashed St. Peter’s Square with perhaps 200 people for Pope Francis’ noon recitation of the Regina Coeli. After months of addressing the faithful via television and live streaming from the library of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father seemed delighted to be back at his study window that overlooks the square. And the faithful were overjoyed, too, and showed their enthusiasm with sustained applause.
Pentecost seemed like the ideal feast day to resume this more personal sharing of faith, reflections and prayer. Pentecost is considered the birth of the Church and today we were once again, in person, with the Successor to Peter. Many churches throughout the world were having their own kind of re-birth as doors opened, many for the first time in three months, to the faithful for Mass.
I posted a video on Facebook at the Regina Coeli and here are a few photos I took while in the square.
In his remarks before the Marian prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the missionary nature of the Church, recalling that Pentecost marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. He said, “By forgiving and gathering His disciples around Him, Jesus makes them His Church: a community reconciled and ready for mission.” When Jesus said “Peace be with you,” he was forgiving those who had abandoned Him in his Passion.
After praying the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis noted that seven months ago concluded the Amazon Synod, and he invited the faithful to pray in silence for a moment that “the Holy Spirit might give light and strength to the Church and to society in the Amazon region, sorely tried by the [COVID-19] pandemic.”
The Pope prayed for the “the poorest and most defenseless” in the Amazon and other areas of the globe, saying, “I plead that they may not lack health care.” Then, in off the cuff remarks, Francis said that saving money by not providing health care is wrong: “Persons are more important than the economy. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. The economy is not!”
Those words generated great applause among the faithful in the square, including many nuns.
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