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Posted on 11/9/2023 08:00 AM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 9, 2023 / 04:00 am (CNA).
The Diocese of Rome has planned a full year of events to mark the 1,700th anniversary of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, which was dedicated on Nov. 9, 324.
The church is the cathedral of the diocese and the seat of the bishop of Rome, the pope. Until the 14th century, the adjoining palace served as the papal residence.
While St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist are the archbasilica’s patrons, it is called St. John Lateran because it was built on property donated by the Plautii Laterani family during the Roman Empire.
The date of the basilica’s dedication, Nov. 9, in the year 324 by Pope Sylvester I is a feast day in the Church.
A Latin inscription in the church reads: “Omnium ecclesiarum Urbis et Orbis mater et caput,” which means in English: “The mother and head of all churches of the city and of the world.”
“The cathedral of Rome, Mater et Caput of all the Churches of Rome and the world, is a very special point of reference for our diocese and for the universal Church,” Rome’s vicar, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, said in a post on the Diocese of Rome website.
“In it one breathes the history of 17 centuries, of a basilica built and rebuilt three times, up to the present building of 1700. Five ecumenical councils have taken place in it,” he continued.
“In the See of the Chair of Peter,” De Donatis said, “all Christians of the world feel the bond with the bishop of Rome. In this place we Christians of Rome recognize once again the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, pointed out by [John] the Baptist. Here we feel, like [John] the beloved disciple, the beating heart of Christ, the Savior, consumed with love for all humanity. In the school of the two ‘Johns’ we find the particular vocation of our Church called to preside in charity.”
The Diocese of Rome will open the year of celebrations with a solemn pontifical Mass celebrated by De Donatis in the afternoon on Nov. 9. The Mass will include music written for the occasion by Father Marco Frisina, Italy’s most popular contemporary composer of religious hymns.
Other events planned throughout the year include concerts, Masses, and religious-cultural talks about the history of the archbasilica and the adjoining Lateran Palace.
The anniversary celebrations will close with Mass on Nov. 9, 2024.
Posted on 11/8/2023 18:25 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Rome Newsroom, Nov 8, 2023 / 14:25 pm (CNA).
The Vatican’s doctrine office has said an adult who identifies as transgender can receive the sacrament of baptism under the same conditions as any adult, as long as there is no risk of causing scandal or confusion to other Catholics.
The Vatican also said that children or adolescents experiencing transgender identity issues may also receive baptism “if well prepared and willing.”
The document answering these and other sacrament-based questions for those who identify as transgender and people in same-sex relationships was generated in response to questions posed to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) in July by Bishop Giuseppe (José) Negri of Santo Amaro in Brazil. The guidance comes amid ongoing discussions within the Catholic Church about pastoral care for the LGBTQ community in light of Francis’ focus on accompaniment and synodality.
The dicastery’s response is dated Oct. 31 and signed by DDF Prefect Cardinal Victor Fernández and Pope Francis. It is available on the Vatican website in Italian.
The Vatican also responded to questions about whether transgender-identifying people or those in homosexual relationships can be godparents or witness a marriage, and whether children adopted or born through assisted reproduction to same-sex couples can be baptized.
To the last question, the DDF cited paragraph 868 of the Code of Canon Law and said “for the child to be baptized there must be a well-founded hope that he or she will be educated in the Catholic religion.”
The Vatican’s explanation
On the question of those who identify as transgender and their reception of the sacrament of baptism, the dicastery gave some notes for consideration, “especially when there is some doubt about the objective moral situation in which a person finds himself, or about his subjective disposition toward grace.”
It went on to explain that the Catholic Church teaches that baptism received without repentance for grave sins, while it gives an indelible sacramental character, does not bestow sanctifying grace.
The Vatican quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine of Hippo to explain that once a person has the right disposition, that is, has repented of any grave sins, the sacramental character of baptism “is an immediate cause which disposes one to receive grace.”
“Thus we can understand why Pope Francis wanted to emphasize that baptism ‘is the door which allows Christ the Lord to dwell in our person and allows us to be immersed in his Mystery,’” the DDF said, quoting an April 11, 2018, general audience by Pope Francis.
“This concretely implies,” it went on, quoting Francis’ 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, “that ‘nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself ‘the door’: baptism. ... The Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.’”
The DDF concluded that even if there are doubts about a person’s objective moral situation or subjective disposition toward grace, “the faithfulness of God’s unconditional love, capable of generating an irrevocable covenant even with the sinner” should not be forgotten.
“In any case, the Church should always call [someone] to live out fully all the implications of the received baptism, which must always be understood and unfolded within the entire journey of Christian initiation,” it said.
Other related questions
The doctrinal office said a transgender-identifying person who has undergone hormonal treatment or sex-reassignment surgery can fulfill the role of godfather or godmother for a baptism “under certain conditions” but added that such a role is not a right and should not be allowed if there is danger of causing scandal or confusion to the Church community.
It also said there was nothing in current Church law that prohibits people who identify as transgender or cohabiting homosexual people from acting as witnesses of a marriage.
In answer to a question about whether a cohabiting homosexual person can be a godparent, the document cited the Church’s Code of Canon Law, paragraph 874, to say a godparent can be anyone who possesses the aptitude and “who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on.”
It stated that a homosexual person living not a “simple cohabitation” but a “stable and declared ‘more uxorio’” in the manner of a husband and wife “well recognized by the community” is “a different case.”
Every case requires “pastoral prudence,” it went on to say, in order to safeguard the sacrament of baptism, and “it is necessary to consider the real value that the ecclesial community confers on the duties of godfather and godmother, the role they play in the community, and the consideration they show toward the teaching of the Church.”
The DDF also said it can be taken into account whether there are other people in the extended family who can guarantee the proper transmission of the Catholic faith to the baptized person without holding the role of godparent.
Posted on 11/8/2023 16:20 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 8, 2023 / 12:20 pm (CNA).
In his ongoing catechetical series on apostolic zeal, Pope Francis on Wednesday drew upon the example of Venerable Madeleine Delbrêl as a testament to conversion and service in a secularized world.
The pope’s Nov. 8 general audience opened up with the “similes of salt and light” passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew, in which Christ tells a crowd: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its taste, how shall its flavor be restored? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot.”
“You are the light of the world,” Christ continues in the passage. “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do we light a lamp and then put it under a bushel, but on a stand, so it gives light to everyone in the house.”
The pope drew upon the example of Delbrêl as a testament to this evangelical imperative. Delbrêl lived her life on the margins with the poor, exemplifying the imperative of announcing the Gospel in a world that is adrift from the Gospel message.
Born in 1904 in southwestern France, Delbrêl was a prolific writer, poet, essaysist, social worker, and mystic.
Growing up in a nonreligious household, Delbrêl passed her adolescence as an agnostic, but struck “by the witness of some friends,” she went on “in search of God, giving voice to a profound thirst that she felt within, and came to learn that the ‘emptiness that cried out her anguish in her’ was God who sought her,” the pope said.
She later moved with family to the peripheries of Paris. It was there, against the backdrop of the French worker’s movement and an entrenched Communist Party, where she encountered the poor and developed a social consciousness.
Amid the social turbulence following the end of the First World War and her father’s own frail health, she had an intense conversion in 1924 and her life assumed a new meaning.
She dedicated herself to a life of prayer. While she had wanted to enter the Carmelites, her father’s health precluded her from doing so. Instead, she dedicated herself to meeting “street people,” and her evangelizing mission thus was centered on the care of the urban poor and socially marginalized, especially in secularized spaces.
She wrote several books including “Marxist City,” “Land Of Mission,” “We, the Ordinary People of the Streets,” and “The Joy of Believing.” In 2018 Pope Francis signed a decree that Delbrêl had lived a life of heroic virtue.
The pope quoted Delbrêl in which she likened faith to riding a bicycle: “You have chosen us to stay in a strange balance, a balance that can be achieved and maintained only in movement, only in momentum. A bit like a bicycle, which does not stay upright unless its wheels turn. … We can stay upright only by going forward, moving, in a surge of charity.”
The pope noted that Debrêl is an example of evangelization as a reciprocal process where “by evangelizing one is evangelized.”
“Looking at this witness of the Gospel, we too learn that in every personal or social situation or circumstance of our life, the Lord is present and calls to us to inhabit our own time, to share our life with others, to mingle with the joys and sorrows of the world,” the pope said.
This is a powerful witness and moment of dialogue where in “secularized environments” the “contact with nonbelievers prompts the believer to a continual revision of his or her way of believing and rediscovering faith in its essentiality.”
In his greeting to French pilgrims the Holy Father repeated this notion, saying: “Faced with our secularized world, let us not complain, but see in it a call to test our faith and an invitation to communicate the joy of the Gospel.”
At the end of the general audience the pope once again implored the world to pray for peace and for an end of war, repeating his refrain that war is always a defeat.
“Let us think and pray for the people who suffer from war. Let us not forget the tormented Ukraine and think of the Palestinian and Israeli people: May the Lord lead us to a just peace,” the pope said. “We suffer a lot: Children suffer, the sick, the old suffer, and many young people die. War is always a defeat: Let’s not forget. It’s always a defeat.”
Posted on 11/8/2023 10:45 AM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 8, 2023 / 06:45 am (CNA).
Pope Francis will publish an autobiography next year in which he recounts memories of historical events from the outbreak of World War II to the collapse of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
HarperCollins Publishers announced Tuesday that it will publish the pope’s book, “Life, My Story Through History,” in the spring of 2024 in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America.
“In this book we tell a story, the story of my life, through the most important and dramatic events that humanity has experienced over the past 80 years,” Pope Francis said in a statement released by the publisher on Nov. 7.
“This book was written so that people, especially younger people, can listen to the voice of an elderly person and reflect on what our planet has experienced, so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”
The book was co-written by Vatican journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona, who interviewed Pope Francis for Italian television specials in 2021 and 2022 and recently published a book in Italian about exorcists featuring anecdotes from the pope.
According to HarperCollins, the book will feature the pope’s recollections of the start of World War II, the Nazi campaign to exterminate the Jews, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the collapse of the Twin Towers, the great economic recession of 2008, the resignation of Benedict XVI, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Born in 1936 in Argentina, Pope Francis was only 2 years old when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, launching World War II, and 8 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in February 2001, just months before the Sept. 11 attacks, and served as president of the Argentine bishops’ conference in 2008. He was 76 years old when he was elected pope following the historic resignation of Benedict XVI.
The pope’s book, which is not classified as a memoir, will also touch on current global issues, including abortion, racial discrimination, climate change, atomic weapons, war, and social inequalities.
Pope Francis has authored numerous books, including a book-length interview with a Spanish missionary titled “The Strength of Vocation” in 2018, “Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future” in 2020, and an interview with an Italian psychologist called “Fear as a Gift” in 2023.
The pope’s first book, “The Name of God is Mercy: A Conversation with Andrea Tornielli,” became a New York Times bestseller in 2016.
Posted on 11/7/2023 14:30 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Rome Newsroom, Nov 7, 2023 / 10:30 am (CNA).
The Vatican’s pediatric hospital has offered to treat 8-month-old baby Indi Gregory after a British court ruled that she be removed from life support against her parents’ wishes.
Gregory, who was born in February, suffers from a rare degenerative mitochondrial disease and has been receiving life-sustaining treatment on a ventilator at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, England.
After England’s high court ruled that it was in the child’s “best interests” to be taken off life support, Gregory’s parents appealed to take her to Rome for treatment, an appeal that was denied by a British judge over the weekend.
The Italian government decided in an emergency meeting on Monday to grant the critically ill child Italian citizenship and to cover the cost of her medical treatment at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù hospital.
“They say there isn’t much hope for little Indi, but until the very end, I’ll do what I can to defend her life,” Italian President Giorgia Meloni wrote on social media on Nov. 6. “And to defend the right of her mamma and papa to do all that they can for her.”
The Bambino Gesù hospital has previously offered medical treatment to other critically ill children, including Alfie Evans in 2018 and Charlie Gard in 2017, both of whom were ultimately denied the chance to travel to Italy by U.K. courts and died days after being removed from life support.
Christian Concern has published a letter from the president of the Bambino Gesù hospital outlining “a detailed treatment plan” for the child, which includes “life-sustaining treatment and palliative care to ensure Indi’s survival and comfort while the treatments take effect.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre supporting the Gregorys’ case, has noted that this is believed to be the first time that a parent’s appeal against an order to withdraw life-sustaining treatment has been rejected by the Court of Appeal without a hearing.
“The law is there to protect life and the most vulnerable in our society. What is happening in this case sets a very worrying precedent with regard to that principle,” Williams said.
“It is very concerning that a child can be held against the parents’ wishes when they have alternative treatment available.”
With the newly granted Italian citizenship, the child’s parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, can appeal to the Italian consulate in Britain to request that their daughter be airlifted to Italy for treatment, according to Reuters.
Simone Pillon, an Italian lawyer assisting the Gregory family, wrote on Nov. 7: “We are working to find an agreement between the two countries to satisfy the family’s request and treat Indi in Rome.”
In response to the Italian government’s decision, Dean Gregory, Indi’s father, said: “My heart fills up with joy that the Italians have given Claire and I hope and faith back in humanity. The Italians have shown us care and loving support and I wish the U.K. authorities were the same.”
Posted on 11/6/2023 19:15 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
ACI Prensa Staff, Nov 6, 2023 / 15:15 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis is continuing his efforts for peace in the Holy Land. As confirmed by the Holy See, on the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 5, the Holy Father had a conversation with the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi.
The Vatican has limited itself to confirming that the call took place at the request of Raisi, who, according to a statement from the Iranian president’s office, thanked the Holy Father for his calls for peace and said that it is duty of followers of all Abrahamic religions to "support the oppressed people of Palestine."
Raisi asked the Holy Father to exert his influence in the West to end the attacks in Gaza, which he called “the greatest genocide of the century.”
He also urged Pope Francis to “correctly explain the position of the oppressor and the oppressed” in the conflict.
In his Nov. 5 Angelus, Pope Francis renewed his call for a cease-fire and said he hoped that “avenues will be pursued so that an escalation of the conflict might be absolutely avoided, so that the wounded can be rescued and help might get to the population of Gaza where the humanitarian situation is extremely serious.”
He also called for the immediate release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, especially children.
The phone call was in addition to the different conversations the pontiff has had with various leaders since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
On Oct. 22, Pope Francis talked by phone about the conflict with U.S. President Joe Biden and focused on “the need to identify paths of peace.”
The Holy Father also received a phone call on Oct. 26 from the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with whom he discussed the situation in the Holy Land.
In addition, on Oct. 27, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked that an escalation in the war between Israel and Hamas be avoided and announced the possibility of a meeting between Pope Francis and the families of the hostages that the terrorist group is holding in Gaza.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for relations with states, also held a telephone conversation with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s minister of foreign affairs, on Oct. 30.
In the conversation, proposed by the Iranian president, Gallagher expressed “the serious concern of the Holy See about what is happening in Israel and Palestine.”
On Nov. 3, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis had a telephone conversation with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of Palestine.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Posted on 11/6/2023 12:55 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Rome Newsroom, Nov 6, 2023 / 08:55 am (CNA).
A cardinal and canon lawyer has denied reports that he is involved in changing the papal election process to make it more synodal.
The Pillar and The Remnant websites reported Nov. 4 that Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, an expert in Church law closely associated with the Vatican, had been tasked by Pope Francis with drafting revisions to conclaves.
The changes being considered, they reported, include changing pre-conclave meetings, called general congregations, to employ Synod on Synodality-style small-group discussions and limiting participation in those meetings to cardinals eligible to vote — that is, cardinals under 80.
“I do not know anything about it and any implication I have in it is a pure lie,” Ghirlanda told EWTN News via email on Monday morning.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni also denied knowledge of such a document in a statement to CNA Nov. 6.
The Remnant also reported Nov. 4 that Pope Francis is considering a proposal by Ghirlanda to allow laypeople to participate in the conclave, including the vote for a new pope.
The Pillar, citing “a senior canon lawyer close to the Vatican,” reported that knowledge of the process to reform conclaves “is widespread in Vatican canonical circles, as is the role of Cardinal Ghirlanda.”
General congregations are preparatory meetings of the College of Cardinals held every day before the start of the election. They are a time for cardinals to familiarize themselves with the regulations concerning conclaves and, according to the norms in force, to “express their views on possible problems, ask for explanations in case of doubt, and make suggestions.”
During general congregations, cardinals can address the entire college. But one of the proposed changes, according to The Pillar, is to make these exchanges into “spiritual conversations” of smaller groups of cardinals, similar to the small-group discussions at the Synod on Synodality assembly in October.
The papal election process and the sede vacante, the period between a pope’s death or resignation and the election of his successor, are regulated by St. John Paul II’s 1996 apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis and Pope Francis’ 2022 apostolic constitution Praedicate Evangelium.
Pope Benedict XVI made two revisions to Universi Dominici Gregis during his papacy, stipulating that in case of a deadlock, the election must be decided by a two-thirds majority instead of a simple majority and that a conclave can start sooner or later than 15 days after a pope’s death.
Conclaves, which take place in the Sistine Chapel, are held under strict secrecy. The cardinals who participate take an oath to “observe absolute and perpetual secrecy” about the ballots and their scrutiny from anyone outside the College of Cardinals under penalty of automatic excommunication.
According to the law of the Holy See, during a sede vacante, “all heads of curial institutions and members cease from their office,” though secretaries “attend to the ordinary governance of curial institutions, taking care of ordinary business only.”
Pope Francis ruled earlier this year that the office of the auditor general, which is responsible for auditing the financial statements of the Holy See and the Vatican City State, and which does not have a secretary, may also continue its “ordinary administration” in the case of a vacant papal see.
The other positions that remain in place during a sede vacante are the major penitentiary, who deals with issues relating to the sacrament of confession and indulgences; the camerlengo, who oversees the preparations for a papal conclave and manages the administration of the Holy See during the interregnum; and the papal almoner.
Posted on 11/3/2023 10:05 AM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 3, 2023 / 07:05 am (CNA).
At a Mass for Pope Benedict XVI and deceased cardinals and bishops on Friday, Pope Francis urged Christians, especially pastors, to be the humble servants of others.
“I like to recall the very first words with which Pope Benedict described himself following his election: ‘a humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord,’” the pope said in St. Peter’s Basilica on Nov. 3.
“Indeed, Christians, especially the pope, the cardinals, and the bishops, are called to be humble laborers: to serve, not to be served and to put the fruits of the Lord’s vineyard before their advantage,” he added. “What a fine thing it is to renounce ourselves for the Church of Jesus!”
Pope Francis presided on Friday morning at a Mass of intercession for the repose of the souls of Pope Benedict XVI and the six cardinals and 147 bishops and archbishops of the Catholic Church who died since November 2022.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re was the celebrant of the Mass, which took place at the Altar of the Chair, and cardinals and bishops concelebrated.
“Let us pray for our beloved deceased brethren,” Pope Francis said in his homily. “Their hearts were pastoral, compassionate, and humble, for the Lord was the center of their lives. In him may they find eternal peace.”
The Mass for deceased cardinals and bishops is celebrated every year at the Vatican during the week of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.
“Benedict XVI, whom we remember today, together with the cardinals and bishops who died in the past year, wrote in his first encyclical that the program of Jesus is ‘a heart that sees,’” Francis said, quoting from Deus Caritas Est (“God is Love”).
“How many times did he keep reminding us that faith is not primarily an idea to be understood or a moral precept to be followed but a person to be encountered,” he said. “That person is Jesus Christ, whose heart beats with love for us, whose eyes look with pity upon our suffering.”
In his homily, Pope Francis reflected at length on the virtue of Christian humility, which he said “is not simply one virtue among others, but the basic disposition of life: believing ourselves to be in need of God, making room for him and putting all our trust in him.”
“It is the humble, the poor in spirit, who reveal to us the ‘littleness’ so pleasing to the Lord, the path that leads to heaven. God seeks the humble, those who hope in him and not in themselves and their own plans,” the pope said.
“God loves humility,” he added, “because it permits him to interact with us. Even more, God loves humility because he himself is humble. He comes down to us; he lowers himself; he does not impose himself; he makes room for us.”
Pope Francis also reflected on compassion as demonstrated by Jesus in St. Luke’s Gospel, proclaimed at Mass.
In Luke 7:11–17, Jesus encounters a widow following behind her only son who had died as he was being carried out of the city: “When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, ‘Young man, I tell you, arise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”
“Jesus, as today’s Gospel shows, halts before the tragedy of death,” the pope explained. “Here we see our God, whose divinity shines forth in contact with our sorrow and grief, for his is a heart full of compassion.”
“The raising of that young man, the gift of life that overcomes death, has its source precisely there, in the compassion of the Lord, who is moved by death, the greatest cause of our suffering. How important it is to communicate that same look of compassion to all those who grieve for the death of their loved ones,” he said.
Posted on 11/2/2023 16:35 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 2, 2023 / 13:35 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis answered two questions about the Synod on Synodality, including on the topic of homosexuality, in an interview with Italian state television RAI on Wednesday.
Asked about the synod assembly’s discussion of homosexuality, Pope Francis said: “When I say ‘everyone, everyone, everyone,’ [I’m speaking about] people. The Church receives people. Everyone. And it does not ask how you are. Then, inside, everyone grows, but from a Christian belonging.”
“It’s true that today it’s a bit ‘fashionable’ to talk about [homosexuality],” he continued. “The Church receives everyone. Another thing is when there are organizations that want to enter. The principle is this: The Church receives all those who can be baptized. Organizations cannot be baptized. People can.”
The pope’s comments were aired in a 40-minute special on the “Tg1” news program Nov. 1.
Francis said the result of the first part of the Synod on Synodality, which met at the Vatican Oct. 4–29, “is positive.”
“Everything was talked about with total freedom — and that’s a good thing,” he said. The pope also said the synthesis report issued at the end of the monthlong gathering “needs to be studied” before the next synod meeting in October 2024.
“I believe that we have arrived precisely at that exercise of synodality that St. Paul VI wanted at the end of the [Second Vatican] Council because he realized that the Western Church had lost the synodal dimension that the Eastern Church has instead,” Francis added.
The latest papal interview also included Pope Francis’ confirmation that he will travel to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, Dec. 1–3, during the start of the COP28 climate change conference.
He also spoke about war, immigration, women deacons, and his health.
On the topic of priestly celibacy, the pope reaffirmed that the discipline can be changed but said he does not think eliminating mandatory priestly celibacy in the Latin Church would do anything to help solve priest shortages.
Pope Francis also praised Pope Benedict XVI’s efforts to combat clerical sexual abuse.
“A lot of cleaning was done in this,” he said. “Pope Ratzinger was courageous in this. He took that problem into his own hands and took many steps and then handed it over to me to finish. This goes on.”
Posted on 11/2/2023 11:04 AM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Rome Newsroom, Nov 2, 2023 / 08:04 am (CNA).
Pope Francis prayed for peace, hope, and mercy at a Mass to mark All Souls’ Day on a rainy morning at the Rome War Cemetery.
“Today, thinking of the dead, cherishing the memory of the dead and cherishing hope, we ask the Lord for peace, so that people will no longer kill each other in wars,” the pope said in an improvised homily on Nov. 2.
Pope Francis presided at a Mass at the war cemetery amid scattered rain showers on a breezy, cool morning.
He lamented the loss of the lives of so many people, especially the young, in war, and said there can never be a real victory because of the price that is paid to reach it.
“We pray to the Lord for our dead, for all, for all: that the Lord will receive them all,” Francis said. “And we pray also that the Lord will have mercy on us and give us hope: hope that we can go forward and that we can find them all together with him when he calls us. So be it.”
The cemetery Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Diego Ravelli, the papal master of ceremonies.
The small cemetery, which contains the graves of 426 soldiers from Commonwealth countries who died in World War II, is located near the Pyramid of Cestius, a Roman-era pyramid in the Ostiense neighborhood south of the historic center of Rome.
In his homily, Pope Francis said the day’s commemoration of the faithful departed made him think of memory and hope.
“Memory,” he explained, “of those who have gone before us, who have spent their lives, who have concluded this life” — both those who have done good and those who have failed in doing good, “but were received into the memory of God.”
The pope said All Souls’ Day is also a good moment to dwell on the theological virtue of hope, which he called an “everyday” virtue.
“I will call it the theological virtue of ‘the kitchen,’ because it is at hand and always comes to our aid,” he said. “We live in this tension between memory and hope.”
Before the Mass, Pope Francis passed through the cemetery in prayer, pushed in a wheelchair. He also placed white roses on some of the graves, including before the headstone of 28-year-old W. Perkins.
After Mass and before returning to the Vatican, the pope also stopped for a brief moment of prayer in front of Rome’s historic Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners, also known as the Protestant Cemetery.
Pope Francis has made it a recent custom to hold a Mass at a cemetery on Nov. 2 to pray for the dead.
From 2016 to 2021, he celebrated Mass at five different cemeteries in or near Rome. For All Souls’ Day in 2019, he celebrated Mass at the Catacombs of Priscilla, while in 2022 he did not visit a cemetery but offered Mass for deceased bishops and cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica — another papal custom during the week of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.