Witnesses in Vatican mega trial paint bleak picture of how Secretariat managed funds (RNS) Following testimony from defense witnesses in the trial of Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine other defendants, the Vatican financial trial has resumed with testimony from witnesses for the prosecution.
The RNS coverage summarizes testimony from Revisor General Alessandro Cassinis Righini, appointed by the Pope to oversee Vatican budgets; Nicola Squillace, an attorney charged with fraud, embezzlement and money laundering; and Roberto Lolato, an advisor to the prosecution on the London real estate deal at the center of the trial.
Vatican cardinal, unwelcome in Germany, cancels visit (Pillar) Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Dicastery for Christian Unity, cancelled plans for a visit to Germany, after the president of that country’s episcopal conference said that he would not be welcome because of his criticism of the German Synodal Path.
Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the German bishops’ conference, had demanded an apology from Cardinal Koch, after the Swiss prelate, in a June speech, said that the Synodal Path was an unacceptable break from Catholic tradition, and observed that a similar bid to find “new sources” for Christianity had occurred in the “German Christian” movement that supported Hitler.
Responding to Bishop Bätzing’s demand for an apology, Cardinal Koch said that he did not intend to compare the Synodal Path with the Nazi movement, but he stood by his argument that it was “frightening” to see the current movement look for new foundations for Christianity, outside Scripture and Tradition.
After Bishop Bätzing reiterated his complaint, organizers of an ecumenical conference at which Cardinal Koch had been scheduled to speak announced that the cardinal had withdrawn “for security reasons.” A local pastor reported threats of violence.
Pope warns Redemptorists against abandoning prayer and community life (CSSR News) On October 1, Pope Francis addressed participants in the general chapter of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), the religious institute founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori in 1732.
In “re-imagining and renewing the Congregation, three fundamental pillars must not be forgotten: the centrality of the mystery of Christ, community life and prayer,” the Pope said. “The abandonment of community life and prayer is the door to sterility in consecrated life, the death of the charism and closure towards the brothers.”
“Instead, docility to the Spirit of Christ pushes us to evangelize the poor, according to the announcement of the Redeemer in the synagogue of Nazareth (cf. Lk 4: 14-19), concretized in the congregation by St. Alphonsus Maria de ‘Liguori,” the Pope added.
Pope warns of nuclear war risk; appeals to Putin on Ukraine (AP) Pope Francis devoted his entire Sunday Angelus address on October 2 to the war in Ukraine.
“Let there be a halt to arms, and let us seek the conditions for negotiations that will lead to solutions that are not imposed by force, but consensual, just and stable,” Pope Francis said. “And they will be so if they are based on respect for the sacrosanct value of human life, as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, and the rights of minorities and legitimate concerns.”
“My appeal is addressed first and foremost to the President of the Russian Federation, imploring him to stop this spiral of violence and death, also for the sake of his own people,” the Pope continued. “On the other hand, saddened by the immense suffering of the Ukrainian people as a result of the aggression they have suffered, I address an equally confident appeal to the President of Ukraine to be open to serious proposals for peace.”
Russian Orthodox spokesman says dialogue with Rome nearly 'frozen' (Crux) The chief ecumenical official of the Russian Orthodox Church has told a Russian television audience that relations with the Holy See are “practically frozen.”
Metropolitan Anthony Sevryuk said that the prospects for a “summit meeting” between Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis are bleak. He attributed the cooling in relations to statements “not only from the lips of the Pope, but also the great part of his aides,” condemning the Russian war in Ukraine and the support that the Moscow patriarchate has shown for that offensive.
Vatican diplomat calls for enforcement of environmental laws, warns against drug legalization (Holy See Mission) On October 3, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed a UN committee meeting on criminal law.
“Crimes that affect the environment, although not always given due attention by law enforcement authorities, may cause enormous harm and exacerbate existing crises,” the prelate said. “Unlawful deforestation, illegal mining, trafficking in wildlife and waste trafficking, and other environmental crimes, have a negative impact.”
“While mindful of the serious concerns related to incarceration of users and petty traffickers, which often are themselves the victims of drug trafficking networks, the Holy See is convinced that those issues can, should, and are already being addressed without legalizing drugs,” he continued, as he turned to the topic of drug abuse. “Drug use is always destructive and cannot be eradicated without serious efforts made to condemn and prevent not only their use and sale, but also the so-called drug culture and its associated behaviors.”
Archbishop Caccia also weighed in on efforts to combat cyber-crimes (such as child pornography and the financing of terrorism). He called for an international treaty that builds consensus on how best to combat these crimes, in a manner that respects “human dignity and universal human rights, including the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”
US Catholics want different presidential candidates, poll finds (CNA) A new poll of US Catholics has found that most believe President Biden should not run for re-election in 2024, and an even larger majority believe former President Trump should not run again.
The EWTN poll also found that 52% of Catholic voters disapproved of Biden’s performance in office, with the disapproval much higher—75%—among those who attend Mass regularly.
The poll showed signs of danger for the Democratic Party, with Catholics—traditionally a “swing” constituency—preferring Republican candidates by a 49-45 margin. Also, the survey showed a significant decline in support for Democrats among Hispanic Catholics.
Pope tells Vatican security to stay strong in mission of service, faith (CNS) On the evening of October 1, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State. The Mass took place at the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens.
Cautioning against lukewarmness, the Pope said that “almost all of you entered the gendarme because of a vocation, a desire to do something good, as service, as growth. And then, as it happens to us priests, too, to everyone, one gets used to it; and when one gets used to it, instead of growing, you sink down further and further.”
“If you don’t revive your vocation, if you don’t make it grow every day, that vocation of service, which is very beautiful, eventually — this is not a curse, no, it happens to everybody — eventually the things that don’t grow become corrupted,” the Pope added.
Portugal abuse cases mount amid questions over Nobel bishop (AP) A lay committee examining historic cases of the sexual abuse of minors has identified 400 cases, according to the report. Bishop José Ornelas Carvalho of Leiria-Fátima, the president of the bishops’ conference, is under investigation for covering up abuse in Mozambique, where he once served as a missionary.
Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his work on behalf of human rights in East Timor and resigned from his post in the Dili diocese in 2002, at the age of 54, citing health reasons. Following a report that Bishop Belo had sexually abused minors, a Vatican spokesman said that the Vatican learned of allegations in 2019 and imposed secret sanctions on him in 2020. He has been living in Portugal in a Salesian community, but was reportedly whisked away last week to an undisclosed location.
Pope: May sport be home for all, open and welcoming (Vatican News) On September 30, Pope Francis delivered an address to participants in the international summit “Sport for all: cohesive, accessible and tailored to each person.”
Sport “contributes to the formation of mature and successful personalities, and thus becomes an important aspect of education and socialization,” said the Pope. “Outside this context, it runs the risk of degenerating into a ‘machine’ of business, profit, and consumer-driven showmanship, which produces ‘celebrities’ to be exploited.”
“For this reason, we have a responsibility to ensure that sports are accessible to all,” he continued. “We must remove those physical, social, cultural and economic barriers that prevent or hinder access to sports. We should be committed to giving everyone the opportunity to play sports, to cultivate—one could say to be ‘trained’ in—the values of sport and transform them into virtues.”
USCCB, Catholic organizations ask Senate to pass human trafficking legislation (USCCB) Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Washington, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration, has asked the Senate to pass the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 (H.R. 6552).
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), was approved by the House of Representatives in July in a 401-20 vote, but still awaits a vote in the Senate.
In lending support to the legislation, Bishop Dorsonville was joined by the leaders of Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and the Catholic Health Association.
Welcoming growth as world population hits 8 billion (Wall Street Journal) With the UN predicting that the world’s population will hit 8 billion this month, William McGurn of the Wall Street Journal asks: “Are human beings good?”
If human life is a good thing, McGurn reasons, we should celebrate the growth of the species. Citing the work of the late Julian Simon, and a new book entitled Superabundance, he makes the case that population growth is not a danger but a blessing.
Not 'good guys and bad guys': Pope describes war as 'imperialisms in conflict,' with Ukraine as victim (La Civiltà Cattolica) The Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica has published a transcript of a September 15 conversation between Pope Francis and members of the Society of Jesus. The conversation took place during the Pontiff’s apostolic journey to Kazakhstan.
Asked, “How do you see the geopolitical situation we are experiencing?”, he replied, “There is a war going on and I think it is a mistake to think that this is a cowboy movie where there are good guys and bad guys.”
“The victim of this conflict is Ukraine,” he continued. “A head of state, in December last year, came to tell me that he was very concerned because NATO had gone barking at the gates of Russia ... He expressed fear that this would provoke a war, and this broke out two months later. So, one cannot be simplistic in reasoning about the causes of the conflict. I see imperialisms in conflict.”