Papal message to Italian Catholics encourages conversion to God, ecological conversion (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis has written a message to participants in the 49th Social Week of Italian Catholics, whose theme is “The planet we hope for: environment, work, future.”“To get back on our feet, we must convert to God and learn to make good use of his gifts, first and foremost creation,” the Pope wrote in the message, dated October 4 and released on October 2. “Let us not lack the courage for ecological conversion, but above all let us not lack the ardor of community conversion.”Pope Francis also offered three “road signs” as reflections: “mindfulness of people at crossings,” “no parking” (i.e., the danger of a negative attitude within parishes and other Catholic communities), and “the obligation to turn.”
Vatican clarifies bishops' role in liturgical translations (Vatican Press Office) The Congregation for Divine Worship has released a new decree, codifying the responsibilities of episcopal conferences for the approval of new liturgical translations.
In the motu proprio Magnum Principium, released in September 2017, Pope Francis gave individual bishops’ conferences the primary role in approving new translations. (The Vatican, which had previously held that role, retained the right to “confirm” the bishops’ decisions.) The new Vatican document spells out the responsibilities of the episcopal conferences, under the terms of #838 of the Code of Canon Law, as revised by that 2017 motu proprio.
The decree explains that the bishops’ conference in each country is responsible for ensuring an accurate translation of approved Latin originals. The Congregation for Divine Worship, the document explains, will then certify that the episcopal conference followed appropriate norms; the Vatican will not ordinarily undertake a line-by-line review of the new translations, relying on the episcopal conferences for that task.When several countries use the same language, the Vatican strongly encourages cooperative efforts at translation, with all the episcopal conferences working together, with the Vatican mediating as needed, to produce a single translation.
Vatican newspaper rues record arrests at US-Mexican border (L'Osservatore Romano (Italian)) The October 21 edition of L’Osservatore Romano devoted prominent front-page coverage to a Washington Post article on the record arrests at the US-Mexican border.“The dream of the new border is shattered against the still too tight regulatory meshes that try to curb the flow of undocumented persons who try to cross the boundary every day, too often at the cost of their lives,” the newspaper commented.L’Osservatore Romano drew particular attention to the plight of “the youngest who undertake the journey alone, sent by their families of origin across the border, in an attempt to save them from poverty or, worse, by the recruitment by organized crime.”
Australian archbishop rues legislation against confessional seal (CathNews) Archbishop Timothy Constelloe of Perth has objected to new legislation in Western Australia that requires Catholic priests to disclose confessions of the sexual abuse of children. The new rule repeals the legal recognition of the confessional seal.The archbishop said that it was “particularly concerning and troubling” that the legislation was advanced, ignoring a committee recommendation that would have retained the protection of the seal of confession.
Archbishop Costelloe also remarked that the legislation seemed to be based on a supposition that priests would do nothing when they heard of abuse in the confessional. In fact, he said, confessors would certainly urge the penitents to report the abuse, and any other suggestion is “either an ignorant or a deliberately misleading presentation of the way confession is practiced in the Catholic Church.”
Pope plans more foreign travel in 2022 (CNA) Pope Francis hopes to increase his schedule of foreign travel next year, he said in an interview with the Argentine new agency Télam, published October 22.
The Pope said that he hopes to travel to Hungary and Congo in 2022. He also said that he might visit East Timor and Papua New Guinea—carrying out plans that were shelved in 2020 because of the Covid epidemic. Detailed planning for these trips has not yet begun, he admitted.
Pope Francis curtailed his travel this year because of continued Covid restrictions, and has acknowledged that he limited his schedule as he recovered from intestinal surgery in July. He had hoped to be in Glasgow later this month for a climate summit, but will not make that trip. However he is still planning to travel to Cyprus and Greece early in December.
Pope sends anniversary greetings to Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew (Vatican News) Pope Francis has sent a message of congratulations to Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, who is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his election as Archbishop of Constantinople.
In his message the Pope makes a special point of praising the Orthodox leader for “your commitment to safeguarding creation and for your reflection on this issue, from which I have learned and continue to learn much.”
Santa Fe archdiocese: Woman's attempted ordination invalid (CNA) A woman who calls herself Father Anne was “the recipient of an attempted priestly ordination held Oct. 16 at the Cathedral Church of St. John, an Episcopalian cathedral in Albuquerque,” according to the report. “She simulated Mass the following day at St. Paul Lutheran Church, an ELCA community in Albuquerque.” The “ordination” was organized by the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
Myanmar: more military assaults on church targets (Fides) The military in Myanmar opened fire on a Baptist church in the village of Tiang Rua this week, then set up headquarters inside the damaged church as troops occupied the area, burning homes and sending residents into hiding. The military has targeted regions where Christians are concentrated, claiming that the churches organize resistance against the government.
Pakistani Muslims bulldoze Christian graves (AsiaNews) Pakistani Christians have protested the destruction of graves at a cemetery in the Sialkot district of Punjab. Muslims, claiming to own the property, knocked down tombstones in a part of the cemetery, and threatened the remove the rest. Local police were indifferent to calls from the Christian community to stop the destruction.
Marian pilgrim route back to life after lockdown (ANSA) “Over 12 million tourists a year walk along the Ruta Mariana, an ancient pilgrim route along the traces of the Virgin Mary that starts in Spain, crosses Andorra and reaches France, at the feet of the Pyrenees,” according to the report.
Cardinal announces formation of Fratelli Tutti Foundation (Vatican News) The foundation is named after Pope Francis’s 2020 encyclical on fraternity and social friendship.Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, said that “we will organize events and paths, experiences and moments around the mother basilica of the Catholic Church, to encourage the internalization of the values of freedom, equality, and fraternity.” The foundation, he added, will foster sacred art, formation, and dialogue.
Vatican symposium explores sacramental penance in 19th century (Vatican News) “The 19th century was marked by the overcoming of Jansenist rigorism, which was widespread in the 18th century, and by the triumph of the moral theology of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, which was more balanced and attentive to the concrete needs of penitents,” said Father Krzysztof Józef Nykiel, Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, which has organized the two-day event.
Background: World Mission Sunday (CWN) On October 24, the Church around the world commemorates World Mission Sunday. The theme of the Pope’s message for the day is “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
World Catholic population slightly up; seminary enrollment down (Fides) As the Catholic world approaches World Mission Sunday— observed this year on October 24— the Fides news service has issued its annual compilation of statistics regarding Church growth. (The figures are accurate for the end of 2019, the last year for which full statistics are available.)
The world’s Catholic population grew by 15.4 million, to a total of 1.3 billion. Catholic population grew on every continent except Europe, with the largest increase in Africa. The worldwide increase in Catholic population was slightly higher than the overall population increase.
The number of Catholic bishops declined slightly, to 5,364. The number of priests rose to 414,336, with the largest increases coming in Asia and Africa, while Europe and the Americas saw the number of priests decline— in the case of Europe, somewhat dramatically, by 2,608.The number of women religious dropped by 11,562, to a total of 630,099. Again the numbers grew in Asia and Africa, but dropped substantially in Europe (-7,400) and the Americas (-5,315).>The number of seminarians dropped worldwide, with enrollment in major seminaries down on every continent but Africa, and in minor seminaries down everywhere but in Oceania. Overall the number of seminarians was just over 211,000— down nearly 5,000 from the previous year.
Archbishop opts out of Synod process (CNA) Archbishop Wolfgang Haas of Vaduz, Liechtenstein has announced that his archdiocese will not take part in the consultative process leading up to the Synod on Synodality, explaining that the process “runs the risk of becoming ideological.”
Archbishop Haas—whose small archdiocese includes just twelve parishes and about 28,000 faithful—said that anyone interested in contributing to the process “can still do so by contacting the archbishop or the vicar general’s office directly.”