Vatican News

Temporary mobile health clinic for the poor opens in St. Peter's Square

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Paul Haring

Sister Daniela Mura checks in patients at a free health clinic for the needy in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 13. The clinic is offering services for a week in advance of the Vatican's Nov. 18 World Day for the Poor. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See VATICAN-POOR-CLINIC Nov. 13, 2018.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As workers were getting St. Peter's Square ready for this year's Nativity scene, nearby a large mobile health care facility was set up and running to serve the city's homeless and poor.

About two dozen men and a few women were sitting or standing in a spacious area, quietly waiting their turn or filling out basic paperwork before being called for their free checkups.

Doctors volunteering from Rome hospitals or other health clinics and nurses from the Italian Red Cross took shifts running laboratory tests and seeing patients from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

For the second time, the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization organized the free health care initiative in conjunction with Pope Francis' celebration of the World Day of the Poor, which was to be celebrated Nov. 18. But this year, the clinic offered extended morning and evening hours. Anyone in need could find general and specialist care, including cardiology, dermatology, gynecology and ophthalmology.

Roberta Capparella, a Red Cross nurse, told reporters Nov. 13 that she and many others took part in last year's initiative and found it "very gratifying."

She said they were so happy to hear Pope Francis wanted to offer the free health services again this year that they jumped at the chance to serve again.

"Just by being here all day, volunteers realize that they aren't giving of themselves, but that they are receiving" from the people they serve, she said.

The World Day of the Poor -- marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of ordinary time -- focuses this year on a verse from Psalm 34, "This poor one cried out and the Lord heard."

The commemoration and the period of reflection and action preceding it are meant to give Christians a chance to follow Christ's example and concretely share a moment of love, hope and respect together with those in need in one's community, the pope said in his message for the day, published in mid-June.

Local churches, associations and institutions were again asked to create initiatives that foster moments of real encounter, friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.

The pope was to celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Nov. 18 with the poor and volunteers, and he was scheduled to have lunch afterward with about 3,000 people in the Vatican's Paul VI audience hall. Other volunteer groups and schools were also set to offer free meals throughout the city.

Decentralization, simplification heart of curial reform, official says

By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Paul Haring

In this 2015 file photo, Pope Francis and Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano leave the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See VATICAN-REFORM-SEMERARO Nov. 13, 2018.

ROME (CNS) -- Pope Francis' call for a missionary church that is focused on preaching the Gospel will be the guiding principle of the apostolic constitution that will govern the Roman Curia, the secretary of the pope's international Council of Cardinals said.

Addressing students and staff at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University Nov. 12, Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano said that the document will also focus on the need for subsidiarity and "a healthy decentralization," which will strengthen the church's mission to serve others.

"The Roman Curia is not only an instrument at the service of the Roman pontiff, but also an instrument of service to the particular churches," Bishop Semeraro said.

The current draft of the document, titled "Praedicate Evangelium" ("Preach the Gospel"), was reviewed by the international Council of Cardinals -- the so-called C9 -- and a final draft given to the pope in June.

Currently, Bishop Semeraro said, the draft is undergoing "stylistic revision" and a "canonical re-reading," which are two necessary stages of development before its release. The bishop did not say when its publication is expected.

"A stylistic revision means giving the text the best 'literary' coherence possible after the work has been completed. The same can be said for the canonical re-reading, given the legal nature of the document," he said.

The Italian prelate said that the key to understanding the pope's vision of the reform of the Roman Curia lies in his apostolic exhortation, "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"), in which Pope Francis called for a "missionary option" in the church that is geared toward "the evangelization of today's world rather than for her self-preservation."

Structural changes, Bishop Semeraro said, "must be the result of a pastoral choice, and this obviously also applies to the Roman Curia."

However, he added, changes to the structure of the Roman Curia are made in the light of church tradition and must be in keeping with "the principle of fidelity to history and continuity with the past."

"It is precisely according to this principle that it would be misleading to think of a reform that would upset the entire structure of the curia," Bishop Semeraro said. While the existence of the various dicasteries must be preserved, like any "structure of service, it always needs a permanent sort of maintenance."

For Pope Francis, he said, the path toward curial reform "is much more than any structural change."

Reform, Bishop Semeraro said, is about doing what "is necessary so that in the course of time and in changing situations, the church may preserve her 'sacramentality,' that is, her transparency toward God who makes her exist and dwells in her."

Where there are lies, there can be no love, pope says

CNS photo/Reuters

Pope Francis embraces a child as he arrives to lead the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 14. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters) See POPE-AUDIENCE-TRUTH-LIES Nov. 14, 2018.

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Lying or being inauthentic is seriously wrong because it hinders or harms human relationships, Pope Francis said.

"Where there are lies, there is no love, one cannot have love," he said Nov. 14 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

To live a life "of inauthentic communication is serious because it obstructs relationships and, therefore, it obstructs love," he said.

The pope continued his series of talks on the Ten Commandments, focusing on the command, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor," which, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, forbids misrepresenting the truth.

"We are always communicating," whether with words, gestures, one's behavior and even by being silent or absent, the pope said. People communicate by who they are and what they do as well as by what they say, which means people are always at a crossroads, "perched" between telling the truth or lies.  

"But what does the truth mean?" he asked.

It is not enough to be sincere, he said, because someone could be sincere about a mistaken belief, and it is not enough to be precise because someone could hide the full meaning of a situation behind a barrage of insignificant details.

Sometimes, he said, people think that revealing other people's personal business and confidential information is fine also because, "I only told the truth."

Gossip, however, destroys communion by being indiscreet and inconsiderate, the pope said.

The tongue is like a knife, he said, and "gossip kills," destroying people and their reputation.

"So then, what is the truth?" he asked.

The ultimate model of truth is Jesus, who came into the world "to testify to the truth." As he told Pontius Pilate, "Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice," according to the Gospel of John (18:37).

To follow Jesus is to live "in the Spirit of truth" and bear witness to God's truth, merciful love and fidelity, he said.

"Every person affirms or negates this truth with their every act -- from minor everyday situations to more serious choices," the pope said, so people need to ask themselves whether they are upright and truthful in their words and deeds, "or am I more or less a liar disguised as truth?"

"Christians are not exceptional men and women. But they are children of the heavenly Father, who is good, who does not disappoint and who puts in our heart the love for our brothers and sisters," he said.

"This truth is not spoken so much with a speech. It is a way of being, a way of living and you see it in every single deed," he said.

"To not bear false witness means to live like children of God who never ever refutes" or contradicts himself, and never tells lies, he said.

It is living in a way that every deed reveals "the great truth that God is the Father and that you can trust in him," he said. God "loves me, he loves us and (from that) springs my truth, to be truthful and not deceitful."

Jesuit superior says Father Arrupe's sainthood cause may open in February

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Jesuit Father B. Reynolds

The general postulator of the Society of Jesus said he has begun compiling all of the writings of Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe and seeking eyewitnesses who can attest to the holiness of order's late superior general. Father Arrupe is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Jesuit Father B. Reynolds) See ARRUPE-SAINTHOOD-CAUSE July 13, 2018.

ROME (CNS) -- Plans are underway for a solemn opening in February of the sainthood cause of Father Pedro Arrupe, superior general of the Jesuits from 1965 to 1983.

Jesuit Father Arturo Sosa, the current superior, informed Jesuits Nov. 14 that the cause "has been set in motion in the Vicariate of Rome, the place of his death" and that "from now on, therefore, he is considered a 'Servant of God.'"

In July, during a meeting in Spain, Father Sosa told Jesuits and lay collaborators that the serious work of preparation had begun. That preparation included compiling all of Father Arrupe's writings and seeking eyewitnesses who could attest to his holiness.

More than 100 witnesses -- mainly from Spain, Japan and Italy -- are expected to testify, Father Sosa said. In addition, two commissions already have begun reviewing all Father Arrupe's published works and "many unpublished documents written by or about Father Arrupe and the socio-ecclesial context in which he lived."

Father Sosa, in his November letter, said that assuming the Vatican and the bishops in and around Rome pose no objections, "the session formally opening the cause will take place at the Basilica of St. John Lateran" in Rome Feb. 5, 2019, the 28th anniversary of Father Arrupe's death.

"Eloquent and even moving postulatory letters received from all over the world confirm that his reputation for holiness is recognized in different sectors of the church," Father Sosa said. "This reputation of holiness is spontaneous, continuous and enduring."

Father Arrupe's work to help Jesuits rediscover the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola and "the method of personal discernment and discernment in common" helped the Jesuits renew their life, "their consecration and vows, community and mission," Father Sosa said.

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