Vatican News Feed

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  1. Pursue the common good, not allure of money, Pope tells finance students

    Vatican City, Oct 19, 2017 / 11:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis told a group of students studying finance Thursday not to let themselves get taken in by the charm of money, but to instead work toward building a better future based on justice and the common good.

    “It is essential that, until now and in your future professional life, you will learn to be free from the allure of money, from the slavery in which money closes those who worship it,” the Pope said Oct. 19.

    It's also essential that students “acquire the strength and the courage not to blindly obey the invisible hand of the market,” he said, and encouraged them to take advantage of their study time, learning “to become promoters and defenders of a growth in equity, to become craftsman of a just and adequate administration of our common home, which is the world.”

    Pope Francis spoke to students enrolled in the Chartreux Institute of Lyon. Established in 1825, the school is a private Carthusian educational institution linked to the French state school system.

    The institute takes students from grade school all the way through high school, and also offers courses in higher education, with a specialization in the fields of finance, business, and accounting.

    In his speech, Pope Francis said he was glad to learn that alongside their education in finances, students also receive a solid foundation in “human, philosophical and spiritual” studies.

    To take courses in Rome, he said, allows the students to be immersed in the history “which has so strongly marked European nations.”

    “Admiring what the genius of men and the hopes they cultivated were able to accomplish, also you must have it at heart to leave your mark in history,” he said, stressing in off-the-cuff comments that “you have the ability to decide your future.”

    Francis told the students to take responsibility not only for the world, but “for the life of every man,” and urged them remember that “every injustice against a poor man is an open wound, and belittles your own dignity.”

    Even though the world will expect them to strive for success above all else, the Pope told them to put the time and the means into going forward on “the path of brotherhood,” so that they will be able “to build bridges between men rather than walls, to add your stones to the building of a more just and human society.”

    Noting how his audience was composed of both Christians and non-Christians, Pope Francis urged the Christians to stay united with the Lord in prayer, and to learn “to entrust everything to God, and so not give in to the temptation of discouragement and desperation.”

    For those who are not Christians, the Pope greeted them with “respect and affection,” telling them to keep they eyes focused on others.

    He closed his speech by encouraging all of the students “to work for the good, to become humble seeds of a new world,” and prayed that they would be able to “cultivate the culture of encounter and sharing within the single human family.

  2. Pope to Methodists: Reconciliation is more than talk – it needs action

    Vatican City, Oct 19, 2017 / 07:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Marking 50 years of Catholic-Methodist dialogue, Pope Francis on Thursday told members of both traditions that when it comes to future relations, simply speaking about reconciliation is not enough – we must actually pray and work for it.

    “This is the journey that awaits us in the new phase of the dialogue, devoted to reconciliation: we cannot speak of prayer and charity unless together we pray and work for reconciliation and full communion,” the Pope said Oct. 19.

    Pope Francis met with a delegation of around 50 members of the World Methodist Council on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of theological dialogue between Catholics and Methodists.

    In his address, Francis said that looking toward the future, as well as back over the last 50 years, it is clear that to grow in holiness we must also grow in communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.

    “As a call to life in communion with God, the call to holiness is necessarily a call to communion with others too,” he said. “Faith becomes tangible above all when it takes concrete form in love, particularly in service to the poor and the marginalized.”

    And this service to others, he pointed out, can be a source of communion between Catholics and Methodists.

    “When, as Catholics and Methodists, we join in assisting and comforting the weak and the marginalized – those who in the midst of our societies feel distant, foreign and alienated – we are responding to the Lord’s summons,” he said.

    Discussions between the two churches can be a gift not just for their members, but also for our communities and our world, he noted, pointing out that the discussion could be an incentive to Christians everywhere to be “ministers of reconciliation.”

    He explained how it is the Holy Spirit that brings about unity, and this is always done in his own way and his own time, just like at Pentecost, where the Spirit awakened “a variety of charisms,” creating unity without uniformity.

    “We need then, to remain together,” he said, “like the disciples awaiting the Spirit, as brothers and sisters on a shared journey.”

    Francis said that after a long separation, we are like brothers and sisters who are happy to once more meet and learn about one another, moving forward “with open hearts.”

    “So let us advance together, knowing that our journey is blessed by the Lord. It began from him, and it leads to him.”

    As encouraged by the Second Vatican Council, dialogue enables Christians of different creeds to continue growing in knowledge and esteem, the Pope continued, saying that “true dialogue gives us the courage to encounter one another in humility and sincerity, in an effort to learn from one another, and in a spirit of honesty and integrity.”

    Francis expressed his gratitude to the Catholic-Methodist Dialogue Commission and to the World Methodist Council for their work, both past and present.

    A lot has been learned over the past 50 years, but the work is not finished, he said, saying we must look forward to that day when we can finally unite in the “breaking of the bread.”

    Concluding the audience by praying the ‘Our Father,’ the Pope invited those present to pray for reconciliation as well as the daily bread that sustains us “along the way.”

  3. Pope taps Joliet auxiliary to head Evansville diocese

    Vatican City, Oct 18, 2017 / 05:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday, the Vatican announced that Joseph M. Siegel, until now auxiliary bishop of Joliet, Illinois, will be taking the reins in the diocese of Evansville, Indiana, which has been vacant for several months.

    Siegel's appointment was announced in an Oct. 18 communique from the Vatican, and comes just four months after the previous Bishop of Evansville, Charles C. Thompson, was reassigned to Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

    The youngest of nine children, Seigel was born in Lockport Township July 18, 1963, and attended Catholic school.

    After graduating from St. Charles Borromeo High School, he entered the local seminary where he completed his college education, and was eventually sent to study at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

    He completed his theological studies there, also taking courses at the Pontifical Gregorian and Angelicum Universities.

    Siegel was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Joliet March 4, 1988, and assigned to the St. Isidore Parish in Bloomingdale. While serving at the parish, he completed a Licentiate degree in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.

    Other parish assignments the bishop held include St. Mary Immaculate in Plainfield, St. Mary Nativity in Joliet and the Cathedral of St. Raymond, where he also served as the diocesan Master of Ceremonies. In 2004, Siegel was named pastor of Visitation Parish in Elmhurst.

    He served as a member of the diocese's Presbyteral Council for nine years, including three as chairman, and was also appointed to the diocesan Board of Consultors. He also held the role of director of the Continuing Formation for Priests and was a member of the diocesan Vocation Board, the Priest Personnel Board and was the Dean of Eastern Will County.

    Within the Catholic Conference of Illinois, Siegel served as a priest-representative on the Executive Committee and was also chairman of the Catholics for Life Department. During the diocesan celebration of the Year of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Congress in Joliet, he chaired the Steering Committee.

    Siegel was also a member of the Bishops’ Respect Life Advisory Board, and is a fourth degree Knight of Columbus and a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

    He was named auxiliary bishop of Joliet by Benedict XVI in 2009, and received his episcopal ordination in January 2010.

    A year later, in December 2010, the bishop was named Apostolic Administrator of Joliet when the previous bishop, J. Peter Sartain, was reassigned to the Archdiocese of Seattle. When Joliet's current bishop, R. Daniel Conlon, was appointed in 2011, Siegel was named the diocese's Vicar General.

    In addition to English, the bishop also speaks Spanish and Italian.

  4. Pope Francis prays for victims of Somalia massacre

    Vatican City, Oct 18, 2017 / 04:43 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday, Pope Francis offered prayers for the more than 300 victims of a terrorist bombing in the African country of Somalia, one of the most lethal attacks to take place anywhere in the world in recent years.

    “I would like to express my sorrow for the massacre that occurred a few days ago in Mogadishu, Somalia,” the Pope said Oct. 18. “This terrorist act deserves the most firm censure, because it ravages a population that has already been so tried.”

    The attack took place Oct. 14 when a truck packed with explosives blew up in front of a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, killing more than 300 people and injuring hundreds, including children.

    Responsibility for the bombing has yet to be claimed by any group, though some Somalis have reacted to the attack by condemning al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group associated with al-Qaeda.

    In his appeal, Pope Francis said he prays “for the dead and the wounded, for their family members and for all the people of Somalia,” and also offered prayers “for the conversion of the violent.” He also encouraged “those who, with great difficulty, work for peace in that tortured land.”

    Pope Francis made his appeal at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. In his address, the Pope spoke about the inevitability of death, saying it’s good to meditate on our eventual passing.

    As a piece of advice, he told pilgrims to recite Psalm 90, which asks to be taught how “to count our days and acquire a wise heart.”

    These words help to give us a “healthy realism, casting off the delusions of omnipotence,” he said, asking: “What are we? We are ‘almost nothing,’ says another psalm; our days are running fast.”

    He noted how many times he has heard older people speak about their life, saying it “passed like a breath.” Death brings our life into focus, showing how all our pride, anger and hatred is ultimately vanity, he said.

    “We realize with regret that we have not loved enough and did not look for what was essential. And, on the contrary, we see what we have really sowed: the affections for which we have sacrificed ourselves and who now hold our hand.”

    But faith gives us hope, he said, explaining that “we are all small and helpless in front of the mystery of death. However, what a grace if we keep the flame of faith in our hearts!”

    Francis noted that Jesus, by his life and death, illuminated the mystery that is death. As an example, he pointed to the New Testament, when Jesus weeps after learning of the death of his dear friend Lazarus, showing us that it is okay to mourn the loss of a friend.

    But then Jesus prays to the Father, the source of life, and orders Lazarus to leave the tomb: “and so it happens.”

    This is a source of Christian hope, he said: that though death is a part of life and is present in creation, it is “an affront to the design of God's love, and the Savior wants it to be healed.”

    In another Gospel episode, there is a father with a very sick daughter who addresses Jesus with faith, asking him to save her, the Pope recalled. But then, someone comes out from the man's house to tell him it is too late, his daughter has died.

    “Jesus knows that man is tempted to react with anger and despair because of the child's death, and advises him to guard the small flame that is lit in his heart: faith.”

    “Do not be afraid, only have faith,” Jesus says to the father, telling him that when he arrives at home, he will find the child alive.

    Also in his words to Martha, as she weeps for the death of her brother Lazarus, Jesus teaches us that he is “the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.”

    These words are repeated to us every time death comes in order “to tear the fabric of life and affections,” Francis said, adding that “all our existence is played out here, between the side of faith and the precipice of fear.”

    Jesus is the resurrection and the life, the Pope said, asking pilgrims: “do you believe this?” He then invited those present in St. Peter's Square to close their eyes and think of the moment of their death.

    Think of your death and imagine the moment when Jesus will take you by the hand and say, “come, come with me, get up,” he said. Jesus will come to each of us, taking us by the hand “with his tenderness, his mildness, his love.”

    “This is our hope before death,” he concluded. “For whoever believes, it is a door that opens wide completely; for those who doubt it is a glimmer of light that seeps out of a door that has not closed completely.”

    “But for all of us it will be a grace when this light illuminates us.”

  5. Pope Francis on why he gives interviews

    Vatican City, Oct 17, 2017 / 03:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a preface to a new book of interviews, Pope Francis outlined his approach to speaking with journalists, explaining that he thinks interviews should be like a conversation and this is why he doesn’t prepare answers in advance.

    “For me interviews are a dialogue, not a lesson,” the Pope wrote.

    “I do not prepare for this,” he said, stating that he usually declines to read the questions when they are sent in advance, instead opting to answer organically, as he would in an actual conversation.

    “Yes, I am still afraid of being interpreted badly,” he clarified, while adding that as a pastor, it’s a risk he’s willing to take.

    “Everything that I do has pastoral value, in one way or in another,” he said. “If I did not trust this, I would not allow interviews: for me it is clear. It's a manner of communicating my ministry.”

    Pope Francis gave his thoughts on interviews, and why and how he gives them, in a preface written for a book called Now Ask Your Questions.

    The book, a a collection of both new and old interviews with Pope Francis, was compiled by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica. It will be presented Oct. 21.

    In the preface, Francis explained that for him, giving an interview is not like ascending “a pulpit” to preach, but is a meeting between him and the journalist: “I need to meet the people and look them in the eyes,” he wrote.

    He said he likes to speak with people from both small magazines and popular newspapers, because he feels “even more comfortable.”

    “In fact, in those cases I really listen to the questions and concerns of ordinary people,” trying to answer “spontaneously” and in a “simple, popular language,” he explained.

    He takes the same approach in press conferences aboard the papal plane when returning from apostolic visits, he said, though he sometimes imagines beforehand what questions journalists may ask.

    He knows he must be prudent, he said, and he always prays to the Holy Spirit before listening to the questions and responding.

    Historically however, Francis wasn’t fond of giving interviews. I may be “tough,” the Pope said, but I'm also shy, stating that as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was a little afraid of journalists, though one eventually persuaded him.

    “I've always been worried about bad interpretations of what I say,” he wrote. As with interviews in the past, he said he was hesitant to accept Spadaro’s request, though eventually he did and gave two long interviews, both which make up part of the book.

    The compilation also includes various conversations with fellow Jesuits, which Francis said are the moments he usually feels the most comfortable and free to speak.

    “I'm glad they've been included in this collection,” he said, since he feels like he is speaking among family members, and thus doesn’t fear being misunderstood.

    Included in the book “are also two conversations with the superior generals of religious groups. I have always requested a real dialogue for them. I never wanted to give speeches and not have to listen to them,” he said.

    “To me, to converse always felt the best way for us to really meet each other.”

    In his meeting with Polish Jesuits, for example, the Pope said he spoke about discernment, strongly underlining the specific mission of the Society of Jesus today, “that is also a very important mission of the Church for our times.”

    “I have a real need of this direct communication with people,” he said.

    These conversations, which take place in meetings and interviews, are united in form to how he delivers his daily homilies at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta every morning, what is sort of his “parish,” he pointed out.

    “I need this communication with people. There, four days a week, they go to find me, 25 people of a Roman parish, together with others.”

    “I want a Church that knows how to get involved in people's conversations, that knows how to dialogue,” he said.

    “It is the Church of Emmaus, in which the Lord ‘interviews’ the disciples who are walking, discouraged. For me, an interview is part of this conversation of the Church with the people of today.”