Vatican News Feed

ACI Prensa's latest initiative is the Catholic News Agency (CNA), aimed at serving the English-speaking Catholic audience. ACI Prensa (www.aciprensa.com) is currently the largest provider of Catholic news in Spanish and Portuguese.
  1. Vatican voices concern over Trump's Jerusalem move

    Vatican City, Dec 10, 2017 / 09:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 notice that he will be moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the Holy See has expressed its concern for recent violent outbreaks and urged leaders to promote peace and security. 

    A Vatican communique Dec. 10 pointed to concerns for peace and security in Jerusalem and reiterated its belief that “only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can bring a stable and lasting peace,” as well as “guarantee the peaceful co-existence of two states within internationally recognized borders.”

    The brief statement was published just days after the news broke that President Trump would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – a widely controversial decision that has provoked a mixed reaction from the international community.

    The Vatican said it is watching the development of the situation closely, especially in Jerusalem, which is a “Sacred city for Christians, Jews and Muslims from all over the world.”

    The statement also reiterated the Holy See’s position on the importance of maintaining the status quo in Jerusalem, as per the repeated requests of the international community, and the hierarchies of the Catholic and Christian communities of the Holy Land.

    Renewing an appeal made by Pope Francis during his general audience on Dec. 6, the statement reiterated the Pope's “fervent prayers” for national leaders, that they be committed to promoting peace, justice and security and averting “a new spiral of violence” in the nation.

    Israel has traditionally always recognized Jerusalem as its capital. However, Palestinians claim that the eastern portion of the city is the capital of the future Palestinian state. In recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the U.S. is the first country to do so since the state was established in 1948.

    Debate on the issue is in many ways the crux of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which is backed by Arab leaders, including Saudi Arabia, and the wider Islamic world.

    According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is to be discussed in the late stages of peace talks. Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognized by the international community, and all countries with diplomatic relations have their embassies in Tel Aviv.

    More than 30 Palestinians have been injured in clashes across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip amid protests against Trump’s decision.

    The position of the U.N. on the Jerusalem issue is that East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory, and that the city should eventually become the capital of the two states of Israel and Palestine.

    The Vatican has long supported a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and on a diplomatic level recognizes and refers to both “the State of Israel” and “the State of Palestine.”

  2. In Advent, prepare your heart like your hearth, Pope says

    Vatican City, Dec 10, 2017 / 05:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During Advent, we should prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus like we joyfully prepare our homes for a visit from a family member or friend, Pope Francis said Sunday, especially removing anything keeping us from Christ.

    “When we await at home a visit from a loved one, we prepare everything with care and happiness. In the same way we want to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord: to wait for him every day with solicitude, to be filled with his grace when he comes,” the Pope said Dec. 10.

    In his weekly Angelus address, Francis reflected on the day’s first reading from Isaiah, which says to “make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low.”

    The Pope pointed out that the valleys in this passage can represent our sins of omission, such as failing to pray, or praying very little. The valleys could also be the ways we have failed to have charity toward others, especially those most in need of material or spiritual help.

    In Advent, “we are called to be more attentive to the needs of others, those closest (to us). Like John the Baptist, in this way we can open roads of hope in the desert of the dry hearts of many people,” he said.

    Therefore, Advent is a good time to fill these valleys in our life, he said; to pray more intensely, to prioritize your spiritual life.

    On the other hand, when the verse says, “every mountain and every hill be lowered,” we are reminded of our faults of pride, arrogance and superiority, which must become attitudes of meekness and humility, just like our Savior is “meek and humble of heart.”

    Then, when we’ve examined our conscience, “we are asked to eliminate all the obstacles we put into our union with the Lord” with joy, he said, because we are preparing for the coming of our Savior.

    “The Savior we are waiting for is able to transform our life with the power of the Holy Spirit, with the power of love. Indeed, the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts the love of God, an inexhaustible source of purification, of new life and freedom,” Francis said.

    May the Virgin Mary, he concluded, who prepared for the coming of Christ with her whole being and existence, “help us to follow her example and guide our steps to meet the Lord who is coming.”

  3. Pope Francis says Our Father is poorly translated

    Vatican City, Dec 8, 2017 / 10:40 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a video series for Italian television network TV2000, Pope Francis said that “lead us not into temptation” is a poorly translated line of the Our Father.

    “This is not a good translation,” the Pope said in the video, published Dec. 6. “I am the one who falls, it's not (God) who pushes me toward temptation to see how I fall. A father doesn't do this, a father helps us to get up right away.”

    He noted that this line was recently re-translated in the French version of the prayer to read “do not let me fall into temptation.”

    The Latin version of the prayer, the authoritative version in the Catholic Church, reads “ne nos inducas in tentationem.”

    The Pope said that the one who leads people into temptation “is Satan; that is the work of Satan.” He said that the essence of that line in the prayer is like telling God: “when Satan leads me into temptation, please, give me your hand. Give me your hand.”

    Just as Jesus gave Peter his hand to help him out of the water when he began to sink, the prayer also asks God to “give me your hand so that I don't drown,” Pope Francis said.

    The Pope made his comments in the seventh part of the “Our Father” television series being aired by Italian television network TV2000.

    Filmed in collaboration with the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications, the series consists of nine question-and-answer sessions with Pope Francis and Fr. Marco Pozza, a theologian and a prison chaplain in the northern Italian city of Padua.

    In each of the sessions, Fr. Pozza asks the Pope about a different line in the Our Father prayer, and the Pope offers his insights. A preview of the series was presented at the Vatican's Film Library by Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano, head of the Secretariat for Communications.

    The show also led to the publication of a book titled “Our Father,” which was released by the Vatican Publishing House and Italian publisher Rizzoli Nov. 23, and is based on Pozza's conversations with the Pope in the video series.

    Each of the first eight episodes of the series begin with an excerpt from conversation between the Pope and Pozza, which is followed by a second conversation between Pozza and another guest. The final episode will consist of the priest's entire conversation with Pope Francis.

    In his question to Pope Francis on the line “lead us not into temptation,” Pozza noted that many people have asked him how God can lead someone into temptation, and questioned what the phrase actually intends to say.

    The question is one of the reasons the French bishops decided to make a request for a new translation of the Our Father that they believe conveys the meaning more clearly.

    According to the French episcopal conference, the decision to make the change was accepted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in June 2013.

    The new translation, released Dec. 3 to mark the first day of Advent and the beginning of the new liturgical year, now reads “ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation,” meaning, “do not let us fall into temptation,” versus the former “ne nous soumets pas à la tentation,” or “lead us not into temptation.”

    The Pope’s remarks do not change the translations of liturgical texts. Such a change would begin with a resolution by an episcopal conference in English-speaking countries.

    In a previous episode of the “Our Father” series, Pope Francis said “it takes courage” to recite the prayer, because it means calling on someone else and truly believing that “God is the Father who accompanies me, forgives me, gives me bread, is attentive to everything I ask, and dresses me better than wildflowers.”

    “To believe is a great risk,” and means daring to make the leap of faith, he said. Because of this, “praying together is so beautiful: because we help each other to dare.”

  4. Vatican nativity scene, Christmas tree unveiled

    Vatican City, Dec 8, 2017 / 08:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an inauguration ceremony Thursday, the Vatican officially unveiled this year’s nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, also lighting the 69-foot Christmas tree for the first time this year.

    In an audience with the tree and nativity donors Dec. 7, Pope Francis reflected on the symbolism found in the two Christmas traditions, which he said are “signs of the compassion of the heavenly Father, of his participation and closeness to humanity” even in its “very difficulties.”  

    The branches of the tree, “reaching upward,” remind us to reach for “the highest gifts,” he explained. And in “the simplicity of the crib we meet and contemplate the tenderness of God” as manifested in the Child Jesus.

    This year’s Vatican nativity scene was created by artisans in a local workshop and donated by an ancient Benedictine Abbey, the Sanctuary of Montevergine, which lies near Naples.

    A special detail of this year’s scene: in one corner hangs a replica of the icon of Our Lady of Montevergine, a nod to the abbey which donated it. The original image, which is 12 feet tall, hangs in the chapel of the Sanctuary of Montevergine.

    Outside of the traditional nativity figures of Mary, Joseph, the child Jesus, the Wise Men, shepherds, an angel, and animals, the other figures are represented in the act of performing the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy, such as burying the dead, visiting the imprisoned, and clothing the naked.

    The approximately 6 1/5-foot-tall figures are made of colored terracotta and dressed in traditional eighteenth-century Neapolitan costumes. The whole scene is built on a platform about 861-square-feet in size.

    In a change from past years, this one includes a technological element; visitors can connect to a special Wi-Fi access point in St. Peter’s Square and scan a QR code to watch a video to learn more about the nativity.

    The Christmas tree is a northern European tradition which has only recently become more common in Italy. The tradition to have a tree in St. Peter’s Square was begun by St. John Paul II in 1982.

    This year’s tree, which comes from Poland, is 69-feet tall and about 60 years old. Its tip was lost when it was struck by lightning several years ago.

    It was donated by the Archdiocese of Elk and cut down by a local forestry service, which transported it by truck over more than 1200 miles in 12 days to reach Rome, traveling mostly by night, when traffic is less dense.

    The ornaments which decorate the spruce were created by children with cancer and their parents from several hospitals in Italy, as well as by children from Italian zones affected by earthquakes the past two years.

    The ornaments were created in clay by the children and then reproduced using synthetic materials which can stand up to the weather in St. Peter’s Square.

    The nativity and tree will remain in St. Peter’s Square until Jan. 7, 2018, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

  5. Beauty advice from Pope Francis: Be virtuous like Mary

    Vatican City, Dec 8, 2017 / 04:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Friday’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis offered his own ‘beauty secret’ – with Mary as model – saying beauty does not come from age or appearance, but from living a virtuous life rooted in scripture.

    The Blessed Virgin Mary, though a simple and humble person, “lived a beautiful life,” the Pope said Dec. 8, asking “what was her secret?”

    The answer can be found in the story of the Annunciation, he said. “In many paintings, Mary is depicted sitting in front of the angel with a small book. The book is scripture.”

    “The Word of God was her secret: close to her heart, it then took flesh within her womb. Remaining with God, dialoguing with Him in every circumstance, Mary made her life beautiful.”

    In his special Angelus address for the feast day, Pope Francis emphasized that what makes someone’s life beautiful is “not appearance, not what passes, but the heart focused on God.”

    Francis noted how Mary came from a simple family and lived in a humble fashion in Nazareth, which was an almost unknown village. She was not famous. “Our Lady did not even have a comfortable life,” he said. Yet the angel greets her with the words, “hail, full of grace!”

    The Church extols the Mother of God as “all beautiful,” or “tota pulchra,” in Latin, the Pope continued. This is because her beauty is not found in her outward appearance, but in her total freedom from sin.

    “There is only one thing that really does grow old: not age, but sin,” he emphasized. “Sin makes (us) old, because it fossilizes the heart. It closes it, makes it inert, it makes it fade. But the (woman) full of grace is empty of sin.”

    Let us ask for her help to remain free of sin, he concluded, so that we too can live a beautiful life, saying “yes,” to God.

    After reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis noted how later in the afternoon he will visit Rome’s Piazza di Spagna to venerate the statue of the Immaculate Conception overlooking the Spanish Steps.

    He asked those gathered to join him spiritually in this act, “which expresses filial devotion to our heavenly Mother.”

    The statue of Our Lady, which sits atop a nearly 40-foot-high column, was dedicated Dec. 8, 1857, just a few years after the Catholic Church adopted the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Since the 1950s, it has been a custom for popes to venerate the statue for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

    The statue is usually adorned with homages of flowers hung in the form of wreaths around Mary’s outstretched arms and laid at the base of the statue. Early in the morning Dec. 8, firemen placed a large wreath of white and yellow flowers upon Mary’s arm, reaching the statue with the ladder from a firetruck.

    During his visit Pope Francis will place flowers at the base of the statue and recite a short prayer to Our Lady, made on behalf of the people who live in Rome.

    After the visit to Piazza di Spagna, the Pope is scheduled to stop at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where he will venerate the image of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani.