Vatican completes sale of troubled London property (Vatican Press Office) The Vatican has announced the sale of the London property at the center of a financial scandal.
APSA (the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See), the office that handles Vatican investments, sold the property at 60 Sloane Avenue to Bain Capital, at a price of about $225 million. The Vatican had paid about $370 for the property.
In announcing the sale, the Vatican said that the losses on the investment were absorbed by reserve funds held by the Secretariat of State, the office that had made the investment. The Vatican announcement emphasized that the losses were not drawn from the funds submitted by the faithful in the Peter’s Pence collection.
An internal Vatican investigation into the circumstances surrounding the London real-estate investment led to multiple criminal charges, which are now being heard by a Vatican tribunal.
Pope, in latest interview, reflects on ten years in office (Vatican News) Pope Francis spoke about the aftermath of the Covid epidemic, the threats to the world’s ecology, the war in Ukraine, and his own efforts at Vatican reform, in a new interview with the Argentine national news agency Telam.
The Pope said that the reforms he has instituted at the Vatican—in particular the restructuring of the Roman Curia—“were not ideas of my own.” He said that the program for reform was discussed by the full College of Cardinals in the meetings that preceded the conclave at which he was elected in 2013.
Questioned about the war in Ukraine, the Pope said that “it is time to rethink the concept of a just war.” He allowed that “there is the right to defend oneself.” But he said that “we need to rethink the way that concept is used nowadays.” He expressed regret that the UN “has no power to assert its authority,” and therefore cannot prevent wars.
The Pope said that priests “did a great job” during the Covid lockdown, “because churches were closed, but they would call people over the phone.” But he voiced dissatisfaction with other institutional responses. “The fact that Africa is in need of vaccines indicates that something has not worked well,” he said.
Pope Francis told the Argentine interviewer that he has confidence in young people. He continued:
“Sure, but they don’t show up to Mass,” a priest may say. And I reply that we must help them grow and be by their side.
White House: President Biden condemns recent attacks on Catholic churches (Fox News) “The President condemns these attacks” on Catholic churches, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement provided to Fox News. “He has always denounced violence, threats, and vandalism committed by anyone, for any purpose. And he explicitly repeated those values in his remarks reacting to the Dobbs decision, calling for all protests to be peaceful.”
Pope to reduce public schedule for July (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis will not hold his regular Wednesday public audiences during the month of July, the Vatican has announced.
The Pope will reduce his schedule of activities, but will continue to greet the public on Sundays for his Angelus audiences. The relaxed summer schedule may allow the Pontiff to recover from his painful knee condition. He remains committed to a potentially taxing visit to Canada at the end of the month.
Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis has chosen not to leave Rome during the summer, preferring a lighter schedule at the Vatican to a stay at the summer papal residence in Castel Gandolfo.
Pope encourages Argentine rabbi's efforts against child sexual abuse (IsaacSacca.com) In a recent audience, Pope Francis received Isaac Sacca, the Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic community of Buenos Aires.
Sephardic Jews (Encyclopaedia Britannica article) are descendants of the Jews who lived on the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1497).
As Rabbi Sacca spoke with the Pope about his foundation’s efforts against child sexual exploitation, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of “not being silent in the face of [this] silent tragedy,” according to Rabbi Sacca’s website.
Pope rues drought, calls for care of creation (@Pontifex) As Italy suffers from its worst drought in 70 years, Pope Francis tweeted that “drought is a serious problem.”
“It should make us reflect on the care of creation, which is not a fad, it is everyone’s responsibility,” he continued. “The future of the earth is in our hands.”
Violent vandalism attack on Catholic church in Washington State (CNA) A 31-year-old was booked on felony assault and hate crime charges following vandalism at St. Louise Parish in Bellevue, a city of 150,000 in Washington.
Since May 2020, there have been at least 143 acts of vandalism, arson, and other destruction at parishes and other Catholic sites in the United States.
US bishops criticize Supreme Court decision on Congressional authority (CNA) The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a statement expressing dismay over a Supreme Court ruling that Congress, not regulatory agencies, should settle major policy questions.
In the case of Wester Virginia v. EPA, the Court ruled by a 6-3 majority that the Environmental Protection Agency had exceeded its authority by seeking to set sweeping standards for the energy industry. “A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself,” explained Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority ruling, which was issued June 30.
Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, who chairs the USCCB domestic-justice committee, expressed disappointment with the decision. “The Catholic bishops of the United States have long-supported the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in order to address climate change,” he said.
The Supreme Court decision left open the possibility that greenhouse gases could be regulated by Congressional action.
Kentucky parish holds service of apology to LGBT Catholics (Fox) St. Paul’s parish church in Lexington, Kentucky has held a “Service of Atonement and Apology to the LGBTQ+ Community.” The event was scheduled for June 30: the final day of Pride Month.
The parish Facebook page explained that the service was intended to atone for “the Church’s lack of respect, compassion, and sensitivity and for unjust discrimination.” The parish director of LGBTQ+ ministry, who organized the event, expressed hope that “we are witnessing the evolution of doctrine.”
Polish state history body to reopen cases of 3 priests who died under Communism (Notes from Poland) Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, which has the authority to prosecute crimes, is investigating the deaths of three priests who died under suspicious circumstances during the last years of Poland’s Communist regime (1945-1989).
At the time, authorities declared that one of the priests died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, another from drunkenness, and a third in an accident.
Georgia's president visits Vatican for special Sistine concert (Vatican News (Italian)) President Salome Zourabichvili of Georgia attended a special June 26 concert in the Sistine Chapel to commemorate 30 years of diplomatic relations between the Caucasus nation and the Holy See. The patriarchal choir of Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi sang Georgian Orthodox chant.
Located in the Caucasus region, the nation of 4.9 million (map) is 83% Orthodox and 11% Muslim. Pope Francis made an apostolic journey there in 2016.
“Hearing the Georgian chants within the walls of the Sistine Chapel was an emotional moment that will stay in our history books,” President Zourabichvili tweeted. “My deepest gratitude to Pope Francis,” she added.
Malawi priest sentenced for brutal murder of albino (Voice of America) Father Thomas Muhosha was sentenced to 30 years in prison with hard labor for his role in the brutal murder of an albino.
The southeastern African nation (map) has experienced “a wave of assaults over several years against albinos whose body parts are used in witchcraft rituals in the mistaken belief that they bring wealth and luck,” Agence France-Presse earlier reported.
Nigerian clerics demand government action against attacks (Fides) An estimated 700 clerics attended the funeral of a murdered Nigerian priest, and demanded government action to stop the attacks.
Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso of Kaduna, who presided at the funeral, said that the people of Nigeria are being held hostage by terrorist attacks. Noting that three priests of his archdiocese have been murdered in the past year, he said: “Even during the civil war, it was not as bad as it is now.”
US archbishop, Ukrainian Catholics hail EU candidate status for Ukraine (CNS) “We appreciate Ukraine’s closer association with Europe, not only because it will help Ukraine’s defense at this time of the unprovoked Russian invasion, but also because Ukraine will contribute much to the EU,” Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop Borys Gudziak of Philadelphia said after the EU made Ukraine a candidate for EU membership.
“Ukrainians are showing that there are principles worth living and worth dying for,” he continued. “Ukrainians in the hundreds are giving their lives every day for the principles of democracy, justice and freedom.”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, also welcomed the EU’s decision.
US bishops' migration chairman mourns migrant deaths in Texas (USCCB) Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Washington, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration, described the San Antonio trailer deaths as “a tragic loss of life and a harrowing depiction of the extreme risks assumed by migrants out of sheer desperation.”
“As a Church called to build a culture of life, we cannot tolerate this injustice,” he continued. “Instead, we must recognize that we are brothers and sisters, each imbued with God-given dignity. To prevent further loss of life, we urge governments and civil society to promote access to protection, including asylum, develop new pathways for those compelled to migrate, and combat human trafficking in all its forms.”
New papal document defends Vatican II liturgical changes (Vatican Press Office) Pope Francis has issued a new apostolic letter, Desiderio desideravi, calling for “the rediscovery of a theological understanding of the liturgy and its importance in the life of the Church.”
In the new document, released on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Pope calls for unity in the Church, saying that this unity in turn requires the acceptance of changes mandated by Vatican II. “Let us abandon our polemics and listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church,” he writes. “Let us safeguard our communion.”
The apostolic letter, consisting of 65 paragraphs and about 11,000 words, calls for “a serious and vital liturgical formation” for all Catholics. The Pope opens with a series of theological reflections on the fundamental importance of the Eucharistic liturgy, then goes on to laud the directives of Vatican II as a means of invigorating the spiritual life of the Church.
[See Phil Lawler’s analysis of the papal document..]
Peter and Paul teach us to grow daily in faith, Pope tells pilgrims (Vatican News) On June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis delivered an Angelus address to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“In the light of this experience of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, each of us can ask ourselves: When I profess my faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, do I do so with the awareness that I must always be learning, or do I assume that I ‘already have it all figured out’?”, the Pope said.
“And again: In difficulties and trials do I become discouraged, do I complain, or do I learn to make them an opportunity to grow in trust in the Lord?”, he added. “For He, in fact— as Paul writes to Timothy—delivers us from all evil and brings us safely to heaven. May the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, teach us to imitate them by progressing day by day on the path of faith.”