On notice – the press office to communicators

bloggingAn important communique from the Holy See press office yesterday, not least for us bloggers and others active in social media who regularly share and comment on what the Pope does or says.

FALSE STATEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO POPE FRANCIS

Dear friends, we have been notified by many readers that there are stories currently circulating all over the Internet spreading statements by Pope Francis with regard to a number of issues, concerning the Bible’s content, the relations between religions, the renewal of the Church’s doctrine, and even the calling of an alleged “Third Vatican Council”, which are FALSE. These statements were spread by unknown sources. Therefore, we would like to alert all readers to be careful and not to trust too soon news about the Pope that are not from the Vatican. There are also many unidentified trolls on social networks that try to put false information in circulation, taking advantage of the fact that it is easy to “throw the stone and hide the hand”. Many are also not aware that ALL FACEBOOK PROFILES OF POPE FRANCIS/JORGE MARIA [sic] BERGOGLIO ARE NOT OFFICIAL PAGES AND THEY HAVE NOT BEEN AUTHORIZED TO OFFICIALLY REPRESENT THE POPE, THEREFORE THEY SHOULD CLEARLY STATE THEY ARE JUST ‘FAN PAGES’.  We encourage all readers to check the official Vatican media sources for further confirmation of Pope Francis’ statements, or even to check what exactly he said with reference to specific issues.  IF THE STATEMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO THE POPE BY ANY MEDIA AGENCY DO NOT APPEAR IN THE OFFICIAL MEDIA SOURCES OF THE VATICAN, IT MEANS THAT THE INFORMATION THEY REPORT IS NOT TRUE. Below is a list of the official Vatican media which you should use as valid reference to be sure that any reported statement referred to the Pope is true:

– News.va: a news aggregator portal, it reports the news and information from all the Vatican media in one website, available in five languages: www.news.va News.va also has a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/news.va

– L’Osservatore Romano (newspaper): www.osservatoreromano.va

– Vatican Radio: www.radiovaticana.va

– VIS (Vatican Information Service): www.vis.va

– Holy See Press Office: www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/altre-istituzioni/sala-stampa-santa-sede.html

– Centro Televisivo Vaticano (Vatican Television Center): www.ctv.va  or www.vatican.va/news_services/television/

– Vatican.va: the official website of the Holy See, where you can find the full text of all speeches, homilies and Apostolic documents by the Pope: www.vatican.va

– PopeApp: the official app for smartphones dedicated to the Pope (Copyright News.va)

– @Pontifex: the official Twitter profile of the Pope.

The only official Facebook profiles representing the Holy Father and the Vatican are those from News.va and the Vatican media (see the above list of Vatican media). We would like to thank you all for your kind attention as well as for your notifications and suggestions. Please do share this information as much as possible with your contacts! Thank you very much!

First of all, it’s like I have said several times: if you want to know what the Pope said about something, read or listen to what he said. While there are many media outlets who do a good job in reporting on papal issues, there are also many who do not, either out of ignorance or malicious intent.

Secondly, this statement can be read as a duty for us Catholic bloggers and writers. It does not mean we can’t write about the Pope anymore, or discuss what he has said and what it means. It does mean that we must be as accurate as we can. Accuracy is a service to ourselves and our readers. We must first and foremost reflect the truth before giving our own interpretation or opinion.

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In Slovenia, a double forced resignation

A glance at GCatholic.com‘s list of episcopal appointments revealed something of an anomaly on 31 July last. In one day, both of Slovenia’s metropolitan archbishops, Anton Stres (pictured below at left) of Ljubljana and Marjan Turnšek (below at right) of Maribor, resigned from their sees. Neither had reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 yet (Stres is 70 and Turnšek only 58).

VidGajsek_-_Nadskof_Anton_StresThe official statement via the Vatican Information Service merely states the facts and cites canon 401 paragraph 2 of the Code of Canon Law. This paragraph states:

“A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.”

So all we know now is that both archbishops have apparently become “less able” to perform their duties because of some “grave cause”.

turnsek-spletStatements on the diocesan websites in question, however, shed more light on the matter (Archbishop Stres’s statement, Archbishop Turnšek’s statement). The Archdiocese of  Maribor has been in financial dire straits and both the current ordinary (Turnšek) as its former auxiliary bishop and coadjutor archbishop (Stres) have been taken to task about it, although neither is responsible for causing the situation, as both emphasise in their statements. In late April, both archbishops say, Pope Francis had communicated to them the invitation to resign. Difficult as this is for the Church in Slovenia, this double forced resignation can be seen in the same light as the Holy Father’s efforts to clean up the Roman Curia and the financial household of the Vatican bank, for instance.

Bishops have their obligations and responsibilities and with this step Pope Francis shows that he is just as ready as Pope Benedict XVI was in asking them to take these responsibilities.

Archbishop Stres was auxiliary bishop of Maribor from 2000 to 2006, and Coadjutor Archbishop in 2009, before being appointed to Ljubljana. Archbishop Turnšek was Coadjutor Archbishop from 2009 to 2011 and  ordinary of Maribor since February of 2011. Slovenia has six dioceses, of which Ljubljana and Maribor are Metropolitan Archdioceses. With the retirements, Pope Francis has appointed apostolic administrators until new archbishops are appointed. For Ljubljana this is Bishop Andrej Glavan of Novo Mesto, and for Maribor Bishop Stanislav Lipovšek of Celje. Both bishops will oversee current affairs in the archdioceses in addition to their duties in their own dioceses.

Photo credit: [1] Vid Gajšek

Want to congratulate a new cardinal? Here’s where you’ll find them

After the 2010 consistoy, Cardinal Ravasi receives well-wishers

If you happen to be in Rome on the 18th, the date of the consistory for the creation of 22 new cardinals (The Vatican Information Service still maintains that number, despite the slightly odd reports about Fr. Karl Becker’s absence from the consistory), and for Dutch faithful, the VNB offers that possibility in the form of a four-day trip to Rome, the Holy See has published the exact location where each new cardinal may be found, in order to congratulate them, from 4:30 to 6:30 in the afternoon.

In the atrium of the Paul VI Hall are Cardinals João Bráz de Aviz, Edwin O’Brien, George Alencherry, Lucian Muresan, Julien Ries and Prosper Grech.

In the Paul VI Hall itself: Cardinals Francesco Coccopalmerio, Thomas Collins, Dominik Duka, Willem Eijk, Giuseppe Betori, Timothy Dolan, Woelki and John Tong Hon.

In the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace may be found Cardinals Fernando Filoni, Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Giuseppe Bertello.

The Galleria Lapidaria of the Apostolic Palace will host Cardinals Santos Abril y Castelló and Antonio Vegliò.’

And lastly, in the Sala Ducale of the Apostolic Palace will be Cardinals Domenico Calcagno and Giuseppe Versaldi.

And yes, attentive readers will have noticed that this list omits the name of Cardinal Becker. It’s a weird situation that has developed in the past week. Is Fr. Becker indeed too ill to attend the consistory, and if so, why then is his creation as cardinal postponed to some unknown date? A cardinal, after all, need not be present to be created. So why would ill health prevent a cardinal from being created?

I’m curious how many new cardinals we’ll see in the various halls of the Holy See on the 18th.

Photo credit: [1] Considerpriesthood.com, [2] Tony Gentile/Reuters

All the news in one place

Keep an eye out today for the much-anticipated launch of the new Vatican news site. From the sneak preview that came online last week, it would seem that News.va combines most of the (social) media – l’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, video streams and recordings, Flickr, the Vatican Information Service, and so on – used by the Vatican into one place. Pope Benedict XVI will officially open the website, which was first heralded at the Vatican blogmeet in May, tomorrow.

38 pallia on 29 June

The papal pallium, in the design introduced in 2008

On 28 June, the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, 38 metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI. The 38 are archbishops which have been appointed in the past year, and the pallium is the symbol of their jurisdiction as bestowed upon them by the pope. It is therefore also a sign of the bond between the archbishops and Rome, and thus between the Church on the local level and the worldwide level.

A pallium bestowed signifies the pastoral power of an archbishop in an archdiocese and Church province, and is tied to that jurisdiction. If an archbishop is installed in another archdiocese (as happened in the past year to Archbishop Peter Smith, who moved from Cardiff to Southwark), he will receive a new pallium.

A metropolitan archbishop has supervisory rights in the so-called suffragan dioceses outside his own archdiocese. For example, in the Netherlands, Utrecht is the archdiocese and the other dioceses are are suffragans. Archbishop Wim Eijk of Utrecht can, for example, intervene in legal matters in the other Dutch dioceses

The Vatican Information Service has the complete list new metropolitans:

– Archbishop Luis Gerardo Herrera O.F.M. of Cuenca, Ecuador
– Archbishop Alex Thomas Kaliyanil S.V.D. of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
– Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi O.M.I. of Maseru, Lesotho
– Archbishop Antonio Fernando Saburido O.S.B. of Olinda and Recife, Brazil
– Archbishop Albert Legatt of Saint-Boniface, Canada
– Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia – Citta della Pieve, Italy
– Archbishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato of Udine, Italy

Archbishop Mazzocato

– Archbishop Gabriel Mblinghi C.S.Sp. of Lubango, Angola
– Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines
– Archbishop Constancio Miranda Weckmann of Chihuahua, Mexico
– Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England
– Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pelegrina of Seville, Spain.
– Archbishop Jerome Edward Lisecki of Milwaukee, U.S.A
– Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala, Cameroon

Archbishop Kleda

– Archbishop Jesus Sanz Montes O.F.M. of Oviedo, Spain
– Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. of Ljubljana, Slovenia
– Archbishop Joseph Atanga S.J. of Bertoua, Cameroon
– Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa
– Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, U.S.A
– Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Belem do Para, Brazil
– Archbishop Andre-Mutien [sic] Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium

Archbishop Léonard

– Archbishop Antonio Lanfranchi of Modena – Nonantola, Italy
– Archbishop Dominik Duka O.P. of Prague, Czech Republic
– Archbishop Ricardo Antonio Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia
– Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta O.S.A. of Panama, Panama
– Archbishop Francis Kallarakal of Verapoly, India
– Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar
– Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain

Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez

– Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, Korea
– Archbishop Luis Madrid Merlano of Nueva Pamplona, Colombia
– Archbishop Thomas Gerard Wenski of Miami, U.S.A
– Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England
– Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk of Gniezno, Poland
– Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, Vietnam

Archbishop Nguyen Van Nhon

– Archbishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of Cape Coast, Ghana
– Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia
– Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Acapulco, Mexico
– Archbishop Luigi Moretti of Salerno – Campagna – Acerno, Italy

Translation of statements about the resignation of the bishop of Bruges

The two most important statements relating to the resignation of Msgr. Vangheluwe, former bishop of Bruges, those by Msgr. Vangheluwe himself and the one by Archbishop Léonard, are available in English via the Vatican Information Service.

The text by Bishop Harpigny describes the procedures followed by him and the commission that deals with sexual abuse cases.

Professor Peter Adriaenssens, chairman of the Committee for the the treatment of complaints of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Relations had this to say:

“The Committee for the treatment of complaints of Sexual Abuse in Pastoral Relations considers the story of the Msgr. Vangheluwe’s victim an example of how growing up with an ‘unresolved past’ can make people sick according to the various meanings of the word and throws them into an endless search. Sexual abuse is in the first place a problem of abuse of power. Two aspects poison the chances of recovery: the secrecy enforced upon teh victim and the small circle in which the facts occur. The fact that people, even years later, decide not to be able to live with what happened to them is rooted in these. The antidote is clear. Counter to abuse of power is restoration of equality. Against the pressure of secrecy stands the right to openly make us of the freedom of speech. Against the closed nature of what happens indoors stands the transparency of policy with clear public communication. These are the three elements of recovery which are presented today to the victim and his family. We hope that the clear consequences for the responsible offender can help strengthen the victim in being part of our community.

Respect for the victim who has the courage to, in his suffering, step out of secrecy, means two things. On the one hand the responsible parties must do everything to protect the victim and stop the offender. On the other hand there is also a responsibility for the public opinion, namely to respect the anonymity requested by the victim and his family. As chairman and contact for the victim I strongly ask the media to respect this, and not to try and achieve contact.

As chairman I appreciate the Belgian bishops for the openness with which they approach the work of the Committee. The complaint that we had to investigate and which unites us today can be considered a test for transparency and decisiveness. In the media the question of whether the committee is capable of independently formulating her decisions appeared several times these past weeks. We did not consider it useful to continuously enter debate about this. The only right answer is to judge us on what we do.

Ever file on sexual abuse in the Church is a matter of loss for all of us. Measurable damage has been done to the victims, and much time and energy must be spent on deciding ont he offenders, and there is the invisible cost of violated trust. That is why I repeat here the call of the Committee to not only the victims but also to people who know they have crossed the boundaries of sexual behaviour, not to wait until the victims are of an age where they can charge them, but to have the courage themselves to contact us and let themselves be helped.”

Spokesman Peter Rossel of the Diocese of Bruges concluded with:

“This event is incomprehensible for those nearest to the bishop and in extension the entire diocese. The entourage of the bishop is surprised, shocked and upset, because there was no sign that the bishop was suffering under such a serious problem. The diocese is left decapitated after the bishop’s decision. The staff of the bishop took note of the bishop’s decision and respect it. They are sympathetic with those who have suffered. For this we in the diocese have no words. The word ‘unbelievable’ has become reality for us. We emphasise that every case is one too many, but that they are exceptions.

What Canon Law dictates is supposed to happen now: the college of consultors will appoint a diocesan administrator as soon as possible (canon 412), who will care for the running affairs of the diocese until the appointment of a new bishop by the pope. Until the appointment of the administrator and because the current vicars of the bishops are also resigning according to Church Law, no further statements swill be forthcoming from the diocese.”