Inside the Vatican magazine January-February 2021

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by Robert Moynihan

The New Year and New Hope In the confusion of recent weeks and months, with the virus, the riots, church closings, and the confusing US elections, many have felt overwhelmed. But the essential things remain, and still offer new hope January 18, 2021, Feast of St. Prisca “Start a publishing house... Establish a newspaper, one people can see themselves in and hold in their hands...” —Alana Newhouse, “Everything is broken,” Tablet, January 14, 2021 Our present time is, regrettably, marked by an arrogant, harmful rejection of Catholic truths which have been sure guides for souls seeking meaning and goodness in this life. The Baltimore Catechism, used by all in the US prior to the Second Vatican Council, rightly taught in its first chapter these truths: 3. Q. What is man? A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God. 6. Q. Why did God make you? A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven. 9. Q. What must we do to save our souls? A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart. 10. Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe? A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us. The tendency of our time is to “collapse” the understanding of the nature of man, and of God, and of reality, into a single flat level, removing the “second story” of reality: the eternal, spiritual realm. The trend is to consider man as merely material (not material and spiritual); God as a mythical crutch, not the true Source of all being; and our duty in life as having nothing to do with worshipping God, but only with acquiring knowledge (“science”) and enjoying pleasure in this world (because the eternal realm is said not to exist). The trend of our time is to disregard the Church, for the moral authority of our Church has been destroyed in recent decades, for reasons we know. So the solution to the problems of our time — the virus, the vaccine, economic injustice, the loss of our civil rights — must pass through, once again, the recovery of our faith, a return to the truths of our faith, and the practice of those truths, in charity. I would like to contribute to that recovery. So, after months of reflection, I have decided to change the rhythm of the publication of Inside the Vatican to face the challenges of the time more effectively. Instead of publishing 10 times per year (with two double issues each summer), we will publish 6 times per year, every two months. At the same time, we will deepen our coverage through special supplements, emailed “Moynihan Letters,” podcasts and Zoom gatherings, where readers will have the chance to meet me personally and pose questions. I have always been committed to the idea of a print publication as a contribution to public discourse in the Church and world. I

remain committed to this idea. In spite of the growth of the internet — and in a certain sense, because of the growth of the internet — I remain convinced that a print publication, appearing on actual paper, something you can hold in your hands, pick up, put down, consult even if you have no computer or electricity — is something precious. I am, in a very real sense, a “magazine maker.” Choosing topics, photographs, cover images, titles, gathering them together in a connected, coherent product, then saying, “Ok, print it,” has been my life for 33 years. I “made” my first magazine in 1988, in March. I was in my early 30s, an American in Rome during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. My first magazine was the first issue of 30 Days in the Church and in the World, edited by Alver Metalli and produced by a talented team of journalists (most of them Italian) who loved the Church, in an Italy and Europe that were increasingly secular and “post-Christian.” That issue appeared in April 1988. On the cover: Pope John Paul, walking like Moses through the Red Sea. The title: “Between Two Imperialisms.” On each side of the cover, our graphic designer, Giuseppe Sabatelli, had drawn an enormous wave, topped with white foam, about to break over the center of the page where one lonely figure was striding forward, his staff in hand: Pope John Paul II. One of the waves about to fall was marked with the Communist hammer and sickle, the Soviet Union (which still existed then). The towering second wall of water was marked with the Stars and Stripes of an increasingly “secular humanist” Unites States of America. So the “two imperialisms” were depicted, and also the path of the Church: the dry land between the waves, the path indicated by God through the waters of this world, a “third way,” a miraculous, seemingly impossible way, through the towering waters, toward the Promised Land. Thirty-three years have passed by. During these 33 years, I have “made magazines.” I made 27 issues of 30 Days (1988-1990), 16 issues of Catholic World Report (1991-1993), and then, including our “Zero Issue” in April of 1993, 275 issues of Inside the Vatican. So over 33 years, from 1988 to 2021, I have prepared and printed 318 magazines. I am profoundly grateful to have had this opportunity. I feel it is a gift, from the very beginning, to have had the chance, the destiny, to be the editor of a Catholic magazine. I have never felt it was anything other than a profound, great privilege, month after month, to pull together news, the beautiful photographs taken by our photographer, Grzegorz Galazka, and the beautiful images of Christian art and architecture selected by Sabatelli, and each month to see it all come out in print and travel around the world... to convents and prisons... to seminaries and universities... to ordinary families and to Popes. Thank you for your support and understanding along the way.m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN 3


Year 29, #1

LEAD STORY A New Year with St. Joseph: A year to honor the Patron of the Church by Catholic News Agency (CNA), with ITV Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 Year 29, #1


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Robert Moynihan ASSOCIATE EDITOR: George “Pat” Morse (+ 2013) ASSISTANT EDITOR: Christina Deardurff CULTURE EDITOR: Lucy Gordan CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Giuseppe Rusconi, Dr. Jan Bentz WRITERS: Anna Artymiak, Alberto Carosa, William D. Doino, Jr., David Quinn, Andrew Rabel, Vladimiro Redzioch, Serena Sartini, Father Vincent Twomey PHOTOS: Grzegorz Galazka LAYOUT: Giuseppe Sabatelli ILLUSTRATIONS: Stefano Navarrini CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: Deborah B. Tomlinson ADVERTISING: Katie Carr Tel: 202-536-4555, ext.303


NEWS VATICAN: LOOKING INTO THE NEW YEAR/What will 2021 bring? by Christina Deardurff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 VATICAN AT CHRISTMAS/Pope Francis to the Curia, and on Christmas Eve... by Pope Francis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 INTERVIEW/”We will not back down!” Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco by Jan Bentz, Inside the Vatican Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 NEWS/Australia: Where di all the money go? by Hannah Brockhaus Catholic News Agency (CNA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 DOSSIER/ by Christina Deardurff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 TOP TEN PEOPLE OF 2020 PEOPLE OF THE YEAR/Good people acting with courage in a very difficult year by Christina Deardurff

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1. Dr. Johan Ickx, scholar of Pope Pius XII’s role in helping countless Jews . . . . . . . . .32 2. Cardinal George Pell, freed from prison after an unfounded conviction . . . . . . . . . . .33 3. John Moorehouse, a dedicated editor, family man, and man of God . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 4. Aya Naimeh and Georges Assaf, bringing relief in Lebanon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 5. Agnes Chow, Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam, Jimmy Lai, courage in Hong Kong . . . . . .36

EDITORIAL OFFICES FOR MAIL: US: 14 West Main St. Front Royal, VA 22630 USA Rome: Inside the Vatican via delle Mura Aurelie 7c, Rome 00165, Italy Tel: 39-06-3938-7471 Fax: 39-06-638-1316

6. Dr. Jane Adolphe, a lawyer devoted to justice and the faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

POSTMASTER: send address changes to Inside the Vatican c/o St. Martin de Porres Lay Dominican Community PO Box 57 New Hope, KY 40052 USA Tel: 800-789-9494 Fax: 270-325-3091

10. Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage, defender of human nature as God created it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41

Subscriptions (USA): Inside the Vatican PO Box 57 New Hope, KY 40052 USA Tel: 800-789-9494

v INSIDE THE VATICAN (ISSN 1068-8579, 1 yr subscription: $ 49.95; 2 yrs, $94.95; 3 yrs, $129.95), provides a comprehensive, independent report on Vatican affairs published bi-monthly with occasional special supplements. Inside the Vatican is published by Urbi et Orbi Communications, PO Box 57, New Hope, Kentucky, 40052, USA, pursuant to a License Agreement with Robert Moynihan, the owner of the Copyright. Inside the Vatican, Inc., maintains editorial offices in Rome, Italy. Periodicals Postage PAID at New Haven, Kentucky and additional mailing offices. Copyright 2021 Robert Moynihan


7. Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, a good soldier for the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 8. Amy Coney Barrett, a mother, woman of faith, and Supreme Court Justice . . . . . . . .39 9. Michael Nnadi, a kidnapped seminarian in Uganda, martyred for his faith . . . . . . . . .40

CULTURE OBITUARY/ by John Byron Kuhner, Paideia Institute, Rome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 SCRIPTURE/ by Prof. Anthony Esolen, Magdalen College, New Hampshire, USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 EDUCATION/University of Mary in North Dakota by University of Mary President Msgr. James Shea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46

URBI ET ORBI: CATHOLICISM AND ORTHODOXY Icon/ by Robert Wiesner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 East-West Watch/ by Peter Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 News from the East/ by Becky Derks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 FEATURES Art/The Sistine Chapel Seen as Never Before — Splendid New Photographs by Lucy Gordan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Book/Selection from Lord of the World (originally published in 1907) by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Vatican Watch/A day-by-day chronicle of Vatican events: November and December by Becky Derks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 People/ by Becky Derks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 Food for Thought/Italy’s food and chefs through a photographer’s lens by Mother Martha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62

A Cardinal’s Radical Surrender to Christ

Innocent! T

hat final verdict from the Australian High Court came after George Cardinal Pell endured a grueling eight years of accusations, investigations, trials, public humiliations, and more than a year of imprisonment after being convicted of a crime he did not commit. Led off to jail following his 2019 sentencing, the 78-year-old prelate began what was to be six years in jail for "historical sexual assault offenses”. Cardinal Pell endured more than thirteen months in solitary confinement, before the Australian High Court voted 7-0 to overturn his original convictions. His victory over injustice was not just personal, but one for the entire Catholic Church. Bearing no ill will toward his accusers, judges, prison workers, journalists, and those expressing hatred for him, he used his time in prison as a kind of "extended retreat". He eloquently filled notebook pages with his spiritual insights, prison experiences, and personal reflections on current events both inside and outside the Church, as well as moving prayers. “Anyone interested in what radical surrender to Christ looks like should read this luminous text.” —Bishop Robert Barron, Host, Catholicism film series

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR INSIDE THE VATICAN welcomes letters but cannot reply to all. Each is read and considered carefully. Printed letters may be edited for clarity. You may email us at


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Editor’s note: The first few letters below have arrived from prisoners in different correctional facilities in the United States: Oklahoma, Florida, California, Florida again, and Georgia. We are honored to receive and publish these letters. The prisoner who writes the first letter encourages all of us to pray for Pope Francis. I agree with this wise and charitable suggestion from one of our brothers in the faith. We know that the magazine does reach many prisoners, and we hope the prisoners who read it may find in its pages some source of hope and encouragement. We are deeply grateful to all readers who have sent donations so that we may provide free subscriptions to prisoners (see also the ad to the left on this page), and we are grateful to each of these prisoners who has written to us. Thanks to all of you for your witness.—RM Enclosed is a photo of the small Catholic community here at Joseph Harp Correctional Center from last Christmas. I am writing to ask you to consider extending our (my) subscription to your magazine. Once I read the issues — cover to cover — I pass them on to our different members to read and enjoy. I was pleased to see the photo of the Salus Populi Romani since I recently just read an article about the tradition of St. Luke painting it (May issue). I applaud you for your one-of-a-kind December issue. It is a masterpiece of artwork. I agree wholeheartedly with another subscriber who stated, “Lord have mercy


on Pope Francis.” In this age, when so many seem to be out to “get him,” I pray for them as well. I am aware that Pope Francis is viewed as somewhat controversial to some, but he is our Pope, elected through/by the same Holy Spirit who has led our Church for almost 2,000 years now. “If” I believed in reincarnation, I would say Pope Francis is Pope St. John XXIII “reincarnated.” There has never been a moment in recent history when authentic, God-inspired leadership is more important than it is today — on many fronts and on many issues. I pray all Christians will pray three “Hail Marys” as I do daily for Pope Francis. (He has asked us to do this.) Amen. I will look forward to this next year’s issues of Inside the Vatican and its continued coverage of Pope Francis and all things regarding Christ’s Holy Church. With gratitude and prayers, Ron Harry Joseph Harp Correctional Center Lexington, Oklahoma, USA I am a prisoner on the scholarship program for Inside the Vatican magazine. I so look forward to receiving it every month. There are times when I read it and I am confused and even sometimes worried about the state of the Church. I don’t always have spiritual help to discern these things. However from time to time I write to Dr. Scott Hahn and his associates at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and ask for advice and counsel regarding things that happen in the Church that are confusing and worrisome. They have been a huge help. I don’t know much about Politics and even

less about Church Politics. I am adept at theology and Catechetics. I am studying to become a Catechist for our community here at Coleman Low Federal Prison. I need all the help and prayers I can get. All that being said, I want to sincerely thank you firstly for the publication itself. It has been a huge help in expanding our knowledge of our Church, and also it opens up our range of prayers as well. We have grown in our love and concern for the Church as a whole, as opposed to our church family here and at home. Secondly I must thank you and those generous people who make the scholarship program possible. It is a huge blessing for us in here to have something to look forward to in here. Sometimes just hearing our name called at mail call is a boost in itself. Sometimes (like today) when I saw the back of the magazine and the image of Our Lady of Grace, I knew I was going to be called and I grew excited. Thank you all for this. God Bless you all. We remember you all always in our many prayers. Please remember us. My subscription expires in December. I would very much like to renew my subscription if it is possible. Also, as it is always advertised, I am very much interested in the Moynihan Letters. Is it a book or magazine? Is there a way to receive it? Thank you again for all you do for me, for us here at Coleman Low and for the Church as a whole. Thank you and may God Bless and keep you always. Your servant in Christ Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Mother. Kevin Hughes, #16981-002 Federal Correctional Complex Low A4 PO Box 1031 Coleman, Florida, USA 33521 By God’s Grace, enabling me to do the hard work over the last 18 years, I have been granted parole! Your magazine has been a gift, a valuable resource for me in learning more about my Faith. The subscription for me was provided by a volunteer/supporter of our Catholic chapel, where I have been a part of the choir and inmate ministry for 10 years. Now I am finally able to move on and begin life anew! An article of particular interest was the 2-part story of Archbishop Cordileone in which he spoke of his visits here. I am grateful to have attended a number of Masses where he has presided, including Christmas. Because of Covid and

the recent increase of cases here — to more than 1,300 — the state has temporarily repurposed the chapels as overflow space and we inmates have not been in the chapel since March 18th! This too shall pass. Please send me my remaining issues to the below address. Your brother in Christ, Dwight Krizman San Quentin State Prison, California I meant to write sooner but forgot. Can you please consider renewing my subscription? It would be greatly appreciated. Inside the Vatican is a very important part of my reading, to learn what is going on not only in the Church but in the world. As an article suggestion, I would like to see a more in-depth article about Jakub Baryta, the Polish boy who stood up to the LGBT crowd in Poland. What has happened to him since? We Florida inmates do not have internet access, but we have tablets for which we can download music, games, videos, and movies from a closed network called JPay. As clergy visits are currently banned, the bishop of the Venice, Florida diocese specially filmed four services that JPay made available to us free of charge. I hope you are all keeping well. Thank you. Sincerely, Donald Sprinkle New River Correctional Institution Raiford, Florida, USA My scholarship-funded subscription is set to expire on August 31. If possible, could you extend it one more year? I would appreciate it very much. And, next year I will be able to renew and pay for it, as my prison sentence is set to expire also, on June 9, 2021, although I may be released earlier. Please keep me in prayer as I prepare to return to a much-changed society after nearly thirty years of incarceration. You may remain in my prayers as well. Yours in Christ, Richard J.T. Clark, T.O.M. Riverbend Correctional Facility Milledgeville, Georgia

SIGN ME UP! My neighbor Barbara Middleton gave me copies of your November and December issues to look over. I was struck by the scholarly tone and organized presentation of the magazine as well as its beautiful photo-

graphic work. Sign me up for 2 years. Keep up the good work! God Bless! Walter Kraszewski Shelby Township, Michigan, USA Since Inside the Vatican began in 1993, 28 years ago, I have subscribed. Many copies have been shared with others. In recent years I did not renew due to turmoil in the Church, then I renewed again. I reacted negatively to the choice to put Robert Kennedy, Jr., on the cover of the June/July, 2020 issue and thought of not renewing. Then, after reading your explanation of the choice, I responded and renewed my subscription and sent a donation! Being a New Yorker for many years, I attended many liturgies with Cardinal McCarrick. Being in the Holy Land during Holy Week, my faith cannot be shaken. Ellen Mary D’Agostino Boston, Massachusetts, USA

ON THE “TWO POPES” Michael Sean Winters made an excellent suggestion in the National Catholic Reporter recently on how this whole embarrassment of confusion regarding “two Popes” might have been avoided or at least ameliorated: Pope Benedict’s title after his retirement should have been “Bishop of Rome Emeritus.” To that I would have added that he should not have continued to live in the Vatican. Alas, not only did both of those result from 20/20 hindsight but they would probably not have been heeded anyway. Thanks for continuing to share your letters. Eric von Brockdorff Westport, New York, USA

RESPONSES TO ARCHBISHOP VIGANÒ I have been a loyal subscriber to your magazine for the last 20 years, perhaps more. I know my Catholic religion well, have a degree in theology and philosophy from the University of St. John Lateran. I have been very upset over your negative comments about our Holy Father Francisco. Now more than ever, we need to support our Church and the representative of Our Lord, chosen with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are going through very sad situations in our Church, as you know better than I. I am shocked many times to read, in your magazine, how you, and, JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR lately, Archbishop Viganò, have been criticizing our Holy Father in such an uncharitable way. How dare Mr. Viganò (I don’t consider him a good bishop) ask for the resignation of the Holy Father? How many lies he has offered to the public to discredit our Holy Father! I have read the McCarrick Report prepared by the Holy See, released November 10, and I find nothing that we can blame Pope Francisco for. His actions in the case of Cardinal McCarrick were not improper. All I can tell you is that Pope Francisco speaks like the Lord, putting the poorest of the poorest ahead of us... I have heard many, many times “love the poor,” but it was not until I heard Pope Francis that I realized “how” we should love the poor; “how” we should look into their eyes when we give them something or we help them in any way. And HOW the shepherds should smell like the lambs. Is Mr. Viganò out there trying to help the poor, smelling like lambs, or instead he is

spending his time trying to play politics? I do not want to judge him, but “by their works you will know them,” as Jesus said. We do not have the time to waste, our Church is suffering, help to bring all to it. Don’t be like those ultraconservatives who care only about criticizing and judging. No time for that. Use your magazine to preach love, not politics or hatred. And, yes, Pope Francis has made mistakes, he is a man. But has never done or said anything against our Faith or dogma. Unfortunately, yes, he has been somewhat naive to talk to the media in a sincere way, not knowing that we cannot trust all the media. And, Mr. Moynihan, do you think that a Pope that is so close and loves so much Our Most Blessed Mother, will ever do anything to damage Her Son’s Church? She will never let him, she is the Mother of our Church. Carlos Arias Geneva, Switzerland

With regard to your Moynihan Letter #1, Sunday, January 3, 2021, “We are not alone”: I would add my voice to many of your readers who find the writings of ArchFOR MEN + WOMEN + KIDS H O LIDAYS I BIRT H DAYS I A N Y O CC A S I O N bishop Viganò disappointing and divisive. I hope that we will be seeing far less of his rantings and, frankly, dangerous and uninformed accusations. In my opinion his views are not worthy of your publication and I would urge you to include far less of his writings. Catholics who seek a reasoned and balanced presentation and reflection on issues in the Church and world will WEARABLE BLESSINGS HANDWOVEN not find it in much of WITH LOVE AND PRAYER his writing. More than USE CODE VATICAN15 MYSAINTMYHERO.COM once I have considered dropping my connection to Moynihan Report and Inside the Vatican. Robert M. Egan SAVE

IInspirational Jewelry




With regard to your Moynihan Letter #2, Monday, January 4, 2021: “Our wrestling”: If there is one thing that Archbishop Viganò and President Trump have in common, it’s calling out truth and lies and naming names, and not being afraid to do it! After reading this Letter #2, and thinking about everything that was said here, along with the plan of the “three faiths convention center” in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it reminds me of something else... the book Father Elijah: An Apocalypse by Michael D. O’Brien, the concentric “circles within circles,” where at the center was “the One” that had the answers to everything. I saw an interview where O’Brien described that when he didn’t know what to do and needed to support his family, he lay on the ground before the cross in church and prayed. That is where he “saw” the whole book — the characters, beginning, end, and everything in the middle, just unfolding like a movie — a vision. It sold like hot-cakes so he could support his family, and his subsequent books and art followed. As Father Elijah digs deeper into the circles within circles, he learns the truth. It seemed far-fetched once upon a time, but now it reads like a newspaper. Archbishop Viganò tells Steve Bannon what the world will be like under the “Great Reset” and a Biden presidency. We just got a quick glimpse at the sanction of the swearing in of the new Congress! A prayer by clergy in Congress ending with “Amen” and “Awoman”?! Then there’s the “new all-inclusive gender rules” that Nancy Pelosi handed out — no more mother, daughter, father, son! Linda Smith Florida, USA I cannot thank you enough for sharing Archbishop Viganò’s letters and articles. I pray daily for the gift of discernment as we live in such deceitful times. I want to share with you that my spirit has felt the wrongness of the Church since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), but has doubled in uneasiness since Pope Benedict left the Chair of Peter with no viable explanation and Francis was elected. The Church has grown almost daily in conflict and confusion during his reign. I

am 84 years old and lived a lot of my life before the Council, and the Church I grew up in actually taught Catholic doctrine and all Catholics believed in the Real Presence. The churches were full, the rectories were full, the parochial schools were full and thriving (and free because the convents also were full). The confessionals had long lines and no one received the Holy Eucharist if they had unconfessed sins. The more I prayed for discernment, the more unsettled I became as I watched the seminaries empty, the scandals erupt, the churches lose congregations and close, the nuns leave their convents and their habits. We are told that up to 70 percent of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence. There are no lines for confession in most churches, yet everyone in the church files up to receive Communion. Imagine my distress when my own children who were born in the 60s received a wishy-washy religious education that they could have gotten in any Protestant Sunday school and which contained no Catholic dogma. It seems to me that Archbishop Viganò has seen this destruction in the Church and has made the decision to expose it. I can’t even imagine the courage that this took. The point I wish to make, however, is that the Church and the world desperately need people like the Archbishop who are not afraid to put the truth of things out there. It has to be the grace of God that has given him this strength and he needs our prayers to sustain him. I’m sure you’re aware that the more he exposes the truth, the more those with the agenda of darkness will try to silence him. Please, please continue to bring us his wisdom in these trying times and thank you for your own insights also. Martha R. Kurowski You’re a good and loyal son of the Church, God-fearing and thus wise, too. So if you publish Archbishop Viganò’s extracts, then that’s fine, which is more than can be said for a lot of other blurbist blogs. Terry McDonnell Washington, USA I would like you to know that I am most grateful to you for publishing the writings of Archbishop Viganò. I find them to be a great comfort in the current

swirl of contrary Church teaching. Please continue to let him air his views and opinions; many of us are relieved that a great man of the Church not only exists, but is able to speak out at this time. Geoffrey Baker Thank you so much for asking readers to weigh in with their perspectives on the state of our Church. You are the first to have asked to listen to others… instead of talk. I pray it will lead to the healing the Gospel profoundly proclaims. I appreciate two truths you point out: that “healing may come to our Church, for the Gospel proclaims it”… and that there has been a lot of “silence.” One in fact is the answer to the other. Is there a secret to how the human soul heals? Most simply, when we want to reconcile a relationship… we say we are sorry, and ask for forgiveness (the Church would say, do reparation… which most never do) and possibly show how we are changing to make things better. So we know innately, the Church has taught, and the Gospel confirms, reconciliation for true healing to occur. But the Church has offered blanket apologies, but mostly silence... Not true reconciliation, only that which has been forced by outside sources of justice. It does not quench the soul’s thirst… refresh it and draw it back. I wish I could ask all priests, including the hierarchy, to go back to the innocence and joy of the day you answered God’s call. Quit preaching and start listening to what you are saying... with ears of a victim! If you keep the status quo, the Church will be dead in a generation. If you want it to flourish, reconcile and inspire. Some may counter… we need to protect the Church. But Jesus didn’t need protecting... Jesus allowed persecution for His greater glory, and for the greater truth of the beauty of our souls, and God’s greatness in forgiving them, that He revealed through His death. It’s time to die to self and do something to reconcile the people with the Church. Patricia Petersen I greatly appreciate your efforts and all the communication which keeps us in-

formed. It’s critical that you continue this mission. Disregard comments on not publishing letters of the Archbishop. We need truth to be spoken, whether or not people like it or don’t agree or don’t believe it. Present the information and we as big boys and girls can make up our own minds. You are a light in this darkness, this is your mission, to keep the faithful informed. Good or bad, keep it coming. Marcelo Sampedro

FINDING VIGANÒ AN IMPORTANT BOOK Thank you for your Letters and recent book, Finding Viganò. I sent copies to two friends whose opinions I respect. We all agreed that Finding Viganò is an important and believable book. Lawrence LeBlanc Prince Edward Island, Canada

A SPLENDID OASIS It has been a taxing year to all humanity. But we are strong and we must persevere and walk in faith as pilgrims with even more determination. Thanks awfully for admitting me into the Zoom family; it has been an oasis of calmness in the middle of all these strange times where humanity has been tested in a brutal way. The Zoom meetings are a splendid initiative that you have created and I do believe that will have an important future, a home, so to speak, for all of us in the middle of this fractured world. You have a gift of extreme eloquence and a spiritual depth that comes through. I listen very attentively to your reflections as I find that they resonate so powerfully. I must thank you also for all the Moynihan Letters that for so many years I have been receiving, and for bringing us the most powerful surprise, i.e., His Excellency Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, on Zoom. I was overwhelmed to see him, hear his moving message and receive his benediction. I read your book and I think it is an important addition — more than you might suspect — to understanding this great holy priest who is leading the flock in the right direction and with immense courage. Ingrid Hohmann JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN






Opposite page, Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus by Guido Reni. Below, The Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael


ope Francis announced a Year of St. Joseph on December 8 in honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation in 1870 as patron of the Universal Church. The year began December 8, 2020, and will conclude on December 8, 2021, according to a decree authorized by the Pope. The decree said that Francis had established a Year of St. Joseph so that “every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfillment of God’s will.” It added that the Pope had granted special indulgences to mark the year. In addition to the decree, Francis issued an apostolic letter dedicated to the foster father of Jesus. The Pope explained in the letter, entitled Patris corde (“With a father’s heart”) and dated December 8, 2020, that he wanted to share some “personal reflections” on the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic,” Francis said, noting that many people had made hidden sacrifices during the crisis in order to protect others. “Each of us can discover in Joseph — the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence — an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble,” he wrote. “St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” Pope Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph patron of the Universal Church on December 8, 1870, in the decree Quemadmodum Deus. In its decree, the Apostolic Penitentiary said that, “to reaffirm the universality of St. Joseph’s patronage in the Church,” it would grant a plenary indulgence to Catholics who recite any approved prayer or act of piety in honor of St. Joseph,

especially on March 19, the saint’s solemnity, and May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Other days for the plenary indulgence are the Feast of the Holy Family on December 29 and St. Joseph’s Sunday in the Byzantine tradition, the 19th of each month, and every Wednesday, a day dedicated to the saint in the Latin tradition. Francis said that the contemporary world required examples of

“A father realizes that he is most a father and educator at the point when he becomes ‘useless,’ when he sees that his child has become independent and can walk the paths of life unaccompanied. “When he becomes like Joseph, who always knew that his child was not his own but had merely been entrusted to his care.” The Pope concluded his new apostolic letter by urging Catholics

true fatherhood. “Our world today needs fathers,” the Pope wrote. “It has no use for tyrants who would dominate others as a means of compensating for their own needs,” he continued. “When fathers refuse to live the lives of their children for them, new and unexpected vistas open up. “Every child is the bearer of a unique mystery that can only be brought to light with the help of a father who respects that child’s freedom.

to pray to St. Joseph for “the grace of graces: our conversion.” He ended the text with a prayer: “Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. “Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. “Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage, and defend us from every evil. Amen.”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN




“THIS IS THE BEST THING POPE FRANCIS HAS DONE” —FR. DONALD CALLOWAY, MIC, DECEMBER 8, 2020, ON THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH n BY INSIDE THE VATICAN STAFF This statue depicts Jesus entrusting the Church to St. Joseph. Pope Pius IX Proclaimed St. Joseph patron of the Universal Church on December 8, 1870, in the decree Quemadmodum Deus. Opposite page: The Death of St. Joseph by Luca Giordano. At the bottom of the painting, an angel holds down the devil who has been defeated by the saint


r. Donald Calloway, MIC, posted his reaction to the December 8 announcement of a Holy Year of St. Joseph, saying, “This is the best thing that Pope Francis has done.” Fr. Calloway said: “Last year (May 1, 2019), I wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking him to please consider declaring a Year of St. Joseph for the entire Church.” The letter was “hand-delivered to 14


Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father, by Fr. Donald H. Calloway. The book was released January 1, 2020, and immediately sold out

Pope Francis in Rome,” Calloway explained; and, “today, December 8, 2020 (the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church), Pope Francis declares a Year of St. Joseph! Now is the time of St. Joseph!” In May of 2019, Fr. Calloway was working on his new book, Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father; the book was released January 1,

2020 and immediately sold out. An Inside the Vatican subscriber wrote: “I bought every copy I could get in January and began distributing them in my parish. Within weeks, many friends and parishioners joyfully proclaimed that this book has changed their lives; and, I began hearing about the same reaction from people all over the country and throughout the world! This was before the pandemic and the worldwide panic of the US presidential election.” Prophetically, Father Calloway’s new book documents in detail the importance of this Holy Year of St. Joseph. The final chapter of the book, “Terror of Demons” (pages 217-229), offers sure hope for all the faithful as we begin this Year of St. Joseph suffering from the worldwide pandemic, the divisive US Presidential election, and a steady stream of reports of various scandals rocking the very foundation of the Church. The promise of St. Joseph’s intercession, so beautifully expounded in Fr. Calloway’s book, has already strengthened many. With Fr. Calloway, let us all pray that Jesus, Mary and Joseph together — the Holy Family of Nazareth — will continue to gather and fortify their holy army to defeat the ancient enemy of Marriage-andFamily. “All fatherhood is a threat to Satan,” Calloway writes. “For centuries, the devil ‘delighted’ in the reality that so few Christians prayed to St. Joseph and called upon his paternal intercession. Today, God wants to make St. Joseph’s fatherhood known and replicated in the world.” (p. 221) And, Fr. Calloway continues,

“This terrifies Satan. The devil knows what the intercession of St. Joseph is capable of doing. If men resemble St. Joseph, the kingdom of Satan will be destroyed.” (p. 221) Father Calloway asks his readers to consider an “imaginary” proposition in the manner of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters (or perhaps Dante’s Inferno). “In this theoretical-imaginary hypothesis,” the

priest writes, “which offends Our Lord more: pagan Pachamama idols in St. Peter’s Basilica? Or, Joe Biden being sworn in as POTUS with his rosary in his hand and then receiving Holy Communion from Cardinal Wilton Gregory? God only knows! ‘Who am I to judge?’” More excerpts from Calloway’s chapter on “Terror of Demons” “In heaven, Jesus continues to listen to his virginal father because St. Joseph’s desires are always in accord with God’s most holy will.

Satan is terrified that St. Joseph continues to exercise paternal influence in heaven through his extraordinary intercession with the Son of God.” (p. 222) “The last thing the devil wants is for men to be apparitions of St. Joseph, increasing the presence of St. Joseph in the world.” (p. 222) “When laymen, priests, and bishops pattern their paternal authority after that of St. Joseph, the Church will experience tremendous victories over evil.” (p. 222) “The loving and merciful fatherhood of St. Joseph… [teaches us] the proper use of paternal authority and cooperation with Jesus and Mary in the salvation of the world.” (p. 222) “St. Joseph was destined to cooperate, in a way, in the redemption of the world.” — St. Alphonsus Liguori (p. 222) “What the Church needs today are images that depict St. Joseph as a dragon-slayer. Such images are needed in homes and churches today to convey the real manhood of St. Joseph.” (p. 223) “Impure men pose no threat to the devil because they are spiritually impotent. If men want to see God and have power over darkness, they must strive to have a chaste and loving heart like St. Joseph.” (p. 223) “The Church and the world need men who are terrors of demons! It will only happen when men imitate the purity of St. Joseph. If priests and bishops do this, the Church will be renewed… parishes will once again be filled with throngs of people zealous for the things of God. ‘Your name, Joseph, shares in the power of the holy names of Jesus and Mary.’ —Blessed Bartolo Longo” (p. 226)m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN





cations/covid-19). It is unclear how many parishes are promulgating its use, however, and to what extent it can ameliorate the effects of absence from the Mass and BY CHRISTINA DEARDURFF sacraments. While some talk about a “new model” for the Church ith COVID-19 cases reportedly spiking during the which is less Mass-centered and more private-spirituali2020-2021 flu season, Americans concerned with ty-centered, the fact remains that the Eucharist, as the the government’s erosion of religious freedom will likely Catechism teaches, is the “source and summit of the continue to press for churches and religious institutions Christian life.” And the Mass is an event in which the not to be unfairly restricted in faithful participate by their very comparison to other public presence; it is the public worplaces such as gambling casiship of the Church. No private nos, liquor stores and contact spiritual exercises can ever take sports venues. its place. On December 15, the U.S. May our bishops take the Supreme Court handed reliopportunity of the present gious freedom advocates anothmoment to teach and reinforce er victory, albeit a measured this truth. (One bishop who is one, when it gave religious leaddoing just that is Archbishop ers in New Jersey and Colorado Salvatore Cordileone of San another chance to block strict Francisco; our exclusive interCatholics worship at a Mass outside the Cathedral of St. Mary limits on houses of worship. view with him begins on page 22 of the Assumption in San Francisco on September 20, 2020 This followed similar rulings of this issue.) (Courtesy of the Archdiocese of San Francisco) concerning religious institutions in New York and California; the Court said that all four ATICAN ISSUES NEW LAW states must not impose stricter regulations on houses of GOVERNING FINANCES worship than on most commercial businesses. WILL SEE A MASSIVE What remains to be seen is whether the religious leadREORGANIZATION ership in the U.S., Catholic and otherwise, can maintain its combative stance against encroaching government IN WAKE OF MONEY control in the face of continuing COVID media coverage SCANDALS and a new, and decidedly less religious-rights-friendly, administration in the White House. By Catholic News Agency (CNA) Meanwhile, in the Catholic Church, there are other signs of COVID-induced trouble: in one poll, around a n a document issued December 28, the Pope formalized third of young Catholics said they will not be returning to the transfer of financial responsibilities from the VatiMass as often in the future. And a December headline in can’s Secretariat of State to the Administration of the Patthe Jesuit America magazine, referring to people staying rimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), headed by Bishop home from Mass due to COVID, asked: “What if they Nunzio Galantino, which functions as the Holy See’s treadon’t come back?” sury and sovereign wealth manager. The USCCB formed a COVID-response program He first announced the shakeup in an August 25 letter to called “Together in Christ: Responding to COVID-19” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin that was which includes resources for parishes, families, schools made public on November 5 after the Secretariat of State and individuals to nourish their faith during this time of was engulfed by accusations of financial mismanagement. isolation (







(Below) Left, Msgr. Galantino, president of APSA since 2018 and, right, Fr. Guerrero Alves, S.J., current head of the Secretariat for the Economy

Pope’s trust key in financial reorganization John Allen: “With latest shakeup, has the music stopped on Vatican financial reform?”


lmost certainly, this financial reform is more about whom Francis trusts than about the relative merits of the various departments involved. He clearly believes in Galantino, whom he plucked from obscurity as the bishop of a minor Italian diocese in 2013 to make him secretary of the ultra-powerful Italian bishops’ conference, and then moved him to APSA in 2018. In the same way, he culled Guerrero from a quiet administrative role within the Jesuit order to put him in charge of the Secretariat for the Economy in 2019. In other words, this is Francis grasping one of the indisputable truths about the Vatican: In such a small world, structures are serfs while personalities are monarchs. Whether this latest shuffle is where the music stops on financial reform remains to be seen... Aside from the imperative of avoiding future scandal, not to mention counteracting the risk of plum-

meting donations to Peter’s Pence and other papal collections, the Vatican is also currently awaiting its latest report card from Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering watchdog agency. Moneyval is due to present its latest assessment of the Vatican in April, and, if it’s not good, the Vatican could be frozen out of international currency markets or be forced to pay significantly higher fees on transactions as financial institutions impose stiff costs for the perceived risk. All that comes as the Vatican is facing ballooning COVID-related deficits and a looming crisis in the form of unfunded pension obligations. The bottom line is that Galantino and Guerrero now hold the Vatican’s financial cards. How they choose to play them will determine whether the Francis reform is real. —John Allen (

The motu proprio (“on his own impulse”), entitled “A better organization,” also set out new regulations for the oversight of Peter’s Pence, an annual worldwide collection supporting the pope’s mission. Vatican officials have been forced to deny that money raised for Peter’s Pence was used to cover losses on a controversial London property deal overseen by the Secretariat of State. The document, signed December 26 and coming into force before the start of the Vatican’s new fiscal year, contains four articles. The first concerns the transfer of investments and liquidity from the Secretariat of State to APSA. The second regulates the management of papal funds. The third sets out “provisions on economic and financial monitoring and supervision,” and the fourth addresses the functioning of from 1862 the Secretariat of State’s administra- with theCoins image of Pope tive office. Pius IX commemorating the beginning of the Under the new law, APSA gained “Peter’s Pence” ownership of funds, bank accounts, donation, which began and investments, including real in the 600s at the time of the conversion of the estate, previously administered by British people the Secretariat of State, from January 1, 2021 onward. APSA’s management of its new responsibilities will be subject to “ad hoc control” by the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, established in 2014 to oversee the

financial activities of the Holy See and Vatican City State. The Secretariat for the Economy will in future also serve as the Papal Secretariat for Economic and Financial Matters. The law requires the Secretariat of State to “transfer as soon as possible, and no later than February 4, 2021,” all of its liquid assets held in current accounts at the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the “Vatican bank,” and foreign banks. The law asks APSA to create a budgetary provision called “Papal Funds” which will be included in the Holy See’s consolidated financial statements. It will contain a sub-account called “Peter’s Pence.” Another sub-account, called the “Holy Father’s Discretionary Fund,” will be operated solely at the Pope’s direction. A third subaccount, known as “Entitled Funds,” will be set up for funds that “have a particular restriction of destination by the will of the donors or by regulatory provision.” The motu proprio gives the Secretariat for the Economy, led first by Cardinal George Pell and now by Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, S.J., supervisory powers over entities previously overseen by the Secretariat of State. Various Vatican entities will transmit their budget and final balance sheets to the Secretariat for the Economy, which will then pass them for approval to the Council for the Economy, founded in 2014.m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN





ope Francis is set to break a 15-month hiatus from international travel with what is sure to be a historic visit to the Middle Eastern nation of Iraq. The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, announced the news on December 7, adding that the Pope had accepted the invitation of the Republic of Iraq and the local Catholic Church. It will be an Apostolic Journey covering four days and four Iraqi provinces. According to the Press Office statement, “He will visit Baghdad, the plain of Ur, linked to the memory of Abraham, the city of Erbil, as well as Mosul and Qaraqosh in the plain of Nineveh.” Preparations for Pope Francis’ visit seemed to be nearing completion early this

year, when he met the President of Iraq, Barham Salih, in an audience at the Vatican on January 25, 2020. The Holy See Press Office said at the time that the two spoke about “preserving the historical presence of Christians in the country” and “highlighting the need to guarantee their security and a place in the future of Iraq.” Christians’ presence in Iraq, however, has been drastically diminished in the past two decades. In 2003, before a US-led coalition invaded to depose Saddam Hussein, there were around 1 to 1.4 million Christians in the country. A drawn-out war and the 2014-2017 occupation of the Plain of Nineveh by the so-called Islamic State reduced their number to between 300 and 400 thousand. Iraq’s president and prime minister have often invited Christians who have fled the country to return and help rebuild the nation. Yet, the dream of recovery has been impeded by an economic crisis, corruption, and the plight of 1.7 million internally displaced people. UNICEF, the UN children’s aid agency, estimates that some 4 million Iraqis require humanitarian assistance, of whom half are children. Add in the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation remains dire in a country of over 38 million people.

An Iraqi policeman guards a Catholic church in central Baghdad, Iraq, during Christmas Mass December 25, 2005. Iraqi Christians, who enjoyed relative freedom under Saddam Hussein, now live in fear of attacks by Islamic extremists. Churches have been bombed, Christian-run liquor stores attacked and Christians kidnapped in post-Saddam Iraq (CNS photo from Reuters)

Francis’ Iraq visit fulfills desire of his predecessors An excerpt from “With latest shakeup, has the music stopped on Vatican financial reform?”


raq was inhabited by prophets, the oldest of whom was Abraham, who left from the Chaldean Ur to the Holy Land. Iraq is the country of the Prophet Jonah who lived in Nineveh and called for repentance and permanent return to God. It is also the country in which the people were exiled in the Old Testament during a merciless trip called “exile” to Babylon. Pope Francis goes to Iraq after a time when his predecessors were unable to do so due to the complexities of the conditions that prevailed recently, including wars, sectarian violence, and terrorist attacks. Pope John Paul II had an earnest wish to visit Iraq in 1999, but due to the blockade which was imposed on Iraq at the time, late President Saddam Hussein postponed the visit that was sched18


uled that year. Thus, the Saint Pope made a “spiritual” pilgrimage to this country on March 12, 2000, in order to start the pilgrimage journey in the year of the Great Jubilee in the country of Prophet Abraham before a visit to Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. A year later he walked in the steps of Paul the Apostle to Syria… In March 2003, the American war drums were beating for Iraq, which enjoyed international approval, except for Pope John Paul II, who said: “No!” to war. “War is not always inevitable,” he said. “It is always a defeat for humanity.” In March 2021, Pope Francis will come to try to restore what was destroyed, as a result of not listening to the voice of his predecessor... Pope Francis, you are welcome anew in our Arab homeland. —Fr. Rif’at Bader (UCANews)



uch commentary has been offered in the past two years, since the Vatican signed a secret 2018 accord — secret in that its actual content has not been revealed — with the government of Communist China. The agreement calls for China to formally recognize the Pope’s authority to approve the appointment of Roman Catholic bishops. The Vatican, in turn, recognizes the legitimacy of a role for the Chinese government in choosing the episcopal candidates. Beyond that, no details are known. “Today, for the first time in many decades, all the bishops in China are in communion with the Bishop of Rome and, thanks to the implementation of the Agreement, there won’t be any more illegitimate ordinations,” read a note on the deal’s renewal released in the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in September 2020, when the 2-year-old agreement was extended for another 2 years. The note said two bishops, Msgr. Antonio Yao Shun of Jining, an autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, and Msgr. Stefano Xu Hongwei of Hanzhong, in the central province of Shaanxi, had been appointed under the agreement. Other ordinations are in progress, the note said, though the pandemic has slowed things down. “Statistically, this may not look like a great result,” the note said. “It represents, however, a good start.” Meanwhile, the Pope is being criticized for his silence, particularly in his Christmas Urbi et Orbi address, on the plight of the Uyghur people. The Uyghurs are being imprisoned in concentration camps, and their population suppressed with forced sterilization and abortion, by the Chinese regime. In his address, Pope Francis was careful to mention and pray for Syria, Iraq and Yemen, Libya, Israel and Palestine, Lebanon, Nagorno-Karabakh, Burkino Faso, and many other countries. He specifically singled out the persecuted Yazidi people in Iraq and the Rohingya people facing genocide in Myanmar. But, as commentator Benedict Rogers said in a December 27, 2020 article for UCA News: “The mention of Yazidis and Rohingya, as welcome as it is, makes the repeated omission of the Uyghurs even more glaringly obvious. Of the world’s genocides and mass atrocities, mentioning two and repeatedly refusing to mention the third suggests there’s an agenda afoot.”

Although Pope Francis mentioned the Uyghurs briefly — for the very first time and in the mildest of mild passing references — in his new book Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, he has said nothing since. And Bejing reacted furiously even to that very modest comment. Is the Pope going to allow himself to be cowed by Xi Jinping’s fury and censor references to some of the world’s gravest human tragedies just because they occur in China? On the global political scene, there has been much rhetoric condemning the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s treatment of the Uyghurs but, as Ruth Ingram, writing for the human rights website Bitter Winter points out, the nations of the world have become so dependent on Chinese trade that most of them are afraid to upset Beijing. America has so far stood its ground with legislation and measures to rein in Chinese officials and businesses tainted with abuse. But the bill that would ban all imports from China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region unless companies could prove their supply chains were not tainted with forced labor, has now stalled in the Senate amid protests from Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola claiming the stringent requirements are unworkable. The Vatican has no manufacturing deals with China, but the Church has something Coca-Cola and Nike do not: moral authority. It is something many believe the Pope can and should use going forward in 2021 as a bulwark against persecution of Chinese Catholics and other peoples under the CCP’s thumb. There was once high hope that the China-Vatican deal could be a brick in that bulwark, but that hope is fading. Says Benedict Rogers: “If the deal is to be worth anything whatsoever, it should result in two things: better protections for Catholics in China and a more honest dialogue between the Vatican and the Chinese regime. So far, it has achieved the very opposite. Repression of Catholics, alongside every other faith, in China has intensified. And the Chinese Communist Party seems to have installed censors in the Pope’s inner sanctum who forbid him from saying anything about China or from meeting with those, such as Hong Kong’s courageous Cardinal Joseph Zen, who would tell him the truth. The Chinese regime has bought Pope Francis’ silence and silenced his soul. This is a scandal.”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN




The value of “crisis” in the Christian life An excerpt from Pope Francis’ annual Christmas message to the Roman Curia, delivered on December 21, 2020, in which he discussed the current pandemic “crisis” and what can be learned from it


Here, Pope Francis speaks during the yearly exchange of Christmas greetings with officials of the Roman Curia at the Vatican December 21, 2020 (CNS photo/VaticanMedia). Opposite, Altar of the Chair, Holy Mass on Christmas Eve celebrated by Pope Francis, December 24, 2020 (Grzegorz Galazka)


rothers and sisters, this reflection on crisis warns us against judging the Church hastily on the basis of the crises caused by scandals past and present. The Prophet Elijah can serve as an example. Giving vent to his frustrations before the Lord, Elijah presented him with a tale of hopelessness: “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they are seeking my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:14). Often our own assessments of ecclesial life also sound like tales of hopelessness. Yet a hopeless reading of reality cannot be termed realistic. Hope gives to our assessments an aspect that in our myopia we are often incapable of seeing. God replied to Elijah by telling him that reality was other than what he thought: “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus… Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:15.18). It was not true that Elijah was alone; he was in crisis. 20


God continues to make the seeds of his kingdom grow in our midst. Here in the Curia, there are many people bearing quiet witness by their work, humble and discreet, free of idle chatter, unassuming, faithful, honest and professional. So many of you are like that, and I thank you. Our

times have their own problems, yet they also have a living witness to the fact that the Lord has not abandoned his people. The only difference is that problems immediately end up in the newspapers; this has always been the case, whereas signs of hope only make the news much later, if at all. Those who fail to view a crisis in the light of the Gospel simply perform an autopsy on a cadaver. They see the crisis, but not the hope and the light brought by the Gospel. We are troubled by crises not simply because we have forgotten how to see them as the Gospel tells us to, but because we have forgotten that the Gospel is the first to put us in crisis. If we can recover the courage and humility to admit that a time of crisis is a time of the Spirit, whenever we are faced with the experience of darkness, weakness, vulnerability, contradiction and loss, we will no longer feel overwhelmed. Instead, we will keep trusting that things are about to take a new shape, emerging exclusively from the experience of a grace hidden in the darkness. “For gold is tested in the fire and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation” (Sir 2:5).m

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” Excerpt from Pope Francis’ Midnight Mass homily in St. Peter’s Basilica, December 24, 2020


onight, the great prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Is 9:6). To us a son is given. We often hear it said that the greatest joy in life is the birth of a child. It is something extraordinary and it changes everything. It brings an excitement that makes us think nothing of weariness, discomfort, and sleepless nights, for it fills us with indescribable and incomparable happiness. That is what Christmas is: the birth of Jesus is the “newness” that enables us to be reborn each year and to find, in him, the strength needed to face every trial. Why? Because his birth is for us – for me, for you, for everyone. “For” is a word that appears again and again on this holy night: “For us a child is born,” Isaiah prophesied. “For us is born this day a Savior,” we repeated in the Psalm. Jesus “gave himself for us” (Tit 2:14), St. Paul tells us, and in the Gospel, the angel proclaims: “For to you is born

this day a Savior” (Lk 2:11). Yet what do those words — for us — really mean? They mean that the Son of God, the one who is holy by nature, came to make us, as God’s children, holy by grace. Yes, God came into the world as a child to make us children of God. What a magnificent gift! This day, God amazes us and says to each of us: “You are amazing.” Dear sister, dear brother, never be discouraged. Are you tempt-

ed to feel you were a mistake? God tells you, “No, you are my child!” Do you have a feeling of failure or inadequacy, the fear that you will never emerge from the dark tunnel of trial? God says to you, “Have courage, I am with you.” He does this not in words, but by making himself a child with you and for you. In this way, he reminds you that the starting point of all rebirth is the recognition that we are children of God. This is the undying heart of our hope, the incandescent core that gives warmth and meaning to our life. Underlying all our strengths and weaknesses, stronger than all our past hurts and failures, or our fears and concerns about the future, there is this great truth: we are beloved sons and daughters. God’s love for us does not, and never will, depend upon us. It is completely free love, pure grace. Tonight, St. Paul tells us, “the grace of God has appeared” (Tit 2:11). Nothing is more precious than this.m

Through Jesus, fraternal unity is possible Excerpt from Pope Francis’ traditional Urbi et Orbi (“To the City [of Rome] and the World”) on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Merry Christmas!


would like to bring to everyone the message that the Church proclaims on this feast with the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Is 9:6). A child is born. A birth is always a source of hope; it is life that blossoms, a promise of the future. Moreover, this Child, Jesus, was born “to us”: an “us” without any borders, privileges or exclusions. The Child born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem was born for everyone: he is the “son” that God has given to the entire human family.

Thanks to this Child, all of us can speak to God and call him “Father.” Jesus is the only-begotten Son; no one but he knows the Father. Yet he came into the world for this very reason: to show us the face of the Father. Thanks to this Child, we can all call one another brothers and sisters, for so we truly are. We come from every continent, from every language and culture, with our own identities and differences, yet we are all brothers and sisters. At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for

us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters. God has made this fraternal unity possible, by giving us his Son Jesus. The fraternity he offers us has nothing to do with fine words, abstract ideals, or vague sentiments. It is a fraternity grounded in genuine love, making it possible for me to encounter others different from myself, feeling compassion for their sufferings, drawing near to them, and caring for them even though they do not belong to my family, my ethnic group, or my religion. For all their differences, they are still my brothers and sisters. The same thing is true of relationships between peoples and nations: brothers and sisters all!m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN



“WE WILL NOT BACK DOWN!” ARCHBISHOP SALVATORE CORDILEONE talks about the amazing success of freedom of worship in San Francisco, California, USA n BY JAN BENTZ FOR INSIDE THE VATICAN

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone celebrates Mass outside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption as part of a rosary rally October 3, 2020. The event drew about 700 people. (CNS photo/ Dennis Callahan, Archdiocese of San Francisco)


onths ago, the battle for the Mass in San Francisco began. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone submitted a safety plan to the city which included masks and social distancing, similar to those that indoor retail stores submitted to the city’s mayor. San Francisco said “yes” to indoor retail but “no” to Catholics. The city continued to place unrealistic and suffocating restrictions on the citizens’ right to worship. Cordileone told his flock: “For months I have pleaded with the city on your behalf, advocating for your need of the consolation of the Mass, and the consolation you derive from the practice of your faith and connection with your faith community. City Hall ignored us. City Hall ignored you. They didn’t deny it, but they simply ignored you. It has become clear to me that they just don’t care about you. To them you are nothing, to them you don’t matter. Let me repeat that: to City Hall, YOU DON’T MATTER.” After the initiatives of letters, appeals, and collecting signatures failed, Cordileone headed a Eucharistic Procession to City Hall and the Cathedral. And finally, there was victory. Inside the Vatican interviewed the Archbishop exclusively about his victory in reopening his churches. 22


Inside the Vatican: Your Excellency, congratulations on your amazing victory in opening up Mass for your flock and loosening the restrictions. How do you feel about your success? ARCHBISHOP CORDILEONE: I am so proud of and grateful to the thousands of the faithful who spoke up with one voice under the banner “We are Essential: Free the Mass!” People wrote op-eds and letters to the editor. Thousands turned out to witness to the city our faith in Jesus Christ between the two processions and public Masses on September 20 and October 3, the Vigil Feast of our patron St. Francis of Assisi. The unity in the Church was palpable across the typical divides. I’m also grateful to the now more than 45,000 people who signed the petition at (QueremosLaMisa. com). Our victory is a testimony to the power of God and a united Church in the midst of the very secular culture in which we are living. It reminds me of what we accomplished here in California a little over a year ago when, acting as one all throughout the state, we stopped proposed legislation to remove legal protection of the seal of confession. The Church can effect much positive change when we are united.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone leads a rosary rally through the city’s streets on October 3, 2020. The event drew about 700 people outside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. Bottom, Archbishop Cordileone conducts an exorcism at Mission San Rafael, October 17, 2020. Vandals tore down a St. Junipero Serra statue there October 12 (CNS photos/Dennis Callahan, Archdiocese of San Francisco)

In a powerfully symbolic and prayerful gesture, you initiated a massive procession in San Francisco. What feedback did you receive? ARCHBISHOP CORDILEONE: I worked patiently for months behind the scenes, pleading with City Hall on behalf of the needs of the faithful to have access to the Mass. When on September 14, instead of loosening restrictions as promised, the city imposed an absurd new rule that only one person at a time was allowed to pray privately in a church, it became obvious to San Francisco Catholics and others that this was just blatant discrimination. For some reason, someone in City Hall just doesn’t like us, an animus which manifested itself in this way. I’ve gotten almost universally favorable reaction here in San Francisco and many notes of appreciation from Catholics around this country. I’m grateful for their prayers and support. Do you think the COVID-19 restrictions amount to discrimination and a violation of religious freedom? Especially considering that the number of participants in your cathedral was limited to 25 (!) in a space that holds 2,500... ARCHBISHOP CORDILEONE: I can’t speak for the whole country. Each state and each county has different health rules; many have completely exempted religious gatherings from COVID regulations. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty identifies six states (with a total population of 67 million Americans) with health rules that on their face treat religious worship less favorably than other similar secular activities.

I can say that here in San Francisco it became clear that Catholics were being targeted by someone in City Hall for absurdly unfair and discriminatory treatment. The Department of Justice issued a letter to Mayor London Breed urging her to lift these discriminatory rules “promptly.” I’m grateful to Mayor London Breed for recognizing this injustice and acting to lessen the disparity. We are now allowed 100 people inside churches for religious worship. Retail stores still have no maximum numerical limit on how many people can shop; the limit is relative, up to 50 percent of normal capacity. You can spend hours on end in Nordstrom’s shopping for shoes, and moving around all about the store. But at Mass people are stationary, and we can insure they stay six feet apart, wear face coverings, sanitize their hands, and so forth. We aren’t asking for special treatment here, just equality. You implemented a strategy of multiple Masses at the same time. Can you elaborate? ARCHBISHOP CORDILEONE: At the time the city limited outdoor worship to 12 people at a time, including the priest. People could gather in public parks without a hard numerical limit: just as many in the space as could properly socially distance. Our first goal was to give more people access to the Eucharist. A priest from Kenya in one parish suggested the parish set up multiple altars in the same large area. In Kenya, they worship outside because they have no buildings! A beautiful inspiration we borrowed at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption to make our need for the Eucharist visible, to witness to the city that faith is essential. And it was replicated elsewhere in the city as well. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN




The process really began, I think, with the prayer rally around the base of the statue of St. Junipero Serra that was toppled in June. The silent, prayerful turnout (where I conducted a minor exorcism) was the beginning of a process of witnessing that culminated ultimately in one large outdoor Mass on September 20 and the Vigil of the Feast of St. Francis on October 3. What is the “lesson” to take from this great success? What is your counsel to your brother bishops? ARCHBISHOP CORDILEONE: The Eucharist and the Mass are the core of our faith. Indeed, it is our very identity as Catholics. The Greek word ekklesia, from which we get the word “church,” means an assembly, a people gathered. That is who we are. And we are a sacramental Church: physical reality makes a difference, because it mediates a spiritual, transcendent reality. It is impossible to livestream sacramental Communion! I believe that our people need to see us fighting, if necessary, when their access to the Mass is irrationally limited. We need to make this case both as a matter of justice and as a gesture of respect and compassion for each other’s needs in a diverse and increasingly secular society. I’ve always emphasized that civil public health authorities have a legitimate role in telling us how to



worship safely in a pandemic, just as they tell us how to build church buildings safely, according to building codes. We want to celebrate the Mass safely. And we’ve shown that we can. Three infectious disease specialists (including the former head of infectious diseases at Brown University’s medical school) reviewed the data: in more than 1 million public Masses they studied, there was not a single case of a COVID infection traceable to attendance at a Mass where the safety protocols being followed by Catholic churches all throughout the U.S. were observed (social distancing, masks, sanitation, ventilation, etc.). Looking to the future, what are the next steps? ARCHBISHOP CORDILEONE: First, we win the battle for freedom, then we win the most important war: for souls. We know after six months of being barred or discouraged from the Mass, many people will not come back without a creative new effort. Souls are in peril. I plan to take what our team has learned in this process and apply it to the war for souls. What we really need to convey is that each Mass is a miracle: each Sunday you can experience the miracle of the Mass! If you’d like to stay informed as we move into that phase, please join the petition signers at (



Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian bishops’ conference


ustralia’s Catholic bishops are considering raising questions with the country’s financial watchdog authority about whether any Catholic organizations were among the recipients of billions of Australian dollars in transfers reputedly from the Vatican. AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, revealed in December that the equivalent of around US$9.5 million had been sent to Australia from the Vatican or Vatican-related entities since 2014. The money was reportedly sent in about 47,000 separate transfers. The transfers were first reported by the newspaper The Australian after being made public in response to a parliamentary question by Australian Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. The Australian Catholic bishops said they had no knowledge of any Catholic dioceses, charities, or organizations in the country receiving the funds, and Vatican officials have also denied knowledge of the transfers, according to Reuters. A Vatican official told Reuters that “that amount of money and that number of transfers did not leave Vatican City,” and that the Vatican would also be seeking more details from Australian authorities. “It’s not our money because we don’t have that kind of money,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters. Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian bishops’

conference, told The Australian that asking AUSTRAC whether Catholic organizations had been the recipients of the funds would be possible. The Australian also reported that the bishops were working on an appeal directly to Pope Francis, asking him to investigate the origin and destination of the thousands of Vatican transfers. Another report from The Australian suggested that the transfers from “the Vatican City, its entities or individuals” could prove to be from “cipher accounts,” which have Vatican City names but are not used in benefit of the Vatican or with Vatican money. Reports of a money transfer from the Vatican to Australia date back to early October, when the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that an alleged money transfer was part of a dossier of evidence being compiled by Vatican investigators and prosecutors against Cardinal Angelo Becciu. The cardinal was forced to resign

by Pope Francis on September 24, reportedly in connection with multiple financial scandals dating back to his time as the second-ranking official at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Some $829,000 was alleged to have been sent to Australia from the Vatican during the trial of Cardinal George Pell. CNA has not confirmed the substance of the accusation and Cardinal Becciu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing or attempt to influence the trial of Cardinal Pell. Following the reports, AUSTRAC passed details of the transfers to both federal and state police in the Australian state of Victoria. In late October, state police said they had no plans for a further investigation into the matter. Federal police said they were reviewing information they had received and had also shared it with an anti-corruption commission. Cardinal Pell told an Italian current-affairs television program December 15 that although there was “evidence, but no proof” that actors within the Vatican had tried to “get rid of” him when he was overseeing Vatican financial reform, “It’s for this reason that I hope that there will never be enough evidence to prove that Vatican money was used, if not to corrupt directly, at least to poison the public atmosphere against me: I hope there is no proof of this for the good of the Church.”m INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021






ynodality,” a term with a recent genesis in the Catholic Church — at least “recent” in view of the Church’s 2,000-year history — is slowly gaining ground as a new alternative in the organization and implementation of Church leadership. Inside the Vatican now takes a look at the phenomenon as the year 2021 dawns, a year in which “synodality” is likely to garner increasing attention throughout the Catholic world. The 2017 report of the International Theological Commission, Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church, states that the word “synod” is an “ancient and venerable word in the Tradition of the Church.” Traditionally, it has been used synonymously with the word “council,” denoting an assembly offi-



cially convoked by the ecclesial authority of the Church. However, the Commission notes that a “neologism” has appeared in recent decades: the noun “synodality,” referring to the “modus vivendi et operandi” of the Church acting as a “communion” of members: 5. In the theological, canonical and pastoral literature of recent decades, a neologism has appeared, the noun “synodality,” a correlate of the adjective “synodal,” with both of these deriving from the word “synod.” Thus people speak of synodality as a “constitutive dimension” of the Church or tout court of the “synodal Church.” This linguistic novelty, which needs careful theological clarification, is a sign of something new that has been

maturing in the ecclesial consciousness starting from the Magisterium of Vatican II, and from the lived experience of local Churches and the universal Church since the last Council until today.

COMMUNION, SYNODALITY, COLLEGIALITY 6. Although synodality is not explicitly found as a term or as a concept in the teaching of Vatican II, it is fair to say that synodality is at the heart of the work of renewal the Council was encouraging. The ecclesiology of the People of God stresses the common dignity and mission of all the baptised, in exercising the variety and ordered richness of their charisms, their vocations and

Opposite, The Disputation of the Sacrament by Raphael in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican: under the Holy Trinity, the Doctors of the Church, saints and philosophers discuss the nature and reality of the Eucharist. Below, a native of the Amazon region among cardinals and bishops during the October 2019 Synod in Rome dedicated to the Amazon

their ministries. In this context the concept of communion expresses the profound substance of the mystery and mission of the Church, whose source and summit is the Eucharistic synaxis[11]. This is the res of the Sacramentum Ecclesiae: union with God the Trinity and unity between human persons, made real through the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus[12]. In this ecclesiological context, synodality is the specific modus vivendi et operandi of the Church, the People of God, which reveals and gives substance to her being as communion when all her members journey together, gather in assembly and take an active part in her evangelizing mission. Synodality today has been put into practice in more than one iteration. The one receiving the most press in the past couple of years has been the German model, championed most recognizably by German Cardinal and Pope Francis advisor Reinhard Marx of Munich, until March of 2020 the president of that country’s episcopal conference. In 2019, the conference, creating a new Synodal Assembly (in German, called the Synodaler Weg, “Synodal Path”) in partnership with an influential German lay group, the Central Committee of German Catholics (acronym: ZdK), decided to move ahead with a plan to discuss four major areas of Catholic teaching: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women. One feature of the plan that raised an alarm in the Church was the Synodal Path’s intention to “transmit to the Apostolic See” decided resolutions “that concern issues reserved for control by the Universal Church.” No mention was made of submitting them for any kind of approval. Pope Francis reacted in June 2019 by sending the German episcopal

conference a 28-page letter in which he said he supported synodality but wanted the Germans to focus more on evangelization and not exclusively on reorganization. In his letter, Pope Francis warned against a version of synodality that only proceeds “from the bottom up,” and lacks a complimentary “synodality from top to bottom that allows, in a specific and singular way, for the collegial dimension of the episco-

sexual relationships both inside and outside of marriage; the working document discussed was hailed by the prohomosexual New Ways Ministry as a major statement of support for “LGBTQ” Catholics. In fact, four months prior, in May 2020, Auxiliary Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp of the Archdiocese of Cologne had resigned from his position in the Synodal Forum “Life in Success-

pal ministry” in the universal life of the Church. His wishes were more or less ignored. Then in September 2019, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, sent a letter saying that the Synodal Path’s organizational structure was canonically invalid and none of its decisions on key issues could be binding on the faithful. Nevertheless, the German bishops’ Synodal Path went forward, more or less in its original conception; due to Covid restrictions, however, many of its meetings had to be postponed in 2020. One meeting that was held in September 2020 spoke in positive terms of

ful Relationships” in protest against the forum’s view on sexual morality which he claimed contradicted the Catholic Church’s view as stated in Humanae vitae. Such indications of support for apparent deviations from unchangeable Church teaching are driving the fears of those who view the topic of “synodality” with distrust. But others see a breath of fresh air entering the Church through this medium of synodality. They point to the terrible tragedy of clergy sexual abuse and the hierarchical networks, closed to the laity, which in some instances allowed the abuse to continue and flourish — a situation which significant lay involvement in Church decision-making, they say, might have gone a long way in preventing. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN




The Catholic Church in Australia NATHALIE BECQUART In this context, the strong shock of has also begun a Plenary Council, the in Global Sisters Report (a project of the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris has first since Vatican II (Australia’s last National Catholic Reporter): symbolized what the church is going Plenary Council took place in 1937). “Everyone — men and women, through: a form of collapse of old strucSeveral themes are to be discussed young and old — allowed to be tures. Dealing with the first issue at over the Council’s next two years, in- actors” stake in listening to the victims of abuscluding “How is God calling us to be any of the faithful — especially es, the church is following a path of a Christ-centered Church in Australia young people and women — are truth that may be painful but salutary. that is inclusive, participatory and syn- strongly conscious that the Church For we have to recognize the truth and odal?” So the word “synodal” is part of cannot continue as before. They call admit that the church is burning, this discussion. the church to change her way of func- wounded from within. Individual dioceses have historical- tioning, to be a more synodal Church. We have to humbly face what has ly held their own diocesan synbeen generated by these ods, and are continuing to do so. perverse practices, these The diocese of Detroit, Michidevastating silences, these gan, held a synod in 2016 under deadly dissimulations, Archbishop Allen Vigneron, these destructive abuses of which he said led to a successful powers. The idea that it is renewal of the spirit of evangenecessary to “repair the lization in his diocese. church” is also becoming And Archbishop of Minmore acute. This process of neapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, healing and reconstruction Bernard Hebda, has organized a requires other ecclesial synod in his diocese for 2021. He practices that are more colcalled it “a tool for the bishop to legial, more dialogical, engage the People of God (laity, more participatory, more clergy, consecrated men and inclusive. women, and bishops all walking So that everyone — Cardinals and lay people during the press conference presenting Pope Francis' Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, on together) in exercising the remen and women, young sponsibility that flows from our love in the family, in the Holy See Press Office. (Photo Grzegorz Galazka) and old — would be alcommon baptism, always in the hope of They ask priests and bishops to give lowed to be actors and involved in strengthening the communion that is them more space and more leadership. decision-making processes. the Church.” This voice of change was very strong Of course, the most high-profile ex- during the synod on youth; young peo- CHRISTOPHER ALTIERI amination of synodality will be taken ple want to be heard and want active in- in Catholic World Report on by the Church’s Synod of Bishops, volvement. “Not only cum Petro but sub Petro” a gathering of bishops chosen to assist ost recently, the German bishops They also advocate for women’s inand advise the Pope, in their October volvement. decided to test the waters of syn2022 meeting. The young also clamor for greater odality, passing guidelines granting Its main topic was announced recognition and greater valuing of much broader effective permission to last year: “For a synodal church: women in society and in the Church. non-Catholics to receive Holy ComCommunion, participation and mission.” Many women play an essential part in munion in Catholic churches with their And the topic of synodality has ecu- Christian communities, but often it is Catholic spouses, than anything counmenical implications as well, especially hard to involve them in decision-mak- tenanced by existing law. The Germans regarding the Orthodox Churches, for ing processes, even when these do not argued that their proposal was in keepwhom a synodal model of governance is require specific ministerial responsi- ing with the law, and within their rights already their living tradition. bilities. The absence of the feminine under it, but the Pope who talks so A more synodal Catholic Church voice and perspective impoverishes much about building bridges apparentmay be one with which the Orthodox debate and the Church’s journey, de- ly found this German outreach to be a can find a clearer path toward unity. priving discernment of a precious con- bridge too far. He put the brakes on the So synodality is a theme that the tribution. The Synod recommends that proposal, and handed the problem to Church will be carrying into the fore- everyone be made more aware of the the competent dicasteries in Rome. In the letter informing the President seeable future. urgency of an inevitable change, not Here follows a sampling of what least on the basis of anthropological of the German Bishops’ Conference, commentators around the universal and theological reflection on the reci- Cardinal Reinhard Marx, of his decision, the Prefect of the Congregation Church are saying about it. procity between men and women.





for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbish- tober 2015 speech that can be considop Luis Ladaria, SJ, wrote: ered his magna carta of synodality. “For the Holy Father it is of great conThe synodal way is also a highly cern that in the German episcopal con- “political” response to the crisis of ference the spirit of episcopal collegial- our time and the paralysis of our poity should remain alive. As Vatican litical debate. That’s political in the Council II has emphasized, ‘the Episco- sense of creating citizenship, not pal bodies of today are in a position to partisanship. render a manifold and fruitful assistance, Catholic theology is no longer deso that this collegiate feeling may be put bating the divine right of monarchs into practical application.’ versus democracy, as it did until the “Now, ‘collegiality’ is an essential 19th century. element of practical working synodality in Pope Francis’ vision. It is the “second level” of synodality, according to the outline the Pope gave in his address commemorating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Synod of Bishops. It sounds great, and looks great on paper. Collegiality and synodality are great, until one tries to do something with them. “When that happens, a bishop or a conference or A family at the end of the working session of the XIV other regional body runs the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The risk of discovering the hard partecipants leave the Synod Hall (Photo Grzegorz Galazka) way something about which Pope Francis — to his credit — has alInstead, it is defending democracy ways been abundantly clear: ‘The fact from threats, most of all from the that the Synod always acts cum Petro danger that everything is reduced to et sub Petro — indeed, not only cum a sort of theater where the institutions Petro, but also sub Petro.’ While the that have kept us together are now Holy Father was speaking of the advi- substituted by the theater of the show sory body known as the Synod of Bish- business-like characters, moral ops, he was clearly also speaking by ex- norms and modes of communication. tension of the Church’s whole articuThis is not just a problem of our late hierarchical leadership. He went secular political systems. In the on to say that this fact “is not a limita- Church, as well, talk about reform tion of freedom, but a guarantee of uni- often has become a theater or a forty.” Pope Francis is certainly right in mat. what he affirms: Peter is the guarantee But the Church’s answer to this is of unity. Practically speaking, this will synodality. The synodal process always mean that the Church is exactly must be the alternative to the lecture as synodal as Peter says it is.” circuit where competing agendas vie for media attention and ideology-driMASSIMO FAGGIOLI ven donors. in La Croix The synodal process takes place in “Being pastoral rather than a real, lived ecclesial community and trading in sound bites” not in the realm of Church fiction or ynodal reform seeks to develop a virtual religion. It is about being pasgovernance system that continues toral rather than trading in sarcasm along the path marked out by Vatican II, and sound bites especially through as Francis clearly explained in an Oc- social media.


POPE FRANCIS in a 2015 address on synodality “It shall not be so among you” ynodality, as a constitutive element of the Church, offers us the most appropriate interpretive framework for understanding the hierarchical ministry itself. If we understand, as St. John Chrysostom says, that “Church and Synod are synonymous” (19) inasmuch as the Church is nothing other than the “journeying together” of God’s flock along the paths of history towards the encounter with Christ the Lord, then we understand too that, within the Church, no one can be “raised up” higher than others. On the contrary, in the Church, it is necessary that each person “lower” himself or herself, so as to serve our brothers and sisters along the way. Jesus founded the Church by setting at her head the Apostolic College, in which the Apostle Peter is the “rock” (cf. Mt 16:18), the one who must confirm his brethren in the faith (cf. Lk 22:32). But in this Church, as in an inverted pyramid, the top is located beneath the base. Consequently, those who exercise authority are called “ministers,” because, in the original meaning of the word, they are the least of all. It is in serving the people of God that each bishop becomes, for that portion of the flock entrusted to him, vicarius Christi, the vicar of that Jesus who at the Last Supper bent down to wash the feet of the Apostles (cf. Jn 13:1-15). And in a similar perspective, the Successor of Peter is nothing else if not the servus servorum Dei. Let us never forget this! For the disciples of Jesus, yesterday, today and always, the only authority is the authority of service, the only power is the power of the cross. As the Master tells us: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Mt 20:25-27). It shall not be so among you: in this expression we touch the heart of the mystery of the Church, and we receive the enlightenment necessary to understand our hierarchical service.m




TOP TEN 2020


e begin our list with a somewhat unknown Vatican official, a Belgian layman who is also an academic and an author, the Vatican’s chief archivist, Dr. Johann Ickx. It has been Dr. Ickx’s work, pre-eminently, which has brought the world new understanding of Pope Pius XII’s key role in helping to save countless Jews from Nazi persecution. Then we turn to a less obscure veteran of the Vatican, Australian Cardinal George Pell, who in 2020 was released from prison after the dramatic reversal of an unfounded conviction on charges of so-called “historic sexual abuse” dating back decades. Cardinal Pell confirms that many, including himself, suspect he may have been framed by enemies, both within and outside the Vatican. Catholic book editor John Moorehouse passed away unexpectedly on December 4, 2020, at the age of 51, leaving a widow and five children. He was not only a talented editor for Catholic publisher TAN Books, but also a dedicated family man and a man of God. 2020 saw more tragedy than just that caused by the coro30


navirus. On August 4, a powerful explosion tore apart the harbor of Beirut, Lebanon — especially the part of the city where its dwindling Christian population dwells. But two young Lebanese Catholics, Aya Naimeh and Georges Assaf, have organized a group to bring relief — and hope — to the Christians who were victims of the unimaginable devastation. Hong Kong was in the news throughout 2020 as the monolithic Chinese Communist Party, which formally took control of the island in 1999 and is now aggressively imposing its political will there, was challenged by a group of young — and a few not-so-young — crusaders for freedom, bolstered by their Christian, and in some cases, Catholic, beliefs. And Agnes Chow, Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Jimmy Lai have all been sentenced to prison for it. The story of clerical sexual abuse is a long-running and multi-layered one, which unfortunately is still being revealed

The year 2020 was one which many people say they would like to erase from memory. Yet, many good people did many good things in the year 2020, and Inside the Vatican recognizes here just a few of them

today even as the Church strives to end it. Dr. Jane Adolphe, originally from Canada, is a veteran civil and canon lawyer who spent years at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State assisting the Church’s leadership to prepare statements on morality and justice. Belarus, a small nation once subsumed into the Communist Soviet Union, with its Christians, including a small Catholic minority, has seen a resurgence of freedom of religion along with democratic political reforms. Yet the Church continues to experience attacks in a struggle of ideas involving the current government. The Archbishop of Minsk, Belarus, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, has been in the middle of the struggle. “Justice” was a popular word in 2020, but what exactly it meant, and means, is not so clear. In the U.S. system, the last word in “justice” is the Supreme Court; interestingly, at this time six of the nine Supreme Court justices happen to be Catholics. The newest is 2020 Donald Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett, who had to brave animosity and insults because of her faith at her difficult confirmation hearings.

Eighteen-year-old Ugandan Michael Nnadi was kidnapped along with three fellow seminarians by militant Islamicists in 2020. Michael was murdered for continuing to preach the Gospel even in his captivity. His killer, now in jail, praised his “outstanding bravery.” Sadly, he is one of hundreds, even thousands, of martyrs for Christ in 2020. In a world which sometimes seems to have gone mad, one of the most lamentable tragedies is a new epidemic of adolescent girls who have undergone, sometimes without parents’ knowledge or consent, “gender transition” using drugs and surgery. Many of them regret it when they mature. Braving widespread criticism from the “LGBTQ community,” Abigail Shrier in 2020 sent out the alarm in her book Irreversible Damage. Although she is not a Christian, her book points the way back to common sense and an appreciation of human nature as God created it. Join ITV in recognizing the contributions of our “Top Ten of 2020,” and pray for their continued work, each in his or her own way, for the Kingdom of God.m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Dr. Johan Ickx Vatican archivist, author, expert on Pope Pius XII and the Jews



r. Johan Ickx, one of the world’s leading experts on the Vatican’s record during the First and Second World Wars, and among the Holy See’s renowned archivists and historians, published in 2020 his highly acclaimed book on Pius XII, Le Bureau — Les Juifs de Pie XII [The Office — The Jews of Pius XII]. It contains hundreds of new archival documents on Pius XII’s support for Jews and his battle with the Nazis, powerfully answering those authors who, after spending only a short time in the Pius XII archives after they were first opened on March 2, 2020, rushed out to write stories or make allegations against the Vatican, based on a tiny fraction of the newly available documents — often misrepresenting them, and omitting crucial evidence along the way. Dr. Ickx’s position as a longtime Vatican archivist has given him extensive time to gather these new documents, but he was not able to release them until Pope Francis gave the goahead to open the new, and properly catalogued, archives. Now that the pontiff has done so — to his great credit — Dr. Ickx’s book is available, and is sure to have a salutary effect on Pius XII scholarship. Dr. Ickx’s new book is in French, and will be translated into Italian and English. Johan Ickx studied religious sciences, theology and philosophy at the Catholic University of Leuven and earned his doctorate in Church History at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He worked as academic assistant at the journal Archivum Historiae Pontificiae, as an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and as archivist of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary. He was twice appointed to five-year terms as a consultor to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He is also the author of a study of the Holy See’s assessment of Germany’s tactics in occupied Belgium during the First World War, La Guerre et le Vatican (2018). He argued that Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII who was then the Vatican’s equivalent of a foreign minister, played a key role in bringing the Vatican 32


to discount German propaganda and recognize that Germany was trying “to terrorize the population” of Belgium. In April 2018, he received the Romulus Prize from the Rome Society of Leuven. As one of the Vatican’s top archivists — he is currently the Director of Historical Archives in the Holy See’s Section for Relations with States — Dr. Ickx, a Belgian, has had special access to these archives for the past 10 years, during which he has meticulously collected hundreds of vital documents pertaining to the Vatican and the persecution of the Jewish community for his new work. But he had to wait to publish his findings until this year, after all the archives had been properly catalogued, and Pope Francis officially opened them in March, for other qualified historians to study. Because Dr. Ickx’s book is based on over a decade of evaluating these private archives, his book will be the definitive work on the newly released Pius XII archives — at least until other experts spend years doing the same painstaking research and catch up. Dr. Ickx’s book, therefore, decisively replaces the superficial commentaries based on a handful of documents (often misleadingly presented) which certain researchers, eager to create headlines, rushed out after but a few days in the archives in March, only to see their claims sharply refuted in the immediate days to follow. “He [Pius XII] sought peace until the end; from the beginning of his pontificate and during the war he sought the friendship of the Americans, and he rejected Pétain’s anti-racial laws,” said Ickx. There was a separate office set up at the Vatican devoted to trying to save endangered people, the researcher says: “I think there are 2,800 cases, there’s a list equivalent to Schindler’s list, a ‘Pacelli’s list.’ I wonder how it is that the Holy See never publicized it.” —William Doino, Jr


Cardinal George Pell The Australian prelate was accused, condemned, imprisoned, then absolved and freed



onvicted, then acquitted of outlandish abuse charges, ons. At times, I am sure, prisons may be hell on earth. I he says there is still “a moral sense even in the darkwas fortunate to be kept safe and treated well. est places” “I was impressed by the professionalism of the Australian Cardinal George Pell, 79, has had one of warders, the faith of the prisoners, and the existence of a the more extraordinary careers among the contemporary moral sense even in the darkest places.” prelates of the Catholic Church. First an Archbishop of He says candidly in a December 14, 2020, interview Melbourne, then Archbishop of Sydney and, in 2003, with Italy’s public broadcaster RAI that he suspects he appointed by Pope John Paul II to the College of Cardiwas framed. nals, Pell was tapped by Pope Francis soon after his elec“Of course, I suspected it,” he said, noting that he had tion to be one of his Council of Cardinal Advis“some evidence but no proof” of a conspiracy ers. The next year, Francis asked him to overagainst him. see reform of the Vatican’s financial affairs, “It is much worse if someone inside the which had become quite muddled, if not outChurch is trying to destroy you,” he lamented. right plundered, by mismanagement, or cor“My family often told me that it would have ruption, or both. been different if the Mafia had hunted me, if Cardinal Pell, the no-nonsense, traditionally others, maybe the Masons, had hunted me.” orthodox Australian, made a great deal of “All the major figures who have worked progress in his role as the Francis-appointed together on financial reform, each of us — “Financial Czar” (his actual title was Prefect of with very few exceptions, I believe — has the Secretariat of the Economy, a post created been attacked by the media in terms of reputain 2014) — but he may have also made enetion in one way or another,” he told RAI. CARDINAL PELL mies along the way. Pell added that he hoped “there is never PRISON JOURNAL On May 1, 2018, he was notified that he enough evidence to prove that Vatican money GEORGE CARDINAL PELL would stand trial on charges that had been filed was used not necessarily to bribe directly, but 3 volumes in weekly installments against him for “historic sexual abuse” — not to poison the public atmosphere against me on the Ignatius Press accusations dating back decades — to the either.” website (2020) delight of many in the press and elsewhere who “I hope there is no evidence to establish found his traditional morality appalling. this, for the good of the Church,” Pell remarked. And thus began his strange odyssey through the crim“We have no evidence yet, but certainly a lot of inal court system in Australia, a country which is in the smoke. We have criminals who have been heard to say: thrall of a particularly anti-Catholic popular culture — ‘Pell is out of the game. Now we have a highway in front more so than the U.S., for example — which had already of us.’ “ been exploiting the crisis of clergy sexual abuse to vent Cardinal Pell concluded his brief account of his time its hatred of the Church. in prison by saying: “My Catholic faith sustained me, Cardinal Pell could have remained in Vatican City and especially the understanding that my suffering need not avoided the media circus waiting for him at home, and be pointless but could be united with Christ Our Lord’s. I the real-life courtroom drama that was to result in his never felt abandoned, knowing that the Lord was with imprisonment; he insisted, however, on traveling to his me—even as I didn’t understand what he was doing for home country to clear his name. most of the thirteen months. Instead, he was convicted in December of 2018 and “For many years, I had told the suffering and disturbed spent 13 months in solitary confinement before his conthat the Son of God, too, had trials on this earth, and now I myself was consoled by this fact. viction, widely criticized as outlandish and nonsensical, “So, I prayed for friends and foes, for my supporters was unanimously quashed by Australia’s highest court. and my family, for the victims of sexual abuse, and for my He wrote of his ordeal, saying in First Things magafellow prisoners and the warders.”m zine in August 2020: “There is a lot of goodness in prisJANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN



John Moorehouse A good editor, a good husband and father, a good man



ne of the largely unknown and unsung heroes of Catholic publishing passed away, quite unexpectedly, in December of 2020, at the age of only 51: acquisitions editor for TAN Books’ imprint St. Benedict Press, John Moorehouse, who shepherded the recent book, FINDING VIGANÒ, by ITV’s editor Robert Moynihan, through the lengthy editing and publishing process and into the hands of readers all over the world (FINDING VIGANÒ: The Search for the Man Whose Testimony Shook the Church and the World is already in its second printing). Moorehouse went to bed early on the evening of December 4, having told Moynihan in a phone conversation the previous day that he was looking forward to spending more time with his family over the coming holidays. Minutes later he suffered a fatal heart attack; his wife Robin tried to resuscitate him while waiting for an ambulance. His daughter put a brown scapular around his neck. In a tribute to John Moorehouse in his Moynihan Letter #42, “Farewell to a Father,” Moynihan said, “John was always ‘there’ for his writers, always steady, calm, cheerful, hopeful. He was a man who assessed his writers, and then got behind them and pushed, or ahead of them and pulled, or right alongside of them adding his own shoulder’s strength to push forward the mired wheel of the empty page, always improving… “John was an evangelist with his whole mind and heart. “He placed the work, the project, the product, ahead of himself. “That very disappearance meant an even deeper and more essential presence. John’s integrity is woven throughout all of the projects we worked on together, and my debt to him is incalculable.” John leaves behind Robin and five children, but also a group of Catholic authors who have found their own vision clarified and refined, their message enlivened with new inspiration and insight — all in the service of Him who was, always and unquestionably, John’s Lord and Savior. Inside the Vatican contributors Anthony Esolen, 34


Michael Greavey and Paul Kengor, to name a few, have all collaborated with John on books and all expressed their grief at the loss of a gifted editor and man of profound faith who had also become their friend. Dr. Esolen speaks of John’s willingness to take on true labors of love, like once publishing the now-defunct Catholic Men’s Quarterly — simply because it was “a good thing to do.” John, he says, “regularly wrote for it too, trying to appeal to men and boys first by the good things of their nature and the nature of the world around them. So there were articles on sports, good food and drink, hunting, classic films, and work, alongside articles on prayer, the saints, life in the Church, and Christ the Lord.” Dr. Esolen continues: “John Moorehouse was a good man, a faithful husband and father, a devout Catholic, and — what is rare enough in our time — great fun to be around. You could see it in his eyes and in the eyes of his wife and children. We sometimes met them on our way out of Mass on a Sunday evening at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, where I now teach, and where I hope to instruct his children as they come of age. “And that too brings something to my mind. “John had tremendous energy and ability and intelligence, and a willingness to take risks. He could have been the chief of a big business. He could have been living the easy and secure life of a tenured professor. “No ambition compelled him to produce his Quarterly. He did it, and he enjoyed it, because it was a good thing to do — and a necessary thing to do. “He did it for the good of his fellow men and for the Church. “I could say that John did much with small resources,” said Esolen, “but it may be truer to say that the God who governs even in a grain of dust, who resists the proud and dwells with the humble, works miracles by those who hold to His truth, whatever their resources may be, even while the colossi crumble to dust. “Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.”m


Georges Assaf and Aya Naimeh Organizers of relief for homeless in Lebanon



ebanese Young Talents began in 2009 as an organizaversity and, says Aya, “random people who had heard tion whose mission was to raise funds for young what we were doing and decided to join the cause.” Lebanese students without means to pursue athletics at the The core group now includes, besides Georges and college level. Maronite Catholics Georges Assaf, a lecturAya, Marc Haddad, Ornella El Khoury, Lea Bou Roufael er and head of sports training at Lebanon’s Catholic Antoand Maria Jabra. nine University, and Zeina Mina, Dean of the Faculty of “For us, it only seems natural to devote our time and Sports Sciences and a former Olympic athlete (Lebanon’s funds to helping people,” says Aya. “This is the way we sole female Olympian, who competed in the Women’s 400 were all raised, as good Christians: ‘Give to the one who meter race in Los Angeles in 1984) were the founders. asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to After years of successfully raising money for young borrow from you.’ (Matthew 5:42)” Lebanese to enter and compete in sports, something terri“Of course, helping people is always a joy,” she continble happened that turned ues. “For me, one of the most everything around for them: joyful moments was when we the Beirut blast of August 4, found Georges, a 62 year old 2020. man who lives alone in his The explosion, a detonation apartment in Gaitawi... It of 2750 tonnes of ammonium wasn’t the fact that he survived nitrate – equivalent to about by a miracle when his carpet 1.1 kilotons of TNT – stored protected him from debris and unsafely in a warehouse in the flying glass; it was the hope in port of Beirut, Lebanon, was his eyes, even though he was felt in Turkey, Syria, Israel, confused, not knowing whether Palestine and parts of Europe – to be angry or happy he surand heard in Cyprus, 150 miles Young people and families demonstrate, demanding better government, vived, having a guilt that we all after the Beirut blast of August 4, 2020 away – registered 3.3 on the could relate to! We found him Richter scale. alone, not asking for help from anyone, just sitting in his It left more than 200 dead, thousands injured, and destroyed apartment with no food, no lights, no water, 300,000 homeless. And a majority of these casualties nothing.” occurred in the Christian section of Beirut, where the Besides the destruction and human suffering around warehouse was located. them, the young Catholic Lebanese see another sorrow as Georges, Zeina, Zeina’s daughter Aya Naimeh, and Fr. well: the exodus of Christians from a homeland where the Joe Abou Jaoudé, the financial Director at Antonine InterLord Himself once walked. national School whom Aya calls a “mentor” to the group, Indeed, an archeologist in 2019 identified Qana, at that time decided to redirect the work of Lebanese Lebanon, as the “Cana” of the Gospel, where Jesus turned Young Talents to relief efforts among the survivors of the water into wine at a wedding celebration. blast. Aya says she, her Orthodox husband and Georges Says Aya, “I was always raised around the value of Assaf have witnessed many Christian friends leave the helping others, so at a young age I started enrolling in country in search of stability, “away from the political and activities that were other-focused, such as donating gifts economic problems.” and clothes and food to an orphanage in Beirut. I was edu“We knew that was always an issue in Lebanon. I cated in a Catholic school in Beirut, Notre Dame de myself was born and lived in France when I was younger Nazareth, where these values were reinforced.” as my mother was fleeing the war in Beirut in 1989,” she Right after the August 4 explosion, the group started explains. traveling the devastated streets, helping people to clear But this time I feel it is different – we have almost no their neighborhoods and homes of rubble. They gradually friends left in Lebanon, and those who are left are thinkwere joined by friends, coworkers, students from the uniing of leaving the country in pursuit of better days.”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Agnes, Ivan, Joshua, Jimmy Four Christian pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong



he pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong has tional Scheme” Beijing sought to impose on Hong Kong become increasingly more vocal in the last decade as schools, and joined in — meeting there Ivan Lam and the Communist government of mainland China has Joshua Wong, all teenagers at the time. She never looked sought to impose ever-more repressive measures on the back. island. “I’m a Catholic, and I do think that my participation in In 2020, the confrontations between Beijing-consocial movements is affected by my religion,” she said in trolled government officers and pro-democracy activists a 2019 interview. “Religious belief and what we learn escalated; leaders were arrested and charged with crimes from our religion and the Bible gives us our belief and carrying prison time. Most of the pro-democracy leaders courage to fight for freedom and rights for Hong Kong are young; most are Christian; two of them are Roman people.” Catholics. Chow was sentenced in DecemFour who were arrested in ber 2020 to 10 months in jail for August for “taking part in and incitorganizing an unlawful assembly; ing” protests outside a Hong Kong on the last day of the year, she was police station in June have been transferred to a maximum-security tried and sentenced to prison for prison. their roles. They are Agnes Chow, Joshua Wong was also sentenced 24, Ivan Lam, 24, and Joshua to a slightly longer 13.5 months on Wong, 26; the fourth, Jimmy Lai, is similar charges. Wong had been a not young — he is 71, and a Hong student activist as far back as 2011, Kong business tycoon – but he has when he organized the protests been a pro-democracy critic of the against the CCP’s educational plan. Chinese Communist Party for In 2014, the group he co-founded, years. He is also a Roman Catholic. Scholarism, drafted a plan for uniA Way of the Cross march by pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. ( Photo) Lai, who stowed away alone on versal suffrage under a one-counAbove (clockwise from top left), Ivan Lam, 24; Joshua a fishing junk from mainland China try-two-systems arrangement. Wong, 26; Jimmy Lai, 71; and Agnes Chow, 24 to Hong Kong at the age of 12, Raised in a Lutheran home, his went on to found the Giordano clothing brand and later, father was an anti-gay-marriage activist and, said Wong, after the Chinese government forced him to sell his clothused to take the young Joshua out to help the needy. ing company, the popular newspaper Apple Daily, which “He told me that I should care for the abandoned in the has been critical of the CCP and its aggressive inroads city. They had not heard of the Gospel, and were living into Hong Kong government and society. solitary and hard lives,” he wrote in a blog, according to At a 2020 awards ceremony sponsored by the Catholic the South China Morning Post. free-market Acton Institute, Lai, who knew he was facing Ivan Lam has attracted less of the spotlight than Lai, a possible jail term at the time, said, “It is always in my Chow and Wong, but he was a collaborator of Wong’s mind as a Catholic that God is always my center. And I since their school days together at the United Christian am always a sinner and I know my life is not about College in Kowloon. In a speech, Wong called him myself,” Lai said. “If I can accomplish this I know that “hands-down, the most trusted member of our team.” It I’m leaving in the grace of God. I know that I will be a was Ivan Lam whom Wong first followed to planning better person for whatever suffering I have to take up.” meetings before Scholarism was formed. Lam, who has The young female democracy activist who was arrestalso been jailed before, received a sentence of 7 months ed on the same day as Jimmy Lai, Agnes Chow, is also a in December. Catholic Christian. Hailing from a “non-political” family, “Freedom has a price,” said Jimmy Lai at the Acton she says that in 2012, she saw a notice on social media Institute ceremony, and it is one which these four couraabout students protesting the “Moral and National Educageous people are willing to pay.m




Professor Jane Adolphe A Canadian civil and canon lawyer at the Holy See



ane Adolphe is a Catholic international human rights lawyer, and Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law (AMSL) in Naples, Florida, USA, with four law degrees: licentiate and doctorate in canon law (J.C.L/J.C.D), common law (LL.B), and civil law (B.C.L.) as well as a Bachelor of Arts. She began her legal career clerking with the Court of Appeal and Queens Bench in Calgary and the law firm Bennett Jones Verchere, then prosecuted criminal cases for the Alberta Crown Prosecutor’s Office. After that, she studied canon law and began teaching law at AMSL (2001 until the present). Then, after working as an outside consultant to the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, Section for Relations with States (2003-2011), she entered the same section as an “Expert” to collaborate on work related to human rights’ treaties ratified by the Holy See, most notably the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Dr. Adolphe’s term with the Holy See, which ended with her resignation in 2020, coincided with a series of challenges and changes that will forever mark, she says, the Catholic Church — and her life. Having entered during the final years of Pope Benedict VI’s papacy, she lived in Rome and worked in the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City State, during amendment of its laws and during the following events: 2012 — Vatileaks I: the conviction of the Pope’s butler and accomplice 2013 — Resignation of Pope Benedict VI 2013 — Election of Pope Francis 2015 — Trial set for a former nuncio (deceased before trial) on child pornography and child sex abuse charges 2015 — Vatileaks II: the trial and conviction of a monsignor and lay woman 2017 — Trial and conviction of a lay person for diverting charitable funds to renovate a cardinal’s apartment 2018 — Conviction of a former Vatican diplomat for

possession of child pornography 2018 — The McCarrick scandal 2019 — The London property investigation, and police raid of the Offices of the Secretariat of State Despite the illnesses and deaths of her parents back in her native Canada within two years of each other, in 2018 and 2020, Dr. Adolphe, in her capacity as Professor of AMSL, was able to plan and organize multiple international conferences on topics of interest to the Holy See, which led to publications that she co-edited: The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East: Prevention, Prohibition, and Prosecution (Angelico Press: 2018); and Equality and Non-Discrimination: Catholic Roots, Current Challenges (Pickwick: 2019). But the “most challenging” book she produced and co-edited, she says, was the 2020 volume Clerical Sexual Misconduct: An Interdisciplinary Analysis (Cluny) provoked, as it was, by the events of 2018, and the contradiction between efforts to protect victims from clericalsexual abuse, the majority of whom were adolescent males and seminarians, while some sought to “mainstream” homosexual acts as a “good” within the Church. Dr. Adolphe recounts the most “devastating” situation she encountered during her tenure at the Vatican: in 2017, Italian journalists exposed the alleged sexual corruption of adolescent boys dating back to 2012 in the pre-seminary of Vatican City State. She remained steadfast in her efforts to ensure that a Vatican investigation be opened. The case is currently before the courts in Vatican City State. “There’s a problem of clericalism in the Roman Curia, especially as embedded in the court setting,” comments Dr. Adolphe, “but I am very encouraged by Pope Francis’s ongoing efforts toward making the Curia more humanized and professionalized to allow for the development of all its employees.” “If I were to sum up my time in Vatican City State,” Dr. Adolphe says, “I would quote St. Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: ‘For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.’”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Retired Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz A courageous bishop who served in Moscow and Minsk



n the evening of January 6, 2021, just-retired Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mogilev, Belarus, celebrated Mass for the feast of the Epiphany at the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in his hometown area of Grodno, in western Belarus near the border with Poland. It was a very emotional time for the Grodno Catholics and for the archbishop himself; the requisite resignation every bishop offers the Pope upon his 75th birthday had just been accepted and the archbishop was bidding his flock a final farewell. Archbishop Kondrusiewicz had been barred on August 31, 2020, from returning to Belarus after visiting family in Poland because he had criticized the government crackdown on protests against the contested re-election of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenko. The archbishop was allowed to return Christmas Eve after an envoy from the Vatican met with Lukashenko in Minsk. “When I crossed the border, I knelt down and prayed, I kissed this land,” Kondrusiewicz said in comments on December 24, adding that “the Fatherland cannot be thrown out of the heart.” The archbishop conducted the Epiphany Mass in Polish, switching from time to time to Belarusian and Russian. He said that Belarusians now face many tests — both the coronavirus epidemic and the political crisis that the country is now experiencing. “And everyone must give himself an answer, who I am before God, before Jesus Christ, and what kind of future I wish to build for myself, my family, city, my country, and land where I live,” the Metropolitan said. “Today our society is divided […], but someday it will all end and the wounds of hatred will heal. These wounds require an elixir of love and forgiveness. Everything depends on us, and our destinies also depend on us.” Longtime observer of Eastern Christianity and Inside the Vatican contributor Peter Anderson said this in tribute to Archbishop Kondrusiewicz: “In 1988, a group of us in Seattle decided to form an ecumenical ‘sister churches’ program between the Christian churches of Seattle and the Christian churches of Leningrad. It was during those exciting times when the churches of the Soviet Union 38


were first regaining their freedom after over 70 years of persecution. “In June 1993, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, then Apostolic Administrator of European Russia, came to Seattle for three days as a guest of the program, staying at our home. Picking him up at the airport, I was surprised that his total luggage was one very small handbag. He was a wonderful guest with no pretensions; each day he would put on some short athletic pants and jog through our neighborhood. Both my wife and I were very impressed by him both as a bishop and a person. “On February 11, 2002, the Vatican announced that the four Catholic apostolic administrations in the Russian Federation had become dioceses, forming an ‘ecclesiatical province,’ and made Archbishop Kondrusiewicz a metropolitan archbishop responsible for them. This administrative move caused an uproar in the Russian media and harsh criticism by the Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate, which claimed that it was an effort to make Russia a province of the Vatican! Of course, a ‘province’ is simply a Catholic term used for the area of a metropolitan archbishop (the United States has 35 of them). “Being in Moscow, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz was in the center of the storm. He also defended the Church against accusations of proselytism, which in turn irritated critics further. In subsequent years, the Vatican tried to improve relations with the Moscow Patriarchate; some believe the transfer of Archbishop Kondrusiewicz to Minsk, Belarus, in 2007 was part of that. “Shortly after his transfer, he referred to himself as a ‘soldier of the Church’ — he accepted orders without complaining. As in Moscow, in Minsk he spoke out against what he considered wrong in the current crisis in Belarus, and accepted the consequences.” Ever the good soldier, he now accepts without objection the decision of Pope Francis to begin his retirement. “Thank you to everyone who prayed these four months” of his forced exile, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said at his farewell Mass. “God works miracles, but with the help of people.”m


Amy Coney Barrett Law professor at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, now the newest US Supreme Court Justice



n a 2006 commencement address, Amy Coney Barrett, then a law professor at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, gave her students there three pieces of advice: Pray before accepting a new job. Give away 10 percent of what you earn to church, charity or friends in need. Choose a parish with an active community and commit yourself to cultivating relationships there. “It’s only when you’re an independent operator that your career takes over,” she said. “When your life is placed firmly within a web of relationships, it is much easier to keep your career in its proper place.” This advice, unusual as it perhaps appears from an attorney and law professor at a prestigious university, reveals something of the character of nowSupreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. In the speech, Barrett simply aimed to explain “what it might mean for you to be a different kind of lawyer” – “one who treats his or her career as a means to the end of serving God rather than an end in itself.” Rare words indeed from an accomplished practitioner in the competitive field of law. But this is an attorney who is also a mother to seven children, two of them adopted from Haiti and one a birth child with Down Syndrome. This is also an attorney who was at the top of her class at Notre Dame Law School. A talented and intelligent student, she was importuned at length to attend an Ivy League law school by family and mentors, but declined: “I wanted to be in a place where I felt like I would be developed and inspired as a whole person.” Amy Coney Barrett, originally from a Catholic family with seven children in Metairie, Louisiana (her father was also an attorney, with an oil company; her mother a French teacher and stay-at-home mother) went on to become one of the most talented law students at Notre Dame, catching the attention of professors who helped get her judicial clerkships after graduation – one of them under the late Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In law school, she had become a convinced “textualist” in the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution; Scalia’s determined embrace of tex-

tualism merely cemented it. And Amy Barrett’s faith was not merely theoretical. At the Supreme Court, she became friends with Nicole Garnett, a law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas and a fellow Catholic who had gone to Yale. “I remember she just came in one day and said: ‘I’m going to volunteer this weekend. Mother Teresa’s nuns run an AIDS hospice on Capitol Hill. Do you want to go with me?’ I said sure,” Ms. Garnett remembers. “It was not something I would have thought to do in the middle of my clerkship, to go serve the dying with the nuns.” Much was made of Amy Coney Barrett’s strong Catholic faith in 2017 after Donald Trump nominated her to the Federal Court of Appeals, including Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinsten’s now-famous remark to Barrett in her confirmation hearings, “The dogma lives loudly within you.” In 2020, although Democrats had been somewhat chastened by the backlash from what many perceived as liberal effrontery in questioning Barrett’s religious beliefs, those beliefs – particularly her membership in a “charismatic” Catholic group called “People of Praise” – again became an issue when Trump nominated her to the Supreme Court after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg; she was nevertheless confirmed for the high court on October 26, 2020. Not surprisingly, Democratic foes of her nomination repeatedly suggested her unapologetic pro-life views made her unfit to adjudicate on abortion-related matters. She answered them with grace, saying at one point to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 13 : “I am standing before the committee today saying that I have the integrity to act consistently with my oath and apply the law.” And fidelity to the law, according to Barrett, is part and parcel of being a Christian lawyer: as she said in the 2006 commencement speech, “If you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love, and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Michael Nnadi A young Nigerian seminarian became a martyr for the Faith



igeria, according to many worldwide indices, is one of the worst nations in the world for religious freedom and the rule of law. Christians, who make up roughly half the population, are specially targeted for persecution and death in Muslim areas. One December 2020 report by the Heritage Foundation cited just one example: “The Fulani raiders arrived under cover of darkness with their jihadist chants and their AK-47s. The marauders swiftly maimed and murdered Christians while burning down every structure and pillaging what remained. Hundreds of similar incidents have occurred. We reviewed one confidential list that precisely documents attacks by Fulani militants on seventy-nine Christian villages over the last five years in one state alone.” In May, the Catholic News Service reported that a Nigerian Catholic seminarian, Michael Nnadi, 18, one of four seminarians who had been kidnapped from Good Shepherd Seminary by Islamic bandits, had been killed for his refusal to stop preaching the Gospel to his captors. According to Nigeria’s Daily Sun newspaper, the jailed Mustapha Mohammed, 26, leader of a marauding gang and admitted killer of Michael Nnadi, praised the seminarian’s “outstanding bravery,” and said Nnadi “told him to his face to change his evil ways or perish.” The other three seminarians were released, having sustained injuries, some of them serious. “With immense sorrow, we must inform you that the last seminarian held by kidnappers, Michael, was murdered. The rector of the seminary of Kaduna identified the body in the afternoon,” Aid to the Church in Need tweeted February 1, 2020. Michael Nnadi is a martyr for the Faith. And in 2020, he was not even remotely alone. Some estimates put Christians killed in hatred for their faith last year in the thousands, with churches attacked and Christians imprisoned in the tens of thousands. As Pope Francis pointed out just a month after his election, and has repeated many times since, “The Church has more martyrs now than during the first centuries.” And specifically, Catholic missionaries were among those tar40


geted for death because of their faith; 20 of them were killed in 2020. The Pontifical Mission Societies’ Agenzia Fides reported December 30 that those killed in service of the Church in 2020 comprised eight priests, three religious women, one male religious, two seminarians, and six lay people. As in previous years, the most deadly continents for Church workers were the Americas and Africa. The Vatican-based news agency, which releases an annual list of murdered Church workers, uses the term “missionary” to refer to “all the baptized engaged in the life of the Church who died in a violent way.” Nigeria saw more faith-motivated killings when, in mid-July, five aid workers were killed in its West Africa Province by the Islamic State (ISWAP), a Boko Haram faction in northeast Nigeria. In a video, the fighters said that the executions were a warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity.” And in what was once known as “Christian Europe,” a suspected Islamic terrorist on October 29 hacked to death three worshippers at the Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice, France. The three victims were Simone Barreto Silva, a 44-yearold mother of three; a 60-year-old woman who had come to the church to pray; and Vincent Loquès, the church’s 55year-old sacristan. “The stones cannot cry out their horror,” said Nice’s Bishop André Marceau at the November 1 funeral Mass. “Three lives were stolen in the name of a false god.” Also in Europe, Fr. Roberto Malgesini, 51, of the Diocese of Como, Italy, was found near the rectory where he lived with numerous stab wounds, including one on the neck which caused his death, on September 15. Fr. Malgesini had begun his morning routine distributing breakfast to the needy when the killer, lying in wait, accosted him; he was a homeless man from Tunisia the priest had been assisting. At a General Audience September 16, Pope Francis praised God for “the martyrdom of this witness of charity toward the poorest.”m


Abigail Shrier A courageous writer in defense of young women everywhere



n June of 2019, the congregation for Catholic Education released an instruction on “gender theory” for parents and teachers titled “Male and Female He Created Them.” “Gender theory… speaks of a gradual process of denaturalization that is a move away from nature and towards an absolute option for the decision of the feelings of the human subject,” it said. “In this understanding of things, the view of both sexuality identity and the family become subject to the same ‘liquidity’ and ‘fluidity’ that characterize other aspects of post-modern culture,” the text continues, “often founded on nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants, or momentary desires provoked by emotional impulses and the will of the individual.” This diagnosis finds an echo in the work of a progressive Jewish journalist and opinion writer for the Wall Street Journal, Abigail Shrier, whose book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, was released in June of 2020. In this remarkable book, Shrier shines a light on the recent, extremely disturbing trend of adolescent girls being rushed into socalled “gender transitioning” — the effects of which are often, as the title of her book reminds us, irreversible. Ms. Shrier, it should be noted, is not opposed in principle to all “gender transitioning.” She wrote in a November 15, 2020 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, “I think mature adults should have the freedom to undergo medical transition.” But her courage in opposing the modern “craze” to promote “gender transitioning” among teenage girls has led a chorus of her critics in “LGBTQ” activism to condemn her book, and various platforms to censor any mention of it. But her book deserves to be widely read. Shrier defies the “trans” ideology that has a stranglehold on our popular culture, and notes this alarming fact: the Western world has seen a sudden surge of adolescents, the vast majority female, claiming to have gender dysphoria and self-identifying as transgender. In Britain, Canada, Sweden and Finland, clinicians and gender therapists began reporting a dramatic shift in the demographics of those presenting with gender dys-

phoria, from predominately pre-school-aged boys to predominately adolescent girls. In Britain, in 2018, there was a 4,400 percent rise over the previous decade in teenage girls seeking gender treatments. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of gender-reassignment surgeries for girls in the US quadrupled, with people born female suddenly accounting for 70 percent of all such operations. Schrier asks, “What is ailing these girls?” Teenagers today are experiencing record levels of anxiety, depression and self-harm, girls at a rate three times that of boys. In past decades, they dabbled in the occult, or became anorexic, or started cutting themselves — practices that spread from teen to teen like a contagion. Today, the “craze has become “transitioning.” For these girls, Shrier says, “trans identification” offers freedom from anxiety, it satisfies their deep need for acceptance, along with the thrill of transgression, egged on by their peers, therapists, teachers and internet influencers. And the proposed “cure” is not exorcism or purging. It’s testosterone and “top surgery”: a lifetime of hormone dependency and disfiguring surgeries. No adolescent should pay this high a price for having been, briefly, a follower of this contagion, Shrier argues. The Catholic Church offers the real solution to the confusion and malaise gripping our society, and in particular, our young people: Christ, the Lord of nature, who said upon creating it that “it was good.” And this solution is precisely what is missing in the lives of so many, as it is in the culture as a whole. Abigail Shrier does not proffer the ultimate solution of looking to nature’s God, but she does point the way by daring to question with compassion and rationality the horrible sacrifice of our daughters’ bodies and, finally, happiness, on the altar of “transgender” orthodoxy. With characteristic common sense, she pleads with parents, teachers, and all who wield influence over adolescent girls: “Girls are not defective boys. They are different. They possess a whole range of emotions and capacities for understanding that boys, in general, do not. If only we didn’t make them feel so bad about this. “Tell your daughter that she’s lucky. She’s special. She was born a girl. Being a woman is a gift, containing far too many joys to pass up.”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN






he most significant event in the recent history of Latin at the Vatican occurred just after midnight on Christmas Day, when Fr. Reginald Foster, O.C.D., died at the age of 81. His was yet another life claimed by COVID-19. He was a familiar figure in these pages and in this column, having been the first American to serve in the Vatican’s Latin Office, working under four popes over four decades. His death was noticed by the global media: substantial notices appeared in Vatican News (in multiple languages), the New York Times, the Telegraph, La Repubblica, Smithsonian, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and others. The Pope himself sent out a telegram in Foster’s honor. Foster had retired from the Vatican 11 years ago, and he was hardly a Vatican kingmaker. After 40 years of service he was not even in charge of the Vatican’s Latin Office. Why did the world take such note of his passing? Foster had been a media darling for 35 years, ever since he decided to go public with his dismay over the collapse of Latin under John Paul II. “Pope Paul VI used to speak in Latin when addressing bishops from other countries,” Foster told the Los Angeles Times in 1986, “but John Paul hardly uses Latin because he knows so many other languages the bishops speak.” Vatican correspondents soon found that an interview with Foster made for good copy. He was a blue-collar Latin scholar who had once put in toilets with his plumber father and grandfather in Milwaukee. It showed in the way he talked. “The use of Latin in this pontificate,” he bellowed to one correspondent, “has gone right down the drain.” And again: “If you don’t know Latin, you are totally out of contact with 1,900 years of the Church. You’re just sitting there looking stupid.” A TRUTH-TALKING MAVERICK As time went on, Foster — or Reginaldus, or Reggie, as people called him — developed a reputation



for being a truth-talking maverick at the Vatican. He was a useful contact for a journalist, because he knew a lot about what was going on. As John Thavis, former Vatican Bureau chief for the Catholic News Service, described it, the Latin Office “remained the real communications hub at the Vatican.” Almost every document that went out under the Pope’s name passed through Foster’s office. And Foster had no political loyalties. He was perfectly willing to attack the conservatives: “Some people say, ‘We want Latin, because when we had Latin everything was wonderful.’ That’s a load of baloney.” But he also mocked the liberals: “These people dancing around the altar at St. Peter’s have absolutely no idea what’s going on in the language or the liturgy or anything else.” And he was frankly disgusted by the corruption and scandal he saw around him. Pointing at the security detail outside the Vatican bank he quipped, “I don’t know why they have guards... all the crooks are inside!” At times his irreverent comments landed him in trouble. But Foster lasted because people on both sides of the aisle at the Vatican actually liked Reggie. They knew he had foibles. He was undiplomatic. He went on too little sleep and got sloppy. He drank too much. But Foster’s critique of Vatican life was not the critique of an unbeliever. It was the critique of someone who passionately loved God’s Church. Its humor and proletarian sensibility actually smacked of the greatest Carmelite of them all, St. Teresa of Avila. It had a prophetic ring to it. And when Reginaldus would get himself in trouble for his loose tongue, his friends could point to his Christian life, which testified on his behalf. He worked hard, and kept to his daily routine, and seemed to believe that God would notice how he treated the least of his brethren. The bus drivers, the barkeepers, the stationery sellers, the grocers he came across in his Roman life, all treated him as a friend and one of them. The Vatican guards and workmen liked

him, because he stopped to get to know them in a way that almost no one else did. He owned almost nothing and gave away anything he was given. He lived an old-fashioned life of ascetic devotion, sleeping on a hard tile floor with no mattress and depriving himself of food and sleep. His simple clothes — he wore an outfit that looked like something a gas-station attendant would wear — were the stuff of legend in Rome, the fruit of his belief that Christ wanted his followers to live lives of simplicity and poverty.

community and Catholic school in the world. Foster was one of only a small handful of people who kept it alive in his classes. In the Anglophone world he was spoken Latin’s sole advocate. By the mid-1980s he was also almost alone within the Church. But like Horatius Cocles holding the bridge, he single-handedly changed the course of history. Through decades of teaching, Foster instructed the next generation. Now there are many prominent teachers and institutes using active Latin, all over the world. Many of them are staffed by Foster’s students. When I first showed up in his classes in 1995 I could not believe what I saw: he was doing 50 hours a week of instructional time, seven days a week, and then going home and doing all the grad-

“THE EUCHARIST IS EVERYTHING!” But an equally eloquent testament to his Christian beliefs were his vestments, a beautiful set of goldthreaded robes which were the only truly luxurious thing he allowed himself. Some of the most beautiful Masses I ever have seen were ones he celebrated, at the altar he had built with his own hands, or in the Pantheon (his favorite place to perform baptisms). He celebrated the day of his ordination more than his birthday. One day, when he was complaining to a friend about the problems in the Church, the scandals, the corruption, the lack of vocations, there was a pause in the conversation and the friend said, “Yes, but I still find the Eucharist very meaningful.” “Are you kidding?” Reggie shot back with vehemence. “The Eucharist is everything!” In Rome, people knew that Foster’s Christian example was imperfect. But they also Father Reginald Foster, the great Latin teacher, visits New York Latinitatis Corpus, knew it was sincere, and that was important. Brooklyn Latin School, a few years ago. He died on December 25, 2020 Foster represented something about the tradiing for it, in addition to his full-time job at the Vattion that was otherwise absent from the streets of ican. And then people would ask him for additionRome and corridors of the Vatican, a gruff, roughal favors: to do audio recordings of the readings, edged, prophetic, John-the-Baptist kind of seriousor meet with him to go over the homework, and so ness about poverty, integrity and the Lamb of God. forth. And Reggie said yes to every single request. He gave and gave and gave. Because he loved it. REGINALD FOSTER’S LEGACY “I believe in the beauty of Latin; I’ve given my life In the meantime, he was doing more for Latin than to it, and I want to share it with you,” he said. And anyone else alive. Within the English-speaking world he did that, passing Latin on to a new generation. of Latin studies he is the most important figure in the And so we can join the Pope himself who said that past century. He had been educated in a world where he is praying ut meritis cumulatus a Domino ad Latin was in constant use: he had been immersed in confertam mensuram recipiat mercedem, that the language since he entered the Carmelite seminary Foster, covered with merits, receive his reward at the age of 15. In 1962 when he arrived at the Terefrom the Lord in extra-large measure. sianum, the International Carmelite College on the Janiculum, everyone spoke Latin: they prayed in *John Byron Kuhner is the editor of In Medias Latin, they took their courses and exams in Latin, Res, the Paideia Institute’s online journal. He is they made their confessions in Latin. But just eight currently completing a biography of Fr. Reginald years later the Church had stamped out spoken Latin, Foster.m not only in the liturgy but in just about every monastic JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN



NO MERE ROMANCE The Gospel relates the story of the boy Jesus, at once prosaic and unfathomable n BY ANTHONY ESOLEN The Finding of Jesus by William Holman Hunt, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery


eople who say the Gospels are mere romances, C.S. Lewis once said, evidently do not know what romances are about. Not to mean any disrespect, Lewis said, but the Gospels simply are not good enough for that. Think of the romance of Arthur, the boy hidden away to await the time when the mysterious Lady of the Lake will give him the sword Excalibur, and he will become king of England. What turns of fate there are in that story, what marvels of magic and love, what crises of loyalty and treachery, wisdom and folly! Think of the romance of Odysseus, harried by the gods from isle to isle on his way home from Troy, only to reach Ithaca at last, and, with the help of his son and a couple of faithful old farmhands, to slay the hundred and eight arrogant men who have been eating up his estate, slaying his cattle and paying unwelcome suit to his wife Penelope. No such things do we find in the story of Jesus. The accounts of His birth are miraculous, to be sure, and that should not embarrass us, because we are dealing with things divine. Yet they are also spare: some shepherds, two old people who spend their last days in the Temple, 44


and three mystics watching the skies from Persia hear about Him; nobody else. There is no hoard of gold kept by the pixies. There is no Juno with a burning grudge. There is no foundling with a birthmark to identify him many years later. There is no love-potion the nephew drinks while bringing home the woman who is to marry his uncle. There is no man-eating monster prowling about the hall. The settings too are all wrong. Matthew begins with a dry genealogy. Luke gives us the prosaic details of worldly matters, as if someone were to say, “It happened just after Eisenhower signed the law instituting the Interstate Highway system.” John is fond of incidentals of geography and topology that jog his mind. “This took place,” he says, “in Bethany beyond the Jordan” (1:28), that is, in that Bethany over there, rather than in this Bethany here; as if to say, “I mean the Portland in Maine, not the one in Oregon.” Many a romancer weaves tales about the marvelous youth of his hero, because it is sport to see the man made manifest in the boy. Think of the fanciful Infancy Gospel of Thomas: Jesus breathes life into clay birds; he kills a

Father and Son by American artist Corbert Gauthier

child with a curse; he stretches a beam of wood to help Joseph finish making a bed. The Church did well to scoff at such stuff. Pontius Pilate, a second-rate functionary, is of more significance to us than are all those fabulous and sometimes malevolent tales. That Infancy Gospel ends with the episode that Luke recounts, of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple. Here someone may say, “But this is what you were talking about, a hint of how the man to be is present in the boy.” That, though, is to see things backwards. The reason why romances tell of the boyish deeds of heroes is that, in fact, we often do see that the boy is father to the man, as any mother can tell you. We can easily suppose that Luke spoke to Mary and asked her about what Jesus did when he was a boy. If he was hoping for a rousing story, Mary, who “kept all these things in her heart” (Lk. 2:51), surely disappointed him. All we have is the plain account of how, when Jesus was twelve and the family went to Jerusalem for the Passover, the boy stayed behind for a few days, “in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (2:46). The teachers were “amazed at his understanding and his answers” (2:47), but otherwise there is nothing marvelous about it. Jesus behaves exactly as a serious and intelligent boy of his years would do, and the elders respond to him in kind. Boys like to hang around with men and listen to their talk, to hear war stories, or to learn about machines and the specifics and the skills of labor, or to begin, modestly, to engage in discussion of the great questions of good and evil, right and wrong. Men look kindly upon such boys. They draw them out, to help them become men, and to give them some initial recognition of their having set out from the havens of childhood. Still, there are a few details in this story that are difficult to “fit” into the standard narrative. In a healthy culture, a boy of Jesus’ age would not hang on his mother’s skirts, so there is no surprise that Jesus stays behind; but His adventure is all in teaching and learning. The Word of God is exchanging words. Mary reacts as any mother would: “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously” (2:48). Luke’s word in Greek is teknon, child; the affectionate word John uses to address his disciples (cf. 1 Jn. 1:18). Jesus does not bristle. He also does not apologize. He returns a question with a question, as He would so often

do when He was a man: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be [about my Father’s things]?” (Lk. 2:49). Jesus is, in His human nature as a grave and determined boy, genuinely puzzled by the reaction of Mary and Joseph, and they in turn are puzzled: “And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them” (2:50). Any storyteller worth his brandy would add a moral, telling us that Mary saw the light, or that only much later did Mary understand what Jesus meant, which was thus or so. Luke does neither. We are left to wonder about their wonder. They knew that Jesus was the Son of God, for, said the angel to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (1:35). They could not make a mistake that way. They knew he was not referring to Joseph. But that was not enough. What did it mean, really, that God was the Father, and that in a unique way He was Jesus’ Father? We are too familiar with the words. The universe itself is breaking open: Jesus calls God “my Father.” He who says he has plumbed the depths of that saying is a liar or a fool. As to the vague “things” of the Father, a mere demonstrative pronoun in the Greek, what could they possibly be? Mary and Joseph must have felt the earth tremble beneath them. And yet, after that, Jesus apparently does nothing astonishing in the eyes of men, not for almost twenty years. Again, if Luke is a mere storyteller, he is a failure. The episode in the Temple seems not to lead anywhere, or to change anything back in Nazareth. Rather, Jesus returns with Mary and Joseph to that no-account village in Galilee, “and was obedient to them” (2:51). The word the RSV translators use, obedient, has as its inner meaning to hear, to heed; but Luke’s Greek, hypotassomenos, has to do rather with a hierarchy of order, a taxonomy of authority. Jesus, the Son of God, places Himself beneath the authority of Mary and Joseph. That order, that authority, already exists, and is a very good thing. Romance heroes do not do so. Captain Blood went pirating out on his own. Huck Finn went with the escaped slave Jim down the Mississippi on a raft. Tom Jones, unjustly accused, went to the big city. The Son of God placed himself under human authority. After all these years, I can hope only to have begun to understand what that means.m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN




Monsignor James P. Shea during a presentation at the university to students and parents. Below, a view of the campus. The university was founded by Benedictine nuns


n the times through which we’re living, the importance of genuinely Catholic education can hardly be overestimated. Our culture has been moving away from Christianity for many decades, and the pace is only accelerating. It’s good to note this challenging situation, but not as a cause for fear or hand-wringing. We know that everything is in the providence of our Heavenly Father, in whom we place all our trust! But this is also not a time for complacency. When the culture moves away from the Faith and even begins to pose a stern threat to its vitality, the Faith needs to look to its own institutions to be sure that deep foundations are being laid for an authentic and impressive witness to the life-saving message of Christ. For our colleges and universities — which have been given a special responsibility for the intellectual training of our young minds — that means a serious re-engagement with the foundations of the Christian faith at all levels of the institution. By the grace of God there are many Catholic colleges



and universities that are attempting to take up this task; and may there be many more! The University of Mary is grateful to be able to be counted among them. Like other devoted, mission-driven institutions, we are trying to be faithful to the Gospel and to the young minds and spirits that come to us, such that they can encounter the richness of Christ’s life in all its intellectual and spiritual vitality. The University of Mary was founded more than 60 years ago, with a special interest in training Catholics for professional life. This has given us a particular set of strengths. We are able to offer our students both the richness of the Catholic intellectual and spiritual tradition and also technical training in various fields. For example, the University of Mary houses a School of Business, a School of Education, and a new School of Engineering. We offer nearly 60 undergraduate degrees, 15 master’s degrees, and 4 doctorates. Perhaps our most noteworthy effort in regard to professional training is our School of Health Sciences. Questions

of health science and medical ethics, it hardly needs to be thus able to benefit from the technical training available at said, touch upon areas of serious cultural concern and conASU while entering into the great tradition of Catholic troversy. Healthcare carries the potential for providing cruthought and culture. Mary College is far more than a procial services to those in need; but it is also increasingly an gram or a set of course offerings. It is a genuine home for arena where anti-Christian practices and attitudes have the students involved. Housed in Old St. Mary’s at the heart gained great strength in the wider culture. Our St. Gianna of the campus, Mary College gives our students an integratSchool of Health Sciences was named for St. Gianna ed experience of education at a time when the intellectual Beretta Molla, with the kind permission of her family. We vision of universities is increasingly fragmented and chaotwanted to name the school after this impressive woman ic. We are hoping that this remarkable partnership with Ariwho was both a saint and a physician as a way to express zona State might provide a template for bringing a serious our dedication to the teaching and practice of healthcare Catholic education to the many thousands of Catholic sturooted in a Catholic understanding of the human person, dents at our secular universities in the United States. one that unites respect for human dignity within the utmost A final project sponsored by the University that I would professional competence. The St. Gianna School offers like to note is the recent launch of a new website called more than 30 degrees, including doctorates in Nursing, Prime Matters. We are keenly aware of the need for our Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. Our Nursing young Catholics to gain more from their education than program was ranked #1 in the country last year. simply a set of skills. They are navigating a world that is Our entire faculty in Health Sciences, nearly 60 profesincreasingly disintegrated in many directions. How are they sors, traveled with me on pilgrimage in 2017 to Germany to understand the relations of the liberal arts, the sciences, and France. We visited the Dachau concentration camp, the humanities, and training in the professions? How do ground-zero for the Nazis’ medical matters of morality affect the life of experimentation and the “Final the mind? How is spiritual life to be Solution.” We went to Nuremberg, integrated with what is being where the war criminal trials took learned in classrooms? What is the place at the end of the war, 75 years place of social life, of friendship and ago. There, in the main courtroom, community? What is the proper we read the testimonies of nurses place of sports and recreation? How and doctors who participated in should they rightly understand the atrocities against human life and pursuit of the invisible world and dignity. engagement with this world? From the internet: the page of the St. Gianna Catholic Health Academy and of the new website called Prime Then, having encountered a The answer comes with an enMatters. Both of these groups are associated with the vision of the Culture of Death, we counter of the whole of reality rooteducational activities of the university traveled to Lourdes. In that holy ed in the truths revealed by God. Our sanctuary of the Blessed Mother, hope is to present our students with our faculty spent a week caring for a vision and an experience of a the sick, meeting them at the train Catholic life in which all things are station, assisting them in the hospirightly related to one another under tals and baths, taking part in the the wisdom given by Christ. Eucharistic and evening torchlight has been develrosary processions. They even paroped with this vision in mind. We ticipated in the deliberations of the intend it to be a means of awakening Medical Bureau of Lourdes, which weighs claims of medthe Catholic imaginative vision in all its integrated fullness. ical cures! It was a stunning contrast for all of us between It’s true that we are facing a challenging cultural the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death, between medmoment as Catholics, with serious threats against which to icine turned towards or against the true service of the contend. But it is also a deeply hopeful moment, and a time human person. I wanted our faculty to experience firstto live with deep dependence upon God and the Truth He hand, and convey to their students, the nobility and true gives us in Jesus Christ. If the right kind of formation does importance of ethical healthcare practice according to not take place for this rising generation, things will be tough Catholic principles. for them. But if it does, our time brings many opportunities: Another unique, even unparalleled, expression of the for witness, for heroism, for serious mission from Christ as University of Mary’s educational project is Mary College He continues His work of speaking, revealing, enlightenat Arizona State University (ASU). Mary College repreing, saving, in every generation. The University of Mary, sents a partnership with Arizona State through which ASU under Our Lady’s patronage and protection, is doing our students can take courses in Catholic Studies to fulfill their part, and we’re honored to do so! *President, the University of Mary general studies requirements — or even earn a dual degree Bismarck, North Dakota, USA — all taught by University of Mary faculty. Students are JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN



The Message of the Icon




ometimes the torment suffered by the holy, by the saints, grows to such intensity that death is preferable to continued life on earth. Notably, when Isaiah’s career as a prophet reached its nadir, he begged the Lord for immediate death rather than submit to continued abuse from both his pagan foes and his own people, Israel. In similar fashion, the elderly Joachim found the incessant taunts of his Temple coworkers too much to bear. Likewise, Anna had listened to the snickers and gossip of her neighbors far too long. For fifty years they had endured snide remarks and insults; enough was enough. As the saintly are wont to do, they determined to demand a change in circumstance from the Lord; their faith did not waver, but perhaps they began to doubt even their own righteousness, given their barren state. They reasoned that they may have committed some secret transgression justifying this punishment. In any event, they certainly needed a change; matters simply could not continue as they were. Joachim’s grief reached a critical point when the high priest actually chased him from the Temple, refusing his offering on a high holy day due to his childless state. Both actually and metaphorically, the desert had always been the locale for intimate encounters with the Lord. So Joachim went out to the arid wilderness near Jerusalem to beg for some relief from his misery. Meanwhile, his wife likewise made a pilgrimage of sorts. There was a garden near the pool of Siloam, which already was known as a site for miraculous cures. Anna went to tend to the plot and offer her own prayers that the couple’s desperate situation might improve. In hopes that the angel might stir the waters for her, she too implored God for aid.

Angels apparently have some abilities in the matter of bilocation: the Archangel Gabriel appeared simultaneously to Joachim in the desert and Anna at the pool of Siloam. Gabriel explained to them that they would indeed have a child in their old age, in the same fashion as had Sarah and Abraham. There would be one major difference, of course. Hitherto, Scripture had noted that such cases always resulted in male children: Isaac, Samson and Samuel, for instance. But Joachim and Anna would bear a daughter, destined for a greater destiny by far than her male predecessors. Their sufferings would bear the greatest fruit possible: from their child would be born the Messiah Himself! Their hopes and prayers were thus answered beyond their wildest dreams. The Archangel assured them that Mary would be “a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world.” As a curious genealogical side note, Joachim was of the tribe of Judah, a direct descendant of King David. Thus the kingly stature of the Messiah was assured. Anna, on the other hand, was a woman from the tribe of Levi, the daughter of the priest Mattan, ensuring that the Messiah would also be of priestly descent. Anna also had two sisters, Mary and Zoia. Mary was the mother of Salome, later to be numbered among the Myrrh-Bearing women; this Salome is NOT to be confused with the temptress who so entertained Herod! Zoia became the mother of Elizabeth, destined in her old age to bear John the Forerunner. The Messiah would clearly be born into a family circle and would no doubt be acquainted with his relatives. The subsequent careers of the clan would be closely tied to that of Jesus, their own kin.m

INSIDE THE VATICAN PILGRIMAGES made a special pilgrimage to Russia, as well as Rome, in July 2018, to take part in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the murder of Tsar Nicholas and his wife and five children in July 1918. Contact us at for information about joining us for upcoming special pilgrimages like this one. page 48 t Urbi et Orbi Foundation is a project of Urbi et Orbi Communications t 202-536-4555




n October 30, 2020, Metropolitan Amfilohije 2020. Metropolitan Amfilohije mounted a massive (Radović) of Montenegro and the Littoral (Sercampaign urging voters to reject the political parties bian Orthodox Church) died at the age of 82 from that had passed the law on religion. Contrary to the complications resulting from the COVID virus. He expectations of political observers, Amfilohije was was a person who had a profound influence on the successful, and an opposition coalition, headed by small Balkan country of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapić, a university pro(population approximately 625,000). fessor and a great admirer of Amfilohije, He had been born in a village in the won the election. The DPS became a miterritory of Montenegro and had subnority party for the first time in 30 years. sequently received his theological Even after the election, the great influtraining in Belgrade, Rome (Pontifical ence of Amfilohije continued. When the Oriental Institute), and Athens. After three parties that compose the winning being a bishop in Serbia for five years, coalition reached a deadlock on the dehe became in 1990 the head of the tails of forming a new government, AmSerbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in filohije held a meeting at a monastery Montenegro. with the parties, and the deadlock was In 1918 Montenegro and Serbia bebroken. came part of the same nation. They reMontenegro exemplifies the polar exmained together until Montenegro treme of an Orthodox Church’s involveMetropolitan Amfilohije regained its independence from Serbia (Radović) of Montenegro and ment in politics. The polar extreme of the Littoral (Serbian as a result of a referendum conducted non-involvement in politics is exempliOrthodox Church) in Montenegro in May 2006. The fied by the position of the Belarusian Orleader of the independence movement was Milo thodox Church (BOC) with respect to the current Đukanović and his Democratic Party of Socialists protests in Belarus against the Lukashenko govern(DPS). The DPS with its coalition partners had prement. In late August 2020, after the beginning of the viously controlled the local government in Monteneprotests, the Moscow Patriarchate appointed Metrogro since 1990, and they continued to control politan Veniamin (Tupeko) to head the BOC. Since independent Montenegro without interruption therethen, Metropolitan Veniamin has refrained from critafter. After independence, relations between icizing the Lukashenko government in any way. Đukanović and Amfilohije were rocky. Amfilohije Metropolitan Veniamin has stated that “the positended to be regarded as the protector of the ethnic tion of the Church should be neutral.”According to Serbs in the country, while Đukanović was more him, “the Church is a meeting place for people of identified with the ethnic Montenegrins. different convictions and political views,” and it is Tensions came to a boiling point after the DPS important “that some words or actions of a clergyand its partners in December 2019 passed a law on man do not have a dividing effect on our society.” religion which included provisions relating to Rather, the Metropolitan urges a program of penance Church property. Under the law, Church property and prayer for peace in society. predating 1918 became property of the state unless Viewing the situations in Montenegro and Bethe Church organization could present legal proof of larus, it appears that the Church will be involved its ownership of the property. In response, the SOC in politics if its own institutional interests are at organized mass demonstrations and religious prostake, such as ownership of its churches. On the cessions to “save our churches” and to repeal the other hand, the Church will be reluctant to be innew law. Tens of thousands of people participated. volved if its own faithful are sharply divided on a Parliamentary elections were set for August 30, political issue. m t Urbi et Orbi Foundation is a project of Urbi et Orbi Communications t 202-536-4555

page 49


NEWS from the EAST


POPE FRANCIS TELLS ORTHODOX LEADER: I AM CONFIDENT WE WILL ACHIEVE FULL UNITY Pope Francis told the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople November 30 that he is confident that Catholics and Orthodox Christians will attain full communion. In a message to Bartholomew I on the Feast of St. Andrew, Pope Francis praised the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s efforts to promote Christian unity. “We can thank God that relations between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have grown much over the past century, even as we continue to yearn for the goal of the restoration of full communion expressed through participation at the same Eucharistic altar,” he wrote. “Although obstacles remain, I am confident that by walking together in mutual love and pursuing theological dialogue, we will reach that goal.” The Pope sends a message each year on November 30 to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who is regarded as the successor of St. Andrew the Apostle and “first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Pope Francis recalled his recent meeting with Bartholomew I at an international meeting for peace in Rome on October 20. “Undoubtedly all initiatives taken by national and international entities aimed at promoting peace are useful and necessary, yet conflict and violence will never cease until all people reach a deeper awareness that they have a mutual responsibility as brothers and sisters,” he wrote. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, led the delegation, which included the pontifical council’s secretary, Bishop Brian Farrell, and undersecretary, Msgr. Andrea Palmieri. They were joined by Archbishop Paul F. Russell, the U.S.born Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey. (CNA) PATRIARCH IRINEJ DIES OF CORONAVIRUS Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, age 90, died November 20 at 7:07 a.m. in Belgrade. He had been admitted to the military COVID hospital in Belgrade on November 4 without symptoms after a positive COVID CPR test. It appears that his chronic heart insufficiency contributed to his death from the coronavirus. He was a beloved chief pastor of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Condolences poured in throughout the world from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Kirill, Patriarch Daniel, and Cardinal Kurt Koch. Under the constitution of the Serbian Patriarchate, the page 50

Holy Synod now chaired by Metropolitan Hrisostom of Dabar-Bosnia assumes the patriarchal responsibilities until a new patriarch is elected. Patriarch Irinej had been selected as patriarch in January 2010 by drawing of lots among the three finalists who received the most votes from the bishops; the drawing of lots had earlier been used during the Communist era to prevent the Communist authorities from dictating who the patriarch would be. The current constitution of the Patriarchate now provides for the election of the patriarch by majority vote. CONTINUING CONFLICT OVER RECOGNITION OF THE OCU The Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus met November 23. Archbishop Chrysostomos explained at the meeting his decision to recognize the autocephaly of the OCU [Orthodox Church of Ukraine, whose autocephaly was first recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 2019] but the recognition issue was not put to a vote. In a November 8 interview, the Archbishop stated that he changed his mind on the Ukrainian issue after listening to the reasons given by the Ecumenical Patriarch during a visit to the Phanar in March 2020. On November 4, it was reported that the four Cypriot hierarchs, who had very vocally attacked the recognition of the OCU, wrote a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch after the latter’s criticism of them. The four stated that the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarch was not a “primacy of power” but “a primacy of responsibility and ministry” for the unity of the Church, the right faith and love. With respect to the topic of the primacy of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has given an interview to the National Herald in which he explained that without the concept of “first without equals,” there is a risk that Orthodoxy will become a Protestant-like confederation. (Peter Anderson) PROTESTORS MOURN MAN KILLED BY BELARUSSIAN SECURITY FORCES In Belarus, a funeral was held November 20 at an Orthodox church in Minsk for Roman Bondarenko, a 31-year-old man, who died the previous week in a hospital from injuries inflicted, according to protesters, from security forces. The church was surrounded by thousands of people, somewhat similar to the emotions that erupted in the United States after the death of George Floyd. In the previous few days, memorials of flowers, candles, and photos arose in various Belarus cities. These were then destroyed by security forces or Lukashenko sympathizers, but were soon rebuilt. On November 18, both Father Sergy Lepin, spokesperson t Urbi et Orbi Foundation is a project of Urbi et Orbi Communications t 202-536-4555

for the Belarusian Orthodox Church, and Catholic Bishop Yury Kasabutski were summoned to the General Prosecutor’s Office and given official warnings for their statements on Facebook criticizing the destruction of memorials. It was alleged that this criticism incited hatred against the state authorities. The criticism by Lepin is noted as the first apparent time that an official of the Belarusian Orthodox Church has specifically made a negative remark about the Lukashenko regime since Metropolitan Veniamin became exarch of Belarus. The Belarussian Orthodox Church includes strong supporters of Lukashenko as well as protesters. For example, the well-known Mother Gabriela, head of the monastery in Grodno, presented gifts to the heads of the Internal Affairs Department in Grodno on November 10. These included cakes, one of which was beautifully decorated with the emblem of the OMOH (the riot police). (Peter Anderson)

a half billion euros). Protoierej Leonid Kalinin, who proposed the project on behalf of the patriarchate, referred to the new spiritual center with the title of “capital of Orthodoxy.” At the end of August 2020, the Russian Environment Ministry had made it known that it was in favor of the project, a sign that people have continued to believe in the project even during this difficult year of the pandemic. But on November 5, a new “General plan for the city district of Sergiev Posad” was approved, in which no construction of patriarchal buildings is envisaged not only by 2025, but not even until at least 2040. The official reason for the cancellation of the patriarchal project has not been disclosed, but some speculate that President Putin has tired of covering the foreign policy defeats of Patriarch Kirill with state money. In the last two years these defeats include the rupture of relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, due to the recognition of the Orthdox Church of Ukraine (OCU). MOSCOW: THE “ORTHODOX In fact, the patriarchal project envisVATICAN” WILL NOT BE BUILT aged 13 institutional seats reserved for On November 11, the project to the various autocephalous Orthodox build the new seat of the patriarchate of Churches, starting with that of ConMoscow in the Lavra of the Holy Trinstantinople. They would have occupied ity of St. Sergius in Sergiev Posad, an area of 13,100 square meters. Now, about 40 miles outside of Moscow, was however, in addition to the “primatial” definitively rejected. For some years see represented by Bartholomew (Arnow there has been talk of this project, chontonis), the Hellenic Church of Demonstrations in Belarus after opposition popularly called the “Orthodox Vati- protester Roman Bondarenko’s death in Minsk Athens has also broken off relations can.” The news has been little covered with Moscow, presided over by Archin the Russian press, and its rejection is attributed to the difbishop Ieronimos (Liapis), the patriarchate of Alexandria of ficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but in all probEgypt of Theodoros (Choreutakis) , and the Church of Cyprus ability it depends on the misunderstandings between the led by Archbishop Chrysostomos II (Englistriotis). It is likely Russian presidency of Vladimir Putin and the Kirill (Gundthat other Churches will also agree to recognize Metropolitan jaev) patriarchate. Epifanyj (Dumenko) of Kiev (OCU). In this way, the planned Plans for the transfer of the administrative offices of the locations in Sergiev Posad would remain largely empty. Moscow Patriarchate to Sergiev Posad, gutting and rebuilding Without the representatives of the other Orthodox the entire center of the town, have been openly discussed Churches, the “Muscovite papacy” could not have any credsince 2019. The urban renovation project, expected ibility, and Kirill will have to wait for more favorable cirby 2025, provided for the occupation of about one cumstances to proclaim his primacy over Orthodoxy, third of the city, including civil administrative perhaps with the help of Russian anti-COVID vacbuildings. The total cost of the operation was esticines that will soon be launched on the international mated at around 140 billion rubles (about one and market, Putin permitting. (AsiaNews.It)m

The Christian Churches, the communities of the disciples of Christ, were intended to be united as one; Pope John Paul II proclaimed, “The Church must breathe with Her two lungs!” Unfortunately, the Churches are not united. This is a great scandal, an impediment to the witness of the Church. Since unity was desired by Christ Himself, we must work to end this disunity and accomplish the will of the Lord.

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page 51

Of Books, Art and People



efore opening its advance sales on November 1, a PR officer at Callaway Arts and Entertainment in Manhattan sent out a flyer about its forthcoming publication The Sistine Chapel. November 1 was intentional; it’s All Saints’ Day, but also the day in 1512 that the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling was first exhibited to the public. This unicum, a masterpiece, a work of art, a legacy, a collector’s dream, is divided, like the Sistine Chapel itself, into three separate sections and is presented in chronological order. Volume 1 contains “The Frescoes of the 15th Century,” by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Signorelli, and other Renaissance masters. Volume 2 contains “The Ceiling,” depicting the story of mankind from the Creation to the Coming of Christ in frescoes commissioned by Pope Julius II (r. 1503-1513) and painted by Michelangelo from 1508-1512. Volume 3 contains the frescoes commissioned by Pope Paul III (r. 1534-1545), again painted by Michelangelo (from 1534-1541), of The Last Judgment and The Second Coming of Christ. All the texts, essays and captions are by Antonio Paolucci, the former director of the Vatican Museums (2007-2016), previously in sequence the Director General of Cultural Heritage from 1980-2006 of Venice, Verona, Mantua and finally Florence, with an interval as Italy’s Minister of Culture from 1995-96. Callaway’s website bullets many special features of the trilogy: —English translations of Paolucci’s writings by art historian Frank Dabell, translator of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2017 exhibition: Michelangelo: Divine 52 INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021

Details of Christ in the center of Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment

Draftsman and Designer —The trim size of each volume is 24 x 17 inches vertical —The weight of each book is approximately 20 lbs. or 60 lbs. for the set —822 total pages —Printed in six-color offset lithography, including 220 24 x 51 inch gatefolds —The Bodoniana bindings handmade in silk with metallic ink and white calf leather spines stamped in silver, gold and platinum foil —Typographic design by Jerry Kelly —Debossed handmade endpapers based on the Cosmati mosaic tile floor pattern of the Sistine Chapel —Custom handmade box —Retail price $22,000 for the set, with shipping and handling —Available for purchase December 1, 2020 Not included in this list, since not a Callaway project, are the volumes’ breathtaking photographs (copyrighted by the Vatican Museums). A team of Vatican photographers took some 270,000 images on 65 consecutive nights, when the Sistine Chapel was closed. They used a 33-foot tall scaffolding and rig to capture every inch of the Chapel’s frescoes with advanced optics and digital photography. According to Callaway’s website: “The team utilized three-dimensional reconstruction software to stitch together seamlessly all 270,000 individual frames to reproduce the Chapel to an unprecedented level of color [99.4% accurate] and detail [1:1 scale]. The result is the first opportunity in history for viewers to see the frescoes… with images so detailed and sharp and immersive that you feel you are there next to the artist, seeing in extreme close-up the precise colors, textures, even the artist’s individual brush strokes.”

For an insider’s account of this remarkable collaboration aren’t sold there or elsewhere in Rome. Scripta Maneant rebetween the Vatican Museums, the distinguished Bolognese cently told us that not even Pope Francis has a set, neither the publisher Scripta Maneant, and Callaway, I exchanged sevItalian nor our English edition. Nonetheless, a percentage eral e-mails with Manuela Roosevelt, the editorial director of from every sale of every edition goes to supporting the ongoCallaway since 2014. I also met in person here in Rome with ing conservation efforts of the Vatican Museums and of the Frank Dabell. Callaway hired him because of his numerous Sistine Chapel. We also match financially donations to public translations for the Met during and since his two-year Felinstitutions and libraries, college art departments, churches, lowship there in the mid-1980s. Besides the Met, Dabell has and dioceses.” translated catalogs from French and Italian for the Frick ColThe Sistine Chapel is Callaway’s first project with the Vatlection, the National Gallery in London, and the National ican, but Roosevelt confirmed that they’re considering severGallery of Art in Washington, D.C. al others together with Scripta Maneant. From Roosevelt I learned that Callaway’s inspiration to Dabell, instead, isn’t a newcomer to Rome; he grew up approach the Vatican Museums about participating in this here because his British father was a hydraulic engineer at project was a two-volume set, Sistine Chapel, published in the FAO. Nor is he a newcomer to Vatican projects. For 1991 by Knopf. Callaway’s example, in 2016, he coThe Sistine Chapel was five curated with Paolucci the years in the making, the arexhibition in Forlì, Piero rangements signed and della Francesca. Indagine sealed during Paolucci’s disu un mito. rectorship. Regarding The Sistine During the project’s first Chapel, Dabell told me, two years, Scripta Maneant “The introductory essays to published three other simeach volume aren’t overpler versions, one in Italian academic; they are: ‘This is which cost 1,000 euros and Paolucci speaking.’ I could sold out immediately, one in have been participating in a Polish and one in Russian. one-to-one guided tour with The photographs are the Paolucci or attending a lecsame in all four editions, as ture with a slide show by are Paolucci’s writings. him. When I translate, I “The Vatican Museums want to capture the author’s Detail from The Creation of Adam in the central section of the scenes limited the total number of tone, in this case an expert, from the Book of Genesis on the Sistine Chapel ceiling all editions to 1,999, never who is also very devout, so to be reprinted in this format again,” Roosevelt wrote me. I wanted to transmit Paolucci’s faith. In the opening intro“We determined that we could comfortably sell 600 sets of duction, he points out that the Sistine Chapel is an artwork of the English edition.” faith, even if it’s possible to appreciate its art without consid“The differences between editions,” Roosevelt continued, ering its context. But, if you have faith, a visit to the Sistine “are in the typographic treatment and in the finishing and Chapel or reading this book will be a richer experience.” binding choices for each edition. The covers of the Italian “My job,” explained Dabell, “was to match the images edition, for instance, are paper-over board with a composite with the appropriate words because we only have words to leather spine. Our seemingly exorbitant price-tag is the result describe music, to describe painting, to describe all art of the higher costs of the materials used in our edition and, of forms. It’s a huge challenge to find the appropriate words, course, the higher manufacturing costs with everything being particularly for colors, because they change during the day handmade. Although we don’t disclose the names of our cusand in different seasons. For examples, the words orange or tomers, I can confirm many are international and that sales brown are too generic, so I opted for nuances like apricot are already robust.” and chestnut. I also deliberately translated the volumes in Until December 1, the volumes could only be ordered their chronological order because I read The Sistine Chapel from Callaway’s website, and they were shipped worldwide as an organic piece and sought a consistent style. from Scripta Maneant. Now the set can also be ordered from “Another challenge of translation is not the length, but the Neiman Marcus, Gumps in San Francisco, and Barnes & Nodensity of the text,” Dabell continued. “Italian can be longble bookstores. “Once museums re-open,” continued Roowinded, to put it rudely. Unlike Italian, in English we don’t sevelt, “we hope that some will sell our edition. Although the have one very long sentence or paragraph filling a page; we Vatican Museums own the copyright to the art, Callaway sets have three.” JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN 53

Of Books, Art and People After studying art history ian on the supervisory commitat Oxford and the Courtauld tee for the conservation of Institute, followed by his FelPiero’s Resurrection in San Selowship at the Metropolitan, polcro,” he said. Dabell remained in New Besides translating and cuYork writing catalogs for the rating, Dabell has been a prodistinguished Piero Corsini fessor at Temple University in Gallery, no longer in exisRome since 2003 and on the tence, and lecturing at the art history faculty of Rome’s Met. In 2001 he returned to University (the Tor Vergata Rome, “because Rome was branch) since 2018. In addiand still is my comfort tion, he’s taught at Dartmouth zone... I find myself at ease College’s Foreign Study ProDetail of The Baptism of Christ by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine Chapel. I’ve gram and at the Università per been hundreds of times but each time I see something new. I gli Stranieri in Perugia. He’s a frequent guest lecturer for still can’t claim to know every inch of it; I will when I see museum journeys in Europe and the Mediterranean (most reCallaway’s set… I can’t wait! For now, if I’m lying in bed cently in Thessaloniki and Athens: The Legacy of Alexander with my eyes closed, I can take myself through the scenes on the Great for the Met, in 2019) as well as in Russia and the ceiling. So writing this translation was to translate those North Africa. images into my own words via Paolucci’s. It forced me to Dabell’s next Vatican project is one of several lectures by look even more closely at something I thought I already distinguished art historians to be shown on the internet exknew.” clusively for the Patrons of the Art in the Vatican Museums. In addition to the Sistine Chapel, Dabell is at home with His lecture’s title is: “Fra Angelico, Pinturicchio, and the Piero della Francesca. “Certainly my most gratifying experiDream Team of Florentine Art. The Quattrocento Painters ence during the last three years was being the only non-Italin the Papal Chapels and Apartments.”m

Join us ffor or V Virtual irtual Pilg Pilgrimages rimages St . F Frrancis col lected stones to rebuild the cr umbling phyysica l church a round him. To Today many of our “ livv ing stones” of the fa ith a re cha l lenged, conf used and tired. We a re gathering up a col lection of “ liv ing stones” to rebuild the univversa l Church into a liv ing body of people to k now Christ, to love Christ and to ser ve Christ so to k now ourselves more, as we a re created in His image and likeness, and to love our neighb bors.

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Catholic ATTITUDE Since the 1960s much of Catholicism has YHHUHG Rႇ LQ D UHYROXWLRQDU\ GLUHFWLRQ ² LWV 0DU[LVP GHULYLQJ DV PXFK IURP *URXFKR DV IURP .DUO ² DQG the results are in: Two out of three Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Weekly Mass attendance has dropped from 70 percent to 30 percent. The number of priests, brothers, sisters, Catholic schools and parishes, marriages, baptisms, DQG FRQÂżUPDWLRQV KDV GHFOLQHG ² dramatically in many cases. According to the Pew Forum, former Catholics outnumber converts by a ratio of nearly 5-1. The Catholic revolution, like Lenin’s and Castro’s revolutions, KDV EHHQ D PRQXPHQWDO Ă€RS %XW the pompous pooh-bahs and radical apparatchiks refuse to UHFRJQL]H WKH REYLRXV ² WKH\ think the ’60s never ended. Still trying to be cool cats, they’re so cool they’re frozen in a time warp. Mercifully, God’s frozen people are thawing RXW :KHUHÂśV WKH ÂżUH DQG G\QDPLVP LQ WKH &KXUFK today? Among orthodox Catholics! Polls show that the Catholics most committed to the Church are orthodox Catholics. The dioceses that have no vocations shortage, the religious orders that are growing, and the seminaries that are packed are predominantly the orthodox ones. The only massive grassroots movement in the Church is the pro-life movement, led by orthodox Catholics. The only sigQLÂżFDQW &DWKROLF SUHVHQFH RQ 79 DQG UDGLR LV WKDW RI orthodox Catholics. In Catholic journalism, guess what’s coming at you hot Rႇ WKH SUHVVHV" 2UWKRGR[\ $QG ZKR EOD]HG

that trail? We at the 1ŕś?ŕś&#x; 2ŕś ŕśŽŕś—ŕśšŕśŒ 5ŕś?ŕśžŕś‘ŕś?ŕś&#x; did. Founded in 1977 as an Anglo-Catholic magazine, we took our name from the 19th-century Oxford Movement. We immediately championed Pope St. John Paul II when he cracked down on dissenting theologian Hans KĂźng, although no leading Roman Catholic magazine was willing to do so. The novelty of Anglicans supporting a muscular pope attracted the attention of Newsweek, which predicted that we would, like St. John Henry Newman, become Roman Catholic, which we did in 1983. And a wave of converts followed. The converts of today are likewise attracted, not by a capricious cafeteria Catholicism, but by a Catholicism steeped in history and tradition. They relish a religion that’s bold and articulate, one that doesn’t bow down before passing fads. In a word, they want orthodoxy. And that’s where the 1ŕś?ŕś&#x; 2ŕś ŕśŽŕś—ŕśšŕśŒ 5ŕś?ŕśžŕś‘ŕś?ŕś&#x; comes in. We don’t shy away from the “hardâ€? teachings of Christ and His Church. We know why we’re Catholic, and we’re not afraid to tell doubters and dissenters alike all about it. We discuss the full range of ideas found at the intersection of faith and culture, and we address all the challenges facing WKH &KXUFK WRGD\ ERWK LQWHUQDO DQG H[WHUQDO ² DQG we do so with “attitude,â€? as Karl Keating, founder of Catholic Answers, has said, and with “cheek,â€? as Newsweek noted. The Catholic counter-revolution is well underway. As Fr. Joseph Fessio, founder of Ignatius Press, has said, the 1ŕś?ŕś&#x; 2ŕś ŕśŽŕś—ŕśšŕśŒ 5ŕś?ŕśžŕś‘ŕś?ŕś&#x; “belongs in every loyal Catholic’s arsenal.â€? Rediscover the romance of orthodoxy by subscribing today!

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“As he drew near Rome...” MORE THAN A CENTURY AGO, MONSIGNOR ROBERT HUGH BENSON FORESAW THE RISE OF SECULAR HUMANISM, THE CONTRACTION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, AND THE COMING OF THE ANTICHRIST... n BY ITV STAFF Editor’s Note: The passage below is from the novel Lord of the World, written by the English Catholic convert Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson (the son of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury) in 1907. He attempts a vision of the world more than a century in the future — in the early 21st century… our own time… predicting the

LORD OF THE WORLD BY ROBERT HUGH BENSON (1907) BOOK II-THE ENCOUNTER CHAPTER I IV (Note: Oliver Brand comes to his mother’s bedside and finds she has just passed away while holding a rosary; Oliver’s wife, Mabel, confesses to Oliver that she “assisted” the mother’s death to be “merciful” to her.) The girl stared at him, astonished. “We can be generous, too,” he said. “We have all the world at last. And she—she has lost nothing: it was too late.” “I did what I could.” “Yes, my darling, and you were right. But she was too old; she could not understand.” He paused. “Euthanasia?” he whispered with something very like tenderness. She nodded. “Yes,” she said; “just as the last agony began. She resisted, but I knew you would wish it.” They talked together for an hour in the garden before Oliver went to his room; and he began to tell her presently of all that had passed. [Note: the following lines refer to Felsenburgh, who is the emerging political figure of Antichrist.] “He has refused,” he said. “We offered to create an office for Him; He was to have been called Consultor, and he refused it two hours ago. But He has promised to be at our service…. No, I must not tell you where He is…. He will return to America soon, we think; but He will not leave us. We have drawn up a programme, and it is to be sent to Him presently…. Yes, we were unanimous.” “And the programme?” “It concerns the Franchise, the Poor Laws and Trade. I can tell you no more than that. It was He who suggested the points. But we are not sure if we understand Him yet.” “But, my dear—-” “Yes; it is quite extraordinary. I have never seen such things. There was practically no argument.” “Do the people understand?” “I think so. We shall have to guard against a reaction. They say 56


rise of Communism, the fall of faith in many places, the advance of technology (he foresees helicopters) and so forth, up until... the Second Coming of the Lord, with which his vision ends. For this reason, and also because Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have repeatedly cited Benson’s book, saying its clarification of the danger of a type of humanitarianism without God is a true danger that we do face, we are printing selections from it in ITV, now and in the months ahead.

that the Catholics will be in danger. There is an article this morning in the Era. The proofs were sent to us for sanction. It suggests that means must be taken to protect the Catholics.” Mabel smiled. “It is a strange irony,” he said. “But they have a right to exist. How far they have a right to share in the government is another matter. That will come before us, I think, in a week or two.” “Tell me more about Him.” “There is really nothing to tell; we know nothing, except that He is the supreme force in the world. France is in a ferment, and has offered him Dictatorship. That, too, He has refused. Germany has made the same proposal as ourselves; Italy, the same as France, with the title of Perpetual Tribune. America has done nothing yet, and Spain is divided.” “And the East?” “The Emperor thanked Him; no more than that.” Mabel drew a long breath, and stood looking out across the heat haze that was beginning to rise from the town beneath. These were matters so vast that she could not take them in. But to her imagination Europe lay like a busy hive, moving to and fro in the sunshine. She saw the blue distance of France, the towns of Germany, the Alps, and beyond them the Pyrenees and sun-baked Spain; and all were intent on the same business, to capture if they could this astonishing figure that had risen over the world. Sober England, too, was alight with zeal. Each country desired nothing better than that this man should rule over them; and He had refused them all. “He has refused them all!” she repeated breathlessly. “Yes, all. We think He may be waiting to hear from America. He still holds office there, you know.” “How old is He?” “Not more than thirty-two or three. He has only been in office a few months. Before that He lived alone in Vermont. Then He stood for the Senate; then He made a speech or two; then He was appointed delegate, though no one seems to have realised His power. And the rest we know.” Mabel shook her head meditatively. “We know nothing,” she said. “Nothing; nothing! Where did He learn His languages?”

God as seen by William Blake as the Architect of the world, in Ancient of Days, held in the British Museum, London

“It is supposed that He travelled for many years. But no one knows. He has said nothing.” She turned swiftly to her husband. “But what does it all mean? What is His power? Tell me, Oliver?” He smiled back, shaking his head. “Well, Markham said that it was his incorruption—that and his oratory; but that explains nothing.” “No, it explains nothing,” said the girl. “It is just personality,” went on Oliver, “at least, that’s the label to use. But that, too, is only a label.” “Yes, just a label. But it is that. They all felt it in Paul’s House, and in the streets afterwards. Did you not feel it?” “Feel it!” cried the man, with shining eyes. “Why, I would die for Him!” ***** They went back to the house presently, and it was not till they reached the door that either said a word about the dead old woman who lay upstairs. “They are with her now,” said Mabel softly. “I will communicate with the people.” He nodded gravely. “It had better be this afternoon,” he said. “I have a spare hour at fourteen o’clock. Oh! by the way, Mabel, do you know who took the message to the priest?” “I think so.” “Yes, it was Phillips. I saw him last night. He will not come here again.” “Did he confess it?” “He did. He was most offensive.” But Oliver’s face softened again as he nodded to his wife at the foot of the stairs, and turned to go up once more to his mother’s room. CHAPTER II I It seemed to Percy Franklin as he drew near Rome, sliding five hundred feet high through the summer dawn, that he was approaching the very gates of heaven, or, still better, he was as a child coming home. For what he had left behind him ten hours before in London was not a bad specimen, he thought, of the superior mansions of hell. It was a world whence God seemed to have withdrawn Himself, leaving it indeed in a state of profound complacency—a state without hope or faith, but a condition in which, although life continued, there was absent the one essential to well-being. It was not that there was not expectation—for London was on tip-toe with excitement. There were rumours of all kinds: Felsenburgh was coming back; he was back; he had never gone. He was to be President of the Council, Prime Minister, Tribune, with full capacities of democratic government and personal sacro-sanctity, even King—if not Emperor of the West. The entire constitution was to be remodelled, there was to be a complete rearrangement of the pieces; crime was to be abolished by the mysterious power that had killed war; there was to be free food—the secret of life was discovered, there was to be no more death—so the rumours ran…. Yet that was lacking, to the priest’s mind, which made life worth living…. In Paris, while the volor waited at the great station at Mont-

martre, once known as the Church of the Sacred Heart, he had heard the roaring of the mob in love with life at last, and seen the banners go past. As it rose again over the suburbs he had seen the long lines of trains streaming in, visible as bright serpents in the brilliant glory of the electric globes, bringing the country folk up to the Council of the Nation which the legislators, mad with drama, had summoned to decide the great question. At Lyons it had been the same. The night was as clear as the day, and as full of sound. Mid France was arriving to register its votes. He had fallen asleep as the cold air of the Alps began to envelop the car, and had caught but glimpses of the solemn moonlit peaks below him, the black profundities of the gulfs, the silver glint of the shield-like lakes, and the soft glow of Interlaken and the towns in the Rhone valley. Once he had been moved in spite of himself, as one of the huge German volors had passed in the night, a blaze of ghostly lights and gilding, resembling a huge moth with antennae of electric light, and the two ships had saluted one another through half a league of silent air, with a pathetic cry as of two strange nightbirds who have no leisure to pause. Milan and Turin had been quiet, for Italy was organised on other principles than France, and Florence was not yet half awake. And now the Campagna was slipping past like a grey-green rug, wrinkled and tumbled, five hundred feet beneath, and Rome was all but in sight. The indicator above his seat moved its finger from one hundred to ninety miles. He shook off the doze at last, and drew out his office book; but as he pronounced the words his attention was elsewhere, and, when Prime was said, he closed the book once more, propped himself more comfortably, drawing the furs round him, and stretching his feet on the empty seat opposite. He was alone in his compartment; the three men who had come in at Paris had descended at Turin. ***** He had been remarkably relieved when the message had come three days before from the Cardinal-Protector, bidding him make arrangements for a long absence from England, and, as soon as that was done, to come to Rome. He understood that the ecclesiastical authorities were really disturbed at last. He reviewed the last day or two, considering the report he would have to present. Since his last letter, three days before, seven notable apostasies had taken place in Westminster diocese alone, two priests and five important laymen. There was talk of revolt on all sides; he had seen a threatening document, called a “petition,” demanding the right to dispense with all ecclesiastical vestments, signed by one hundred and twenty priests from England and Wales. The “petitioners” pointed out that persecution was coming swiftly at the hands of the mob; that the Government was not sincere in the promises of protection; they hinted that religious loyalty was already strained to breaking-point even in the case of the most faithful, and that with all but those it had already broken... (Lord of the World, Book II, The Encounter, Chapter II, Part I, to be continued) m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN


VATICAN WATCH By Becky Derks with CNA Reports - Grzegorz Galazka and CNA photos


PANDEMIC FORCES VATICAN TO SCALE DOWN WORLD DAY OF THE POOR EVENTS Coronavirus restrictions have forced the Vatican to scale down the commemoration of the World Day of the Poor (November 14), Archbishop Rino Fisichella said at a press conference November 12. The Pope was not able to host a lunch for poor inhabitants of Rome at the Vatican as he had in previous years. The Vatican was unable to provide a “field hospital” for the poor in St. Peter’s Square as it had in the past. Archbishop Fishichella commented: “As one can imagine, the customary events that have been held in recent years — I refer in particular to the field hospital in St. Peter’s Square and the lunch with 1,500 poor people together with the Holy Father in the Paul VI Hall — have been suspended in order to comply with current regulations.” SATURDAY 21

POPE FRANCIS ENCOURAGES YOUNG ECONOMISTS TO LEARN FROM THE POOR In a video message, Pope Francis encouraged young economists and entrepreneurs from around the world to bring Jesus to their cities, and to work not only for the poor, but with the poor. Addressing participants of the Economy of Francesco online event, the Pope said November 21 that changing the world is about much more than “social assistance” or “welfare:” “We are speaking of a conversion and transformation of our priorities and of the place of others in our policies and in the social order.” “Let us, then, not think for [the poor], but with them. Let us learn from them how to propose economic models that will benefit everyone…” he said. He told young adults it is not enough to meet the essential needs of their brothers and sisters. “We need to accept structurally that the poor have sufficient dignity to sit at our meetings, participate in our discussions and bring bread to their own tables,” he said. SUNDAY 22


King, and afterward oversaw the traditional passing of the World Youth Day cross and Marian icon to a delegation from Portugal. At the end of Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica November 22, the World Youth Day cross and icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani were handed over to a group of young people from Portugal by young people from Panama. The event took place ahead of the 16th international World Youth Day, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in August 2023. The last international youth gathering took place in Panama in January 2019. “This is an important step in the pilgrimage that will lead us to Lisbon in 2023,” Pope Francis said. MONDAY 30

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: POPE FRANCIS CANCELS TRADITIONAL ACT OF VENERATION DUE TO PANDEMIC The Vatican announced November 30 that Pope Francis would not visit Rome’s Piazza di Spagna for the traditional veneration of Mary on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception due to the pandemic in 2020. Instead, Francis would mark the feast day with “an act of private devotion, entrusting the city of Rome, its inhabitants and the many sick people in every part of the world to Our Lady,” Holy See press office director Matteo Bruni said. It was be the first time since 1953 that the Pope had not offered the traditional veneration of the statue of the Immaculate Conception on the December 8 feast. Bruni said that Francis would not go to the square in order to avoid people gathering and transmitting the virus. The statue of the Immaculate Conception, next to Piazza di Spagna, sits atop a nearly 40-foot high column. It was dedicated December 8, 1857, three years after Pope Pius IX promulgated a decree defining the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.


COUNCIL OF CARDINALS STUDIES SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS TO DRAFT OF VATICAN CONSTITUTION Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals met online to continue work on the new apostolic constitution to govern the Roman Curia, according to a Vatican statement.

Opposite, the statue of Mary in honor of her Immaculate Conception, next to Piazza di Spagna, with a crown of flowers on her feast day of December 8. Below, Pope Francis and Cardinal Konrad Krajewski on December 2 bless an ambulance used for COVID tests among the poor on the outskirts of Rome

The seven cardinals and an archbishop secretary are studying “observations, amendments, and proposals received from the dicasteries consulted in recent months” regarding the draft of the new constitution, known as Praedicate evangelium, a brief press release said. Pope Francis also participated in the December 1 meeting, connecting virtually from the Vatican guesthouse where he lives. The group of cardinal advisers, referred to as the C9 for its original nine members, was established by Pope Francis in 2013, with the aim of revising the text of the 1988 apostolic constitution Pastor bonus. At one of the council’s first meetings, it was decided that projected revisions to Pastor bonus would be substantial enough to warrant an entirely new constitution. POPE FRANCIS: INCULTURATED MASS SHOWS US THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT Pope Francis said December 1 that inculturated liturgy can teach Catholics to better appreciate the diverse gifts of the Holy Spirit. In a preface to a new book, Pope Francis said that “this process of liturgical inculturation in Congo is an invitation to value the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are a treasure for all humanity.” The inculturated Mass included traditional Congolese music and the Zaire Use of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Zaire Use is an inculturated Mass formally approved in 1988 for the dioceses of what was then known as the Republic of Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in central Africa. The only inculturated Eucharistic celebration approved after the Second Vatican Council, it was developed following a call for adaptation of the liturgy in Sacrosanctum concilium, Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. WEDNESDAY 2

POPE FRANCIS’ AMBULANCE BRINGS FREE FLU SHOTS AND CORONAVIRUS TESTS TO THE HOMELESS Pope Francis’ charity brought free flu vaccines and coronavirus tests to homeless people living in a town outside Rome on December 2. The Vatican ambulance carried the medical supplies to the small seaside town of Torvaianica, located outside the wider metropolitan area of Rome, about 45 miles south of the city center. Despite heavy rain, health staff from the papal charity office administered the flu shots and COVID-19 tests to 35 people in the courtyard in front of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Immaculate Parish, according to Vatican News. Those who received the help were mostly immigrants from Argentina, Colombia, and Peru, who do not have access to regular medical services. The local priest, Fr. Andrea Conocchia, said that this may have been the first time they had “received such concrete and effective attention on the part of the Church.” THURSDAY 3

POPE FRANCIS ESTABLISHES WORLDWIDE PRAYER NETWORK AS VATICAN BODY Pope Francis has established the global network that promotes his monthly prayer intentions as a Vatican body. The Holy See press office announced December 3 that he had elevated the status of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, formerly known as the Apostleship of Prayer, through a papal decree called a chirograph, issued November 17. The Pope decreed that the network, founded in France in 1844 and focused on the spirituality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, would now be a papal institution based at the Vatican. It will be known as the “Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network” Vatican Foundation. Introducing the change, he said that he had taken the step “with the purpose of coordinating and inspiring this spiritual movement so dear to me, providing it with a structure adequate to the times in which we live.” He noted that in 2018 he had instituted the network as a pontifical society “to underscore the universal nature of this apostleship and the need we all have to pray more, and with heartfelt sincerity.” SUNDAY 5

POPE FRANCIS APPROVES OVERHAUL OF VATICAN’S FINANCIAL WATCHDOG Pope Francis approved sweeping changes to the Vatican’s financial watchdog authority. The Holy See press office announced December 5 that the Pope had ratified new statutes for the Financial Intelligence Authority, renaming the agency created by Benedict XVI in 2010 to oversee Vatican financial transactions. The body, which ensures that the Vatican complies with international financial standards, will no longer be known as the Financial Intelligence Authority (Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria, or AIF). It will now be called the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority (Autorità di Supervisione e Informazione Finanziaria, or ASIF). The new statutes also redefine the roles of the agency’s president and directorate, as well as establishing a new Regulation and Legal Affairs Unit within the organization.n JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN




BECKY DERKS with G. Galazka, CNA and CNS photos

n RWANDA’S FIRST CARDINAL SEES FAMILY AS KEY TO PLANTING THE SEEDS OF PEACE Rwanda’s first cardinal lost seven members of his immediate family in the 1994 genocide. Now he is using his role as archbishop of Kigali to plant “seeds of peace” by promoting the family as the foundation for building a peaceful future. Cardinal Antoine Kambanda made history when he received his red biretta from Pope Francis in the consistory on November 28 as the first cardinal from the east-central African country. “It was a great joy and I was thanking the Lord for this great grace for the Church in Rwanda and the country and Africa,” Cardinal Kambanda told EWTN News November 30. (CNA) n GERMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP ASKS VATICAN TO REVIEW HIS HANDLING OF ABUSE ALLEGATIONS A German Catholic archbishop asked the Vatican to review his handling of abuse allegations. Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg wrote to the Congregation for Bishops November 20 in connection with abuse cases that he reviewed while serving in the Archdiocese of Cologne. Hesse was vicar general of Cologne archdiocese from 2012 until his appointment as archbishop of Hamburg in 2015. In his letter to the Congregation, Hesse highlighted the current controversy over the handling of abuse complaints in Cologne archdiocese, where he served following his ordination in 1993. Hesse said that he would send the Vatican the results of an investigation presently underway in Cologne, which 60 INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021

THE HIDDEN LIFE OF THE REPUTED STIGMATIST TORTURED BY STALIN’S SECRET POLICE Sr. Wanda Boniszewska led an extraordinary life. The Polish nun was a reputed stigmatist tortured by Stalin’s secret police. Her spiritual journal, published after her death in 2003, recorded her astounding mystical experiences. Her beatification cause opened in November. But to one religious sister who lived with her in the last years of her life, Boniszewska didn’t seem outwardly remarkable. Sr. Halina Skubisz belongs to the same congregation as Boniszewska: the Congregation of the Sisters of the Angels, a habitless religious community founded in 1889. She described the frail and elderly Boniszewska as “rather withdrawn.” She was bedridden and suffering from progressive dementia by the late 1990s. “What I remember is that I felt the atmosphere of peace in her room, as if the world around me was slowing down,” Skubisz recalled. “In her suffering, she was essentially calm, reconciled with the Lord’s will.” Her spirituality centered on offering her sufferings for the expiation of sins, especially those of priests. (CNA) are expected to be published in March 2021. (CNA) n CHINA’S FIVE-YEAR PLAN PROPOSAL STRESSES EUGENICS IN BIRTH POLICY, SAYS EXPERT China, known for its decades-long one-child policy, is now looking to counter its aging population by encouraging Chinese women to have

more babies — but only certain kinds of women. “I am actually very worried,” Columbia professor Leta Hong Fincher told a panel of China experts via video link at a virtual event by the Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS) November 13. “What caught my eye was that

CHINESE PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES ORDINATION OF NEW BISHOP The Chinese Patriotic Association announced the ordination of a new bishop of Qingdao. The episcopal ordination of Thomas Chen Tianhao, took place on November 23 in Qingdao Cathedral with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association Chairman Bishop Fang Xingyao presiding, according to a statement and photos on the association’s website. Chen, 58, had previously served as the president of the Patriotic Association of Qingdao in Shandong Province in 1998 and as a National Patriotic Association Standing Committee member since 2010. He was ordained a priest in 1989 after studying at a seminary in Shandong. (CNA)

they actually use specific language saying that China needs to ‘upgrade population quality.’ They need to ‘optimize their birth policy.’ They even use a term… which is effectively emphasizing the role of eugenics in population planning in China,” she said. (CNA) n CHURCH IN INDIA BIDS FAREWELL TO OUTGOING APOSTOLIC NUNCIO The Church in India paid a moving tribute to the outgoing Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, on November 17, through a virtual session attended by 120 bishops from the country. After almost four years of diplomatic and pastoral service in India, Archbishop Diquattro will be shortly taking up his new apostolic mission in Brazil. Presiding over the online meeting, Fr. Filipe Neri Ferrão, the president of the CCBI and archbishop of Goa and Daman, recalled the meritorious services of the nuncio to the Church in India. “The CCBI is grateful to His Excellency for the excellent services rendered to the Church in India and to the CCBI,” remarked Archbishop Filipe Neri. Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the archbishop of Mumbai, who congratulated the dignitary, recalled his personal and brotherly relationship with him. (UCA News) n TEEN MARTYRED WHILE PROTECTING THE EUCHARIST BEATIFIED IN SPAIN A 19-year-old Spanish martyr who gave his life while protecting the Eucharist was beatified on November 7 at a Mass in the Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona. Blessed Joan Roig Diggle was killed “in hatred of the faith” in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.

CATHOLIC JOURNALISTS IN MOZAMBIQUE, FORCED TO HIDE IN FOREST, REACH SAFETY The nine Catholic radio journalists of the province of Cabo Delgado, in the diocese of Pemba in Mozambique, who in late October were forced to take shelter in the bush after rebels of the Islamic State had raided the headquarters of the station, are safe. “The National Forum of Community Radio (FORCOM) reports that the nine journalists of the editorial office of the Saint Francis of Assisi Community Radio, located in the district of Muidumbe, province of Cabo Delgado, are in a safe area, after having survived for 15 days in the forest,” reports a post on the FORCOM Facebook page, according to Fides News Agency. The Community Radio Forum “was able to provide logistical support to all journalists in order to reach the relatively safe areas of Namialo, Montepuez, and Pemba.” The last two journalists of the group arrived in safety on November 16 and “are already meeting their relatives in the district of Montepuez,” FORCOM states. However, the situation of journalists remains precarious due to the lack of sufficient food “to guarantee the livelihood of journalists and their families,” and the fear that “the rebels will attack the The young man was known for his devotion to the Eucharist at a time when churches in Barcelona were being closed, burned, or destroyed, so a priest entrusted Joan Roig with a ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament to distribute Holy Communion to those most in need in their homes as it was not possible to attend Mass. During one of these visits, Joan Roig told a family that he knew that red militiamen were trying to kill him. “I fear nothing, I take the Master with

entire province of Cabo Delgado.” On October 31, the entire editorial team of the Saint Francis of Assisi Community Radio evacuated the radio facilities after the rebels attacked the parish church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Muidumbe district where the station is located, forcing the nine journalists, together with their families, to escape and take refuge in the forest. According to Father Edgard Silva Júnior, coordinator of the radio, it is suspected that the entire structure of the radio station has been completely destroyed by the gunmen, but at least part of the equipment was saved, to be transported to the city of Pemba. The village of Muambula, where the radio station is located, is under the control of the insurgents. Tanzanian and Mozambican authorities in November planned joint operations to fight the Islamicist militants, after some 300 suspected Islamist militants from Mozambique attacked the Kitaya village of Mtwara, killing an unknown number of people. In the Province of Cabo Delgado, jihadists have killed more than 2,300 people since the beginning of the insurgency, forcing 500,000 inhabitants to evacuate. me,” he said. When those seeking his life knocked on his door, the young man consumed the hosts he had been guarding to protect them from potential desecration. The Libertarian Youth patrol then took him to the Santa Coloma cemetery where he was killed on September 11, 1936 with five shots to the heart and one to the head. Blessed Joan Roig’s last words were: “May God forgive you as I forgive you.”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 INSIDE THE VATICAN 61


Stefano Navarrini illustration



y October “Food for Thought”: “At Last Rome’s ‘Il Tuo Vissani’” was about chef Gianfranco Vissani’s new restaurant near Rome’s Piazza Navona. As usual I needed five photographs to illustrate my story. Instead the PR agent sent me over 200, all by the same photographer. I looked him up on Google, and his website ( was so impressive that I contacted him. A few days later we met at another restaurant he’d photographed, L’Osteria di Birra del Borgo, at Via Silla 25a, a 10-minute walk from the Vatican Museums. Clearly stated in its name, this spacious beer hall specializes in a vast selection of artisanal beers all explained on large black boards, with an extensive menu of burgers, large salads, typically Roman fried antipasti, and imaginative pastas. It’s especially renowned for its pizzataio, or pizza chef, Luca Pezzetta (awarded 3 toques [the top rating] by the magazine/guide Gambero Rosso). Blasetti, whose first memories of food are his maternal grandmother’s vegetable soups, was born and bred in Massa D’Albe, a tiny town near Avezzano in Abruzzo, of a Roman mother and Abruzzese father. Although he studied philosophy, he’d always wanted to be a photographer and travel the world. After a year in England and then moving to Rome, Blasetti’s lucky break came when he was introduced to two famous photographers in the movie world, Swiss-born Philippe Antonello and Stefano Montesi, and became their assistant. They filmed on set, but also created movie posters. After three years with his mentors, so around 10 years ago, Blasetti began to take photographs of food for the agency Cibando (literally, “Fooding”), thus becoming one of the first Italian photographers to specialize in food and brochures for restaurants. A dream come true! The perfect combination to bring together his love for travel and gastronomy! Soon his career took off thanks to additional freelance commissions and then meeting six years ago Annalisa Zordan, a writer for Gambero Rosso. Blasetti’s photographs have been published by Rizzoli International, Giunti Editore, De Agostini Editore, Food & Wine, Cook Inc., Fortune, RFood, La Repubblica, Gambero Rosso Magazine, Marco Polo Viaggi, Gola Magazine, Tabloid Panorama, Rivista 11, Il Venerdì di Repubblica, Donna Mod-

erna, Robinson and La Cucina Italiana. Besides L’Osteria di Birra del Borgo, Blasetti has collaborated with many hotels and restaurants: Drink Kong, Aldovrandi Villa Borghese, La Pergola, All’Oro, Fud Bottega Sicula, Sofitel Villa Borghese, The St. Regis Venice, Barrique by Oliver Glowig, Lume Milano, Cannamela, Hotel Hassler, The Jerry Thomas Project, The Pantheon Hotel, The St. Regis Rome, and Liquore Strega. In addition to a brief bio and how to contact him, his website is divided by topic: Food, Drink, Portraits and Tearsheets. Each photo has a caption, which includes where it was published. With his Canon 5 d mark 4 in hand, Blasetti has five books of drink and food photography under his belt: the cover and some shots in Matteo Zed’s Il Grande Libro dell’ Amaro Italiano, organized in alphabetical order by region with additional chapters on bitters and digestives from other European countries and on those used in cocktails; Twist on Classic about Rome’s very famous bar “Jerry Thomas” modeled on American speakeasies; Washoku about classic Japanese cuisine by television star chef Hirohiko Shoda, who lives in Rome and is the ambassador of Japanese cuisine in Italy; Il gioco della pizza: le magnifiche ricette del re della pizza (The Pizza Game: Magnificent Recipes by the King of Pizza) by pizzataio Gabriele Bonci and food journalist Elisia Menduni; and 100 Piatti da assaggiare una volta nella vita (100 Dishes to Taste at Least Once in Your Life) by one of Italy’s youngest food critics, Lorenzo Sandano. A sixth in English and forthcoming in March, The New Cucina Italiana: What to Eat, What to Cook, and Who to Know in Italian Cuisine Today is by the award-winning journalist and prolific author of culinary books Laura Lazzaroni. Her aim is for Americans to discover that today Italy’s most special cuisine is found in the kitchens and restaurants of young chefs. Few are known abroad and all are worth a visit! Like Lazzaroni, Blasetti’s second great passion is discovering new restaurants, so I asked him for suggestions: near Vatican City: “Tordomatto” and “Off Taki”; elsewhere in Rome: “All’Oro” and “Marzapane”; outside Rome, “Trattoria Trippa” in Milan; “Osteria Caro Melo” in Donnalucata, Sicily; and “Osteria Mammaròssa” in Avezzano.m


Riccardo di Giacinto, chef of “All'Oro,” and his Roche; Alberto Blasetti; and Apreda's saltimbocca at “Idylio”


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