Category Archives: Holy See

La Civiltà Cattolica will bridge Church and postmodern world

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La Civiltà Cattolica is one of the Church’s most important journals of informed opinion. It was founded on 6 April 1850 by a group of Jesuits from Naples and therefore Italy’s longest running journals. It now has a new look and approach through new efforts at renewal motivated by Pope Benedict when he spoke with the Journal staff in 2006 when he said, 
Here then, is where the mission of a cultural journal such as La Civiltà Cattolica fits in: active participation int he contemporary cultural debate, both to propose and at the same time to spread the Christian faith in a serious way. Its purpose is both to present it clearly and in fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church, and to defend without polemics the truth that is sometimes distorted by unfounded accusation directed at the Ecclesial Community. I would like to point out the Second Vatican Council as a beacon on the path that La Civiltà Cattolica is called to take.
The current pontificate of Francis will look to the Journal “to collect and express the expectations and needs of our time” and “to provide the elements for a reading of reality” that has “a particular attention to the truth, to goodness and to beauty.”
There are seven Jesuits full time work at La Civiltà Cattolica, plus another seven senior Jesuits who assist in the publication but it has an increasing international group of thinkers and writers. The journal has a print edition plus a digital presence.
English: Photo of fr. Antonio Spadaro taken in...
Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, 47, is the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica and he serves as a consultor to several Church organizations. Father Spadaro also writes a well-received blog, CyberTeologia.
La Civiltà Cattolica can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

In defense of the Pope, La Civiltà Cattolica‘s is understood to be supportive of the Church by following the indications of the Second Vatican Council. As a journal of the Society of Jesuit and the Church its work to show a relationship faith and reason, faith and culture, faith and science, faith and the public order;to understand the world in which we live in light of the Incarnation. The Journal cuts across the various sectors of the intellectual, spiritual and cultural ambits showing a particular attentiveness with the Catholic Church through the Secretary of State;  La Civiltà Cattolica is considered to be not official but authoritative.

Vatican Radio’s piece on the new edition can be read here.
An interview with Father Antonio Spadaro and Philippa Hitchen of Vatican Radio is here.
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Pope Francis calls Archbishop Loris Capovilla

Keeping up appearances…by phone…with previous papal administrations. Pope Francis apparently is touching base with key people in history of the Church from the 20th century. He spoke with Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla, 97, one of the oldest prelates in the Church today. A priest (73 years) of Venice, he was ordained to the episcopacy in 1967 and served as the archbishop of Cheiti-Vasto and later he was the Prelate of the Shrine of Loreto. His Excellency is the former secretary of Blessed John XXIII. L’Osservatore Romano will run this story on April 3.

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A simple, moving gesture: last Monday, at 6:30 p.m., the telephone rang at Ca’ Maitino di Sotto il Monte, John XXIII’s summer residence, where today Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla lives and where the Suore Poverelle cherish memories of Pope John. As usual Capovilla answered himself. It was Pope Francis who was calling him because, among the many messages of good wishes, he had received directly an Easter message written in the light of the Second Vatican Council, edited by Pope Roncalli’s former Secretary, subtitled: “With Pope Francis we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris on 11 April 2013 and on 3 June 2013 of the passing of John XXIII:  a detailed agenda.  With the Bishop of Rome who greets the Secretary who was the companion at arms of the Pope of the Council and says to him “I see him with the eyes of my heart“, Capovilla told us. “It was a very great surprise and I like to consider this telephone call made to this place where John XXIII was born rather than to me myself: as a tribute to him and to his roots“. Capovilla, who will be ninety [-eight] in October, mentioned that the Pope had stressed certain parts of the message he had sent him: a few pages together with a few pictures (of Manzù’s medal for the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Francis on the Loggia the evening of his election; Francis and Benedict XVI from behind, kneeling in prayer together at Castel Gandolfo; a portrait of John XXIII by Hans-Jürgen Kallmann), and some very short texts  “as precious as a homily”, as Francis described them.  In their brief conversation the Pope asked Capovilla “to pray John XXIII to help the Pope and everyone to be better people”,  Archbishop Capovilla continued: “I also reminded him of my age and he remarked that the spirit counts more. I told him that I have both Christian and non-Christian friends and that to this day the Lord has accompanied me”. And he added that he had “humbly asked His Holiness for a blessing for the inhabitants of Sotto il Monte, for his parish community, for the relatives of the Pope of the  Council”, and for “all those who work with me together with the Bishop of Bergamo”.

Marco Roncalli

April 3, 2013

Private notes of Jorge Bergoglio from pre-conclave meetings published

Reading the notes from the pre-conclave meetings of the cardinals meeting in the General Congregation is not usual reading material for most people. One has to admit that it is interesting to know what the cardinals think and what they verbalize with regard to the life of the Church and the proposal for future ministry. published today the notes of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis). Nothing really new except that now we know with better certainty the perspective of the made elected the Supreme Pontiff. The notes follow:

The archbishop of Havana says that a speech given by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) during the cardinals’ pre-conclave meetings was “masterful” and “clear.”

Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino spoke of Cardinal Bergoglio’s speech at a Mass on Saturday in Cuba, having returned home from his trip to Rome to bid farewell to Benedict, participate in the conclave, and welcome Francis.

Cardinal Ortega said that Cardinal Bergoglio gave him the handwritten notes of the speech, and the permission to share the contents.

“Allow me to let you know, almost as an absolute first fruit, the thought of the Holy Father Francis on the mission of the Church,” Cardinal Ortega said.

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Popes who belonged to religious orders

Pope Gregory XVI made gambling on papal electi...

Pope Gregory XVI, a Benedictine monk, made gambling on papal elections punishable by excommunication.

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th Roman Pontiff he was listed among a rather small and elite group of men who had their intellectual and spiritual formation in religious life. Bergoglio is a member of the Society of Jesus. But who are the others?

The Benedictine monks have 17
Gregory I, Boniface IV, Adeodatus II, Leo IV, John IX, Leo VII, Stephen IX, Gregory VII, Victor, III, Urban II, Paschal II, Gelasius, II, Celestine V, Clement VI, Urban V, Pius VII, Gregory XVI
The Augustine canons and friars have 6
Honorius II, Innocent II, Lucius II, Adrian IV, Gregory VIII, Eugene IV
The Franciscans friars have 4
Nicholas IV, Sixtus IV, Sixtus V, Clement XIV
Secular Franciscans have 2
Pius IX, Leo XIII
The Dominicans friars have 4
Innocent V, Benedict XI, Pius V, Benedict XIII
The Cistercian monks have 2
Eugene III, Benedict XII
The Theatine clerks regular have 
Paul IV
The Jesuit clerks regular have 1
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Work for the good of every person on earth: fight spiritual and material poverty, Pope exhorts

Speaking in French today, Pope Francis gave his talk in Italian outlined to the world’s diplomats the mission of his pontificate: building peace AND constructing bridges of dialogue,  combatting spiritual AND material poverty. This is part 2 of his “pontifical program of ministry.” The Pontiff met the more than 180 accredited diplomats in Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace, the Vatican.

English: world map of the Vatican foreign rela...

World map of the Vatican foreign relations; dark green: diplomatic relations, light green: other relations, gray: no official relations (credit: Wikipedia)

Heartfelt thanks to your Dean, Ambassador Jean-Claude Michel, for the kind words that he has addressed to me in the name of everyone present. It gives me joy to welcome you for this exchange of greetings: a simple yet deeply felt ceremony, that somehow seeks to express the Pope’s embrace of the world. Through you, indeed, I encounter your peoples, and thus in a sense I can reach out to every one of your fellow citizens, with their joys, their troubles, their expectations, their desires.

Your presence here in such numbers is a sign that the relations between your countries and the Holy See are fruitful, that they are truly a source of benefit to mankind. That, indeed, is what matters to the Holy See: the good of every person upon this earth! And it is with this understanding that the Bishop of Rome embarks upon his ministry, in the knowledge that he can count on the friendship and affection of the countries you represent, and in the certainty that you share this objective. At the same time, I hope that it will also be an opportunity to begin a journey with those few countries that do not yet have diplomatic relations with the Holy See, some of which were present at the Mass for the beginning of my ministry, or sent messages as a sign of their closeness – for which I am truly grateful.

As you know, there are various reasons why I chose the name of Francis of Assisi, a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith. One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.

But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the “tyranny of relativism,” which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.

One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is Pontiff, that is, a builder of bridges with God and between people. My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced! My own origins impel me to work for the building of bridges. As you know, my family is of Italian origin; and so this dialogue between places and cultures a great distance apart matters greatly to me, this dialogue between one end of the world and the other, which today are growing ever closer, more interdependent, more in need of opportunities to meet and to create real spaces of authentic fraternity.

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In this work, the role of religion is fundamental. It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world. And it is also important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail, but rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity.

Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up. But it is a difficult journey, if we do not learn to grow in love for this world of ours. Here too, it helps me to think of the name of Francis, who teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment. The Pope said:

Dear Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you again for all the work that you do, alongside the Secretariat of State, to build peace and construct bridges of friendship and fraternity. Through you, I would like to renew to your Governments my thanks for their participation in the celebrations on the occasion of my election, and my heartfelt desire for a fruitful common endeavor. May Almighty God pour out his gifts on each one of you, on your families and on the peoples that you represent. Thank you!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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