Tag Archives: Holy See

Legion of Christ: pray for guidance

I would like to invite everyone to enter into a period of
intense time of prayer for the Church in the coming days. Use your discretion
as to length but do some form of prayer the good of the Church. The Holy See
has asked five bishops to investigate the life of the members of the Legion of
beginning on July 15th. May I recommend the prayers to the Holy Spirit
is needed as well as the Memorare for this intention.

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The Legion of Christ is
not everyone’s “cup of tea” but they certainly are an influence in many sectors
of ecclesial life. The Legion has challenged the “categories” of many but they have done some good for the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So, while I am not a supporter of the LC, I am not looking for anything but an honest review and coherent application of mercy. What affects them ought to affect all of us since we are
bonded together in Baptism making us all brothers and sisters. Am I my
brother’s keeper? Yes, and we ought to show prayerful solicitude with the Holy
See and the bishops doing the investigating. Many peoples’ lives are in
significant turmoil over the recent revelations of misconduct of Father Marcial
Macial (the founder) and other distressful matters of internal governance and the misuse of spiritual

Today Sandro Magister published an interview with a prominent former
Legionary priest
, Father Thomas Berg. Consider reading it.

Here in the greater
Connecticut and New York area the Legion operates a novitiate, a juniorate, an institute of higher studies plus a variety of other initiatives, including
but not limited to the National Catholic Register and recent acquisition of Southern Catholic University. In the US the press reports that there are 24 Legion of
Christ houses with about 130 priests and more than 250 seminarians. It would be
inappropriate to suggest what the Pope would or should do for the good of the
Church and the Legionary congregation. Whatever it is that the members are
asked to do by the Church, I predict it will be some tough medicine and I ask that all of us stand on the side of the angels. This is an opportunity for excessive criticism and unflattering talk. It is time for prayer and conversion of life.


Vatican becomes better tech friendly

For the 43rd World
Communications Day the Vatican has rolled out some new tech initiatives. The Pontifical Council for Social Communications has been working overtime these days to bring the Church into the 21st century via technology. 

See the

A story

Some resources for pastor

The Pope’s
address for the Communications Day on May 24th: “New
Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a culture of Respect, Dialogue and

Pope2You  (to be officially launched Thursday)

Plus there is

Vatican Radio

Vatican TV

The Vatican on YouTube

The Vatican on Facebook

iBreviary (available from iTunes for the iPhone for a $1.00, in English & Italian)

For your iPhone there is an application for a  Jewish Prayerbook

Cyril Vasil: the new secretary for the Congregation of Eastern Churches

Cyril Vasil.jpeg

Great News! Today, the Holy Father nominated Reverend Father
Cyril Vasil, SJ, until now the rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, as
the Secretary to the Congregation for Eastern Churches, raising him to the
dignity of archbishop.

Archbishop-elect Cyril Vasil was born in 1965 (in Slovakia),
ordained a priest in 1987, entered the Society of Jesus in 1990 taking solemn
vows in 2001. In 1994 he earned a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical
Oriental Institute. He has a working knowledge of 11 languages.

In 2002, Cyril Vasil was elected dean of the faculty of
Oriental Canon Law and in 2007 he was named rector of the Pontifical Oriental
Institute. He is the first rector of the PIO to be of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

Among his responsibilities for the Church he is a consultor
for the Congregations of Eastern Churches, Doctrine of the Faith and Pastoral
Care of Migrants. Moreover, he was an expert for the 2005 Synod of Bishops on
the Eucharist. And he’s been active in the International Union of Scouts of
Europe being named a spiritual advisor in 2003.

I can say that this is an excellent choice for the Church: he’s
affable and competent. With Archbishop Vasil’s appointment there are now two Jesuits in prominent positions in the Roman Curia, both are archbishop secretaries. It is also interesting to note that the new archbishop is the first in history working as a Vatican official to be the son of a married Catholic priest of Slovak Greek-Catholic Church, the vast majority of whose clergy are married family men in accord with the age-old (and fully salutary) tradition in the Byzantine East, Catholic and Orthodox. His father, Michael, was ordained by Blessed Vasil Hopko.

Looking at the Church by the numbers

Catholics in the world.jpgAccording to the recently published Annuario Pontificio, the papal yearbook we see the number of Catholics in the world has increased by 1.4%, with particularly in Oceania and Africa. Vocations to the priesthood grew overall by 0.4%, though they decreased in Europe.

The Press Office of the Holy See stated that the worldwide Catholic Church included 1.147 billion people in 2007, a 16 million increase since 2006, and compared with the map to the right, the current numbers are significant. The numbers of baptized grew significantly in Oceania and Africa by 4.7% and 3%, respectively. Also positive was the growth made in Asia (+1.7%) and Europe (+0.8%). While North and South American Catholics decreased by 0.1%, they still represent half of all Catholics on the planet.

One notices moderate growth in the number of priests which according to those in the know, this trend began in 2000 after more than 20 years of steady losses. The year ending in 2007 saw the presbyterate rise from 405,000 to 408,000. Africa and Asia reported strong numbers, whereas numbers were stable in North and South America. Of course, the continents of Europe and Oceania reported significant declines during the same period. Looking more globally at the situation of vocations to the priesthood, the numbers increased by 0.4%, approaching 116,000. Africa and Asia grew in priestly vocations, while Europe and America registered respective reductions of 2.1% and 1%.


The statistical information is based on gather stats from 2007.


The BBC has an article on the increase of Catholic priests, read about it here.

Vatican City State at 80

Lateran 80.jpgToday marks 80th anniversary of the establishment of Vatican City State by the signing of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 by Benito Mussolini and Pietro Cardinal Gasparri.

This Pact establishes Vatican City as an independent state, restoring the civil sovereignty of the Pope, compensated the Holy See for loss of the papal states and outline the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church’s and Italy. On 25 March 1985, the Italian Parliament ratified a signed agreement (18 February 1984) which modifies the Lateran Pact.

The temporal government of the Church is technically under the pope as head of state but he appoints a president for the temporal affairs of state. Currently, the President of Vatican City State is Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo; the cardinal has legislative and executive authority regarding the temporalities (i.e., persons, policies & properties).

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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