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Pope Francis: With our small offering, Jesus can do great things

Pope Francis waves during the Angelus at the Vatican July 18, 2021. / Vatican Media/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 25, 2021 / 05:10 am (CNA).

With our small offering, Jesus can do great things, just like when he multiplied five loaves and three fishes to feed thousands, Pope Francis said Sunday.

“It would be good to ask ourselves every day: ‘What do I bring to Jesus today?’” the pope said during his weekly Angelus message July 25.

Speaking from a window of the apostolic palace, Francis said Jesus “can do a lot with one of our prayers, with a gesture of charity for others, even with one of our sufferings handed over to His mercy.”

“[We give] our small things to Jesus and he works miracles. This is how God loves to act: He does great things, starting from small, freely-given ones.”

Pope Francis has been convalescing at the Vatican since being released from hospital 10 days after undergoing colon surgery July 4. During July, the pope typically does not hold public audiences or meetings, though he has continued to give his weekly Angelus address.

On Sunday he reflected on the day’s Gospel passage from St. John, which recounts Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of five loaves and two fishes to feed 5,000 people.

The pope said it is interesting that Jesus does not create the food from nothing; his disciples ask one boy to share everything he has to eat: “It seems to be an unreasonable proposal. Actually, unjust.”

“Why take away from one person what is not enough to feed everyone anyway?” he continued. “In human terms, it is illogical. But not for God. On the contrary, thanks to that small freely-given and therefore heroic gift, Jesus is able to feed everyone.”

“This is a great lesson for us. It tells us that the Lord can do a lot with the little that we put at His disposal,” he underlined.

Francis explained that this is the logic of Jesus Christ, and a quality holy people throughout history have demonstrated.

We often try “to accumulate and increase what we have, but Jesus asks us to give, to diminish,” he said.

Drawing attention to the tragedy of hunger which exists in the world today, he cited calculations which estimate that around the world, 7,000 children under the age of five die every day due to malnutrition.

He said “faced with scandals such as these, Jesus also addresses an invitation to us, an invitation similar to the one probably received by the boy in the Gospel, who has no name and in whom we can all see ourselves.”

The invitation is to “be brave, give what little you have, your talents and your possessions, make them available to Jesus and to your brothers and sisters. Do not be afraid, nothing will be lost, because if you share, God will multiply. Banish the false modesty of feeling inadequate, trust yourself. Believe in love, believe in the power of service, believe in the strength of gratuitousness.”

After praying the Angelus in Latin, Pope Francis recalled that July 25 this year marks the first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly.

He asked people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to offer a round of applause for grandparents.

“Grandparents and grandchildren, young and old together manifested one of the beautiful faces of the Church and showed the covenant between the generations,” he said, inviting people to visit the lonely older members of our society.

“I ask the Lord that this celebration will help us who are more advanced in years to respond to his call in this season of life, and to show society the value of the presence of grandparents and the elderly,” he stated.

Noting that the 32nd Olympic Games began in Tokyo on July 23, Pope Francis said “in this time of pandemic, these games are a sign of hope, a sign of universal fraternity in the name of healthy competition.”

“God bless the organizers, the athletes and all who collaborate for this great celebration of sports.”

The pope also expressed his sympathy after a heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou, the capital city of China’s Henan province, caused floods killing at least 33 people last week.

The dramatic floods, which caused landslides and overwhelmed dams, have submerged neighborhoods and trapped passengers in subway cars, according to CNN.

Henan authorities said last week the heavy rains in the province have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and caused an estimated $190 million in economic damage.

Pope Francis said he is praying for the victims and their families and expressed his solidarity with those who are suffering from the tragedy.

Pope Francis on Grandparents’ Day: Elderly are not ‘leftovers from life’

Pope Francis greets an elderly woman during his general audience Dec. 19, 2018. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 25, 2021 / 03:30 am (CNA).

On the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, Pope Francis said he is worried about how an individualistic society treats its older members, and he urged young people to give them love and attention.

“I worry when I see a society full of people in constant motion, too caught up in their own affairs to have time for a glance, a greeting or a hug,” the pope said in a homily read by Archbishop Rino Fisichella July 25.

“Our grandparents, who nourished our own lives, now hunger for our attention and our love; they long for our closeness. Let us lift up our eyes and see them, even as Jesus sees us,” he stated.

Pope Francis’ homily was read during a Mass for around 2,500 elderly people and grandparents, together with their children and grandchildren, held in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Mass, scheduled to be said by the pope, was instead celebrated by Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, while Pope Francis is convalescing at the Vatican after undergoing colon surgery July 4.

During July, Francis typically takes a break from public audiences and other meetings, though he has continued to give his weekly Sunday Angelus address.

In the pope’s homily, he reflected on the Gospel passage from St. John, which recounts the story of when Jesus fed multitudes through the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes.

Francis pointed to the last part of the passage, when Jesus directed his disciples to collect the leftover pieces of bread, so that “nothing may be lost.”

“This reveals the heart of God,” he said. “Not only does he give us more than we need, he is also concerned that nothing be lost, not even a fragment.”

“A morsel of bread may seem a little thing, but in God’s eyes, nothing is to meant to be thrown away. Even more so, no person is ever to be discarded,” he explained, adding that our grandparents and elderly “are not leftovers from life, scraps to be discarded.”

In January, Pope Francis established the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to take place annually on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the feast of the grandparents of Jesus, Saints Anne and Joachim.

The theme of this year’s grandparents’ day is “I am with you always,” taken from Matthew 28:20.

In a message released ahead of this year’s celebration, Pope Francis encouraged the elderly to continue to spread the Gospel even in their old age.

“There is something beautiful here. Your prayer is a very precious resource: a deep breath that the Church and the world urgently need,” he stated.

In his homily July 25, Francis said the Church needs “a new covenant between young and old.”

When Jesus fed the hungry crowd, he did so using loaves and fishes shared by a young man, he pointed out. “How touching it is, that at the heart of this miracle, by which some five thousand adults were fed, we find a young person willing to share what he had.”

“In our societies, we have frequently surrendered to the notion of ‘every man for himself.’ But this is deadly,” he said. “The Gospel bids us share what we are and what we possess, for only in this way will we find fulfillment.”

He urged young adults to visit their grandparents, their elderly relatives, and the older people in their neighborhood.

“They protected us as we grew, and now it is up to us to protect their lives, to alleviate their difficulties, to attend to their needs and to ensure that they are helped in daily life and not feel alone,” he said.

Pope Francis noted that for many of us, our grandparents “cared for us, ever since we were children. Despite lives of hard work and sacrifice, they were never too busy for us, or indifferent to us. They looked at us with care and tender love.”

“When we were growing up and felt misunderstood or fearful about life’s challenges, they kept an eye on us; they knew what we were feeling, our hidden tears and secret dreams,” he continued. “They held us in their arms and sat us on their knees. That love helped us grow into adulthood.”

“May we never regret that we were insufficiently attentive to those who loved us and gave us life,” he stated.

As part of the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, the Vatican has also granted a plenary indulgence to those who participate, either by attending a related spiritual event or by physically or virtually visiting the elderly, sick, or disabled on July 25.

An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sins that have already been forgiven.

The usual conditions for a plenary indulgence, which must be met, are that the individual be in the state of grace by the completion of the acts, have complete detachment from sin, and pray for the pope’s intentions.

The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life released a prayer for the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. The full text of the prayer is below:

I thank You, Lord,

for the comfort of Your presence:

even in times of loneliness,

You are my hope and my confidence,

You have been my rock and my fortress since my youth!

I thank You for having given me a family

and for having blessed me with a long life.

I thank You for moments of joy and difficulty,

for the dreams that have already come true in my life and for those that are still ahead of me.

I thank You for this time of renewed fruitfulness to which You call me.

Increase, O Lord, my faith,

make me a channel of your peace,

teach me to embrace those who suffer more than me,

to never stop dreaming

and to tell of your wonders to new generations.

Protect and guide Pope Francis and the Church,

that the light of the Gospel might reach the ends of the earth.

Send Your Spirit, O Lord, to renew the world,

that the storm of the pandemic might be calmed,

the poor consoled and wars ended.

Sustain me in weakness

and help me to live life to the full

in each moment that You give me,

in the certainty that you are with me every day,

even until the end of the age.

Amen.

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I 2 Kgs 4:42-44

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
and fresh grain in the ear. 
Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” 
But his servant objected,
“How can I set this before a hundred people?” 
Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.” 
“For thus says the LORD,
‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” 
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
as the LORD had said.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18

R. (cf. 16) The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
    and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
    and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
    and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is just in all his ways
    and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
    to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Reading II Eph 4:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

Alleluia Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has risen in our midst.
God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. 
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. 
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples. 
The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” 
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do. 
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.” 
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?” 
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” 
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. 
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted. 
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.” 
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments 
from the five barley loaves
that had been more than they could eat. 
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” 
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Meet the pastor of a Greek Catholic church in Hungary for Romani

Fr. Árpád Kanyó in the first Romani, or Gypsy, Greek Catholic church. / EWTN News In Depth

Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, Jul 24, 2021 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

When Fr. Árpád Kanyó first arrived at his current parish, he didn’t know the language or culture of the people there. But he quickly learned about – and embraced – the new community he encountered.

80 years ago, Fr. Miklos Soja established the first Romani, or Gypsy, Greek Catholic church in Hungary. He wanted a place where the Romani could pray the liturgy in their native language. Today, Fr. Kanyó serves as the pastor of the Greek Catholic Church of the Ascension. He spoke with EWTN News In Depth about his experience in a segment that aired July 16.

Fr. Kanyó arrived in 2014, with his wife and three young daughters, as in the Eastern Catholic Churches married men can be ordained to the priesthood.

“When I came here to Hodász, I had to celebrate the liturgy in the Roma language,” he remembered. “Before the ceremony, I turned to the congregation and I said, ‘I'm sorry, but I'm going to do the first non-Hungarian liturgy of my life. If I say something ridiculous or ugly, please forgive me.’”

“When the liturgy was over,” Fr. Kanyó continued, “one of the believers came to me and said, ‘Father, of all the priests, your liturgy has been the best so far.’”

He hopes to provide a good example of Christian and family life. But he and his family are also learning from the Romani. His wife, Mária, said she fell in love with the culture and tradition of the parishioners.

“When I saw them dancing for the first time, I was fascinated,” she recalled. “And when we moved here and I heard them singing during the liturgy in the Roman language, that brought tears to my eyes.” She also admires their traditional clothing.

“For me, dance and conversations with them are so important and I am always friendly and available to them,” she stressed.

Their culture and community, in many ways, centers on dance and music. As the cantor and lay president of the parish, Sándor Lakatos highlighted the importance of fellowship.

“For me, the Greek Catholic faith means a strong community,” he said. “It’s like heaven, where everyone has a place. One has to belong somewhere. For me, Greek Catholicism means a family where we gather around and talk, rejoice and sometimes cry together.”

At the same time, the community also faces challenges. The church has lost parishioners like Ahmed Hanzam, who emphasized that he’s living through a difficult period in his life right now.

“It was different long ago,” he said. “People had solidarity. Now there is no cohesion.”

The village also suffers from unemployment and a lack of higher education. Many are forced to move far away only to work in unqualified jobs. 

And, according to Fr. Kanyó, “many Hungarians from this village also go far to work in factories.”

“That is why it's our great task to forge and keep those belonging to our Roma people, or as we call them here, Gypsy community, together,” he said.

He strives to follow in the footsteps of Fr. Miklos Soja.

“He didn't look at how difficult it was for the people here, who at that time lived in huts dug into the ground,” Fr. Kanyó said, “He came down to them and brought joy into the midst of their hardship.”

Japanese prelate named new secretary general of Asian bishops’ federation

Cathedral of St. Mary, Tokyo / Sira Anamwong/Shutterstock

Manila, Philippines, Jul 24, 2021 / 14:30 pm (CNA).

Japanese Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo has been named the new secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.

The FABC is an association of Catholic episcopal conferences in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia, and fosters solidarity and joint responsibility for the welfare of the Church and of society in the regions.

The Japanese prelate replaced Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-Sang of Macau, following the latter’s resignation from the post beginning in July.

Last week, the archbishop issued an appeal to athletes and to visitors during the 2021 Olympic Games in Japan, asking them not to visit churches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Archbishop Kikuchi said that due to the prevailing pandemic, visitors, including athletes, “will be asked to refrain from visiting churches.”

The prelate admitted that his archdiocese had been preparing to take care of the spiritual needs of visitors during the games but “decided to cancel all these plans.”

He also asked parishes to “take care of the spiritual needs of those who come to Japan. But in today’s situation, the priority remains not to transmit the disease.”

He said that the Archdiocese of Tokyo has made a commitment to prevent the spread of infections.

“Let us remember that it is an important duty for us to protect not only our own lives but also those of all those who have received the gift of life from God,” said Archbishop Kikuchi.

The prelate was regional president of Caritas Asia from 2011 to 2019. He was also a member of FABC’s Office of Human Development.

He was born on Nov. 1, 1958, and is a professed member of the Divine Word Missionaries congregation. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 15, 1986.

He served in Ghana in Western Africa as a missionary and as a pastor before being elected as the provincial superior for his order in 1999, back in Japan.

Pope John Paul II appointed him as the Bishop of Niigata on April 29, 2004. Pope Francis appointed him Archbishop of Tokyo on Oct. 25, 2017. 

 

Vatican increasing ‘liquid’ assets as it faces financial impact of pandemic, economic officials say

Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of APSA. / Alexey Gotovsky/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 24, 2021 / 09:40 am (CNA).

The Vatican is working to maintain “‘pockets’ of precautionary liquidity” as it faces the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, two officials of the Roman Curia said Saturday.

On July 24, the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy and APSA (The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See) released consolidated balance sheets for the year 2020.

This was the first time APSA, which oversees the Vatican’s real estate holdings and other sovereign assets, presented a balance and details about its investment portfolio to the public.

Bishop Nunzio Galantino, head of APSA, told Vatican News July 24 that going forward, the Roman Curia’s “financial investment plan will remain prudential” and “characterized by a correct balance between risk and medium/long-term profitability.”

“However, in pursuing the investment policy, at such a particular moment due to the effects of the pandemic, which substantially reduced the Holy See’s revenues, it is necessary to maintain ‘pockets’ of precautionary liquidity -- already created in 2020 for future and unpredictable needs, especially for administrative and personnel expenses,” he added.

Speaking with Vatican News, economic chief Fr. Juan A. Guerrero, S.J., said knowing the Vatican’s cash flow during the pandemic, as well as the uncertainty of the financial situation, the economy council decided to increase liquidity to avoid the possibility of being forced to sell property in a bad market.

“We did not have precise information on the liquidity available to us, which led to the decision to increase liquidity,” he said. “This meant reducing our financial profit at the same time. I think it was the most prudent thing to do in the situation we were in.”

The balance sheet for the Roman Curia, which is separate from the budget of Vatican City State, showed a deficit of $78 million in 2020, down $13 million from the year prior.

The Roman Curia’s overall expenses for 2020 were $370 million.

In May 2020, Guerrero said the Vatican predicted it would face a 25% to 45% decrease in revenue in the fiscal year; earlier the same month, Italian newspaper Il Messaggero said an internal Vatican report projected an income reduction of at least 30%, and possibly as much as 80%.

In fact, according to the 2020 balance, the Vatican had just under a 50% decrease in revenue, which the report said was “driven by the significant reduction of Ordinary Operating Expenses,” which came to around $30 million and “partially ofsett [sic] by the less-than-expected reduction in Ordinary Operating Income.”

According to the balance, the disparity between 2020 and 2019 can be attributed in part to a loss in income of around $17.6 million from the governatorate of Vatican City State, which oversees some commercial activities forced to close during the pandemic, such as the Vatican Museums and catacombs.

The Vatican also received less income on properties where it offered reduced or delayed lease payments to tenants during the COVID-19 outbreak.

APSA’s sale of a large property in 2019 is also reflected in the difference between the two years, according to the budget.

By contrast, some entities related to the Holy See, such as the IOR, contributed more income to the Roman Curia in 2020. Overall, expenses were reduced by $3.88 million.

Guerrero told Vatican News the Holy See comes “from a culture of secrecy, but in economics we have learned that transparency protects us more than secrecy.”

He claimed the culture is changing and the institution is beginning to see itself as a caretaker, not owner, recognizing the accountability that calls for.

Releasing the 2020 balance “marks a turning point that can lead to greater credibility of the Holy See in economic matters,” he said.

“First of all, this process tells us about a past, a recent past, but a past,” he underlined. “There can always be mistakes, but today I do not see how the events of the past can repeat themselves.”

Galantino said that the activities APSA is carrying out go beyond “the serious consequences of the pandemic crisis.”

According to the bishop, 14% of the properties managed by APSA are rented at market value, while the remaining 86%, those with institutional uses such as work places for Vatican employees and residences for retired cardinals, charge no rent or are rented below market value.

APSA carried out a quantitative and qualitative update to the inventory of the buildings and land it administrates, he said, and found that many of the assets, both those rented to tenants and those used for institutional purposes, were in need of maintenance, modernization, and increased security.

He explained that APSA will also begin a renovation project on 100 apartments in January 2022, with a scheduled end date of sometime in spring 2023.

“Our energies are directed to a credible and reliable administration, as well as effective and efficient, allowing us to be guided by processes of rationalization, transparency and professionalism also required by Pope Francis,” he said.

According to Italian news agency ANSA, the Secretariat for the Economy will begin implementing a new “pilot” review process of personnel in some offices.

ANSA reported that Guerrero had sent a letter to the heads of dicasteries saying the assessment of job performance is taking place in light of curial reform and “the need to make the most of deserving resources, to provide new opportunities and to promote technical and professional training.”

With the release of the 2020 balance, Guerrero told Vatican News that the economic secretariat wants “to ensure economic sustainability, while also maintaining the pope’s correct decision not to fire anyone.”

He added that “to generate greater motivation in the staff, it would be useful to make a plan with a long-term vision and to have a work policy with professional development programs and formation, and particular attention to formation in the mission that is carried out in the Holy See. This would also save money in the long run.”

Catholic journalism expert reflects on the moral issues around privacy and data 

Dr. William Thorn, associate professor emeritus of Journalism and Media Studies/Institute for Catholic Media at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. Credit: William Thorn/CNA.

Denver Newsroom, Jul 24, 2021 / 06:01 am (CNA).

CNA spoke recently with Dr. William J. Thorn regarding the recent investigation which led to the resignation of Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill as general secretary of the US bishops’ conference.

Thorn is associate professor emeritus of Journalism and Media Studies/Institute for Catholic Media at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. He holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and a B.A. from Loras College.

Find below the full text of CNA's discourse with Thorn:

At the heels of the recent controversial use of data mining to expose a Church personality, can you walk us through the outlines of investigative journalism and what constitutes the ethical limits of investigative journalism? 

The report on Msgr. Burrill underscores the challenges social media and emerging technologies have created, because it blurs the boundaries of private and public information. Grindr describes itself as "the World’s Largest Social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people." As a location-based social networking and online dating site Grindr was one of the first geosocial apps for gay men when it launched in March 2009. As a public social network, it has limited privacy controls. These semi-public social networks compromise the former boundaries of ethical investigation. This boundary is perhaps best illustrated by the stance of a friend who was a city hall reporter. Whenever he got a phone call or verbal comment about some alleged malfeasance, he demanded a public document like a travel expense form or letter which contained the factual basis for an investigation. In other words, neither personal complaints nor hearsay could be trusted, but printed information could be. Traditionally, an ethical investigation builds on facts that are part of the public record or can be verified by public documents or interviews with reliable witnesses. Another ethical principle is to keep the focus on actions that can be proven by factual evidence or witnesses rather than on insinuations about the subject based on circumstantial evidence. Once the verifiable facts are known, the investigative reporter moves to confront the subject and provides an opportunity to deny, admit wrongdoing or explanation. Libel and slander laws provide boundaries and guides to investigative journalism about individuals whose reputation and good name may be at stake. Simply drawing conclusions from an online source seriously challenges verifiability and risks libeling an innocent individual.

Complications are now arising in the field of data mining and journalism. In your opinion, how does the aggregation of questionably acquired data work for or against the previously established moral limits of investigative journalism?

New data mining technology poses a plethora of privacy issues for investigative journalism, regarding both prominent individuals and ordinary citizens, for example, in areas like health and personal habits, which require some verifiable contextual evidence to reach a fact-based conclusion. But legal boundaries differ from moral constrains which require  care for the impact of conclusions based on less than reliable abstract which can destroy or seriously damage an individual's reputation. One of the most egregious moral and ethical compromises of investigative journalism occurred at the early 20th century Denver Post, whose reporters wrote detailed biographies of wealthy silver magnates, including their scandalous, even illegal behaviors. The editors then used these stories to blackmail their subjects. The reports were accurate, their purpose illegal.



Does a source paying for information change the calculation about whether or not a journalist should use that source? 

A source paying for information automatically raises questions about the motivations of both payee and recipient as well as the reliability of information.



Many are celebrating the resignation of Msgr. Burrill and the efforts that led to his resignation. From a Catholic ethics perspective, does this apparently successful end validate the means? 

The end never justifies the means, even if they are digital and seem credible because of technology.  The celebration raises questions about ignoble motives, e.g., revenge or personal animus connected to the investigation.

Another argument with competing voices centers on whether corruption needs to be brought to the light to be healed. Please explain, from the perspective of Catholic ethics, when and where and to what degree it would be appropriate to publish information alleging or proving corruption that is gravely sinful but not criminal. 

Healing depends, in part on the harm involved. In Msgr. Burrill's case there is only circumstantial evidence of behavior based on GPS location with no eye witness or other factual evidence such as a credit card receipt. Data mining based on Grindr's location routine seems a bit specious for "bringing to light corruption," an adage based on rooting out the corruption of politicians and public officials.  Within a Church context like the USCCB, the question turns on the precise corruption and how it can be healed by exposure. Grindr location data insinuate but do not demonstrate the alleged corruption, or perhaps a level of ignorance in the user about the actual privacy of the Grindr app. Healing of sinful behavior does not require public knowledge, as the Sacrament of Reconciliation demonstrates. On the other hand, abuse of public trust or misuse of church funds may help heal the community if exposed, e.g. the sex abuse scandal or embezzlement of Church funds.



Please elaborate on what distinguishes truth-telling from detraction, acknowledging that many Catholics are longing for reform that they don’t see coming from most of the Bishops. 

Facts that demonstrate actual malfeasance distinguish truth telling from detraction, libel, and slander. Reform must be based on demonstrable corruption so it cannot be simply dismissed as petty jealousy or a fervid imagination. Clear court cases and guilty verdicts launched serious reforms in sexual abuse cases.

The fast and growing incorporation of technology in investigative journalism seems to be inevitable and frequently positive. What lines do you think were crossed, if any, in the "investigation" that forced the resignation of Msgr. Burrill? 

Two lines: what hard, non-digital evidence was there of wrongdoing? What corroborating documentary or eyewitness evidence warranted the publication? Was Msgr. Burrill properly and timely informed of the digital evidence and given a chance to defend himself? Or was he blackmailed into resigning "for the good of USCCB?"



Is a church official such as Msgr. Burrill a private citizen or a public official? And what might be the legal ramifications?   

He is a private citizen in U.S. legal terms. His role in the USCCB makes him a public church official, but whether that makes him a public figure under U.S. libel law as defined in 1966 by the Supreme Court in N.Y. Times v. Sullivan seems to be an open legal question. Under the Sullivan decision, elected public officials must expect harsh and even vitriolic criticism, and are required to demonstrate "actual malice" i.e. knowing falsehood or careless disregard for the truth in order to win a libel case. As neither an elected politician nor a public figure, Msgr. Burrill would be protected by libel laws as an ordinary citizen.

How French Catholics are responding to Pope Francis’ Traditional Latin Mass restrictions

Tridentine Mass in Strasbourg Cathedral, France. / Christophe117 via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Paris, France, Jul 24, 2021 / 03:00 am (CNA).

Responding to concerns raised by Pope Francis’ motu proprio restricting the Traditional Latin Mass, French Church authorities have issued a series of communiques seeking to reassure Catholics attached to this liturgy.

The motu proprio Traditionis custodes, published July 16, arrived like a thunderbolt for a significant part of the French Church because of its perceived severity towards traditionalist communities, which are regarded as places of strong missionary dynamism and magnets for de-Christianized youth.

According to an investigation recently published by the Catholic magazine La Nef, traditionalist Catholicism is growing constantly in France, although it still represents a small minority (4% of all practicing Catholics, 7% if we include the Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX.)

Estimating that there are around 60,000 traditionalist Catholics in France, the study concluded that traditional communities are slowly but steadily growing each year, with a very young average age.

The day after the motu proprio was issued, the French bishops’ conference reaffirmed the bishops’ intention to pursue dialogue with these communities.

“The French bishops […] wish to express to the faithful who usually celebrate according to the missal of St. John XXIII and to their pastors, their attention, their esteem for the spiritual zeal of these faithful, and their determination to continue the mission together, in the communion of the Church and according to the norms in force,” a communique said.

This statement led several observers, including the Catholic historian Yves Chiron, quoted by Le Figaro, to conclude that the new norms would be applied with flexibility and benevolence by a number of French bishops.

In the diocese of Versailles, located in the western suburbs of Paris and considered a bastion of traditionalism, Bishop Luc Crepy said that the situation was “peaceful” with the six communities usually celebrating Masses using the 1962 Roman Missal.

“Although some communities have experienced painful events in the past, I’m glad to see the progress made towards effective ecclesial communion,” he wrote.

The same peaceful climate, coupled with a “loyal application” of Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, was observed by Bishop Marc Aillet in his diocese of Bayonne, in southwestern France.

While reiterating his trust in the communities involved and inviting them to “continue their efforts in the same direction,” Aillet said that he would keep in place the existing groups and priests allowed to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal.

The bishops of the southern dioceses of Toulon-Fréjus and Bordeaux -- two other breeding grounds for traditionalist communities -- sought to reassure their flocks by saying that the detailed rules for the application of Traditionis custodes would be reviewed and discussed collegially.

Meanwhile, Bishop Matthieu Rougé of Nanterre, in the western suburbs of Paris, claimed that his diocese was “hardly impacted by the new directives” and that the communities concerned should “be assured of the lasting, benevolent, and prayerful solicitude of their bishop.”

Some Catholic authorities, such as Bishop Jean-Pierre Batut of Blois, in central France, and Bishop Olivier Leborgne of Arras, in the north, welcomed the motu proprio quite favorably, denouncing the misuse of Summorum Pontificum by those who questioned the validity of Vatican II.

But many voices have been raised in defense of the Traditional Latin Mass, including in some surprising quarters.

Indeed, the most vibrant speech in favor of the Tridentine Mass came from the atheist and left-wing philosopher Michel Onfray. In a column published on July 18, he argued that it embodies “the heritage of the genealogical time of our civilization.”

“It inherits historically and spiritually a long lineage of sacred rituals, celebrations, and prayers, all crystallized in a form that offers a total spectacle,” he wrote.

The president of the Catholic lay organization behind the traditionalist Chartres pilgrimage, for his part, roundly condemned the motu proprio, claiming that “it will be difficult to apply in a Church which is in a catastrophic situation and has many other difficulties that the Vatican pretends not to see.”

A few priests who only celebrate according to the Novus Ordo have also expressed surprise at what they regard as the harshness of Pope Francis’ letter.

“It brings me sadness because this text seems to sweep away the efforts made by Benedict XVI to maintain the unity of the Church and to despise the efforts made by the traditionalist communities for 15 years,” Fr. Guy-Emmanuel Cariot, rector of the Basilica Saint-Denis of Argenteuil, in the suburbs of Paris, told the weekly magazine Famille chrétienne.

But for those directly affected by the motu proprio, emotions are still raw.

“I expected a text that would change things, but I would have never expected such an unjust document,” Fr. Matthieu Raffray, a Rome-based French priest of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, told CNA.

“Wherever there are traditional communities in France, I think the situation is calmed, and the bishops’ reactions are a proof of that,” he continued.

He suggested that, although it is true that some people may have used the freedom granted by the Pope emeritus to destroy unity in the Church, such a phenomenon is far more intense and widespread in the circles that follow Paul VI’s liturgy, through topics such as married priests or the German bishops’ “Synodal Way.”

In his view, the risk of spiritual impoverishment is among the most worrying possible consequences of the papal text.

“How can we possibly favor a liturgical renewal and put the mystery of the Eucharist back at the center of Mass by separating the Church from its tradition?” he asked. “A tree whose roots are cut off dies.”

Raffray argued that the motu proprio, which seeks to bring people back to the ordinary form of the Latin Rite, could also prove to be counterproductive.

“I must marry a couple this summer in France, and we’ve already agreed that if the parish priest eventually refuses to welcome us in his church, we would go outside or to a nearby barn,” he said.

“No faithful accustomed to the Traditional Latin Mass will suddenly decide to stop going because of this document.”

“There is a real movement of the youth toward traditional Mass nowadays, because they need cultural and identity landmarks,” he added.

“This text could be, in this sense, an engine that will make traditionalists even more devout, more confident in the Church, while praying for the pope and growing in faith and charity.”

Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Ex 24:3-8

When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,  
they all answered with one voice,
“We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 
Then, having sent certain young men of the children of Israel
to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.”

Responsorial Psalm 50:1b-2, 5-6, 14-15

R.     (14a)  Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.
R.    Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Gather my faithful ones before me,
    those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
    for God himself is the judge.
R.    Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
     and fulfill your vows to the Most High;
Then call upon me in time of distress;
     I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.”
R.    Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Alleluia Jas 1:21bc

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:24-30

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The Church accompanies the people in ther legitimate claims, priest says of Cuba protests

A man waves a Cuban flag during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana, July 11, 2021. - Thousands of Cubans took part in rare protests Sunday against the communist government, marching through a town chanting "Down with the dictatorship" and "We want liberty." Credit: Adalberto Roque/AFP via Getty Images.

Camagüey, Cuba, Jul 23, 2021 / 18:01 pm (CNA).

The Church is accompanying those protesting Cuba’s communist government, according to a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey.

“I will speak about the part of the Church that I know, the one that touches me closely in this effort to accompany the people in their legitimate claims. Above all, we are welcoming, where people can speak without fear, dream of the future, think and imagine the Cuba they want. We commit ourselves to everyone in these works and we try to guide them from Gospel criteria. So that the Cuba that is reborn is in accordance with God. A Cuba that promotes the fullness of the human being that Christ revealed to us,” Fr. Fernando Luis Gálvez, pastor of San José de Lugareño parish in Camagüey, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, July 22.

Fr. Gálvez, 33, said that the clergy in Camagüey tried to be "a father" to their parishioners amid the emonstrations that began July 11 across Cuba.

“With such a Church, the future can proceed in the ways of God, otherwise the future will most likely be alien to the Gospel. If we do not accompany this rebirth, we would be mortgaging the future of the Church and therefore the salvation of future generations,” Fr. Gálvez stressed.

Protesters cited concerns about inflation, shortages of food and medicine, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Some protesters were beaten, and at least 100 were arrested.

“Cuba is a country in a state of collapse … When we watch national television it looks like an average country. When someone lies about many things, nothing they say is credible anymore. It is a deplorable situation,” charged Fr. Gálvez. Every day he hears "laments and complaints," he added.

“There’s nothing we can say is okay. There’s no food, no medicine, no efficient medical services, no transportation, and no properly functioning  institutions. Nothing works and almost nothing that is needed and sought out can be found. I experience this in the towns I serve as pastor, and it’s practically the same throughout the nation,” he explained. 

The protests drew a violent response from Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who ordered law enforcement to crack down on them.

Díaz-Canel denied July 14 that there was repression going on. However, videos posted on social media showed agents beating and arresting protesters.

“The image of those groups of ‘civilians,’ sent and protected by the communist government, armed with clubs and stones, scares me. It’s a terrifying image, totally reprehensible. So much manipulation scares me, so much intolerance of free expression, so much hatred,” the priest said.

In the context of the protests, Fr. Gálvez noted that he is seeing a Cuba that is “vigorous, with a desire for change, hopeful, with a fighting spirit,” despite the “pain and disappointment of the past and present.”

“The latest events and the government's response have awakened many who still didn’t see things clearly, who doubted, who perhaps still believed in the benefits that were only proclaimed in words. The government's violent response has been the clearest evidence of its identity. And the feeling that the people are experiencing, now in enforced silence, is: ‘no more.’ And this is the beginning of a path that sooner or later will bring change,” he continued.

The priest told ACI Prensa that in "the small towns he serves pastorally there were no demonstrations, but in some parts of the diocese there were, and I know and esteem a lot some of the detainees."

“It is precisely because of this personal knowledge that I am absolutely convinced of the human quality of many of the protesters. They are just people who love Cuba very much. There are many of them whose love for God has led them to a commitment to those who suffer, a commitment to justice, to the truth,” Fr. Gálvez said.

In addition, he said that "there are still people who have gone missing … For them we continue praying, looking for them, making demands. Others are already in their homes awaiting trial under trumped up charges. This situation is sad and very uncertain," he added.

Fr. Gálvez told ACI Prensa that he is a close friend of Fr. Cástor Álvarez Devesa, a priest who was beaten, detained during the demonstrations, and later released.


“It was 24 hours of great anguish. He wanted to know what had happened to him. Where did they take him? What are they doing to him? What will be the consequences? We were afraid for him, who had already been violently attacked during the demonstration,” he said.


According to Fr. Álvarez, “he wasn’t physically abused inside the police station. Although his arrest was already arbitrary in itself. Fr. Castor was faithfully fulfilling his priestly mission: to care for his children,” he continued.

Fr. Gálvez told ACI Prensa that "the government censors everything, including the Church."

“I don't want to talk more about this now, because it is very painful. I have marks on me and I still can’t discover the future consequences for my life and ministry. I ask you to pray for the freedom of the Church in Cuba. May we be faithful to our Christian conscience,” continued the priest.

Fr. Gálvez believes that “the clergy could be more committed to solving the real problem. The root of the problem.”

“It’s easier to give out medicine, food, etc. We are looking for fewer inconveniences. But all that’s over. I no longer have anything to give. All I have left is my voice. That I can give. And I will use it to demand justice,”  he pledged.

The priest also said that this demand for justice is related to the right to decent work and, therefore, to a better life.

“So that they, by themselves, can buy their food and get their medicines and whatever needs they may have. In Cuba we all have basic needs right now. So this material charitable service isn't enough. You have to go to the root of the problem. What are the causes of this precarious situation? There we would have to reflect and face the consequences for the good of all,” he said.

Fr. Gálvez stressed that the "unity of the Cuban Church is in Jesus Christ" and that "faith and morals unite us."

“The rest is up for discussion. That’s diversity, not division. God speaks to each one and suggests fields of action according to the needs of the people entrusted to us. That is what we would have to discern at this dramatic moment,” he stressed.

Finally, the priest said that he always remembers the Cross of Christ in order to overcome the dark hours.

“The Cross, I always invite you to contemplate the Cross, which is not resignation. The Cross since that Good Friday is the greatest paradox in history. There, by reflecting within ourselves, we could find paths and facet them with supernatural forces,” he concluded.