No Picture
News Briefs

Vatican draws attention to sacrifice of seafarers, requests prayers

July 15, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jul 15, 2019 / 11:49 am (CNA).- The prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development urged prayers Sunday for seafarers, fishermen, and maritime workers, by whose work some 90% of the world’s goods are transported.

“Though we do not realize it, the work of seafarers is essential for our daily lives,” Cardinal Peter Turkson wrote in a message for “Sea Sunday,” July 14.

This is because “most of the possessions that we have in our houses, the television, the fridge, the washing machine, computer and phone, not to mention the fuel for our cars, the clothes we wear, and many other items are all made in distant parts of the world and brought to us by seafarers,” he said.

In his message, Turkson underlined the need to consider and reflect upon the importance seafarers and fishermen have on the comfort and well-being of others.

“The faithful are requested to remember and pray for the 1.5 million seafarers who criss-cross the oceans and the seas, transporting almost 90% of goods from one nation to another,” the cardinal said.

He noted that hazards faced by seafarers can include depression brought on by isolation and living in confined spaces, a delayed salary, exploitation, tough working conditions, threat of piracy or terrorist attack, and lack of proper rest.

Turkson acknowledged that with the ratification and implementation of some international legislation conditions aboard many vessels have improved, though he underlined that in some parts of the world, there are still “unscrupulous ship owners” who take advantage of a lack of law enforcement.

“In the faces of seafarers from different nations, I invite you to recognize the face of Christ in
your midst,” the cardinal said. “In the confusion of languages, I recommend you to speak the language of Christian love that welcomes everyone and excludes no one.”

In his message, Turkson praised the work of Apostleship of the Sea, or Stella Maris, a Catholic organization which provides pastoral care for seafarers and their families.

The organization will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020, and will hold its world congress in Glasgow Sept. 29-Oct. 4 of that year. Glasgow was the location of the first meeting of Apostleship of the Sea in 1920, when they discussed a revival of ship-visiting in riverside parishes. The group’s constitution was approved by Pius XI in 1922.

Turkson said: “I would like to encourage the chaplains and volunteers of Stella Maris/Apostleship of the Sea during their daily ship visits to be vigilant and approach each seafarer and fisher with the same committed spirit that animated the pioneers of our ministry.”

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development released a prayer for the occasion of “Sea Sunday.”

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Italian Cardinal Paolo Sardi dies at age 84

July 14, 2019 CNA Daily News 3

Vatican City, Jul 14, 2019 / 04:35 am (CNA).- Cardinal Paolo Sardi, who served under five popes, died Saturday at Gemelli Hospital in Rome after a short illness.

The 84-year-old Piemontese cardinal had been retired from his work in the Secretary of State, where he coordinated the office which edits papal speeches and texts.

He most recently had served as pro-patron and then patron of the Sovreign Military Order of the Knights of Malta, a position he held from June 2009 to November 2014.

In a letter of condolence to members of Sardi’s family July 14, Pope Francis praised the cardinal’s “priestly spirit, his theological preparation, his gifts of intelligence and wisdom… through which he has given a valuable contribution to the magisteriums of St. Paul VI, John Paul I, St. John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.”

Thanking God for Sardi’s witness in his service to the Holy See, Francis said he joins his prayers to those of the many Catholics who would join the cardinal at his daily Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, often said at the altar of St. Pope John XXIII.

“Faithful to his episcopal motto, ‘Esto Vigilans,’ he has been good and vigilant, therefore we hope that, accompanied by the Virgin Mary, the saints Peter and Paul, and the Holy Bishop Guido of Acqui, he will be welcomed into the eternal reward of heaven,” the pope prayed.

In 2012, Sardi was accused alongside two others, in an article in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, of being complicit in the leaking of sensitive papal information to the media, in the event now referred to as “Vatileaks.”

At the time of the article’s publication, the Vatican denied the claims, releasing a statement from the Secretariat of State expressing “firm and total disapproval of those publications, which are not based on objective criteria and seriously damage the honor of the people concerned, who have served the Holy Father faithfully for many years.”

Then-papal spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed Sardi and the others were called to testify before a commission, but emphasized that it in no way indicated suspicion of “shared responsibility or ‘complicity.'”

Sardi, who was born in the northern Italian town of Ricaldone in 1934, used to say that above all, his parents, who raised him to have a deep faith, taught him “humility and honesty.” He also had the example of several priests in his extended family.

Sardi studied at a local seminary and in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he received a license in theology. He was ordained a priest in 1958.

Sardi returned to Rome to study canon law, finishing a degree in 1963. He then taught moral theology at a seminary in the diocese of Acqui while serving at various parishes.

He later attended the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan for a degree in jurisprudence, continuing to teach moral theology at a seminary in Turin.

During this time he wrote a book on the history of the Church’s teaching on abortion.

In 1976, Sardi was asked to come to the Vatican to work in the Secretary of State in the section for general affairs. He was made head of an office in 1990 and in 1992 became vice assessor, coordinating the office which collaborates in the editing of the pope’s speeches and texts.

He was ordained a bishop by St. Pope John Paul II in 1997, who said in his homily: “I pray for you, Mons. Sardi, that, named apostolic nuncio with special assignments, you will continue to yet work beside me in the secretary of State. I congratulate you for the service performed until now, I wish you to continue in the same way, with the same zeal.”

From October 2004 to January 2011 Sardi served as Vice-Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.

He was made a cardinal by Benedict XVI in a November 2010 consistory.

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Vatican will open two ossuaries next week in continued cemetery investigation

July 13, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jul 13, 2019 / 08:37 am (CNA).- The Vatican has found two ossuaries believed to maybe belong to the German noblewomen whose tombs were found empty earlier this week.

According to Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, the ossuaries will be opened for testing July 20, in order to determine if they belong to Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Duchess Charlotte Frederica, who both died in the 19th century.

The women’s tombs and monuments, located in the Teutonic cemetery on Vatican extra-territorial property adjacent to Vatican City State, were opened July 11 in an attempt to find a clue to the 1983 disappearance of an Italian teen, Emanuela Orlandi.

That the tombs were found empty of any human remains, including the women supposedly buried there, was considered an unseen twist in the mystery of the missing Orlandi.

Gisotti said July 13 documents had been found confirming that in the 1960s and 1970s an extensive renovation of the Teutonic College and the cemetery was carried out.

Staff examined the rooms of the college adjacent to the empty tombs, finding two ossuaries placed under the pavement via hatches in the floor.

“These were immediately sealed for subsequent examination and detection of the bone materials lying therein,” Gisotti stated. The ossuaries are scheduled to be opened on the morning of July 20, in the presence of scientific experts.

Emanuela Orlandi was the daughter of an envoy of the Prefecture of the Pontifical House and a citizen of Vatican City State. Her disappearance at age 15 has been one of Italy’s biggest unsolved mysteries and the subject of international intrigue, including suspicion about the Vatican’s role, since it occurred.

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Vatican tomb investigation uncovers empty graves

July 11, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jul 11, 2019 / 10:35 am (CNA).- The opening of two tombs on Vatican property revealed both graves to be completely empty, providing no answers in the unsolved disappearance of an Italian girl 36 years ago, the Vatican reported Thursday.

“The research has given negative results: no human findings or funerary urns were found,” stated Holy See spokesman Alessandro Gisotti July 11.

The tombs, located on Vatican extra-territorial property adjacent to Vatican City State, were opened in an attempt to find a clue to the 1983 vanishing of Emanuela Orlandi.

Orlandi was the daughter of an envoy of the Prefecture of the Pontifical House and a citizen of Vatican City State. Her disappearance at age 15 has been the subject of international intrigue, including suspicion about the Vatican’s role, since it occurred.

The Vatican authorized the opening of the graves after a request by Orlandi’s family, which had last year received an anonymous letter suggesting a clue could be found near a large statue of an angel in the Teutonic College cemetery.

The tombs opened were those of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe, who died in 1836, and Duchess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who died in 1840.

Charlotte’s monument bears an inscription indicating it was erected in 1848 by her son, Frederick VII of Denmark.

According to Gisotti, von Hohenlohe’s tomb revealed an empty underground compartment of approximately 13 by 12 feet. The opening of the sarcophagus of Charlotte also revealed no human remains. Relatives of both women were informed of the discovery.

The Vatican’s next step following the discovery, Gisotti explained, will be to look into documentation about structural renovations that took place in the cemetery at the end of the 1800s and in the 1960s and ‘70s.

The opening of the graves was performed by the Vatican construction staff and overseen by a forensic anthropologist and his team, the Vatican gendarmerie, and by the Vatican tribunal’s promoter of justice.

Members of Orlandi’s family, and their lawyer, were also present.

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Vatican to open tombs in connection with decades-old cold case

July 10, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jul 10, 2019 / 10:06 am (CNA).- Authorities will open two tombs in a cemetery on Vatican property Thursday in order to perform testing in connection with the unsolved disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi in June 1983.

Orlandi was the daughter of an envoy of the Prefecture of the Pontifical House and a citizen of Vatican City State. Her disappearance has been the subject of international intrigue, including suspicion about the Vatican’s role, since it occurred. After multiple investigations, Orlandi’s case was closed in 2016.

The exhumation of the tombs in the cemetery of the Teutonic College, located on Vatican extra-territorial property adjacent to Vatican City State, was authorized after a request by Orlandi’s family.

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, the mother and brother of Orlandi requested the tombs be opened after receiving an anonymous message claiming the graves near a large statue of a pointing angel could contain clues to the 15-year-old girl’s disappearance.

Interim director of the Holy See press office, Alessandro Gisotti, stated last week the exhumation will take place July 11 in the presence of the case’s lawyers and Orlandi’s relatives and the relatives of the people buried in the graves concerned.

The opening of the tombs will be overseen by a forensic anthropologist and by the Vatican gendarmerie. Gisotti said that as the Vatican has no jurisdiction over the investigation of Orlandi’s case, the exhumation and forensic and DNA testing will be performed only in order to determine if Orlandi’s body was buried on Vatican property.

Speculation about Orlandi’s disappearance reignited last October when human bone fragments were discovered during the renovation of a building connected to the Holy See’s nunciature in Rome, though DNA testing found the remains to be from a male who died sometime between the 1st and 3rd centuries.

The tombs to be opened are those of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe, who died in 1836, and Princess Carlotta Federica of Mecklenburg, who died in 1840.

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Sistine Chapel Choir director ceases duties

July 10, 2019 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jul 10, 2019 / 06:33 am (CNA).- Fr. Massimo Palombella has ceased his position as director of the Sistine Chapel Choir, according to the Vatican. The music teacher had been under investigation for financial fraud.

A July 10 statement said Pope Francis recently accepted Palombella’s request to end his service and that the decision was made together with the Office of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations and the Salesian order, of which Palombella is a member.

Palombella “is now available to the Salesian Congregation for the new ministry that will be entrusted to him,” it stated.

The end of Palombella’s 9-year tenure with the choir comes after news of a financial scandal involving the Sistine Chapel Choir broke in July 2018.

In September 2018, the Holy See press office confirmed the scandal, reporting that Pope Francis had authorized an investigation, still ongoing, into the “economic-administrative aspects” of the choir.

The allegations were of reported money laundering, aggravated fraud against the Vatican City State, and embezzlement, accusing the choir manager Michelangelo Nardella and Palombella.

According to reports, Nardella and Palombella allegedly transferred some concert proceeds to an Italian bank account and used the money for personal expenses.

No other information about the investigation, or whether it has concluded, has been made public.

In January, Pope Francis issued a motu proprio, which among other things, moved the Sistine Chapel Choir to be under the administration of the Office of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations instead of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household and Nardella.

Fr. Guido Marini, master of ceremonies of papal liturgies, was tasked with the choir’s management and with drafting its new statues.

It was announced by interim press office director Alessandro Gisotti July 10 that with the conclusion of Palombella’s service, the interim leadership of the choir has been entrusted to Fr. Marcos Pavan, who is the director of the Pueri Cantores, or boy choir, section of the Sistine Chapel Choir.

Known officially as the Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina, the choir is comprised of 20 professional singers from around the world, as well as a treble section made up of 35 boys aged 9-13, called the Pueri Cantores.

With a 1,500-year history, the Sistine Chapel Choir is believed to be the oldest active choir in the world.

Palombella has conducted the Sistine Chapel Choir since 2010.

 

[…]

No Picture
News Briefs

Holy See waives diplomatic immunity for accused nuncio to France

July 8, 2019 CNA Daily News 1

Vatican City, Jul 8, 2019 / 11:07 am (CNA).- The Holy See has announced it has revoked the diplomatic immunity of the apostolic nuncio to France, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, clearing the way for the diplomat to face criminal charges in that country.

In a July 8 statement, interim head of Vatican communications Alessandro Gisotti confirmed that the archbishop’s immunity had been waived.

“I can confirm that the Holy See renounces jurisdictional immunity enjoyed by the Apostolic Nuncio in France, Msgr. Luigi Ventura, by virtue of the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on diplomatic relations, for the purposes of criminal proceedings concerning him,” Gisotti said. 

Ventura, 74, is accused of having inappropriately touched a young male staffer of Paris City Hall during a Jan. 17 reception for the New Year address of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. That accusation has been under investigation by Parisian authorities for several months.

In March France’s Minister of European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, called on the Vatican to waive immunity and allow the inquiry to reach a conclusion.

“At this point, [Ventura] benefits from diplomatic immunity, but the Holy See is clearly aware of the serious accusations that have been brought against the apostolic nuncio and I don’t doubt for a second that the Holy See will do the right thing,” Loiseau said at the time.

On Monday, Gisotti confirmed that the decision had been communicated to French authorities last week, calling the move “an extraordinary gesture.” Gisotti also confirmed that the Ventura had agreed “to collaborate fully and spontaneously with the French judicial authorities,” and that he has freely participated in the preliminary phase of the investigation.

Ventura has served as nuncio to France since 2009. The statement from the Vatican did not make clear if he would formally remain in post during the remaining phases of the investigation or any subsequent trial.

After the initial allegation was made against in Ventura in March, he faced a second accusation of sexual misconduct against an adult male relating to his time in Canada in 2008.

Christian Vachon, who was 32 at the time of the alleged incident, claims Ventura touched his buttocks at least twice during a banquet held at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, near Quebec.

Diplomatic immunity, which allows diplomats in a country to do their work without fear of interference from the host country’s laws or lawsuits from the host country, is covered by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

The standard diplomatic protections can be removed by the diplomat’s home country, in special circumstances and at the country’s discretion.

In recent years, the Holy See’s practice has generally been to recall diplomats accused of civil crimes in their host countries. Once back in Vatican City, they are tried both civilly and canonically, and may later be stripped of diplomatic immunity so they can also be prosecuted by the host country.

In April 2018, Vatican police arrested former diplomat Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, who faced charges related to child pornography in both the United States and Canada, where he had served in diplomatic posts for the Holy See.

Capella was recalled from the Washington Nunciature in September 2017 after the Vatican was informed by the US State Department that there was a “possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images” by a member of the Holy See’s diplomatic corps.

The Holy See declined a State Department request to wave immunity in Capella’s case. However, information regarding the findings of the US State Department was passed along to the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice. Following a 2018 Vatican civil trial, during which he admitted viewing child pornography, Capella was sentenced to five years in prison. A subsequent canonical trial, currently underway, may result in his dismissal from the clerical state.

Ventura was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brescia in 1969. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1978 and has served in Brazil, Bolivia, and the United Kingdom. From 1984 to 1995 he worked at the Secretariat of State’s Section for Relations with States.

After his episcopal consecration in 1995, Ventura served as nuncio to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chile, and Canada, before his transfer to France.

[…]