Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup Pope Francis kneels in prayer in front of what is believed to be the burial site of St Peter's in the Necropolis under St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Photo: L'Osservatore/AP File Photo

Pope Francis has unexpectedly given a reliquary containing what are believed to be bone fragments of St Peter to Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, an ecumenical gesture that has generated controversy among some Catholics.

The Pope took the reliquary from the chapel in the papal apartments, where Pope Saint Paul VI had placed the bronze reliquary containing eight bone fragments after they were discovered in a 1952 dig under St Peter’s Basilica.

A delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople were guests at the Mass in St Peter’s Basilica at the end of last month for the feast of Ss Peter and Paul, as has been customary in recent years.

After the Mass, Pope Francis brought Eastern Orthodox Archbishop Job to a chapel in the papal apartments and offered the chapel’s reliquary as a gift, according to Vatican News.

The bronze box bears the inscription: “From the bones found in the hypogeum of the Vatican Basilica, which are believed to be of Blessed Peter the Apostle.”


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The excluded, especially migrants and refugees, are the ones who ultimately pay the price for humanity’s greed, Pope Francis has said.

In a new video message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which the Vatican will celebrate on September 29, the Pope warned that “today’s world is increasingly becoming more elitist and cruel toward the excluded”.

“Those who pay the price are always the little ones, the poor, the most vulnerable, who are prevented from sitting at the table and are left with the crumbs of the banquet,” the Pope said in the message released last week.

The message, according to the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is part of a campaign that “will offer reflections, insights and resources for the promotion of pastoral activities” for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

Reflecting on the theme, “It’s not just about migrants; it’s about not excluding anyone”, the Pope lamented the exploitation of natural and human resources in developing countries “for the benefit of a few privileged markets”.


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Pope Francis has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Vatican, and the two discussed the ongoing wars in Eastern Ukraine and in Syria, the Vatican said. Russia plays a major role in both conflicts.

At the end of the 55-minute private meeting, Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, issued a statement describing the discussions as “cordial”.

The Pope and president, he said, “expressed their satisfaction at the development of bilateral relations”, which included the signing in Rome on July 4 of a collaboration agreement between the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital and paediatric hospitals in Russia.

Pope Francis and Putin “then turned their attention to various questions of relevance to the life of the Catholic Church in Russia”, Gisotti said, as well a discussion of “the ecological question and various themes relating to current international affairs, with particular reference to Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela”, where Russia has been supportive of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.