Vatican Roundup

Synod 2018 details announced

The Holy See has announced that the next Synod of Bishops, to take place in October 2018, will focus on “youth, faith, and vocational discernment”.

This will be the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops since Blessed Paul VI’s establishment of the institution in 1965.

It has been reported that the choice of theme for the 2018 gathering was decided by the Synod leadership over the wishes of Pope Francis, who had hoped the issue of married priests would be tackled.

“That proposal was understood to have been voted down by the majority of members of the 14th Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops,” Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin stated.


Pope greets Anglican leaders in Rome

Pope Francis has marked the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Blessed Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury, which launched a long-term theological dialogue, by welcoming 35 leaders of the Anglican community to Rome. 

On October 6, the Pontiff met with current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the Vatican ahead of a shared Vespers gathering and shared prayers at the tomb of St Peter.  During the visit, Archbishop Welby hailed the universal example of the Pope’s deeds in standing with the poor and others suffering in the modern era.

“You have stood alongside migrant peoples. You have initiated work on modern slavery and human trafficking and much more,” Archbishop Welby stated.

For his part, in addressing his guests in the Hall of the Popes, the Pontiff described as a “a beautiful sign of fraternity” the continued willingness of the Church leaders to meet, adding, “Let us never grow tired of asking the Lord together and insistently for the gift of unity”.

The 1966 meeting between Blessed Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey was the first such meeting between leaders of the Catholic and Anglican tradition since the Reformation.


Syria’s nuncio named as cardinal

The Apostolic Nuncio to Syria has been named among the 17 news cardinals to be elevated by Pope Francis on November 19.

Archbishop Mario Zenari has been nuncio to Syria since 2008, and has worked on behalf of the Christian community and others throughout the war afflicting that country since 2011. This work will continue as the Pope stated in announcing the November 19 consistory that Archbishop Zenari “will remain apostolic nuncio to the beloved and martyred Syria.”

Born in Verona, Itay, in 1946, Mario Zenari was ordained in 1970. The archbishop has spent the bulk of his ministry in diplomatic work on behalf of the Holy See. Before his appointment to Syria, he served as nuncio to the nations of Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Burkino Faso and Sri Lanka.

Most recently, Archbishop Zenari has been active in encouraging an enduring ceasefire in Syria to allow for much needed aid to reach now desperately struggling civilians, not least in the besieged city of Aleppo, which continues to suffer airstrikes.

“The main thing is to stop the violence and bring in humanitarian aid,” the archbishop insisted at the time of talks between Russia and the United States.