Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup
Organised criminals face excommunication

A consultation group for the Vatican will consider using excommunication as a weapon against organised crime and corruption.

The Mafia and other criminal organisations could be thrown out of the Church if proposals published last week by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development are followed.

The group proposes the “development of a global response, through bishops’ conferences and local churches, to the excommunication of the Mafia and other similar criminal organisations and to the prospect of excommunication for corruption”.

Fighting corruption “will not be a simple road to follow,” the document said, and will require listening to the Church in various parts of the world and entering into dialogue with people of other faiths.

Corruption, the document said, is not just an act but a “condition”, so the new consultation group will need to address the many forms of corruption through “culture, education, training, institutional action, and citizen participation”.


Francis puts focus on Christian hope after General Audiences resumed

Pope Francis focused on the theme of Christian Hope and the Sacrament of Baptism last week during one of his General Audiences, which were suspended for the month of July.

The Pontiff spoke about several aspects of the Baptismal liturgy, and mentioned that in the older form of baptism, during the first part of the profession of faith, people turned to the West. After rejecting Satan they turned to the East, where the sun rises, and professing their faith in God.

He said about the practice: “Even if our modern world has lost contact with such cosmic imagery, this symbolism retains its power. For what does it mean to be Christian, but to confess our faith in the light, a light that casts out gloom and darkness?”

After baptism, he said Christians become “children of the light”.

“This light gives us new hope, helps us to know God as Father, and enables us to recognize Jesus in the weakest and poorest.”

He added that Christians are ‘orientated’ and do not believe in darkness but in the brightness of the day.


Pope tells German football team to promote peace

The Pope met with the managers and players of a German football team last week, and invited them to be “athletes for peace”.

Players from Borrusia Mönchengladbach were thanked by Pope Francis for the “friendly relations” built between the team and the Vatican Employees’ Athletic Association, who they sometimes compete with in Rome and in Mönchengladbach.

The Pope said the club “distinguishes itself by being a team ‘at the human level’, in a manner of speaking, and a team which promotes the family”.

He said he enjoyed seeing “how families live in your Borussia Park and how many athletic and educative initiatives are held to promote young people, in particular the less fortunate”.

“I entrust you, your families, and all your loved ones to the Lord. May He ever accompany you with His blessing,” he added.