Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup Pope Francis greets children during a meeting with Italy's Roma, Sinti and Gypsy communities at the Vatican. Photo: CNS
 hope never
 Gypsy communities

Members of Italy’s Gypsy communities must look to God to hold on to the hope of a future where they are no longer discriminated against or segregated, Pope Francis has said.

Speaking to 500 members of the Roma, Sinti and Gypsy communities during a May 9 prayer service in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Pope said he was moved by the testimonies of mothers who continue to hold on to the hope they see in their children’s eyes.

“Hope can disappoint if it is not true hope. But when hope is concrete, as in this case, in the eyes of the children, it never disappoints, it never disappoints! When hope is concrete, in the true God, it never disappoints,” he said.

During the prayer service, the Pope listened to several members of the Gypsy communities, including a priest from the Diocese of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo, Italy, located roughly 75 miles south of Rome.

“Yes, I am a Roma priest! A Gypsy that becomes a priest always makes news and is considered different and peculiar,” Fr Cristian Di Silvio told Pope Francis.

Nevertheless, through the help of his spiritual adviser, Fr Di Silvio said he learned that his Gypsy heritage did not make him different from any other Christian who is “unique and unparalleled”.


New Vatican
 move in right

Pope Francis’ new norms on protecting minors and strengthening accountability are the latest steps in driving home the message that the days of keeping abuse allegations covered up or ignored are over, said the Vatican’s top abuse investigator.

In the past, some people may have thought they were protecting the Church by remaining silent, but that behaviour was never acceptable, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told reporters.

“The good of the Church requires condemnation” to the proper authorities when it comes to abuse of minors and abuses of power, he said.

The archbishop spoke to reporters about Pope Francis’ latest apostolic letter, ‘Vos estis lux mundi’ (‘You are the light of the world’) at a news conference at the Vatican on May 9. The new document establishes and clarifies norms and procedures for holding bishops and religious superiors accountable when it comes to safeguarding minors as well as abuses carried out against adults with violence, threats or an abuse of authority.

The new norms are important, Archbishop Scicluna said, because they clearly tell people they have an obligation to report already existing crimes, negligence and inappropriate behaviour to Church authorities.


Love of neighbour is central to Jewish – Christian relations

The love of neighbour is a common commitment among Christians and Jews, Pope Francis said to teachers and students at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute last week.

The Pope explained that Christian interpretations of Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees, as well as consideration of the Jewish heirs to the Pharisaic tradition, must seek this common ground with accuracy, free of prejudice and stereotypes.

Love of neighbour “certainly constitutes an important basis for any dialogue, especially among Jews and Christians, even today”, the Pope said in prepared remarks for the biblical institute, known in Vatican parlance as the Biblicum.

Pope Francis said that the influential 2nd-Century Jewish commentator Rabbi Aqiba, an heir of the Pharisees, described the words “love your neighbour as yourself” as “a great principle of the Torah”.