Saturday, December 31, 2016

And so, gang, for all 2016 has been – and everything the stories of these last 12 months have lined up for the road ahead – if there can just be one emblematic bit from this vantage, it's this: the deeply palpable moment in February when, after two years of angling to pull it off, the Pope arrived at the Mexico-US Border in Ciudad Juarez to pray... a scene intended as a "Lampedusa" call for his own continent.

Given Francis' subsequent punch-up on the plane home – and the according follow-up from the Stateside bench toward year's end – let this be a reminder of how, at the upper levels of this beat, nothing happens in a vacuum.

As for the full thrust of what that entails going forward, well, connect the dots.

And, of course, stay tuned.

*    *    *
Per the Church's immemorial tradition, the last day of the civil calendar insists upon our great hymn of thanksgiving, the Te Deum, regardless of what transpired over the cycle now entering into the past.

Ergo, albeit in more singable form (lyrics), let us all give thanks for what's been, or just that the year's over – and whichever the case, seek the grace to make the next one better, beginning with each one of us:

*    *    *
In that light, it's a blessing when your work owes itself to the goodness of a great crowd of witnesses – thanks to said grace, this scribe will see his Lord when He calls me home, instead of upon rendering how much clickbait I brought in last quarter.

Indeed, folks, navigating the straits of journalism these days (both doing it and funding it) is not easy. But beyond the need to keep the news clean, serious and honest, part of the job is making it look smooth... and 'round these parts, the degree any and all of this can be the case comes solely by means of your support.

As the back-end goes, the costs these pages incur remain a daunting weight – and on top of the standard pile, it's back on the road later in the week to see some history unfold, then even more later this month.

So, long story short, Whispers can pull it off only as much as you'll let it happen – as ever, the toughest part of all this is in this readership's hands....

All that said, hope you've had a joyous and brilliant Octave and all its graces keep going into the New Year...

...and as it's still Christmas, Church, don't forget to keep acting like it – Buon Natale e Buon Anno a tutti!


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In Cleveland, LeBishop Calls It A Day

(Updated 10.30am ET with presser video, etc.)

While everyone's hopefully enjoying some Christmas downtime, even the Octave isn't stopping the US docket's most frenetic period of activity in nearly a decade.

At Roman Noon on this fourth day of Christmas, the Pope accepted the early retirement of Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland three months before the latter's 70th birthday. While the Boston-born prelate suffered a significant heart attack earlier this year – and has reportedly begun to struggle with "memory issues" – the move brings a rapid end to an extraordinarily fraught tenure marked by significant upheaval in the 700,000-member diocese, Ohio's largest local church (and once again a City of Champions).

In tandem with the move, as no permanent successor was immediately named, the Holy See has tapped Bishop Daniel Thomas of Toledo to temporarily lead the neighboring fold to his east as apostolic administrator. Once the lead staffer for English-language appointments at the Congregation for Bishops, the choice of the energetic, ever-sunny Philadelphia native signals an intent for the extensive local report on the state of the diocese (the first step in the search for its next occupant) to be handled with an expert's speed and an outsider's objectivity, thus increasing the odds for a permanent pick to emerge as soon as possible. (Just to avoid any confusion, Thomas remains at the helm of the Toledo diocese, doubling up his workload with the Cleveland post until Lennon's replacement is installed.)

Upon his appointment to the shores of Lake Erie in 2006, Lennon arrived marked by two experiences that yielded a reputation for storms: overseeing the Boston church as apostolic administrator between the collapse of Cardinal Bernard Law's tenure and the arrival of then-Archbishop Seán O'Malley, then leading the charge as vicar-general on the quick push to close nearly 70 Boston parishes as the embers of the scandals still smouldered.

In Cleveland, the second act proved no less eventful as Lennon's 2009 plan to consolidate 50 parishes – most of them early 20th century ethnic holdovers in a drastically changed city – saw him pilloried and heckled at practically every turn, then made to undergo an Apostolic Visitation on his stewardship of the diocese given what's been termed an unparalleled level of complaints sent both to Rome and the Nunciature in Washington.

Despite surviving the Vatican probe, part of which saw 11 of his closings reversed by the Holy See (and, in a rarity, the parishes fully reopened), Lennon's attempts at mending relationships in its wake seemed to come too late. In one especially bitter example, after a priest who formed an "independent community" with most of his closed parish got the result they wanted – the closing's nullification by Rome – they still refused to return, even despite the cleric's excommunication in 2013.

Though the bishop's friends invariably lament "the hand" he was made to deal with in both cities, such was Lennon's profile as a controversy-magnet in Boston that – following a bruising first three years that once saw O'Malley publicly express his prayer "that the Lord will take me home" – the confluence of the former's departure within weeks of the Capuchin's reception of the red hat is just as frequently seen as the critical moment that began turning the tide of the archdiocese. Much as with Newark – where, in an unprecedented moment for the Stateside church, a cardinal will be installed next week as archbishop – the priority for Cleveland's next bishop is on turning the page, as well as affirming the church's historically strong charitable and community presence on a struggling turf.

That said, however, with the gruntwork of parish planning now completed – and as Lennon's last year in office saw the finish line of a five-year capital campaign that topped out at $170 million – the next "Believeland" prelate will have his predecessor to thank for the considerably stabilized slate he'll inherit.

With today's move, eight Stateside Latin dioceses stand vacant, with another four led by (arch)bishops serving past the retirement age. Just over this month, the latter list grew by two as Bishops Martin Amos of Davenport (himself a Cleveland native) and Stephen Blaire of Stockton turned 75.

SVILUPPO – 10.30am ET: In brief remarks at the midmorning Chancery presser announcing the transition, Lennon confirmed the report above, revealing that a recent diagnosis with vascular dementia spurred his request for retirement, which was submitted in late November.

The departing prelate declined to take questions before yielding the podium to the newly-named administrator.

Here, fullvid of the session:

Meanwhile, given the sheer pricelessness of a River City priest ending up – even temporarily – as custos of the Sacred Birthplace of the Greatest Among The Pharaohs, there's only one thing Danny Thomas' home-crowd cares to know....
That said, unlike the common habit of the Utmost High in speaking of his Lakeside roots, 'tis curious that any mention of one Frederick Ignatius Horstmann in this instance remained conspicuous by its absence.

On a more serious note, given the unusual state of the situation – and, with it, the not unexpected question of where Lennon would seek to live in retirement (put simply, Cleveland or a return to Boston) – a senior Tribe op tells Whispers that the bishop's plans remain "undecided."

In light of the circumstances at play, across multiple ecclesial fronts, the appointment of a permanent bishop is expected within roughly six months... in other words, just on the heels of the next Cavs parade.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

"He Is Prince of Peace. Let Us Welcome Him!"

25 DECEMBER 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!

Today the Church once more experiences the wonder of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and the shepherds of Bethlehem, as they contemplate the newborn Child laid in a manger: Jesus, the Saviour.

On this day full of light, the prophetic proclamation resounds:

“For to us a child is born,
To us a son is given.
And the government will be upon his shoulder;
and his name will be called
“Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Is 9:6)

The power of this Child, Son of God and Son of Mary, is not the power of this world, based on might and wealth; it is the power of love. It is the power that created the heavens and the earth, and gives life to all creation: to minerals, plants and animals. It is the force that attracts man and woman, and makes them one flesh, one single existence. It is the power that gives new birth, forgives sin, reconciles enemies, and transforms evil into good. It is the power of God. This power of love led Jesus Christ to strip himself of his glory and become man; it led him to give his life on the cross and to rise from the dead. It is the power of service, which inaugurates in our world the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace.

For this reason, the birth of Jesus was accompanied by the angels’ song as they proclaimed:

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”
(Lk 2:14).

Today this message goes out to the ends of the earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace.

Peace to men and women in the war-torn land of Syria, where far too much blood has been spilled. Particularly in Aleppo, the site of horrendous fighting in recent weeks, it is most urgent that, in respect for humanitarian law, assistance and support be guaranteed to the sorely-tried civilian population, who continue to live in desperate straits and immense suffering and need. It is time for weapons to be still forever, and the international community to seek actively a negotiated solution, so that civil coexistence can be restored in the country.

Peace to the women and men of the beloved Holy Land, the land chosen and favoured by God. May Israelis and Palestinians have the courage and determination to write a new page of history, where hate and revenge give way to the will to build together a future of mutual understanding and harmony. May Iraq, Libya and Yemen – whose peoples suffer war and the brutality of terrorism – be able once again to find unity and concord.

Peace to the men and women in various parts of Africa, especially in Nigeria, where fundamentalist terrorism exploits even children in order to perpetrate horror and death. Peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so that divisions may be healed and all people of good will may strive to undertake the path of development and sharing, preferring the culture of dialogue to the mindset of conflict.

Peace to women and men who to this day suffer the consequences of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, where there is urgent need for a common desire to bring relief to the civil population and to put into practice the commitments which have been assumed.

We implore harmony for the dear people of Colombia, which seeks to embark on a new and courageous path of dialogue and reconciliation. May such courage also motivate the beloved country of Venezuela to undertake the necessary steps to put an end to current tensions, and build together a future of hope for the whole population.

Peace to all who, in different areas, are enduring sufferings due to constant dangers and persistent injustice. May Myanmar consolidate its efforts to promote peaceful coexistence and, with the assistance of the international community, provide necessary protection and humanitarian assistance to all those so gravely and urgently in need of it. May the Korean peninsula see the tensions it is experiencing overcome in a renewed spirit of collaboration.

Peace to all who have been injured or have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the brutal acts of terrorism that have sown fear and death in the heart of many countries and cities. Peace – not merely the word, but real and concrete peace – to our abandoned and excluded brothers and sisters, to those who suffer hunger and to all the victims of violence. Peace to exiles, migrants and refugees, to all those who in our day are subject to human trafficking. Peace to the peoples who suffer because of the economic ambitions of a few, because of sheer greed and the idolatry of money, which leads to slavery. Peace to those affected by social and economic unrest, and to those who endure the consequences of earthquakes or other natural catastrophes.

And peace to the children, on this special day on which God became a child, above all those deprived of the joys of childhood because of hunger, wars or the selfishness of adults.

Peace on earth to men and women of goodwill, who work quietly and patiently each day, in their families and in society, to build a more humane and just world, sustained by the conviction that only with peace is there the possibility of a more prosperous future for all.

Dear brothers and sisters,
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”: he is the “Prince of peace”. Let us welcome him!

To you, dear brothers and sisters, who have gathered in this Square from every part of the world, and to those in various countries who are linked to us by radio, television and other means of communication, I offer my greeting.

On this day of joy, we are all called to contemplate the Child Jesus, who gives hope once again to every person on the face of the earth. By his grace, let us with our voices and our actions give witness to solidarity and peace. Merry Christmas to all!

[Ed. Note: In keeping with the recent addition of "new means of communication" alongside radio and television, watching the above footage of the Pope's blessing confers the plenary indulgence under the usual conditions – i.e. Communion and Confession within seven days, and prayers for the intentions of the Roman Pontiff. There's no gaming the system, however – however many times it's watched, the blessing only confers the indulgence once.

[Again, Buon Natale a tutti – a joyous and Blessed Christmas to you and all your loved ones!]


Saturday, December 24, 2016

"This Night of Glory, This Night of Joy, This Night of Light"

24 DECEMBER 2016

The grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men” (Tit 2:11). The words of the Apostle Paul reveal the mystery of this holy night: the grace of God has appeared, his gift is free; in the Child given unto us the love of God is made visible.

It is a night of glory, that glory proclaimed by the angels in Bethlehem and also by us today all over the world. It is a night of joy, because from this day forth, and for all times, the infinite and eternal God is God with us: he is not far off, we need not search for him in the heavens or in mystical notions; he is close, he is been made man and will never distance himself from our humanity, which he has made his own. It is a night of light: that light, prophesied by Isaiah (cf. 9:1), which would illumine those who walk in darkness, has appeared and enveloped the shepherds of Bethlehem (cf. Lk 2:9).

The shepherds simply discover that “unto us a child is born” (Is 9:5) and they understand that all this glory, all this joy, all this light converges to one single point, that sign which the angel indicated to them: “you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). This is the enduring sign to find Jesus. Not just then, but also today. If we want to celebrate Christmas authentically, we need to contemplate this sign: the fragile simplicity of a small newborn, the meekness of where he lies, the tender affection of the swaddling clothes. God is there.

With this sign the Gospel reveals a paradox: it speaks of the emperor, the governor, the mighty of those times, but God does not make himself present there; he does not appear in the grand hall of a royal palace, but in the poverty of a stable; not in pomp and show, but in the simplicity of life; not in power, but in a smallness which surprises. In order to discover him, we need to go there, where he is: we need to bow down, humble ourselves, make ourselves small. The Child who is born challenges us: he calls us to leave behind fleeting illusions and go to the essence, to renounce our insatiable claims, to abandon our endless dissatisfaction and sadness for something we will never have. It will help us to leave these things behind in order to rediscover in the simplicity of the God-child, peace, joy and the meaning of life.

Let us allow the Child in the manger to challenge us, but let us also allow ourselves to be challenged by the children of today’s world, who are not lying in a cot caressed with the affection of a mother and father, but rather suffer the squalid “mangers that devour dignity”: hiding underground to escape bombardment, on the pavements of a large city, at the bottom of a boat overladen with immigrants. Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who do have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons.

The mystery of Christmas, which is light and joy, questions and unsettles us, because it is at once both a mystery of hope and of sadness. It bears within itself the taste of sadness, inasmuch as love is not received, and life discarded. This happened to Joseph and Mary, who found the doors closed, and placed Jesus in a manger, “because there was no place for them in the inn” (v. 7). Jesus was born rejected by some and regarded by many others with indifference. Today also the same indifference can exist, when Christmas becomes a feast where the protagonists are ourselves, rather than Jesus; when the lights of commerce cast the light of God into the shadows; when we are concerned for gifts but cold towards those who are marginalized.

Yet Christmas has essentially a flavour of hope because, notwithstanding the darker aspects of our lives, God’s light shines out. His gentle light does not make us fear; God who is in love with us, draws us to himself with his tenderness, born poor and fragile among us, as one of us. He is born in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread”. In this way he seems to tell us that he is born as bread for us; he enters life to give us his life; he comes into our world to give us his love. He does not come to devour or to command but to nourish and to serve. Thus there is a direct thread joining the manger and the cross, where Jesus will become bread that is broken: it is the direct thread of love which is given and which saves us, which brings light to our lives, and peace to our hearts.

The shepherds grasped this in that night. They were among the marginalized of those times. But no one is marginalized in the sight of God and it was precisely they who were invited to the Nativity. Those who felt sure of themselves, self-sufficient, were at home with their possessions; the shepherds instead “went with haste” (cf. Lk 2:16). Let us allow ourselves also to be challenged and convened tonight by Jesus. Let us go to him with trust, from that area in us we feel to be marginalized, from our own limitations. Let us touch the tenderness which saves. Let us draw close to God who draws close to us, let us pause to look upon the crib, and imagine the birth of Jesus: light, peace, utmost poverty, and rejection. Let us enter into the real Nativity with the shepherds, taking to Jesus all that we are, our alienation, our unhealed wounds. Then, in Jesus we will enjoy the flavour of the true spirit of Christmas: the beauty of being loved by God. With Mary and Joseph we pause before the manger, before Jesus who is born as bread for my life. Contemplating his humble and infinite love, let us say to him: thank you, thank you because you have done all this for me.

(Mass fullvid.)


O great mystery
and wonderful sacrament
that even the animals saw the new-born Lord
lying in a manger.

We saw the new-born, and a chorus of angels
Praising the Lord. Alleluia.

Whom did you see, shepherds, say,
Tell us, who appeared?

We saw the new-born, and choruses of angels
Praising the Lord.

Alleluia. one and all here – from the rookies to you unbelievably tolerant veterans of these dozen years – tutti auguri presso questa Santa Notte: may all the grace, joy and light of what's just ahead be yours Tonight and forever.

Christus natus est pro nobis – venite adoremus... Blessed Christmas to you and yours – thanks for too much always!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

"A Sign of Life" – At Christmas "Greeting," Pope Talks Curia Reform... and "Resistance"

Over the last two pontificates, the Pope's traditional Christmas "greeting" to the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia has taken on an outsize significance, serving under Benedict XVI by turns as a "Year in Review" or theological showcase, and for Francis as an incisive meditation on best practice in church administration... or the lack thereof.

Keeping with the decade-old thread, this morning the pontiff unleashed another whopper at his dicastery-chiefs – not an indictment of the "15 diseases" kind, but laying out in unprecedented detail his rationale and principles for the ongoing reform of the Roman Curia.

Intended as the most sweeping overhaul of the Holy See's apparatus since Paul VI's post-Conciliar engagement of the Vatican's entities with the wider world, while 2016 saw the lengthy process make significant strides with the consolidation of most of the Pontifical Councils into two Super-Dicasteries, the governing document delineating the roles and responsibilities of each of the 40-odd offices remains in the works. (At this point, it wouldn't be surprising if said text didn't emerge until 2018, thus to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the regolamento it would replace: John Paul II's 1988 Pastor Bonus.)

Among other highlights of today's deeply programmatic talk, Francis called his predecessors' longstanding habit of promoveatur ut amoveatur (i.e. promoting officials "to [re]move them") "a cancer" and declared its "definitive abolition," while listing and explaining 12 principles to underscore his premium on "a change in mentality" for the offices – without which, he said, "efforts at practical improvement will be in vain." In addition, upending the Pauline reform's organization of offices into tiers of jurisdiction – the Secretariat of State and congregations, then tribunals, councils, commissions, etc. – Papa Bergoglio revealed as one of his concepts that "all Dicasteries are juridically equal," an idea whose full implementation could prove to be the most significant and far-reaching effect of the entire reform project. (Among other examples of the rule's impact – at least, if fully fleshed out – it would seem to preclude the longstanding "enforcement" role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose pre-publication review and approval of major documents from other dicasteries has long been required.)

Most pointedly, however, as the aftermath of Amoris Laetitia continues to convulse the more polarized elements of the Anglo-European conversation eight months since its release, the Pope pointed out three kinds of "resistance" to renewal, culminating in a "malicious" grade of obstinance which, he said, "come[s] to the fore when the devil inspires ill intentions (often cloaked in sheep’s clothing)."

"This last kind of resistance hides behind words of self-justification and often accusation," Francis said. "It takes refuge in traditions, appearances, formalities, in the familiar, or else in a desire to make everything personal, failing to distinguish between the act, the actor, and the action."

Yet lest the skirmish at the edges risk overshadowing the core of the message, for a Pope far more given to veering off-the-cuff than sticking to a detailed script, it bears noting that today's text included an astonishing 43 footnotes. (For purposes of context, Francis normally embeds a dozen or so of those only into his most significant speeches.)

All that said, below is the official English translation of today's sprawling address.

* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would like to begin this meeting of ours by offering cordial good wishes to all of you, superiors and officials, papal representatives and staff of the Nunciatures worldwide, all those working in the Roman Curia and to your families. Best wishes for a holy and serene Christmas and a happy New Year 2017!

Saint Augustine, contemplating the face of the Baby Jesus, exclaimed: “immense in the form of God, tiny in the form of a slave”. To describe the mystery of the Incarnation, Saint Macarius, the fourth-century monk and disciple of Saint Anthony Abbot, used the Greek verb “smikryno”, to become small, to reduce to the bare minimum. He says: “Listen attentively: the infinite, unapproachable and uncreated God, in his immense and ineffable goodness has taken a body, and, I dare say, infinitely diminished his glory”.

Christmas is thus the feast of the loving humility of God, of the God who upsets our logical expectations, the established order, the order of the dialectician and the mathematician. In this upset lies all the richness of God’s own thinking, which overturns our limited human ways of thinking (cf. Is 55: 8-9). As Romano Guardini said: “What an overturning of all our familiar values – not only human values but also divine values! Truly this God upsets everything that we claim to build up on our own”. At Christmas, we are called to say “yes” with our faith, not to the Master of the universe, and not even to the most noble of ideas, but precisely to this God who is the humble lover.

Blessed Paul VI, on Christmas of 1971, said: “God could have come wrapped in glory, splendour, light and power, to instill fear, to make us rub our eyes in amazement. But instead he came as the smallest, the frailest and weakest of beings. Why? So that no one would be ashamed to approach him, so that no one would be afraid, so that all would be close to him and draw near him, so that there would be no distance between us and him. God made the effort to plunge, to dive deep within us, so that each of us, each of you, could speak intimately with him, trust him, draw near him and realize that he thinks of you and loves you… He loves you! Think about what this means! If you understand this, if you remember what I am saying, you will have understood the whole of Christianity”.

God chose to be born a tiny child because he wanted to be loved. Here we see, as it were, how the logic of Christmas is the overturning of worldly logic, of the mentality of power and might, the thinking of the Pharisees and those who see things only in terms of causality or determinism.

In this gentle yet overpowering light of the divine countenance of the Christ Child, I have chosen as the theme of this, our yearly meeting, the reform of the Roman Curia. It seemed to me right and fitting to share with you the framework of the reform, to point out its guiding principles, the steps taken so far, but above all the logic behind every step already taken and what is yet to come.

Here I spontaneously think of the ancient adage that describes the process of the Spiritual Exercises in the Ignatian method: deformata reformare, reformata conformare, conformata confirmare et confirmata transformare.

There can be no doubt that, for the Curia, the word reform is to be understood in two ways. First of all, it has to make the Curia con-form “to the Good News which must be proclaimed joyously and courageously to all, especially to the poor, the least and the outcast”. To make it con-form “to the signs of our time and to all its human achievements”, so as “better to meet the demands of the men and women whom we are called to serve”. At the same time, this means con-forming the Curia ever more fully to its purpose, which is that of cooperating in the ministry of the Successor of Peter (cum ipso consociatam operam prosequuntur, as the Motu Proprio Humanam Progressionem puts it), and supporting the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his singular, ordinary, full, supreme, immediate and universal power.

Consequently, the reform of the Roman Curia must be guided by ecclesiology and directed in bonum et in servitium, as is the service of the Bishop of Rome. This finds eloquent expression in the words of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, quoted in the third chapter of the Constitution Pastor Aeternus of the First Vatican Council: “My honour is that of the universal Church. My honour is the solid strength of my brothers. I feel truly honoured when none of them is denied his due honour”.

Since the Curia is not an immobile bureaucratic apparatus, reform is first and foremost a sign of life, of a Church that advances on her pilgrim way, of a Church that is living and for this reason semper reformanda, in need of reform because she is alive.

Here it must clearly be said that reform is not an end unto itself, but rather a process of growth and above all of conversion.

Consequently, the aim of reform is not aesthetic, an effort to improve the looks of the Curia, nor can it be understood as a sort of facelift, using make-up and cosmetics to embellish its aging body, nor even as an operation of plastic surgery to take away its wrinkles.

Dear brothers and sisters, it isn’t wrinkles we need to worry about in the Church, but blemishes!
Seen in this light, we need to realize that the reform will be effective only if it is carried out with men and women who are renewed and not simply new. We cannot be content simply with changing personnel, but need to encourage spiritual, human and professional renewal among the members of the Curia. The reform of the Curia is in no way implemented with a change of persons – something that certainly is happening and will continue to happen – but with a conversion in persons. Permanent formation is not enough; what we need also and above all is permanent conversion and purification. Without a change of mentality, efforts at practical improvement will be in vain.

That is why, in our last two meetings at Christmas, I discussed certain “diseases”, drawing on the teaching of the Desert Fathers (2014), and compiled, on the basis of the word “mercy”, a catalogue of virtues necessary for curial officials and all those who wish their consecration or service to the Church to become more fruitful (2015). The underlying reason is that, as in the case of the Church overall, the semper reformanda must also become, in the case of the Curia, a permanent personal and structural process of conversion.

It was necessary to speak of disease and cures because every surgical operation, if it is to be successful, must be preceded by detailed diagnosis and careful analysis, and needs to be accompanied and followed up by precise prescriptions.

In this process, it is normal, and indeed healthy, to encounter difficulties, which in the case of the reform, might present themselves as different types of resistance. There can be cases of open resistance, often born of goodwill and sincere dialogue, and cases of hidden resistance, born of fearful or hardened hearts content with the empty rhetoric of “spiritual window-dressing” typical of those who say they are ready for change, yet want everything to remain as it was before. There are also cases of malicious resistance, which spring up in misguided minds and come to the fore when the devil inspires ill intentions (often cloaked in sheep’s clothing). This last kind of resistance hides behind words of self-justification and often accusation; it takes refuge in traditions, appearances, formalities, in the familiar, or else in a desire to make everything personal, failing to distinguish between the act, the actor, and the action.

The absence of reaction is a sign of death! Consequently, the good cases of resistance – and even those not quite so good – are necessary and merit being listened to, welcomed and their expression encouraged, because this is a sign that the body is living.

All this is to say that the reform of the Curia is a delicate process that has to take place in fidelity to essentials, with constant discernment, evangelical courage and ecclesial wisdom, careful listening, persevering action, positive silence and firm decisions. It requires much prayer, much prayer, profound humility, farsightedness, concrete steps forward and – whenever necessary – even with steps backward, with determination, vitality, responsible exercise of power, unconditioned obedience, but above all by abandonment to the sure guidance of the Holy Spirit and trust in his necessary support. And, for this reason, prayer, prayer and prayer.


These are principally twelve: individualism; pastoral concern; missionary spirit; clear organization; improved functioning; modernization; sobriety; subsidiarity; synodality; catholicity; professionalism and gradualism.

1. Individual responsibility (personal conversion)
Once again I reaffirm the importance of individual conversion, without which all structural change would prove useless. The true soul of the reform are the men and women who are part of it and make it possible. Indeed, personal conversion supports and reinforces communal conversion.
There is a powerful interplay between personal and communal attitudes. A single person can bring great good to the entire body, but also bring great harm and lead to sickness. A healthy body is one that can recover, accept, reinforce, care for and sanctify its members.

2. Pastoral concern (pastoral conversion)
Mindful of the figure of the shepherd (cf. Ez 34:16; Jn 10:1-21) and recognizing that the Curia is a community of service, “it is good for us too, called to be pastors in the Church, to let the face of God the Good Shepherd enlighten us, purify us and transform us, fully renewed, to our mission. That even in our workplaces we may feel, cultivate and practise a sound pastoral sense, especially towards the people whom we meet each day. May no one feel overlooked or mistreated, but may everyone experience, here first of all, the care and concern of the Good Shepherd”. Behind every paper there is a person.

The efforts of all who work in the Curia must be inspired by pastoral concern and a spirituality of service and communion, for this is the antidote to all the venoms of vain ambition and illusory rivalry. Paul VI cautioned that “the Roman Curia should not be a bureaucracy, as some wrongly judge it, pretentious and apathetic, merely legalistic and ritualistic, a training ground of concealed ambitions and veiled antagonisms, as others would have it. Rather, it should be a true community of faith and charity, of prayer and of activity, of brothers and sons of the Pope, who carry out their duties respecting one another’s competence and with a sense of collaboration, in order to serve him as he serves his brothers and sons of the universal Church and of the entire world”.

3. Missionary spirit (Christocentrism)
As the Council taught, it is the chief aim of all forms of service in the Church to bring the Good News to the ends of the earth. For “there are Church structures which can hamper efforts at evangelization, yet even good structures are only helpful when there is a life constantly driving, sustaining and assessing them. Without new life and an authentic evangelical spirit, without the Church’s fidelity to her own calling, any new structure will soon prove ineffective.”

4. Clear organization
On the basis of the principle that all Dicasteries are juridically equal, a clearer organization of the offices of the Roman Curia was needed, in order to bring out the fact that each Dicastery has its own areas of competence. These areas of competence must be respected, but they must also be distributed in a reasonable, efficient and productive way. No Dicastery can therefore appropriate the competence of another Dicastery, in accordance with what is laid down by law. On the other hand, all Dicasteries report directly to the Pope.

5. Improved functioning
The eventual merging of two or more Dicasteries competent in similar or closely connected matters to create a single Dicastery serves on the one hand to give the latter greater importance (even externally). On the other hand, the closeness and interaction of individual bodies within a single Dicastery contributes to improved functioning (as shown by the two recently created Dicasteries).

Improved functioning also demands an ongoing review of roles, the relevance of areas of competence, and the responsibilities of the personnel, and consequently of the process of reassignment, hiring, interruption of work and also promotions.

6. Modernization (updating)
This involves an ability to interpret and attend to “the signs of the times.” In this sense, “We are concerned to make provisions that the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia be suited to the circumstances of our time and adapted to the needs of the universal Church”. Such was the request of the Second Vatican Council: “the departments of the Roman Curia should be reorganized in a manner more appropriate to the needs of our time and of different regions and rites, especially in regard to their number, their titles, their competence, their procedures and how they coordinate their activities”.

7. Sobriety
Here what is called for is a simplification and streamlining of the Curia. This involves the combination or merging of Dicasteries based on their areas of competence; simplification within individual Dicasteries; the eventual suppression of offices no longer responding to contingent needs; the integration into Dicasteries or the reduction of Commissions, Academies, Committees, etc., all in view of the essential sobriety needed for a proper and authentic witness.

8. Subsidiarity
This involves the reordering of areas of competence specific to the various Dicasteries, transferring them if necessary from one Dicastery to another, in order to achieve autonomy, coordination and subsidiarity in areas of competence and effective interaction in service.
Here too, respect must be shown for the principles of subsidiarity and clear organization with regard to relations with the Secretariat of State and, within the latter, among its various areas of competence, so that carrying out its proper duties it will be of direct and immediate assistance to the Pope. This will also improve coordination between the various sectors of the Dicasteries and the Offices of the Curia themselves. The Secretariat of State will be able to carry out its important function precisely in achieving unity, interdependence and coordination between its sections and different sectors.

9. Synodality
The work of the Curia must be synodal, with regular meetings of Heads of the Dicasteries, presided over by the Roman Pontiff; regularly scheduled Audiences of Heads of the Dicasteries with the Pope, and the customary interdicasterial meetings. The reduced number of Dicasteries will allow for more frequent and systematic meetings of individual Prefects with the Pope and productive meetings of Heads of Dicasteries, since this cannot be the case when groups are too large.

Synodality must also be evident in the work of each Dicastery, with particular attention to the Congress and at least a greater frequency of the Ordinary Sessions. Each Dicastery must avoid the fragmentation caused by factors such as the multiplication of specialized sectors, which can tend to become self-absorbed. Their coordination must be the task of the Secretary, or the Undersecretary.

10. Catholicity
Among the Officials, in addition to priests and consecrated persons, the catholicity of the Church must be reflected in the hiring of personnel from throughout the world, of permanent deacons and lay faithful carefully selected on the basis of their unexceptionable spiritual and moral life and their professional competence. It is fitting to provide for the hiring of greater numbers of the lay faithful, especially in those Dicasteries where they can be more competent than clerics or consecrated persons. Also of great importance is an enhanced role for women and lay people in the life of the Church and their integration into roles of leadership in the Dicasteries, with particular attention to multiculturalism.

11. Professionalism
Every Dicastery must adopt a policy of continuing formation for its personnel, to avoid their falling into a rut or becoming stuck in a bureaucratic routine.

Likewise essential is the definitive abolition of the practice of promoveatur ut amoveatur. This is a cancer.

12. Gradualism (discernment)
Gradualism has to do with the necessary discernment entailed by historical processes, the passage of time and stages of development, assessment, correction, experimentation, and approvals ad experimentum. In these cases, it is not a matter of indecision, but of the flexibility needed to be able to achieve a true reform.


I will now mention briefly and concisely some steps already taken to put into practice these guiding principles and the recommendations made by the Cardinals in the plenary meetings before the Conclave, by the COSEA, by the Council of Cardinals (C9), and by the Heads of the Dicasteries and other experts and individuals:

On 13 April 2013 it was announced that the Council of Cardinals (Consilium Cardinalium Summo Pontifici) – the C8 and, after 1 July 2014, the C9 – was created, primarily to counsel the Pope on the governance of the universal Church and on other related topics, also with the specific task of proposing the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.

With the Chirograph of 24 June 2013, the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Institute for Works of Religion was established, in order to study the legal status of the IOR and to allow for its greater ”harmonization” with “the universal mission of the Apostolic See”. This was “to ensure that economic and financial activities be permeated by Gospel principles” and to achieve a complete and acknowledged transparency in its operation.

With the Motu Proprio of 11 July 2013, provisions were made to define the jurisdiction of the judicial authorities of Vatican City State in criminal matters.

With the Chirograph of 18 July 2013, the COSEA (Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic-Administrative Structure) was instituted and given the task of research, analysis and the gathering of information, in cooperation with the Council of Cardinals for the study of the organizational and economic problems of the Holy See.

With the Motu Proprio of 8 August 2013, the Holy See’s Financial Security Committee was established for the prevention and countering of money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This was to bring the IOR and the entire Vatican economic system to the regular adoption of, and fully committed and diligent compliance with, all international legal norms on financial transparency.

With the Motu Proprio of 15 November 2013, the Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF), established by Benedict XVI with his Motu Proprio of 30 December 2010 for the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the area of monetary and financial dealings, was consolidated.

With the Motu Proprio 24 February 2014 (Fidelis Dispensator et Prudens), the Secretariat for the Economy and the Council for the Economy were established to replace the Council of 15 Cardinals, with the task of harmonizing the policies of control in regard to the economic management of the Holy See and the Vatican City.

With the same Motu Proprio of 24 February 2014, the Office of General Auditor (URG) was established as a new agency of the Holy See, charged with auditing the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the institutions connected with to the Holy See or associated with it, and the administrations of the Governatorate of Vatican City.

With the Chirograph of 22 March 2014, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was established, in order “to promote the protection of the dignity of minors and vulnerable adults, using the forms and methods, consonant with the nature of the Church, which they consider most appropriate”.

With the Motu Proprio of 8 July 2014, the Ordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See was transferred to the Secretariat for the Economy.

On 22 February 2015, the Statutes of the new economic agencies were approved.

With the Motu Proprio of 27 June 2015, the Secretariat for Communication was established and charged “to respond to the current context of communication, characterized by the presence and evolution of digital media, and by factors of convergence and interactivity”. The Secretariat was also charged with overall restructuring, through a process of reorganization and merging, of “all the realities which in various ways up to the present have dealt with communications”, so as to “respond ever better to the needs of the mission of the Church”

On 6 September 2016, the Statutes of the Secretariat for Communication were promulgated; they took effect last October.

With the two Motu Proprios of 15 August 2015, provisions were made for the reform of the canonical process in cases of declaration of marital nullity: Mitis et Misericors Iesus for the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches, and Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus for the Code of Canon Law.

With the Motu Proprio of 4 June 2016 (Come una madre amorevole), an effort was made to prevent negligence on the part of bishops in the exercise of their office, especially with regard to cases of the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.

With the Motu Proprio of 4 July 2016 (I beni temporali), following the rule whereby the organs of oversight should be separate from those that being overseen, the respective areas of competence of the Secretariat of the Economy and of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See should be more carefully delineated.

With the Motu Proprio of 15 August 2016 (Sedula Mater), the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life was established, in the light of the general pastoral purpose of the Petrine ministry: “I hasten to arrange all things necessary in order that the richness of Christ Jesus may be poured forth appropriately and profusely among the faithful”.

With the Motu Proprio of 17 August 2016 (Humanum progressionem), the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development was established, so that development can take place “by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace and the care of creation”. Beginning in January 2017, four Pontifical Councils - Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and Healthcare Workers – will be merged into this Dicastery. For the time being, I will directly head the section for the pastoral care of migrants in the new Dicastery.

On 18 October 2016, the Statutes of the Pontifical Academy for Life were approved.
Our meeting today began by speaking of the meaning of Christmas as the overturning of our human criteria, in order to emphasize that the heart and centre of the reform is Christ (Christocentrism).

I would like to conclude simply with a word and a prayer. The word is to reiterate that Christmas is the feast of God’s loving humility. As the prayer I have chosen the Christmas message of Father Matta el Meskin, a monk of our time, who, addressing the Lord Jesus born in Bethlehem, said: “If for us the experience of (your) infancy is so difficult, it is not so for you, O Son of God. If we stumble along the way that leads to communion with you because of your smallness, you are capable of removing all the obstacles that prevent us from doing this. We know that you will not be at peace until you find us in your likeness and with this (same) smallness. Allow us today, O Son of God, to draw dear to your heart. Grant that we may not consider ourselves great in our experiences. Grant us instead to become small like you, so that we can draw near to you and receive from you abundant humility and meekness. Do not deprive us of your revelation, the epiphany of your infancy in our hearts, so that with it we can heal all our pride and all our arrogance. We greatly need… for you to reveal in us your simplicity, by drawing us, and indeed the Church and the whole world, to yourself. Our world is weary and exhausted, because everyone is vying to see who is the greatest. There is a ruthless competition between governments, churches, peoples, within families, from one parish to another: Who of us is the greatest? The world is festering with painful wounds because of this great illness: Who is the greatest? But today we have found in you, O Son of God, our one medicine. We, and the whole world, will not find salvation or peace unless we go back to encounter you anew in the manger of Bethlehem. Amen.

Thank you, and I wish you a Holy Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2017!

[The Pope added the following extemporaneous remarks]

When, two years ago, I spoke about the illnesses, one of you came to say to me: “Where must I go, to the pharmacy or to confession?” “Well… both!” I replied. And when I greeted Cardinal Brandmüller, he looked me in the eye and said: “Acquaviva!” I, at the time, did not understand, but later, thinking about it, I remembered that Acquaviva, the third general of the Society of Jesus, had written a book which we students read in Latin; the spiritual fathers made us read it, and it was entitled: Industriae pro Superioribusejusdem Societatis ad curandos animae morbos, that is, the illnesses of the soul. Three months ago, a very good edition came out in Italian, done by Father Giuliano Raffo, who died recently, with a good prologue which indicates how to read the book, and also with a good introduction. It is not a critical edition, but it is a really beautiful translation, very well done, and I believe it could be useful. As a Christmas gift, I would like to offer it to each one of you. Thank you.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Stop. Remember. Go Forward." – On Turning 80, Pope's Note to Self

Before anything else given the occasion, we'd be remiss to not share the traditional prayer that fits the moment....
V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco. / (Let us pray for Francis, our Pope.)

R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. / (May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.)

O God,
who chose your servant Francis
in succession to the Apostle Peter
as shepherd of the whole flock,
look favorably on the supplications of your people
and grant that, as Vicar of Christ on earth,
he may confirm his brethren
and that the whole Church may be in communion with him
in the bond of unity, love and peace,
so that in you, the shepherd of souls,
all may know the truth and attain life eternal.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
On a practical note, where it hasn't already been called for by the Chancery of the place, pastors and liturgy teams might want to work in a relevant petition for the Prayer of the Faithful or other appropriate mention at this weekend's Masses.

*   *   *
Being made to give some acknowledgment to a moment he's always avoided making any kind of fuss about, this morning the Pope marked his 80th birthday with the cardinals resident in Rome at a Mass in the Pauline Chapel within the Apostolic Palace.

While well-wishes poured in from across the globe, the liturgy was to be the day's lone major event for the new octogenarian, whose Christmas calendar ramps up in earnest over the coming days.

(SVILUPPO: Per an early tweet from the chief Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, Francis followed the Mass by hosting a group of homeless men and women to share breakfast with him at the Domus (above right). Having established the custom over recent years, the diners are invited in from Rome's streets by the papal Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, seen alongside the pontiff.)

Soon to complete his fourth year as 266th Bishop of Rome (and showing little to no signs of slowing down), while Jorge Mario Bergoglio made passing reference to his milestone in a brief thank-you after Communion – calling the Italian term for old age (vecchiaia) "scary," and quoting from Latin and German poetry to ask prayers that his ninth decade might be "tranquil, religious and fruitful" – no mention of the reason for the gathering came in his trademark off-the-cuff homily, drawn as ever from today's readings....

In the moment when our watchful waiting of Advent becomes more intense; in this moment when the Church, today, begins to pray with the great ["O"] antiphons, this strong time when we approach Christmas, the Liturgy makes us stop a bit. It tells us: "Stop," and makes us read this Gospel passage. What does it mean to stop amid a moment growing in its intensity? Simply, the Church wants us to remember, to make memory: "Stop yourself, and remember. Look inside, see the way." Memory: this deuteronomical attachment that gives great strength to the soul. Memory, which Scripture itself underscores as a means of prayer, of encountering God. "Remember your leaders," the author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us. "Recall the memory of those first days"; the same thing. And then, in the same letter, that crowd of witnesses, in chapter 11, who made the path to arrive at the fulness of time: "Remember, look inside that you might go forward even better." This is the significance of the liturgy's daybook for us today: the grace of memory. We need to seek this grace: to not forget.

This not forgetting belongs to love; it belongs to love to always have it under our eyes much, as well as we have received it; it belongs to love to see our history: where we came from, our parents, our ancestors, the path of faith. And this memory does us good, because it makes ever more intense this watchful waiting for Christmas. A quiet day. The memory that, from the beginning, takes form in the choice of the people: "Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham" (Mt 1:1). The chosen people, who journey toward a promise with the strength of the Covenant, of the successive covenants which took place. Such is the way of the Christian, so is our path, simply put. This is a promise made to us, it is told to us: walk in my presence and you will be blameless as our Father is. A promise that will be fulfilled in the end, but which builds with each bond we make with the Lord, the covenant of faithfulness, of fidelity; and we see that we were not the ones to choose: we understand that all of us have been chosen. The choice, the promise and the covenant are the cornerstones of Christian memory, this looking inside that we might move forward.

This is the grace of today: to remember. And when we hear this piece of the Gospel, it is a history, a story of grace, a very great one; but also a story of sin. Along the way we always find grace and sin. Here, in the history of salvation there are great sinners, in this genealogy, and there are some saints. And we too, in our own lives, find the same: moments of great fidelity to the Lord, of joy in serving him, and some ugly moments of infidelity, of sin that makes us feel our need for salvation. And this is likewise our security, because when we need salvation, we confess the faith, we make a confession of faith: "I'm a sinner, but You can save me, You can carry me forward." And so one proceeds in the joy of hope.

In Advent, we have begun to travel this road, waiting in vigil for the Lord. Today we stop, look inside, we see that the path has been beautiful, that the Lord hasn't misled us, that the Lord is faithful. We look too at how it was in history as it was in our own life, that there've been beautiful moments of faithfulness and brutal moments of sin. But the Lord is there, with his hand stretched out to pick us up and say: "Go forward!" And this is the Christian life: go forward, toward that definitive meeting. This path of such intensity, in keeping vigil for the Lord's coming, never loses the grace of memory, of looking inside on all that the Lord has done for us, for the Church, across salvation history. And so we will understand because the Church makes us read these passages that can seem a little annoying, but here is the story of a God who has wished to walk with his people and, finally, make himself a man, like each of us.

May the Lord help us to take up afresh this grace of memory. "But it's difficult, boring, there are so many problems...." The author of the Letter to the Hebrews has a beautiful line for our complaints, it's beautiful: "Be tranquil – you haven't yet been made to shed your blood" (cf. 12:4). A bit of humor, too, from that inspired author, but so to help us go forward. May the Lord give us this grace.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

For Dallas, Pope Sends "Human Sunshine" – Juneau's Burns To Texas Mega-Post

(Ed.: Press conference/prayer service videos added below.)

Filling the last of three openings atop US dioceses of a million or more – and two within four days – at Roman Noon this Tuesday, the Pope named Bishop Edward Burns, the 59 year-old head of Alaska's Juneau church since 2008, to lead the 1.3 million-member diocese of Dallas in succession to Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who Francis tapped as founding prefect of the new Roman Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in August.

Burns' installation as Big D's eighth bishop is scheduled for Thursday, February 9th, in the Catedral Santuario de Guadalupe.

For the figure who's invariably the happiest, most contagiously-beaming member of the Stateside bench (with perpetually off-the-chart levels of enthusiasm, to boot), the move brings a daunting shift of scale that is hard to recall in any instance: going from a 10,000-member Alaska fold to what's now become one of the US church's ten largest outposts. But given Burns' premium on an intimate, hyper-relational style of ministry in Juneau – where, every Monday morning, the bishop and his 12-man presbyterate log into Skype to share Morning Prayer and a group chat – the message here is Rome's hope for that kind of engagement to be translated on the massive stage of what's now the nation's fourth-largest metropolitan area, its lead local church now almost seven times its 1990 size and in need of an ongoing institutional build-out to manage the growth.

A son of Pittsburgh – where he served as vocation director and clergy-personnel chief under now-Cardinal Donald Wuerl – the Dallas pick first carved a wider profile at the USCCB, overseeing the national church's recruitment efforts as priest-director of the conference's vocations secretariat. Amid his new charge's years-long push to increase its number of seminarians – not to mention Dallas being home to Texas' growing college-level formation house, Holy Trinity in Irving – that priority is highlighted by the Pope's choice, as is Burns' even broader strong suit of ministry to young people given above all the presence of the University of Dallas, which is affiliated with the diocese.

All in all, when it comes to energizing people in general, simply put, among this bench nobody does it better. That said, however, if there's one area where Burns' skill-set hasn't yet been tested in depth, it's in ministry to Hispanics, who comprise roughly half the Dallas fold.

With the Big D pick, a long year of uncertainty ends – according to credible tracking reports, Burns' name came up in the process for practically every major US appointment on deck, from the Twin Cities and Newark to Anchorage and Arlington, and was seen in early buzz as figuring big again for the vacant archdiocese of Indianapolis. It is curious, however, that the one option that was never raised was the one to which he's now been sent... but as Dallas is far closer than the others to his Mom in Arizona – and arguably the plum opening of the current Stateside docket – nobody's complaining.

In any case, upon settling in to his new life of I-30 and 35 traffic and apocalyptic summer heat, one of the key calls awaiting Burns will be his recommendations for a second auxiliary to replace Bishop Doug Deshotel, who was named head of Louisiana's Lafayette diocese (his birthplace) early this year. Considering the new North Texan's black-and-gold roots, however, the more pressing question on Day One lies instead with another choice of team – namely, is he a Cowboys fan now? In any case, it is a  remarkable confluence that the chief shepherds of Texas' two largest cities are now both natives of Pittsburgh – the other, of course, being Houston's Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, now the USCCB President.

A 2pm presser is scheduled to introduce the eighth bishop to his new charge. With today's move, seven Stateside Latin sees remain vacant, with another four led by (arch)bishops serving past the retirement age of 75.

SVILUPPO: Featuring pieces of everything laid out above – included the much-anticipated answer on NFL loyalties – here's fullvid of Burns' ever-happy first meeting with the Dallas press....

...and in a unique turn for an Appointment Day, the evening preach Burns delivered during a specially-held Holy Hour at St Rita's, one of the city's largest parishes (whose last pastor, Msgr Bob Coerver, was sent cross-Texas by the Pope earlier this fall as bishop of Lubbock):


Monday, December 12, 2016

"Nuestra Madre, Nuestra Esperanza"

En lugar de la oración por la Misa de esta fiesta, en esta hora santísima replicamos el texto único del febrero pasado, con cual el Papa Francisco, con sentidos fuertes de corazón, ha coronado la Virgen de Guadalupe como Reina – Reina de America, Reina en esta Iglesia sin cualquier frontera.

Especialmente en este día cuando todos sus hijos celebramos la presencia y cuidad de Morenita como nuestra amadísima Madre, venido del cielo a Tepeyac para nosotros, para nuestro bienestar y seguridad, que todos sepamos la gracia de escuchar al voz de su hijo fiel – nuestro hermano del Sur, ahora Pedro entre nos – y siguiendo el camino del Señor, de construir siempre mas el Reino y una Familia de Dios donde ni hay extrañjeros ni muros....
Bendito eres, Señor,
Dios del cielo y de la tierra,
que con tu misericordia y justicia
dispersas a los soberbios
y enalteces a los humildes;
de este admirable designio de tu providencia nos has dejado un ejemplo sublime
en el Verbo encarnado y en su Virgen Madre: tu Hijo, que voluntariamente se rebajó
hasta la muerte de cruz,
resplandece de gloria eterna
y está sentado a tu derecha
como Rey de reyes y Señor de señores;
y la Virgen que quiso llamarse tu esclava,
fue elegida Madre del Redentor
y verdadera Madre de los que viven,
y ahora, exaltada sobre los coros de los ángeles,
reina gloriosamente con su Hijo, intercediendo por todos los hombres como abogada de la gracia
y reina de misericordia.

Mira, Señor, benignamente a estos tus siervos que, al ceñir con una corona visible
la imagen de la Madre de tu Hijo,
reconocen en tu Hijo al Rey del universo
e invocan como Reina a la Virgen.

Haz que, siguiendo su ejemplo,
te consagren su vida
y, cumpliendo la ley del amor,
se sirvan mutuamente con diligencia; que se nieguen a sí mismos
y con entrega generosa
ganen para ti a sus hermanos;
que, buscando la humildad en la tierra,
sean un día elevados a las alturas del cielo,
donde tú mismo pones
sobre la cabeza de tus eles
la corona de la vida.

Por Jesucristo, nuestro Señor.

*   *   *
[Y para asistir la minoridad de hoy, el mismo en ingles:]
Blessed are you, Lord
God of Heaven and Earth
who with your mercy and justice
cast down the proud
and lift up the lowly;
and from this admirable way of your Providence
have left us a brilliant example
in the incarnate Word and in His Virgin Mother:
your Son, who so emptied himself
even to death on the Cross,
so to shine in eternal glory
and is seated at your right hand
as King of kings and Lord of lords;
and the Virgin who sought to call herself your handmaid,
was chosen as Mother of the Redeemer
and truly [as] Mother of all the living,
and now, raised above the choirs of angels,
glorious queen alongside your Son,
interceding for all men
as advocate of grace
and queen of mercy.

Look kindly, Lord, on us your servants
who, on placing a visible crown
on the image of the Mother of your Son,
recognize in your Son the King of the universe,
and call the Virgin our Queen.

Make it so that, following her example,
they – we – may so consecrate our lives
and, fulfilling the law of love
might serve each other to perfection;
that we might deny ourselves always
and with generous dedication
win brothers for you;
ones who, seeking to be meek upon the earth,
might one day be raised to the heights of Heaven,
where You Yourself place
upon the heads of your faithful ones
the crown of life.

Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.