Greeting to the Confirmands of the Archdiocese of Bari-Bitonto on January 27 in the Paul VI Hall Photo: Vatican Media

Vatican Chronicles: Between Trips, Journalists, Fiducia Supplicans and Children Who Will Make Their First Communion

Week of Monday, January 22 to Sunday, January 28, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 01.29.2024).- It’s said that when you put a date to a dream it ceases to be called a dream and becomes a goal. At 87, Pope Francis has several goals as regards trips: This past week we learnt a few of them regarding international trips: visualized is Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina, Vietnam and the Spanish Canary Islands. And, within Italy, Verona and Trieste. How many destinations should we add for the Pope in 2024? In 2023 we had to remove some, it would be reasonable to think that with those mentioned it’s sufficient. The 11 months we still have ahead of us will tell us. And, also, the Holy Father’s health. Let’s not forget that less than two weeks ago the Pope delivered no addresses and handed the ones he had prepared to his listeners, saying  that his sore throat made it difficult for him to speak.

However, he spoke at length to 150 Vaticanists whom he received in audience on Monday, January 22. They were members of the International Association of Journalists accredited to the Vatican of which this writer is a member. Consequently, I was also present in the private audience. Beyond the pronounced address, appreciated is the time the Pope gave to the journalists, pausing to have a word with each one of them.

The Declaration Fiducia Supplicans, which makes possible non-liturgical blessings for same-sex individuals, continues to be a matter of concern. On one hand, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Christian Unity  (DCU) acknowledged that the Declaration was causing ecumenical problems(curiously almost contemporaneously the Pope appointed the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and author of the ecumenically problematic text, a member of DCU); on the other hand, in the audience, on Friday, January 26, to the members of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, who had held their Plenary Assembly, the Holy Father addressed the subject of Fiducia Supplicans, specifying that pastoral blessings are spontaneous, which do not require moral perfection to be received;  the union is not blessed, but the individuals.

Midweek, on Wednesday, January 24, the Holy Father addressed the question of Artificial Intelligence for the second time. The first time he did so in the Message for the World Day of Peace and the second time he did so from another perspective: in the Message for the World Day of Social Communications.  Thus, being configured is a teaching on this yet new subject of which the Pope said (between joking and lamenting): “Suffice it to think of the problem of (. . . ) deepfakes, namely, of the creation and spread of images that seem perfectly plausible but which are false (I’ve also been an object of it), or audio messages that use a person’s voice to say things they’ve never said.”

Moreover, on the penultimate week of January, the Pope’s agenda was quite full: it coincided with the closing of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; hence, he had different meetings with Orthodox and Anglicans. The Anglicans were certainly a topic of discussion, as they were allowed to celebrate an “Anglican mass” in a Catholic Basilica, as they have in Rome two large churches of their Confession.

Impressive, too, was what the Pontiff said to the members of the Roman Rota and the Ambassadors of the Order of Malta. To the first he said: “If a Judge doesn’t pray or doesn’t know how to pray, it’s better that he go and do another job. He acknowledged to the Ambassadors their dependence on the Holy See. And he ended the week with a beautiful and brief catechesis on the Sacrament of Confirmation to Italian children.

To do all this at 87, in addition to what we have not mentioned, must be exhausting. But perhaps his exhaustion is soothed when realizing that it is the result of goals fulfilled and not of dreams unrealized.


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Jorge Enrique Mújica

Licenciado en filosofía por el Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, de Roma, y “veterano” colaborador de medios impresos y digitales sobre argumentos religiosos y de comunicación. En la cuenta de Twitter:, habla de Dios e internet y Church and media: evangelidigitalización."

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