Pope’s meeting with the young clergy of the diocese of Rome Photo: Vatican Media

Vatican Chronicles: The Pope and Indiscretions: Gays, Gossip and Pontifical Exhortation on the Sacred Heart

Week of May 27 to June 2, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 06.03.2024).- It’s quite frequent that we get words that the Pope said directly and openly, words that others say the Pope said, and words the Pope didn’t say but which are attributed to him (quite a few words of this type are on whatsapp).

When the Pope speaks publicly there is no mistake: he said what he said and, hence, he takes responsibility for it. However, on other occasions some say things that the Pope supposedly said and sometimes that creates problems. It happened this week when it was learnt that in a part of the closed door conversation with the Italian Episcopate, he made a reference to homosexuals in seminaries with a word that is strong in Italian and has a derogatory meaning: “faggots.” The matter was so highlighted that the Holy See Press Office had to issue, in the Pope’s name, a press release with apologies.

The controversy was not yet extinguished when another arose: someone said that in the Pope’s meeting with the young clergy of the diocese of Rome, the Holy Father exhorted them not to be gossipers because “gossip is something women do.” It drew attention that in this second case there was no apologetic press release, however, the important point is another.

Is it legitimate to make public what is said in private? When people have meetings of this sort, the vocabulary is more colloquial and the confidence is felt of not having to speak with so much care when expressing oneself. However, this incident has revealed how problematic frankness can be in an atmosphere of intimacy among acquaintances, at least for the Pope.

Beyond these two specific news items, there were others that marked the week’s newsy agenda. Made public on Monday, May 27, was the renunciation of the one who was only eight months Bishop of La Plata, the second most important diocese of Argentina. Monsignor Gabriel Maestre was made to resign his office by the one who appointed him: the Pope. According to the Argentine media, behind this resignation was the fact that Monsignor Maestre had wanted to appoint a priest he trusted as his Successor when moved from Mar del Plata to La Plata. This caused the subsequent renunciation of two Bishops appointed by Pope Francis for Mar del Plata. When Monsignor Maestre’s renunciation was made public, he gave his version of the facts.

As he does every month, the Holy Father entrusted to Catholics worldwide the prayer intention for the month of June. On this occasion, the Pontiff requested prayers for the situation of migrants, fleeing from war and hunger, that they might find acceptance and new opportunities in life.”

After concluding the series of catecheses dedicated to vices and virtues,  — a series of 19 catecheses –, the Pope began a new thematic series on Wednesday, May 29. Henceforth the Holy Father will reflect further on the theme “The Spirit and the Bride — The Church Is the Bride. The Holy Spirit leads the People of God to the encounter with Jesus, our hope.” Given that it might be that not all know it, on Wednesdays throughout the year, except for July, the Pope holds a General Audience in Saint Peter’s Square or, if it’s too hot, cold or rainy, in Paul VI Hall, so that thousands of people can see and listen him. To take advantage of the opportunity, the Pontiff always imparts a catechesis every Wednesday. A series of catecheses means several Wednesdays dedicated to reflect further on a topic.

According to an indiscretion of the President of the Spanish Bishops, one of the topics the Pope will also reflect on further is the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In fact, Monsignor Luis Arguello said to the press on Friday, May 31, that the Pope  said to him that he is about to publish an Apostolic Exhortation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, making him the fourth Pope to address this Christian devotion.

Moreover, the Vatican closed May with good news. A European body (Moneyval) published a follow-up Report  on the Vatican’s system against money laundering and the results were amply positive. And while a new Ambassador was arriving in Rome (that of Argentina to the Holy See), another announced his resignation, with only two years as Ambassador of the United States to the Holy See: former Democrat congressman Joe Donnelly, who is returning to the United States. It’s quite probable that there will be no US Ambassador to the holy See until after the election of the new President, namely, after November 2024.

The week in Rome ended with a beautiful gold brooch: the multitudinous Corpus Christi procession in the city, from the Cathedral of Saint John Lateran to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. The Holy Father didn’t take part in the procession, but went directly to the Basilica and gave a Blessing there with the Most Blessed Sacrament. In a homily moments earlier, he explained the meaning of the procession  and  . . . also, why it was suspended for some years:

“This is also the meaning of the gesture we will soon carry out with the Eucharistic Procession: starting from the Altar, we will take the Lord among our city’s homes. We don’t do so to presume or boast about our faith, but to invite everyone to participate, in the Bread of the Eucharist, of the new life Jesus has given us. Let’s engage in this procession with this spirit.”

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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: https://twitter.com/web_pastor, habla de Dios e internet y Church and media: evangelidigitalización."

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