Photo: Vatican Media

Vatican Chronicles: Father Rupnik Divides the Roman Curia; Vacations, How Much Money Does the Pope Receive?

Week of June 24-30, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 01.07.2024).- July is the month that the Pope dedicates to rest: his public activity is suspended, excepting the Angelus on Sundays, although Pope Francis usually continues attending to individuals and groups in the Residence where he lives.

Perhaps anticipating this month of rest, the Holy Father had a very tight week of work (the last of June): his week began with an audience to Saint Peter’s Circle, a Foundation that helps the Pontiff in his charity to Rome’s poor. Speaking of the Jubilee Year 2025, topic to which the Pope dedicates increasingly more space, he gave the Circle an instruction: “The pilgrims and tourists who come to Rome must ‘breathe’ the air of Christian charity, which isn’t only assistance, it’s care of dignity, it’s closeness, it’s sharing what is lived, without publicity, without spotlights.”

Opus Dei, Monsignor Gänswein and the Pope’s Embrace to the Traditional World

Also at the beginning of the week was the 30-minute audience granted to the Prelate of the Opus Deia relevant audience given the reforms that the Pope requested “la Obra” (as those that form part of it call it affectionately) and which provided the opportunity for Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz to inform the Holy Father on the state of things, especially the updating of its Statutes.

On Monday, June 24, we also learnt the new destiny of Benedict XVI’s private secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein: Nuncio in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The appointment happened exactly one year after his exile from the Vatican. His new mission as Nuncio was not a surprise, as there had been talk of it since December 2023. What was a surprise, however, was his destiny, as some of the misinformed media ventured to say that he would be sent to the diminutive Principality of Liechtenstein, which did not happen.

The Pope also gave an embrace to the world of pre-Conciliar liturgical sensibility, with the audience he granted to Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Christ the King Supreme Priest Institute. Weeks before there was talk in traditionalist Websites and blogs that the Pope was going to publish new restrictions to the Mass of the 1962 Missal. Hence this audience was regarded initially with expectation, but it turned out to be a meeting on the occasion of Monsignor Wach’s 45th anniversary. What’s more, the Pope invited the whole Institute, including the nuns, to a special audience in the Vatican. Notorious in that audience was the austerity with which Monsignor Gilles and his two companions dressed: as opposed to the usual way of dressing in the Christ the King Supreme Priest Institute, they wore a simple black soutane. 

Puede ser una imagen de 5 personas

Puede ser una imagen de 7 personas y texto

Audiences in Santa Marta: Abused Priests and Climate Guru

We said at the beginning that the Pope usually attends private audiences far from the official spotlights. This distinction happens not only in the place where official audiences are held (the Apostolic Palace) but also in the schedule (usually in the mornings). Afternoons in Casa Santa Marta are usually dedicated to informal audiences. Two of these were made public. The first was to three priests who were victims of sexual abuse, and the second was to American Democrat politician Al Gore. The former Vice-President of the United States assured a contribution to the Pope (not known if it’s financial or of another type) both for the World Day of Children of 2026 as well as the Jubilee of 2025.

El Papa recibe al ex vicepresidente de Estados Unidos, Al Gore 

Muslims, Divine Word Missionaries and Orthodox: The Holy Father Wants To Go To Nicaea

Another important audience on the Pope’s agenda was that granted to a group of Muslims from Bologna, Italy. The Holy Father said to them clearly that “marriage between persons of different religions must not be an occasion to convert a spouse to one’s own religion.” Some means have  contextualized these words differently as if the Pope addressed them to Catholics in favour of Muslims. It’s completely inaccurate, as it was said to Muslims he had in front of him in the Room adjacent to the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

The Pope also received in audience the Divine Word Missionaries, a masculine Catholic Congregation. His address was rich, but there was an aspect that called attention because, increasingly, individualism is marked in the ecclesial realm: “Creative missionary activities are born of love for the Word of God; creativity is born of contemplation and discernment. And although personal creative action is good, the communitarian is better for the unity and strength of the Church,” pointed out the Pope.

The Pontiff also made things clear to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, a body of discreet importance within the Roman Curia: the members are not called to substitute any actor of Latin American ecclesiastical life, Pope Francis said to them. It’s a very timely specification especially in an ecclesial context in which on occasions some of the members of that small reality seem to reflect a certain form of activism.

The Orthodox were also given space on the Pope’s agenda: on the eve of the day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the Pope received a Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It’s a tradition that on the occasion of patronal feasts of Rome (June 29, Saint Peter and Saint Paul) and Constantinople (November 30, Saint Andrew) Delegations are interchanged. On this occasion, the Pope invited the Orthodox to take part in the Jubilee of 2025 but he also made a confession: “I’m happy that the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity have begun to reflect on the way to commemorate this anniversary together, and I thank His Holiness Bartholomew for having invited me to celebrate it close to the place where the Council met. It’s a trip I have a heartfelt desire to undertake.”

Finally, after having reformed the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, on June 29 Pope Francis made known the new reform of the Vatican Basilica. Among the most important changes is the division in four sectors of the Basilica, namely: liturgical, pastoral, charitable and cultural, and theological.

Money for the Pope, Rupnik and the Communications Dicastery

In the context of the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Patrons of Rome, and a day also known as the “Pope’s Day,” the Annual Report of the money the Pope receives was made known. In 2023 the Holy Father received a total of 52 million euros in donations. Although there was an increase compared to the previous year, there are many more outflows of money than inflows (370.4 million). One of the areas that receives most money is also the one that was at the center of a controversy: the Dicastery for Communications.

It happened on June 21 in Atlanta, Georgia, specifically during a lunch organized by EWTN in the context of the meeting of the Association of Catholic Media of the United States. After an initial intervention by the Prefect of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communications, time was set aside for questions. It was then that two individuals (Paulina Guzik of Our Sunday Visitor, and Colleen Dulle of America Magazine) questioned Mr Paolo Ruffini about why Vatican News continues using indiscriminately the art works of former Jesuit Marko Ivan Rupnik and what message that sends to the victims of abuses.

The variety of answers given by Prefect Ruffini oscillated between saying that 1) it’s Christian not to judge (“who am I to judge?” he said, emulating the Pope, 2) that only images were used that were already in the archive and not new ones. Ruffini 3) put in doubt that to cease using them might benefit the victims in some way. “To remove, erase, destroy works of art is never a good option,” he said. “That’s not a Christian answer,” he added.

Ruffini, a modest, academic and reflective Catholic layman at the Head of a Roman Dicastery, achieved what in ten years had not been achieved: the press on both sides of the ideological spectrum united in a unanimous cause, which was to condemn his words. The Register dedicated no less than an Editorialbut the Reporter, Crux, The Pillar and The Catholic Herald also dedicated large spaces to him.

Days later the storm did not subside: TentMakers, an association dedicated to foster hope, healing and justice for survivors of sexual abuse by the clergy, called for the resignation of the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications. And on Friday, June 28, five women victims of former Jesuit Marko Ivan Rupnik sent a letter to the Pope asking that the works of their alleged abuser cease being exhibited. That same day a letter was published of the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM), Cardinal Sean O’Malley, sent to all the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia. The letter requested a very specific thing: “We must avoid sending a message  that the Holy See is oblivious to the psychological suffering that so many persons are experiencing,” he wrote in relation to the use of the former Jesuit’s works.

A press release of the PCPM alluded specifically to the Dicastery for Communications with these words: “the victims and survivors of abuse of power, spiritual abuse and sexual abuse have contacted the PCPM to express their growing frustration and concern over the continuing use of works of art of Father Marko Rupnik by several offices of the Vatican, including the Dicastery for Communications.”

In honour to the truth something must be clarified: Ruffini is not immediately responsible for the publication of the images in question. The competence for the use of image falls on the Editorial Director of Vatican News, namely, Andrea Tornielli.

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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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