ZENIT – English https://zenit.org/ The World Seen From Rome Fri, 19 Jul 2024 13:31:14 +0000 es hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.5.5 https://zenit.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/8049a698-cropped-dc1b6d35-favicon_1.png ZENIT – English https://zenit.org/ 32 32 Mission and compassion https://zenit.org/2024/07/18/mission-and-compassion/ Fri, 19 Jul 2024 00:59:19 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215876 Commentary on the Gospel of Sunday, July 21, 2024. XVI Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Mons. Francesco Follo
(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 18.07.2024).- Commentary on the Gospel of Sunday, July 21, 2024. XVI Sunday in Ordinary Time

1)  The mission is born from communion and it is reinvigorated in it.

This sixteenth Sunday’s Gospel tells of the disciples of Christ who return from a mission during which they brought the announcement of the good and joyful news: the «Gospel of Joy» (Pope Francis). While last Sunday’s Gospel showed us Jesus sending the twelve apostles, two by two, to the villages of Galilee to announce the coming of the kingdom of God, to heal the sick and to help the weak and the poor, today’s Gospel describes the return of the disciples from their mission. They return happily to Christ. They are happy, but also a little tired, as it happens to every true «missionary» who forgets himself and struggles to bring to the world the Gospel, the good and happy news that mercy has taken place among men.

In their apostolic journey they experienced the power of the Word, but also fatigue and rejection. Today, Jesus invites them to rest in a solitary place and in his company. «Come aside, in a solitary place, and rest a while» (Mk 6:31), because it is in the desert that God speaks to their and to our hearts. There is the moment of the mission and of the commitment and there is the moment of rest. There is the moment of acceptance and there is the moment of solitude. With Christ the «solitary place» becomes an oasis to stop, savor the joy of communion with Him, and quench our thirst for God.

Whether it takes place in distant lands or by the neighbor with whom we live and work, the mission needs not only words and witnessing, but also prayer and contemplation. It takes the silence of the desert to grasp what is essential; without the words of men it is easier to listen to the Word of God. It is not a question of speaking or of being silent, of doing or not doing; it is about deciding who to talk to, who to act with. Saint Teresa of Calcutta said to her sisters: «To be able to realize peace we will talk a lot with God and to God, and less with men and to men»

To put into practice this teaching of the Saint «of the poorest of the poor», I think it is useful to underline not only the importance of finding moments of meditation during the day and going to places where we can make a spiritual retreat, but the «necessity» to go to church to taste the «rest» that is the Sunday Mass. Perhaps, Sunday Mass is not normally lived as a moment of rest but, by going to church at least on Sunday, we welcome Christ’s invitation to «stand aside», that is, in a place different from our ordinary occupations and therefore  far away from being absorbed from distractions, even those legitimate of the holidays. This will make us able to encounter God and to dialogue with him, to listen to a true word about life, to nourish ourselves with a food of communion and a steadfast friendship, and to receive grace capable of holding us.

It is not about escaping from life. The encounter with the Lord on Sunday is like a light that illuminates the time of yesterday to understand it, sanctifies the present putting it in the hands of God, and clears the tomorrow to show the path. In this way, we can all be missionaries who walk in the world to look for others, but rest with Christ, comforted by him, to find ourselves.

2) Prayer is not an escape from mission, it is its soul

The people of the time and of today are undoubtedly the primary object of the mission of the Lord and of the disciples. It is toward them that the compassion of Jesus is directed; for this reason, the Gospel can say: «there was a lot of people coming and going and they did not even have time to eat». However, this does not prevent Christ and his disciples from living moments «on the sidelines», which does not mean an escape from the world and from men. These are moments in which Christ teaches his disciples how to live in communion. «On the sidelines» the disciples listen only to the Lord, make descend into their hearts the words of the Scripture that are like a greater breath in which to rest the heart, lighten the mind, think in the same way their Master thinks, love as He loves, and are with him in peace.

If we really want to be missionaries and to do good to humanity it is very important, I will say indispensable, to take some time to be alone with Christ. In addition to Mass, therefore, let us find time every day to be in silence and in prayer, listening to the Lord.

A very significant example comes from Consecrated Virgins who, with their life focused on prayer, show that the important thing to do, immediately and always, are not the things of the world, but the acceptance of Christ and his Kingdom. The urgency of the «things of God», the search for God, the listening to his Word are the priority conditions to make room for people, without being overwhelmed by the haste of things to do and the anxiety of possession.

It is the charity of Christ, to whom they have given themselves fully and joyfully, that envelops, involves, and pushes the consecrated Virgins toward their brothers and sisters in humanity, bringing the happy news that there is a God, whom we can meet and who has put his tent among us.

These women also testify that assiduous prayer does not take them away from the world in which they work every day. Constant prayer keeps them oriented to Christ. In fact, without Him, even with the best intentions and actions done for the purpose of doing good to others, one can lose oneself. One can «empty himself» to the point of no longer verifying the sense and the orientation for which he or she works. If we do not pray «resting with and in Christ», we are like leaves in the whirl of what surrounds us.

Their consecration «forces» the Virgins to give priority to God. He filled them with grace because they stood apart for Him. To them who, silently and discreetly, give Him their time and their life, the Lord dispenses his wealth. For this reason, «we must not measure the time of prayer. The more we lose time in prayer, the more we earn it «(Chiara Lubich, great spiritual teacher and founder of the Focolare Movement)

In the time given generously to Christ, these consecrated women look at Jesus and give us the example of how to look at him and have his gaze, which does not stop at the surface but grasps what is in people’s hearts.

For Jesus the people he meets are not numbers, they are not even indistinct masses to use. For him every person is a face and a journey to take care of. His seeing can perceive in the situations not a problem to be solved but a ‘you’, a people made of faces that suffer, raise a question, live for a waiting, feel the weight of the contradiction of evil but also have thirst of truth and love.

Jesus’ way of looking is a seeing that pauses and stops, letting be struck by those who are in front of him. If we learn to look as Christ does, what comes from the eyes does not come only to the mind and the heart, but makes one be touched, as the Gospel of today says.

In this Gospel, Saint Mark tells us that Jesus is moved by the people. He allows himself to be hurt. He does not present himself as someone who has something to give. Jesus encounters people like the poor, and makes room to welcome the suffering, the request for health and life, fear, and, in short, everything that moves in the depths of the human heart, without judging, without excluding, but becoming company. To be moved is a «feminine» verb because in Hebrew it indicates the movement of the maternal womb. With Jesus let us change inside and share his compassion.

 

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Vatican Dicastery for Communication «absorbs» Pontifical Urbaniana University publishing house https://zenit.org/2024/07/18/vatican-dicastery-for-communication-absorbs-pontifical-urbaniana-university-publishing-house/ Fri, 19 Jul 2024 00:49:14 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215873 This collaboration aligns with the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, particularly Article 183, which aims to unify all communication entities within the Holy See to better serve the Church's evangelizing mission.

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 07.18.2024).- On July 18, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, Dr. Paolo Ruffini, and the Pontifical Delegate for the Pontifical Urban University, Prof. Vincenzo Buonomo, signed a significant agreement to manage the editorial production of the University’s Publishing Service. Under this agreement, the works produced will bear the joint branding of Urbaniana University Press – Pontificia Universitas Urbaniana and Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

This collaboration aligns with the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, particularly Article 183, which aims to unify all communication entities within the Holy See to better serve the Church’s evangelizing mission.

Urbaniana University Press continues the legacy of the Polyglot Printing Press of Propaganda Fide, renowned since the 17th century for its global missionary vision. This historic press was a pioneer in printing non-Latin scripts, including the Arabic Sacred Bible of 1671, and its publications transcended European borders, embodying a commitment to intercultural communication and the spread of Christian knowledge.

In today’s interconnected world, this mission is more relevant than ever. Urbaniana University Press upholds this tradition, already publishing in Chinese through its longstanding journal, Urbaniana University Journal – Euntes Docete, and expanding its cultural and scientific production to include languages such as Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Konkani.

The press’s mission extends beyond cultural respect and embraces a robust scientific role. It aims to catalyze research and uphold rigorous academic standards. This commitment is evident in its extensive catalog, which includes two major journals (Urbaniana University Journal and Ius Missionale), educational manuals (many translated into English for use across 107 affiliated institutes globally), and specialized series on missiology, theology, philosophy, and law.

One notable publication is the Catalog of Chinese Documents from the Historical Archive of Propaganda Fide, providing invaluable textual sources for reconstructing the history of Christianity in China. This work is part of a broader effort by the Center for Chinese and Asian Studies, which enhances the academic and scientific activities of the Pontifical Urban University through transregional research and teaching.

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Emmaus Movement discloses allegations of sexual abuse against its late founder https://zenit.org/2024/07/18/emmaus-movement-discloses-allegations-of-sexual-abuse-against-its-late-founder/ Fri, 19 Jul 2024 00:46:19 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215870 During his later years, Abbé Pierre admitted in an interview to having committed "sins of the flesh," though he did not explicitly acknowledge the abuses now being reported. This admission, coupled with his controversial views on celibacy and same-sex unions, adds layers of complexity to his legacy.

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(ZENIT News / Paris, 07.18.2024).- On July 17, the Emaús Movement disclosed that multiple women have come forward accusing Abbé Pierre (1912-2007), one of France’s most revered figures, of sexual abuse, including allegations from a minor at the time of the incidents. This revelation has sent shockwaves through France, tarnishing the legacy of a man celebrated for his resistance against the Nazis and his extensive humanitarian work.

The accusations emerged in 2023 when Emaús France received a report from a woman alleging sexual assault by Abbé Pierre. Following this, Emaús launched an internal review in collaboration with Emaús International and the Abbé Pierre Foundation to uncover other potential cases. Caroline De Haas, from the Egaé group specializing in gender equality and violence prevention, led the investigation.

Over the initial months of this year, testimonies from seven women, detailing incidents of assault or harassment between 1970 and 2005, were collected. The report also hints that at least four additional individuals may have experienced similar abuses but have not yet come forward.

Emaús has responded to these grave accusations by setting up a confidential system to receive further testimonies and provide support to victims. The collected accounts reveal recurring patterns of abuse, often dismissed due to Abbé Pierre’s esteemed status. The victims describe a stark contrast between his public persona and private actions, which left them in disbelief and grappling with the reality of their experiences.

The Egaé report highlights how Abbé Pierre’s age and status created a power dynamic that fostered an environment where victims found it challenging to recognize and report the abuse. During his later years, Abbé Pierre admitted in an interview to having committed «sins of the flesh,» though he did not explicitly acknowledge the abuses now being reported. This admission, coupled with his controversial views on celibacy and same-sex unions, adds layers of complexity to his legacy.

These revelations have deeply shaken the Emaús Movement, leading to a reevaluation of Abbé Pierre’s legacy and challenging the integrity of a figure once idolized for his social commitment. The French bishops have expressed their sorrow over the disturbing news.

In a related political context, the Emaús Movement had previously called for votes against Le Pen’s far-right party during the French elections, underscoring their stand against extremism.

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Pope visits children of Vatican employees at the end of summer camp https://zenit.org/2024/07/18/pope-visits-children-of-vatican-employees-at-the-end-of-summer-camp/ Fri, 19 Jul 2024 00:42:41 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215867 Upon arriving, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the benefactors of Casa Santa Marta and then made his way to the newly constructed sports center, dedicated to Saint Joseph.

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 07.18.2024).- On the morning of July 18, Pope Francis paid a visit to the children and teenagers attending the Vatican’s summer camp, «Estate ragazzi in Vaticano.» Accompanied by Father Franco Fontana, S.D.B., the organizer of the camp’s diverse activities, the Pope’s visit was filled with heartfelt interactions and inspirational messages.

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Upon arriving, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the benefactors of Casa Santa Marta and then made his way to the newly constructed sports center, dedicated to Saint Joseph. This facility, designed for the children of Vatican employees, served as the backdrop for a series of engaging activities.

The Pope began his visit with a brief meeting with the camp’s animators, followed by an informal and spirited conversation with the young campers. The children and teenagers eagerly asked questions and shared their experiences, prompting Pope Francis to speak on various important themes. He emphasized the significance of family bonds, the roles of parents and grandparents, and the vital pursuit of peace, stating, «Making peace is the most beautiful thing in life.»

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He also encouraged the youth to prepare for the upcoming jubilee with a spirit of joy and enthusiasm. Following this, the group participated in a moment of prayer, reflecting the spiritual aspect of their summer activities.

In a symbolic gesture, the children released biodegradable, colorful balloons into the sky, each inscribed with the Pope’s message: «For you, dear child, for you, dear girl, you are precious in the eyes of God.» This act was intended to spread the Pope’s words of love and value to as many people as possible.

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The visit concluded with Pope Francis thanking the children for their joy and extending his appreciation to all those involved in organizing the summer camp. The day was a testament to the Pope’s commitment to nurturing the spiritual and personal growth of young people within the Vatican community.

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Trial Ends in London Against the Holy See, Pushed by Financier Condemned by Vatican Justice https://zenit.org/2024/07/18/trial-ends-in-london-against-the-holy-see-pushed-by-financier-condemned-by-vatican-justice/ Thu, 18 Jul 2024 13:28:48 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215882 The United Kingdom’s High Court of Justice will issue its verdict in the autumn.

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(ZENIT News / London, 18.07.2024).- The civil trial, in the United Kingdom’s High Court of Justice, on the sale of a Sloane Avenue building in London, reached its conclusion on Thursday, July 18, after almost a month of hearings. This case, which confronts the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and financier Raffaele Mincione, has attracted attention given the contradictory statements of both sides on the legitimacy of the transaction.

One side of the process reiterates that “there was no good faith” in the other’s actions, whereas Mincione holds that “there was no fraud” in the operation. This litigation began in 2020, when Mincione filed a lawsuit seeking legal validations, which would prove his “good faith” in the building’s sale at the end of 2018. During the trial, one of the key witnesses was Monsignor Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, who gave details about the complex business.

The lawyers on both sides presented their final memorandums. Mincione’s legal team, headed by Charles Samek, presented a 115-page document in which they defend the legitimacy of their client. They admitted that MIncione has a peculiar style, describing him as “a buccaneer type,” but they refuted the accusations of fraud, arguing that the Secretariat of State only realized the possible irregularities after reviewing Swiss court documents.

Samek and his team also criticized Monsignor Peña Parra’s implication in the final negotiations, suggesting that he was directly involved in the payment of 15 million euros to Gianluigi Torzi to resolve contractual relations. They assured that the invoices issued to Credit Suisse, for services not provided, were considered “false” by them, whereas Monsignor Peña Parra justified them as the result of extortion.

On the other hand, Charles Hollander, the Secretariat of State’s lawyer, presented a 109-page memorandum  focused on the allegation that the building was purchased at an inflated price. Hollander described how the property, acquired by Mincione in 2012 for 129 million pounds, was offered to the Holy See for a much greater value, which they suggest was a misleading overvaluation.

The document details how Mincione’s and Torzi’s financial interests were “closely intertwined” and that both needed money urgently due to agreements related to Banca Carige. The lawyers of the Vatican Secretariat of State described the criticisms levelled against Monsignor Pena Parra as “unfounded” and pointed out that Mincione’s real intention for initiating this legal procedure was to counteract the media and judicial pressure stemming from the Vatican investigations.

The beginning of Mincione’s lawsuit coincided with Torzi’s arrest in the Vatican, suggesting that the implicated sought to pressure the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice. Mincione was convicted in the first instance of embezzlement and other crimes, but absolved of aggravated fraud and embezzlement in relation to the sale of the building. The sentence has yet to be published, but the Promoter of Justice has already indicated  his intention to appeal.

The United Kingdom’s High Court of Justice will issue its verdict in the autumn.

 

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Cardinal Parolin Presented Candidates for President of Lebanon During His Visit to the Country https://zenit.org/2024/07/18/cardinal-parolin-presented-candidates-for-president-of-lebanon-during-his-visit-to-the-country/ Thu, 18 Jul 2024 13:24:42 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215879 According to reports, among the names proposed by the Vatican are two former Lebanese Ambassadors to the Holy See

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 18.07.2024).- In an effort to alleviate the prolonged political crisis in Lebanon, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, proposed five possible candidates for the country’s Presidency. During his recent visit to Beirut, at the end of June 2024, the Cardinal discussed discreetly, in he Apostolic Nunciature,  a list of Christian leaders, as revealed by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anbaa.

In Lebanon, the office of President must be held by a Maronite Christian, in accordance with the current constitutional agreement. The Maronites, who belong to the Catholic Church, recognize the Pope’s authority. Since the resignation of Michel Aoun, in October 2022, the country has been without a President, exacerbating its political and economic instability.

According to reports, among the names proposed by the Vatican are two former Lebanese Ambassadors to the Holy See: Farid Elias al-Khazen, who is also a former Member of Parliament, and former General George Khoury. Another name mentioned was that of Jean-Louis Cardahi, former Minister of Communications, but the names of the other two candidates remain a secret.

According to Al-Anbaa, the three candidates mentioned could be consensus figures, accepted by all the country’s political factions. The proposal of these names is an endeavour to find a viable solution to unblock the existing political paralysis and avoid the deterioration of the consensus system, which characterizes Lebanese politics.

During his five-day visit to Lebanon at the end of June, Cardinal Parolin met with key political actors and expressed his concern about the country’s situation. “The country, the Middle East and the world do not need war,” said the Cardinal to journalists in Beirut. He also criticized energetically the current political and economic situation, warning that maintaining the presidential vacancy is a serious risk that could lead to the “political assassination of the system of consensus.”

The Vatican’s intervention underscores the importance of a speedy and effective resolution of the Lebanese crisis. With these five candidates, the Holy See hopes to offer a way to stability and the political rebirth of the country. The international community is watching carefully, conscious that the election of a new President could be a crucial step towards Lebanon’s recovery.

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Traditional Congregation Accused of “Brain Washing”: Superior Faces Prison https://zenit.org/2024/07/18/traditional-congregation-accused-of-brain-washing-superior-faces-prison/ Thu, 18 Jul 2024 12:38:50 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215860 The MFND’s lawyer questioned the Constitutionality of the anti-sect laws and the dispositions against the “abuse of weakness.” The MFND has rejected the accusations, pointing out that the complainants have questionable antecedents and their testimonies are inconsistent.

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(ZENIT News / Privas, France,17.07.2024).- The Missionary Family of Notre Dame (MFND), a Catholic Congregation in France accused of “abuse of weakness,” has sparked intense debate and controversy. The judicial process against the MFND and its Superior, Father Bernard Domini (Gérard Pinède, his civil name) began on July 4 in Privas, but was postponed until August 1.

The roots of MFND lie in World War II, when several women of the village of Saint-Pierre-de-Colombier made a vow in 1944 to erect a statue of the Virgin Mary if they were protected from German violence. The statue was erected in 1946 with the approval of the diocesan Bishop. The Community was recognized officially as a Religious Order in 2005, and it has grown, being now present in France, Germany and Italy.

The FMND has been enveloped in controversies since its foundation, in particular over its opinions on abortion and homosexuality, which are unwelcome in the Catholic Church in France. Moreover, its plan to build a large church in Saint-Pierre-de-Colombier has faced opposition from ecologists and leftist activists. This conflict was intensified in October 2023 when a video of a nun knocking down an ecologist went viral (the previous violence of ecologists, of course, was not shown).

The accusations of “abuse of weakness” and “sectarian deviations” arose initially in 2007 by anti-sect associations. The MFND has been accused of using psychological techniques to control its members, limiting their contacts with the outside world and generating sentiments of guilt by inviting to weekly confession. These charges are based on reports of MIVILUDES, the Anti-Sects Governmental Agency, and of alleged anti-sect experts.

The MFND’s lawyer questioned the Constitutionality of the anti-sect laws and the dispositions against the “abuse of weakness.” The MFND has rejected the accusations, pointing out that the complainants have questionable antecedents and their testimonies are inconsistent. They have also criticized the presence of environmental activists and politicians in the Court, suggesting that there are hidden motivations  behind the process. In an article in “Bitter Winter,” Massimo Introvigne points out that of the five complainants: “One has never been a member of the Religious Community, another stayed ten days and was asked to leave because she wasn’t made for religious life, a third was denied membership by the Council’s unanimous decision; she has also had problems previously in other Communities. The fourth did not understand that the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience were vows she made to God Himself, and obligated her; and the fifth left a local branch that was suffering a lot, due to his brutal ways of acting as its leader. This places objectively in perspective the statements made by the plaintiffs, who also contradict themselves to a great extent among themselves.”

In 2019 the Vatican sent a Canonical Visit to the MFND, which resulted in the designation of the former Bishop of Metz, Jean-Christophe Lagleize as “Apostolic Assistant” in 2021. His mission was to align the MFND’s Constitutions with the present-day Catholic Church, which has been interpreted by some as a sign of the need for reform within the Congregation.

The MFND’s case makes evident how anti-sect laws can be applied to traditional Religious Congregations. While the MFND might well need to modernize its facilities and Theology, many argue that these are internal matters of the Church, which should not be decided by secular courts. The result of the Privas trial could have significant implications for the relationship between anti-sect laws and traditional religious practices.

 

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Questions about liturgy: Incensing a Deacon at Solemn Vespers https://zenit.org/2024/07/17/questions-about-liturgy-incensing-a-deacon-at-solemn-vespers/ Wed, 17 Jul 2024 18:32:19 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215854 Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology and director of the Sacerdos Institute at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum university.

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Edward McNamara, LC

(ZENIT News / Rome, 07.17.2024).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology and director of the Sacerdos Institute at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: This question has to do with when a deacon leads solemn vespers. During the time of the Magnificat, after he has incensed the altar, is the deacon also incensed or not? What about the people gathered at the prayer, are they also incensed? Some people say that the deacon is not a priest and thus should not be incensed, while others say that he is the presider and so should be incensed. Some say that if you don’t incense the deacon, then you shouldn’t incense the people either. Can you clarify this for me? — J.N., Sunyani, Ghana 

A: This question proved more difficult to answer than I originally thought. There is quite a variety of practices throughout the Church and the norms are not all that clear.

At first glance there would seem to be relatively clear norms in the General Introduction on the Liturgy of the Hours, To wit:

“Chapter V-I. The Various Roles

“253. In the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, as in all other liturgical actions, ‘the person, whether minister or member of the faithful, who exercises a role, should perform everything that belongs to him by the nature of his role and the rules governing the liturgy, and nothing else.’

“254. If a bishop presides, especially in the cathedral, he should be attended by his priests and by ministers, with full and active participation by the people. A priest or deacon should normally preside at every celebration with the people, and ministers should also be present.

“255. The priest or deacon who presides at a celebration may wear a stole over the alb or surplice; a priest may also wear a cope. On a greater solemnity there is nothing to prevent several priests from wearing copes or several deacons from wearing dalmatics.

“256. It is for the presiding priest or deacon, from the chair, to open the celebration with the introductory verse, to begin the Lord’s Prayer, to say the concluding prayer, to greet the people, bless them and dismiss them.

“257. Either the priest or a minister may give out the intercessions.

“258. In the absence of a priest or deacon, the one who presides at the Office is only one among equals; he does not enter the sanctuary, or greet and bless the people.

“261. During the Gospel Canticle at Morning and Evening Prayer the altar, then the priest and the people, may be incensed.”

According to the above norms the deacon should not wear the cope if he presides. No. 261 mentions only the priest and people being incensed but otherwise does not make restrictions as to when incense may be used or not. It is not clear if this excludes the presiding deacon being incensed or not.

While the above General Introduction would seem to exclude the deacon wearing the cope for the Liturgy of the Hours, the Ceremonial of Bishops (No. 192) foresees the possibility of deacons wearing either cope or dalmatic if they are assisting a bishop presiding vespers on major solemnities. On other simpler celebrations they should accompany the bishop “vested in alb and dalmatic” (No. 209). This latter would also be the vesture when accompanying a priest on solemn celebrations of the liturgy of the hours.

Since the publication of the revised Liturgy of the Hours in 1970, there have been many changes in the role of deacons and the above restrictive norms no longer seem to make much sense.

Some liturgists ask why the cope, which any ordained minister may wear when presiding at baptisms, weddings, funerals, Benediction, and solemn blessings, would be denied to deacons when presiding over lauds and vespers (but allowed when assisting the bishop)?

Because of this, there is no little confusion in different diocesan norms. Some follow the instruction and deny the cope to deacons presiding at the Divine Office; others make no restriction whatsoever and allow its use.

My opinion would be that the norm reflected liturgical practice prior to 1970 in which, while foreseeing the possibility of a deacon presiding at the Liturgy of the Hours, did not contemplate that a deacon would ever preside a solemn celebration of the Divine Office.

In the decades that have followed, the deacon’s role has been greatly enhanced in both law and practice, and it does occasionally occur that the deacon presides at a solemn celebration. This could well be an increasing phenomenon.

Hence, In the light of subsequent developments in practice and norms, I suggest that there is currently no good reason to exclude this vestment for the deacon in the Liturgy of the Hours.

With respect to the sacraments and sacramentals, a general rule of thumb found in the liturgical books is that whenever a deacon acts as presider in a liturgical celebration in the absence of a priest, he follows the same liturgical practices as the priest.

In other words, in celebrations that foresee the possibility of their being presided over by a priest or deacon, the deacon carries out the rites in the same way as the priest unless the rubrics themselves explicitly make a distinction.

As noted above, although No. 261 of the General Introduction only mentions the priest being incensed, it does not place any restrictions as to when incense may be used during the celebration of lauds or vespers.

Therefore, it does not seem to exclude the possibility that a deacon may bless the incense and perform the ritual incensation when he presides at solemn morning or evening prayer, just as the liturgical books foresee him doing at Benediction, a funeral service outside of Mass and other similar occasions.

If he can perform the ritual incense, then liturgical logic would allow for him to be incensed as the presider before the people.

Once more, there is little or no consensus with diocesan norms. Most seem to ignore the question and omit any reference to the deacon incensing during the Gospel canticles.

After all, we are dealing with a rite that is always optional at this moment. Rather than incensing, most pastoral instructions stress the importance of singing these canticles.

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Readers may send questions to zenit.liturgy@gmail.com. Please put the word «Liturgy» in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.

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More than 330,000 people have seen Dali’s Christ and St. John of the Cross for free in Rome https://zenit.org/2024/07/17/more-than-330000-people-have-seen-dalis-christ-and-st-john-of-the-cross-for-free-in-rome/ Wed, 17 Jul 2024 18:20:18 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215851 From 13 May to 24 June 2024, churchgoers and tourists alike were able to admire the famous painting by Salvador Dalì, "Christ of Saint John of the Cross" (1951), which is housed in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, with free admission.

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 07.17.2024).- The exhibition “Dalì’s Christ in Rome” has been hailed as a resounding success, with 330,000 visitors present in just over 40 days of the event which took place at the Church of San Marcello al Corso in Rome.

From 13 May to 24 June 2024, churchgoers and tourists alike were able to admire the famous painting by Salvador Dalì, «Christ of Saint John of the Cross» (1951), which is housed in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, with free admission. The relic-drawing of the Crucified Christ (1542-1591) sketched by Saint John of the Cross himself and normally kept in Avila, Spain, and from which Dalì took inspiration for his painting, was exhibited alongside Dalì’s masterpiece.

The success of the Dalì Exhibition, the third exhibition of the series being held in preparation for the Holy Year, under the title “The Jubilee is culture”, follows the success of the El Greco Exhibition, in the autumn of 2023 in Sant’Agnese in Agone, which had 288,000 visitors and the “100 Nativity Scenes in the Vatican” exhibition in St. Peter’s Square, with over 280,000 attendees.

The preparatory cultural events will resume next autumn. The first event will be held at 6pm on November 3, 2024 at the Auditorium della Conciliazione, with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia performing Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony conducted by Maestro Jader Bignamini, Musical Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Just before the opening of the Holy Door, on 22 December 2024, at 6 pm, at the Church of Sant’Ignazio the Choir of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel will perform various polyphonic compositions by Palestrina, Perosi and Bartolucci.

In the final months of the year there will also be an art exhibition dedicated to Marc Chagall.

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Plans to build more Catholic churches in Egypt as religious freedom returns https://zenit.org/2024/07/17/plans-to-build-more-catholic-churches-in-egypt-as-religious-freedom-returns/ Wed, 17 Jul 2024 18:16:53 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=215848 Patriarch Sidrak said that the Coptic Catholic Church “plays an important charitable role in Egypt, through its schools, hospitals and clinics”, providing much-needed assistance to those in need amid an ongoing economic crisis and high unemployment.

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(ZENIT News / Cairo, 07.17.2024).- A decrease in the influence of Islamist extremism in Egypt has made it possible for Christians to begin the reconstruction of damaged churches and even consider building new ones.

The Egyptian government has lifted the restrictions on the construction of churches, allowing the Coptic Catholic community to start restoring St George’s Cathedral in Luxor – destroyed by a fire in 2016 – and make plans for building more places of worship in the country, according to Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Sidrak of Alexandria.

Patriarch Sidrak told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood are unlikely to “fully disappear, but the current government is taking this threat very seriously, and they no longer dominate Egyptian society.

“When they held full power, between 2012 and 2013, it was very risky for a Christian to go out alone.

“Our Churches were under constant threat, hundreds of them were burned!”

He added: “Now we live in relative safety.

“There are fanatics and terrorists, as happens everywhere, but they are restrained.”

The patriarch said that Coptic Catholics “need to build more churches” in Egypt.

He explained: “The churches are the heart of our communities, but for many faithful they are difficult to get to.

“Those who live further away have to spend around a quarter of their salary to get their families to the nearest church for Sunday services by bus.”

He added: “Our cathedral in Luxor, which was burned, is a good example of this need of Coptic Catholics to rebuild.

“Soon it will be completely restored, thanks, especially, to Aid to the Church in Need.”

Patriarch Sidrak said that the Coptic Catholic Church “plays an important charitable role in Egypt, through its schools, hospitals and clinics”, providing much-needed assistance to those in need amid an ongoing economic crisis and high unemployment.

He added that the schools run by the community also help unite people of different faiths, with Muslim and Christian pupils studying together.

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