Monday, July 29, 2013


(Vatican Radio) From the future of the Vatican bank to the role of women in the Church, from Vatileaks to the highlights of his pontificate so far: on the flight back from Brazil to Rome Pope Francis gave journalists free rein to ask questions about the Church and about his own challenges as successor of St Peter. Philippa Hitchen takes a look at what the Holy Father had to say…..

In the impromptu press conference aboard the papal plane, journalists spent over an hour questioning the Pope about his recent visit to Brazil for World Youth Day, about plans for future foreign trips, about his ecumenical vision and about the day to day business of dealing with scandals and other obstacles within the Vatican walls.

Describing himself as tired, but spiritually renewed, the Pope talked about the very positive experience of meeting with three million young people in Brazil. He spoke of the security concerns, but stressed that it’s madness to try and separate a bishop from his people.

Discussing future papal journeys, he confirmed he’ll be travelling to Sardinia in September, to Assisi in October and said he hopes to visit his relatives in northern Italy because they’ve been asking to see him. He also spoke of plans for a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem, but said there was no definite decision yet. He also confirmed that former Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized at the same time, either this October or, most likely, the week after Easter next year.

Asked about relations with the Orthodox Church, Pope Francis spoke of the sense of beauty and adoration in the Eastern liturgies and how a consumerist mentality in the West has weakened our sense God. The author Dostoevsky, he added, should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the soul of Russia and its people.

Commenting on the Vatican bank, as the Institute for Works of Religion is commonly called, Pope Francis acknowledged the difficulties in deciding whether to change its status or close it altogether – he said he was relying on the advice of a commission of experts called in to promote ‘honesty and transparency’. 

Speaking of other problems within the administration of the Holy See, including rumours of a ‘gay lobby’ within the Vatican, Pope Francis said there are many saintly people working in the Curia but also those who are not so saintly and cause scandals which harm the Church. Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he said that people with homosexual tendencies must not be excluded but should be integrated into society. “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” he asked.

Questioned about the role of women in the Church, the Pope said the issue of ordination is ‘a closed door’ but he said he would like to see more women in leadership roles. Just as Mary was more important than the Apostles, he said, so women today are more important than bishops and priests and there is a great need for theology to explore and explain this better.

Finally on a very personal level, Pope Francis shared how he misses the freedom of being able to walk and meet people in the streets, how he lives in the Santa Martha guesthouse because he needs to talk to others and how he has always found pleasure as a priest, bishop and now pastor of the universal Church in following the Lord’s will.


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport this morning, marking his return from World Youth Day 2013. 
The 12-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro marks the end of Pope Francis’ first overseas Apostolic Voyage. 

The weeklong youth event ended Sunday with Mass on Rio’s famous Copacabana beach, an liturgy attended by approximately three million people. 



Memorial of Saint Martha
Lectionary: 401/607

Reading 1                      EX 32:15-24, 30-34

Moses turned and came down the mountain
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
tablets that were written on both sides, front and back;
tablets that were made by God,
having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself.
Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting,
he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.”
But Moses answered, “It does not sound like cries of victory,
nor does it sound like cries of defeat;
the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry.”
As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing.
With that, Moses’ wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down
and broke them on the base of the mountain.
Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire
and then ground it down to powder,
which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, “What did this people ever do to you
that you should lead them into so grave a sin?”
Aaron replied, “Let not my lord be angry.
You know well enough how prone the people are to evil.
They said to me, ‘Make us a god to be our leader;
as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt,
we do not know what has happened to him.’
So I told them, ‘Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.’
They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

On the next day Moses said to the people,
“You have committed a grave sin.
I will go up to the LORD, then;
perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin.”
So Moses went back to the LORD and said,
“Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin
in making a god of gold for themselves!
If you would only forgive their sin!
If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written.”
The LORD answered, “Him only who has sinned against me
will I strike out of my book.
Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you.
My angel will go before you.
When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Responsorial Psalm                   PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (1a) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Gospel                 JN 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

Or            LK 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”