Category: Vatican

Pope Francis’ words to journalists on board the charted flight yesterday to the Greek island of Lesbos struck an emotional chord: “It is a sad journey,” he said. “We are going to see the greatest humanitarian  tragedy after World War II.”

As Francis deplaned he was greeted by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The pope expressed his gratitude for Greece’s generosity to Middle Eastern refugees, many of whom come to Europe fleeing from desperate situations.

Francis spent only 5 hours on the small Greek island near the cost of Turkey, while meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Ieronymos II, the archbishop of Athens and Greece. He took time to speak to refugees from regions of economic depravity, religious persecution and military strife. He then held a service to bless those who have died trying to reach Europe.

According to RomeReports’ coverage of the one-day papal visit, Francis traveled to the Moria refugee camp, “a place where the migrants arrive and can not leave freely.” (more…)

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Well, it finally happened. The pope felt the Bern.

Against expectations, Pope Francis and  Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democrat candidate for U.S. president, met privately today in the Vatican hotel where the pontiff resides and where Sanders was staying as a guest.

Bernie Sanders was in Rome for the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences meeting to discuss his economic, environmental and moral concerns (as summed up in Sanders’own words during the press scrum that followed).

The Pontifical Academy’s meeting was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s Centisimus Annus, arguably the most pro-market  encyclical in the history of Catholic social teaching published in 1991 on the 100th anniversary of Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum which also praised private property rights, the value of personal liberty, and likewise denounced Marxism on grounds of mistaken anthropology.

Sanders put his own socialist spin on Centesimus Annus while in Rome. (more…)

b-sandersWith the New York presidential primary only a few days away, most candidates are canvassing the state to drum up votes. But Bernie Sanders has taken a peculiar detour — to Rome. (Not Rome, NY. The one in Italy.)

Sanders is delivering a 10-minute speech this morning at a Vatican conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s encyclical, Centesimus Annus. Sander’s will be speaking on economy and social justice.

In The Detroit News, Acton’s research director Samuel Gregg considers what Bernie might learn at the Vatican:

Blog author: etrancik
Friday, April 15, 2016

pope-415This year marks the 125th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum and the beginning of the modern Catholic social encyclical tradition. In this landmark text, Leo courageously set out to examine the “new things” of his time, especially the changes associated with the Industrial Revolution. These included the emergence of an urbanized working class, the breakdown of old social hierarchies, and the rise of capitalism as well as ideologies such as socialism, liberalism, communism, and corporatism.

On April 20, 2016, Acton Institute is holding a free conference in Rome exploring similar themes. This conference on Freedom with Justice: Rerum Novarum and the New Things of Our Time will take place in Rome, Italy from 14:00-19:30 (GMT +2) at the Centro Congressi Roma Eventi – Fontana di Trevi. Remote participation is also possible through the online Live Broadcast. Among the speakers will be Rev. Prof. Wojciech Giertych, OP, Professor and Theologian of the Papal Household. For more information about this event or to register, visit

Acton Institute’s director of research, Dr. Samuel Gregg, recently authored an article in Crisis Magazine which highlighted the radical character of Leo XIII’s attempt to engage the modern economic world:

New articles from the indefatigable Samuel Gregg, research director of the Acton Insitute:

Amoris Laetitia: Another Nail in the “Overpopulation” Coffin, The Catholic World Report

Here the pope signals his awareness of the efforts of various organizations—the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, the EU, particular US administrations—to push anti-natalist policies upon developing nations.

A Revolutionary Pope for Revolutionary Times, Crisis Magazine

Between 1878 and 1903, Leo issued an astonishing 85 encyclicals. Many dealt squarely with the political, social, and economic challenges associated with the “new things” that, having started in Western Europe and North America, were engulfing the globe. In this regard, Leo arguably showed himself to be a revolutionary pope made for revolutionary times

Constitutional Conservatism: Its Meaning and Its Future, Public Discourse

The project of constitutional conservatism must be about more than restoring limits on government. It must also invoke the ends of the American experiment in ordered liberty if the United States is to resist the siren-calls of egalitarianism and populism.

Pope Francis blesses a child in St. Peter's Square after celebrating Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican March 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (March 25, 2013) See POPE-PALM March 25, 2013.

“What the pope has brought forth is honest, timely and sensitive,” writes Rev. Robert A. Sirico, co-founder and president of the Acton Institute. “Amoris Laetitia explores some complicated pastoral situations that any confessor will know all too well: challenges of how weak and fallen people can authentically live the faith.”

In the Detroit News, Rev. Sirico discusses Pope Francis’s love letter to the family:

The pope’s reflections are aimed at how to make a solid moral discernment in the midst of life’s complexities, guided by the objective moral teaching of the Church. There are some points of ambiguity, but its compassion is evident.

The document is drenched in mercy and urges pastors to lead their flock by maintaining a sense of welcome to those undergoing the sometimes arduous process of discerning and doing God’s will. It urges us to encourage — and include in parish life — those working toward living in accord with the Church’s teaching.

Read more . . .

amoris-laetitiaOn Friday, Pope Francis released the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), a lengthy (325 paragraphs, 256 pages, 391 footnotes) letter that follows the Synods on the Family held in 2014 and 2015.

The following 50 key quotes from the text are intended not to be the “best” quotes from the letter, but merely to provide a general sense of what the exhortation is about:


Since “time is greater than space”, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs to be inculturated, if it is to be respected and applied”. (p. 4)

It is my hope that, in reading this text, all will feel called to love and cherish family life, for “families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity”. (p. 6)

Chapter One: In The Light Of The World