Spying at the Vatican
Edward Pentin, at the National Catholic Register, reported that Curial officials were going to extraordinary lengths to avoid Vatican authorities’ possible snooping. He wrote: “To take a few recent examples: an official told me recently he preferred only to send emails from home as he did not trust the Vatican service provider. Another insisted on leaving his mobile phone outside a meeting to discuss sensitive information because he felt sure it might be being used as a bugging device. “One dicastery is particularly wary of interceptions: its staff prefer to meet people in person rather than call them and generally shun email for non-routine messages.” He reported that one official whose paranoia had been particularly high was Mgr Luis Angel Vallejo Balda. An official told Pentin: “He was convinced that, in his office alone, there were 25 bugs and he didn’t talk about confidential matters even in the elevator of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs.” The Spanish monsignor is now, of course, standing trial along with four others over the latest round of “Vatileaks” – so perhaps he had good reason to be paranoid.
Kindness that confuses
Under the headline “A convert comments”, Fr Dwight Longenecker responded to the Pope’s remarks to Lutherans earlier in the month. During a visit to Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran church Pope Francis suggested to the Luth-eran wife of a Catholic that receiving Holy Communion might be a matter for discernment.
Fr Longenecker said Pope Francis was trying too hard to be kind. At his blog Standing On My Head he wrote: “Why couldn’t the Pope smile and say to the Lutheran spouse what I say to my Anglican mother-in-law when she grumbles that she can’t receive communion in the Catholic Church? “I give her a hug and say, ‘If you really want to receive communion in the Catholic Church you may.’ “ ‘Really?’ she asks. “ ‘Sure,’ I say with a grin. ‘All you have to do is become a Catholic.’ ”
Exegesis for babies
Joanna Bogle, on her blog Auntie Joanna Writes, asked why all the resources for teaching children about Sunday Mass readings are so childish. She said: “There are a number of books, but they all offer large crude drawings aimed at five-year-olds to cut out and colour in and glue onto cardboard or stick together to form a sort of paper toy. It’s along the lines of: ‘Jesus said “I am the vine.” Cut out these grapes and stick them on the vine.’ This means that children learn to colour and stick, but do not absorb much about the Epistle or the Gospel of the day.”
LETTERS by Pope Francis answering questions from children around the world are to be collected in a book. Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World will feature the Pontiff responding to 30 handwritten notes from children aged six to 13, according to Jesuit publisher Loyola Press. “Little kids have big questions,” publisher Tom McGrath told the Chicago Tribune. “They had no hesitation to go right to what was on their minds. There were a lot worried about ecology, worried about why there’s war. They wondered why there are people who are poor.”
✣ THOUSANDS of key rings, mugs, T-shirts and other Francis paraphernalia are being produced in Uganda ahead of his trip there later this week. Shop manager Bernard Ssenyondo told AFP that he was “very excited” about the visit and suggested it would lead to more revenue.
✣ SISTER Cristina Scuccia, who won the television singing competition The Voice in Italy, is to star in a stage production of Sister Act in Rome. She will play the role of Mary Robert, a shy nun with an impressive singing voice. She told ANSA news agency: “I think [the Pope] would support me, because the Church must reduce its distance from the people.”
The week in quotations
If they think they can silence me they are following the wrong path
Investigative reporter Gianluigi Nuzzi on the Vatican authorities Reuters
[Priests] aren’t ‘mushrooms’ which sprout up suddenly at the cathedral on their day of ordination
Pope Francis Address to priests’ conference
We have too many small communities
Bishop John Arnold Pastoral letters to Catholics in Salford diocese
We’re earning money from this!
Catholic shop manager Bernard Ssenyondo before the papal visit to Uganda AFP
Statistic of the week
The proportion of German Catholics attending Sunday Mass Source: Papal address to German bishops