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Fulton Sheen beatification postponed

Peoria, Ill., Dec 3, 2019 / 01:10 pm (CNA).- The scheduled beatification of Ven. Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen has been postponed after several U.S. bishops asked that the cause be given more time for examination. The Diocese of Peoria announced the delay on Dec. 3.

Archbishop Sheen's beatification was set to take place on Dec. 21. 

“With deep regret, Bishop Daniel Jenky, C.S.C, Bishop of Peoria, announces that he has been informed by the Holy See that the beatification of Fulton Sheen will be postponed,” said the press release from the diocese. 

The diocese originally received word from the Vatican on Nov. 18 that the beatification had been approved to take place the following month. But the diocese said that on Dec. 2 “the Holy See decided to postpone the date of Beatification, at the request of a few members of the Bishop’s Conference who have asked for further consideration.” 

“Bishop Jenky is deeply saddened by this decision,” said the press release. “In particular, Bishop Jenky is even more concerned for the many faithful who are devoted to Sheen and who will be affected by this news.” 

Jenky is “firmly convinced of the great holiness” of Sheen, and “remains confident that Sheen will be beatified.” The cause for Sheen’s beatification and canonization will continue and, the press release stated, there have been “many miracles” reported through Sheen’s intercession, including some as recently as the last three weeks. 

The Peoria diocese explicitly stated that the delay was not the result of any allegations of abuse of a minor. 

“In our current climate, it is important for the faithful to know there has never been, nor is there now, any allegation against Sheen involving the abuse of a minor,” added the release. 

It was not revealed in the release which, or how many, bishops requested the delay, nor did the release state what prompted these requests. 

The diocese said that throughout the investigation of Sheen’s life during the beatification process, “it has been demonstrated definitively that he was an exemplary model of Christian conduct and a model of leadership in the Church. At no time has his life of virtue ever been called into question.” 

The diocese says they are “confident” that any further investigation into the life of Archbishop Sheen will only result in positive discoveries that will only bolster the case for his beatification. 

“The Diocese of Peoria has no doubt that Fulton Sheen, who brought so many souls to Jesus Christ in his lifetime, will be recognized as a model of holiness and virtue.” 

There is no indication from the diocese of when they expect a rescheduled date for the beatification. The Diocese of Peoria and the USCCB did not respond to CNA’s requests for comment in time for publication.

Pope Francis: Disabled people are not in humanity's minor 'leagues'

Vatican City, Dec 3, 2019 / 10:03 am (CNA).- Pope Francis said Tuesday that disabled people make important contributions to humanity, and called discrimination against them a sin. The pope added that disabled people are not members of humanity's minor “leagues.”

“We are called to recognize in every person with a disability, even with complex and serious disabilities, a unique contribution to the common good through their original life story,” he said Dec. 3.

“Recognize the dignity of each one, knowing that it does not depend on the functionality of the five senses.”

Pope Francis sent his message on the 2019 World Day of People with Disabilities, the theme of which is “the future is accessible.”

The Gospel teaches the dignity of every person, the pope said, adding that everyone must work to fight a culture which considers some people to be part of “Serie A” and others “Serie B,” a reference to the major and minor Italian soccer leagues.

“A culture that considers some lives to be ‘League A’ and others ‘League B’” based on their physical or mental abilities is “a social sin!” he added.

Francis noted that unfortunately, in some countries, people with disabilities are not treated with equal dignity, “as brothers and sisters in humanity.”

“Have the courage to give voice to those who are discriminated against due to their disability,” he said.

Inclusive laws and protections against discrimination are important, but they are not enough if not accompanied by a change of mentality, he said, “if we do not overcome a widespread culture that continues to produce inequalities, preventing active participation in ordinary life for people with disabilities.”

Pope Francis asked everyone, on this World Day of People with Disabilities, to renew their faith, a faith which sees “in every brother and sister the presence of Christ himself, who considers every gesture of love for one of the least of his brothers to be made for him.”

“On this occasion, I would like to recall that today the promotion of participation rights has a central role to combat discrimination and promote a culture of encounter and quality life,” he said.

He explained that a lot of progress has been made in the medical and welfare fields, but even today there is a culture of waste, and a feeling for many that they exist “without belonging and without participating.”

“All this calls [us] not only to protect the rights of people with disabilities and their families,” he said, “but urges us to make the world more human by removing all that prevents them from full citizenship, the obstacles of prejudice, and by promoting the accessibility of places and quality of life, which takes into account all the dimensions of the human.”



Congolese nationals urge Pope Francis to canonise Blessed Anuarite and Bakanja

Congolese nationals resident in Rome, Italy, have made a passionate plea to Pope Francis for the canonisation of Blessed Anuarite and Blessed Bakanja during a colourful Eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of St. Peter.

"Caritas in veritate": Pope Benedict XVI's enyclical 10 years later

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development organises an International Conference in the Vatican to explore the impact and inflluence of Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, Caritas in veritate, ten years after its publication.

Cardinal Tagle urges support for Caritas’ “Share the Journey" campaign

In an Advent message, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle holds up a young woman of Caritas Bangladesh as a model of the “Share the Journey” campaign of Caritas Internationalis in advocacy of migrants and refugees worldwide.

Pope at Mass: Today the Church praises “littleness”

The Spirit of God can only germinate in a humble heart, Pope Francis says in his homily at the daily Mass. The Holy Father says that God’s revelation always begins with “littleness”, implying trust in God rather than being closed in one oneself.

Christus vivit, having the courage to say "here I am", as Mary did

One year after the Synod on young people, Catholic youth from around the world engage with "Christus vivit", Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation. Mary of Nazareth was extremely young when she uttered that historical “yes”. Luca is one of the many young people who follow the Taizé experience. He considers Mary to be a fascinating example because in order to discover God's designs, all young people should do as she did: get involved.

Pope: Make the world more human by guaranteeing the dignity of the disabled

On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3rd, Pope Francis recalls how the promotion of the right to participation plays a central role in combating discrimination and promoting a culture of encounter and quality of life.

Becciu again denies involvement in IDI hospital purchase

Vatican City, Dec 2, 2019 / 07:30 pm (CNA).- In a letter to a veteran Italian journalist, Cardinal Angelo Becciu wrote Monday that he was not involved in the purchase of a bankrupt Italian hospital, and that reports to the contrary are unreliable.

“The statement of Prof. Antonio Maria Leozappa, president of the Luigi Maria Monti Foundation, published by you on November 28, reconstructs with exact precision the story of the IDI and, by confirming what was previously said by Card. Parolin, exonerates me completely from any involvement, contrary to what you have asserted,” Becciu wrote in a Dec. 2 letter to journalist Sandro Magister.

The “statement” to which Becciu referred was a letter from the president of a legal partnership between the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception, an Italian religious order that once owned Rome’s IDI hospital. The hospital was purchased from the religious order by that partnership in 2015, with funds borrowed from the Vatican’s central bank, in violation of European regulatory agreements.

Becciu has been frequently reported to have helped arrange the loan, and to have helped facilitate a controversial request for a grant from the U.S.-based Papal Foundation to repay it.

In fact, Magister reported Nov. 28 that “when these events occurred, it was common knowledge at the Vatican that Becciu played a leading role in the matter.”

Nevertheless, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin told CNA Nov. 20 that, contrary to media reports, it was he who had arranged the loan and grant request, and not Becciu, who was his subordinate from 2014 to 2018.

“To an outside observer it is not clear how much is true or put on in this role play between the cardinal secretary of state in office and the one who from 2013 to 2018 was his ‘substitute,’” Magister wrote of that admission.

Leozappa’s Nov. 28 letter did not offer detail about how the controversial loan was actually arranged, or supply a list of Vatican figures involved in the process. Instead, it explained some details about the accounting vehicles by which borrowed money funded the 2015 purchase of the hospital, and confirmed the transfer of funds between the Secretariat of State and the foundation. Becciu was not mentioned in the letter.

Becciu’s letter did not offer details about how the cardinal understood Leozappa’s statement to “exonerate” him. Nor did the cardinal indicate how he confirmed that Leozappa explained with  “exact precision” a process in which he says he was not involved.

The cardinal’s letter did, however, address another Vatican scandal to which Becciu has been connected: the Secretariat of State’s investment in a London luxury apartment development.

“The accusation that I did not take into consideration the contrary opinion of Cardinal Pell on the operation of the development of the London apartment is baseless, for the simple reason that the then-Prefect of the SPE [Secretariat for the Economy] was never consulted on the matter, since it was not within his competence to control the accounts of the Secretariat of State. To do that he would have needed the authorization of the pope, something that was never granted to him.”

Becciu was responding to a report that Cardinal George Pell had in 2015 raised questions about a loan obtained by the Secretariat of State to fund its invest in the London property development. Multiple senior sources at the Vatican’s Prefecture for the Economy had told CNA those questions led to a disagreement between Pell and Becciu, an allegation which Becciu’s letter did not directly deny.

In the same letter, Becciu told Magister that he disputed some aspects of CNA’s reporting on that matter, and said CNA had admitted to him that some of its sources were unreliable. CNA has not stated that its sources are unreliable.

The cardinal also sought to distance himself from Msgr. Mauro Carlino, his former secretary, who was suspended after an October raid ordered by Vatican prosecutors.

“To say that I more than others are entered into the eye of a media storm for the fact that Msgr. Carlino was my personal secretary is a simplistic explanation and inconsistent,” Becciu told Magister.

Becciu has been under close media scrutiny for months, as reports from several media outlets have reported on his connections to two emerging financial scandals at the Vatican. The cardinal has consistently denied his involvement in illicit or inappropriate financial activities.

Although the London property development involves multiple holding companies and ambigious funding sources, Becciu has defended the London property deal as “accepted practice.” Parolin characterized it as “opaque,” and Pope Francis said of the transaction this month that unnamed Vatican administrators have “done things that do not seem clean.” The investment remains the subject of a major Vatican investigation.



Cardinal Turkson: the impact of “Caritas in veritate” after ten years

Ahead of a seminar on Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas in veritate”, Cardinal Peter Turkson looks at the impact of the document in the areas of ecology and integral human development.