Tag Archives: VATICAN

The ceremony of the Way of the Cross in the Vatican was held in an empty square

For the second year in a row, due to restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis led the ceremony of the Way of the Cross on Good Friday in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, and not at the walls of the Colosseum.

In the evening, the pontiff celebrated the Mass of Remembrance of the Passion in the Vatican Basilica, with a sermon delivered by the preacher of the Papal House, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa. According to the tradition that has been in force for the last half-century, shortly after the end of the solemn service, the pontiff was to go to the Colosseum, where, according to legend, the first Christians were martyred.

However, because of the pandemic, a year ago, Pope Francis at nine o’clock in the evening went to the porch of St. Peter’s Cathedral to lead a procession dedicated to the memory of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

This time, the Via Crucis ceremony was again held in an empty square in front of the main Catholic church of the world, where a small group of children, accompanied by nuns and teachers, carried the cross with torches in their hands. All of them performed the traditional 14 stations of the Cross, and during each of them, in addition to passages from the Gospel, prayer reflections were read out, which this year were written by children from one of the parishes in Rome and scouts from the Italian region of Umbria.

These simple and direct testimonies reflect the sad realities of the pandemic. Some of the children told about their loneliness during the long months of lockdown, others — about how they saw off their grandfather who was infected with the coronavirus to the hospital, who died a few days later.

The procession bypassed the famous obelisk, brought to Rome from Egypt by Emperor Caligula, and climbed to the porch of the Vatican Basilica, where the cross was handed over to Pope Francis. He himself did not take a direct part in carrying the cross, but only read prayers. In addition to the pontiff, a very small group of cardinals, priests, monks, and laypeople witnessed the Via Crucis. At the end of the hour-long ceremony, the Pope embraced four children — three boys and a girl who ran out onto the cathedral’s porch and left St. Peter’s Square.

Due to the extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which are currently in effect in the Vatican, all services and rites of Holy Week are held here with the participation of only some clergy and laity. However, a live online broadcast of all these events is carried out by the information portal of the Holy See, Vatican News.

The Vatican rocked by another sex scandal

In the Vatican, a serious scandal broke out related to sexual violence against students of the proseminar, in which priests are accused. On Wednesday, a young Italian man appeared before a tribunal in the Vatican, who revealed shocking evidence of rape, sexual harassment, and use by a Catholic pedophile.

All this took place in an educational institution located in the heart of the capital of the Catholic Church — in the proseminar named after St. Nicholas. Pius X, who trains boys as priests of the Catholic Church in the course of his studies. It was another day of the trial that had been going on since October last year against two Italian priests in connection with their sexual use of pupils in the proseminar, located right on the territory of the Apostolic capital.

The first defendant is 28 — year-old Gabriele Martinelli, who is charged with sexual abuse of a young student, as well as the use of force and threats against him.

These crimes occurred in 2007-2012 when the current priest was the senior coordinator of the activity of the inhabitants of the educational institution and had not yet been ordained. He became a priest in 2017 in the town of Como. Both the criminal and his victim were minors at the time of committing the disgusting acts.

The other accused is the 71 — year-old former rector of the proseminar, Priest Ernesto Radice, who is accused of covering up these acts. He was rector for 12 years.

This is the first trial initiated on charges of sexual crimes on the territory of the Vatican. Therefore, it is clear that it has a huge resonance far beyond its walls.

As we have already written, the students of this church school for future priests not only sit in class but also participate in the liturgical rites in St. Peter’s Cathedral as acolytes, some sing in the boys ‘ choir of the Sistine Chapel during papal services. Many children from devout Catholic families dream of getting there to study for the priesthood.

A key role in the publication of the scandalous case was played by a young Pole, Kamil Ya., who lived in a boarding school for high school students when he was 15 years old, but then he was removed from there. It was he who witnessed the rapes, which he informed the management of the educational institution.

However, they did not believe him at first. He was forced to tell the author of the book, later published in Italy, and also on the air of the RAI television program in 2017. It was these publications that led to a large-scale scandal and the beginning of the investigation in the Vatican.

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The Pole must give new testimony to representatives of the Catholic Themis on March 26.

And on Wednesday, a 30-year-old man, the victim of Priest Martinelli, testified before the tribunal for three hours. He spent six years in the proseminar, which he described as a series of rapes and sexual relations under the coercion of a “guardian” in the room where he lived with his peers, as well as in other areas of the building.

“It was a shock, I felt paralyzed,” a man who had been at the school since 2006 told the Vatican tribunal. “My roommates were either asleep or pretending to be. No one stood up and asked, “What are you doing? “the young Italian admitted.

He said that he told the rector that he was a victim of rape, and in response, he heard threats against him. When the unfortunate young man left the Vatican, he wrote letters to the bishops to whom the proseminar is subordinate but received no response. According to him, the hierarchs ignored the accusations thrown at him and silenced them.

A letter he wrote to Pope Francis in 2017, which was supposed to be handed over, was destroyed. It did not reach the pontiff. Nevertheless, the bitter truth could not be hidden. In addition, Pope Francis has set a course to eradicate this evil in the bosom of the Catholic Church.

Sexual scandals and allegations of pedophilia have flared up outside the Vatican in recent years. However, what happened and has now come to the surface is not only striking in its cynicism but also speaks of the confidence of the people involved in sexual crimes, who bear the rank of holy fathers, in their impunity.

But there is ancient wisdom written in the biblical texts: everything secret becomes clear. This means that the punishment will not pass the criminals.

The Pope predicted a new world flood

The head of the Catholic Church, Francis, predicted a new global flood due to climate change.

This is reported by the Daily Mail.

According to the Pope, if the leaders of the countries do not respond to global warming — the melting of glaciers and changes in temperatures — then the world will face a catastrophe.

“The flood will happen if we continue to go the same way,” he said.

Francis also recalled that in the Bible, Noah survived the flood because of his virtue. Therefore, the pontiff believes that the authorities should first deal with corruption and injustice in their countries.

The head of the church noted that the story about the flood may be a myth, but it serves as a good example of how God can unleash his wrath for the sins of people.

As previously reported, the Vatican, where the campaign for immunization against CAVID-19 began last month, threatened to dismiss those who refuse the injection without good reasons.

The Vatican, amid scandals, is conducting an audit of its assets worth billions of euros

Luxury buildings and apartments in Paris, London, and Geneva make up the Holy See’s real estate empire, which is constantly drawn to the attention of journalists due to periodic high-profile scandals.

Source: AFP material cited by Yahoo

Details: Bishop Nunzio Galantine, who was appointed by Pope Francis two years ago to centralize the Vatican’s assets, complained that he was already tired of” sensational “ media stories about the papacy’s wealth.

According to him, the data that the majority of real estate in Rome belongs to the Catholic Church and the Vatican is not true.

However, the scale of the Vatican’s ownership still interests people, this is happening against the background of periodic scandals.

The beginning of the history of investing in valuable assets dates back to 1929 when the Vatican State was founded as an independent territory in agreement with Italy, and according to this agreement, the churches paid compensation for real estate previously seized from the Papal state. Among the seized church assets was the huge Quirinale Palace, which once housed 30 popes, and is now used as the residence of the Italian president.

Galantine stressed that it was then that Pope Pius XI decided to use the money received to invest in property, including abroad, “to ensure the freedom and independence of the church.”

For many years, Vatican real estate has been managed by the Apostolic See Property Administration (APSA). He has very valuable buildings and apartments at his disposal.

We are talking about 737 properties in the heart of Paris, around the Boulevard Saint-Michel, the Odeon, and the Champs-Elysees, with an area of almost 56 thousand square meters. Their cost is estimated at 595.5 million euros (722.1 million dollars).

In London, APSA has 27 sites — among them addresses in St. James Square, Kensington, and New Bond Street, with an area of about 4.6 thousand square meters, worth approximately 108.5 million euros ($131.4 million).

Meanwhile, in Switzerland, in particular, in Geneva and Lausanne, the Church has 140 objects with an area of 16 thousand square meters worth more than 91 million euros (110 million dollars).

In Rome, the Vatican has built buildings, particularly on the two main streets that converge on St. Peter’s Square, including the famous Via Della Conciliazione.

Today, APSA also directly manages the rental of 2,400 apartments and 600 offices and stores in Italy, which brought in 99 million euros ($119.9 million) in 2019.

One of the goals of Galantine in his position calls “improving the performance” of the Vatican property, as some apartments are empty, and some are dilapidated after many years of use.

At the same time, Galantine assures that the Holy See recently allocated part of its real estate for charitable purposes. So, one luxurious building in Rome is now used for the training of the clergy.

Galantine says it’s difficult to appreciate the Vatican’s Italian holdings, not least because buildings like St. Peter’s Basilica are priceless. It is likely that the value of the Vatican’s assets can reach several billion euros just for real estate on the rental market.

In addition, there are hundreds of apartments that are managed by the church department responsible for missionary activities, with these apartments receiving probably another 3-4 billion euros (3.6-4.8 billion dollars).

APSA is still compiling a full description of its Italian holdings, which may be formed before spring.

Pope Francis also recently handed over to APSA control of a London property acquired by the powerful Secretariat of State — the Vatican’s central administration-in a roundabout deal through Italian intermediaries. They, in particular, include objects in the elite area of London-Chelsea. The Italian financier who brokered the deal with the Vatican was arrested last year on corruption charges, although he was later released. Last year, the Vatican police also became interested in the activities of the office of the State Secretariat. As a result, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the highest church official responsible for the deal, was fired.

Yet another scandal of assets the Vatican has been associated with an investment Fund based in Malta which operates one of London’s real estate portfolio, consisting of five luxury apartments. Then it turned out that the fund used the received funds to inform the film about Elton John “Rocketman”. In this regard, the Pope said that he wants to abandon these investments as soon as possible in order to minimize any risk to the reputation of the Church.

Also, last month, a Vatican court sentenced the former head of the Vatican bank IOR to 9 years in prison for embezzlement and money laundering related to corrupt real estate transactions.