My dear Brothers and Sisters, we do not know how God thinks! We don’t even know, ourselves! What the other person is thinking!
In our readings today, the first and the Gospel readings, we see how God’s ways are different from our ways. We encountered how we human beings trust, think and respond to things that seem impossible. It is quite true that we can only come to trust the Lord if we have built up a good relationship of trust over time with the Lord.
Rome Newsroom, Jul 29, 2021 / 05:10 am (CNA).
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the retired prefect of the Vatican's liturgy office, underwent robot-assisted surgery on his prostate earlier this month, according to a surgeon at the Italian hospital where the procedure took place.
The urological operation was performed with the help of the da Vinci robot, a technology in use since 2016 at the Great Metropolitan Hospital (GOM) in Reggio Calabria, a city on the southernmost point of the Italian peninsula.
The GOM's health director and a leading surgeon confirmed to CNA July 29 that Cardinal Sarah had been operated on and that he was released from the hospital on July 27, after around 15 days in their care.
Salvatore Costarella said the procedure was to correct a problem with the prostate.
Cardinal Sarah's choice of the Reggio Calabria hospital “means a lot because we have an excellent hospital,” Costarella said, adding that “for us it is a reason for particular pride to have such an eminent person in our hospital.”
Doctors said in a press conference Wednesday that the surgery was successful and, thanks to the robot technology, was able to be carried out in a minimally invasive way.
Sarah, 76, was the most senior African prelate at the Vatican before his retirement as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in February.
According to Intuitive Surgical, the American company which makes the da Vinci Surgical System, robot-assisted urological procedures are: prostate surgery, kidney surgery, surgery to relieve kidney blockage, cyst removal from the kidney, bladder surgery, and surgery to fix the tubes connecting the bladder to the kidneys.
Cardinal Sarah is reported to have several engagements requiring travel on his schedule in the coming months.
It was announced last week that he is expected attend the 32nd Youth Festival in Medjugorje Aug. 1-6.
He is also scheduled to be the main celebrant at one of the daily Masses at the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, taking place in Hungary’s capital city of Budapest Sept. 5-12.
Sarah’s personal secretary is the Italian layman Lorenzo Festicini, president of the humanitarian association Istituto Nazionale Azzurro, and a native of Reggio Calabria, the city where the cardinal’s surgery took place.
“It is important to realize that in Reggio Calabria there are excellent European-level doctors and centers where you can be treated and undergo delicate operations with cutting-edge methods,” Festicini said in a July 28 press conference.
One of the doctors who assisted with the surgery, Domenico Veneziano, said the da Vinci robot “guarantees the maximum precision with more satisfactory results with respect to traditional surgery, and with really quick recovery times.”
Speaking at the press conference, Fr. Giulio Cerchietti, an official of the Congregation for Bishops, praised the hospital for combining “quality, professionalism, humanity, and dedication.”
“All this nourished the trust with which the cardinal entrusted himself to this hospital where he felt at home, where he smelled the scent of homemade bread,” Cerchietti continued.
The priest added: “The first day he arrived, accustomed to taking notes, he wrote the phrase of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus: ‘Love has brought you here. Love will take care of you.’ The cardinal experienced the depth of these words here with you. We are grateful and you are in our prayers.”
According to the manufacturer, there are nearly 6,000 da Vinci systems used in 67 countries around the world.
There are 105 medical centers in Italy which use the medical robot, according to the Italian website “Urologia Robotica da Vinci.” The GOM is the only hospital in Calabria with the technology.
This story was updated at 9:17 a.m. MDT to clarify when Cardinal Sarah's surgery took place and the nature of his ailment.
Vatican City, Jul 28, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).
A Vatican spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the fifth bishop to be created under the 2018 Vatican-China deal has been ordained.
Anthony Li Hui was appointed coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Pingliang by Pope Francis on Jan. 11, according to spokesman Matteo Bruni.
Bruni said that Bishop Li was ordained in the Cathedral of Pingliang, in the province of Gansu, on July 28.
Pingliang, in north-central China, has a wider metropolitan population of more than two million people.
According to UCA News, the 49-year-old Bishop Li was consecrated by Archbishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, president of the state-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China.
Bishops’ conference vice president Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai and Bishop Nicolas Han Jide of Pingliang were concelebrants.
Representatives of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, a state-endorsed organization founded in 1957, were also present.
Li was born in 1972 in Mei county in the province of Shaanxi. He was ordained a priest for Pingliang diocese in 1996. He also studied the Chinese language at Renmin University in Beijing.
Starting in 1998, Li worked at the secretariat office of the Chinese bishops’ conference and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association in Beijing.
Before his appointment as bishop, Li was secretary of the Chinese bishops’ conference.
In October 2020, the Vatican and China renewed their provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops for another two years.
Bishop Antonio Yao Shun of Jining, in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia, was the first bishop consecrated in China under the terms of the Sino-Vatican agreement, on Aug. 26, 2019.
Bishop Li is the third bishop to be consecrated since the deal’s renewal.
Vatican City, Jul 27, 2021 / 11:15 am (CNA).
Cardinal Angelo Becciu was present Tuesday on the first day of a major Vatican finance trial to defend himself of charges of embezzlement and abuse of office.
Becciu is one of 10 defendants in what is the Vatican’s largest trial for financial crimes in the modern era. The cardinal is going before the Vatican tribunal for the first time since Pope Francis changed norms in April to allow cardinals and archbishops to be tried by lay judges.
In a statement through his lawyer July 27, the cardinal said he that he was “calm” and awaited the continuation of the trial in order to prove his innocence of all the accusations against him.
“Cardinal Becciu, after today’s hearing, renews his confidence in the Tribunal, the impartial judge of the facts hypothesized only by the Promoter of Justice, as yet without any confrontation with the defense and with a view to the presumption of innocence,” the statement from lawyer Fabio Viglione said.
Defendant Msgr. Mauro Carlino, who worked in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and is charged with extortion and abuse of office, was also present at the seven-hour hearing on Tuesday. The remaining eight defendants were absent but represented by their lawyers.
The hearing took place in a multipurpose room of the Vatican Museums recently adapted for use by the court. The next audience was scheduled by the court for Oct. 5 after several of the defense lawyers asked for more time to prepare.
Some 30 lawyers attended the hearing, with some making motions and raising complaints about procedural issues.
In this trial, the Vatican court of first instance is made up of a three-judge panel consisting of tribunal president Giuseppe Pignatone, and two Italian law professors: Venerando Marano and Carlo Bonzano.
According to a Vatican judge, only Italian businessman Gianluigi Torzi’s absence from the courtroom July 27 was justified, due to him being under precautionary measures in the U.K. while awaiting extradition to Italy at the request of Italian authorities.
At the center of the case on trial is the Secretariat of State’s purchase of a building at 60 Sloane Avenue in London. It was bought in stages between 2014 and 2018 from Italian businessman Raffaele Mincione, who at the time was managing hundreds of millions of euros of secretariat funds.
Vatican prosecutors maintain that the deal was problematic and designed to defraud the Secretariat of State of millions of euros.
Becciu resigned as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and from the rights extended to members of the College of Cardinals on Sept. 24, 2020.
The cardinal worked previously as the number two-ranking official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, the powerful curial department at the center of the investigation of financial malfeasance.
Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, Becciu’s former chief deputy at the Secretariat of State, was also investigated as part of the London property scandal, but is not among the defendants in this summer’s trial.
Vatican prosecutors identified Perlasca’s testimony, provided over the course of several interviews, as being important for reconstructing “some central moments” in the affair.
But at Tuesday’s hearing, a defense lawyer argued that Perlasca’s testimony from five interviews, in which he had no lawyer present, should be considered “inadmissible.”
A Vatican prosecutor argued that the depositions were legitimate because they were videotaped and “voluntary.”
Becciu said in a statement he will be suing Perlasca and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, another person questioned by investigators, “for slander for the very serious and completely false statements made during the investigations to the Promoter of Justice.”
The cardinal told journalists in the courtroom at the end of the hearing that he is “obedient to the pope who sent me to trial, I have always been obedient to the pope, he entrusted me with many missions in my life, he wanted me to come to trial and I am coming to the trial. I am calm, I feel calm in conscience, I have the confidence that the judges will be able to see the facts well and my great hope is the certainty that they recognize my innocence.”
Other defendants in the finance trial include several employees of the Secretariat of State: Fabrizio Tirabassi, who oversaw investments, will be tried on charges of corruption, extortion, embezzlement, fraud, and abuse of office.
Mincione has been charged with embezzlement, fraud, abuse of office, misappropriation, and self-money laundering.
Torzi, who was brought in to broker the final negotiations of the Vatican’s purchase of the London property in 2018, has been charged with extortion, embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation, money laundering, and self-money laundering.
His associate, the lawyer Nicola Squillace, faces the same charges minus extortion.
Enrico Crasso, who managed investments for the Vatican for over 25 years, was investigated on suspicions he was working together with Mincione and Tirabassi to defraud the Secretariat of State.
Crasso, who is the manager of the Centurion Global Fund in which the Holy See is the principal investor, faces the most charges: corruption, embezzlement, extortion, money laundering, self-money laundering, fraud, abuse of office, falsifying a public document, and falsifying a private document.
The Vatican has also charged three corporations owned by Crasso with fraud.
Cecilia Marogna, a self-described security consultant, is accused of embezzlement after a Vatican investigation into reports that she received hundreds of thousands of euros from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State in connection with Becciu, and that she had spent the money on luxury goods and vacations.
Marogna acknowledged receiving the money but insisted that the funds went to her Vatican security consultancy work and salary.
Marogna’s Slovenian-based company, Logsic Humanitarne Dejavnosti, D.O.O., is also being brought to trial on the charge of embezzlement.
The last two defendants are René Brülhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza, who previously led the Vatican’s internal financial watchdog.
Di Ruzza is charged with embezzlement, abuse of office, and violation of confidentiality.
Brülhart is being prosecuted for abuse of office. Both men have denied wrongdoing.
Vatican City, Jul 27, 2021 / 03:00 am (CNA).
Pope Francis described world hunger on Monday as “a crime that violates basic human rights.”
In a July 26 message to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, the pope called for a “new mindset” in the battle against malnutrition.
“We produce enough food for all people, but many go without their daily bread. This ‘constitutes a real scandal,’ a crime that violates basic human rights,” he said, quoting from his 2020 encyclical Fratelli tutti.
“Therefore, it is everyone’s duty to eradicate this injustice through concrete actions and good practices, and through bold local and international policies.”
The pope sent the message to the U.N. chief at the start of the Pre-Summit of the U.N. Food Systems Summit in Rome. The event, held on July 26-28, is seeking to build momentum ahead of the summit in New York in September.
The U.N. estimates that that nearly 690 million people -- 8.9% of the world population -- suffer from hunger, an increase of almost 60 million in five years.
“If we want to guarantee the fundamental right to an adequate standard of living and fulfill our commitments to achieve Zero Hunger, it is not enough to produce food,” wrote the pope, who returned to the Vatican on July 14 after undergoing colon surgery.
“We need a new mindset and a new holistic approach and to design food systems that protect the Earth and keep the dignity of the human person at the center; that guarantee sufficient food globally and promote decent work locally; and that feed the world today, without compromising the future.”
Pope Francis has consistently highlighted world hunger since his election in 2013.
He made a donation last year to the World Food Programme as the U.N. organization worked to feed 270 million people amid rising hunger caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The pope told the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization in June that the pandemic should spur efforts to create a global food system capable of withstanding future shocks.
In his message to Guterres, who is a Catholic, the pope said: “We are aware that individual, closed, and conflicting -- but powerful -- economic interests prevent us from designing a food system that responds to the values of the common good, solidarity and the ‘culture of encounter.’”
“If we want to maintain a fruitful multilateralism and a food system based on responsibility, justice, peace and the unity of the human family is paramount.”
“The crisis we are currently facing is indeed a unique opportunity to engage in authentic, bold, and courageous dialogues, addressing the roots of our unjust food system.”
Vatican City, Jul 26, 2021 / 04:00 am (CNA).
Pope Francis offered his blessing on Sunday to athletes competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
In his Angelus address on July 25, the pope noted that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad began in Japan on July 23.
“Last Friday, the 32nd Olympic Games opened in Tokyo. In this time of pandemic, may these Games be a sign of hope, a sign of universal brotherhood under the banner of healthy competition,” he said.
“God bless the organizers, the athletes, and all those who collaborate in this great festival of sport!”
The world’s most-viewed international sporting event was postponed in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which ends on Aug. 9, is taking place largely without spectators.
The Catholic archbishop of Tokyo has asked visiting athletes and coaches to refrain from attending local Catholic churches due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Among the 11,656 athletes from 206 nations are committed Catholics such as U.S. gymnast Grace McCallum. At just 18 years old, she is competing in the team gymnastics events along with Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, and Jordan Chiles.
McCallum does not travel anywhere without her rosary and a cross from her grandmother, the Central Minnesota Catholic magazine reported in 2019.
“She travels with those things to kind of bring her peace and calm,” her mother, Sandy McCallum, told the magazine.
Tokyo is also hosting the Summer Paralympic Games, from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
Among the competitors will be Mahira Bergallo Brzezicki, a 19-year-old Argentine athlete.
Bergallo, who was born with cerebral palsy, will compete in the shot put wearing a “bracelet with a cross.”
“I cling to faith a lot. God occupies a very large place in my life. God guided me and he guided me to where I am today,” she told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.
“I always said to God to show me who I was. As a child, I asked myself ‘who am I?’, ‘what am I in this world for?’ and he showed me things that can only come from him.”
“Today I know what my path is and which way I have to follow and I’m more than happy to confirm it. I think this is and was what I was hoping for, and it’s even better.”