Steady Hand on Reform

On Wednesday, July 9, the economic reform of the Vatican planned by Pope Francis was delineated at a press conference held in English by Cardinal George Pell, the newly appointed prefect of Secretariat for the Economy. Cardinal Pell is an experienced bishop, having previously served as the Archbishop of Melbourne and then as the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney. He is a steady, practical hand on the helm of the Vatican Bank, more properly known as the Institute for the Works of Religion. The restructuring called for by the pope is also notable for the replacement of the entire governing board of the institute and the appointment of Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, a French layman who has tremendous experience as a business executive.

Two aspects of the reform mentioned by Cardinal Pell at the press conference that sound incredibly positive, practical and pastoral are the review of the pension fund which will help to ensure that the over 5,000 dedicated employees of the Vatican will be secure in their retirement and the reform of the Vatican Media’s operation under the guidance of Lord Christopher Patten, former chairman of the BBC Trust.

This demonstrates that the priorities for this reform keep in mind what matters most – the people of God who work and minister in the service of the Holy See and the reality of the New Evangelization.

Also, good Catholic media is essential for the proclamation of the Gospel in our digital age. Although this reform is just at its very beginning, it exhibits the hope and openness that exemplifies the pontificate of Pope Francis.

We pray for Cardinal Pell and for all those involved in the reform of the Institute for the Works of Religion and look forward to learning how this new secretariat aids the Church universal in promoting the message of the Lord Jesus.[hr]

Pause for Peace

Over the past few weeks, most of our world has been united by a single passion – what the rest of humanity calls football and what we as Americans call soccer! It was amazing to see how many people were enthralled by a simple game. Imagine if all the problems between the nations were solved not by wars but by skill and sportsmanship!

Even our two living popes were caught up in World Cup mania, to the extent that the teams playing in the final match were from their countries of origin – Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis, and the victorious Germany, the homeland of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture wisely had asked that we observe a moment of silence, praying for peace in warring nations. Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda of the Council said, “Sports were born around religious festivities. Sporting events were moments of peace when wars ceased, as for the Olympic truce
…Why not for the World Cup? Why not a pause, a moment of silence, a truce for peace?”

In a world divided by war, yet united by a game, what better place to bring to the attention of the nations the necessity of peace? This concept of a truce caused by a sporting event has its roots in the ancient days when wars and conflicts would cease to permit athletes and fans to cross borders and travel safely to and from the Olympics.

May we take the opportunity, even if we’re not sports fans, to appreciate the fun, the excitement and the unifying factor that athletic competition offers. Even more importantly, may we take the opportunity to pause for peace, true peace, to come into our world, into our homes, into our hearts. It didn’t really matter who wins. The peace of Christ will be the true victor in our sporting competition.

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