- Jan 24, 2020
At first blush, a ceremony taking place in Italy’s Palace of the Army today may seem counter-intuitive, as St. Pope John XXIII, a famous “Peace Pope,” is being installed as the patron saint of the Italian army. In fact, however, for reasons both biographical and philosophical, John XXIII actually may be the perfect patron for the kind of army Italy operates today.
While Pope Francis was in Colombia on Saturday, the Vatican issued a new legal document in his name that transfers the lion’s share of the control over translation of texts for use in Catholic worship to local bishops’ conferences and away from the Vatican. In effect, it was the clearest signal to date of where Francis stands in debates about what went wrong after Vatican II, especially on the issue of collegiality.
Francis’s responses yesterday to people who had suffered in Colombia’s 50-year conflict were carefully crafted to contain five key elements for the country to move ahead on the path of peace. They apply not just to Colombia but to any post-conflict context.
With a Vatican trial focusing on charges of misappropriation of funds from a papally-sponsored children’s hospital now on hold until Sept. 19, the question arises of who has the most to lose from its outcome: The two lay defendants themselves, or the cardinal whose reputation appears to be on the line and the fate of the financial reform launched by Pope Francis?
Despite what appeared to be Vatican hopes that a criminal trial against two Italian laymen for allegedly misappropriating funds from a papally-sponsored hospital to renovate the Vatican apartment of a prominent Vatican cardinal could be wrapped up by the time Pope Francis returns on Monday from Colombia, day one ended with the case suspended until Sept. 19 because new evidence has emerged.
As the latest Vatican criminal trial, in this case for financial misappropriation, opens on Thursday, many observers are still wondering how two laymen can be charged with illicitly spending roughly $500,000 from a pediatric hospital’s funds to remodel a cardinal’s Vatican apartment, but that cardinal isn’t facing any charges at all. If this is a test of accountability, in other words, what grade will the Vatican get?