By Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A former consultant to a pontifical commission who denied to a
Vatican court that she leaked documents about the Vatican's financial reform to an Italian
journalist had admitted to sending the documents when she was first
interrogated, a Vatican policeman said.
Stefano DeSantis, an officer investigating the leaking
of the documents, testified May 24 that Francesca Chaouqui told Vatican police
officials that she sent documents regarding the Vatican Asset Management (VAM) to
Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of "Merchants in the Temple."
"We never assumed that she gave the documents, she
admitted to it," DeSantis told the court.
Chaouqui is on trial, along
with Msgr. Vallejo Balda, secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs
of the Holy See, and Nicola Maio, the monsignor's former assistant, for
"committing several illegal acts of divulging news and documents
concerning fundamental interests of the Holy See and (Vatican City)
Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi,
author of "Avarice," are accused of "soliciting and exercising
pressure, especially on (Msgr.) Vallejo Balda," to obtain the documents.
The trial session May 24 began
with the cross-examination of Gianluca Gauzzi, deputy commissioner of the
Vatican police, by the defendants' lawyers regarding his testimony May 16.
Gauzzi revealed the
contents found on two iPhones and a Macbook Pro belonging to Msgr. Vallejo
Balda. In some of the messages found on the monsignor's devices, Gauzzi said,
"Chaouqui asked Msgr. Vallejo to use WhatsApp because she believed it was
a secure and tap-proof messaging system."
When asked by Laura Sgro,
Chaouqui's lawyer, about the examination of the chats between Chaouqui and Msgr.
Vallejo Balda, Gauzzi stated that the police saw the message exchange on the Spanish
Chaouqui, he added,
deleted the messaging application from her phone before handing it over to the
Vatican's IT experts as part of the investigation.
However, because WhatsApp
is connected to a person's phone number, the police are certain the messages
were between Msgr. Vallejo Balda and Chaouqui even though she deleted the app from
her phone, Gauzzi said.
initial confession of sending Nuzzi the documents, DeSantis told the court that she
exhibited "exemplary behavior" when she gave the Vatican police her
formal statement and even made clarifications or specifications in her formal
MORE TO COME
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IMAGE: NS photo/Simon CaldwellBy Simon CaldwellLIVERPOOL, England (CNS) -- Myanmar's
first cardinal has thanked the Christians of the West for helping to bring
democracy to his country.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon said the
Catholic Church was "at the forefront" of supporting the people of
Myanmar, formerly Burma, during a dictatorship that lasted half a century.
Preaching at a May 22 Mass in
the Metropolitan Cathedral of
Christ the King, Liverpool, he declared: "Today, we are free."
"The world community refused
to accept the oppression ... and spoke against that," Cardinal Bo said.
"The church as a community
refused to allow the oppression of Christians and others in Burma," he
said. "Every church, including the U.K. church, was at the forefront of
The cardinal told the
congregation that Catholics "are united by a special bond of community. It
is this sense of community which has helped many Christians around the world to
survive hardship and emerge stronger.
"My heart is filled with
gratitude to all the Christians, civil society leaders and governments, that
the sense of community helped them to think of Burma," he added. "Your
concern has led us to see the light of democracy, and I urge you to continue to
accompany us, especially through your prayers."
Cardinal Bo's visit to Liverpool
was the final stop of a British tour at the invitation of the charities Aid to
the Church in Need and Christian Solidarity Worldwide. His visit came six
months after the National League for Democracy won a landslide election that
ended about 50 years of dictatorship in the Southeast Asian country.
Cardinal Bo told the
congregation in Liverpool that the dictatorship was a long "Calvary"
for the people of his predominantly Buddhist country.
"We were a crucified
nation," he said. "Propagation of Christianity was banned, new
churches could not be built, and personnel had to be sent out of the country
for any training. In many places, being Christian was the greatest liability.
"The language and cultural
rights of our people were taken away by the one-language, one-race and
one-religion policy," he said.
"Yet God did not abandon
our nation. The church was like the mustard seed and, like the biblical example,
it grew into a tree," he said.
In the midst of the oppression,
he said, the Catholic Church in Myanmar became a "young and vibrant church."
"The church grew from just
three diocese to 16 dioceses," Cardinal Bo said. "From 100,000
people, we are over 800,000 faithful, from 160 priests to 800 priests, from 300
religious we are now 2,200 religious and 60 per cent of them are below the age of
Now, he said, Myanmar sends
missionaries to other countries.
Cardinal Bo reserved special
praise for Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize
winner, whose "moral courage," he said, had defeated "one of the
most arrogant armies in the world.
He said the periods she spent
under house arrest -- 15 of 21 years -- were episodes of "redemptive
suffering" that "melted decades of oppression."
"A new democracy has been
born in this nation," said Cardinal Bo. "Myanmar is proud today that
its Easter moment came in the most peaceful manner.
"Here was a woman whose belief
in peace and nonviolence stands in stark contrast to the violent conflicts in
many parts of the world," he said. "It is a great inspiration that
peace is possible and moral power still can overcome tremendous suffering."- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Holiness doesn't depend on
superhuman powers, but rather demands a heart filled with courage, hope and
grace that strives for conversion each and every day, Pope Francis said at his
In fact, holiness is reached by taking tiny steps, like
biting your tongue every time there is the urge to gossip or demean somebody,
he said May 24 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
"Bite your tongue a little. Your tongue will swell
up a bit, but your spirit will be holier," the pope said.
"Holiness is a journey. Holiness cannot be bought,
it is not sold" and it is not given away as a reward, he said. It is
"walking in God's presence in an irreproachable way."
Every person is responsible for striking out on a path of
holiness, he said. "I have to do it, someone else can't do it in my name.
I can pray for someone else to be a saint, but he has to take that path, not
The holiness Christians must strive for is an
"everyday" task often carried out in anonymity, he said.
This journey first demands courage, "the courage to
move forward," he said.
That courage is inspired by hope -- the hope "in an
encounter with Jesus."
However, people cannot live holy lives on their own.
"It is a grace of God and we must ask for it" and be open to
receiving it, he said.
Christians must not conform themselves to the world, but
must "change one's own heart from within -- in an ongoing, daily intense
Conversion isn't telling the priest, "Oh father, for
me to convert I must do penance -- give me a clobbering," he said.
The process of conversion requires small concrete steps,
he said. For example, "If you are able to not speak badly about someone
else, you are on the right path for becoming a saint. It's that easy."
Tackle the little things and "don't turn back,
always move forward" with hope and strength, he said.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Max Rossi, ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY
(CNS) -- After five years of tension and top-level silence, Pope Francis and
the grand imam of one of the most important Sunni Muslim universities in the
world embraced at the Vatican May 23.
meeting is the message," the pope told Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of
al-Azhar University, as the religious scholar approached him just inside the
door of the papal library.
spring visit was the first meeting between a pontiff and a grand imam since the
Muslim university in Cairo suspended talks in 2011.
1998, the formal dialogue between al-Azhar and the Vatican started to fray in
2006, after now-retired Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany.
Al-Azhar officials and millions of Muslims around the world said the speech
linked Islam to violence.
the talks altogether in 2011 after the former pope had said Christians in the
Middle East were facing persecution. Al-Azhar claimed that Pope Benedict had
offended Islam and Muslims once more by focusing only on the suffering of
Christians when many Muslims were suffering as well.
Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for
Interreligious Dialogue, delivered a letter to el-Tayeb from Cardinal
Jean-Louis Tauran, council president, inviting him to the Vatican to meet the
and Bishop Ayuso welcomed the imam to the Vatican May 23 and accompanied him to
the papal meeting.
Pope Francis sat
to the side of his desk facing the grand imam rather than behind his desk as he
customarily does when meeting with a visiting head of state.
Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope spoke privately with
el-Tayeb for 25 minutes and the conversation included a discussion about
"the great significance of this new encounter within the scope of dialogue
between the Catholic Church and Islam."
dwelled upon the common commitment of the authorities and the faithful of the
great religions for world peace, the rejection of violence and terrorism (and)
the situation of Christians in the context of conflicts and tensions in the
Middle East as well as their protection," Father Lombardi said in a
At the end of
the audience, Pope Francis presented the grand imam with two gifts: a copy of
his encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" and peace
medallion depicting an olive tree holding together two pieces of a fractured
In an interview
after the papal meeting, el-Tayeb said the "circumstances" that led
his institution to halt the dialogue with the Vatican "no longer
exist," so the Vatican and the university can "continue our holy
mission, which is the mission of religions: 'to make people joyful
everywhere,'" by teaching them about God.
Francis, "the first impression, which was very strong, is that this man is
a man of peace, a man who follows the teaching of Christianity, which is a
religion of love and peace," and "a man who respects other religions
and shows consideration for their followers," the imam told Vatican Radio
and L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
leaders today, he said, have a "heavy and grave" responsibility to
teach people the true path to happiness and peace.
without religion constitutes a danger to his fellow man, and I believe that
people right now, in the 21st century, have started to look around and to seek
out wise guides to lead them in the right direction," el-Tayeb said.
Al-Azhar, as a
reference point for many Sunni Muslims around the world, is engaged in an
ongoing program to clarify the meaning of classical Islamic texts and make
clear to Muslims, including schoolchildren, that groups claiming to base their
violent actions on Islam are promoting "a deviant understanding" of
The Middle East,
he said, has seen "rivers of blood and cadavers," in part because of
the misuse of religion.
Christianity have nothing to do with those who kill, and we asked the West not
to confuse this deviant and misled group with Muslims," the imam said.
"The issue must not be presented as persecution of Christians in the East,
but on the contrary there are more Muslim than Christian victims, and we all
suffer this catastrophe together."
not blame religions because of the deviations of some of their followers,"
he said, "because in every religion there exists a deviant faction that
raises the flag of religion to kill in its name."
the pope, the grand imam was scheduled to travel to Paris to open the second
international conference on "East and West: Dialogue of
Civilizations" May 24 sponsored by al-Azhar University and the Catholic
- - -
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Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Christina Lee Knauss, The Catholic MiscellanyBy Christina Lee KnaussST.
MATTHEWS, S.C. (CNS) -- For years, Matthew Quay picked up paper clips from
desks and absent-mindedly straightened them while listening to discussions or
presentations at work.
also carried some in his pockets to straighten during Mass at Holy Trinity
Church in Orangeburg.
was simply something to do with his hands to help him stay focused, he said.
never figured that simple action would eventually turn into works of art that
help persecuted Christians overseas.
fall, Quay started to experiment with twisting the straightened clips into
various shapes. He made a cross. With a few more twists, he formed the corpus
days, he was making beautiful crucifixes out of paper clips, sacred art formed from
the simplest of office supplies.
then, Quay's creations have been displayed at the Orangeburg County Fine Arts
Center. Sales of the artwork have raised thousands of dollars to help
persecuted and displaced Christians in the Middle East.
the same time he made his first paper-clip crucifix, Quay was feeling helpless
and sad about the plight of families fleeing Syria and other war-torn parts of
September of 2015, I saw all those images of the refugees, especially that
little boy who washed up on the shore in Turkey," he told The Catholic
Miscellany, newspaper of the Diocese of Charleston. "It really bothered me
because I felt we were so comfortable over here and it seemed like there was
nothing we could do. I never thought my feelings about the refugees and my art
would come together."
December, his mother, Deni Quay, asked him to sell his work at Holy Trinity's
annual Christmas bazaar. Quay, who belongs to Knights of Columbus Council 6891,
had recently learned of the Knights' nationwide efforts to raise money for
Christian refugees in the Middle East.
he said, he saw a way for his art to help the people who haunted his thoughts.
December, his crucifixes had evolved from simple crosses in one or two colors
to larger, more elaborate ones made with clips of varying sizes in many hues.
In two days, he made more than $1,400 for the refugee effort.
success prompted Quay to devote even more time to his creations, to expand the
complexity and variety of detail, size and color.
purchased paper clips from office supply stores and online sources. People
started giving him extras they had around the house. He especially treasures a
donation of hundreds of vintage ones that came from the home of a former
schoolteacher. Older clips, he said, come in darker, more burnished hues of
silver and gold which add a special look to the crucifixes.
found some about 4 inches long in a sale bin at a store. Those large clips
ended up being ideal for his big crucifixes, which can be up to 17 inches long
and use more than 200 clips. These large pieces take about 18 hours of work to
complete, while smaller ones take about four hours.
said his inspiration for the colors comes from the seasonal vestments worn by
Father Wilbroad Mwape, administrator at Holy Trinity, where he's a member.
also has made crucifixes on request: a gold and white one in the shape of an
anchor for a woman who lost a brother in a boating accident, dark blue for a
police officer, another with a medal of St. Peregrine for a woman whose family
member has cancer. For Christmas, he incorporated clips in Southwestern hues of
turquoise and red for his father-in-law, who lives in Texas and loves Native
he's working, Quay said he spends a lot of time in "meditative thought"
but doesn't have a specific prayer routine. Sometimes he prays "lots of
Hail Marys," he said, or for various prayer intentions.
is most aware that the crucifixes are God's work through him, especially when
he considers what their sales have accomplished in only a few months.
series of simpler figures of Christ affixed to wooden crosses raised more than
$950 when his council sold them after Masses. That, combined with money raised
from the bazaar and the exhibit, means more than $5,500 will be donated to help
because of paper clips.
reaction has been overwhelming," Quay said. "This whole process has
really been a series of little discoveries. It's taking a very insignificant
thing and making it into something beautiful."
is on the staff of The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the Diocese of
Charleston.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.