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By Peter Novecosky, OSB
Abbot Peter Novokosky

Summer slowdown begins

With this issue, we begin the month of July. It is the time when the PM begins a reduced printing schedule in view of summer holidays.

During July the PM will print every second week, then in August we will take our regular holidays for three weeks. 

May you take time to enjoy the summer weather and activities. 

Vatican updates communications

The Vatican has problems communicating. But, in a June 27 motu proprio, Pope Francis took the initiative to improve the Vatican’s message to its growing number of listeners. And it is adjusting its use of modern technology.

Currently, the Vatican relies on nine separate offices: the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; the Vatican press office; the Vatican Internet office; Vatican Radio; the Vatican television production studio, CTV; the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano; the Vatican printing press; the Vatican photograph service; and the Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Pope Francis set up a new Secretariat for Communications in his apostolic letter. Its aim is to co-ordinate and streamline these multiple communications outlets. The development of digital media, with its converging technologies and interactive capabilities, “requires a rethinking of the information system of the Holy See,” the pope wrote.

This “reorganization,” he noted, “must proceed decisively toward integration and a unified management” so that “the communication system of the Holy See will respond in an ever more efficacious manner to the needs of the mission of the church.”

The nine operations will be gradually integrated over the next four years.

Parents to be canonized

The working document for the synod of bishops on the family has been released by the Vatican, as reported in this issue. Besides discussions on the various challenges families face around the world, the synod will feature a unique celebration.

On June 27 Pope Francis issued a decree approving the canonization of the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux on Oct. 18, during the synod on the family. Louis Martin (1823 - 1894) and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin (1831 - 1877) will be the first married couple with children to be canonized in the same ceremony. Other married couples are among the blesseds of the church. 

Married in 1858, the couple had nine children; four died in infancy and five entered religious life. During their 19-year marriage, the couple was known to attend mass daily, pray and fast, respect the Sabbath, visit the elderly and the sick, and welcome the poor into their home. 

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, said the couple lived an “exemplary life of faith, dedication to ideal values, united to a constant realism, and persistent attention to the poor.” He added that the French couple serves as an “extraordinary witness of conjugal and family spirituality.”

The church has a long history of canonizing clergy and religious. It will be welcome news that lay people are being so honoured as well. However, their type of family spirituality will seem an unlikely model for many families today.