1. Vatican magazine denounces nuns’ servitude. 

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 1, 2018, 6:14 AM

A Vatican magazine has denounced how nuns are often treated like indentured servants by cardinals and bishops, for whom they cook and clean for next to no pay.

The March edition of “Women Church World,” the monthly women’s magazine of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, hit newsstands Thursday. Its expose on the underpaid labor and unappreciated intellect of religious sisters confirmed that it is increasingly becoming the imprint of the Catholic Church’s #MeToo movement.

While Pope Francis has told Scaraffia he appreciates and reads the magazine, it is by no means beloved within the deeply patriarchal Vatican system. Recent issues have raised eyebrows, including the March 2016 edition on “Women who preach,” which appeared to advocate allowing lay women to deliver homilies at Mass.

One of the authors had to publish a subsequent clarification saying he didn’t mean to suggest a change to existing doctrine or practice.


2. Pope, cardinal advisers studying regional tribunals for abuse cases. 

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Crux, February 28, 2018

Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals discussed the possibility of establishing regional tribunals around the world that would judge cases of sexual abuse allegedly committed by clergy, the Vatican spokesman said.

Greg Burke, the spokesman, confirmed a report published Feb. 27 on the website Vatican Insider that said the pope and his cardinal advisers were considering decentralizing the role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in handling cases, but would not diminish the congregation’s authority.


3. Swiss government: Pope Francis to visit Geneva this summer. 

By Associated Press, February 28, 2018

A Swiss government spokesman says Pope Francis will visit Geneva in June.

Federal Council spokesman Andre Simonazzi says details of the June 21 visit are being worked out, adding only that President Alain Berset would welcome Francis.

St. John Paul II was the last pope to visit Switzerland, in 2004, one of his last trips.


4. Vatican sex abuse investigator wraps up his mission in Chile. 

By Associated Press, February 28, 2018, 3:35 PM

The Vatican’s sex crimes investigator has ended his mission in Chile, and Roman Catholic officials say he plans to deliver a report to the pope on a Chilean bishop who has been accused of ignoring sex abuse by a priest.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna closed his visit Wednesday with a message expressing gratitude for “the welcome of the Chilean people” and also thanking abuse victims for meeting with him.


5. Papal advisers focus on reducing cost, accelerating response to abuse. 

By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, February 28, 2018, 8:41 AM

In their latest round of meetings, Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals discussed several key topics related to episcopal conferences, the need to lower costs inside the Vatican, and efforts to speed up procedures dealing with cases of abuse.

The cardinals based their discussion on Evangelii Gaudium 32, which states that “Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.”

In this spirit, it was suggested that John Paul II’s 1998 motu propio “Apostolos Suos” on the theological and judicial nature of episcopal conferences be re-read, thinking of “the healthy decentralization” of which Pope Francis often speaks.

Discussion also touched on human resources and keeping an eye on containing costs within the Vatican.


6. Pope Francis and Reform: Clergy Sexual Abuse. 

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, February 28, 2018

Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a Register assessment of the Pope’s efforts to reform the Vatican

Pope Francis was elected largely on the basis of reforming the Church’s handling of clerical sex abuse and streamlining a Vatican beset with financial scandals, bureaucratic inefficiency and waste.

So as the Holy Father approaches the fifth anniversary of his pontificate, how has he fared in these areas?

When it comes to reforming the Vatican’s handling of clerical sex abuse, the verdict is mixed. Francis has created two important advisory groups and sought to improve communications, processes and accountability, but concerns have arisen over his own personal leniency, interference and inaction regarding individual cases.


7. ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ — A Key to Understanding Francis’ Papacy: Many of the central themes guiding the Pope’s subsequent actions were laid out in his first apostolic exhortation. 

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, February 28, 2018

As the Church marks five years since Pope Francis’ election as the 266th Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, many observations will be made about this pontificate’s sweeping ideological changes, which have unsettled and surprised even those expecting major reforms.

And yet a closer look at his first apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), reveals that much of what the Church has experienced since 2013 should not have come as a surprise.

Rereading the document, published just eight months after Francis’ election, it becomes clear just how much this exhortation provides a valuable key to understanding this pontificate.

Initially meant to be Benedict XVI’s summary document of the 2012 Synod on the New Evangelization, it is first and foremost Pope Francis’ guide for the Church’s missionary life.

His frequent calls to look outwards, to go to the peripheries and bring the light of the Gospel to the world can be traced back to this text, and so, too, can his demands for radical forms of mercy, inclusivity and a “poor Church for the poor.”

One of the Holy Father’s clearest aims in the document is for the Church to be “permanently in a state of mission” and for her to be liberated from “self-absorption” through a renewed encounter with God’s love. He warns against “being comfortable” in the faith and instead to “become excited by the mission of communicating life to others.”

He says he dreams of a “missionary option” that must be capable of transforming everything, so that the “Church’s customs, ways of doing things,” can be “channeled” to evangelize today’s world rather than be geared to her “self-preservation.”

Effort should be made to make “ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open,” he writes. In Paragraph 30, he calls for a “resolute process of discernment, purification and reform.”

In summary, Evangelii Gaudium prefigures much of what has been witnessed over these past five years in terms of the themes Pope Francis has chosen to prioritize. In particular, it shows his skeptical view of the Church’s law and doctrine, which he sees as restricting its evangelizing mission and curtailing the work of the Holy Spirit. In so doing, the Holy Father proposes an idealistic, even revolutionary vision of the Church and human society, one that increasing numbers of faithful see as problematic.


8. Vatican studying ways to speed up sexual abuse cases. 

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, February 28, 2018, 10:21 AM

Pope Francis is studying how to speed up the handling of allegations of sexual abuse by clergy, the Vatican said on Wednesday, after a high-profile case in Chile put a new spotlight on the scandal.

The topic was a main point of discussion in three days of meetings between the pope and a group of nine cardinals from the around the world who gather four times a year at the Vatican to discuss reform, Church finances and other issues.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said they had discussed “various options” to shorten procedures in cases of abuse.

They are currently handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican’s doctrinal department.

Burke said that among the options discussed was to decentralize procedures by setting up regional tribunals that would hear cases under the auspices and guidance of the CDF.