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John Thavis in studio to discuss Amoris Laetitia and more

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Perspectives: The Weekly Edition
Catholic Update with John Thavis
Friday, May 6th at 7:00pmET

A month after the release of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (the Joy of Love), renowned Catholic journalist and author John Thavis is in studio to break down the contentious issues and discuss the implications of this new magisterial teaching.

Amoris Laetitia is the final product of a more than two-year synodal process initiated by Pope Francis in the fall of 2013.  Two synods of bishops were held in Rome in October 2014 and 2015 to discuss the pastoral challenges facing families around the world, in their particular cultural contexts.  Significant debate took place inside the Synod hall and publically in the media, as bishops tried to navigate the muddy waters of complex marital and familial situations while upholding the ideal of traditional marriage.

Two positions emerged clearly.  The majority of bishops, following the impulse of Pope Francis, pushed for a more pastoral, merciful approach in attitude and action when dealing with challenging situations.  The shift from the more traditional articulations of the Church’s teachings on marriage and family life typical of JPII and Benedict XVI was one of emphasis more than substance.  As Pope Francis stated clearly on the first Tuesday of the 2015 Synod, “Catholic teaching on marriage has not been put into question.”  At stake was the attitude with which the Church approaches and deals with people in their particular circumstances.

A minority of bishops pushed back against this development.  Their argument was essentially the “slippery slope” theory.  Present too much of a pastoral, merciful attitude to families in difficult situations and it will lead the Church down the dangerous path of relativizing the doctrine of marriage, giving the false impression that traditional marriage is an unattainable ideal.

The final document that emerged from the 2015 Synod was deemed unsatisfactory by the hardline minority bishops, in particular a few paragraphs that did not reaffirm the traditional teaching of JPII and Benedict that no divorced and remarried Catholics who have not obtained an annulment can receive Communion.  And yet, each paragraph of the final document received the necessary two-thirds majority vote to be considered “approved” by the synod and ready to hand over to Pope Francis.

Five months later Francis issued Amoris Laetitia, the authoritative teaching by the pope and the synod on the family.  Filled with so much of what the bishops discussed during those weeks in Rome last year, yet characteristically “Francis” in language and style, the document represents a new chapter in magisterial teaching and synodality in the Church.

Needless to say, we’re happy to welcome the former Rome Bureau Chief of Catholic News Service John Thavis to the S+L studios for Perspectives: The Weekly Edition, to analyze the synodal journey and the implications for the Church’s pastoral outreach.  In this episode we will also discuss Francis’ solidarity visit to the refugees in Lesbos, Greece, Bernie Sanders’ surprise invitation to the Vatican and possible implications of the US presidential campaign for the Church.

John Thavis is bestselling author of “The Vatican Diaries.”  His latest book, “The Vatican Prophecies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age,” will be featured on S+L’s new book show Subject Matters on Sunday, June 5 at 8:30pmET

Christian Culture Series on Salt + Light: John Thavis, Vaticanista

thavis lecture

“Power, Personalities and Politics at the Vatican”

John Thavis is a journalist, author and speaker specializing in Vatican and religious affairs.  For more than twenty-five years John Thavis held one of the most fascinating journalistic jobs in the world: reporting on the inner workings of the Vatican as the head of the Rome Bureau of Catholic News Service.  His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it first appears. Thavis reveals Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations of modern life.  Author of the recent New York Times best seller, “The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church,”  Thavis examines the reign of Pope Benedict, the momentous transition that just took place in the papacy, and the history of one of the world’s oldest and most mysterious institutions.

Tune in Saturday, February 15 at 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT to watch this episode of the Christian Culture Series.

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Photo: (from L to R) Tony Spence, Director and Editor in Chief at Catholic News Service, Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London, John Thavis, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB

 

Vatican Connections: Friday, May 31, 2013

The topic getting ink in Rome this week involved some leaked information but it had nothing to do with private documents, no stealing, no accusations. In fact, the person who leaked the information probably did not realize they were releasing previously undisclosed information.

The “mole” was the Bishop Luigi Martella of Molfetta, Italy. While on his ad limina visit with the other bishops of the Puglia region, an informal chat with the Holy Father. To reassure the bishops that Pope Benedict XVI is indeed in good health, Pope Francis reportedly said, “I was worried about his health before, but now he’s okay. He’s even working on the encyclical about faith.”

Bishop Martella, apparently thrilled by this news, wrote about it in a letter to the faithful that he posted on his diocesan website. Italian media, who had been speculating for some time about the role the retired pope might play in the current pontificate, jumped on this piece of information. Headlines inclued “Benedict writes encyclical” and similar statements.

The Holy See spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi, told Catholic News Service that he could confirm that Pope Francis was on board with the plan to release an encyclical on Faith for the Year of Faith. Fr. Lombardi also said he could absolutely deny that Pope Benedict was writing the document for Pope Francis.

Another piece of information that Bishop Martella leaked is that Pope Francis is planning to write an encyclical of his own. It should come as no surprise that, as Bishop Martella reports, Pope Francis’ first encyclical will be about poverty, not in the material sense, but in the evangelical sense. This recalls his words at his audience with media, just after his election “how I want a poor church, a church for the poor.”

While we will have to wait to get further details on the timing, one thing is for sure: given Pope Francis’ style of preaching, the encyclical will be something everyone can read and understand. Pope Benedict’s encyclicals were theologically beautiful and profound, but the average person had to re-read them several time to fully understand them. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Pope Francis’ encyclical being read far and wide by a vast and varied audience.

Vatican Connections: Benedict’s last week as pope

It has been nearly two weeks since Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing his resignation. Last week we looked at his announcement and the reaction from the cardinals who were first hand witnesses to the historic moment. This week we look at the questions that have begin to arise: what will happen to Benedict XVI after February 28? When will the conclave start? What will the next pope have to deal with with? What is Pope Benedict XVI doing before he leaves the See of Peter?

John Thavis, former CNS Rome Bureau Chief and the author of “Vatican Diaries” looks at this moment in relation to the nearly 30 years of Vatican events he’s covered. George Weigel looks ahead to the challenges the next pope will have to deal with. Francis X. Rocca, CNS Rome Bureau Chief walks us through what is happening this week and next, and points out things to watch for in the coming days. Also, we take questions from viewers about this resignation, including the various rumors that are circulating about Pope Benedict’s decision.

Perspectives Daily – Wednesday, Dec. 7


Tonight on Perspectives: We look in-depth at Pope Benedict’s weekly General Audience and the American Catholic Church may soon be getting a new Saint. More than that, the Knights of Columbus were honoured in Rome yesterday and Catholic News Service will soon be getting a new Rome Bureau Chief – we tell you who.

A veteran Vaticanista heads west

A fixture in the Holy See Press Office, John Thavis is now preparing to step down as the Rome Bureau Chief of Catholic News Service. Since 1983, the Minnesota native has covered the Vatican for CNS, where he has become one of the most-read journalists on the Roman scene. In this Witness interview from 2007, Thavis shares his experiences covering two papacies from the unique perspective of the Vatican press corps.

Let us begin!

“Let us begin!”

The phrase is a fitting conclusion to the press conference introducing Archbishop Charles Chaput as the new leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Catholic News Service’s John Thavis offers the details on today’s significant appointment.

You can also view Salt + Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica’s Witness interview with the Archbishop here.

 

CNS: Diplomacy and Drought

The Vatican has established diplomatic ties with a predominantly Muslim nation, and the Pope appeals for humanitarian aid to Somalia. Catholic News Service Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis reports.

CNS Vatican Report: Back in Black

After being in the red for the last few years, Vatican finances are back in the black — but a decrease in donations by the faithful means a mixed financial picture for the Vatican. Catholic News Service Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis and Rome correspondent Cindy Wooden report investments and tourism can play a role in keeping the Holy See solvent.

CNS: On Arts and Artifacts

Taking a look at the Vatican’s not-so-Secret Archives, bracing for reaction from China, and sixty artists for sixty years of ordination. Catholic News Service Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis covers all this in today’s Vatican report.