Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s daily newsletter.
I’m Luke Coppen and I aim to guide you each weekday morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.
📜 Today’s readings: Gn 3:1-8 ▪ Ps 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7 ▪ Mk 7:31-37.
🗞 Starting seven
7: And the Vatican has invited 2,000 people, including the poor, homeless, refugees, and prisoners, to a circus performance on Saturday (Italian report).
🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino
Papal audiences for Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization; Archbishop Franco Coppola, apostolic nuncio to Belgium; Participants in the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum; The Italian modern pentathlon team (papal address).
Notice of Vatican press conference on Feb. 14 presenting the Feb. 16-18 conference “Pastors and lay faithful called to walk together,” organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.
🧐 Look closer
The end of the beginning The first part of the European synodal continental assembly — an ecclesial assembly involving “the entire People of God” — ended Feb. 9 with a reading of a draft final document.
Several delegates offered criticisms and observations immediately after the reading.
“Ukrainian Bishop Oleksandr Yazlovetskiy, a Latin auxiliary bishop of Kyiv, was one of the first to take the floor,” reported CNA’s Courtney Mares, “raising an objection to the repeated use of the term LGBTQ on ‘every other page’ in the document, suggesting instead that it would be better to cover the topic within a single paragraph.”
Irish delegate Archbishop Eamon Martin said “we were a little bit embarrassed” about the lack of prominence given to “the voice of the poor,” while German bishops’ conference president Bishop Georg Bätzing described the text as an “inventory” that did not make clear determinations.
The draft final document has not been published online, but organizers have released a two-page text entitled “final remarks,” describing the assembly as “rich and exciting, though not without its problems and difficulties.”
Did anyone ‘win’? Most delegates expressed mixed feelings about the draft final document, which suggests there were no obvious “winners” or “losers” among the sometimes sharply polarized participants.
But Bishop Bätzing noted that the text only cited the German delegation’s reports twice, and “even then only in very general terms.” Both German and Swiss participants offered somewhat reserved overall assessments of the assembly.
Several of those present spoke of palpable tensions between delegates, frequently highlighting an East-West fault line. German delegate Irme-Stetter Karp complained at one point that when the word “Devil” was mentioned, several eyes turned to her. “That hurt,” she said.
Several of those present noted the fatigue induced by four days of intense, multilingual discussions.
“Prague was exhausting — and Rome will be even more exhausting,” said Bishop Bätzing, speaking of October’s meeting of the world’s bishops.
What’s next Today, the second phase of the assembly begins: an episcopal assembly bringing together the presidents of Europe’s bishops’ conferences. The Church leaders will “collectively review the synodal experience starting from the assembly’s final document.” They are expected to draft and approve a “commentary” on the final document before leaving Prague on Sunday.
🤔 Friday quiz
How much do you know about titular sees? (Answers below).
1. Another common term for a titular see is a…
A) Resting diocese; B) Vacant diocese; C) Dead diocese.
2. There is a titular see in northern Michigan.
A) True; B) False.
3. Fr. Anthony Celino was named an auxiliary bishop of El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday? Which titular see was he assigned?
A) Marogna; B) Maronana; C) Mozzarella.
4. Which of the following titular sees did Fulton J. Sheen not hold?
A) Caesariana; B) Neoportus; C) Pulcheriopolis.
5. The titular see of Xanthus is located in modern-day…
A) Turkey; B) Tunisia; C) Greece.
🔍 Stories to watch
🇺🇸 New Mexico’s bishops have said that “the last thing we need in our state is a satanic temple from Massachusetts to offer free ‘reproductive health’ services.”
📅 Coming soon
Feb. 12 World Marriage Day.
Feb. 13 Final report of Portugal’s independent abuse commission due to be released; Apostolic visitation of the French Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon begins; The Middle East’s continental synodal assembly starts in Beirut, Lebanon; Continental phase regional assembly for the Central America-Mexico region begins in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Feb. 16 Verdict due in the case of a Catholic arrested for silent prayer within an English abortion “censorship zone.”
Feb. 20 Continental phase regional assembly for the Caribbean region begins in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Feb. 25 Nigeria’s general election.
Feb. 26 Start of Roman Curia’s Lenten spiritual exercises.
Have a happy feast of St. Scholastica.
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