Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s new daily newsletter.
I’m Luke Coppen and I aim to guide you each morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.
📜 Today’s readings: Gal 2:1-2, 7-14 ▪ Ps 117:1bc, 2 ▪ Lk 11:1-4.
😇 Today’s saint: St. Faustina Kowalska.
🗞 Starting seven
1: At this morning’s general audience, Pope Francis urged Catholics to “deactivate the autopilot” (full text, full video).
2: The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against Belgium in a landmark euthanasia case.
3: Cardinal Kurt Koch and Bishop Georg Bätzing have held talks in Rome following their public clash over Germany’s “synodal way” (German statement).
4: Bishop Felix Genn has issued a decree dissolving the Catholic Integrated Community in his Diocese of Münster (German report).
5: Nigeria’s Enugu diocese has clarified that the controversial priest Father Mbaka has not been removed from the ministry he founded.
6: Sant’Egidio founder Andrea Riccardi says that “the Church’s illness is not only a Catholic affair.”
7: And James T. Keane suggests that J.F. Powers was like the priests who featured in his fiction.
🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino
Papal audience with members of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission (MERCIC).
🧐 Look closer
The auxiliary with a red hat Pope Francis raised eyebrows in 2017 with the appointment of an auxiliary bishop to the College of Cardinals. When Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chávez heard the news in an early morning phone call, he thought it was a joke. Shortly afterward, he visited the tomb of his friend Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador, who mentioned him frequently in his diary.
Rosa Chávez was 74 when he received the red hat, becoming the first cardinal from El Salvador, a Central American nation where 38% of the population is Catholic. He continued to serve as an auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, though he technically outranked the head of the archdiocese, Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas.
The Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Francis had accepted the cardinal’s resignation as auxiliary bishop, bringing the unusual arrangement to an end.
Why was he made a cardinal? Rosa Chávez believed that he received the red hat on behalf of Romero, who was assassinated while celebrating Mass in 1980.
He told Rome Reports in 2017: “I feel that I come in his name, to receive that honor. He deserved it, he was a cardinal in his blood, as Cardinal Martini wrote in a beautiful pastoral letter. I come in his name to receive something that he should have, but God called him too soon and crowned him with martyrdom.”
Why did he resign? Months after becoming a cardinal, Rosa Chávez turned 75, the customary retirement age for diocesan bishops. But not long after his birthday, the pope named him a member of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in another mark of esteem.
The cardinal turned 80 on Sept. 3, losing his right to vote in a conclave and also reaching the age at which most bishops give up their diocesan responsibilities.
His resignation was accepted on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. For years, he has served as pastor of the Church of San Francisco in San Salvador, so it’s possible his resignation date was chosen to highlight his connection to the saint.
Rosa Chávez had served as an auxiliary bishop since 1982, ministering for 40 years under three different archbishops.
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🔍 Stories to watch
🇻🇦 The Holy See has joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
🇩🇪 Altar boys protested Monday against Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki’s leadership of Cologne archdiocese during a Mass in Rome (German report).
🇮🇹 Cardinal Matteo Zuppi asked for St. Francis’ intercession for peace in Europe at a Mass in Assisi on the saint’s feast day.
🏴 Scotland’s Catholics are being urged to sign a petition against a proposed assisted suicide bill.
🏴 🏴 English and Welsh bishops have launched a new edition of their environment document “The Call of Creation.”
🇨🇲 A Catholic official in Cameroon has said that the country’s civil war is now “about money.”
🇮🇳 Nuns are supporting protests against the creation of a new international seaport in India.
📅 Coming soon
Oct. 9 Canonization of Bl. Giovanni Battista Scalabrini and Bl. Artemide Zatti; Feast of St. John Henry Newman.
Oct. 11 Pope Francis celebrates Mass marking the 60th anniversary of the start of Vatican II.
Oct. 12 The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences’ General Conference begins in Thailand; Feast of Bl. Carlo Acutis.
Oct. 15 First anniversary of the murder of Sir David Amess; 100th anniversary of the birth of Fr. Luigi Giussani.
Oct. 18 Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi turns 80.
Oct. 19 Trial of Cardinal Joseph Zen due to resume; Anniversary of Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko’s death.
Have a blessed feast of St. Faustina.