Papal calendar: 2023 holds important events for Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis will soon pack his bags for his first foreign trip of 2023, a year in which he vows to do things like never before.

The pope, who celebrated his 86th birthday Dec. 17, can move quickly – in a wheelchair – and always says in interviews that a working head and heart – not a well-functioning knee – are important to achieve the papacy .

And, therefore, his election book for 2023 is starting to fill up, although he accepts the nominations with the caveat of “God willing.”

Some events are already included:

— A nursing visit to violence-torn Congo Jan. 31-Feb. 3, followed by an ecumenical mission for peace in South Sudan Feb. 3-5 with American Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and Rev. Iain Greenshields, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

— Pope Francis celebrates his 10th anniversary as pope March 13.

— He is scheduled to join 1 million young people from around the world for World Youth Day Aug. 1-6 in Lisbon, Portugal.

– And the first meeting of the international Synod of Bishops on “synodality” is scheduled for October 4-29 in the Vatican.

His constant plea for peace in Ukraine will not stop until the war.

And since Pope Francis showed on December 21 that he has reached, or at least, the end of the public studies about spiritual knowledge – what it is, how it is done and how the results will be judged – his main idea is to teach Catholics how to listen to the Holy Spirit when making individual or public decisions to be continued according to the synod process .

In October, he said that he did not want to speed up the process of recognizing the call of the Holy Spirit to the church to grow in “synodality,” the pope announced that the council of the Synod of Bishops in two terms. The meeting scheduled for 2023 is only the first meeting.

After publishing his constitution reforming the Roman Curia in June, Pope Francis is expected to make some changes to the top positions of the Curia offices in the coming year.

The normal retirement age for cardinals and bishops serving in the Curia is 75, but the pope often keeps cardinals who are prefects of dicasteries near their 75th birthdays.

The two cardinals can retire in 2023: Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, who will be 79 in April and has been in office since 2017; and Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal, who turned 78 in September and has led the office since 2013.

Four other cardinals will continue to serve past the age of 75. Cardinal Michael Czerny, head of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, celebrated his 76th birthday in July. Cardinal Joao Bráz de Aviz will be 76 years old in April. Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, director of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, turned 75 in September. Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, head of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, celebrated his 75th birthday Dec. 22.

In 2023, Pope Francis will listen to the calls to continue the prosecution of priest abuse and, in particular, to ensure that more is done against abusers and more information on how the Vatican deals with cases.

The case of Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik, the Slovenian artist, continues to make headlines; At the end of December, the Jesuits asked the victims to come forward and press a time indicating that the Vatican counseling office in May 2020 confirmed that the priest had been released for giving in cash to a woman with whom he has a relationship. After he came clean about his abuse and expressed remorse, the deportation was suspended in one month.

In 2021, an abuse was committed by some women of the Loyola Community where he served as a spiritual advisor in Slovenia; the counsel’s office determined that the statute of limitations had expired and closed the case. The news of his expulsion came out after the dismissal of the second case, asking why the statute of limitations was rejected and whether Pope Francis knew about it. raising the divorce earlier.

Returning to Rome from Bahrain in November, Pope Francis told reporters that over the past 20 years, the Catholic Church has made great efforts to stop hiding cases of abuse and conversion. only abuse priests in new practices – “it’s a crime,” he said – and “We’re moving forward.”

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