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Rome Reports

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July 2017: Pope Francis' summer vacation

Pope Francis was on vacation during July and had almost no public activities. But he left behind the message, “It is forbidden to complain.” The message was hung outside the door to his room in the Casa Santa Marta. A picture of the sign on Vatican Insider's website caused an uproar: over a whole philosophy of life captured in a snapshot. 

Reasons to complain, however, were not lacking. In this period of time, the Vatican began a legal process against the leaders of the Holy See's Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital for alleged diversion of funds to benefit a Roman construction company.

Pope Francis showed that he was very aware of the crisis in Venezuela each Sunday during the Angelus, his only weekly public activity of the month, when he made continuous appeals for peace. 

“I assure you of my prayers for this beloved nation. FLASH. I call for an end to the violence.”

He neither ignored the complicated case of Charlie Gard. The Vatican issued several press releases expressing the Holy Father's closeness to the family.

July was also a month of important farewells. On July 5th, Joaquin Navarro-Valls died. Journalists, cardinals, relatives and friends paid their respects to the former spokesman of the Vatican at the Basilica of San Eugenio. For 22 years, he had been of the closest collaborators of John Paul II.

“You could see how he adored John Paul II. They were very close. They shared great admiration.”

LINA PETRI Vatican Press Office
“I spent a lot of my professional life with him. I will always be grateful to him because he helped me grow from a human and professional perspective.”

RAFAEL NAVARRO-VALLS Brother of Joaquin Navarro-Valls
“I have a memory of him as a very strong man, extraordinarily brave and very intelligent. These three characteristics formed an authentic leader.”

During the month, Pope Francis also approved a new path to reach holiness. It is called the “free offering of one's life.” It is a way recognizedofficially by the Church for those who die as a result of offering their lives for God and others. For example, the case of a person who dedicates their life to the care of lepers, and then dies after being infected with the disease.