Pope Francis during Easter vigil: reject the ‘glitter of wealth’

Pope Francis (C) holds an altar candle as he presides over the Easter Vigil on April 20, 2019 at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.(AFP / Vincenzo Pinto)
Updated 21 April 2019

Pope Francis during Easter vigil: reject the ‘glitter of wealth’

  • Resist cynicism and avoid seeking life’s meaning in “things that pass away”, Pope says

VATICAN CITY: At an Easter vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged people to resist cynicism or pursuing the “glitter of wealth,” and to avoid seeking life’s meaning in “things that pass away.”
“Do not bury hope!” Francis exclaimed, after noting that when things go badly, “we lose heart and come to believe that death is stronger than life.”
“We become cynical, negative and despondent,” Francis added.
For Christians, Easter is a day of joy and hope, as they mark their belief that Jesus triumphed over death by resurrection following crucifixion.
“Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but leaves behind only solitude and death,” the pope said. “Sin is looking for life among the dead, for the meaning of life in things that pass away.”
Encouraging the faithful, Francis said: “Why not prefer Jesus, the true light, to the glitter of wealth, career, pride and pleasure?“
At the start of the ceremony on Easter’s eve, Francis, dressed in white robes, slowly carried a lit candle up the aisle of a darkened St. Peter’s Basilica. At the chant in Latin for “light of Christ, the basilica’s lights were suddenly switched on in a dramatic tradition.
Arrayed before the steps of the altar was a row of cardinals, wearing ivory robes. Behind them in the pews sat diplomats with their spouses and thousands of rank-and-file Catholics, tourists and pilgrims among them.
Among those in the basilica were eight adults who were baptized by the pope during the Mass. The Vatican said these new faithful are from Italy, Albania, Ecuador, Indonesia and Peru. From a shell-shaped silver dish, Francis poured holy water over the bowed heads of the three men and five women, after they walked up to him, one by one, and listened to him calling their first names.
On Sunday, Francis celebrates Easter Mass in late morning in St. Peter’s Square and gives a speech from the basilica balcony. Known by its Latin name “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and to the world), the speech is an occasion to reflect on the world’s war-ravaged and other tense spots while paying tribute to Catholics’ practicing their faith sometimes in the face of persecution or other difficulties.


Italy has nothing to fear from ESM reform, PM Conte says

Updated 11 December 2019

Italy has nothing to fear from ESM reform, PM Conte says

  • Critics of the planned changes to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) say they would make it more likely that Italy will have to restructure its debt
  • During his speech to parliament, Conte sharply rejected criticisms by the right-wing League and Brothers of Italy parties

ROME: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte dismissed criticisms of planned reforms to the euro zone bailout fund on Wednesday, saying the proposals, which have been heavily attacked by right-wing opposition parties, posed no threat to Italy.

Critics of the planned changes to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) say they would make it more likely that Italy will have to restructure its debt, the highest in the euro area as a proportion of national output after Greece’s.

“Italy has nothing to fear ... its debt is fully sustainable, as the main international institutions, including the (EU) Commission have said,” Conte told parliament ahead of a European Council meeting this week to discuss the reform.

He repeated that Rome would not agree to any restrictions on banks holding sovereign debt.

During his speech to parliament, Conte sharply rejected criticisms by the right-wing League and Brothers of Italy parties, saying they appeared aimed at undermining Italy’s membership of the single currency.

“Some of the positions that have emerged during the public debate have unveiled the ill-concealed hope of bringing our country out of the euro zone or even from the European Union,” Conte said.

The League and Brothers of Italy have attacked the planned reforms to the ESM, which they say will open the door for a forced restructuring of Italy’s public debt that would hit Italian banks and savers who invest in government bonds.

Some members of the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement have made similar criticisms, adding to tensions with their partner in the ruling coalition, the center-left Democratic Party.

Lawmakers from 5 Star and the Democratic Party appeared to have smoothed over their differences on Wednesday, however, agreeing to drop demands for a veto on measures that could make it easier to reach a debt restructuring accord.

In a final resolution, they scrapped calls for a veto on so-called single limb collective action clauses (CACS), that limit the ability of individual investors to delay any restructuring agreement by holding out for better terms.

Under the new system, restructuring would go ahead after a single, aggregate vote by bondholders regarding all affected bonds while the clauses currently in place require an aggregate vote as well as an individual bond-by-bond vote.

Italy has asked to clarify that the new clauses will not rule out the so-called sub-aggregation, allowing separate votes for different groups of bond issuances to protect small investors, a government official told Reuters.