Vatican News

Pope at Santa Marta: scandal wounds hearts and kills hope

Vatican News - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 06:26
(Vatican Radio) Scandal wounds hearts and kills hopes: this was the core of Pope Francis ’ remarks to the faithful following the Gospel at Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae . “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,” the Pope said, recalling the words of Our Lord in the Gospel reading, “but woe to the one through whom they occur.” Hence the warning to his disciples: “Be on your guard!” “So, be careful not to scandalize. Scandal is evil, because scandal wounds – it wounds God’s People where they are most vulnerable, and strikes the People of God where they are weakest – and many times, the wounds inflicted by scandal are borne by the faithful throughout their lives. Not only does it do harm: scandal is capable of murder – of killing hopes, killing dreams, killing families, killing so many hearts.” Click below to hear our report The Holy Father stressed that Christ ’s warning, “Be on your guard!” is a warning for everyone, and especially to people who call themselves Christian, but live as Pagans. This is “the scandal of the People of God .”: “How many Christians , by their example, with their inconsistency, drive people away from the Faith: the incoherence of Christians is one of the readiest weapons the devil has to weaken the People of God and to divert the People of God from the Lord – to say one thing and do another.” This is the “incoherence” which gives scandal, which today gives us to ask ourselves, “How coherent is my life? How coherent is it with the Gospel, How coherent is it with the Lord ?” The Pope then offered the example of Christian entrepreneurs who do not pay just wages and who exploit people for their own gain, or even the scandal given by pastors in the Church, who, careless of their sheep, see them wander off and away. “ Jesus tells us that we cannot serve two masters: both God and money – and when the pastor is one who is attached to money, he gives scandalize. People are scandalized: the shepherd, attached to money. Every shepherd must ask: How is my friendship with money? Or the shepherd who seeks to rise: vanity leads him to climb, instead of being gentle, humble, because meekness and humility favor closeness to the people – or the shepherd who feels himself a lord, and lords it over everyone, proud, and not the servant-pastor of God’s People .” Pope Francis concluded saying, “Let today be the propitious day, on which to make this examination of conscience: Do I give scandal? If so, how? Thus, shall we be able to answer the Lord and approach Him a little more closely.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

The Vatican calls for integral nuclear disarmament

Vatican News - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 09:12
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican is calling for integral nuclear disarmament. According to the preliminary conclusions of a just-ended high level symposium entitled “Prospects for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Disarmament” , integral disarmament is both an urgent immediate need and a long-term process. The symposium, organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development got underway as tensions escalated between the US and North Korea.  It saw the participation of eleven Nobel peace laureates, top United Nations and NATO officials, leading experts, ‎heads of  major foundations and of civil society organizations, as well representatives of bishops conferences, Christian denominations and other faiths. Pope Francis addressed the gathering on Friday. Wrapping up the symposium on Saturday, Cardinal Peter Turkson , President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, read out the following preliminary conclusions :  The Dicastery brought together religious leaders and representatives of civil society, officials of States and international organizations, noted academics and Nobel Laureates and students, to illuminate the connections between integral disarmament and integral development, and to explore the links among development, disarmament and peace.  As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, repeatedly reminds us, “everything is connected.”  1.     The use and possession of nuclear weapons deserves condemnation since they are indiscriminate and disproportionate instruments of war. In addressing us, Pope Francis said, “If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned.” Similarly, reprehensible are tests of nuclear weapons and the fall out which contaminate the atmosphere and the oceans; as global public good their contamination could constitute crimes against humanity. 2.     Nuclear deterrence does not adequately address the challenges of security in a multi-polar world.  In March 2017 our Holy Father wrote in a message: “If we take into consideration the principal threats to peace and security with their many dimensions in this multipolar world of the twenty-first century as, for example, terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, poverty, not a few doubts arise regarding the inadequacy of nuclear deterrence as an effective response to such challenges.” 3.     Nuclear deterrence does not create a stable or secure peace; it contributes to fear and conflict.  As our Holy Father said to us: “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security.”  They also create a culture of “mutual intimidation” in the international system. 4.     Spending on nuclear weapons wastes resources that are needed to address the root causes of conflicts and to promote development and peace.  5.     The humanitarian impacts of the use of nuclear weapons are devastating and planetary. 6.     A world without nuclear weapons is possible. Pope Francis encouraged us to hope that “…progress that is effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression…..” 7.     Peace is built on the foundation of justice. Integral disarmament and integral development are connected.  As Pope Francis recalled, Pope Paul VI “set forth the notion of integral human development and proposed it as ‘the new name for peace’.” 8.     Nuclear disarmament is a global issue, requiring a global response.  As Pope Francis wrote in March 2017:  “Growing interdependence and globalization mean that any response to the threat of nuclear weapons should be collective and concerted, based on mutual trust.” 9.      Integral disarmament is both an immediate urgent need and a long-term process.  In March 2017 Pope Francis made clear:  “Achieving a world without nuclear weapons involves a long-term process, based on the awareness that ‘everything is connected’ within the perspective of an integral ecology (cf. Laudato Si’, 117, 138). The common destiny of mankind demands the pragmatic strengthening of dialogue and the building and consolidating of mechanisms of trust and cooperation, capable of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.” 10.  Dialogue is essential.  This dialogue must be inclusive, engaging both nuclear States and non-nuclear States, and involving civil society, international organizations, governments and religious communities.  In particular, the Catholic Church is committed to advance this dialogue at all levels. 11.  Call upon States that have not yet done so, to consider signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 12.  Most importantly, let us commit our efforts to the call for integral nuclear disarmament to prayer by all! Everything is connected; and everyone is connected.  Together we can rid the world of nuclear weapons, invest in integral human development, and build peace.  These preliminary conclusions do not represent the end of the conversation, but rather the beginning of future dialogue and action. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at Angelus: 'charity fuels faith making it fruitful and credible'

Vatican News - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 08:30
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday told the faithful that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be ready to meet with the Lord.  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer , the Pope also said that it is not sufficient to lead a life of faith; a Christian must also be fueled by charity. The parable of the ten virgins Recalling the parable of the ten virgins the Pope said one must not wait for “the last moment of our lives to collaborate with God’s grace: you must do it now!” he said.      Quoting from the liturgical reading in which the Lord said to the foolish virgins “Stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour” Francis explained that Jesus is telling us that ‘staying awake’ does not mean only not to fall asleep: it is an exhortation to be prepared. Charity fuels and safeguards faith The lamp, the Pope said, is “the symbol of faith that illuminates our lives”. Oil, he continued, “is the symbol of charity which fuels the lamp making the light of faith fruitful and credible”.  “A life that is poor in charity is devoid of true light” he said. “If we let ourselves be guided by what appears to be most convenient, seeking only to protect and nurture our interests, our lives become sterile and incapable of giving life to others; in this way we do not store a stock of oil for the lamp of our faith which will be extinguished at the time of the Lord's coming, or even before that” he said. “The condition to be ready to meet with the Lord, Pope Francis said, is not only faith, but a Christian life full of love and charity for our neighbour.” Always be prepared to meet the Lord He urged Christians always to “be vigilant and to try to do good through actions of love, sharing and service” to our brothers in difficulty so we can serenely await the arrival of the groom. We know, he continued that “the Lord may come at any time, but even the slumber of death will not scare us if we have a supply of oil that we have accumulated through good works every day”. “Faith inspires charity and charity safeguards faith” he said. Giving thanks for Spanish martyrs After the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled the beatification ceremony that took place in Madrid on Saturday during which Vicente Queralt LLoret and 20 of his martyred companions and José Maria Fernández Sánchez and 38 of his martyred companions were proclaimed blessed. “They were all killed in hatred for the faith during the religious persecution that took place during the 1936 – 1937 Spanish Civil War” he said. Pope Francis concluded giving thanks to God for the great gift of these witnesses of Christ and of the Gospel.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope addresses Pacific Islands Forum leaders

Vatican News - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 07:53
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Saturday shared the concerns of island, coastal and fishing communities, and called for global cooperation, solidarity and strategies to address issues such as the deterioration of the environment and the health of oceans. Meeting some 46 members of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in the Vatican, the Pope shared the concerns of those exposed to frequent extreme environmental and climate events, and the impact of rising sea levels and the continuous deterioration of the barrier reef. He blamed many of the causes of this “environmental decay” on the short-sighted human activity… connected with certain ways ‎of exploiting natural and human resources. Earth without borders The Pope however expressed satisfaction that the problem of global warming and rising sea levels that mainly affect  impoverished coastal populations, are being discussed in international forums, such as the on-going United Nations COP-23 Climate Change Conference in Bonn . He evoked the vision of an “earth without borders” that calls for the need for a global outlook, international cooperation and solidarity, and a shared strategy, to address environmental problems. He lamented that since the appeal by the Filipino bishops nearly 30 years ago, the situation of the oceans and the marine ecosystem, especially the barrier reef, has not really improved.  We still face problems, including pollution caused by the accumulation ‎of plastics and micro-plastics in oceans, the Pope said.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope sends video message to CEI conference on Amoris laetitia

Vatican News - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 06:07
Pope Francis sent a video message on Saturday morning, to the participants in a conference organized by the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) on the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris laetitia . Below, you will find the full text of the Holy Father 's remarks, in our English translation.   ******************************************* Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! I cordially greet all of you who attend the third International Symposium on the Apostolic Exhortation,  Amoris Laetitia , convened by the Office for Pastoral Care of the Family of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. The theme you have proposed:  The Gospel of Love between Conscience and Norm , is of great importance, and can illuminate the path that the Churches in Italy are taking, in order to respond to the  desire for family  that emerges in the soul of the young generations. Love between a man and a woman is obviously among the most generative human experiences; it is the leaven of a culture of  encounter, and introduces to the present world an injection of sociality. Indeed “the good of the family is decisive for the future of the world and of the Church.  (Amoris laetitia , 31)” The family born of marriage creates fruitful bonds, which reveal themselves to be the most effective antidote against the individualism that currently runs rampant; however, along the journey of marital love and family life there are situations that require arduous choices, which must be made with rectitude. In the domestic reality, sometimes there are concrete knots to be addressed with prudent conscience on the part of each. It is important that spouses, parents, be not left alone, but accompanied in their commitment to applying the Gospel to the concreteness of life. On the other hand, we know well that “we are called to form consciences, not to pretend to substitute them. ( Ibid ., 37)” The contemporary world risks confusing the primacy of conscience, which is always to be respected, with the exclusive autonomy of the individual with respect to the relations that he entertains in life. As I said recently to the Pontifical Academy for Life, “There are those who even speak of ego-latry, that is, of a true worship of the ego, on whose altar is sacrificed everything, including the dearest affections. This perspective is not harmless: it molds a subject that looks constantly in the mirror, until it becomes incapable of turning its eyes to others and the world. The spread of this attitude has most serious consequences for all the affections and ties of life. (5 Oct., 2017)” This is a “pollution” that corrodes souls and confounds minds and hearts, producing false illusions. Romano Guardini, in a text on the subject of conscience, indicates the way to the search for the true good. He writes: “From this imprisonment in myself I am free only if I find a point, which is not my ego: a height higher than myself; something solid and working in my interior – and behold! Here we are come to the core [...] that is, to religious reality. That good [...] is something alive. [...] It is the fullness of worth, which belongs to the selfsame living God. ( La coscienza , Brescia 1933, 32-33)” In the very depths of each one of us there is a place wherein the Mystery reveals itself, and illuminates the person, making the person the protagonist of his story. Conscience, as the II Vatican Council recalls, is this, “most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths. ( GS  16)” To the Christian falls the task of being vigilant, so that in this sort of tabernacle is no want of divine grace, which illuminates and strengthens married love and parental mission. Grace fills the  amphorae  of human hearts with an extraordinary capacity for gift, renewing for the families of today the miracle of the wedding feast at Cana. Commenting on that Gospel episode, I have been able to say that, “By transforming into wine the water of the jars used ‘for the Jewish rites of purification’ (Jn 2:6), Jesus preforms an eloquent sign: he transforms the Law of Moses into the Gospel, bearer of joy. (Gen. Audience, June 8, 2016)” Jesus points in particular to the medicine of mercy, which cures the hardness of the heart, restoring the relationship between husband and wife, and between parents and children. Dear Brothers and Sisters, I wish all the best for your work in this Symposium. Let the Church in Italy help to assimilate and develop  Amoris laetitia ’s content and style; may she contribute to the formation of family group animators in parishes, associations, and movements; may she support the journey of so many families, helping them to live the joy of the Gospel, and to be active cells in the community. I bless you, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope addresses disarmament conference

Vatican News - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:22
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed the participants in an international symposium on disarmament and development on Friday. The two-day event has been organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in order to address issues that are critical both in themselves and in the light of the complex political challenges of the current international scene. In remarks prepared for the participants and delivered shortly after noon on Friday in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, Pope Francis said nuclear weapons,  “exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race.” He went on to say, “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security.” Click below to hear our report “International relations,” he continued, “cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms.  They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity (cf. Message to the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons , 27 March 2017).”  Pope Francis also addressed the need to recover a sense of the proper end of scientific enterprise, saying, “[T]rue science is always at the service of humanity,” even though, “in our time we are increasingly troubled by the misuse of certain projects originally conceived for a good cause.”  Noting that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio , in which Bl. Paul VI articulated the idea of integral human development and proposed it as “the new name of peace”, Pope Francis said, “We need, then, to reject the culture of waste and to care for individuals and peoples labouring under painful disparities through patient efforts to favour processes of solidarity over selfish and contingent interests.” Solidarity also goes hand-in-hand with integrating the individual and the social dimensions through the application of the principle of subsidiarity, in view of the need to promote human beings in the indissoluble unity of soul and body, of contemplation and action. “In this way,” continued Pope Francis, “progress that is both effective and inclusive can achieve the utopia of a world free of deadly instruments of aggression, contrary to the criticism of those who consider idealistic any process of dismantling arsenals.”   The Holy Father concluded, saying, “The Church does not tire of offering the world this wisdom and the actions it inspires, conscious that integral development is the beneficial path that the human family is called to travel,” encouraging participants to carry forward this activity with patience and constancy, in the trust that the Lord is ever at our side, and asking God to bless each of the participants and their efforts in the service of justice and peace. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

The Pope urges Ukrainian seminarians to sow culture of peace

Vatican News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:37
(Vatican Radio) Celebrating 85 years since the foundation of Saint Josaphat's Ukrainian Pontifical College in Rome, Pope Francis encouraged Ukrainian seminarians to become shepherds of communities in which love and respect for others will flourish. The Saint Josaphat College was founded upon the wish of Pope Pius XI and is currently run by the Basilian monastic order. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : In his message to future Ukrainian priests, Pope Francis recalled that the institution was built with the intent of conveying a message of love and closeness to those faithful “who live in areas of suffering and persecution”. He invited them to prepare for their apostolic mission as deacons and priests studying the Church's Social Doctrine and recalling the example of Pope Pius XI whom, he said, “always and firmly raised his voice in defending the faith, the freedom of the Church and the transcendent dignity of every human person” while condemning the atheistic and inhumane ideologies that bloodied the 20th century. “Also today the world is world is wounded by wars and violence” the Pope said with a particular reference to the beloved Ukrainian nation “from which you came and to where you will return” after having completed your studies in Rome. Backing his encouragement to spread a culture of peace and acceptance with words from the Gospel, the Pope said “to you, seminarians and priests of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, these challenges may seem out of your reach; but let us remember the words of the Apostle John: I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.” The Pope said that by loving and proclaiming the Word they will become true shepherds of the communities that will be entrusted to them. “It [the Word] will be the lamp that illuminates your heart and your home, whether you prepare for celibacy or for married priesthood, according to tradition of your Church” he said. Francis invited them to love and to guard their traditions avoiding all forms of sectarianism and he urged them to ask their flocks “to learn to love and respect each other, to abandon their weapons, to reject war and all kinds of abuse”. “Never forget the Covenant between God and mankind” he said. The Pope invoked the intercession of the Holy Mother of God who is venerated in the Ukrainian National Shrine of Zarvanytsya. “She wants the priests of her Son to be like the torches lit at night in front of her Shrine reminding everyone, especially the poor and the suffering, and even those who perpetrate evil and sow violence and destruction, that the people who walked in the darkness saw a great light; that a light shone upon those who lived in a land of shadows” he said. Pope Francis concluded revealing a personal devotion to the Ukrainian icon of Our Lady of Tenderness, a gift of the Major Archbishop from when they were together in Buenos Aires, and sharing his memory of a Ukrainian priest, Father Stepan Chmil, whom he knew when he was a young boy back in 1949 and from whom he learnt how to be an altar boy for the Ukrainian Mass: “He spoke of the persecutions, of the suffering, of the ideologies that persecuted Christians. And he taught me to be open to a different liturgy, something I always keep in my heart”. The Pope also said that last time he was in Buenos Aires, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church had asked him for testimonies with which to open the canonization process of Father Chmil who was ordained bishop in secrecy: “I wanted to remember him today because it is an act of justice to thank him before you for the good that he did to me”. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis sends message to conference on Paul VI

Vatican News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:50
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to participants at a conference taking place in Rome on the theme ‘Pope Paul VI, the pope of modernity”. In the message Pope Francis notes that the conference is taking place 50 years after the publication of his predecessor’s encyclical ‘ Popolorum Progressio ’, often described as one of the key Catholic Social Teaching documents. Listen to our report: That encyclical, he said, sought to be a “solemn appeal for concerted action in favour of integral human development”. The appeal remains just as urgent today, Pope Francis said, as poverty increases and peace is threatened on a daily basis in different parts of the world. In order to build peace, he continued,Pope we must eliminate the causes of discord, starting with injustice, since peace is the work of justice. Thus, he said, the conference reflections focused on ‘justice among peoples’ is particularly topical,  inspired by a sense of ‘The Gospel in motion’, bringing Christian faith, hope and charity to the men and women of today. Finally, Pope Francis noted that the conference is also exploring the theme of Paul VI’s love for Italy. He emphasized the fact that the soul of the Italian people bears witness to a genuine solidarity which is at the basis of all our human communities. We must never tire of promoting this witness of authentic humanism, he said, without which our dignity is at risk. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at Mass: building and purification of Church begins from us

Vatican News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:33
Pope Francis on Thursday spoke about the duty of every Christian  of  "building the Church, safeguarding the Church and Purifying the Church".  Delivering a homily at his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, he spoke about the three tasks on the liturgical feast the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Cathedral of Rome Diocese, known as the "mother of all the Churches".  The Pope said this title is not a “cause of pride but of service and of love.”   Listen to our report: Building Regarding building the Church, the Pope said one must first of all know that Jesus Christ is its foundation.  The Pope said, “He is the corner stone of this building,” and  “without Jesus Christ there is no Church.”  A Church without foundation will just collapse, he warned.  A Church without a living Jesus will come down.  He further explained that "we are the living stones" of this Church. All are not same but each one is different, and this, the Pope stressed, is the wealth of the Church.  Each one of us builds according to the gift God has given us, he said, adding, a uniform Church is not a Church. Safeguarding Speaking about safeguarding the Church, the Pope said it means being aware of the Holy Spirit who is in us.  The Pope lamented that many Christians know Jesus Christ and the Father because they pray the “Our Father”.  But speak to them about the Holy Spirit, and He is associated with a dove and nothing more.  But the Pope insisted that the Holy Spirit is the life of the Church and He is your and my life. We, the temple of the Holy Spirit, he said, must safeguard Him as St. Paul urges Christians not to “sadden the Holy Spirit”, i.e. not to go against the harmony that the Holy Spirit creates in us and in the Church.  He is harmony, and He creates harmony in the building. Purifying Finally, regarding the task of  "purifying the Church," the Holy Father said, it begins with us. For this, he said, all need to recognized our sinfulness.  Anyone claiming not be a sinner would be a good curiosity, he said.  Since we all are sinners, we need to purify ourselves continuously.  This in turn purifies the community, the diocesan community, the Christian community and the universal community of the Church.  This is what makes the Church grow, the Pope said.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis bans the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican

Vatican News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 07:31
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is putting a stop to the sale of cigarettes and tobacco inside Vatican City State. A statement released on Thursday by Greg Burke ,  Director of the Holy See Press Office, explained that the Holy See “cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people.”   Citing the World World Health Organization statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year, he said cigarettes will not be sold at the Vatican as from the beginning of next year. Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, but he said “no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.” “Although the cigarettes sold to employees and pensioners in the Vatican at a reduced price are a source of revenue for the Holy See, no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk” the statement said. He added that the sale of large cigars would continue for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope approves the heroic virtues of Pope John Paul I

Vatican News - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 04:53
Pope John Paul I has moved a step closer to sainthood with the recognition of his heroic virtues.  Pope Francis on Wednesday authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree approving his predecessor’s heroic virtues which confers on him the title ‘ Venerable’.  Pope Francis also authorized 7 other decrees along with that of John Paul I – two of them on martyrdom and 5 on heroic virtues. Venerable Servant of God Pope John Paul I Pope John Paul I whose heroic virtues Pope Francis has approved and declared him ‘ Venerable Servant of God’  had a brief papacy of just 33 days, yet has left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church.    A ‘ Smiling Pope’ as he is called in that short duration of his pontificate gave nine speeches, three messages, wrote three Apostolic letters and four other official letters, gave two homilies and had five Sunday ‘Angelus’ prayers and four Wednesday general audiences. This short encounter if not his vast experience as a priest, bishop, Patriarch of Venice and then the  Cardinal has proved him to be a person of faith, humble and meek person yet tough when it comes to Church teachings.   Love of God and love of neighbor was his special hallmark. Born on 17th Oct 1912 at "Forno di Canale (Belluno, Italy), Albino Luciani    was son of Giovanni Luciani and Bortola Tancon. He  was baptized the same day at home, by the midwife, as he was in danger of death but formalized two days later in the Church by the curate. On 2nd Feb 1935 he was ordained deacon and on 7 th July 1935 Ordained to the priesthood at St. Peter's Church of Belluno diocese of Belluno e Feltre.  In February  1947 he Graduated from the Gregorian University in Rome with a doctorate in Sacred Theology, his thesis being, "The origin of the human soul according to Antonio Rosmini". 27 th December 1958 he was Consecrated Bishop by John XXIII at St. Peter's Basilica together with the newly consecrated bishops, Gioacchino Muccin and Girolamo Bortignon. In 1977 he participated in the IV Ordinary General Assembly in Rome of the Synod of Bishops regarding "Catechetics in Our Time". August 10 the following year brought  him again to the Vatican after the death of Pope Paul the VI. On  26 th August during the second day of the conclave, he was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and he chose his name John Paul I, wishing to serve the Church as his  predecessors did. During his first Sunday Angelus he  humbly acknowledged that he chose that name knowing that he neither had the wisdom of the heart of Pope John nor the preparation and culture of Pope Paul. With this name he became the first Pope to take up a dual name in papal history.  Luciani vowed to serve as a teacher and a servant and had taken up Humilitas (Humility) as his episcopal motto which was evident even after he was appointed a pope.  He wished to do away with Papal Coronation mass and chose to have just papal inauguration. He also preferred not to use the ‘sedia gestatoria’ or the ceremonial throne like an armchair on which the Pope travels from St Peter’s Square. Luciani  a warm, gentle and kind man with a friendly disposition  was loved by the people who were in awe of his persona. He had impressed people with his excellent oratory skills.   His ideologies reflected the spirit of humanity and showcased the immense love and warmth that he had for God and his people.  His swift six point plan defined what the journey of his pontificate would be. He planned to renew the Church through the policies implemented by Vatican II, to revise canon law, to remind the Church of its duty to preach the Gospel, to promote Church unity without watering down doctrine, to promote dialogue and to encourage world peace and social justice. His successors looked upon him as a gentle soul with a heart filled with love. If his immediate successor Cardinal Karol Wojtyła spoke of his values of faith, hope and love, Benedict XVI commented that it was due to his virtues that despite holding papacy for just 33 days, he was able to win the people’s hearts. For Pope Francis, John Paul I was an icon of mercy and humility and he has quoted him in his homilies and in an interview. His qualities of heart and mind made him affable. Already two miracles are attributed to his intercession and are under examination. If any of them is recognized, he would be cleared for Beatification.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at General Audience: through the Eucharist we receive God

Vatican News - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 09:34
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has reminded the faithful that the Eucharist is a wonderful event during which Jesus Christ, our life, becomes present. Speaking to the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday General Audience , Pope Francis began a new series of reflections focusing on the Eucharist and highlighting the importance of how we attend and of how we participate in Mass in order to really experience our relationship with God. To the some 13,000 pilgrims present for the weekly audience, Pope Francis said that while at Mass “the Lord is present with us but many times we talk among ourselves and we are not close to Him” during the celebration. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Importance of rediscovering the meaning of the Sacraments He explained that for us Christians it is essential to understand the meaning and the value of Holy Mass in order to be able to fully live our relationship with God.  Remembering Christians who have died to defend the Eucharist “We cannot forget the great number of Christians who, in the entire world, in two thousand years of history, have resisted until death in order to defend the Eucharist” he said.  And he remembered those whom, he said , “still today, risk their lives to participate at Sunday Mass”. The Pope  recalled the history of Christians in North Africa who were caught celebrating Mass in 304, during the persecutions by the Roman Emperor Diocletian: “When asked why they had faced such danger, the Christians said that their Christian life would end if they did not go to Mass.”  Those Christians, he said, were killed and became witnesses of the Eucharist, which they chose over their mortal lives. Noting that it is important to go back to the roots and rediscover what is the true meaning of the actions we carry out during the celebration of the Sacraments, the Pope said the Eucharist allows us “to take part in the sacrifice of Mass and approach the table of the Lord.” The word Eucharist means thanksgiving He explained that the word Eucharist means thanksgiving, because we thank God for allowing us to receive him. Francis also referred to the Second Vatican Council which, he said, pushed forward a series of liturgical renewals in order to encourage the encounter between the faithful and Christ. 'Boring' priests must convert Describing the Sacrament of the Eucharist as “an amazing event during which the Lord is present”, the Pope noted that too often the faithful describe the Mass as boring: “Is the Lord boring? He asked those present: No, no, it’s the priest. It’s the priests? Then the priests must convert!” Children must learn how to make the sign of the cross properly  And explaining why we do certain things during Mass he posed the question: “Have you seen the way children make the sign of the Cross?” “We must teach them, he said, how to do it well, because that is how Mass begins, that is how life begins, that is how the day begins!” Lift up your hearts not your cellphones And furthering his comments on how, too often, the Mass is lived in a superficial way, Pope Francis remarked on the fact that the priest who celebrates says “Lift up your hearts” not “Lift up your cellphones  to take a photo!” “This is a bad thing” he said, “It makes me very sad when I celebrate Mass here in the Square or in the Basilica and I see many cellphones raised. And it’s not only the faithful, but also many priests and bishops. Please! Mass is not a show!”  It is very important, Pope Francis concluded, to rediscover the meaning of the Eucharist and of the other Sacraments which are the signs of God’s love, the privileged ways to meet with Him. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope meets Egypt's Muslim leader Ahmed al-Tayeb

Vatican News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:03
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar , Sheikh Ahmed Muhammad al-Tayeb who is in Rome to attend a conference organised by the St Egidio community. No details of the private encounter were released, but the meeting marked the second trip to the Vatican in two years by Egypt’s top Muslim leader. His first meeting with the pope in May 2016 marked an important step forward after five years of suspended dialogue between the Holy See and the prestigious Al-Azhar university. Pope's visit to Cairo In April this year, Pope Francis travelled to Cairo to visit the headquarters of Sunni Muslim scholarship and attend an international peace conference there. During his two day visit to Egypt, the pope urged religious leaders to denounce violations of human rights and expose attempts to justify violence and hatred in the name of God. Respecful interreligious dialogue He appealed for respectful interreligious dialogue, saying the only alternative to a culture of civilized encounter is “the incivility of conflict”. Recalling the visit of St Francis to the Sultan in Egypt eight centuries ago, he called for dialogue based on sincerity and the courage to accept differences. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Papal condolences for victims of Texas shooting

Vatican News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:45
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of a deadly shooting Texas . Twenty-six people were killed in the attack, including the unborn child of a young mother, who was also killed. The dead ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years. Twenty others were wounded, with 10 still in critical condition late on Monday. In a telegram addressed to Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin noted Pope Francis was “deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of senseless violence perpetrated at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs .” The Holy Father, the Cardinal said, “asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the wounded, to the members of the congregation, and to the entire local community.” Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis was praying to “our Lord Jesus Christ to console all who mourn and to grant them the spiritual strength that triumphs over violence and hatred by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis: 'Salvation is not for sale'

Vatican News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 09:20
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged Christians not to lose the capacity to feel loved. Speaking during the homily on Tuesday morning at the Casa Santa Marta , the Pope said that while it is possible to recuperate a lost capacity to love, if one no longer has the capacity feel loved, all is lost.  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Pope Francis reflected on the reading from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus says “Blessed are those who will take food in the Kingdom of God” and explained that the Lord asks us to open our doors to those who cannot reciprocate. The parable of the man who gave a dinner to which he invited many   The parable tells of a man who gave a great dinner to which he invited many. But when the time for the dinner came, those who had been invited declined the invitation because they were taken by their own interests which seemed to them more important than the invitation itself. They were asking themselves – the Pope noted – what benefit they could get out of the dinner, just like that man who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God. They were so concerned with their own interests the Pope said they were “incapable of understanding the gratuity of the invitation”.  Salvation is not for sale And warning the faithful against this kind of attitude the Pope said: “if you do not understand the gratuity of God's invitation, you do not understand anything”. He explained that the only price God asks one to pay is that of being needy, in body and in soul: one must be in need of love.   He remarked on the two different attitudes: on the one hand the Lord who asks for nothing in return and tells the servant to invite the poor, the crippled, the good and the bad: “this gratuitousness has no limits, God receives all”. On the other hand, he said, the attitude of those who had been invited but who did not understand, like the elder brother of Prodigal son who does not want to attend the banquet arranged by his father because “he does not understand”. “He spent all his money, he wasted his inheritance in vices and sins, and you celebrate his homecoming? I am a practicing Catholic, I go to Mass every Sunday and carry out my duties and you do nothing for me? He does not understand the gratuity of salvation” he said. Salvation, the Pope reiterated, is free: “It is God’s gift to which one responds with another gift, the gift of one’s heart.” God asks only for love and fidelity The Lord, he said does not ask for anything in return, only love and fidelity. Salvation is not for sale, one simply has to accept the invitation to His banquet, thus: “Blessed are those who will take food in the Kingdom of God” – This is Salvation. Those, he continued, who do not want to take part in the banquet have lost the capacity to feel that they are loved. “When one loses – not the capacity to love because that is something that can be recuperated – but the capacity to feel loved there is no hope and all is lost” he said. It reminds us, Pope Francis concluded, of the writing on the gate to Dante’s inferno ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’ - we must think of this and of the Lord who wants His home to be filled: “Let us ask the Lord to save us from losing the ability to feel loved”. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis meets 'The Elders' to discuss global concerns

Vatican News - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 14:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis had a private meeting at Santa Marta on Monday afternoon with members of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working for peace and human rights around the world. The Elders was established 10 years ago by former South African President Nelson Mandela and is currently marking the group’s 10th anniversary with a campaign called “Walk Together”  - continuing Mandela’s long walk to freedom. Just after the audience, Philippa Hitchen spoke to two of the founding members of The Elders, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson, former Irish President , former UN high commissioner for human rights and, more recently, UN envoy on climate change. Philippa began by asking Kofi Annan about the issues they were able to discuss during their papal audience… Listen: The former UN leader says it was important for four representatives of the group to come to the Vatican because they share many common interests and values. He says they wanted to engage with Pope Francis and “discuss how we can work together, how we can pool our efforts on some of these issues”. Peace, migration, climate change, gender equality Among the areas of discussion, he continues, were the questions of migration, nuclear weapons peace, mediation and conflicts, as well as climate change and gender equality, that is “the importance of giving women a voice and respecting their role”. He adds “I hope this will be the first of many meetings”. Shared efforts to be a voice for marginalised Former Irish President Mary Robinson says the group came to express “an appreciation for the role he is playing and the fact that he, like The Elders, is trying to be a voice for the voiceless and the marginalized, trying to deal with the most difficult areas of conflict. She says they also spoke about countries including Venezuela and Congo, as well as focusing on climate change, all issues, she notes, where “the pope has given leadership”. Common values, common sense of purpose Robinson says she was also struck by the “warmth and affection and humour” in their meeting. “I was very struck by how relaxed the pope was with us, how much he joked”, she says, adding that Pope Francis seemed to “feel at home” as they discussed “common values, a common moral purpose, common problems” I think he could be a future ‘Elder’, Annan says and Robinson quips, “I think he’s a Super Elder”. Over the coming days we will be featuring further excerpts from this interview, as Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson discuss the COP23 climate conference, gender equality in politics, the role of diplomacy and peacemaking, migration and refugees, as well as the situation in Myanmar as Pope Francis prepares to travel there at the end of November. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at Mass: God's gifts are irrevocable

Vatican News - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 07:04
(Vatican Radio) When God gives a gift, it is irrevocable: He does not give something one day, and take it away the next. When God calls us, that call remains our whole life. Pope Francis began his homily with this reflection, inspired by the theme of our “election by God,” God’s choice of each of us, which is taken from the day’s reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans. In the history of salvation, the Pope said, there are three “gifts and calls of God to His people”: “the gift of election, of the promise, and of the covenant.” All are irrevocable, because God is faithful. This was the case for Abraham, and it is true for all of us as well: “Each one of us is elect, chosen by God. Each one of us bears a promise that the Lord has made: ‘Walk in my presence, be irreproachable, and I will do this for you.’ And each one of us makes some covenant with the Lord. You can do it, you can’t will it – it is free. But this is a fact. And also, there must be a question: How do I experience ‘election’? Or do I consider myself a Christian ‘by accident’ [It.: ‘per caso’]? How do I live the promise, a promise of salvation of my path, and how am I faithful to the covenant? Like He is faithful?” Then, in the face of the constant “faithfulness” of God, it remains for us to ask ourselves: Do we feel His “caress,” His care for us, and His “seeking after” us when we have distanced ourselves from Him? And yet, Pope Francis continued, St Paul, when speaking about the “election of God” returns again and again to two words: “disobedience” and “mercy.” Where there is one, there is the other, and this is our path of salvation: “That is to say that on the path of election, to the promise, and the covenant, there will be sins, there will be disobedience, but in the face of this disobedience there is always mercy. It is like the dynamic of our walking journeying toward maturity: there is always mercy, because He is faithful, He never revokes His gifts. It is linked; this is linked, that the gifts are irrevocable; [but] why? Because in the face of our weaknesses, our sins, there is always mercy. And when Paul comes to this reflection, he goes one step further: but not in explanation for us, but of adoration.” In the face of “this mystery of disobedience and mercy that sets us free,” there is adoration and silent praise. And in the face of “this beauty of irrevocable gifts such as election, the promise, and the covenant,” there is this final invitation from the Pope: “I think it would do us good, all of us, to think today about our election; about the promises that the Lord has made to us; and about how I live out the covenant with the Lord. And how I allow myself – permit me the word – to receive mercy from the Lord [It. ‘misericordiare’ dal Signore] in the face of my sins, of my disobedience. And finally, whether I am capable – like Paul – of praising the Lord for what He has given to me, to each one of us: to offer praise, and to make that act of adoration. But never forgetting: the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” Listen to our report:    (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at Angelus: Christians must have fraternal attitude

Vatican News - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 06:52
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ Angelus address focused on the words of Jesus from Sunday’s Gospel, including the Lord’s “severe criticisms” of the scribes and Pharisees, and His directions to Christians “of all times,” including our own. Christ’s saying that “the scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses” and His command to “do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you” means that they have the authority to teach what is in conformity to the Law of God, the Pope said. But, the Lord immediately adds, “do not follow their example; for they preach but they do not practice.” Pope Francis said this is a “frequent defect” of those in authority: They are demanding towards others, and they are often correct; but while their directions are just, they fail to practice them themselves. “This attitude is a wicked exercise of authority,” the Pope said, which should instead lead by good example, “helping others practice what is right and due, supporting them in the trials that they encounter on the path of goodness.” If authority is exercised badly, he said, “it becomes oppressive, it does not allow people to grow and it creates a climate of distrust and of hostility, and also brings corruption.” The behaviours of the scribes and Pharisees, which Jesus denounced, are temptations that come from human pride, which the Pope said is not easy to overcome. “It is a temptation to live solely for appearances.” “We disciples of Christ should not seek titles of honour, of authority, or of supremacy, because among us there ought to be a fraternal attitude,” Pope Francis said. “I tell you, it saddens me personally to see people psychologically running after the vanity of honorifics. We disciples of Christ should not do this, because among us there ought to be a simple and fraternal attitude. If we have received special gifts from God, “we should put them at the service of our brothers, and not profit by them for our personal satisfaction.” As Christians, he concluded, we “should not consider ourselves superior to others; modesty is essential for an existence that wants to be conformed to the teaching of Christ, who is meek and humble of heart, and who came not to be served, but to serve. ” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

The University of the People transforming lives to build a better world

Vatican News - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 14:00
(Vatican Radio) One of the organizations represented at this week’s conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University on the role and the responsibility of universities and educators in offering help – and hope -  to the growing numbers of migrants and refugees was The University of the People .  And together with other conference participants, Shai Reshef , President of The University of the People, was also at the audience with Pope Francis on Saturday morning in the Vatican. During that audience the Pope praised the commitment and the work of those present at “ Refugees and Migrants in a Globalized World: Responsibility and Responses of Universities ” conference and spoke of the need for “distance courses for those living in camps and reception centres”  which happens to be one of the main missions of the The University of the People as Shai Reshef explained: Listen :  “The University of the People is the first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited, online University for students who graduate from high school, are qualified for higher education  but cannot attend higher education, either because they don’t have the money, either because they live in places where there aren’t enough universities, or they are deprived for political or cultural reasons such as refugees, women in some cultures… to all these people, we bring - through the internet – tuition-free  university to enable them to get higher education, a better future for themselves, for their families, for their societies and hopefully for the world as a whole” he said. Shai Reshef says that currently The University of the People counts over 10,000 students from countries from across the globe – many of them from Syria. He describes the just ended conference in Rome as focusing on a very important aspect of the migration and refugee topic and said that bringing together different universities that deal with the issue of providing education to displaced people is the first of its kind giving life to an extremely relevant conversation. “We were very fortunate to be encouraged by the Pope who met with us” he said. “The people who came to the conference, Reshef pointed out, are the ones  who believe in this goal of building a better future for all by providing access to education”. Look at the Syrian refugees for example: “there are 200,000 Syrians who are left out of higher education” because of reasons caused by the conflict in their nation. “If each university in the world would take ten Syrians – that’s not a lot. We can accommodate all of them!” he said. Reshef said that at The University of the People “we are already doing it. We have taken over 1000 refugees and over 600 Syrian refugees. But each university could afford to take ten refugees  and that’s basically what the Pope said: think about these people and see how you can address this issue”. He said he is in total agreement with the Pope’s belief that this is a global co-responsibility and described Pope Francis as “a champion of resolving the issue and understanding that it is not ‘their’ problem: it’s ‘our’ problem”. He pointed out that from a pragmatic point of view you can look at the issue not just as a human rights cause, but understanding that “if it is not resolved these people will continue to be miserable and being miserable  means not only that they will not be productive members of society and are going to suffer, but the consequences of this we all are going to bear” he said. “If these people have hope probably they will behave differently” he said. He said that if you take people who strive for opportunity and you give them opportunity, they will go a long way and hopefully be builders of a better world. Reshef said the conference contained promise for the future and it reinforced his belief that ‘on-line’ tuition is assuming a more and more important role in the discussion of the solution. On-line is what can be relevant and offer a solution to every person he pointed out. Concluding, Reshef specified that while the University of The People is tuition-free it is not free as fees are requested for exams unless the student cannot afford to pay; in that case (as often is the case for refugees and migrants) scholarships are offered. Finally he said: “For me to shake the Pope’s hand and receive – as the University of the People – his blessing, was a very exciting moment and I am very happy to have it”.   For more information on The University of the People:       (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Cardinal Amato presides at Beatification Mass for Sr Rani Maria

Vatican News - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 12:59
(Vatican Radio) Martyred Indian Sister Rani Maria , who was slain by an assassin 22 years ago in central India, was proclaimed a Blessed at a beatification ceremony during Holy Mass in Indore, in central India’s Madhya Pradesh state on Saturday, November 4th.    Cardinal Angelo Amato , Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided over the Beatification Mass. During his homily he described Sister Rani Maria as one who lived and died preaching the gospel of charity and defending the poor…  Listen :   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

© Copyright 2008 - 2017. Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy. All rights reserved.