Vatican News

Pope sends message to popular movements meeting in California

Vatican News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 06:37
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to hundreds of faith and community leaders taking part in a regional meeting of popular movements in Modesto, California, in the United States. The encounter, taking place from February 16th to 18th, has been organised with the support of the Vatican’s new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, the U.S. Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the National Network of People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO). Philippa Hitchen reports:  We must become good neighbours to any person in need. That was Pope Francis’ message to the leaders of popular movements that are working for structural changes in society to promote greater social, economic and racial justice. Reflecting on the current global crisis, driven by what he called the “invisible tyranny of money”, the Pope said we must find opportunities to respond with compassion to those suffering most from the violence, corruption and injustice in our societies. The god of money leaves people by the wayside Speaking of the parable of the Good Samaritan, Pope Francis said  an economic system that has the god of money at its center can act with the same brutality as the robbers in that story. While we try to ignore the injuries it causes, he said, the suffering is televised live yet “nothing is done systematically to heal the wounds or to confront the structures that leave so many brothers and sisters by the wayside” Shifting blame for society's ills But Pope Francis told the leaders of grassroots organizations that “the system’s gangrene cannot be whitewashed forever because sooner or later the stench becomes too strong”. When it can no longer be denied, he said, the same power that spawned this state of affairs sets about manipulating peoples’ fear, insecurity and indignation in order to shift the responsibility onto a “non-neighbour” who can be blamed for society’s ills. Follow the example of the Good Samaritan We must follow the examples of the Samaritan and the innkeeper, the Pope said, by providing practical support for those suffering in body and spirit. He urged the popular movements to persevere in combatting the ecological crisis and in standing alongside migrants or those who are branded as criminals or terrorists. No people is criminal, no religion is terrorist No people is criminal and no religion is terrorist, he insisted, adding that there are fundamentalists and violent individuals in all peoples and religions. With intolerant generalisations, he said, they become stronger, feeding on hate and xenophobia, but by confronting terror with love, we work for peace.  Please find below the full English language text of Pope Francis’ message : Dear Brothers and Sisters,             First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your effort in replicating on a national level the work being developed in the World Meetings of Popular Movements. By way of this letter, I want to encourage and strengthen each one of you, your organizations, and all who strive with you for “Land, Work and Housing,” the three T’s in Spanish: Tierra, Trabajo y Techo. I congratulate you for all that you are doing.             I would like to thank the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, its chairman Bishop David Talley, and the host Bishops Stephen Blaire, Armando Ochoa and Jaime Soto, for the wholehearted support they have offered to this meeting. Thank you, Cardinal Peter Turkson, for your continued support of popular movements from the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. It makes me very happy to see you working together towards social justice! How I wish that such constructive energy would spread to all dioceses, because it builds bridges between peoples and individuals. These are bridges that can overcome the walls of exclusion, indifference, racism, and intolerance.              I would also like to highlight the work done by the PICO National Network and the organizations promoting this meeting. I learned that PICO stands for “People Improving Communities through Organizing”. What a great synthesis of the mission of popular movements: to work locally, side by side with your neighbors, organizing among yourselves, to make your communities thrive.              A few months ago in Rome, we talked at the third World Meeting of Popular Movements about walls and fear, about bridges and love.  Without wanting to repeat myself, these issues do challenge our deepest values.             We know that none of these ills began yesterday. For some time, the crisis of the prevailing paradigm has confronted us. I am speaking of a system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few. “In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history.”               As Christians and all people of good will, it is for us to live and act at this moment. It is “a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse.”  These are signs of the times that we need to recognize in order to act. We have lost valuable time: time when we did not pay enough attention to these processes, time when we did not resolve these destructive realities. Thus the processes of dehumanization accelerate. The direction taken beyond this historic turning-point—the ways in which this worsening crisis gets resolved—will depend on people’s involvement and participation and, largely, on yourselves, the popular movements.              We should be neither paralyzed by fear nor shackled within the conflict. We have to acknowledge the danger but also the opportunity that every crisis brings in order to advance to a successful synthesis. In the Chinese language, which expresses the ancestral wisdom of that great people, the word “crisis” is comprised of two ideograms: Wēi, which represents “danger”, and Jī, which represents “opportunity”.             The grave danger is to disown our neighbors. When we do so, we deny their humanity and our own humanity without realizing it; we deny ourselves, and we deny the most important Commandments of Jesus. Herein lies the danger, the dehumanization. But here we also find an opportunity: that the light of the love of neighbor may illuminate the Earth with its stunning brightness like a lightning bolt in the dark; that it may wake us up and let true humanity burst through with authentic resistance, resilience and persistence.             The question that the lawyer asked Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (10:25-37) echoes in our ears today: “Who is my neighbor?” Who is that other whom we are to love as we love ourselves? Maybe the questioner expects a comfortable response in order to carry on with his life: “My relatives? My compatriots? My co-religionists? ...” Maybe he wants Jesus to excuse us from the obligation of loving pagans or foreigners who at that time were considered unclean. This man wants a clear rule that allows him to classify others as “neighbor” and “non-neighbor”, as those who can become neighbors and those who cannot become neighbors.            Jesus responds with a parable which features two figures belonging to the elite of the day and a third figure, considered a foreigner, a pagan and unclean: the Samaritan. On the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, the priest and the Levite come upon a dying man, whom robbers have attacked, stripped and abandoned. In such situations the Law of the Lord imposes the duty to offer assistance, but both pass by without stopping. They were in a hurry. However, unlike these elite figures, the Samaritan stopped. Why him? As a Samaritan he was looked down upon, no one would have counted on him, and in any case he would have had his own commitments and things to do—yet when he saw the injured man, he did not pass by like the other two who were linked to the Temple, but “he saw him and had compassion on him” (v. 33). The Samaritan acts with true mercy: he binds up the man's wounds, transports him to an inn, personally takes care of him, and provides for his upkeep. All this teaches us that compassion, love, is not a vague sentiment, but rather means taking care of the other to the point of personally paying for him. It means committing oneself to take all the necessary steps so as to “draw near to” the other to the point of identifying with him: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the Lord’s Commandment.                 The economic system that has the god of money at its center, and that sometimes acts with the brutality of the robbers in the parable, inflicts injuries that to a criminal degree have remained neglected. Globalized society frequently looks the other way with the pretence of innocence. Under the guise of what is politically correct or ideologically fashionable, one looks at those who suffer without touching them. But they are televised live; they are talked about in euphemisms and with apparent tolerance, but nothing is done systematically to heal the social wounds or to confront the structures that leave so many brothers and sisters by the wayside. This hypocritical attitude, so different from that of the Samaritan, manifests an absence of true commitment to humanity.             Sooner or later, the moral blindness of this indifference comes to light, like when a mirage dissipates. The wounds are there, they are a reality. The unemployment is real, the violence is real, the corruption is real, the identity crisis is real, the gutting of democracies is real. The system’s gangrene cannot be whitewashed forever because sooner or later the stench becomes too strong; and when it can no longer be denied, the same power that spawned this state of affairs sets about manipulating fear, insecurity, quarrels, and even people’s justified indignation, in order to shift the responsibility for all these ills onto a “non-neighbor”. I am not speaking of anyone in particular, I am speaking of a social and political process that flourishes in many parts of the world and poses a grave danger for humanity.             Jesus teaches us a different path. Do not classify others in order to see who is a neighbor and who is not. You can become neighbor to whomever you meet in need, and you will do so if you have compassion in your heart. That is to say, if you have that capacity to suffer with someone else. You must become a Samaritan. And then also become like the innkeeper at the end of the parable to whom the Samaritan entrusts the person who is suffering. Who is this innkeeper? It is the Church, the Christian community, people of compassion and solidarity, social organizations. It is us, it is you, to whom the Lord Jesus daily entrusts those who are afflicted in body and spirit, so that we can continue pouring out all of his immeasurable mercy and salvation upon them. Here are the roots of the authentic humanity that resists the dehumanization that wears the livery of indifference, hypocrisy, or intolerance.             I know that you have committed yourselves to fight for social justice, to defend our Sister Mother Earth and to stand alongside migrants. I want to reaffirm your choice and share two reflections in this regard.             First, the ecological crisis is real. “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.”  Science is not the only form of knowledge, it is true. It is also true that science is not necessarily “neutral”—many times it conceals ideological views or economic interests. However, we also know what happens when we deny science and disregard the voice of Nature. I make my own everything that concerns us as Catholics. Let us not fall into denial. Time is running out. Let us act. I ask you again—all of you, people of all backgrounds including native people, pastors, political leaders—to defend Creation.             The other is a reflection that I shared at our most recent World Meeting of Popular Movements, and I feel is important to say it again: no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist. Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist. No people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent. “The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and will eventually explode.”  There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia. By confronting terror with love, we work for peace.              I ask you for meekness and resolve to defend these principles. I ask you not to barter them lightly or apply them superficially. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, let us give everything of ourselves: where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, let us sow pardon; where there is discord, let us sow unity; where there is error, let us sow truth.               Please know that I pray for you, that I pray with you, and I ask God our Father to accompany and bless you. May He shower you with his love and protect you. I ask you to please pray for me too, and to carry on. Vatican City, 10 February 2017    (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at Mass: ‘May God give us the grace to proclaim an end to wars in world’

Vatican News - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 06:56
(Vatican Radio)  War begins in a person’s heart, for this reason we are all responsible for caring for peace. This was Pope Francis’ message during his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Listen to Devin Watkins' report: Pope Francis at Mass spoke about the sufferings of so many people whose lives are upset by wars waged by the powerful and arms traffickers. The dove, the rainbow, and the Covenant. The Holy Father spoke about these three images, present in the day’s First Reading from the Book of Genesis, in which Noah releases a dove after the flood. This dove, which returns with an olive branch, is “a sign of what God desired after the flood: peace, that is, that all would live in peace.” He said, “The dove and the rainbow are fragile. The rainbow is beautiful after a storm, but then a cloud comes and it disappears.” Even the dove, he added, is fragile. The Pope said he was reminded of when at a Sunday Angelus two years ago a seagull swooped in and killed the two doves he and two children had just released from a window of the Apostolic Palace. People die in wars promoted by the powerful and arms traffickers Pope Francis said, “The Covenant which God makes is strong, but we accept it in weakness. God makes peace with us but it is not easy to care for peace. It is a daily task, because within each of us is that seed of original sin, that is, the spirit of Cain which – for envy, jealousy, greed, and the desire to dominate – leads to war.” In this way, the Holy Father observed that, when speaking of the Covenant between God and humanity, reference is made to “blood”. As the First Reading states, “For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from one man in regard to his fellow man.” We, the Pope said, “are our brothers’ keeper, and when there is blood spilt, there is sin, and God will demand an accounting.” “In today’s world there is blood being spilt. Today the world is at war. Many brothers and sisters are dying, even innocent people, because the great and powerful want a larger slice of the earth; they want a little more power, or they want to make a little more money on arms trafficking. And the Word of the Lord is clear: ‘For your own lifeblood, that is for your life, I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from one man in regard to his fellow man.’ Even of us –it seems peaceful here – the Lord will demand an accounting of the blood of our brothers and sisters who are suffering war.” Both caring for peace and a declaration of war begins within each of us “How do I care for the dove?”, Pope Francis asked himself, “What do I do so that the rainbow is always a guide? What do I do so that more blood is not spilt in the world?” All of us, he said, “we are involved in this.” Prayer for peace “is not a formality; work towards peace is not a formality.” He noted with bitterness that “war begins in the heart of a person; it begins at home, in the family, among friends and then goes out into the whole world.” What do I do, he asked, “when I feel that something enters my heart that wants to destroy peace?” “War begins in here and finishes out there. The news we see in the papers or on television… Today so many people die, and that seed of war, which breeds envy, jealousy, and greed in my heart, is the same – grown up, become a tree – as the bomb which falls on a hospital, on a school, and kills children. It is the same. The declaration of war begins in here, in each of us. For this reason the question arises: ‘How do I care for peace in my heart, in my interior, and in my family?’. Care for peace; not only care for it but make it with your hands every day. Just so will we succeed in spreading it throughout the whole world.” The Pope’s childhood memory of the end of the war Pope Francis said, “The blood of Christ is that which makes peace, but not that blood which I make with my brother or which arms traffickers make, or that of the earth’s powerful in the great wars.” The Pope then recalled an anecdote from his childhood about peace. “As I recall, the alarm at the Fire Brigade began to sound, and then those on the television and the city… This usually happened to draw attention to a tragedy or something else. And immediately I heard our neighbor call my mother: ‘Mrs. Regina, come here, come here, come here!’ My mother went out a little afraid: ‘What’s happened?” And the lady from the other side of the garden told her: ‘The war is over!’ and she cried.” Francis then recalled the hug the two women shared, their crying and joy because the war had ended. “May the Lord,” he concluded, “give us the grace to say: ‘War is finished, crying. War is finished in my heart; war is finished in my family; war is finished in my neighborhood; war is finished in my workplace; war is finished in the world.’ In this way shall the dove, rainbow, and Covenant be strengthened.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Special Olympics: be a heartbeat for the world

Vatican News - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 06:43
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday meeting with a delegation from the Special Olympics International in the Vatican, said they were “a sign of hope for all who commit themselves to a more inclusive society.” Listen to Lydia O’Kane's report This March the Special Olympics World Winter Games, takes place in Styria, Austria and on Thursday Pope Francis met a delegation from the Special Olympics International telling them “you will be, as the theme of this year’s event says, a “heartbeat for the world”. In a way, the Pope told those gathered, “at the heart of all sporting activity is joy: the joy of exercising, of being together, of being alive and rejoicing in the gifts the Creator gives us each day. He continued, “the sweetest victory is when we surpass ourselves – we realize what true and well-deserved joy feels like.” Sport, the Holy Fathered noted, “helps us to spread a culture of encounter and solidarity.”  Together, he added, athletes and helpers show us that there are no obstacles or barriers which cannot be overcome.  Pope Francis told the delegation, made up of athletes, organizers and representatives, that they were, “a sign of hope for all who commit themselves to a more inclusive society.  Every life is precious, he said, every person is a gift and inclusion enriches every community and society.” This is your message for the world, the Pope underlined, “for a world without borders, which excludes no one.” The Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 will take place between March 14th and 25th.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope to visit youthful parish

Vatican News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 10:26
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is set to visit a Rome parish which aims to encourage young thespians and is committed to serving the poor. The Holy Father will celebrate Mass on Sunday at the parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesù at Ponte di Nona, a district in the east of Rome. Before Mass, the pope will speak to young people in a newly-launched parish theatre and will also meet Caritas volunteers who distribute food parcels to more than 200 families in the area. The parish, which suffers from high unemployment, consists mainly of young couples with small children and numbers about 20,000 people. Describing the moment he announced the visit to parishioners, pastor Fr Francesco Rondinelli said: “For a few seconds they looked at me dumbfounded - then there was an explosion of joy. “The aspect that most moved me is that everyone, even those who have a small physical ailment, have offered their help to prepare the perfect welcome. “Every parish priest dreams that his community receives a visit from the Holy Father, but I would never have hoped for one. It seemed to me an impossible desire to achieve, let alone a few months since my appointment.” He said that when Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, called him about the visit, “my legs started to shake and I felt the joy difficult to put into words.” Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesù is a newly built church dedicated to Saint Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra, the Spanish foundress of the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus of Charity. She was canonised by Pope Saint John Paul II on October 1, 2000. The first Mass in the Church was celebrated by the then Cardinal Vicar Camillo Ruini on January 27, 2001. In December of that year, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass there and gave the community a precious crucifix, which is today placed on the altar, as well as a statue of the pietà. The parish has a Catechesis programme attended by more than 200 children who also have the use of football and basketball courts. Fr Rondinelli, aged 39, who took up the parish appointment only five months ago, grew up with drama and thinks it is an important part of a teenager’s formation. “I would like, then, to organise courses in theatre for young people and adults to bring in more participants and protagonists. “We have a beautiful theatre, fully equipped, which can accommodate 200 people, but remains unused up until now. " As well as meeting the youth and Caritas volunteers, Pope Francis will also speak to families and the sick of the parish. He will hear four confessions of parishioners. T he visit, beginning at about 4pm, will be the 13th of his pontificate to a parish in the Diocese of Rome. (Richard Marsden) (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation awards announced

Vatican News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 10:05
(Vatican Radio) The Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation on Wednesday announced the three winners of the third edition of the "Society and Economy" award. The International "Society and Economy" Award went to Markus Vogt for his work Prinzip Nachhaltigkeit. Ein Entwurf aus theologisch-ethischer Perspektive . Two new awards were given to journalists, to show the Foundation’s recognition of the importance of journalists in disseminating the Church’s social doctrine. The first of the two journalists is French Father Dominique Greiner whose prize-winning blog "La doctrine social sur le fil ", is published on the "La Croix" website. German radio host Burkhard Schäfers is the second winner, for his radio show "Oswald von Nell-Breuning - Was von der katholischen Soziallehre geblieben ist ". The announcement was made at a press conference featuring Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of München und Freising, and Dr. Domingo Sugranyes Bickel, President of the Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation.   The full text of  their interventions are below   Intervention by Cardinal Reinhard Marx   As chairman of the jury of the International "Society and Economy" award of the Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation, I am happy to communicate at this press conference the names of the three winners of the third edition of the award.             Among more than 57 works submitted from 12 countries and 5 continents and written in 6 different languages, it is my special pleasure to announce that the jury this time, has chosen a German text as winner of the prestigious International Award: Markus Vogt, Prinzip Nachhaltigkeit. Ein Entwurf aus theologisch-ethischer Perspektive , Monaco, oekom in 2013. This third edition of the International Award also includes two new prizes for journalists. These two awards show the Foundation’s recognition of the importance of journalists in disseminating the Church’s social doctrine. The jury chose the following two from among the nominations from seven countries: The first of the two journalists is French Father Dominique Greiner whose prize-winning blog "La doctrine social sur le fil ", is published on the "La Croix" website. Burkhard Schäfers the second prize winner  is German, and received the award for his radio show "Oswald von Nell-Breuning - Was von der katholischen Soziallehre geblieben ist ".             Now a few words about the winners. Markus Vogt, born in 1962 in Freiburg, is married with 3 children. After studying theology and philosophy in Munich and Jerusalem, he worked for some years as an ecology expert for the German government. Then from 1998 to 2007 he was professor of Christian Social Ethics at the Salesian philosophical-theological University in Benediktbeuern. Since 2007 he has been professor of Christian Social Ethics at the University of Munich.             Vogt has been studying sustainability for more than 20 years and can be considered one of the leading experts on this subject, which is also the focus of Pope Francis’s recent Encyclical Laudato si.   His book contains, so to speak, the range of Professor Vogt’s research to date. It was first published in 2009 with a third edition in 2013. This circumstance, quite exceptional for a book on the social doctrine of the Church,  demonstrates the importance of the text.             The principle of sustainability is no stranger to traditional economics. Throughout the centuries there have been principles that take into account the consequences of human action on the environment, for example by regulating the use of woods and forests. Modern technologies however have increased our possibilities and therefore the consequences of our actions on the world with the result that today’s problems have a much broader range requiring a global rethink. Markus Vogt suggests we reconsider the connections between the three essential interdependent facets of human life: the economy, ecology and the social dimension. In the long run, the economy will not flourish without a healthy environment and without resolving the problem of poverty. But this is equally true for the two other dimensions: it will be impossible to safeguard the environment without a functioning economy and without offering everyone the opportunity to develop their gifts while the problem of poverty cannot be tackled with a weak economy and without proper care of the environment.             According to Vogt an example of a society where ecology, economy and social affairs were well coordinated was the Old Testament Jewish society. This was a society where men, respecting certain rules concerning the environment and the poor (for instance the sabbatical year in which the fields were kept fallow and debts were forgiven), were able to extract even from poor soil enough food to avoid famines which recurred elsewhere over several centuries.             We cannot resolve unaided the enormous problems facing today’s world. Vogt rejects the view that would make ecology a new doctrine of salvation. The person, not the environment, is at centre of the Church’s social doctrine and the environment becomes crucial depending on the person’s needs. What is required therefore is a discerning process capable of spelling out the connections between the various issues. Vogt’s book  addresses the issue of sustainability from different ethical, theological, scientific, sociological and even political perspectives. The challenge here is to find new ways of thinking which also for example shoulder responsibility for future generations (the "solidarity" principle) that considers nature as creation, that is a gift, and not merely as the  embodiment of resources to be used for industrial production.             Vogt does not simply present a solution which has dropped from on high. It is true that  politics play a key role in addressing the ecological issue and yet the competences of international institutions must also be strengthened. At the same time, it is not entirely a political problem. Indeed, Vogt underlines the importance of the subsidiarity principle, pointing out that many steps must be taken at local level by the intermediary bodies that form society.             What is the role of the Church in the search for sustainability? Vogt suggests that it accepts sustainability as one of the fundamental principles of its social doctrine alongside  personality, solidarity and subsidiarity. In fact, he considers sustainability a modern-day development of the traditional principle of the common good.             To sum up: reading Vogt’s book is an enriching experience. He does not wish to endorse a unilateral way of thinking, but knows how to take even-handed and unbiased positions in the face of radical attitudes. Nonetheless, he also indicates some concrete ways to improve our world.             The first of the two award winning journalists is Father Dominique Greiner. Born in 1963 in Toul (Meurthe et Moselle). Father Greiner studied economics and theology and teaches moral, social and political theology at the Theological Faculties of the Catholic Institute of Lille and Paris. He is a member of the Assumptionist Order (Augustinians of the Assumption) and editor-in-chief of the "La Croix" newspaper.             Fr. Dominique Greiner’s award-winning blog " La doctrine sociale sur le fil " was started   in 2013 and its speciality is the Church’s social doctrine. It includes more than one hundred articles published in "La Croix" in recent years. The blog articles can be subdivided into six main areas: 1) Ecology and ways of life; 2) The poor and migrants; 3) Economics, market, enterprise and employment; 4) Politics and the common good; 5) War, peace, terrorism and 6) Miscellaneous. The blog uses the Internet to offer those wishing to widen their interest in the Church’s social doctrine, a rich and invaluable tool vis-à-vis “a more just, more fraternal and more supportive society”.             The second award-winning journalist is Burkhard Schäfers who studied political science, communication sciences and European ethnology in Freiburg and Munich. Today he works in Munich as a journalist for public radio (Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur), for various newspapers and some online media. He is director of the Institutzur Förderung publizistischen Nachwuchses ( Institute for the advancement of new generations of publicists ).             The 15-minute award-winning radio show shows the qualities of Oswald von Nell-Breuning (1890-1991), one of the major protagonists of the Church’s twentieth century social doctrine. Von Nell-Breuning was one of the main authors of Pius XI’s 1931 Quadragesimo Anno . During his long life, he recognised the need to start from facts rather than from rules and regulations, in order to understand the social reality. During  Schäfers’s broadcast, several interviewees illustrate the principles of subsidiarity, personality and solidarity. The contribution concludes with some reflections on the relevance of the Church’s social doctrine in today’s Germany.   Intervention by Dr. Domingo Sugranyes Bickel   The annual CAPP international conference will be held at the Vatican on May 18-20, 2017 on the following subject: CONSTRUCTIVE ALTERNATIVES IN AN ERA OF GLOBAL TURMOIL Job Creation and Human Integrity in the Digital Space – Incentives for Solidarity and Civic Virtue             The conference will attract around 250 professionals, business persons, workers’ representatives, politicians, academics and specialists in Catholic Social Teaching. The conference receives reports from several regional meetings and international expert consultations, as well as reports from its local chapters and members in 19 countries. During the last 24 months, the Foundation’s work focused on: Business Initiative in the Fight against Poverty, with contributions presented at its May 2016 international conference at the Vatican and at the CAPP-USA/Fordham University conference held in New York City in September, 2016. A Digital Economy at the Service of the Common Good, with a special focus on the future of work (CAPP Italian conference, held at the headquarters of the ‘La Civiltà Cattolica’ review in November, 2016) and the cultural, organizational and ethical effects of digitization (CAPP/Universidad Pontificia Comillas/BBVA fourth ‘Dublin Process’ expert consultation, Madrid, January 2017) New alliances and ethical dialogue in the search for Inclusive Economic Reforms (May 2016 CAPP International conference at the Vatican).             All the papers are made available for further research and debate on the CAPP website www.centesimusannus.org and through other publications.             These activities aim at complying with the CAPP Foundation’s purpose, as defined by founder St. John Paul II: “to promote informed knowledge of the social teachings of the Church and of the activity of the Holy See among qualified and socially motivated business and professional leaders”. 1 It also tries to take up the challenging message addressed to the Foundation by Pope Francis: “ It is my hope that your conference will contribute to generating new models of economic progress more clearly directed to the universal common good, inclusion and integral development, the creation of labour and investment in human resources.” 2             By adhering to the CAPP Foundation, members commit themselves to acquire knowledge of Catholic social teachings and to broadcast the conclusions reached within the Foundation in their professional circles. They must be Catholic. In addition, the Board has established a group of friends of the CAPP Foundation to allow non-Catholics to collaborate in its work. The Foundation has always tried to maintain rigorous standards in its work, whereby academic and ethical research is confronted with direct management experience. The Board is assisted by an international Scientific Committee and by ecclesiastical counsellors.             The CAPP Foundation has established the biennial international ‘Economy and Society’ Awards. His Eminence Cardinal Marx, Chairman of the Jury, will comment on this years’ award winners.             The CAPP Foundation’s activities are supported by members’ fees and donations. The endowment’s revenue allows the Foundation to make a donation every year to the Holy Father’s charities. The amount given to the Holy Father and to Holy See institutions on his indications add to more than 2 million euro since 2010. Fully audited accounts are available on the Foundation’s website. ________________ 1 Fondazione Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice, by-laws art. 3. 2 Address to the Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation,May 13 th 2016.     (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis praises children's choir for perseverence

Vatican News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 09:47
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday praised a children’s choir singing at his General Audience for persevering in song, even as they were constantly interrupted by applause while performing for the Holy Father. The young singers from the choir ‘Note Ascendenti’ – of the  community of Sant'Eufemia Lamezia in the Italian region of Calabria – began singing when the Pope welcomed them during his greetings to Italian pilgrims. Twice, thinking the children had finished, the Paul VI Audience Hall burst into applause, only for the young singers to start up once again. When the choir finally concluded, the crowd roared its approval. The scene made Pope Francis chuckle, and, speaking off the cuff, he said “When you want to do something, you do it!” “It is like this with prayer,” – the Pope continued – “When we ask something of the Lord: Insist, insist, insist ... is a good example, a good example of prayer! Thank you! I hope that this encounter will inspire in each of us a renewed intention of Christian witness in the family and society.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis invokes Sts. Cyril and Methodius at General Audience

Vatican News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 08:46
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday spoke of “the need to maintain the unity of faith, tradition, Christian culture, and to live the Gospel every day.” He was speaking to pilgrims at his General Audience from Poland, noting Tuesday’s celebration of the liturgical feast of “these two brothers from Thessaloniki brought the Gospel to the Slavic peoples,” Saints Cyril and Methodius, patrons of Europe. “These two brothers from Thessaloniki brought the Gospel to the Slavic peoples,” Pope Francis said. At the end of the Audience, he again invoked the two saints when he gave his final blessing. “Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, evangelizers of the Slavs, and co-patrons of Europe,” Pope Francis said.  “May their example help you, dear young people, to become missionary disciples in every environment; may their tenacity encourage you, dear sick people, to offer your sufferings for the conversion of those in distant places; and may their love for the Lord enlighten you, dear newlyweds, to make the Gospel the guiding principle of your family life.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Press briefing for XVIII Meeting of Cardinal Advisors

Vatican News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 07:17
(Vatican Radio) The Vice-director of the Holy See Press Office, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, gave a briefing on Wednesday on the XVIII Meeting of the Cardinal Advisors with Pope Francis. Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  The Council of Cardinals met together with the Holy Father for three days, Monday through Wednesday, 13-15 February. Pope Francis was not present for the second part of the morning meeting on Monday, on account of the ad limina visit of the Bishops of Costa Rica; he was absent as well on Wednesday morning because of the weekly General Audience. He will, however, be present at the 105 th sitting of the Council set for Wednesday afternoon. On Monday and Tuesday the Cardinals concelebrated Mass with the Pope. Following their first meeting on 13 February, the Cardinals released the following statement through the Holy See Press Office: The Council of Cardinals began its eighteenth session today. At the beginning, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the group, after greeting the Holy Father, thanked him on behalf of all the Members for his words in the Christmas address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2016, acknowledging his encouragement and guidance for the work of the Council. In relation to recent events, the Council of Cardinals pledges its full support for the Pope’s work, assuring him at the same time of its adhesion and loyalty to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium. The working sessions of the Council’s meeting took place each morning from 9:00-12:30, and each afternoon from 16:30-19:00; and were dedicated to further considerations concerning the different Curial Dicasteries. In particular, they continued the discussion on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide); the Congregation for Oriental Churches; and the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. The Cardinals also began their examination of the “Diakonia of Justice,” and thus considerable time was dedicated to the Tribunals: the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura, and the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. During the meetings, the Council also studied the process for the selection of candidates to the Episcopate. Cardinal George Pell reported on his work at the Secretariat for the Economy, entrusted to him, for the full realization of the economic reform requested by the Holy Father, with particular attention to the activity of personal formation and human resources. The Prefect for the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, presented the current state of the reform of the communications of the Holy See, or the unification of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Centre in the dicastery entrusted to him. Meetings have been initiated with the Secretariat of State, the Secretariat for the Economy, APSA, and the Labour Office to accompany this new phase of the reform. Further, the plan for restructuring Vatican Radio frequencies, and the new policies for the world of social networks were presented. Finally, there was a reflection on the project for the beginning of the reform of the Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals will take place 24-26 April 2017. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope meets representatives of indigenous peoples

Vatican News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 06:27
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis met with a group representing indigenous peoples ahead of his Wednesday General Audience , speaking to them about the need to "reconcile the right to development, both social and cultural, with the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories". The representatives are participating in the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum hosted in Rome by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The biennial meeting aims to promote greater economic empowerment of indigenous peoples. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: In his brief address to representatives, Pope Francis discussed two aspects of the economic empowerment of indigenous peoples. He said, “The central issue is how to reconcile the right to development, both social and cultural, with the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories.” This is especially clear, he said, “when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth”. He said confrontation and conflict can be overcome through “prior and informed consent” of indigenous peoples for initiates proposed by governing authorities. The Holy Father said the second aspect “concerns the development of guidelines and projects which take into account indigenous identity”. He called on governments to recognize “that indigenous communities are a part of the population to be appreciated and consulted, and whose full participation should be promoted at the local and national level”. The Pope said IFAD “can contribute effectively to this needed road map through its funding and expertise”. IFAD was established in 1977 as an international financial institution dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. Some 75% of the world's poorest people - 1.4 billion women, children and men - live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods. Please find below the official translation of the Pope’s speech: Dear Friends, I am pleased to welcome you at the conclusion of the third Indigenous Peoples’ Forum convened by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which this year is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of its foundation. You have come together to identify ways of giving greater economic empowerment to indigenous peoples.  I believe that the central issue is how to reconcile the right to development, both social and cultural, with the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories. This is especially clear when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth. In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent should always prevail, as foreseen in Article 32 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Only then is it possible to guarantee peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict. A second aspect concerns the development of guidelines and projects which take into account indigenous identity, with particular attention to young people and women; not only considering them, but including them! For governments this means recognizing that indigenous communities are a part of the population to be appreciated and consulted, and whose full participation should be promoted at the local and national level. IFAD can contribute effectively to this needed road map through its funding and expertise, keeping in mind that “a technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress” ( Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ , 194). I offer you heartfelt thanks for your presence, and I ask the Almighty to bless your communities and to enlighten the work of all those responsible for governing IFAD.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Audience: God's hope does not exclude

Vatican News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 05:50
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis, continuing his catechesis on Christian hope at his Wednesday General Audience, told pilgrims that God’s hope calls us to be "channels of humility and simplicity for all." Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report "The hope that we have been given does not separate us from others, nor does it lead us to discredit or marginalize them.” Those were Pope Francis’ words at his weekly General Audience in the Paul VI Hall on Wednesday as he continued his catechesis on Christian hope, dedicating his audience to the theme “Hope does not disappoint”. The Pope underlined that God does not have favourites and does not exclude anyone, but opens his home to all human beings beginning with the least. Hope, the Holy Father remarked, “is a gift of which we are called to become 'channels', with humility 'and simplicity', for all.” During his catechesis and drawing inspiration from St Paul, Pope Francis said that “as children we were always taught that it is not good to boast. Yet, Saint Paul surprises us by twice telling us to boast.” This Saint, continued the Holy Father, tells us “to boast of the abundant grace we receive in Jesus Christ” through the gifts of faith and love.  When we do this, the Pope observed, “we know God’s peace, which flows into our lives and relationships.” According to St Paul, Pope Francis said, afflictions too can be something to boost about. For God’s peace is not the absence of fears, disappointments, or suffering, he explained,  “ but rather, it reminds us that God loves us and is always with us.”  In remarks to Polish pilgrims on Wednesday, the Pope also recalled, Patrons of Europe, Saints Cyril and Methodius. Even today, he said, “ they remind Europe, and all of us, of the need to maintain the unity of faith, tradition, Christian culture and to live the Gospel each day.”   (from Vatican Radio)...
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AB Gallagher makes visit to Czech Republic

Vatican News - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 04:29
(Vatican Radio)  Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, has returned from a visit to Prague in the Czech Republic (9-11 February) upon the invitation of the Czech Foreign Minister, Lubomír Zaorálek. During the visit, Archbishop Gallagher met with several civil authorities and bishops. He met with Czech Foreign Minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, on 10 February. An article in the Osservatore Romano said their meeting was cordial, touching on topics including the ‘good relations between the Holy See and the Czech Republic, the role of the Catholic Church in Czech society, where it is particularly involved in charitable, educational, and healthcare activities, as well as the latest developments in the hoped for Bilateral Accord’. Regarding international concerns, the two foreign ministers discussed the ‘prospects for the future of the European Union, migratory flows, terrorism, conflicts in the Middle East, and development on the African continent’. Finally, Mr. Zaorálek renewed the invitation – already extended by Czech President Miloš Zeman – for Pope Francis to make an Apostolic Journey to the Czech Republic. Archbishop Gallagher subsequently met with the Culture Minister Daniel Herman and Ambassador Štefan Füle. He also met several representatives of the Czech hierarchy, including Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, and the Archbishop of Olomouc, Jan Graubner. During the meetings, they spoke about the various pastoral challenges in the country, such as the ‘welcoming of migrants, the future of the European project, and the worrying situation of Christians in some areas of the Middle East’. (from Vatican Radio)...
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'Amoris Laetitia' Chap. 8 explained by Cardinal Coccopalmiero

Vatican News - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 10:25
(Vatican Radio) A newly published book dedicated to Chapter 8 of Pope Francis’ s Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” was presented on Tuesday in the Vatican. Written by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio , President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the 30-page booklet, is published by LEV, the Vatican publishing house. Presenting the book, Father Maurizio Gronchi , theologian, professor at Rome’s Pontifical Urbaniana University and consultant at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and veteran journalist Orazio La Rocca , expert in Vatican affairs. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : La Rocca explained the publication aims to provide clear and simple guidelines for all readers who are interested in better understanding the Apostolic Exhortation’s chapter dedicated to the Church’s ministry of those who find themselves living outside the traditional boundaries of marriage. “I had asked myself whether the doubts that had been raised regarding a possible violation of the Church’s doctrine could be founded; after reading this book it is clear that this is not so” he said. La Rocca pointed out that Chapter 8 offers us a new perspective on how the Church views society that changes, and that it is imbued in the Pope’s call for mercy and his appeal to reach out to those who are most wounded, most excluded, most in need of God’s message of love and salvation. He recalled some of the points of the original Papal document saying that Saint Pope John Paul II proposed the so-called “law of gradualness” in the knowledge that the human being “knows, loves and accomplishes moral good by different stages of growth”. La Rocca highlighted the document’s admonition to men of the Church not to condemn anyone forever, but to consider a pastoral approach towards people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or simply living together  but who are seeking to have their situation transformed into the full reality of marriage and family in conformity with the Gospel. And he quoted the Pope’s words “never to forget that the Church’s task is often like that of a field hospital”. All this, he said, is part of Pope Francis’ reiterated call to enter into dialogue with the other and to enter into other people’s lives with the power of tenderness. Coccopalmiero does this, La Rocca said, using a simple and direct language which is accessible to all, “so much so, he continued, I will personally give copies of it to two ‘good Catholic’ friends of mine who are suffering the consequences of “irregular” situations but would like to feel more included in the life of the Church.       Father Gronchi observed that the backbone of Cardinal Coccopalmiero’s book is provided by excerpts from the Apostolic Exhortation itself that have been selected, introduced and eventually elaborated upon by the author himself.  He pointed out that Coccopalmiero, who is a top Vatican canonist, has used a pastoral approach in the writing of this book, effectively breaking down any barriers that may exist between doctrine and pastoral ministry.   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Holy See: Protect civilians from terrorist attacks

Vatican News - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 06:10
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, on Monday said “it is the obligation of the international community, in accord with the U.N. Charter, to protect civilians and their critical infrastructure from the brutality and barbarity of terrorist groups.” The Vatican diplomat was speaking during a debate on Protection of Critical Infrastructure against Terrorist Attacks. “This common goal will be achieved most quickly and effectively through an unselfish sharing of critical information and best practices, of resources and technologies among States, in particular with those States least capable of protecting their critical infrastructure and populations from terrorist attacks,” Archbishop Auza said. The full text of Archbishop Auza's intervention is below   Intervention of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Protection of Critical Infrastructure against Terrorist Attacks New York, 13 February 2017   Mr. President, The open-ended litany of terrorist attacks in cities and villages continues to remind us of the threat of terrorist attacks to civilian infrastructure and thus to civilians populations. This wave of terror, which considers innocent civilians as legitimate targets of violence either directly or indirectly through the destruction of the civil infrastructure on which they depend, must be counteracted by the actions of a unified International Community. Recent conflicts in the area of ancient Mesopotamia have had a devastating impact on ancient ethnic, religious and cultural minorities that for millennia have inhabited the region. Parties to these conflicts have purposefully sought to destroy the cultural fabric and the historical rootedness of these communities in the region by destroying their religious and cultural heritage sites. The intentional destruction of the infrastructure critical to the survival of these communities — such as schools, hospitals, water supplies and places of worship — has become a strategy to annihilate them collectively, immiserating and eradicating them by attacking the structures that give them a modicum of communal existence. It is the obligation of the international community, in accord with the U.N. Charter, to protect civilians and their critical infrastructure from the brutality and barbarity of terrorist groups. Part of this obligation is to heighten public awareness of this terrorist tactic and to urge States to maintain a high level of critical infrastructure protection and resilience, as well as public preparedness in case of an attack, to prevent as much as possible the disruption of critical services and the loss of human life. More effective and lasting measures to protect critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks must therefore be based on policies that reject the unfettered pursuit of profit and narrow geopolitical interests, even at the cost of the destruction of critical civil infrastructure. In this regard, my delegation wishes to reiterate the Holy See’s appeal to weapon-producing nations severely to limit and control the manufacture and sale of weapons, ammunitions and technologies to unstable countries and regions of the world where the likelihood of their illegal use or their falling into the hands of non-State actors remains a real and present danger. The International Community must also address the role of organized crime in the sale or barter of weapons capable of destroying critical infrastructure. States should be urged to collaborate in this area at both the international and regional levels through the sharing of information and best practices, coordinated policies and joint border controls. The world must act to prevent terrorists from having access to financial support by terror sponsors. The borderless nature of the terrorist groups perpetrating the destruction of critical infrastructure requires the international community to control cyber technologies that violent groups use to recruit new adherents, finance their activities and coordinate terror attacks. Mr. President, Pope Francis has spoken on a number of occasions of our age as a time of war, namely, “a third world war that is being fought piecemeal, one in which we daily witness savage crimes, brutal massacres and senseless destruction,”1 like the destruction of infrastructures critical to the existence of entire populations. The International Community must come together as one to put an end to this “war fought piecemeal.” This unity is necessary if the International Community is going to achieve the shared objective of protecting critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks. This common goal will be achieved most quickly and effectively through an unselfish sharing of critical information and best practices, of resources and technologies among States, in particular with those States least capable of protecting their critical infrastructure and populations from terrorist attacks. Thank you, Mr. President. 1 Pope Francis. Visit to the Military Memorial of Redipuglia (Italy) on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, 13 September 2014. Also Pope Francis, Homily on the Divine Mercy Sunday, Rome, 2015. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: Preach Gospel with courage, prayer, and humility

Vatican News - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 06:08
(Vatican Radio) Courage prayer, and humility: these are the traits that distinguish the great “heralds” who have helped the Church to grow in the world, who have contributed to its missionary character. Pope Francis was speaking at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, taking his inspiration from the Liturgy and from the example of Sts Cyril and Methodius, the patrons of Europe, who are honoured today. Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  Cyril and Methodius have made Europe stronger There is need of “sowers of the Word,” of “missionaries, of true heralds to form the people of God, like Cyril and Methodius, “good heralds,” intrepid brothers and witnesses of God, patrons of Europe who have made Europe stronger. Pope Francis began his homily with these reflections, and then looked at three personality traits of an “envoy” who proclaims the Word of God. He spoke of the day’s first Reading, with the figures of Paul and Barnabas; and of the Gospel from St Luke, with the seventy-two disciples sent out two-by-two by the Lord. The Word of God is not a suggestion; courage is necessary in order for it to sink in The first trait of the “envoy” highlighted by Pope Francis is “ frankness ,” which includes “strength and courage.” “The Word of God cannot be given as a proposal – ‘well, if you like it…’ – or like good philosophical or moral idea – ‘well, you can live this way…’ No! It’s something else. It needs to be proposed with this frankness, with this force, so that the Word penetrates, as Paul says, ‘to the bone.’ The Word of God must be proclaimed with this frankness, with this force… with courage. The person who doesn't have courage – spiritual courage, courage of heart, who is not enamoured of Jesus, and from there comes courage! – No, you will say, yes, something interesting, something moral, something that will do you good, a good philanthropy, but this is not the Word of God. And this is incapable, this word, of forming the people of God. Only the Word of God proclaimed with this frankness, with this courage, is capable of forming the people of God.” Without prayer the Word of God becomes a conference From the Gospel of St Luke, Pope Francis takes two other traits proper to a “herald” of the Word of God. The day’s Gospel is “a little strange” the Pope said, because it is rich in elements concerning the proclamation. “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. So ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest,” the Pope said, repeating the words of Christ. The second trait, then, after the courage of missionaries, is “ prayer .” “The Word of God should be proclaimed with prayer, also. Always. Without prayer, you could have a good conference, good instruction: good, good! But it is not the Word of God. The Word of God can only come from a heart in prayer. Prayer, so that the Lord might accompany this sowing of the Word, so that the Lord might water the seed so that the Word will sprout. The Word of God should be proclaimed with prayer: the prayer of the one who proclaims the Word of God.” The true preacher is humble, otherwise things end badly In the Gospel there is also a third interesting trait: The Lord sends His disciples “ like lambs amid wolves ”: “The true preacher is the one who knows he is weak, who knows that he cannot defend himself. ‘You are going out like a lamb among wolves’ – ‘But Lord, why would they eat me?’ – ‘You are going! This is the journey.’ And I think it was Chrysostom who has a very profound reflection, when he says: ‘But if you do not go like sheep, but you go like a wolf among wolves, the Lord, will not defend you: you’ll have to fend for yourself.’ When the preacher believes he is too intelligent, or when the one who is responsible for carrying forward the Word of God tries to be clever – ‘Ah, I can get along with these people’ – just so, it will end badly. Or you will bargain away the Word of God: to the powerful, to the proud…” And to emphasize the humility of the great heralds, Pope Francis recalled a story told to him by someone “who boasted of preaching the Word of God well, and who felt he was a wolf. ” After a good sermon, the Pope said, “he went to the confessional, and found there a ‘great fish,’ a great sinner, and he wept,… he wanted to ask for forgiveness.” And “this confessor,” the Pope continued, “began to swell up with pride” and “curiosity” and asked him which word had touched him so much “that he was moved to repent.” “It was when you said,” the Pope concluded, “let’s move on to another topic.” “I don’t know if it’s true,” the Pope clarified, but it certainly is true that you will finish badly if carry the Gospel “feeling sure of yourself, and not like a lamb, whom the Lord will defend. Going forth courageously, with prayer and humility, like Cyril and Methodius And so, the Pope concluded, this is the missionary character of the Church and of the great heralds, “who have planted and have helped the Church to grow in the world. They were courageous, men of prayer, and humble.” He concluded his homily with the prayer: May Sts Cyril and Methodius, help us “to proclaim the Word of God” according to these criteria, as they did.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope writes preface to book by victim of clerical sex abuse

Vatican News - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 08:44
(Vatican Radio) “How can a priest, at the service of Christ and of His Church, come to cause such evil? How can one who has consecrated his life to leading the little ones to God, end up instead devouring them in what I have called a ‘diabolic sacrifice,’ which destroys both the victims and the life of the Church?” Pope Francis has once again spoken out strongly against the evil of sex abuse perpetrated by clergy and religious. His words come in the preface to a book by a victim of clerical sexual abuse, Daniel Pettit, today a husband and father of six children. In his preface, the Holy Father describes meeting Mr Pettit at the Vatican during the Year of Consecrated Life. “I couldn’t imagine that this man, enthusiastic and passionate about Christ, was a victim of abuse by a priest,” the Pope writes. “And yet this is what he told me, and his suffering struck me deeply. I saw once more the fearful damage caused by sexual abuse, and the long and painful journey that awaits the victims.” In particular, Pope Francis notes that some victims have even taken their own lives. “These deaths weigh on my heart, on my conscience, and on that of the whole Church,” he says. “To their families I offer my sentiments of love and of sorrow, and I humbly ask forgiveness.” Pettit’s witness, the Pope says, deals with “an absolute monstrosity, a horrendous sin, radically contrary to all that Christ teaches us.” Pope Francis recalls the Church’s duty to care for and protect the weakest and the most defenceless; and the duty to show proof of “extreme severity towards priests who betray their mission, and towards their hierarchy, Bishops or Cardinals, who protect them.” And yet despite the sufferings Pettit has undergone, the Pope says, “he has come to see another face of the Church,” which has “allowed him not to lose hope in men and in God. The Pope note that Pettit has met with his “tormentor” – the priest who abused him – has taken his hand, and has forgiven him. He quotes Pettit’s words, “Many people can’t understand that I don’t hate him. I have forgiven him, and I have built my life on that forgiveness.” Finally, Pope Francis thanks Pettit for his witness, “because testimonies such as his break down the walls of silence that stifled the scandals and the sufferings, and shed light on a terrible area of shadows in the life of the Church,” as well has helping pedophiles “become aware of the terrible consequences of their actions.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: the lack of brotherhood leads to war and bloodshed

Vatican News - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 07:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday spoke of the importance of the bond of brotherhood and of how easy it is for petty jealousies and envy to damage that bond and set off a process that can lead to the destruction of families and peoples. The Pope was speaking during the homily at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta , a Mass that he offered to Father Adolfo Nicolás, the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus who is preparing to continue in his mission in Asia.    Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Brotherhood is destroyed by small things Reflecting on the first reading of the day which speaks of Cain and Abel, Pope Francis said that in this reading from Genesis, for the first time in Bible we hear the word ‘brother’ and we listen to a “story of brotherhood that should grow and be beautiful, but ends up destroyed”. “A story which begins ‘with a little jealousy’: Cain is irritated because his sacrifice does not please the Lord and he begins to cultivate a feeling of resentment, a feeling he could control but does not” he said. The Pope said Cain chose to harbor this sentiment and let it grow.  The sin he will then commit is crouching within this sentiment. This, he continued, is how enmity between us begins with a tiny spark of jealousy or envy, and ends up growing so much that we see life only from that point of view: “the speck of sawdust becomes a plank in our eye, our life revolves around it and it ends up destroying the bond of brotherhood; it destroys fraternity.” Resentment is not Christian Gradually, the Pope said, one becomes “obsessed, persecuted” by that evil that grows and grows. He said that this leads one to detach oneself from one’s brother turning him into an enemy who must be destroyed. “This enmity, he continued, ends up destroying families, peoples, everything!”    “This is what happened to Cain who ended up killing his brother” he said pointing out that this process must be stopped immediately, at the very first sign of bitterness and resentment. “Bitterness is not Christian. Pain is, but not bitterness. Resentment is not a Christian” he said. The blood of many people cries out to God from the soil Taking note of the fact at the Mass at Santa Marta on Monday there were some newly appointed parish priests, Pope Francis urged them to be aware that “even within our episcopal colleagues” there are small cracks and rifts that can lead to the destruction of brotherhood. When God, he said, asks Cain: “Where is your brother Abel? Cain's answer is ironic: I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” Yes, the Pope said: you are your brother's keeper. And the Lord then said: “your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil!” Each of us - the Pope explained - can say we have never killed anyone, but anyone who has a bad sentiment towards his brother has killed him: “if you insult your brother, you have killed him in your heart”. And turning his thoughts to those who find themselves under the bombs of war or who are driven from their homes as “they are not brothers” he said the process of killing starts from something small. “How many powerful people of the world can say: I'm interested in this area, I'm interested in this piece of land… if a bomb falls and kills 200 children it is not my fault, it’s the fault of the bomb. I'm just interested in the land…” he said. It all begins, Pope Francis said, with that feeling that makes you break away, not recognizing your brother, and it ends in a war that kills. This, he said, is the process of bloodshed, and the blood of so many people in the world today cries out to God from the soil. The Pope concluded his homily asking the Lord to help us to repeat His words: “Where is your brother?” and to think of those who “we destroy with our tongues” and of those who “in the world are treated as things and not as brothers, because a piece of land is more important than the bond of brotherhood”.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis at Angelus: meditation on fulfilment of the Law

Vatican News - Sun, 02/12/2017 - 09:14
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered a meditation on the Gospel reading for this Sunday, taken from the 5 th chapter of Gospel according to St. Matthew, in which Our Lord says: Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Reflecting on the passage, Pope Francis said: Today's liturgy presents us with another page of the Sermon on the Mount, which we find in the Gospel of Matthew (cf. 5:17-37). In this passage, Jesus wants to help his listeners to achieve a reinterpretation of the Mosaic law. What was said in the Old Covenant was true, but it was not all: Jesus came to fulfill and to enact definitively the law of God, down to the last iota (cf. Mt. 5:18). He manifests the Law’s original purposes and He fulfills its authentic aspects – and He does all this by His preaching and even more by offering Himself on the Cross. So, Jesus teaches how to do the will of God fully – and  He uses this expression: with a “justice superior” to that of the scribes and Pharisees (cf. Mt. 5: 20) – a justice animated  by love, charity, mercy, and therefore capable of realizing the substance of the commandments, avoiding the risk of formalism. “Formalism,” continued Pope Francis, departing from his prepared text. “This I can do, that I cannot: up to here I can, up to here, I cannot.” “No,” said Pope Francis, “more, more.” The second moment of Pope Francis’ reflection concerned the second part of the Gospel reading – again from the 5 th Chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel, in which Jesus says to His disciples: You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife -  unless the marriage is unlawful - causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your 'Yes' mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one. Pope Francis continued his reflection, saying: In particular, in [this Sunday’s] Gospel, Jesus examines three aspects, three commandments: murder, adultery and oath-swearing. With regard to the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” He affirms that it is violated not only by actual homicide, but also by those behaviors, which offend the dignity of the human person, including insulting words (cf. Mt. 5:22). Certainly, these injurious words do not have the same gravity and sinfulness of killing, but they are placed on the same line, because they are the premises of the more serious acts and they reveal the same malevolence. Jesus invites us not to establish a schedule [It. graduatoria] of offenses, but to consider them all harmful, insofar as they are all moved by the intention to do harm to one’s neighbor. “Jesus gives the example,” Pope Francis went on to say, once again departing from his prepared text. “Insulting: we are used to insulting, it is like saying, ‘Good morning.’ And that is on the same line as killing. Anyone who insults his brother kills his brother in his heart. Please, do not insult! We earn nothing by doing so.” Pope Francis then returned to his prepared text, and continued with his reflection: Another fulfillment is made to marriage law. Adultery was considered a violation of a man’s property right over [his] woman. Jesus, however, goes to the root of the evil. Just as one comes to murder through injuries, offenses, and insults, so one comes to adultery through intentions of possession with respect to a woman other than one’s wife. Adultery, like theft, corruption and all other sins, are first conceived in our hearts and, once the wrong choice is made in the heart, they are actuated in concrete behavior. And Jesus says: Again departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis continued, “He who looks with a possessing spirit at a woman who is not his own is an adulterer in his heart, he has begun to go down the road to adultery. Let us think a little on this: on the bad thoughts that are in this line.” The Holy Father then turned his attention to the swearing of oaths: Jesus then tells his disciples not to swear oaths, because the oath is a sign of insecurity and duplicity with which human relations are conducted. Oath-swearing exploits the authority of God to give assurance to our human affairs. Rather we are called to establish among ourselves, in our families and in our communities, a climate of clarity and mutual trust, so that we can be considered honest without resorting to higher interventions in order to be believed. Mistrust and mutual suspicion always threaten serenity! Before leading the faithful in the Angelus , Pope Francis prayed that Our Lady – a woman of docile listening and obedience – might help us all to pause and spend more time with the Gospel, that we might be Christians not merely in appearance but in substance. “This,” said Francis, “is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit, who permits us to do everything with love, and so to fulfil the will of God.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis: Message for World Day of the Sick

Vatican News - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 10:22
(Vatican Radio) The World Day of the Sick, established by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1993, is celebrated each year on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February. This year marks the 25 th annual commemoration of the day. The theme chosen for World Day of the Sick 2017 is “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me’.” In his message for the Day, Pope Francis said, “This celebration likewise gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast and the marginalized” – echoing the words of St John Paul. Pope Francis also focused on the Marian aspect of the commemoration, saying, “I encourage all of you, the sick, the suffering, physicians, nurses, family members and volunteers, to see in Mary,  Health of the Infirm , the sure sign of God’s love for every human being and a model of surrender to his will.” The Holy Father noted the role of the Blessed Mother in assisting the Church in her work of aiding the sick. “The gaze of Mary,  Comfort of the Afflicted ,” he said, “brightens the face of the Church in her daily commitment to the suffering and those in need.” The full text of the Pope’s Message for World Day of the Sick 2017 can be read below: MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE TWENTY-FIFTH WORLD DAY OF THE SICK 2017   Amazement at what God has accomplished: “The Almighty has done great things for me…” (Lk 1:49) Dear Brothers and Sisters, On 11 February next, the Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick will be celebrated throughout the Church and in a special way at Lourdes. The theme of this year’s celebration is “ Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me….’”  ( Lk  1:49). Instituted by my predecessor Saint John Paul II in 1992, and first celebrated at Lourdes on 11 February 1993, this Day is an opportunity to reflect in particular on the needs of the sick and, more generally, of all those who suffer. It is also an occasion for those who generously assist the sick, beginning with family members, health workers and volunteers, to give thanks for their God-given vocation of accompanying our infirm brothers and sisters. This celebration likewise gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast and the marginalized (cf. John Paul II, Motu Proprio  Dolentium Hominum ,  11 February 1985, 1). Surely, the moments of prayer, the Eucharistic liturgies and the celebrations of the Anointing of the Sick, the sharing with the sick and the bioethical and theological-pastoral workshops to be held in Lourdes in those days will make new and significant contributions to that service. Even now, I am spiritually present at the grotto of Massabielle, before the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, in whom  the Almighty has done great things  for the redemption of mankind. I express my closeness to all of you, our suffering brothers and sisters, and to your families, as well as my appreciation for all those in different roles of service and in healthcare institutions throughout the world who work with professionalism, responsibility and dedication for your care, treatment and daily well-being. I encourage all of you, the sick, the suffering, physicians, nurses, family members and volunteers, to see in Mary,  Health of the Infirm , the sure sign of God’s love for every human being and a model of surrender to his will. May you always find in faith, nourished by the Word and by the Sacraments, the strength needed to love God, even in the experience of illness. Like Saint Bernadette, we stand beneath the watchful gaze of Mary. The humble maiden of Lourdes tells us that the Virgin, whom she called “the Lovely Lady”, looked at her as one person looks at another. Those simple words describe the fullness of a relationship. Bernadette, poor, illiterate and ill, felt that Mary was looking at her as a person. The Lovely Lady spoke to her with great respect and without condescension. This reminds us that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such. The sick and the those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life. They never become simply objects. If at times they appear merely passive, in reality that is never the case. After her visit to the Grotto, thanks to her prayer, Bernadette turned her frailty into support for others. Thanks to her love, she was able to enrich her neighbours and, above all, to offer her life for the salvation of humanity. The fact that the Lovely Lady asked her to pray for sinners reminds us that the infirm and the suffering desire not only to be healed, but also to live a truly Christian life, even to the point of offering it as authentic missionary disciples of Christ. Mary gave Bernadette the vocation of serving the sick and called her to become a Sister of Charity, a mission that she carried out in so exemplary a way as to become a model for every healthcare worker. Let us ask Mary Immaculate for the grace always to relate to the sick as persons who certainly need assistance, at times even for the simplest of things, but who have a gift of their own to share with others. The gaze of Mary,  Comfort of the Afflicted , brightens the face of the Church in her daily commitment to the suffering and those in need. The precious fruits of this solicitude for the world of suffering and sickness are a reason for gratitude to the Lord Jesus, who out of obedience to the will of the Father became one of us, even enduring death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. The solidarity shown by Christ, the Son of God born of Mary, is the expression of God’s merciful omnipotence, which is made manifest in our life – above all when that life is frail, pain-filled, humbled, marginalized and suffering – and fills it with the power of hope that can sustain us and enable us to get up again. This great wealth of humanity and faith must not be dissipated. Instead, it should inspire us to speak openly of our human weaknesses and to address the challenges of present-day healthcare and technology. On this World Day of the Sick, may we find new incentive to work for the growth of a culture of respect for life, health and the environment. May this Day also inspire renewed efforts to defend the integrity and dignity of persons, not least through a correct approach to bioethical issues, the protection of the vulnerable and the protection of the environment. On this Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick, I once more offer my prayerful support and encouragement to physicians, nurses, volunteers and all those consecrated men and women committed to serving the sick and those in need. I also embrace the ecclesial and civil institutions working to this end, and the families who take loving care of their sick. I pray that all may be ever joyous signs of the presence of God’s love and imitate the luminous testimony of so many friends of God, including Saint John of God and Saint Camillus de’ Lellis, the patrons of hospitals and healthcare workers, and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of God’s love. Dear brothers and sisters – the sick, healthcare workers and volunteers – I ask you to join me in praying to Mary. May her maternal intercession sustain and accompany our faith, and obtain for us from Christ her Son hope along our journey of healing and of health, a sense of fraternity and responsibility, a commitment to integral human development and the joy of feeling gratitude whenever God amazes us by his fidelity and his mercy. Mary, our Mother, in Christ you welcome each of us as a son or daughter. Sustain the trusting expectation of our hearts, succour us in our infirmities and sufferings, and guide us to Christ, your Son and our brother. Help us to entrust ourselves to the Father who accomplishes great things. With the assurance of a constant remembrance in my prayers, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing. 8 December 2016, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Francis   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope appoints Special Envoy to Medjugorje

Vatican News - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 08:28
(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, Pope Francis named Archbishop Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., the Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, as a Special Envoy of the Holy See to Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The scope of his mission, according to the press release announcing the appointment, is “to acquire a profound understanding of the pastoral situation” in Medjugorje, with special concern for the “needs of the faithful who come on pilgrimage;” and on the basis of that understanding “to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future.” His mission, therefore, “will have an exclusively pastoral character.” Responding to questions from journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke said, “The Special Envoy of the Holy See will not enter into the question of the Marian apparitions, which are the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Archbishop Hoser’s mission, he said, “is a sign of Holy Father’s concern for the pilgrims. It’s purpose is not inquisitive, but strictly pastoral.” Burke said, “The Special Envoy of the Holy See will be in contact with the diocesan Bishop; the Franciscans, to whom the parish of Medjugorje is entrusted; and with the faithful” of Medjugorje. Archbishop Hoser, who will continue to exercise the office of Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, is expected to complete his mission by summer.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis speaks of ‘light and shadow’ in healthcare sector

Vatican News - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 06:57
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Friday spoke about the situations of “light and shadow” in the healthcare sector, thanking God for the “many healthcare professionals who live their work like a mission, with knowledge and conscience”. The Holy Father’s words came in an address to the participants in a meeting promoted by the Charity and Health Commission of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) organized for the occasion of the 25th World Day for the Sick (11 February). Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: Pope Francis told the group of Italian healthcare professionals that there have been many social and cultural changes in the years since Pope St. John Paul II instituted the World Day of the Sick in 1992. He said that today we see “a situation with lights and shadows”. Regarding the “lights” in the field of healthcare, the Holy Father said, “Scientific research has certainly advanced and we are grateful for the precious results obtained for curing, if not defeating, some pathologies.” He praised God for the missionary zeal of healthcare professionals who “are participants in the effusive love of the Creator God; with their hands they daily touch the suffering flesh of Christ”. He also expressed his joy for the numerous volunteers who seek “to relieve and humanize the long and difficult days of many sick and elderly people”. Pope Francis went on to speak about the “shadows” in healthcare, which “risk endangering the experience of our sick brothers and sisters”. “If there is a sector in which the throwaway culture makes most visible its painful consequences, it is exactly that of healthcare. When a sick person is not placed at the center and considered in their dignity, attitudes arise which can even lead to profiteering on other people’s misfortunes.” The Pope made reference to his Message for the 25th World Day for the Sick , saying “In the first place is the inalienable dignity of every human person from the moment of conception until their last breath.” He said monetary concerns should neither dictate political and administrative decisions, nor the selection of those who manage sanitary structures. Pope Francis exhorted healthcare workers to “never hesitate even to rethink their works of charity in order to offer a sign of the mercy of God to the poorest who, in trust and hope, knock on the doors of your structures.” Finally, the Pope said, “Sick people are precious members of the Church.” “May they be strong in their weakness, ‘and receive the grace to fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church.’” Those sufferings, he said, “are forever transfigured by love.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

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