Vatican News

Vatican to Security Council: enforce Ukraine ceasefire

Vatican News - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 06:10
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Tuesday said “all necessary steps should be taken to enforce the ceasefire and to implement the measures agreed upon” in Ukraine. The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, was speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council. “Concerning the conflict in Ukraine, which continues to cause grave concern since it began in 2014, the Holy See underscores once again that all necessary steps should be taken to enforce the ceasefire and to implement the measures agreed upon,” – Archbishop Auza said – “These efforts should be accompanied by the sincere commitment of all involved parties to respecting all fundamental human rights and restoring stability at the national and international levels, not least by respecting international legality with regard to Ukraine’s territory and borders” The Vatican diplomat added that by “committing itself to offering direct humanitarian assistance to the population of the affected areas, the Holy See stresses the need to protect the civilians and the urgency of making every possible effort to avoid the continuation of this unresolved conflict and to find a political solution through dialogue and negotiation.” The full text of the statement 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 Maintenance of international peace and security: Conflicts in Europe New York, 21 February 2017 Mr. President, With this intervention, the Holy See intends to reiterate its closeness to and solidarity with all peoples afflicted by conflicts and aggressions of any kind, including the so-called hybrid wars and frozen situations. The Holy See holds that any initiative in maintaining international peace and security should necessarily be inspired and driven by humanitarian considerations, namely the preservation of human life, the assuring of adequate living conditions and the alleviation of suffering. At the same time, it is the obligation of States to refrain from actions that destabilize neighbouring countries and work together to create the necessary conditions for peace and reconciliation. Concerning the conflict in Ukraine, which continues to cause grave concern since it began in 2014, the Holy See underscores once again that all necessary steps should be taken to enforce the ceasefire and to implement the measures agreed upon. These efforts should be accompanied by the sincere commitment of all involved parties to respecting all fundamental human rights and restoring stability at the national and international levels, not least by respecting international legality with regard to Ukraine’s territory and borders (cf. Statement of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See, Human Rights Council 28 th Session, 26 March 2015). By committing itself to offering direct humanitarian assistance to the population of the affected areas, the Holy See stresses the need to protect the civilians and the urgency of making every possible effort to avoid the continuation of this unresolved conflict and to find a political solution through dialogue and negotiation. In this regard, the Holy See continues to welcome the efforts made by the UN, the OSCE and other relevant organizations to promote peace throughout Europe, including in Ukraine. Thank you, Mr. President. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at Mass: ‘Holy shame overcomes temptation of ambition’

Vatican News - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 08:16
(Vatican Radio) “May the Lord give us the grace of ‘holy shame’ before the temptation of ambition.” That was Pope Francis’ message at daily Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, saying that the one who wants to be the first must be last and the servant of all. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: Pope Francis began his homily at daily Mass noting that “We will all be tempted.” He drew inspiration from the First Reading, which recalls that whoever wishes to serve the Lord must prepare for temptations, and the Gospel reading, in which Jesus tells his disciples of his impending death. Temptation of ambition The disciples do not understand why Jesus has told them of his coming death but are too afraid to ask what he means. This, the Pope said, is “the temptation to not complete the mission”. He said even Jesus suffered this temptation. The day’s Gospel also mentioned another temptation, that of ambition. The disciples argue along the way about who among them was the greatest, but remain silent when Jesus asks them what they are discussing. The Holy Father said they do not respond because they are ashamed of their words: “These were good people, who wanted to follow and serve the Lord. But they did not realize that the path of service to the Lord was not an easy one. It wasn’t like becoming part of a group, some charitable group doing good: No, it was something else. They were afraid of this. It happened, happens, and will happen. Let us think about infighting in a parish: ‘I want to be the president of this association, in order to climb the ladder. Who is the greatest here? Who is the greatest in this parish? No, I am the most important here; not that person there because he did something…’ And that is the chain of sin.” Pope Francis also gave other examples of this temptation which brings one to “speak poorly of another” and to “climb the ladder”. “Sometimes we priests say ashamedly within our presbyteries: ‘I want that parish… But the Lord is here… But I want that one…’ It is the same. It isn’t the way of the Lord but the path of vanity, of worldliness. The same occurs even among us bishops: worldliness comes as a temptation. Many times [it is said]: ‘I am in this diocese but look at how important that one is’ and I try to influence someone, or put pressure, to get somewhere…” Therefore, Pope Francis exhorted his audience to always ask the Lord for “the grace to be ashamed when we find ourselves in these situations”. Holy shame against the temptation to worldliness: ‘We are unworthy servants’ Jesus, he said, overturns this logic. Sitting among his disciples he reminds them that “if someone wishes to be first, they shall be last and the servant of all”. Jesus then takes a child and places it in their midst, telling them “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” The Pope asked his audience to pray for the Church, “for all of us” so that the Lord may defend us “from ambitions and from the worldliness of wishing to be greater than others”. “May the Lord give us the grace of shame, of holy shame, when we find ourselves in that situation of temptation and to be ashamed: ‘But am I able to think such a thing? When I see my Lord on the cross and I would want to use the Lord to climb the ladder? And may God give us the grace of the simplicity of a child. I imagine a final question: ‘Lord, I have served you all my life. I have been the last all my life. And now what? What does the Lord say? Tell yourself: ‘I am an unworthy servant.’” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis: 'the protection of migrants is a moral duty'

Vatican News - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 07:08
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday said the challenges of migration and the promotion of peace cannot be tackled without development and integration. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Speaking to participants of an International Forum on Migration and Peace taking place in Rome, whom he received in the Vatican , the Pope said the political community, civil society and the Church must offer a shared response to the complexities of the phenomenon of migration today . “Our shared response, he said,  may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate ”. He also drew attention to particularly vulnerable group of migrants, exiles and refugees:  “children and young people who are forced to live far from their homeland and who are separated from their loved ones”.   The two-day High-Level International Forum  is organized by the new Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development in collaboration with the Scalabrini International Migration Network. It aims to stimulate a high-level dialogue on the root causes of migration and  to elaborate and propose the best solutions for an ethical approach on the international management of migration as well as the integration of migrants in hosting communities, and to concretely influence migration policies and practices. Please find below the full text of the Pope’s address to the Forum: Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,     I extend to you my cordial greeting, with deep appreciation for your invaluable work.  I thank Archbishop Tomasi for his kind words, as well as Doctor Pöttering for his address.  I am also grateful for the three testimonies which reflect in a tangible way the theme of this Forum: “Integration and Development: From Reaction to Action”.  In effect, it is not possible to view the present challenges of contemporary migratory movement and of the promotion of peace, without including the twofold term “development and integration”: for this very reason I wanted to establish the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development , with a Section concerned exclusively for migrants, refugees and the victims of human trafficking.     Migration, in its various forms, is not a new phenomenon in humanity’s history.  It has left its mark on every age, encouraging encounter between peoples and the birth of new civilizations.  In its essence, to migrate is the expression of that inherent desire for the happiness proper to every human being, a happiness that is to be sought and pursued.  For us Christians, all human life is an itinerant journey towards our heavenly homeland.      The beginning of this third millennium is very much characterized by migratory movement which, in terms of origin, transit and destination, involves nearly every part of the world.  Unfortunately, in the majority of cases this movement is forced, caused by conflict, natural disasters, persecution, climate change, violence, extreme poverty and inhumane living conditions: “The sheer number of people migrating from one continent to another, or shifting places within their own countries and geographical areas, is striking. Contemporary movements of migration represent the largest movement of individuals, if not of peoples, in history” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 5 August 2013).     Before this complex panorama, I feel the need to express particular concern for the forced nature of many contemporary migratory movements, which increases the challenges presented to the political community, to civil society and to the Church, and which amplifies the urgency for a coordinated and effective response to these challenges.       Our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate .       To welcome.  “Rejection is an attitude we all share; it makes us see our neighbour not as a brother or sister to be accepted, but as unworthy of our attention, a rival, or someone to be bent to our will” (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 12 January 2015).  Faced with this kind of rejection, rooted ultimately in self-centredness and amplified by populist rhetoric, what is needed is a change of attitude, to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors.  For those who flee conflicts and terrible persecutions, often trapped within the grip of criminal organisations who have no scruples, we need to open accessible and secure humanitarian channels.  A responsible and dignified welcome of our brothers and sisters begins by offering them decent and appropriate shelter.  The enormous gathering together of persons seeking asylum and of refugees has not produced positive results.  Instead these gatherings have created new situations of vulnerability and hardship.  More widespread programmes of welcome, already initiated in different places, seem to favour a personal encounter and allow for greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success.       To protect .  My predecessor, Pope Benedict, highlighted the fact that the migratory experience often makes people more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and violence (cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 18 October 2005).  We are speaking about millions of migrant workers, male and female – and among these particularly men and women in irregular situations – of those exiled and seeking asylum, and of those who are victims of trafficking.  Defending their inalienable rights, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties from which no one can be exempted.  Protecting these brothers and sisters is a moral imperative which translates into adopting juridical instruments, both international and national, that must be clear and relevant; implementing just and far reaching political choices; prioritising constructive processes, which perhaps are slower, over immediate results of consensus; implementing timely and humane programmes in the fight against “the trafficking of human flesh” which profits off others’ misfortune; coordinating the efforts of all actors, among which, you may be assured will always be the Church.      To promote .  Protecting is not enough.  What is required is the promotion of an integral human development of migrants, exiles and refugees.  This “takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation” (Apostolic Letter Humanam Progressionem, 17 August 2016).  Development, according to the social doctrine of the Church (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 373-374), is an undeniable right of every human being.  As such, it must be guaranteed by ensuring the necessary conditions for its exercise, both in the individual and social context, providing fair access to fundamental goods for all people and offering the possibility of choice and growth.  Also here a coordinated effort is needed, one which envisages all the parties involved: from the political community to civil society, from international organisations to religious institutions.  The human promotion of migrants and their families begins with their communities of origin.  That is where such promotion should be guaranteed, joined to the right of being able to emigrate, as well as the right to not be constrained to emigrate (cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 12 October 2012), namely the right to find in one’s own homeland the conditions necessary for living a dignified life.  To this end, efforts must be encouraged that lead to the implementation of programmes of international cooperation, free from partisan interests, and programmes of transnational development which involve migrants as active protagonists.          To integrate .  Integration, which is neither assimilation nor incorporation, is a two-way process, rooted essentially in the joint recognition of the other’s cultural richness: it is not the superimposing of one culture over another, nor mutual isolation, with the insidious and dangerous risk of creating ghettoes.  Concerning those who arrive and who are duty bound not to close themselves off from the culture and traditions of the receiving country, respecting above all its laws, the family dimension of the process of integration must not be overlooked: for this reason I feel the need to reiterate the necessity, often presented by the Magisterium (cf. John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 15 August 1986), of policies directed at favouring and benefiting the reunion of families.  With regard to indigenous populations, they must be supported, by helping them to be sufficiently aware of and open to processes of integration which, though not always simple and immediate, are always essential and, for the future, indispensable.  This requires specific programmes, which foster significant encounters with others.  Furthermore, for the Christian community, the peaceful integration of persons of various cultures is, in some way, a reflection of its catholicity, since unity, which does not nullify ethnic and cultural diversity, constitutes a part of the life of the Church, who in the Spirit of Pentecost is open to all and desires to embrace all (cf. John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 5 August 1987).     I believe that conjugating these four verbs, in the first person singular and in the first person plural, is today a responsibility, a duty we have towards our brothers and sisters who, for various reasons, have been forced to leave their homeland: a duty of justic e, of civility and of solidarity .      First of all, a duty of justice .  We can no longer sustain unacceptable economic inequality, which prevents us from applying the principle of the universal destination of the earth’s goods.  We are all called to undertake processes of apportionment which are respectful, responsible and inspired by the precepts of distributive justice.  “We need, then, to find ways by which all may benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality and respect for every human being” (Message for the World Day of Peace, 8 December 2013, 9).  One group of individuals cannot control half of the world’s resources.  We cannot allow for persons and entire peoples to have a right only to gather the remaining crumbs.  Nor can we be indifferent or think ourselves dispensed from the moral imperatives which flow from a joint responsibility to care for the planet, a shared responsibility often stressed by the political international community, as also by the Magisterium (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 9; 163; 189, 406).  This joint responsibility must be interpreted in accord with the principle of subsidiarity, “which grants freedom to develop the capabilities present at every level of society, while also demanding a greater sense of responsibility for the common good from those who wield greater power” (Laudato Si’, 196).  Ensuring justice means also reconciling history with our present globalized situation, without perpetuating mind-sets which exploit people and places, a consequence of the most cynical use of the market in order to increase the wellbeing of the few.  As Pope Benedict affirmed, the process of decolonization was delayed “both because of new forms of colonialism and continued dependence on old and new foreign powers, and because of grave irresponsibility within the very countries that have achieved independence” (Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 33).  For all this there must be redress.     Second, there is a duty of civility .  Our commitment to migrants, exiles and refugees is an application of those principles and values of welcome and fraternity that constitute a common patrimony of humanity and wisdom which we draw from.  Such principles and values have been historically codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in numerous conventions and international agreements.  “Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance” (ibid., 62).  Today more than ever, it is necessary to affirm the centrality of the human person, without allowing immediate and ancillary circumstances, or even the necessary fulfilment of bureaucratic and administrative requirements, to obscure this essential dignity. As Saint John Paul II stated, an “irregular legal status cannot allow the migrant to lose his dignity, since he is endowed with inalienable rights, which can neither be violated nor ignored” (John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 25 July 1995, 2).  From the duty of civility is also regained the value of fraternity, which is founded on the innate relational constitution of the human person: “A lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and to treat each person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace” (Message for the World Day of Peace, 8 December 2013, 1).  Fraternity is the most civil way of relating with the reality of another person, which does not threaten us, but engages, reaffirms and enriches our individual identity (cf. Benedict XVI, Address to Participants in an Interacademic Conference on “The Changing Identity of the Individual”, 28 January 2008).       Finally, there is a duty of solidarity .  In the face of tragedies which take the lives of so many migrants and refugees – conflicts, persecutions, forms of abuse, violence, death – expressions of empathy and compassion cannot help but spontaneously well-up.  “Where is your brother” (Gen 4:9): this question which God asks of man since his origins, involves us, especially today with regard to our brothers and sisters who are migrating: “This is not a question directed to others; it is a question directed to me, to you, to each of us” (Homily at the "Arena" Sports Camp, Salina Quarter, Lampedusa, 8 July 2013).  Solidarity is born precisely from the capacity to understand the needs of our brothers and sisters who are in difficulty and to take responsibility for these needs.  Upon this, in short, is based the sacred value of hospitality, present in religious traditions.  For us Christians, hospitality offered to the weary traveller is offered to Jesus Christ himself, through the newcomer: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35).  The duty of solidarity is to counter the throwaway culture and give greater attention to those who are weakest, poorest and most vulnerable.  Thus “a change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 5 August 2013).          As I conclude these reflections, allow me to draw attention again to a particularly vulnerable group of migrants, exiles and refugees whom we are called to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.  I am speaking of the children and young people who are forced to live far from their homeland and who are separated from their loved ones.  I dedicated my most recent Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees to them, highlighting how “we need to work towards protection, integration and long-term solutions” (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 8 September 2016).     I trust that these two days will bear an abundant fruit of good works.  I assure you of my prayers; and, please, do not forget to pray for me.  Thank you.  ___________________________________________________________________________________________ [1] Messaggio per la 100a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato, 5 agosto 2013. [1] Discorso al Corpo diplomatico accreditato presso la Santa Sede, 12 gennaio 2015. [1] Cfr Benedetto XVI, Messaggio per la 92a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato, 18 ottobre 2005. [1] Lett. ap. in forma di Motu proprio Humanam progressionem, 17 agosto 2016. [1] Cfr Pontificio Consiglio della Giustizia e della Pace, Compendio della Dottrina Sociale della Chiesa, 373-374. [1] Cfr Benedetto XVI, Messaggio per la 99a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato, 12 ottobre 2012. [1] Cfr Giovanni Paolo II, Messaggio per la Giornata Mondiale delle Migrazioni, 15 agosto 1986. [1] Cfr Giovanni Paolo II, Messaggio per la Giornata Mondiale delle Migrazioni, 5 agosto 1987. [1] Messaggio per la 47ª Giornata Mondiale della Pace, 8 dicembre 2013, 9. [1] Cfr Pontificio Consiglio della Giustizia e della Pace, Compendio della Dottrina Sociale della Chiesa, 9;163;189;406. [1] Lett. enc. Laudato si’, 196. [1] Benedetto XVI, Lett. enc. Caritas in veritate, 33. [1] Ibid., 62. [1] Giovanni Paolo II, Messaggio per la Giornata Mondiale delle Migrazioni, 25 luglio 1995, 2. [1] Messaggio per 47ª Giornata Mondiale della Pace, 8 dicembre 2013, 1. [1] Cfr Benedetto XVI, Discorso ai partecipanti al convegno inter-accademico “L’identità mutevole dell'individuo”, 28 gennaio 2008. [1] Omelia al Campo sportivo “Arena” in Località Salina, 8 luglio 2013. [1] Messaggio per la 100a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato. [1] Messaggio per la 103a Giornata Mondiale del Migrante e del Rifugiato, 8 settembre 2016. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Vatican delegation to visit University of Al-Azhar in Egypt

Vatican News - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 07:03
(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue has announced the President of the Council, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, accompanied by Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, Secretary, and Msgr. Khaled Akasheh, Head of the Office for Islam, will be in Cairo, Egypt, on 22-23 February, to participate at a seminar at the University of Al-Azhar, with the theme: "The role of al-Azhar al-Sharif and of the Vatican in countering the phenomena of fanaticism, extremism and violence in the name of religion." The Cardinal President will lead the Catholic delegation, which will also include Archbishop Bruno Musarò, Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt. After the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Professor Ahmad Al-Tayyib on 23 May 2016, the Secretary of the Dicastery has travelled to Cairo several times, where he participated in many meetings and preliminary preparations for this event. This meeting will conclude on the vigil of the anniversary of the visit of Pope St. John Paul II to Al-Azhar, which took place on 24 February 2000. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope: No revenge, pray for those who wrong you

Vatican News - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 03:52
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday afternoon made a visit to the parish of Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus in the suburbs of Rome. During Mass, he stressed, that the path to holiness was forgiveness and prayer and that revenge and resentment has no place in the Christian life. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report Sunday afternoon was an away day for Pope Francis. He made a visit to the Roman parish of Saint Maria Josefa in Ponte di Nona in the east of the city. After greeting parishioners and meeting with a group of children, the Pope celebrated Mass telling the congregation present, never to go down the road of revenge or resentment. Instead, he said, “pray for those who want to do evil: this prevents wars and brings peace.” It is also, the Pope added, the “Christian path to holiness.” Drawing from the readings of the day, Pope Francis spoke about the path to perfection, holiness and sainthood. Jesus, the Holy Father said, explained concretely in the Gospel the necessary tools that are needed to travel this road. He said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I tell you not to resist evil.” That, the Pope stressed means, no revenge. If I have a heart full of resentment and want revenge, he continued, that takes away my holiness. Someone saying, “you did this to me and you will pay for this”, is not the language of a  Christian. Instead, Pope Francis underlined, God tells us to pray for those who slander us. The Pope went on to say that the great wars we see in the news and in newspapers about the massacre of people, of children is the same hatred that you have in your heart for a certain relative. “To forgive from the heart”. This Pope Francis said, was the road of "sanctity." If God “is merciful, holy and perfect, we must be merciful, holy and perfect like him”. This, the Pope observed is “sanctity”: a man or woman who does this deserves to be canonized, become holy. The “Christian life is simple”, he said . Prayer, observed the Holy Father  is “an antidote against hatred, against wars.” If someone doesn’t  like you, pray for them, because powerful prayer, stressed Pope Francis, overcomes evil and brings peace.     (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope visits parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesù

Vatican News - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 13:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis travelled across Rome Sunday afternoon for a visit to the parish of Santa Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus (It: Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesù) in the suburb of Castelverde. It’s the Pope’s thirteenth visit to a Roman parish. The Pope was welcomed at the parish by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini; the auxiliary bishop for the eastern part of the city, Bishop Giuseppe Marciante, and by the pastor, Fr Francesco Rondinelli. As is usual, Pope Francis had an encounter with children and young people in the parish, followed by visits with sick persons and the elderly, married couples who have had children baptized recently; families assisted by Caritas, and workers in the parish. Following the meetings with parishioners, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the parish church, where he delivered an off-the-cuff homily.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope: Christ's law of love overcomes law of retaliation

Vatican News - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 08:17
(Vatican Radio) During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis said the day’s Gospel – part of the Sermon on the Mount, from the Gospel of Saint Matthew – is one of the Biblical passages that best expresses the Christian “revolution.” In the day’s Gospel reading, he said, “Christ shows the path of true justice, through the law of love that overcomes that of retaliation, that is, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.” Jesus, he continued, does not ask His disciples simply to bear evils patiently, but to return good for evil: “Only in this way can the chains of evil be broken, and things can truly change.” Pope Francis notes that for Jesus, the refusal to return evil for evil goes so far as to sometimes involve giving up a legitimate right: turning the other cheek, or giving up one’s cloak, or making other sacrifices. But, he said, “this renunciation doesn’t mean that the needs of justice should be ignored or contradicted; on the contrary, Christian love, which is manifested in a special way in mercy, represents a superior realization of justice.” Jesus, the Pope said, wants to teach us the distinction between justice and vengeance: “We are allowed to ask for justice; it is our duty to practice justice. On the other hand, we are forbidden to revenge ourselves or to encourage vengeance in any way, insofar as it is an expression of hatred or of violence.” In fact, Christ’s law of love calls on us to love even our enemies. This, Pope Francis said, should not be seen as an approval of their wicked actions, but as “an invitation to a higher perspective, like that of the heavenly Father, who makes His sun to rise on the wicked and the good.” Even our enemies, the Pope explained, are human persons, created in the image of God – even if that image is sometimes obscured by evil acts. Christ calls us to respond to our enemies with goodness, inspired by love. Before leading the traditional Angelus prayer, Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary might help us follow “this demanding path” set out by Jesus, “which truly exalts human dignity, and makes us live as children of our Father Who is in heaven.” The Holy Father prayed that Mary might help us to practice patience, dialogue, forgiveness, and to be artisans of communion and of fraternity in our daily life.” Listen to Christopher Wells' report:  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope prays for victims of violence in DR Congo and Pakistan

Vatican News - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 07:31
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis led the crowds gathered for the Sunday Angelus in a prayer for the victims of violence in Africa and around the world. In particular, he prayed for those affected by violence in the region of the Kasaï Central province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I suffer deeply for the victims, especially for so many children ripped from their families and their schools to be used as soldiers.” The Holy Father renewed his “heartfelt appeal to the consciences and the responsibility of the national authorities and the international community, that they might take adequate and timely decisions to assist these our brothers and sisters.” In praying for victims of violence in the world, the Pope turned his thoughts in particular to “the dear peoples of Pakistan and of Iraq, struck in recent days by cruel acts of terrorism.” Pope Francis prayed for all victims of violence, those who have died and those who have been injured, as well as for their families. “Let us pray ardently,” he concluded “for every heart hardened by hatred, that they might be converted to peace, according to the will of God.” Then, following a moment of silent prayer, he led the crowd in the recitation of the “Hail Mary”.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope to visit Anglican church in Rome

Vatican News - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 11:12
(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, has confirmed that Pope Francis will be visiting All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome on February 26. The Pope’s visit will be part of an Ecumenical Service celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first Church of England worship service in Rome, which took place on October 27th 1816. The Holy Father will be the first reigning Pope to visit an Anglican Church in the Diocese of Rome. The ecumenical event will consist of a short Choral Evensong service which includes the blessing of a specially commissioned icon and the twinning of All Saints with the Catholic parish of Ognissanti, a Rome church with strong ecumenical ties. Pope Francis is expected to deliver a homily during the event, and afterwards to take questions from members of the parish community.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope: Open hearts with the Gospel message

Vatican News - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 07:43
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday  received the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception who are in Rome for their General Chapter, telling them to open hearts with the Gospel message. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report The Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception was founded, in 1673, in Poland and works in 26 countries around the world. In prepared remarks to the participants of the Congregation’s General Chapter on Saturday, Pope Francis told them that the example of their founder, St. Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary, who was canonized last year, was both the light and guide of their walk and fully understood the meaning of being a disciple of Christ. In this perspective, the Pope said, “your service of the Word is the witness of the Risen Christ, that you have encountered on your path…” adding, that they were called to spread the Gospel message wherever they are sent. The Pope also underlined that Christian witness requires engagement with and for the poor, noting it was a commitment that has characterized the Congregation. The Holy Father encouraged the Marian Fathers to  keep alive this tradition of service to the poor and the humble, through the proclamation of the Gospel, along with the works of mercy and prayers for the souls of the faithfully departed. He continued by saying that “the great challenge of inculturation asks you today to announce the Good News in languages ​​and ways understandable to the men and women of our time, involved in rapid social and cultural transformation processes. The horizons of evangelization and the urgent need to bear witness to the Gospel message, without distinction, the Pope said “constitute the vast field of your apostolate.” Many people, the Holy Father observed, “are still waiting to know Jesus, the one Redeemer of man.” Such an urgent mission, Pope Francis underlined, “requires personal and community conversion. Only fully open hearts to the action of Grace”, he said, “are able to interpret the signs of the times and to seize the appeals of humanity in need of hope and peace.”       (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis to university students: keep hope alive

Vatican News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:05
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday visited one of Rome’s major institutions of higher education: the   Università degli studi “Roma 3” , which has an enrollment of roughly 40 thousand students. The Holy Father fielded four questions, each one from a student at a different level of study and in a different department, from post-graduates to married professionals in continuing formation to young undergrads from the business school and the arts and sciences. Click below to hear our report One of the students was Nour Essa, a 31 year-old married mother and a refugee from Syria. She came to Rome with her family via Lesbos, making the last leg of her journey with Pope Francis, himself, aboard the Papal plane in 2016. “I remember a question posed by a reporter on your plane, returning from Lesbos,” she said. “This question was on Europeans’ fear [It. la paura europea ] of those coming from Syria or Iraq: do these people not threaten the Christian culture of Europe?” In his largely off-the-cuff response, Pope Francis said, “Migrations are not a danger, but a challenge to grow.” Pope Francis also responded to questions of European identity, of the special identity, character, and mission of the city of Rome – and of the duty of the students to the city – as well as of the need for a creative response to overcome a culture of violence, and the need to transform the global culture and become workers of intellectual charity in order to contribute to a constructive renewal of society. The Pope said that “unity without differences” is one of the great threats in our day. “There is a risk of globalization,” he said, “that fosters uniformity,” and our culture of instant communication and constant connectedness does not allow for thoughtful consideration and could strangle profound dialogue if we are not careful to cultivate a more considerate pace and sensitivity. Pope Francis also spoke of  the need for young people to cultivate the virtue of hope, the threats against which are many, including joblessness, the blandishments of a culture of hedonism, and the warped sense of religion that can fill the void left when concrete reasons for to hope in a better future appear to be wanting. “The bitterness of [some young persons’] hearts,” Pope Francis said, “leads to addictions,” or even to suicide. “This lack of work leads to [some of them] to go elsewhere and enlist in a terrorist army,” he said, speculating that perhaps young people who make such a decision think, “at least that way I have something to do and [thus] I give meaning to my life.” “Terrible,” Pope Francis said, “terrible.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope sends message to popular movements meeting in California

Vatican News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 07:37
(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 - 07:56
(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 - 07:43
(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 - 11:26
(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 - 11:05
(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 - 10:47
(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 - 09:46
(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 - 08:17
(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 - 07:27
(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)...
Categories: Vatican News

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