(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)...
(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)...
(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)...
(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
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.
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)...
(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)...
(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)...
(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)...
(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)...
(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
(from Vatican Radio)...
(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)...
(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)...
(Vatican Radio) In the weakness of temptation, which we all experience, the grace of Jesus helps us to not hide ourselves from the Lord, but to seek forgiveness in order to get up and go forward. That was Pope Francis’ message during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father was reflecting on the devil’s temptation both of Adam and Eve, in the first Reading, and of Jesus in the Gospel. With Satan, the Pope said, there is no dialogue, because dialogue with the devil ends in sin and corruption.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
The devil uses dialogue to deceive
Temptations lead us to hide ourselves from the Lord, so that we remain with our “fault,” our “sin,” our “corruption.” Beginning with the first Reading, from the Book of Genesis, Pope Francis focused on the temptation of Adam and Eve, and then considered that of Jesus in the desert. The devil appears in the form of a serpent: he is “attractive,” and with his cunning he seeks “to deceive.” In this he is a specialist, he is “the father of lies,” “a liar.” So he knows how to deceive and how to “cheat” people. This is what he did with Eve: he made her “feel good,” the Pope explained, and so he began to dialogue with her; and, step by step, Satan led her where he wanted. With Jesus it is different; it ended badly for the devil, the Pope said. “He tries to dialogue” with Christ, because when the devil deceives a person he does so with dialogue.” He attempts to deceive Him, but Jesus does not give in. Then the devil is revealed for who he is. Jesus answers him, not with His own words, but with the Word of God, because “you can’t dialogue with the devil”; you’ll end up, like Adam and Eve, “naked”:
“The devil is a bad paymaster, he doesn’t pay well. He is a cheat! He promises you everything and leaves you naked. Jesus, too, ended up naked, but on the Cross, through obedience to the Father: this is a different path. The serpent, the devil is cunning: you can’t dialogue with the devil. We all know what temptations are, we all know, because we all have them. So many temptations! Of vanity, pride, greed, avarice… so many!”
Corruption begins in small things
Today, the Pope said, there is a lot of talk of corruption; and for this, too, we should ask for the Lord’s help:
“There are so many corrupt people, corrupt ‘big fish’ in the world, whose lives we read about in the papers. Perhaps they began with a small thing, I don’t know, maybe not adjusting the scales well. What was a kilo… no, let’s make it 900 grams, but that will seem like a kilo. Corruption begins in small things like this, with dialogue: ‘No, it’s not true that this fruit will harm you. Eat it, it’s good! It’s a little thing, no one will notice. Do it! Do it!’ And little by little, little by little, you fall into sin, you fall into corruption.”
In temptation, you don’t dialogue: you pray
The Church teaches us in this way, the Pope said, so we will not be deceived – not to say foolish – so that when we are tempted we have our “eyes open” and know to ask the Lord for help, “because we can’t do it on our own.” Adam and Eve hid themselves from the Lord; on the contrary, it takes the grace of Jesus in order to “turn and seek forgiveness”:
“In temptation, you don’t dialogue, you pray: ‘Help me, Lord, I am weak. I don’t want to hide from you.’ This is courage, this is winning. When you start to dialogue, you end up overcome, defeated. May the Lord give us that grace, and accompany us in this courage. And if we are deceived because of our weakness in temptation, may He grant us the courage to get up and go forward. It’s for this that Jesus came, for this.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) The Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica will publish the text of Pope Francis’ conversation with 140 Superiors General of male religious orders during the 88th General Assembly of the Union of Superiors General (USG) which took place on 25 November 2016.
An excerpt of this conversation was published on Thursday in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera .
“The Church must accompany the young in their journey towards maturity, and it is only with discernment and not abstractions that young people can discover their path in life and live a life open to God and the world, so I chose this theme to introduce discernment more forcefully into the life of the Church,” the Pope said when asked why the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is on young people.
“You have to work with young people by doing things, working with the popular missions, social work, going every week to feed the homeless,” – the Holy Father continued – “Young people find the Lord in action. Then, after action they have to reflect. But reflection alone doesn’t help, because it is only ideas ... ideas. So, two concepts: listening and movement. This is important. But not only training young people to listen, but first listening to them, the young people themselves. This is an important priority for the Church: listening to young people.”
He also spoke about the falling number of vocations in religious orders, saying it is “certainly linked to the demographic problem,” but added “it is also true that sometimes the pastoral vocation does not respond to the expectations of the young.”
He also expressed “worry” over some of the new religious institutes, remarking “some of them seem to represent a new approach, to express a great apostolic strength, attracting many, only then ... to go bankrupt.”
He also said he was at peace with being Pope, and spoke about his election.
“There was talk in the General Congregations [the meetings among the Cardinals before the Conclave] of the Vatican’s problems, there was talk of reforms. Everyone wanted them,” – Pope Francis said – “There is corruption in the Vatican. But I’m at peace. If there is a problem, I write a note to St. Joseph and put it under a statue that I have in my room. It is a statue of St. Joseph sleeping. And now he sleeps on a mattress of notes! That’s why I sleep well: it is the grace of God.”
The Pope said he believes that everyone must seek to discover what the Lord has chosen for them.
“After all, losing peace does not help us to suffer at all,” – he explained – “The Superiors must learn to suffer, but to suffer like a father. And also to suffer with a great deal of humility. This is the path that can lead from the cross to peace. But never wash your hands of problems! Yes, in the Church there are Pontius Pilates who wash their hands to avoid discomfort. But a superior who washes his hands is not a father, and doesn’t help.”
When asked about the prophetic role of religious life, Pope Francis said it was important to be “radical in prophecy.”
“Being radical in the prophecy is the famous sine glossa, the rule sine glossa, the Gospel sine glossa,” – the Holy Father emphasized – “In other words, without tranquillisers! The Gospel should be taken without tranquillisers. This is what the Church Fathers did. It is in them that we should seek the radical nature of the prophecy. They remind us that we are called to come out of our comfort zones, forsake all that is worldly: in our way of life, but also in thinking up new ways forward for our Institutes.”
Pope Francis also spoke about the issue of sexual abuse by clergy and religious.
“On the subject of sexual abuse: it seems that half of those who commit abuse have themselves been victims of abuse,” – the Holy Father said – “Abuse is thus sowed in the future and this is devastating. If priests or religious are involved it is clear that the devil is at work, who ruins the work of Jesus through those who should proclaim him. But let’s be clear: this is a disease. If we are not convinced that this is a disease, we cannot solve the problem. So pay attention when receiving candidates for the religious life and ensure that they are sufficiently emotionally mature. For example: never accept in a religious community or diocese a candidate that has been rejected by another seminar or another institute without asking for very clear and detailed information on the reasons for their rejection.”
The full dialogue between Pope Francis and the Religious superiors will appear in La Civiltà Cattolica on Saturday. The excerpt published by Corriere della Sera on Thursday can be found in English here .
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) “Without women, there is no harmony in the world.” That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. At the center of his reflection was creation of woman, as told in Genesis. Men and women are not equal; the one is not superior to the other. But it is the woman, and not the man, who brings that harmony which makes the world a beautiful place.
Pope Francis was continuing his reflections on creation, the subject of the Readings for the past few days, taken from the Book of Genesis. The Lord had formed every sort of animal, but the man did not find a companion in any of them; he was alone. Then the Lord took a rib and created woman, who the man recognized as “flesh of his flesh.” “But before seeing her,” the Pope said, “the man dreamed of her… In order to understand a woman, it is necessary first to dream of her.”
Without women, there is no harmony
“Often when we speak about women,” the Pope said, we think of them in a ‘functionalist’ manner. Instead, we should see women as bearers of a richness that men do not possess: women bring harmony to creation:
“When women are not there, harmony is missing. We might say: But this is a society with a strong masculine attitude, and this is the case, no? The woman is missing. ‘Yes, yes: the woman is there to wash the dishes, to do things…’ No, no, no! The woman is there to bring harmony. Without the woman there is no harmony. They are not equal; one is not superior to the other: no. It’s just that the man does not bring harmony. It’s her. It is she who brings that harmony that teaches us to caress, to love with tenderness; and who makes the world a beautiful place.”
Exploiting people is a crime, but exploiting women is worse: it destroys harmony
In his homily, the Pope considered three moments in Creation: the solitude of the man, the dream, and the destiny of both the man and the woman: to be “one flesh.” The Holy Father gave a concrete example: Once, during an audience, while he greeted the people, he asked a couple who were celebrating their 60 th wedding anniversary, “Which of you has had the most patience?”
“And they looked at me, they looked me in the eyes – I’ll never forget those eyes, eh? – then they turned and they told me, both together: ‘We are in love.’ After 60 years, this means ‘one flesh.’ And this is what the woman brings: the capacity to love one another. Harmony for the world. Often we hear: ‘No, it is necessary in this society, in this institution, that here there should be a woman because she does this, she does these things.’ No, no, no, no! Functionality is not the purpose of women. It is true that women should do things, to do things as we all do. The purpose of women is to make harmony, and without women there is no harmony in the world. Exploiting persons is a crime of ‘lèse-humanité’: it’s true. But exploiting a woman is even more serious: it is destroying the harmony that God has chosen to give to the world. It is to destroy.”
Exploiting a woman, then, is not only a crime: it amounts to “destroying harmony,” the Pope said, referring also to the day’s Gospel story of the Syrophoenician woman.
God has created woman so that we would all have a mother
Pope Francis concluded his reflection with a personal note:
This is the great gift of God: He has given us woman. And in the Gospel, we have heard what a woman is capable of, eh? She is courageous, that one, eh? She went forward with courage. But there is more, so much more. A woman is harmony, is poetry, is beauty. Without her the world would not be so beautiful, it would not be harmonious. And I like to think – but this is a personal thing – that God created women so that we would all have a mother.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Thursday with Jesuits who write for the ' Civiltà Cattolicà' magazine, currently celebrating its 4000th edition. Founded in 1850 and originally available only in Italian, the publication is now adding editions in English, French, Spanish and Korean.
As well as sending the writers a hand-signed note, the Pope reflected at length on the importance of poetry, art and pioneering intellectual research, as the magazine seeks to build bridges with many peoples and cultures.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:
Your writing must not just defend Catholic ideas, but must witness to Christ in the world with a restless, open-ended and imaginative spirit. That’s was the Pope’s message to his Jesuit colleagues as he encouraged the work of this “ancient and precious” publication, a copy of which, he confided, “is often on my desk”.
Remain on open seas
Describing the Civiltà Cattolica’ s long history as a boat’s voyage on the open seas, the Pope told its current contributors never to be afraid of the storms, but to proceed courageously, guided by the Spirit, into uncharted waters.
He noted how the magazine has always had a particular link to the popes of the past century and a half, starting with Pope Pius IX who approved the original statutes in 1866. Since then, he said, the publication has been the expression of a group of writers who share not only their intellectual experiences, but also a charismatic inspiration and daily life together in the community where they live.
Mission to the frontiers
All Jesuits, Pope Francis continued, are called to carry out their mission on the frontiers and margins of society, in a spirit of dialogue and discernment. Civiltà Cattolica , he said, can help build bridges across those frontiers, with the new language editions serving to “broaden your horizons” and enter into dialogue with people in different parts of the globe.
The Pope focused on the need for Catholic writers to be restless, reminding them that Christian traditions are not rare treasures to be locked away in a museum display case. In this restless spirit, he said, they should draw inspiration from the French Jesuit St Peter Faber , co-founder of the order and a pioneer of ecumenism in the 16th century.
The second quality he urged them to strive for was that of openness in order to face the challenges of a world caught in a crisis of mediocrity, relativism, rigidity and a throw-away culture. Only an open-minded spirit, like that of the pioneering Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci , who helped bring Christianity to China, will be able to confront the complex political, economic and humanitarian crises of our world, beginning with the drama of global migration.
Finally Pope Francis urged the writers to be imaginative, like the versatile Jesuit painter and architect Andrea Pozzo . Reflecting on the importance of poetry, painting and other art forms, the Pope said the Church must rediscover its human genius, helping us to see that life is not black and white, but rather a colour painting with subtle shading. Use your imagination, he concluded, to remain flexible, with a sense of humour, a merciful heart and an interior freedom.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged all those involved in Catholic education to be builders of a more united and peaceful world.
In an address on Thursday morning to the Congregation for Catholic Education that is holding its Plenary Assembly, the Pope pointed out that institutes of education have meaning only in relation to the formation of the person.
Thus, he called on all educators to help young people to be builders of a more united and peaceful world.
And, the Pope reminded those present, more than others, Catholic institutions have a mission to offer horizons that are open to transcendence.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni :
“Gravissimum educationis” he recalled highlights the fact that education is at the service of an integral humanism and that the Church, as a mother and an educator, always looks to the younger generation from the perspective of an integral formation of the human person, both in view of his own ultimate goal, and for the good of society of which he is a member.
Pope Francis stressed the need for a culture of dialogue saying our world has become a global village in which each person belongs to humanity and shares in the hope for a better future for the whole family of nations.
Unfortunately, he said, there are many forms of violence, poverty, exploitation, discrimination, marginalization and restrictions on freedom that create a culture of waste.
“Within this context, Catholic educational institutions are called to be on the front line in practicing a grammar of dialogue” which, he said, is the basis of encounter and of the enhancement of cultural and religious diversity.
Dialogue, the Pope said, is constructive when it takes place in an authentic atmosphere of respect, esteem, sincere listening, without the need to blur or mitigate one’s identity.
So it is encouraging, he continued, to hope that the new generations, who are brought up to know how to engage in Christian dialogue, will leave school and university classrooms with the motivation to build bridges and find new answers to the many challenges of our time.
Referring to the methodology of St. Thomas, the Pope said that in a more specific sense, Catholic schools and universities are called to teach a method of intellectual dialogue which is aimed at revealing the truth.
Concluding, Pope Francis said “there is a final expectation that I would like to share with you: the contribution of education in sowing hope”.
“Man cannot live without hope and education generates hope. In fact, education gives birth, it helps grow, it’s part of the dynamics of giving life” he said.
A life that is born, he explained, is the most gushing source of hope; it reaches out in search of beauty, goodness, truth and communion with others for a common growth.
“I am convinced that young people today need above all to lead a life that builds the future” he said.
So educators, Francis pointed out, must listen to young people, something we are preparing to do at the next Synod of Bishops which is dedicated to them.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday met with a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League encouraging them to cultivate justice and foster accord and telling them “the fight against anti-Semitism can benefit from effective instruments, such as information and formation.”
Listen to Lydia O’Kane's report
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” and on Thursday just like his predecessors, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis received a delegation from the organization, which has maintained relations with the Holy See since the Second Vatican Council.
Speaking to those gathered the Pope recalled his visit last year to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp saying, “there are no adequate words or thoughts in the face of such horrors of cruelty and sin; there is prayer, that God may have mercy and that such tragedies may never happen again.”
Denouncing anti-Semitism, in all its forms, the Holy Father reaffirmed that “the Catholic Church feels particularly obliged to do all that is possible with our Jewish friends to repel anti-Semitic tendencies”.
Today more than ever, Pope Francis continued, “the fight against anti-Semitism can benefit from effective instruments, such as information and formation.”
Faced with too much violence spreading throughout the world, the Pope underlined, “we are called to a greater nonviolence, which does not mean passivity, but active promotion of the good”, which he added, included the dignity of human life from conception to natural end.
The Holy Father encouraged the delegation sow the seeds of goodness by cultivating justice, fostering accord, and sustaining integration. Only in this way, he said, “may we gather the fruits of peace.”
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has issued a statement following its summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism which was held in Rome this week. In it the participants resolve "to combat these crimes against humanity through comprehensive efforts that involve all stakeholders around the world."
Below find the English language statement
In accordance with the Resolutions of the United Nations and the World Health Assembly, the 2015 Vatican Summit of mayors from the major cities of the world, the 2014 joint declaration of faith leaders against modern slavery, and the Magisterium of Pope Francis, who in June 2016, at the Judges’ Summit on Human Trafficking and Organized Crime, stated that organ trafficking and human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal are “true crimes against humanity [that] need to be recognized as such by all religious, political and social leaders, and by national and international legislation ,” we, the undersigned participants of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Summit on Organ Trafficking, resolve to combat these crimes against humanity through comprehensive efforts that involve all stakeholders around the world.
Poverty, unemployment, and the lack of socioeconomic opportunities are factors that make persons vulnerable to organ trafficking and human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal. Destitute individuals are victimized in schemes of organ trafficking when induced to sell their organs in a desperate search for a better life. Similarly, desperate are the patients who are willing to pay large amounts and travel to foreign destinations as transplant tourists to obtain an organ that may keep them alive--- oblivious of the short and long-term health consequences of commercial transplantation. Unscrupulous brokers and health care professionals make organ trafficking possible, disregarding the dignity of human beings. The operative procedures are performed in unauthorized facilities that clandestinely serve transplant tourists. But organ trafficking can also occur at legitimate facilities, in situations where individuals who are willing to sell their organs present themselves to transplant centers as a relative or altruistic friend of the recipient. The media have made an important contribution to public understanding in highlighting the plight of trafficked individuals by publishing their independent investigations of transplant-related crimes and corrupt healthcare professionals and unregulated facilities.
A number of international legal instruments define, condemn, and criminalize these practices, namely the United Nations Protocol against Trafficking in Persons (Palermo Protocol), the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings, and the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs. We support these documents, which assert that the transplant professionals who commit or abet these crimes should be held legally accountable whether the offenses take place domestically or abroad.
The legal instruments of the recent past are an important link to emerging innovative policy to combat social inequality. Trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal and organ trafficking are contrary to the United Nations General Assembly 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as an issue of human rights and social justice because the poor are exploited for their organs and yet not able to receive a transplant if they suffer organ failure. Jeffrey Sachs has written that “Sustainable development argues that economic policy works best when it focuses simultaneously on three big issues: first, promoting economic growth and decent jobs; second, promoting social fairness to women, the poor, and minority groups; and third, promoting environmental sustainability” . Countries in conflict and without domestic stability can become the locations of transplant-related crimes.
Progress has been made by healthcare professionals aligned with the Declaration of Istanbul to curtail organ trafficking. Nevertheless, a number of destinations for transplant tourism remain around the world where appropriate legislation to curtail these crimes and protect the poor and vulnerable do not exist or are poorly enforced. These practices also persist because some states have failed in their responsibility to meet the need of their citizens to obtain an organ transplant.
Thus, aware of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Palermo Protocol on Human Trafficking, the Resolutions of the World Health Assembly (2004 and 2010), the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings, the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, the Madrid Resolution on Organ Donation and Transplantation, and the Declaration of Istanbul, and as a result of the data on organ trafficking presented at this PAS Summit on Organ Trafficking, we the undersigned pledge our commitment to combat these illicit and immoral practices as a community of stakeholders fulfilling the directive of Pope Francis to combat human trafficking and organ trafficking in all their condemnable forms.
The following recommendations from the PAS Summit on Organ Trafficking are proposed to national, regional and municipal governments, ministries of health, to the judiciary, to the leaders of the major religions, to professional medical organizations, and to the general public for implementation around the world:
1. That all nations and all cultures recognize human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal and organ trafficking, which include
the use of organs from executed prisoners and payments to donors or the next of kin of deceased donors, as crimes that should be
condemned worldwide and legally prosecuted at the national and international level.
2. That religious leaders encourage ethical organ donation and condemn human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal and
3. That nations provide the resources to achieve self-sufficiency in organ donation at a national level—with regional cooperation as
appropriate—by reducing the need for transplants through preventive measures and improving access to national transplant
programs in an ethical and regulated manner.
4. That governments establish a legal framework that provides an explicit basis for the prevention and prosecution of transplantrelated crimes, and protects the victims, regardless of the location where the crimes may have been committed, for example by
becoming a Party to the Council of Europe Convention against Organ Trafficking.
5. That healthcare professionals perform an ethical and medical review of donors and recipients that takes account of their short- and
6. That governments establish registries of all organ procurement and transplants performed within their jurisdiction as well as all
transplants involving their citizens and residents performed in another jurisdiction, and share appropriate data with international
7. That governments develop a legal framework for healthcare and other professionals to communicate information about suspected
cases of transplant-related crimes, while respecting their professional obligations to patients.
8. That responsible authorities, with the support of the justice system, investigate transplants that are suspected of involving a crime
committed within their jurisdiction or committed by their citizens or residents in another jurisdiction.
9. That responsible authorities, insurance providers, and charities not cover the costs of transplant procedures that involve human
trafficking for the purpose of organ removal or organ trafficking.
10. That healthcare professional organizations involved in transplantation promote among their members awareness of, and
compliance with, legal instruments and international guidelines against organ trafficking and human trafficking for the purpose of
11. That the World Health Organization, the Council of Europe, United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Office on Drugs
and Crime, and other international bodies cooperate in enabling a comprehensive collection of information on transplant-related
crimes, to yield a clearer understanding of their nature and scope and of the organization of the criminal networks involved.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday encouraged the faithful to strive to be living signs of hope for the entire human family.
Speaking during the weekly General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope continued his catechesis on Christian hope, conceding that especially in times of darkness and difficulty, hope is no easy virtue.
Quoting from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians he pointed out that Paul encourages the members of the early Church to sustain one another in hope through mutual prayer and practical concern for those in need.
“We must help one another, he said, in the many needs of everyday life, but also when we are in need of hope.” And he referred in particular to those who have the responsibility of providing pastoral guidance, whom he said, on the one hand have the force and the strength of a divine ministry, but on the other are in need of the respect, the comprehension and the support of all.
Underlining the fact that Christian hope is intensely personal yet also communitarian, the Pope said that help and support must be given especially to the poor, the weak in faith, the suffering and those tempted to despair.
He said that no one can learn to hope on their own, because Christian hope needs to be “embodied” in a community of mutual support and loving concern.
“He who hopes, the Pope said, hopes one day to hear these words: come to me my brother, come to me my sister, for the whole of eternity” he said.
Concluding that the body is the Church and its soul is the Holy Spirit, and conceding that especially in times of darkness and difficulty, hope is no easy virtue, Pope Francis said when the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts, it is He who teaches us to trust in the Lord’s provident care and to strive constantly, in our communities, to be living signs of hope for the entire human family.
(from Vatican Radio)...
(Vatican Radio) The Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, is recently returned from an official visit to Japan. During his trip, Archbishop Gallagher met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and celebrated Mass in the city of Hiroshima.
In an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio on his return, the Secretary for Relations with States explained the visit was to return the favor of the visit of Japan’s Foreign Minister to the Vatican in 2016. “It was right to reciprocate [the visit],” he explained, “to build up this cooperation, which exists.”
Click below to hear the extended conversation between Alessandro Gisotti and the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher…
Archbishop Gallagher also reiterated the common commitment of the Holy See with Japan regarding the elimination of nuclear weapons. “They are – for very personal reasons – obviously working for a nuclear-free world,” he said, “but they do feel the nuclear powers have to be part of that debate,” he continued. “Unless we get the nuclear powers on board,” he continued, “nothing is going to change substantially.”
Archbishop Gallagher also spoke of the visit in the broader context of the Holy See’s diplomacy.
“I think the Holy Father wishes – in what he refers to as his ‘creative diplomacy’ – he wishes this to be an expression of the Church’s general service and mission,” Archbishop Gallagher said.
(from Vatican Radio)...