Vatican News

Pope: protecting children in the digital world top priority

Vatican News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 07:02
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the first-ever World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World on Friday. The Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University hosted the four-day event, which brought experts in child care, internet security, law enforcement, education, and a host of other fields together to share experiences and best practices, with a view to addressing the problem of the effective protection of the dignity of minors in the digital world. Click below to hear our report Child dignity – a crisis and a response in context In remarks prepared for the participants and delivered to them in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace shortly after noon on Friday, Pope Francis placed the challenges facing individuals and whole societies the world, over, in the context of the struggle not only to articulate, but effectively to guarantee, the rights and dignity of every person – especially the weakest and most vulnerable, and chief among these, children and young people – on which the human family has embarked and in which the Church has been engaged especially since the drafting of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1959 Declaration on the Rights of the Child . “As representatives of various scientific disciplines and the fields of digital communications, law and political life,” Pope Francis said, “you [participants in the World Congress] have come together precisely because you realize the gravity of these challenges linked to scientific and technical progress.” He went on to say, “With great foresight, you have concentrated on what is probably the most crucial challenge for the future of the human family: the protection of young people’s dignity, their healthy development, their joy and their hope.” Speaking specifically of the danger the proliferation of pornographic material poses in the digital age, Pope Francis said, “The spread of printed pornography in the past was a relatively small phenomenon compared to the proliferation of pornography on the net.” He went on to say, “[W]e must not let ourselves be overcome by fear, which is always a poor counsellor, nor let ourselves be paralyzed by the sense of powerlessness that overwhelms us before the difficulty of the task,” at hand. “Rather,” he said, “we are called to join forces, realizing that we need one another in order to seek and find the right means and approaches needed for effective responses.” Painful lessons - profound commitment Pope Francis also spoke of the painful lessons the Church has learned through her recent experience with clerical sex abuse , saying that the Church has come to acknowledge her own failures in providing for the protection of children. “[E]xtremely grave facts have come to light,” he said, “for which we have to accept our responsibility before God, before the victims and before public opinion.” The Pope went on to say, “For this very reason, as a result of these painful experiences and the skills gained in the process of conversion and purification, the Church today feels especially bound to work strenuously and with foresight for the protection of minors and their dignity, not only within her own ranks, but in society as a whole and throughout the world.” The pernicious effects of mainstreaming pornography The Holy Father also discussed the pernicious effects that the so-called “mainstreaming” of pornography – not only its broad and ready availability, but also the acceptance of it by society – on adults. “We rightly insist on the gravity of these problems for minors,” he said, “but we can also underestimate or overlook the extent that they are also problems for adults.” The Pope noted that the spread of ever more extreme pornography and other improper uses of the internet not only causes disorders, dependencies and grave harm among adults, but also has a real impact on the way we view love and relations between the sexes. “We would be seriously deluding ourselves,” he said, “were we to think that a society where an abnormal consumption of internet sex is rampant among adults could be capable of effectively protecting minors.” Warning against a “technocratic” approach to the problem “The second mistaken approach would be to think that automatic technical solutions, filters devised by ever more refined algorithms in order to identify and block the spread of abusive and harmful images, are sufficient to deal with these problems,” he said. “But there is also an urgent need, as part of the process of technological growth itself, for all those involved to acknowledge and address the ethical concerns that this growth raises, in all its breadth and its various consequences.” What the internet is, and is not A third risk of which we must be aware in our approach to the digital world is the deluded notion that “the net” is or should be a realm of unlimited freedom. While the internet and other technologies that are part of the contours, content, and structures of this new digital world have opened vast new fora for free expression and free exchange of ideas and information, it has also offered new means for engaging in heinous illicit activities , including the abuse of minors and offences against their dignity, the corruption of their minds and violence against their bodies. “This,” said Pope Francis , “has nothing to do with the exercise of freedom: it has to do with crimes that need to be fought with intelligence and determination, through a broader cooperation among governments and law enforcement agencies on the global level, even as the net itself is now global.” Final Declaration Toward this end, the participants produced a final document , The Declaration of Rome , which includes its own  urgent call to action .  Pope Francis  received the Declaration from a young girl participating in the Congress, who gave it to him “on behalf of millions of young people around the world who need information and far more protection from the risks of sexual and other forms of abuse on the internet." (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis: speech to World Congress on Child Dignity in Digital World

Vatican News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 06:52
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed the participants in the World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World . Hosted by the  Pontifical Gregorian University  and its  Centre for Child Protection , the four-day event brought together different government and police representatives, software companies, religious leaders and medical experts specialized in the impact of on-line abuse. Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis' prepared remarks, in their official English translation.  *********************************************** Your Eminences, President of the Senate, Madame Minister, Your Excellencies, Father Rector, Distinguished Ambassadors and Civil Authorities, Dear Professors, Ladies and Gentlemen,          I thank the Rector of the Gregorian University, Father Nuno da Silva Gonçalves, and the young lady representative of the youth for their kind and informative words of introduction to our meeting.  I am grateful to all of you for being here this morning and informing me of the results of your work.  Above all, I thank you for sharing your concerns and your commitment to confront together, for the sake of young people worldwide, a grave new problem felt in our time.  A problem that had not yet been studied and discussed by a broad spectrum of experts from various fields and areas of responsibility as you have done in these days: the problem of the effective protection of the dignity of minors in the digital world.          The acknowledgment and defense of the dignity of the human person is the origin and basis of every right social and political order, and the Church has recognized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) as “a true milestone on the path of moral progress of humanity” (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Addresses to the United Nations Organization, 1979 and 1995).  So too, in the knowledge that children are among those most in need of care and protection, the Holy See received the Declaration on the Rights of the Child (1959) and adhered to the relative Convention (1990) and its two optional protocols (2001).  The dignity and rights of children must be protected by legal systems as priceless goods for the entire human family (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church , Nos. 244-245).          While completely and firmly agreed on these principles, we must work together on their basis.  We need to do this decisively and with genuine passion, considering with tender affection all those children who come into this world every day and in every place.  They need our respect, but also our care and affection, so that they can grow and achieve all their rich potential.          Scripture tells us that man and woman are created by God in his own image.  Could any more forceful statement be made about our human dignity?  The Gospel speaks to us of the affection with which Jesus welcomes children; he takes them in his arms and blesses them (cf. Mk 10:16), because “it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” ( Mt 19:14).  Jesus’ harshest words are reserved for those who give scandal to the little ones: “It were better for them to have a great millstone fastened around their neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” ( Mt 18:6).  It follows that we must work to protect the dignity of minors, gently yet firmly, opposing with all our might the throwaway culture nowadays that is everywhere apparent, to the detriment especially of the weak and the most vulnerable, such as minors.          We are living in a new world that, when we were young, we could hardly have imagined.  We define it by two simple words as a “digital world”, but it is the fruit of extraordinary achievements of science and technology.  In a few decades, it has changed the way we live and communicate.  Even now, it is in some sense changing our very way of thinking and of being, and profoundly influencing the perception of our possibilities and our identity.          If, on the one hand, we are filled with real wonder and admiration at the new and impressive horizons opening up before us, on the other, we can sense a certain concern and even apprehension when we consider how quickly this development has taken place, the new and unforeseen problems it sets before us, and the negative consequences it entails.  Those consequences are seldom willed, and yet are quite real.  We rightly wonder if we are capable of guiding the processes we ourselves have set in motion, whether they might be escaping our grasp, and whether we are doing enough to keep them in check.          This is the great existential question facing humanity today, in light of a global crisis at once environmental, social, economic, political, moral and spiritual.          As representatives of various scientific disciplines and the fields of digital communications, law and political life, you have come together precisely because you realize the gravity of these challenges linked to scientific and technical progress.  With great foresight, you have concentrated on what is probably the most crucial challenge for the future of the human family: the protection of young people’s dignity, their healthy development, their joy and their hope.          We know that minors are presently more than a quarter of the over 3 billion users of the internet; this means that over 800 million minors are navigating the internet. We know that within two years, in India alone, over 500 million persons will have access to the internet, and that half of these will be minors.  What do they find on the net?  And how are they regarded by those who exercise various kinds of influence over the net?          We have to keep our eyes open and not hide from an unpleasant truth that we would rather not see.  For that matter, surely we have realized sufficiently in recent years that concealing the reality of sexual abuse is a grave error and the source of many other evils?  So let us face reality, as you have done in these days.  We encounter extremely troubling things on the net, including the spread of ever more extreme pornography, since habitual use raises the threshold of stimulation; the increasing phenomenon of sexting between young men and women who use the social media; and the growth of online bullying, a true form of moral and physical attack on the dignity of other young people.  To this can be added sextortion ; the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes, now widely reported in the news; to say nothing of the grave and appalling crimes of online trafficking in persons, prostitution, and even the commissioning and live viewing of acts of rape and violence against minors in other parts of the world.  The net has its dark side (the “dark net”), where evil finds ever new, effective and pervasive ways to act and to expand.  The spread of printed pornography in the past was a relatively small phenomenon compared to the proliferation of pornography on the net.  You have addressed this clearly, based on solid research and documentation, and for this we are grateful.          Faced with these facts, we are naturally alarmed.  But, regrettably, we also remain bewildered.  As you know well, and are teaching us, what is distinctive about the net is precisely that it is worldwide; it covers the planet, breaking down every barrier, becoming ever more pervasive, reaching everywhere and to every kind of user, including children, due to mobile devices that are becoming smaller and easier to use.  As a result, today no one in the world, or any single national authority, feels capable of monitoring and adequately controlling the extent and the growth of these phenomena, themselves interconnected and linked to other grave problems associated with the net, such as illicit trafficking, economic and financial crimes, and international terrorism.  From an educational standpoint too, we feel bewildered, because the speed of its growth has left the older generation on the sidelines, rendering extremely difficult, if not impossible, intergenerational dialogue and a serene transmission of rules and wisdom acquired by years of life and experience.          But we must not let ourselves be overcome by fear, which is always a poor counsellor.  Nor let ourselves be paralyzed by the sense of powerlessness that overwhelms us before the difficulty of the task before us.  Rather, we are called to join forces, realizing that we need one another in order to seek and find the right means and approaches needed for effective responses.  We must be confident that “we can broaden our vision.  We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” ( Laudato Si’ , 112).          For such a mobilization to be effective, I encourage you to oppose firmly certain potentially mistaken approaches.  I will limit myself to indicating three of these.          The first is to underestimate the harm done to minors by these phenomena.  The difficulty of countering them can lead us to be tempted to say: “Really, the situation is not so bad as all that…”   But the progress of neurobiology, psychology and psychiatry have brought to light the profound impact of violent and sexual images on the impressionable minds of children, the psychological problems that emerge as they grow older, the dependent behaviours and situations, and genuine enslavement that result from a steady diet of provocative or violent images.  These problems will surely have a serious and life-long effect on today’s children.          Here I would add an observation.  We rightly insist on the gravity of these problems for minors.  But we can also underestimate or overlook the extent that they are also problems for adults.  Determining the age of minority and majority is important for legal systems, but it is insufficient for dealing with other issues.  The spread of ever more extreme pornography and other improper uses of the net not only causes disorders, dependencies and grave harm among adults, but also has a real impact on the way we view love and relations between the sexes.  We would be seriously deluding ourselves were we to think that a society where an abnormal consumption of internet sex is rampant among adults could be capable of effectively protecting minors.          The second mistaken approach would be to think that automatic technical solutions, filters devised by ever more refined algorithms in order to identify and block the spread of abusive and harmful images, are sufficient to deal with these problems.  Certainly, such measures are necessary. Certainly, businesses that provide millions of people with social media and increasingly powerful, speedy and pervasive software should invest in this area a fair portion of their great profits.  But there is also an urgent need, as part of the process of technological growth itself, for all those involved to acknowledge and address the ethical concerns that this growth raises, in all its breadth and its various consequences.          Here we find ourselves having to reckon with a third potentially mistaken approach, which consists in an ideological and mythical vision of the net as a realm of unlimited freedom. Quite rightly, your meeting includes representatives of lawmakers and law enforcement agencies whose task is to provide for and to protect the common good and the good of individual persons.  The net has opened a vast new forum for free expression and the exchange of ideas and information.  This is certainly beneficial, but, as we have seen, it has also offered new means for engaging in heinous illicit activities, and, in the area with which we are concerned, for the abuse of minors and offences against their dignity, for the corruption of their minds and violence against their bodies.  This has nothing to do with the exercise of freedom; it has to do with crimes that need to be fought with intelligence and determination, through a broader cooperation among governments and law enforcement agencies on the global level, even as the net itself is now global.          You have been discussing all these matters and, in the “Declaration” you presented me, you have pointed out a variety of different ways to promote concrete cooperation among all concerned parties working to combat the great challenge of defending the dignity of minors in the digital world.  I firmly and enthusiastically support the commitments that you have undertaken.          These include raising awareness of the gravity of the problems, enacting suitable legislation, overseeing developments in technology, identifying victims and prosecuting those guilty of crimes.  They include assisting minors who have been affected and providing for their rehabilitation, assisting educators and families, and finding creative ways of training young people in the proper use of the internet in ways healthy for themselves and for other minors.  They also include fostering greater sensitivity and providing moral formation, as well as continuing scientific research in all the fields associated with this challenge.          Very appropriately, you have expressed the hope that religious leaders and communities of believers can also share in this common effort, drawing on their experience, their authority and their resources for education and for moral and spiritual formation.  In effect, only the light and the strength that come from God can enable us to face these new challenges.  As for the Catholic Church, I would assure you of her commitment and her readiness to help.  As all of us know, in recent years the Church has come to acknowledge her own failures in providing for the protection of children: extremely grave facts have come to light, for which we have to accept our responsibility before God, before the victims and before public opinion.  For this very reason, as a result of these painful experiences and the skills gained in the process of conversion and purification, the Church today feels especially bound to work strenuously and with foresight for the protection of minors and their dignity, not only within her own ranks, but in society as a whole and throughout the world.  She does not attempt to do this alone – for that is clearly not enough – but by offering her own effective and ready cooperation to all those individuals and groups in society that are committed to the same end.  In this sense, the Church adheres to the goal of putting an end to “the abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children” set by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Target 16.2).          On many occasions, and in many different countries, I gaze into the eyes of children, poor and rich, healthy and ill, joyful and suffering.  To see children looking us in the eye is an experience we have all had.  It touches our hearts and requires us to examine our consciences.  What are we doing to ensure that those children can continue smiling at us, with clear eyes and faces filled with trust and hope?  What are we doing to make sure that they are not robbed of this light, to ensure that those eyes will not be not darkened and corrupted by what they will find on the internet, which will soon be so integral and important a part of their daily lives?          Let us work together, then, so that we will always have the right, the courage and the joy to be able to look into the eyes of the children of our world. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Church congress on child protection in digital world issues call to action

Vatican News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 06:34
(Vatican Radio) ‘ The Declaration of Rome ’, the final document produced by participants at the World Congress hosted by the Pontifical Gregorian University on ‘ Child Dignity in the Digital World ’, issues an urgent call to action.  140 participants from all continents gathered in Rome from 3 to 6 October for the first world congress focused on addressing the dangers children and adolescents face on the internet. Put  together by a UK-based global alliance called ‘WePROTECT’ and by ‘Telefono Azzurro’, the first Italian helpline for children at risk, the congress drew delegates from countries across the world, including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Receiving participants at the event on Friday morning in the Vatican, Pope Francis was handed ‘The Declaration of Rome’ by a young girl “on behalf of millions of young people around the world who need information and far more protection from the risks of sexual and other forms of abuse on the internet”. “Using your own words, she said to the Pope, we believe that ‘A society can be judged by the way it treats its children’.” While technology, she continued, has changed our lives in so many positive ways, it is also being used in the growing exploitation of children, millions of whom are being abused and exploited all over the world.  Explaining that increasingly extreme and dehumanizing content is available at children’s fingertips, she said that some of the effects include cyberbullying, harassment and sextortion, while “online pornography is impacting the malleable minds of young children”. Highlighting the right of all children to be protected, she called for unity and collaboration in seeking in seeking “positive, empowering solutions for all”. One of the main points of the document is the need for technology companies and governments to innovate to better protect children. “This is a problem, she said, that cannot be solved by one nation or one company or one faith acting alone, it is a global problem that requires global solutions. It requires that we build awareness and that we mobilize action from every government, every faith, every company and every institution”. “In this era of the internet the world faces unprecedented challenges if it is to preserve the rights and dignity of children and protect them from abuse and exploitation.  These challenges require new thinking and approaches, heightened global awareness and inspired leadership.  For this reason this Declaration of Rome appeals to everyone to stand up for the protection of the dignity of children” she concluded. One of the participants at the Congress was Antoine Normand from Canada. Normand is the founder of BlueBear , a company that combats child pornography on the Internet thanks to the development of software which analyzes and categorizes image and video evidence files seized during child pornography investigations and that is used in collaboration with the Police. Normand was at the audience with the Pope and sums up the content of “The Rome Declaration.” Listen :  Please find below the full text of “The Rome Declaration”: The Declaration of Rome  World Congress:  Child Dignity in the Digital World 6 October 2017 Pope Francis -- “A society can be judged by the way it treats its children.” Every child’s life is unique, meaningful and precious and every child has a right to dignity and safety.  Yet today, global society is failing its children.  Millions of children are being abused and exploited in tragic and unspeakable ways, and on an unprecedented scale all over the world. Technology’s exponential advancement and integration into our everyday lives is not only changing what we do and how we do it, but who we are.  Much of the impact of these changes has been very positive.  However, we face the dark side of this new-found world, a world which is enabling a host of social ills that are harming the most vulnerable members of society.  While undoubtedly the Internet creates numerous benefits and opportunities in terms of social inclusion and educational attainment, today, content that is increasingly extreme and dehumanizing is available literally at children’s fingertips.  The proliferation of social media means insidious acts, such as cyberbullying, harassment and sextortion, are becoming commonplace.  Specifically, the range and scope of child sexual abuse and exploitation online is shocking.  Vast numbers of sexual abuse images of children and youth are available online and continue to grow unabated.  The detrimental impact of pornography on the malleable minds of young children is another significant online harm.  We embrace the vision of an internet accessible by all people.  However, we believe the constitution of this vision must recognize the unwavering value of protecting all children. The challenges are enormous, but our response must not be gloom and dismay.  We must work together to seek positive, empowering solutions for all.  We must ensure that all children have safe access to the internet to enhance their education, communications and connections.  Technology companies and government have shown leadership in this fight and must continue to innovate to better protect children.  We must also awaken families, neighbours, communities around the world and children themselves to the reality of the internet’s impact upon children. We already have potent global platforms in place and important global leaders making significant progress in fulfilling these aims.  The Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University conducts international safe-guarding work in 30 countries on four continents.  The WePROTECT Global Alliance, launched by the United Kingdom, in partnership with the European Union and the United States, unites 70 nations, 23 technology companies and many international organizations in this fight.   The United Nations is leading a global effort to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 to eradicate violence against children by 2030, particularly through the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. This is a problem that cannot be solved by one nation or one company or one faith acting alone, it is a global problem that requires global solutions. It requires that we build awareness, and that we mobilize action from every government, every faith, every company and every institution.  This Declaration of Rome issues a call to action:     1 – To world leaders to undertake a global awareness campaign to educate and inform the people of the world about the severity and extent of the abuse and exploitation of the world’s children, and to urge them to demand action from national leaders.  2 – To leaders of the world’s great religions to inform and mobilize members of every faith to join in a global movement to protect the world’s children. 3 – To the parliaments of the world to improve their laws to better protect children and hold those accountable who abuse and exploit children. 4 – To leaders of technology companies to commit to the development and implementation of new tools and technologies to attack the proliferation of sex abuse images on the Internet, and to interdict the redistribution of the images of identified child victims.  5 – To world’s ministries of public health and the leaders of non-governmental organizations to expand the rescue of child victims and improve treatment programs for victims of abuse and sexual exploitation. 6 – To government agencies, civil society and law enforcement to work to improve the recognition and identification of child victims, and ensure help for the massive numbers of hidden victims of child abuse and sexual exploitation. 7 – To the world’s law enforcement organizations to expand regional and global cooperation in order to improve information sharing in investigations and increase collaborative efforts in addressing these crimes against children which cross national boundaries. 8 – To the world’s medical institutions to enhance training for medical professionals in recognizing the indicators of abuse and sexual exploitation, and improve the reporting and treatment of such abuse and sexual exploitation.  9 – To governments and private institutions to enhance resources available to psychiatric and other treatment professionals for expanded treatment and rehabilitation services for children who have been abused or exploited. 10 – To the leading authorities in public health to expand research into the health impacts resulting from the exposure of young children and adolescents to graphic, extreme internet pornography. 11 – To leaders of the world’s governments, legislative bodies, private industry and religious institutions to advocate for and implement techniques to deny access by children and youth to internet content suitable only for adults. 12 – To governments, private industry and religious institutions to undertake a global awareness campaign directed at children and youth to educate them and provide them with the tools necessary to use the internet safely and responsibly, and to avoid the harm being done to many of their peers. 13 – To governments, private industry and religious institutions to undertake a global awareness initiative to make citizens in every country more alert and aware regarding the abuse and sexual exploitation of children, and to encourage them to report such abuse or exploitation to appropriate authorities if they see it, know about it or suspect it.  In this era of the internet the world faces unprecedented challenges if it is to preserve the rights and dignity of children and protect them from abuse and exploitation.  These challenges require new thinking and approaches, heightened global awareness and inspired leadership.  For this reason this Declaration of Rome appeals to everyone to stand up for the protection of the dignity of children. Presented this 6 th day of October 2017         (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope defends human dignity under attack from “technocratic materialism‎"

Vatican News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 09:50
(Vatican Radio) One cannot be silent in the face of an “unscrupulous materialism” that marks the alliance between economy and technology, and that treats life as a resource to be exploited or discarded by power and profit.  “Unfortunately men, women and children the world over are experiencing the bitterness and pain of the “illusory promises” of this “technocratic materialism” , said Pope Francis on Thursday.  He was speaking to the members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) at the start of their 2-day general assembly in Rome.  The Oct. 5-6 meeting is holding a workshop on the theme “Accompanying Life: New Responsibilities in the Technological Era.” Technology against person and life In the face of the effects of recent technological developments in life sciences and the power of biotechnologies that permit extensive manipulation of life, unthinkable until recently, Pope Francis urged for a behavior that is consistent with the dignity of the human person and of life and its meaning and value.  The Pope observed that contrary to the welfare promised by this “technocratic materialism” with the expansion of the market, what we are witnessing is widening territories of poverty, conflict, waste and abandonment , resentment and despair. ‎Instead, he said, authentic scientific and technological progress should inspire more humane policies. In this regard, the Holy Father said, Christian faith and the Church’s rich tradition of enlightened minds can inspire today’s believers repair the “fracture between generations”  that interrupts the transmission of life .  The life of ‎fathers and mothers in advanced age wants to be honoured for what they have generously given, and not be discarded for what they don’t have any more, he said. Neutralizing sexual differences is not a right In this initiative, the Word of God sheds light on the origin of life and it destiny, the Pope said.  The narrative of creation should be read as God’s act of love that entrusts creation and history to the alliance between man and woman .  But neither of them can alone assume this responsibility, because they were created together in their blessed difference.  In this regard, the Pope said, recent effort to assert the dignity of a person by radically neutralizing sexual differences and the understanding of man and woman is not right. He said, the utopia of the “neuter”, ‎removes both the human dignity of the sexually different ‎constitution as well as the personal quality of the ‎”generative transmission of life”. Generating and caring for life The generative alliance of man and woman is a defence for the worldwide humanism of men and ‎women, ‎not a handicap, the Pope said warning, “if we reject this, our history will not be renewed.”  The passion for accompanying and caring for life, along the entire arch of its individual and social ‎history, calls for a revival of an ethos of compassion or tenderness for the generation and ‎regeneration of the human being in its distinction.‎  The Pope thus called for reviving sensitivity for the various stages of life, especially for children and the elderly in all their fragility, vulnerability and corruptibility.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis at Mass in Santa Marta: rediscover your roots

Vatican News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:16
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. In remarks to the faithful following the Readings of the Day, the Holy Father reflected on the importance of keeping tethered to our roots – especially our spiritual roots – and avoiding what he called “psychological self-exile”. Click below to hear our report Taking as his starting point the reading from the Book of Nehemiah , in which the prophet recounts Ezra ’s reading of the law to the whole assembly of the people before their re-entrance into the holy city, Jerusalem, after some seventy years of Babylonian captivity, Pope Francis recalled the nostalgic tears of Nehemiah – who was cup-bearer to the Persian king, Ataxerxes, at Babylon. Then Pope Francis recalled the verse of Psalm 137, which says, “Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion[.]” The Pope also reflected on the “nostalgia of migrants,” those who are, “far from home and want to return.” On the shores of Babylon - real and spiritual After so many years of exile, the roots “had weakened” but were not lost. Recovering the roots “means recovering the [sense of] belonging of a people,” Pope Francis said. “Without roots,” he continued, “we cannot live: a people without roots or at risk of losing roots, is a sick people”: “A person without roots, who has forgotten his roots, is sick. Finding, rediscovering their roots and taking the strength to go forward, the strength to flourish and, as the poet says, ‘the power to flourish because – he says – what the tree has borne in fruit comes from what he has buried.’ Just that relationship between the root and the good we can do.” Along this journey of recovery, however, the Pope noted, there has been “so much resistance”: “Resistance comes from those who prefer exile, and when there is no physical exile, psychological exile: self-exile from the community, from society, from those who prefer to be uprooted people, without roots. We must think of this psychological self-exile as a disease: it does so much harm. It takes away the roots. It takes away our belonging.” Recovering the roots The people, however, go forward, and achieve the day on which they are finally to rebuild their city. The people rally to “restore the roots,” that is to say, to hear the Word of God, which the scribe Ezra read – and the people were weeping once more, but this time their tears were not those shed on Babylonian shores: “It was the weeping of joy, the encounter with their roots, the encounter with their belonging [to God and to one another].” After reading, Nehemiah invites them to feast. This is the joy of those who have found their roots: “The man and woman who find their roots, who are faithful to their membership, are a man and a woman in joy – joy – and this joy is their strength. From the weeping of sadness to tears of joy: from the weeping of weakness at being far from their roots, far from their people, to the cry of belonging; ‘I’m home’. I am at home.” The courage to weep The Pope went on to invite all those at Mass to read the whole of the eighth chapter of Nehemiah, from which the First Reading of the Day was drawn, and to ask whether they have not themselves “let fail the memory of the Lord,” and if they have, whether they are ready start a journey to recover their roots,  or whether they prefer to be closed in on themselves in the soul’s self-imposed exile. Finally, Pope Francis said that if you are “afraid of crying,” you will have, “fear of laughing,” because, after one weeps with sadness, there come tears of joy. We must therefore ask for the grace of the “repentant cry,” the weeping of those who are “sad for their sins,” but also for the weeping of joy, because the Lord “forgave us and has done in our lives what He did with his people.”  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis urges Iraqi Chaldean bishops to be builders of unity

Vatican News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:04
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged leaders of the Chaldean Church  to be builders of unity, favouring dialogue and collaboration between all actors of Iraqi society. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : The Pope was addressing bishops in Rome for the Synod of the Chaldeans , taking place from 4 to 8 October . The Chaldean Church is headed by Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, Archbishop of Baghdad. Amongst the main topics of discussion are the Kurdish referendum and the return of Christian refugees in the Nineveh Plain. A time of hope for the region Noting that this meeting comes at a time of need and of hope for the region, Pope Francis said together with all Iraqis, religious leaders are called to face issues such as the forced migration of Christians, the reconstruction of villages, the return of many displaced people as well as liturgical and pastoral issues. “This is an occasion for me, the Pope said, to send my greetings to the sorely tested faithful of the beloved Iraqi nation” and to share the hope that stems from the resumption of life and activity “in regions and cities that were subjected to painful and violent oppression”. While a tragic page of history has been concluded, he said, there remains much to do. Builders of unity “I exhort you to work tirelessly as builders of unity” he said. He spoke of the need for unity within the Chaldean Church and with pastors of other Churches, and of the need to favour dialogue and collaboration in a concerted effort to facilitate the return of the displaced and heal divisions and contrasts between brothers. Commenting on a situation of uncertainty for the future, Francis talked of the need for a national reconciliation process and for a joint effort on the part of all components of society to work out solutions for the good of the entire nation. Reflecting on the historical significance of the region as a land of ancient evangelization, of civilization, encounter and dialogue, he exhorted the bishops never to be discouraged in the face of inevitable difficulties, and he highlighted the importance of unity between Christians in the promotion of respectful relationships and interreligious dialogue. Ecclesial and liturgical concerns On a different note, the Pope gave directions to the bishops regarding the need for accompaniment and formation of priests and seminarians, whom, he said, must be well grounded in four different dimensions: the human one, the spiritual one, the pastoral one and the intellectual one. He spoke of his concern for the theme of the Diaspora which, he said, must be ‘rethought’ taking into consideration the situations in which ecclesial communities find themselves, both from a numerical and a religious freedom point of view. “Everything possible must be done in order to bring the aims of the Second Vatican Council into effect, facilitating pastoral care in those regions where Oriental communities are well established, and promoting communion and fraternity with Latin Rite communities  in order to provide the faithful with good witness and avoid protracting divisions and contrasts” he said. Need for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, he noted, must be rooted in Catholic unity and communion: “the Congregation for Oriental Churches will support you in this.” Pope Francis concluded his speech expressing his hope that this Synod may provide a time of fruitful debate and fraternal reflection for the beloved Chaldean Church. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis: Proclaim the Gospel to all without fear

Vatican News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 05:49
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received a delegation from the Church Relations Committee  of the United Bible Societies telling them that "the word of God enlightens, protects, defends, heals and frees.” Listen to our report:  Speaking to the delegation Pope Francis began by highlighting the role they play in making “the Bible more easily accessible in diverse languages and in today’s wide variety of communication media.” He told them that, “we are servants of the word of salvation, which, he added, never returns to the Lord empty.” The Holy Father also underlined the importance of, as he called it,  nourishing ourselves “at the table of the word by reading, listening, studying and bearing witness with our lives.”  Proclaiming the Gospel  The Pope stressed to those gathered how vital it is that the Church today goes out to proclaim the Gospel to all, “in all places, on all occasions, without delay, reluctance or fear. We do so, he continued, in  obedience to the Lord’s missionary mandate, certain of his presence among us until the end of the world.” Testimonies of faith Recalling the many people who are in prison on account of the word, and the many more who have shed their blood as a testimony to their faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Father said as Christians, “we are servants of the powerful word of God that enlightens, protects, defends, heals and frees.” In conclusion, and quoting from Bible passages, the Pope said, “Let us walk together to spread the word. Let us pray together, that the Father’s will be done. Let us work together, that what the Lord has said may be accomplished in us.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis: Be missionaries of hope

Vatican News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 06:02
(Vatican Radio) In a sunny St Peter’s Square on Wednesday, Pope Francis during his General Audience didn’t disappoint those pilgrims who had come to hear his continuing catechesis on Christian hope. This week the Holy Father turned his attention to the Christian’s calling to be a missionary of hope. Listen to our report: Example of St Francis As an example, he chose a great Saint of the Church and his own namesake St Francis, whose feast day is celebrated on October 4th, calling him “a true missionary of the joyful hope born of Christ’s victory over death…” He went on to says that, “Jesus asks us to be witnesses of that same hope, confident in the transforming power of his Spirit at work in our hearts and in our world.  Joy, the Pope underlined, “ is the sure sign of true Christian hope, but he also noted that, there are times when the gift of hope proves costly.  Persecuted Christians The Holy Father was referring to “fellow Christians who presently experience persecution” and all the martyrs down through the centuries. He said that, “their witness inspires us to continue to hope in Christ’s promises.  As missionaries of hope, may we rejoice in God’s saving power, never lose heart, and help others to look to the future with confidence.” The Pope noted that the task of Christians in this world is to open a space for salvation, adding that, “when the sky is cloudy, it is a blessing for those who know the sun.” Behold, the true Christian is this, said Pope Francis,  “not complacent and angry, but convinced, by the strength of the resurrection…” Middle East Concluding his Audience the Holy Father greeted all the English speaking pilgrims present and in words to visitors from Egypt, the Pope prayed that the Lord would bless them and protect their country, the Middle East and the whole world from all evil and terrorism. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

General Audience: Pope Francis announces pre-synodal youth meeting

Vatican News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 05:08
(Vatican Radio) Towards the end of the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis announced that from 19 to 24 March 2018, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops will convene a pre-synodal meeting inviting young people from different parts of the world, both young Catholics and young people from different Christian denominations and other religions, as well as non-believers. "This initiative, the Pope said, is part of the preparations for the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be on Youth, Faith and Vocation Discernment in October 2018.” With this journey, the Pope continued, “the Church wants to listen to the voice, the sensitivity, of faith and also the doubts and criticisms of young people. Following this, conclusions of the March Meeting will be transmitted to the Synod Fathers.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Card Parolin addresses Child Dignity in the Digital World conference

Vatican News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 03:20
(Vatican Radio) Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Tuesday addressed the Child Dignity in the Digital World   world congress being held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University this week. In his speech to the conference the Cardinal spoke about "The Holy See and Its Commitment to Combatting Sex Abuse Online". Please find the English translation of Cardinal Parolin's speech: Dear President of the Senate, Your Eminences, Excellencies, Dear Father General, Ambassadors, Father Rector, Academic Authorities and Professors, Dear Friends, I thank you for inviting me to speak at the opening of this important Congress, thus allowing me to convey the greetings and appreciation of His Holiness Pope Francis and of the Holy See for this initiative. It is an event that is hosted and organized, along with other laudable events, by a prestigious Pontifical University. I greet the distinguished persons and institutions who are participating in this initiative, and I express my gratitude to all those who have contributed concretely to the organization and planning of this Congress. Above all, I wish to express my appreciation for having chosen the topic that will be discussed: the dignity of the child in the digital world. The majority of you, who have worked for a long time in this field, are well aware that the sexual abuse of minors constitutes a vast and widespread phenomenon. Over the past few decades, this tragic reality has come powerfully to the fore in the Catholic Church and extremely grave facts have emerged. The Church has become increasingly aware of the harm experienced by the victims, of their suffering and of the need to listen to them, in order to work on various fronts; these include: a wide range of interventions which must be carried out in order to heal wounds, restore justice, prevent crimes and form educators and persons who deal with minors, with a view to spreading and consolidating a new culture of child protection – a real safeguarding – that effectively guarantees they can grow up in a healthy and safe environment. This is a task requiring deep human care, competence and tenacity; experience tells us that where this commitment is consistent and continuous, the fruits that will come of it are positive and encouraging. The Church’s effort in this sense, even when society in general has not yet developed the necessary awareness, must continue, must be expanded and deepened, with clarity and firmness, so that the dignity and rights of minors may be protected and defended with much greater attentiveness and effectiveness than was done in the past. In this venue, we want to share the experience we have acquired, so that it may prove useful for an ever greater good, thanks to collaboration with all of you. The world into which human persons are today born and raised is characterized, ever more deeply and pervasively, by the development and ubiquity of new communications technologies and new instruments for their use. Handheld phones and tablets and other devices have come to be part of the daily life of an ever greater number of people; these users are ever younger, so much so that we can speak of the young generations as “digital natives.” This has spread to every part of the world, reaching even areas where economic and social development are as yet inadequate and uneven. The phenomenon is now global and so we speak of a “digital world.” We now realize that, supported by ever greater evidence, the scourge of offenses against the dignity of minors, as with so many other dramatic problems in today’s world, spreads through and aligns itself within the new parameters of the digital world. This plague meanders and infiltrates along a labyrinth of paths and through deep, hidden layers of reality. The digital world is not, in fact, a separate part of the world: it is an integral part of the unique reality of the world. Minors who grow up in it are exposed to new risks, or rather, to old risks manifested in new ways; and the culture of the protection of minors that we want to spread must be sufficiently able to address today’s problems. Looking at our contemporary world, Pope Francis continually reminds us that the forms of abuse and violence against minors proliferate in an interwoven manner: the traffic of minors and of human persons generally, the phenomenon of child soldiers, the absence of even the most elementary education, the fact that small children are the first victims of hunger and extreme poverty. On the day dedicated by the Church to the memory of the Holy Innocents, Pope Francis wrote: “We need the courage to respond to this reality, to arise and take it firmly in hand (cf. Mt 2:20)… [We need] the courage to guard this joyfrom the new Herods of our time, who devour the innocence of our children. An innocence stolen from them by the oppression of illegal slave labour, prostitution and exploitation. An innocence shattered by wars and forced migration, with the great loss that this entails. Thousands of our children have fallen into the hands of gangs, criminal organizations and merchants of death, who only devour and exploit their neediness” (Letter to Bishops, 28 December 2016). In all these situations, the horrendous reality of sexual abuse is nearly always present, as a common aspect and consequence of multifaceted and widespread violence that ignores all respect, not only for the body, but more so for the soul, for the profound vulnerability and dignity of every child, of every young boy and girl of whatever nation. And so we recognize the challenges, but realize too that even though we have learned a great deal with respect to this phenomenon, it remains important to understand it ever better, and, more than anything, to continue to make our understanding of the phenomenon accessible to all those who promote the protection of the rights of minors. Only in this way can we effectively fight the battle to protect minors in our digitalized world. The phenomena we observe reach levels of shocking gravity; their dimensions and the speed with which they spread surpass our imagination. Here then is the second reason for my appreciation of the method employed by this Congress: calling together representatives from the various fields of scientific research as well as those who are actively committed to the protection of minors; representatives of leading companies in technological development and communications characteristic of the digital world; those responsible for the common good of human society; legislators, politicians, and law enforcement agencies called upon to combat crimes and abuses; religious leaders and leaders of civil society organizations committed to working for minors. Like some of the other speakers, I too want to insist on a distinguishing characteristic of this assembly, one that makes it new and even unique, namely: establishing a dialogue between the many competent and meritorious people who have made their own the cause of defending the dignity of minors in the digital world. They are doing this by channelling their energies towards a shared commitment in order to overcome the sense of disorientation and powerlessness when faced with such a markedly difficult challenge, and to help us to intervene creatively. Once this basic strategic territory has been identified, we must work to regain control of the development of the digital world, so that it may be at the service of the dignity of minors, and thus of the whole human race of tomorrow. For the minors of today are the entirety of tomorrow’s human race. Following the research and understanding of these problems there must come a commitment and a far-seeing, courageous endeavour on the part of all of us here present; there must also be an appeal for the cooperation of every person in a position of responsibility, in the various countries and sectors of society. Perhaps I may be permitted to offer some further reflections, which I propose for your consideration. The demographic development of humanity is particularly rapid in many countries where economic and social progress is still lacking or uneven. Hundreds of millions of children and young people are growing up in a digital world within a context that is still largely undeveloped. Their parents and teachers may not, perhaps, be culturally equipped to accompany them and help them to grow up in this world, whereas their political leaders will often not know where to begin in order to protect them. We have a responsibility to these children too, as do the companies that promote and drive the development of the digital world. With its international, global and interdisciplinary perspective, this Congress must take responsibility for those minors at the world’s “peripheries”, of which Pope Francis continually speaks: peripheries that are in geographic areas of greater economic poverty, but that are also found within wealthy societies where there is considerable human and spiritual poverty, loneliness and a loss of the meaning of life. It is not by chance that it is minors in all these peripheries who are the preferred target of networks of exploitation and of organized online violence on a global scale. Both in society and in the Church, there has always been insistence on the primary responsibility of the family and of the school in guaranteeing minors a sound education so essential to the protection and promotion of their dignity. This still very much applies today and every effort must be made so that parents and educators may be increasingly able to undertake their duties, even in the face of risks and challenges from the digital world. There is, however, no doubt that in the modern context their ability to influence the formation of young generations is proportionately far less than in the past, and is often frustrated and overtaken by the continual wave of messages and images that come to even the smallest children through countless open avenues provided by the new media. For this reason too, responsibility towards young generations must be shared fully by all the sectors of society that you represent. Finally, we find ourselves hosted here by an institution which depends on the Catholic Church and which is thus particularly attentive to the moral and religious dimensions of the life and development of the human person. I hope that your work may be able also to integrate these perspectives into the shared work of reflection and commitment, and that from them you may draw vigour, inspiration and motivation. For the rest, all of us surely agree on what is affirmed in the second principle of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child, namely, that every child should have the means “to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity”. Moreover, as John Paul II affirmed in 1990, on the occasion of the World Summit for Children, we stress “the need to do much more to safeguard the well-being of the world’s children, to enunciate the rights of the child and to protect those rights through cultural and legislative actions imbued with respect for human life as a value in itself, independently of sex, ethnic origin, social or cultural status, or political or religious conviction” (Letter to J. Pérez de Cuellar, 22 September 1990. The Holy See adhered to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990). The minors of whom we speak and whose dignity we wish to defend and promote are human persons, and the value of each of them is unique and unrepeatable. Each of them must be taken seriously and protected in this ever more digitalized world, so that they may be able to fulfil the purpose of their life, their destiny, their coming into the world. The destiny and the life of each of them is supremely important, precious in the sight of human beings and in the sight of God. According to Scripture, every human being is created “in the image and likeness” of God. According to the New Testament, the Son of God came among us as a vulnerable child, and in needy circumstances, assuming both the fragility and the hope for a future that are intrinsic to an infant. To disparage infancy and to abuse children is for the Christian, therefore, not only a crime, but also – as Pope Francis has stated – sacrilege, a profanation of that which is sacred, of the presence of God in every human being. The forces that drive the technical and economic development of the world seem unstoppable and, as we know, are perhaps often determined and driven by economic and even very powerful political interests, which we must not allow ourselves to be dominated by. The power of sexual desire that dwells in the depth of the human mind and heart is great and wonderful when it advances the path of humanity; but it can also be corrupted and perverted, to become a source of suffering and unspeakable abuse: and so it must be elevated and directed. The sense of moral responsibility in the sight of humanity and in the sight of God, the reflection on the correct use of freedom in the building and orientation of a new world and in learning how to live in it, are thus absolutely necessary and fundamental for our common future. You have come together here to address one of today’s most important and urgent issues for the journey of humanity. I hope that the living sense of the beauty and the mystery of human persons, of the greatness of their vocation to life, and thus of the duty to protect them in their dignity and their growth, may inspire your work and bear concrete and effective fruit.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope sends message to Apostleship of Sea congress in Taiwan

Vatican News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 10:44
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to the 24th World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea which is taking place this week in the Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung. In the message, signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope says he hopes the congress will serve to strengthen all those who support people living and working at sea. The meeting, from October 1st to 7th , is focused on challenges facing the fishing industries, in particular the plight of migrant fishermen. The World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea is held once every four years but this is the first time that it takes place in Taiwan, which has one of the world’s biggest fishing industries. Please find below the full text of the pope’s message: President of the XXIV World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea  His Holiness Pope Francis sends cordial greetings and prayerful best wishes to the participants in the twenty-fourth World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea.  In giving thanks to Almighty God for the many graces received through its work over many years, His Holiness prays that the bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful gathered for this significant Congress, will be strengthened in their support of all those who work at sea.  As you address the particular needs of those who labour in the fishing sector, Pope Francis hopes that Christians may recognize the valuable lesson we can learn from them, “about a Church which makes room for God’s mystery; a Church which harbours that mystery in such a way that it can entice people” and attract them to himself (cf. Address to the Bishops of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, 27 July 2013). In entrusting all seafarers and their families to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Stella Maris and Stella Matutina, His Holiness gladly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis' Prayer Intention for October: for Workers and the Unemployed

Vatican News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:37
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has released a video message accompanying his monthly prayer intention for October . This month’s intention is for Workers and the Unemployed : That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good” The text of the video message reads: We should always remember the dignity and rights of those who work, condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and help to ensure authentic progress by man and society. Let us pray that all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good. The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed the "Pope Video" initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at Mass: 'ask the Lord for the courage to follow Jesus'

Vatican News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 07:28
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has invited Christians to turn to God to in search of the courage and strength needed to follow Jesus in our lives. Speaking on Tuesday morning during the homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope reflected on Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem as the moment of His crucifixion drew near. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Accepting the will of his Father, Jesus – he said – resolutely determined to undertake that journey and announced His intention to the disciples. Jesus: a model of determination and obedience “Only once, the Pope recalled, in the Garden of Gethsemane did He ask the Father to ‘remove the cup of wrath He was about to drink’, but each time He submitted to the Father’s will.” That’s what the Father wants of us, he said, determination and obedience, and He will await with infinite patience. Francis went on to explain that the disciples did not follow their Master during his journey to Jerusalem. Jesus was alone  “At times the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying or did not want to understand because they were afraid; other times they hid the truth or they were distracted by other things; or – as we can read in today’s Gospel: they searched for an alibi so as not to think about what was awaiting the Lord” he said. He pointed out that Jesus was alone in his decision because no one understood the mystery of Jesus, and noted that the only one that God sent to strengthen and comfort Him in the Garden of Gethsemane was an angel sent from Heaven. Ask for the grace to follow Jesus   “Let us take some time, the Pope said, to think about Jesus who loved us so much, who walked alone towards the cross: think about Him and thank Him for his obedience and His courage and enter into conversation with Him.”    Speak to Jesus, Francis concluded, acknowledging all the things He has done for us, acknowledging the patience with which he tolerates our sins and our failures. “Take some time today – five, ten, fifteen minutes – either before the crucifix or with your imagination, to ‘see’ Jesus walking determinately towards Jerusalem and ask for the grace to have the courage to follow him closely” he said. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis prays for victims of Las Vegas shooting

Vatican News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:52
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his “spiritual closeness” to victims of the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, which left more than fifty people dead, and hundreds more wounded. In the telegram addressed to the Bishop Joseph Anthony Pepe of Las Vegas, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Pope Francis was “deeply saddened” to learn of “this senseless tragedy.” The Holy Father, he said, “commends the He commends the efforts of the police and emergency service personnel, and offers the promise of his prayers for the injured and for all who have died, entrusting them to the merciful love of Almighty God.” The attack in Las Vegas is being described as the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. The gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, died at the scene. Police said he fired from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino onto an outdoor country music festival Sunday night. Below please find the full text of the telegram sent on behalf of Pope Francis: The Most Reverend Joseph Anthony Pepe Bishop of Las Vegas Deeply saddened to learn of the shooting in Las Vegas, Pope Francis sends the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this senseless tragedy. He commends the efforts of the police and emergency service personnel, and offers the promise of his prayers for the injured and for all who have died, entrusting them to the merciful love of Almighty God. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis receives Little Sisters of Jesus

Vatican News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 08:34
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the General Chapter of the Little Sisters of Jesus on Monday in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican . The Little Sisters are a religious community founded by Little Sister Magdeleine of Jesus (née Madeleine Hutin) in 1939 on the spiritual inspiration and charism of Bl. Charles de Foucauld (+1916). Originally a missionary order of sisters ministering to nomadic peoples on the outskirts of the Sahara, the Little Sisters now have a presence in sixty-three different countries, living in small communities – often of no more than three or four members – and ministering to the poor and marginalized by sharing their day-to-day lives and living conditions. They often stay in rented housing and take ordinary jobs in inner-city neighbourhoods and poor rural areas, as well as among nomadic people. Their spiritual ethos calls them to live among those who are not reached by other Church ministries, or whose daily lives are marked by division, racism, poverty, or violence. In his remarks to the General Chapter on Monday, Pope Francis said, “Do not be afraid to go forward, carrying with yourselves the little baby Jesus in your hearts, going into all the places in which the littlest of our world find themselves.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Donating makes both the giver and the receiver happy - Pope

Vatican News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 07:59
(Vatican Radio) To the extent God freely granted us the gift of life and the created world, we in turn should donate and share with others to create a better world, Pope Francis said on Monday.  Faced with the ecological crisis we are going through, the perspective of donation received and given to those coming after us is indeed a reason for commitment and hope, he told some 150 members of the Italian Donation Institute (IID) in the Vatican.  "We have the duty to preserve and hand down to future generations an intact planet that we have received as a free gift from God’s goodness,” he told the institute ahead of Italy’s Donation Day on October 4, that it sponsors.   God's gift - life and creation The Pope reminded them that the greatest gift that God has given to each one of us is life, which is part of another divine original gift which is creation. Hence, he said, “All of us must feel it a great responsibility to safeguard and care for creation , protecting it from various forms of degradation.”  Pope Francis explained that both the gift of life and the gift of creation usher from God’s love for mankind.  To the extent to which we open ourselves to and welcome God’s love, we can in turn become the gift of love to our brothers.  This love of God, he said, is particularly demonstrated in the Last Supper where Jesus left his disciples the “new commandment” of love .  The newness of this commandment, he said, lies the donation of his life for us which translates in the service of others. The Pope further explained that this love knows how to humble itself, refuses every form of violence, respects freedom, promotes dignity and rejects every discrimination.  “An unarmed love proves stronger than hatred,” the Pope said, urging all to model themselves to the way of Jesus.    Donation - young people Pope Francis regarded Italy’s Donation Day particularly relevant for children and youth to help them open their minds and hearts to brotherhood and sharing, and building the civilization of love.   He wished that young people be able to discover that donating is freely giving a part of ourselves to others, not to lose it but to increase its value.  Donating makes both the giver and the receiver happy, and creates bonds and relationships that strengthen hope in a better world.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis with the University students

Vatican News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 07:44
The University of Bologna has been a laboratory of humanism for almost a thousand years said Pope Francis speaking to the students during his short visit to Bologna on Sunday. The word   Universitas which entails the idea of a ‘whole’ includes students from Italy, many European countries and even from South America, who work on two ideals that of ‘vertical’ - imbibing knowledge and ‘horizontal’ – sharing the research done for common good the Pope noted. The Pope  particularly focused on three rights: Right to culture. The Holy Father referred not just to the sacred right of everyone to study but also to the fact that today the ‘right to culture’ means to protect wisdom, which is human and humanizing knowledge. For Pope Francis learning serves to ask questions and to seek meaning in life. He said, one also has the right and not to be distracted in order to make strong choices through research, knowledge and sharing.      Culture he said is what nurtures and makes us grow.  Today he said we do not need loud screaming but words that reach the mind and heart.  He called them to devote themselves to education with passion, that is to ‘draw out’ the best from each one for the good of all.  He called them to assert  a culture of humanity that recognizes merits and rewards sacrifices.  Right to hope. Many today the pope said,  experience loneliness and restlessness, feeling the heavy air of abandonment. So it is necessary to provide this right to hope, which he said is not to be invaded by the daily rhetoric of fear and hatred, or be overwhelmed false news.  It is the right he said for the young to grow free of the  fear of  future and know that there are beautiful and lasting realities in life and so it is worth getting involved.   It is a right he said to believe that true love is not disposable and that our labour is not a mirage to achieve, but a promise that needs to be sustained.  He wished that the university classrooms be a haven of hope, where the students learn to be responsible for themselves and for the world.  He urged them to feel the responsibility for the future of our common home.  Right to Peace. Peace is both a right and a duty, inscribed in the heart of humanity the pope affirmed. Referring to Europe’s quest for unity, he noted how the two wars obscured the vision of peace in the continent.  Denouncing war as useless massacre he called the students  to pursue ways of nonviolence and paths of justice which foster peace.    The Pope invoked the right to peace as a right of all to resolve conflicts without violence.   To the students who have come to study law this is a challenge he said to affirm the rights of people and peoples, the weaker ones, those rejected and the creation our common home.  In conclusion he called them not to believe those who say fighting for the right is useless and nothing will change. Instead he urged them to dream big not in their sleep but in broad daylight.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Visit Bologna: Homily at Mass

Vatican News - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:48
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis concluded his Pastoral Visit to the cities of Cesena and Bologna with a Solemn Mass in the Dall’Ara Stadium of Bologna. In his homily, for what he called “the first Sunday of the Word ,” Pope Francis reflected on the Word of God, which makes our hearts burn within us, because it makes us feel loved and consoled by the Lord. The day’s Gospel relates Jesus’ parable of the two sons who were asked by their father to go to work in his vineyard. One son said no, but eventually went; while the other said yes, but did not go. “There is a great difference,” the Pope said “between the first son, who is lazy; and the second, who is a hypocrite.” Imagining their inner thoughts, Pope Francis said that the voice of the father resonated in the heart of the son, despite his initial no. In the second, on the other hand, the voice of the father “was buried.” Like the two sons, the Pope said, we can choose to be either sinners on the journey, who continue to listen to the Father, and repent and rise when we fall; or to be seated sinners, hypocrites always ready to justify ourselves, and willing to do only what is convenient. Jesus, he continued, was very severe to the latter, saying that the public sinners would go before them into heaven. They were not wrong, he said, about how they thought about God and religion, but they were mistaken in how one must live the Christian life. He said they were inflexible guardians of human traditions, incapable of understanding that life according to God is a journey , and requires the humility to be open, to repent, and to begin anew. The key word here, Pope Francis said, is repentance , which allows us to not be rigid, to transform the “no” to God into a “yes,” the “no” of sin into the “yes” of love of God. Ultimately, he said, “in the life of each one of us there are two paths: to be penitent sinners or hypocritical sinners . The Word of God, then, penetrates into the heart of each one of us. But it is also a word that calls us back to a relationship, the relationship between the father and his sons. As in the family, so in society, and in the Church, there is a need for encounter. “Never reject encounter , dialogue,” the Pope said. “Never give up on seeking new paths to walk together.” Concluding his homily, Pope Francis offered three Italian “P’s” to help us see where we are headed as a Church: “Parola,” the Word, the compass that points out the way of humble journeying; “Pane,” Bread, the Bread of the Eucharist, which is the starting point of everything; and “poveri,” the poor, not only those who are poor in material terms, but even more, those who are spiritually impoverished. In all of these we find Jesus, because the Lord entered the world in poverty, through an emptying of Himself, as St Paul says. “It would do us good,” the Pope said, “to always remember” these three terms: “the Word,” “Bread,” and “the poor.” He concluded his homily with the prayer that we might never forget these three basic “foods,” that sustain us on our journey.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope in Bologna - meeting with priests and religious

Vatican News - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:59
(Vatican Radio) During his daylong visit on Sunday to Bologna in northern Italy, Pope Francis met priests, religious, seminarians and deacons in the city cathedral.   He did not deliver a discourse but fielded two questions from them.  Priestly brotherhood The diocesan priests asked the Pope how they could grow in evangelical brotherhood with their fellow priests.   The Pope said they first need to have the sense of what he described as ‘ diocesanità ’ (Italian) or a sense of belonging to the body of priests along with their bishop.  When a diocesan priest lacks this he becomes a loner and runs the risk of becoming ‘infertile’.   In this regard, the Pope recalled the transparency of St. Paul who talked about things clearly without misleading  and had the patience and tolerance for others.  Another trait of a diocesan priest is the figure of pastor among his people .  Opposed to this, is the ‘ clerical pastor ’ like the Pharisees and Saducees of Jesus’time who live in their own world of theology, thoughts and dos and donts of the law.   The Pope regretted that some priests transform their service into a syndicate office with rigid visiting hours.  Careerism and gossip To help deepen their brotherhood with their fellow priests, Pope Francis particularly urged the diocesan priests to keep clear of two vices – careerism and gossip.   He described priests who make a career of their priestly service a career, as ‘climbers’.   He described gossip mongers as pests who create discord in the diocesan presbyterial community, defaming their brother priests.  Poverty The Pope also received a question from religious men and women asking him how to live the religious life with joy and hope without falling into the trap of the ‘ psychology of  survival ’.   The Pope said that the this pessimistic syndrome seeks security in money , contrary to the spirit of poverty.   Religious life, the Pope said, gets corrupt through money, and added that security in religious life does not come from vocations or money  but from the ‘other side’.  Poverty, according to St. Ignatius of Loyola, is a mother that gives life, and a wall that defends us from worldliness , the Pope said.  The Holy Father also told the religious of the need to touch the wounds of Christ in the suffering body of His people.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope in Bologna - meeting with migrants

Vatican News - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 07:03
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis is on a day-long visit to the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna on Sunday, where he is visiting the cities of Cesena and Bologna.  After holding two meetings in Cesena, he flew to Bologna where his first appointment was the with migrants housed at a regional centre at Via Enrico Mattei.  Christ – accepted or rejected Addressing a round a thousand of them housed there, Pope Francis said that many who don’t know them and are afraid, judge them from far with harshness and coldness.  But, he said one needs to see them from nearby with mercy, for unless we see our neighbour with mercy , we cannot understand his suffering and problems.  “In you, as in every stranger who knocks at our door, I see Jesus Christ, who identifies himself with the stranger of every age and condition, accepted or rejected,” the Holy Father told the migrants. “Fighters of hope” The Pope said he was among them because he wanted to carry their eyes in his eyes, their heart in his heart.  “I want to carry with me your faces that are asking to be remembered, helped, I’d say "adopted", because in the end you look out for someone who bets on you, gives you confidence and helps you find that future for which you have hoped and arrived here.”  But alas some couldn’t  made it, swallowed by the desert or the sea .  “People don’t remember them,” the Pope said, “but God knows their names and welcomes them to Himself.”   The Holy Father thus invited all present there to a moment of silence to remember and pray for them. Reminding the migrants that they are “fighters of hope,” the Pope wished that their hope may never turn into delusion, or worse still, despair, thanks to the many who help them.   In turn, he urged the migrants to work hard for a welcoming city, and follow the laws of the land. Integration Regarding the phenomenon of migrants and refugees, the Pope called for vision and great determination to prevent distortion or exploitation which, he said, becomes even more unacceptable because they are committed on the poor. He urged that increasing number of countries take up private and community support programs for accepting and opening up humanitarian corridors for refugees in more difficult situations to spare them unbearable waiting period and lost time.   Integration, the Pope said, begins with knowing the story of the other. Noting some underage boys and girls among the migrants, the Holy Father said they particularly need tenderness and protection. Pope Francis concluded his meeting with migrants, commending the generosity of Bologna and its Church, saying, “The city is not afraid to donate the five loaves and the two fish.”  “Providence will intervene and everyone will be satisfied,” he added. Before and after his talk, the Holy Father took ample time to meet and greet the migrants individually.    (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

© Copyright 2008 - 2018. Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy. All rights reserved.