Vatican News

Visit Bologna: Meeting with workers and Angelus

Vatican News - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 07:03
(Vatican Radio) Arriving at Bologna following a morning visit to the town of Cesena , Pope Francis greeted representatives of the world of labour ahead of the Sunday Angelus. In his address to workers , Pope Francis emphasized that it is only together that we can come through the present economic crisis and “build the future.” Only dialogue, he said, can help us find new and effective answers that can help everyone. The Holy Father noted that in the region of Bologna, there has been a long experience of cooperation, an experience “that gives birth to the fundamental value of solidarity . Solidarity, he said, must never be bent toward to the logic of financial profit, which would harm the most needy amongst us. “Seeking a more just society,” he continued, “is not a dream of the past but a commitment, a work, that today needs everyone” to cooperate. In particular, the Pope said we must never grow used to the situation of youth unemployment or job loss . People must never be treated merely as statistics. Speaking to the challenge of fighting poverty , Pope Francis said we cannot truly help the poor without offering them the possibility of finding work and dignity. He pointed to the recent “ Pact for Work ,” in which various elements of society, including the Church, made "a common commitment to help one another in the search for permanent answers, not charity (It: elemosine = almsgiving)." This, he said, “is an important method that I hope can bear the hoped-for fruits.” The economic crisis, the Pope said, “has a European and a global dimension”; and it is also “an ethical, spiritual, and human crisis.” And, in strong terms, he says it is rooted in “a betrayal of the common good , on the part of powerful individuals and groups.” And so, he said, it is necessary “to take away the centrality of the law of power and assign it to the person and the common good.” But in order to do so, he continued, it is necessary to increase opportunities for dignified work. Pope Francis delivered his address in the piazza in front of the Basilica of Saint Petronius , known as “Father and Protector.” This saint, the Pope said, is always represented holding the city in his hands. “From this we can see physically three constitutive elements of your city,” he said: “the Church, the Community, and the University.” “When these three elements dialogue and collaborate among themselves,” he said, “it strengthens the precious humanism that they express, and the city, so to speak, ‘breathes,’ has a horizon, and is not afraid to confront the challenges that are present.” He concluded his address by encouraging those present to appreciate this humanism “in order to seek wise and far-seeing solutions to the complex problems of our time, seeing them, yes, as difficulties, but also as opportunities for growth and improvement.” Following his address, the Holy Father led the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus , and afterwards had lunch with the poor in the Basilica.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope to Cesena’s citizens, clergy ‎

Vatican News - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 05:23
CESENA CITIZENS (Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Sunday delivered a lesson on good governance of a city saying it essentially consists in all working together for the common good with the help of good politics .   He was speaking to the people of the northern Italian city of Cesena where he arrived in the morning for a two-stop pastoral visit to the Emilia-Romagna region.  He later visited the regional capital, Bologna, from where he flew back to the Vatican in the evening.  Good politics Addressing Cesena’s citizens in the heart of the city, Piazza del Popolo, the Pope explained that good politics is neither a servant nor a mistress, but a friend and collaborator .  Responsible, brave and prudent at the same time, healthy politics calls for greater involvement and inclusion of all leaving no one in the margins.  Such politics, he said, does not plunder and pollute natural resources , that are not a bottomless pit but a treasure given us by God to be used with respect and intelligence.    Good politics, the Pope further explained, harmonizes the legitimate aspirations of individuals and groups by holding the rudder firm in the interest of all citizens.  This, the Pope said, is the true face of politics, and this is why the social doctrine of the Church considers it a noble form of charity.   Corruption The Holy Father urged all, especially the young, to prepare themselves by assuming right from the start, the perspective of the common good, rejecting any form of corruption, even the least.   According to him, “corruption is the woodworm of the political vocation” that prevents the growth of civilization.   He also invited all to demand from “the protagonists of public life, coherence of commitment, preparation, moral uprightness, capacity for initiative, forbearance, patience and determination to address the challenges of today.”  However, in this they must be realistic, without expecting impossible perfection. Youth and elderly Pope Francis urged that everyone’s voice be heard, especially the young who can carry things forward, and the elderly, who with the wisdom of their age can advise young people and young politicians when they mistake. Noting that in recent years politics seemed to have retreated in the face of aggression and pervasiveness of other forms of power, such as financial and media, Pope Francis called for relaunching good politics and its specific ability to serve the public good by reducing inequalities, promoting the welfare of families with concrete measures, providing a solid framework of rights and duties and making them effective for everyone. The Pope greeted the sick people present at Piazza del Popolo, before proceeding to Cesena cathedral where he addressed representatives of the local Church.  There, in the chapel he greeted a group of sick people.  CESENA CATHEDRAL The principal mission of Christ’s disciples is proclaiming and witnessing the Gospel with joy said Pope Francis speaking to the clergy, consecrated persons, laypeople and pastoral counsellors, members of the Curia and parish representatives in the Cesena cathedral. Focusing on  evangelization, Pope Francis called on the clergy to rediscover the joy of being priests during the different stages of their personal and ministerial journey, to be called by the Lord to follow him to bring his word, his pardon, his love, his grace.   It is a call that never ceases to amaze us, he said.  To make evangelization effective Pope Francis gives them practical guidelines: A call to walk in fraternity and unity Evangelization, the Pope said, is effective to the extent there is sincere collaboration between different ecclesial movements and institutions. A  Church walking in fraternity and unity is itself  an effective witness to faith.  When love of Christ is above all, all legitimate needs will be set aside to meet the needs of the brothers  and always in Christ. A call to be sensitive to the needs of the poor The scars of Jesus'  remain visible even today  in so many men and women who live on the margins of society: marked by suffering, discomfort, abandonment  and poverty. Caring for their bodily and spiritual needs we are purified and transformed by the mercy of God.  Referring to the revolution of charity begun by St Vincent de Paul 400 years ago, the Holy Father said, “now we  too are called to carry on this revolution with apostolic zeal knowing that we cannot do anything on our own” without the Lord. A call to pray and meditate on the Word of God The Pope said, it is necessary to set aside adequate time for prayer and meditation of the Word of God for  prayer gives strength to our mission - as is proved by St. Teresa of Calcutta .  He explained that the constant encounter with the Lord in prayer becomes indispensable both for priests and for consecrated persons and for pastoral workers who are called to go out to the peripheries. “Our deep encounter with the Lord will help us see Jesus who met the people on the streets of Galilee and to look into the eyes of the other with respect and love and create a revolution of tenderness .”   A call to be with the young Pope Francis said it is the young people who most need to experience this love of Jesus.  The young who are a great resource need to be helped to discover the gifts of the Lord and not to fear the challenges of the present times.   He encouraged the clergy  to meet them, to listen to them, to walk with them, so that they may meet Christ and be receptive to his free message of love. A call to show proximity to families Stressing that a Church attentive to young people  is a church of the family, the Holy Father encouraged the clergy in their pastoral work towards families.  He assured them God’s grace, his closeness and prophetic power  will help them even when they lack adequate support.  “We are  called  to be witnesses, mediators of this proximity to families.” In conclusion the  Holy Father called them to be renewed each day through the  Eucharistic celebration and with their encounter with the  people of God to whom “we are sent”.  He exhorted priests, consecrated, deacons, and lay faithful to walk together without being discouraged in the face of  difficulties but to be persistent in bearing witness to the Gospel.   In their  journey he encouraged them to always feel compelled and supported by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope meets Italian mayors, municipalities

Vatican News - Sat, 09/30/2017 - 08:03
(Vatican Radio)  The image of a city that the New Jerusalem evokes is one of a human society that is based on true solidarity, whereas where envy, unbridled ambitions and spirit of adversity grow, it condemns itself to the violence of chaos. The common good Pope Francis made the point on Saturday while addressing some 300 members of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) in the Vatican.   The model of the city or town that the Pope proposed to them is one that “does not permit a one-way traffic of exasperated individualism,” that does not tolerate the “blind alleys of corruption ” that breeds disintegration , and where there are no “walls of the privatization of public spaces, where the "us" is but a rhetoric ploy that “masks the interest of a few .” The Pope urged the town and city officials to have “the passion for the common good” that grants each one and his family the possibility to realize themselves and open themselves in communion with others .  Solidarity and human brotherhood Speaking about areas that lack quality services he said it is here where new “ pockets of poverty and marginalization ” breed.  “This,” he said, “is where the city moves on a double lane .”  “On the one hand there is a highway of those who are overly cared for and on the other there are the “ bottlenecks of the poor and unemployed , the numerous families and immigrants who have no one to count on.”  “We must not accept these plans that divide and make the life of one be the death of the other,” the Pope said, adding, “the struggle itself ends up destroying any sense of solidarity and human brotherhood.” Learn from the poor The Pope thus urged the city and town administrations to visit the urban, social and existential peripheries under them, saying the “point of view of the least is the best school that will make us understand the true needs”  and their solutions .  While making us feel the “ pulse of injustice ” they will also show us the way to eliminate it and create a community where each one is recognized as a person and citizen with rights and duties.   The Pope said that if a mayor is close to his people, things go well always. Migrants, refugees Speaking about Italy’s massive problem with migrants and refugees, the Pope said he can well understand the difficulties of the nation grappling with an economic crisis, local communities’ unpreparedness and inadequate measures to deal with the emergencies.  He said this difficulty can be overcome by offering spaces for personal encounter and knowledge of one another .  He commended initiatives that “promote the culture of encounter, mutual exchange of artistic and cultural riches, and the knowledge of the places and communities of origin of the new arrivals.”  Pope Francis expressed satisfaction that many city and town administrations have adopted the “the good practice of welcome and integration, with encouraging results” which he said should be spread wide.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Mass celebrates archangels who accompany us on our journey

Vatican News - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 08:12
(Vatican Radio) Celebrating the feast day of the three archangel s, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Pope Francis said we share their vocation “cooperating together in God’s salvific design”. Speaking during the homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, he reflected on the Collect for the Day in which we sing the Lord’s praises in the sight of angels. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Angels, Pope Francis said, are masters of contemplation: they serve and contemplate the Lord who has sent them to accompany us on the path of life.  Michael protects us against evil    Michael, Gabriel and Raphael in particular, he continued, have an important role in our journey towards salvation. “Michael, he said, is the one who fights against the devil” and protects humanity from the snares of evil. He protects us against the serpent that seduces us, makes us fall and then accuses us before God claiming us as his own. “Michael, the Pope explained, was asked by the Lord to fight the devil” and he helps us resist temptation on our earthly journey towards heaven. Gabriel brings the good news Gabriel – another archangel we celebrate today – is the one who “brings the good news”; he’s the one who announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist and to Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus. “Gabriel too accompanies us and helps us on our journey when we “forget” the Gospel.”  He reminds us that “Jesus came to save us”. Raphael accompanies us The third archangel we celebrate today, the Pope said, is Raphael: “he walks with us taking care of us on our journey and helping us not take the wrong step”. These are our companions, Francis concluded, at our and at God’s service. And he prayed: “Michael: help us in our battle – each of us has a battle to fight in our lives; Gabriel: bring us news, bring us the good news of salvation; Raphael: take us by the hand and lead us forward without taking the wrong turning. Always walking forward, but with your help!”               (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to focus on “fake news” in message for World Communications Day 2018‎

Vatican News - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 06:35
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis will focus on the harmful effects of fake news against journalism for peace, in his message for peace for World Communications Day next year.  ““ The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace, ” is the theme of the annual Catholic Church observance that the Pope announced with a post on Twitter (@Pontifex) on Friday. World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican ‎Council ‎‎( “Inter Mirific a”, 1963), is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of ‎the ‎world, on the Sunday before Pentecost, which in 2018 will fall on May 13.   In some countries, the day is marked as the solemnity of Ascension. The announcement of the ‎theme is traditionally made on Sept. 29 , the feast of the Archangels Michael, ‎Raphael and Gabriel, with ‎ Gabriel being designated the patron saint of telecommunications .  The Holy ‎Father's message for World ‎Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with January ‎‎24 , feast of St. Francis de ‎Sales , patron of journalists, to allow bishops' conferences, diocesan offices and ‎communications ‎organizations sufficient time to prepare audiovisual and other materials for national ‎and local ‎celebrations. ‎ ‎ The first World Communications Day was observed on May 7, 1967, under the pontificate of Blessed Pope Paul VI, who wanted to draw attention to the communications media and the enormous power they have for cultural transformation.  Next year’s observance will be the 52nd edition. Church's contribution Commenting on the theme of next year’s World Communications Day, the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication said that false information contributes to creating and fueling strong polarization of opinions. This often consists in distortion of facts , with possible "repercussions on individual ‎and collective behaviours."  In a situation in which social media groups, institutions and the political world are reacting to this phenomenon, the Secretariat said, “the Church would like make its contribution by proposing a ‎ reflection on the causes, logic and consequences of misinformation in the media and helping to promote ‎professional journalism, always seeking the truth , and thus a journalism of peace that promotes ‎understanding among people .‎”   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Mons Viganò: Radio an antidote to fake news

Vatican News - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 07:44
(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications , Mons Dario Edoardo Viganò on Thursday addressed a workshop in Milan entitled "Journalism in the age of Fake News. The frontier of radio ". Facts versus fiction In remarks prepared for the occasion,  Mons Viganò began by stressing the importance of fact and source checking in this era of fake news , saying that it was “worth remembering that the verification of sources is the primary rule of journalism, adding that, in the age of contemporary information truth runs the risk of becoming a secondary aspect.” The Prefect went on to say that, “because of a continuous technological evolution, it is difficult to use the conceptual categories of the past,” and he noted the role of the internet and Social Media which have played their part in changing the media boundaries that people have become accustomed to. Mons Viganò said that what was required in this era of fake news was “to reiterate the need to recover the foundations of ethics and the ethics of the journalistic profession that are based precisely on the verification of sources as well as on other principles.” He also commented that there was a need for critical thinking on the part of social media users who often share information on their own profiles without paying too much attention to the text. Radio and Fake news Turning his attention to Radio, the Prefect, said that in this age of fake news  “…Radio is a strategic key to 'anti fake news',” which can not only counteract this phenomenon but can facilitate an opposing logic. By exploiting the new media, he said, “Radio has strengthened its identity at all times and has kept its appeal intact both in terms of audience, advertising and economic investments.” Mons Viganò underlined, that Radio enjoys consistent credibility among young people who put it in pole position among the traditional media, such as TV and newspapers. In short, the Prefect said, Radio involves an extraordinary narrative immediacy that has a fundamental value. Mons Viganò was participating at the workshop ahead of the 69th edition of Gran Prix Italia, the Rai International Competition dedicated to innovative radio and TV programs and high-quality cultural and artistic programs.     (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Mass: ‘Remorse is sign of salvation’

Vatican News - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 06:33
(Vatican Radio)  Be not afraid of “speaking the truth about our life”, by recognizing our sins and confessing them to the Lord. That was Pope Francis message at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: Reflecting in his homily on the day’s Gospel about Herod’s response to Jesus’ preaching, Pope Francis noted that some people associated Jesus with John the Baptist, Elijah, or a prophet. Herod, he said, did not know what to think about Jesus, but “he felt” something within. This was not a mere curiosity, the Pope said, but “remorse in his soul and heart”. Herod sought to see Jesus “to calm himself”. The Holy Father said Herod wanted to see the Christ perform a miracle, but Jesus refused to hold “a circus before him”, so Herod handed him over to Pontius Pilate. And Jesus paid for his refusal with his life. In so doing, the Pope said, Herod covered “one crime with another” and “one remorse of conscience with another crime”, like one “who kills out of fear”. Remorse, he said, is therefore not “simply remembering something” but “an open wound”. “It is an open wound, which, when we have done something wrong in our life, pains us. But it is a hidden wound, unseen even by me, because I get used to carrying it around and anesthetizing it. It is there and some touch it, but it remains within. When it hurts, we feel remorse. I am not only aware of having done evil, but I also feel it in my body, in my soul, and in my life. And so I feel the temptation to cover it and not feel it anymore.” Pope Francis went on to say it is “a grace to feel our conscience accuse us”. However, he said none of us is a saint, so we are all tempted to notice the sins of the others, instead of our own. “We must, if I may say so, ‘baptize’ this open wound, that is, give it a name… And if you ask, ‘Father, how can I remove it?’ First of all, pray: ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ And then examine your life… And ask someone to help you to identify the wound and to give it a name, saying ‘I feel remorse because I did this concrete act.’ This is true humility before God.” The Pope said this act of being concrete with remorse is necessary for healing. “We must learn the science and wisdom of accusing ourselves… I accuse myself, feel the pain caused by the wound, learn where it has come from, and then indict myself regarding it. Do not be afraid of remorse, for it is a sign of salvation.” Finally, Pope Francis invited all to pray for the grace “to have courage to accuse ourselves”, in order to journey along the path towards salvation. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope invites all to 'Share the Journey' of migrants and refugees

Vatican News - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 05:48
(Vatican Radio) Pope Franci s has loudly and clearly welcomed migrants, refugees and asylum seekers while expressing his support and gratitude for the Caritas Internationalis ' “ Share the Journey ” campaign. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni: Speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, the Pope  also had special words of welcome for Caritas representatives gathered to officially launch the two-year campaign aimed at activism and awareness-raising about the plight of migrants, Listen to migrants' stories The campaign encourages people to actually meet with migrants and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as mere numbers and statistics imbued with negative stereotypes. Opening his arms wide in a powerfully symbolic gesture, Francis said “Christ urges us to welcome our brothers and sisters with our arms truly open, ready for a sincere embrace, a loving and enveloping embrace”. Open arms to embrace And pointing to the beautiful Bernini colonnade that encircles St. Peter's Square, he said our embrace of migrants should mimic the colonnade “which represents mother Church who embraces everyone by sharing in our common journey”. The Pope thanked Caritas members and other Church organizations for their constant commitment in favour of migrants saying that they are the sign of an “open, inclusive and welcoming Church.”   Culture of welcome and encounter The campaign launched  on Wednesday aims to challenge negative myths and perceptions regarding migrants through websites featuring the stories of individuals, the true impact of immigration and  explanations of Church teaching on the culture of encounter.  Caritas Internationalis is asking Catholics to take public action in support of migrants, posting pro-immigrant messages on social media and participating in programmes where they can meet migrants and refugees.  Public action, new legilsation In his greetings to all those who work to support and advocate for migrants and refugees the Pope also welcomed a petition which is vying for new legislation on migration "which is more pertinent to the current context." After the Audience Pope Francis personally greeted a group of some 50 refugees who were in the Square for the occasion.   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope urges governments and individuals to welcome migrants with open arms

Vatican News - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 05:07
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday urged governments and all men and women of goodwill to welcome migrants with open arms and share in their plight as Jesus did. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience , the Pope launched a 2-year campaign of action and awareness raising that aims to promote a culture of encounter and to encourage people to receive migrants and refugees with open hearts and minds. The campaign, entitled “ Share the Journey ” is promoted by Caritas Internationalis .  “Brothers, don’t be afraid of sharing the journey. Don’t be afraid of sharing hope” Pope Francis said. His appeal to replace prejudice with tolerance was enmeshed in his continuing catechesis on Christian hope during which he reflected on the importance of combatting all that threatens our hope.   And pointing out that it is hope itself that motivates so many of our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes in search of a better life, Francis said that hope is especially the virtue of the poor. “God came into this  world among the poor, to bring the good news of our salvation” he said. And appealing to Christians to never allow themselves to be robbed of hope, he said that hope is also the virtue of the young who risk being deprived of it by an often soulless and materialist society. Pope Francis concluded reminding the faithful that we are not alone in our fight against desperation and spiritual emptiness: “if God is with us no one will rob us of that virtue which is necessary to look to the future: no one will rob us of hope”.      (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: General Audience English Summary

Vatican News - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 04:10
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday continued his catechesis on Christian hope and invited all Christians to welcome so many of our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes in search of a better life. Launching Caritas Internationalis’ “ Share the Journey ” campaign, the Pope pointed out that no one deserves to be robbed of hope by a soulless and materialist society. He was speaking to crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience. Please find below the official translation of the Pope’s Catechesis :    Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, I would now like to reflect on the importance of combatting all that threatens our hope.  As the ancient story of Pandora’s box teaches us, hope remains as the treasure enabling mankind to face with trust in God’s providence every evil let loose in this world.  In our own day, hope motivates so many of our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes in search of a better life, but also those who welcome them, “sharing the journey” with them and trusting in a better tomorrow.  Hope is especially the virtue of the poor.  As the mystery of Christmas teaches us, God came into this world among the poor, to bring the good news of our salvation.  Hope is also the virtue of the young, who deserve not to be robbed of it by an often soulless and materialist society.  Hope’s greatest enemy is spiritual emptiness, the “noon-day devil” that tempts us to stop fighting and to yield to discouragement.  Let us ask the Lord for the grace to hope more firmly in his promises, confident that his victory over the world will fill our hearts with joy as we face the future and all that it has in store for us. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope discusses Ukraine with Russia's Metropolitan Hilarion

Vatican News - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 12:27
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion, who came to thank the Holy Father for the recent loan of the relics of the 4th century Saint Nicholas of Myra. The relics, which were taken from the southern Italian city of Bari to Moscow and St Petersburg, drew huge crowds of Orthodox pilgrims during the two month loan period. Metropolitan Hilarion, who has been a regular visitor to the Vatican in recent years, heads the department for external church relations . Speaking to Vatican Radio after the private audience, the Orthodox leader said he and the pope also discussed ongoing tensions in Ukraine , as well as joint efforts to support Christians in the Middle East . Despite a warming of relations between Moscow and Rome, he said there are no current plans for a papal visit to Russia, or for Patriarch Kirill to visit the Vatican. Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s interview with Metropolitan Hilarion:  Metropolitan Hilarion says the “translation of the relics of St Nicholas to Russia was a very special event” as almost 2.5 million people came to venerate them, standing in queues of up to ten hours. Relics of St Nicholas He notes that for many decades, relations between Catholics and Orthodox developed out of sight of ordinary people in Russia. The first event which came to their attentions, he says, was  the historic meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in February last year, but the first event in which people participated was the veneration of the relics. Joint efforts to support Christians in Syria Asked about other joint projects, the Orthodox leader says his Church has created a working group with Catholics to provide humanitarian assistance to Christians in the Middle East, in particular to catalogue the churches, monasteries and shrines that have been destroyed during the war in Syria. While he says he hopes the war will end soon, he adds there will be an immense task of restoring the country and the churches, as well as providing safe spaces for Christians to go back home. Religious freedom in Russia Speaking about religious freedom in Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion says the concerns of some journalists “in my view, are ungrounded”. He says that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been prohibited from activities recently, since they are considered “not as a Christian Church, but as a sect”. Tensions in Ukraine He says that he discussed with Pope Francis the situation in Ukraine, “where, in our point of view, violations of religious freedom are quite visible and quite open”. He mentions especially laws proposed by the Ukrainian parliament to “discriminate” against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is accused of being an agent of Russia and treated as a foreign religious organisation. Abstain from aggressive rhetoric Despite the desire for reconciliation expressed by the pope and the patriarch in their joint declaration, Metropolitan Hilarion says it’s hard to speak of progress in relations between Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Ukraine. He adds that the first step must be for each religious confession “to abstain from aggressive rhetoric”. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope sends greetings to Italian conference on eliminating inequality

Vatican News - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 10:11
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent his greetings and support to the 15th annual FiabaDay conference for the Italian National Day for the Abolition of Architectural Barriers. His greetings came on Tuesday in a telegramme signed by Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, and sent to Giuseppe Trieste, President of Fiaba Onlus. In the message, Pope Francis sends “his thoughts to those who work to guarantee equal opportunities of life for all, independent from economic or social conditions, promoting cultural change focused on abolishing all existing barriers.” The Holy Father “hopes the awareness of the Christian faith’s fundamental contribution to the growth of the person and society may stimulate an ever more incisive action for the promotion of the human person”. He said action on behalf of humanity increases “solidarity and respect for the dignity of every person”. Fiaba Day 2017 takes place on 1 October in Rome under the auspices of the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican at UN calls for nuclear-free world

Vatican News - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 06:49
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, urging governments to do more to prevent wars, protect human dignity and work for a nuclear-free world . Archbishop Paul Gallagher’s speech was delivered on Monday in New York during the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly , addressing the theme ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life on a Sustainable Planet’. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report:  The Holy See’s foreign minister spoke of the right to life and freedom of religion as the pillars of peace and development, from which all other rights flow. He described the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as two positive signs of hope, but said that nations must do more to implement the legal and political commitments enshrined in those agreements. Step back from military escalation Regarding the urgent need to prevent violence and conflict, Archbishop Gallagher said: “All countries should take a decisive and urgent step back from the present escalation of military preparations. The largest countries and those who have a stronger tradition of respecting human rights,” he added, “should be the first to perform generous actions of pacification”. Protect civilians in conflict Speaking of the Vatican’s concern for conflicts across Africa and the Middle East, as well as the violence in Venezuela, the foreign minister said civilians must be protected during warfare and the rights of migrants and refugees fleeing conflict must be respected. Combat human trafficking Referring to the forthcoming UN Global Compact on migration, Archbishop Gallagher urged nations to work together in opening “safe, orderly and regular pathways” for migrants, while combatting the great evils of people trafficking and the trade in human organs. Abolish nuclear weapons Finally Archbishop Gallagher condemned the proliferation of weapons, calling for much stricter arms control and reiterating in particular Pope Francis’ urgent appeal for “the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons”. Below please find the full speech by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, to the Seventy-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly: “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life on a Sustainable Planet”  Mr. President, On behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis, I am pleased to congratulate Your Excellency on your election as President of this august Assembly and to commend you on the choice of the topic for this General Debate: “Focusing on People: Striving for peace and a decent life on a sustainable planet.” It is a congenial topic for the Holy See. Pope Francis never tires of insisting on people first, especially those who suffer, those who are excluded, marginalized and left behind. The Catholic Church expresses the meaning of focusing on people in these words: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men [and women] of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted… are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ,” because “indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.”[1] Focusing on people means not only protecting them from heinous crimes but also placing them ahead of all national and geopolitical interests and fulfilling all the international political commitments undertaken along the history of the United Nations that relate to social and economic development, starting with those contained in the Charter of the United Nations (Charter of the United Nations, paragraph 4 of the Preamble, article 1.3 and chapter IX). Mr. President, Putting people always first means protecting, at every stage and in every circumstance, the dignity of the person, and its human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in a specific way, the rights to life and to freedom of religion from which all other rights flow and which are therefore the common foundation of the pillars of peace and security and integral human development. These two human rights are indivisible from those other rights and fundamental freedoms relating to a dignified spiritual, material and intellectual life for each citizen and for their families – among others, the right to food, the right to water, the right for housing, the right to a safe environment and the right to work.[2] With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the international community committed itself to effective measures to eradicate the root causes of various evils and indignities that many people in the world today are facing. Moments before this Assembly adopted the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, Pope Francis defined the Agenda as an “important sign of hope.”[3] One of the fundamental reasons of this hope is that world leaders agreed on “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity,” “determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions,” and to ensure “that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.”[4] Their common resolve to “leave no one behind” articulates the core of this focus on people. Regarding political commitments, Pope Francis has also warned this Organization and the international community against falling into what could be called “declarationist nominalism”. We must, for that reason, guard against “assuaged consciences” and “feeling good,” simply because the 2030 Agenda and other important international accords have been adopted. On the contrary, we must not rest until the legal commitments have been truly accomplished and the political promises have been fulfilled in the lives of people. This requires taking a hard and honest look at the principal challenges that peoples of the world are facing today and will face tomorrow. With this in mind, responsible compliance with the Climate Framework Convention and its Paris Agreement, as well as the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and of the 2030 Agenda could be a way of focusing all countries and international organizations on working together for peace, leaving aside the dangerous game of exchanging threats. From this perspective, the Holy See sees the forthcoming “reform and fine-tuning of the UN Development System”[5] as an additional opportunity to place people and their needs at the centre of our action. In doing so, as Pope Francis reminded us here two years ago, we have to “allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny.”[6] Mr. President, Christian Churches, in particular the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches, celebrate together on 1 September the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to heighten public awareness of their shared responsibility to take care of our common home and to contribute to reversing environmental degradation. To mark the World Day of Prayer this year, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew released a Joint Message affirming that: “The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility... Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation.”[7] This call for responsible stewardship finds particular urgency before the deteriorating conditions of our common home and an often purely utilitarian worldview concerning the things that surround us. Any harm done to the environment is harm done to humanity, of today and tomorrow. Thus, the misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion, as the deterioration of the planet affects, first and foremost, the many billions imprisoned in poverty and in conditions of environmental stress across the globe. This dramatic reality of exclusion and inequality must lead all of us to take stock of our shared and individual responsibilities. The pressing call and challenge to care for creation invite all of humanity to work without hesitation toward sustainable and integral development. Improving climate conditions and the natural environment is possible only if we accept the need to change the way we perceive the world and if we change the way we relate to it. Although our common home is falling into serious disrepair, we can reverse the trend of environmental degradation. Indeed, as Pope Francis underlined in his Encyclical Laudato Si’, while we are capable of the worst, we are also capable of the best, rising above ourselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.[8] Mr. President, The duty to prevent wars and violent conflicts is an essential component of the Responsibility to Protect. Thus, the Holy See appreciates the Secretary General’s explicit and strong emphasis on preventive diplomacy and concurs with his assessment that the “most serious shortcoming” of “the entire international community is the frequent inability to prevent crises.”[9] Prevention requires, first of all, restoring faith in the capacity of humankind for dialogue. An environment of trust is urgently needed. All countries should take a decisive and urgent step back from the present escalation of military preparations. The largest countries and those who have a stronger tradition of respecting human rights should be the first to perform generous actions of pacification. All the diplomatic and political means of mediation should be engaged to avoid the unspeakable. Mr. President, Allow me to recall the appeal of Pope Pius XII to all nations on the eve of the Second World War: “the way of justice is promoted by the strength of reason and not with the force of arms… The danger is imminent, but there is still time… nothing is lost with peace. With war, everything is lost. May people come back to understand each other and take up again negotiations. By negotiating with good will and with respect for mutual rights, they will realize that sincere and active negotiations never precludes an honourable success.”[10] In such a context, I would like to recall that a dozen years have passed since the historical gathering of world leaders in this Hall for the 2005 World Summit. Focusing on people, the heads of state and government of the members of this Organization reached consensus on the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.[11] There is no doubt that a collective political consensus is necessary, but a reflection on articles 2.7 and 39 of the Charter of the United Nations is also needed. The Holy See thus supports all those initiatives that will facilitate the observance of obligations under the Responsibility to Protect, but it would like to remind the international community, once again, that without a legal framework and a fair respect of the international rule of law, the application of the Principle is not feasible. The war in Yemen is causing a humanitarian catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. The tragedy from the war in Syria continues to grow every day. Involved players should sit at the UN negotiating table with the sole pre-condition of respecting human rights law and principles and allowing humanitarian access and assistance. At the same time, States, especially those who at some time in recent history have been directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, must undertake all means to reach a ceasefire, a first step towards peace. The Holy See is particularly concerned for the political divisions and instability in Venezuela with its humanitarian crisis. Also, the complex political and diplomatic tensions in the Arabian Peninsula and the violence, together with the various humanitarian situations, in the Middle East must be adequately addressed by the international community. All must strive for an end to violence and reach “a solution which can enable Palestinians and Israelis alike to live at last in peace within clearly established and internationally recognized borders, thus implementing the ‘two state solution’”. Furthermore, there is a need to promote a genuine public awareness of certain ongoing situations of conflict with a view to reaching a negotiated and peaceful solution, especially in Ukraine, South Sudan and Central African Republic, among others.[12] The ongoing violence and intense political tension in the Democratic Republic of the Congo necessitate an urgent and efficient commitment from all parties to find a solution to the constitutional crisis. Along the same lines, as Pope Francis has stated, there is “another kind of conflict which is not always so open, yet is silently killing millions of people. Another kind of war experienced by many of our societies as a result of the narcotics trade”.[13] The drug trade has joined other forms of corruption and has “penetrated to different levels of social, political, military, artistic and religious life, and, in many cases, has given rise to a parallel structure which threatens the credibility of our institutions”.[14] In the same vein, the Holy See is concerned with the challenges of fighting corruption and terrorism and with promoting stable peace and a sustainable development in many countries of the world. The Holy See also wishes to stress again that terrorism can only be countered by more cohesive and coherent measures at the international level. As terror knows no border, the international community must act as a whole.[15] Mr. President, The full protection of people is only possible with a durable peace. However, the protection of civilian populations must be assured also during warfare. The recent and gangrening conflicts both weaken, as well as reveal the shortcomings, of the international order, and they cause inexplicable suffering, massive displacements, blatant violations of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms and extreme poverty. There is no worse manmade crisis than violent conflicts. They drive people forcibly to migrate or become refugees. They engender mass atrocities and crimes against humanity. Indeed, as Pope Francis told this Assembly, “War is the negation of all rights.”[16] The lamentable situation of the hundreds of millions of migrants and refugees fleeing from wars, persecutions, natural disasters and extreme poverty, especially in Nigeria, Myanmar, Somalia, and some countries of the Sub-Saharan region, among others, is a great responsibility for all without exception. Our common humanity impels us all, as Pope Francis has proposed, to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate those who flee from such adverse conditions.[17] These four actions are based on the proposition that migrants, in spite of many real or imagined challenges, are a good for society, and on the principle of solidarity with those in need. In particular, they express our shared responsibility toward the victims of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity that the international community has failed to prevent or stop, in blatant neglect of the principles of international law. The Holy See will vigorously work to have these four concepts enshrined and reflected in the future Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migrations, and the Global Compact for refugees. The Holy See believes that these UN-led processes offer a unique opportunity to respond together to challenges through international cooperation and shared responsibility. The Holy See urges the international community to overcome the current political impasse and to go beyond the negative sentiments that we face in opening safe, orderly and regular pathways for migration. In order to achieve the desired outcome, the contribution of political communities, civil societies and all stakeholders is indispensable, each according to their own responsibilities. While some migrants may be motivated by the legitimate desire of improving their already acceptable situation, most would likely choose not to migrate if they enjoyed peace and economic security in their home countries. It is a basic human right to live in one’s own country, but that right is effective only if the root causes that force people to migrate — such as wars and conflicts, mass atrocities and persecutions, and dire economic and environmental hardships — are given adequate solutions. Indeed, if basic necessary conditions are met, people will not feel forced to leave their homes, making migration manageable and voluntary. Thus, the focus in negotiating the Compacts should not be limited to stopping migrants in their tracks or confining refugees in camps, but instead, it should address the causes that deprive them of living with dignity and that force them to make life-threatening journeys. This should be our goal. And this should be a key part of the Global Compact for Migration. Mr. President, Another great challenge facing the international community is trafficking in persons. At the root of this and other contemporary forms of slavery are wars and conflicts, extreme poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion, lack of education, lack of employment opportunities and environmental catastrophes. But we ought to recognize that on the demand side of such criminal trafficking there is also a crass selfishness, which reaches unimaginable levels of moral irresponsibility in the case of the trafficking of children, organs, tissues and embryos and in the so-called transplant tourism. Such execrable trade is exacerbated by corruption on the part of public officers and common people willing to do anything for financial gain. Indeed, the migration and refugee crises are facilitating an increase in trafficking in persons and other contemporary forms of slavery. The Holy See and the Catholic Church have long spoken out against the evil of trafficking in persons and through the dedicated work of so many individuals and institutions, they have sought to fight its root causes, to care for the victims, to raise awareness about it, and to work with anyone and everyone to try to eliminate it. Pope Francis calls trafficking in persons an “open wound on the body of contemporary society”[18] and an “atrocious scourge that is present throughout the world on a broad scale.”[19] At the heart of this evil, however, is the utter loss of respect for human dignity and the total indifference to the sufferings of fellow human beings. Modern slavery happens when “people are treated as objects,” which leads to their being “deceived, raped, often sold and resold for various purposes, and in the end either killed or left devastated in mind and body, only to be finally thrown away or abandoned.”[20] Refocusing on people, putting people first in the overall work of this Organization ought unhesitatingly to support the fight against trafficking in persons and other contemporary forms of slavery. Pope Francis calls on all, in particular the competent authorities, to address such a heinous crime through effective juridical instruments, to punish those who profit from it, to assist the healing and the reintegration of its victims, and to eradicate its root causes. Our response must be commensurate to this great evil of our time. Mr. President, The world is awash with all types of weapons, from nuclear weapons to small arms and light weapons. The arms trade, both licit and illicit, keeps on growing. The proliferation of arms, including weapons of mass destruction, among terrorist groups and other non-state actors has become a real danger. These trends are deeply worrying, but more disturbing still is the deep chasm that separates commitments from actions in the field of disarmament and arms control. While everyone condemns the grave effects of arms proliferation, nothing has substantially changed on the ground, because, as Pope Francis observed, “We say the words ‘No more war!’ but at the same time we manufacture weapons and sell them…to those who are at war with one another.”[21] This must change. The proliferation of weapons simply aggravates situations of conflict and results in unimaginable human suffering and material costs, profoundly undermining development, human rights and the search for lasting peace. Without greater international and regional cooperation, especially among weapons-producing States, to control and limit strictly the production and movement of weapons, a world free of wars and violent conflicts will surely remain an illusion. When Pope Francis addressed this Assembly two years ago today, he drew attention to the “urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.”[22] In his 2017 World Day of Peace Message, Pope Francis once again made a plea for disarmament and for “the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.”[23] Unfortunately, the proliferation of nuclear weapons increases international tensions, as is witnessed in the Korean Peninsula. As history demonstrates, regional and bilateral treaties of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons have been effective in establishing whole regions free of these arms. In this sense, it seems all the more urgent to invest in building those circumstances that would facilitate the creation of new bilateral and regional treaties. The Holy See has signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and has already deposited its ratification, because it believes that it is an important contribution in the overall effort toward complete nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, an advance toward the fulfilment of the commitment of the States Parties to the NPT “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,” and a step toward negotiating a “general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”[24] While much remains to be done for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons truly to make a difference and achieve its full promise, the Holy See believes that it is one more blow on the anvil toward the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”[25] Thank you, Mr. President. 1. Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, Opening paragraph. 2. Cfr., Pope Francis, Address during Meeting with Members of the United Nations General Assembly, UN Headquarters, 25 September 2015. 3. Ibid. 4. United Nations, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, Preamble. 5. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General designate, Remarks to the General Assembly on taking the oath of office, 12 December 2016. 6. Pope Francis, Address during Meeting with Members of the United Nations General Assembly, UN Headquarters, 25 September 2015. 7. Joint Message of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the World Day of Prayer for Creation, Vatican and Fanar, 1st September 2017. Cfr. also Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ n. 261; Pope Francis, Letter for the Establishment of the World Day of Prayer for Creation, 6 August 2015. 8. Cfr., Laudato Si’, nn. 13, 58 & 205. 9. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General designate, Remarks to the General Assembly on taking the oath of office, 12 December 2016. 10. Pope Pius XII, Address to Leaders and Peoples in the Imminent Danger of War, 24 August 1939. 11. 2005 Outcome Document 138-139. 12. Pope Francis, Address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See, 12 January 2015. 13. Pope Francis, Address during Meeting with Members of the United Nations General Assembly, UN Headquarters, 25 September 2015. 14. Ibid. 15. Cfr., Permanent of Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. Statement at the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Item 108, 5 October 2016. 16. Pope Francis, Address during Meeting with Members of the United Nations General Assembly, UN Headquarters, 25 September 2015. 17. Pope Francis, Address to Participants in the International Forum on “Migration and Peace”, 21 February 2017. 18. Pope Francis, Address to Participants in the International Conference on Combating Human Trafficking, 10 April 2014. 19. Pope Francis, Address during the Ceremony for the Signing of the Faith Leaders’ Universal Declaration Against Slavery, 2 December 2014. 20. Pope Francis, Address to the New Ambassadors Accredited to the Holy See, 12 December 2013. 21. Pope Francis, Interview with the Belgian Catholic weekly, “Tertio”, 7 December 2016. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis daily Mass: Familiarity with Jesus sets us free

Vatican News - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 06:07
“ Those who hear the Word of God and act on it ”: this is the concept of the family for Jesus, a concept of family that is “wider than that of the world.” That was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta . In the Gospel reading, Jesus says that it is precisely those who come to Him, and listen to His preaching, who are His “mother,” and His “brothers”: His family. And this, the Pope said, makes us think of the concept of familiarity with God and with Jesus, which is something more than being “disciples” or even “friends”; it is not a “formal” or “polite” attitude, much less a “diplomatic” one. So, he asked, “what does this word – familiarity – which the spiritual fathers of the Church have used so often, and have taught us, actually mean?” First of all, he said, it means “ entering into the home of Jesus, to enter into that atmosphere, to live in that atmosphere that is in the home of Jesus. To live there, to contemplate, to be free. Because the children are free, those who reside in the house of the Lord are free, those who have a familiar relationship with Him are free. Others, to use a word from the Bible, are the children of the ‘slave woman.’ We might say that they are Christians, but they don’t dare to draw near to Him, they don’t dare have this familiarity with the Lord. There is always a distance that separates them from the Lord.” But familiarity with Jesus, as the great Saints teach us, also means “ standing with Him, looking to Him, hearing His Word, seeking to do it, speaking with Him.” We speak to him in prayer, Pope Francis emphasized, and we can pray even in common language: “But Lord, what do you think?” “This is familiarity, isn’t it?” the Pope said. “Always! The saints had it. Saint Teresa is beautiful, because she said she found God everywhere, even among the pans in the kitchen.” Finally, Pope Francis said familiarity means “ remaining ” in the presence of Jesus, as He Himself counsels us at the Last Supper; or as we see recorded at the beginning of the Gospel, when John says, “This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. And Andrew and John followed Jesus” and, as it is written, “they remained, stayed with Him all day.” And this, the Pope repeated once again, is the attitude of familiarity ; which is so different from the “goodness” of those Christians who nonetheless keep themselves at a distance from Jesus, saying, “You stay over there, and I’ll stay here.” And so, Pope Francis said, “let us take a step forward in this attitude of familiarity with the Lord. A Christian, with all his problems, who gets on the bus, or on the subway, and speaks internally with the Lord – or at least knows that the Lord is watching him – is close to Him: this is familiarity, closeness, feeling oneself a part of the family of Jesus. Let us ask for this grace for all of us, to understand the meaning of familiarity with the Lord. May the Lord grant us this grace.”   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis meets members of Swiss Guard foundations

Vatican News - Mon, 09/25/2017 - 09:39
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Monday with members of two foundations which offer economic, technical and material support to the Swiss Guards. The papal audience marked the official inauguration of a new operative centre for the corps which has been guarding the Vatican for over 500 years. Listen to our report:  In his words to the two groups, Pope Francis thanked them for their support and for the fruitful collaboration established with its commanders and with the competent Vatican authorities. Spirit of fraternity and sharing In carrying out your activity, he said, you express the community and fraternal spirit typical of the presence of Catholics in society. This attitude, he continued, is rooted in the Gospel call to love one’s neighbour, helping to overcome tensions and become an example of fraternity and sharing. Spiritual points of reference Love for one’s neighbour, the pope said, corresponds to the mandate and example of Christ, if it is based on true love for God. To give love to our brothers and sisters, he said, it is necessary to draw it from the source of divine charity, through prayer, by listening to the Word of God and from the nourishment of the Eucharist. With these spiritual points of reference, he said, it is possible to work in the logic of gratuitousness and service. Discreet, professional, generous presence In conclusion, Pope Francis reiterated his heartfelt thanks to the many young Swiss men who decide to dedicate a few years of their lives to the guards in the service of the Church and the Holy See. He praised them for their discreet, professional and generous presence, that is greatly appreciated and essential for the smooth running of activities here at the Vatican. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope at Mass: ‘God’s consolation leads to peace’

Vatican News - Mon, 09/25/2017 - 08:47
(Vatican Radio)  Let us ask the Lord to help us recognize true consolation and to conserve it. That was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass on Monday in the Casa Santa Marta. Listen to Devin Watkins’ report: Reflecting on the First Reading in his homily, Pope Francis said the Lord “visited His people and returned them to Jerusalem.” The word “visited”, he explained, is important in salvation history, because “every act of redemption by God is a visitation.” “When the Lord visits us He gives us joy, that is, He places us in a state of consolation… You have seeded in tears, but now the Lord consoles us and gives us spiritual consolation. Consolation happens not only in a certain moment in time but is a state in the spiritual life of every Christian. The entire Bible teaches us this.” The Holy Father went on to exhort those present “to wait” for the Lord’s visitation. Some moments are stronger than others, but the Lord “will help us to sense His presence” with spiritual consolation. He said the Christian must recognize consolation, because there are false prophets who seem to console us but are, in fact, tricking us. “The Lord’s consolation moves you and makes you increase in charity, love, and hope, also making you weep for your sins. When we observe Jesus and his Passion, we weep with Jesus… You elevate your soul to the things of Heaven and of God, and your soul is quieted in the peace of God. This is true consolation.” In conclusion, Pope Francis reminded all to thank the Lord in prayer, that He may “pass by” to visit us, helping us to go forward, in hope, to carry our Cross. “Conserve these traces of consolation in your memory, just as God’s people remembered its liberation… Wait for consolation, recognize it, and conserve it. And, what remains from this passing moment? Peace, for peace is the highest level of consolation.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis' 2015 speech to US Congress: still a challenge

Vatican News - Sun, 09/24/2017 - 08:45
(Vatican Radio) Two years ago this Sunday (September 24th), Pope Francis made history by delivering the first-ever address by a reigning Pope to the U.S. Congress . In his wide-ranging address, the Holy Father touched on issues ranging from the need for politics to serve the common good and the importance of cooperation and solidarity , to the dangers of fundamentalism , the refugee crisis , abolition of the death penalty , the need for courageous acts to avert environmental deterioration , the evils of the arms trade , and threats to the family from within and without. Pope Francis focused especially on four great figures from US history: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton, saying that each of them helped build a better future for the people of the U.S. Veteran Vatican reporter Cindy Wooden , who covered the historic event for Catholic News Service , told Vatican Radio that, two years on, the speech remains a challenge to lawmakers and citizens in the United States. Click below to hear the extended conversation “I wouldn’t say that his points were completely accepted and acted on,” Wooden told Vatican Radio, “but I think they are as much a challenge today – maybe even more so – than they were two years ago.” Wooden also said the Pope’s speech continues to be important in the current climate of discourse in the United States. “It’s an important reminder of the vocation of the politician,” she said. “The Pope use[d] in this speech, the same kind of vocational language that he would use for [the] priesthood or religious life: politics as a calling of service – and I think that, if politicians paid a little more attention to that right now, perhaps we’d be in a better spot.” Click below to hear Ciny Wooden’s extended conversation with Vatican Radio’s Alessandro Gisotti  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis at Angelus: embrace the logic of God's Kingdom

Vatican News - Sun, 09/24/2017 - 07:35
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – the 25 th Sunday in Ordinary Time – focusing his remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion on the Parable of the Landowner and the Wage-earners, proclaimed as the Gospel reading of the day (Mt. 20:1-16). The Gospel at a glance In that story, Jesus likens the Kingdom of God to a landowner, who hires day-labourers in the early morning, and again at successive hours of the day, at the end of which he instructs his paymaster to give the full day’s wage to all the workers, beginning with those hired at the 11th hour. The labourers of the first hour complain of this treatment, to which the Landowner replies, “I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?” Jesus then explains the lesson, “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Pope Francis reflects Reflecting on the passage, Pope Francis said, “In reality, the ‘injustice’ of the Landowner serves to provoke, in those who hear the parable, an increase in understanding (It. salto di livello ), because Jesus does not want to speak of the problem of labour and of just wages, but of the Kingdom of God.” The Holy Father went on to say, “The message is this: in the Kingdom of God there are no idle hands, all are called to do their part; and for all, at the end, the recompense shall be what comes from divine justice – not human justice, happily – i.e. the salvation that Jesus Christ has acquired with His death and resurrection. This is a salvation that is not merited, but given, for which, ‘The last shall be first, and the first shall be last’.” Click below to hear our report (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis: Bl Stanley Rother model of heroic witness

Vatican News - Sun, 09/24/2017 - 06:47
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis praised the virtue and example of Blessed Stanley Francis Rother on Sunday, one day after the secular missionary priest originally of Oklahoma in the United States was beatified as a martyr. Bl. Stanley was killed on July 28 th , 1981, after returning to Guatemala to minister to his flock, despite several death threats and warnings his life would be in danger. “Well, a shepherd cannot run from his flock,” he is quoted as saying in explanation of his decision to return in the face of such danger. Click below to hear our report In remarks to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square following the traditional Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis said, “[Saturday], in Oklahoma City, the missionary priest, Stanley Francis Rother, killed in hatred of the faith for his work of evangelization and work to promote the human dignity of the poorest people in Guatemala, was proclaimed Blessed. May his heroic example help us to be courageous witnesses to the Gospel, committed to working in behalf of the dignity of man.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis to Trappists: courageous witness to charism

Vatican News - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 09:45
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the General Chapter of the Order of Cistertians of the Strict Observance – the Trappists – which is taking place in Assisi from the 6 th to the 27 th of September. Click below to hear our report The OCSO at a glance Part of the larger Cistercian family, which traces its origin to 1098, the OCSO follow the Rule of St. Benedict , dedicating their lives to the search for union with God through Jesus Christ, in a community of sisters or brothers. All Cistercian monasteries are dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, and the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother is the Order’s patronal feast. The OCSO General Chapter is the supreme authority in the Order, and is prepared by a Central Commission elected by the previous Chapter and whose members are chosen by the various regions of the Order. There are formally two separate Chapters: one for monks and one for nuns – though they meet together every three years, “to foster peace and charity among themselves and to make appropriate decisions for maintaining the patrimony and unity of the Order.” Pope to Trappists: courageous witness to permanent truths In remarks prepared for the occasion of the special audience with participants in the current General Chapter, and delivered Saturday morning in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis said, “From the outset, the Cistercians of Strict Observance have made themselves known for their great sobriety of life, convinced that to concentrate on the essence and [thus] to reach more easily the joy of the spousal encounter with Christ, should be a valid help.” The Holy Father went on to say, “This element of spiritual and existential simplicity preserves all its value as a [mode of] witness in today’s cultural context, which too often leads to the desire for ephemeral goods and illusory artificial paradises.” “Throughout its history,” said Pope Francis, “your Order has known times of grace and moments of difficulty; but it has always persevered in fidelity to the sequela Christi , having as its purpose the glory of God and the good of the people.” He went on to say, “Continuing in the way of your spiritual tradition, may your read the present state of the Order in its shadows and lights, and in the novelty of the Spirit, identify with courage new possibilities and occasions to witness your charism in the present of the Church and of Society.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

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