Vatican News

Pope's message of thanks to Tawadros II following Egypt visit

Vatican News - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 07:29
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II thanking him for his hospitality and for their "moving meeting and common prayer as brothers in Christ", during his recent visit to Egypt. Please find below the Holy Father's message To His Holiness Tawadros II Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark   Dear Brother, After my visit to Egypt and the blessed encounter with Your Holiness in Cairo, and recalling the fourth anniversary of our fraternal meeting in Rome on 10 May 2013, I take this opportunity to offer my prayerful best wishes for your peace and health, as well as my joy and gratitude for the spiritual bonds uniting the See of Peter and the See of Mark. I once more express my profound appreciation for your hospitality and for our moving meeting and common prayer as brothers in Christ.  I am especially grateful that we have strengthened our baptismal unity in the body of Christ by declaring together “that we, with one mind and heart, will seek sincerely not to repeat the baptism that has been administered in either of our Churches for any person who wishes to join the other”.  Our bonds of fraternity “challenge us to intensify our common efforts to persevere in the search for visible unity in diversity, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit”. Along this path we are sustained by the powerful intercession and example of the martyrs.  May we continue to advance together on our journey towards the same Eucharistic table, and grow in love and reconciliation. I assure Your Holiness of my continued prayers for you, and for peace in Egypt and the Middle East.  In this Easter season I pray that the Holy Spirit, the strength and tenderness of God, may fill our hearts with his grace and kindle in them the fire of his love.  May the Spirit of peace bestow on us an increase of hope, friendship and harmony. With these sentiments, on this special occasion which has rightly become known as the day of friendship between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, I exchange with Your Holiness a fraternal embrace of peace in Christ our Lord. From the Vatican, 10 May 2017 (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Audience: Look to Mary, Mother of Hope

Vatican News - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 07:15
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during his Wednesday General Audience continued his catechesis on Christian hope, highlighting Mary the Mother of Hope. Listen to this report:  On the eve of his Apostolic visit to Fatima , Pope Francis on Wednesday, described Mary as the Mother of Hope adding that she was a woman of courage, perseverance and obedience. Speaking to the thousands of pilgrims and tourists in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said that,  “Our Lady’s experience of motherhood models that of so many mothers in our world.” Mothers who have had to confront the suffering of their children. He went on to say that she courageously accepted her vocation and welcomed the new life entrusted to her.  The Holy Father also noted how despite the trials in her life, she remained always obedient to God. Mary, Pope Francis commented, is with her son until the very end. Her image, he said “standing at the foot of the cross and grieving the death of her innocent Son has inspired artists of every age to present her as a model of persevering hope in God’s promises.” The hope that Our Lady had, underlined the Pope, was the fruit of a life of prayer and daily effort to be conformed to God’s will, and was fulfilled in Jesus’ rising to new life.  We are not orphans, Pope Francis added, “we have a Mother in heaven who is the Holy Mother of God.” Following his catechesis, the Holy Father, greeting Portuguese speaking pilgrims asked for prayers for his upcoming visit to Fatima. He also had words of welcome for a delegation of young Russian priests of the Patriarchate of Moscow who are being hosted by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian unity.     (from Vatican Radio)...
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“Let us receive the Holy Spirit with docility!” Pope Francis

Vatican News - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 08:13
(Vatican Radio) “Let us receive the Holy Spirit with docility!” This was Pope Francis’ message during his Tuesday morning homily during Mass celebrated in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence. Joining the Pope at Mass were the Sisters who work in the Santa Marta residence. They were celebrating the feast day of their founder, Saint Luisa di Marillac. The Pope, continuing to develop the themes he had used in the previous day’s homily, reflected on the early Christians’ docility and openness to the Holy Spirit against the backdrop of the first persecutions of the Christians. “In these past days we have talked about resistance to the Holy Spirit, for which Saint Stephen scolded the doctors of the law. Today the readings speak of an attitude which is the opposite, namely for Christians to have docility towards the Holy Spirit” said Pope Francis. He described how, after Saint Stephen was killed, a widespread persecution broke out against Christians and many of them fled to places like Cyprus, Phoenicia and Antioch. But this persecution gave new opportunities to the Christians, he added.  Noting that until this moment, they had only been preaching to the Jews, the Pope pointed out that some of those Christians who went to Antioch began to preach to the pagans because they felt that the Holy Spirit was pushing them to do so. This, he said, showed their docility towards the Spirit. This docility is spoken about in the first letter of Saint James where he exhorts believers to “Receive the Word with docility.” Pope Francis told the congregation that this means needing to have an open attitude that is not rigid. “The first path in the journey of docility is therefore to receive the Word which opens the heart. The second path is to know the Word, to know Jesus, who says ‘my sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me’” said the Pope. “Then there is a third path, familiarity with the Word. To always bring the Word with us. To read it, to open our hearts to the Lord, open our hearts to the Spirit who makes us understand the Word.  And the fruit of this, to receive the Word, to understand the Word, to take it with us, to have this familiarity with the Word, is a great fruit! A person who does this displays goodness, kindness, joy, peace, self-control and meekness.” The Pope went on to explain  that this meekness is the attitude that gives us docility towards the Spirit. “But I have to receive with docility the Spirit which brings me the Word. And this docility, by not resisting the Spirit, brings me this way of living, this way of acting. To receive the Word with docility, to know the Word and call to the Spirit to grant us the grace to understand and then to give space for this seed to sprout and grow into this attitude of goodness, meekness, gentleness, peace, charity and self-control.  All this shows a Christian attitude” he said.   The Pope also pointed out that it was not the Apostles who preached to the pagans in Antioch, but others whose names we do not know. And when the Apostle Barnabas arrived in Antioch, he saw there the grace of God, resting in hearts that were faithful to the Lord. “There is the Spirit that guides us to do no wrong, but to receive with the Spirit with docility, to know the Spirit in the Word and to live according to the Spirit. And this is the opposite of the resistance for which Stephen scolded the doctors of the law: ‘You always have resisted the Spirit!’ Do we resist the Spirit? Do we create resistance? Or do we receive him? With docility: these are the words of James. ‘To receive with docility.’ Resistance is the opposite of docility. Let us call for this grace.” The  Pope concluded his homily by noting that that it was in Antioch that the community of disciples was first given the name Christians.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Regina coeli: Pray Rosary for peace!

Vatican News - Sun, 05/07/2017 - 08:12
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for Catholics to pray the Rosary for peace on Sunday. In remarks to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Regina coeli with him on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Holy Father said, “[I]n this month of May, let us pray the Rosary in particular for peace.” “Please!” he said, “let us pray the Rosary for peace, as the Virgin of Fatima asked us to do.” Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Fatima, in Portugal, this weekend, to lead celebrations marking the 100 th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Blessed Lady there. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis ordains 10 new priests on Good Shepherd Sunday

Vatican News - Sun, 05/07/2017 - 07:45
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis ordained ten men to the sacred priesthood on Sunday morning, the Fourth Sunday of Easter and “Good Shepherd Sunday” after the Gospel reading of the day, which is also celebrated as the day of prayer for vocations. The Holy Father delivered the standard, prepared “template” homily found in the Roman Ritual for priestly ordinations, with three significant extemporaneous deviations from the text. The first, was a reminder that the priesthood is not a “career” in the usual sense, and ought not be lived as a path to advancement within the Church. “These men have been elected by the Lord Jesus not to make their own way, but to do this [priestly] service.” Pope Francis also broke with the prepared text to say, “Do not give homilies that are too intellectual or elaborate,” he said. “[Be] simple, as Our Lord spoke, who reached hearts.” Pope Francis went on to say, “A presbyter who has perhaps studied much theology and has achieved one or two or three advanced degrees, but has not learned to carry the Cross of Christ, is useless: he will be a good academic, a good professor, but not a priest.” The Holy Father also broke from the prepared text to say, “Please, I ask you in the name of Christ and of the Church to be merciful, always: do not saddle the faithful with burdens they cannot carry (nor ought you so burden yourselves). Jesus reproved the doctors of the law for this, and called them hypocrites.” A concrete work of mercy to which Pope Francis called the ordinands was that of visiting the sick. “One of the tasks,” he said, “perhaps a nuisance, even painful – is to go to visit the sick. Do it, all of you. Yes, it is well that the lay faithful should do it, and deacons, but do not forget to touch the flesh of the suffering Christ in the sick: this sanctifies you, it brings you closer to Christ.” The Holy Father concluded his homily with an appeal to joy. “Be joyful, never sad,” he said. “With the joy of Christ’s service, even in the midst of suffering, misunderstanding, [even] one’s own sins. Have the example of the Good Shepherd ever before your eyes,” the Pope continued, “He did not come to be served, but to serve.” “Please,” Pope Francis said at the last, “do not be ‘lords’, do not be ‘State Clerics’, but shepherds, pastors of the People of God.”   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis receives Swiss President Leuthard

Vatican News - Sat, 05/06/2017 - 11:27
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard, on Saturday morning in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican. A communiqué from the Press Office of the Holy See says the Pope and the President held cordial discussions, during which the parties emphasized the mutual wish to strengthen the already good relations between the Holy See and Switzerland, and to intensify cooperation between the Catholic Church and the State. The statement from the Press Office goes on to say Pope Francis and President Leuthard discussed various themes of common interest, including the reception of migrants, the challenge of the world of work for the young, the fight against terrorism and commitment to the protection of the environment, as well as the future of Europe. The visit of the President of the Swiss Confederation coincided with the swearing-in of new soldiers of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis accepts resignation of Greek Melkite Patriarch

Vatican News - Sat, 05/06/2017 - 07:45
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday accepted the resignation of the Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch, His Beatitude Gregory III Laham, from his pastoral office. A letter from the Holy Father to the Patriarch-emeritus and all the Melkite bishops explains that His Beatitude presented his resignation during the course of a special audience with the Holy Father in February, and that the Holy Father has decided to accept the resignation. In the letter, Pope Francis thanks the 83 year-old Patriarch-emeritus, “a zealous servant of the People of God, for the generous service to his Church and for keeping the international community’s attention focused on the tragedy of Syria.” The Holy Father goes on to write, “I invoke upon you all the intercession of The Holy Mother of God and willingly give the Apostolic Blessing to our dear Greco-Melkite Church as a sign of grace and encouragement for the future of communion and witness of the Gospel.” Below, please find the full text of the letter, in the original French ***************************** À Sa Béatitude Grégoire III Laham Patriarche d’Antioche des Gréco-melkites et à tous les Évêques de cette Église Béatitude et Vénérables Frères dans le Christ, Dans ma sollicitude pour toutes les Églises, je m’adresse à vous, reconnaissant  pour votre service auprès du Peuple de Dieu et conscient de votre responsabilité de Pasteurs. Depuis la réunion du Synode des Évêques du mois de février dernier, Sa Béatitude, lors de l’audience que je lui ai accordée, m’a présenté spontanément sa renonciation à la charge patriarcale, en me demandant de décider du moment le plus favorable pour l’accepter. Après avoir prié et réfléchi attentivement, je retiens opportun et nécessaire pour le bien de l’Église gréco-melkite d’accueillir aujourd’hui sa renonciation. En remerciant Sa Béatitude, serviteur zélé du Peuple de Dieu, pour les années de service généreux de son Église et pour avoir entretenu l’attention de la communauté internationale sur le drame vécu par la Syrie, j’invoque sur vous tous l’intercession da la Sainte Mère de Dieu et donne volontiers la Bénédiction apostolique à notre chère Église gréco-melkite, comme signe de grâce et d’encouragement pour l’avenir de communion et de témoignage de l’Évangile. Du Vatican, le 6 mai 2017 François *Orientale Lumen has made an English translation . (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis welcomes new Swiss Guards recruits

Vatican News - Sat, 05/06/2017 - 07:23
(Vatican Radio) Each year on May 6, the new recruits for the Pontifical Swiss Guard are sworn in at an impressive, and ancient, ceremony in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. The forty new Swiss Guards are the first group of recruits to go through the new model of training, which includes a month of instruction at the famous Swiss Guards’ school at Isone in the canton of Ticino before beginning their courses at the Vatican . Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, the new recruits, with their families and friends, and the other members of the Swiss Guard, were received by Pope Francis at an audience in the Sala Clementina. The presence of so many visitors from Switzerland, the Pope said, “manifests the affection of Swiss Catholics for the Holy See, Christian education, and the good example through which the parents have transmitted to their children the faith, the value of pertaining to the Christian community, and the significance of ecclesial service.” Pope Francis recalled that the ceremony takes place on the anniversary of the Sack of Rome, when 147 Swiss Guards gave their lives to defend the Pope. Today, the Holy Father said, the Swiss Guards “are not called to this heroic offering of your physical life, but to another sacrifice no less arduous: to serve, that is, the power of the faith.” This, he continued, “is an effective barrier to resist the various forces and powers of this world, and above all he who is ‘the prince of this world,’ ‘the father of lies,’ who ‘goes about like a lion, seeking someone to devour.’” The Pope emphasized the importance of spiritual growth for the new Guards during their time in Rome. He invited them to pass their time in the Eternal City “with sincere fraternity, supporting one another in leading an exemplary Christian life that is motivated and sustained by your faith.” He encouraged them to consider themselves “an active part of the great people of God, missionary disciples committed to bearing witness to the Gospel” both in their work and in their free time in Rome. Rome, the Pope said, offers many opportunities for spiritual and cultural growth, which he encouraged the new recruits to take advantage of. He spoke of the example of St Philip Neri, who would help the children he cared for to discover “the traces of the ancient Christian community.” Taking the time “to follow in the footsteps of so many saints who have lived in the City,” Pope Francis said, “will make your time in Rome even more unforgettable and rich in fruit.”   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope greets Pontifical Romanian College on 80th anniversary

Vatican News - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 07:47
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday greeted members of the Pontifical Romanian College or Collegio Pio Romeno on the occasion of its 80th anniversary.  Listen to this report: This Roman Pontifical College has been training seminarians from all over the world for eight decades in the Eternal City and on Friday the Pope on this auspicious occasion had two wishes for those present. The first was to preserve memory and the second, to cultivate hope. Speaking about the former, the Holy Father said that by tuning into ones ecclesial memory which he added, lives through the events that each era presents us with, “you will be helped to overcome dangerous temptations that may arise, such as settling for mediocrity, settling for a normal life; where one jealously guards their own time and their own well-being. The Pope described their College as a place where seminarians train as if they were “in a gym” in order to give their lives for the good of others. On the theme of cultivating hope, Pope Francis said that there was, “so much need to nourish Christian hope, that hope that gives a new outlook, capable of discovering and seeing good, even when it is obscured by evil”. Concluding his address the Pope had a special greeting for those present from the Pontifical College of St. Ephrem, which provides lodgings for those student priests of the Arabic language from all of the Oriental Catholic Churches and who are welcomed by the Pontifical Romanian College (Pio Romeno). The Pope said that, “by meeting you I think of the situation in which there are so many faithful in your lands, many families who are forced to leave their homes in the face of waves of violence and suffering. I want to embrace these brothers and sisters in a special way, together with their Patriarchs and Bishops.”     (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope denounces rigid Christians, calls for meekness in the Church

Vatican News - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 07:10
(Vatican Radio) Even now there are people in the Church who use rigidity to cover-up their own sins. That was the warning of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the first Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope focused on the figure of Saint Paul who, from being a rigid persecutor, became a meek and patient proclaimer of the Gospel. Listen to our report:  “The first time the name ‘Saul’ appears,” he said, “is at the stoning of Stephen.” Saul, he observed, was a “young man, rigid, idealistic,” and he was “convinced” of the rigidity of the law. No to rigid people living a double life in the Church He was rigid, the Pope insisted, but he was “sincere.” Jesus, on the other hand, condemned those who were rigid but “insincere”: “They are rigid people living a double life: They make themselves look good, sincere, but when no one sees them, they do ugly things. On the other hand, this young man was honest. He believed that. I think, when I say this, of the many young people in the Church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are sincere, they are good. We have to pray that the Lord might help them to grow along the path of meekness.” Others, he said, “use rigidity in order to cover over weakness, sin, personality problems; and they use rigidity” to build themselves up at the expense of others. Pope Francis said that in this way, Saul grew even more rigid, to the point where he couldn’t tolerate what he saw as a heresy; and so he began to persecute the Christians. But, the Pope said, parenthetically, at least Saul allowed children to live – nowadays, those who persecute Christians don’t even spare children. Saul then went to Damascus to arrest the Christians in order to take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. And on the road to Damascus, he encountered “another Man, who spoke with a language of meekness: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’” Saint Paul: From persecutor to evangelizer “This rigid young man, who had become a rigid man – but sincere! – was made a little child, and allowed himself to be led where the Lord called him.” This is “the power of the meekness of the Lord.” Saul, then, having become Paul, proclaimed the Lord to the very end, and suffered for Him: “And so this man preached to others out of his own experience, from one part to another: persecuted, with so many problems, even in the Church, even having to suffer from Christians quarreling among themselves. But he, who had persecuted the Lord with the zeal of the law, said to the Christians, ‘With those same things by which you have drawn away from God, with which you have sinned – with the mind, with the body, with everything – with those same members now you are perfect, you give glory to God.’” Let us pray for those who are rigid, that they may follow the way of meekness of Jesus “There is a dialogue between what is sufficient, rigidity, and meekness,” the Pope said, and this is “the dialogue between a sincere man and Jesus, who speaks to him with sweetness.” And so, he said, “begins the story of this man whom we have known from his youth, in the stoning of Stephen, who would end up betrayed by an internal conflict among Christians.” For some, the life of Saint Paul “is a failure,” like that of Christ: “This is the path of the Christian: to go forward along the path marked out by Jesus: the path of preaching, the path of suffering, the path of the Cross, the path of the resurrection. Today, in a special way, let us pray to Saul for those in the Church who are rigid: for the rigid who are sincere, as he was, who have zeal, but are mistaken. And for the rigid who are hypocrites, those who live a double life, those of whom Jesus said, ‘Do what they say, but not what they do.’ Let us pray today for the rigid.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Myanmar Church welcomes diplomatic relations with the Holy See

Vatican News - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:10
Bishop John Hsane Hgyi, the bishop of Pathein diocese of Myanmar has expressed joy over the joint agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar of establishing diplomatic relations, a decision he says is for the positive evolution and for the steps towards change.  The decision came after the meeting in the Vatican held on May 4, between Pope Francis and leader Aung San Suu Kyi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of Burma. The Bishop notes that the  main challenge is to resolve conflicts with ethnic minorities. He hopes all the different ethnic groups can join the May 24 national meeting  in Yangon for the signing of a ceasefire and make it  a real step towards national reconciliation. All peoples in Myanmar and all religions want peace  he says but today the nation needs an effort on behalf of everyone to reach peace. The Catholic Church  expresses the utmost solidarity even with the Rohingya Muslims and  desires solutions that respect human dignity and human rights, according to criteria of peace and justice the Bishop notes. The Catholic Church in Myanmar is observing 2017 as the Year of Peace and the faithful are encouraged to fast, make sacrifices and to raise awareness for peace in the nation.  Currently seminars and conferences are being promoted on the subject of reconciliation in different dioceses and the  collaboration of other religious leaders is sought the Bishop said. The Government spokesperson Zaw Htay commenting on the diplomatic relations said that his country wanted to be part of the international family and that establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican was key to that, given its role as a reference point for all Christians. A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Myanmar, Fr. Soe Naing, said the new relationship would do more than merely facilitate direct contacts between the Holy See and Yangon. The need for peace is expressed at all levels.  Cardinal Bo at an interreligious peace conference in Yangon on April 26 reminded his counterparts from other faiths about their moral obligation to build peace and harmony at the grassroots levels in the strife-torn nation.  He said that the wish for peace needs to shine through every word and deed, and solutions must be found through "dialogue and mutual understanding." About one percent of Myanmar’s 51 million people are Catholics where the church has been active for five centuries. The ‎celebrations for ‎the ‎‎500 years ‎of the Church in Myanmar should have taken place in 2011, but the political situation and ‎the lack of ‎true religious freedom then, did not allow for such a nation-wide ‎celebration.‎  Hence the ‎jubilee year ‎was marked from Nov. 24, 2013 to Nov. 23, 2014‎.(Fides)  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope's prayer intention for May: Christians in Africa

Vatican News - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:10
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ prayer intention for May is dedicated to  Christians in Africa:  That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace. The Apostleship of Prayer  has produced the Pope’s Video on this prayer intention. The full text of the Pope’s Video is below: When we look at Africa, we see much more than its great natural richness. We see its joie de vivre, and above all, we see grounds for hope in Africa’s rich intellectual, cultural and religious heritage. But we cannot fail to see the fratricidal wars decimating peoples and destroying these natural and cultural resources. Let us join with our brothers and sisters of this great continent, and pray together that Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at daily Mass: To evangelize, go out, listen, rejoice

Vatican News - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:06
(Vatican Radio) The Church should be on its feet and on the journey, listening to the restlessness of the people, and always with joy. That was the message of Pope Francis this morning in the homily for the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. In the first eight chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope said, “there is a summary of the whole history of the Church”: preaching, baptism, conversion, miracles, persecution, joy, but also the ugly sin of those who join themselves to the Church for their own ends, “those benefactors of the Church who in the end cheat the Church,” like Ananias and Sapphira. The Holy Father began his homily with this reflection, then moved on to a consideration of the day’s readings. He first emphasized that the Lord from the beginning accompanied His disciples, confirming the Word with miraculous signs. He never left them alone, not even in the worst moments. Pope Francis the focused on three “words” taken from the day’s first Reading, inviting those present to re-read the passage at home. The first saying was the words of an angel to Philip: “ Get up and go. ” “This,” the Pope said, “is a sign of evangelization”: the vocation, and the great consolation of the Church, is to evangelize. “But in order to evangelize: ‘Get up and go!’ One doesn’t say: ‘Stay seated, calm, in your house’: No! In order to be faithful to the Lord, the Church should always be on its feet and on the journey: ‘Get up and go.’ A Church that does not rise up, that is not on the journey, is sick.” And, the Pope continued, this can cause the Church to be closed in on itself, with many psychological and spiritual traumas – “closed into a little world of gossiping, of things… closed, without horizons.” And so, he said, the Church must “get up and go,” it must be “on its feet and on the journey.” This is how the Church must go about evangelizing. “ Go up and join with that chariot ” – the second message Philip received from the Spirit – was the next expression Pope Francis emphasized. In the chariot was an Ethiopian, a proselyte of the Jewish religion, a eunuch who had come to Jerusalem to worship God. As he travelled, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The passage concerns the conversion of a “finance minister,” which, the Pope said, means it was a “great miracle.” The Spirit called Philip to join himself to that man, Pope Francis continued, emphasizing how important it was for the Church to know she must listen to the restlessness in the heart of every man: “All men, all women have a restlessness in their hearts – [they may be] good or bad, but there is a restlessness. Listen to that restlessness. It’s not saying: ‘Go out and proselytise.’ No, no! ‘Go and listen.’ Listening is the second step. The first: ‘Get up and go’; the second: ‘Listen.’ That ability to listen: What do people feel? What does the heart of the people feel? What does it think? But do they think mistaken things? But I want to hear these mistaken things, in order to understand where the restlessness is. We all have this restlessness within. The second step for the Church is to find the restlessness of the people.” It is, then, the Ethiopian himself who, seeing Philip approach, asks who the prophet is speaking about, and asks him to join him in the chariot. And so, the Pope said, Philip began to preach “with meekness.” The restlessness in the heart of that man found an explanation that responded to the hope in his heart. This was possible, Pope Francis continued, “because Philip joined him and listened to him.” While the Ethiopian listened, the Lord was working within him. In this way, the man understood that the Prophet Isaiah was speaking of Jesus. His faith in Jesus then grew to such a point that when they arrived at a place where there was water, he asked to be baptized. “He asked for Baptism because the Lord had worked in his heart,” the Pope said. Then, after he had been baptized, when the Spirit took Philip and bore him away, the eunuch continued on his way, filled with joy. This “ joy of the Christian ,” Pope Francis said, is the third “word” from the Reading. Pope Francis concluded his homily with the hope that the Church would be “on its feet,” “a mother who listens,” and “with the grace of the Holy Spirit … finds the Word to say”: “Mother Church, which gives so many children to the light with this method, we would say – let us use the word – this method which is not proselytistic: it is the method of the witness to obedience. The Church, which tells us today: ‘Rejoice.’ To rejoice; joy.  The joy of being Christian, even in ugly moments. Because after the stoning of Stephen a great persecution arose, and the Christians scattered everywhere, like seed carried on the wind. And it fell to them to preach the Word of Jesus. May the Lord give to all of us the grace to live the Church in this way: on our feet and going out, listening to the restlessness of the people, and always in joy.”  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope: 'Vatican media reform must embrace the challenge of change'

Vatican News - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:59
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged members of Vatican media platforms not to be afraid of reform, and to embrace the challenge of change that will enable them to bring the message of the Gospel to all.  Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni : Addressing representatives of the Secretariat for Communications (SPC) gathered for its first Plenary Assembly, the Pope said that to “reform is not just to whitewash things; it’s to give them a different form and organization”.  “It’s something, he said to those charged with overhauling the Vatican’s different news and media outlets, to be done with intelligence and what he called a good kind of  ‘violence’.” Headed by the Prefect, msgr. Dario Viganò, the new Dicastery was created by Pope Francis exactly two years ago with the mandate to unify all Vatican communications platforms: the Vatican Television Center, the Vatican Publishing House, The Osservatore Romano  newspaper, Vatican Radio, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Photographic Service, the Vatican Internet Service, the Vatican Printing Press and the former Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Describing the issues addressed during the Plenary are “very dear to his heart,” Pope Francis said the work  taken on by the SPC aims to “find new criteria and new ways of communicating the Gospel of mercy to all peoples and cultures making use of the new digital culture at our disposal”. He highlighted the fact that – as specified in his ‘Motu proprio’ which established the new Dicastery - the reform is not about coordinating or merging the various platforms, but sets up something completely new with a single and unified management which will be able to better respond to the needs of the Church’s mission. Reflecting on the fact that in the past each platform had its own channels and mediums of communication (the written word, images, audio) the Pope said that “all these forms of communication today are transmitted with a single code that uses the binary system.”  Thus, he said, the Vatican newspaper is called to find a new and different way  to reach a much higher number of readers that it does through its printed format. He said that through the years Vatican Radio has become an ensemble of portals and “must be reshaped according to new models so it can conform to modern technologies and to the needs of  our contemporaries”. And regarding the Vatican’s radiophonic service, the Pope had special words of appreciation for the efforts being made in consideration of countries that are not technologically developed – “I think of Africa” he said – praising  the “rationalization of Short Wave frequencies that have never been dismantled. “History undoubtedly represents a precious patrimony of experience to be safeguarded and used as a push towards the future” he said, pointing out that otherwise it would be a mere museum: “interesting and nice to visit, but unable to provide the strength and courage for the continuation of the journey.” Pope Francis concluded his address encouraging the SPC to courageously  bring the reform to completion with an apostolic and missionary spirit, and asked there be a special regard and attention for situations of need, poverty and difficulty within the knowledge that they must be faced with adequate solutions: “Let us resist the temptation of being attached to a glorious past; let’s all be team players in order to better respond to the new communication challenges posed by culture today without fear and without foreseeing apocalyptic scenarios.”   (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

General Audience: Pope reflects on Apostolic Voyage to Egypt

Vatican News - Wed, 05/03/2017 - 09:47
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis reflected on last weekend’s Apostolic Voyage to Egypt during his weekly General Audience, recalling the various stages of his trip. Listen to the report by Christopher Wells : The Holy Father thanked the people of Egypt for their warm welcome, and noted the “extraordinary commitment” of the Egyptian authorities to ensure his visit went off without a hitch. He spoke of his visit to the Al-Azhar University, which was focused on both “ dialogue between Christians and Muslims” and “the promotion of peace ” in the world. Pope Francis summarized his address at the International Conference for Peace, emphasizing Egypt’s history as a “ land of civility ” and a “ land of covenant. ” Egypt, he said, echoing the speech of the Grand Imam, “reminds us that peace is built through education, formation in wisdom, a humanism that includes the religious dimension, the relationship with God, as an integral part.” He continued, saying peace is built on the relationship between God and men, and on the alliance between all human beings. This, the Pope said, is the foundation for a civil and social order in which all are called to participate. Pope Francis also spoke about the role of Christians, who are called to be a “leaven of fraternity," in Egypt and elsewhere. He said his meeting with his “dear brother” Pope Tawadros II – the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch – and their “Common Statement” were signs of the commitment of Christians to that fraternity. The Pope recalled the prayers for the martyrs of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the victims of very recent violence, whose sacrifice and common witness lent a particular fruitfulness to the work of ecumenism. The second day of the Pope’s voyage was dedicated to the Catholic faithful. The Mass celebrated by Pope Francis was, he said, a feast of faith and fraternity. He recalled his homily, in which he encouraged Egyptian Catholics to relive the experience of the disciples at Emmaus, when they “encountered the Lord.” The Holy Father also reflected on the final event of his Voyage, the meeting with priests, religious, and seminarians. He noted in particular the many seminarians in Egypt, which he called a “consolation.” Concluding his remarks, Pope Francis said Christians in the region, guided by their pastors, should be “salt and light” for the Middle East. He called his voyage to Egypt "a sign of hope, refuge, and help,” and said it “signifies walking together along the path of hope.” Pope Francis said Egypt is a “sign of hope” for fraternity, not just in the past, but also for the present day.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pont. Academy Social Sciences calls for new roads to integration

Vatican News - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 10:46
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences wrapped up its Plenary Assembly on Tuesday with a call for inclusion of the most marginalized in society. The five-day Plenary Session focused on the theme “Towards a Participatory Society: New Roads to Social and Cultural Integration”. A message from Pope Francis provided the guidelines for the Plenary. Recalling the movements and the battles for the rights of workers in the past two centuries, the Pope pointed out that “those battles are far from over” and called for a new world vision that has the value of fraternity at its basis. Present at this mornings’ press conference in the Vatican was one of the participants of the Plenary, Professor Paulus Zulu who highlighted the fact that in Africa one of the major causes for exclusion is to be found in political systems which prevent the people from accessing even the basic resources of life. Listen:  Professor Zulu explains that in Africa there is a crisis of representative democracy which leads to major causes of social exclusion. Consequently, he says, there are growing inequalities. “One of the consequences – migration - often represents a response to these inequalities” he says. “Some of the excluded populations, he says,  try to seek measures of existence – not only just inclusion – measures of existence outside their continent”  or country. Prof. Zulu concludes that that is one of the manifestations which one would refer to as original.  “Part of the solution, or what communities deem as the possible mechanism, is through social movements which are trying to garner mechanisms towards social inclusion, particularly access, where inclusion leads to access of the basic resources of life” he says.    (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

The Lord softens those with hard hearts says Pope

Vatican News - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 10:04
(Vatican Radio) “The Lord softens those with hard hearts, those who condemn all who are outside the law.” This was the message of Pope Francis homily, during tuesday’s Mass in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence.  He said that those who are hard hearted do not know the tenderness of God and his ability to remove hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh. Beginning with the first reading, in which St Stephen was stoned to death by the temple authorities in Jerusalem, the Pope reflected on the witness of Christian obedience. He said that those who stoned Stephen to death did not understand the word of God. Stephen had called them “circumcised of heart,” which was the equivalent of calling someone a pagan. According the Pope, there are different ways of not understanding the word of God. For example, when Jesus had met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, he had called them “fools.” This was not an expression of praise, but it was also not a strong word either, unlike Stephen’s expression. “They did not understand, they were afraid, because they did not want problems, they had fear, but they were good men, open to the truth” said the Pope. “And when Jesus rebuked them, they let his words enter them and their hearts burned within them, whilst those who stoned Stephen were furious and did not want to listen!” This, according to the Pope, is the drama of the closed hearted. Turning to Psalm 94, the Lord admonished his people not to harden their hearts. Then Pope Francis said, the prophet Ezekiel makes a “beautiful promise” to change the heart of stone into a heart of flesh, a heart that knows how to listen and receive the witness of obedience. “This causes suffering in the Church. The closed hearts, the hearts of stone, the hearts which do not want to be open, do not want to hear, the hearts which only know the language of condemnation. They know how to condemn, they do not know how to say ‘Explain it to me, why do you say this? Why this? Explain it to me.’ No, they are closed. That’s all they know. They have no need of explanations,” said Pope Francis. The rebuke that Jesus speaks of also led to the killing of the prophets, “because they spoke to you what you did not want to hear. A closed heart cannot let the Holy Spirit enter in.” Pope Francis said “There was no place in their hearts for the Holy Spirit. In fact, the letter today speaks of how Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit, he had understood everything, he was a witness to the obedience of the word made flesh, and this was done by the Holy Spirit. He was filled. A closed heart, a hardened heart, a pagan heart doesn’t let the spirit in and feels himself in himself” According to the Pope, the disciples on the road to Emmaus represent us, “with our many doubts, many sins. Many times we want to move away from the Cross, from the truth, but let us make space to hear Jesus, who makes our hearts burn. The other group, who are closed in the rigidity of the law, who do not want to hear Jesus, are saying worse things than Stephen did.” The Pope concluded with a reflection on the meeting between Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. He said that every one of us enters into a dialogue between Jesus and the victim of the hearts of stone, the adulteress. And to those who want to stone her, Jesus says “Look within yourselves:” “Today, we look at the tenderness of Jesus, the witness of obedience, that great witness, Jesus, who has given life, which makes us look for the tenderness of God, confronting us, our sins, our weaknesses. Let us enter this dialogue and let us call for the grace of the Lord which softens the rigid hearts of those people who are always closed in the law and condemn all who are outside the law. They do not know that the word became flesh, that the word is a witness to obedience. They do not know the tenderness of God and his ability to take out the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh."     (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope: fraternity can generate a just society with dignity for all

Vatican News - Mon, 05/01/2017 - 10:12
(Vatican Radio) On May 1st the Church  remembers Saint Joseph the worker, a day marked across the globe as International Labour Day. Pope Francis ’ thoughts in these days go especially towards young people as expressed in his May 1st tweet: “May Saint Joseph give young people the ability to dream, to take risks for big tasks, the things that God dreams for us,” many of whom are faced with unprecedented high rates of unemployment and socio-financial difficulties. And in a message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that in these days is holding its Plenary Assembly in the Vatican (28 April-2 May), the Pope recalls the “hard battles” of workers during the 19th and 20th centuries which took place “in the name of solidarity and rights”. He says these battles “are far from over” pointing to the “social exclusion and marginalization of millions of men and women today.” “Today, solidarity is not sufficient, it is necessary to increase  the parameters of the traditional concept of justice” he said. In the current liberal and individualistic vision of the world, he continues, almost everything has become a “trade commodity”; in a “state-centric” vision everything is accomplished out of “duty”. These are two visions, the Pope says, that have not and will not solve the grave problems of economy and work. In his message the Pope says it is “necessary to attempt new paths that are inspired by Christ’s message.” He says the key word is fraternity and he highlights the content of Pope Pius XI’s social encyclical issued in 1931: “Quadragesimo Anno,” which he says, decries the egoism which is at the basis of injustice and is the opposite of fraternity. He points out that it also foresaw the affirmation of a “global economic dictatorship” that Pius XI called the “international imperialism of money”. The solution, Pope Francis says, is a fraternal society in which work “before being conceived as a right, is recognized as a capacity and an inalienable need of each person”. Only in a fraternal society, he says, can work be “just”, meaning that not only will it assure an equitable remuneration, but it will correspond to the vocation of the person and therefore  be able to contribute to the development of his or her capacities and talents. “This is the proposal of the Gospel – a proposal that is able to create a new humanism” the Pope says, and “a new energy that will generate freedom, justice, peace and dignity for all”. Pope Francis concludes his message quoting from a speech to managers and workers of the Terni steel mill in 2014: “Dear brothers and sisters, never stop hoping for a better future. Fight for it, fight. Do not be trapped in the vortex of pessimism, please! If each one does his or her part, if everyone always places the human person — not money — with his dignity at the centre, if an attitude of solidarity and fraternal sharing inspired by the Gospel is strengthened, you will be able to leave behind the morass of a hard and difficult economic season of work”.        (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope joins celebrations for "Catholic Action" 150th anniversary

Vatican News - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 10:16
(Vatican Radio)   Pope Francis on Sunday joined members of the Italian lay Catholic group “ Azione Cattolica Italiana ” as they celebrated 150 years since their foundation. They were gathered in St. Peter's Square with balloons and banners for a special audience with the Pope and for the recitation of the Regina Caeli prayer. Catholic Action was the name of many groups, especially active during the 19th century that aimed to encourage a Catholic influence on society in countries that fell under anti-clerical regimes. Italy’s “Azione Cattolica” is probably the most active Catholic Action group still around today. It was founded in 1867 by Mario Fani and Giovanni Acquaderni with the name “Italian Catholic Youth Society”.   Speaking to the some 70,000 members of the group present in St. Peter’s Square for the occasion, the Pope said it is vital to walk looking ahead (and not behind) and to be missionary disciples that reach out to the peripheries.   The Pope said the Church is grateful for the contribution made to society by “Azione Cattolica” with its passion for the world and for the Church. He encouraged all members to be open to the world and not to look back complacently at a glorious history, but to go out into the world bearing the Lord’s testimony of joy and of hope.     The Pope recalled some well-known members of the group like Giuseppe Toniolo, Armida Barelli, Piergiorgio Frassati, Antonietta Meo, Teresio Olivelli, Vittorio Bachelet, and urged those present to live up to their examples. He told them to always be at the service of the dioceses and the parishes to which they belong and to channel all initiatives towards evangelization, “not self-conservation”.  “Just as your predecessors did 150 years ago, feel the responsibility within you to sow the good seed of the Gospel in your lives and in the world, through the service of charity and political commitment” he said. And with a heartfelt call, especially to the youth of “Azione Cattolica”, the Pope said: “go, reach all the peripheries! Be Church with the strength of the Holy Spirit.”     (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis in-flight presser after Egypt visit

Vatican News - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 09:08
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday evening, during his return from Egypt, held his traditional inflight “press conference” with journalists onboard the Papal plane touching on a wide range of issues. Amongst the topics elaborated upon, he spoke of his concern for the North Korea crisis for which he urged diplomatic mediation, of the phenomenon of populism in Europe and across the world and of the dramatic situation of forced migrants and refugees in many refugee camps. Please find below CNA and EWTN’s full transcript of the Pope's inflight press conference: Greg Burke (Vatican press director): Here among the journalists are those who are making a trip for the first time and those who have made almost 100.. No, more than 100, I think… And you, I don’t know if you know how many international trips you’ve made… Pope Francis : 18!  Greg Burke : Ah, 18, alright great. I didn’t know. Nineteen is around the corner, so also you have a good number of Papal trips now. Thanks for this moment which is always a strong moment for us and let’s start with the Italian group, Paolo Rodari. I don’t know if you want to say something first. Pope Francis: Yes, good evening and thanks for your work because these were 27 hours, I think, of much work. Thanks so much for what you did, thank you. And I’m at your disposal. Greg Burke : Thank you, Holy Father. Paolo Rodari (Repubblica): Hello. Holy Father, thank you. I wanted to ask you about your meeting yesterday with al Sisi. What did you speak about? Topics of human rights were mentioned and, in particular, that you were able to speak about the case of Giulio Regeni, and do you think the truth will be reached in that regard? Pope Francis : On this I will give a general response, to then reach the particular. Generally when I am with a head of state in private dialogue, that remains private, unless, by agreement, we say ‘let’s say on this point, we’ll make it public.’ I had four private dialogues here with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, with al Sisi, with Patriarch Tawadros and with Patriarch Ibrahim and I believe that if it is private, for respect one must maintain privacy… it is confidential… but later there is the question on Regeni. I am concerned, from the Holy See I have moved on that topic because the parents also asked me to. The Holy See has moved. I will not say how or where, but we have moved. Greg Burke : Dario Menor Torres, from El Correo Espanol.   Dario Meno r (El Correo Espanol): Thank you, Holiness! You said yesterday that peace, prosperity and development deserve every sacrifice and later you underscored the importance of the inalienable rights of man. Does this mean a support for the Egyptian government, a recognition of its role in the Middle East, and how it tries to defend Christians despite insufficient democratic guarantees from this government? Pope Francis : Could you repeat… what does what mean? I didn’t hear… Dario Menor : If these words that you said on the importance of peace, of prosperity and development, saying that they deserve every sacrifice, if we should interpret them as a support of the Egyptian government and how it tries to defend Christians despite insufficient democratic guarantees. Pope Francis : No, No… one must interpret (it) literally as values in themselves… I said that defending peace, defending the harmony of peoples, defending the equality of citizens, whichever the religion they profess may be, are values. I spoke of values! If a person who governs defends one value or defends another, it is another issue. I have made 18 [international] visits. In many of those nations, I’ve heard, ‘But the Pope, going there, gives support to that government,’ because a government always has its weaknesses or it has its political adversaries, and some say one thing or another… I don’t get mixed up (in that)... I speak about values, and every person sees, is a judge if this government, this state, that from here, that from there, carries those values forward…   Dario Menor : Were you left with the urge to visit the Pyramids? Pope Francis: But, do you know that today at 6:00 in the morning, two of my assistants went to visit the pyramids? Dario Menor: Would you have liked to go with them? Pope Francis : Truly, yes. Dario Menor: Thanks a million. Virginie Riva (Europe 1): Holy Father, a question possibly starting from the trip and extending it to France, if you accept. You spoke at al-Azhar, at the university, about demagogic populism. French Catholics in this moment are tempted by the populist or extreme vote, they are divided and disoriented. What elements of discernment could you give these Catholic electors? Pope Francis : Great… there is a dimension of “populisms” - in quotes, because you know that this word for me, I’ve had to relearn it in Europe, because in Latin America it has another meaning - there is an issue in Europe and there is an issue of the European Union behind it… that which I said about Europe I will not repeat it here… I’ve spoken about it four times, I believe, twice in Strasbourg, once at the Charlemagne Prize and at the beginning of the commemoration of the 60th. There is everything I’ve said about Europe. Every nation is free to make choices that it believes convenient before this. I cannot judge if this choice is made for this reason, or for another, because I don’t know the internal politics. It is true that Europe is in danger of dissolving. This is true! I said it softly in Strasbourg. I said it more strongly at the Charlemagne [Prize ceremony] and lately without nuance. We must meditate on only that - the Europe that goes from the Atlantic to the Urals - there is an issue that scares Europe and perhaps feeds … the issue is emigration. This is true. But let’s not forget that Europe was made by migrants, centuries and centuries of migrants. We are them! But it is an issue that must be studied well, also respecting opinions, but the honest opinions of a political discussion - with the capital letter, big, with the big ‘Politics’ and not with the little ‘politics’ of the nation that in the end winds up falling. About France, I’ll tell the truth. I don’t understand the internal French politics. I don’t understand it. I’ve sought to have good relations, also with the current president, with which there was a conflict once, but after I was able to speak clearly about things, respecting his opinion. On the two political candidates, I don’t know the history. I don’t know where they come from, nor - yes, I know that one represents the strong right, but the other I truly don’t know where they come from - for this (reason) I cannot give a clear opinion on France. But, speaking with Catholics, here in one of the gatherings, while I was greeting people, one said to me, ‘But why don’t you think big about politics ?’ What does that mean? Well, he said it to me as if asking for help… eh, to make a party for Catholics. This is a good man but he’s living in the last century. For this, the populisms have relationships with migrants, but this is not from the trip. If I still have time later I can return to this. If I have time, I will return. Vera Shcherbakova (ITAR-TASS): Holy Father, thank you first of all for the blessings… you blessed me. I knelt down some minutes ago. I am Orthodox and I don’t see any contradiction with my baptism, anyway, I see it as a great pleasure. I wanted to ask: what are the prospects for the relations between the Orthodox, obviously Russian, but also yesterday in the common declaration with the Coptic Patriarch, the common date of Easter (came up) and that they speak of a recognition of baptism… where are we on this point? How do you evaluate the relations between the Vatican and Russia as a State, also in light of the defense of the values of Christians in the Middle East and especially in Syria? Thanks. Greg Burke : This is Vera Shcherbakova, of the TASS Agency. Pope Francis : Christos Anesti! I, with the Orthodox, have always had a great friendship, since Buenos Aires, no? For example, every January 6th I would go to vespers, to the complete readings, at your Cathedral of Patriarch Plato, who is in an archbishop in the area of Ukraine, no? And he… two hours and forty (minutes) of prayer in a language that I didn’t understand, but you could pray well, and then the dinner with the community. Three hundred people, a Christmas Eve dinner, not a Christmas dinner. They still couldn’t eat dairy or meat, but it was a beautiful dinner and then bingo, the lottery… friendship… also with the other Orthodox, also sometimes they needed legal help. They would come to the Catholic Curia because they are small communities and they would go to the lawyers. They’d come in and out. But, I’ve always had a filial, fraternal relationship. We are sister Churches! With Tawadros, there is a special friendship. For me, he’s a great man of God! And Tawadros is a patriarch, a pope that carries the Church forward, the name of Jesus before (him). He has a great apostolic zeal… He is one of the most - permit me the word, but in quotes - ‘fanatics’ of finding a fixed date for Easter. I am too. We are seeking the way. But he says, ‘Let’s fight!’ He is a man of God. He is a man who, when he was bishop, far from Egypt, went out to feed the disabled, a man who was sent to a diocese with five churches and he left behind 25, I don’t know how many Christian families with the apostolic zeal. The you know how they make the election among them. They look for three, then they put the names in a bag, they call a child, they close their eyes and the child chooses the name. The Lord is there. He is clearly a great patriarch. The unity of baptism is moving ahead. The guilt of baptism is an historical thing (Editor’s note: Pope Francis seems to be referring to the historical ‘breach’ between the recognition of baptism between the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic traditions. Neither currently recognizes baptism carried out in the other Church), because in the first Councils it was the same, then as the Coptic Christians baptized children in the shrines, when they wanted to get married, they came to us, they were married with a Catholic, they asked for the faith… but they didn’t have it and they asked for baptism under a condition. It started with us, not with them… but now the door has been opened and we are on a good path of overcoming this issue, the door…. In the common declaration, the penultimate paragraph speaks of this. The Russian Orthodox recognize our baptism and we recognize their baptism.  I was a very close friend as the bishop of Buenos Aires with the Russians, also with the Georgians, for example… but the patriarch of the Georgians is a man of God, Ilia II. He is a mystic! We Catholics must learn also from this mystical tradition of the Orthodox Churches. During this trip, we had this ecumenical encounter. Patriarch Bartholomew was there too. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop was there and then there were other Christians - Anglicans, also the secretary of the Union of Churches of Geneva (Editor’s note: Pope Francis is referring to the Conference of European Churches) but all that makes ecumenism is on the path. Ecumenism is made on the path, with the works of charity, with the works of helping, doing things together when they can be done together. Static ecumenism doesn’t exist! It is true that theologians must study and come to an agreement, but it will not be possible for this to finish well if we’re not walking. What can we do together? Pray together, work together, do works of charity together… but, together, eh! And move ahead. The relations with Patriarch Kirill are good. They are good. Also, Metropolitan Archbishop Hilarion has come many times to speak with me and we have a good relationship. Greg Burke : She’s asking about with the State… Pope Francis : Ah, with the State! I know that the State speaks of this, of the defense of Christians in the Middle East. This I know and believe that it is a good thing to fight against persecution… today there are more martyrs than in the first centuries, most of all in the Middle East. Greg Burke : Phil Pulella...this question will address the trip, but then let's see where it ends...   Phil Pulella (Reuters): If I can I would like to speak about another topic, but I'll start with the trip. You spoke yesterday in your first speech about the danger of unilateral action, and that everyone must be builders of peace. Now you have spoken very clearly about the "third world war in pieces," but it seems that today this fear and anxiety is concentrated on what is happening in North Korea...   Pope Francis : Yes, it's the focal point!   Pulella : Exactly, it's the point of concentration. President Trump sent a team of military ships to the coast of North Korea, the leader of North Korea threatened to bomb South Korea, Japan and even the United States if they succeed in building long-range missiles. People are afraid and speak of the possibility of a nuclear war as if it were nothing. You, if you see President Trump, but also other people, what will you say to these leaders who are responsible for the future of humanity? Because we are in a very critical moment... Pope Francis : I would call them, I call them and I will call them like I called on leaders in different positions to work on resolving problems along the path of diplomacy, and there are facilitators, many of them, in the world. There are mediators who offer...there are countries like Norway, for example, no one can accuse Norway of being a dictatorial country, and it's always ready to help, to name an example, but there are many. The path is the path of negotiation, the path of diplomatic solutions. This world war in pieces of which I've been talking about for two years more or less, it's in pieces, but the pieces have gotten bigger, they are concentrated, they are focused on points that are already hot. Things are already hot, as the issue of missiles in North Korea has been there for more than a year, now it seems that the thing has gotten too hot. I always say to resolve problems on the path of diplomacy, negotiation, because the future of a widespread war destroys I don't say half of humanity, but a good part of humanity, and it's the culture, everything. It's terrible. I think that today humanity is not able to support it. Let's look to these countries that are suffering an internal war, inside, where there are the fires of war, in the Middle East for example, but also in Africa, in Yemen. Let's stop! Let's look for a diplomatic solution! And there I believe that the United Nations has the duty to resume their leadership, because it's been watered down a bit. Pulella : Do you want to meet President Trump when he comes to Europe? Has there been a request for a meeting?   Pope Francis : I still have not been informed by the Secretariat of State if there has been a request, but I receive every head of state who asks for an audience.    Greg Burke : I think the questions on the trip have finished. We can take one more still, then we have to go to dinner at six-thirty. There is Antonio Pelayo from Antena 3, who you know… Antonio Pelayo (Antena 3): Thank you. Holy Father, the situation in Venezuela has deteriorated recently in a very serious way, and there have been many deaths. I want to ask you if the Holy See intends to carry out this action, this peacemaking intervention, and what forms could this action take? Pope Francis : There was an intervention from the Holy See at the strong request of the four presidents that were working as facilitators. And the thing didn’t turn out. And it remained there. It didn’t turn out because the proposals weren’t accepted or they were diluted. It was a ‘yes-yes,’ but ‘no-no.’ We all know the difficult situation of Venezuela. It is a nation that I really love. And I know that now they are insisting, I don’t know well from where, I believe that it’s from the four presidents, on relaunching this facilitation and they are looking for the place. I think that this has to be with conditions already, very clear conditions. Part of the opposition doesn’t want this. Because it’s curious, the very opposition is divided and on the other hand it appears that the conflicts are always worse.  But, there is something in movement. I was informed of that, but it is very up in the air still. But all that can be done for Venezuela has to be done, with the necessary guarantees, if not we’re playing ‘tin tin pirulero’ (Editor’s note: this is a Spanish term for trying one thing, then another and another without knowing what one is doing). It’s not working... Greg Burke : Thank you Holy Father. And now we go to... Jörg Heinz Norbert Bremer (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung): Some days ago you spoke about the theme of refugees in Greece, in Lesbos, and you used this word "concentration camp" because there were too many people. For us Germans this was obviously a very, very serious word, and very close to "extermination camp." There are people who say that this was a linguistic lapse. What did you intend to say? Pope Francis : First, you must read well everything that I said. I said that the most generous in Europe were Italy and Greece. It's true, they are closer to Libya, to Syria. From Germany, I have always admired the ability of integration. When I studied there, there were many integrated Turks in Frankfurt. They integrated and had a normal life. There was no linguistic lapse: there are concentration camps, sorry: refugee camps that are true camps of concentration. Perhaps there are some in Italy, or in another Germany, I'm not sure, but you think of what people do who are closed in a camp and can't leave. Think about what happened in Northern Europe when they wanted to cross the sea and go to England. They are closed inside. But it made me laugh a bit, and this is a bit of Italian culture, but it made me laugh that in a refugee camp in Sicily, a delegate of Catholic Action told me, one of the delegates from the dioceses in Argentina - there is one or two in the area there, I don't know which diocese - the heads of that city where the camp was spoke to the people in the refugee camp, and they said: you, here inside, it will hurt you and your mental health have to go out, but please don't do anything bad. We can't open the door, but we can make a little hole behind. Go out, have a nice walk, and this is how relationships were made with the people who lived in that city, good relationships, and these (refugees) aren't delinquents, they don't commit crimes. The sole fact of being closed without anything (to do), this is a lager! (Editor’s note: he is referring to the German name for concentration camp. For example, Auschwitz was a “lager”). But it doesn't have anything to do with Germany, no. Greg Burke: Thank you Holy Father.   Pope Francis: Thanks to you for this work you do which helps a lot of people. You don't know the good that you can do with your news pieces, with your articles, with your thoughts. We must help people and also help communication, because communication...may the press lead us to good things, may it not lead us to disorientations that don't help us. Thank you very much! Have a good dinner, and pray for me! (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

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