Vatican News

Updated: 7 hours 4 min ago

The Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation: Joint message

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 03:00
(Vatican Radio) The Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is being marked today September 1 and has special importance in this its third year. It is a Joint Message which was released on Friday morning from Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who for the first time are writing together on Themes of the Day, inviting all the faithful and men of good will to prayer and to reflect on how to live in a simple and solid manner, responsibly using earthly goods. The Day of Prayer for the Creation of the Creation was instituted by Pope Francis in 2015. The Orthodox Church has commemorated the Day since 1989.  Below find the English Language translation of the Joint Message from Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew   JOINT MESSAGE of  Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the World Day of Prayer for Creation The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, “in the beginning”, God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment. At first, as we read in Genesis, “no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground” (2:5). The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, “in the end”, all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10). Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation. However, “in the meantime”, the history of the world presents a very different context. It reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators. Our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation. We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs. The consequences of this alternative worldview are tragic and lasting. The human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people. The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe. Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures. The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development. Therefore, united by the same concern for God’s creation and acknowledging the earth as a shared good, we fervently invite all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment on 1 September.  On this occasion, we wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations. After all, we know that we labour in vain if the Lord is not by our side (cf. Ps 126-127), if prayer is not at the centre of our reflection and celebration. Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives. We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation. We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.   From the Vatican and from the Phanar, 1 September 2017      Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: prayers for Harvey victims

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 12:47
    (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressing his condolences to the loved-ones of the victims of hurricane Harvey, promising continued spiritual solicitude for all those affected, and asking for the prayerful solidarity that has already been shown, to continue in the days and weeks to come. Below, please find the full text of the Message ******************************************************** Message of the Holy Father addressed to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: His Holiness Pope Francis asks you kindly to convey the assurance of his spiritual closeness and pastoral concern to all those affected by the violent hurricane that swept through the states of Texas and Louisiana in these days.  Deeply moved by the tragic loss of life and the immense material devastation that this natural catastrophe has left in its wake, he prays for the victims and their families, and for all those engaged in the vital work of relief, recovery and rebuilding.  He likewise trusts that the immense and immediate needs of so many individuals and communities will continue to inspire a vast outpouring of solidarity and mutual aid in the best traditions of the nation.  With these sentiments, and with the renewed promise of his prayers, the Holy Father sends his blessing as a pledge of consolation, strength and peace in the Lord. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope greets Rabbis highlighting dialogue and cooperation

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 06:42
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday greeted a Delegation of Rabbis in the Vatican for the presentation of the Statement “Between Jerusalem and Rome”. Listen to our report:  Below find the English translation of Pope Francis' address Dear Brothers and Sisters,          I offer a cordial welcome to all of you, and in a special way to the representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in dialogue with the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. I thank Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt for his kind greeting in your name.          In our shared journey, by the graciousness of the Most High, we are presently experiencing a fruitful moment of dialogue.  This is reflected in the Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome which you have issued and which you present to me today. This document pays particular tribute to the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, whose fourth chapter represents the “Magna Charta” of our dialogue with the Jewish world.  Indeed, the ongoing implementation of the Council’s Declaration has enabled our relations to become increasingly friendly and fraternal.  Nostra Aetate noted that the origins of the Christian faith are to be found, in accordance with the divine mystery of salvation, in the Patriarchs, in Moses and in the Prophets.  It also stated that, given the great spiritual heritage we hold in common, every effort must be made to foster reciprocal knowledge and respect, above all through biblical studies and fraternal discussions (cf. No. 4).  Consequently, in recent decades, we have been able to draw closer to one another and to engage in an effective and fruitful dialogue.  We have grown in mutual understanding and deepened our bonds of friendship.          The Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome does not hide, however, the theological differences that exist between our faith traditions.  All the same, it expresses a firm resolve to collaborate more closely, now and in the future.  Your document is addressed to Catholics, speaking of them as “partners, close allies, friends and brothers in our mutual quest for a better world blessed with peace, social justice and security”.  It goes on to say that “despite profound theological differences, Catholics and Jews share common beliefs” and also “the affirmation that religions must use moral behavior and religious education - not war, coercion or social pressure – to influence and inspire”.  This is most important: may the Eternal One bless and enlighten our cooperation, so that together we can accept and carry out ever better his plans, “plans for welfare and not for evil”, for “a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11).          On the occasion of your welcome visit, I would like to express to you and to your communities beforehand my best wishes for the Jewish New Year which will begin in a few weeks.  Shanah tovah!  Once more I thank you for coming and I ask you to remember me in your prayers.  Finally, I would invoke upon you, and upon all of us, the blessing of the Most High for the shared journey of friendship and trust that lies before us.  In his mercy, may the Almighty bestow his peace upon us and upon the entire world.  Shalom alechem!      (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope at Audience: ‘Youthful, searching heart fans flame of love’

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 08:07
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis at his Wednesday General Audience continued his catechesis on Christian hope, reflecting on the relationship between hope and memory and inviting all to have a youthful, searching heart. Listen to Devin Watkins' report: Pope Francis invited the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday to have a youthful, searching heart, one full of desire for life and happiness. It is this restless heart, he said, which allows one to come to Jesus. Reflecting on the call of the first disciples, the Pope said, “Jesus appears in the Gospels as an expert on the human heart.” When two young men “with healthily restless” hearts come seeking the day after Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, Jesus inflames their hearts. “From here there comes that question of His that attempts to bring out the desire for life and happiness, which every young person carries within: ‘What are you seeking?’”, he said. Pope Francis said young people “who seek nothing are not young, they are pensioners, they have aged before their time.” Turning to the theme of vocations, the Holy Father said the first disciples found their call in meeting Jesus. He said this encounter ignited a flame in their hearts, which transformed them immediately into missionaries. Their story, the Pope said, reminds us of our own vocation. “This page of the Gospel tells us that the first indicator is the joy of the encounter with Jesus. Marriage, consecrated life, priesthood: every true vocation begins with an encounter with Jesus that gives us a new joy and hope; and it leads us, even through hardships and difficulties, to an ever fuller encounter with Him – it grows greater, that encounter –and to the fullness of joy.” Pope Francis advised the faithful to be like the Virgin Mary, who “keeps the flame of her love” for Jesus. “Certainly, there are trials in life, there are moments when we need to keep going despite the cold and the counter winds, despite much bitterness. But Christians know the road that carries them to that sacred fire that has inflamed them once and for all.” Finally, Pope Francis presented the faithful with a way to keep the flame of love alive in their hearts. “Here, therefore, is a fundamental dynamic of Christian life: remembering Jesus… Remember Jesus, the fire of love with which one day we conceived of our life as a plan for good, and to revive our hope with this flame.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: greetings for AFC Chapecoense

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 07:27
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis  had special greetings on Wednesday for the players, coaches, and staff of Brazil’s  Chapecoense  soccer club, who were present at the weekly  General Audience . “My desire for you is that you grow in the wisdom that comes from God,” said Pope Francis in greetings to Potruguese-speaking pilgrims, which included the soccer club-members, “in order that, having been made experts in the things of God, you might be able to communicate to others the sweetness of His love.” Air tragedy Chapecoense suffered tragedy on November 28 th , 2016, when the  LaMia Flight 2933  carrying the  club’s first team crashed en route from Bolivia to Colombia, killing all but three members of the squad. Two of the survivors, Jackson Follman and Alan Ruschel, were in attendance, and met with Pope Francis along with the other members of the club on the sidelines of the  Audience  on Wednesday. Friendly match in spirit of solidarity Chapecoense  is in Rome for a friendly against  A.S. Roma  at Olympic Stadium on Friday, organized to raise funds for the Brazilian club. “This is a friendly organized for purposes of solidarity,”  A.S. Roma ’s ticketing manager, Carlo Feliziani, explained earlier this week to Radio Roma. “We hope our fans will come to the stadium, both to see the match and to help  Chapecoense  get back on their feet,” he continued. “Ticket prices will be very low,” he explained, “€10 for end-zone seats and €25 for more central seats.” Kick-off  is scheduled for 20:45 on  Friday, September 1 st . (from Vatican Radio)...
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Sunday Gospel Sept. 3, 2017

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 05:25
(Vatican Radio) In this week's edition of There's More in the Sunday Gospel than Meets the Eye , Jill Bevilacqua and Seàn-Patrick Lovett bring us readings and reflections for the Twentysecond Sunday in Ordinary Time. Listen: Gospel  - Mt 16: 21-27 Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.  Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."  He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  Or what can one give in exchange for his life?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct." (from Vatican Radio)...
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Vatican releases logos for Pope Francis' visit to Bangladesh, Myanmar

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 06:43
(Vatican Radio)  The Vatican on Monday released the official logos for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh . The Pope travels to Myanmar (also known as Burma) on 27-30 November and to Bangladesh on 30 November-2 December 2017. Myanmar logo The logo for his visit to Myanmar depicts Pope Francis releasing a white dove from within a heart drawn in the colors of Myanmar’s flag: yellow, green, and red. An outline of Myanmar’s landmass sits beside the Pope within the heart, while the motto for his journey is shown above: “Love & Peace”. Bangladesh logo The logo for Pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh has colored streamers in the shape of a dove, with a cross raised over a water lily (Bangladesh’s national flower) within it. Above, the official motto for the Apostolic Journey, “Harmony and Peace”, is written in red. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis to visit Myanmar, Bangladesh in November

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 05:23
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to Myanmar from 27 to 30 November 2017 and to Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December 2017. Listen to Devin Watkins' report: Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, made the official announcement in a statement on Monday, also revealing the logos for the trip .  He said the Pope had welcomed "the invitation of the respective heads of state and bishops". Whilst in Myanmar (also known as Burma), Pope Francis will visit the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. In Bangladesh the Pope will visit Dhaka. The programme for the Pope's Apostolic Journey will be published shortly. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope to Catholic lawmakers: heed Church's moral, social teaching

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 10:33
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received a group of lawmakers on Sunday, who are in Rome for a meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network . ICLN origins Founded in 2010 by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and British parliamentarian Lord David Alton , the ICLN brings together Catholic legislators to discuss issues of common concern and share ideas about how best to bring their common faith to bear on their work in favor of the common good. Pope Francis to ICLN: be guided by Church’s moral and social doctrine In his remarks to the legislators, Pope Francis noted the broad spectrum of political opinion represented by the legislators taking part, as well as their increased number with respect to previous years. “As long as the contribution of the Church to the great questions of society in our time can be put into discussion,” said Pope Francis , “it is vital that your commitment be constantly pervaded by her moral and social teachings , in order to build a more humane and just society .” Click below to hear our report The Holy Father went on to say, “The laws that you promulgate and apply ought to build bridges between different political perspectives: even when they respond to precise ends ordered to the promotion of greater care for the defenseless and the marginalized, especially the many who are constrained to leave their countries; and when they are in order to favor a correct human and natural ecology.” Participants encouraged by experience “We have an opportunity to meet here with other Catholic legislators and elected officials from other parts of the world, and to discuss common concerns – problems, opportunities – for our faith, and how to work together and support each other,” Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) of the United States Congress , who is one of the participants in this year’s meeting of the ICLN , told Vatican Media in an exclusive interview ahead of the meeting with Pope Francis. Mooney went on to say that the ICLN gathering has been for him a heartening experience. “It’s very inspiration to see how people are fighting for family values,” he said, “it’s just more encouraging to see faithful Catholics from every country promoting the values of the Church.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis at Angelus: all have role in building Church

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 08:17
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. Gospel episode Ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father reflected on the day’s reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, in which the Lord asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus said to Peter in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Pope: Christ build Church on firm foundations Pope Francis said the Lord continues to build His Church in our present day. “Even with us today,” he said, “Christ desires to build His Church, this house solid foundations, which nevertheless does not want for cracks, and which always needs to be reformed, repaired, as in the time of St. Francis of Assisi.” No “stone” is useless Pope Francis likened people who have received the Gospel, and those for whom the Gospel in intended, to the little stones that often cause us the most trouble when we feel them underfoot, or that appear ill-suited to use in the edification of grand structures, saying that no one is without some part to play, some role to fill as building material. “No stone is useless,” he said. Click below to hear our report “Rather,” the Pope went on to say, “in the hands of Jesus [the littlest stone] becomes precious, because he picks it up, looks at it with tenderness, works it with his Spirit and puts it in the right place, where He had ever a mind to put it, and where it can be most useful to the whole building.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: prayers for flood victims in Bangladesh, India, Nepal

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 07:44
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis offered prayers on Sunday for the victims of massive flooding in Bangladesh, Nepal, and northern India over the past several days. “I express my closeness to all the [affected] populations, and pray for the victims and for all who suffer because of this calamity,” Pope Francis said. The Holy Father was speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer. Click below to hear our report Annual monsoon rains have caused the flooding, which has claimed the lives of more than 1200 people, and disrupted the lives of some 24 million others. Rescue and relief efforts are ongoing, with international aid agencies reporting thousands of villages cut off. People in remote and isolated areas have been without food and clean water for many days. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: appeal for end to violence against Rohingya

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 07:27
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for an end to the violent persecution of the minority Rohingya population in Burma . Speaking to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square following the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father said, “Sad news has reached us of the persecution of our Rohingya brothers and sisters, a religious minority. I would like to express my full closeness to them – and let all of us ask the Lord to save them, and to raise up men and women of good will to help them, who shall give them their full rights.” Click below to hear our report Pope Francis went on to say, “Let us pray for our Rohingya brethren.” Who are the Rohingya? The Rohingya are an ethnic minority who live mostly in Rakhine State – sometimes styled Arakan – on the western coast of Burma, and practice Islam . The government of Burma – also known as Myanmar – does not recognize the citizenship or the ethnic minority status of the Rohingya. After several years of fighting with the majority Buddhist population in the state, Rohingya began fleeing their native land en masse , precipitating a refugee crisis. Organized violence against the Rohingya, with the participation of government forces, has been underway since at least 2015 , with spikes of intensity in 2016 and 2017 . Rohingya flee to Bangladesh  Nearly 100 thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the past year, though the Bangladeshi government has yet to recognize the refugee status of the displaced minority. Most recent violence Pope Francis’ appeal Sunday follows fighting between the Rohingya and the regular Burmese army on Friday in the city of Maungdaw , which is reported to be the worst since October of last year , and has prompted evacuations from the area of government personnel and of non-Muslims. Nearly 100 people are officially reported dead in the ongoing clashes, including 80 Rohingya insurgents and 12 members of the Burmese security forces deployed in the theatre. (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: video message to Jasna Gora pilgrims

Sat, 08/26/2017 - 06:44
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a video message to pilgrims participating in celebrations for the Feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa on Saturday at her shrine in the central Polish city. 300 th  anniversary celebrations This year marks the 300 th anniversary of the coronation of the Black Madonna , as the icon of our lady housed in the shrine in the monastery of Jasna Gora is also known. Mary our tender Mother In his remarks, the Holy Father says, “The sacred image, in fact, shows us that Mary is not a distant Queen , who sits on a throne, but the Mother who embraces the Son , and with Him, all of us, her children.” The Holy Father also says, “She is a true Mother , with her visage signed, a Mother who suffers because she truly takes to heart the problems of our lives. She is a Mother who is close by, who never lets us out of her sight – a tender Mother, who holds us by the hand on our daily journey.” No one an orphan Pope Francis goes on to say, “Let this be the propitious time, in which to feel that no one of us is an orphan.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope and WCC leaders discuss ecumenism, ecology, economic justice

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 10:30
(Vatican Radio) Leaders of the World Council of Churches have expressed gratitude for a “very constructive and fruitful meeting with Pope Francis” in the Vatican. The informal encounter took place on Thursday, during the second day of a visit to Rome by the WCC general secretary , Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and Central Committee moderator, Dr Agnes Abuom from Kenya. Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:  The two WCC leaders met privately with the pope and the head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity , Cardinal Kurt Koch, focusing on how to deepen relations within the ecumenical movement. They also discussed the challenges of climate change and economic justice , as well as the important role of faith leaders in seeking solutions to conflicts in different parts of the world. United witness, common service Speaking after the encounter, Rev. Tveit said, “We are living in a time when the purpose and the objectives of the ecumenical movement are highly relevant. He said: “There is a willingness in the WCC constituencies and beyond, in the Roman Catholic Church, to seek a united witness and a common service” in order to  be a more effective voice in our “divided and fragile world.” The meeting with Pope Francis included prayers for unity, peace and reconciliation. Both sides also expressed the wish to explore opportunities to meet again in 2018. Climate justice, COP23 The WCC delegation also held talks with Flaminia Giovanelli, under-secretary at the former Pontifical Justice and Peace Council, discussing climate justice and the upcoming COP 23 conference in Bonn, as well as peacebuilding initiatives and a meeting on migration and xenophobia scheduled for December. Sant'Egidio community On Wednesday the WCC leaders visited the headquarters of the Sant’Egidio community , meeting with two Christian and two Muslim refugees who survived the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to find jobs in Italy. Rev Fykse Tveit said that many in Europe today see people like them as four problems, or even risks, but instead they are four human beings now contributing to doing work that is needed here in Europe. The Geneva based World Council of Churches brings together 348 member churches in countries across the globe, with the goal of promoting full unity among all Christians . It includes most of the world's Orthodox churches, as well as Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed, United and Independent churches.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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EXCLUSIVE: Pope Francis ‘pleased’ with Card Parolin’s ‘constructive’ visit to Russia

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 08:38
(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, is just returned from a 4-day state visit to Russia, with which he says Pope Francis is “pleased”. Listen to Devin Watkins' report: In an exclusive interview with Vatican media on Friday, Cardinal Pietro Parolin reviewed his state visit to Russia this week, pointing out its highlights and the issues as yet unresolved between the Holy See and the Russian Federation. Pope Francis ‘pleased’ with Parolin’s visit Cardinal Parolin said he briefed Pope Francis immediately upon his return to the Vatican on Thursday. He said the Pope “was pleased with the impressions and positive results which I shared with him.” “The Pope as we know – and as he repeated also in this instance – is very, very attentive to all possible occasions for dialogue. He is very attentive to evaluating all existing occasions for dialogue, and he is very happy when steps forward are made in this direction,” he said. Cardinal Parolin said he relayed the many greetings he was asked to give the Pope “from all the people I met, including the warmth and closeness of the Catholic community… and the fraternal greetings of Patriarch Kirill.” ‘Constructive, positive visit’ The Vatican Secretary of State said he thought the outcome of the trip was “substantially positive”. Cardinal Parolin met with civil authorities, including President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov, as well as with Russian Orthodox leaders Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion. These meetings, he said, “were truly characterized by a cordial, listening, and respectful climate. I would define them as important and constructive encounters.” During his meeting with Mr. Lavrov , Cardinal Parolin brought up the needs of the local Catholic Church, especially the need for several churches confiscated by the Communist regime to be returned. He said the local Catholic community needs these churches in order to provide “adequate places of worship”. Relations with Russian Orthodox Church Cardinal Parolin told Vatican media his meeting with Patriarch Kirill took place in “the new climate established in recent years”, beginning with the 2016 meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Havana, Cuba. “We spoke a little about this new climate or atmosphere, which permeates the relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church,” he said. Cardinal Parolin said his Orthodox interlocutors were “touched by the faith and religiosity of the people” on display as the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra visited Moscow and St. Petersburg . Some 2.5 million people visited the relics before they were returned to Bari in Italy. “It was underlined how even many Russians, who belong to the Orthodox tradition but do not practice, in this occasion have moved closer to the Church.” Other topics discussed, he said, were ways of taking advantage of this new climate to further improve relations and collaborate on cultural, academic, and humanitarian issues. He said both parties greatly insisted on the need for the two Churches to carry out “incisive and efficacious humanitarian works” in the many situations of conflict around the world. “Slightly thorny issues were also touched, respectfully and at the same time frankly, regarding relations between the two Churches. But, we tried to give them – at least in my opinion, what I was able to glean – a positive sense, that is, to explore common paths for dealing with and for seeking to give birth to a solution to these problems.” Situation in Ukraine Turning to the situation in Ukraine, Cardinal Parolin said that, “for now, there is no news; perhaps, it is premature”. “If there are seeds of good, which we have sought to sow,” he said, “we hope the Lord will make them sprout and bring them to fruition.” He said the “Ukrainian question” is of “great concern for the Holy See”. “The Pope has pronounced on this theme several times. It’s obvious that it could not be ignored, this theme; it couldn’t be forgotten in that circumstance. Above all, I would [speak] of the need to try to see and to evaluate if there were some concrete steps that could be made towards a durable and just solution to the conflict, within the instruments currently available, which are practically the Agreement between the two Parties. It has been noted that the Holy See has insisted above all on the humanitarian aspects, beginning with the important initiative of the Pope for Ukraine. In this sense, for example, one theme is that of the liberation of prisoners. This is one humanitarian theme that could be truly important to giving a little impetus to the whole process, even the political one, in order to get out of this situation of stasis and to advance – for example –the theme of a truce or ceasefire, the theme of security conditions in the territory, and the theme of the political conditions necessary to make progress on a global solution.” Meeting with President Putin Cardinal Parolin said his meeting with President Putin in Sochi on Wednesday was “a cordial encounter”. He said the two men discussed the conflicts in the Middle East, especially in Syria, and the presence of Christians there. Both Russia and the Holy See, he said, are particularly interested in the theme of persecution of Christians and other minorities. They also discussed the situations in Ukraine and Venezuela, both of which Cardinal Parolin also discussed with Foreign Minister Lavrov on Tuesday. Cardinal Parolin said he presented the Russian president with “several situations of some difficulty for the Catholic community.” His main point, he said, was the desire to transmit the important role Russia has to play in promoting peace. “Russia, for its geographical position, its history, its culture, and its past, present, and future, has an important role to play in the international community and in the world. Therefore, it has a particular responsibility regarding peace: both the country and its leaders have a great responsibility to build peace, and they must truly strive to put the higher interests of peace above all other interests.” Highlights of visit Finally, Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin highlighted three moments, which he found especially touching. The first, he said, “was the beautiful moment of the Mass celebrated with the Catholic community. The Cathedral was packed full of people, and that was somewhat of a surprise since it was a weekday”. He also said he was touched “by the faith and devotion” of the people and by their “attachment to the Pope”. Second was his brief visit to the sisters of Mother Teresa in Moscow. “We were able to meet and greet all the people they assist, and even there the warmth they have the for the Pope was evident.” Lastly, he mentioned his visit to the Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow one evening. “The cathedral had been blown up during the Communist regime. So it was also a moment to recall this painful history, during which some people wanted completely to uproot the faith from the heart of the people and eliminate any sign of the presence of God and the Church in that land.” This attempt, he said, “did not succeed, because God is greater than the projects of men.” (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: video message to Ezeiza student-inmates

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 12:07
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday sent a video message to the student-inmates of the Centro de estudiantes universitarios de Ezeiza , a higher education initiative attached to the Ezeiza prison complex. The university centre, which began in 1994 in connection with a project of the University of Buenos Aires , teaches primarily sociology and applied sciences, including computer science and information technology. Pope Francis has made regular phone calls to the inmates who study in the centre, which is beginning a new music programme . Remarks to student-inmates In his message, Pope Francis says, “The inmates are serving a penal sentence – a sentence for errors they have committed. Let us not forget, however, that, for punishment to be fruitful, it must have a horizon of hope, otherwise it remains locked in itself and is only an instrument of torture, it is not fruitful.” The Holy Father goes on to say that what is needed is specifically the hope for social reintegration, for which social formation is a necessary ingredient. Click below to hear our report “That,” he says, addressing himself directly to the student-inmates, “is what you are doing,” i.e. looking to the future with hope. “With this new music course you are looking toward social reintegration, [and] you are already reintegrating yourselves through your studies with the University of Buenos Aires.” Punishment with a horizon of hope “This,” he continues, “is a punishment with hope, a punishment with a horizon. Let me say once again: problems are there and will be there, but the horizon is bigger than the problems. Hope goes beyond all problems.” The Holy Father also thanked the founders, directors, faculty and staff of the Ezeiza university centre, and asked the students to remember him in their prayers. Below, the full video in the original Spanish   (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: Liturgical reform is irreversible

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 08:40
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis gave an important address on the liturgical reform on Thursday, speaking to participants of the 68 th Italian National Liturgical Week . The liturgical reform, he said, did not “flourish suddenly,” but was the result of a long preparation. It was brought to maturity by the Second Vatican Council with the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium , “whose lines of general reform respond to real needs and to the concrete hope of a renewal; it desired a living liturgy for a Church completely vivified by the mysteries celebrated.” The direction marked out by the Council, the Pope continued, found expression in the revised liturgical books promulgated by Blessed Paul VI . But “it is not enough to reform the liturgical books; the mentality of the people must be reformed as well.” The reformation of the liturgical books was the first step in a process, he said, “that requires time, faithful reception, practical obedience, wise implementation” on the part first of the ordained ministers, but also of the other ministers, and indeed, of all who take part in the liturgy. Today, Pope Francis said, “there is still work to do in this direction, in particular rediscovering the reasons for the decisions made with the liturgical reform, overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, partial receptions, and practices that disfigure it.” He said that this is not a question “of rethinking the reform by reviewing its choices, but of knowing better the underlying reasons [for it]… [and] of internalizing its inspirational principles and of observing the discipline that governs it.” The Supreme Pontiff insisted, “After this magisterial, and after this long journey, we can assert with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” Reflecting on the theme of this year’s Liturgy Week – “A living Liturgy for a living Church” – Pope Francis dwelt on three points: 1)The liturgy is “living” in virtue of the living presence of Christ; Christ is at the heart of the liturgical action. 2)The liturgy is life through the whole people of God. By its nature, the liturgy is “popular” rather than clerical; it is an action for the people, but also by the people. 3) The liturgy is life, and not an idea to be understood. It brings us to live an initiatory experience, a transformative experience that changes how we think and act; it is not simply a means of enriching our own set of ideas about God. The Church, Pope Francis said, “is truly living if, forming one single living being with Christ, it is a bearer of life, it is maternal, it is missionary, going out to encounter the neighbour, careful to serve without pursuing worldly powers that render it sterile.” The Holy Father concluded his reflection by noting that the Church in prayer, insofar as it is catholic, “goes beyond the Roman Rite” which, although it is the largest, is by no means the only Rite within the Church. “The harmony of the ritual traditions, of the East and of the West,” by means of the same Spirit, gives voice to the one only Church  praying through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, to the glory of the Father, and for the salvation of the world.” (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Card Parolin meets with Russian President Putin

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 02:00
(Vatican Radio) Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin yesterday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the presidential residence in Sochi. According to a statement from the Holy See Press Office the meeting lasted for about an hour and was held in a positive, friendly, and respectful atmosphere with an open exchange of views on various themes including international and bilateral relations. At the end of the talks, the Secretary of State gave President Putin a bronze representation of an olive branch, a symbol of peace. The Russian President returned the gesture with the gift of a collection of coins dedicated to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Cardinal Parolin was expected to celebrate a private Mass this morning at the Nunciature in Moscow before returning to Rome.  (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Francis prays for Ischia quake victims

Wed, 08/23/2017 - 07:06
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis during his General Audience on Wednesday expressed his closeness to those affected by a magnitude 4.0 earthquake that hit the IItalian island of Ischia on Monday night. At least two people were killed and three young children, including a 7 month old baby were pulled from the rubble by firefighters. One of the victims was an elderly woman who was in a church that crumbled in the disaster. Dozens of people were injured when the quake struck and around 2,600 people were left homeless. The Holy Father prayed for the dead, and injured. He also prayed for their families, and all those who lost their homes. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

Pope Audience: Christian hope is God's heavenly welcome

Wed, 08/23/2017 - 07:03
(Vatican Radio) During his General Audience on Wednesday the Pope continued his catechesis on Christian hope reflecting on the hope contained in our ultimate destination, the heavenly Kingdom of God. Listen to our report: Pope Francis explained that on life’s pilgrimage “we encounter the God of surprises who treats us with infinite tenderness, like a father welcoming his children home after a long and difficult journey. “ He went on to say that, even if many experience life as a prolonged period of suffering, such as people haunted by violence and war, there is still “a Father who weeps with infinite compassion for his children, and who waits to console them with a very different future.” He noted in particular the recent attacks in Barcelona, and sad news coming out of the Democratic Republic of Congo that made headline news. Among those present in the Paul VI Hall on Wednesday were many English speaking pilgrims. The Holy Father had a special greeting pilgrims from the Cardjin Community International on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn. (from Vatican Radio)...
Categories: Vatican News

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